Sussex

Developer Crest Nicholson withdraws from King Alfred site

A sports centre and 565 flats were planned for the King Alfred site Image copyright Crest Nicholson
Image caption A sports centre and 565 flats were planned for the King Alfred site

A developer has withdrawn from an "ambitious" multimillion-pound scheme for hundreds of flats and a leisure centre in Hove.

Crest Nicholson cited "uncertain times" as the reason for shelving plans for a £50m sports centre and 565 flats at the site of the 1930s King Alfred Centre.

Brighton and Hove City Council has worked with the company since 2016, when it won the development bid.

A council spokesman said work was under way to find an alternative option.

Image copyright N Chadwick
Image caption The development was intended to replace the existing buildings which date from the 1930s

Chris Tinker, interim chief executive of Crest Nicholson, said it was a "difficult decision to withdraw," but "the ambition of the scheme in these uncertain times is too great."

"It has become a more complicated project than originally envisaged in terms of both planning and delivery."

He said there had been a series of "challenges and obstacles" and with values falling it was not possible to support the provision of any affordable housing and still remain viable.

A total of £23m of public money - £15m from the Housing Infrastructure Fund and £8m from Brighton and Hove City Council - was approved to assist the developer in building the project, which includes affordable flats.

Image copyright Crest Nicholson
Image caption The developer had said 20% of the homes would be "affordable"

Council leader Nancy Platts said: "We appreciate the difficulties and complexities of the project, and appreciate too the efforts made by Crest Nicholson, but the council makes no apologies for pressing the developer to deliver the scheme it selected in 2016.

"Finding a viable alternative will be our utmost priority and this will include consulting with the local community who have been so patiently awaiting this development."

An update on the next steps for the King Alfred project will be presented to the Policy and Resources Committee in the autumn.

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