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Developer withdraws from £50m King Alfred project

Crest Nicholson has blamed ‘uncertain times’ for its decision to withdraw from a £50m project to transform a 1.8-hectare seafront site in Hove.

The company has been working with Brighton and Hove City Council since 2016 after winning a bid to redevelop the King Alfred leisure centre.

The original plans included replacing the ageing leisure centre with improved, extended and modern sports facilities and 565 new homes on the site.

A total of £23m of public money – £15m from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) and £8m from the council – was approved to assist the developer with the scheme.

The interim chief executive of Crest Nicholson, Chris Tinker said it had ‘reluctantly’ come to the conclusion that ‘the ambition of the scheme in these uncertain times is too great’ and that ‘the project is simply unable to deliver the required social and physical outputs given the related costs and values’.

‘It is now increasingly apparent that the growing cost of delivering the scheme, including the council’s new £50m leisure centre, at a time when uncertainty has been increasing and values falling, means that the project is no longer able to support the provision of any affordable housing and remain viable,’ added Mr Tinker.

‘This position, despite significant funding pledges from both the council and Homes England, is unlikely to change and the board has therefore reluctantly decided that it is not willing to promote and deliver a development of this scale and nature.

‘All stakeholders have been made aware and we will continue to work with all partners to ensure a smooth transition.’

The council has already begun exploring alternative options and an update on the next steps for the project will be presented to the policy and resources committee in the autumn.

‘Of course, we are hugely disappointed that Crest Nicholson has confirmed it won’t be progressing the redevelopment of the King Alfred site,’ said council leader, Cllr Nancy Platts.

‘We’ve worked closely with their team to find a financially viable scheme to deliver a new public sports and leisure facility and provide affordable housing.’

Photo Credit – Alex Gunningham

Jamie Hailstone
Senior reporter - NewStart

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