Preston Barracks Proposed Improvements

November 2016

The University of Brighton Moulsecoomb campus along the Lewes Road presently lacks a visible sense of place, scattered as it is across a nearly pedestrian-impenetrable road with random buildings that have little relationship to one another. Planning intentions aim to transform the area. Committee members were invited to a presentation to learn more.

The area presently under consideration, known as the Preston Barracks site, extends to Mithras House and Cockcroft car parks and the Watts building.  The area is being imagined as three villages (living, student and learning) to capture and manage the multi-use brief issued by the council for the Preston Barracks site, while conceptualising as a whole, the 10-acre site.

The plans will create 1600 student rooms and associated student social spaces, 350 homes, a Central Research Laboratory (co-working space for small businesses) and 770 car parking spaces. As the area is within the council’s tall building corridor, a coherent but jazzy range will dominate. The 200-year-old un-listed Napoleonic building will be retained; Mannock House will be demolished.  Car parking spaces will be recreated in a multi-storey park under landscaping at the rear of the site.

Attention has been given to the public realm and strengthening east-west transparency and movement, as well as retaining the sense of ‘valley’ that the site presents, rising as it does at its east-west boundaries. A pedestrian bridge will cross Lewes Road, arriving on the east side at the level of entry into Mithras House. A pedestrian route to the station will extend across the site at the rear and a one-kilometre running track will surround the site.

The committee has discussed this proposal and are in favour of the over strategy and the intention to create more of a sense of a unified campus for the University of Brighton buildings. We are, however, less impressed with the standard of the architecture proposed. Read our response here