Brighton & Hove City Council and Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival are delighted to announce that the first phase of their joint vision to revitalise the Royal Pavilion Estate has been awarded £3m from the Coast to Capital Local Growth fund

The grant award will go towards a major refurbishment of the Grade 1 listed Brighton Dome Corn Exchange and Grade 2 listed Studio Theatre as the first phase of an ambitious heritage project at the city’s Royal Pavilion Estate. The improvement works, which will restore long-lost heritage features as well as provide new, state-of the art facilities, began on-site earlier this month following the appointment of Britain’s oldest and most established building company R. Durtnell and Sons Limited as contractors.

Due for completion in late 2018, the transformation of the Corn Exchange (formerly the Prince Regent’s Riding house) will reveal and restore stunning and previously hidden heritage features as well as provide increased capacity seating and an impressive new viewing gallery. Major improvements to the Studio Theatre (once a stables and supper room) will include balcony seating, new bar facilities a new artists’ creation space and a café opening out onto a plaza at street level.

The £3m grant joins funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England (ACE) and Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), along with money from the city council, charitable trusts and individual patrons. Together this ensures £19.3m of the £21m phase one project costs are now in place. Fundraising will continue throughout the build which will include ways to support the project digitally, a seat appeal and event activity.

The multi-layered project, which will be delivered in three phases over the next few years, aims to re-affirm Brighton’s Royal Pavilion Estate – which combines an historic Royal Palace and regency garden, a museum, art gallery and three performing arts spaces – as a key cultural destination by equipping it for a sustainable future. The longer-term vision aims to reunite the historic Estate created by George IV in the early 19th century to create a centre for heritage, culture and the performing arts which reflects the unique spirit of Brighton.

The project will develop, deepen and broaden the cultural tourism offer of Brighton & Hove and significantly contribute to the city’s cultural and economic wellbeing. It is anticipated that the revitalised Royal Pavilion Estate will support 1241 FTE jobs and have an economic impact of up to £68m.

Jonathan Sharrock, Chief Executive of Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Our Board recognised the strength and benefit that this project will bring to preserving this major regional heritage asset and we are delighted to be supporting the project to deliver a lasting legacy for our region’’.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival BDM said: “We are delighted that the project has been awarded £3m from the Coast to Capital Local Growth fund. This is tremendous news. Arts and culture are intrinsic to Brighton & Hove’s economy and to have the LEP recognise this with this investment is a fantastic endorsement of our vision. Alongside major contributions from Arts Council England (ACE) and Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and other charitable trusts and individual donors, this creates a really strong foundation with which to launch our public appeal in the months.”

Warren Morgan, Brighton & Hove City Council Leader, said: “The city has an international reputation for its fantastic arts and culture offer and this is something we’re keen to maintain and build on for the benefit of all our communities. This funding goes towards a project that will secure local jobs and help support local businesses that benefit from tourism and visitors to the city. Working together as a sector means we can get the most out of funding and other opportunities and create the conditions for the city’s arts and cultural economy to thrive for decades to come.”

Hedley Swain, Director, South East, Arts Council England, said: “This award is a brilliant
endorsement of the Royal Pavilion Estate capital project and its importance to the future success of Brighton. It’s also wonderful to see LEP recognising the importance of art and culture as part of local enterprise and wealth creation in an area. I look forward to the project’s exciting completion.”

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