History & Heritage

Vision for Brighton's cultural heart revealed

Plans to revive and revitalise Brighton's Royal Pavilion Estate have been announced by Brighton & Hove City Council and Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival.

The proposal is a joint initiative from the custodians of the estate who are working together in a wide reaching partnership helping put in place a plan which will secure the future of this gem in the heart of the city.

The estate is in the unique position of possessing a Royal Palace, a heritage garden, three performance spaces - two of which are Grade 1 listed - and a museum. A sustainable future for the historical estate will only be possible with significant investment.

The project would reconnect the historic Grade 1 and Grade 2 listed buildings and landscape as well as re-establishing their identity as a single magnificent Estate. Plans would also conserve the Royal Pavilion Estate’s buildings and historic landscape for the future and help more people learn and understand the Estate. Plans also bring together two of the most significant cultural organisations in the South East to help make them more efficient, sustainable and resilient.

Andrew Comben, CEO Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival, said, “The city’s listed venues are unique, attracting over 1.2 million people a year, with hundreds of thousands more visiting the garden. These visitors make a significant economic contribution to Brighton & Hove and the cultural offer is a key driver of inward investment in the city. While the buildings are magnificent, they are also facing unique challenges and are in need of restoration and upgrade. This is an important piece of Brighton’s heritage and the city’s cultural, creative and economic future depends on a plan that makes it possible for the estate to live up to its potential.”

Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council Jason Kitcat said; “This project is an opportunity to transform the Royal Pavilion Estate into a truly world class attraction in the centre of the city. Opening up and reconnecting the Royal Pavilion Estate will ensure these beautiful historic buildings which are unique to Brighton & Hove are preserved and economically sustainable.”

Arts Council England have pledged £5.8m to the development of the project and the Heritage Lottery Fund will be approached for around £14 million with a decision expected in Spring 2014. It is estimated the project will cost £35 million in total.

Consultation work is currently underway with groups and individuals who already work with Brighton Dome, the Royal Pavilion and Museums and Pavilion Garden. The aim is to better understand the challenges they face in using the current buildings and environment and what would make their experience better.