After an extended period and multiple planning applications, work has finally begun on the redevelopment of Pelham Street’s college site. The long-awaited works will provide facilities to address the longstanding skills shortages that have been well-documented across both the Greater Brighton region and nationally, with the provision of a new Centre for Creative and Digital Industries.
Thec3,000m2extension to the existing tower block will become an invaluable training facility for young people and those looking to retrain, whilst also providing local businesses with a sustainable pipeline of skilled workers.
The plans submitted by the Greater Brighton Metropolitan College (the MET) received unanimous consent from the planning committee, in addition to the backing of countless influential stakeholders. This includes a £5 million Local Growth Funding Grantawarded by the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Coast to Capital, in recognition of the important role the development will have in driving forward the region’s economic growth.
In order to keep the development cost neutral, the College has sold off the land to the east of Pelham Street which currently houses outdated facilities. The site will be redeveloped to provide 130 much-needed residential units, supporting the city in its bid to tackle the ongoing housing crisis.
The sensitively-designed extension will be constructed on the existing car park, creating a welcoming new ‘shop front’ for the College set within a large public space that includes secure bike storage for staff, students and visitors.
In addition to the state-of-the-art studios and classrooms which have been specifically designed for creative and digital specialisms, the new build will also provide updated facilities and improved public access to the College’s other subject provision located on site. Notably, the student-run hair and beauty salons will be relocated to the lower floors, continuing to deliver affordable treatments to the public whilst also enabling students to gain invaluable practical experience.
During the 17-month development, the College will remain open as usual, with no disruption to current course provision or existing facilities.
The MET’s other four campuses have all received significant investment to modernise their facilities in recent years; the latest being the opening of a dedicated Construction and Trades Centre at the East Brighton Campus on Wilson Avenue in September 2017.
The current Pelham Street development has paved the way for an enhanced focus on the higher education provision at the MET’s West Durrington Campus, located in west Worthing. Already renowned for delivering exceptional graduates to the creative industries, the site will
now house all of the MET’s university-level arts courses. As well as the benefits of students across creative industries being able to collaborate together in their studies, the MET has also agreed a landmark partnership with the prestigious University of the Arts London (UAL). In addition to the existing further education courses it already oversees, UAL will also validate the MET’s university-level degrees. Ranked as the world’s 2ndbest university for art and design, and Europe’s largest specialist provider, UAL’s partnership with the MET will see long-term benefits to alumni throughout their careers.
The Pelham redevelopment is due to complete at the end of 2020, with classes being taught in the new facilities from early 2021.