King Alfred News

Earlier this week Crest Nicholson, the developer due to build the new £400 million King Alfred project on Hove seafront, announced they would no longer be going ahead.

Our CEO Rob Starr, who started the King Alfred project 4 years ago and won the original bid, has revealed he is still at the table and has already found a replacement developer.

Rob has said that the council would be ‘crazy’ not to work with him. He said “I brought Crest to the table not the other way round. I started this with the council four years ago and brought Crest in three years ago. Although Crest has now withdrawn, myself and the team certainly haven’t. One developer is particularly keen to literally step into Crest’s shoes. They’re able to deliver the bid exactly as it is and financially viable”.

The plans include a £50 million sports facility along with hundreds of homes, 20% of which would be affordable. There’s a total of £23 million of public money - £15 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund and £8 million from the council - approved to assist the developer. Crest Nicholson pulled out saying “the ambition of the scheme in these uncertain times is too great”.

Rob told us he couldn’t confirm who the prospective partners are at this stage, but he described them as “incredibly decent people” who would work in the interests of the public. He went on to say that the new partner would do everything in-house and would not be focused on its bottom line, which would make the project viable where Crest could not.

He said “we don’t want to be working with a partner if they don’t see this as a community project. The council have to work with us, they’ll be crazy not to. If we walk away it will be another 10 to 15 years before anything is built”.

Labour city councillor Chris Henry is positive Rob Starr can bring the development to Hove. He said “affordable housing isn’t the only argument, there’s obesity, wellbeing and environmental arguments to be made too. The contracts are ready to sign; it just needs some positive leadership.

Cllr Henry also said that Hove MP Peter Kyle is 110% behind the scheme and will meet council bosses in September.