Developers unveil new design for The Pantiles

Dan Hannan

Developers last night [Tuesday] unveiled their plans for changing the face of The Pantiles after previous proposals were rejected by residents.

Dandara, the company undertaking the redevelopment of Union House, is hoping its new design will pacify critics, who described the original plans it put on display in November as a ‘gulag’ and a ‘cross between a prison and a hospital’.

The new design incorporates a mix of flats and retail units as well as ‘community space’ and has been made to incorporate the aesthetics of both The Pantiles and the wider town.

Architect Andy Theobald of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios said: “It will have several different frontages to reflect the character of The Pantiles, and will reflect the informal nature of its direct neighbours.

“It will still be contemporary in nature as we do not want to be accused of making a pastiche of The Pantiles.”

Retailers will benefit from having units situated at the front of the new development facing the promenade, instead of being ‘hidden’ out back, as they are currently. The design of the residents’ entrance in the centre is deliberately set much lower than the two buildings either side in order to let the sunlight into a residents’ garden in the centre, which will replace the current square.

A community gallery room will feature as part of the development, which can be used to host exhibitions and other events, and a water feature for the front will be commissioned.

Managing Director of Dandara’s Southern division Andrew Wagstaff hopes the development will begin early next year and be completed by 2020.

He said: “We are looking to submit our application this spring and will hear back by autumn. Then we should be able to start demolishing Union House.”

“We have been consulting with Historic England and the South East Regional Design Panel and their feedback has been positive.”

A total of 127 housing units will be created, ranging from one room to three, with prices to be determined once work is underway.

The new development could provide an economic boost for The Pantiles, which has been knocked recently after plans for a Curzon cinema in the Corn Exchange.

Expressing his support for the scheme, Matthew Sankey, head of the Association of Pantiles Traders said: “Anything which goes there will be better than what is there now.

“The new development will one hundred per cent deliver an economic boost to the retailers and business owners on The Pantiles.”

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