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The Royal Pavilion, Brighton Museum and Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival have completed a feasibility study that looked into the prospect of developing a masterplan for the future of the Royal Pavilion Estate. We want to secure a sustainable future for the city’s iconic Regency buildings.

Our ambitions for this joint undertaking with Brighton Dome & Festival are vital to the preservation of this important piece of the city’s heritage. Brighton & Hove’s cultural, creative and economic future depends on a plan that makes it possible for the estate to live up to its potential.

The Heritage Lottery Funding bid goes in later this month and we should hear whether it has been successful around April/ May next year. At that point we will be able to go out for public consultation on design options.

We have consulted with groups and individuals who already work with Brighton Dome, The Royal Pavilion and Museum and Pavilion Gardens.

This consultation was aimed to better understand the challenges they face in using the current buildings and environment and what would make their experience better. We also talked to local residents and visitors when they visited the site.

Application to the Heritage Lottery Fund

Below is a copy of the core project description sections presented in the Stage One Application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for development funding for this project. It was submitted on 29 November 2013. The areas which are grey contain commercial and other sensitive financial information. There is also a summary of the application.


The Royal Pavilion Estate is the heart of Brighton & Hove’s city centre– recognised by its iconic domes and its designated Cultural Quarter status.

The Royal Pavilion Estate comprises of the Royal Pavilion, Museum and Art Gallery, Pavilion Garden, Brighton Dome Concert Hall, Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre.

The two custodians of the estate – Brighton & Hove City Council’s Royal Pavilion and Museums and Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival – are working together in a wide reaching partnership helping put in place a plan for the estate which will secure the future of this gem in the heart of our city.

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. While the buildings are magnificent, they are also facing unique challenges and are in need of restoration and upgrade in some areas.

A sustainable future for the entire estate will only be possible with significant investment.

Recent queries

The Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival are coming together in wonderful cross cultural partnership to reinvigorate and reconnect this historic Estate.

This heritage is in real need of preservation and the city’s cultural, creative and economic future depends on a plan that makes it possible for the Estate to live up to it’s potential as a world-class cultural and heritage facility for all to enjoy.

Our vision is one which will transform visitors’ and our local community’s experience of the estate and properly conserve its historic fabric for future generations.

We recently received the following comments (in bold), below them is some more information/answers to them.

The gardens will be totally fenced off
This is the opposite of our intentions. In fact we want to open up the Royal Pavilion Garden not shut it off. The security needs we have identified are that we need to be able to secure the garden in very late hours/early morning should this be necessary to prevent the current levels of anti-social behaviour which cause damage to the Grade II listed Garden* and threaten the safety of the Historic Buildings.

They will charge you to enter for events (already confirmed)
Only ocasionally, large cultural, ticketed events we would like to hold will be held in the gardens encouraging more people to engage with its heritage. This will never be the default position and the Estate will be open widely just as it currently is.

They will charge you or visitors to enter the gardens daily
This is incorrect – the gardens will remain a free resource for both local communities and visitors to the city.

They will demolish the Pavilion Gardens Cafe
Our current thinking is that the best solution would be a visitor welcome centre which would include a café. We met again with David Sewell and Friends of the Pavilion Garden Café last week to look at the potential options for a new building to house the café as part of planning for the future of the Royal Pavilion Estate. Consultation with the Sewell Family is ongoing with the aim of reaching an agreed plan to improve visitor welcome and to preserve the Estate’s long term future.

They will construct a building on New Road as a retail shop i.e.new Pavilion shop for income and another to house a Cafe like the one at the level with a few indoor tables and a very limited patio. I emphasis NOT RUN BY US
Early concepts include the consideration of a new visitor welcome building at the New Road entrance to the Estate which would include visitor facilities that would include; toilets, bag and coat storage, ticketing, and a cafe facility that could be operated both indoors and outdoors. This would open up the Estate, as we would like to give a more compelling sense of arrival to the more than 1.2 million visitors from our local communities and around the globe who come here year on year. As above, we are in consultation about options for a new building with the Sewell family.

At least three mature Elm trees (two Himalayan & one Jersey) will be cut down at the back of us bordering New Road
This is incorrect, no historic trees will be removed and we will be actively developing our plans to ensure no protected trees are affected either on the surface or via their roots.

John Nash’s restoration in the 80’s and 90’s will be ruined in the cafe area even though the RP say the opposite. (I have the facts)
This is incorrect. The café area is not part of Nash’s work nor was it part of any 80’s or 90’s restoration. We want to be more faithful to the Nash Regency design not less.

Residents on lunch breaks, students and school children will not be welcome unless they pay
The Estate will be more welcoming and accessible to everyone so that more people will come and enjoy the gardens during school trips, on weekend visits or on lunch breaks. No one will have to pay. The project will actually extend our existing cultural and creative learning programmes to people of all age groups.

The other consequence will be New Road will become their main gateway into the Estate and they will fence off and close the other entrances so there will be no thoroughfares through the gardens on your way to work etc
This is incorrect. Part of the vision is to have a better entrance which truly welcomes people onto the estate from New Road. It also includes the preservation and use of all other entrances as well as enabling us to restore, repair and maintain our Grade 1 and Grade 2 listed buildings.

The Royal Pavilion Estate in effect will be privatised and controlled i.e. the general public wont be welcome obviously unless they pay
This is incorrect. Our aim is to open up the Estate to vastly improve on accessibility, as well as sustainability.

This as they constantly say will stop anti social behaviour in an instance and give income and as they say sustainability
The vision includes some ideas about how events – particularly free entertainment –  could be held in the gardens to discourage anti – social behaviour and encourage more people to use the gardens in the evenings for positive actitivies rather than those that create problems and cause damage to the Nash restored Garden. The gardens are a delight for the city but they could be significantly improved so that they aren’t misused, rubbished or damaged as they are now.

*The garden of the Royal Pavilion is a grade II garden included on the English Heritage (EH) Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England and is therefore of national interest and significance.