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media release: Brighton and Hove City Council 29 May 2014

Application to the Heritage Lottery Fund

We are sorry to announce that the bid to the Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF) for development funds for the Royal Pavilion Estate has not been successful this time.  HLF were unable to fund all the projects for which it received applications and it is of course disappointing that the project did not go forward for development funding at this point. However the feedback from HLF has been very encouraging. Their Trustees specifically noted the high heritage importance of the Estate and they believe the need for the project was clearly demonstrated. They added that they clearly understand and support our Master Plan vision and especially welcome the prospect of an integrated offer for visitors within a more unified Royal Pavilion Estate.

This project is vital to the heart of the city and we will continue to work with all our partners and key stakeholders to develop our approach for future funding applications to HLF in the coming months in order to progress the plan to connect, preserve and celebrate the Royal Pavilion Estate.

Andrew Comben, CEO, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival said,”Our ambition is to transform and revitalise the Royal Pavilion Estate into a world class heritage site at the heart of Brighton & Hove. I am of course disappointed that we have not been successful this time round in bidding for Heritage Lottery funding but we are very encouraged by the feedback given to us by HLF Trustees and delighted they are so supportive of our vision. We will continue to work with HLF and all our partners on developing plans for a sustainable future for the Royal Pavilion Estate.”

Janita Bagshawe, Director, Royal Pavilion & Museums said. “We need to not lose sight of our ambition to transform and revitalise a world class heritage site at the heart of Brighton & Hove. We will continue to work with HLF and our partners to develop the long term plan for the Royal Pavilion estate and to secure the funding to do so. It is the symbol of the city and deserves to be a place that everyone can experience and enjoy.”

Application details

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.

Pavilion Garden Cafe

Brighton & Hove City Council, The Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival and Pavilion Gardens Cafe are pleased to confirm the cafe building and the area of the patio on its current site will remain for many years to come, in the safe hands of Mr Sewell.

We will be working together with the Sewell family, the cafe and its community on plans to improve the Royal Pavilion Estate which we are jointly progressing from this point on.

David Sewell, proprietor of Pavilion Gardens Cafe said: “The Sewell family are delighted and relieved that uncertainty over the long term future of the cafe building and patio is at an end. We look forward to a new lease that secures our future in the gardens, where our cafe can form part of the valued heritage of the estate as a whole.”

Paul Levy, on behalf of the Friends of the Cafe said: “The Friends look forward to working in partnership with the bid team to ensure the lottery bid is successful and the whole estate can develop in ways that serve all of those who love and value it. We are delighted to be recognised as partners in this process and will ensure that the community’s voice is heard as the estate becomes something we all are proud of.”

Brighton & Hove Chief Executive Penny Thompson CBE said: “I’m delighted we have reached an agreement to work together. This project is vital to the heart of the city and needs the input of the Pavilion Gardens Cafe community to help shape a Royal Pavilion Estate for the 21st century. We will strive to preserve and recognise the contribution of the 20th century in the form of the cafe buildings and patio which are clearly so precious to so many”

Andrew Comben, CEO, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival said: “We need to develop the Royal Pavilion Estate, including the café, patio and friends community, as something fantastic and sustainable for the 21st Century. I’m very pleased we are working together to find productive solutions to some of the challenges currently faced by the estate.”

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
Only occasionally, 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
This is incorrect. Brighton & Hove City Council, The Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival and Pavilion Gardens Cafe are pleased to confirm the cafe building and the area of the patio on its current site will remain for many years to come, in the safe hands of Mr Sewell.We are working together with the Sewell and Friends of the Pavilion Garden Café and their input is vital to any future plans for the Royal Pavilion Estate. Please see our joint statement here

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.