Famous developers could transform toilet blocks into beach hub

Boxpark's initial plans for the Shoreham Beach Green site
Boxpark's initial plans for the Shoreham Beach Green site

First Shoreditch, now Shoreham – Adur District Council is teaming up with an internationally-acclaimed developer and a superstar DJ to turn a run-down toilet block into a community beach hub.

The council has been looking for a partner to redevelop the run-down toilet block on Shoreham’s Beach Green for several years.

Boxpark's initial plans for the Shoreham Beach Green site

Boxpark's initial plans for the Shoreham Beach Green site

And now a deal has been agreed in principle with a team which includes those behind the Boxpark redevelopments in Shoreditch and Croydon as well as Fatboy Slim’s Big Beach Cafe in Hove Lagoon.

The emphasis for the Big Beach Box will be on creating a new community cafe which could also include a roof terrace, changing rooms, and a centre for watersports.

After entering into a preferred developer status with Boxpark, the local authority will now enter into a full consultation with the local community to draw up more detailed plans, before a planning application is submitted.

Councillor Brian Boggis, Adur District Council’s executive member for regeneration, said:

We’ve been clear that we wanted something exceptional for Shoreham Beach Green, and I believe that this proposal will enhance facilities for the local community and thousands of visitors who come to Shoreham Beach each year

Councillor Brian Boggis

“I am very pleased to see such exciting plans for this key site. We’ve been clear that we wanted something exceptional for Shoreham Beach Green, and I believe that this proposal will enhance facilities for the local community and thousands of visitors who come to Shoreham Beach each year.”

Councillor Emma Evans, Adur District Council’s executive member for the environment, said:

“Not only will development preserve public toilet access for everyone using the beach, but the plans also promise a new community resource, which is good news for locals and visitors to this very special part of the world.”

This is latest in a series of developments around Shoreham as part of an ongoing programme of regeneration which in recent years has includes the opening of the £11.5 million Adur Ferry Bridge, the creation of award-winning farmers markets in the pedestrianised East Street and a revamped Shoreham Centre.

The toilets on Shoreham Beach Green

The toilets on Shoreham Beach Green

Adur District Council began advertising the site last year, after a number of unsuccessful attempts to find a tenant.

A number of excellent proposals came forward – but after a thorough and rigorous selection process, the council has now chosen its preferred partner.

The proposal is led by Brighton-based Boxpark, which created the world’s first pop up mall for retailers and food and beverage operators in east London.

The company was founded by Roger Wade, a Hove resident who founded British street fashion brand Boxfresh.

The world’s first pop up mall Boxpark Shoreditch was launched in 2010. In October 2016 Boxpark opened their first food and drink only development, Boxpark Croydon; the biggest food and culture outlet of its kind in London with 35 traders from around the world, both established and start-up, set in over 70 shipping containers.

The developer team will also include Dan Stockland and Norman Cook (AKA Fatboy Slim) who created the Big Beach Cafe in Hove Lagoon.

The proposal will be drawn up by Brighton-based Chalk Architects.

Any new development will include public toilet provision and those with the lease will only be able to operate within the marketed area; not the whole green.

Those behind the plan said they are determined to work with existing community groups to give them an space to develop their work.

Roger Wade, of Boxpark, said: “Boxpark is a Brighton based retail development and we are delighted to announce our first local development with Adur District Council. I live nearby in Hove, and regularly ride my bike pass the Shoreham Beach green site. It’s a unique location, with nearly two acres of green space, with a beautiful beach and outstanding views of the Sussex Downs and English Channel.

“Big Beach Cafe is my local favourite beach cafe, and I sit next to Danny the owner at the Amex. We have been looking to build a development together for the past two years and Shoreham Beach Green is the ideal venue.”

Developers will now work with the council and the local community to draw up more detailed proposals.

A planning application must then be submitted. Work could start on site in 2018, subject to all the relevant agreements being in place.

Councillor Joss Loader, Marine ward member and chair of the Shoreham Beach Residents’ Association, said:

“This is a sensitive site and forms part of the only major green space on Shoreham Beach. I would now like to see the council and developer working closely with the local community to offer extensive and meaningful consultation so local people know exactly what to expect and are offered a chance to have their say.

“Hopefully that will help the developers to deliver a project which offers a vibrant community asset as well as being economically viable.”