4.10.16…..Last Friday, 30th September, the Argus lead letter was from Rob Starr, Chairman of The Starr Trust – one half of the development team, with Crest Nicholson, chosen by Brighton & Hove City Council to redevelop the King Alfred site. It is unusual for a developer to be so open and looking to speak to the public in this way. He wanted to explain why the project timetable has been put back by some months and what the silence is about.
The letter went into the print edition which people may have missed seeing. I think it is worth us all reading this and Mr. Starr has been good enough to supply the text of what he sent to The Argus for saveHOVE to reproduce here.
“Is there a delay in completion of the King Alfred regeneration Project? If there is then the delay probably started about 30 years ago.
The best way I can answer the question of further delays is to ask what is important; starting the project or completing the project? For me personally, whilst I often find the pace frustrating and the delays disappointing, it is the extra time we take now that will mean the project will be delivered on time. Surely it is the quality of the project and the completion date that are the important things and not the pace in which we work to achieve that.
The timings that have always been important to me are that we would have a year to engage with the public & complete the necessary planning agreements, and that we would complete the project by the end of 2020 and exceed everyones expectations. Those were, and remain, my aims. Right now there have been no suggestion that this will not happen. My partners at Crest Nicholson and the team at Brighton & Hove City Council are all doing their best to make sure this project is delivered as best as it can be and as quickly as possible.
Certainly we are taking more time than anticipated on the legal agreements, the financial modelling and building up the most exciting and dynamic team to deliver this project. But surely it is only correct to do all this before we start public consultations and certainly before we start physically on site. Perhaps if the previously failed schemes for King Alfred had taken as much care in the due diligence as we are taking then they would not have failed. Remember that a lot has changed in the world since we started out on this journey, so it is only correct that we take the time to adjust and correct constantly to ensure that we get it right.
Any project the size and important of the King Alfred regeneration project must be given every care and attention; we owe the site and the City that much. We always said that if we ensure we get it absolutely right from the beginning that once we physically get onto site there would be no reason for the project to be halted, delayed or at worst stopped. By taking our time now and crossing every T and dotting every I we can make sure that there can be as few surprises as possible once we start the physical work; surely that it the correct approach. This is not only true for major property development but it is equally true for work on a private house, for business projects, for charity fundraising, for arts, for sport, for education; the list goes on and on – it is said that if you fail to prepare then you prepare to fail. My partners and I will not allow this project to fail. If we need to take more time now to ensure that the project goes ahead and completes on time then I will fight for that every step of the way.
Do I find it frustrating that we have not already completed the agreements; of course. Do I find it disappointing that we are not already in consultation with the public; of course. But I would be far far more frustrated if the project had stalled half way through because we have not taken the time right now to plan it correctly.
The King Alfred regeneration project will go ahead and will exceed all expectations.
Chairman The Starr Trust”