Brighton & Hove City Council reveals plans to restore the Royal Pavilion Gardens

Graham Robson August 2, 2023

A report to Brighton & Hove City Council’s Strategy, Finance & City Regeneration Committee published today (Wednesday, August 2) proposes the next stage of plans to redesign and restore the Royal Pavilion Gardens, which includes a bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) for £4.4million to be jointly made by the council and the Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust (RPMT).

The city council’s plan is to continue to develop the Royal Pavilion Estate as a “world class cultural and heritage site” by improving the integration of the Royal Pavilion and Gardens, Brighton Dome, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre within their historic setting.

Historic England placed the Garden on its Heritage At Risk Register in 2017 and since this time a programme to protect and maintain the garden has been in development.

Plans include improved footpaths, a new education space, a Changing Places accessible toilet and refurbished public toilets, the reinstatement of historic boundary railings and a new planting plan. According to the city council, “without these works being carried out there is the risk that the Garden could lose its listed status”.

Following discussions between the council and RPMT, it has been agreed that 24-hour public access to the Garden will be maintained. To protect its dual function as a palace garden and public park a strategy to address serious criminal and anti-social behaviour in the Garden will be agreed by the council, RPMT and other stakeholders. Measures might include joint working with the police, increased security, improved lighting and design and expanded CCTV coverage.

Discussions will also continue about the siting of and potential funding for proposed statues, including a statue of Indian Soldiers who fought in World War 1 and were nursed in the Royal Pavilion and a statue of suffragette Mary Clarke who was active in Brighton in 1909/10.

The public toilets in the Garden are currently closed as they have been the focus of anti-social behaviour and vandalism. Under the plan, they will be replaced with a ‘secure by design’ toilet building to provide a safer environment for visitors.

Cllr Bella Sankey

Bella Sankey, Brighton & Hove City Council Leader, said: “The aim of the project is to ensure our unique and historic Royal Pavilion Garden is a Garden fit for a City and that it retains its listed status.

“This plan contains exciting proposals to restore some of the Garden’s former glory as well as ensuring maximum use by residents and visitors.

“I’m particularly animated to see plans for a new world-class public toilet including a Changing Places toilet.

“I hope this report is agreed by the Strategy, Finance & City Regeneration Committee on Friday, August 4 so that the bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund can be made later this month and reach a successful outcome.”