Takeover and development
Please note that this text is an extract from a reference work written in 1990. As a result, some of the content may not reflect recent research, changes and events.
e) TAKEOVER and DEVELOPMENT: Mainly because of a lack of finance, the ‘city-by-the-sea’ was never realised. However, in November 1985 the marina was purchased by the Brent Walker Company for just £13 million, and a new £120 million development programme began in January 1986, mainly on the partly-reclaimed inner harbour. The first phase to open was the Gateway superstore on 16 November 1987 (becoming Asda early 1990), and was followed by an 875-home ‘Marina Village’. Built in a pleasing Georgian pastiche, the flats and houses have been erected on promontories around an attractive inner harbour, and also around the Octagon, a public shopping piazza. The development also includes a public house by the waterside, the Master Mariner, which has been constructed in a weather-boarded style echoing the taverns of older harbours. A modification to Marine Drive was opened in 1989 to cater for the newly-generated traffic travelling from Brighton.
The foundation stone of the next stage of the development, a four-star hotel and leisure centre including an eight-screen 2,200-seat multiplex Cannon cinema, health hydro, night-club and car-park, was laid on 25 May 1988 by John Lee, Minister of Tourism. Another development will include a banqueting suite, offices and car-park, while Brent Walker will erect a water ‘theme-park’ on the adjacent site of Black Rock swimming-pool.
Brighton Marina covers an area of about 127 acres, extending for about 1,100 yards along the bottom of the cliffs and for 600 yards seaward, one of the largest artificial yacht marinas in the world. The Brent Walker development leaves around 1,500 moorings for boats; there are also special berths for the town’s inshore lifeboat, and for a small fishing fleet beyond the eastern pontoon.
Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder.