Work is underway on the refurbishment and conversion of a former school and sixth form centre in Sussex that will become a new base for social care services and pave the way for the development of hundreds of new council homes.
Brighton & Hove City Council has chosen Willmott Dixon Interiors to transform the site at the corner of Mile Oak Road and High Street in Portslade, into 23,336 sq ft of office accommodation for staff in its children’s services team.
The council’s planning department granted a change of use for the vacant building which previously housed sixth formers from Portslade Community College and was once home to Windlesham House prep school.
The move will allow the relocation of council staff from underused office space on a site at Moulsecoomb, which has been earmarked for the development of more than 200 new council homes.
Willmott Dixon Interiors will carry out demolition works and a full strip out of the former Portslade school building, as well as some structural interventions and external remedial works and repairs. New M&E services will be installed, with parts of the building segregated through new access control doorways.
The £3.7 million project was awarded through Orbis, a public sector partnership between East Sussex County Council, Surrey County Council, and Brighton & Hove City Council. It is expected to be complete in spring 2022.
Willmott Dixon Interiors will deliver a minimum of 5% social return on investment of the project value, through activities including local employment opportunities, education support and a hoarding artwork competition with local schools.
Graham Shaw, managing director at Willmott Dixon Interiors, said: “This is a strategically important project for Brighton & Hove City Council, that will not only deliver new office space for social care services teams, but provide much-needed council homes in the area. The project has been designed to retain the existing internal configuration of the building to avoid large scale structural alterations. We will also have a full crew of operatives on site, including a dedicated traffic marshall to assist with delivery of materials and minimise disruption for residents and commuters.”
The project team includes Potter Raper as quantity surveyor, project manager and employer’s agent.