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Lancing Beach


Projects / Mixed use

Lancing Beach

Project Information

Client: Strenson Investments                       Site Location: Lancing, Brighton, UK

Project Date: 2012                                         Project Status: Under Construction

This is a proposal for the partially-built building on Lancing Beach. It is on the site of the Mermaid Cafe and has sat in it's current state for the past four years. We propose to transform this eyesore into a sustainable, vibrant and key attraction to Lancing Beach. The ground floor will contain a beach cafe and water sports centre. The cafe will cater to visitors throughout the year and provide a space available for hire; this will be ideal for community use and events with an excellent view of the beach. The water sports centre will take advantage of Lancing's growing reputation as a destination for kite surfing, providing access to this and other water sports for locals and visitors alike.

It is anticipated that this use of the building will draw visitors to the area. Small hotel/hostel-style accommodation will be provided on the first floor for people attending courses at the water sports centre. Three Zero Carbon apartments are also provided on the first floor. Their entire annual energy demand will Introduction be offset by photovoltaic panels, integrated into the roof. The photovoltaic array will also offset a significant amount of the energy consumed by the other uses of the building. It is hoped that this development can play an important role in the wider regeneration plans for Lancing as a whole.

Site Location


This site is located on South Lancing Beach, adjacent to Lancing Beach Green. This is opposite the end of the main shopping street, South Street


Local Character


South Street contains a mixture of buildings in scale and style, mostly small-scale commercial units. The Beach Green is a rolling green open space dotted with small unattractive brick and concrete buildings, used occasionally for community events such as fairs. To the north of the Beach green is the metal sheet rear of a tyre shop, the Brighton Road, the timber fence enclosed car sales lot and a public car park. Brighton Road consists mainly of residential buildings, of a variety of ages and character from Modern, to Mock Tudor to contemporary. To the east and west of the site runs a promenade with a small kiosk directly to the east. Further along the promenade are colourfully-painted timber beach huts.

Existing Planning Permission


There is a previous planning approval for the scheme for restaurant use. The building design for this still gives the appearance of large expanses of solid stone-faced and rendered walls, despite a large amount of glazing proposed. This would be particularly acute when approaching the building along the promenade from the east or west. The design proposed would bean improvement over the half-built existing structure, but could not be deemed an architecturally positive contribution to the beach.

Existing Building


The existing building on the site is in a semi-built, semi-derelict state, fenced off from the surrounding beach. It has a looming presence over the beach due to its virtually unbroken mass. The building has an interesting standing-seam wave-like curved roof, block work walls and timber and metal sheeting covering openings in the facade. The first floor and roof above is slightly inset from ground floor.

Economic Context


This building is in its current state, due to the economic unviability of the previous scheme proposed for it. This proposal has therefore been carefully developed through multiple scenarios assessed by its current owners including use as a leisure centre, gym, conference centre and holiday apartments. The conclusion of these studies is that the most viable use of the building is a mix of leisure, hostel and residential. For more details please refer to the Economic Viability Statement..



With the building sited directly on the beach, its immediate surroundings are the pebbled beach, its coastal defences and the low-level beach green, covered in grass and banked gently on either side. There is no landscaping within the site boundary, as the existing building fills the site.



Since January 2012 Alex and John Hole have held meetings with Adur Council, the Adur Planning Department, attended four Lancing Parish council meetings, met the Regeneration Group in Lancing and the local MP, Tim Loughton in order to explain their ideas for the scheme and hear people’s views. During this time the scheme has evolved to take account of concernsraised.

These strategies provide shading on the southern elevation on the first floor and additional weather protection to users entering the building. The café spaceis now more viable on the ground floor thanks to the whole southern elevation providing views of the beach. The eastern and western end bays are glazed on both the south and north elevations, providing views through the building. These are the points from where most people will approach the building. The scheme has evolved as requirements for the watersport centre and café have become more defined. Various layouts of apartments and hostel accommodation have been considered. Research has been conducted into suitability of materials in the marine environmentand cost effectiveness of various methods for bringing daylight into the northern half of the first floor plan.

Design Strategies


We used the following strategies to transform the existing building from eyesore to elegant addition to Lancing Beach:


1. The apparent mass of the building is broken up by articulating the roof as a separate floating element.


2. This has been done by developing the simple wave profile of the roof into an aerofoil shape and increasing the transparency of the ground floor.






3. The perimeter of the ground floor was brought in so that the roof and first floor floats past it in elevation.


4. We moved the service areas on the ground floor from the four corners into the centre of the north elevation.

Construction Photos

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