Vaccination Centre - Brighton Centre

Date of Meeting:

Thursday 3rd December 2020

Report of:

Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture 

Contact Officer:


Howard Barden 


01273 292646



Ward(s) affected:

All Wards




By reason of the special circumstances, and in accordance with section 100B(4)(b) of the 1972 Act, the Chair of the meeting has been consulted and is of the opinion that this item should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency because it has been subject to an urgent decision by the Executive Director Economy, Environment and Culture.


Note: The special circumstances for non-compliance with Council Procedure Rule 3, Access to Information Procedure Rule 5 and Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended), (items not considered unless the agenda is open to inspection at least five days in advance of the meeting) was that the formal request from the NHS was received on Tuesday 24th November and this report was prepared immediately afterwards, but late for this committee.  





1.1         To inform the Committee of the use of urgency powers in accordance with the Council’s Standing Orders.


1.2         The Executive Director Economy, Environment and Culture used urgency powers to grant a licence to the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (the Trust) to occupy the Brighton Centre from 1st December to establish a mass vaccination centre for Sussex.


1.3         Discussions took place with the Trust over November.  These discussions were set within the context of the developing and dynamic situation in terms of Government direction and the availability of a vaccination which has Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approval for deployment across the country.


1.4         The Brighton Centre is considered ideal by the Trust for city vaccination plans. The unique qualities of the venue include its location and size which would enable the majority of the city’s population to be vaccinated.



1.5         The Trust see the Brighton Centre as the vaccination location for Brighton and Hove and more widely, although it is anticipated there will be a number of smaller sites elsewhere to ensure that the population of Sussex will be fully covered.


1.6         The Trust have sought to secure an occupation agreement for the Brighton Centre from 1st December 2020 until the 31st March 2021.  The peak of the programme could be vaccinating 3,000 citizens per day.


1.7         The Trust would also welcome the possibility to discuss the occupation of the Brighton Centre beyond the end of March if it were to be available, to meet any ongoing needs within the vaccination programme.


1.8         A negotiated sum has been agreed between Brighton & Hove City Council and The Trust for the use of the Brighton Centre for the duration of their licence from the 1st December 2020 to 31st March 2021.  


2.         RECOMMENDATIONS:    


2.1         That Policy & Resources Committee notes the Urgency Decision made by the Executive Director Economy, Environment and Culture to grant a licence for occupation of the Brighton Centre as a COVID19 Mass vaccination centre.


2.2       That Policy & Resources grants delegated authority to the Executive Director Economy, Environment & Culture to extend the licence arrangements if required.




3.1         For the reasons set out in the officer decision making record (attached in Appendix 1) it was not possible to have a meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee ahead of the decision made on Thursday 26th November to use the Brighton Centre as a Mass Vaccination Centre.  The Trust were seeking access to the site from 1st December 2020 and the next meeting of the Policy & Resources Committee is not until 3rd December, so officer urgency powers were used.  In the short timescale it was not reasonably practical to call a special or urgency sub-committee.


The Brighton Centre is an internationally known venue of considerable scale; it hosts conferences, events, exhibitions, meetings, festivals and concerts with a capacity of up to 5,500. The Brighton Centre opened in 1977 and is a landmark on the seafront.  The Brighton Centre sells in the region of 250,000 tickets per annum for its entertainment programme and holds on average 20 major conventions per year.


3.2         COVID-19 continues to be a global pandemic affecting all parts of the world. After a reduction in cases over the summer, the UK and most of Europe is now experiencing a second wave of the virus. The first wave was brought under control in most European countries by June 2020, but in August, infections began to rise again. At first, many neighbouring countries appeared to keep infection rates low. However, through September and October, the infection began to spread in most European countries. There are now 12 countries in Europe with a weekly case rate over 400 people per 100,000 of the population.


3.3         The UK Government’s overriding goal is to protect the lives and livelihoods of citizens across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. Vaccines are at the centre of the Government’s plan. The global reach of the UK has put it in a strong position in the procurement of vaccines – with over 350 million doses secured by the UK Government for the benefit of all four nations.


3.4         Next month, the Government will be ready for a UK-wide vaccination programme to begin, provided regulators approve the vaccines. Scientific advances in vaccination and treatments should reduce the need for economic and social restrictions in 2021.


3.5         There have been positive recent announcements on vaccine development:


a. On 9 November, Pfizer/BioNTech announced interim conclusions of the phase II study of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate, reporting an efficacy of 90%.

b. On 17 November, Moderna announced the conclusion of the phase III study of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate, with a 94.5% vaccine efficacy.

c. On 18 November, Pfizer/BioNTech announced the conclusion of the phase III study of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate, with an efficacy of 95% after two doses. They have formally applied for a license in the United States.

d. On 19 November, Oxford/AstraZeneca announced interim results from the ongoing Phase II/III trial in which strong immune responses were demonstrated across all age groups and boosted after a second dose.

3.7       On the 20th November, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care announced that the Government had formally asked the MHRA to assess the Pfizer vaccine for its suitability for authorisation.

3.8       The NHS is in the process of establishing mass vaccination centres across the country that can manage the logistical challenge of needing to store the Pfizer vaccine at minus 70 degrees Celsius. In addition, it is establishing vaccination hubs in hospitals for NHS staff. There will also be a community rollout, which will encompass those who find it difficult to travel.


3.9       The urgent work that the NHS is doing will ensure that it will be ready to deploy the vaccine as soon as it is ready and licensed by the MHRA for use in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This work includes having service locations and staff secured, delivery models operational and an active supply chain in place so that when a vaccine does become available, it is set to mobilise.




4.1         It has been deemed by the Trust that due to the central location of the Brighton Centre with its existing high-quality infrastructure, it was the preferred location to deliver up to 3,000 vaccinations per day from 1st December 2020 through to 31st March 2021.


4.2         The Trust have completed their own modelling which led them to request occupation of the Brighton Centre.  They reviewed a number of potential locations in the area against their specific criteria.  Given the scale of their plans, the requirement for a large, highly serviced hall, good ancillary accommodation and ready public access were major factors.   These requirements are not easily met in large population centres, however, the Brighton Centre met with their brief.





5.1         None


6.         CONCLUSION


6.1         The city council will support the national vaccination effort.  It is recognised that this massive public health programme is of critical importance to the health and well-being of Brighton and Hove residents as well as the recovery of the economy.  The vaccination centre will be the largest in Sussex, used by 3,000 people per day, seven days per week. Councillors and officers wish to support this decision and enable the Brighton Centre to accommodate this important work, but given the unusual nature of the request, and its duration, a decision to use urgency powers has been made.




Financial Implications:


7.1       The estimated value of the licence up to 31st March 2021 is £740,000 with the

potential for extending the arrangement into April/May 2021. All bookings for the venue were either cancelled or deferred for this period and therefore the licence does not impact on planned revenue streams. The income will help mitigate the ongoing operational costs of maintaining the building over the period and will reduce council reliance on Sales Fees and Charges grant (government is providing grant to cover 75% of income losses over a threshold). Certain staff at the venue who are not required to support the operation over the period of the licence will continue to be furloughed subject to business need.


The estimated net impact of agreeing this licence is an improvement in the Brighton Centres’ current financial position in 2020/21 of around £180,000.


            Finance Officer Consulted:     James Hengeveld                        Date: 26/11/20


Legal Implications:


7.1         The legal implications are set out in Appendix 1.


            Lawyer Consulted:                   Alice Rowland                               Date: 26/11/20


            Equalities Implications:


7.2         none


            Sustainability Implications:


7.3         The Trust will encourage people to access the Brighton Centre via sustainable transport. The city council will also use multiple communication channels to encourage residents to use sustainable transport to reach the vaccination centre.  Traffic Management officers have considered the implications of an increased number of cars on the seafront.  Parking is available behind the Brighton Centre at the Churchill Square and NCP car parks. 


Brexit Implications:


7.4         None


            Crime & Disorder Implications:


7.5       None


            Risk and Opportunity Management Implications:


7.6       Nothing specific to this report.  


            Public Health Implications:


7.7       The content of the paper sets out the urgent and important public health rationale for supporting the establishment of the mass vaccination centre.


            Corporate / Citywide Implications:


7.8       The city has been deeply affected by the pandemic since the first lockdown commenced in March 2020.  The affect on health, wellbeing, the economy and on individual livelihoods has been immense.  It may take years for the city to recover, for example in lost jobs and businesses.  The best route to recovery is through a mass vaccination programme and so the use of the Brighton Centre for this purpose will lead to the city being able to move beyond the pandemic over the course of 2021.










1.         Record of Urgent Officer Decision Thursday 26th November 2020



Background Documents


1.         None