Council calls for cash to save our seafront

From The Argus

Madeira Terraces regeneration

Businesses and residents will be asked to dig deep for the £23 million restoration of the Madeira Terraces as the council aims to bounce back from its funding blow.

Local talent will be “harnessed” to find solutions to restore Brighton’s crumbling seafront arches which have been propped up by scaffolding for almost two years.

Council leader Warren Morgan said he would “not give up” despite the council’s failure to attract £4 million Government funding earlier this month.

A four-point proposal is now being promoted to save the Grade II listed terraces involving crowdfunding, lottery funding, involving local talent and finding “meanwhile” and “pop-up” projects to keep Madeira Drive busy and create income ahead of a full restoration.

The council will look to match an initial £4 million of funding to carry out restoration to a third of the half-mile long terraces which could then create investment to help complete the rest of the structure.

Under the crowdfunding plan, corporate sponsors, tourist organisations and residents will be asked to help with initial support – already expressed from Brighton and Hove Albion and Brighton and Hove Buses.

Councillor Morgan said the scheme could be “a modern twist” on the Victorian public subscription model which initially funded the terraces’ creation and construction over seven years in the 1890s.

The authority is also preparing a bid to the Heritage Lottery’s Enterprise Fund in June among possible public funding streams while the Public Works Loan Board, which supplied £36.2 million for the construction of the i360, is also being considered to part fund the project.

The council has also been invited to reapply for the Coastal Communities Fund later this year.

Local Government Minister Sajid Javid said the council’s application had failed to meet the requirements lacking significant design work, planning submission and match funding along with a considerable wait until January 2019 before work would begin.

The Lockwood Project, named after terraces designer Phillip Cawston Lockwood, was unveiled last year and proposes up to 50 glass-fronted pods for businesses, cafes and shops.

Cllr Morgan said: “Our fight to save this iconic structure continues unabated.

“We can’t do this alone and we know people are keen to help renovate this historic landmark in our city.

“We will harness the city’s energy, creativity and affection for the terraces to get the project off the ground. At the same time we will leave no stone unturned, seeking every possible avenue of funding from Government and other sources.

“We want to inspire private and corporate investors to join us in saving a nationally important structure on one of the world’s most recognisable seafronts by the much-loved pebble beach. I’m not giving up on this. We’re determined to find a way of funding the restoration of the terraces.”

Under the plans, a seafront investment team combining economic bodies, hotels, tourist attractions and civic groups will meet later this month for the first time to develop “a collaborative way forward”. There have been calls for greater unity to tackle the major infrastructure project following the failed funding bid.

Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby has called for cross-party cooperation to save the structure.

He said: “I am more than happy to work with the council, councillors and MPs from all parties to help save the Madeira Terraces which are such an important part of Brighton Kemp Town. Now is not the time to play party politics but to come together and work on addressing the concerns about the project and come up with a new bid.”

Advertisements