Council calling on ‘people power’ to save Madeira Terraces

Dilapidated Madeira Terraces (Photograph: Eddie Mitchell)
Dilapidated Madeira Terraces (Photograph: Eddie Mitchell)

A crowdfunding campaign is one of several ideas by Brighton and Hove City Council in its bid to renovate the dilapidated arches east of the Palace Pier.

This comes after a £4 million funding bid to kick-start a renovation project at Madeira Terraces was turned down by the Government last week.

Warren Morgan, the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council SUS-170126-092210001

Warren Morgan, the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council SUS-170126-092210001

Cllr Warren Morgan, the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, 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.”

The Grade II-listed structure was designed by Phillip Cawston Lockwood in 1897, and runs half a mile along the city’s eight-mile seafront.

But in recent years it has fallen into disrepair, and the restoration costs are estimated at around £24 million.

The council is now looking at new ways to raise the £4 million needed to kick start the project, before seeking the funds for the restoration itself.

The new fundraising proposals by the council will include crowdfunding, lottery funding and ‘harnessing local talent’.

The council said it is now seeking a crowd-funding platform for the project, and it hopes to work with corporate sponsors, tourist organisations and residents to raise the cash. It said initial support for the idea has been received from Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club and Brighton and Hove Buses.

The council will also seek lottery funding through the Heritage Lottery’s Enterprise Fund in June, and will ‘be ready’ to apply for a share of other appropriate funding pots.

And the project is also seeking ‘skills and investment power’, issuing a call for investors to bring their ideas, design skills and money to save the structure.

With the Brighton Zip - a seafront zip-wire ride - set to open this summer, the council is looking at other ways to boost footfall to the area east of the pier. Ideas include introducing ‘pop-up businesses’ to the site.

Cllr Morgan said when the initial £4 million is raised, the council will match the sum to restore around one third of the structure. It is anticipated this would then attract enough investment to complete the project over time, he said.

The hope of the council is to adapt the Terraces’ ironwork arches to house businesses such as cafés, shops and studios. If this can be done, Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) funding (which was used to fund the i360), could be used to fund the project if additional income can be generated from the redevelopment of the terraces, but the council would need to show it can pay the money back.

The next step is a seafront investment team will work together with the council and local tourism experts to look for a ‘collaborative way forward’. The team is expected to hold its first meeting this month to formulate strategy.

A report will be taken to the council’s policy, growth and resources committee seeking formal approval to progress the plan.