Hopes of a £4.2m boost for the restoration of Madeira Terrace were dashed on Friday (July 6), when it was revealed the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) had turned down the council’s bid for funding.
But the council and community have vowed not to give up on the dilapidated arches east of the Palace Pier.
A crowdfunding campaign to restore the first three of the 152 arches had raised £463,947, and it was hoped the support from the community would encourage further investment from the lottery fund.
But the council announced on Friday the ‘disappointing’ news that its bid for £4.2m was turned down.
It said although it had ‘met the criteria’ for funding, the HLF didn’t have enough cash for all suitable projects.
Cllr Warren Morgan, the former council leader who initiated the crowdfunding campaign, said: “Very disappointing, but not surprising given that lottery funds have been raided by Government.”
Brighton and Hove City Council has said it will resubmit its application to the HLF in August.
Council leader Daniel Yates said: “We remain positive that funding will eventually be received for Madeira Terrace despite this early setback. Competition for HLF money is extremely fierce and there is no shortage of deserving heritage projects out there. This decision has been compounded by dramatic budget reductions at HLF.
“The crowdfunding campaign has given the project a clear and very strong public mandate and this funding bid will be one of many. Had we been successful this time round with HLF, the award would have delivered radical change on the seafront so we owed it to the city and the thousands of people who supported the crowdfunding campaign to put ourselves forward at the earliest opportunity.
“With or without HLF money, the plan to restore three arches is secure and we will continue to pursue all avenues of funding open to us to keep the larger project moving forward.”
Community campaigner Jax Atkins said: “It’s disappointing that HLF haven’t chosen to help with the terraces yet but we’re not giving up. There is such strong feeling in the community and so many people are determined to get the project underway. We will not be waiting around.”
Jax, who has been running a raffle to raise funds for the project, added: “Our midsummer raffle on Saturday raised £9,000 and I’d like to thank everyone who bought tickets and donated prizes, we had over 800 in the end! Every penny we raise sends a clear message to the council and to funding bodies that the people of Brighton are serious about saving Madeira Terrace so we can once again be proud of our beautiful heritage and the shop window of our city.”
The council said the HLF noted the great heritage value of Madeira Terrace, and recognised the project’s considerable potential to support the wider regeneration of the area and bring economic benefit.
The grant would have allowed for the complete restoration of the first 60 of the 151 Madeira Terrace arches.
Griff Rhys Jones, president of the Victorian Society, said: “It feels like a setback but these things take time. This is a stage on the way and a good one. We must not think it’s over. It needs even more support. We recognise there is more competition than ever out there and funds are dwindling.
“Lots of very successful and important conservation projects have not got there first time but they happened. And few are more important than this.”
Meanwhile, the council will now move ahead with restoring the first three arches which were crowdfunded in a successful city-backed campaign in 2017, and should be complete by next summer.