Yesterday the council took major steps towards bringing in more than £1 billion of investment into our city and our seafront.
This investment will deliver jobs, homes and much-needed funding for local services, as well as maintaining Brighton and Hove’s place as one of the UK’s top visitor and conference destinations.
Our plans to extend Churchill Square to the sea and build a new 10,000-seat arena for concerts and conferences at Black Rock got under way in earnest this week, as part of a £540 million deal with Standard Life Investments.
This will be the biggest investment in the city since the Brighton Centre was built in the 1970s and marks our determination to compete with major cities like Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester for conference business and major music tours.
We also gave the go ahead for the “Sea Lanes” open air swimming pool complex on the former playground site in Madeira Drive, returning outdoor swimming for the first time since the much-missed pool at Black Rock closed.
This £4.5 million privately funded scheme will feature a 50-metre eight-lane pool, sauna, exercise studio and shops.
Along with the arena, £1.7 million investment in Volk’s Railway and the new £1.7 million zip wire attraction, this will form the basis for our major regeneration of Madeira Drive, with our £30 million plans for the Arches due to be revealed soon.
Other seafront investment, both privately and publicly funded, includes the £11 million Shelter Hall construction and road strengthening at the seafront end of West Street, 850 new homes as part of the £250 million development at the Marina, £47 million British Airways i360 attraction and, of course, £200 million King Alfred leisure centre project.
All this takes investment in our seafront over the next six years to well over £1 billion.
Add to this the hundreds of millions being invested in other projects across the city – the £150 million Preston Barracks with Brighton University that will deliver 350 new homes, the new John Lewis store, £36 million plans at City College, the redevelopment masterplan at Sussex University, and the ten-year £486 million redevelopment of the Royal Sussex County Hospital – and it is clear Brighton and Hove will emerge as one of Britain’s major coastal cities.
There will be significant infrastructure investment in our transport network and in a new centrally located secondary school as well.
At the same time we must ensure that our valued heritage is protected and this week we took the first steps towards placing our Royal Pavilion and our museums in a trust that will have greater freedoms to draw in the funds needed to protect and invest in our cultural assets.
These projects will deliver thousands of jobs, create new spaces for businesses, restaurants and retail, draw in millions of pounds in rent and business rates to fund council services and boost our tourist and visitor economy.
Many of these projects will between them provide thousands of new homes, adding to the money we earn in council tax to help pay for some of the local council services facing cuts of over £160 million from central government.
We cannot stand by and see Brighton and Hove decline and decay. Our city has always changed to meet the challenges of the times while retaining its culture and heritage.
Even as we face a 30 per cent cut in our funding, we must ensure we innovate, compete and prosper as a city and that the benefits of that prosperity are shared by all.
Warren Morgan is the leader of Brighton and Hove City Council.