Madeira Drive barricades extended in case of collapse as council warns terraces will be closed ‘for many years’

Posted On 11 May 2015 at 3:52 pm

A four-metre barricade is being put up around the decaying Madeira Terraces today as the city council warns they will be closed “for many years”.

TerracesSeafront development manager Toni Manuel wrote to traders on Friday to inform them parking bays are to be suspended for three days while the road layout is reconfigured.

She explained the fencing was being moved forward to keep people away “in case of a collapse” for the whole length of the structure.

Some of the walkways and the galleries and restaurants will remain open, as will the road itself.

Ms Manuel explained: “Surveying has shown that the steel beams embedded in the concrete supporting the deck of the terraces have corroded and the cast iron has come to the end of its useful life.

“Cast iron is brittle and with no movement joints along the length of the terrace over the years the cast iron has cracked.

“This cannot be repaired and would require totally rebuilding.  This means fencing is likely to be in place many years while a solution is found and funded.

“I appreciate that this will not be welcome news and I dearly wish there were a viable alternative to this course of action.

“However, please be assured that the council is working to mitigate the impact of the closure of the terraces wherever possible to ensure access is retained and Madeira Drive can continue to be a popular destination for both visitors and residents and a sought-after event venue.”


Neil Sykes, secretary of the Brighton Seafront Traders Association, who also runs the Modern World Gallery on Madeira Drive, said: “My main concern is the severe impact that closing the terraces is having on footfall, equating to virtually none.

“Although it is clear that the works are now essential, nothing has been done to assist the traders down here.

“For example, today I have not had one customer through the door, and that is becoming all too common.

“The initial closures last year, led to a severe impact and reduction of trade. This year has seen that reduce even further, people that park on the terraces side, have no other choice, than to cross to the sea side, and they do not cross back over, as there is no provision for them to do so.

“I have been informed that the expected/estimated time for the works to be completed is ten years.

“Businesses such as mine cannot survive another year, unless a plan of action is implemented as soon as possible.”

Ken Frost, a director of OhSoSwedish which trades on the seafront to the east of the Palace Pier, said the eastern side of the seafront was suffering from neglect while the western side was regenerated.

He said: “With regard to the general decay of the seafront on the east side of the pier (eg unpainted railing, dilapidated areas, pavement cracking etc) it is clear that the council only has eyes for the west.

“Grants etc that have been awarded to Brighton have not, as far as I can see, been spent on the east side.

“Why? Where has the money gone, and why has it not been spent in part on the east side?”

And planning consultant Ian Coomber, who is working for both the Brighton Wheel and the Soho House project at the Aquarium Terraces, also called on the council to back those schemes to bring the eastern side back to life.

Labour councillor Gill Mitchell, who chairs the seafront scrutiny panel, said the party would be making repairs to the seafront a priority now it has the most seats on the council.

She said: “The full scale of the repair work needed to the Madeira Terraces has just become clear and is made more worrying by the fact that there is currently no funding solution for their restoration.

“As a priority we will be assessing all options so that this area of the seafront can once again be fully enjoyed by residents and visitors and seafront traders.”

  1. Miles Reply

    I thought now the greens had been reduced to a minority there would be free piles of money and green lights for all projects right?
    That’s certainly what I was promised by local commenters 🙂

  2. Ice dad Reply

    Perhaps it’s time to look at what can be restored realistically!! And rejuvenate and fund restoration by build a leisure ice arena complex that would bring some much need trade to that end of our seafront, perhaps they could redirect the funding of valley gardens to help pay for this restoration and leisure ??!! Get your skates on Brighton we need an ice rink!!!!!

    • Christopher Hawtree Reply

      One has to keep saying it: external funding for one thing cannot be “diverted” to something else. That is not the basis on which it is awarded.

      If the funding for Valley Gardens were sent back to the Government, that would make it all the more unlikely that external funding would be granted for the Front or anything else.

      It was said last year that the long-neglected infrastructure (as distinct from the curving path and all that) will cost up to £100 million.

      • billie Reply

        Well perhaps your silly party should have thought about that before focusing on and applying for money for a trumped up bus lane rather than applying for grants to save our beautiful searont.

        VALLEY GARDENS WORK IS NOT WANTED. That is why the Greens were voted out by me and others like me.

  3. feline1 Reply

    Woeful state of affairs. Perhaps Brighton & Hove News would care to interview some of the Council’s “Seafront Officers” and ask them if they’d care to resign? Or are they too busy collecting their wages?

  4. Lindsey Reply

    The money that was found for the doughnut on a stick should have been used to fund the restoration of these arches……..

    • Robert Reply

      The i360 was found the money because the developers played BHCC and faced with legal claim and long bad PR court case figured better bad news later.

      I am sad these marvellous terraces have been so neglected.Their ornate finishes (dolphin drain spouts), their imposing back drop to so many events, they are one of Brighton’s jewels
      Now wrapped in steel poles presenting a decaying front for the arrival of the “cans ” for the tower of debt. The terraces cast from molds made by hand. The cans rolled out of a Dutch factory by hands dirtied in business.

      Brighton does love to wear it’s sleaze on it’s sleeve.

  5. Rolivan Reply

    I find it very hard to believe that it would cost £100m when Standard life have proposed the extension and modernisation of Churchill Sq and an Entertainment and Conference Centre at Blackrock for £450m,if there are 100 Arches that works out at £1m per Arch and I am sure there isn’t anywhere near that amount.

  6. Ian Camm Reply

    Why not bring in a rejuvenate Brighton and Hove lottery? All the funds to be spent only on rejuvenation schemes, and not on any other harebrained council scheme. Like the laying of hundreds of bricks at junctions of roads, as they have done up Edward street,at God know’s what cost! Or the laying out of yet more bus lanes that cause traffic chaos ( and stop tourist’s from even bothering to try to get into the city) Or yet more 20mph hour zones, that have been placed add hoc around the city, causing untold confusion? And how about all the empty council owned buildings around the City, sell them or better yet convert some into temporary housing/ homeless units to raise some income? Stop always from looking for more hand outs and start looking at using what you already have.

  7. Pingback: Madeira Drive terraces to be closed for ‘many years’ | building green

  8. Mark Reply

    Brighton is a failed city. It has a large transient population, which, I think, partly explains why Brighton is a bit of a heritage/cultural wasteland. Simply put: infrastructure needs to be maintained. Brighton council does not do this and circumvents conservation and listing by letting buildings become dangerously derelict. I was saying 10! Years ago that Madeira Drive would go the same way as the pier and others. Of course, Brighton could be successful. You need attractions and facilities. None of this is in the pipeline. London is under an hour away so just accept Brighton is really just a run down London suburb and buy a season ticket.

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