Brighton seafront study wins national praise

Posted On 12 Jun 2015 at 1:29 am

An official report into the state of Brighton’s crumbling seafront infrastructure has been recognised at a national awards ceremony.

The Centre for Public Scrutiny highly commended the report of a Brighton and Hove City Council scrutiny panel last year.

The report detailed the need for investment of an estimated £100 million to revive one of the defining elements of Brighton as a tourist resort and conference trade destination.

Some of the money will also need to spent ensuring the Victorian arches that support the A259 seafront road are restored or rebuilt to prevent further highway collapses.

Seafront archesAt an awards event the Centre for Public Scrutiny commended the Scrutiny Report on Seafront Infrastructure in two categories – Economic Resilience and Involvement.

Since the report was published the council has accepted the key recommendations, including the establishment of a tailored investment programme.

Councillor Dee Simson, who chairs the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said: “We are thrilled to be highlighted nationally for best practice in our scrutiny work.

“What was special about the seafront scrutiny is that it secured acceptance of a far-reaching set of recommendations, which is rare.

“It set out practical steps to provide for and protect the seafront and effectively brought people together to make constructive suggestions on the way forward.

“This is what we try to do with all our scrutinies and we’ll be building on this good work in the coming year.”

The cross-party scrutiny panel held public meetings, drop-ins and on-site visits. It also brought together businesses, community groups and other interested parties with council officers and politicians.

Councillor Gill Mitchell, who chaired the Seafront Scrutiny Panel, said: “We went out and met people involved in all aspects of the seafront. Our drop-in event was attended by more than 80 traders.

“We also set up a dedicated website to gather views from residents.

Madeira terraces fenced off“It is absolutely vital to maintain and improve our seafront which plays a central role in the success of Brighton and Hove.

“Many of our seafront structures are in urgent need of repair or replacement.

“What the panel found was that there was a piecemeal approach to seafront planning so we recommended bringing it all together, with all services involved with the seafront working together to unlock potential development and identify funding opportunities.”

The seafront is the most popular attraction in Brighton and Hove, with visitors and residents alike. It contributes significantly to the local tourism economy which is valued at £800 million a year.

Much of the unsung behind-the-scenes work was carried by council official Karen Amsden. She was not present when the report was praised again at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held in Portslade on Wednesday (10 June).

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