A Brighton art gallery has been evicted from its home under the crumbling Madeira Terraces after surveyors found it was too dangerous to keep open.
Jag gallery on Madeira Drive has been operating in part out of a portable cabin since April, when Brighton and Hove City Council found new structural issues with the Madeira Terraces.
A survey has now uncovered a severely corroded beam in one of the bays vacated by gallery which poses a high risk to the rest of it, so has asked it to move out by 1 September.
The council says the beam is being shored up, but is in such a poor state that piecemeal repairs are no longer able to maintain the structure properly.
Gallery owner Gary Silver declined to comment as he is in ongoing negotiations with the council, but posted on Facebook: “Sadly we will be closing our doors for the final time on Bank Holiday Monday August 31.
“This is not our choice but it has been forced on us by Brighton and Hove City Council because the Victorian structures within which the gallery is located are now deemed to be in danger of collapse following decades of neglect and lack of maintenance by successive local councils !
“It was fun while it lasted and hopefully the gallery will rise again somewhere, someday but, till then, come down and buy some of our wonderful artists excellent work while you still can !
“Thank you to all our customers past and present.”
The council is now working with the tenants to see whether relocation is possible, and Brighton and Hove News understands alternative sites are currently being discussed.
Councillor Gill Mitchell, chair of the environment committee, said: “Regrettably, because of the fragile state of terraces in this location, we have no other choice than to ask the people in the Jag gallery to leave for their own safety.
“We really have reached the end of the line with this part of the structure. Piecemeal repairs are simply not enough any more; we need a radical fix and to secure the terraces’ and the seafront’s long-term future.”
The council is looking into possible ways of funding repairs to the Grade II listed terraces, which were first closed off in December 2013.
But as there is no obvious widescale commercial use for them, the money would have to either come directly from the council, which is facing massive budget cuts, or from grants, such as the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The structural problems relate to the corrosion of internal supporting beams and bolted connections within the concrete infill deck.
The concrete therefore needs to be carefully removed without disturbing the brittle cast iron. Any work also needs to be approved by English Heritage.
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