Traders bricking it over plans to replace newly laid paving because it doesn’t match new square

Posted On 05 Apr 2016 at 8:39 pm

Traders in the new West Arches have slammed plans to replace two-year-old paving with new, slightly lighter bricks to match a new seafront square, saying it will damage their businesses and the money could be better spent elsewhere.

BricksBrighton and Hove City Council met with business owners this morning to discuss the plans, which they were told last month would involve access to their units being suspended for three weeks, and hoardings placed right in front of them for up to four months.

The existing bricks have been deemed not suitable as the supplier cannot supply enough to cover the rest of the new seafront square around the i360, the first area of the seafront to be renovated using money repaid from the loan to the i360 which the council brokered.

After a social media storm broke out on Twitter, the council issued a statement denying it was planning to close the arches, saying it was due to come back with different options in three weeks’ time.

But traders continue to question the need to change the existing bricks at all, saying the money could be better spent on other seafront improvements such as the Madeira Terraces.

Finn Hopson, who runs Brighton Photography, said: “We had another meeting this morning to discuss the plans in more detail.

“None of us can figure out how there’s a justification to spend that money on that when the council is so short of money.

“It should change the plan and not do this and give us a fighting chance of surviving through the winter. It’s been tough enough behind the building site, but to exist in a corridor for three months?

“We had had two years of solid work to build the i360. We’ll have one half decent summer, and then be hidden behind hoardings.

“The bricks don’t quite match, but you don’t want to close our businesses because of this?”

At this morning’s meeting, the council said it was looking at either doing the work in September, or after the Christmas period.

A council spokesman said this afternoon: “We’re expecting to tell traders that we have arrived at a solution that will allow the businesses to remain open at all times.

“We have not said businesses in the new seafront arches will have to close for a month to replace brickwork. We have discussed the following issue with traders and told them we will come back with options in three weeks.

“There is a strip of block paving a few metres wide outside the new arches which was laid a couple of years ago when the arches re-opened.  These blocks are no longer made. 

“We are now designing the landscaping on either side of the i360 and trying to work out what should be done about the fact that any new blocks will not match the old ones in colour or size. 

“We are anxious to avoid damaging the appearance of the arches scheme, having spent such time and effort on a beautiful, award-winning restoration.

“Money for landscaping will ultimately come from our share of ticket sales from the i360.  The council has resolved that this source of funding will be set aside for investing in the seafront, helping enhance the area for residents and visitors.  This in turn brings more business and revenue for traders. 

“Money from i360 ticket sales reserved for the seafront therefore cannot be diverted to other services such as libraries, as comments on social media suggest.”

  1. Ian Stroud Reply

    Surely using a slightly different contrasting colour as an ‘accent’ scheme will focus the public attention upon the new attraction, and will help to physically divide the space in a visual sense.
    Digging up something already in place that has already attracted praise for its effect is unneccessary expense and tantamount to declaring that the council did not know what it was doing during the original development.
    Digging up what is already there is a blatant admission of a mistake, and in my opinion not necessary.
    You have won an award for the original scheme, why the hell are you now trying to change it?
    A different shade or colour that does not match is not an artistic disaster, it can emphasise a new attraction to the seafront, a new vision of the way forward.

  2. Ross Geal Reply

    The councils job is to protect the will of the locals / Traders . Surley in a financial climate where we are cutting back on crucial services anyway , the council must finally understand that they work for us to protect our way of life , and protect our services . Not to bully and pressure us into some hairbrain cosmetic project which could force people out of business , and eat into precious funds they havn’t even collected yet .Who is making these crazy decisions ?
    How would they explain the decision to the three homeless people who died alone on the streets within 200 meters of your i360 in january this year .

  3. Andrew Pine Reply

    We had the same thing up at the station where the ‘wrong’ colour bricks were used. The contractor stumped up, why not this time? To be brutally honest, once the grockles have spread a layer of ice cream and vomit over the bricks, no one will care. Stop wasting our money.

  4. Lisa Reply

    Use the money for Madeira Terrace, as it falls within the ‘seafront’ remit.After one season, you won’t be able to see a colour difference, they have admitted it’s only a slight difference in colour. I would rather see the historic repaired and retained than such a waste of money sanctioned.

  5. Ann Richardson Reply

    Surely once the tiles have been weathered no one will notice it seems a waste of money when cuts are being made to vital services in the city.

  6. Simon sykes Reply

    Once again all their attention is being focused down that end of the beach, maybe the councillors should take a stroll along the whole seafront to see how run down most of it is looking. Spend the money on helping to refresh the whole seafront not just the area that is basically their latest we’ve been in power legacy

  7. Phil Sheer Reply

    They tried the same “trick” when they redid the front of Brighton Station! Surely somebody in the Council can get the colour of bricks right the first time. Isn’t there a BSI Colour coding number to help with situations like this? And in the long run, by the time it’s rained a couple of times and it’s covered in chewing gum and dog crap, is anyone going to notice the 1/2 shade difference?
    A cynical person might think that there was a link up between somebody in the Council and a Civil Engineering company that found extending the time spent on pointless modifications mutually beneficial!
    Surely not!?!

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