The Victorian Society has persuaded Brighton and Hove City Council to allow independent consultants to carry out a survey on the Madeira Terraces, which it hopes will show they can be repaired rather than replaced.
The terraces were named in the society’s top ten most endangered buildings in September, having been closed by the council after a survey it commissioned said they were in danger of collapsing.
But the society disputes the survey, and has now persuaded the council to give it permission to obtain its own analysis of the structure.
Meanwhile, an announcement of the council’s own plans has been delayed again, and is now due to be made in the summer.
Alex Bowring, the society’s conservation advisor, said: “Brighton council stated that the survey that they carried out suggested that none of the terraces were retainable and were all structurally unsound and in danger of collapsing.
“After a Freedom of Information request from ourselves the council did eventually publish this report after having previously refused to allow us to see it.
“After reviewing it various people pointed out that it was carried out by surveyors who are specialists in highways and who probably don’t have the expertise to assess historic structures.
“If you apply the same rules to most historic buildings, most engineers don’t understand why they’re still standing.
“We got accredited conservation surveyors, who should have been used in the first place, and we asked one firm who we know quite well to have a look at the report and he said the same thing.
“We wrote to the council and suggested that a report needed to be done by an accredited engineer and that this person would do it and I think he has been in discussion with the council with a view to carrying it out.
“The report was a bolt out of the blue. It’s obviously in need of some serious repairs but we don’t believe it’s about to collapse.
“There must be serious implications in order to demolish a listed building.”
A council spokesman said: “The council has carried out a full structural investigation and the findings, plus the council’s further monitoring of the structure, have been shared with the Victorian Society.
“Another view would be interesting in helping us work with heritage partners to find a sustainable solution for the Madeira Terraces.
“We are currently exploring how to fund a project that would also need to pay for maintaining the Madeira Terraces in good condition into the next century. As a listed structure any changes would need the consent of English Heritage.
“We are planning to report back in the summer on what funding opportunities may be available for Madeira Terraces and how the council is supporting the wider regeneration of the seafront.”