The public is being asked to help pay for the restoration of the Madeira Terraces on Brighton seafront after the government rejected a plea for funding.
Brighton and Hove City Council said that it was calling on “people power” as part of a new four-point proposal to save the rundown terraces.
The council said: “The move follows the government’s refusal last month to award £4 million of funding to kick-start restoration of the grade II listed Madeira Terraces.
“The derelict 1897 structure, designed by Phillip Cawston Lockwood, runs half a mile along the city’s eight-mile seafront.”
Council leader Warren Morgan said that the aim now was to raise an initial £4 million to get the project going.
Councillor Morgan said: “Our fight to save this iconic structure continues unabated. We can’t do this alone and we know people are keen to help renovate this historic landmark in our city.
“We will harness the city’s energy, creativity and affection for the Terraces to get the project off the ground.
“At the same time we will leave no stone unturned, seeking every possible avenue of funding from government and other sources.
“We want to inspire private and corporate investors to join us in saving a nationally important structure on one of the world’s most recognisable seafronts by the much loved pebble beach.
“I’m not giving up on this. We’re determined to find a way of funding the restoration of the Terraces.”
The proposals involve four key fundraising elements.
Crowd-funding – The council is seeking the best available crowd-funding platform for a major project of this kind.
It said: “We’ll be working with corporate sponsors, tourist organisations and local residents to make sure the right fundraising options are arranged.
“Initial support for the idea has been received from Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club and Brighton and Hove Buses.
“This is a modern twist on the traditional way Victorian architectural delights, such as the Terraces, were founded in the first place. Phillip Cawston Lockwood himself would have been familiar with a public subscription approach.”
Lottery funding – Starting with a bid to the Heritage Lottery’s Enterprise Fund in June, the council said that it would be exploring all possible government funding streams.
It said: “We’ll be ready to respond to any new calls from the Coast to Capital LEP for bids to the Local Growth Fund.
“The Enterprise programme is for projects bringing economic growth by investing in heritage. Bids can be from £100,000 to £5 million.”
Harnessing local talent – The council said that it was “seeking skills and investment power from the private sector”.
It said: “We’ll be issuing a call for investors to bring their ideas, design skills and money to save the structure.”
Exploring uses for the area for now – The council will be looking into possibilities for “meanwhile” uses for Madeira Drive.
It said: “Pop-up businesses could increase activity and support existing ventures such as the forthcoming zip-wire, opening later in the summer.”
The council also touched on how the restoration could be funded. It said: “Total restoration costs are estimated at £24 million.
“Once an initial £4 million of funding is raised, the council would match the sum to restore around one third of the structure. It is anticipated this would then attract enough investment to complete the project over time.
“The most likely solution involves adapting the Terraces’ ironwork arches to house businesses such as cafés, shops and studios. This approach has been proven a success in the Seafront Arches.
“Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) funding, used to build the i360, will be used if additional income can be generated from the redevelopment of the terraces. The council needs to show any borrowing can be paid back.
“A Seafront Investment Team will work together to combine the council with key local tourism experts and bodies for a collaborative way forward.
“The team is expected to hold its first meeting this month to formulate strategy.
“A report will be taken to the council’s policy committee seeking formal approval to progress the plan.”
The council said that it was inviting partners to be part of the next stage for the Terraces, including
• Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership
• Brighton and Hove Tourism Alliance
• Brighton Palace Pier
• Brighton Sealife Centre
• Brighton and Hove Hoteliers Association
• The Grand hotel
• The Hilton Brighton Metropole hotel
• The Business Improvement District
• Brighton Marina
• Seafront traders
• Amenity societies, for example, the Regency Society
Meanwhile, the city has about £1 billion pounds of investment for the seafront, either under way or in the pipeline. Details were shared last year and many projects are already in development along the seafront.