Thirty arches are set to be restored in the first phase of the Madeira Terraces restoration, if the scheme is approved next week.
The council was hoping to raise £23 million to restore the whole stretch.
But after twice being turned down for Heritage Lottery Funding, outgoing council leader Dan Yates announced the council would release £2million in match-funding already earmarked to go ahead with a first phase instead.
Next week, councillors are being asked to give the go ahead for the procurement and awarding of a £550,000 contract for early design stage work and engineering to restore 30 of the terraces’ 151 arches.
In a report to the tourism development and culture committee, Abigail Hone, the Madeira Terraces Regeneration project manager, said: “The restoration of Madeira Terrace to make it a repurposed structure fit for the future is a complex project.
“However, there is great potential for the terrace to form the backdrop to the regeneration of the eastern Seafront in Brighton and Hove.
“The condition of the Grade II Listed Madeira Terrace remains one of the most challenging heritage infrastructure issues currently facing the city council.
“Brighton and Hove’s seafront is a key economic driver and shop window for the city, and yet on-going maintenance of the structure is no longer possible due to the level of deterioration which has seen sections of the structure progressively closed to the public since 2012.
“Madeira Terrace is unique in that the 865m long structure, with 151 separate arches when constructed (in three phases from 1890) was to facilitate the act of promenading.
“Perhaps unintentionally Madeira Terraces has provided a perfect grandstand for the regular events that take place in, or at the end of, Madeira Drive.
“The city council does not have the funds to restore the whole of Madeira Terrace, which has been estimated at more than £23M, so is working to restore the arches in stages.
“Thanks to community efforts, £460,000 was raised to help fund the restoration of three arches.
“The council has explored the possibility of restoring these in isolation but because of the costs involved is proposing to include the community-funded arches as part of an initial phase to restore 30 arches which would be more cost-effective.
“Community fundraising is also continuing and the council is facilitating an advisory panel, to include representatives from community, tourism and conservation groups, businesses and event organisers to contribute to the project as it moves forward.
“The proposed next steps are to create designs for the first restored arches, explore potential uses for them and cost the work.
“This will help focus the project, ensure community input is included and provide a sound basis with which to take advantage of funding opportunities.”
the report is a response to a petition started by the Save Madeira Terraces Raffle Group, which raised 2908 signatures asking for work on three test arches to be carried out to the eastern end instead of the west.
These plans for the pilot arches which were to be paid for with £460,000 raised by a council crowdfunder, were approved in November 2017.
But it has since become clear this would be more expensive than restoring a larger number because of economies of scale and the cost of propping up the arches for work to take place.
The council has also again approached the Heritage Lottery Fund, now changed to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, to say it will now be requesting £1.5million against a £4.5million cost of restoring the smaller number of arches. The NLHF has invited the council to submit a round one bid by April 2020.
However, the council is carefully considering whether it is worth devoting resources to doing this given the previous refusals.
It hopes by commissioning innovative design options it can understand better the full restoration costs.
The petition was organised by Jax Atkins, who welcomed the release of the £2million but was reserving judgement about how the project will progress from here.
She said: “I have heard nothing about this new proposal but that doesn’t surprise me; people seem to have their own agenda and ideas about the terraces which do not reflect the wishes of the general public nor the people who contributed to the crowdfunding
“My initial reaction at reading this is sadness. May I also point out that the petition was not to have the renovated crowdfunded arches right at the eastern end but towards the eastern end – ideally in the area opposite where Sea Lanes will be located.
“In my opinion I don’t think there is any point in reapplying for Lottery funding again until work actually starts on the Terraces.
“I also have my doubts about whether the proposed ‘advisory panel’ is a good idea and whether it would work of the good of retaining these beautiful Madeira Terraces – the window of Brighton.
“It will probably be dominated by people desperate to invest in them and force their ideas upon what the general public actually want to see.”