Improved access to the Marina and a regeneration of Black Rock is on the way, councillors were told last night (Thursday 5 December).
Even if a new arena is not built at the site, work to improve the area and make it more accessible will move forward next year.
More than 200 people attended two recent public exhibitions about the next steps at the former lido site.
Green councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty told Brighton and Hove City Council’s Policy and Resources Committee that he went to one of the public exhibitions with fellow Green councillor Claire Rainey.
He said: “This could be a really unique opportunity to properly address access into the Marina.
“It is a really unwelcoming entrance at the moment.
“If we get to the end of this process and we have not got a successful way to enhance pedestrian access into the Marina, it is a massively missed opportunity.”
The council’s assistant director for city development and regeneration Max Woodford said that the Marina’s head leaseholder, ICG Longbow, was aware that the pedestrian entrance was “sub-optimal”.
The company has its own redevelopment plans for the Marina and meets regularly with the council, he said, adding: “It is very much in their interest to improve the access to the Marina.
“The ramps are still there, but the pedestrian, cyclist and bus access is definitely sub-optimal. They are conscious of that. They are conscious of the desire to tie it into the eastern seafront.
“We are all pulling in the same direction.”
Conservative councillor Dee Simson asked about changes to the junction at Duke’s Mound, after the recent closure of Marine Parade had led to traffic backed up to the Palace Pier.
She was concerned about the knock-on effect of changes to the Aquarium roundabout as part of the Valley Gardens project.
The council’s executive director for the economy, environment and culture, Nick Hibberd, said that the juncton would benefit from intelligent transport systems and new signalling.
Preparations at Black Rock would include removing the old lido foundations, old sea wall anchors and other contamination.
Plus there would be improved access for pedestrians and cyclists and a new pedestrian sea walkway for the Marina.
The work could also include exploring the options for a play area, an outdoor recreation area and regenerating the Reading Room and Temple so that they could be let.
All this will be paid for with £12 million from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) which must be used by March 2021.
Mr Hibberd said: “The environmental cost and lost opportunity of the site remaining vacant should be addressed for it to be properly regenerated in the future.
“The works being planned are designed to address the problem.”
A planning application is due to be submitted early next month.