We need to save one of Brighton and Hove’s most precious heritage assets – the Madeira Terraces – and I have a plan to do it.
Brighton and Hove City Council should raise £20 million in six months and start work on all 147 arches within one year.
The Labour council should stop the dither and delay and get on with delivering my plan.
Every time I walk from the Palace Pier to the Marina, it makes me sad to be a Brightonian: the decay and degradation of one of our most precious heritage assets in our city disgusts me.
Our city has been waiting too long for a solution to this. It looks worse by the week and there is so much potential between the Palace Pier and Marina. It is truly exciting.
It is about time that the council put its money where its mouth is and put its hand in its pocket for the east of our city for once, rather than trying to rely on central government or lottery handouts to solve our city’s biggest problems.
That’s why I call on the leader of the council and the finance and asset management lead to identify £20 million of properties in the council’s vast £300 million asset portfolio and sell them within six months to fund this restoration project.
We saw recently how the council bought a £7 million building in West Street very easily from cash sitting in the pot.
Having helped to create the Council Asset Management Panel – and after sitting as a member of the panel for a number of years – the building that I would identify to sell is one of the crown jewels in the council’s asset portfolio.
I would sell the building that Marks and Spencer rent in Western Road which should sell for anywhere between £6 million and £9 million.
The council will not be a loser by doing this. In fact, it is risk free and would boost the council’s coffers because the rent and business rates from the new units in each arch – as currently proposed by the council – would more than outweigh the rent from the current assets to be sold.
The shops and assets sold would still exist – and pay business rates – and would probably be bought by a pension fund.
It truly is a no-brainer and what any sensible business would do.
It is a huge revenue-raising opportunity for the council, would attract even more events and visitors to our wonderful city, make the east of Brighton proud again and most importantly restore another of the crown jewels of our city.
Now’s the time to put our money where our mouth is, as a city, and save the Madeira Terraces by selling some of the crown jewels in our asset portfolio to fund the restoration of one of the crown jewels in our heritage portfolio.
Joe Miller is the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown at the general election.