A multimillion-pound project to restore the decrepit Madeira Terrace on Brighton seafront should start in October next year, according to a council report.
The first phase of a proposed four-stage revamp is expected to focus on at least 30 of the arches although a decision has yet to be made on which ones.
Work on three of the arches is expected to be funded with the £440,000 proceeds of the Save Madeira Terrace crowdfunding campaign. The group has since raised a further £21,000.
And in the meantime, Brighton and Hove City Council plans to ask consultants to draw up an Eastern Seafront Masterplan, linking the revival of the grade II* listed Terrace and Black Rock.
The report – to the council’s Policy and Resources Committee – provides an overview of progress so far with an outline of the next steps in the huge project to save the Victorian structure.
And after recent concerns about the future of historic motoring events in Madeira Drive, some will be relieved to learn that they look like having a place in the emerging business case.
The report said: “Madeira Terrace has a key part to play in the preservation of Madeira Drive as a premier outdoor events space, particularly by reinstating and enhancing the grandstand function of the Terrace.
“If the event space at Madeira Drive is to be prioritised in future the use of the Terraces will need to align with this use of the eastern seafront area.”
With plans to relocate the Brighton Centre to Black Rock – the Waterfront Project – having been put on hold, the events element could take on greater significance.
The report expanded briefly on the proposed Eastern Seafront Masterplan, saying: “This work will help set the restoration of Madeira Terrace within the context of a wider vision for the city’s eastern seafront, helping to shape the use of Madeira Drive, the interface with the Terrace and how this space can be used by all residents in the city.
“It will also help to shape the context of Madeira Terrace as a linear stadium for an enhanced event space in Madeira Drive, leading towards a new piece of public realm at Black Rock and how these spaces link to the Marina.
“The Eastern Seafront Masterplan activities will help create conditions that could draw in both public and private sector investment – financial or otherwise.”
The Policy and Resources Committee is due to meet next week when members will be asked to give officials permission to press on with the proposals.
They will be expected to bring a further report to the committee with detailed designs and costings before formally applying for planning permission.
The council currently has about £6.7 million set aside to fund the project.
The report outlines three possibilities for the first set of arches to be restored – immediately west of the Concorde 2, at the west end of the Terrace or at the eastern end.
The council proposes refurbishing at least one staircase during each phase of the work and ensuring the area can be reached by lift.
Consultants from a firm called Fourth Street have worked on the first stage of the design brief and business model, consulting with the community, councillors and council officials.
Fourth Street regards the western end as best suited to “infilling” to create commercial spaces for rent even though the market may not be buoyant at the moment because of the coronavirus.
One design option being considered is the use of “pods” to go inside arches as a cheaper option to a full refitting.
The Policy and Resources Committee is due to meet at 4pm on Thursday 12 October. The “virtual” meeting is due to be webcast on the council’s website.
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