Planners to decide future of £13m Kingsway to the Sea scheme for Hove seafront

A red outline marks the area which is due to be transformed if the £13 million Kingsway to the Sea scheme is granted planning permission next week

The design of a £13 million project to revamp Hove seafront with a park, sports pitches and a café is due to be decided by councillors next week.

They are being asked to grant planning permission for the Kingsway to the Sea scheme, part-funded with £9.5 million from the government’s Levelling Up Fund.

Councillors and officials hope that the project will transform the Western Lawns between the King Alfred Leisure Centre and Hove Lagoon.

The plans include an events space, gardens, a new skate park, a pump track, tennis and padel tennis courts and sand sports pitches, suitable for sports such as beach volleyball.

They also include new seafront buildings – a pavilion for tennis and padel tennis players and an “outdoor sports hub”.

The outdoor sports hub would include a clubhouse, bar and changing rooms, replacing the old bowling clubhouse building, as well as a café and toilets for the public.

The scheme also includes an extension to the toilets at the Big Beach Café at Hove Lagoon to provide a “changing places” toilet suitable for people with disabilities.

Most of the scheme’s costs will be covered by the £9.5 million government grant but £1.2 million will come from “contributions” paid by developers as a condition of their planning permission.

A further £300,000 will be drawn from money set aside by Brighton and Hove City Council to refurbish public toilets – and the council plans to borrow the rest.

Not everyone has welcomed the scheme. The council has received 48 letters objecting to the plans. Objectors’ concerns included noise and anti-social behaviour – and dog walkers wanted to keep a rough patch of grass for walking their pets.

Campaigners presented a petition to try to save the former pitch and putt site which has been earmarked for the skate park and pump track, catering for bike and scooter riders and skaters. The petitioners wanted the area to be “rewilded” but their plea was rejected.

One objector, whose details were redacted by the council, said: “I object to the scheme’s skateboard park, bike pump track and roller blade track at the old pitch and putt course, primarily due to the loss of green space, noise and increase in traffic which is opposite a residential area.

“Many use the area for dog walking and multiple other non-proscribed activities.

“These activities should be situated in an area which is not directly overlooked by residents in flats.”

Some Hove residents petitioned for part of the Kingsway to the Sea land to be rewilded

Another objector, whose details were also redacted, said: “(It’s an) irresponsible way of spending money under the current economic climate. Priority should be given to maintain what we have across the Brighton and Hove seafront.

“(The) council has already let the tennis courts go in disrepair to further the agenda of this monstrous, not ecology-friendly project. This is a disgraceful manipulation.”

But supporters outnumbered objectors, with 129 letters in favour of the scheme, praising its design and the variety of uses.

One supporter, whose details were redacted by the council, said: “This will make a great improvement to the area and provide a fantastic resource for the community – children and adults alike.

“Good to see green spaces considered. Please ensure the pump track remains in the proposals and table tennis is included.”

Another anonymous supporter said: “As a member of the beach sports community in Brighton, I really hope the sand sports area will have floodlighting so we can play and develop the sport all year round, that secure storage space next to the court will be present for equipment which users of the space can share and that there might be the potential to put a bubble over the courts during the winter months.”

Officials have recommended the scheme for approval at the next meeting of the council’s Planning Committee.

The committee is due meet at Hove Town Hall at 2pm on Wednesday 7 December and the meeting is scheduled to be webcast on the council’s website.

If approved, the first phase of work is expected to start next year, with the council hoping to complete the project by early summer in 2024.

  1. James Reply

    Levelling up! It’s a very expensive part of town already.

  2. Mark Reply

    I thought the council had no money?

  3. Van Diesel Reply

    Can we not just leave things as they are, for once? There’s nothing wrong with that area and we could well do without the disruption and cost.

  4. Soph Reply

    It’s an over-design of an area which badly needs maintenance and improvement, rather than a complete change. Am I right in thinking the only local bus that goes along the Kingsway is the 700? It might be more sensible to put the more ambitious adult sports facilities at Black Rock, where improved connectivity is already part of the plan. Children definitely need good and safe facilities at the Lagoon, which has a lot of small-scale facilities (principally for children), but definitely needs a refurb. Are the new skating facilities, etc., going to be aimed at all ages – how will it change as regards child safety if adult skaters are brought in from other areas of the city? Adults and dog walkers need their space and freedom to move, rather than being corralled. A complicated design will be expensive and difficult to maintain, especially in such an exposed seafront location (trees will need to be very hardy – i.e. wind and salt-resistant). The immediate hinterland is heavily residential. Locals tend to walk to the seafront area or use the parking at the King Alfred or on Kingsway or Wharf Road. In the Summer, it’s pretty hard to park anywhere round there. — So, yes to an improvement and badly-needed maintenance, but be careful of being over-ambitious (bearing in mind current financial concerns and the impact of mis-placed, intense design on a non-central location) – and be mindful not to impose an over-organised lifestyle ideology on an area where many people go for ‘room to breathe’. Too often, public green spaces are taken over by sports activities, when ideally (and if we had the room) we would have both, but separate. Try going for a peaceful walk at Hove Park – you’ll be cut up by cyclists, or people doing intensive fitness training, or dogs running riot, people on electric scooters – it can be absolute mayhem some days. — There’s no doubt this city badly needs maintenance in many areas, but in the current climate especially, the way budgets for projects are allocated sometimes seems nonsensical and hugely ‘jarring’. Many people are exhausted, worried about money, and desperate to see basic maintenance jobs carried out, flood risks averted, and improved safety in our city, rather than large-scale imposed development, which will increase noise and congestion.

  5. Will Reply

    Hopefully more trendy restaurants so one doesn’t have to rely on rockwater and etch. An Ivy would be nice

  6. Jimmy Reply

    My old colleague had no idea and is now a colleague. Scary.

    • Jimmy Reply

      * a councillor

  7. Josephine Reply

    Meanwhile, in North Brighton, e.g. Moulsecoomb/Bevendean/Coldean, we have no swimming pool or tennis courts and the toilets at Stanmer Park shut at 4pm.

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