A crowd funding campaign to kick-start the repair and regeneration of a section of Brighton’s Grade 2 listed seafront, Madeira Terraces, will launch on 26 July 2017. Brighton & Hove City Council has already met with local businesses who have pledged to support the campaign through a series of activities that include offering discounts and organising fundraising events.
The aim of the campaign is to raise an initial target of around £400k from public pledges with £100k confirmed in July at the council’s Policy Resources and Growth Committee as the council’s contribution to the target.
After this initial target has been reached, other revenue streams such as a Heritage Lottery funding and Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership grants will also be sought. The money raised will be used to begin work to transform two of the 151 arches along Madeira Drive.
The campaign is being led by the city’s official tourist destination unit, VisitBrighton who already work with over 540 local businesses to promote the city as a destination to both leisure and conference visitors and has a strong social media presence throughout the UK and abroad.
The crowd funding campaign is part of a four-point plan to save the terraces following news that a government grant to get the project underway, was refused in March 2017. Once restored, the 1897 structure designed by Phillip Cawston Lockwood, would become the catalyst for regeneration of the eastern side of Brighton’s world-famous seafront. Total restoration costs are estimated at £24m.
Brighton & Hove City Council is already investing heavily in its seafront with over a billion pounds worth of investment either underway or in the pipeline. The latest schemes include a new engine shed for the Volks Railway – the oldest operating electric railway in the world, a new zipwire attraction, due to open in time for the school summer holidays, a new sea lanes swimming centre – complete with a 50 metre outdoor seawater pool – and a new events venue for large scale concerts and conferences, planned for the Black Rock site near the Marina.
Council Leader, Warren Morgan says: “The crowd funding appeal is just one part of our plan to raise the money needed to get the restoration of the Madeira Terraces underway. Ahead of our lottery funding bid going forward in the autumn, I am proposing that the council commits a million pounds to the project funded from the revenue we get from the i360. This will not prevent us using further capital funding at a later stage, but for this project to succeed we need donations, significant borrowing, private investment, lottery funding and more – the council cannot do this alone.”
Howard Barden head of BHCC’s tourism and venues, said: “As a visitor destination, our city has succeeded where many other places have struggled but we know a combined and consistent effort to keep our visitor offer fresh and attractive is key to this.
“Madeira Drive is in a prime location that already hosts popular events such as the Brighton Marathon, London to Brighton Veteran Car Run and the Annual Speed Trials. Restoring our Victorian terraces is important not only in preserving a significant part of Brighton’s seafront heritage but to breathe new life into an area that is now in need of some serious TLC.
“We’re not looking to raise funds for the whole of the restoration works but we do need support to raise an initial amount to get the ball rolling. This campaign is about galvanising support to preserve something old while at the same time providing new business opportunities and an enhanced seafront space for residents and visitors to enjoy for generations to come.”
The crowd funding campaign now has 926 backers who have raised £183,505 towards the proposed target of £429,826, which comes to 43% of the target. With just 63 days left of this round of funding, there isn’t that much time left for fundraisers to hit their target at this stage.
Those organising the funding drive say that:
“This campaign aims to restore at least three arches, but it will also do a whole lot more; helping the community to reimagine how all 151 could be used, unlocking £1m from the council, and proving a strong public mandate for future funding applications. With your pledges, ideas, and volunteering we can return them to their former glory, and beyond! Once restored, Madeira Terrace will become the catalyst for regeneration of the eastern side of Brighton’s famous seafront.”
So if you are fed up of that grotty walk to Concorde 2, filled with mesh fencing and a sense of abandonment, then you can get involved and contribute towards combatting the neglect that this once proud side of the seafront has suffered of late.