Brighton and Hove City Council’s plans for Madeira Drive

BHCC are working hard to preserve Brighton’s historic seafront, this includes a four-point plan for the transformation of Madeira Drive. Funds to do this are being raised from various sources including crowdfunding, the Heritage Lottery Fund, harnessing local talent and exploring uses for the area for now (‘meanwhile’). The four projects below will help to transform and eventually restore this part of the seafront.

Soho House have had planning approved for the development of the Aquarium terraces above the Sealife Centre. They will create a café, restaurants open to the public and a members’ club which will have a bar, open air plunge pool, changing rooms and a terraced area. According to the developers, more than 200 jobs will be created.

Planning committee chair Councillor Julie Cattell said: “Brighton & Hove’s seafront is of vital importance to the city’s tourism economy. We have a huge amount of seafront investment in the pipeline or being delivered right now.  It would be good to see yet another scheme get off the ground.”

The Volk’s Railway heritage project has seen the oldest electric railway in the world receive some well needed TLC. The Heritage Lottery Funding has been used to provide a purpose-built visitor centre, to restore and bring back to use three of the original carriages which will increase capacity on the railway.

The Brighton Zip, a 300-metre-long dual zip wire with a 24-metre drop zone is now open. There is a café onsite which seats 140 and the attraction is expected to attract 32,000 visitors a year, create 30 jobs and bring revenue of around £5m.

The Waterfront Project, which is in the early stages of planning, will see the Brighton Centre demolished and Churchill Square Shopping Centre extended in its place. A larger replacement conference and events centre would be built at Black Rock, a site which has laid derelict for over 30 years. The project received a huge boost in Feb 2017 when it was awarded £12m of government funding and a planning application is expected to be submitted in 2019/2020. If the project goes ahead, it is expected to create 2,000 jobs and boost spending in the city by £150m annually!

In total, the plan to improve the east end of Brighton Seafront will cost a significant amount and will be mostly funded with public and private sources, and charitable and other funding options will be approached. With the above attractions drawing in visitors, annual revenue to the city will be largely increased, and the benefits hugely outweigh the cost.

As well as these projects, Sea Lanes plan to create an open water swimming centre of excellence which will further enhance Madeira Drive, and the city, by providing much needed swimming facilities for the area. There will also be business opportunities on site as well as event space, driving people to Madeira Drive.