Donna Chisholm, Assistant Director Tourism Culture & Sport – Q&A
DC briefed the Panel on her role in the council.
JF asked for DC’s reflections on how she sees the environment as part of the heritage of the city. JF noted that over the years the environment has been ignored or placed secondary to heritage. This is an opportunity to put the environment at the heart of the regeneration of the eastern seafront. The design team has recognised that and incorporated it into their plans.
DC recommended building communication with the Seafront Team who will be custodians of the completed major projects on the seafront; as the ‘internal client’ within the council they can have a strong voice. The advisory panel should talk to politicians via the Project Board, local ward councillors and the administration as politicians make decisions on funding. Environment is at the heart of the current leadership’s approach to the city; for example, the work on the Whole Estate Plan reflects this.
AG asked if DC agreed with the Panel’s view that they do not want to see permanent structures introduced into the Terrace. DC advised that she has never advocated permanent structures other than what is already there; the Terrace is part of the essence of the city, the business case for collecting revenue for new permanent structures doesn’t currently stack up and there may not be a local appetite for this. She would like to see the arches used more innovatively in the future and the space more animated: pop-up events or structures; grandstanding for large events; extra leisure space to play a meaningful part in the city.
RRG asked if value of restored Terrace has been quantified, both tangible, e.g. visitor numbers, plus intangibles, e.g. health benefit on local health services. DC replied that we are not yet at that stage. It is important now to show its value through the repair and restoration of the first 41 arches.
In reply to a further question from RRG she agreed that appropriate well-sited infrastructure is essential to the success of the Terrace so that it can be used for events.
DL asked if the Terrace’s value as part of the community wealth of the city will make it economically viable. He identified as a challenge and a risk, disabled access from Marine Parade down to Madeira Drive as current ramps don’t conform to regulation and new ones will be difficult to fit. DC advised that Seafront Team works across the seafront in its entirety. Some elements generate income and some elements cost money to maintain, but if you consider the whole area, the community wealth generated is very significant The Terraces may not directly have a value in terms of making lots of income, but when restored their contribution to the city, for example for tourism, is important. DC recommended considering whole life cost for maintaining the Terrace as part of the considerations regarding restoration. DC confirmed that she sits on the Madeira Terrace Project Board, regularly communicates with AH and would be happy to attend the meeting regularly to update if requested.
BS was keen to exploit the potential of the space for large events which could bring in higher rental revenue than is currently being generated; he recommended raising funds via dedicated fundraiser or via the new CIO Trust and asked DC how we could market the space. DC expressed her preference to raise public sector funding as she saw the Terrace as an important tourism and heritage project. She thought perhaps government funding might be made available through various sources in the next few years and recommended having business case ready. BL recommended applying for National Lottery Heritage Fund.