Award for Brighton’s restored seafront arches

A scheme to reinforce a busy road and restore a row of historic fishermen’s arches on Brighton seafront has won a Sussex Heritage Trust Award for outstanding conservation work.

The project by Brighton & Hove City Council created shops and a public toilet from 26 Victorian arches beneath the upper prom.

Work on the £3.5m scheme started in November 2012 and completed when the shops began opening last summer.

Specially-made bricks were used along with hand-crafted wooden doors and window frames.   New cast iron railings were made using traditional techniques and Victorian patterns.

All the original structures had to be demolished and recreated using steel-reinforced concrete.  The project is seen as crucial because the arches support the A259 trunk road above.

In a second phase, a further 33 arches further east are now being restored, due for reopening in summer 2016.

Chair of the council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee Councillor Gill Mitchell said:  “The Heritage Trust judges agreed this has been a superb, high-quality piece of work, which is continuing into the next phase.

“It would be difficult to find a seafront in the country where more investment is either underway or planned.  Certainly no other resort in Sussex has anything like it.”

Among current projects, the 160-metre, £46m i360 viewing tower is being built and is scheduled to open next summer.  Around £9m has been won from the Department for Transport to reinforce the junction of West Street and the A259 and restore the adjoining seafront Shelter Hall.  It closed as a gym in 2013 when serious structural defects were found.

The authority is currently looking into how to fund a multi-million pound restoration of the Madeira Terraces east of Brighton Pier, where structural faults have also forced closure.

Below - the restored arches