29 October 2015

Madeira Terraces report misses crucial point

A media report today omits important information the council explained to reporters about the condition of Madeira Terraces on Brighton seafront

The report said "poor maintenance had wrecked the arches".  Among information emailed to reporters, the council said:  “The crucial point people need to understand about the Terraces is that it is a structure almost impossible to maintain or even inspect properly without dismantling – it is a flawed design which cannot be maintained properly.”

This comment was edited out of coverage today.

The council has previously explained that the Terraces suffer from a flawed structural design which is in itself very hard to maintain. A lack of expansion joints made cracking likely while its steel beams are hidden from view, encased in concrete and almost impossible to inspect or repair economically.

The council is actively trying to secure funding for regenerating the structure.  It would need rebuilding – at an estimated cost of £30m.  Councils no longer have such funding.  The sum is equivalent to the amount that would be raised by increasing council tax by 30 per cent - clearly not an option.  So the council is instead investigating other sources of funding such as grants, the Lottery or a partnership with the private sector.  

The council acts on the advice of professional structural engineers.  As soon as this advice revealed part of the Terraces to be in a serious condition, the council acted quickly to investigate thoroughly by dismantling a section.  This revealed widespread problems leading to the current closure.

An article about the Terraces by council leader Warren Morgan can be found elsewhere on this website.