A major project to transform run-down spaces on the seafront in West Hove got the go ahead at the council’s Policy and Resources (P&R) committee last night.
Councillors noted officer’s recent success in securing £9.5 million from the government’s Levelling Up Fund (LUF) to create a linear park and outdoor sports facilities between the King Alfred Leisure Centre and Hove Lagoon.
Cross party support
The bid for funding was supported by all three of the city’s main political party leaders - Phélim Mac Cafferty, John Allcock and Steve Bell - in a letter sent to government ministers.
At the P&R meeting, councillors approved a total budget of £10.647 million, including £1.147 million (10.4%) of funding from council resources, to be added to the Capital Investment programme.
Work on the ‘Kingsway to the Sea’ project began back in 2018 when the West Hove Forum approached the council to work on plans to develop the area.
Since then, officers have been working with the West Hove Seafront Action Group (WHSAG) group whose members include residents and representatives from businesses, clubs, sports users and voluntary organisations.
New sports and leisure facilities
The West Hove seafront area has some striking heritage seaside architecture as well as several sports courts, bowling greens, a multi-use games area and several large green spaces. There are also several buildings, which are in varied condition.
Once completed, the project will transform the area and provide modern facilities for locals and visitors. Features being considered include padel (a form of tennis), beach tennis, croquet, traditional tennis and football. The scheme will also provide new leisure facilities such as a pump track and skate park to encourage greater footfall by young people.
Additional council funding
Councillor Martin Osborne, co-chair of the city’s Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee, said: “The additional council funding for this project is a fantastic boost and will enable us to move forward to the next stage.
“It is incredibly exciting to think about how much this project will improve public spaces for people, with new activities, new routes for pedestrians and cyclists and expanded outdoor family facilities at Hove Lagoon. The remodelling and landscaping will also improve biodiversity and attractiveness for the enjoyment of residents as well as attracting many more visitors to the area”.
Next steps for the scheme
Kingsway to the Sea will now be progressed in line with the criteria of the LUF bid and in consultation with community stakeholders and ward councillors.
Next steps will include the appointment of project management to accelerate the programme and design. The deadline for use of the government funds is 31 March 2024.
A progress update report will be brought back to Policy and Resources Committee before a planning application is made in 2022.