Planning permission has been granted for the Kingsway to the Sea scheme aimed at improving the seafront in West Hove.
The project aims to rejuvenate run-down spaces and create new and improved outdoor leisure facilities and green spaces.
The project will create a new linear park stretching from Hove Lagoon to the King Alfred Leisure Centre.
A new fully accessible route will run through the full length of the park linking up all spaces, without the need for users to go onto either Kingsway or the Esplanade.
The Linear Park will be organised along its length as alternating activity and relaxation spaces, meeting sport and leisure needs of all users, with new gardens as “oasis areas” within the park. The development has been designed with a target to deliver 20% Biodiversity Net Gain over the existing site.
Improving sports and leisure facilities
A new Outdoor Sports Hub beside the bowling greens will include new public toilets, changing rooms, and a café. It will be the new home for Hove & Kingsway Bowls Club with a clubhouse facility providing improved connectivity with the bowling greens for players and spectators.
Public toilets will be refurbished at Hove Lagoon and the green space will be improved to promote a family area.
Existing sports like tennis, bowls and croquet will all be retained, and complemented with new ones. These will include padel tennis and sand sports, such as volleyball and tennis. There will also be wheeled sports areas including a skate board plaza, a pump track for biking, plus a roller blading and skating area.
Responses to a public consultation in 2021 were extremely positive with 86% of respondents supporting the scheme. Feedback from an online survey and public engagement events helped shape the plans and determine what facilities and sports have been included.
Two further drop-in sessions took place at King Alfred Leisure Centre in May 2022 for the community to find out how plans for West Hove’s Kingsway to the Sea scheme were progressing.
Following publication of the planning application 48 letters were received objecting and 128 in support of the proposed development. The Lawn Tennis Association also wrote in support of the application.
The site design includes significant improvements to accessibility for people with mobility issues. Inclined ramps and new stairs will be added throughout the park offering a choice of routes for all. The new public toilets in the Outdoor Sports Hub will include accessible toilets and a Changing Places facility. Further accessible toilet facilities are proposed at Hove Lagoon and the Tennis Pavilion.
To improve access and accessible routes throughout the park it will be necessary to remove some existing hedges to install the required slope, ramp and step arrangements. It will also be necessary to remove the hedge that runs along the esplanade to the east of the yellow Bowls Club changing rooms to meet the construction requirements of the new Outdoor Sports Hub.
This work is due to start in early January to ensure removal of specific hedge areas before the bird nesting season starts.
Biodiversity Net Gain
Project Landscape Architect Fenella Griffin said: “This work will be supervised by an ecologist and the reductions limited to what is absolutely necessary. The proposed new tree, grassland and perennial garden areas will compensate for the loss of this habitat over time.“
The tree, grassland and perennial garden areas will create a renewed greenspace that offers more varied, landscaped areas. The planned significant increase in habitat and biodiversity will compensate for the loss of this current habitat over time and also achieve the targeted 20% Biodiversity Net Gain over the existing site.