With planning permission granted in December and preparatory work due to start next month, councillors have agreed how sports facilities in the new Kingsway to the Sea park will operate.
New linear park
The Kingsway to the Sea project is on track to transform run down spaces on the seafront in west Hove into a new linear park, stretching from the King Alfred Leisure Centre to the Hove Lagoon.
The linear park will be an activity and relaxation space, meeting sport and leisure needs of all users, with new gardens as “oasis areas” within the park.
The new park will feature:
• Improved accessible and biodiverse green spaces
• An outdoor sports hub incorporating bowls clubhouse, public café with terrace, public toilets and changing facilities
• Tennis and padel tennis courts
• Sand sports areas
• Bowls and croquet
• Skatepark, pump track and roller-skating area
• Improved events space
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.
To improve access throughout the park it will be necessary to remove some existing hedges to install the required slope, ramp and step arrangements, which are essential to create accessible routes across the new park. It will also be necessary to remove the hedge that runs along the esplanade to the east of the Bowls Pavilion to meet the construction requirements of the new Outdoor Sports Hub.
To comply with planning consent and ecological legislation it is necessary to complete the hedge removal by the end of February, before the bird nesting season starts.
The hedge reductions will be limited to what is necessary and to compensate for this the plan is for more than 600 new trees to be planted to offer more long-term foraging, cover and nesting habitat. In addition to this, new grassland and gardens will create a renewed, species-rich greenspace with a more varied landscape, significantly increasing local habitat and wildlife.
Bird nesting boxes will be installed near-by to help protect the important wildlife population where the hedgerows have to be removed.
As the landscape develops the new planting will more than make up for the immediate loss of hedgerow habitat while also achieving the target of 20% Biodiversity Net Gain across the whole site.
The initial work will also include the demolition of the Bowls Pavilion and site protection of the area. This will require hoarding to be put in place around the construction site for the protection and safety of park users.
We already operate more than 100 leases in the seafront property portfolio covering a wide variety of sport and leisure uses.
Income generated from the lease of the pay-for-use sports facilities, outdoor sports hub and public café will fund maintenance of the park.
Councillor Martin Osborne, co-chair of Brighton & Hove City Council’s Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee, said: “We welcome the progress being made to this space in west Hove’s seafront, and look forward to seeing the area improved and brought to life as a valuable community asset. There will be some disruption to begin with but over time, the new gardens will provide a significant increase in habitat and biodiversity alongside the other benefits of improved accessibility and additional community facilities”.
At a meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee on 19 January 2023 it was agreed that the pay-for-use facilities in the park will be run by sports organisations under lease arrangements. This is the best option to secure the future maintenance of the sports facilities, grow participation in the community, and support the upkeep of the free-to-use gardens, park spaces and wheeled sports area.
More information on the Kingsway to the sea project