Madeira Terrace's Victorian lift will not reopen this summer

The Madeira Terrace lift at Shelter Hall (Concorde 2) will not reopen for the summer season this year. The lift has traditionally operated annually between May and September.

A new survey has shown that the lift shaft needs major structural work and can no longer safely support the weight of the old lift. The cost of repairs needed is estimated to be at least £500,000.

Work to upgrade the lift mechanism to bring it in line with modern standards had originally been planned. The significant decay of iron and timber in the lift shaft now means that doing this work alone would not be sufficient to bring the lift back into use.

Repairing the old lift shaft, as part of an overall refurbishment of the Shelter Hall/ Concorde 2 building, will form part of a future phase of the Madeira Terrace renovation project.   

Since the Terrace was closed in 2014/15 the old lift has not opened at deck level and exits solely into the Concorde 2 nightclub. The lift had to be attendant-operated and could not accommodate mobility scooters. Due to increasing maintenance and repair issues over recent years, it has often had to be closed.

New, fully accessible lift planned

A new, fully accessible lift designed to accommodate wheelchairs, mobility scooters and buggies is to be installed at the Royal Crescent Steps in 2025. This will have lighting and security to provide 24-hour-a-day access for all to Madeira Drive and the deck from Marine Parade.

While the Madeira Terrace lift is closed, we are investigating whether it would be viable to operate a shuttle bus service between Marine Parade and Madeira Drive during peak times.

Donna Chisholm, Executive Director, Economy, Environment and Culture says: “The Victorian lift is a much-loved feature of Madeira Terrace but its age, like the terrace itself, means it needs significant repairs to make it safe and fit for purpose. The cost of these repairs is very difficult for the council to manage this year.

“Improving access for all is at the forefront of all our new projects and relying on aged infrastructure like the Victorian lift is challenging and costly.

“We know there are people with mobility issues and families with buggies who use the lift in summer months and it is most unfortunate and untimely to have it out of action. We are doing our best to ensure there is much better provision in future and are very sorry there’s no quick fix right now.” 

Reshaping Beach Access for All

In addition to the new Royal Crescent lift, we are also improving accessibility to the seafront through a range of projects.

Blue Badge parking has been improved, with the new road layout at Madeira Drive adding 27 additional parking spaces. Additional Blue Badge bays are also being planned for the seafront near the King Alfred Leisure Centre.

The Black Rock boardwalk has proved extremely popular with residents and visitors since it opened last year, while the Kingsway to the Sea project will provide a new fully accessible route running the full length of the park.

Near to the Palace Pier, a wheelchair accessible area has been created on the lower prom, directly below the Brighton Centre. A new wheelchair accessible beach pathway at Saltdean is also nearing completion.

At Brighton’s Seafront Office, three beach wheelchairs are now available to borrow at no charge. In addition, a new all-terrain electric wheelchair, designed specifically to cope with steeply shelving shingle beaches, is currently being trialled with the help of a local disability support group. We hope to launch this soon.

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