As part of the safe management of Madeira Terrace, temporary structural propping work will take place to four of the 152 bays beneath the terrace from next week.
The Grade II* listed terrace is regularly inspected to identify any recommended works, such as propping, which may be required to prevent further weakening of the structure.
Following recommendations from the latest inspection, structural steelwork will be installed at four locations along the length of the terrace. This is important preparatory work ahead of Phase 1 of the major renovation project, which begins in the autumn. That covers 40 arches between the Royal Crescent Steps and Shelter Hall – the Concorde 2 venue.
It is important that this preparatory work is carried out to provide extra support to the historic structure.
The Green Wall
The propping work specifically excludes any elements relating to the Green Wall. Consultation on this work has been undertaken with Brighton & Hove Building Green (a local community group closely involved with Madeira Terrace and the Green Wall), the council’s Biodiversity Officer, Planning Conservation Officer and the Madeira Terrace Restoration Project Team.
The Fig Tree
To enable the propping work to take place the fig tree to the eastern end of Madeira Terrace will need to be coppiced, as this is currently preventing access to two of the bays which require structural support. This work has been discussed and agreed with James Farrell of Building Green, and with the council’s Biodiversity Officer.
Coppicing is a traditional method of tree and shrub management which involves cutting the plant to ground level. This promotes the fresh growth of many smaller shoots, which quickly grow upwards.
High level vegetation
Where plants are growing at a high-level in the bays and covering the beams on the underside of the arches, these will be cut back to allow a structural inspection of these beams to be done. Without being able to fully survey the structure concealed deterioration to the beams could weaken the Terrace.
Contractors will also remove metal and timber debris beneath the arches to allow safe access for the propping work to be carried out. This will be carefully managed to ensure that the Green Wall to the rear is protected, even where vegetation has started to grow around the debris.
No pesticides will be used in this work.
Rejuvenating a valued asset
Council Leader Phélim Mac Cafferty said: “Over the last 130 years it’s inevitable that the coastal weather has weakened some of the structure of Madeira Terraces. In order that we fully understand the nature of the problem, specialist teams are now inspecting the structure so restoration can get underway. Extra steel supports will be installed to help prop up the Terraces to keep the structure safe as this necessary work happens.
“Local experts are working with council teams to secure this next step on the path to a restored Madeira Terrace. Longer term, the new Terrace will signal a rejuvenated eastern seafront with a valued asset for generations to come.”