It Feels So Good Sonique
A scheme to restore a row of historic fishermen’s arches on Brighton seafront has won a Sussex Heritage Trust Award for outstanding conservation work.
The scheme by Brighton & Hove City Council created shops and a public toilet from 26 Victorian arches beneath the upper prom.
The £3.5m project started in November 2012 and completed when the shops began opening last summer.
Specially-made bricks were used along with hand-crafted wooden doors and window frames. New cast iron railings were made using traditional techniques and Victorian patterns.
All the original structures had to be demolished and recreated using steel-reinforced concrete. The project is seen as crucial because the arches support the A259 trunk road above.
In a second phase, a further 33 arches further east are now being restored, due for reopening in summer 2016.
Chair of the council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee Councillor Gill Mitchell said: “The Heritage Trust judges agreed this has been a superb, high-quality piece of work, which is continuing into the next phase.
“It would be difficult to find a seafront in the country where more investment is either underway or planned. Certainly no other resort in Sussex has anything like it.”
Among current projects, the 160-metre, £46m i360 viewing tower is being built and is scheduled to open next summer. Around £9m has been won from the Department for Transport to reinforce the junction of West Street and the A259 and restore the adjoining seafront Shelter Hall. It closed as a gym in 2013 when serious structural defects were found.
The authority is currently looking into how to fund a multi-million pound restoration of the Madeira Terraces east of Brighton Pier, where structural faults have also forced closure.