Greens put our heritage under threat

At the recent Council meeting the Greens launched a blistering attack on several of the City’s famous heritage motoring events.


Responding for the new Greens Administration to a debate on the future of events on Madeira Drive, Councillor Jamie Lloyd took aim at several of the City’s much loved heritage events including the Minis, Motorbikes, Land Rovers and Brighton’s famous Speed Trials.


The Greens Councillor, who is Deputy Chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said that heritage events like the minis, motorbikes and land rovers represented the glorification of vehicles, reserving particular animosity for the 100 year-old Speed Trials which he compared the Hundred Years war.


Sadly, this was only the latest of a string of attacks targeting Brighton & Hove’s heritage that has spanned 9 years of Green, Labour and now Green again council administrations.


Just last month, after the Council upset veterans by forgetting VJ Day and leaving Old Steine War Memorial in a dreadful state, a Civic group found out that there are plans afoot to remove the grassed areas either side of Old Steine War Memorial to make way for beds of wild flowers.


The ‘horrified’ conservation group pointed out that these council plans would remove areas that used for seating and the band stand during remembrance services.


And the famous Madeira Lift, which received a £250,000 upgrade as recently as 2009 to return it to working order, is now un-operational having received only temporary repairs following the theft of copper between Christmas and Boxing Day 2019.  The council says that only temporary repairs were possible due to the lack of safe access to the Lift from the dilapidated Madeira Terraces, which have also been left to disintegrate before our eyes.


What a shame, that at a time the Madeira Lift is needed more than ever by people with a disability for access to the seafront due to the closure of Madeira Drive to vehicles, it has not been working because of the neglect of the terraces.


Our Conservative team on the Brighton & Hove City Council has long been strong campaigners for the restoration of our heritage, not only to maintain a link to our past but also because we recognise that our heritage is such a strong part of Brighton & Hove’s tourismeconomy.


The last Conservative administration took pride in the City and restored City heritage, including: restoring the bandstand; ensuring the 8 miles of seafront railings were regularly painted; and restoring the famous Madeira Terraces Lift.


The economic contribution of the historic motoring events for example is worth in the tens of millions to our local economy. Hotels, b & bs, restaurants, shops, attractions and tens of other linked categories all benefit.  Presumably our local mechanics do too.  They aren’t faceless institutions. They are run and owned by our residents.  They provide jobs – to our residents.  They pay taxes which fund services for our residents


And we think our heritage should have a key part to play in our economic future over the coming years.  That is why our Conservative Team has put forward a 5-part plan to make a Madeira Drive Upgrade Project the City’s flagship post-Covid recovery project, driving economic growth, boosting tourism and rebuilding city pride as we emerge from the pandemic:


  1. A one-lane, one-way Madeira Drive - Implement the Conservative compromise proposal, put forwarded by Conservative Transport Spokesperson Lee Wares and backed by the traders, to reopen Madeira Drive’s north side as a 1-way road, whilst converting the south side lane into a cycle lane.


  1. Investing £11 million in arches restoration – Get restoration immediately underway by immediately rolling out the £11 million budget measure for the arches that was brokered by Conservative Finance Spokesperson Joe Miller at the February Budget.


  1. Support for the Save the Arches petition – Boost the funds available for an upgrade by considering residents’ save the arches petition, which calls for parking revenue collected on Maderia Drive to be used for an upgrade of Madeira Drive.


  1. Regenerate the Black Rock site – Upgrade and regenerate the vacant Black Rock site close to Brighton Marina, which has been run-down and underused for over 40 years.


  1. Investigate extending Volks Railway– Take the opportunity provided by major planning works at Black Rock and the Aquarium Roundabout to investigate the possibility of extending the Volks Railway in both directions, east to the Marina and west to the i360.


The Conservatives will continue to fight to protect and restore our heritage for the benefit of the City.