A set back for funding of the regeneration of Brighton seafront's Maderia Terrace, but campaigners vow to carry on ...
Brighton & Hove Council: A very tough competitive process, has resulted in a bid for £4.2m of Heritage Lottery funding for Madeira Terrace being turned down on its first application.
The application for funding was submitted in March 2018 and while HLF has said the project did meet its criteria, the Board of Trustees had to take decisions on more projects than the available budget would allow.
The council will now be talking urgently with Heritage Lottery Fund about a resubmission of the bid in August.
Decision makers noted the great heritage value of Madeira Terrace, and recognised the project’s considerable potential to support the wider regeneration of the area and bring economic benefit. The grant would have allowed for the complete restoration of the first 60 of the 151 Madeira Terrace arches. While this remains under discussion, the council will be moving ahead with the first three arches which were crowd funded in a successful city-backed campaign in 2017.
Heritage Lottery Fund is the largest dedicated funder of heritage in the UK but since December 2017 its annual funding budgets have been reduced by almost 50%. The maximum amount for a Heritage Enterprise grant, which the council bid for, is £5 million.
Commenting on the decision, council leader Daniel Yates said: “We remain positive that funding will eventually be received for Madeira Terrace despite this early setback. Competition for HLF money is extremely fierce and there is no shortage of deserving heritage projects out there. This decision has been compounded by dramatic budget reductions at HLF.”
“The crowdfunding campaign has given the project a clear and very strong public mandate and this funding bid will be one of many. Had we been successful this time round with HLF, the award would have delivered radical change on the seafront so we owed it to the city and the thousands of people who supported the crowdfunding campaign to put ourselves forward at the earliest opportunity”.
“With or without HLF money, the plan to restore three arches is secure and we will continue to pursue all avenues of funding open to us to keep the larger project moving forward.”
Griff Rhys Jones, President of the Victorian Society, who supported the council’s bid, said: “It feels like a setback but these things take time. This is a stage on the way and a good one. We must not think it’s over. It needs even more support. We recognise there is more competition than ever out there and funds are dwindling”.
“Lots of very successful and important conservation projects have not got there first time but they happened. And few are more important than this.”
Community campaigner and raffle organiser Jax Atkins added: “It’s disappointing that HLF haven’t chosen to help with the terraces yet but we’re not giving up. There is such strong feeling in the community and so many people are determined to get the project underway. We will not be waiting around.
“Our midsummer raffle on Saturday raised £9,000 and I’d like to thank everyone who bought tickets and donated prizes, we had over 800 in the end! Every penny we raise sends a clear message to the council and to funding bodies that the people of Brighton are serious about saving Madeira Terrace so we can once again be proud of our beautiful heritage and the shop window of our city.”
Next steps for the Madeira Terrace project include appointing a design team and obtaining planning and listed building consent. Work on the first three arches is expected to start towards the end of the year.
Why did you bid for a Heritage Lottery Enterprise Grant?
Heritage Lottery Fund is the largest dedicated funder of heritage in the UK. In terms of matching the criteria, the HLF Enterprise grant was the most appropriate funding stream to apply for at this stage of the project.
What is the criteria for a Heritage Enterprise grant?
The Heritage Enterprise programme is designed to bridge the funding gap that prevents a historic asset in need of repair from being returned to a beneficial and commercial use. The case for grant funding depends on there being a conservation deficit. This is where the existing value of a heritage asset plus the cost of bringing it back into use is greater than the value of the asset after development has been completed. In the case of Madeira Terrace, the conservation deficit for the first 60 arches is estimated at £4,869,387.
How much is available through the HLF Enterprise programme?
The maximum bid for an Enterprise grant is £5 million.
Why didn’t the HLF back this project?
The demand for HLF funding is highly competitive and this has been compounded by recent cuts to HLF’s annual budget; which have been reduced by around 50% from £380m to £190m.
It’s not unusual for a project to be unsuccessful first time around. HLF has stated that the project was a very strong project and a perfect fit for the Enterprise Grant. Unfortunately as they had to take decisions on far more projects than the available budget would allow, our application was rejected due to insufficient funds and not for any other reason.
Has the HLF supported other heritage projects in Brighton & Hove?
The city has received a substantial share of HLF money for other heritage projects over recent years, including the Volk’s Railway (£1.65 million), Saltdean Lido (£4.7m), Stanmer Park restoration project (£3.75m) and the Royal Pavilion Estate(£4.99m).
What happens now?
The work to restore 3 arches will continue as planned. Next steps include appointing a design team of architectural and building professionals- to begin detailed work on the larger project and prepare a further bid to HLF in August. Other funding sources are also being explored, including appealing to philanthropic investors who are willing to support projects which have a community impact.
When will work start on the arches and how long will it take to complete?
Work on the first arches is likely to start towards the end of the year with an estimated completion of Summer 2019.
What other steps is the council taking to ensure the project is progressing?
Initiatives currently being explored include philanthropic investment, either by Trusts who are interested in saving historic structures or by those who have a specific interest in the future regeneration of Brighton & Hove.
We have also set up a restoration fund so that we may continue to receive donations to the Save Madeira Terrace campaign, including the community raffle money raised, profits from the sale of Brighton Bier’s specially brewed Mabiera and from fund raising events.
We are working with businesses and the local community to make improvements and promote meanwhile uses on Madeira Drive. Recent work includes: the installation of anti-graffiti panels, an art installation on the back of beach chalets, new banner/flags, repainting of the Colonnade public toilets, refurbishment of benches and the addition of new bins.
Are you bidding for any other funding/grants – if so which ones?
We will continue to explore other funding avenues such as Coastal Communities fund and private investment options. Feedback from HLF and any advice with regard to resubmitting a bid to them later on this summer will also be taken on board going forward. The Heritage Lottery Fund provides 3 opportunities per year for organisations to apply for funding.
How can I contribute to the ongoing restoration campaign?
There are numerous ways to get involved:
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