Simon Kirby MP urges Brighton & Hove City Council to work on a cross-party basis to come up with a new bid for funding for Madeira Terraces.
Following an email and public statements issued by Leader of the Council, Cllr Warren Morgan, Simon Kirby, MP for Brighton Kemptown & Peacehaven is calling on Cllr Morgan to work with him and with Councillors from all political parties in the city to come up with a new bid for funding to save the Madeira Terraces.
Mr Kirby maintains he has been a strong supporter of saving the Madeira Terraces, which were nominated in the Victorian Society’s top ten most endangered Victorian and Edwardian buildings list in England and Wales 2015.
He says he has been contacted by many concerned residents on the issue and has had meetings with businesses affected by the closure and also the Seafront Traders Association.
Mr Kirby says he had requested meetings in the past with Cllr Morgan to discuss the Council’s plans for the terraces but was told that they were unable to share the plans. He has written articles for the local media urging the Council to reveal the plans and only found out about the project by reading about it in the media.
The Kemptown MP says he was not consulted about the bid for funding from the Coastal Communities Fund and was saddened to read Warren Morgan’s statement saying: “Our local MP and Government Minister Simon Kirby has some serious questions to answer, and serious questions to ask his Conservative colleagues about why they think Brighton and Hove does not matter.”
Mr Kirby says he immediately contacted the Secretary of State about the failed application and received the following reply:
“Thank you for your letter April 3 following correspondence from Councillor Warren Morgan, Leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, about Brighton and Hove City Council’s unsuccessful application to the Coastal Communities Fund to regenerate Brighton’s Madeira Terrace.
I recognise that this decision is disappointing to the Council, given their, entirely welcome, ambition to restore this Grade II listed seafront arcade to bring it back into productive commercial and leisure use.
Competition for funding was extremely high and we were only able to support those bids that aligned with the programme’s stated outcomes and criteria.
Sadly, Brighton and Hove City Council failed to meet the planning requirements of the Fund. Significant design work has yet to take place, a planning submission has not yet been submitted, match funding has not yet been secured, and building work is not expected to start before January 2019 at the earliest.
In view of the limited time within which Coastal Community Fund support would need to be spent, there was significant doubt about whether the project could be delivered within the Fund’s spending timescales.
If the Council can address these practical concerns about the deliverability of their project, they may wish to consider reapplying to the Fund in a future bidding round.”
Mr Kirby said: “I am more than happy to work with Brighton & Hove Council, Councillors and MPs from all parties to help save the Madeira Terraces which are such an important part of Brighton Kemptown. Now is not the time to play party politics but to come together and work on addressing the concerns that DCLG had about the project and come up with a new bid for funding.”
Warren Morgan Leader of the Council responded, saying: “Revised plans for funding to restore the Madeira Terraces restoration will be published this week. I hope Mr Kirby will support them with ministerial colleagues, and encourage his Conservative councillors to get behind our efforts instead of continually talking the city down to play political games.”