For almost a decade, Brighton’s Madeira Terrace – an iconic 865m Grade II* listed cast-iron structure – has been fenced-off, progressively falling into greater disrepair. Despite numerous grant bids and restoration attempts, no deliverable plan has materialised. In 2017, a crowdfunding campaign was launched by the council, raising over £440k. Despite this huge community support, the funds were only sufficient to restore 3 of the 151 arches. With a further £2m committed by the council in 2019, a cross-party working group set about procuring a team to develop proposals for restoring of 30 the arches and providing a blueprint for the remaining 121.
In May 2020, we were commissioned by the council alongside a full-service design team to develop the strategic brief and business case. Our advice changed the course of the project by successfully challenging the underlying commercial assumptions and defining a new development strategy and business model for its restoration. This strategy was predicated on a vision for Madeira Terrace that aligns faithfully with its original purpose as a public promenade, linear grandstand and spectacle, and a business case anchored by its contribution to social value, major events, seafront regeneration and Brighton’s brand and reputation.
Our work was underpinned by extensive community and stakeholder consultation and a detailed analysis of the strategic and market context. The depth and breadth of this research provided the necessary evidence base to support our recommendations to radically shifted the direction of the project and underpin a new vision for the terrace.
Our approach and business case galvanised universal backing from all corners of the community and gained cross-party support from within the council and secured a further £10m of funding. The project itself will deliver a major new cultural destination along the eastern seafront, forge essential new pedestrian access east to west and north to south along 1km of coastline, and encourage further investment and regeneration in this area of Brighton, where levels of economic and social deprivation are most pronounced.
“Fourth Street has helped Brighton & Hove City Council by working alongside a design team to create a business case and operational plan to support a nationally significant heritage project but have done so in a way that puts social value at the heart of the scheme. This is helping to ensure community buy-in and support. They also helped the city council to prepare a bid to Government for the Levelling Up Fund. Despite the request coming at short notice, and it being a complex project, they pulled together a thorough and compelling bid and showed an excellent understanding of the issues that the bid needed to cover.”