Lets see the plan for Madeira Drive

madeiraToday is a sunny Bank Holiday in Brighton and an ideal day for visitors to walk along Madeira Drive. However the arches are still out of commission. I have written about this in my column today in the Argus: Most residents of Brighton & Hove and an even larger number of visitors to our city would be devastated if the Madeira Terrace arches were allowed to crumble away. Clearly the businesses on Madeira Drive would be left with an even more terrible impact than the pain they have been faced with over the last few years. The failure to secure Government funding to begin the restoration is disappointing and adds to the general sense of disconnect between the Government and our Council. However in August 2015 Warren Morgan pointed out that without a clear business case it would be hard to raise the funds needed so surely this rejection should be no surprise to him and we can only hope he has spent the last two years developing a plan B! [It transpires one of the reasons we missed out on Government funding is due to a lack of planning permission – how incompetent can our Council be!] A reasonable question for us to ask is how the situation became so acute and how many previous administrations have hoped the problem would go away and buried their heads in the pebbles? An equally important question is how many more areas which the Council is responsible for are at similar risk of collapse or in need of ongoing maintenance that is being delayed or denied? There is a risk that the city is seen as a series of isolated projects or problems by the Council rather than as part of a whole area for which they have a strategic plan or vision. The Council is faced with a shrinking source of income which it needs to spend on a number of elements of which civic maintenance is only one aspect. There is also the need to provide services to the most vulnerable people in our city, something which is made much worse by decisions taken by the Government. Along with this is the wider range of services needed for a city of our size such as refuse collection and Schools which are provided for all residents. Finally there is also the opportunity to invest in new features which will serve the community here in the city and also hopefully provide value to the visitors who come here for the day or longer and spend money with local businesses. Some of these new features are deeply controversial and unpopular which of course risks impacting on local support for long terms matters such as the repair of the arches. In order to succeed in delivering on all of these elements there is also the need to care for Council staff who work for one of the largest employers in Sussex and without whom all of these elements would become undeliverable. The effectiveness of every administration is judged on how well they manage these competing demands. As far as the arches are concerned one important question is do they represent a small element of a much bigger whole which is generally in good shape, or are they are portent of what is to come and a reflection of the problems which are likely to emerge across the city? One small area will not threaten the well-being of the city in the short term although visitors over the last few years will get a message when they venture onto Madeira drive after their journey on the hi-tech British Airways i360! Perhaps the fact that the i360 is at the opposite end of the seafront will help. The lovely Brighton O was perhaps too close to Madeira Drive for comfort although perhaps it could have served as a part of the business case which Cllr Morgan referred to in 2015?


About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
This entry was posted in Brighton & Hove, Parliament and Democracy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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