Is there no room for Hove improvement?

Families enjoying the sunshine at Hove Lagoon

Families enjoying the sunshine at Hove Lagoon

First published in News by

From pitch and putt to promenading, skateboarding to wakeboarding – there’s something for everyone on Hove seafront.

Tens of thousands of people flock to the stretch of coast between the King Alfred leisure centre and Hove Lagoon to keep active and fit.

But as Brighton and Hove City Council asks locals what they think could be done to improve the area, many are agreed: “not much”.

More than two miles away from the busy bright lights and buzz between Brighton’s piers, it is a quieter, more peaceful area used predominantly by locals and families.

With lots to do – some indoors, others in the open – it is populated with people all year round.

Among the more popular attractions is Hove Lagoon Watersports, which was founded 18 years ago.

Offering a space for windsurfing, wakeboarding and paddleboarding, it is used by more than 70 community groups and schools.

Busy area

Harvey Dawkins, one of the firm’s directors, said: “With the skatepark, V-Bites café, playground and the watersports centre it’s a really busy area.

“But there is not much conflict between groups; it’s loosely organised but not over-developed.

“I personally do not think there’s a need for much else in the lagoon but we could make it better.

“One thing that could be done is perhaps a direct transport link from the centre of Brighton.”

It is this isolation which perhaps explains why the area has evolved gradually and quietly over time since it was first developed in the late 19th century.

The seaside air which first attracted people is still enjoyed by countless walkers, runners and cyclists.

Others prefer the added attractions of fishing, sailing, lawn bowls, pitch and putt and tennis.

Sarah Aldenhoven, 32, of New Church Road, Hove, regularly runs and cycles in the area.

She said: “It is actually my favourite part of the city.

“I like the fact it’s a lot less touristy than the busy strip by the Palace Pier.

“The View, my favourite café, makes it always worth a stroll.

“The only shame is that cycling this lovely bit of seafront is not allowed.”

Consultation

Plans for a consultation on the future of the area from Hove Lagoon to Saltdean were revealed last week.

The plan is to develop the “unique character areas of the iconic Brighton and Hove seafront to create attractive, sustainable, high quality environments for residents, businesses and visitors throughout the year”.

Geoffrey Bowden, the council’s economic development committee chairman, said: “I do not want to impede too much as we want people to come up with ideas.

“It’s amazing, only a few days after the piece first appeared in The Argus, how many people have sent me views.”

Much of the improvements to the area will depend on new plans for the King Alfred leisure centre, which, despite its dilapidated state, remains the city’s largest indoor sports facility.

The 1930s development, which was used as a training centre for the Royal Navy in the Second World War, looks tired, outdated and is simply not up to scratch.

But, after the planned Gehry Towers’ scheme collapsed for economic reasons, the council, which owns the land, has not come up with any ideas of how to develop it.

Coun Bowden said a cross-party panel of councillors was to meet at the end of the month to discuss potential options for the site.

He said: “It’s a massive site but it’s past its use by date. We’re spending huge amounts of money just keeping it functioning.

“All this encourages people to go out of the city to get the facilities they want.”

Blueprint for the future

The local authority’s City Plan, which will act as a blueprint for development for the next 20 years, allocates 400 homes on the site which would be mixed use and potentially include shops, a café, a restaurant or community facilities.

But aside from that, those that work and exercise in the area do not believe wholesale changes are needed.

Richard Howe is manager of Hove Deep Sea Anglers in Western Esplanade, Hove, which has about 1,400 members for six years.

Mr Howe said: “I think having our own car park helps as people like to bring their dogs down or go for a walk on the prom before popping into the club for a coffee.

“It’s a locals’ area really. We do not get tourists down here, just people who live locally and want to use the beach or go for a walk on the promenade.

“There’s not much I would do to change it.”

Graham Cox, who represents part of the area on the council, said: “It’s a nice, pleasant area but it could be improved further.

“The pitch and putt has seen better days and it’s not helped by people being allowed to rough sleep there.

“The big thing is to get the King Alfred going. There are a lot of ideas and views about it but so far unfortunately there has been a lack of action.”

Coun Cox added he was concerned about the impact parking prices and reduced council subsidies to bowls clubs would have on the area in the immediate future.

What would you like to see changed? Write to the letters editor or email letters@theargus.co.uk.

Read The Argus tomorrow for a focus on the coastline from the King Alfred to the Peace Statue in Hove.

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Comments (12)

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5:07pm Mon 12 Nov 12

davyboy says...

the king alfred needs razing to the ground, and a proper leisure centre building to replace it. please council, go and look at the triangle in burgess hill for what is required! also, a regular bus service is needed, maybe going along the seafront, up boudary rd, and back along new church rd. there is a lot for people to do, as the article says, but longer parking times are needed. some spaces are 2 hours max, not enough to enjoy yourselves.
the king alfred needs razing to the ground, and a proper leisure centre building to replace it. please council, go and look at the triangle in burgess hill for what is required! also, a regular bus service is needed, maybe going along the seafront, up boudary rd, and back along new church rd. there is a lot for people to do, as the article says, but longer parking times are needed. some spaces are 2 hours max, not enough to enjoy yourselves. davyboy
  • Score: 0

5:17pm Mon 12 Nov 12

bug eye says...

the lagoon and seafront here needs smartening up not development. the skate park was an activity too many and spoilt this water sport dominated area. can we have great paving, lighting, seating, planting etc. and not tacky or decaying infrastructure. as for the anglers club, whilst it is a great local facility it could do with a top chef taking over and creating a fab new restaurant, as it stands it is shabby. sort out the rough sleepers and the anti social aspects.

cycling should be allowed on the prom as a shared space and a direct rapid transport system to king alfred city centre pier and marina.
the lagoon and seafront here needs smartening up not development. the skate park was an activity too many and spoilt this water sport dominated area. can we have great paving, lighting, seating, planting etc. and not tacky or decaying infrastructure. as for the anglers club, whilst it is a great local facility it could do with a top chef taking over and creating a fab new restaurant, as it stands it is shabby. sort out the rough sleepers and the anti social aspects. cycling should be allowed on the prom as a shared space and a direct rapid transport system to king alfred city centre pier and marina. bug eye
  • Score: 0

5:34pm Mon 12 Nov 12

Indigatio says...

They could do something about V Bites. It ridiculous having a niche cafe that is closed for 6 months a year right by a children's playground that is used all year round. I love vegetarian food but the plastic vegan rubbish that is served here to boost the owners ego is just too much, fish shaped vegan bites, vegan sausages, etc.
They could do something about V Bites. It ridiculous having a niche cafe that is closed for 6 months a year right by a children's playground that is used all year round. I love vegetarian food but the plastic vegan rubbish that is served here to boost the owners ego is just too much, fish shaped vegan bites, vegan sausages, etc. Indigatio
  • Score: 0

5:41pm Mon 12 Nov 12

Floreat Hova says...

Please keep cyclists off the main Hove seafront prom. There is already a cycle lane along the stretch by the King Alfred, which is quite enough. Cycle zealots fancying themselves as the latest B. Wiggins, have thoroughly spoilt the seafront prom along Madeira Drive, insisting on right of way at all times, especially during busy weekends, like the Veteran Car Run when there is barely any pavement width left to accommodate pedestrians (esp parents with buggies and dog walkers etc.)
Please keep cyclists off the main Hove seafront prom. There is already a cycle lane along the stretch by the King Alfred, which is quite enough. Cycle zealots fancying themselves as the latest B. Wiggins, have thoroughly spoilt the seafront prom along Madeira Drive, insisting on right of way at all times, especially during busy weekends, like the Veteran Car Run when there is barely any pavement width left to accommodate pedestrians (esp parents with buggies and dog walkers etc.) Floreat Hova
  • Score: 0

6:16pm Mon 12 Nov 12

bug eye says...

the kingsway also needs looking at with conservation properties being smartened up like marine parade, and encouraging the mid 20th century properties to be brought into the 21st century with beach front styling. the new development for the old sackville hotel site is great and should be a benchmark to start bringing this prime seafront road the cache it needs. around the lagoon area are some nice new developments at caffyns etc. and the 30s houses are pretty but need a 21st century edge as you see with other houses around the city, with the right people moving in and positive planning advice these could look amazing.
the kingsway also needs looking at with conservation properties being smartened up like marine parade, and encouraging the mid 20th century properties to be brought into the 21st century with beach front styling. the new development for the old sackville hotel site is great and should be a benchmark to start bringing this prime seafront road the cache it needs. around the lagoon area are some nice new developments at caffyns etc. and the 30s houses are pretty but need a 21st century edge as you see with other houses around the city, with the right people moving in and positive planning advice these could look amazing. bug eye
  • Score: 0

6:16pm Mon 12 Nov 12

bug eye says...

the kingsway also needs looking at with conservation properties being smartened up like marine parade, and encouraging the mid 20th century properties to be brought into the 21st century with beach front styling. the new development for the old sackville hotel site is great and should be a benchmark to start bringing this prime seafront road the cache it needs. around the lagoon area are some nice new developments at caffyns etc. and the 30s houses are pretty but need a 21st century edge as you see with other houses around the city, with the right people moving in and positive planning advice these could look amazing.
the kingsway also needs looking at with conservation properties being smartened up like marine parade, and encouraging the mid 20th century properties to be brought into the 21st century with beach front styling. the new development for the old sackville hotel site is great and should be a benchmark to start bringing this prime seafront road the cache it needs. around the lagoon area are some nice new developments at caffyns etc. and the 30s houses are pretty but need a 21st century edge as you see with other houses around the city, with the right people moving in and positive planning advice these could look amazing. bug eye
  • Score: 0

6:20pm Mon 12 Nov 12

On_the_Level says...

There is certainly not something for everyone (sic) - i.e. try launching your small pleasure craft anywhere along this stretch of coast and you will be met with no where to park the trailer. That's assuming you found a serviceable slipway in the first place!. You could of course launch at Newhaven for a fee of £27.50, and even there you cannot park!
There is certainly not something for everyone (sic) - i.e. try launching your small pleasure craft anywhere along this stretch of coast and you will be met with no where to park the trailer. That's assuming you found a serviceable slipway in the first place!. You could of course launch at Newhaven for a fee of £27.50, and even there you cannot park! On_the_Level
  • Score: 0

8:02pm Mon 12 Nov 12

Valerie Paynter says...

The photo above needs re-captioning. This is the paddling pool, not Hove Lagoon.
The photo above needs re-captioning. This is the paddling pool, not Hove Lagoon. Valerie Paynter
  • Score: 0

3:42pm Tue 13 Nov 12

Flippin Burghers says...

'With the skatepark, V-Bites café, playground and the watersports centre it’s a really busy area.' Eh? In what way does V-Bites make the area busy? People away in droves of course but...
'With the skatepark, V-Bites café, playground and the watersports centre it’s a really busy area.' Eh? In what way does V-Bites make the area busy? People away in droves of course but... Flippin Burghers
  • Score: 0

11:12am Fri 16 Nov 12

nigeyb says...

Good article Tim. Thank you. I agree that this part of the seafront is charming because it is relatively quiet and used predominantly by locals and families. I would prefer it stayed this way rather than being dramatically redeveloped. I am also very satisfied with King Alfred. It may not look attractive but the facilities are good and relatively inexpensive. I sometimes wonder if the people that criticise it, or are keen to redevelop it, actually use the place. It's a great leisure centre and very popular. Let's celebrate that.
Good article Tim. Thank you. I agree that this part of the seafront is charming because it is relatively quiet and used predominantly by locals and families. I would prefer it stayed this way rather than being dramatically redeveloped. I am also very satisfied with King Alfred. It may not look attractive but the facilities are good and relatively inexpensive. I sometimes wonder if the people that criticise it, or are keen to redevelop it, actually use the place. It's a great leisure centre and very popular. Let's celebrate that. nigeyb
  • Score: 0

11:19am Fri 16 Nov 12

nigeyb says...

bug eye wrote:
the kingsway also needs looking at with conservation properties being smartened up like marine parade, and encouraging the mid 20th century properties to be brought into the 21st century with beach front styling. the new development for the old sackville hotel site is great and should be a benchmark to start bringing this prime seafront road the cache it needs. around the lagoon area are some nice new developments at caffyns etc. and the 30s houses are pretty but need a 21st century edge as you see with other houses around the city, with the right people moving in and positive planning advice these could look amazing.
I'm not convinced by these arguments. I'm also curious to know who you perceive to be " the right people moving in"? I imagine "the right people" are those plenty of disposable income who subscribe to your vision of "21st century beach front styling". Please say a bit more.
[quote][p][bold]bug eye[/bold] wrote: the kingsway also needs looking at with conservation properties being smartened up like marine parade, and encouraging the mid 20th century properties to be brought into the 21st century with beach front styling. the new development for the old sackville hotel site is great and should be a benchmark to start bringing this prime seafront road the cache it needs. around the lagoon area are some nice new developments at caffyns etc. and the 30s houses are pretty but need a 21st century edge as you see with other houses around the city, with the right people moving in and positive planning advice these could look amazing.[/p][/quote]I'm not convinced by these arguments. I'm also curious to know who you perceive to be " the right people moving in"? I imagine "the right people" are those plenty of disposable income who subscribe to your vision of "21st century beach front styling". Please say a bit more. nigeyb
  • Score: 0

11:21am Fri 16 Nov 12

nigeyb says...

bug eye wrote:
the kingsway also needs looking at with conservation properties being smartened up like marine parade, and encouraging the mid 20th century properties to be brought into the 21st century with beach front styling. the new development for the old sackville hotel site is great and should be a benchmark to start bringing this prime seafront road the cache it needs. around the lagoon area are some nice new developments at caffyns etc. and the 30s houses are pretty but need a 21st century edge as you see with other houses around the city, with the right people moving in and positive planning advice these could look amazing.
I'm not convinced by these arguments. I'm also curious to know who you perceive to be " the right people moving in"? I imagine "the right people" are those plenty of disposable income who subscribe to your vision of "21st century beach front styling". Please say a bit more.
[quote][p][bold]bug eye[/bold] wrote: the kingsway also needs looking at with conservation properties being smartened up like marine parade, and encouraging the mid 20th century properties to be brought into the 21st century with beach front styling. the new development for the old sackville hotel site is great and should be a benchmark to start bringing this prime seafront road the cache it needs. around the lagoon area are some nice new developments at caffyns etc. and the 30s houses are pretty but need a 21st century edge as you see with other houses around the city, with the right people moving in and positive planning advice these could look amazing.[/p][/quote]I'm not convinced by these arguments. I'm also curious to know who you perceive to be " the right people moving in"? I imagine "the right people" are those plenty of disposable income who subscribe to your vision of "21st century beach front styling". Please say a bit more. nigeyb
  • Score: 0

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