Enthusiastic plans to develop seafront from Roedean to Saltdean

2:00pm Sunday 18th November 2012

Beyond the marina village is a stretch of Brighton’s coastline which cannot easily be commercially developed.

The striking cliffs and plethora of rock pools sets the scene aside from the seafront further west.

But there are still plans in place to make the most of the space – by bringing arts, restaurants and sports to the shoreline.

Some are already coming to fruition.

Thanks to the relentless work of Rottingdean Arts there have been two summers of shows on the once neglected terraces.

Next year, finally with its own power supply, the covered stage looks set to host another packed season of performances.

Chairman of Rottingdean Arts Roy Wales said: “It has been a huge addition to Rottingdean’s performance and cultural life.

“The terraces themselves look great and the stage is very workable.”

John Davey, from Brighton Marina Estate ManagementCompany, said there are scores of ideas about how the seafront can be developed.

Hesaid: “Weare keen to see anything on the seafront that improves it.

“I think they have done a fantastic job between the piers, the cafes and restaurants and the ambience they have created shows what can be done.

“I look forward to that rolling all the way along.

“We wondered if we could have a couple of themed areas, based on smuggling or perhaps Rudyard Kipling.

“It would also be good to have some more cafes and beach huts both sides of the marina.”

Another plan for Rottingdean is a multi-use games area on the site of the old swimming pool on the seafront.

The Play Area in Rottingdean Committee (PARC) wants to build a free facility for five-a-side football, basketball, mini football and cricket, bowling and batting practice.

It will be built in thememory of Connor Saunders, the 19-year-oldwho died in Rottingdean in April, and is intended to give young people something to do.

The charity already has most of the £70,000 it needs to build the multi-use games area and is planning to launch a fundraising campaign on November 29 at the White Horse Hotel in Marine Drive to raise the final £16,000.

An agreement between Rottingdean Parish Council and Brighton and Hove City Council will see the toilets refurbished and there are also plans for a new cafe.

Councillor David Smith said: “The terrace has been done, the toilets are going ahead, there is advanced stage planning for a play area there.

“The only thing that would be missing is a cafe come restaurant.

“It could be suitable for all year use or just seasonal.

“A lot of people like it at low tide, youngsters go in the rock pools catching crabs.

He added: “This stretch of seafront can’t be commercialised very much, it’s more of a leisure area from the marina to Rottingdean.

“It’s a lovely walk and when the tide goes out you can see the concrete blocks that 100 years ago formed the foundation for the train line that went from Palace Pier all theway to Rottingdeanwhichwas called Daddy Long Legs.

“An independent operator could rent deck chairs where the promenade is wide and there could be scope for more beach huts.

“Things can happen there – not on a commercial scale but making it more pleasant for people to be there.”

And at the far end of the city is Saltdean.

While it is on the boundary the council maintains it is not forgotten.

This is especially the case with the Slatdean Lido, which the council owns, but is currently looking for a newleaseholder to turn it into a community venue.

Local councillor Mary Mears said: “It is an amazing opportunity.

“I’m a Brightonian and I used to swim in the lido years ago.

“For me it’s quite an iconic building and I’m so pleased that there are different organisations looking into moving it forward.”

One of the bidders is the locally-led Saltdean Lido Community Interest Company.

Rebecca Crook, director of Saltdean Lido CIC, said: “The vision of the seafront strategy is very akin to the vision of Saltdean Lido Community Interest Company which we very much see as the catalyst to develop the east seafront boundary of Brighton and Hove creating a sustainable visitor attraction and high quality residents amenities.

“Architecturally Saltdean Lido is the most important lido remaining in the country and this should be celebrated and enhances the seafront architecture hugely.

“However the lido is far more than an iconic building and has the potential to provide facilities for local people, become a major tourist attraction and create over 30 employment opportunities.

“Our aim is to create an all-year round leisure, recreational and community site including heating the water of the pool, installing a cafe/restaurant, ice skating during the winter months and meeting room space for community groups and corporate events.”

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