Could tourist tax help fund Brighton and Hove's major seafront repairs?

The section of Madeira Terrace sectioned off

The section of Madeira Terrace sectioned off

First published in News by , local government reporter

A tourist tax has been mooted to help fund the multi-million regeneration of Brighton and Hove's seafront.

Earlier this year, The Argus reported that millions are was needed to stop the seafront's famous arches collapsing.

This week, a special meeting was held to discuss how the significant safety concerns about the seafront could best be tackled. 

The city should follow in the steps of European cities including Rome and Paris, where visitors are charged a tax on hotel stays, according to the Hove Civic Society chairman.

Helmut Lusser said the tax could be put on the 7 million visitors to the city when they stay in hotels, eat in restaurants and even on attractions to help find the investment needed on the city's seafront.

Mr Lusser was speaking at the first meeting of a special committee set up by Brighton and Hove City Council to identify and discuss the key issues surrounding the rejuvenation of the area.

Mr Lusser said: “Most people living in the city have no idea how bad local government finances are.

“There are very many people in the city who could not afford voluntary contributions but equally there are lots of people who could.

“Quite often local authorities can bring about a holiday tax.

“For every one night someone stays in the city the individual pays a price, equivalent to a pound and that is used to invest on the infrastructure on the seafront.”

He added: “We're going to need an awful lot of imagination to overcome what is a disastrous financial situation from developing.”

Labour's Gill Mitchell, who chaired the meeting on Tuesday, said Mr Lusser's suggestion was interesting.

She said: “We're in a very early stage with this committee and one of the good things is we can think outside the box.

“A lot of people feel very passionately about the heritage structures on the seafront and that was made clear.”

Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, chairman of the economic development and culture committee at the council, said that the i360 was going to prove a major driver for new development following years of “piecemeal” developments.

He told the panel: “The seafront is a driver for the visitor economy but also for the people living here. We need a reality check on what we might expect.”

Coun Mitchell suggested income generated by seafront businesses should be ring-fenced by the council and put back in to that area.

Initial estimates were that the repairs could cost as much as £100m - but yesterday's meeting was given a reduced estimate of £70m.

The next public meeting of the committee will take place on March 25. A first draft report from the committee is expecting to be presented to the full council by July.

Comments (18)

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8:47am Thu 20 Mar 14

Mr P Brown says...

Surely £36.2 million would be enough to carry out the repairs need at Madeira Terrace\? Any left over could be used on Volks railway. Oh silly me Brighton's stupid council are spending it on a stick
Surely £36.2 million would be enough to carry out the repairs need at Madeira Terrace\? Any left over could be used on Volks railway. Oh silly me Brighton's stupid council are spending it on a stick Mr P Brown
  • Score: 37

8:54am Thu 20 Mar 14

fab5482 says...

Helmut Lusser, won't this discourage visitors from coming to Brighton & Hove? We're hardly visitor friendly as it is.
Helmut Lusser, won't this discourage visitors from coming to Brighton & Hove? We're hardly visitor friendly as it is. fab5482
  • Score: 15

9:11am Thu 20 Mar 14

Morpheus says...

Whatever finally happens please don't start a Madeira Terrace Trust.
Whatever finally happens please don't start a Madeira Terrace Trust. Morpheus
  • Score: 10

9:30am Thu 20 Mar 14

From beer to uncertainty says...

Those supporting the i360 will not be allowed to disappear quietly into the background when this proves to be an unmitigated disaster. There will, no doubt, be an independent enquiry. Subsequent administrations may well decide that the names of those mainly responsible will be displayed as matter of public record...along with a debt clock...displaying the amount still owed thanks to such blind and snide ignorance.
Those supporting the i360 will not be allowed to disappear quietly into the background when this proves to be an unmitigated disaster. There will, no doubt, be an independent enquiry. Subsequent administrations may well decide that the names of those mainly responsible will be displayed as matter of public record...along with a debt clock...displaying the amount still owed thanks to such blind and snide ignorance. From beer to uncertainty
  • Score: 16

9:36am Thu 20 Mar 14

kopite_rob says...

Quite right.
In 2012 Brighton saw something like 4.5M residential visitors staying on avg 2 nights from the UK and 6 nights from overseas and a further 8M day trippers.
Estimates this generates £800M p.a and in the region of 13% of all jobs in Brighton.
So something like 12.5 million visitors and we have a disaster of an entrance of a train station opening onto an embarressingly dirty, littered, under invested street from the Station to the Seafront and a coach station that's been left in the 50's.
It's ridiculous the Council can't work out how to invest in attracting more long stay overseas visitors rather than the day trippers, considering the spend from long stay is worth more.
Seems to be way to much reliance on the "night culture" than improving the day culture.
Compare Brighton seafront to Worthing or Eastbourne or Bournemouth.
We need to redesign the seafront from a concrete car park by day and racetrack by night into a green and pleasant Riviera, and stop chasing the Blackpool pound.
Quite right. In 2012 Brighton saw something like 4.5M residential visitors staying on avg 2 nights from the UK and 6 nights from overseas and a further 8M day trippers. Estimates this generates £800M p.a and in the region of 13% of all jobs in Brighton. So something like 12.5 million visitors and we have a disaster of an entrance of a train station opening onto an embarressingly dirty, littered, under invested street from the Station to the Seafront and a coach station that's been left in the 50's. It's ridiculous the Council can't work out how to invest in attracting more long stay overseas visitors rather than the day trippers, considering the spend from long stay is worth more. Seems to be way to much reliance on the "night culture" than improving the day culture. Compare Brighton seafront to Worthing or Eastbourne or Bournemouth. We need to redesign the seafront from a concrete car park by day and racetrack by night into a green and pleasant Riviera, and stop chasing the Blackpool pound. kopite_rob
  • Score: 14

10:21am Thu 20 Mar 14

whatevernext2013 says...

so on one hand the council are giving away money on a pole to get visitors in ,and as soon as the wanted visitor tries to book a hotel, they are hit by taxes on there stay ,mixed messages ,would it not be better to just set up a tollgate at patcham ?
so on one hand the council are giving away money on a pole to get visitors in ,and as soon as the wanted visitor tries to book a hotel, they are hit by taxes on there stay ,mixed messages ,would it not be better to just set up a tollgate at patcham ? whatevernext2013
  • Score: 10

10:40am Thu 20 Mar 14

sussexfoz says...

fab5482 wrote:
Helmut Lusser, won't this discourage visitors from coming to Brighton & Hove? We're hardly visitor friendly as it is.
Every time i stay in a hotel in Europe I have to pay 1 euro local tourist tax,has never stopped me going on holiday to Europe,won't stop anyone staying in Brighton good idea
[quote][p][bold]fab5482[/bold] wrote: Helmut Lusser, won't this discourage visitors from coming to Brighton & Hove? We're hardly visitor friendly as it is.[/p][/quote]Every time i stay in a hotel in Europe I have to pay 1 euro local tourist tax,has never stopped me going on holiday to Europe,won't stop anyone staying in Brighton good idea sussexfoz
  • Score: 7

10:57am Thu 20 Mar 14

Joshiman says...

The photo of this derelict part of Madeira begs for someone at the Council to make a decision and maybe turn it into perhaps a Market or something .It is wasted as no one uses it.
The photo of this derelict part of Madeira begs for someone at the Council to make a decision and maybe turn it into perhaps a Market or something .It is wasted as no one uses it. Joshiman
  • Score: 2

11:28am Thu 20 Mar 14

Kate234 says...

kopite_rob wrote:
Quite right.
In 2012 Brighton saw something like 4.5M residential visitors staying on avg 2 nights from the UK and 6 nights from overseas and a further 8M day trippers.
Estimates this generates £800M p.a and in the region of 13% of all jobs in Brighton.
So something like 12.5 million visitors and we have a disaster of an entrance of a train station opening onto an embarressingly dirty, littered, under invested street from the Station to the Seafront and a coach station that's been left in the 50's.
It's ridiculous the Council can't work out how to invest in attracting more long stay overseas visitors rather than the day trippers, considering the spend from long stay is worth more.
Seems to be way to much reliance on the "night culture" than improving the day culture.
Compare Brighton seafront to Worthing or Eastbourne or Bournemouth.
We need to redesign the seafront from a concrete car park by day and racetrack by night into a green and pleasant Riviera, and stop chasing the Blackpool pound.
Long stay visitors are typically people that have cars. They don't want to just see Brighton they want to organise day trips locally and tend to have family. Brighton is very hostile to families with cars. Just look at the UK wide notorious parking charges.
[quote][p][bold]kopite_rob[/bold] wrote: Quite right. In 2012 Brighton saw something like 4.5M residential visitors staying on avg 2 nights from the UK and 6 nights from overseas and a further 8M day trippers. Estimates this generates £800M p.a and in the region of 13% of all jobs in Brighton. So something like 12.5 million visitors and we have a disaster of an entrance of a train station opening onto an embarressingly dirty, littered, under invested street from the Station to the Seafront and a coach station that's been left in the 50's. It's ridiculous the Council can't work out how to invest in attracting more long stay overseas visitors rather than the day trippers, considering the spend from long stay is worth more. Seems to be way to much reliance on the "night culture" than improving the day culture. Compare Brighton seafront to Worthing or Eastbourne or Bournemouth. We need to redesign the seafront from a concrete car park by day and racetrack by night into a green and pleasant Riviera, and stop chasing the Blackpool pound.[/p][/quote]Long stay visitors are typically people that have cars. They don't want to just see Brighton they want to organise day trips locally and tend to have family. Brighton is very hostile to families with cars. Just look at the UK wide notorious parking charges. Kate234
  • Score: 4

1:32pm Thu 20 Mar 14

rolivan says...

Mr Lusser as a supporter of the i360 you are one of the few that believe that The Ciy are going to get another three quarters of a million visitors every year.If your belief is proved right then surely these visitors alone will bring in more revenue for businesses throughout the City.Why does there have to be a tax on everything.The parking charges alone along Madeira Dve should be spent on that part of the City and also the Arches underneath could as somebody has already been pointed out make a very good venue for a weekend market when it wouldn't be interfering with the big events that are held there on a regular basis. Which brings me onto the point that the City Council should be gaining more income from that part of the City.Finally I think you have enough to worry about around your little Patch i.e Preston St you would be better spending your time there even though it isn't Hove.
Mr Lusser as a supporter of the i360 you are one of the few that believe that The Ciy are going to get another three quarters of a million visitors every year.If your belief is proved right then surely these visitors alone will bring in more revenue for businesses throughout the City.Why does there have to be a tax on everything.The parking charges alone along Madeira Dve should be spent on that part of the City and also the Arches underneath could as somebody has already been pointed out make a very good venue for a weekend market when it wouldn't be interfering with the big events that are held there on a regular basis. Which brings me onto the point that the City Council should be gaining more income from that part of the City.Finally I think you have enough to worry about around your little Patch i.e Preston St you would be better spending your time there even though it isn't Hove. rolivan
  • Score: 8

2:10pm Thu 20 Mar 14

paul76 says...

whatevernext2013 wrote:
so on one hand the council are giving away money on a pole to get visitors in ,and as soon as the wanted visitor tries to book a hotel, they are hit by taxes on there stay ,mixed messages ,would it not be better to just set up a tollgate at patcham ?
Good plan. I would also suggest checkpoints on the coastal access points to the town too. Maybe anyone who isn't local should have to wear something like a name badge, but with Tourist written on it instead of their name. That way they would be easy to spot and could be taxed at every opportunity.
[quote][p][bold]whatevernext2013[/bold] wrote: so on one hand the council are giving away money on a pole to get visitors in ,and as soon as the wanted visitor tries to book a hotel, they are hit by taxes on there stay ,mixed messages ,would it not be better to just set up a tollgate at patcham ?[/p][/quote]Good plan. I would also suggest checkpoints on the coastal access points to the town too. Maybe anyone who isn't local should have to wear something like a name badge, but with Tourist written on it instead of their name. That way they would be easy to spot and could be taxed at every opportunity. paul76
  • Score: 6

3:30pm Thu 20 Mar 14

bug eye says...

Good idea so long as it is kept reasonable, outside the box idea would be a student tax, they do not pay council tax but use all the facilities and create most of the mess. Charge each student or student house/student hall £1per day too, a total of £365 per year per student/unit, cheaper than the council tax but a significant contribution. This should be put back into litter, graffiti cleaning, noise patrol etc.

How about a local appeal (Blue Peter style) with a £100m target, purely for the seafront repairs/improvements
, no admin charges. Local sporting events and school sponsored walks etc. or just donations from business and residents via text or tick a box on your council tax form to pay another £5, £10 or other amount to help. People may pay if it is transparent and guaranteed for a specific use.
Good idea so long as it is kept reasonable, outside the box idea would be a student tax, they do not pay council tax but use all the facilities and create most of the mess. Charge each student or student house/student hall £1per day too, a total of £365 per year per student/unit, cheaper than the council tax but a significant contribution. This should be put back into litter, graffiti cleaning, noise patrol etc. How about a local appeal (Blue Peter style) with a £100m target, purely for the seafront repairs/improvements , no admin charges. Local sporting events and school sponsored walks etc. or just donations from business and residents via text or tick a box on your council tax form to pay another £5, £10 or other amount to help. People may pay if it is transparent and guaranteed for a specific use. bug eye
  • Score: 1

3:48pm Thu 20 Mar 14

rolivan says...

The initial estimate was £100m now it is £70m how can there be such a vast difference and why have they been able to slash it by £30m?
The initial estimate was £100m now it is £70m how can there be such a vast difference and why have they been able to slash it by £30m? rolivan
  • Score: 1

6:49pm Thu 20 Mar 14

Fairfax Aches says...

Getting rid of all those scruffy slackers, layabout and vagabonds.
Getting rid of all those scruffy slackers, layabout and vagabonds. Fairfax Aches
  • Score: 1

12:38am Fri 21 Mar 14

kmhove says...

I think it would make a great shops to marina undercover cycle track with cycle parking places. That should get some attention and make some money appear!!
I think it would make a great shops to marina undercover cycle track with cycle parking places. That should get some attention and make some money appear!! kmhove
  • Score: 0

1:22am Fri 21 Mar 14

whatevernext2013 says...

paul76 wrote:
whatevernext2013 wrote:
so on one hand the council are giving away money on a pole to get visitors in ,and as soon as the wanted visitor tries to book a hotel, they are hit by taxes on there stay ,mixed messages ,would it not be better to just set up a tollgate at patcham ?
Good plan. I would also suggest checkpoints on the coastal access points to the town too. Maybe anyone who isn't local should have to wear something like a name badge, but with Tourist written on it instead of their name. That way they would be easy to spot and could be taxed at every opportunity.
and employ tourist wardens ,the same as traffic wardens ,but the tourist wardens would have the power to ask for your passport ,or just fine if you have not got it on you
[quote][p][bold]paul76[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]whatevernext2013[/bold] wrote: so on one hand the council are giving away money on a pole to get visitors in ,and as soon as the wanted visitor tries to book a hotel, they are hit by taxes on there stay ,mixed messages ,would it not be better to just set up a tollgate at patcham ?[/p][/quote]Good plan. I would also suggest checkpoints on the coastal access points to the town too. Maybe anyone who isn't local should have to wear something like a name badge, but with Tourist written on it instead of their name. That way they would be easy to spot and could be taxed at every opportunity.[/p][/quote]and employ tourist wardens ,the same as traffic wardens ,but the tourist wardens would have the power to ask for your passport ,or just fine if you have not got it on you whatevernext2013
  • Score: 0

6:04pm Fri 21 Mar 14

thevoiceoftruth says...

How about fining every person that leaves litter on the beach £60. Most of the litter comes from day trippers and tourists - so it is like a tourist tax but only affects the lazy, selfish ones!
How about fining every person that leaves litter on the beach £60. Most of the litter comes from day trippers and tourists - so it is like a tourist tax but only affects the lazy, selfish ones! thevoiceoftruth
  • Score: 0

11:10pm Fri 21 Mar 14

Eugenius says...

thevoiceoftruth wrote:
How about fining every person that leaves litter on the beach £60. Most of the litter comes from day trippers and tourists - so it is like a tourist tax but only affects the lazy, selfish ones!
Nice idea in principle but the cost of policing it would outweigh the fines collected.

A £1 per night tax on hotel accommodation would be the easiest to collect (like other European resorts) and shouldn't deter any tourists only I'm not sure that the council has powers to implement such a scheme.
[quote][p][bold]thevoiceoftruth[/bold] wrote: How about fining every person that leaves litter on the beach £60. Most of the litter comes from day trippers and tourists - so it is like a tourist tax but only affects the lazy, selfish ones![/p][/quote]Nice idea in principle but the cost of policing it would outweigh the fines collected. A £1 per night tax on hotel accommodation would be the easiest to collect (like other European resorts) and shouldn't deter any tourists only I'm not sure that the council has powers to implement such a scheme. Eugenius
  • Score: 0

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