Newly-elected MPs have vowed to put party politics aside and work together to deliver more funding to support the county’s beloved seafronts.

Politicians of all colours are giving their backing to The Argus’ Seafront 2020 campaign and promised to speak with one voice in Westminster to bring extra funding to improve our invaluable waterside infrastructure and attractions.

Conservative, Green and Labour councillors all agreed the seafront needs to be treated as an urgent priority for the prosperity of the county.

The campaign was launched just over a month ago, calling for a coherent and concentrated programme for improving our seafront right across the Sussex coast over the next five years.

Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby said he was “delighted” to support the effort and cited a need for additional partnerships for development and tourism.

He said there was a “desperate need” for improvements between the Palace Pier and Brighton Marina and his hopes that a good use had finally found for the Peter Pan site with the mooted £3million Bondi Beach inspired swimming pool project.

He added: “While Brighton and the other south coast towns are fantastic places to live and work, extra investment is clearly needed in infrastructure in the area.

“For example, the congestion on the A259 coast road is something that I am frequently contacted by constituents about. I am very happy to work with the city council on this issue and use my position as an MP to lobby the Government.

“I am also keen to work alongside other Sussex MPs to press for extra investment in the region.”

Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas echoed the need for more investment to boost the city’s vital tourism industry.

She said: “It’s great to see this new campaign from The Argus to save our seafronts. “We need a firm commitment to investment in what’s a vital part of our tourist economy.

“I will be working with other local MPs to make the case for funding that strengthens our city into the future, starting with the renewal of our Victorian seafront arches.”

Hove MP Peter Kyle also agreed with a need for cooperation, saying: “Having a quality seafront is as important to the city as the Royal Pavilion, The Lanes and Hove Lawns, so I will join the Argus in campaigning to save the seafront.

“Such an important issue means that I would look to work alongside our other Sussex MPs to help raise both funding and the support of the local communities on this campaign.”


Why we are doing this

LIKE our readers The Argus cares about our unique environment, the combination of factors which make our communities the UK’s most attractive to live in.

But to preserve their special status this newspaper believes it is time for co-ordinated action, for people of vision to outline the medium term future of our city and towns and natural spaces.

The seafronts give us our livelihoods and our well-being. Yet it could be argued that pressures are rising, with investment needed to avoid decline in our infrastructure. Piecemeal action will not be enough.

A coherent programme is needed all along the Sussex coast, from Hastings in the east to Bognor in the west, to ensure we win support and funds for a vision that has our seafront evolving, embracing the new but preserving the heritage that gives us unique character.

This is not just a project for our politicians and leaders, but for all of us. We all have a voice and a role to play in protecting its future. Today The Argus launches Seafront 2020, a manifesto we hope will serve as a rallying call to begin this work.

At the very least we hope it will fire a starting gun for a comprehensive debate on the path ahead.


Seafront 2020
– our vision
1) Develop a five-year plan for our seafronts which includes economic, structural and leisure visions for the future.
2) Vigorously preserve natural habitats, beaches and green spaces.
3) Promote strong political leadership and cross-party co-operation across the region. There should be no self-interest or borders when discussing the future of our communities.
4) Protect traditional seafront industries, tourism, ports and fishing but encourage new creative digital activity.
5) Protect iconic landmarks and heritage but encourage fresh thinking that will transform our sight lines.
6) Encourage a new range of private/public partnerships to fund developments to ease the strain on the public purse.
7) Support new bodies to bring co-operative and visionary proposals for the entire coastal region and encourage those bodies to work with full transparency and include all sections of the community in decision making.
8) Make transport infrastructure a priority. A range of regional proposals must be at the centre of any Seafront 2020 debate.
9) Develop a powerful lobbying voice at Westminster to push our case for investment as one of the powerhouse economic regions of the UK.
10) Involve all sections of our community in developing policies for Seafront 2020. The future of health services, housing and jobs should all be included.