HISTORIC motoring events and more will continue to be held in a seafront road.

Crowds have descended on Madeira Drive in Brighton for more than a century to witness events such as the Speed Trials and Veteran Car Run.

But the future of these city events was thrown into doubt when the seafront road was closed to cars during lockdown.

With ongoing proposals to extend the closure, Brighton and Hove City Council said it could not pledge its "unequivocal support" for the events.

The Argus:

The announcement sparked the "battle for Madeira Drive" with a group of mods climbing aboard their distinctive scooters and ridingdown to the seafront road earlier this month to oppose the barring of cars from the area.

And now, though the road will not reopen, the council has confirmed it will continue to host motoring events.

A spokesman said: "Madeira Drive has a long history of hosting key events in the city including the Brighton Marathon, the London to Brighton Bike Ride and the Veteran Car Run, and we fully support those events returning stronger than ever before.

The Argus:

"They are an iconic part of the city’s culture and success and we look forward to them being part of our city’s future for years to come.

"At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, we temporarily closed the road to motor vehicles to provide a safe space for our residents to walk and cycle.

"The closure has allowed people to exercise while being able to keep a safe distance from one another and we have received a lot of positive feedback from those who’ve used the space over the last few months.


"While the temporary road closure remains in place, Madeira Drive will be open and available when necessary to host these events in both the short and long term. We will continue to work with event organisers to ensure a full programme can return to Madeira Drive in a healthier, stronger and safer city.

"We will be bringing forward this programme to committee in September."

When the council said it could not give its "unequivocal support" to events in Madeira Drive last month, Conservative Councillor Robert Nemeth argued that "an attack on some of the world’s oldest and most-loved historic motoring events shows a complete misunderstanding of both the economy and the wishes of residents".

The Argus:

Now, with the confirmation that events will return to the road, Cllr Nemeth has spoken of his delight at the decision.

He said: "I’m pleased we’ve put the brakes on Labour’s plan and I welcome confirmation that the future of motoring events on Madeira Drive is now secure.

"It’s a win for the Old Crocks, the Speed Trials, the mods, the rockers, the Minis and all of the other loved motoring events that take place on Madeira Drive.

"It should never have had to come to this – Labour should never have put our famous events under review.

"These events bring in millions of pounds in tourism revenue every year and are a key part of the fabric of the city.

"They are valued by our city’s residents and one of the highest-signed petitions of all time to the council was to save the Speed Trials – it is staggering that Labour put these events at risk.

The Argus:

"The Conservatives will continue to stand up for our historic motoring events on Madeira Drive."

Madeira Drive has been closed since April to give residents access to more open space for exercise during the lockdown.

This has been well received by many residents, with a poll by The Argus revealing that 60 per cent of readers surveyed wanted the road to remain closed once lockdown is lifted.

Brighton and Hove City Council is now conducting a survey on its website to gather people's views on the continued closure of the road to cars, as well as other temporary transport measures introduced during the lockdown such as the cycle lane in Old Shoreham Road.