THE boss of Brighton Palace Pier is demanding Madeira Drive be reopened – or some businesses will not survive. 

In a scathing attack on the seafront road’s closure, Anne Ackord said the decision amounted to a “tragedy” and called on Brighton and Hove City Council to reopen it immediately to save its traders. 

She said: “I think the closure of that road is sabotaging the 30 or so businesses down there. August is the most important month for any tourism business, if you lose August, you’re in trouble.

"They have to listen to the people and help these businesses survive because if they don’t, some of these businesses will not.

“I’m not sure what the long-term plan for Madeira Drive is but there is no harm giving these traders at least August and it’s a crying shame nothing is being done about it.”

The road was closed to cars in April at the height of the coronavirus pandemic to provide extra space for joggers, cyclists and walkers.

It has remained shut since. 

Ms Ackord said she is fielding calls from disabled people, believing the pier to be council-run and asking why they can no longer park on the road. She said: “We have answered a lot of these calls from people asking ‘why have you taken our parking away?’.

“The council have done this and that is discrimination, there is no other word for it.”

Opposing petitions calling for Madeira Drive to be reopened or closed until the end of the year were due for debate in July but were postponed to make way for a Green takeover of the council following Labour resignations and suspensions.

Ms Ackord said the entrance road, outside the pier, is being used as an unofficial car rank, causing problems for the emergency services. 

She said: “What is happening now if that the cars are turning in front of the pier as a mini car park. There have been several instances where we have had to get cars to move for ambulances.”

Ms Ackord said lack of parking was hitting the pier and surrounding businesses, adding: “The council should be giving every support to these businesses who are trying to do their best in difficult times.”

She also said the loss of £1.25 million generated in parking revenue was “bad economics” amid the coronavirus crisis. 

Delso Da Silva, general manager at the Brighton Zip Wire and food court has  emailed councillors about the “severe impact” the closure is having on businesses.

He wrote: “The barriers that are being marshalled at the end of Madeira Drive makes it seem like the whole of Madeira Drive is closed off and unavailable to the public. We have seen a dramatic fall in customer footfall, alongside the other traders around Madeira drive.”