A PROJECT to restore historic seafront lighting is set to start in the next few weeks.

Brighton and Hove City Council confirmed yesterday that the project would take two to three years to complete from start to finish.

The lanterns and brackets are being removed and the council insists they will be safely stored while design work takes place.

The latest announcement comes after some of our seafront lights were discovered for sale on Facebook.

The leader of Brighton and Hove City Council threatened to tear up a £15 million contract with contractor Colas in December after an Argus investigation found a man selling two historic lanterns on Facebook.

The Argus informed Brighton and Hove City Council and then captured the moment officers seized the seafront lanterns from a man in Hangleton after he attempted to flog them to our reporters.

The latest work is being done in partnership with Historic England - a public body that looks after England's historic environment - and leading industry street lighting experts.

The lamppost columns, which hold up the brackets and lanterns, will remain in place.

While the lanterns are being restored, they are being replaced with temporary lighting, which will be in place for at least 18 months, the council said.

The first stage of the project will involve making safe the heritage-listed lanterns and brackets.

The Argus: Temporary lighting will be put in placeTemporary lighting will be put in place

These have deteriorated following decades of exposure to the harsh seafront conditions, as well as suffering corrosion and general wear and tear.

Once the first phase of making safe and the design work is completed, the second phase of reinstating the iconic design will begin in early 2022.

The decision comes after inspections of 80 seafront lighting columns on Marine Parade and Madeira Drive carried out last year found that more than half posed a significant health and safety risk.

A statement from the council said: "All materials, including the 40 brackets and 80 lanterns will be safely and securely stored in steel shipping containers in secure locations.

"This is until decisions are made on what can be reused and what may need replacing.

"We will be looking to reuse as many of the materials as possible.

"Many of the lanterns have suffered irreparable damage through decades of exposure to harsh, salty weather conditions, which may mean we are unable to reuse them."

The Argus: 50 streetlights in Marine Parade will also be replaced50 streetlights in Marine Parade will also be replaced

The project will mean a significant investment in the region of £2million, which will come from the City Transport Capital Programme.

In addition to this work, 50 streetlight lanterns are being replaced as part of the ongoing maintenance programme on the north side of Marine Parade.

The lanterns are not listed by Historic England and are being replaced with new like-for-like LED lighting.

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