The Madeira Terrace restoration has been delayed due to rising costs.

Work on 40 of the 151 crumbling iron arches had been due to start in the autumn.

But Brighton and Hove City Council has announced that further work to consider "which approach offers the best value for money" will delay the project by several months.

The structure, the longest of its kind in the country, has been closed to the public since 2014 after falling into disrepair and is at risk of collapse.

The latest delay now means the main dismantling work is not expected to start until next spring.

Lead city councillor for heritage Alan Robins said: “Preparatory works at Madeira Terrace have already begun and are ongoing.

“The restoration project is not under review but the escalating costs of building materials and labour are affecting projects both locally and nationally.

"To ensure we're managing potential future escalation of costs as effectively as possible we’re doing further work to consider which engineering techniques offer the best value going forward.

“This work will be completed before we look to appoint a contractor.

“We will have a final agreed programme for the restoration when a contractor has been appointed.

“We will be appointing a contractor later this year, with a view to starting the main dismantling work on site next spring.”

The Argus: An artist's impression of what the completed Madeira Terrace restoration will look likeAn artist's impression of what the completed Madeira Terrace restoration will look like

One campaigner expressed his frustration at the decision and said: “Despite incredible efforts from residents and councillors, this may be the last straw for Madeira Terrace.

“The correlation is clear - more delays means further degradation, which leads to increased costs.

“This council cost-cutting exercise could be anything but.”

Leader of the Green group Councillor Steve Davis also hit out at the delay.

He said: “This is yet another occasion where Labour seems to think they know better, but are not presenting their evidence.

“When there was no overall control of the council, we had a working group where Labour members were invited to input into the decisions alongside Greens.

“We worked hard on the tendering process and decided on a two-stage process to get the best contractor.

“Decisions were put in place based on the structural survey and there was extensive consultation regarding the engineering options in terms of cost, disruption to green wall, longevity and so on.

“Labour have now scrapped that working group, but they must still be accountable to the city. If they have new ideas, they need to propose them openly so residents can be reassured that this delay is worthwhile.

“Labour also need to offer residents financial reassurance, as delays will raise costs further.

“Inflation in the building industry is higher than CPI, which means any delays will have a big impact on the budget and likely make the situation worse.

“This is far from practising the financial responsibility that Labour have been preaching.”

The planned restoration of Madeira Terrace is due to take place in phases with planning permission granted for the first stage in November 2022.

The project includes installing a full-height single-car lift, repairing and upgrading the stairs opposite Royal Crescent and conserving the existing cast iron structure.

The green wall will also be conserved and restored as part of the plans.

Residents raised more than £450,000 in 2017 through the Save Madeira Terrace campaign in an effort to restore three of the historic arches.

Once the full restoration is completed, over 900 tonnes of cast iron will have been removed and reinstated.