A £21 million transformation of a seafront site has cost taxpayers only £3 million.

Private investors provided much of the funding which helped to rejuvenate the area between the Aquarium and the Peace Statue in Brighton and Hove during the last decade.

The success of attracting private sector investment has been highlighted by an independent economic evaluation of the seafront carried out for Brighton and Hove City Council.

Culture and regeneration councillor Andy Durr said: "The findings represent a cons-iderable success story of public sector investment prompting private sector rejuvenation."

Most of the work has been carried out since 1992 between the piers as part of the council's seafront development initiative.

The area was landscaped and made much more attractive. Fishing and artists' quarters were created along with a sports area and a club zone.

There is also a new themed children's play area and paddling pool.

More work is to be carried out, including renovating the historic bandstand and providing better places for petanque players to meet.

A survey showed 70 per cent of business in the seafront initiative area had arrived in the last ten years.

Two-thirds of the enterprises would not have invested in the area without the regeneration initiative.

Businesses in the seafront area generated 679 peak season jobs and almost all the staff were local.

A report to the culture committee last night said: "Many owners and managers are optimistic about the seafront as a business location."

Four of the biggest regeneration projects in the city were on the seafront - Black Rock, the Brighton Centre, the West Pier and the King Alfred. The report said they should be seen as an integrated process of regeneration.