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Council wrong on Brighton’s Madeira terrace

The Morton Partnership, which specialises in works to historic buildings, state that the restoration work is ‘comparatively simple’ with the costs quoted for repairs much higher than should be expected.

Madeira Terrace, Brighton

The Victorian Society has published the view of a renowned firm of structural engineers on the future of the Grade II-listed Madeira Terrace – one of the Society’s Top Ten Endangered buildings 2015. The Morton Partnership, which specialises in works to historic buildings, state that the restoration work is ‘comparatively simple’ with the costs quoted for repairs much higher than should be expected. The Society now calls for the Council to undertake a full new survey by a firm with accredited historic buildings expertise rather than one which specialises in civil engineering.

Following Madeira Terrace’s inclusion on the Victorian Society’s 2015 Top Ten Endangered Building list, the Society approached the Morton Partnership for an independent opinion on the structure’s future viability. The Morton Partnership met a Brighton and Hove Council engineer to undertake a preliminary assessment, accompanied by the engineer who restored London’s Albert Memorial. Their view is that the structure is in a better condition than the Council’s survey had suggested and that the ‘the work required is comparatively simple if it is accepted that the cast iron work can be repaired satisfactorily’. However, the engineer from the Council’s road section would not accept that the structure could be repaired at all – saying ‘you can’t repair cast iron’. Furthermore, the Council’s initial survey was carried out by civil engineering contractors who appear to have made the ‘job rather more complicated than necessary’. The cost quoted for repair was considered to be ‘very much higher’ than a ‘further survey and a realistic report will suggest’.

Alex Bowring, Victorian Society Conservation Adviser, said: ‘The Victorian Society is reassured that the Morton Partnership believes that the restoration of Madeira Terrace is likely to be simpler than the Council had initially feared. We urge the Council to commission a new full structural survey from a firm with proven historic buildings experience.  Madeira Terrace is too an important Brighton landmark to rush into decisions about its future.’

The full statement from the Moreton Partnership can be viewed here.

Monday 23 May, 2016

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