A NEW coastal park in Hove has been unanimously approved by councillors.
Brighton and Hove City Council has received planning permission for its £13million Kingsway to the Sea project.
The program includes gardens, sports facilities and a café along the Western Lawns from just behind the King Alfred to the Lagoon.
Most of the cost of the program was to be covered by a £9.5m government grant from the Government’s Leveling Up Fund.
However, £1.2million is expected to come from “contributions” paid by developers as a condition of their planning permission, with £300,000 coming from funds made available by the council for the renovation of public toilets. The Council intends to borrow the remainder.
Labor Councilor Carmen Appich, representing Westbourne Borough, expressed her support for the project when the council planning committee considered the application today.
Councilor Appich thanked residents for their input and acknowledged the late Conservative councilor Garry Peltzer Dunn, who represented Wish Township, for his enthusiasm for the project.
She said: “I understand that some have and remain concerns… about the height of the new sports centre.
“I understand that the building will be sensitively designed and of sufficient height and space to create a multifunctional area and provide adequate changing facilities.
“I know some local residents are concerned about the sports facilities, but they work well together. These new sports facilities in this area are urgently needed.”
Susan Howard spoke for neighbors in the Aurum block of flats who were concerned about the noise from the ‘sand sports’ area and the possible adverse impact it could have on the Sackville Gardens Conservation Area.
Ms Howard said: “We do not believe the program is consistent with the Sackville Gardens Conservation Area where the sand sports area would be located.
“The gardens are specifically labeled as traditional attractions, with buildings intentionally built to overlook the beach.
“A 12-foot steel fence with 20-foot floodlights until 10 p.m. is unsuitable for this location, the most densely populated area of the city.”
She said neighbors have been pushing for an alternative location for the sand sports next to the event space, where it won’t be overlooked by apartment buildings. But this was rejected.
Officials said the proposed site is at a lower level and makes the fencing “less conspicuous”.
The alternate location would also be next to the bowling club’s competition green, which could damage a neighboring clay court.
Labor Councilor Clare Moonan, representing Borough of Central Hove, was concerned about potential conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists due to the new unrestricted lanes in the park.
Bylaws prohibit bicyclists from riding on the footpaths that cross the Western Lawns and South Boardwalk.
Councilor Moonan said: “I know from experience that it is ignored all the time. We are creating new east-west pathways through this beautiful new development that are not limited to cyclists, scooters, wheelchair users and in-line skates.
“It meanders in and out and might put people off, there are new bike racks for people to lock their bikes on but we can’t manage that.
“I have many case studies of how dangerous it is for pedestrians along the coast – the elderly and families with young children.
“I was walking down there and suddenly someone whistles past your head and it’s someone on a scooter who can go up to 30mph. It’s very dangerous. We must pay attention.”
Council officials said signs and painted warnings on the ground would warn cyclists if they need to dismount.
Green Councilwoman Sue Shanks also praised the program but raised concerns about the potential affordability of the tennis and paddle courts.
She said: “It’s publicly owned and so I have a problem with making sure these spaces remain public spaces and the prices aren’t prohibitively high for young people to start using these facilities.
“People use it and it’s a great facility. When we look at a management plan, that should be taken into account.”
Conservative councilwoman Carol Theobald said she would have liked to see BBQ stands along the seafront to offer an alternative to cooking on the beach, but backed the plans.
She said: “It is a wonderful facility with improved sports and leisure facilities, especially the sports facilities.
“It is a wonderful project for this part of the seafront. Something definitely had to happen.”
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/23178076.kingsway-sea-seafront-park-approved/?ref=rss Kingsway to the Sea Seafront Park Approved