Good news – Madeira Terrace regraded to II*

Good news – Madeira Terrace regraded to II*

Heritage England have regraded Madeira Terrace as a II* structure.

The nerds amongst you will enjoy reading the citation. A few headlines for others:

  • This designation is deserved by ‘particularly important buildings of more than special interest’
  • There is no other building like it in the English historic record (closest is a Victorian pier)I
  • It’s ‘monolithic’ form is considered very rare of possibly uniqueI
  • It is thought to be the longest cast iron structure in England and possibly the world.

The Madeira Drive green wall gets a special mention:

“Earlier, between 1830 and 1833, the natural East Cliff at Brighton was made good by the application of a concrete covering, and was then planted up to achieve a green wall which is now believed to be the oldest and largest of its kind in Europe, with over 100 species of flowering plants recorded.”

Now to save it…

(Painting by Vincent Donlin)

Major funding announcement for Madeira Terraces

cover photo, Image may contain: outdoor

Jax Atkins from the Save Madeira Terraces campaign has announced the Council budget committee’s decision this week to contribute £13.4 million to the restoration of Madeira Terrace.

This is fabulous news – it’s not the total budget required, but with the architect and design team about to be established, a committed bunch of local people involved in advising the Council, and the good work already done to fundraise in the community and protect the Madeira Drive green wall, we should see some progress at last!

Building Green represents the environment sector on the advisory committee. If you have concerns or questions you would like us to raise on your behalf, get in touch.

image from Facebook Madeira Terraces group.

 

Madeira Drive environment – representing your views

Today is the first meeting of the stakeholder forum for the Madeira Terraces regeneration.

Building Green is a member of the forum, and represents the views of the natural environment sector, along with colleagues from the built environment.

If you have any general comments to make, please add them to the comments on this post, or email them by 6pm today.

We will keep you posted on the discussions and further opportunities to have your say.

For our ‘three point plan’ on the Madeira Drive environment, click here.

IMG_2493

Madeira Terraces – the beginning of an advisory panel

Last night Building Green attended a meeting of around 40 people interested in the future of Madeira Terraces and the regeneration of East Brighton seafront.

The focus was on shaping an advisory panel, that will represent interest groups in the city and work with the Council to ensure the restoration of Madeira Terraces, and the vision for the area.

Building Green is particularly keen to represent the voice of the environment in this process – not only the famous ‘green wall’, but the wider environment it is connected to…the sea, the beach and its vegetated shingle habitat, and the garden squares in Kemptown above.

Below you can listen to a recording – thanks to the Save Madeira Terraces gang! – of Building Green founder James Farrell speaking about the importance of the environment as an integral part of the seafront.

green wall bicycle Madeira Terrace

Download – Madeira Drive Green Wall small poster

 

Madeira Drive green wall – a 3 point plan

Building Green has a simple 3 point plan for the green wall at Madeira Drive Brighton, the focus of major redevelopment and heritage restoration proposals.

Madeira Drive Green Wall is the longest, oldest green wall in  the UK and will be the first to be designated a Site of Nature Conservation Importance. The wall is integral to Madeira Terraces, a unique ironwork structure that is under threat from lack of maintenance and investment. Building Green work with the Save Madeira Terraces Campaign, the council and other partners in a collaborative endeavour to shape the best possible future for our seafront.

This plan is supported by extensive surveys by Building Green volunteers, which are free to download at the end of this article.

 1. Protect and maintain the best sections of green wall

The priority is to protect the sections of green wall below and above the terraces where there are mature Japanese Spindle plants. There are over 100 of these, and each ‘tree’, approximately 150 years old, has magnificent curving trunks that wind their way up the cliff from ground level. These plants support a wide variety of other flowering plants, as well as home to birds and other wildlife. The repetitive planting scheme mirrors the serried ranks of Victorian arches that are such as special feature of Madeira Terraces. The views under the terraces of these arches and Spindle trunks are key to the impact and beauty of the original Victorian vision, and are irreplaceable.

Building Green would prefer no development under the arches in these sections, particularly between Concorde 2 and Paston Place.

Ongoing maintenance of these sections – and the green wall throughout – is crucial.

2. Enhance sections of wall to encourage greater coverage

There are many parts of the wall where the Japanese Spindle was damaged or removed in the past. However Japanese Spindle is not the only plant of value – there are now over 100 species of plants found at Madeira Drive green wall.

Building Green would work with developers to find imaginative solutions to conserving, where possible, other plants of conservation value; removing plants where they can become invasive; and enhancing sections of wall to encourage greater ‘green’ coverage.

In these areas there are likely to be imaginative solutions to incorporating green wall features as well as ‘pods’ or other development under the arches.

Building Green will continue working with volunteers at Duke’s Mound to restore the green wall to its original extent, improve its biodiversity, and make it look fantastic for visitors and local residents.

C384A751-B778-40C7-90BA-78F65EF46ADC

3. Create new green wall and green the Terrace walkway.

The green wall was originally over a mile long. Building Green wants to see planting restored to the full length, as there are many bare patches and sections.

In these sections, development could take place without harm to existing nature. We suggest these are the first priority for ‘pods’ and other businesses under the arches. However, all development will be expected to make a ‘net gain‘ for biodiversity, and there are many opportunities to enhance development proposals with environmental benefits.

One exciting vision from Building Green is to plant the terrace walkway like the New York ‘high line‘ – creating a new linear seafront park, a major tourist attraction in its own right, and a draw for visitors to the new businesses that will find a home on Madeira Drive. New green wall features should be installed on the upper East cliff (retaining wall).

Building Green web

Surveys and other supporting information

Arch by arch biodiversity survey, indicating areas of value to nature and natural heritage. Madeira Drive Arches Survey 2017

Madeira Drive species list – the flowering plants and other wildlife found along the green wall. Madeira Drive Green Wall Plant Species List 12.09.2017

Plans mapping the extent of green wall coverage along the length of Madeira Drive retaining wall. Surveyed by Building Green c2014.

 

New community container in place for Madeira Terrace pilot restoration

Great to see the green wall featuring alongside the precious Madeira Terrace in the artwork on the new community container.

The container contains an office and other facilities for local community groups to use. Building Green will be!

IMG_3181

Artwork features Japanese Spindle – the main feature of the Madeira Drive Green Wall, these plants are now almost 150 years old. It also features hoary stock – one of the rarest native plants that has been found along the green wall. Hoary stock has another name…’Hopes’. Seems apt!

IMG_3180

Unfortunately we couldn’t raise the funds to green the container itself…a green roof, or some living walls would have been even better. To see what’s possible with a shipping container, go here and here.