Madeira Terrace designs get the go ahead for next steps

Concept design work for the Madeira Terrace restoration project was given the go ahead by Policy & Resources Committee on Thursday 8 October. 

The project, which is sometimes called ‘MT30’, is the first stage of restoration and aims to restore at least 30 of the 151 arches that make up Madeira Terrace.

Policy & Resources Committee noted the RIBA Stage 0-1 conclusions detailed in the report prepared by architects leading the design team, Purcell. 

It was agreed to authorise the Executive Director for Economy, Environment & Culture, in consultation with the cross-party project board, to agree the next stage of design work.

There was also acknowledgement of the hard work done by both the Advisory Panel and the Project Board, as  a broad range of stakeholders have worked collaboratively on the development of this project.

A further report will come to the committee when the design team are ready to present the final design with associated costs and to request permission to advertise tenders for contractors to carry out works.

Setting the tone for future regeneration

Madeira Terrace is a unique structure, originally built as a covered promenade to attract tourists from London when the new railway opened in the late 1800s. 

The Terrace is also considered the longest cast iron structure in Britain, running from the Aquarium Colonnade to the Volk’s railway maintenance building.

While the country and city were in lockdown throughout the early months of 2020, the project team, led by architects Purcell, have been working hard to develop the designs for the first stage of the restoration of this cast iron structure.

The recommendations for the first stage of at least 30 arches, including the three crowdfunded arches, outline recommendations to protect the distinct heritage of the site, maintaining its unique design, and setting the tone for future regeneration of the Terrace.

Tying into the council’s pledge for the city to be carbon neutral by 2030, this project has a strong focus on sustainability, embedding circular economy principles and demonstrating environmental sustainability throughout its restoration and operation, described as pioneering by the Architects Journal.

This was one of the reasons Purcell were appointed lead design architects; they are specialists in sustainable restoration, which has been further highlighted by the development of their sustainability toolkit in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Community engagement at the heart of this project

Community engagement has been at the heart of this project, ensuring diverse voices within the community were heard and able to contribute to the conversation about how to restore Madeira Terrace.  

A large part in that has been the role of the Advisory Panel, consisting of members of the community representing a range of perspectives including:

  • Residents
  • Event organisers
  • Businesses
  • Tourism
  • Conservation of the built and natural environment

The Advisory Panel have met regularly online through the Covid-19 pandemic, to discuss and develop the project approach and have shared lived experience with the lead architect.

Councillor Clare Rainey, lead member for the Madeira Terrace Project Board said: “Although we are still early on in the restoration process, this ‘go-ahead’ marks an important beginning in the restoration of our city’s historic arches.

“Our city’s communities are extremely passionate about the future of Madeira Terrace and we are all keen to know that plans for restoration are underway. 

“After years of neglect, it is good to see that we have made such an excellent start, and I want to thank everyone for the part they’ve played in the positive moves being made on this project, as we now progress to the next stage.

“I look forward to seeing more of what is to come from the design architects, as will so many in our city who also want a future for the arches.”


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