Thursday, 18 December 2014

A Conference Centre for Black Rock?

The Brighton Centre on King's Road, the City's main venue for conferences, exhibitions, shows, is not ideally placed. It occupies a prime seafront site that  would be better utilised for buildings that  take full advantage of the southerly aspect, i.e. the sea views and proximity to the beach. One would have thought that the station site would have been a better option for a multi-event centre likely to attract visitors from a wide area. 

However it is where it is and does have the advantage that attendees can arrive and leave in three different directions, north, east, and west and quickly access  a variety of modes of transport. It is now over 35 years old, and needs replacing, but the site at Black Rock proposed for its replacement does not enjoy even this limited advantage. The entire audience, which could be as much as 10,000, will all have to travel eastwards along the Madeira Drive as the first section of their journey home. One can imagine that, on a cold or wet winter's evening, not many will fancy a mile and a half stroll along the seafront in the face of the prevailing wind; so how is this number of people going to be transported?

One Councillor has airily mentioned "park & ride" yet it only requires a few quick calculations to show that in the worse case scenario it would take over a 100 double-decker buses, one leaving every 10 minutes, nearly 17 hours to transport a capacity audience away from a Black Rock venue. This is why the site is better suited to a use that attracts a smaller number of people over a longer time frame and who then depart over a longer time frame. This type of usage, such as hotels and leisure centres for example, in which the seafront location can be a positive asset, also avoids  heavy peaks in transport demand.  

Palace Pier to Black Rock
The Black Rock Site