Hove Plinth

A planning application for a plinth on King’s Espanade on the Hove seafront is to be decided next month by Brighton & Hove City Council.

The idea for a 2.5m high stone-clad plinth sprung from a conversation in the queue at the nearby King Alfred Leisure Centre between Helmut Lusser and Peter Seddon from Hove Civic Society and Sussex Public Sculpture Recording Project respectively.

If approved and completed, public works of art will grace the plinth much in the same way that Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth has operated in recent years. Hove Civic Society will own, and presumably manage, the plinth but it will stand on public land. An outline agreement was made with the council on this point in January which means that the first hurdle has been cleared. Planning is likely to be a little trickier.

The plinth is to be situated right in the middle of the promenade and lined up with the centre of Grand Avenue. It will therefore be on exactly the same axis as the bronze statue of Queen Victoria of 1901 and Hove War Memorial, by Sir Edwin Lutyens, of 1921. I discovered that a not so pretty black bin on the promenade lines sits on this line as well which is why I have not provided any centralised images from the esplanade. It looked like a bin anyway. It might have been a piece of modern art.

Brighton-based design firm Millimetre is responsible for the rather attractive design of the plinth. The materials will be Nabresina stone, which is like Portland stone, and concrete. This will help it to cope with sculptures and art installations that weight up to 11 tonnes. Although it is to be traditional aesthetically, there will be gadgets galore. Fancy lights and even sound and motorisation bring the classic plinth into the 21st Century.

A number of letters of both support and objection have been received by Brighton & Hove City Council already. I am inclined to support the idea. It will slightly obscure views along the open esplanade but, if all goes to plan, the art will more than make up for it.

Hove Civic Society’s Karin Janzon told me a little about the charity’s plans for funding the project. Many arms will need to be twisted to raise the £50,000 that is required. Hopefully this will include a small sum to move the aforementioned offending bin.