More than £700,000 has been “diverted” from Brighton’s London Road to fix the hole in the seafront road.
The London Road local action team (LAT) was told last year it would have about £750,000 for transport projects to improve the area, and carried out a consultation to find out how residents wanted the money spent.
But by the time the results were in, Brighton and Hove City Council had reallocated the money to fix the hole which had opened in the A259 after the Fortune of War arch collapsed in April this year.
Chair of the LAT Philip Wells was sanguine about the reduced funding. He said: “London Road is going from strength to strength and there’s a geniune political will to keep the momentum going.
“As with a lot of things, we have to keep pushing. The council appreciate there’s work to be done but there just isn’t the money.
“It would be nice to have £750,000 but I realise that money is tight and London Road is doing very well as it stands so I can’t complain.”
The LAT’s consultation results report states: “When we carried out our consultation, we were expecting to have funding of around £750,000 for transport related improvements to complement a range of other projects in the area such as the Portas and Providence Place Gardens schemes.
“Unfortunately, since then our short term funding has been reduced to around £40,000 as a result of money being diverted for emergency repairs to the seafront arches.
We will still use your suggestions to focus improvements in London Road, both in the short term and in the future.”
The three areas identified by the consultation as a priority for residents are:
- smartening up the area through de-cluttering street signage and putting in more greenery, seating and community signage such as a noticeboard
- de-cluttering Preston Circus and possibly re-aligning the kerb to claim back unused road space
- redesigning the Oxford Street/Ann St Crossing – although this option is likely to be too expensive
A council spokeswoman denied the money had been diverted. She said: “When the council carried out its initial consultation in 2013, there was an expectation of potential funding in the region of £700,000 being available over a three year period for transport related improvements for the London Road.
“After reviewing all transport requirements, the 2014/2015 budget for the London Road area has been substantially reduced to ensure project commitments can be met across the city.
“However, London Road continues to be a focus and the council has identified another possible funding option, the Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund allocation.
“This could be used to help fund future changes in the area and could also be connected to the continued regeneration of the city’s New England Quarter.
“The council has put together a set of options which have been sent to members of the London Road Local Action Team, (LAT), in order to find the best way forward.
“No money has been diverted from the London Road project, or any other project in the city, towards the costs of repairs following the collapse of the seafront arches at the Fortune of War.”