Labour vows to halt Valley Gardens plans if elected

Posted On 17 Feb 2015 at 2:23 pm

Ambitious plans to rework the main road through Valley Gardens will be halted if Labour is elected to run Brighton and Hove City Council.

The local Labour party this week pledged to suspend and review all Green-initiated transport schemes, including the Viaduct Road trial, if it wins a majority of seats in May’s election.

It says it is concerned that the scheme commits the council to long-term funding which it may not be able to afford.

Leader of the Brighton and Hove Labour group Warren Morgan, said: “Labour’s transport plan for the city will promote economic growth, sustainability, inclusion and safety.

“We will create an inclusive and integrated transport system that enables residents and visitors to travel safely and efficiently.

“We want environmentally sustainable transport that supports the local economy and that of the wider region, and which works for the benefit of everyone in the city.”

Deputy group leader Gill Mitchell said: “It is time to get back to sensible transport policies, rather than the rushed and badly-implemented changes we have seen in Viaduct Road and elsewhere.

“We have serious concerns over the Green plans for Valley Gardens, which the Tories support, as it commits the council to a long-term, open-ended funding commitment at a time of rapidly shrinking budgets.”

However. Cllr Ian Davey, the Green party’s transport spokesman, said the scheme would bring significant benefits to the city.

He said: “The business case for the Valley Gardens scheme estimates it will deliver £40m worth of benefits over 20 years from improved health, shorter journey times, less pollution, better business links, improved retail frontages, new housing and offices, training and tourism. The consultants for the Coast to Capital local Transport Body assessed the business case as being ‘robust and fit for purpose’, adding that it offers ‘very high value for money’.

“The project promises to extend the fine work that has been done at the Level, and also the iconic St Peter’s Church, down through Valley Gardens to the Royal Pavilion, creating a new city centre park with hundreds of new trees.

“It is staggering that the Labour Party, that originally conceived this project when they were last in power in the city, have now withdrawn their support and have said they will scrap the project – effectively giving back the £8m to central government and refusing the extra £6m, that the government have promised for phase 3 that would take the improvements all the way to and including the Aquarium roundabout at the seafront”.

The Valley Gardens policy is one of the Lanour groups’ ten key transport pledges.

They are:

  • Suspend and review Green-initiated transport schemes such as Valley Gardens and Viaduct Road to ensure the proposals are fully funded, realistic and safe
  • Give the seafront much greater priority with a better coordinated, top-level focus, and take every opportunity to bid for external funding to invest in seafront infrastructure particularly for areas such as the Madeira Terraces
  • Explore the creation of park and ride services from the edge of the city and to help reduce congestion at peak periods such as Bank Holidays, summer week-ends and Christmas
  • To be a strong voice for rail commuters putting pressure on the train operators to improve their services to the city and to continue to lobby for a second main line for Brighton that will be needed as the current route nears full capacity
  • Only increase parking charges by what is fair and affordable
  • Replace outdated traffic signals with a modern linked system that identifies and eases congestion, bringing Brighton and Hove into line with best practice in Europe
  • Promote the use of zero or low-emission forms of transport, especially in the city centre, specifically by offering discounted parking permits to traders investing in clean vehicles and support the promotion of clean diesel technologies by the city’s bus operators
  • Repairing the city’s cycle lanes and continuing to promote safe, accessible cycling infrastructure
  • Work in partnership with bus companies to improving bus services to outlying areas and develop a better partnership with the bus companies to promote better value fares for young people in training and apprenticeships
  • Work with credit unions to deliver low-cost season ticket loans to young people in training and apprenticeships
  1. Hjarrs Reply

    Hmmm, exciting stuff. Zero marks for vision.

    Labour fighting to turn away £8 million to improve cycle and bus links in Brighton and place the Pavilion in a suitable setting, enhancing the city for visitors and residents alike. They clearly take their policies from the Argus comments pages! It must really motivate the few loyal labour members left in the city.

    We all know that B&H Labour Party Executive are so tribal, uncooperative and arrogant that they will not back a popular initiative because it is proposed by the Greens (that started during a Labour minority administration in the first place! What a sad lot they have become).

  2. RK Reply

    Sensible plan. Green transport plans are time and again ideologically driven, unnecessary and expensive. One after another they are proving to be a failure.

    Budgets are just going to get tighter, so major transport plans should be paused and reviewed to make sure they are absolutely necessary. We’ll likely find most are not and so money can be saved and instead spent on keeping our children’s centres open.

  3. Edward Smith Reply

    I’ve never voted Green but but at least they’re trying to improve the area, why on earth do Labour think blocking the regeneration of a central corridor of Brighton a vote winner? Having lived in various cities I am so frustrated with all the councillors of B&H, their inability to work with each other is ridiculous – in no other workplace would this be tolerated.
    Maybe Brighton needs a Mayor who could then knock some heads together and actually get things done.

  4. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    Er, the Council already offers traders a reduced price for permits if they have lower-emission vehicles…

    Cllr Morgan’s piece is woolly; scant detail.

  5. Jill Stevens Reply

    As I recall, it was (and still is) the Green councillors who refused to co-operate with Labour councillors and not the other way around. The Greens seem to have found their natural partners among the Tories.

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