Brighton Lib Dem candidate criticises ‘flawed’ Valley Gardens scheme

Posted On 29 Mar 2015 at 4:10 pm

A Liberal Democrat candidate has criticised some of the proposals put forward as part of the Valley Gardens project in the heart of Brighton.

Rob Heale, who is standing for a seat on Brighton and Hove City Council, said that some of the ideas were crazy and would cause unnecessary noise, disruption and environmental damage.

Mr Heale, who is standing in St Peter’s and North Laine, said that he was also concerned about the potential damage to Brighton’s heritage within the Valley Gardens Conservation Area.

He said: “I am by no means an expert gardener but I do know enough from general knowledge that some of the designs for this project are flawed.

“I am pleased that we have gained funding as a city but the details of the scheme need to be considered properly by the council and local people, which may require some further consultation.

“This is an important gateway into the city and it would be a mistake to cause unnecessary disruption to traffic and to local residents for a scheme that is mistaken in many ways.

“The likely diversions are probably going to cause difficulties in neighbouring streets for years ahead.

“Some aspects are also controversial because they may damage our heritage, such as the fountain, and may not enable a mixture of uses within the Grand Parade area.

“They seem to be proposing far too many extra trees within the spaces available which will probably cause problems into the future. There also seems to be too much concreting proposed.

“For some people these areas within Valley Gardens are a place for relaxing, for eating sandwiches or even kicking a ball around. For others, especially at the War Memorial area, it is a place of remembrance.”

He added: “We need to think again about the details of the Valley Gardens scheme and ensure that it is an area that we can all be proud of.

“The computer-generated pictures of parts of the design can give a misleading impression of what may happen so we need to examine the plans in more detail.

“Thankfully, these proposals will not be considered by the council until June so people will be able to express their views at the ballot box.”

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    This is a non-story. As the last line says, it is a work-in-progress, moving from an outline position to a more detailed one.

    Mr Heale depicts the current set-up as offering sanctuary and refuge; most people, however, regard it as a traffic island which is a far cry from those days when it was a place where strolled, talked.

    As with the works at the Level, over which Labour got in a right old tizzy, it turns out that people at large duly enjoy and appreciate these schemes which the Green Party made bold to get underway after four years in which the Tories shied from doing anything (except the Bandstand).

    • Gerald Wiley Reply

      Thanks Christopher – so no-one else is allowed to have their own views or criticise the plans for the Valley Gardens?

      It is only the green party that is allowed to express their views to the press?

      Perhaps others would like to see the final plans before the ones that the greens want to impose on the city to meet the guidelines written in their policy?

      If you actually remain as the largest party in the council, will you allow other’s views to be considered, or will you just carry on regardless with your master plan.

      Will this be the way you would treat residents of Hove and Portslade if, heaven forbid, you actually win the seat at the general election as you are one of the majority of green councillors standing down.

      It is, though, good to see that you have the typical charm, wit, maturity and respect for the views of others in discussing these matters as we have come to expect from green party members.

      • feline1 Reply

        I liked it when Chris decided to tackle homelessness in his ward by confiscating the public seating at the King Alfred and Goldstone Villas. I hear rough sleeping in the city has plummeting since he took their brave measures and housing charity Shelter has presented a special award to the scheme.

      • Christopher Hawtree Reply

        You need to calm down. Bile has an effect upon the body’s longevity.

        I simply pointed out that the scheme is at an early stage – as the article says in its last line – and that within this outline there are many details to consider.

        • feline1 Reply

          But people know their views will be ignored at the early stage, the late stage and indeed the entire time. Yet you still want them to vote for you. Good luck with that.

  2. The Gzunder Party Reply

    Mr Hawtree is a vocal advocate of free speech but try engaging him on twitter and you will soon find yourself blocked. He has laid out £500 to stand as an MP. He might as well have tossed it off the end of the pier. Bye Chris

    • feline1 Reply

      yeah he blocked me too, ‘arf.

  3. Hjarrs Reply

    Valley Gardens scheme should have been done years ago. Finally the Pavillion, the biggest jewel in the city’s crown, is to have a more suitable setting, rather than a glorified roundabout.

    Which party is the most negative and anti progress in the city, Labour or Liberals? Tough choice!

    • feline1 Reply

      Well if they actually did something good with it, like unbury the underground river and plant an urban forest, then yes.
      But they won’t, they’ll just dig up the roads for about 18 interminable months to put in even more congested traffic lanes, bulldoze a fountain and then someone will chain themselves screaming in an “historic” lime tree that is going to have its roots disturbed.

  4. rolivan Reply

    The roadway in front of The Pavilion will more or less remain the same except buses Taxis and Cyclists will be on the West side and other vehicles on the East to say it will be better than the glorified roundabout , where is that?There is absolutely no reason to get rid of the Mazda Fountain as it doesn’t interfere with the new traffic layout,the removal of it just gives people involved a bigger slice of the cake.I hate to think how big the queues will be when the Summer traffic coming to the Seaside will be,All the Party’s realise the Seafront Tourist trade is the Life blood of The City and yet this scheme will not help.

    • feline1 Reply

      The main transport problem is the cretinous refusal to countenance a Park & Ride scheme at the junction of the A23 and A27, with rail shuttle link from there into the centre of town.

    • Gerald Wiley Reply

      @rolivan – you must understand that it is totally against green party policy to have park-and-ride schemes – therefore whilst they effectively control the council’s transport committee, it won’t happy.

      See for all 570 of the transport policies decided by these dangerously irresponsible activist lunatics.

      We therefore need to make sure everyone votes in the forthcoming elections and makes sure they DON’T vote green.

      It’s a real shame that the winning party in the council election will probably be heavily influenced by students who don’t pay council tax; who don’t pay income tax; who are rapidly increasing in numbers; and as a result the rest of us will have to support the cost of financially.

  5. HJarrs Reply

    Amazing thing is Wiley, is that students grow up to form an important part of the workforce and major contributors of tax that pay for your pension and other services. You may have been able to get away with just a couple of A levels to get a decent job when you were young, now you need a degree.

    People have been talking about the park and ride for nearly 25 years. Nobody has yet come up with a viable option and to make a scheme work, car journeys into and around the city will have to be further restricted, otherwise it will be poorly used and bus links to the centre will get jammed up. Best thing is to encourage people out of their cars.

    Valley Gardens will encourage more cycling in the city, relieving the growing pinch points on the level and it will link and boost the rapidly improving London rd area.

    • feline1 Reply

      Rubbish, I’ve come up with a viable Park & Ride, at Waterhall.
      B&HCC claim that the Highways Agency “won’t let them do it” but they could compulsorarily purchase the land off the HA (who are nothing more than a clearing house for Balfour Beatty contracts anyways)

    • Gerald Wiley Reply

      Please stop defending green party policy and dogma, by trying to ‘pass the blame’ to previous councils. It is the greens that want to ‘encourage people out of their cars’ but then, criminally, do not want to provide the facilities for people to do so first.

      A party with some common sense would provide the alternatives first, rather than intentionally cause a congestion problem first, but then that is typical green party ‘style’.

      Just remember that two years ago Davey said that “Boris Bikes” were not economic because of the hilly terrain – now they suddenly are – if you don’t put docking stations on the top of hills, but then who are they for – definitely not for visitors arriving by train?

      If you really wanted to provide park-and-ride you could – it is those idiotic green party policies that stop you, so stop trying to do your usual trick of passing the blame for your failings onto others – it is a totally self-inflicted injury – pretend you have a spine and own up!

      Regarding student voting, I feel that when the students are making a real contribution to the economy of Brighton & Hove and pay their taxes, then they should be allowed to get involved in the democratic process impacting council spend – especially when they are a financial drain on the city and the rest of us council tax payers have to support them.

      Or should we just feel grateful that we pay more taxes to support them? Or should we extend voting to 12 years olds, or younger, as they will be earning eventually too?

      Also the way they are allowed to vote in council elections is wrong – especially when students are allowed to vote in the council elections for both their home location and where they are studying. Perhaps they should only be allowed to vote in their home location? What is so special about students?

      Of course, from a green party viewpoint having a large group of voters sympathetic to the green cause, and not impacted by having to fund their grandiose projects is a great asset. Wasn’t that the reason you lost the Hanover seat as all your supporters were away on end-of-term holidays?

      As an aside, I did like the news item ‘Brighton and Sussex student unions win cash for votes’ where Candice Armah (University of Brighton Students’ Union president) and Abraham Baldry (president of the University of Sussex Students’ Union) were awarded £15,000 by the government to boost voter registration. I commented:

      “Well done Candice and Abraham – it’s important to encourage democratic elections.

      “I wonder who proposed you for the award?

      “On a different subject, Candice, was it nice to get a Christmas card from Caroline Lucas?

      The council does seem to be spending a lot of effort encouraging students to register for voting – I wonder why?

  6. HJarrs Reply

    Sorry Wiley, but even those pro park and ride have failed to deliver over a long period of time. I am not against the idea, but it would not pay for itself and would require major grant funding, great if that is available. Then, how do you get people from a park and ride efficiently into our crowded city? Mass transit systems cost a lot of money. Would a park and ride actually work? Locals form the majority of the traffic, they would not use it and those that moan about congestion would complain just as loudly that driving was further restricted in the city.

    • Gerald Wiley Reply

      But you won’t even look at the scheme due to your beloved green party policy. As has been suggested already, parking could be at Falmer or Water Hall with onward link by train.

      Falmer could be much cheaper as the station already exists.

      Yes – it would be for visitors – not residents. You want locals to walk, cycle, or bus.

      Yes – it would require investment – but you greens are great at getting that to support your own failed, grandiose, vanity projects – why not something to actually encourage visitors rather than repel them?

      • Gerald Wiley Reply

        Oh look, for the Brighton Marathon, both Sussex and Brighton university car parks are being used for park-and-ride.

        Now why can’t they be used every week-end? Possibly at a bit less than £20 per day being charged!

        After all, the council seems to be doing everything it can to help the universities provide accommodation for additional students – how about them doing something to help visitors and businesses?

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