Plans to scrap Aquarium roundabout back on the table

Posted On 20 Jun 2018 at 4:05 pm

Plans to replace the Aquarium roundabout with traffic lights are back on the table as the council looks again at how to extend the Valley Gardens scheme right down to the seafront.

The reworking of the A23 from St Peter’s Church to Edward Street, dubbed Valley Gardens Phase 1 and 2 is due to begin within weeks – and now Brighton and Hove councillors are being asked to consider plans for Phase 3.

All three phases were approved in concept under the Green administration in 2013, with the first two phases received government funding in 2013. The design was tweaked after Labour took control in 2015, after the local party voiced concerns over the removal of both the Mazda fountain and the Aquarium roundabout. The Mazda Fountain was subsequently saved.

Now details of the final phase are beginning to be properly discussed for the first time – and officers are once again floating the idea of replacing it with either traffic lights or a “hybrid option”.

In a report to next Tuesday’s environment and transport committee, the junction is discussed – although the reports’ author, principal transport planner Oliver Spratley refers to it as the Palace Pier roundabout.

He says: “Three initial design scenarios have been developed for the Palace Pier roundabout to … improve people and vehicle movement in this location.

“Once developed through the three scenarios, these options will be assessed in order to determine how well each one … best integrates with Phases 1 and 2.

“The three design scenarios for the Palace Pier roundabout are an option which retains a roundabout; an option which replaces the roundabout with a signalised junction; a ‘hybrid’ option which will explore alternative highway layout features that may not necessarily be regarded as fully conventional.”

These scenarios will then be used to choose three design options which will be presented to the committee in October, with one of them recommended on the basis of economic impact and a traffic modelling exercise based on the model used to test phase one and two.

He adds: “Traffic and pedestrian surveys are currently being conducted to obtain a robust evidence-base which will help to inform modelling as well as create the required reference points for monitoring post-construction.”

The overall aim of Phase 3 is to simplify the road layout, improve bus lanes and add cycle lanes and improve lighting and landscaping.

If approved, council officers will be able to progress the project to the next stage of developing a design option, that will be put before the committee in October, and to prepare a business case for funding from the Local Enterprise Partnership. A report outlining the business case will be put before the committee in November.

A public survey about the area is underway until 29 June. The survey is an opportunity to tell the council how the area works or doesn’t work as a place to move around and spend time in. Responses will be taken into consideration when drawing up options for improvements to transport facilities, air quality, and public spaces.

The construction for Phase 1 and 2 of the project, which runs between St Peter’s Church to just south of Church Street, is due to start in the summer.

The first two phases aim to create an attractive new park by improving the series of green spaces between St Peter’s church and the Royal Pavilion. The surrounding road layout will be radically simplified, making it easier to navigate and improved routes will be created for sustainable transport including walking, cycling, buses and taxis.

The changes also aim to improve air quality and community safety, and reduce flood risk.

Chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, Councillor Gill Mitchell, said: “This is an important next step in the redevelopment of the Valley Gardens area, which aims to improve one of the main road routes into the city and improve connectivity.

“We want to make cycling, walking and public transport more attractive and viable options for transport as well as improving the landscape to create an attractive, sustainable and safe green space.

“It’s vital that local residents have their say on the area. The public survey allows residents to tell us what works and what doesn’t so that we can consider their views as design options are drawn up.”

  1. Mrs Fitzherbert's Bonnet Reply

    This so-called Valley Gardens scheme is a disaster in the making. Between them, the Greens and Labour have created something to fill the Steine with more fumes than ever. And the Tories have just sat on their hands.
    Messing with the Aquarium roundabout will only exacerbate the problems being stored up by this madness. Why aren’t we using the redundant Mill Road as a park & ride? And the car park at Withdean athletics track? On the approach from the east, there’s the acres of parking space at Falmer. And you could even look at running a park & ride from Newhaven to catch traffic before the main A259 jam. Where’s the joined up government we were supposed to have?

    • Rob Reply

      absolutely agree. Park and ride needs to catch as many motorists as possible so they don’t come in to the city centre!

    • Julie W Reply

      I too no longer shop in Brighton unless I absolutely have to. The cost of public transport if 2 or more people wish to travel into Brighton Centre from suburbs exceed cost to drive to many nearby towns and park.

      I will also not be walking through the new Valley Gardens during the evenings or at night as I will not feel safe.

  2. Lesley Wickenden Reply

    How often in that post did you read ‘for the benefit of the motorist’. It’s bus lanes and cycle lanes. At this rate the only income Brighton will get is from parking charges. No one is going to want to drive anywhere near the city let alone in it.
    As an example. For Christmas shopping. I drive to lakeside. Takes an hour to get there £5 for tunnel and bridge. Every shop and more on surrounding areas. From my house at the Marina to getting in to a car park it is easily 45min. You pay for parking which works out more than tunnel/bridge cost. Tiny shops, closing rapidly. Half if not more of what you want is outside.
    This may not totally relate to valley gardens but it shows the town is a mess. With bus lanes that 75% of the time are under used. Why can they not beused outside the main 1700 – 1800 rush ? The whole town is a mess and by the looks of it going to get a lot worse !

  3. Benny Reply

    Ooooh those “planners”, can’t have enough traffic lights. Can’t help feeling none of them has a clue

  4. Mike Reply

    A mad idea that will never happen but remove the seafront road completely, create a park that runs all the way along the seafront from the current roundabout to the pool the other end and stick the road underground.

    Cleaner air, new social space. A real green city.

    • Fishwife, 49 Reply

      Um, “underground” in that area would be below sea level. Just sayin’

  5. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    It is boggling, the way in which some people regard that roundabout as sacred when in fact it is an ugly and awkward junction.

    • Gerald Wiley Reply

      Almost as bad as the way some people demand that we keep the old Carnegie sacred as a library when in fact it is ugly and awkward to get to, and would have better met the needs of Hove residents if the services had been moved to the museum site 😉

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