Valley Gardens and the challenges of changes to our infratsructure

Posted On 25 Jan 2019 at 12:30 am

As a city of nearly 300,000 residents and 11 million annual visitors we may not be the largest, but we certainly have some difficult challenges to ensure that everyone who lives, learns or works here can be proud of their time spent here.

The city itself isn’t just a collection of homes, businesses and universities (although at times you could be forgiven for thinking that).

Every city needs a strong infrastructure to be able to deliver the services, connections and supporting services that so many people with so many different lives require.

To meet the growing needs of the city, whether that is new offices, new homes, new businesses or more education, we as a city also need to make sure that our infrastructure expands and develops to meet the new demands placed on it.

The road network that suited Brighton, Hove and Portslade in 1999 would simply not be suitable for 2019 and beyond.

Similarly we need ongoing improvements to our schools, utilities, police, fire, ambulance, NHS and a wealth of other institutions and services which all in the city rely on.

A development of even a few hundred homes will often mean more GP appointments, more school places, improved transport links, better leisure facilities being required to balance the effect of the extra people building their lives in our city.

And these sorts of developments collectively over years place greater demands on the basic public services and utilities across even wider areas.

Many of us will remember the massive impact of the delivery of the Peacehaven Waste Water Treatment works. The works have improved significantly the capacity of the city’s waste water management but also the quality of that treatment too.

We have all benefited from these improvements and will continue to for decades to come. However, at the time these were highly controversial and caused some notable disruption.

Across recent years the same is true of the Valley Gardens scheme. No one has yet argued that there is no change required to meet the increasingly complex transport and public space requirements of the city, but I hope that in ten years’ time we can look back at an improvement delivered and an overall successful scheme.

Councillor Daniel Yates is the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council.

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