Brighton has an environmental crisis with illegal levels of particulate and nitrogen dioxide pollution.
Poor council traffic planning has contributed to making our city streets among the most polluted in the UK.
It needs a radical solution. Public funding to achieve this is welcome but the current plan for the last part of the “Valley Gardens” project ignores the evidence, has marginalised city centre stakeholders and is set to make things worse.
This is a huge deal for Brighton and if unchecked would represent a lost once-in-a-generation opportunity to put things right.
Now that the councillor most clearly associated with the current scheme is stepping down and the external consultant who led the design has moved to Australia, the local election is the time for all political parties to commit to a rethink and genuinely engage with the community they serve.
Brighton’s transport crisis needs joined-up thinking.
This must include affordable public transport accessible to every corner of the city, including a park-and-ride system to the east, west and north of Brighton with zero-emission, low-cost shuttle buses heading to and from the centre.
And it must ensure city-wide routes to the centre for cyclists and pedestrians – and better access to green spaces.
The west side of the Old Steine needs to remain as the city centre’s natural transport hub complete with its three iconic “deco” bus shelters.
Instead of separating Kemp Town from the centre with a five-lane highway, create a seafront gateway to encourage visitors to explore the east of the city.
Outdoor event organisers need to be involved in planning site access, power and sewerage infrastructure to replace generators and tanker trucks.
Let’s remodel unloved Pool Valley to create the country’s first cycling station and a dedicated active-travel crossing to the seafront, safely clear of all the cars, buses and trucks.
Why didn’t the council talk openly with the community when the latest design was being drawn up last summer?
Why do they keep claiming to have met and listened to resident groups, trade associations, tourism and leisure bosses, event organisers and other professionals when everyone knows they haven’t?
Why did they propose removing the seafront roundabout when all the data and their own commissioned risk register demonstrates that remodelling it would be by far the safest and cheapest option?
We are a unique, creative and talented community. Involve us in the plan and we’ll share brilliant innovative solutions.
Stop planning in secret. What are you afraid of?
Daniel Nathan is the co-ordinator of the Valley Gardens Forum CIC.
The Brighton and Hove Transport Hustings is due to take place tomorrow (Thursday 25 April) at the Brighthelm Centre, in North Road, Brighton, from 7pm to 9pm. For a ticket to attend, click here.
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.