Controversial Brighton road layout scheme awarded £6m grant

Posted On 19 Oct 2019 at 3:35 pm

A controversial road layout scheme in the heart of Brighton has been awarded a £6 million grant by regional funding chiefs.

The money will go towards the £8 million cost of a revamp planned for the Old Steine area of Brighton – known as Valley Gardens phase 3.

The grant to Brighton and Hove City Council was approved by the board of the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) on Thursday (17 October).

The council has redesigned the road layout, footpaths and cycle routes from St Peter’s Church to the seafront.

Work on phase 1 and 2 of the Valley Gardens project is well under way – from St Peter’s to Edward Street – but phase 3 has been dogged by controversy.

Plans to scrap the Aquarium roundabout and replace it with traffic lights won the support of cyclists.

Some critics have pointed out though that cyclists and pedestrians will probably breathe in more fumes than anyone else from the way that traffic jams will be engineered.

But the proposal angered drivers and those worried about the pollution that would be generated by the resulting traffic jams.

The council’s favoured design has also upset people living to the east of Old Steine who have their own concerns about pollution. The current design would bunch four lanes of traffic together.

The taxi trade and some involved in buses had safety concerns and other worries, including about the area between the bottom of North Street and St James’s Street.

There were also concerns about a proposal to make Madeira Drive entry-only by the pier, forcing traffic to leave by Duke’s Mound.

The LEP said yesterday: “The Coast to Capital board has approved £6 million (from the) Local Growth Fund for Valley Gardens phase 3.

“The board is satisfied that the relevant funding criteria have been met and that Brighton and Hove City Council has met the conditions set by the Coast to Capital board.”

A visualisation of the area in front of the Palace Pier If the Aquarium roundabout is replaced by traffic lights

The council said: “Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership has approved £6 million of funding for phase 3 of the Valley Gardens project.

“The decision was made at the Coast to Capital board meeting. It means that the council can now enter into a funding agreement and progress the scheme.

“Valley Gardens is a prime city centre site surrounded by attractions such as the Royal Pavilion and shopping areas leading down to the seafront and the Palace Pier.”

Pier boss Anne Ackord made a strongly worded plea in advance of the LEP board meeting – writing as chair of the Tourism Alliance – saying that the new scheme would harm the visitor economy and cost jobs.

Councillor councillor Lee Wares said that the project had scored poorly for value for money – and that was before changes that would be needed at Duke’s Mound had been factored in.

The Valley Gardens Forum, which represents businesses and residents, is believed to have been working on design improvements that would win the council the backing of many of its current opponents.

Councillor Anne Pissaridou

Labour councillor Anne Pissaridou, who chairs the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said: “We will continue to engage with people to ensure we provide the best scheme possible.

“Valley Gardens is a key part of our commitment to improve the city’s environment for people.

“It will contribute to our wider aim of becoming carbon-neutral by 2030 by making it possible for more of us to make our journeys using public transport, cycling or walking.

“We have the opportunity to realise the potential of Valley Gardens as a place to visit, spend time in and host events.

“It will provide the infrastructure needed to give people access to the whole area, turn Valley Gardens into a destination in its own right and make it easier to explore other areas like Kemp Town and the seafront.”

  1. Macdod Reply

    Not in my back yard…..same old same old … no one gave a second thought to chopping down trees at Dorothy Stringer and creating a football pitch for the so called locals but guess what the traffic at weekends and evenings has increased exponentially and pollution is greater. No one gives a dam. So get over the changes and in no time no one will give a dam about the Valley Garden changes either.

  2. Sean fowler Reply

    I can not believe the idiotic scheme of valley garden and the old steine roundabout its already a bottleneck but a roundabout atleast keeps traffic moving the scheme looks more for pedestrians than motorists whom seem to be the target once again . Its obvious that the people whom have approved this are nothing more than morons, with no knowledge of how things work especially at a very busy road, in a very busy tourists attraction it seem that the six millon pounds thrown at it from an outsider was the key to this nonsense

    • Kevin Smith Reply

      Deliberately creating more congestion and the resulting fumes will not be good for pedestrians or cyclists or anyone living in the affected area. It should be a criminal offence and the politicians who voted for this should be prosecuted.
      Also, most accidents near the current roundabout are at the traffic light crossings and quite a few involve cyclists hitting pedestrians.

  3. phoebe v Reply

    So from what I can tell, this scheme is better for pedestrians, better for cyclists, and better for everyone who wants to visit the seafront. The only people this may inconvenience is those who insist on polluting our wonderful city in petrol guzzling machines that are completely unnecessary thanks to good old fashioned busses, bikes and walking. Cars need to be discouraged. I’m all for this plan and look forward to enjoying the sea front even more with my friends and family.

  4. Peter Challis Reply

    If only our beloved Labour Council would implement the proper park-and-ride that they promised in their election manifesto. Otherwise it will just cause increased congestion and pollution in the city and discourage visitors, customers and businesses that the city needs to survive.

  5. MegA Reply

    Be interesting to see the air quality stats once it is in place if the repdictions about traffic jams turn out to be true. Cycle safety in that area of the city is non-exstent, so being able to cycle safety from Hove to Falmer will be welcome.

  6. EM Smith Reply

    If there was a working park and ride scheme in place, then this scheme might just work but, as it is, it will just choke the traffic, choke the cyclists and choke the pedestrians. It’s congestion by design and all the while the transition to electric cars is taking so long (not helped by our council being such a slow adopter when it comes to easily-available charging points), it’s a deliberate plan to pollute an area where pollution levels are already too high. It’s criminal, either because it’s either negligently or deliberately adding to poisonous fumes in the air.

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