Brighton’s main shopping street to have £1.5m ‘new deal’ makeover

Posted On 30 Jun 2020 at 8:16 pm

The government will put £1.5 million towards a makeover for Western Road as part of a “new deal” spending package announced today (Tuesday 30 June).

The money is expected to be spent resurfacing large sections of the road which has suffered wear and tear from heavy vehicles, mostly buses.

Traffic islands could be removed and a cycle lane created along with other smaller changes to Brighton and Hove’s “golden mile” for shoppers.

The Conservatives’ leader in Brighton and Hove, Councillor Steve Bell, welcomed the funding for the renewal of Western Road.

The Spearhead

Councillor Bell said: “I am delighted that Brighton and Hove will be one of the very first beneficiaries of the Prime Minister’s ‘New Deal for Britain’, kickstarting our recovery from coronavirus.

“Upgrading Western Road will bring huge benefits to our local area, alleviating traffic problems, reducing congestion, pollution and better connecting our community with the rest of the country.

“Last December, the Conservative government was elected to level up communities and I am pleased to be able to demonstrate the Conservatives’ commitment to doing so.”

He said that he was delighted to see Brighton and Hove benefit from Boris Johnson’s announcement of a £5 billion programme of capital spending.

Critics said that some of the spending – aimed at boosting hopes of an early economic recovery after the covid-19 coronavirus lockdown – had already been announced.

But the funding for the Western Road scheme is understood to be a new spending commitment while other previously announced schemes are expected to be brought forward to try to hasten recovery.

It is part of a £100 million pot of money for road schemes in 29 places around the country.

  1. Simon Phillips Reply

    I first thought, at last, London Road is going to get the renewal it has needed since the 80’s?
    I should have known better!

  2. Billy Reply

    On the face of it we should all be happy with more ‘free’ government money to refurbish any tatty city centre road. But this is another ‘tweaking plan’ which does nothing to help traffic move through the city efficiently, or to encourage business in the area. it’s not part of any longer term plan.
    The high street shops are in decline and it’s not clear how these road changes will help the many failing businesses in the area, especially as most try to reopen after Covid 19 lockdown, and having lost three months of their year’s trading period.
    The traffic islands get removed – and that’s good in theory because it’s only buses and taxis and delivery lorries that are allowed to use Western road anyway, and the bigger vehicles struggle to weave around them. But there’s still a regular roadblock when large lorries have to park half on the pavement just to deliver to retail units like Superdrug. The lack of traffic wardens mean that small business owners often park their cars outside their shops, and those restaurants now running takeaways services have just added to this issue.
    And let’s not forget that these traffic islands were put in to slow traffic and also to help pedestrians. The new cycle lane will not help pedestrians. Cyclists can already use the road, so is this just another road stripe adding to the visual clutter.
    I’m a cyclist, so I personally welcome any new cycle lanes and Western Road and the wider Church road are the obvious places to install one. But these are still shared spaces, and you then get problems when overtaking buses and at bus stops where the bus passengers have to wait and then get on.

    What can happen with these new schemes is we spend more tax payers money and just end up with a newer form of chaos – to replace the previous version. Let’s hope they do it right this time.
    I also hope that transport networks can be seen as a non-party political issue, not least at a time when the local economy is about to go into freefall. At the mo ent our Labour and Green councillors are trying to outgreen each other, while the Tories are saying ‘look at this money we are giving you’ – after they took it away from our city in the first place.
    Somehow it feels like we need a bigger solution to these problems. A bit of longer term vision, maybe.

    • Chris Reply

      Brighton has needed a “longer term vision” for decades but has ended up with a few more tweaks which haven’t really solved anything. About the only thing that hasn’t been properly tried is Park and Ride – the Withdean version didn’t really cut it. Subsequent councils have tried idealogical notions that just change things and moves the problem along a bit. The chances of transport being non-political are slim. There seem to be too many professional politicians rather than people who have actually worked in the real world.

      I don’t see how a cycle lane is going to work along Western Road without major alterations, especially at Churchill Square where buses seem to come from all angles trying to get past others before joining the convoy down North Street, which is now too narrow. The roadway is only just about wide enough for the buses, unless the pavements are going to be reduced, removing the loading bays, to install a cycle lane.

      It seems that rented electric scooters will become legal, adding another form of transport to the mix. There are only a few illegal ones around at present, using the pavement or road as the rider prefers, so they don’t really make much difference. I’ve noticed more rental cycles being abandoned on pavements recently, I live in Patcham where they are not much seen,and can imagine e-scooters being dumped in the same way. Has anything been planned to cope with another transport method?

  3. Andrew Smith Reply

    Oh yes? Follow the money, citizens, see where it goes.
    Another trickle up scheme using pre-designated funding paid for by guess who? That’s right.
    New Deal? Off the bottom of the pack.

  4. Bob Baldwin Reply

    I too thought it meant a real high street for real people, not more flannel about big business and fashion shops. Where is the greengrocer in Western Road ? Where is the fishmonger or the the butcher ?
    London Road still survives with small independent shopkeepers selling what people need to buy, rather than filling up the city centre car parks with folk who are told that they should aspire to worshipping the ” shopping – experience “

  5. Steve Reply

    Agree with those comments as it’s painful watching these changes creep in without design. It seems that whoever makes the decisions just looks at quick and cheap wins. What Brighton needs is a design plan taking notice of smooth working cities like Amsterdam where every type of transport works together pretty much harmoniously. Noting that people who ride bikes aren’t just cyclists, they’re just ordinary people making their way around.

    Since BHCC don’t seem to have the resources to come up with a design it would be great if as part of this lockdown recovery some independent body could do it for them – a crack squad of furloughed brains perhaps?

  6. Simon Reply

    Great to see the road is going to be resurfaced but Nr Bells chain this will lead to some sort of urban regeneration or better connections to the U.K. is a bit far fetched

  7. Stew Reply

    Still have no idea why we don’t have a park and ride scheme when we have a railway right next to the obvious place for one by the A23. How much would it really cost for a siding /loop and 2 platforms to be added to the Brighton mainline just north of the a27 flyover. 3x 3 coach trains (could be automated into a dedicated platform at Brighton Station, platform 8. Without the overpaid train drivers it would be extremely cheap to run as the vast majority of the infrastructure is already built.
    Build a 20 000 space multistory carpark on that stupid field by the rspca, give it a green roof for the dogs to walk on.

    And it would be a dam sight faster and greener than busses, get it to stop at Preston Park Station, add a station at lovers walk charge people £2 each way and free parking if a ticket is purchased like most major European city’s do.

    Then you bang on a congestion charge if your not a resident and the thing will probably turn a profit as well as make the city much less congested and polluted. The greens turning this down last time need their heads examined

  8. Heather Reply

    Another quick fix from BHCC. I agree with many of the comments here about lack of long term plans, park & ride being a great and easy way to keep cars from the city and linking transport networks as in The Netherlands. Just pedestrianising a road or two and narrowing traffic roads to make way for bikes is not a plan. The whole city’s infrastructure needs to be considered and planned as a whole not all these tweets which will just cause traffic to grind to a halt and more pollution. Most of the city’s the council quote in plans to be inspired by have 360 degree access and an underground and tram network, we have none of these. Due to the sea it’s already difficult to access and now the council are making it impossible to move around efficiently. Old Shoreham Road for example, why not make some of the surrounding streets one way to cars one lane for bikes or add a bike lane to Church Road or Portland Road instead and leave cars on OSR. Helping cyclists is supposedly a Council priority, then why not give parking tickets to all the cars parked on double yellow lines on Western Road near CoOp. Today I counted 18 parked along there as I rode past with a bus on my tail because there was no room to over take me. It’s a daily occurrence but never any traffic wardens.The council should ask for a development team from the private sector for advice before ploughing on. I agree there are many parts of town that could benefit from road closures but let’s help the businesses we have get their trade back after 3 months closed, many still unable to open before we turn the city into a mass building site, it looks bad enough at the moment.

  9. Delaney Reply

    Spending money on tarting up the roadway is a waste of time while the street is infested with drunks, beggars and drug addicts. It is becoming more prevalent since they emptied the prisons and Brighton seems to be the first port of call for every vagrant in the country.

    The money would be much better spent rounding them up and sending them to a rehabilitation camp. It would improve the quality of life for the traders, shoppers and hopefully help turn the lives of these dropouts around.

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