Traffic jams will deter tourists, warns senior councillor

Tourists stuck in traffic jams trying to reach Brighton could be put off from coming back, a councillor has warned.

Conservative councillor Dee Simson said: “I had the misfortune on bank holiday Monday to have to leave the city and then try to get back into the city.

“I was witnessing cars full of big families loaded up, full of gear for the beaches, umbrellas, parasols and chairs, things they can’t carry on buses and trains.

“They were just queued in traffic trying to get into the city.”

Congestion had also worsened in her ward, she said, because satellite navigation systems were sending drivers through Woodingdean rather than down the A23.

She said that the roads needed to be sorted out because of the effect of congestion on visitors and people staying over.

She told a Brighton and Hove City Council committee that successful tourism meant more people staying and spending their money in the city, supporting the local economy.

At a meeting of the council’s Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee, Councillor Simson added: “People coming to stay for a week in a hotel, they don’t necessarily want to stay in Brighton and Hove. They may want to go out into the South Downs National Park.

“They will want to use a vehicle because they have a lot of paraphernalia, children and family and all sorts of things.”

She made the remarks as the committee discussed the Brighton and Hove Tourism Recovery Plan 2021-23.

A co-opted member of the committee, Stephanie Prior, said that fewer people should be coming to Brighton and Hove by car.

Ms Prior said that a campaign was needed to promote park and ride – to reduce the number of people driving into the city.

She also suggested more collaboration with ethnic minority groups and event specialists to “enhance the city’s identity” and highlighting the council’s anti-racism pledge.

Ms Prior said: “Many visitors come to our city for more than just the traditional seaside offerings.

“In many ways, we are more than just a fish and chips city. Many are attracted to the modernity and diversity of what the city increasingly offers.”

Councillor Dee Simson

Green councillor Steph Powell, who chairs the committee, said that park and ride was the responsibility of another committee but it could be looked at again.

She said: “The Climate Assembly responded to being a car-free city and discussed park and ride. We do need to get back to that.”

Councillor Simson said that finding a park and ride site was a long-standing problem but it was a potential solution to the congestion problems.

A report before the committee said that the Tourism Recovery Plan included ideas such as promoting Brighton and the surrounding area through press trips and media visits.

It said that Visit Brighton also wanted to encourage tourists to stay longer and more people to come off-season.

In a normal year about 12 million people visit Brighton and Hove, supporting 24,000 jobs and bringing in almost £1 billion a year to the local economy.

Councillor Steph Powell

The report said that businesses were being encouraged to sign up to Visit Britain’s “Good to Go” accreditation to show that they were following coronavirus guidelines.

This year, the committee was told, visitor numbers were 63 per cent lower in the first three months than in January to March last year.

At the meeting yesterday (Thursday 17 June), Labour councillor Amanda Grimshaw praised the Never Normal Brighton campaign, highlighting the city’s diversity and quirkiness.

She said: “It is quite devastating to read about how much of a hit we have taken and so many losses.

“I’m feeling really hopeful about this wonderful recovery plan. I like that it’s based on collective action with everyone working together to get us up and running.”

  1. Dave Reply

    Obviously we need a park and ride. We have needed one for 20 years. The greens 10 years ago voted against the idea and it had national funding. 1 at the A23 and on by famler train station.

  2. David Stevens Reply

    Councillor Dee Simson said: “I was witnessing cars full of big families loaded up, full of gear for the beaches, umbrellas, parasols and chairs, things they can’t carry on buses and trains.”
    She then said that finding a park and ride site was a long-standing problem but it was a potential solution to the congestion problems.
    My question is: How do those families get the gear for the beaches, umbrellas, parasols and chairs, things they can’t carry on buses and trains from a park and ride to the beach?

    • Some Guy Reply

      How about people just leave their tat at home and come visit the city by public transport?

  3. Greens Out Reply

    “This year, the committee was told, visitor numbers were 63 per cent lower in the first three months than in January to March last year.”

    Well no s*** Sherlock!

    I can’t imagine what could have caused that????

  4. Nathan Adler Reply

    Park and Ride is the solution, the climate assembly made it a top recommendation, the Labour Party promised it in their last local manifesto and yet the Greens are dead against it, (along with FOE, Bricycles and Sustrans). Go to Blackpool or Oxford or look at the amazing plans for Portsmouth and you can see it really works.

  5. Hove Guy Reply

    “In many ways, we are more than just a fish and chips city. Many are attracted to the modernity and diversity of what the city increasingly offers.”
    Such as what, for instance? The i360, masses of cycle lanes, overpriced cafes and restaurants, graffiti and beggars everywhere you look?

  6. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    Er, Park and Ride has been mentioned in this off-the-cuff fashion for decades – but there is nowhere to site it.

    • Peter Challis Reply

      Plenty of options for a park-and-ride or a parkway – in 2012 they came up with American Express Community Stadium, Brighton Marina, Holmbush in Shoreham and Asda in Hollingbury.

      If SDNP approved then Waterhall could provide an ideal link into the road/rail network as well.

      In 2015 the Brighton & Hove Independent reported and that Sayers Common was an option.

      Of course the main constraint is that groups such as the Greens and Friends of the Earth are totally against park-and-ride and the use of private motor vehicles and want people to comee by bus or train only.

  7. Mike Dixon Reply

    With the rail services being interrupted over weekends and bank holidays for essential repairs and to reduce the number of vehicles coming in to the heart of our city it is essential that a site for a park and rides scheme is found ASAP. There must be a landowner out there who wants to rent out, or lease, some land for this use. It will promote tourist and create much needed jobs. Fewer cars coming in to the heart of Brighton and Hove will reduce pollution, noise and accidents.

  8. Brighton Area Buswatch Reply

    Brighton Area Buswatch suggested a Park & Ride trial using Mill Road this summer. This site is already used very successfully as a football Park & Ride but the Council still rejected it. Its location close to the A23 & A27 junction is perfect to attract visitors. The Council’s latest Local Transport Plan barely mentions Park & Ride, so it clearly isn’t a priority and it won’t happen anytime soon. Without P&R, people from outside the city will continue to drive into the centre of Brighton creating unnecessary congestion and pollution and delaying our local bus services so they become slower and unreliable. They should look elsewhere, there are plenty of examples of successful P&R schemes in the south of England, Oxford, Guildford, Reading, Canterbury, Cambridge, Winchester, Portsmouth and Southampton is now building one.

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