Greens and Labour take different stance on park and ride

Green and Labour councillors spelt out different views on whether Brighton and Hove should set up a park and ride scheme at a meeting at Hove Town Hall.

Labour backed the idea despite the historic challenges in finding a suitable site while the Greens shared their reservations about the benefits.

Labour councillor Gary Wilkinson asked Green councillor Jamie Lloyd for a straight “yes or no” on whether he supported a feasibility study into a park and ride scheme for Brighton and Hove.

He said that the idea had been debated locally for decades while other cities, such as Oxford, Reading, Portsmouth and Southampton, had successfully introduced schemes.

Councillor Lloyd, the deputy chair of the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said: “No. My party is against park and ride. We don’t think building a 5,000-space car park in the South Downs is a particularly successful idea which is probably why it hasn’t been done yet.

“I believe it has been in the Labour manifesto since 1995 but the very lack of park and ride in this city is due to the fact we’ve got the sea on one side and the South Downs National Park on the other.”

Nonetheless, Councillor Lloyd said that the Climate Assembly in Brighton and Hove had called for a park and ride and he accepted and respected the democratic process so it would be explored.

The Climate Assembly, formed of 50 residents intended to represent a cross-section of the community, held a series of virtual meetings from September to November last year.

One of the 10 recommendations made by the Assembly was the creation of a park and ride scheme to reduce the number of cars in the centre of Brighton.

Councillor Lloyd told a full council meeting yesterday (Thursday 15 July) that he hoped the feasibility study would look at ways to use the existing parking at Brighton Marina.

He also mentioned the prospect of an experimental park and ride in Mill Road next year, utilising a site that is already used on Brighton and Hove Albion match days.

The trial there would be a partnership between Brighton and Hove City Council and Brighton and Hove Buses.

The buses would travel non-stop to the centre of Brighton, with stops at St Peter’s Church, North Road and Old Steine before returning to Mill Road.

Councillor Lloyd said: “I am excited by the bus company’s proposal. I look forward to seeing that.”

The proposed trial, from next summer, is part of a package of proposals due to be debated at a special meeting of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee on Wednesday (21 July).

At the full council meeting yesterday, councillors agreed to spend part of £250,000 set aside for special projects on a feasibility study to try to find potential locations for a park and ride network.

Councillor Wilkinson said: “Improving public transport in Brighton and Hove should be high on our agenda in order to achieve our aims of reducing congestion, improving local air quality and supporting sustainable growth – and I believe we must work hard to make bus travel more efficient than ever before.

“I personally believe park and ride will play a vital role in this and there are strong calls for this across the city.”

  1. Nathan Adler Reply

    Park and Ride is obviously the way forward, Brighton and Hove has been way to slow to pick this up.

  2. Brighton Area Buswatch Reply

    The idea of a 5,000 space car park in the South Downs National Park is just a scare story put forward by some opponents of Park & Ride who refuse to see the benefits. The Mill Road proposal by Brighton & Hove Buses has been carefully thought through as a measure to reduce congestion in the City Centre. They have successfully run the football P&R from Mill Road for years. If successful it could be expanded into a mobility hub where other modes are available.

    Brighton Marina is not a good site for a Park & Ride because it would encourage more people to drive along the A259 through congested Rottingdean where there are already excellent bus services using existing bus lanes.

    The A23 Mill Road scheme is quite different, it is on the edge of the built up area but away from residential roads and would provide a facility from rural areas and for longer distance visitors. It is long overdue.

    • Some Guy Reply

      From a quick glance at a map, wouldn’t this require destroying Coney Wood and/or Patcham Place playing fields?

      • Brighton Area Buswatch Reply

        No, it would be in the same areas as the existing football Park & Ride.

        • Some Guy Reply

          The football park and ride is about 500 spaces. This proposal would be ten times the size. Can you really fit that many cars into the same area?

  3. rob shepherd Reply

    While bus journeys take 30%-60% longer than in 2010 (despite there being much less traffic) .. park & ride will have limited benefit. The option has to be attractive and the council has to understand what causes congestion and not preach about traffic when its actions such as North Street are the main problem.

    A. City congestion is not a problem, we can meet the plan for 24,000 new homes.

    B. City congestion is so bad we need transport investment for the 24,000 new homes.

    Which of these assessments, A or B, was recently made by B&HCC ?

    The answer may surprise many who watched “temporary” cycle lanes being brought in to use the abundant spare capacity on our major roads

    • Paul Temple Reply

      Interesting to see the Greens will listen to a climate assembly of 50 people but refuse to listen to the 3500 residents who filled in the consultation on the OSR cycle lane, clearly saying no thank you.

  4. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    This has popped up for a quarter of a century. It hardly requires £250,000 being spent to realise that such experience shows there is no site suitable for it (and park and ride often leads to cross-town traffic).

    • Brighton Area Buswatch Reply

      Thats a very negative view Chris, where there’s a will there’s a way, though it might involve working with East & West Sussex to identify Park & Ride sites outside the City boundary. The vast majority of cars using Park & Ride would be making shorter journeys than before. Crucially they would not be driving along congested urban roads into the city centre so emissions will be reduced and buses will be quicker. P&R is already used successfully all over the world and in dozens of towns and cities in the UK. Most people aren’t going to give up their cars, especially if they live in rural areas and if they switch to electric they may feel they have a right to use them more.

      • Christopher Hawtree Reply

        Yes, but it is different in various places. Constraints have prevented such a thing in the past (and one only has to watch the complexities of supervising parking arrangements on a match day at the football ground). One of the biggest waste of spaces is that tranche of used-car lot on Victoria Road in South Portslade. Far better use of it could be made, with car sales done through websites.

  5. bradly23 Reply

    “the sea on one side and the South Downs National Park on the other” = so what? both Portsmouth and Southampton have Park and Ride.

  6. Greens Out Reply

    Sorry? £250,000????

    For a feasibility study? Two hundred and fifty grand????

    Boy do the greens love wasting our money.

  7. Jamie Reply

    Just build down. Build a large multi-story car park below ground level with green fields above. Maybe even underneath the Patcham playing fields, if possible. Have an underground rail platform integrated in and dig a short tunnel south to meet the railway, then add a couple of tracks all the way down to Brighton station. Then have a rail shuttle between the P&R station, Preston Park station, and Brighton station.

    Consider using trams instead, and extend though Brighton station down Queens Road & West Street to the seafront, and branch east to the marina and west to Hove Lagoon.

  8. Sol Reply

    With the latest developments at the RSCH, including the doubling of the A&E department due to start soon, the need for workers at the hospital to be able to reach their workplace is clear, and a council-owned Park and Ride is a very sensible solution to it, in my opinion.

    The local area has historically been abused by antisocial parking, and since the local residents association has been working hard to push back on this, drivers are going to need an alternative way to get to work.

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