Residents fear ‘liveable streets’ will just displace traffic

A nine-week public consultation is due to start next month after councillors voted to move forward with a pilot low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) scheme.

The latest designs for the Hanover and Tarner Liveable Neighbourhood project follow from a series of public workshops where residents shared their views on design options.

But people living in Elm Grove spoke about fears that more traffic would be pushed into their busy street at a Brighton and Hove City Council meeting yesterday (Tuesday 21 June).

They voiced their concerns in a deputation and petition to the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee at Hove Town Hall.

One resident, Joanne Gorsuch, said that Elm Grove was a residential street with poorly planned junctions and serious accidents every year.

Mrs Gorsuch said: “So-called boundary roads on LTNs see mixed results – and at their worst result in a huge increase in traffic.

“It is no surprise that plans for the LTN provoked worry and anger here. These considerations were sadly neglected in initial proposals for this pilot.”

Alison Guile presented a petition signed by 379 people raising similar concerns.

Green councillor Steve Davis, who chaired the meeting yesterday, said that the council would monitor the results of the pilot scheme to ensure it was a success.

Councillor Davis said that works on the boundary roads, Elm Grove and Queen’s Park Road, were expected to be permanent.

But there would be a further six-month consultation period to allow for amendments as part of an “experimental traffic order”.

He said that the council would monitor any changes introduced to the roads for a further year to consider further amendments or removal.

The council would also monitor air quality in real-time across the scheme, he said, including at sites at Orchard Day Nursery, in Queen’s Park Road, and Elm Grove Primary School.

Councillor Steve Davis

Councillor Davis said that the council was waiting for the results of a national consultation on pavement parking carried out in 2020 but would consider taking additional action in Elm Grove.

He said: “We know that pavement parking and driving on pavements creates a real danger that residents should simply not have to tolerate.

“It is not acceptable that we do not have the powers to address these in an efficient way and we should have the power to reclaim pavements for pedestrians.”

“Greening” measures for Elm Grove would include new crossing points, traffic calming measures and raised areas for plants.

The committee also received a petition, deputation and public question in support of the project.

Conservative councillors Samer Bagaeen and Robert Nemeth voted against a further public consultation on the project.

Councillor Bagaeen asked how the council had managed to spend £300,000 on the first designs and workshops, saying residents had asked him about how the council appointed design consultancy Project Centre. He did not feel that it had been “transparent”.

Councillor Bagaeen said: “There are residents out there who do not think this is a legitimate and transparent process. We’ve not convinced them that’s the case.

“Reading the report, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not been a legitimate and transparent process.”

Transport officer Oliver Spratley said that the council chose Project Centre after a “mini competition” between three companies with “framework agreements”. The companies had long-standing working relationships with the council, which are reviewed every four years.

The Project Centre bid came in below the cost cap of £75,000. Other costs included surveying 100 points across the Hanover and Tarner area.

Councillor Samer Bagaeen

One of the council’s most senior officials, Donna Chisholm, said that all the correct procurement procedures had been followed transparently by the procurement team.

The interim co-executive director for the environment, economy and culture said that it was normal for organisations such as Project Centre to have a “framework agreement” with the council. This allowed for the “mini tendering” of projects like the liveable neighbourhood scheme.

Ms Chisholm said: “That is a legitimate and transparent process that is scrutinised by a number of people in the council and periodically by audit.”

She said that the scheme was a pilot scheme and an exercise in experimentation which would come back before the committee.

Green councillor Jamie Lloyd said that it was an exciting project and he wanted to focus on the positives. He said: “We heard from concerned people in neighbouring roads – and I do understand their concerns.

“If this goes ahead, and I’m sure it will, the area will be much nicer, with greening around Elm Grove, more crossings, trees (and) speed monitoring which will make the area much nicer.

“Greening around the school, I think, will be particularly important, which is great, as well as air quality monitoring.”

Councillor Gary Wilkinson

Labour councillor Gary Wilkinson said that he was frustrated that there was no city-wide strategy for low-traffic and 20-minute neighbourhoods.

He backed the proposals and said: “As the first in the city, I do appreciate that the Hanover and Tarner Pilot LTN will help to test the local Brighton and Hove context and the local public highway network to inform and influence the future co-production, development, and delivery of the city’s future LTNs and/or other liveable neighbourhood measures across the city.

“However, a strategy should ideally have come before the implementation of the pilot scheme. What we have done here is put the cart before the horse.”

The council contacted 7,215 households in the area before the two public engagement exercises.

During the first public engagement mapping exercise in October and November last year, more than 300 people gave their views.

In the second engagement period, in April and May, people gave their views on two concept designs, with 250 people attending workshops and 472 responding online.

Green and Labour councillors voted to consult people on the new designs and to ask the Policy and Resources Committee for £1.1 million funding from the 2022-23 Carbon Neutral Fund.

The Policy and Resources Committee is due to meet at Hove Town Hall at 4pm on Thursday 7 July.

  1. Nathan Adler Reply

    Of course Elm Grove will get worse but there are always winners and lovers with an LTN scheme.

  2. Peter Challis Reply

    Not another £1.1m from the £10m Carbon Neutral Fund paid for by our council tax!

    How many tonnes of CO2 will be removed from the city as part of this scheme? How will emission reductions (or increases in surrounding areas!) be measured and is this a good “return on investment”?

    Or is the Carbon Neutral Fund just a bottomless money pit for the council to implement schemes without having to worry about financial justification or predefined success criteria?

    Lots of promises of monitoring and amending the scheme if it fails to deliver, but our Green “transport expert” councillors seem to be convinced it will work.

    I assume just like the poorly used cycle lanes on the seafront that are mainly used for leisure, but they managed to find numbers that made it look a success.

  3. Sd Reply

    We are not a car free city.

    Not everyone can cycle.

    Stop the demonisation of drivers!

    • SlowFiets Reply

      No – we are not a car free city, but do need to work harder at becoming a low car city form the sake of our health and environment – this pilot project will help us work out how to do that.

      Not everyone can cycle – true. Also not everyone can drive and not everyone can walk. This is why we need a mix of options in our city and not just car dominance. We need to create an environment where cycling and walking are safer and more convenient.

      Drivers are not being demonised, but the space and resource needs and impact of car culture are being called into question. There are too many cars in B&H, and rather than demonising people, the city is experimenting with ways to tackle this and the Liveable Neighbourhood pilot is a part of this. I would much rather live in a city which understands future challenges and works to tackle them. Doing nothing is not an option.

      • Peter Challis Reply

        Except that this plan is, allegedly, to support carbon neutrality and
        seems to be of the “we must do something, this is something, let’s do it” school of mismanagement, with no overall strategy other than demonising private motorists, and not providing practical alternatives.

    • Junia Reply

      Not everyone can drive.

    • Dave Reply

      Look at the one that was rolled out in Oxford 2 weeks ago. Fire crews have had to cut down bollards to get to emergencies. Deeply unpopular.

      This whole scheme as per usual misses the point. We need a park and ride for the city, not constant destruction of our infrastructure.

      I genuinely feel sorry for anyone living on elm grove or queen’s park road, Time to seal your windows up

  4. Donna P Reply

    Strange times we live in, when the Council acts in such a dictatorial manner, ignoring the wishes of residents. Democracy? I don’t think so .

    • AO Reply

      Well said. We have no say. If anyone thinks this is a good idea, just have a look at the plans and you’ll see what nonsense they are.

  5. AO Reply

    In order to enter Hanover, every car, van and lorry will have to drive down one narrow road. Bentham Road. This scheme is a f**king joke. We have no right to refuse it. Even the bin men think it’s insane and an utter waste of money. Wtf is the point of this extremely expensive experiment. Hanover is rightly pissed off.

    • Confused Resident Reply

      Notice also that Bentham Road is a very steep narrow road. So this causes a car engine to work harder, and throw out more fumes. And to exit they are forcing cars up Southover Street – again causing more fumes. Hard luck if you live in those roads.

      Why not allow entry \ exit on shorter, wider and flat roads like Milton Road? This is being designed on paper by people who clearly don’t know the area. It will dump all the fumes in those two roads – and I bet they don’t put any of the pollution sensors at those locations.

    • Ancient Mariner Reply

      But we are being told by bhcc and the Greens that the residents of Hanover requested the scheme?!

      • Puzzled Resident Reply

        Hanover Action and Extinction rebellion are behind this, not the residents.

      • AO Reply

        A clique of about five people did.

        • Dave in Bentham Reply

          Clearly BHCC are in the pocket of pressure groups like Sustrans, Bricycles, XR etc. How on Earth can this situation be acceptable? The wishes of normal taxpaying residents and businesses are ignored.

  6. Billy Short Reply

    I’m scratching my head as to why this lunacy happens.
    I lived in the Hanover area from when I was a teenager and I can see why Labour and the Greens are chasing their voters there. But in truth I wouldn’t vote for this, because it’s classic fake green.

    I can see why they aren’t cleaning our streets anymore or weeding the gutters, because they’ve got the money tied up in their carbon neutral fund.
    And the weird thing is this will do nothing to help Brighton and Hove go carbon neutral. It’s money wasted on plans which don’t deliver their stated goals. Any success in one area will have a negative impact on another.
    Longer journey times will mean more pollution, more stress, and indeed why not spend the same money on planting trees instead?

    This scheme is classic short-termism where they sell an ideological idea to one set of residents whilst shifting greater problems onto their near neighbours. They also spend a lot of the money on PR and claim they have consulted – whilst still doing what they set out to do.

    All the while the city transport infrastructure gets slowly worse with new traffic jams created and public transport slowed further.

    Who is seriously behind these stupid ideas? Where are figures that even claim this will help the city’s long term transport strategy?

    • Hove Guy Reply

      What a pity there isn’t a Hypocrites Anonymous to which Labour and Green councillors could join, in order to come to terms with their bizarre fantasies and idiotic ideas that just don’t work.

  7. Bus User Reply

    A funny phrase to see appear is “bus lay-bys being explored”.

    They have spent the past 5-10 years removing every bus stop layby to push them all out into the road to intentionally hold up traffic.

    Have they finally started to realise the level of fumes this causes in places like North Street and anywhere else this is carried out?

  8. Puzzled Resident Reply

    £300K already spent on this? Please as a journalist follow the money. This is completely insane.

  9. Helen Reply

    I remember Elm Grove when parking off the road was allowed in the areas provided. Now they’ve stopped that, there’s been nothing but chaos. Vehicles now park on the main road that causes delays to bus service’s and creates congestion and more pollution that wasn’t there before.

    I assume with the bus gate at the bottom of Southover Street normal traffic will be banned from using this road, so will force them to use Elm Grove and Queens Park Road.

    As with all these schemes, council only ask what scheme people want not if they want a scheme or what people’s own needs are.

  10. Tim Reply

    What the actual!? WHO designed this. Send every car coming into Hanover UP Bentham Road and then down Whichello (a fairly quiet street already). Bentham is a rat run but at least the cars are going downhill. I’m 100% behind changes for environmental benefit- but this basically makes a few areas better- and already problematic streets even worse!

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