There is MAJOR work being planned for the city centre, which includes 4 lanes of two-way traffic and a southbound bus lane grouped through the heart of Brighton to the east side of Old Steine, right opposite the Royal Pavilion.
Did you know? Despite the extensive scale of the work, few people seem to be aware of the plan which has been submitted and approved to go ahead by Brighton & Hove City Council.
It is not clear why such a drastic reconstruction of the city centre has not been more widely publicised. There are no plans on the BHCC website and few residents or businesses have been consulted before the plan was drawn up.
We ask the council to PAUSE the planning and enter into a transparent and open proper stakeholder engagement and public consultation so that the city can move forward together.
CALL TO ACTION:
Please sign this petition urging Brighton and Hove City Council to PAUSE design work on the approved Old Steine road plans and enter into full open consultation with all interested parties to seek a solution that is beneficial to all.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Brighton already has an environmental crisis with illegal levels of airborne particulate and nitrogen dioxide throughout the city centre. Our city streets are sadly among the most polluted in the UK. Radical, evidence-based solutions are called for with an open transparent process that properly engages with the community.
The 'Valley Gardens' redevelopment was originally conceived as a way of addressing these concerns; enhancing access to the city centre with a shared ambition to improve the environment and the local economy. It is a publicly funded project to the tune of around £18m including around £16m from Central Government.
The original outline scheme was widely discussed over many years and had been broadly accepted by the community as well as elected councillors. A more detailed ‘Phase 3’ for the Old Steine area developed by a closed group of consultants, lobbyists and council officers in late 2018 has been fast-tracked into approval shattering that consensus.WITH SO MUCH AGREED, WHAT ARE THE CONCERNS WITH THE CURRENT PLANS?
The lack of proper consultation with residents, businesses, public sector organisations, heritage groups and the public in drawing up the current plans.
The lack of appropriate environmental impact assessment with regard to concerns for air quality, noise pollution, traffic movement and displacement.
The unexpected proposal to merge public transport with private vehicle traffic and consequent loss of the city’s key public transport hub around the Old Steine.
The potential marginalisation of Kemptown and the east of the city throughout the current ‘preferred’ scheme.
Little sign of the promised enhancement to biodiversity in the city centre.
The proposed introduction of a new continuous bike lane through the area is welcome - but the present route cuts right through new pedestrianised areas before joining vehicle traffic. Surely we can seperate all these.
The loss of the west side two-way bus lane with the Art Deco bus stops in unexpected and was immediately criticised by bus users, bus operators and taxi firms. This means 224 peak-time buses per hour in traffic are forced into the general stop-start traffic.
The new plan proposes to funnel public transport and private vehicles into 5-lanes of two-way traffic in front of the residential premises and dividing the city centre in two. Instead of enhanced pedestrian access, the east of the city would lose three metres of pavement to allow this. Replacing the pier roundabout with a T-junction could jam the coast road and may disperse traffic into the east of the city's residential streets.
Traffic modelling for the scheme was restricted to typical UK urban rush hour times and ignored our unique Brighton-focused weekend patterns. The proposal to make Madeira Drive one-way requires creation of a remodelled junction at Duke’s Mound - uncosted, unresearched and not thought through in these plans.
Levels of air and noise pollution would inevitably increase and relocated directly outside the residential premises.
Advocates for the scheme explained that there would be "winners and losers". The winning identified as 5% increase in cycling through the area - surely nowhere near what should be achievable with a better thought out proposal. But the biggest 'losers' will be those who continue to suffer the ill effects of the city's poorly managed road infrastructure. Asthma sufferers, elderly and disabled patients hoping to access city centre surgeries, Kemptown and St James's Street businesses denied suitable loading access and sitting on the wrong side of town.The Valley Gardens Forum CIC is a group of central Brighton residents, public sector organisations, businesses, small & large who share concerns about the current plan.
Old Steine & Kemptown residentsBrighton Pier St James's Street Action Group Brighton and Hove Taxi Forum The North Laine Traders AssociationBrighton Lanes TradersThe Seafront Traders AssociationKemptown Traders GroupBrighton FringeSea Life CentreLatest Music BarBrighton Events GroupPavilion SurgeryHealys SolicitorsLaine Pub CompanyBrighton Language CollegeBrighton & Hove City in BloomBrighton & Hove Restaurant AssociationBrighton Grassroots Music VenuesSainsbury's Local. St James's StreetThe Marlborough Pub & TheatreThe Kingscliffe SocietyRoyal Albion HotelBrighton SpiegeltentBrighton Old Town Local Action TeamAmex Area Neighbourhood ForumLocal 'KIBS' sector (Knowledge Intensive Business Services), including solicitors, surveyors, digital start-ups and more...
Our diverse and lively group is exactly the kind of sounding board that our local councillors should want to encourage - and engage with - at the earliest stages of reimagining our critical infrastructure in the city. There is no hidden agenda or singular viewpoint.The Forum has raised questions, presented deputations and submitted a petition to the Council. It has made repeated requests for the data that underpins the business case for the project. Since December 2018 we have continued a dialogue with Coast 2 Capital, the Local Enterprise Partnership funding the project requesting that a proper consultation process should be conducted by Brighton & Hove City Council before the final phase of the scheme is funded.With the principle objectives of the scheme agreed between all parties, it makes sense to attempt formal mediation. In April 2019 our letter invited the BHCC to consider mediation in a bid to avoid potential legal action. A Judicial Review claim would be expensive and time consuming. There is also the concern that such an action could compromise funding of the scheme - something that nobody wants to see. Mediation has been agreed as a next step with the formal process and dates are to be confirmed.FORUM OBJECTIVES FROM MEDIATION WITH BRIGHTON & HOVE CITY COUNCIL
A full open consultation over a range of options with all interested parties in the city without precondition.
For Brighton & Hove City Council to commit to commit to proper consideration of environmental impacts across the whole Valley Gardens scheme.
For Brighton & Hove City Council to address and fully respond to the Forum's outstanding requests for Valley Gardens phase 3 technical data.
THE VALLEY GARDENS FORUM AIMS & OBJECTIVES FOR THE SCHEME
Brighton needs affordable public transport accessible to every corner of the city with zero-emission, low-cost shuttle buses heading efficiently to and from the centre.
It must ensure inviting city-wide routes to the centre for cyclists and pedestrians – and better access to attractive green spaces.
The south and west sides of the Old Steine should remain as the city centre’s natural transport hub complete with our three iconic “deco” bus shelters.
Instead of separating Kemp Town from the centre with five lanes of traffic, create a seafront gateway to encourage visitors to explore the east of the city.
Let’s create a dedicated active travel crossing to the seafront, safely clear of all the cars, buses and trucks.
DOWNLOAD THE CURRENT PLAN