Wednesday, February 19

Valley Gardens – Design or Disaster ?

- January 14, 2019

Tourism Alliance Chair Anne Ackord speaks out about the Valley Gardens Phase 3 proposal

Dear Latest

The Brighton Palace Pier along with many others based around the Old Steine have serious concerns about Brighton & Hove City Council’s latest plans to change the way visitors access the centre of the city as tourists or local residents and together have started the Valley Gardens Forum to make these concerns known.

The Forum is a group of central Brighton residents, public sector organisations and businesses, large & small, sharing concerns about the City Council’s plan to remodel the centre of the city. The Valley Gardens redevelopment was originally conceived as a way of enhancing access to the city centre with a shared ambition to improve the environment and enhance the local economy. The original outline scheme was widely discussed and had been broadly accepted by the community. A more detailed ‘Phase 3’ developed by consultants with council officers and presented three months ago, shatters that consensus.

Nobody would argue that Brighton doesn’t have a problem with traffic congestion and resulting air and noise pollution. However, the Council’s current plans would make this demonstrably worse

Nobody would argue that Brighton doesn’t have a problem with traffic congestion and resulting air and noise pollution. However, the Council’s current plans would make this demonstrably worse. In fact, it presents a deliberate policy of making it more difficult to visit a city dependent on its visitor and services economy. There is no evidence in the current Council approved ‘business case’ that the big picture and the broadest range of impacts on the economy, local environment and people’s livelihoods have been considered at all. At a time when local services are starved of resources and existing public infrastructure is not being adequately maintained, Brighton & Hove City Council also need to win the argument that an additional £8m of public money should be devoted to the scheme in the first place.

There’s a very real risk that by deliberately making driving into Brighton more problematic without providing a viable alternative, there’ll be less visitors to the centre and also less locals from outlying suburbs and beyond too – 36% of out of town visitors arrive in Brighton in a private vehicle – spending around £300m (out of a total of £837m) per annum. Over 21,000 local jobs are supported by the tourist economy. Assuming a modest 5% drop in visitor numbers as an unintended consequence of reducing vehicle numbers – that would result in a £15m annual hit to the economy with job losses inevitable. This statistic doesn’t even factor the likely transfer of jobs to neighbouring towns in Sussex as local residents in outlying districts of Brighton choose to drive and shopin Crawley, Eastbourne or Worthing as opposed to our own City Centre.

I and the Valley Gardens Forum feel strongly that this plan isn’t the right one and if any of you share these concerns then we invite you to contact Daniel Nathan – if you want to join or know more.

Get your voice heard, email:

Anne Ackord, Chair, Tourism Alliance

Related Topics:

Related articles


  1. January 16, 2019 by Marc Ellis

    I’m not quite sure what the problem is. There’s two lanes of traffic running north and south currently. There’s two lanes of traffic in the proposed development plus, loads of pedestrianised public space. At first glance, to me, this looks like a win win…!?

  2. January 16, 2019 by Nathan Adler

    Absolutely not a win win, there are two lanes of traffic running north and south but they are only running because of the free flow from the Palace Pier roundabout, remove that roundabout and put in traffic lights and the traffic becomes more congested. Secondly making Marine Parade one way is lunacy 1000’s of coaches use this area every year and they are all going to have to exit up at Dukes Mound. The proposal takes no account of the confusion this is going to cause. It is good to have pedestrian public space but it must serve a purpose, a few benches outside the pavillion seems paticullarly pointless especially as there is no ongoing budget for the garden area and that pedestrian space is going to sit right next to 4 lanes of traffic. Don’t get me started on the chaos that this will cause for buses coming out of Edward Street. Really poor planning and needs a serious rethink

  3. January 16, 2019 by Derek John Wright

    The council plans show two lanes in and two lanes out,as it is now. Buses will have a convoluted route which is not supported by the bus companies Changing the roundabout is contentious as it seeks to encourage pedestrians and cyclist usage while leaving the motorist the same or worse off. Join Valley Gardens Past Present and Future on Facebook, where we are discussing this

  4. January 16, 2019 by Derek John Wright

  5. January 16, 2019 by Chris keene

    I’ve just looked at the forums suggestions and they seem to have a few issues. The councils plan fixes the problem of crossing from the pier to the city centre and gardens. The forums plans removes these crossings. They create a road barrier between the town centre and the gardens, the very problem trying to be fixed. They move the coach park when there is no reason to do so (though it would be good business for Sainsbury’s). Putting a bike park hidden away is a bike thief’s dream.

  6. January 18, 2019 by Nicholas sabine

    Is there any evidence demonstrating that the new road design would cause any more traffic congestion than the current arrangement? Proposal looks sensible to me, allowing for more public space and the same level of access. Let’s not confuse this issue with a campaign led by commercial pressure groups wanting to improve their right to public space and amenities!

Leave a Comment