- January 14, 2019
Tourism Alliance Chair Anne Ackord speaks out about the Valley Gardens Phase 3 proposal
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to join or know more.
Get your voice heard, email: email@example.com
Anne Ackord, Chair, Tourism Alliance