8 November 2013

Brighton Old Town public inquiry result

Brighton Old Town public inquiry result


Plans to make the Old Town area of Brighton city centre more attractive and safer for pedestrians, have taken a significant step forward following recommendations from a government inspector.


The Old Town, which includes The Lanes area of Brighton, is one of the most popular areas for visitors, with the seafront on one side and the North Laine area on the other.


The Public Inquiry was called by the council to seek independent advice on the balance between the benefits of the council’s ‘Old Town Transport Scheme’ proposals and the interests of the objectors.


After hearing evidence from council officers, residents, businesses, and pedestrian charities, the inspector supported the proposals to close the northern-most section of Ship Street.  He agreed with council officers that closing the stretch of road will dramatically reduce the amount of through traffic in the area - a key objective of the project.


The inspector also supported the proposal for a Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) ban after 11am. This was put forward by many local businesses who told the council that HGVs ruined the character of the area.


The Inspector agreed that proposals to close the middle part of East Street to all traffic between 11am and 7pm each day would help pedestrians and businesses. Council officers will develop proposals for Little East Street further to determine an alternative design for the road. Initial proposals to close a section of Prince Albert Street will also be looked at again once the impact of other measures in the Old Town have been assessed.


A proposal to close Boyce’s Street to through traffic, supported by businesses, residents and Middle Street School, was agreed before the public inquiry and will go ahead as planned.


The proposals considered by the inspector were drawn up following consultation with residents, businesses and visitors. The scheme follows on from improvements already made to King's Road between Middle Street and Black Lion Street.


The aim was to reduce unnecessary traffic and improve the area for pedestrians and businesses. Previous research for similar schemes in city centre locations has shown retailers and restaurants reporting an improvement in business and a more engaging environment.


Lead Member for Transport, Ian Davey said: "The government inspector has clearly seen the benefits that the scheme will bring to those who live, visit and work in the Old Town areas of the city, and we are pleased to be able to move forward with the proposals for Ship Street and Boyces Street.


“We are also confident that we can develop the proposals for Little East Street to take into account the inspector’s feedback.


“Our plans for the Old Town proved popular in the public consultation and are similar to improvements seen in historic city centres around the world. They look set to maximise the potential of one the city’s best loved areas by making it more attractive and comfortable for visitors.”


The proposals will go to the Environment, Transport & Sustainability committee for final approval in January. Implementation could begin shortly after that.


For more details and to view the inspector’s report: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/oldtown


Notes to Editors


A consultation exercise was carried out in June 2012. The main results were:

*66% were in favour of a traffic reduction scheme.

*Among businesses 50% favoured a traffic improvement scheme and 50% wanted no change.

*Among residents of the Old Town, 55% wanted a new scheme.

*In general, people would like vehicular access (for those with legitimate reason to enter the area) to be permitted at all times. If there were to be a timed restriction, the most popular times to ban cars were during the middle of the day.