A roads and landscaping scheme which will bring £40m worth of benefits to Brighton & Hove could soon progress to construction drawings.
Plans to improve travel and create a new park in Brighton’s central valley officially received £8m of government funding last month.
Now councillors are being recommended to allow staff to get on with technical designs for road layouts and landscaping – as well as tendering for contractors.
The latest report on the Valley Gardens scheme goes to the environment, transport and sustainability committee on March 17.
Committee chair Councillor Pete West said: “I am very keen to progress the project because a failure to deliver it would mean the government funding and the £40m spin-off benefits being lost for good. I think there’s broad agreement that a new park and better transport with no increase in car journey times is a good thing. Moving to designs will enable the city to have an informed debate on how it would all work in practice.”
The Local Transport Board, part of the Coast To Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), confirmed on February 18 that £8m of Local Growth Fund money would be available for the project.
It aims to improve walking, cycling and public transport between St Peter’s Church and the Royal Pavilion, with no increase in car journey times.
The Local Transport Board’s (LTB) decision was based on a written business case presented by the city council. This details around £40m worth of benefits over 20 years – bringing returns valued at four times the original investment. These would come from improved health, faster journeys, less pollution, better business links, improved retail frontages, new housing and offices, training and tourism.
Environmental engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff independently assessed the business case for the LTB, concluding it offered “very high value for money.”
Key elements would involve routing general through traffic along the east side of the valley with buses, taxis and local traffic in a ‘park road’ to the west. There would be an improved network of cycle lanes and pedestrian routes. Hundreds of trees would be planted and green space increased, to improve and revitalise the gardens.
A crucial effect would be to remove a perceived barrier between the east and west of the city, encouraging economic growth on the Kemp Town side.
The business case says car journey times should not increase if general traffic was changed to mainly one lane in each direction with two lanes at junctions where needed. Progress of traffic through the area is dictated by the capacity of junctions outside the scheme, not road space, says the council.
Read the reports for the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee. Valley Gardens is agenda item no. 95