12 October 2016

Weekend pedestrianisation of historic street is permanent

Weekend pedestrianisation of one of Brighton’s most historic streets is to be made permanent. 

A car free East Street on Saturdays and Sundays was confirmed by the city council’s environment committee, backed by a delegation of local businesses.

 It follows a trial which has been running since May 2015.

 A report to the committee this week said pedestrian numbers in the street have increased by 32 per cent since 2009 – up from around 14,000 on Saturday June 13 2009 to nearly 19,000 on Sunday June 12 2016.  

Figures for Saturday June 30 2012 were 17,744.

There had been no accidents reported as a result of diverting traffic down Little East Street, behind Brighton Town Hall, during the closures.

 Leading a delegation to the committee, local businesswoman Olivia Reid of Terre a Terre restaurant said: “Temporary closure of East Street on Saturdays and Sundays has been a huge success. The area has become more open, cleaner and we have experienced reduced criminal or dysfunctional activity due to increased visibility and overall change in the atmosphere. Business owners have taken more pride in their premises and the overall experience of East Street has vastly improved.”

 Committee chair Cllr Gill Mitchell said:  “Large areas of the Old Town were pedestrianised years ago and we would never go back because pedestrianisation is crucial to their historic character and relaxed atmosphere.  Traders have spoken up and we’re pleased they support this latest extension of car-free places in the Old Town.”

 According to the Encylopaedia of Brighton, East Street is thought to have formed from the 14th century when Brighton’s earliest settlement moved from the shoreline to the clifftop, just inland.