Valley Gardens work will boost city economy

How Valley Gardens could look
How Valley Gardens could look

The transformation of the tangled transport route into Brighton could boost the economy by £39 million.

The transformation of the tangled transport route into central Brighton could boost the city’s economy by £39 million over the next 20 years.

Brighton and Hove City Council has already approved in principle the improvements to Valley Gardens.

The proposed changes include the planting of hundreds of trees, simplifying the complex traffic system, a 700-metre cycle lane, and enhancing existing green spaces.

Those behind the plans believe the alterations would improve journey times for cars, bicycles, and public transport.

The city council hopes to tap into the Coast To Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which has a regional growth fund aimed at boosting business and has already agreed in principle to £8 million funding for Valley Gardens, as long as a successful business plan is forthcoming.

Councillors will next week be asked to approve that business case and submit it to the LEP. If agreed, the £8million will be spent on the stretch between Pavilion Parade and St Peter’s Church.

The council will also contribute about £1 million from parts of its budget that is ring-fenced for transport.

An estimated financial boost to the economy of approaching £40 million over two decades is based on criteria that look at the impact a scheme will have on business links, tourism, new housing, and a range of other areas.

The outcome of the proposed business-case submission is expected by the autumn, with work then likely to run from mid-2015 until early 2017.

Councillor Pete West, chair of the environment committee, said:  “It has long been an aspiration of the city to improve this and I’m so pleased we are now in a position to do just that.”