Huge revamp to transform ‘traffic island’ Valley Gardens into new park

The council wants to reclaim the green space, making it easier for people to access
The council wants to reclaim the green space, making it easier for people to access

A project to reclaim a green space as a park for central Brighton is set to start on Monday (September 3).

The long-anticipated work on Valley Gardens, which runs from St Peter’s Church to Old Steine, will see the surrounding roads remodelled to give pedestrians easier access to the site.

Valley Gardens is set to undergo a revamp

Valley Gardens is set to undergo a revamp

The gardens, which have been described by the council as a ‘largely uninhabited island in a sea of traffic’, will then be revamped with new trees and landscaping.

Works to remodel the roads will see general traffic on the east side of Valley Gardens, with the west side a ‘quiet road’, for buses, taxis and vehicles travelling to the North Laine area.

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The move is set to make the west-side of the road ‘less of a barrier for pedestrians’.

The £10m project to complete the first two phases of work covers the area from St Peter’s Church to just south of Church Street. A third phase will revamp the area from Old Steine to the Brighton Palace Pier.

On Monday, contractors Dyer and Butler will arrive on site, and work will begin on September 17, starting with the eastern side of Valley Gardens at Richmond Place and Grand Parade.

Cllr Gill Mitchell, chair of the council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee, said: “The aim of the project is to simplify the transport network in the area, making it easier for local residents and visitors to the city to get around.

“The area’s green spaces will also be improved, making it a much more appealing environment to be enjoyed by local residents and visitors.”

The council has said it hopes to keep disruption to a minimum as the Valley Gardens revamp is set to start next week.

It is hoped the work will not only revitalise 2,900 square metres of public space, but it will also provide safer walking and cycling links in the area, and upgrade traffic signalling and the highway infrastructure at the city centre site.

Cllr Gill Mitchell, the council’s lead member for transport, said: “A lot of planning is taking place to minimise disruption and keep traffic moving with good communication for local residents and businesses throughout.”

Martin Harris, managing director of Brighton and Hove Buses also moved to reassure people over the works last week, and said: “We will be working closely with the city council to ensure that there is minimal disruption to passengers’ journeys as building work progresses.”

The work will see the surrounding roads remodelled over the next two years in ten phases. There are also plans to create a new public square south of St Peter’s Church, and to plant new trees in the area.

The council has said contractor Dyer and Butler will arrive on site on Monday, and has set out the works in ten stages – some which overlap.

The first stage takes place between September 17 and February 26, with work on the eastern side of Valley Gardens, starting with the footway and near side carriageway of Richmond Place and Grand Parade.

Work to the north and east of St Peter’s Church takes place from November 26 to July 8.

The third stage focuses on Victoria Gardens from February 26 to August 8.

A further seven stages of works will take place around the gardens up to the target completion date of September 2020.