Call for new study into impact of Valley Gardens project’s third phase

Valley Gardens Phase Three
Valley Gardens Phase Three

Concerns about the environmental impact of a new road layout in the centre of Brighton are due to be debated by councillors.

Conservative councillor Joe Miller, the party’s parliamentary candidate in Brighton Kemptown, plans to ask for a full environmental impact assessment of phase three of the Valley Gardens project.

Councillor Miller has put down a motion to be discussed by Brighton and Hove City Council at its full council meeting on Thursday (October 24).

His motion is expected to be seconded by fellow Tory councillor Robert Nemeth, the party’s parliamentary candidate in Hove.

The project’s bosses at the council want to scrap the Aquarium roundabout and replace it with a t-junction and traffic lights, with all private traffic moving to the eastern side of Old Steine.

It has proved controversial, winning support from environmental and transport groups, while businesses and people living in the area have called for changes.

Last week the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) approved £6 million funding for the £8 million project.

Work on phase one and two of the Valley Gardens project is well under way, with footpaths, cycle paths and road layouts changing from St Peter’s Church to Edward Street.

Councillor Miller said: “Valley Gardens phase three has to date not been subject to a full environmental impact assessment with limited, if no, future predicted air quality assessments.

“With all the traffic being positioned on the east side of the Old Steine including now a fifth lane to serve as a south bound bus lane and the resultant narrowing of the pavement on the Kemp Town side, it is incredible that no environmental impact assessment has been done.”

They ask for the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee to ensure that there is a full environmental impact assessment.

As Madeira Drive would be made one-way entry-only by the Palace Pier, Councillor Miller is also calling for a full public consultation on the Duke’s Mound junction proposal.

He wants to know what the effects are expected to be on the A259 and the Waterfront project which includes a new conference centre and concert venue at Black Rock, next to Brighton Marina.

“Enabling” – or preliminary – work is about to start on the Black Rock site.

Councillor Miller said: “It has been confirmed at Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee that the alteration of Duke’s Mound is essential for the current proposed preferred option … to achieve its alleged objectives.

“For example, for traffic including coaches to exit from Madeira Drive as the western end will be entry-only from the A259.

“Notwithstanding the continued disquiet and debate about the lack of proper consultation regarding Valley Gardens phase three, it is unacceptable that residents and businesses are not afforded a consultation and right to comment on the proposals for Duke’s Mound.”

Some 828 people responded to the public consultation last year during October and November.

The council said that a total of 1,396 postcards were sent out to people living in the area but only 16 people who responded said that they saw one of these.

The Conservatives are concerned about the removal of the roundabout adding to journey times.

They said: “The addition of a further major junction at Duke’s Mound will likely add to the length of journey time delay.

“It is also a concern that there has been no traffic modelling of the impact for this junction or any modelling or assessment of traffic displacement that will inevitably occur throughout Kemp Town or the impact and overlap with the Waterfront/Black Rock development.”