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Valley Gardens project starts

Work is finally starting on the Valley Gardens Project in central Brighton, work will start in September and was initially expected by the council to take two years to complete, but the contractor, Dyer and Butler hope to complete the works in 17 months.

This means major disruption for Brighton road users as the works are taking place either side of St Peter’s Church and down to the seafront. The first two phases will begin in September at a cost of £10 million. The plans are to re-route general traffic along the A23 from the junction of Church Street to St Peter’s Church. It involves four new lanes to the east of the gardens, with two lanes heading in and out of town for general traffic and two lanes on the west side of the Church solely for taxis and buses.

The Valley Gardens project was first introduced by Labour more than 10 years ago and was instigated by the Green Party, it was then delayed when Labour came to power in 2015. The delay was caused following an election pledge to halt the project due to traffic issues and the potential for total gridlock in the city. A further update shows that the new layout would decrease rush- hour journey times for one side but increase them on the other.

The decision was made to approve the first two phases of the project as it would result in the loss of £8 million in government funding if they were to scrap the scheme. The final phase is still at design stage which includes Edward St and the seafront, there are talks of replacing the Aquarium roundabout with lights and a T-Junction. Currently there are three design options and are due to go before the councillors in October.

Brighton’s Buswatch group withdrew all support for the proposed plans last year as they expressed concerns that the new layout would cause congestion and increase the length of bus journeys.

The council state “…The aim of the Valley Gardens project is to realise the full potential of the area and make it a more attractive and purposeful city amenity…This will be done by simplifying the existing highway network, making the journey through less complicated and easier for all users, including improving cycle and pedestrian networks”

“The changes will also ensure better safety for transport users and result in better air quality in the area …Simplifying and improving the transport network will create an opportunity to reclaim some of the green area and enhance its value as a public space… new paths will be created across the public spaces making it a much nicer place to walk through. Most central park spaces will remain lawned areas for general use and a significant number of new trees will be planted, some of which will be new elms to protect the city’s elm heritage into the future.”

The whole project is quite exciting, although the construction may be slightly inconvenient, we are confident the end result with be worth it. As well as Valley gardens there are many other developments receiving funding and investment to improve the city and we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for Brighton and Hove.

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