April 1st 2016

Brighton and Hove’s parking and traffic problems could be a thing of the past under radical new council proposals. Travel Nation can exclusively reveal that plans are in place to trial the removal of ALL vehicles from the streets – turning the city into a pedestrian paradise.

A traffic ring of steel. Which streets will be affected?

The list of streets to be closed under the proposed scheme has not yet been released, however we have recently gained access to a leaked document. The map below clearly highlights a proposed traffic-free area blanketing the city from The Drive in the west, to Grand Parade in the east.

Should the scheme prove successful, driving a vehicle within the designated no-drive zone will become a criminal offence.

No drive-zone

With no route to enter the city by car, drivers will be asked to leave their vehicles at one of 3 new park and ride spaces on the edge of the city; the largest of which will be an 8000-capacity underground car park built just off the A23 at Patcham. The Waterhall site has long been discussed as a potential solution to Brighton’s parking problems and councillors finally seem ready to give the green light. A park and ride bus service or new monorail will transport people in and out of the city 24 hours a day.

It’s believed that tourists will pay a flat £8 per day to park their vehicle, whilst residents will see £8 added to their monthly council tax bill to cover unlimited park and ride access.

Why now?

The plans have emerged after fresh calls to address parking issues before the city sees an influx of visitors when the i360 opens this summer. A quarter of a million visitors are expected in the first three months of the i360’s opening, with up to 800,000 visitors expected a year.

Opportunities to re-shape the city

Freed from traffic congestion and parking concerns, the city council believes that Brighton and Hove has the chance to become a blueprint for cities of the future.

With all of the city’s car parks effectively becoming redundant, significant blocks of centrally-located property will be freed up to allow much needed regeneration. Developers are already envisaging a new development of 250 residential apartments being built in the footprint of the Churchill Square multi-storey car park, whilst London Road car park is earmarked as the UK’s first graffiti artist training centre.

Encouraging more creativity

Brighton and Hove has a long history as a free-thinking hotspot. According to a recent think-tank, more pedestrianised streets will offer local businesses a huge opportunity to expand how they attract customers. Creative street advertising and performance will be encouraged.

Removing vehicles from the streets will mean that the many fire dancers, unicyclists and hula-hoopers living in the city will be free to perform without danger.

Pure joy on the streets of Brighton Beautiful old Dancing Lady & Disco Bunny

A fitter and healthier outlook

Aside from solving parking problems and traffic congestion, the plans will have a positive impact on residents’ health and well-being. A “Boris bike” style scheme will be in place for those who wish to pedal into the city, with decision makers encouraged by the recent opening of London’s cycling super-highway.

A councillor, who wishes to remain anonymous, told us, “We hope that the removal of motor vehicles from the streets will encourage all ages to take up cycling as their primary mode of transport in Brighton and Hove. The creation of a 27 mile cycle network will bring Brighton and Hove in-line with the finest European cities. A safe cycling environment is not only eco-friendly but key to our future.”

Green values

Sussex conservationist Terry Nutterkins hopes to see a gradual increase in native wildlife roaming the city’s streets,

“We’re really excited about this scheme. The removal of cars really could see the deer, beaver and fox population flourish. It’s got the potential to become really wild out there."

Brighton residents have their say

The radical scheme has already proved emotive amongst Brighton and Hove residents, with critics highlighting what they believe to be an unfair system.

Some see the potential, but need reassurances before giving their full support.

For others, the new scheme will make no difference to their daily life.