An artists’s impression of how the remodelled parks and streets of Valley Gardens might look
AN AMBITIOUS plan to turn a central boulevard into an attractive green space for pedestrians and cyclists will come a step closer to fruition next week.
Brighton and Hove City Council’s planning committee will consider an application, recommended for approval by officers, to remodel the three green spaces of Valley Gardens. Brighton.
The re-landscaping of Victoria Gardens south and north and the green space surrounding St Peter’s Church would include additional diagonal pedestrian paths and more green planting.
The car park to the south of the church would move to the north and halve in size and the space to the south would become an open square.
The £10 million Valley Gardens project, paid for by Government funds, was originally proposed by the Green administration in 2013.
It includes major proposed changes to traffic flow –which are not the subject of this planning application –with the route on the eastern side of the gardens to become two-way and the west to be reserved for public transport in a bid to make the gardens more accessible from that side.
A further debate on the scheme, incorporating the proposed transport changes, is due to take place at the environment and transport committee later this month.
However if the planning committee refuses this application on the landscaping, the entire project would be in jeopardy since the authority cannot appeal against its own decisions without going to the Secretary of State.
Councillor Gill Mitchell, chairwoman of the environment and transport committee, said: “What we want to create is a much nicer public open space in the heart of the city.
“We don’t have much public open space in Brighton and Hove and so I think this is a really important opportunity for us to provide some more.”
Reverend Archie Coates, of St Peter’s Church, said: “I love the idea of a square in front of the church. I think it will create a kind of openness, it will be become a destination place.”
Heritage commissioner Roger Amarena told The Argus that Valley Gardens was the site of the first formal street planting in the country, with trees donated from Stanmer Park by the Earls of Chichester in the 18th century and that any changes should respect the historic nature of the site and the 170-year-old trees to which it is home.
A council consultation in 2012 found 80 per cent of people wanted to spend more time in Valley Gardens while just one per cent thought it was fine as it was.
Source: The Argus