10:54am Tuesday 26th February 2013
By Ben James
A multimillion pound scheme which will transform the heart of Brighton is set to be given the go-ahead.
Brighton and Hove City Council is expected to approve the Valley Gardens scheme, which will see the area between The Level and Palace Pier redesigned.
The proposal will include dedicated cycle and bus lanes, a tree-lined avenue for cars and a pedestrianised exhibition space.
The council’s transport committee will meet on March 5 to decide on the blueprints.
Councillor Ian Davey, chair of the committee, said: “Developing a vision for this important area of the city is long overdue.
“It’s a real hidden gem, part of the city’s heritage, which has been somewhat lost with busy roads on both sides cutting the area off from the communities around it.”
The scheme is due to be completed in stages and detailed plans are yet to be confirmed.
However, the committee is to agree on the outline and work could begin later this year.
The project would reroute traffic, with buses running on the west side of the gardens and cars to the east.
Members will also be agreeing on the construction of dedicated cycle lanes and better pedestrian access to the seafront.
By voting in favour of the plans, the committee would also commit the council to continuing to fund the project with £1.3million as well as putting in for various forms of funding.
Coun Davey added: “At the initial stage we have been exploring how to maintain the important transport routes whilst making the area more attractive and accessible for everybody. “
The ideas are focused around bringing back the special nature of Valley Gardens so that people can rediscover and enjoy the area as a public space.”
Among the specific designs for the area is the proposal to pedestrianise much of Marlborough Place.
The design, which is based on Edinburgh’s Grassmarket, would see the road used as an exhibition space for events.
The council is yet to set a final figure for the works but early estimates suggest it will be in the multi-millions.
A council spokesman said that if the vision is agreed, the authority will explore funding options.
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