Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
'U-turn' on city's park and ride
10:23am Sunday 6th May 2012 in News
PARK and ride is back on the table for Brighton and Hove.
Brighton and Hove City Council last year recommended dropping the scheme completely pointing to a lack of space and arguing land could be used better.
But after feedback from business leaders, the Green-led local authority has agreed not to completely scrap the idea.
As it draws up a 20-year blueprint to guide development in the city, the council has pledged to look at “practical alternatives.”
This includes using existing car parks on the fringe of the city as bus hubs as part of wider plans to reduce congestion and improve sustainable transport use.
Opposition councillors have been critical of the apparent “backtracking.”
Council leader, Bill Randall, said: “There are large car parks around the edge of the city not in use all the time so we will be talking to businesses, landowners and Brighton and Hove Bus Company to see if these could be used, with people then travelling by bus into the city centre.
“We also want to work with rail operators to see how we can work with them to encourage more people to visit the city by train.
“The city has been trying unsuccessfully to find a site for many years and the search will be even harder in future with the advent of the South Downs National Park. We must consider other ideas.
“Development sites in the city are limited and, with pressure for other uses such as affordable housing, it makes more sense to use existing car parks rather than build new ones.”
The City Plan is a Government- required framework to guide development in Brighton and Hove for the next 20 years.
Potential sites could include the American Express Community Stadium, Brighton Marina, Holmbush in Shoreham and Asda in Hollingbury.
There are no details on cost, when it could be introduced or how many cars serve. Conservative group leader, said: “With the Greens at the moment you never really know what’s happening, there are so many u-turns.
“They have always said they are against park and ride in principle but now it seems back on the table again.”
Labour group leader, Gill Mitchell, said: “There’s a clear call for it but the Greens will not consider it. If there is any city right for park and ride it is Brighton and Hove.”
According to the council report, Brighton and Hove Bus Company, the city’s Arts Commission and the Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership are among those in favour of the revised plan.
Tony Mernagh, of the Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership, said: “We will never have a proper park and ride with thousands of spaces, dedicated bus services and amenities on site as the chance has been lost with the creation of the national park.
“However, there’s space for smaller sites around the city to be used either as temporary park and ride sites or on a permanent basis. They will not be the best solution but they will be an option.”
The wider city plan, which also includes increasing a revised target of 11,300 new homes by 2030, will be discussed by the council’s cabinet on Thursday. If agreed, the eight-week consultation on the draft City Plan will start on May 28.
Following consultation, the City Plan will return to be discussed by all 54 councillors in December and must be agreed by a majority before it is sent to the Government for approval.