TALKS to finally bring a park and ride to Brighton and Hove have been revived.

The Argus can reveal bus bosses and key public figures are discussing using Mill Road as a temporary 550 space park and ride with a view to it becoming a permanent, 2,000 car seven day operation.

It comes as fresh calls for urgent decisions are made before the city sees an influx of visitors when the i360 opens this summer.

The idea for the site, which is already used as a park and ride for match days and special events, is in its early stages and no formal proposals have yet been made.

Brighton and Hove Buses have been discussing the idea with Brighton and Hove City Council and the South Downs National Park Authority (SNPA), and bus company managing director Martin Harris described it as an "important part of a strong transport strategy for the city".

He said: "We have indicated our commitment to investing in park and ride ourselves if viable solutions can be found. It is still very early days in terms of any specific solutions or locations and there is a lot of work still to be done before we can talk about the possibilities in any detail."

Soozie Campbell, chairman of the Tourism Alliance (TA), said a park and ride could be up and running "quite quickly" and the council was "focused on developing the Mill Road site".

She said: "Our need is becoming increasingly desperate [with i360 opening in the summer]."

A quarter of a million visitors are expected in the first three months of the i360 opening, with up to 800,000 visitors a year.

Ken Norman, the councillor for the Withdean ward which encompasses Mill Road, said: "It's a good idea for the city but whether it's the right place is another matter."

A 30-acre QLeisure site at Albourne, off the A23, continues to be suggested as a second location so eventually there would be capacity for 5,000 cars.

Councillor Robert Nemeth, an environment, transport and sustainability committee member, said: "With so many new attractions on the horizon it is necessary to again seriously consider park and ride."

Committee chairman Gill Mitchell welcomed the bus company's "commitment" to explore ideas but said it was too early to say how discussions would progress.

A SNPA spokesman said: "We have advised that any potential new car parking site on this scale within the national park is likely to be considered a major development and, as such, would face a number of significant hurdles. For sites outside of the national park we will give our consideration and comments as part of the formal consultation if and when a planning application is submitted."

Over the years scores of sites have been suggested but plans have been shelved.

At present visitors are encouraged to park for free at the Withdean Sports Complex and pay standard fares on a number 27 bus nearby.


The Argus took to the streets to find out what people think of a park and ride.

Imogen Groome and Luke Adams asked:

Should there be a park and ride in Brighton?

What do you think of the originally suggested - near Albourne?

Should any other areas be considered?


The Argus:

Name: Dina Leanne Al-Khawaja

Age: 18

From: Hollingdean, Brighton

Profession: Student

Miss Al-Khawaja said: "I wouldn’t use a park and ride myself as I walk everywhere but it could work for drivers. The first suggested site in Albourne is too far away, but Hollingbury could work. There should be two sites in Brighton and two in Hove."


The Argus:

Name: Christian Cotton

Age: 46

From: Fiveways, Brighton

Profession: Caterer

Mr Cotton said: "There should be a park and ride, but the suggested site [in Albourne] is a bit far away. However, it’s a case of finding an appropriate site where it doesn’t affect residents . A location ten miles north means if other cars weren’t using it, it could take an hour to get into Brighton due to traffic. Hollingbury is much closer, I would definitely look east and west, over towards Portslade could work too. One large one could work or two that are half the size."


The Argus:

Name: Victor Mears

Age: 74

From: Open Market, Brighton

Profession: Fruit and Veg Seller

Mr Mears said: "The town is gridlocked most of the time so there should be a park and ride. The original suggested site [in Albourne] is a bit too far out, I would suggest somewhere near the football grounds. You can’t have it all on one site, you need one on the A27 coming in from Worthing and from Lewes."


The Argus:

Name: Nicola Andrews - Galletly

Age: 35

From: London Road, Brighton

Profession: Shop assistant

Mrs Andrews - Galletly said: "There should be a park and ride as it’s difficult to find a place to park. The suggested site [in Albourne] sounds good, but somewhere like Hollingbury would be better. There should also be sites in more than one location."

The Argus:

Name: Tina Johnson

Age: 48

From: Hollingbury, Brighton

Profession: Care assistant

Mrs Johnson said: "A park and ride would be good as it would be nice for the elderly people to be able to get around and I’ve got a few friends who would use it. The site suggestion [Albourne] is too far, Hollingbury would be good or somewhere more central like Patcham. They should be scattered in different areas as people would take more advantage of it."

The Argus:

Name: Veronica Plunkett

Age: 65

Location: Bevendean, Brighton

Profession: Retired

Ms Plunkett said: "I think a park and ride is a good idea, it’s always difficult to find parking and I know people who might benefit from it. The suggested site [Albourne] is a bit far away, a closer industrial estate would be better. There should be lots of sites for different areas to avoid traffic all going to one place."

Questions are raised over Albion match-day park and ride services in the wake of the news - for the full story click here