MORE people have signed a petition asking the council to pause work on a revamp of the Old Steine area of Brighton than took part in the consultation process.

The petition objecting to the proposed road layout favoured by the council – known as Valley Gardens phase three – was signed by more than 1,400 people.

The number taking part in the consultation carried out by Brighton and Hove City Council was 828.

James Noble, who lives in Queen’s Park, addressed councillors at Brighton Town Hall on Thursday on behalf of the Valley Gardens Forum, which represents businesses and residents who have concerns about the scheme.

Mr Noble told councillors that while people want to see improvements to the area, the current plan was not the way forward.

Work is already under way on the first and second stages of the Valley Gardens project – changing the layout of the roads and green spaces between St Peter’s Church and the Old Steine.

The third stage involves replacing the Palace Pier roundabout with a T-junction, closing the exit from Madeira Drive by the pier and bunching all five lanes of traffic on to the east side of Old Steine.

Mr Noble criticised the council’s consultation process, saying that 1,396 postcards were sent out but no one he knew had received one.

He said: “My local takeaway sends out more leaflets than that. Then there’s the name – Valley Gardens. I don’t know anyone else who has heard of that.”

He called for more open consultation, with residents and business owners able to contribute to the design which will “change the city for ever”.

But he doubted whether this was possible because he says watching the council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee meetings – where the decisions about the Valley Gardens project have been made – was like watching an episode of Jerry Springer, the American talk show.

Labour deputy leader Gill Mitchell said that public engagement would continue on the preferred design as the details were still being finalised.

She accused the Tories of small-town politics and playing to the gallery.

Conservative councillor Lee Wares spoke in favour of the petition and against the council’s preferred design when the project was discussed by the council.