The third phase of the Valley Gardens development has been placed under review by the council.

The project is set to provide a transformed public space in Brighton city centre, as well as a new sustainable transport corridor.

Plans include replacing the Brighton Palace Pier roundabout, the provision of new bus stops and an improved road layout in the Old Steine.

However, the £13 million project has now been “paused” whilst an internal review by the Labour administration takes place.

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said: “Upon completion of the review and any associated work the scheme will enter into a procurement phase so that the principal contractor can be appointed.”

Once the project is resumed, an early contractor involvement procurement process will be carried out, which is due to take up to six months.

Construction would be expected to start as soon as possible afterwards, with work due to last around 18 months.

The Valley Gardens project began in September 2018, aiming to radically change the space between St Peter’s Church and the Palace Pier.

The first two phases of the scheme have been completed, with new road layouts, green spaces, bike lanes and pathways introduced between The Level and Old Steine.

The final phase, known as Valley Gardens 3, will include replacing the Aquarium roundabout with a T-junction, as well as new separate cycle lanes and an outdoor events space.

Art Deco Bus shelters at Old Steine will also be converted into cafes, kiosks or art galleries under the plans, with bus routes heading northbound stopping to the east of the war memorial, rather than the west.

The Argus: An artists' impression of new pavements and cycle lanes as part of the £13 million Valley Gardens 3 project An artists' impression of new pavements and cycle lanes as part of the £13 million Valley Gardens 3 project (Image: Brighton and Hove City Council)

The Green Party has criticised the council for “potentially risking council funding through intentionally delaying the project”, pointing to the impact delays may have on the cost of delivering the project in some form in the future.

Green Party leader on Brighton and Hove City Council Steve Davis said he was “appalled” by the revelation that the project was under review “without informing the transport committee or residents”.

He said: “Given Labour has now had control of the council for more than six months, this review cannot be understood as anything other than a pause to a project Labour has previously voted for.

“Residents are not informed of the criteria for this so-called review, nor a timeline for its completion.

“The longer they fail to take leadership on major projects, the more they will rack up costs - construction work is not getting any cheaper.

“After months of important consultation, and with over £6 million committed to the project by external funders, Labour’s prevarication could put the project at risk.

“Worse still, their hidden review is delaying vital active travel improvements that would make the area near the Palace Pier safer for all road users, particularly pedestrians.

“After the successful implementation of phase one and phase two brought a new park, hundreds of new trees and flowers, wider walkways, cycle lane and an event space to the city centre, Labour must urgently explain their rationale for continue delays to the final piece of a previously agreed major project.”

The decision is the latest project to be changed or put under review by the Labour administration since taking office in May.

Renovation plans for Madeira Terrace were scaled back from 40 arches to 28 after a review over costs by the administration, with plans for a seafront cycle lane on the A259 changed - causing anger among some pro-cycling groups.

Labour has been approached for comment.