A residents’ association has praised the decision to pause plans to redevelop the Old Steine area.

The third phase of the Valley Gardens development, which would replace the Brighton Palace Pier roundabout and improve road layouts in the area, has been placed under review by the Labour administration on Brighton and Hove City Council.

While the move has been criticised by Green councillors, it has been welcomed by the founder of the Old Steine Community Association Gary Farmer.

He said: “I am glad that this has been paused and is undergoing an internal review.

“The previous administration has never listened to residents, businesses or stakeholders in the local area.

“Valley Gardens 3 was pushed through by an arrogant Green Party despite many legitimate concerns and objections being raised.

“We all want a scheme but one that works for all and benefits the area encouraging people into the city centre instead of convincing them to avoid it and go elsewhere.”

Work on this third and final phase had been due to start this year.

Green Party leader on Brighton and Hove City Council Steve Davis criticised the decision to put the project under review and said: “The longer they fail to take leadership on major projects, the more they will rack up costs - construction work is not getting any cheaper.

“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.”

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)

Trevor Muten, chairman of the transport and sustainability committee, said that the review is ongoing, with its results expected to be announced in the new year.

He also reaffirmed Labour’s commitment to the project and said: “The review is to make absolutely sure that the plans devised by the last administration are aligned with what we, the new Labour administration, were elected to deliver and to give stakeholders another chance to comment.

“We are committed to finishing the Valley Gardens improvements, but it is our responsibility to forensically check the details in view of the amount of money that is being invested in the last phase of this important project.

“We always welcome comments on our plans at any time from all interested parties.

“Since the summer, we have been in touch with a range of stakeholders including Brighton and Hove Buses with a meeting at their Conway Street depot and a walkabout in the area.

“We’ve met with campaign group Bricycles, with whom I did a cycle ride in the area too.

“We have engaged with the Valley Gardens Forum, BusWatch and the Transport Partnership; we may set up a sub-group to focus on Valley Gardens 3, if required.”

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.