We say ‘Welcome to Brighton’ in flowers at the London Road entrance to the city but the sentiment is a superficial one. What follows the floral display is a traffic jam allowing visitors plenty of time to notice the rows of derelict buildings and rundown shops.
The regeneration of London Road and Lewes Road is long overdue. Brighton & Hove City Council recently commissioned a major feasibility study and now a radical revamp of the area from the Vogue Gyratory to St Peter’s Church and out to Preston Road is about to commence.
Proposals for the redevelopment include a business quarter, a cultural centre in St Peter’s Church and a public square at the Vogue Gyratory.
The strategy is in three parts: the Lewes Road area plans concentrate on building up the ‘knowledge economy,’ proposing start-up support for young entrepreneurs, as well as providing more green space and investigating the potential for redesigning the Vogue Gyratory road system.
London Road central proposals include improving the shop fronts and retail opportunities; redeveloping the Open Market and looking at the future role St Peter’s Church can play in the area. There is also a possibility of grants being made available for improvements to shop fronts
Preston Park west area proposals suggest making more of the historic Viaduct. The strategy recommends imaginative lighting to emphasise the landmark and the space under the arches, which would provide attractive workspaces. Vacant sites will be brought back into use through mixed-use development.
Councillor Brian Oxley, chairman of the Policy & Resources Committee, said, “It is vitally important that these ‘gateways’ to our city are regenerated – it will have a big impact on residents and visitors alike.
“There is a tremendous opportunity here to provide something that meets the needs of local residents and create a vibrant, balanced residential neighbourhood, as well as commercial opportunities and a welcoming environment for visitors.”
An important element of the strategy is to improve the transport infrastructure in areas such as Preston Circus, Vogue Gyratory, St Peter’s Church and Valley Gardens to improve access, safety and the environment and make it easier for people to use sustainable transport.
A Transport and Urban Design Study was carried out alongside the regeneration strategy, which outlines opportunities for pedestrian, cycle, public transport and parking improvements, coupled with enhanced landscaping.
So in future when we say ‘Welcome to Brighton’ we won’t just say it with flowers. We’ll say it with sincerity.
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