Tag Archives: i360

Talks to bring park and ride to Brighton and Hove revived

From The Argus

Mill Road is the topic of park and ride talks between bus bosses, authorities and public figures. It is used for match dad park and rides already and special occasions, like here in 2007 for a Fatboy Slim gig.

Mill Road is the topic of park and ride talks between bus bosses, authorities and public figures. It is already used for match day park and rides and special occasions, like here in 2007 for a Fatboy Slim gig.

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.

Plans for West Street to become like La Rambla in Barcelona

From The Argus

imgID43725289 One of the most run-down parts of the city could be transformed into Brighton’s answer to La Rambla as part of a regeneration masterplan.

The newly unveiled plan would transform “tacky” West Street – currently a magnet for antisocial behaviour and blighted by “awful buildings” – into a Barcelona-style walkway including hotels, a restaurant, trees and street furniture.

Developers hope the development could act as a catalyst for further regeneration of the area, and coincide with the much-mooted Standard Life redevelopment of Churchill Square, as well as the £9 million rebuilding of Shelter Hall on the seafront.

Under the proposals, 78 West Street, formerly Hedkandi and Tru nightclub, and 79 West Street, currently Walkabout, Smart Brighton Beach and Backpackers Hostels, will be replaced with new hotels and a ground floor area spanning between 78 West Street and 7-8 Middle Street, including a hotel reception and high quality restaurant.

The eyesore former nightclub will be replaced by a modern building “reminiscent of the original Victorian dancehall”.

Another building will replace a former hotel on Middle Street, which currently towers over the synagogue and other neighbouring listed buildings and its graffitied front will be rebuilt and opened up.

Meanwhile “unattractive, unlit” South Street will be made into a safe secondary thoroughfare, with entrances and windows to the new hotel and a small block of four apartments.

Architect Morgan Carn Partnership is also behind the recently approved Hanningtons Lane, Puget’s Lane and Brighton Square plan to regenerate The Lanes and North Street.

John McLean, director at Morgan Carn, said: “This is tremendously exciting for our city, West Street is a huge disappointment and lost opportunity.

“Thousands of visitors and local residents flock to the seafront from the station and their first impression is an inhospitable, car dominated street spoilt by some awful buildings.

“West Street suffers from a tacky image and many of the current uses are a magnet for antisocial behaviour, with the dead frontages created by the nightclubs and amusement arcades contributing nothing to the quality of the public realm.

“This is the primary route between the station, seafront and the eagerly awaited i360 and should be Brighton’s equivalent of the Rambla in Barcelona, a wonderful, vibrant, tree lined avenue with street performers and alfresco dining, an attraction in itself.

“We are hoping to upgrade the pavements and introduce trees and street furniture as part of the proposals and encourage neighbouring landowners to do the same.”

Geoffrey Springer, director at developer London & Regional, said: “The proposed development will bring a disused and semi-derelict site back into occupational use, generating jobs, enhancing the appeal of the Old Town to tourists and creating economic and physical regeneration in the heart of Brighton. We want to ensure that we deliver the very best development, as Brighton deserves.”

Afshin Foulad, director at Smart Space, said: “This is a burning aspiration that we have been working towards since our acquisition of the site and we hope will provide a catalyst for the future enhancement of West Street and the Old Town. We look forward to discussing our ideas with local stakeholders and the general public in due course.”

STREET PERFORMERS AND AL FRESCO CAFÉS

The Argus: La Rambla. PA Photo/© Turisme de Barcelona

The long tree-lined pedestrianised area of La Rambla in central Barcelona, pictured, is popular with tourists for its shops, street performers and al fresco cafes.

Like West Street, La Rambla is next to the city’s historic quarter.

The Barri Gòtic – or Gothic Quarter – is the centre of the old city of Barcelona.

The Barri Gòtic is a labyrinth of lanes with small squares and streets, many of which connect onto the Rambla.

The West Street comparison with La Rambla was made by Morgan Carn architects as a possible blueprint for how Brighton’s rundown party street could be moulded.

But while the vibrant Spanish stretch, with its gradual descent towards the seaside, might sound like a good model, not everything is rosy on La Rambla and current comparisons with West Street could also be made.

The Catalan city is expecting nine million visitors this year, a similar number to Brighton’s own 8.5 million visitors a year – but with most concentrated into small areas of Barcelona. With cheap flights, a weak Euro and the rise of Airbnb, Barcelona is one of the number one party weekend city destinations in Europe.

But locals are increasingly fed up with the influx of party goers, and coupled with rising costs, the issue is forcing people from their homes.

Protesters have demanded an end to “drunken tourism” and the city’s newly leftwing elected mayor has suggested a possible cap on the number of visitors.

As well as being the scene of the drunken antics of hen and stag parties – not unlike West Street – La Rambla is also known for rampant pickpocketing, sex workers and football brawls.