Conservative Group Transport Spokesman – Cllr. Graham Cox – is calling on Brighton & Hove City Council’s Green Administration to stick to the original radical vision for transforming the southern entrance to Brighton Station by relocating the chaotic taxi rank – or spend the money elsewhere.
The Brighton Station Gateway project was the brainchild of the previous Conservative Administration and sought to transform the experience for visitors arriving in the city by train. This vision received cross party support.
However, in a report presented to tomorrow’s Transport Committee meeting, the Green Administration is set to abandon plans to move all except the front 4 vehicles in the taxi rank (which would remain at the front of the Station) to Frederick Place. This is despite their own consultants, at a cost of Ł26,000, recommending that this can be done with minimal disruption in the North Laine area. The move is also backed by the main taxi operators and their Trade Unions.
At tomorrow’s meeting, Conservatives will move an amendment seeking to press ahead with the plans to free up the large space at the front of the Station, currently taken up by scores of taxis. However, if this is defeated, Cllr. Cox will be arguing that the money saved by not going ahead with the move should be spent on creating an innovative new ‘shared space’ on Prince Albert Street and East Street similar to the current New Road arrangement.
Cllr. Cox said: “The whole rationale for the Brighton Station Gateway project rested upon opening up the front of the Station and thus radically transforming the environment for residents and visitors. This cannot be done without moving the taxi rank, which at the moment works in nobody’s interest. Without this fundamental change, there is precious little left of the original vision. We do support the elements of the project that remain but I’m afraid it amounts to little more than tinkering around the edges.”
Cllr. Cox added: “If the Administration will not press ahead with moving the taxi rank, despite what their consultants say, then I am suggesting that instead they spend the money in the Lanes, emulating the hugely successful New Road shared space – something which businesses in this area are very keen to see.”