The Green Group of councillors have expressed concern that Labour is dragging its heels on the Valley Gardens regeneration scheme in calling for further traffic modelling surveys to be carried out.
The scheme to transform the green spaces from St Peters Church to the seafront, into a single city centre park with improved transport links for walking, cycling, buses and general traffic, was due to be given the go-ahead at the Councils Environment committee meeting on 7th July, with work due to start in September. However, since Labour came into administration, in spite of the project being their idea in the first place, they have slowed progress, initially calling for the scheme to be scrapped, and now calling for additional traffic modelling.
The Green Group have not objected in principal to more research but feel this should not obstruct progress in getting final agreement for the scheme which has won £14million external funding to cover 80% of the costs..
Cllr Pete West, the Green Group Environment spokesperson, said: “During the four years of the Green administration we looked at numerous design options for Valley Gardens based on considerable evidence and feedback from consultations. We weighed the pros and cons of each and came up with a plan which will improve this area as a public park and as a transport corridor and which balances the provision for walking, cycling, public transport and general traffic.
The current plan was approved by the ETS committee and offers to regenerate an important part of the City Centre.
Labour have voiced concerns about the reduction of some road space for general traffic in the design, however the traffic modelling suggests that the simplification of ten junctions and a clearer layout will reduce the amount of stop-start motoring and improve traffic flow in spite of this.
The project report to Capital to Coast, who awarded £14million funding for the scheme, said:
“…simplifying traffic arrangements will enable private vehicles and public transport to operate more efficiently within existing capacity.”
Cllr West added:
“As the city grows and visitor numbers continue to increase, we need to nurture the current trend for more local journeys by foot, bike, bus and taxi and more arrivals by train and coach. The Valley Gardens scheme promises to make an important contribution to this shift while helping general motor traffic to flow better. Labour’s continued scepticism and delay can only undermine what is widely viewed as an excellent scheme for the city”