Station Gateway and Seven Dials changes

Brighton Station Gateway

By now, residents will have received the Brighton Station Gateway consultation paper and the closing date for feedback is 30 November. However, the Gateway project team has told us that they will keep the date open to the end of the first week of December for any Whistler reader who has not already fed back anything they want to, so if you feel moved to send in any comments having read the following information, remember to mention The Whistler in your feedback. Write to Jim Mayor, Hove Town Hall, Hove BN3 4AH; email station.gateway@brighton-hove.gov.uk; or call 01273 294164.

Key features are:

  • Taxis – to rank in Frederick Place and Trafalgar Street before accessing a pick-up point in front of the station.
  • Buses – remain in a better designed area in front of the station.
  • Pedestrians – pavements in Queens Road and Surrey street to be widened, junctions improved for easier crossing. Possible entrance into Trafalgar Street.
  • Cycling – most parking at north entrance, some where taxis are currently and guardrails removed from Queens Road to reduce cycle fly-parking.
  • Traffic flow – Queens Road and Surrey Street retain current gyratory arrangement. Frederick Place, Trafalgar Street and Gloucester Road reversed to accommodate the new taxi ranks.
  • Canopy – may be replaced, reduced or improved after consultation with English Heritage and Railway Heritage Trust.

We’ve received some feedback Jim Gowans, WHCA rep on the Conservation Advisory Group, and from long-term West Hill resident, Rob Heale, who has taken an active interest in the Brighton Station Gateway plans. He is also a member of the Seven Dials roundabout Consultation Group. 

Brighton Station – improvements to the listed Mocatta building and the station concourse are generally welcomed but there are concerns that the removal of the taxi rank to make way for more retail units by the south entrance will inconvenience passengers and residents, whilst taking trade from local shops.

A bizarre idea to remove the station forecourt canopy is being considered; the idea is to give visitors “a sense of arrival”. Perhaps the plan is to force people to take shelter in the forecourt’s new shops and spend some money whilst they work out how to find a taxi.

Jim Gowans

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In my view, the plans for the Station Gateway and the Seven Dials roundabout present both dangers and opportunities for local residents.

The Brighton Station Gateway proposals were ‘nodded through’ by Councillors on the Transport Committee in October but are subject to further consultation. I have no doubt that some of the ideas have merit but feel that further questions need to be asked. As regards the new canopy, for example, will it actually look better? Will it be practical (ie easy to clean/free of bird mess/not leaking)? Why make it smaller given all our rainy days? I also see no need to remove the safety railings when they could also be used as informal cycle racks and possibly even noticeboards. For Surrey Street residents and those living in neighbouring streets, there are also potential dangers. Buses and taxis would be permanently directed through Surrey Street and the narrowing of the road could result in bottle-necking and more congestion. Nearby streets such as Guildford Road, Upper Gloucester Road and Buckingham Road could be affected by congestion and rat-running that might result. The displacement of existing traffic to residential streets is a real danger with these proposals.


Seven Dials

The stated aims of the consultation regarding improvements to the Seven Dials area are to improve safety at this busy junction and to make the area easier to get around. The current proposals include:

* making Vernon Terrace one way
* widening the pavements (narrowing the roads) at the Seven Dials end of Buckingham Place, Chatham Place and Dyke Road (North)
* making Bath Street two-way with  mini-roundabouts
* removing all the safety railings
* replacing the existing pelican crossings with zebra crossings.


There were a small number of consultation workshops prior to the current proposals being announced. Some members felt that community groups and individuals were given insufficient, inadequate or misleading information about the process. Others felt that we were ‘bounced’ into the whole thing. The formal consultation process has begun and hopefully local residents will now express their views through the Council website or in writing to the Transport Department at Hove Town Hall.

My concerns about the current proposals (which I set out at the workshops) are that the removal of the safety railings at Seven Dials would be dangerous; that the replacement of the pelican crossings with zebra crossings would be a backward step which would be especially detrimental to older people; people with disabilities and parents with young children; and that the narrowing of roads leading to the roundabout could lead to more congestion and rat-running as traffic is funnelled into a narrower space. Please let Jim Gowans or myself know your views because we are both members of the consultation workshop.


It appears that within both these initiatives we have the good, the bad and the downright ugly! There does not seem to be much of a link up between the two plans. There is little to benefit bus users or encourage the use of buses. The volume of traffic will not be reduced whilst making things difficult for essential vehicle users. And there are concerns about safety, more congestion and the diversion of traffic into residential streets. Some of the ideas may improve the way things look but what about the practicalities and the consequences for local residents? A few of the ideas present opportunities but, in my view, there are clear dangers with others. Please have a look at the proposals and make your views known.

Rob Heale

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Many people are concerned at the removal of the railings in the Seven Dials proposals and I support their concern. I was the owner of System Electronics at Seven Dials for 30 years until 2000. During this time I saw all manner of stupid actions by people taking short cuts across the central reservation. The most common was teenagers leaping across the barriers and dicing with death crossing the roundabout. At the moment, for most people, the railings can deter this irresponsible type of action. Increasing the size of the central reservation will effectively create a shorter distance to reach the centre, thereby making it very tempting to cross at a non-designated area, especially if there are to be no traffic lights to slow down vehicles.

It appears that only people will control the traffic flow when they use a zebra crossing. The narrowing of junctions will create slower traffic flow especially when vehicles are turning left into Dyke Road north, and going forwards into Chatham Place using a single lane. I forecast that the proposed narrowing of junctions will create more problems. This town needs vehicles to move in and out as easily as possible, not create more gridlocks with the narrowing of roads. All vehicles will be affected, including buses. I do not believe that it is possible to remove both the railings and the traffic lights without creating a serious safety issue.

It has been suggested that the removal of the pedestrian-controlled lights will improve the traffic flow. In which case why narrow the junctions? As most of you will be aware, I am a member of the Transport Partnership and will be making these comments known at our next meeting. Anything that is done to improve the Seven Dials area must take into account the needs of everyone: pedestrians, traders, residents, motorists and especially the safety of young children who are most at risk. Please contact me at theppp@gmx.com or telephone 07768 002328 anytime between 11am and 8pm

Steve Percy (chairman) Peoples Parking Protest

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