Over 80 local residents gathered in West Hill Hall on Tuesday 8 December to discuss the Council’s proposals for moving the Taxi Rank at Brighton Station to Terminus Road for a trial period, (a proposal which the Council’s own report had deemed not viable). When taxis had been sited there on a temporary basis during the re-layout works round station in the summer, traffic chaos, pollution and unacceptable noise had plagued residents, businesses, and station users.
The meeting at West Hill Hall was attended by Councillors Lizzie Deane, who chaired the meeting, and Gill Mitchell, Chair of the Transport, Environment and Sustainability Committee, together with two senior officers from Transport Planning. Following Councillor Mitchell’s explanation of the proposals there was a lively debate during which a wide cross-section of the community expressed their objections to the proposals. These centred mainly around increased traffic, pollution and nuisance; several residents also drew attention to the potential dangers to children in the area from irresponsible driving. It was made clear to the Council representatives that the temporary siting of the rank in the summer had caused so much suffering and inconvenience that they were not prepared for this to be considered as a viable option in the future, and that their assurances and traffic management solutions for the proposal were inadequate.
The panel was asked repeatedly why the Council had not pursued the option of siting the rank at the North of the station and it was explained that negotiations here were very difficult as Govia/Southern Rail had not been positive about this and meetings had been difficult to arrange. Many residents voiced the opinion that this seemed the most logical solution as it provided taxi drivers, their passengers and station users with a considered and practical solution which did not impact on the wider community.
The meeting concluded with an assurance from the Councillors and representatives that a high level meeting would be sought with Govia/Southern Rail at the earliest opportunity where options would be discussed with the operators of the station to site the taxi rank in a practical location to form an integrated solution benefiting both station users and those who form the community, of which the station is a key part. The residents were also given an assurance that any future proposals affecting them would not be discussed at Committee without full consultation with the community.