A brand new coastal link is being considered to ensure residents and visitors can easily access Brighton seafront.
Some form of ‘Coastal Transport System’ could come into fruition within the next decade as part of grand plans for major developments along the coastline.
Brighton and Hove City Council say a transport solution to ferry people from the station to and along the seafront is “vital”, to ensure a series of major regeneration schemes are a success.
These include the development of new conference facilities at Black Rock, the demolishion of the Brighton Centre and the extension of Churchill Square to form the ”Waterfront West” development.
A report exploring the future of the seafront suggests a transport system on the A259 would consist of a bus-based “rapid transit” initiative.
It would connect Brighton Marina in the east, to Brighton station, and then to Shoreham Harbour and Worthing along the seafront towards the west.
Currently there are no buses along the main part of the seafront, apart from 700 services which travel through the city centre and past Hove Lawns, and coastal routes which begin their journey along the A259 at the Sealife Centre.
The local authority says without the infrastructure to support the expected demand for the city’s seafront.
“Any routeing options would need to consider the appropriate balance that needs to be given to different forms of transport such as the amount of infrastructure and priority provided for walking, cycling, road traffic, parking and public transport on a daily basis on the upper (A259 Marine Parade) and lower (Madeira Drive) levels. The ability to hold significant local and national events on the seafront also needs to be factored into considerations.”
– Brighton and Hove City Council report
The plans come as figures reveal that there was a one million reduction in visitors to the city last year.
Cllr Alan Robins, Chair Economic Development and Culture Committee, said:
“Brighton & Hove is, has been and always will be a fantastic place to visit, and it’s why we’re the number one tourist destination outside London. Every year more than 9 million tourists from Britain and around the world flock to our brilliant city to enjoy the seaside and shops, and to relax, party and enjoy.
“Each and every one of these people is important for our city and economy and we will always encourage both day trippers and overnight stayers to visit.
“As a council we are always seeking ways to improve the city and make it an even more enjoyable and valuable destination, both for our residents and tourists. We’ve drawn in one billion pounds worth of investment for the seafront – and that is being delivered right now.
“This includes the i360, the redevelopment of Madeira Terraces and Shelter Hall, the restoration of the seafront arches, the Brighton Waterfront project, the Zip Wire attraction, the Sea Lanes swimming centre, Volks railway regeneration, and the Marina, Brighton Centre, Black Rock and King Alfred redevelopments.
“Each one of these projects offer new, exciting and high quality attractions, venues or accommodation for our day and longer term tourists, and will ensure we remain a vibrant, creative, alternative, multicultural and forward thinking city.
“We have invested in the latest waste bin technology to make our city cleaner, and launched a public consultation on the future of our parks and open spaces to ensure we keep them as attractive as possible for everyone.
“As our reputation and appeal grows, so too does the number of people, both domestic and international, who decide to make overnight stays.
“As the new report, The Economic Impact of Tourism Brighton & Hove 2015, shows, almost 1.5 million people spent more than 5 million nights in Brighton & Hove last year, spending a massive £526 million in our economy.
“There has been a drop in day tripper numbers from the previous year, so there’s certainly no room for complacency. And with ever tightening council budgets there will be challenges ahead.
“But it’s the reason why we currently work with over 500 local businesses to promote the city and why the city as a whole, including the local media, have a shared responsibility to step up to the challenges and opportunities ahead.
“In August we were named one of the best tourist locations in the world by users of travel website TripAdvisor. We must all work together to make sure our proud city remains a global tourist attraction.”