National walking charity The Ramblers has announced that Brighton has been shortlisted for Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood Award 2019.
The shortlist of 10 was decided by an expert panel following nominations from people across the country.
Announcing the 10 finalists in the running, the charity said the city was shortlisted because of its great access to green space and the seafront and specifically the strong community engagement in making its streets lively and full of events, art, things to see and places to go.
Brighton & Hove’s famous seafront promenades and undercliff walks provide 13km of off road walking for residents and visitors and 40 per cent of the city is within the South Downs National Park. The city also boasts around 147 parks including heritage parks, playing fields and green spaces. Of Brighton & Hove’s major parks, seven have been awarded Green Flags by the Keep Britain Tidy Campaign.
The Ramblers also recognised Brighton & Hove City Council’s efforts to improve and enhance pedestrian experience around the city.
This includes introducing calm traffic measures and a network of 20mph zones which means that walkers and cyclists feel much safer to travel around the city centre.
A council spokesperson said, “The development of New Road, which lies at the heart of Brighton & Hove’s cultural hub, has also made it easier to walk from the bustling North Laine shopping area to the Pavilion and onto the famous Palace Pier, just a short walk away.
“It was one of the first ‘shared space’ streets in England where cars are welcome but pedestrians have priority.
“Pedestrianising the area has led to a significant reduction in traffic levels, an increase in walkers and more people spending time there for leisure.
“Additionally, the city’s successful wayfinding system offers signage and general walking directions around the city and between interchange points, to help people travel around. The signage also directs people to the lesser known areas of the city.
“The council’s award-winning and volunteer-led Healthwalks scheme offers 18 regular walks around the city and since it was introduced 15 years ago, participants have walked over 250,000 miles – the equivalent of walking to the moon and back.
“Improving people’s health and well-being is a key objective of our Local Transport Plan, which has ensured continued investment across a range of transport projects that provide for and promote sustainable, active travel. The next year will see the development of a Local Walking and Cycling Infrastructure Plan to further enhance the city’s offer to pedestrians and cyclists.
“Major improvement project Valley Gardens, which is currently under construction, will enhance the public realm in the city centre.
Providing widened footways and simplified crossings will make it much easier for pedestrians to travel through a central area of the city while new paths in the area’s public spaces will make it a much nicer place to walk through.”
Councillor Nancy Platts, Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council, added: “It is fantastic that our city has been shortlisted for this award, which is recognition of everyone’s valuable work to promote walking as a great way to get around the city. Let’s get voting and sharing on social media to give us the best chance of winning.”
Voting is open online at www.ramblers.org.uk/vote until June 30 with the winner set to be announced on July 10.