The Greens want a partial reopening of Madeira Drive along virtually identical lines to the Conservative proposal tabled at a meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council on Thursday 13 August.
But when the almost identical proposal was discussed at the meeting of the full council last month, the Greens voted emphatically against.
Their welcome u-turn is contained in the agenda papers for the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee meeting tomorrow (Tuesday 29 September).
With Labour performing a u-turn on their position a few weeks ago and now the Greens doing the same, we are in grave danger of common-sense prevailing.
We are of course pleased to see this change and to see that Labour and Green councillors now agree with the Conservatives and prominent local environmentalists.
It is just a shame that they have taken so long and, as a result, traders have suffered more than was necessary.
It has also meant that blue badge holders have endured unacceptable marginalisation by not having access to disabled parking bays in Madeira Drive next to the pier.
They have also had the indignity of having to ask a stranger if they could use the toilet.
Welcome as the u-turns are, by Labour and the Greens, the latest proposals do not go far enough and are not a permanent solution.
The Greens want officers to start the design process but what the council needs to do is get on with making the changes now.
They removed the cycle lane by the pier in a matter of days when the bus companies raised concerns.
And they changed the Duke’s Mound end without coming to committee so they can do the same with reopening Madeira Drive.
The proposal, albeit very welcome, seems to include an unnecessary process aimed at slowing any change down.
Let’s not forget, the changes in Madeira Drive were a temporary measure brought in during the coronavirus lockdown.
When the urgent immediate need is no longer required, Madeira Drive should be reinstated to how it was.
If a permanent change is wanted, it should be proposed in the proper way, to the proper committee and be subject to full and proper public consultation. This should include all the necessary “impact assessments”.
It should then be decided upon democratically by committee – with no Trojan horses used to slip in change under the guise of covid.
It is also worth remembering that the council looks like losing millions of pounds of parking revenue because it suspended so many bays as part of its covid-19 measures.
And this revenue props up a number of vital services such as bus passes for our senior citizens, disabled people and school children as well as subsidised bus routes.
We have yet to hear how this funding shortfall will be made good.
This yet another shortcoming of the decisions taken in relation to Madeira Drive and the seafront cycle lane show why our committee system is vital.
There is no substitute for proper consultation and proper, informed, democratic decision-making for the benefit of us all.
Councillor Lee Wares speaks for the Conservatives on the environment, transport and sustainability on Brighton and Hove City Council.
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