OPINION

Serious claims merit investigation – not party political point-scoring

Posted On 07 Oct 2020 at 12:13 am

When serious claims are made about the council having potentially breached equalities law and making inaccurate claims in funding applications to the government, they warrant investigation.

But the Greens and Labour emphatically voted against a Conservative motion to this effect last week and instead indulged in party political point-scoring.

The motion went before the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee. It related to allegations that Brighton and Hove City Council had failed to comply with the Equalities Act.

Calls for a proper investigation were ignored. Labour and the Greens also voted against an investigation into concerns that information contained in bids to the government for funds were inaccurate.

The campaign group Brighton Access for Disabled Groups Everywhere (BADGE) highlighted a number of problems.

They included the potentially lethal floating disabled parking spaces on the seafront road, the loss of parking and the indignity of having to ask to use the toilets in Madeira Drive.

They also included inadequate and insufficient parking in the city centre, lost disabled parking bays to diner seating and vehicle access parking curfews imposed on the disabled for longer than everyone else.

It was disappointing that Green and Labour councillors flatly refused to support Conservative calls for an investigation into such public allegations made by a third party against the council.

In hindsight, however, I suppose when asking for an investigation into something that both the Greens and Labour have overseen, it was like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas.

It was also disappointing that rather than address the allegations, they chose to attack those that sought to find the truth (good or bad).

It seems that in their gusto to make the issue political, they forgot the allegations were made by those representing blue badge holders and the most vulnerable in society.

They forgot that the allegations sit alongside claims that the council has discriminated against those protected by the Equalities Act.

Plenty of apologies were given by Labour and Green councillors – and we must give credit for those – and at least they were an indication that they accept that they got it wrong.

So, while they may not want to support an investigation, they must now act on their words.

Many are tired of the Greens saying that they are listening to representatives of disabled groups and blue badge holders. They want action now.

Those groups have been strung along for over 160 days since the first covid-19 temporary transport measures were introduced. They have raised concerns, offered solutions and promised to work with the council.

The council ripped up 600 metres of cycle lane within six days of the bus companies complaining.

The council altered Duke’s Mound to ensure that its Black Rock project wasn’t compromised.

It is in the Green Administration’s gift to not allow another 160 days of alleged discrimination but to fix everything in a matter of days.

So, having rejected scrutiny of inequalities issues, it is now time for the Greens to act and very quickly.

Anything less will open the door to questions about their integrity and honesty in what they have said and promised to our most vulnerable citizens.

Councillor Lee Wares speaks for the Conservatives on transport on Brighton and Hove City Council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee.

  1. John Reply

    They were emergency measures to deal with a crisis and changes were made when they didn’t work.
    What is so ridiculous about the councillor calling for an investigation into a few kilometres of road changes is that we’re at the most critical time, the flu season, winter, schools and universities opening, businesses going bust. Infection rate rising, Brighton test centre closing and he’s going on about white paint

    • Peter Reuben Reply

      You don’t understand the implications of this additional cycle lane scheme. I’m a cyclist and went on the perfectly adequate existing cycling lane the other day. On the other one, remaining in the main road, I counted 9 sets of traffic lights. What type of moron is going to use this alongside the existing cycle lane which has no traffic lights.
      Only a complete and utter moron/s would have implemented such a scheme. It beggars belief that it’s still there. It’s a scandalous and outrageous waste of public money.
      Before they removed the section from the palace pier to the bottom of west st, I saw an acoount from a blood donor team who were on their way to the general hospital and arrived 45 mins late as a result of being caught up in the traffic caused by this scheme. People who were supposed to donate blood in that time had already left. So the consequences of this scheme were potentially fatal amongst all the other issues not tic.

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