Officials told to ‘progress work’ on cycle lane extensions

Councillors agreed “to progress work” on more cycle lanes and to carry out a “meaningful public and stakeholder consultation” on the schemes.

The schemes include a westward extension of the “temporary” A270 Old Shoreham Road cycle lane in Hove along the Portslade stretch.

They also include a westward extension of the A259 seafront cycle lane along Kingsway to Wellington Road, Portslade.

The work would be funded with a £2.4 million grant from the government to promote “active travel” as part of a strategy to encourage more people to drive less.

The initial temporary cycle lanes have proved divisive, attracting vocal support and opposition, as have changes to Madeira Drive.

The five latest active travel schemes include more work there too as well as an upgrade to an A23 cycle lane and changes to Western Road aimed at boosting walking and cycling.

The Greens and Labour voted to press ahead with the schemes at a special meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee this afternoon (Friday 18 December).

But Conservative councillor Lee Wares said that the committee was putting the cart before the horse and should wait until the results of any consultation before deciding what to do.

He was concerned that the committee would be giving officials a “blank cheque”.

He asked for a detailed breakdown of how the council had spent the first tranche of government funding for covid transport measures and how the second tranche would be spent.

He cited Transport Secretary Grant Shapps saying that cycle lanes should be used, not empty with traffic next to them.

He said that the public needed a fair voice in the meaningful consultation and called for a simple yes/no question as to whether people supported the proposals.

Councillor Wares said: “We are trying to give people their voice as to whether they support the scheme or not – yes or no.

“It’s quite straightforward but neither Labour nor Green clearly want the public to say no to anything that they both want to do.

Councillor Lee Wares

“In terms of whether or not we should do any of these schemes, we thought public consultation was to give the public their choice or their chance at meaningful consultation.

“This is nothing of the sort. This is what you, Labour and the Greens, want to call a consultation – but you have already made up your minds as to what will happen next.”

Councillor Wares also urged the committee to agree to send a postcard to every home in the city to promote the six-week consultation, targeting people who were not online.

Postcards are likely to be sent only to some properties, with leaflets planned to go to homes directly affected by the schemes.

The council will include the consultation on its website, use an opinion poll and email and phone a variety of groups across the city.

But the coronavirus restrictions mean that face-to-face meetings and workshops will not be possible.

Another Conservative councillor Vanessa Brown said that another petition to remove the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane had been presented to the full council meeting yesterday (Thursday 17 October), highlighting opposition.

Councillor Amy Heley

Green councillor Amy Heley, who chairs the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said that the proposed consultation would not be a referendum.

Another Green councillor Jamie Lloyd said that every day he ran a “gauntlet” of danger when he cycled with his son to school but he had never been consulted about that.

He said: “I was never given the opportunity to say, ‘have I let cars dominate this city centre?’ Has anyone given me or any of us the opportunity to do this? It’s happened by stealth.

“Now we’re putting in some cycling infrastructure and we are consulting on it. That’s fantastic. We should do. But we were never consulted on the status quo that exists now and that’s wrong.”

Councillor Lloyd questioned the need for a yes/no debate. He said that if the government gave the council money to spend on sewers, it would be spent on sewers, with the consultation asking how they suited people.

Councillor Gary Wilkinson

Labour councillor Gary Wilkinson said that his party had had to work fast on the first measures funded by the government’s emergency active travel fund. It was given an eight-week deadline.

He said: “I am aware that a consultation plan is being progressed and I am expecting that consultation to seek the views of residents on the current Old Shoreham Road active travel measures.

“It is imperative that residents across the city have the opportunity to influence the decision-making process and have their voices heard.

“Now that tranche two funding is confirmed and officers have greater guidance from the government, Labour asks that the meaningful consultation they pushed for begins swiftly.”

Councillor Wilkinson said that the consultation should include those earlier measures such as the temporary Old Shoreham Road cycle lane in Hove.

The consultation is expected to start by February.

Full details of the tranche two active travel fund bid are available on the council website.

  1. Max Reply

    Did someone explain to Cllr Wares that. “Yes/No” question is not a consultation? Yes or no?

  2. Peter Challis Reply

    Why are they extending the A270 cycle lanes to the city boundary BEFORE having a consultation?

    What are the predefined success criteria for the scheme?

    Will they have monitoring in place before and after implantation for traffic flow and impact on emmission levels?

    What do the council traffic planning experts think will be the impact on traffic flows (including bus services 2, 6, 46 and potentially 1+1A)?

    Is this still part of pro-cycling anti-motorist obsessives Ian Davey / Pete West / Chris Williams master plan for a Greater Brighton Cycle Network rather than any planned need for Covid spacing or carbon emission reductions?

    Or have the lunatics really have taken over the asylum?

  3. Nathan Adler Reply

    It is worrying that plans for tranche 2 progress before a consultation on tranche 1 has even started. A yes/ no question is a totally fair and honest question in regards to tranche 1 it’s been in place for 7 months and as it’s temporary local residents, businesses and schools should have that meaningful question asked. Is there any new data on actual usage? That would be helpful in making an informed decision.

  4. Nick Reply

    Key quote in the article: “Green councillor Amy Heley, who chairs the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said that the proposed consultation would not be a referendum.”

    OK – so if the vast majority say no, as for example over 90% did with the “consultation” about Stanmer Park, then the council will go ahead anyway

    That’s a real worry. Governing needs to be done with consent. If the vast majority say no to something and the council keeps going along then what will the vast majority do? I suspect that some will take things into their own hands. Remove and ignore infrastructure. This will put cyclists lives in danger

    The council needs to put together solutions which work for everyone.This is possible. The more people who cycle, the fewer cars and less congestion. But that’s only if the scheme doesn’t take so much road space that there is congestion from that. So a properly designed well presented scheme should pass a referendum and get support from everyone.

    If Cllr Amy Heley and others ignore the consultation then they are not only going to cost themselves support and votes, they will harm the cause they are trying to progress and put cyclists in danger.

  5. Richard Reply

    Amy Heley is obviously anti democracy. Shame on her for ignoring residents’ opinions.

  6. k.e. Reply

    What a mad decision , went from Sackville road to Holmbush and back we saw three cyclists but long traffic jams producing fumes they are not thinking as democrats.

  7. Chaz Reply

    Green and Labour councillors really do hate democracy.
    Asking residents a question? Getting their input? That is a no-no.
    Pathetic both parties. Too pathetic for words.
    Meanwhile Lloyd will be alone cycling in winter with maybe another one or two cyclists.
    Yes spend the money, it is not yours, go on. You always love that.

  8. Barry field Reply

    Quite. If there was a government grant to have all pets put down brighton council would go for it and persuade us all that it was good for the environment. I cycle but have learned to do the obvious and use minor roads away from traffic fumes which now of course have significantly increased due to the congestion now created. Consultation. Rubbish just like there was for the works at the steine. Come on brighton councilors. Get real

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