OPINION

Labour is facing two ways – and residents are noticing

Posted On 07 Feb 2021 at 2:51 pm

Brighton and Hove News recently reported on a vote at Brighton and Hove City Council to put up the price of parking for residents.

The report – Councillors criticise ‘extortionate’ parking charge increases before voting them through – said: “The ruling Greens voted for the higher charges and the Conservatives voted against while Labour abstained, having criticised the proposed increases.”

For Labour to say they are against this but then abstain, allowing it to go through, is hypocritical.

If you are against it, you should vote against it, not abstain. It is as simple as that.

It reminds me of the vote on the temporary cycle lane in Old Shoreham Road, where Labour councillors told residents they didn’t support it but then all voted at the full council meeting to keep it in place.

Incredibly, one of these Labour councillors who voted to keep the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane in place at a council meeting on Thursday 13 August then turned up at a residents’ protest against the cycle lane at Hove Town Hall just one week later, posing for a photograph in the press and making a speech saying that the cycle lane should be removed as soon as possible as it was leading to significant traffic jams and adding to pollution.

Ironically this protest was held on the same day, Friday 21 August, that the cycle lane would have potentially been removed by the council had this Labour councillor and his colleagues voted the other way at the full council meeting one week earlier.

It has now been six months since then and there have been a three further votes at the council and each and every time Labour councillors have voted to keep the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane in place.

Yet still some Labour councillors are telling residents they are against it – including via opinion columns in Brighton and Hove News.

It is two-faced and I think residents are starting to see through it.

Being a councillor is about having the courage of your convictions. If you are against something, vote against it.

I read one of the comments on Brighton and Hove News on Thursday (4 February) from Paul Temple.

It said: “I am becoming increasingly worried as a Labour supporter that the local Conservatives are talking a lot of sense on many issues and at least are providing some opposition to the Greens, which our local democracy so desperately needs.”

I think many Labour voters, particularly those in the Hangleton and Portslade area of the city, are feeling the same way.

Councillor Dawn Barnett

Labour councillors have let down so many people who drive a car and pay for parking, including the disabled.

The voters will not forget this at the next election.

Councillor Dawn Barnett is a Conservative and represents Hangleton and Knoll ward on Brighton and Hove City Council.

  1. Paul Temple Reply

    Thanks for quoting me Dawn! Yes Labour is facing a problem in Portslade we are led to believe that all four Labour councilors are against the proposed extension and three of them against the original ‘temporary lane’. Obviously they need to wait and see what the consultation says (although its a sham), but we all know their inbox’s are full of angry communications from their residents who are fed up with the OSR cycle lane. Labour cannot abstain on this vote they need to be against the cycle lane or face the consequences in 2023 when Labour supporters such as myself will not forget.

  2. Cllr Peter Atkinson Reply

    I’ve a lot of time and respect for Cllr Barnett so am really disappointed that she feels the need to resort to name calling i.e. “two faced”. As Dawn knows, I presented a petition against the old Shoreham Rd cycle lanes at the council meeting she refers to above and also made a separate speech against them at the same meeting. The vote she refers to relates to a call the Conservatives made for a report on the cycle lanes to be produced and taken to a different committee within a couple of weeks. I did not feel that this was realistic and ran the danger of not having all the facts or enough data to come to a decision. That’s why I’ve been pressing for a proper consultation on these lanes – which we now have. It’s not perfect by any stretch, there’s no simple for/against question for instance, but I would encourage all residents to make their views known via http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/onejourneybetter

  3. Max Reply

    There are hundreds of schoolchildren who could cycle safely, directly and easily along good, protected cycle lanes on the Old Shoreham Road, to and from school. They would not be locked into the limited school bus timetable so they’d be able to take part in before- and after-school activities. They would get exercise and companionship. Their parents wouldn’t have to drive the misnamed “school run” so peak-time traffic would lessen. It’s points like these that can be shared at public consultations about routes that are important to everybody in the city.

    • Nathan Adler Reply

      Ah yes the ‘school corridor’ arguement which doesn’t stand up for two reasons. Firstly with the initial OSR cycle lane up by BHASVIC we were supposed to see a huge increase in cycling the take up by students was around 5% and it is believed to be even less now but BHCC don’t have data! Secondly going to and from school are the ‘social bookends’ of the school day friends talk as they walk home, (or get the bus), and although you may want them to cycle it cuts out that whole part of the day and I don’t think, no matter how many lanes you put in, you will get a sudden rush of student cyclists, (and this is before we look at safe storage, theft, bad weather etc).

    • Peter Challis Reply

      But how many of these cyclists will be travelling along the route of the A270? Numbers please!

      We’ve had the section from The Drive to Dyke Road for many years with barely any cyclists using the route, and the new section barely achieves a single cyclist in each direction every 4 minutes.

      So is this another “build it and they will come” dream of the pro-cycling activists? Because, if so, you seem to have no evidence to support your belief based upon what has happened so far.

      And do you want further congestion and higher emissions just to support your beliefs?

      What would be your pre-defined fail/success in criteria for the scheme, or would it be like the current A279 cycles lane extension where Green-Labour coalition claim it’s a success and that no congestion has been caused?

  4. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    One life saved is worthwhile. In itself. Even if one has to turn this into “monetary” terms, a premature death costs over £1 million (lost taxes, cost of supporting survivors, and so on). Similarly with injuries. Neither life nor death is cheap.

    In achieving a better society, we need to find what has worked, and not thunder about attempts to do so.

    It is as well to reflect that human life is, on average, 27,000 days. How many to we have left? Make the best use of them.

    • Peter Challis Reply

      Very good emotional blackmail Christopher.

      However, so far we have seen hardly any cyclists on the new section, but mainly just an increase in congestion and emissions caused by queues and traffic diverting down “rat runs” which could well cause even more early deaths.

      Now, if you recall the cycle extension was originally for providing an alternative for those avoiding buses because risks of contracting the coronavirus. Do you remember this?

      We now have the council wanting to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, even though they seem to be increasing carbon emissions rather than reducing them, and they haven’t defined what is in scope, or how neutrality will be measured. Do you remember this?

      And don’t forget, this article was about Greens and Labour secretly making decisions behind closed doors without open democratic discussions. Do your arrogantly righteous Green councillor friends still think they don’t need to get support from others as they are always right and are entitled to rule the plebeians?

      Pleased pay attention Christopher – I’m just surprised you didn’t mention libraries. Did you old cycling obsessed ex-Green councillor friend Ian Davey now living in Worthing who wants the whole A270 to Shoreham to have 3m cycle lanes for his dream of a Greater Brighton Cycle Network write it for you?

      • Christopher Hawtree Reply

        Your Reply seems to be all over the place, it’ll dashed down as allegations occur to you. One might call them alligators.

        Still trying to fathom how you bring Ian Davey into this! It will be Attlee, Churchill and Caesar next!

        • Peter Challis Reply

          Perhaps check with your old friend Ian Davey about his involvement with Bricycles, Shoreham-by-cycle, and West Sussex Greens to get the Upper Shoreham Road cycle lane reinstated, after West Sussex removed all the temporary cycler lanes due to lack of use.

          It was interesting last week hearing Ian being interviewed by BBC Sussex together with Mr & Mrs Bronkhorst. The whole A270 cycle lane project stinks of Green Party ideological scheming.

          And you obviously still don’t understand the subject of the original article, which is strange for someone who claims to be skilled at reading literature.

    • Anti-Residents Greens Reply

      “One life saved is worthwhile.”

      So why increase pollution with all the standing traffic?

      And it is only going to get worse round there with the next plans for OSR. Look at the fumes and pollution that “Greens” have added to Lewes Road. The next plan is to half the space across the Portslade traffics lights and hope the traffic will all magically disappear. Just like on the Lewes Road.

      All this does is cause more rat runs and more danger putting traffic into roads it should not be in.

    • Andrew Peters Reply

      Apart from taking his picnic to eat at council meetings which looked so unprofessional I give thanks that Mr Hawtree is no longer a Councillor. My experience has been that he has no idea how to use a zebra crossing (Portland Road/Westbourne) as a pedestrian by darting across it without any hesitation to oncoming traffic and have seen this twice and recorded on my dashcam nor has any road sense in whilst crossing Portland Road elsewhere.

  5. Neil Reply

    Remove the OSR cycle lane, it’s not a route anyone wants to cycle anyway. However, the entire A259 stretch from Hove Lagoon to the Marina should be replaced with cycle lanes and pedestrian walkways. Much nicer.

  6. Fleur Baladine Reply

    I am a member of the Labour Party but I won’t be voting in any more local elections because it’s pointless. Democracy has failed in Brighton & Hove. The Greens seem to have a permanent majority in my ward because of the preponderance of students, and the cycle lanes were implemented without any consultation and behind closed doors. The exercise completely ignored the needs of any residents who wanted to avoid using the buses (temporarily) but who were not physically able to use a bicycle. These residents would be able to use their cars for convenience and safety. The Greens seem to be obsessed with cycling and punishing car owners. They should remember that car owners pay road tax, income tax, council tax, and for residents parking permits. Their rights should be respected.

    • Non-student Green voter Reply

      Your chosen party not being voted in is not a “failure of democracy”. If your party is not in office it is because it does not represent the wishes of the majority of residents. Blame students all you want, but plenty of cities have large student populations (Manchester, Bath, London etc) and are not represented by Green councils.

      The majority of your ward voted for the Green party to deliver their manifesto. Their policy on transport is not a secret:

      Transport: including the delivery of a public and sustainable transport
      revolution, which will allow people to travel cheaply and safely on new trains, buses, cycleways and footpaths.

      The onus is not on them to revisit and consult on each policy, just because you don’t agree with it.

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