The row over the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane has prompted the Conservatives to make a rare call for an emergency council meeting.
At the moment the future of the controversial temporary cycle lane is due to be settled by just three councillors next week.
But one town hall insider said that the Tories were pressing the equivalent of the nuclear button so that the matter could be resolved democratically and accountably once and for all.
All 13 Conservative councillors have signed a letter to Brighton and Hove City Council chief executive Geoff Raw and the mayor, Councillor Alan Robins, calling for the extraordinary meeting.
It could mean bringing together all 54 councillors at Hove Town Hall, by next Wednesday afternoon at the latest, for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic measures were brought in more than a year ago.
The letter to the mayor and chief executive said: “As far as we are aware, the Conservative group has only once before called an extraordinary meeting.
“This should underscore how strongly we feel about the matter in hand. In taking this rare step, we want to outline our reasons to you both.
“The current arrangements for deciding Active Travel Measures in the City (namely the Special Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday 21 July) are undemocratic.
“It is our view that ‘reduced capacity’ arrangements for committees that Brighton and Hove City Council is currently employing were never intended to be used in the way they have been proposed here, namely to schedule a special committee meeting a matter of days before full attendance meetings are allowed once again to decide a series of highly controversial measures that will impact traffic flow in the city for years to come.
“The reduced capacity arrangements were instead put in place to keep general business ticking over during a short period between May and July 2021.
“‘Active travel’ has been one of the most controversial issues in the city over the past year, having been the subject of many petitions from residents and local issues groups and the source of much public commentary and debate.
“The Active Travel Fund report contains measures which will determine traffic arrangements in the city for many years to come and touches on almost all of these controversial issues that have been raised by residents of this city.
“We understand that there are currently at least 15 draft recommendations to be proposed. Residents expect these to receive scrutiny by more than just three councillors. No agenda for the ‘special meeting’ has even yet been produced.
“We therefore have strong concerns about the democratic standing in the public eye of any decisions made under the reduced capacity provisions of a special meeting with only three councillors present.
“We feel that the circumstances and timing of the meeting would deserve the consideration by the Secretary of State and potentially the Local Government Ombudsman.
“The forum of full council would ensure that these key decisions are taken with a greater number of councillors present. Instead of three councillors making these decisions, a full complement of 54 would be permitted to have their say.”
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