Scrapping Old Shoreham Road cycle lane could put future active travel plans at risk

Posted On 19 Jul 2021 at 12:53 pm

The Old Shoreham Road cycle lane by Hove Park – Picture by Stu Langridge

Scrapping the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane could put future active travel schemes at risk.

West Sussex County Council has been told it is not allowed to bid for funding from the active travel fund this year because it took out the Upper Shoreham Road cycle lane.

The active travel fund is part of the Conservative government’s huge bid to promote walking and cycling.

The Decarbonising Transport paper published last week said £2 billion will be spent nationally  towards measures allowing half of all journeys in towns or cities to be taken on bike or on foot by 2030.

Transport minister Chris Heaton-Harris said other authorities would see a reduction in their allowances for similar reasons.

Locally, Conservatives have consistently been opposed to the Old Shoreham Cycle Lane, in contrast to the strong steer in favour of segregated cycle lanes from the national government.

Although it was installed while Labour were in power, its councillors have just said they now support removing it, despite the risk of future schemes not being able to go ahead as a result.

The chair of the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability (ETS) committee, Councillor Amy Heley, said: “We were disappointed that West Sussex County Council removed their temporary cycle lanes and that they have now been excluded from seeking further active travel funding from the DfT.

“We know that other councils have also had their funding reduced based on the delivery of their bids.

“Clearly we would not want to see that happening here. But sadly that is a major risk everyone needs to be aware of when considering the future of new cycle lanes.

“When allocating funding the government looks at a council’s track record in successfully delivering projects the government has previously funded.

“A strong direction of the government’s Emergency Active Travel Fund (Tranche 1) – for which we received over £660,000 – was that councils needed to demonstrate they can deliver on the projects they bid for.

“So far we’ve had a strong track record. This is reflected in the successful additional funding award of £2.37m received from government to progress Tranche 2 (Active Travel Fund).

“To meet the requirements of the bid, and our vision for active, sustainable travel for all our residents, the Environment, Transport and Sustainability (ETS) committee report sets out how we aim to make positive improvements to the temporary schemes using the consultation feedback and continue to monitor schemes as travel is still in a state of change.

“Failure to deliver projects would inevitably have a negative effect on our reputation with the government, as well as our ability to meet our own commitments and priorities, including the Local Transport Plan 5 vision, outcomes and principles as agreed at the June ETS committee.

“Through the funding it has provided this time round the government has made clear its support for our ambitious plans for improving active travel in the city.

“These plans for use of the Active Travel Fund will be discussed in detail at committee next week.”

A Labour Party spokesperson said: “We have been clear from the start that residents must be consulted and have their say, and they have told the council in no uncertain terms that the temporary cycle lane on the Old Shoreham Road is not working.

“For this reason, we will be asking officers to remove the temporary lanes on Old Shoreham Road and work with residents on finding an alternative route, such as on Portland Road or New Church Road.

“We are not just seeking to scrap the experimental cycle lane, but rather to relocate it so that it works for all road users, and we do not anticipate this having an adverse effect on government funding.”

The report before this week’s ETS committee says it would not be possible to reallocate the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane funding to alternative routes because of the timescales needed to design, consult and implement the schemes by the March 2022 deadline.

The consultation showed a clear majority of car drivers opposed to the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane, which has been blamed for increased congestion along that stretch of road.

However, two independent seven-day surveys of traffic between Lullington Avenue and Benfield Way in 2020 and 2021 showed no change in average speed along the route.

Cyclists who responded were generally in favour, with some saying they had switched from driving to cycling along the road.

The schemes which officers propose bidding for 2021/22 funding – and which could be at risk – are a new cycle lane along Marine Parade, making the widened pavements in The Lanes permanent and a feasibility study on improvements between St Peter’s Church and Preston Park, including Stanford Avenue and Beaconsfield Road.

However, even if the city misses out on funding this year, it is likely that more cycle lanes will be built around the city within the next decade.

Last week’s Decarbonisation Strategy said: “More than 300 cycling and walking schemes have already been delivered on the ground.

“Polling and the recent local election results have consistently shown that they are supported by the public, and court challenges to them have failed.

“Thanks in part to these schemes, millions of new people have found the confidence to get cycling.

“Cycling on roads has risen by 46 per cent in the last year, the biggest rise in post-war history and possibly ever.

“In the next few weeks, we will set out further policies to cement the growth of cycling and ensure that its success continues.”

  1. Courtney Harper Reply

    No such thing as relocating a cycle lane. That means another cycle lane somewhere else.

    Why don’t we relocate the car lanes on the Old Shoreham Road to the seafront? Car use has dropped so they’re clearly no longer needed.

  2. Nathan Adler Reply

    Was this written by Jo or Chris Williams?
    There is no threat to future funding, (more spin from the Greens), and even if that was the case we cling on with a complete and utter failure and waste taxpayers money?

    The journalist fails to mention two crucial things a) Pedestrians were generally against the OSR cycle lane, (as well as drivers). b) council data on OSR usage says only 1% is cyclists but 21% of users responding to the survey said they cycled the lane – ergo a far higher percentage of cyclists had actually replied and only about half left a positive comment. The lane needs relocating because the whole point was to ENCOURAGE active travel, the last survey showed a 23% decrease – in fact if it was so succesfull why has the extension been dropped, why are we not talking about that.

    More active travel schemes are coming but we have to understand our mistakes as well as our successes. The OSR is an abject failure and the city can and must do better.

    • Some Guy Reply

      “There is no threat to future funding”
      Can you tell us more about that?

      • Nathan Adler Reply

        Sure as part of the Tranche 1 bid the council were specific in saying on the bid document that the lane would not become permanent without ” local support via a consultation”. They have not got that support and the lane needs to go. WSCC withdrew the lane without any consultation and are penalised for a year, (which by the time they get themselves sorted will have come and gone and they can reapply). So BHCC following central Government guidance

    • Peter Challis Reply

      I’d wager it was Ian Davey – the ex-green cycling obsessed councillor now inflicting his mayhem on Shoreham and Worthing. He has a dream of a Greater Brighton Cycle Network, including 3m wide cycle lanes all along the OSR from Brighton to the Holmbush roundabout.

      He’s just managed to get Bricycles (he’s heavily involved) to provide a rental ebike system for Worthing at about £3,000 per bike.

      He stood as a candidate in the recent Worthing council elections, but fortunately for the residents he didn’t win.

  3. Rob Arbery Reply

    This is not an ‘opinion’ piece but basically carries on with the same bricycles spin, (just check their FB post to see).

    Not sure why it fails to mention:

    3168 Filled it in, (mainly in North and South Portslade and West Hove)
    How did they feel about the existing temporary lane?
    (2596 left comments):
    753 Positive / 3787 negative – (obviously some respondents left multiple comments). Negative comments were predominate not just with motorists but pedestrians too.

    How do you feel on the proposed changes to the cycle lane (Stapley Road etc):
    (2386 left comments):
    627 Positive/ 1703 negative – this is an interesting baseline figure because it almost totals the actual left comments so we can look at % here: (respondents did not generally give multiple reasons): 26% for 71% against.

    The survey did show general support for more active travel, (who would be against that) BUT on the question of do you support/ oppose relocation of road space to cycling/ walking in the OSR area the response was 49 for 510 against – that is a 91% AGAINST and shows how wrong the council has got it.

    What the consultation clearly shows is that opposition has grown since 66% asked for its removal in the council survey back in September. Disappointed that B&H news is adding to the spin rather than presenting the actual figures.

  4. nick Reply

    If I’m reading this correctly, the government is saying if you get things wrong and put in a cycle lane that doesn’t work and that you have to remove, you are less likely to get the money next time

    That seems fair enough!

    The council’s own consultants recommended other routes ahead of the OSR – but the zealots wasted the money given and it has been the failure that the public and their own consultants predicted

    Perhaps this should be seen as learning by the greens and labour locally. If you spend public money badly, then you are less likely to get some next time. That seems really obvious, but apparently it isn’t!

    The solution? Next time read your own consultant’s report. Don’t be so experimental with public money. Spend it as if it was your own money and so get routes which we know will help rather than being such a gamble (and a gamble which clearly hasn’t worked as cyclists have voted with their pedals not to use this poorly designed and dangerous route)

  5. Peter Challis Reply

    Unfortunately since the quoted 46% rise in cycling during the pandemic, it has now dropped back to pre-Covid levels and car journeys have done the same, much to the chagrin of groups like our beloved Sustrans – see https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-57314807

    Perhaps if the Greens and Sustrans put a consolidated plan together for their “Greater Brighton Cycle Network” and discussed it openly with residents, businesses and other road users including the less able, rather than imposing schemes and demanding buy-in alongside use of propaganda and biased surveys to support their case.

    I know that Green councillors are so upset that Labour won’t do as they are told anymore, and all the cycling activist groups are panicking that their beloved, but poorly designed, dangerous and barely used grab at 50% of the Old Shoreham Road capacity that has caused delays, congestion, and increased emissions is slipping away.

    Bricycles is encouraging their social media followers to write to councillors about the A270 – hopefully they will make sure it is just residents, businesses, and users of the A270 that respond rather than the usual group of activists from Shoreham, the UK, and beyond who don’t even know where the A270 is.

    Perhaps Councillor Amy Heley could inform us how much the A270 and A259 cycles lanes have reduced carbon emissions in the 18 months they have been in place, in terms of tonnes of CO2E and percentage of the city’s total, or has it actually made emissions worse, or does she have no idea at all and just believes what her activist friends tell her?

  6. Peter Challis Reply

    P.S. Love the staged picture from Stu Langridge of Sustrans😉

Leave a Reply

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.