OPINION

Labour promised to listen on cycle lanes – and we have

Posted On 22 Jul 2021 at 12:46 pm

We are keen to ensure there is more “active travel” infrastructure built around the city, that’s why we implemented a number of temporary measures including cycle lanes.

However, we have always been clear that residents must be the drivers of any transport changes and their opinions must be respected.

At the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee meeting last night (Wednesday 21 July) the Labour group supported extending most cycle lane schemes.

But we voted to remove the temporary lanes in Old Shoreham Road in favour of identifying a viable alternative local route.

The Climate Assembly was clear that the path to a carbon-neutral city required bringing residents with us on the journey, consulting and engaging with them, and ensuring we changed our plans accordingly when they gave us feedback.

This is what Labour did last night.

The Green administration wanted to plough ahead with extending the temporary scheme in Old Shoreham Road in the face of vocal opposition from residents.

We asked for a pause and a full consultation with the people of Brighton and Hove first – and we promised residents we would listen to them.

And residents have made their feelings very clear – the temporary lanes in Old Shoreham Road are simply not working.

We want to relocate them so that they do work. To plough ahead without the support of residents would be irresponsible.

We need the buy-in of the city as it is residents who will need to make significant lifestyle changes in order for us to become a carbon-neutral city by 2030.

In order to make those changes, we need to bring residents with us, not leave them behind us.

So, last night we voted to remove them and find an alternative location for a temporary cycle lane scheme.

We suggested officers begin by considering Portland Road and New Church Road but also explore other nearby options.

There will now be an “urgency sub-committee” in the next three weeks to finalise the removal of the temporary lanes on Old Shoreham Road – and we’ll be urging officers to crack on with finding an alternative that works for all road users.

Alongside our call to action around other routes, the Labour group was pleased to vote to extend the cycle lane schemes on the A23 and Western Road, as well as the A259 – subject to proper engagement with local businesses and residents on the seafront.

In the meantime, we remain resolute in our desire to deliver on the recommendations of the Climate Assembly – as this is how we will get to carbon net zero and truly combat the climate crisis.

We’ll get there by listening to and working with residents and, of course, keeping our promises to them. We are pleased to report that at last night’s committee, this is exactly what we have done.

Councillor Gary Wilkinson speaks for Labour on Brighton and Hove City Council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee.

  1. Jon Reply

    I imagine Portland Rd and NeW Church Road cycle lanes will be in the wrong place as well.
    After all the seafront is so close that cyclists might as well use that.
    Labour has a problem in that it doesn’t stand for anything.
    If they make such a drama over a couple of miles of cycle lane and claim victory that they couldn’t get it to work not much chance on achieving anything involving climate change really

  2. Mary Lee Reply

    The Labour Party stood on a manifesto. That is the LP for you full of broken promises. Voting with the Conservatives – unbelievable!

  3. Nathan Adler Reply

    Well done Labour, actually ‘listening’ to residents via the consultation and then acting upon it. Strange thing democracy is it not, but it works. All four Labour councillors were measured and controlled last night. The Chair and Cllr Lloyd need referring to standards, utterly appalling behaviour.

    • Malcolm Reply

      Lloyd’s performance was particularly dramatic, holding back the tears and weaponising children. Hollywood beckons.
      Heley was just….hopeless

  4. Flynn Reply

    After years of voting Labour, I’d been on the verge of giving up on the party over the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane. At least they listen to the public, the way political parties are meant to in a democracy.
    Having watched the webcast last night, the Greens behaved appallingly. They were rude and petulant and rightly called out for their behaviour. That’s not leadership in a democracy.
    The Greens achievement has been to unite people against cycle lanes, even though many of those people would normally be among the most enthusiastic supporters of better cycling facilities. They seem unable to accept that more people need to drive more often than they would like, given the modern world of work…. given the way real life works in the 21st century.
    If the Greens are serious about tackling climate change, they need to get better at listening to people and taking them with them, not antagonizing them and turning potential allies into opponents.
    Oh, and where I live, their policy of rewilding the streets has made it feel much less safe cycling along the now uneven edges of my local roads.

  5. Paul Temple Reply

    Behaviour of some Green councilors was simply not good enough – do they realise that they are a minority administration and at times need to compromise. The Greens have no councilors in the West of the city so they do not care how unpopular the A270 cycle lane is – no risk to them. Does not matter that there was a 23% drop in usage in June, it does not matter that there was increased traffic at the western end, it does not matter that thousands took the time to fill in a long and convoluted consultation and 91% said NO to relocation of road space to walking or cycling on the OSR. Well done Labour.

    • Chaz. Reply

      The Greens do realise they are a minority administration.
      Labour has kept them in power with an alliance, when it suited them.
      That was so wrong.
      Finally they came to their senses but they are as bad as each other.

  6. Adrian Hill Reply

    ‘Labour: We believe in active travel but we also believe in listening to the electorate’ The problem is councillors Gary Wilkinson, Robert Nemeth, Steve Bell didn’t listen to the officers and the experts. They listened to misinformation and propagated it in articles in newspapers. They didn’t listen to the evidence that congestion was down overall in Brighton (evidenced by the motor industry + council officers). There was no information on pollution despite those same councillors reporting on it and blaming cycle lanes. The government, DfT and PHE all recommend improvements to cycling infrastructure to reduce congestion and pollution; not at the expense of congestion and pollution like these councillors have incorrectly stated. Cycle lanes will likely displace traffic but overall and eventually, like in London, cycling will move more people using less space than cars. And on pollution, if Labour and the Conservatives cared, they would be pushing for a ULEZ on the polluted roads, like the one in London that reduced pollution by 36%, or they would be pushing for better investments in monitoring, or they might suggest better planning on building configurations to improve air dispersal to lower pollution, or green vegetation barriers, or environmental impact assessments…but nothing from them at all (ok, there is the sound of park and ride but far from anything concrete). I am beginning to think councillors are more interested in disruption than progressing our health and wellbeing. Please councillors, work together, with your officers too.

    • Mike Mckernan Reply

      Spot on sir.

      What exactly is the proposal here from elected officials to help “active travel” now that our (2 in our household) will have our cycle commute along OSR from Hangleton to Lewes Road made more hazardous?

      A route along Portland Road isn’t much use to me.

      The status quo of giving up too much space for private car use will return with all the attendant issues around obesity and pollution and congestion.

      A pathetic backward looking decision to restore essentially 1/2 a lane on each side of a town centre Road ensuing cycle lanes don’t actually join up to anything useful and again holding back their adoption by more people. I am really quite angry.

      Why do motorists not realise they are part of the problem e.g. not complaining about roads such as Neville Avenue which are far more severely constricted by……parked cars.

      They will then use the excuse of “feeling unsafe” to not cycle themselves?

  7. Robert Arbery Reply

    Greens vote with Conservatives to block Park and Ride – that’s OK?
    Labour vote with Conservatives to act upon a consultation – that’s not OK?

    This was never about school children cycling to school, and the shameful weaponisation of children as vulnerable group was as low as it gets. If the Greens were so concerned about vulnerable groups why has nothing been done about the dangerous, (Cllr Heley’s words) blue badge parking on the A259 14 months on. Fed up with both sides of the argument picking and choosing groups with protected characteristics when it suits them. Absolutely no actual data on how many children actually do cycle, (its fewer than 5% at BHASVIC and Cardinal Newman). Relocation of this lane will mean that it might actually ENCOURAGE active travel going forward and build trust with local residents – it is never going to work without them.

  8. Andrè Reply

    As much as I am thankful for those in the party who voted to remove these lanes, I can’t help but blame them for the sheer incompetence of them for allowing the lanes to be put there in the first place.
    Not only did those who made the decisions stand down but gave way for the equally incompetent Green party to take over & lie to central government for tranche 2 funding.
    Absolute failure all round imo.
    The way I see it was the rumbling of anger with constituents obviously made those who voted to remove them nervous because they knew that they would lose a massive amount of votes in the near future.
    The only party to actually side with residents & businesses affected has been the Conservatives. As people were turning to those who were listening, they changed their minds.
    Very shallow & to be expected tbh.
    They have taken note of the amount of accidents these lanes have caused along with the mounting congestion by reducing Old Shoreham Road to a single lane near business & retail parks.
    If the local Labour councillors had acted as quickly, these lanes would have been removed much sooner & many of us would have been able to open our windows.
    An absolute disgrace that should never have happened which they knew would have voting consequences.
    Totally lost my vote & confidence with them & I hope we have someone more capable that are independent that will gain my vote from now on & I hope others will do the same.

  9. Susie Reply

    Don’t reelect eny of them. Easy!

  10. Julie O'Neil Reply

    Thank goodness Labour Councillors are actually listening to the views of the electorate via the consultation. The opinion of local residents about the OSR cycle lanes is overwhelmingly negative. Those of us who use OSR regularly have seen the cycle lanes barely used, while traffic is congested and pollution increases. OSR is a busy main arterial route to the city and the port and is unattractive to the vast majority of cyclists. It needs to go.

    • jjgoldsmith Reply

      Post of the day! So glad we might have an opposition in Brighton & Hove. The behaviour of some Green Councilors shows they have little interest in democracy let alone consultation, compromise and certainly not conduct. Well done Cllr Wilkinson

  11. Andy Reply

    Well done Labour councillors. Glad you’re now joining the Conservatives and listening to what the residents and businesses in B&H want. We need you to fight some of the moronic plans and decisions that the Greens are undemocratically forcing upon us. 👍👏👏👏👏👏

  12. Medal’s in the post Reply

    I mean, you basically just did what you’re supposed to – doing what Brighton residents want you to. Sad times that this is seen as unusual enough to worth mentioning.

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