The Conservatives have accused Labour of wobbling on the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane less than a day before a decision is due on whether to scrap it or stick with it.
Tory councillors said that they had been waiting to learn what amendment Labour would propose to reinforce their vote last month to scrap the cycle lane.
Their comments follow the publication of a Brighton and Hove City Council report spelling out the cost of removing the “temporary” lane between The Drive and the Hangleton Road traffic lights.
The report said that the council risked missing out on almost £280,000 of government funding as well as having to stump up £50,000 to rip out the cycle lanes themselves.
The Conservatives said that they were backing the overwhelming wish of residents, adding: “An amendment to the report is required because it currently recommends the retention of the lanes, contrary to the democratic decision of the council made two weeks ago to remove it.”
The Tories said that Labour put in the cycle lanes as a “temporary” covid measure but had realised how unpopular they were while the Greens wanted to keep them.
The Labour group was understood to be meeting this evening to finalise its position before a meeting of the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Urgency Sub-committee tomorrow morning (Tuesday 10 August).
Councillor Robert Nemeth, who speaks on transport for the Tories, will represent the Conservative group at the crucial meeting at Hove Town Hall tomorrow.
He said that he was concerned that Labour, represented by Councillor Gary Wilkinson, could go back on its most recent vote to remove the lanes.
Councillor Nemeth said: “The deadline for amendments has passed and the Conservatives have made our position clear – as it always has been on this issue – with an amendment published ordering the immediate removal of the Old Shoreham Road temporary cycle lanes.
“Our Conservative team has stood with residents from the start and been consistent, voting on five previous occasions to have the lanes removed while Labour and Greens voted to keep them in place.
“Labour finally came round to our way of thinking at the fifth time of asking at the ‘special meeting’ last month, in the face of overwhelming community sentiment in the latest consultation on the matter.
“However, with just hours to go before the decisive vote at 11am tomorrow, it is of great concern to residents that Labour has not had any amendment published to the council report, which calls for the cycle lanes to remain.
“There appears to be a wobbling in the Labour group over their position at the last moment which will be of great concern to the residents.
“The council must finally listen to the residents who have completed two separate consultations, signed petitions, attended council meetings and each and every time told councillors in no uncertain terms that they want this cycle lane gone.
“There must be no last-minute wobbles from Labour and residents will be watching closely tomorrow to see if Labour backs the Conservative amendment to unequivocally remove the temporary cycle lanes or instead sides with the Greens.”
The Conservative amendment said: “That having regard to all relevant considerations, the committee resolves to remove the Phase 1 Old Shoreham Road cycle lane and instructs officers to take all steps necessary or incidental to the removal of the cycle lane as soon as reasonably practicable.”
The meeting is scheduled to be webcast on the council’s website.