OPINION

Green-Labour pact hits Brighton in the pocket once again

Posted On 07 Dec 2021 at 12:53 pm

Labour continues to side with the Greens in key council votes, letting down its residents and the city as a whole.

The latest glaring example of this occurred at last month’s key Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee meeting when Brighton’s experimental bus gate system was brought forward for discussion and decision.

The bus gates, policed by four fine-issuing traffic cameras in the Valley Gardens area in central Brighton, were brought in by the council using an experimental traffic order in 2020 and have operated for a year.

With the experimental order underpinning this measure about to expire, the committee was asked by the Greens to vote to make this traffic measure permanent.

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During the course of the debate, serious problems were exposed with the design and operation of the scheme thanks to a question asked by Conservative councillor Robert Nemeth.

It was revealed that the bus gate cameras had been fining an extraordinary number of unsuspecting drivers – 9,618 in the month of October alone.

And with more than £1.8 million reaped in fines by the council in 12 months, it was clear that the bus gates were not only having a negative impact on Brighton residents’ pockets but also on visitors, putting the city’s prized tourist economy at risk.

Given this, any councillor or party interested in providing scrutiny for residents should have immediately put a stop to the plan to make these experimental measures permanent, at the very least until these issues could be fixed.

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However, when the opportunity came to stop this unfair situation at the committee meeting, Labour actively voted with the Greens for it to continue and to make the bus gates permanent, waving the measure through. Only the Conservatives voted against.

It was such a poor standard of scrutiny from Labour – one that is being repeated time and again across the council on the big decisions that matter and are important to residents.

Examples include unwanted building on the urban fringe, unpopular and underused cycle lanes and the homeless bill of rights.

Driving all this is the coalition-style agreement between Labour and the Greens, detailed by Brighton and Hove News and which continues to loom large over this council.

In this instance, the clause on climate change may well have been a factor, with Labour and the Greens both agreeing on a “car-free city” policy – a plan which is linked to the bus gates.

However, by putting their coalition deal before residents at all costs, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of a policy’s failure, Labour have let down residents once again.

 

This council term runs from 2019-23, with many more meetings to be held before its term expires.

But by now it is clear that it is only the Conservatives who are able and willing to stand up for residents and provide the level of scrutiny that the city deserves.

By their actions and votes, Labour and the Greens mark themselves as the same entity, a coalition in all but name, which voters will surely remember when the election comes round.

Councillor Steve Bell is the leader of the Conservatives on Brighton and Hove City Council.

  1. ChrisC Reply

    If drivers paid due care and attention they wouldn’t get caught out.

    It’s not a lack of signs that’s the problem (there are plenty) it’s the lack of drivers watching the road.

    • Sam Reply

      I’m not a Tory, but this councillor’s right. The paint on the road has almost faded and if you’re behind a bus then it’s not always possible to read it. The other signs are easily lost in the visual clutter round there. They should have paused before making it permanent. Just glad not to have been caught out myself on the few occasions I’ve had to go that way.
      Meantime, people like me avoid Brighton town centre whenever we can, and drive to where we’re welcome, even if it is further away.

      • Martin Norman Burtenshaw Reply

        Rubbish, the road paint is new and very clear and the signs are clear too. If you’re behind a bus and can’t see the road markings I would suggest you’re driving far too close, remember the two second gap rules?

    • Mike Beasley Reply

      the signage is vague and the layout is deliberately counter-intuitive. It’s simply a cynical scheme to milk the motorist. A great way of ensuring tourists and casual visitors go somewhere else next time. Perhaps a whistleblower could provide the names of those officers responsible for this and other dogma-driven criminally stupid Transport projects that flow out of BHCC. Time these idiots were held to account

    • Martin Norman Burtenshaw Reply

      I agree. There’s plenty of signage to start with.
      What I think also is that because of lockdown a lot of people were unaware of the new road layouts and using outdated SatNavs.

  2. Gareth Hall Reply

    Blimey tories supporting law breakers who’d have thought it

  3. Paul Temple Reply

    It was a poor decision by Labour and I support the party. You clearly see the visible shock on Cllr Platts face when she heard the level of fines, (which curiously were NOT declared in the report to committee). And yet her and her colleagues voted to keep the Bus Gate. Poor.

  4. Peter Renfrew Reply

    It was the Conservative-Labour pact that cost thousands of funding when they ripped out cycle lanes on the OSR with no evidence of detrimental effect.

    • Chaz. Reply

      Writing a wrong that Labour brought in. I agree.
      The Greenies wanted to keep a wrong going, even though local residents reacted overwhelmingly against it, when finally they were asked.
      Good to know Labour woke up but it took too long and was far too late.

      • Barry Harding Reply

        not to mention that the Greens, along with the cycling lobby, deliberatley falsified facts and figures. Fortunately their lies and deceit were found out via a FOI, which BHCC seemed particularly unwilling to respond to. Can’t think why . . .

  5. Katy Reply

    How about the Conservative/Green pact that delivered the disastrous i(sore)360, which is costing the city millions and no sign of any repayments. Meanwhile, at the environment committee cited by Steve Bell, his own Conservative councillors declined to support the introduction of pedestrian crossings and other road safety measures across the city. I suspect the Conservatives are bereft of any policy ideas and have decided to spend the next year peddling the coalition myth. Councillors in glass committees shouldn’t chuck moans!

  6. Adam Campbell Reply

    Gaaad I’m so glad I moved to a better area, far from the Tony Greenstein wanabees and amateur politicians like Phelim. If you could only see what a bunch of sixth form revolutionaries you all really are. Mung beans all round chaps 🤣🤣🤣

    • Hove Guy Reply

      They are so arrogant and stubborn, forever making serious costly blunders, yet refusing to admit they were totally wrong. Dolly The Sheep would have made a better job than these clowns we now have running (sorry ruining) the council.

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