A councillor was thrown out of a meeting after twice interrupting the chair to challenge comments about a controversial roundabout.
Independent councillor Bridget Fisheigh asked why the Aquarium was frequently referred to as being on a list of the “most dangerous” roundabouts in the country when no such list exists.
In February, a response to Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle’s written question to the Secretary of State for Transport asking if the department produced such a list said that it did not.
At the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee meeting on Tuesday 21 June, Councillor Fishleigh asked the council to confirm that there was no evidence to support the claim that it was one of the “most dangerous” in the country and would never repeat it.
Green councillor Steve Davis, who chaired the committee meeting, said that he spoke to the journalist who created the list of 20 dangerous roundabouts before the tit-for-tat began.
He said: “It is, without doubt, the most dangerous roundabout in the city. I can say that as a resident. I can say that as a member of the committee and a driver.”
Councillor Fishleigh interrupted and said that there was no data to support the claim that it was the most dangerous in the city.
Councillor Davis said: “Sorry. Nobody ever said it was the most dangerous roundabout in the city.”
At that point Councillor Fishleigh said that she had recorded him saying that very thing.
Labour councillor Alan Robins interjected to say that the session was meant to respond to members’ questions – not be an argument.
Councillor Fishleigh, who had asked her question virtually, was removed from the meeting.
Later, she said: “I understand that Councillor Davis is a driving instructor, so I suppose he hasn’t got much experience in chairing large meetings, though I would have thought he’d know a dangerous roundabout when he sees one.”
The official response to Councillor Fishleigh said: “This junction remains the most dangerous in the city and reductions in accidents remains a central component to the business case.
“I recall in the response to you it was explained that Department for Transport data was used by the national media journalist to compile a league table of roundabouts with the highest number of accidents.
“With regard to the numbers of collisions, the data clearly also shows that vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, are disproportionately affected by the current road layout, with over 75 per cent of serious injuries caused to these user groups, compared to just over 15 per cent of collisions resulting in serious injury to car or van occupants.”
Daily Mirror journalist Michael Goodier wrote the article referenced in the response in August 2019.
He used Department for Transport accident data to create the list, which placed the Aquarium roundabout 16th out of 20 with 11 accidents.
A Brighton and Hove City Council press release from July 2014 was titled Valley Gardens money could tackle notorious seafront junction.
In the press release, former Green councillor Ian Davey, who was the lead councillor for transport at the time, said: “The extra money announced last week will allow us to complete the project, including looking again at the Aquarium roundabout to see how one of the worst junctions in the city can be made safer and improved for all road users.”
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