Councillor ejected from meeting after challenging ‘dangerous roundabout’ claim

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.”

Councillor Bridget Fishleigh

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.”

  1. More Pollution Please Reply

    A simple experiment. Put temp traffic lights on the roundabout for a month. Like they have on the Lewes A27 roundabout. Lets see the level of traffic jams and fumes that creates.

    We have a council that loves to cause traffic jams and pollution. Have they solved the problem for the Pool Valley buses and how they will safely turn round to head West? Or they just going to expect them to pull out into the middle of the traffic instead.

  2. Ken Thomas Reply

    Well done Bridget! Great that you are standing up to the lies and deceit spouted by the Greens. Brighton needs more independent councillors who will look after the needs of residents and not just try to push their party dogma upon the city.

  3. Keith Reply

    There’s too much ON the roundabout.You can’t see some signals as people approach. If you wait like you are supposed to on a test, you won’t get anywhere

  4. Adam Reply

    Councillor Kitcat ( Mrs ) didn’t like driving round it so hubby started the process to remove. I still say #sendkitcatthebill for the i369. Fishleigh for President!

  5. Nathan Adler Reply

    Cllr Fishleigh exposes a lie that we have all known about. With 60,000 journeys across the roundabout a day the actually accidents that occur is tiny! If it was so dangerous why not simply introduce a seven dials style roundabout to slow traffic? Don’t forget the initial consultation had a clear majority wanting to retain the roundabout this most dangerous roundabout in the country falsehood was used as justification to remove it.

  6. Charles U Farley Reply

    Never let facts get in the way of anything.
    One can but hope a Karma will run over their dogma.

  7. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    What a disappointing article! The headline had me reading on to discover whether it was cllr Janio who had been dragged backwards by security men from the Chamber at Hove Town Hall and handed over to the adjacent Police Station and there charged with a public-order offence. But, no, it was cllr Fishleigh, who was appearing virtually. And so her being ejected from the meeting was not as dramatic as that but simply the flick of the Chair’s switch to turn the screen blank. Meanwhile, I have never understood the seemingly sentimental attachment to that bleak roundabout. Traffic lights will make it more pleasant. After all, there are lights at the junctions off Kingsway rather than roundabouts.

    • Peter Challis Reply

      What a disappointment response from you, sycophanticly defending a fellow Green Party councillor who has blatantly misled the council about how dangerous the roundabout is.

      He is really talking about the entire area including the St. James Street junction where a number of serious accidents have happened, and in general roundabouts are much safer than junctions because traffic, when it does collide is side-side rather than head-on or at right angles, and as we know some drivers speed up to try to avoid red lights.

      In fact the only group of road users for whom roundabouts are more dangerous are cyclists and they don’t like having to give way to other traffic. Of course have signalled crossings for cyclists away from the roundabout, as we have at the moment for pedestrians, solves this.

      Remind us – do you own a car or ever leave the city, or do you just frequent the town centres in your bicycle?

      Love your usual anti-Janio immaturity – is this typical of how all Green Party politicians old and new behave?

      • Gary Thain Reply

        So .. Cllr Davis has been ‘economical with the truth’ ?! Well well….

    • Helen Reply

      Christopher Hawtree
      Sorry I don’t agree. 1) Traffic flows very well at Roundabouts. 2) The council wishes apparently to reduce congestion and pollution, yet, this scheme will encourage both by delaying traffic and even the council admitted it would delay traffic.
      Cyclists, you’ve hit the nail squarely on the head, cyclists don’t like having to give way to other traffic. Why not?
      They expect everybody else to give way and throw their toys out their prams when they don’t. Typical attitude !!!

      • Christopher Hawtree Reply

        One cannot speak of “cyclists” like that. Just as one cannot do so of, for example, women, Jews, Black people. It is a slppery descent to fascism. Think, think, do do think.

        • Helen Reply

          Christopher Hawtree
          Actually Chris my comment about cyclists should’ve been directed to Peter Challis, I copied what they said.
          Sorry for my error.

          • Christopher Hawtree

            Thanks for this. Just seen it. A busy day in which I have drafted 2200 words (with no mention of cyclists, let alone of Challice!).

  8. fed-up with brighton politics Reply

    Very duff headline, B&H News, shame on you. Cllr Fishleigh was not ‘ejected’, simply switched-off electronically because the Green/Lab cabal couldn’t or didn’t want to deal with a very legitimate question. This says it all about this ultra-sad political ‘alliance’ that is running the council – I use the term ‘running’ in its very loosest sense because I think that officers are actually ‘running’ it, very badly, and for most of the time the ‘alliance’ has no clue as to what is going on.

  9. Morty Smith Reply

    All kudos to Bridget. She is literally the only sane, competent, grown up what is effectively a left wing student debating society.

  10. Billy Short Reply

    There’s nothing worse than the misuse of statistics by a politician as a reason for them doing what they want to do.
    In this case it is true that the Palace Pier roundabout is a busy junction but the accident rate for that amount of use is actually very low. It’s a busy junction because the A259 is the last remaining cross city route.

    What is totally stupid about the Valley Gardens plan is to direct pedestrians and cyclists straight at this busy junction in a way that will bring them into direct conflict with each other and with gridlocked traffic.

    Note too that this is a junction of two A roads and no alternative route is being provided for essential and commuter cross city traffic. Bus routes will also be slowed and no new public transport services are being provided.
    It’s difficult to see how anyone will benefit from this plan.

  11. Kez Reply

    This plan seems to be the most appalling traffic scheme ever. It is disadvantageous to drivers cyclist anyone coming into the city or wanting to travel East/west west/east. Having to drive up to Duke’s mound to turn round is ridiculous and very non green. Still that is the green council for you !

    • fed-up with brighton politics Reply

      Well, Kez, two years or more ago (pre-Covid) an elderly friend of mine managed to book herself on a U3A coach day trip (she can and does drive perfectly well, but who wants to get entangled in the traffic ‘system’ here if it can be avoided) and we arranged to meet as pedestrians outside the Palace Pier. I got the bus from East Brighton to Old Steine (no prob at all – maybe less than 10 mins) but it took me longer than that to get safely to the Pier on foot from the stop in Old Steine – admittedly not helped by some clueless tourists asking me the way to the ‘Taj Mahal’, which I took to be the Pavilion.

      So, as a bus passenger (don’t drive, can’t physically cycle), my question to whoever is – if I wanted to meet a friend outside the Palace Pier and got off the bus in Old Steine, would this new mayhem make it easier or harder?

      Re East Brighton, some years back ‘they’ decided to install lights at the junction between Eastern Road, Whitehawk Road (Lidl), Arundel Road – at the time I think it was alleged to be something to do with heavy traffic involved with building the new hospital. So we got lights, tactile pavement (a person with sight issues would need to be totally crazy to tackle this junction, but I’ve never seen any trying). Driving friends at the time said that a roundabout would have been a lot better and would have allowed traffic to flow sensibly. The result since then is that, because of all the geographical directions involved, drivers just sit there until the lights are briefly in their favour (spewing out fumes), pedestrians dash cross at their peril on red lights or farther up Whitehawk Road, because the pedestrian lights take forever to go green and then aren’t green for long enough to get across the road, and I’ve never really seen a bike anywhere around.

      But, surely, employed council officers sold all this rubbish to councillors, most of whom weren’t/aren’t smart enough, engaged enough or sufficiently interested to challenge and overrule them.

      Go figure!

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