Old Shoreham Road cycle lane looks set to be scrapped

A CONTROVERSIAL cycle lane looks set to be scrapped.

The lanes in Old Shoreham Road in Hove were installed last year using government money and have divided opinion.

The cycle routes take up two lanes of the A270, one of the main arteries into and out of Hove to the west of the city.

The Labour Group of councillors, who ordered their overnight installation in May 2020, have now announced they want it scrapped.

They say this follows draft findings from a city-wide consultation with residents earlier this year.

The announcement means the majority of representatives on Brighton and Hove City Council now want it removed.

Labour Councillor Gary Wilkinson, the opposition spokesman for transport, said: “Whilst the Greens wished to plough on ahead with extending the Old Shoreham Road cycle lanes, Labour called for a halt to allow for meaningful consultation with residents.

“Having seen the draft findings from that consultation, Labour feel residents have made their feelings clear and want the temporary cycle lane scrapped.

“We stand with residents in calling on the Green minority administration to remove the temporary cycle lane in Old Shoreham Road and scrap the planned extension, in favour of looking at alternative routes.

“By scrutinising the council and bringing residents into the discussion, Labour’s constructive opposition means we can put a stop to the congestion in Old Shoreham Road and see the temporary cycle lane removed.

“The ideological positions of the other parties on this issue has always been clear – the Greens dislike drivers and the Tories dislike cyclists.

“Labour, the only party capable of bringing the city together, chose not to be driven by dogma but to involve residents and let them decide.”

Since their installation, campaigners have argued over the future of the lanes with some wanting them made permanent and others wanting them scrapped.

The new cycle lane has proved popular with some people who saw it as a “positive step” towards achieving safe and clean transport in the city.

However, many argued the lanes were little-used and were creating congestion in the area.

When comparing traffic data from 2016 with late August last year bicycle usage on the route had fallen by 27 per cent.

A spokeswoman for the Green Group of Councillors said: “It’s a great shame that Labour are no longer in favour of our city’s roads being shared among all those who need to use them, and want to block plans to improve safe cycling and walking routes on the Old Shoreham Road. We want to ensure that everyone has the option for safe and sustainable travel around our city. As we recover from a virus that attacks our lungs, we also stand for cleaner air.

“The government was quite clear that the consultation on emergency active travel schemes should not be a referendum about keeping or scrapping new routes. Consultation responses should identify improvements, and we’re keen to make changes to routes that help meet the needs of residents.

“Simply swapping some routes for others leaves residents on existing routes without the improvements they need. It’s also hard to see how Labour’s claim to support ‘other routes’ can be trusted, given their u-turn on a cycle lane they themselves installed when running the council. Their vocal ambition to jettison a crucial transport corridor in the city will also, ironically, likely put the very funding they originally applied for – to enable active travel and further routes – at risk. For a party that claims to care about the climate crisis, budget cuts, toxic emissions and safer routes to school, this is deeply irresponsible.

“Greens are keen to help residents enjoy the benefits of active travel, for our health and wellbeing and for our planet. Many in the city will have hoped Labour councillors would also work constructively to achieve this. Polling nationally has shown that people do not know what Starmer’s Labour Party stands for – locally, it’s now as clear as mud.

“Old Shoreham Road is an important route for hospital workers and for school children. They will be heavily affected by the u-turn from the very party that implemented the route in the first place.”

The Argus | Brighton and Hove news