At the Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee meeting this afternoon, Labour will be voting to extend the temporary cycle lane schemes that we implemented on the A23 and Western Road. We will also be voting for the extension of the A259 seafront cycle lane scheme, subject to proper engagement with the impacted businesses and residents.
At this meeting, we will also be calling on the Council to remove the temporary cycle lanes on Old Shoreham Road, and urgently locate a viable, alternative local route in its place.
Labour are keen to ensure there is more active travel infrastructure built around the city – that’s why we implemented these temporary measures, that’s why we worked on the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, and that’s why we support a car-free city centre.
However, we have always been clear that residents must be at the forefront of any transport changes, and their opinions must be respected.
The Climate Assembly we set up delivered 10 key recommendations, that they insisted be delivered as a suite of measures – not cherry-picked. One of those key recommendations (number 4) was that the Council should actively consult and engage with the community. That is what we have done. Labour is the only party that supports delivering on all the findings of our Climate Assembly, from Park & Ride, to bringing residents with us, to a car-free city centre and more.
The Green administration wanted to plough ahead with extending the temporary scheme on Old Shoreham Road, in the face of vocal opposition from residents. We asked for a pause and a full consultation with the people of Brighton & Hove first. And residents have made their feelings very clear – the temporary lanes on Old Shoreham Road are not working. So, we want to relocate them so that they do work.
To plough ahead without the support of residents would be irresponsible. We need the buy-in of the city as it is residents who will need to make significant lifestyle changes in order for us to become a carbon neutral city by 2030. In order to make those changes, we need to bring them with us, not leave them behind us.
We will be calling on officers to begin exploring alternative local routes such as Portland Road and New Church Road, because removing the temporary scheme on Old Shoreham Road does not negate the need for a joined-up active travel network in the city.
These were experimental and temporary changes. We must always remain open to reviewing them, improving and changing them where necessary, or we will lose the support of our residents for an integrated active travel network.
We have sought assurances from officers and are confident that the emergency funds from government can be redirected to the other schemes, such as the underfunded A23 scheme, and that this decision will not necessarily impact future funding opportunities.
Your Labour Councillors promised to listen to residents and we have, so we will urge the Council to relocate the lanes on Old Shoreham Road so that they work for all road users.
In the meantime, we will continue to pursue our agenda of tackling the climate crisis. Most recently, we secured additional funds for a Park & Ride scheme, for an electric vehicle car share project, for 20-minute neighbourhoods, a 20mph city and more.
From progressing the Valley Gardens scheme, to delivering the city’s first ever climate assembly, to closing Madeira Drive to motor vehicles, to rolling out electric vehicle charging points and installing solar panels on council homes, to supporting a car-free city centre and a Park & Ride scheme – the ongoing climate emergency has always been at the front of our minds and it remains there today.
That’s why we are supporting extending the vast majority of the temporary schemes we implemented, and simply seeking to relocate the experimental scheme that isn’t working.
Only by coming together, engaging and listening to each other, can we make Brighton & Hove a carbon neutral city within the decade. We hope all Councillors present at the Committee meeting tonight share our view on that.