Scrapped Old Shoreham Road cycle lane: "Remove the bollards and put void on the signs" says frustrated councillor

A councillor who called for the temporary Old Shoreham Road cycle lane to go is frustrated with the delay in restoring the road.

Councillor Dawn Barnett said residents need to see something is happening after the decision to scrap to cycle lane was voted through last week

Speaking today (Tuesday, August 17) Conservative councillor Dawn Barnett said a week had now passed since Labour and Conservative councillors voted for the removal of the temporary cycle lane at a meeting on Tuesday, August 10.

And while the Hangleton and Knoll councillor said she understood highways were busy and would need to remove signs and burn off the white lines, she said something could still let people know the lane has now been scrapped.

Councillor Barnett said: "A week has passed. Residents need to see something is happening. The bollards could be removed and put void on the signs."

Last week, Brighton and Hove City Council said work was expected to start on removing the lane early next month although this would depend on having people available to remove signs and carry out repairs.

Councillor Barnett, who was the first member of the council to speak out about the lane, said that she was frustrated by the delay. She said she wanted the wands marking the lane edge to be removed straight away.

Councillor Barnett said: “I’m sorry it’s not being removed quicker than that after it went in overnight. I’ve offered to go along there with a tin of black paint to cover up the white lines.

“I understand highways have got to remove the high signs and burn off the white lines but I don’t want it dragging on.

“The council could go along there and get the posts out. It shows willing and lets people know it is happening.”

The council said that there was no fixed date other than early September, adding: “We are working towards removing the temporary stretches of the Old Shoreham Road cycle lanes as quickly as possible.

“This involves a considerable amount of planning to make sure we fulfil legal requirements in terms of removing the road markings and wands, reinstating the carriageway and repairing it where necessary, removing or changing the signage and adjusting traffic signals in a safe and co-ordinated manner.

“It is also dependent on our highways contractors, who tend to only have limited availability at this time of year.”

The temporary lane between The Drive and Hangleton Road traffic lights will definitely go after Labour and Conservative councillors voted for its removal at a meeting on August 10.

It was one of a series of “active travel” schemes introduced across Brighton and Hove during the first national coronavirus lockdown at the behest of the Conservative government.

The emergency active travel schemes were introduced when the government was urging people not to use public transport.

The Old Shoreham Road cycle lane was created in May last year, in place of a lane of other traffic on each side of the road. It joined the existing cycle lane between The Drive and Dyke Road.

At the time, Labour was the biggest party on the council. Last Tuesday, Councillor Gary Wilkinson, who speaks for Labour on transport, said that the government had pushed forward active travel in “challenging times” when public engagement was not possible.

The council had to work “within weeks”, Councillor Wilkinson said, and he quoted a transport minister as saying: “We have no interest in requiring councils to keep schemes which are proven not to work.”

The council received more than £3 million from the government in the first two tranches of “emergency active travel funding”.

A report before councillors last Tuesday said that almost £280,000 of funding was immediately at risk because of the vote to remove the cycle lane.

The council could face the same fate as neighbouring West Sussex County Council which lost funding opportunities after it took out cycle lanes.

Green councillor Amy Heley said that the decision to remove the cycle lane was “shameful”.

She said: “I’m scared for the future. This is the tiniest thing we could have done, a step in the right direction, but they just don’t care. It’s very disappointing.”

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