Seafront cycle lane consultation must be re-done, according to Conservative councillors

Brighton and Hove City Council’s consultation on the proposed A259 seafront cycle lane needs to be re-done, after the council was unable to provide answers to basic questions on the scheme, the Conservatives have said.

A six-week consultation on proposals for walking, cycling and accessibility improvements on the A259 was set to end on January 9 and the Conservatives are claiming residents are 'still in the dark' over key aspects of the scheme, including the impact on disability parking and pollution around Hove Lagoon.

The proposals included increasing pavement space, extending the protected westbound cycle lane and increasing the number of parking spaces for Blue Badge holders in the area between Fourth Avenue and Wharf Road.

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The council confirmed it had extended the consultation by a week to give greater opportunity for more people to have their say.

Wish Ward Conservative councillors Garry Peltzer Dunn (left) and Councillor Robert Nemeth (right)

Since the consultation began, residents have asked questions about the scheme that were not clear in the council’s document they have been asked to complete.

Wish Ward Conservative councillor, Garry Peltzer Dunn, put several of residents’ most-asked questions to the council in December via a written question but said the response received from the council was wholly inadequate.

Councillor Pelzer Dunn said: “Being concerned regarding the lack of information in respect to pollution in the consultation, I asked for information as to where monitoring sites were situated and what readings had been obtained under the existing traffic arrangements.

“The official council response was that monitoring was still going on and that the information would be provided to the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee together with the design proposals.

Wish Ward Conservative councillor, Garry Peltzer Dunn, put several of residents’ most-asked questions to the council in December via a written question but said that the response received from the council was wholly inadequate.

"Such information should have been contained in the consultation document together with information as to what action would be taken if adverse readings were obtained after such a scheme was up and running.

“The council response was to blandly state that monitoring would be undertaken in accord with ‘with the Department of Transport's active travel fund conditions.

"For a scheme which will inevitably increase car pollution in the vicinity of the Hove Lagoon with the children’s play facilities through the westbound A259 being channelled into a single lane, with the resulting tail backs caused by not only a pedestrian crossing but also the traffic lights at the junction with Wharf Road. To ignore this information in the consultation is totally wrong.

“There would be an inevitable increased car usage of the residential roads north of the A259 and the adverse impact caused has also been ignored. It is also out of step with the supposedly ‘green’ credentials of which the council is so proud.

“I am therefore asking that a further consultation be undertaken in order that residents are made fully aware if the implications of introducing such a scheme."

Wish Ward Councillor Robert Nemeth said that another significant concern that hadn’t been addressed was the impact of the council’s scheme on car parking including disability access bays.

Cllr Nemeth said: "We are concerned to see an inadequate consultation with so many basic questions residents are rightly asking not addressed, including the question on the loss of car parking bays.

“We are calling for the consultation to be re-done so that residents have all the facts needed before being asked to give their view."

In response to these criticisms, Councillor Steve Davis, the joint chair of the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said: “

“It will prove impossible to lower pollution and congestion levels in the city if we do not supply safe, alternative infrastructure to encourage active travel.

"UK vehicle ownership has doubled from 21,000,000 to 41,000,000 in the last twenty years. Government data released before Christmas says that figure will rise by 50% by 2050.

"So we need to give residents safe alternatives to car use, if we are to manage the impact this will have, and plan for the future.

"The A259 scheme is not just about cycling. Most of the work we are carrying out is related to improving pedestrian access for all.

"For example, we are very aware of concerns that parts of the Victoria Terrace area are seen as a ‘no-go’ area for some people, and have had similar feedback from people with mobility needs, because the footway is so poor and small. The scheme will improve the footway here.

"The current plans also outline 10 additional motor car disabled parking bays, and we have also identified possible locations for additional disabled bays.

"A report with information about pollution levels in the area of the new A259 scheme will be put before councillors in due course, but we’ll also be looking at this more than once.

"That’s because changes happen over a longer period – rather than a drop in air pollution being felt immediately after a cycle lane or footpath is installed, we know a shift in the way that people choose to travel takes time. So we will consistently monitor air quality here, as we do in other parts of the city.

"We very much value the feedback we’ve had from residents, businesses and local groups."