The centre of Brighton and Hove will have a 20mph speed limit from next year – with the rest of the city to get the restrictions later.

From April, all traffic driving in the area between Sackville Road in the west to Freshfield Road in the east will be ordered to go slower.

Only Sackville Road, Old Shoreham Road and the seafront in the heart of the city will be immune from the new restrictions.

The decision was voted through at a meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council’s transport committee last night.

Officials claim that the measure will not only persuade residents to seek more sustainable forms of transport but will also help reduce both the number of accidents and the severity of any injuries caused.

It is estimated that the scheme will cost £1.5 million to run over the next three years.

A total of 3,689 people took part in the council’s consultation exercise over the plans during the summer, of whom 55% backed a new limit.

Survival rates

In a presentation to the committee, public health expert David Brindley explained that pedestrians had a 95% chance of survival when hit by a vehicle at 20mph compared to less than 50% when struck at 30mph.

He added that the scheme would not only increase safety on the roads but also encourage people to get fitter by walking and cycling more and driving less.

Work on the project dates back to 2010 and has received broadly cross party support.

Green councillor and transport committee member Chris Hawtree said: “I’m very excited by this. It is one of the most exciting in my time in this lark and it really lifts the heart – perhaps literally.”

Labour group leader Gill Mitchell said: “We have always supported the implementation of 20mph areas and know that they are popular. They make neighbourhoods look safer and feel safer and are generally something to be supported.”

Voted through

However, the east Brighton ward councillor raised the concerns of taxi drivers, bus bosses and the police about how the scheme would work.

Conservative group leader Geoffrey Theobald abstained from the vote saying too many roads were included.

He said: “I came here to support this but I don't think I’m going to now. There is really no need to have an area as large as this with wide roads included.

"To implement the scheme and then take roads out seems like the wrong way round.”

Despite the abstentions the scheme was voted through and will come into force in April.

The council will consider expanding the limits across the rest of the city next year.

Ian Davey, the Green chairman of the committee, said: “Many residents will be delighted to see this proposal come forward as it will bring real benefits.”

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