Planned changes to a controversial junction are “dangerous and discriminatory”, according to disabled campaigners.

Brighton and Hove City Council unveiled its revamped plans to transform Seven Dials roundabout last week.

The local authority claims its plans will make the junction safer for all users.

However, disability champions claim the proposal to take away barriers and replace “green man” controlled crossings with zebra crossings will put the vulnerable people at “significant risk” as they will not be able to tell when it is safe to cross.

Jon Hastie, of the Fed Centre for Independent living, which is run by disabled people in Brighton and Hove, said: “At the worst, this could lead to serious accidents involving blind pedestrians. At best, blind and visually impaired pedestrians will avoid the area completely.

“We feel this proposal is dangerous and discriminatory and that these concerns have not been adequately recognised by officers.

“We believe the council is opening itself up to legal challenges which could be a completely avoidable waste of taxpayers’ money.”

Among the changes include widening the roundabout to five metres across and changing both north and south approaches in Dyke Road into single lanes rather than the current two lanes.

Residents' concerns

Ian Davey, the chairman of the council’s transport committee, said: “We understand that some residents remain concerned about potential displacement of traffic.

“While studies show this to be unlikely we will make a commitment that should their fears be realised measures will be taken to address any problems.”

A report to the authority’s transport committee said 67% of 660 residents – 440 people – responding to a public consultation supported the main change to the roundabout.

Experts rejected claims from residents that it would lead to neighbouring streets becoming rat runs, adding their computer transport model showed delays would “not appreciably increase”.

Petition against

But Dave Evans, of Addison Road, Hove, who helped collect nearly 1,400 signatures against the original scheme, said: “With about 14,000 voters in Goldsmid ward, how can 440 people be ‘overwhelming’?

“The Seven Dials is in urgent need of a makeover. But this has been railroaded through.

“How can you argue with a computer programme you have no access to?”

A decision will be taken at the council’s transport committee meeting tomorrow (January 15).

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