A ROAD closure could become permanent after the temporary scheme was met with immense enthusiasm.

Madeira Drive in Brighton has been car-free for a month and a half as the city council looked to open up outdoor exercise spaces during the UK lockdown.

But, now people have had a taste of the seafront road without cars, many are keen for the scheme to be extended.

A poll by The Argus revealed that 60 per cent of the readers surveyed wanted the road to remain closed once lockdown is lifted.

The Argus:

Jon Wesley said: “It’s delightful right now. Folks can spread out and cyclists are enjoying more space. It needs to stay this way.”

Meanwhile fellow reader Mark Johnson said it had been “a lifesaver to have this space available during lockdown”.

Now, Brighton and Hove City Council has hinted that their wishes may well come true.

Alongside this, other carbon emissions-cutting projects in the city such as the temporary bike lane installed in Old Shoreham Road may also outlast the lockdown.

Councillor Anne Pissaridou, chairwoman of the authority’s environment, transport and sustainability committee, said: “We’re working towards being a carbon neutral city by 2030 and cleaner air, healthier lifestyles and less congestion on our city roads are all integral to achieving this.

The Argus:

“Short-term transport measures brought in to support more walking and cycling during the Covid crisis have been popular with many residents and any expansion of these schemes will be considered as part of our longer term local transport plan.

“We’re also working to bring forward permanent schemes already agreed, such as the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan and proposals for a car-free city centre.”

Other new measures which could be introduced include pop-up cycle lanes, the widening of pavements, increasing the length of bus lanes and prioritising walking and cycling at junctions.

The council will also work to bring forward the car-free city centre scheme proposed by Preston Park Green Councillor Amy Heley, which was passed unanimously in January.

The proposal said the climate emergency and public health crisis caused by air pollution “must be tackled by drastically reducing private car use in the city centre”.

Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas has also thrown her support behind the implementation of schemes which will contribute to the reduction of Brighton and Hove’s carbon emissions.

The Argus:

The Green Party politician said: “We have lived with toxic air pollution in Brighton for far too long. North Street is one of the ten most polluted streets in the country. Now we know what it’s like to have city streets with air that’s safe to breathe and we can’t throw this away. Parts of Brighton have been transformed and have shown us what our city could be like.

“The Government’s ludicrous £27 billion budget for new roads needs to be re-thought, with money allocated instead to make streets safe for walking, cycling, shopping and play.”

  • The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal. Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. org.uk/apply. To donate visit www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/sussexcrisisfund