PRO-cycling groups are hijacking a survey on the future of the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane, a councillor claims.

North Portslade councillor Peter Atkinson has lambasted “gross external interference” after a survey asking for views on the controversial lane in Hove was spotted being shared in London-based cycling groups.

The Brighton and Hove City Council survey, asking for feedback, comes as councillors debate the future of the lane.

In May, residents woke up to find the new cycle route taking up two lanes of the A270 Old Shoreham Road.

Cllr Atkinson said: “The consultation needs no verification of who is filling it in and I suspect we will further find more cycling groups far and wide sharing the consultation. This issue really only affects local residents and businesses but it seems like they are being manipulated in an extreme fashion to achieve a result which will simply not reflect local opinion.

“This is a consultation, carried out by the council, not a petition and, as such, should be a true reflection of local opinion and not suffer from this gross external interference.”

A Facebook post linking to the survey was shared by pro-cycling group Shoreham-By-Cycle. From there it was share to other groups including Ealing Cycling Campaign, Critical Mass London and Lewisham Cyclists.

The original post asked people to give feedback to the council “even if you are not a resident”.

When The Argus filled in the survey, we noticed people were given the option to show how far they live away from the lane and how much they currently use the road.

The Argus also found that a full postcode had to be provided along with an email address. People were not required to enter a name.

A council spokesman said: “This is an online survey to gather views on a number of temporary transport changes in the city, not a formal consultation. Any proposed permanent changes would be subject to a formal consultation before implementation.

“Respondents are asked to input their postcode information and we encourage all users of our transport network and public spaces to have their say.”

A spokesman for Shoreham-By-Cycle said: “Within the council’s online consultation form there was invitation for responses by people living outside the city itself.

“This was good to see, as we all understand how people’s lives cross borders every day, as we visit, commute and shop around the local area. As a Shoreham-based group, routes between Shoreham and Brighton and Hove are really important to Shoreham residents.

“Many Shorehamites work in Brighton and others shop there or visit on a regular basis. The council clearly appreciates this so we appreciate their openness to wider feedback. We are keen for Shoreham people to have a say.”