A SEAFRONT road which has been closed to motorists since April is to be reopened next week, in time for half term.

The closure of Madeira Drive back in April has proved controversial among residents, with more than 10,000 people signing a petition for the road to be reopened earlier this year.

Traders in Madeira Drive reported they could not afford to pay their rent following the road closure, with some businesses losing up to 80 per cent of their trade. 

Brighton and Hove City Council took the decision to shut the road to create more space for social distancing during lockdown, and as part of a government drive for people to walk and cycle after the reduction in seats on public transport.

But the closure has upset a range of groups in the city, and last month the city council agreed to reopen the road for one-way vehicle use.

From early next week, vehicles will be able to travel eastbound along the full length of Madeira Drive and exit at Duke’s Mound.

Work is now underway to install new signage and lining on the road to help drivers with the new layout.

All parking spaces on the north side of the carriageway will be available to motorists, but parking bays on the south side of the carriageway will be suspended, exception of spaces available to Blue Badge holders and close to Yellowave.

A second phase of work, due to be carried out in coming weeks, will reallocate road space to install a four metre-wide protected cycle lane in the road.

The number of Blue Badge bays will be increased from 14 to 25 and the orientation of parking spaces will be changed for easier use, the council said.  

Chairwoman of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee, Amy Heley said: “I’m pleased we have found an option that will allow everyone to travel in Madeira Drive safely while supporting our local businesses.

"This demonstrates our willingness to listen and adapt our plans to changing circumstances and needs of different users.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Madeira Drive as a space that can be continued to be enjoyed by all users.

"Cyclists will have use of a spacious and protected cycle lane; pedestrians can walk freely on the upper promenade and those who do need to use a vehicle will still be able to do so.

“I’m also pleased that there will be an increase in parking for Blue Badge holders.

“We are still in the middle of a pandemic, and there is an ongoing need to physically distance ourselves, but we also want everyone to enjoy safe and accessible travel around our city and to improve infrastructure for active travel."