SO THE final debate has taken place on the Old Shoreham Road (OSR) cycle lanes and they are to be removed.

This is simple common sense and democracy. The cycle lanes had been in place for well over a year but were chronically under used.

I often walk or drive this route from my home in Portslade and there were days when I would literally see just one or two cyclists for the whole stretch of both lanes between Hangleton Road and Nevill Road.

It was clearly never a popular route with cyclists and no amount of table thumping from the more extreme elements of the cycle lobby could change this.

These cycle lanes were also deeply unpopular with local residents. On three different occasions, when genuine local opinion was sought, the feedback was overwhelmingly negative. In fact, this reached a ridiculous state of affairs when the most recent council consultation was not allowed to have a straightforward yes/no question on whether you supported the retention of the lanes or not.

Residents found ways around this, however, and it was clear from the results that the OSR did not have the support of local residents due to the delay and inconvenience they cause, displaced traffic and the simple fact that they were not being used to any great degree.

What is really unfortunate, however, is the bitterness and acrimony that these lanes have caused between residents, drivers and cyclists. We all need to work together to look at active and healthy travel measures right across the city. The fact that many of us could see that the OSR cycle lanes did not have a part to play in this does not mean we are anti-cyclist or not committed to combating climate change.

We cannot, however, impose lifestyle choices on residents just for the sake of it. We have to take them with us by persuasion, discussion and coherent decision making and have the courage to admit when we've got something wrong such the OSR cycle lanes.

Councillor Peter Atkinson

North Portslade


Phone: 01273 291080 or 07725 184542