A CYCLING campaign group is calling for a permanent cycle lane to remain in the council's plans after calls to have it removed from a draft transport plan.

The Conservatives want the proposed cycle lane on Old Shoreham Road, which links Brighton and Hove, to be stripped from the draft environment, transport and sustainability plan, which is set to be finalised by March. The group accused the council of "sneaking" the plan back into the city.

The controversial temporary cycle lane, which was installed in May 2020 as part of the government’s emergency active travel fund, will “prejudice” the council’s plans to encourage active transport according to the Conservatives, who want the road left as it is. The lane was removed in September last year following a council vote.

But Bricycles, a group which campaigns for safer roads for cyclists, said that campaigning against safe cycling infrastructure is not a "tenable" position in the 21st century.

The group said politicians have set people against eachother through the debate on cycle lanes and added that permanent cycle lanes have worked elsewhere on the same stretch of road.

Chris Williams, chairman of the group, said: “Some politicians have sought to make political mileage by separating people into ‘drivers’ and ‘cyclists’ and pitting them against each other.

“This is divisive, and avoids the very real issue that many of our roads are unsafe for cycling. Campaigning against safe cycling infrastructure is not a tenable position in the 21st century.”

The Argus: The temporary cycle lane was installed in May 2020The temporary cycle lane was installed in May 2020

He cited the permanent cycle lane on Old Shoreham Road near Bhasvic college as an example of cycle lanes working.

Chris said: “The temporary lanes were a one-off due to the pandemic, and won’t be coming back. What we all want is permanent, high-quality cycle lanes to keep people safe from traffic.

“This means a 'stepped track’, where cycles are kept separate from traffic and pedestrians by raised kerbs, just like they are between The Drive and Dyke Road.

“The existing, permanent cycle lanes on the Old Shoreham Road have not given rise to increased congestion, so there’s no reason why this should be the case elsewhere.”

He said money from the local cycling and walking infrastructure plans (LCWIP) would allow Old Shoreham Road to be transformed to keep everyone safe and not cause congestion.

The LCWIP follows guidance issued by the government in 2017 to make walking and cycling “the natural choices for shorter journeys”.

Chris added: “The key to reducing congestion across the city is to provide safe, attractive alternatives to driving, and cycling and walking are an essential part of that.”

The Argus: What a permanent cycle lane could look like on Old Shoreham RoadWhat a permanent cycle lane could look like on Old Shoreham Road

Councillor Robert Nemeth, Conservative transport spokesman, said: “The Conservative group strongly made the case that a ridiculous amount of time has now been wasted on the Old Shoreham Road where there is clearly huge opposition from residents.

“With so much to agree on elsewhere, efforts should be put into finding consensus on much easier topics so that the overall plan is not prejudiced.

“Due to the lack of consultation in the past, and many instances of bullying from a handful of aggressive cycling fanatics, debate over the Old Shoreham Road is now poisoned sadly. I feel that it is best to concentrate on other routes and techniques to encourage cycling.”

The Argus: Cllr. Robert Nemeth said more effort should be focused on "easier topics" to not "prejudice" the planCllr. Robert Nemeth said more effort should be focused on "easier topics" to not "prejudice" the plan

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said: “The strategic routes in our local cycling and walking infrastructure plan were published in September 2021 and subject to a public consultation.

“This consultation included an online survey, exhibition and drop-in sessions, stakeholder workshops, partnership meetings and focus groups with young people, disabled people, Bame groups, older people and schools.

“The final plan will be presented to councillors later in the year, as with all decisions under a committee system.”

Have you got a story for us? Email news@theargus.co.uk or contact us here.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to keep up with all the latest news.

Sign up to our newsletter to get updates sent straight to your inbox.

You can also call us on 01273 021 400.