A low-traffic neighbourhood scheme may have been “killed” by a decision made by councillors at a budget meeting.

While campaigning in his Brunswick and Adelaide ward for the upcoming local elections, Brighton and Hove City Council leader Phelim Mac Cafferty said that plans to divert money away from a “liveable neighbourhood” scheme may have in effect scrapped the project.

At a budget meeting last month, Labour and Conservative councillors voted to divert £1.1 million in funding for the project in Hanover and Tarner to instead restore the city’s public toilets.

However, in an exclusive interview with The Argus, Cllr Mac Cafferty said: “Although Labour tried to claim through the budget process that they were only taking out £1.1 million from the project, it may render whole chunks of the liveable neighbourhood gone. It may have actually killed it.

“What we will be doing through the decision-making process over the next few weeks is trying to see what we can do about that.”

He described the move as “disappointing” and said that it was not the first time Labour had scuppered “principled stands” by the Greens on issues such as improving cycling infrastructure.

He said: “When push comes to shove, I’m afraid, Keir Starmer’s Labour Party may talk a good talk, but when it comes to the walk, this is why we need a majority Green council so we can implement these ideas.

“Labour keep saying one thing, but doing another.”

The planned liveable neighbourhood, a first for the city, aims to reduce motor traffic cutting through residential streets, also known as rat-running.

The project area covers a large section of Hanover, from Elm Grove down to Edward Street, and includes proposals to implement "traffic calming measures" along the area's boundary roads.

This would see road markings, vehicle-activated signs and other measures along Elm Grove, Queen's Park Road and Egremont Place.

Two "pocket parks" are also proposed along Richmond Parade and Islingword Road.

Some residents have slammed the project, claiming it will lead to residents driving longer journeys, leading to more emissions.  

However, Cllr Mac Cafferty pointed out that the move by Conservative and Labour councillors to divert funding from the project will impact plans that were popular among local residents.

The Argus: Council leader Phelim Mac Cafferty was joined on the campaign trail by former Green deputy leader Amelia WomackCouncil leader Phelim Mac Cafferty was joined on the campaign trail by former Green deputy leader Amelia Womack (Image: The Argus)

He said: “What’s interesting about the proposal put forward by Labour at the budget council was cutting the bits of the project that had actually been more popular.

“The boundary roads were the areas where people were saying it could make a big difference.

“Fundamentally, it was about making the neighbourhood more beautiful too - residents will lose out as a result of this decision.”

Amelia Womack, former deputy leader of the Green Party, joined Cllr Mac Cafferty on the campaign trail and also criticised the move by Labour and the Conservatives to strip funding from the project.

She said: “When you see Labour and the Conservatives voting against opportunities to really ensure we are prioritising residents’ safety against air pollution, the Green agenda for a better future of what Brighton and Hove can look like is being stifled by that collaboration.”

Greens accused of spreading 'untrue myths'

The Brighton and Hove Labour Party have accused the Greens of spreading “untrue myths” about the move to divert funding and said £1 million should remain in the budget for the scheme to address concerns about boundary road improvements.

A spokesman for the Labour group on Brighton and Hove City Council said: “Budget council is a resource allocation process, not a policy design process, so it will be for the environment, transport and sustainability committee to decide on the use of the remaining £1 million.

“Labour’s position is clear - spend it on the boundary road safety measures residents have asked for, not on ploughing ahead with the ill-thought-out low-traffic neighbourhood.

“If the Greens try and ditch the boundary road improvements and invest all the money into their low-traffic neighbourhood despite clear public resistance, we will challenge them at committee.”

The Argus: