Councillors will today decide the future of a proposed out-of-town car park

designed to tackle traffic congestion in Brighton and Hove.

The park-and-ride plan recommended to the policy and resources committee is a 450-space car park built at Patcham Court Farm, Brighton.

In coming to their recommendation, council officers passed over a 900-space park on the same site, which would have involved bulldozing 35 allotments and six family homes, and a 1,200-space scheme at nearby Braypool.

With Labour councillors expected to support the compromise option and the Greens on record against it, the fate of the scheme will rest with the Lib Dems and Conservatives, who have refused to declare their position ahead of today's meeting.

The Tories have agreed to vote with their conscience rather than adopt a united party line so the result will depend on the views of individual members.

In coming to their recommendation Brighton and Hove City Council paid consultants £400,000 to investigate the two potential sites.

The money was provided by developers whose schemes have led to the loss of parking spaces during the past few years.

Labour's deputy council leader Sue John said the money would be wasted if councillors failed to adopt a scheme today.

She said: "The Conservatives have not been prepared to back one viable option we have come up with and it's time they made their minds up. Nobody can afford tunnel vision about this."

She added the opportunity for Government funding, which would pay for half the construction costs of the park-and-ride, could be lost unless a scheme was adopted.

She said: "We might not have another chance to do this for a decade, which would risk wrecking business confidence in the city."

Conservative leader Garry Peltzer Dunn denied a negative decision would mean the £400,000 was wasted money.

He said: "The money has been spent in order to weigh up the schemes. You don't spend money on studies just to ensure they get approved.

It's to provide information with which to make a decision.

If there's a negative decision residents will feel the money has been well spent."