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Cyclists fear being ousted out of decision making after council abolishes active travel forum without telling them for months

The active travel partnership was told that it had been disbanded in May, however other forums for bus users and taxi drivers have been kept

Brighton and Hove Council hasn’t shown a whole lot of love towards cycling in recent months, but now cyclists are worried that they are slowly being completely driven out of the decision-making process — to the point that a key active travel forum was scrapped while its members were left in the dark for months.

The Active and Inclusive Travel Forum (AITF) was previously one of the several groups consulted on highways projects, such as changes to the layout of Valley Gardens and Madeira Drive.

However, earlier this month, the forum was told that it had been disbanded in May. However, others such as those for bus users and taxi drivers still exist in the transport partnership and get to have a say in road projects.

> "Actively against active travel": Brighton's Labour council accused of "wilfully destroying cycling infrastructure"

Becky Reynolds of Bricycles, said: “Neither I nor the members of the AITF were informed directly that the meeting had been abolished. I view this as very poor process.

“We all gave up our time to assist the council. The AITF provided a means of sharing perspectives and for issues to be notified directly to a responsible. Our local knowledge also helps to improve travel and transport proposals.

“If the work of the AITF is to be included in the transport partnership, we’ll need more meeting time. It is urgent to pick up the momentum on schemes to provide better, safer infrastructure.

“Several much-needed schemes have been “paused”, like the A23 where people are at daily risk from outdated road design and potholed roads.”

> Language matters: Labour to redesign Brighton and Hove seafront scheme to ensure a “win-win-win for pedestrians, cyclists, and road users”

One of the cycling projects which has been shelved is the cycle lane parallel to the pavement down on Madeira Drive, for which the previous Green council secured a £1.2 million funding. It is supposed to provide a continuous two-way cycle facility on the southern side of the A259, as well as cycle parking, provision of a BTN Bikeshare hub and bus network improvements between the Palace Pier roundabout and Lower Rock Gardens.

However, since the Labour party took over the Greens in this May’s local elections, the council has been described as being “actively against active travel” and accused of “wilfully destroying cycling infrastructure”.

Madeira Drive cycle lane, Brighton (Google Maps)

Madeira Drive cycle lane, Brighton (Google Maps)

Jamie Lloyd, former Green councillor and lead for Active Travel, had told road.cc: “It was the previous Green council that won the 1.2 million for the improved cycle lane and now that the anti-active travel Labour council are in full control they will almost certainly not do anything to deliver on that.”

Other schemes which have been “paused” include a new cycle lane from Fourth Avenue to Hove Lagoon and the final phase of Valley Gardens, which includes a new cycle lane from Edward Street to the seafront.

> Brighton and Hove Council's response to 'No cycling' sign vandalism: "We 'heart' cycling too, but..."

This week, it was announced only half of a new cycle lane north of Preston Circus may go ahead because of “affordability”, reports Brighton and Hove News.

Councillor Trevor Muten, Chair of the council’s Transport and Sustainability Committee, however, said that the council will be inviting more stakeholders to represent their views, and has previously said that “cycle lanes are hugely important for the city”, but the actions of the council seemed to say otherwise.

Councillor Muten said: “I consider the existing and long standing transport partnership the best place for all views to be expressed by key transport bodies and representative organisations, on transport schemes.

“There were four representatives at the September meeting who were pushing for the reinstatement of the active and inclusive travel forum. As chair, I set out the reasons why we will not be doing so.

“As a new Labour administration, we have increased membership of the transport partnership and will invite more stakeholders to ensure the breadth of views are well represented.

“There will be much wider proactive consultation with stakeholders on new transport schemes and initiatives as they progress, as standard.

“We will also consider holding working groups on specific schemes, should additional feedback on the detailed technical aspects of schemes be helpful. We will keep this under review.

“We are committed to being a listening council. If any group represented does not feel that their voice is being heard, I encourage them to get in touch with me directly.”

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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12 comments

Avatar
BigDoodyBoy | 9 months ago
0 likes

Who cares? Local council ignores input....
And? It's what they do.
Do you ever think anything is going to go your way?
Relax. Chill. Wait for the decisions and just adjust your life around the shit that is going to happen anyway. There are so many more personal things you can put your energy in to for so much more personal gain.

Storm in a tea cup.

Avatar
bikes replied to BigDoodyBoy | 9 months ago
4 likes

Getting a bike lane installed is a big personal gain for many reasons for some people. It's happened in my town - some unpleasant routes I would take are now 1000x better thanks to just a few km of bike lanes. I no longer have to ride those stretches of road constantly looking over my shoulder or getting close passed.

Avatar
Car Delenda Est replied to BigDoodyBoy | 9 months ago
1 like

considering that they've paused every active travel project it's less storm in a teacup and more final nail in the coffin

Avatar
David9694 | 9 months ago
3 likes

Brighton drivers have some of the most penalty points in UK

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/23812328.brighton-drivers-penalty-points...

Brighton named one of the most dangerous UK cities to drive in

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/23823196.brighton-named-one-dangerous-uk...

Brighton one of the most dangerous cities for drivers

Clearly it's the Council's duty to er make the place safer for drivers

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/23789217.brighton-one-dangerous-cities-d...

The full list of the ten most dangerous cities, with the most dangerous factor is here:

1. Wakefield – Vehicle crime and licence penalty point

2. Cambridge – Road accidents and fatal accidents

3. Doncaster – Vehicle crime

4. Gloucester – Road accidents

5. Bournemouth – Vehicle crime

6. Oxford – Road accidents

7. Brighton – Road accidents

8. Peterborough – Licence penalty points

9. Bradford – Road accidents

10. Leeds – Vehicle crime

Avatar
David9694 | 9 months ago
0 likes

duplicate

Avatar
himmelsturmer | 9 months ago
0 likes

One less tail trying to wag the dog

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bikes | 9 months ago
0 likes

Why not keep the forum and just ignore everything they say? Is it a vote winner to not even allow them in meetings?! I don't know how these processes work or what exactly a forum is, so I don't really understand.

Avatar
Car Delenda Est replied to bikes | 9 months ago
6 likes
bikes wrote:

Is it a vote winner to not even allow them in meetings

Brighton's two local news sites are unabashedly anti-cyclist. Many of the article comments are along the lines of "huzzah! drain the swamp of the lycra Nazis!"

It seems that anything anti-cyclist is a vote winner outside the city center (where all the cycling infra they're objecting to is.)
Local Labours policy has been "we love cycling unless it annoys suburban motorists."

Avatar
David9694 replied to Car Delenda Est | 9 months ago
2 likes

Car Delenda Est wrote:
bikes wrote:

Is it a vote winner to not even allow them in meetings

Brighton's two local news sites are unabashedly anti-cyclist. Many of the article comments are along the lines of "huzzah! drain the swamp of the lycra Nazis!" It seems that anything anti-cyclist is a vote winner outside the city center (where all the cycling infra they're objecting to is.) Local Labours policy has been "we love cycling unless it annoys hardworking suburban motorists."

TIFTFY

Avatar
eburtthebike | 9 months ago
7 likes

“There will be much wider proactive consultation with stakeholders on new transport schemes and initiatives as they progress, as standard."

Newspeak translation "There will be no consultation with cyclists or pedestrians: as standard."

“We are committed to being a listening council."

Newspeak translation "We will listen to people who agree with us."

"If any group represented does not feel that their voice is being heard, I encourage them to get in touch with me directly.”

Newspeak translation "We had a group representing Active Travel people, but we abolished it without telling them because we don't want to hear their voice."

This does not bode well for the future of Active Travel under labour.

EDIT: For those who say there is now no difference between labour and tories, there is a veritable chasm between them on transport: the tories are pro-car and labour is anti-anything that isn't a car.  Literally couldn't be any clearer.

Avatar
brooksby | 9 months ago
13 likes

"We don't need the active and sustainable travel group because we have a big transport partnership group, and we're inviting even more stakeholders to take part. 'Stakeholders'? The construction companies and property developers, and the bus companies and the taxi drivers lobby group. Cyclists and pedestrians? No, of course they're not stakeholders, because they're not giving us any money... Why do you ask" - A. Councillor 

Avatar
hawkinspeter | 9 months ago
8 likes

Motonormative fascism

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