Hove protest over cycle lane removal

Image caption, About 50 protesters turned up with their bikes to use the cycle lanes

Scores of protesters have staged a demonstration against plans to remove a cycle lane in Hove.

Up to 50 people turned up to show their opposition to the £1.1m scheme to take out the cycle lanes in Grand Avenue and The Drive, Councillor Ian Davey said.

Conservative-run Brighton and Hove City Council has said the move, unveiled in budget proposals for 2011-12, is in response to local demand.

Green Party member Mr Davey said campaigners wanted the plan scrapped.

He said: "It is possible to get this turned around. The point of no return is when they start digging it up."

He added: "The financial decision will be made on 3 March at a full council meeting but the Tories are in the minority."

'Local demand'

The cycle lanes had sparked complaints about road width reduction and visibility problems - but cyclists had welcomed the improved safety of the segregated lanes which could be used by families with children, Mr Davey said.

This month, a spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council has defended both the cycle lane removal and said: "The proposal to remove existing cycle lanes is in response to local demand for this action and uses one-off money so it would only defer the implementation of savings - not replace them."

The charity Sustrans, which campaigns for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users, has said the removal of the cycle lanes will be a "backwards move".

Sustrans regional director Simon Pratt said: "It seems utter madness to remove routes at such a huge cost especially when they are well used by local people."

Brighton council is made up of 25 Conservative, 13 Labour and 13 Green Party councillors, with one Liberal Democrat and one Independent member, and one vacant post. Labour have also opposed the plan.

An online petition against the plan has had more than 1,300 signatures.

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