Brighton and Hove City Council is to spend £1.1 million removing cycle lanes – just three years after they were laid.
The lanes in Hove’s Grand Avenue and The Drive, part of the 12,600-mile Sustrans National Cycle Network, are set to go after cost-cutting measures were unveiled in budget proposals for 2011/12 – although £4.5m is to be spent improving car parking facilities.
The Conservative-run council, who say they are removing the cycle lanes in response to public demand, needs to save £82m over four years, with £24.2m in savings required next year.
Brighton and Hove was named a Cycling Demonstration Town in 2003 and the cycle lanes initially cost £500,000.
Sustrans’ regional director for the south east Simon Pratt said: “If the council wants to spend money wisely, it seems utter madness to remove routes at such a huge cost especially when they are well used by local people.
“The cycle lanes in Grand Avenue form part of the National Cycle Network in this area, linking the seafront to the South Downs, and losing them would be a step backwards.
“The £1m could be spent in much more cost-effective ways for the local community. Hove is full of pedestrians and cyclists as well as car drivers, and we would encourage people in Hove to voice their concern to the council about losing valued facilities like this.”
Green Party transport spokesman, councillor Ian Davey added: “In times of austerity this proposal is grossly irresponsible.”
The budget plans will be considered by the cabinet on Thursday February 17 and the full council on March 3.