Brighton and Hove City Council faces public scrutiny as it seeks approval for two designated “red routes” on major roads in the area. The contentious proposal, aimed at keeping traffic flowing and curbing anti-social parking, has generated both support and opposition from local residents.
If given the green light, the red routes would render it illegal for vehicles to stop on segments of the A23 London Road and Preston Road, as well as the A270 Lewes Road. Red routes were initially introduced to minimize pollution resulting from stop-and-start journeys by prohibiting any halting, including for loading and unloading purposes.
The Council contends that the implementation of these red routes aligns with their commitment to combat anti-social parking and maintain smooth traffic flow. Additionally, it is anticipated that the proposed changes will generate an annual revenue of £200,000 through fines. A report submitted to the council stated that the enforcement incomes for red routes had already been factored into parking services budgets.
The Transport and Sustainability Committee is set to review a draft “experimental traffic regulation order,” which, if approved, will be open for public advertisement for seven days. Following this, the implementation of the restrictions is slated to commence on April 1 next year.
A public consultation, conducted between July 24 and September 17, garnered responses from residents in the affected areas. In the A23 vicinity, out of 1,475 distributed leaflets, 299 responses were received, with 141 expressing support and 66 opposition. Similarly, in the Lewes Road area, 760 properties received leaflets, eliciting 321 responses, of which 192 were supportive and 66 unsupportive.
However, concerns have been raised by 20 individuals regarding the potential impact on local businesses. A petition objecting to the London Road proposal amassed 357 signatures, citing worries about the fate of small corner shops reliant on daily van deliveries. The petition emphasized the apprehension that these businesses, already grappling with high utility costs and the overall cost of living, might face further challenges or even closure.
Council officials have acknowledged these concerns and engaged in discussions with London Road traders to address loading issues. If inadequacies in loading bays are identified, the council has assured an increase as and when practically feasible.
The proposed A270 Lewes Road red route would span between Elm Grove and the Vogue Gyratory, while the A23 red route would extend between Cheapside and South Road. The anticipated creation of a new cycle lane between Argyle Road and Stanford Avenue may potentially delay the implementation of the A23 red route.
Notably, the cost of establishing the red routes has been omitted from the council’s report to councillors. The report indicates that funding for the project would be sourced from a “bus service improvement plan” grant and the council’s Carbon Neutral Fund.
The scheme also plans to enhance revenue through the installation of four new cameras, supplementing the existing ones monitoring bus lanes. Drawing parallels to a previous increase in bus lane and “bus gate” cameras from 24 to 38 over two years, resulting in a spike from 10,000 to 50,000 annual penalty charge notices, the council anticipates a similar financial boost.
As the proposal inches closer to potential implementation, the Brighton community remains divided, highlighting the delicate balance between traffic management goals and the concerns of local businesses and residents. The final decision rests with the Transport and Sustainability Committee, whose verdict will undoubtedly shape the future of these red routes in Brighton.