As part of the previous council meeting on the 21st July 2021, the council voted to remove the current Old Shoreham Road Temporary Cycle Lanes and relocate them onto other streets such as Portland Road. This required a report and review to be made by the 11th August when the council will hold a meeting and a vote which would allow the committee to agree to the final changes that would be taken forward. This meeting is taking place on the 10th August.
Agenda documents for this can be found here:
Since the meeting on the 21st July, the Minister of State for Transport wrote to all councils on the 30th July. This letter outlined that schemes removed or reduced without proper time to be effective and measured, may result in the council being barred for future funds of the Active Travel Fund like WSCC has for Tranche 3. B&HCC are hoping for excess of £3million in Tranche 3, so removal of any part of the OSR may prevent this funding. Temporary schemes can still be removed without effecting funding, if there is solid evidence that suggests it should be removed, although considerations for NMUs still need to taken into consideration, this is certainly not the case for the majority of the OSR cycle lane. Also on Friday the 20th July, the government said it would be withholding £277,520 of Capability Funding (cycling training & travel campaigns) which the council had successfully bided. This money will be released for until assurances for the status of OSR had been sought.
The report suggests that whatever the outcome, the section of temporary cycle lane between Holmes Avenue and The Drive should remain, as there is no benefit to vehicular travel if it was removed. This section is and was a wide single carriageway, informally as two lanes, but now marked formally as a two lanes with two cycle lanes. Removing this section is certain to result in consequences from DfT, such as being barred from ATF Tranche 3 with may be worth over £3 million. Overall the report suggests that OSR phase 1 should be retained entirely and that the parallel Portland / Church Road route should be developed in conjunction with improvements on the OSR as routes serve different catchment areas as well as different purposes. Parts of Portland Road may also make up the area covered by the “mini Holland” scheme as well as getting S106 improvements for pedestrians crossings and junction buildouts/changes.
Guidance on what needs to happen to remove lanes.
New statutory guidance requires full consultation for the removal of lanes, similarly to the consultations needed for the introduction or changes to cycle infrastructure. Even if parts of the cycle lanes would be relocated onto parallel routes, full consultation is required. This would cost money and take time, which may push past the Tranche 2 construction period where funding could be withdrawn. In addition to the statutory consultation, a review and report on removal of the lanes would be required which would outline things such as safety, costs as well as environmental and human impacts, these are highly likely to be against removing cycling infrastructure.
Initially the active travel fund money (which didn’t initially fund the OSR temp cycle lane phase 1) was for the installation, upkeep and potential removal of temporary lanes, however this money cannot now be used to remove cycle lanes in most circumstances. This means the estimated £50,000 to remove the lanes would have to be paid for by other income streams by the council. £50,000 reduces to £20,000 if the section between Holmes Avenue and The Drive would be retained.
What happens now?
The meeting is due to be held at 11am on the 10th August where committee members will have a vote on the future of the OSR cycle lane. There are two likely outcomes:
The most likely outcome is that the committee will vote to keep the cycle lanes and amend them to the initial proposed plans which involves minor changes to junctions, road markings and new pedestrian crossing on Newtown Road. The majority of these works will likely take place before the end of 2021, although the redesign of Newtown Road junction (pedestrian crossing) may be delivered at a later date.
The other possible outcome is that the committee will vote to relocate the cycle lane to Portland Road. This would either be the entire length or just the dual carriageway section. This would not result in the cycle lane being removed immediately, but instead would require a consultation and report on various aspects of the cycle lane & road. This would usually take at least 3 months, at which point it would go back to the committee and then either disregarded (i.e. cycle lane kept) or potentially other round of public consultation and the lane removed once conditions are met (i.e. Portland Road cycle lane completed), this who process it likely to take in excess of 6 months or even a year. B&HCC would have too pay for the removal of the cycle lane aswell.
Construction of a Portland Road cycle lane would be subjected to normal consultation before it could be built, and would have to meet LTN 1/20 standards to have the Active Travel Fund money spent on it. Again it would likely be at least 9 months before this would happen, which is past March 2022 which is when Tranche 2 Funds have to be committed by.
Overall it is likely the committee will vote to keep the current cycle lane and carry out amendments to it which were previously proposed.