Why the decision to remove this cycle lane could end up in court

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A legal challenge has been launched following the removal of a bicycle lane in Shoreham.

Cycling UK claim a decision by West Sussex County Council to take down the route in Upper Shoreham Road was 'unlawful'.

It was one of six cycleways to pop-up in the county last summer after the authority received money from the Government's Active Travel Fund, a pot of money for councils to help make walking and cycling safer during the pandemic.

The decision to remove the lane has now led a legal challenge Credit: ITV News Meridian

They were all were ripped out after a decision in November by the county council following concerns about congestion.

Campaigners in Shoreham argue this was the wrong decision and say the lane was extremely popular.

Karen Murphy and her eight-year old daughter Audrey Tomlinson used the cycle lane regularly.

They no longer take their bikes along the Upper Shoreham Road because they say it's too dangerous.

Those who live and work on the road said they had issues with the loss of parking.

One resident told ITV News Meridian the lane caused 'havoc' for delivery drivers who themselves were very busy because more people were shopping online.

Nicky Wycherley runs Shoreham physiotherapy clinic and relies on the street parking for her patients to make it easily to treatment with her team.

Waiting room space is already restricted because of Covid-19 meaning people have to wait in their cars, the situation wasn't helped when they had to park further away because of the cycle lane.

Despite having a drive, Nicky says it's too difficult for drivers who are injured to use because they have to reverse.

She's not against cycling but feel that any lane should be introduced with consultation.

  • 'Council acted irrationally'

A report by council officers showed the number of cyclists using the road significantly increased when the cycle lane was introduced.

Cycling UK claim West Sussex County Council acted 'irrationally' as the reasons given for removal did not reflect the authorities findings, that they decision did not follow procedures and breached its public sector equality duty by failing to consider the impact on young people. 

Duncan Dollimore Cycling UK’s head of campaigns said,

"When the council introduced this cycle lane, people soon changed how they travelled locally. Children began cycling to school, pensioners felt safe to ride into town and commuters started swapping cars and public transport for their bikes. It was a complete success story.

  • West Sussex County Council insist they are looking at a permanent scheme

In response to the legal challenge West Sussex County Council said,

"WSCC has just been served with legal proceedings in relation to the temporary cycle scheme that was in situ on the Upper Shoreham Road during the autumn / winter 2020/21.  We are unable to comment further at this time.

Previously the authority has reiterated its commitment to looking for a permanent scheme,

"We recognise the support and enthusiasm shown by some people for the Shoreham scheme, which is why we are looking to see if a redesigned, permanent proposal can be progressed, subject to Department for Transport funding.

“Any proposal would require consultation with all stakeholders, including residents, the cycle forum, schools, emergency services and businesses. We remain committed to our long-term aims of promoting sustainable transport, as outlined in our Walking and Cycling Strategy 2016-2026."

If the legal challenge does end up in court a full hearing could take place in the autumn.