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Complaint rejected that councillor insulted COVID victims by saying losing bike lanes would be a “tragedy”

Green Party politician had been speaking in favour of keeping temporary facility in Brighton & Hove

The local government watchdog has rejected a complaint that a councillor in Brighton & Hove had insulted coronavirus victims by saying that that scrapping a temporary cycle lane would be a “tragedy.”

A member of the public lodged a complaint with the city council after Jamie Lloyd, Green Party councillor for Withdean, used the word at a meeting of its environment, transport and sustainability committee, reports Brighton & Hove News.

One of the items discussed at the meeting last September was whether to keep a temporary cycle lane on Old Shoreham Road.

The council voted to keep the temporary facility, which is protected by wands, albeit with changes at some junctions.

The complainant told the standards board of the council, which is led by the minority Green group, that use of the word was inappropriate due to the effect of the pandemic on victims and their families.

The council’s standards board rejected the complaint and took no further action, so the local resident took the matter to the local government ombudsman – which likewise dismissed it.

In its report, the ombudsman said: “Mr X says a local councillor remarked in a Council meeting that it would be a tragedy for local cyclists if existing cycles lanes were removed from some roads in the area.

“Mr X says this was inappropriate language given the current coronavirus pandemic which he regards as tragic circumstances for the victims and their families.

“The council’s monitoring officer considered Mr X’s complaint but decided that it did not breach the members’ Code of Conduct and did not pursue the matter further.

“There is insufficient evidence of any significant injustice caused to Mr X by the councillor’s remark. It was not personally directed at him or any member of the public.

“It did not refer to any matter other than his opinion of the proposals in the context of loss of a public facility.

“There was no use of inappropriate language which might amount to a breach of the code,” it added.

In January, we reported how the deputy leader of the south coast city’s council, Hannah Clare, also of the Green Party, fell off her bike while using the temporary cycle lane when she was left-hooked by a van driver who cut across her to drive onto a petrol station forecourt.

> Council deputy leader left-hooked by white van man – while riding in emergency cycle lane

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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