A councillor is calling for the changes to Western Esplanade to be reviewed urgently over fears it is putting people at risk.

Last week the council expanded pedestrian areas on Western Esplanade to make it easier for seafront visitors to social distance.

The change meant closing off some car parking spaces and widening the path, which made the road narrower for cars.

But Conservative Group leader Councillor Tony Cox has revealed the council did not carry out any form of safety audit beforehand because “it is not a legal requirement”.

Mr Cox said the area “is not safe” for a range of reasons, including a cycleway cutting through the area pedestrians are expected to walk and metal barriers that could hurt people if a car were to collide with them.

He also raised concerns that the metal barriers are causing people to be “hemmed in”, which could be a serious danger in the event of a major incident.

“They talk about social distancing and making people safe but this is absurd,” he said.

“Just because it is not legally required, it doesn’t mean it is not prudent to do a safety audit.

“It is like saying you don’t need to do a risk assessment, but why would you not do one?”

The Tory leader also questioned why the easing of the lockdown had not been better planned by the council.

“At worst they had over two months to plan. Did anyone think that when the lockdown was eased people would be mingling and hugging each other? It’s not been thought through.”

The council’s deputy leader, Independent councillor Ron Woodley, said the safety of residents and visitors is the “priority” for the council and the scheme would not have been implemented if it was considered dangerous.

He continued: “This is a temporary measure being used to control the traffic as best we can and for as long as it is needed.

“We are only legally obliged to carry out safety audits on changes which will be in place for six months or longer.

“The contraflow is being patrolled by council staff and volunteers to ensure people’s safety and reports are that people are complying with the changes.

"But please be assured it is under constant review and we should further changes need to be made then we won’t hesitate to make them.”