A motion to install the colourful pedestrian crossings in support of the area's sexual diversity was discussed byMole Valley District Councilon Tuesday night (July 9).
Several crossings in London were given a multicolour makeover last month,to coincide with LGBTQPride Monthand councillor James Friend believed Mole Valley should have done the same.
Cllr Friend's motion was not just about showing support for the district's LGBTQ+ residents,but about inclusivity in general,he said.
"I wouldn't say there is actually an issue [with homophobia]," said the member for Westcott."I think there is an opportunity;there is an opportunity for us to make sure we have done everything we possibly can to make all local residents and businesses feel included."
Mole Valley's rainbow crossings would have been Surrey's first,said Cllr Friend.
"This is about one particular part of our local community that may feel excluded from time to time,but really the whole point is about moving the diversity and inclusion agenda on to be very much more front of mind," he said.
His idea predated the removal of the rainbow-coloured bollard covers in West Street,he said.
Concerns over cost
More than 4,000 Mole Valley residents identify as non-heterosexual,according to the council motion.At the meeting,councillor for Dorking North David Draper raised concerns about the cost of installing the pedestrian crossings.
He said: "I just asked residents in this motion tonight,‘would you prefer money allocated towards saving the Dorking tip or would you prefer rainbow crossings painted in the High Street?'.The answers were such that I can not vote for recommendation three (the rainbow crossings)."
Many other councillors believed the crossings would promote exclusivity because they were only proposed for the town centres and due to the fact that about only 5% of the district identified as LGBTQ,mostly young people.
Councillor Helyn Clack believed many of the objections originated from a standpoint of discrimination.
She said: "Our population we are talking about today are those who identify as non-heterosexual but we also have a vast array of different people in our society,including those who suffer from mental health,those who suffer from physical and mental limitations and disabilities.
"We need to make sure all those people are given the opportunity to do the very best in our society without getting that prejudice I am hearing underlying some of the objections I'm hearing here.We must be open and engaged."