Elections

Local elections (County), June 2009: Petersfield

Summary: Elections to Cambridgeshire County Council in June 2009.
Polling date: Thursday 4th June 2009
Division:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Nichola J HARRISON  (Liberal Democrat)
  • Natasha MAY  (Labour Party)
  • Shapour MEFTAH  (Conservative Party)
  • Shayne M MITCHELL  (Green Party)

Questions for Petersfield division candidates (8 questions)

Jump to question:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8 

# Question 1

There is a major shortage of cycle parking all around the city. Cycle theft is over 10% of all reported crime in the County. Do you have any suggestions for locations for cycle parking? Would you be willing to see a very small proportion of on-street car parking being replaced by on-street cycle parking in your ward? How will you progress towards a situation where every resident and every worker in each ward can keep a bike safe?

Nichola J HARRISON
(Liberal Democrat)

I think it's essential to find extra cycle parking opportunities in Petersfield, off-street where sites can be found and on-street, replacing car parking, where necessary. The loss of car parking spaces will be controversial as these are in short supply too, but I don't think there is a fair balance between car and cycle parking at present and the situation needs to be improved.
I have supported the City Council's provision of cycle racks at Norfolk Street, Gwydir Street and Kingston Street, but I don't feel I have done as much as I ought over the cycle parking issue and am happy to commit myself to a more active approach if re-elected. Martin L-S and I are due to walk the streets looking for suitable locations, and at present I am discussing with the County Council the inclusion of several locations along and around Mill Road for the trial of cycle hoops (www.cyclehoop.com) that is being funded by the Cycle Demonstration Town project.

Natasha MAY
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Shapour MEFTAH
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Shayne M MITCHELL
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 2

Do you support our view that traffic policing (including fining of cyclists without lights or using pedestrian-only pavements) should become a greater police priority?

Nichola J HARRISON
(Liberal Democrat)

Yes, I absolutely agree. Inconsiderate and illegal cycling is one of the top issues raised with me by local residents and I find it frustrating that the urgent need for improved cycling provision (eg contraflow measures, cycle parking, cycle lanes etc) is often harder to argue because of a fairly widespread anti-cycling mentality that is fed by the bad behaviour of a small(ish) number of cyclists.
I have argued for better enforcement and education by the police and have also discussed the roles of County and City councils with cycling officers from both councils.

Natasha MAY
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Shapour MEFTAH
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Shayne M MITCHELL
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 3

We believe that 20mph should be the norm for local streets in residential areas (as distinct from main connecting roads). 20mph would: greatly encourage walking and cycling; improve the quality of life in an area for residents; and would not delay car journeys significantly (because only the start/end of a journey would be affected). Do you agree that 20mph should become the norm for local streets in Cambridge and surrounding villages?

Nichola J HARRISON
(Liberal Democrat)

Absolutely agree and have been arguing this case at the County Council for a good while. I called in for scrutiny a decision of the Cabinet which made it even more difficult to introduce 20mph limits in Cambridgeshire, a decision which has now been reversed.

I have argued for a 20mph limit in the Tenison Rd/Devonshire Rd area as part of the traffic calming measures there associated with the CB1 planning consent.

I have also, with my Romsey colleagues, argued for a 20mph limit along Mill Road and I believe the County Council will consult the public over this idea in the near future.

I am pleased to see the Council's 20mph proposal for the city core area - it is much better than nothing - but would much have preferred a scheme covering residential streets, akin to the Portsmouth scheme.

Natasha MAY
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Shapour MEFTAH
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Shayne M MITCHELL
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 4

If the County Council's proposed Congestion Charge goes ahead, it is likely that the associated up-front money that would be received from the government to support prior improvements to public transport and cycling would be of the order of some £500m spread over five years. This is roughly ten times the amount the County currently receives for transport. If the scheme goes ahead, what would be your priorities for use of this up-front money?

Nichola J HARRISON
(Liberal Democrat)

Arguably, £500million from TIF is equivalent to 30+ years of normal funding for improvements to (as opposed to maintenance of) the transport network. It's a very large sum, but it would be easy to spend five times as much.

I want to see step change investment in cycling and walking provision, along the lines suggested by the Cycling Campaign, and major investment into bus services within and outside the city, including new dedicated routes, improved frequency, evening and weekend services, smart ticketing, real time information, low emissions vehicles etc. I think buses are the right unit of public transport for this sub-region because of the value for money and route flexibility they offer, but we need more dedicated routes including a link for the two guided bus sections and links to the new urban extensions (perhaps with some use of tunnelling). I am worried that a failure to provide segregated bus routes along key desire lines will result in a glut of on-street bus priority measures which could be detrimental to cyclists.

Natasha MAY
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Shapour MEFTAH
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Shayne M MITCHELL
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 5

Some cyclists have told us they feel unsafe riding alongside the two short stretches of Lensfield Road and East Road where car parking is allowed in spite of the heavy traffic. Such car parking narrows the space available considerably. Do you support removal of this car parking in the interests of improved traffic flow and the safety of cyclists?

Nichola J HARRISON
(Liberal Democrat)

In general, it can't be a good thing to have car parking where this narrows the carriageway and impacts on cyclists, especially on busy main roads which are anyway dangerous and intimidating for cyclists. I am not sure of the exact circumstances in Lensfield Rd and would prefer not to comment. As regards East Road, the benefit of car parking to the business community there has to be weighed against the bad conditions for cyclists. At this moment I cannot commit to saying that the spaces should be removed, but I would support an investigation by the Area Joint Committee over the pros and cons of removing them.

Natasha MAY
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Shapour MEFTAH
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Shayne M MITCHELL
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 6

Do you agree that two-way cycling should normally be allowed in one-way streets, because of the way this can replace longer and more dangerous cycle routes with more direct routes? (This is the norm in many European cities and we are unaware of any evidence to suggest any significant danger.) In which locations in your ward would you support increased convenience and safety by allowing two-way cycling?

Nichola J HARRISON
(Liberal Democrat)

Yes I do agree and I hope my record in Petersfield indicates that. I am open to suggestions from the Cycling Campaign as to which streets should be tackled next.

Natasha MAY
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Shapour MEFTAH
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Shayne M MITCHELL
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 7

What do you think should be done to improve the poor walking and cycling environment on Mill Road?

Nichola J HARRISON
(Liberal Democrat)

My county colleague Kilian Bourke and I have fought hard for £400,000 county council funding for a road safety scheme on Mill Road (plus money for resurfacing) and I'm looking forward to the public consultation process tat is due to start shortly.

I want to wait and see what local people think should be done, but as I have said above, I think a 20mph limit is desirable and achievable. I also think here is potential for changes at several of the key junctions, above all Kingston Street/Devonshire Road. These might take the form of traffic lights or raised junctions and elements of shared priority. I am not in favour of closing Mill Road to through traffic as I think this would displace traffic onto streets elsewhere, which would impact on other communities. I also feel that Mill Road is an inclusive sort of place and everyone is welcome to be there so long as they behave responsibly and respectfully.

Natasha MAY
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Shapour MEFTAH
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Shayne M MITCHELL
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 8

Do you have any other general cycling-related comments or points? And what support have you given for cycling and walking, or sustainable transport more generally, in the past?

Nichola J HARRISON
(Liberal Democrat)

I am frustrated by the fact that Cambridge has not yet taken the leap towards being a proper cycling city and that my children, my residents and I are frequently in real danger as we cycle around the city. WE have had victories - the Corn Exchange Street contraflow for example, but there are far too many barriers to safe and convenient cycling and I would like to up my own game in trying to change this. An important part of the task is to change the mindset of the Conservative councillors who run the county council and that is something that I could work on by inviting them to my ward to see the situation and talk to residents.

The work of the Cycling Campaign is absolutely vital in Cambridge. It makes all the difference. There are numerous councillors who cycle and whose natural inclination is pro-cycling, but we often have to arbitrate between different interests and different interest groups. Your rigorous and professional approach gives you enormous influence in these difficult debates, even though I know that sometimes our decisions are frustrating to you.

Natasha MAY
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Shapour MEFTAH
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Shayne M MITCHELL
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

Camcycle is a non-partisan body. All candidates are given an equal opportunity to submit their views. Information published by Camcycle (Cambridge Cycling Campaign), The Bike Depot, 140 Cowley Road, Cambridge, CB4 0DL.