Elections

Local elections (City/SouthCambs), May 2010: Girton

Summary: Elections to Cambridge City Council (and South Cambs District Council) in May 2010.
Polling date: Thursday 6th May 2010
Ward:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Brian BROMWICH  (Liberal Democrat)
  • Thomas Dominic BYGOTT  (Conservative Party)
  • Aubrey Malcolm CHAPMAN  (UK Independence Party)
  • Christopher JONES  (Labour Party)
  • Teal RILEY  (Green Party)

Questions for Girton ward candidates (4 questions)

Jump to question:  1   2   3   4 

# Question 1

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?

Brian BROMWICH
(Liberal Democrat)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Thomas Dominic BYGOTT
(Conservative Party)

Your position paper on responsible, legal cycling is an excellent document, and I support your campaign for better compliance with traffic rules.

As a Tory, I believe that individuals should take personal responsibility for their own actions. A good cyclist and good citizen should obey the law and, ideally, exceed it in adopting safer practices than are enforced. For example, I usually wear a helmet when riding. Helmets are mandatory in some countries but only advisory in the UK.

I would also like to see a greater emphasis on education. Motorists are at an enormous advantage on the roads when it comes to traffic rules, because they learn the Highway Code as the first stage of learning to drive. As a University City, Cambridge has a lot of young cyclists who haven't yet done a driving test. One way to correct this would be to teach the Highway Code in schools.

Aubrey Malcolm CHAPMAN
(UK Independence Party)

We believe that there are other matters which should have higher police priority than this, but we aim to get more police out of their offices and onto the beat. In places where we have local councillors, we have achieved this already, notably in Ramsey. When police are on the beat, they tend to have a deterrent effect against minor offences such as cycling without lights or on pavements. Having said that, we also believe that the law should be enforced and any police officer observing such an offence should be expected to press charges, something which would be more likely if the police were actually present.

Christopher JONES
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Teal RILEY
(Green Party)

To some extent, but perhaps extend more power to PCSOs to educate cyclists.
But there are far bigger issues here regarding cycle lane provision in Cambridge and the local area. Taken as a whole, the situation is muddled with different categories of on-road cycle lanes (solid lines, dashed lines), shared use pavements that end abruptly, cycling bans at certain hours on certain roads that care continually being revised and reviewed. Combined with a cycling population that includes a large number of short term Cambridge residents the laws will be inevitably flouted.

# Question 2

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?

Brian BROMWICH
(Liberal Democrat)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Thomas Dominic BYGOTT
(Conservative Party)

In Girton’s case, there are two main roads through the village, and the distinction between main roads and minor streets is clear. I would be interested to see the details of a general scheme for 20mph in local streets and 30mph on through roads. However, it would be important that such a scheme doesn't lead to confusion about what the limit on a particular stretch is, and doesn't lead to an increase in the number of signs. There are too many signs cluttering up our villages and detracting from their rural character.

Aubrey Malcolm CHAPMAN
(UK Independence Party)

We believe that this kind of thing should be decided in a democratic way at a local level. If you believe that such a rule should be introduced, you would, under a UKIP administration be able to raise a petition: with enough signatures collected in a limited time, you could force a local referendum, the result of which would be binding upon the local authority.

Christopher JONES
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Teal RILEY
(Green Party)

Girton has already been earmarked as a test site for a 20mph limit. I would be in favour but I fail to see how it could work in practice. We currently have an advisory 20 mph limit at school drop off/collection times. Motorists are warned by flashing orange lights. But there is no procedure in place to enforce this limit. It is largely enforced by the volume of traffic and parked cars slowing the through traffic.
What I would like to see removed are the current island speed humps in the village which just encourage motorists to cut back into the path of cyclists so their cars can straddle the humps.
So in short, 20 - yes please. But it won't enforce itself. Particularly in Girton where there is a long straight main road and cars regularly do in excess of 40 mph anyway.

# Question 3

What are your views on the current plans for the widening of the A14 which will remove the current (awkward, but at least possible) route for non-motorised users between the north of the village of Girton and Madingley?

Brian BROMWICH
(Liberal Democrat)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Thomas Dominic BYGOTT
(Conservative Party)

From the Girton Road bridge over the A14, there is a sign saying '222 casualties on the A14 in 2008'. Each delay to the upgrade means more deaths and injuries. Leaving the road as it is simply isn't an option.

Trying to reduce driving by making the road network inefficient is counter-productive. Most vehicles are at their most efficient between 50 and 60mph; when traffic stops and starts, it produces more pollution and wastes fuel. I favour encouraging people to cycle with better infrastructure, rather than punishing motorists and forcing them out of their cars.

However, we need more, not fewer, cycle paths and walking tracks crossing the A14. I would like to see a new and safer route built between Girton and Madingley, sound barriers along the whole length of the widened motorway and green corridors on either side. Green corridors could help with biodiversity by connecting isolated patches of woodland; they would offset pollution from the traffic and would be a great place to construct cycle paths.

Aubrey Malcolm CHAPMAN
(UK Independence Party)

The A14 has long been one of the biggest bones of contention in this area, hasn't it? It is a problem for which there is no simple answer, but we certainly agree that there should be practicable routes for cyclists between places as close to one another as Girton and Madingley. And to quote from our Transport Policy document, "UKIP believes off road dedicated lanes are preferable to a confusing maze of cycle lanes on unsuitable or dangerous roads,"

Christopher JONES
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Teal RILEY
(Green Party)

I am not in support of any widening scheme of the A14. Plans to expand the east coast ports are already being tabled to make use of an expanded highway. It would provide traffic relief for 2-3 years, before congestion would again become the norm, but accompanied by greater air pollution, increased noise and even greater frustration to road users.

# Question 4

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?

Brian BROMWICH
(Liberal Democrat)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Thomas Dominic BYGOTT
(Conservative Party)

I supported the planned upgrade to the cycle paths along Huntingdon Road, and have long been advocating new cycle paths to connect Girton to the city away from the main roads. One route would connect Girton Corner to the Cavendish Lab on Madingley Road and Storey's Way across the University's land. Another would connect Wellbrook Way and the end of Thornton Way to Windsor Road across the NIAB site.

We need to completely rethink town planning, and go back to traditional street layouts, which made walking and cycling easier. Wellbrook Way is a good example of poor design: the Thornton Way shops are only just behind the end of the development, but getting there requires an enormous detour. All over the country, people are getting into their cars and driving for miles to get to shops that are just behind their back fence. People want to travel in four directions - so why have just one entrance?

Cycling and walking are the most sustainable forms of transport, and they are also the healthiest. It is also important, given the rural nature of our District, not to forget the sustainable benefits of horse-riding. South Cambridgeshire District Council has policies to encourage healthier living through more opportunities for exercise, and to create a greener and more pleasant area to live in. I believe in building a network of cycle paths connecting all the villages in our District. Rather than being built at the sides of busy roads, they should, wherever possible, travel through green corridors, past woodlands and fields.

Aubrey Malcolm CHAPMAN
(UK Independence Party)

You can download our full Transport Policy document, http://www.ukip.org/media/pdf/UKIPtransport.pdf for full details.

Christopher JONES
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Teal RILEY
(Green Party)

What we tend to forget is that as a nation cycling was at a far greater level in the 1970s. However, there was a key difference. In the 1970s cycling was regarded as just another form of transport and a simple, cost effective method of getting from A to B. Cycling is now touted as an environmentally friendly, low caron, eco, holier than thou solution to the world's evils. There's no denying it's an environmentally friendly form of transport, but herein lies the problem. By portraying cycling in these ways it inevitably leads to a rift of cyclists vs motorists, which has deepened during the 15 years I have cycled in Cambridge. I don't cycle to save the planet and not even because it's cheaper, I cycle because I enjoy it and it's my preferred way of getting around. I appreciate cycle groups need to lobby, but sometimes it can be counter productive. In Cambridge I do believe on-road cycling conditions have worsened over the last 10 years despite the provision of a few decent cycle ways, which in themselves often fuel more animosity when you don't use them and stay on the road.

Children didn't cycle to school in the 1970s and 1980s because of some cycle to school scheme, or to win eco points, they cycled because that's the way kids got to school.

I'm not proposing a solution here, but I'm just expressing my dismay at the probably irreversible cultural shift of the last generation.

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.