Elections

Local elections (City/SouthCambs), May 2011: Newnham

Summary: Elections to Cambridge City Council (and South Cambs District Council) in May 2011.
Polling date: Thursday 5th May 2011
Ward:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Joanna Emily ANSCOMBE-BELL  (Conservative Party)
  • Richard JOHNSON  (Labour Party)
  • Julie Elizabeth SMITH  (Liberal Democrat)
  • James YOUD  (Green Party)

Questions for Newnham ward candidates (6 questions)

Jump to question:  1   2   3   4   5   6 

# Question 1

Our new Cycling Vision 2016 report, available on our website and as featured in the local media recently, outlines a range of proposals for increasing the rate of cycling in the area. Do you give Cycling Vision 2016 your backing, and what are you most keen to see implemented?

Joanna Emily ANSCOMBE-BELL
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Richard JOHNSON
(Labour Party)

I support the aims and objectives of the Cycling Vision 2016. In particular I find most interesting the proposal to enhance the cycle network that already exists in the city and broaden its scope and potential. Having a “joined-up” and inter-linked route between the three main employment centres of Cambridge would help to encourage more people to leave their car at home and travel to work by bike, to alleviate the gridlock on our roads and reduce vehicle emissions. This is eminently sensible in my opinion.

I also back the ideas in relation to promoting the greater safety of cyclists and more and secure parking for cycles. Speaking as someone who recently had their bike stolen I do understand how much of a difficulty it is to find safe and secure bike parking in and around our city.

I agree that the question about cycle space at the rail station needs to be tackled once and for all. A great deal of Newnham residents rely on the rail station to commute to work and as rail use increases, so does the need to provide adequate amenities for those commuters to encourage them to take the train instead of the car.

In short, not only do the recommendations propose sensible solutions for the improvement of the cycling experience here, but underline the view – which I agree with – that Cambridge can set an example to other cities by taking a lead in building an environmentally sustainable area to live, travel and work, with healthier and fitter citizens. Also, improving our transport infrastructure by making travel into the city easier (not to mention greener) could also provide a potential boost to the local economy.

Julie Elizabeth SMITH
(Liberal Democrat)

I think that the Cycling Vision 2016 is very exciting and raises a lot of important issues. As a regular cyclist, I completely agree with the views expressed about the various junctions in the City and would be keen to see real progress made on the Lensfield Road (Royal Cambridge Hotel) junction and Newmarket Road/Elizabeth Way Bridge Roundabout in particular. The proposals for reviewing cycle lanes are surely welcome - if we have cycle lanes they need to be fit for purpose, clearly marked and well surfaced. And coming from Newnham, the idea of creating a proper cycle route from Newmarket Road to Newnham sounds excellent.

James YOUD
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 2

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 work towards a situation where every resident and every worker in every ward can keep a bike safe?

Joanna Emily ANSCOMBE-BELL
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Richard JOHNSON
(Labour Party)

Cambridge is fortunate there are a number of good locations for cycle parking. But there are not enough. This is reflected in the cycle theft figures. The city council have been too slow to improve the number of secure cycle parking facilities to mitigate the rise in cycle theft. Matters are not helped by reducing the city council part-time cycle staff to just one.
I would make the suggestion that it would be good to have some extra cycle parking near the shops in Newnham Croft. But the rail station would be my main priority.

I am broadly in favour of seeing a small proportion of street parking replaced for cycle parking; for instance it might discourage people from driving in to Newnham Croft. However any such move must have the support of all community stakeholders. The Croft shopkeepers could say any reduction in parking might reduce their custom and affect local business so they should be involved in any consultation.

In my view, sorting all these issues out would help to improve the chance that residents and workers can park their bikes safely and securely, plus be confident that when they return it would still be there!

Julie Elizabeth SMITH
(Liberal Democrat)

The lack of cycle parking is a serious issue in the City, compounded by the fact that by definition bikes are mobile, so ensuring someone has a secure parking space at home doesn't help if they can't park securely at their place of work or when out shopping or going out for the evening. In terms of secure cycle-parking at home that is partly a matter for individuals to decide, but the planning process assists in required adequate cycle parking in new developments.

Clearly in Newnham, a lot of cycle parking is provided by Colleges and how well this works is primarily a matter for students and their College; I would hope this is adequate in all cases but would recommend students to talk to their JCR or MCR reps if they feel it is not. The cycle parking rings that the County has put on some lamp-posts, e.g. in Station Road, seem to be a good innovation and I would welcome them in Newnham, particularly in the Croft where this is little space on the pavement for normal cycle racks. In principle I would be happy to see some on-street parking turned over to cycle racks. This would need to be considered very carefully as parking and traffic issues are already a considerable issue in Newnham, particularly on Barton Road and the Croft. I would be happy to explore with the County the option of adding in some cycle parking as part of schemes seeking to reduce other traffic and parking pressures, e.g. could we have some cycle parking in place of car parking on one side of, say, Barton Road and Adams or Herschel Roads?

Elsewhere in the City, I would particularly keen to see more bikes in St. Andrew's Street and by the Corn Exchange. The arrival of the secure cycle-parking at the Grand Arcade is welcome, but since it closes before midnight it isn't always the right option for people out for the evening. I would also welcome additional cycle-parking at the railway station and/or better management of the racks that are currently there. The approach to culling abandoned bikes could be improved and I would be happy to discuss this with the Cycling Campaign and then raise it with the station manager if you feel this would be helpful.

James YOUD
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 3

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?

Joanna Emily ANSCOMBE-BELL
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Richard JOHNSON
(Labour Party)

Yes I do. Enforcement of by-laws, ensuring that our roads, cycleways and pavements are sensibly and safely used and that those users are aware of their rights and responsibilities is important. I also agree that coming up with practical solutions that could help to stop incidents and bad traffic behaviour is vital. Better signage, improved infrastructure and even simple things like the repainting of lines on cycle lanes can help avoid incidents occurring in the first place, saving police time and money.

However, any move to making traffic policing a greater priority should not be to the detriment of other important police priorities, such as robbery, burglary and anti-social behaviour. Also Area Committees should continue to be free to select the most appropriate priorities for the wards in that particular area – these priorities can vary depending where you are in Cambridge.

Julie Elizabeth SMITH
(Liberal Democrat)

I am certainly committed to traffic policing being a high policing priority, as shown in my contributions to the West-Central Area Committee over the years. It is clearly important that cyclists obey the law, not least for their own safety, just as drivers are expected to do.In addition to the issue of lights or cycling on pavements, in Newnham there are issues about cyclists crossing the Sidgwick Avenue/Newnham Road/Queens Road/Silver Street while the lights are still red. The police have taken this and other cycling offences in West-Central seriously but it is something that we need constantly to raise, particularly in the autumn when new cohorts of students, not all experienced cyclists, arrive in Cambridge and acquire bikes.

James YOUD
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 4

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?

Joanna Emily ANSCOMBE-BELL
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Richard JOHNSON
(Labour Party)

I do and the speed of traffic on Barton Road, Grantchester Road and Grange Road has come up as an issue in canvassing. One young mother in Fulbrooke Road told me that she couldn’t allow her child to walk to school; such was the danger of Grantchester Road. I support the need for 20 mph limits on residential roads and areas near schools such as Newnham Croft Primary.

Julie Elizabeth SMITH
(Liberal Democrat)

Yes. At present we have a bizarre situation in Newnham where Grange Road has a 20mph but the side roads don't, so there are a plethora of signs alerting people to the 30 mph in roads like Sidgwick Avenue and Herschel Road, giving every incentive to drivers to speed up. It would be infinitely preferable to have a single, enforcable and enforced, speed limit and 20mph would seem to be appropropriate in our residential areas. Moving to a 20mph is only the first step, however: it is vital to ensure that any speed limit is adequately enforced otherwise the benefits of reducing the limits will not be felt.

James YOUD
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 5

Resurfacing of Grange Road has been done badly, with the (admittedly narrow and unsatisfactory) cycle lanes not properly restored or surfaced. Will you press for the County Council to sort out the mess here?

Joanna Emily ANSCOMBE-BELL
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Richard JOHNSON
(Labour Party)

Yes! I would add, however, that there are other areas where the condition/quality of cycle lanes is a problem. The corner of Fen Causeway/Trumpington Street by the Leys – which can be very slippery on the dual use pavement (accidents have happened there) – for example.

Julie Elizabeth SMITH
(Liberal Democrat)

The surface of the cycle lanes on Grange Road is a disgrace, and my colleague Councillor Nethsingha and I have discussed the matter with the County on several occasion. I raised the matter as soon as the surface dressing was done last summer and was initially told that the cycle lanes hadn't been covered. Clearly, they had partially been covered and the County has now agreed that the cycle lanes will be surface dressed at the first opportunity. We managed to get the lines reinstated fairly quickly, stopping Grange Road looking like a carpark. Unfortunately, though, it seems surface dressing is a specialist task and seasonal. When the problems arose last year, the surface dressing team had already left the area.Thus we are in a queue for the lanes to be done but we have been assured they will be done this time around.

As you point out, the lanes are in themselves narrow and unsatisfactory in many ways and I would welcome discussions on whether there are ways we could improve provision for cyclists on Grange Road - for example, if money permitted, would it help to upgrade the on-pavement cycle lane on the East side, remove the narrow on-road cycle lane on the east and then widen the on-road cycle lane on the West?

James YOUD
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 6

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 recent past?

Joanna Emily ANSCOMBE-BELL
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Richard JOHNSON
(Labour Party)

I applaud the work done by the Cambridge Cycling Campaign in speaking up for cyclists and its suggestions for improving the Cambridge cycling experience, e.g. the Chisholm Trail. I am a keen advocate of public transport. I commute to work by bus and by walking (not cycling, currently, as my bike has been stolen). I do not own a car for financial and moral reasons – I try to ensure that my personal carbon footprint is as low as possible.

Julie Elizabeth SMITH
(Liberal Democrat)

Cambridge is obviously a great place to cycle but provision could still be improved. The work of Cycling Campaign in encouraging all decision-makers to think about cycling and cycling provision is thus welcome. As a regular cyclist I personally know how beneficial cycling can be for health reasons as well as getting around the City rather more swiftly than in a car. It would be fantastic if we could encourage more people to try cycling instead of driving for at least some of their journeys.

James YOUD
(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.