Elections

2015 City Council election: Queen Edith's

Summary: 2015 elections to Cambridge City Council
Polling date: Thursday 7th May 2015
Ward:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Andrew James BOWER  (Conservative Party)
  • Joel CHALFEN  (Green Party)
  • Candido Sebastian CHANNELL  (UK Independence Party)
  • George Gregory PIPPAS  (Liberal Democrat)
  • Matt WORTH  (Labour Party)

Questions for Queen Edith's ward candidates (7 questions)

Jump to question:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7 

# Question 1

Cambridge Cycling Campaign has created a guide to cycling best-practice called Making Space For Cycling, endorsed by all national cycling organisations. Do you fully support this guide, and if so, what one principle in it do you think could most effectively be applied in your ward?

Andrew James BOWER
(Conservative Party)

It's a compelling prospectus for designing new settlements. It would be scandalous to create new estates without adhering to guidelines like this – there's no excuse for not designing high quality cycling provision at design time.

My favourite principle here is of the traditional street layouts, which would also enable good thoroughfares, but this mostly applies to new towns.

If, as sadly seems likely, we have to have new housing around Worts Causeway I hope regard would be given to these principles; in particular, because transport chaos is a likely outcome of this development, anything that could minimise this is critical, so attractive cycling thoroughfares joining up with Nightingale Avenue, Almoners Avenue, Hills Road and Babraham Road without competing with vehicles would be important.

In respect of areas of high pedestrian use, like high streets, I regret that the orthodoxy among cycling campaigners has shifted away from the 'shared space' idea you used to advocate. That was a proper expression of the desirable road user hierarchy and I think campaigners should revisit it, e.g. for Cherry Hinton High Street and Mill Road.

I would warn against playing King Canute on car parking. Without some sort of enforceable covenant, there will be cars that will be parked. There's already a severe problem with parking in the ward – that we will only solve by stopping Addenbrooke's from externalising their infrastructure problems and getting them to offer affordable parking to their employees – we should not make matters worse.

Joel CHALFEN
(Green Party)

Making Space For Cycling is an excellent guide which I fully endorse. It is vital that the profile and needs of cycling (and pedestrian) traffic are given equivalent status and consideration as motor vehicles. Moreover, it is great to see practical and common sense being directed at policy-making and public works. The more that can be done to make, as the document suggests, cycling the 'instinctive choice' the better.
Queen Edith's is bounded and crossed by main routes and in each case is served by a mix of cycle infrastructure, whilst Hills Road is currently subject to a huge re-haul of the cycle provision. For me, it is the fact that cycle ways are inconsistent, especially on main routes, that is most challenging for cyclists (and motorists and pedestrians). I feel that the upgrade to Hills Road will set a high level of expectation and the real challenge is continuing this through along routes that have not attracted such significant funding. What we don't want is flagship routes where, as soon as you turn off them, you find yourself back on the pavement with pedestrians, streetlamps and uneven surfaces - which is precisely the case on Cherry Hinton Road. Retrofitting ideal designs to existing road layouts is probably impossible. However, signage and visibility of where cycle routes are can be improved as well as levelling of surfaces (such as along Cherry Hinton Road). In that sense, all the practical design solutions 1,2,3,4,5,6,8 and 10 mentioned in the guide are relevant but I can only see 5,6 and 10 as readily achievable (and worth fighting for) on routes other than Hills Road.
As for cycle parking - and really this is key to everything because unless you have somewhere safe to leave your bike, it does not really matter what the journey has been like - most key destinations in and around Queen Edith's (Addenbrookes, Homerton College, Hills Road 6th Form, Cambridge Leisure Park and the four schools) are generally well-equipped. There could be more at the Budgens on Perne Road and on the parades of shops along Cherry Hinton Road. Proposals for the development of Morley Memorial School will need to be clear on cycle provision there - but it is not a site that will serve much of a wider community than the school pupils.
Queen Edith's obviously has its own issues and the vital thing is that whilst the principles stand across the whole city (and beyond), the practical solutions proposed in the guide need to be considered on as local a basis as possible.

Candido Sebastian CHANNELL
(UK Independence Party)

I am totally for improving all aspects of cycling , I have been a member of Cambridge cycling club, Cambridge triathlon as well as Cambridge Spartans for a while now and most Sunday's will bike over 100miles. I am very upset at the condition of some cycle routes as well as the ones that are set out need more sweeping as in some places are not fit for purpose! So the stand out thing would be keeping them puncher free and well maintained !!

George Gregory PIPPAS
(Liberal Democrat)

We need as a city to get together and have a joint up thinking between the people of Cambridge, the County and City Councils. We need to provide dedicated space for the Cyclists which it’s distinct from the space the pedestrians are using. It has to be done in such a way which avoids conflict between them, increasing subjective safety, making cycling the instinctive choice.

Matt WORTH
(Labour Party)

I think it's a very sensible set of recommendations in principle. I particularly agree with the sentiment that cycling is a mainstream way of getting about, not an eccentricity, and it needs to be built into city planning as surely as cars and bus services are.

Being realistic, I would say that the full incorporation of all the recommendations will work best in the case of brand new developments. In those cases, developers and planners can start from a clean sheet. We do have some examples of such new developments in and around Cambridge.

However, in the heart of Cambridge, we are working within the confines of a mediaeval city whose limited road space needs to be shared with pedestrians, disabled people, bus users and drivers, all of whom also look to the council to represent them.

So there will inevitably be trade-offs in Cambridge. But I agree with the aspirations set out in the guide.

# Question 2

What measures would you like to see to improve the safety of children getting to school?

Andrew James BOWER
(Conservative Party)

There are concerns that parking causes a danger for drop-offs at the Queen Emma and Queen Edith but I'm not sure if this is reflected in accident stats – perhaps more of a logistical frustration for residents than something serious, as traffic planners consider parked cars to be an effective form of traffic calming, though for cyclists, dooring is always a fear in areas of parked cars and children may not all be aware of the cycling practices needed to avoid such risks. Keeping cut-throughs in good condition, e.g. from Field Way and Bower's Croft, with hedges cleared back will be helpful.

I would be in favour of changes to Queen Edith's Way outside the Netherhall school if evidence suggests there is a problem there – a change in appearance giving priority to pedestrians and cyclists and a short 20mph stretch may be in order, though I think the proposed limit for the road is unnecessary and incorrect.

Joel CHALFEN
(Green Party)

I take my daughter to Morley by bike everyday. The journey is very short but not trouble free. We all need to learn that we share our space with others and I am pleased that she has to learn about road safety. However, I would also like to see much more done to limit the flow of motor traffic around the school at the beginning and end of the school day. Children coming to school by car is of course part of the issue here: investigation needs to be made as to why so many cars are used and whether alternatives could not be found - perhaps even with a school bus. But there are other issues such as ensuring that bin trucks are not blocking traffic at these critical times in neighbouring streets as well as the school's road itself. These are observations from my own journey to school but I am sure they are similar elsewhere. Each school should advertise its safest cycle routes and have them upgraded so that they are 'the instinctive choice'; schools should investigate the possibility of buses and promote car pooling where cars have to be used. Drop off points need to be carefully managed and schools need to be designated 'safe zones' at critical times.

Candido Sebastian CHANNELL
(UK Independence Party)

I believe all built up areas (residential) should be 20mph and it should be law that to over take a cyclist with excessive speed should be a 3 point penalty. More so where there is a school!

George Gregory PIPPAS
(Liberal Democrat)

We have noticed that more and more parents use bicycles to bring their children to school which its very commendable. We have also noticed that some parents walk their children to school which it’s also very welcome.
Where the problem arises is that there is a group of parents who bring/Collect their children by car. The problem that we see outside the schools is people sometimes use the Zig-Zag lines to park. There is not sufficient space for parents to drop off or park their cars safely. This difficult parking arrangement it does endanger Cyclists and pedestrians alike. Should the schools encourage the parents to drop off their kids 100 meters away from the school and walk them the rest of the way it would go some way towards reducing the congestion outside schools and minimize the danger to all concerned.

Matt WORTH
(Labour Party)

In and around Queen Edith's our primary schools are situated primarily in residential streets, like Blinco Grove where Morley Memorial School is located.

I think the single biggest improvement to safety in these areas would be to arrange for the new 20mph speed limits to be properly enforced by the police. A number of residents I've spoken to have welcomed the lower limit but observed that the police in Cambridge do not seem to enforce speed limits much. Police resources are obviously stretched, given the cuts, but even an occasional presence would deter speeding.

Reducing the level of traffic on Blinco Grove by controlling its use for parking would also help (see below).

# Question 3

What experience do you and your family have of cycling? Do you have any different concerns about younger or older family members cycling than you do yourself?

Andrew James BOWER
(Conservative Party)

I have enjoyed cycling my whole life, for leisure and commuting. I am a firm believer that cycling is something that anyone should be able to enjoy without specialist equipment.

I do not have any worries for older members of my family cycling; I was fortunate that my father taught me how to ride properly, behaving as if controlling a motor vehicle. I worry a little that good cycling (and driving) knowledge might not be getting passed down effectively to new generations. Certainly the national obsession with helmets, hi-vis, 20mph limits and pavement cycling are all distractions that do nothing to help instil a proper awareness of risk.

Joel CHALFEN
(Green Party)

Virtually every journey in Cambridge I make myself or with my family is by bike. It is probably the thing I love best about living here. But it is not all picture perfect: Whilst my eldest daughter rides her own bike, she is still young enough to take a lift in our 'box' bike with her sister on longer journeys. Often this is helpful for speed (!) but it is also because no route that we take is hazard free. As I said above, learning road safety is vital to learning to cycle. But I note that in every image of your Making Space for Cycling guide not a single rider is wearing a helmet and certainly nothing hi-viz. This is surely an ideal view of cycling in Cambridge and it is impossible to contemplate as a parent. I cannot imagine a cycling experience in the city with my children riding independently ever to be as free of worry as the ideal scenarios propose. The one exception: on the day of the Tour de France when we cycled up the middle of Trumpington Road! Now that was a true family experience of cycling!

Candido Sebastian CHANNELL
(UK Independence Party)

We are all very keen cyclists and feel very intimidated on some of our roads, I would love to see the police crack down on bad drivers and maybe even use some advertising boards to promote safe and responsible driving.

George Gregory PIPPAS
(Liberal Democrat)

Myself and my family are regular cyclists. I am a cyclist having an old fashion Duchy bike with a large basket which I enjoy using to move around. You will see me around my ward with my dog Hector in the basket delivering leaflets or arriving in Council for meetings and filling up the basket with shopping from the market. After a long day’s meetings there is nothing nicer than cycling home in the open air clearing one’s mind from all the day’s problems.
In my four years as Councillor I never claimed a penny in expenses for attending Council and therefore I found cycling to be more economical for one’s pocket and better for the environment plus we get some exercise.

Matt WORTH
(Labour Party)

I admit I personally don't cycle all that much in Cambridge - it's a small city and I prefer to walk. I have cycled in London though so I know what urban cycling is like.

For younger cyclists in particular, who are less experienced and have less mature judgement, the kind of recommendations made in the report are all the more sensible e.g. wider cycle lanes, better segregation of traffic types on main routes etc. I don't think child (or elderly) cyclists) necessitate different provision, just dedication to safe cycling.

# Question 4

What would you do to improve cycle parking in the city centre?

Andrew James BOWER
(Conservative Party)

More of the same is needed. And then some more.

The recent additions to cycle parking are very welcome.

One caveat I would make is that it was once observed to me that all the additional cycle parking on Trumpington Street got taken up by Catz students, so that the removal of car parking (that for one thing was useful for customers of the former cycle shop) was for nothing. Perhaps we need to encourage colleges to make better cycle parking available and accessible for their members so that new installations like that are more effective for people visiting the centre of town.

For all that it might make theoretical sense to have high capacity off-street cycle parking like at the Grand Arcade or Park Street (and this certainly is a good idea), the reality is that most people are going to want to, expect to, and try by any means to, park on the street close to their destination, and I think we need to accommodate that as much as possible.

Joel CHALFEN
(Green Party)

The recent spate of new cycle parking has been a joy to behold. But there is still more to be done. It would be very useful for cyclists to be able to log with the Council where they struggle to park. Long and short stay parking could be signalled (it would be difficult to regulate). All new building developments must have a clear directive to install cycle parking. And essentially, cycle parking must be regarded as equally if not more important than car parking - certainly on street car parking. Every effort must be continued to be made to reduce motor traffic out of the city centre so that more space can be given over to cycles. Public use bikes at fringe site car parks should be investigated - with designated parking for them in the centre; shops and businesses should continue to be pressed on supporting these changes. The comment made by the Council, reported in your newsletter, about car parking providing a revenue at a time of cuts gives the lie to austerity. As your campaign makes quite clear, improving cycling infrastructure has benefits to all the city, including economic benefits and it takes investment to ensure everyone is best served. Under duress of ideologically-led cutbacks, opportunities still arise to make the most of the resources available - and this involves making different decisions to old established norms rather than trying to shoe-horn them in.

Candido Sebastian CHANNELL
(UK Independence Party)

There is a lot of places to lock your bike up now but the problem I think is the fact that cycle crime goes unpunished, so I'm very much up for cycle parks but for me the sucurity is the issue as well as a police clamp down on bike thieves.

George Gregory PIPPAS
(Liberal Democrat)

As a City Councillor I supported my party the Lib Dems which is constantly striving to help carry on the successful program the Cycle Campaign begun by allocating additional spaces for Cycles, where possible locations come to light. The last time, If memory serves me right it was just outside the city Council we pedestrianized part of the road outside the theater and we installed facilities for Cycling.
I help indirectly with every large planning application that comes before us in planning committee by looking for bicycle storage facilities on site.

Matt WORTH
(Labour Party)

The university should be asked to facilitate colleges sharing their cycle parks with students from other colleges, so that students cycling into the city centre can park there. This would reduce pressure on cycle parking in public areas.

I'd like to see the ground floors of the city's (few) multi-storey car parks turned over to cycle parking. One problem in Cambridge city centre is there are few if any large cycle parks where you can be reasonably assured of getting a space.

# Question 5

Recent construction in the city, such as on Abbey Street, Milton Road and at the University Arms have closed routes or removed cycle space. What would you do to ensure that cycle routes remain open and safe as construction grows the city?

Andrew James BOWER
(Conservative Party)

When councillors grant permission for developments they should impose conditions that require contractors to keep cycle routes open and safe. Highways officers should also make the requirement clear to contractors whether or not this planning condition is in place.

A change of mindset in council officers is needed to get a grip on this problem.

Joel CHALFEN
(Green Party)

This is an historic city and our roads cannot cope with the growth in so many ways. Periods of cycle route closure or obstruction during building projects is going to be difficult to avoid. But again it is incumbent upon the Council to ensure that cycle services are maintained as best as possible, to ensure that there are clear replacement routes for bikes around building sites and if this means encroaching on motor traffic space then this may just have to be. Reducing speed limits where there is construction to better manage the presence of cycles on main routes may be necessary. Developers must contribute to alleviating the difficulties imposed by their work ensuring where possible that cycle routes are not unnecessarily closed. An I would be happy to hear of any other reasonable proposals for dealing with this kind of long-term but transitional problem.

Candido Sebastian CHANNELL
(UK Independence Party)

The privet construction market is not short of money , I would push for a rule where any interference with a cycle path could be off set by paying or donating to sweeping & maintaining the existing paths that are always in need of TLC
This could easily be organised at planing , as I run a local building firm I know this wouldn't be that hard to sort out.

George Gregory PIPPAS
(Liberal Democrat)

If a route its closed on a temporary basis then then the developers should provide a diversion giving an alternative route or the Cyclists should seek an alternative route hemselves.If there is no safe way around the works then then the contractors should put up a large Sign informing the cyclists that they should dismount thus negotiating the obstacle safely.

Matt WORTH
(Labour Party)

In specific instances of necessary construction work there may be not much we can do although we should always press developers to keep routes open if at all possible. The bigger issue is that cycle space is so constricted that the loss of any capacity is a critical problem. We need to expand cycle provision so there is a little more slack in the system.

# Question 6

Cycle routes which are narrow and involves sharp turns and chicanes make routes difficult or impossible for users of tricycles, handcycles and cargo bikes, impairing accessibility for the most vulnerable. Can you think of anywhere in your ward that is difficult to use on a non-standard cycle and what will you do to improve it?

Andrew James BOWER
(Conservative Party)

Yes, paths between Mowbray Road, Hulatt Road and Wulfstan Way, for example, that use steel barriers. Also other cut-throughs where hedges not always well trimmed. Users with full mobility do of course always have the option of using the road if their chosen vehicle isn't suitable for every cycle route.

Joel CHALFEN
(Green Party)

As mentioned above, I typically use a cargo bike. Wherever cycle routes are on pavements - such as on Cherry Hinton Road - cycling the bike can be difficult. Making these roads 20mph could help by making the road more usable - where widening is not possible. Certainly in terms of street furniture - it now needs to be recognised that wider bikes are now much more common and accommodation should be made for them by removing unnecessary obstacles. It is the same as for wheelchair and disabled access. I would support every effort that can give consideration to non-standard cycles but again everyone needs to accept that we share our public spaces and whilst cycling can offer the advantage of speed and directness, sometimes there are compromises to be made.

Candido Sebastian CHANNELL
(UK Independence Party)

This is a massive reason for me deciding to stand in my ward , the fact most of my paths and passage ways are in shocking condition and have not been touched for over 30 years ! They are in real need of resurfacing, I really would make this one of the things I would push for as well as littering!!! on a cycle I see so many people through rubbish out the car window, that let down some of Cambridgshires cycle paths.

George Gregory PIPPAS
(Liberal Democrat)

The most obvious one is at the end of Red Cross Lane which is one of the major pedestrian Cycle entrance into the Hospital.
We are fighting hard to have that access improved and the obstacles removed.

Matt WORTH
(Labour Party)

As Andy has mentioned there are issues with the lanes around the estates that could fairly easily be fixed.

Another issue for anyone on a bike or on foot - especially if using one of these different forms of cycle - is the congestion on the roads off Hills Rd caused by parking. People use these narrow streets to park for the sixth form college and/or to leave their cars while going into town. At busy times these streets become congested with people retrieving their cars; the dense traffic movement in confined spaces causes problems for cyclists and children and the whole thing makes it difficult for residents to park near their homes.

For the good of everyone in the area, including cyclists, the County Council badly needs to introduce parking controls that give residents priority and reduce the number of parkers. I can't quite believe County have left this issue for so long. It is typical of the way in which the city is not a priority for them. If I'm elected, I will hold them publicly to account to this. I will make some noise. It's not a City Council decision, but that doesn't mean City Councillors can't stand up for local residents on the issue.

# Question 7

What will you do to improve safe walking and cycling access to Addenbrooke’s Hospital?

Andrew James BOWER
(Conservative Party)

A major problem with cycling access to the hospitals site is the lack of cycle parking. Worse, some has actually been removed. I intend to put pressure on them to improve this situation as it is key to enabling sustainable transport to the site. It should feature in conditions for future planning consent.

Red Cross Lane needs general improvement as a key entrance to the site. I already commented on proposals for the upgrade of the main roundabout to ensure the cycle lane was retained and the planning officer seems to have paid attention to such representations.

There should be a complete review of all cycle access points and routes through the site to maximise cycling by employees and visitors as it doesn't seem to be a priority.

Joel CHALFEN
(Green Party)

Councillor Moore has taken a significant lead on this project and his concern and commitment are to be commended. The whole planning process has clearly been very poor to say the least but it does seem that the latest proposals are finally getting the point. This is all still in process of course and I hope the current proposals will overcome the greatest part of the dangers here. But clearly there is a major role to be played by councillors in keeping the ball rolling - here as elsewhere - and should I be in a position to inform that process (the public have had no room for influence) I would certainly ascertain that the best situation has indeed been reached.

Candido Sebastian CHANNELL
(UK Independence Party)

I also use this on ocation, it is hard to police I feel that possibly a few well placed signs could help to insure people stick to the side of the path there supposed to be on could help, I understand we have to cut back spending in today's world but I am one of the converted when it comes to cycling, and I really would push hard on all things cycling. I have also noticed the solar lights could do with sorting out, I would not be happy if my lights packed up on the way to Sawston going down that path!

George Gregory PIPPAS
(Liberal Democrat)

I have spent nearly four years on this issue trying to improve pedestrian and cycle access in and out of Addenbrookes. The new plan that was approved by the planning committee this month incorporates all the improvements we have asked for. We have approved a roundabout design that offers a win-win access for both the Cyclists and the pedestrians. We have managed to improve the access for the people with mobility problems by installing four pedestrian crossings on each approach to the roundabout. These crossings will have sensors that would only allow the light to change only when the slow moving person has managed to cross safely to the other side.
The Cyclists will have at the traffic lights boxes marked on the road to enable them to safely take the appropriate lane safely and give a head start from the rest of the traffic. See page 31and 32 that show all the improvements using the link below.
themocracy.cambridge.gov.uk//documents/b9055/Drawing%20Pack%20for%20Major%20and%20Minor%20Planning%20Applications%2001st-Apr-2015%2010.00%20Planning.pdf?T=9

Matt WORTH
(Labour Party)

More cycling parking at the hospital is essential.

As for the access routes, I think we are all waiting to see whether the proposed revisions to the road layout deliver. I'm happy to say I'll wait and see and if the changes do make meaningful improvements I'll be the first to recognise that.

But better communication around the planning process is essential to ensure that people actually understand what is proposed and how they can make input into it.

Residents, many of whom are cyclists, consistently tell me that planning decisions and changes to road layouts are communicated in an opaque and technocratic manner. This certainly applied to the removal of the verges and installation of new cycle lanes in Hills Road.

I will ensure communication is improved, and I will work to provide a better link between residents and decision-making bodies like South Area Committee, which currently inspires little confidence.

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.