Elections

2015 South Cambridgeshire District Council election: Bourn

Summary: 2015 elections to South Cambridgeshire District Council
Polling date: Thursday 7th May 2015
Ward:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Gavin CLAYTON  (Labour Party)
  • Des O`BRIEN  (Conservative Party)
  • Marcus PITCAITHLY  (Green Party)

Questions for Bourn ward candidates (4 questions)

Jump to question:  1   2   3   4 

# 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?

Gavin CLAYTON
(Labour Party)

I do fully support this guide and would work with council and developers to bring a more coordinated approach to the cycle routes in Cambourne and beyond. Particular attention needs to be given for safety of children cycling to primary and secondary schools.
This must be a core condition to existing and planned development to reduce traffic congestion on routes into town.
I cycle to work in central Cambridge and so would like the following to be implemented via cooperation between wards joining Bourn Ward to Cambridge :

10. People want well-maintained infrastructure
- cycle tracks should be laid to the same quality as roads. They should be designed to facilitate easy maintenance, to avoid overgrowing vegetation and enable winter treatment.

Des O`BRIEN
(Conservative Party)

I warmly welcome and support the Making Space for Cycling guide. Many of the guide's advice and conclusions make perfect sense and should be adopted. There is one area where
I see a need for clarification. New developments set 10, or more, miles from Cambridge will not encourage bicycle commuting and both CCC and SCDC are misguided in their attempts to build new settlements so far away from areas of employment and amenities. While cycle routes within the new developments are are fine and laudable in themselves, the new settlements proposed in the SCDC Local Plan will unfortunately substantially worsen Canmbridehgshire's traffic congestion problems as people choose to drive to work because cycle journey times are too long and the bus system is inadequte.

Marcus PITCAITHLY
(Green Party)

I absolutely endorse this guide.

While all of its principles are important, I think that better layout of car parking is the most immediately applicable in this ward, where obstruction of routes by parking is a notable problem. (Better cycle route provision would help to reduce car dependency and therefore reduce the amount of space needed for parking.)

Better provision of road space for cyclists on safe, convenient routes is also a principle which this guide shares with the Green Party, and which is very much needed in the more rural parts of this ward, where narrow country roads are often shared with fast and heavy traffic. In these areas the provision of off-road cycle routes must be a priority. This is a County Council responsibility, but as a District Councillor I would do whatever lay in my power to support it.

# Question 2

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

Gavin CLAYTON
(Labour Party)

Properly designed crossings on increasingly busy roads within Cambourne. In line with NPPF key points 'give priority to pedestrian and cycle movements.' Local, Primary and Secondaryt streets are all navigated by children on their morning and home journeys (in winter months visibility is also an issue). They therefore need priority at side roads and junctions. This is not always the case and the routes are not always the most direct. Solutions are explained excellently in the Making Space for Cycling report.

Des O`BRIEN
(Conservative Party)

More provision of footpaths and cycle routes in rural areas. Discourage the use of the car for journey's to school.

Marcus PITCAITHLY
(Green Party)

More and better defined crossing places, and better lighting in winter (for instance on the footpath to Cambourne Village College); clearer division of cycle paths and footpaths (and, of course, comprehensive provision of both).

Also, drivers need to take greater care. Excessive speed, impatience, and turning without indicating, are sadly common practice. (Though I've also seen cyclists guilty of all these behaviours, and they too need to consider road safety more carefully - I would support a mandatory cycling proficiency test, and stronger enforcement of the use of helmets, lights, etc. - but the primary onus must be on drivers.)

The Green Party policy of a 20 mph speed limit in residential areas, which Green councillors have already helped to implement in several parts of the country, would be a major factor in improving safety for all road users, particularly children. Casualties fell by 19% after Green Councillors introduced this policy in Brighton. This policy also helps to reduce air pollution, which is itself damaging to children's health. In Cambourne, where there was a 19 mph speed limit until 2007, there is a movement to put a 20 mph limit in place, which I support.

# 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?

Gavin CLAYTON
(Labour Party)

I cycle to work in Cambridge so have experience of the disjointed and poorly maintained cycle network that forces cyclists onto fast, busy roads at regular intervals.
My son cycles to school and I do worry as traffic increases and speeds can be too fast at times with drivers seeing the winding roads as some kind of speed challenge.
We do cycle to neighbouring villages north of A428, but the cycle routes are inadequate or non existent otherwise we may do more.
Cycling into Cambridge is much harder work than it needs to be and major infrastructure improvement would make it easier and encourage more people out of their cars.

Des O`BRIEN
(Conservative Party)

I am a keen cyclist. I have in the past commuted in the summer months between Bourn and Cambridge. My daugher commuted to work on Madingley Road last summer. As a family we still cycle for pleasure and we all own bikes. My family are grown up now but when they were young I would have discouraged them from cycling to school because the road between Bourn and Comberton was too dangerous for bikes.

Marcus PITCAITHLY
(Green Party)

I seldom cycle myself and my experience has mostly been in quiet rural environments. However, a family member suffered a serious accident after being cut up by a driver who turned suddenly without warning (and did not stay on the scene).

I get the distinct impression that not enough training regarding maintaining the safety of cyclists is offered either to drivers or to cyclists themselves, and I would support an initiative to improve public education on this subject, and in particular school-age cycling and cycle safety training.

# Question 4

The 2011 census shows that South Cambridgeshire has the highest levels of cycle commuting of any non-urban area, including substantial cycling into Cambridge city: how would you rate the current conditions for cycling from your ward into Cambridge, and how could it be improved?

Gavin CLAYTON
(Labour Party)

See answer 3 above.
Improvement will come by joint working between wards and parishes coordinated by District Council and County representatives.
In Cambourne the developers need to invest further in the cycle routes to address local fears concerning additional car journeys that extra housing will bring.
The cycle routes outside Cambourne are in dangerously poor condition as they are also on fringes of Cambourne. Within Cambourne they need to be more joined up and more clearly signed and the population better informed through publicity.

Des O`BRIEN
(Conservative Party)

The condition of the cycle route from Bourn Ward to Cambridge is poor. We need a dedicated cycle route. I'm not naive enough to believe that it will greatly increase commuter cycling - 10 miles is too long for many - but it will make some difference and will certainly encourage people to make trips for pleasure (for example at the weekend) and take people out of their cars for some journeys.

Marcus PITCAITHLY
(Green Party)

Personally I would not currently cycle into Cambridge from my home in Cambourne. Even the roads best suited to it (that I'm aware of) are often very busy and have little space for cycling. Greater provision of cycle lanes, and of information regarding the best existing routes, is needed.

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.