Elections

2015 South Cambridgeshire District Council election: Willingham & Over

Summary: 2015 elections to South Cambridgeshire District Council
Polling date: Thursday 7th May 2015
Ward:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Brian BURLING  (Conservative Party)
  • Martin HALE  (UK Independence Party)
  • Tom LEE  (Liberal Democrat)
  • Ben MONKS  (Labour Party)
  • Helen STOCKS  (Green Party)

Questions for Willingham & Over 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?

Brian BURLING
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Martin HALE
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Tom LEE
(Liberal Democrat)

I’ve read it and I have no hesitation in giving it my full support. I think the principle that could most effectively be applied is that of Home Zones in residential areas, away from primary and secondary routes. My own area of Over is a great example of where this could be applied – it’s an area of cul-de-sacs with some permeability to other areas and it is highly used by school children cycling to Swavesey Village College, usually moving in the opposite direction to the local residents. While I’m not aware of any major comings together of cyclists, motorists or pedestrians, I have witnessed numerous near-misses. Ensuring that motor traffic moves more slowly and cautiously while giving them plenty of warning of other oncoming road users would reduce the chance of those near-misses turning into accidents. Perhaps we could look at some 20 mph zones coupled with some convex mirrors placed strategically on lampposts.

If you were to give me a second choice I would like to look at separation of cycle traffic along some of our primary routes particularly between Willingham and Over. While it is a relatively quiet rural road, it is quite fast, relatively narrow and has enough curves and crests in it to make walking and cycling along it quite an un-nerving experience at times. And it’s not easy being behind the wheel at times either. I tend to avoid cycling on this stretch of road and I know that others do too. I would be interested whether there was support for separated cycling and walking along here – I would certainly use it more if there were. I’m open minded about how it could be achieved – there is land on either side that potentially could be used, for example, but also there is a footpath from Fen End to Willingham which perhaps could be upgraded for cyclists.

Ben MONKS
(Labour Party)

I think that most of the guide is common sense from a cyclist's perspective and it's good to see a comprehensive guide. Space has been made with shared cycle paths between the villages and the busway but this would bear improvement in some places. The principles about space could be applied. Within the villages, effective traffic calming measure would make the roads more accessible to cyclists.

Helen STOCKS
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 2

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

Brian BURLING
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Martin HALE
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Tom LEE
(Liberal Democrat)

Other than the use of Home Zones that I’ve already mentioned, I would really like the provision of cycling to and from Swavesey VC and Cottenham VC looked at.

I have most experience of the latter as both of my children cycle to school there and they use the existing shared-use path. There are various improvements that I could think of, for example making it wider (it gets very congested at times and both of my children have fallen off because of this), improving junctions and crossings to slow traffic down – New Road/Station Road particularly - and even providing a completely different route. I was thinking here of the current footpath and bridleway from New Road, through the Orchard, over the Busway and then into Lairstall Drove, Cow Fen Road and Market Street in Swavesey. It’s not perfect, but it would separate the children from traffic for most of the route to school.

I believe that most students travelling from Willingham to Cottenham VC go by bus. It is a 4 mile cycle there and, other than a reasonable shared-use cycle path from Rampton, cyclists often have to share a narrow, bendy, derestricted road with motorists. If the school, students and parents thought that improvements here would increase cycling and the safety of cyclists, I would certainly support that.

Ben MONKS
(Labour Party)

As above, effective traffic control measures would make a difference. Improvements around Thoday's Close have made a difference to roads around Willingham School but I would still be reluctant to let my children cycle to school due to the high volume of car traffic. Over desperately needs a pedestrian crossing over the High Street nearest the green.

Helen STOCKS
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# 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?

Brian BURLING
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Martin HALE
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Tom LEE
(Liberal Democrat)

Our family are all keen cyclists and for me it’s a passion – I own several bikes, I’m a long-time member of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign, a member of British Cycling and I manage the web forum for the Cambridge Mountain Bikers. That said, my family all seem to clock-up more miles than me! As previously stated, my children both cycle the two miles to and from school every day and my wife commutes to Cambridge by bike most days, totalling around 100 miles a week. My job is now in Peterborough which makes cycling there a challenge, although I have done it!

I have less concerns than I used to about my children cycling as they are older and more experienced now and they have good lights. Also the roads here are relatively quiet. I have more concerns about my wife as she has to navigate the Cambridge traffic after the relatively benign conditions along the way via the Busway. In fact, the transition to the Cambridge streets after the Busway always concerns me whenever we ride into the city together as a family. The traffic is much heavier and some of the signing and road markings for cyclists is poor. (Adherence to road signs by some cyclists is poor too!)

Ben MONKS
(Labour Party)

I cycle regularly and I often go out with my eldest son. I would be very reluctant for him to cycle unaccompanied when he's older on some of the roads in our area. I am concerned that the development of Northstowe may increase car traffic in our area unless road development to the North of Cambridge is prioritised.

Helen STOCKS
(Green Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# 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?

Brian BURLING
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Martin HALE
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Tom LEE
(Liberal Democrat)

We always use the Busway to get into the city. Luckily, the section that we use does not flood, unlike if we go to St Ives. It is – mostly – an excellent facility for cyclists with very few sections that don’t seem up to standard (although it does suffer from overgrowth in places). Accessing the Busway from Willingham is relatively straightforward as there is a reasonable, albeit shared-use, cycle path next to the B1050. That said, this is a busy road and the fact that the path is shared may cause cyclists and pedestrians to fell less comfortable.

The problem is getting to the Busway from Over. The only way on tarmacked paths is to go towards Swavesey and pick it up there, but this means going out of the way for most Over residents. There is a bridleway to it from Longstanton Road by the Industrial Estate, but this is often muddy and icy in the winter and it does not suit road bikes at all. Ideally, I would like to see this improved such that road bikes with slick tyres can easily use this, otherwise it is next to useless for them.

Many people now seem use an unofficial and mildly dangerous short-cut from Longstanton Road and down the embankment where the Busway crosses under the road. This is now well worn, but it is steep, slippery and involves an unofficial crossing. Could this be adopted and improved, perhaps? Or could another access be provided – avoiding the embankment – just past the bridge and to the right? One access did exist here for contractors while they were building the Busway.

I cannot finish this section, however, without referring to the introduction of car park charges on the Busway park-and-rides. This must not only be putting off those parking and riding on buses, but also those parking and riding their bikes to Cambridge. It may even be pushing them to park on local residential streets. Surely, we should look again at this short-sighted measure. It appears designed to reverse the progress made on public transport and cycling uptake in South Cambs.

Ben MONKS
(Labour Party)

The "arterial" cycle path alongside the busway is excellent although links to and from Willingham and Over could be marginally better. The road route using NCN51 isn't bad but would benefit from some general improvement where cycle paths exist.

Helen STOCKS
(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.