Elections

Local elections (City), May 2018: Petersfield

Summary: Elections to Cambridge City Council in May 2018
Polling date: Thursday 3rd May 2018
Ward:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Sarah BROWN  (Liberal Democrat)
  • Virgil IERUBINO  (Green Party)
  • Simon LEE  (Conservative Party)
  • Ann SINNOTT  (Labour Party)

Questions for Petersfield ward candidates (9 questions)

Jump to question:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9 

# Question 1

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?

Sarah BROWN
(Liberal Democrat)

I cycle in Cambridge, as does my partner. Our youngest child (currently 14) cycles to school. He has had a bike stolen because there was insufficient secure parking on site.

Virgil IERUBINO
(Green Party)

Cycling is the main way I get around the city. I don't own a car and intend never to do so.

Simon LEE
(Conservative Party)

I have always been a keen cyclist and a member of the CTC and Godric CC over the years, my wife cycles to work at Addenbrookes every day and back home to Romsey.
We don’t have children but obviously would actively encourage them on a bike. I would however feel uneasy about them riding about in Cambridge. I have personally been knocked off my bike by a speeding car that resulted in a stay in hospital and suffered two broken arms and foot due to a speeding cyclist riding into me.

Ann SINNOTT
(Labour Party)

I have a slight impairment at present which means I do not currently cycle, but have done so in the past and will do so in the future. I no longer have young children or older relatives.

# Question 2

A key aim of our organisation is enabling more people to cycle, by the provision of protected space for cycling away from traffic, not shared with pedestrians, thus reducing traffic and providing transport choice. This best-practice is outlined in our guide, Making Space For Cycling, endorsed by all national cycling organisations. Do you support these principles, and if so, where could they most effectively be applied in your ward?

Sarah BROWN
(Liberal Democrat)

I do. Of vital importance is to sort out proper cycle infrastructure at the CB1 development. Station Square has no through route for cyclists which is absurd, given it's between the southern busway cycle route and the proposed Chisholm Trail. Similarly, I believe plans for both the council depot site and the next phase of CB1 are unambitious and risk squandering an opportunity to create truly excellent cycle infrastructure in the city.

Virgil IERUBINO
(Green Party)

I fully support these principles. Cycle lanes along the main arterial roads would be extremely beneficial.

Simon LEE
(Conservative Party)

I do agree and I’m very keen on segregated cycle ways, I personally don't think enough thought is put into our infrastructure in CB in particular to Cycling. Mill road is a mess, I think if we could implement some sort of red route at peak times to avoid people parking on the pavement, tidy up the junctions, fix potholes and finish off the car park at the station, the surface has not been finished and is dangerous to both bike and foot.

Ann SINNOTT
(Labour Party)

Protected space for cyclists, away from both traffic and pedestrians, is desirable where conditions allow and I would strongly support - but it lies outside of the jurisdiction of the city council. In much of Petersfield, the narrowness of streets and pavements create difficulties. I hope that current discussions will lead to improvements for both cyclists and pedestrians around the central station area.

# Question 3

Safe use of the roads is a major issue. Our view is that traffic policing, of all groups of road users (cyclists, drivers, etc.), should become a greater police priority, and that this should be evidence-based, namely based on the relative levels of danger presented by each such group. What are your thoughts, and where would your priorities be?

Sarah BROWN
(Liberal Democrat)

On cycling from the station today, along Great Northern Road, I was close passed by a taxi. That street has a 20mph limit and I am not a slow cyclist. Regardless, it seems the driver decided it was vitally important to pass me as soon as possible, without regard for whether it was safe to do so.

I see this behaviour a lot. I would like law enforcement to treat addressing it as a priority.

Virgil IERUBINO
(Green Party)

This is a good proposal which naturally must be weighed up as part of a bigger picture when it comes to policing.

Simon LEE
(Conservative Party)

I agree in principle. The subject Its talked about all the time we all have a responsibility to our City in making it better all. I think better education at School, University and drivers would make a difference, maybe a refresher course for drivers and an introducer to cycling in Cambridge for student’s.

Ann SINNOTT
(Labour Party)

While police, as I understand it, can and will intervene on pavement riding and riding without lights, they can only do so if they actually see the infringement. Cycles aren't registered in the way that cars are, so enforcement is effectively impossible.

Not a popular view, I know, but it seems to me that our universities have responsibility and a part to play. Each year we have a fresh intake of, in many cases, inexperienced, cyclists onto our roads. If our universities made taking the Cycling Proficiency Test an obligatory part of intake procedures, we would see less hazardous cycling.

# Question 4

Our volunteers spend a lot of time scrutinising planning applications for failures such as lack of secure cycle parking, poor access, failure to fund nearby improvements to make the roads safer, and so on. Many of these things get let through by officers and Councillors in clear contravention of the Local Plan. The lack of a full-time cycling officer makes this situation even worse. What are your main concerns about the planning system, and how would you seek to make improvements?

Sarah BROWN
(Liberal Democrat)

Developers have little incentive to provide the cycling infrastructure the city deserves, as the government's approach to planning results in district councils being cowed in the planning process on the basis that their decisions will be overruled and they will be required to pay costs to the developer that they can't afford.

I believe it's important not only to resist the pressure to let substandard infrastructure through at a local level, but also to work closely with parliamentarians to address the problems in the planning process that allows this "trench warfare" approach to planning to be a worthwhile strategy for developers to follow.

Virgil IERUBINO
(Green Party)

I agree, secure cycle parking, road safety and so forth should not be allowed to slip. This needs continuous representation wherever possible to ensure it can't be overlooked so easily.

Simon LEE
(Conservative Party)

I’m sure our councillors are well intentioned, but often don't have a grasp on reality and make a lot of silly decisions. If Cambridge is to keep growing, we need the correct infrastructure to cope. I think we need more than one full cycling officer. It’s a problem that affects us all and therefore should be addressed accordingly and taken seriously.

Ann SINNOTT
(Labour Party)

Wherever possible, developments should include the points you raise – though, not having been a member of the planning committee, I’m not sure whether or not the funding of nearby road improvements could be part of a planning commitment. The council has a Lead Councillor for Cycling to whom poor practice should be flagged up.

# Question 5

Mill Road is one of the premier high streets in the country. It is also an important cycle route since it crosses the railway. But it is also covered with badly-parked cars and plagued by speeding motorists who disregard the safety of people walking and cycling. During the Mill Road Winter Fair we get a glimpse of an alternative Mill Road, one that provides an amazing public space that people can really enjoy. For the rest of the year, how would you like to see Mill Road improved so that it can be a better place for people living there, shopping and visiting?

Sarah BROWN
(Liberal Democrat)

Look to Dutch cities to see what's possible. I was hopeful for Tenison Road, as there was quite a lot of money available to work with, but what we got is yet another "bog standard" traffic calming scheme. We suffer from a lack of ambition and fear the change in attitudes to transport planning that we must embrace. The course we are on does indeed make spaces less liveable, through parked cars, broken pavements, noise, increasing congestion and air pollution that's becoming a health crisis.

We close Mill Road once a year and the world doesn't end. I've been to continental towns and cities where roads are closed for certain times of day and the space turned over to pedestrians. We could start with that, see how people adapt to the scheme (including those on side streets with no other way in or out), and let that inform our future direction. We should not be afraid to experiment.

Virgil IERUBINO
(Green Party)

Tougher restrictions on car-parking, new public cycle parking along its length, and more work with community groups that consider the interests of the residents and businesses along the road as a whole.

Simon LEE
(Conservative Party)

I mentioned a red route previously, I think this should be enforced by cameras and a fine system put in place, this would stop taxis parking using cash machines and on kerb parking.
You would have to have times and place when it would be ok to stop for delivery. We do need to utilise some of the side streets for parking for short periods to make use of the shops and we do need more parking for bikes.
Maybe it’s time we had another crossing for pedestrians over the railway and used the current path for a cycle path over the bridge. The main junction Mill Road and Gonville Place needs to be looked, it’s a death trap.
Mill road needs a good clean up and could be amazing. I would suggest cameras to clear up Anti-social behaviour, certain trader’s stop selling cheap beer and alcohol and clear up the open selling of drugs on Mill road would go a long way.

Ann SINNOTT
(Labour Party)

Ian Jackson’s imagined scenario for Mill Rd is interesting. I think, though, that there would need to be more thought about how the road differs in width either side of the bridge, and solutions for pedestrians – who widely differ in age and mobility - would really have to be more formal. But, as Ian himself says, “Of course much of this is politically difficult for various reasons; it would require cooperation and approval from many officials and quite a few politicians.” – to that list I would add: ‘and a number of local authorities’.

The video, which shows the disruption that delivery by a large vehicle causes, is one of the worst examples I have witnessed. Personally, I would like deliveries in Mill Rd to only be allowed in the evening or very early morning. However, you will be aware that this doesn’t fall within the City council’s jurisdiction.

Mill Rd is one road among several that would be better viewed as a network of connected roads as they feed into/impact on each other and the users of those roads.

There are measures in the offing that will help improve the current situation in the area. When the park & ride charge was introduced, the numbers using the service dropped quite dramatically. The charge is to be abolished, with the expectation that use of the service will rise. Trains now go from Cambridge North railway station to Brighton, via Gatwick. In May this year, there will be two non-stop trains to Kings X per hour from Cambridge North station, bringing it into line with Cambridge Central station – that, together with the fact that parking charges are lower at Cambridge North station, should divert usage from Central to North. The remaining roads in the JA side of Petersfield are to be brought within the existing Residents Parking Zone, so incoming commuters will no longer be able to avail of free parking in the area. Taken together, these measures will reduce traffic in and around Mill Rd.

# Question 6

All-day free parking by commuters on residential streets increases traffic on already congested roads. This has an impact on cycle safety. Many times cars are parked on pavements or across dropped kerbs, making access difficult for people with disabilities or pushing prams. How would you solve this problem?

Sarah BROWN
(Liberal Democrat)

There is almost nowhere in Petersfield where parking is available all day to someone who isn't part of a residents' parking scheme. Regardless, otherwise fit and healthy adults should not be commuting into the city by car. I am open to experiments such as congestion charging, or the further use of residents' parking schemes, but this has to accompany improvements in public transport, and that doesn't just include buses. Cambridge is overdue a proper fixed-infrastructure public transport system, such as light rail, and I would hold the Cambridgeshire Mayor's feet to the flames over this. The money is there, the political will needs to be found.

Virgil IERUBINO
(Green Party)

This is a tough issue with no perfect solution. I would favour limiting street parking city-wide.

Simon LEE
(Conservative Party)

I'm in favour of residential parking with controlled hours, my wife however is not. I understand her argument by allowing people to use the shops and get to work as parking and public transport is expensive. My street is used as a dumping ground for cars as its free to park and often they are badly parked cars. most people heading to the station. We need controlled hours parking enforced by traffic wardens or camera or both.
Also helps if people take bins in and don't leave them out all week. Its impossible to walk down the footpaths.

Ann SINNOTT
(Labour Party)

The remaining roads in the JA part of Petersfield, which are not currently in the existing RPZ, are due to be brought within that RPZ in the near future, so incoming commuters will no longer be able to avail of free parking in the area, leading to a reduction in traffic.

# Question 7

Overtaking on Mill Road Bridge is highly dangerous and scary for many people who cycle, from parents with children to very experienced people. The police response so far has been extremely limited. Instead, we would like to see high-profile, concerted action resulting in prosecutions. What are your views?

Sarah BROWN
(Liberal Democrat)

It's not just overtaking. One of the scariest experiences I've had cycling in Cambridge was coming down Mill Road bridge in wet weather with a car tailgating me. If I'd fallen off, I would have died.

I want to see if there is anything that can be done in terms of changing the road layout. The Petersfield end of the bridge is one of the worst accident blackspots in the county and we must use the redevelopment of the Mill Road council depot site as an opportunity to make this area better.

One possibility may be making the bridge a tidal one-way system and using the space freed up to create a proper segregated cycle lane over the railway.

Virgil IERUBINO
(Green Party)

In cases where culprits can be identified then prosecution should follow. However this may not be much of a method of prevention. Would warning signs help? I'd like to try a variety of approaches here to find out what works.

Simon LEE
(Conservative Party)

I agree 100%, I do think a another pedestrian crossing for Mill road bridge would help.

Ann SINNOTT
(Labour Party)

Police funding and resources have been systematically decimated over the last 8 years. In the current economic climate, the police are forced to set unpalatable priorities. Yes, cycling over Mill Rd Bridge is scary at times - requiring all concerned to be hyper-vigilant - but would I want the police to maintain a resource-intensive watch on the Bridge rather than attend a serious crime incident against the person, or a burglary that has left a resident traumatised, or drugs-dealing combined with alcohol-related anti-social behaviour on Petersfield streets, or act on an opportunity to eject a London drugs-dealer who has 'cuckood' the home of a vulnerable Cambridge resident? The answer has to be 'no'. Of course, it's not always so clear-cut, but we need to acknowledge that our police are stretched. PCSOs have been abolished and Cambridge is set to get an additional 60 officers, but that's a fraction of what's really needed. There’s always room for criticism but I believe our police are doing the best they can with finite resources. Having said that, I will flag this up as an issue to our local police or, should I not be re-elected, with other councillors.

# Question 8

Norfolk Street is a scene of complete chaos at school run time, with an unsafe environment for children walking and cycling. Would you support exploration of measures such as a parking ban of 200m around schools?

Sarah BROWN
(Liberal Democrat)

As long as there were appropriate exemptions for disabled people, I would.

Virgil IERUBINO
(Green Party)

Yes, I would generally favour limitations on street parking and I agree this road is dangerous at school run time.

Simon LEE
(Conservative Party)

A very simple yes 100%

Ann SINNOTT
(Labour Party)

This hasn’t been flagged up to me as an issue by Petersfield residents who are either parents or staff at St Matthew’s School, or even by nearby residents. If re-elected, I will look into this – or else flag up to other councillors.

# Question 9

Providing secure places to park bicycles is a simple and effective way to encourage cycling by making people on bikes feel welcome. In some areas of Cambridge residents have got used to all the spare street space being allocated to the storage of motor vehicles and very little for bikes. The result has been badly-parked bikes cluttering hallways, clinging to drainpipes and other street furniture. Our Street Cycle Parking project aims to tackle this. Which streets do you think would benefit from on-street cycle parking, and what would you do to implement this?

Sarah BROWN
(Liberal Democrat)

We have already trialled this in a limited fashion in some of the streets off Mill-Road.

I think it's been quite successful. I'd like to see more such schemes adopted, and also dedicated areas for hire bikes, such as Ofos. I've often left my own bike at home when I could rely on an Ofo being nearby and they don't create the same pressure on cycle parking that everyone using their own bike does (although I understand flooding the market in some Chinese cities has created its own problems and we would need to avoid that).

Virgil IERUBINO
(Green Party)

I would support massive increases in cycle parking throughout the city and on all streets, similar to what has been done on Thoday Street. The streets radiating from Mill Road would all benefit from this.

Simon LEE
(Conservative Party)

I think we could all do with one on our street, as long as they are not abused and bikes dumped and left at them.

P.S. thanks for the opportunity to discuss, Simon

Ann SINNOTT
(Labour Party)

Generally speaking, Romsey streets and pavements are wider than in the JA part of Petersfield (the part of the ward I believe the question-setter has in mind), so caution should be taken in conflating the two wards - some Petersfield roads are extremely narrow, coupled with extremely narrow pavements. That said, I welcome Cam Cycle’s initiative to plot where in the two wards cycle racks could safely be situated and to gauge residents’ views. It is a County matter of course and the county would itself mount a consultation, but Cam Cycle’s findings would go some way in convincing the County that there was a need.

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.