Elections

Cambridgeshire County Council elections, May 2021: Queen Edith's

Summary: Cambridgeshire County Council elections, May 2021
Polling date: Thursday 6th May 2021
Division:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Alex BECKETT  (Liberal Democrat)
  • Donald Fisher DOUGLAS  (Conservative Party)
  • Steve KING  (Labour Party)
  • Jacqui WHITMORE  (Green Party)

Questions for Queen Edith's division candidates (6 questions)

Jump to question:  1   2   3   4   5   6 

# Question 1

Safe and responsible 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?

Alex BECKETT
(Liberal Democrat)

While the police have competing pressures and due to government cuts are fundamentally under resourced, there is no doubt that more could be done to ensure the most vulnerable road users are made to feel safe. From speeding to obstructive parking there are clearly areas where the police could be doing a better job to facilitate active transport.

We also need to promote closer working between county council officers/contractors and the police. We need to ensure feedback from the police/safety teams is used and considered during road design. Simple things like making sure there aren’t bollards in the middle of cycle lanes need to be considered. Given the limited police resources we need to ensure our streets are safe by design. Measures such as improved lighting (like the Lib Dems achieved on the guided busway), segregated cycle ways and giving cyclists/pedestrian priority (as achieved at Fendon Road roundabout) all feed back to ensure lower policing requirements.

Having had to give first aid to two cyclists knocked over by dangerous motorists in the last 12 months I know personally the damage which can be done. I am both a cycle user (I bike my daughter to nursery every day) and a road user (my job requires travelling the country with a large amount of equipment) so I understand the conflict between both groups of road users. We need better road design to reduce these conflicts and ensure everyone feels safe.

Over the coming decades as cars transition to self-driving, we need to work with tech companies to ensure cyclists and pedestrians are considered and routes are picked based on safety for all rather than always simply picking the quickest. There’s no reason cars couldn’t be programmed to avoid school routes at key times or avoid residential areas when there is the highest risk. We have a real opportunity here to ensure that automated cars are the safest and most considerate drivers on the road.

Donald Fisher DOUGLAS
(Conservative Party)

The question assumes that policing is not based on evidence-based levels of danger to society. If it isn't, which I don't believe to be the case, then I agree that, of course, it should be.

I don't agree that traffic policing should be a greater priority than say, child abuse, modern slavery or drug crime unless the evidence shows that traffic is a greater danger to society.

I would, however, welcome periodic enforcement visits by the police and, if elected, would seek to promote speed checks by local groups in the ward.

ps: I am a regular cyclist, I have five bikes and it's my preferred mode of transport and has been for the last sixty years. I have also been a member of the Campaign since 1997 and campaigned for the southern end of what is now the Chisholm Trail at that time.

Steve KING
(Labour Party)

police must receive enough funding to be able to put more resources into making traffic policing greater priority. There should be campaigns on speed limits and minimum safe passing distances.

20 mph is plenty for any driver in the city. Motorists not abiding by 20pmh speed limits is a city-wide concern and one that greatly impacts on the number of people wanting to cycle in the city. Police must be prepared to take action and prosecute motorists where necessary.

Jacqui WHITMORE
(Green Party)

I think there are certain hot spots for tension on roads and streets, mainly due to space. This leads to dangerous travelling; cars encroach on cycle space, and cyclists encroach on pedestrian space. This is particularly prevalent in rush hours. I don’t think police priority would solve this.

I think that options such as independent cycle lanes, or two-way for cycles and one way for motor vehicles which Cambridge Cycle Campaign proposes, are better long term solutions to road tension, and get rid of the need to over police the road system. A well set up system would not need to be policed.

# Question 2

What do you propose to improve cycling and walking access to, and through, the Biomedical Campus / Addenbrookes?

Alex BECKETT
(Liberal Democrat)

As above, protected segregated facilities are key with kerb segregation being a minimum standard. We need to ensure that workers feel empowered and safe to use active transport to access the campus. Furthermore we need to look at parking restrictions to ensure obstructive/ nuisance parking is addressed and seek to reduce car ownership.

Donald Fisher DOUGLAS
(Conservative Party)

I lived in Long Road for 35 years until three months ago. I frequently cycled (and still do) through the campus to Shelford, to Waitrose, to the nature reserve and to the hospital itself. I am a confident cyclist and have no issues with the cycle routes in the area and find it hard to see how it could be improved other than to make more cycle stands available in all parts of the campus. If elected, I would seek the views of staff, employees and visitors to the campus to find out what improvements would encourage modal shift.

Steve KING
(Labour Party)

Fully segregated cycle lanes on Long Road would be helpful, as would cycle lanes and designated cycle routes throughout the site. With Cambridge South train station due to open in 2025, it is im-perative that the site is prepared with the necessary cycle pathways to handle the increased num-bers of people needing to access the area.

Jacqui WHITMORE
(Green Party)

Cycling to the Cambridge biomedical campus is excellent from some specific locations, but the whole area suffers from cycling infrastructure not being well joined up. There are some excellent projects such as the Fendon Road/Queen Ediths Way projects, but we need marked cycle lanes within the campus, and this lens applied to all streets in Cambridge to make them truly built for people and not for cars.

# Question 3

What needs to happen to enable a majority of children to walk or cycle to the five schools in Queen Edith’s?

Alex BECKETT
(Liberal Democrat)

Firstly we need to level up all our schools to ensure parents pick based on location and distance from home rather than Ofsted results. Secondly we need to ensure safe cycle/walking infrastructure in the areas around schools. From segregated cycle lanes to low traffic areas we need to ensure that each of our schools feels like a safe place to visit. The county has recently introduced car free zones during drop-off and pick-up times run by local residents and parents. I would like to see more of these. Thirdly, we need to work with schools and bikeability to promote confidence in cycling amongst children. It’s been quite a few years since I passed my own ‘cycling proficiency test’ but I remember the training I received at school was core to my own cycling ability. It equipped me to tackle busy roads confidently and safely – I still use a lot of that basic training to this day.

Dangerous parking outside our nursery and primary schools is a constant complaint — we need police to enforce parking restrictions like keep clear markings and clamp down on obstructive parking.

Donald Fisher DOUGLAS
(Conservative Party)

There are four schools in the QE Division (there are five in the QE ward): Queen Edith's, Queen Emma, Morley Memorial and Netherhall. As a confident cyclist who regularly uses the roads in the area, I find it hard to see what major improvements could be made, but I would, if elected, seek views of parents and older people in the area to find out what they would find helpful.

Steve KING
(Labour Party)

Fully segregated cycle lanes on all major roads are essential. Parents need to be confident that there is enough space for their children to use the roads, away from flowing traffic and parked cars. Greater signage, such as that on shared cyclist/pedestrian pathways, is also very important to remind both groups to respect one another.

Residents have told us that parking and speeding outside Queen Edith’s Primary School is an issue. This is very concerning and demonstrates that work is not simply needed on the major roads, but on residential ones too. As per Question 1, public campaigns and greater policing is needed on this part of Godwin Way and potentially in other areas of the ward.

Fairer funding for schools is another very important factor. Parents should feel happy to send their children to their nearest school and schools should be equipped with the necessary resources to provide for their entire catchment areas. Every child should receive regular bikeability training throughout their education. Such training helps to build road safety awareness and confidence amongst young people, allowing them to positively and respectfully share the road with other us-ers.

The quality of our roads and pavements is also important. We will continue to encourage residents to report potholes in their area to the County Council.

Jacqui WHITMORE
(Green Party)

There are major changes to the road structure required for this part of town to be a safe place for children to cycle to school. I would campaign for frequent pedestrian crossings at all points where it is shown that people are tempted to cross directly, and for segregated cycle ways with specific and clearly marked areas for bicycles. This could include paths with clearly marked cycle lanes near to primary schools, as very young children often start their cycling lives by riding on the path.

I would also campaign for road traffic lights to have cycle priority, to further ensure cyclists are safe as they cross junctions which are a focus point for accidents. I would also campaign to ensure that all children in Queen Ediths are offered cycling proficiency at an early age.

# Question 4

How will you ensure that the Netherhall Farm development gets the active travel links it needs?

Alex BECKETT
(Liberal Democrat)

I support the Cycling Campaign’s assessment of the site, with the missing link being vital to ensure the site encourages active travel and residents are not dependent on cars. While planning is mainly a city council rather than county council issue, I do have serious concerns about the current presented plans. I will obviously work with other councillors to ensure those concerns are addressed.

Donald Fisher DOUGLAS
(Conservative Party)

I would have preferred to see an integrated development in GB1 and GB2 which had provision for facilities on the site. It has turned out to be a dormitory which is disappointing, rather than an area with mixed uses and facilities on site. Having said that, there need to be public transport links into Addenbrookes, the colleges and the centre of the city and safe walking and cycling routes to Queen Edith's School, Netherhall and the shops at Addenbrookes and at Wulftstan Way.

Steve KING
(Labour Party)

The plans for GB1 and GB2 include pledges to prioritise cyclists and pedestrians throughout. The sites are also located nearby to bus stops on Hills Road and also Addenbrooke’s, encouraging the use of public transport. Plans to directly connect the sites to Babraham Park and Ride through a shared cyclist/pedestrian pathway must be kept.

Jacqui WHITMORE
(Green Party)

Identifying the permissive bridleway as the major route for active transport to be linked to the Netherhall Farm development is not enough - this development needs to have links to Beaumont Road and Queen Ediths - without this this development is simply being built for car use. I will actively campaign on this if elected to ensure that this development is truly made for residents to walk and cycle to take their local journeys.

# Question 5

How would you improve safety and attractiveness of cycling for people of all ages and abilities on Queen Edith's Way?

Alex BECKETT
(Liberal Democrat)

Queen Edith’s Way is challenging. It’s a narrow road and with small verges which don’t leave enough room for easily segregated cycle paths. There has also been local opposition in the past to changes to make it more cycle accessible. The 20MPH limit introduced by the Lib Dems does help but obviously doesn’t solve all the issues. Speeding can still be an issue but the recently installed speed cameras (a Lib Dem initiative) should help. The key thing here is that we need to engage with the local residents and also the users of the road (including the Netherhall school) to find a solution which will work for all.

Donald Fisher DOUGLAS
(Conservative Party)

It's already a 20mph road, and on the whole, my experience (and I have cycled the road often) is that the limit is largely respected. There is room on the pavement for "slow cyclists" who may prefer to avoid the carriageway and perhaps this could be formal. There could be greater signage and perhaps modest traffic calming measures. The Fendon Road roundabout has clearly increased safety. While it would be good to have dedicated cycle lanes, I don't believe that we should sacrifice the trees and verges which make the road attractive and are much appreciated by the residents.

Steve KING
(Labour Party)

The introduction of the Dutch-style roundabout on Fendon Road has given priority to pedestrians and cyclists over motorists. This has vastly improved the safety of the junction and will hopefully encourage people of all ages and abilities to cycle on Queen Edith’s Way.

Cycle lanes should be installed where they are not already present. They should be three metres wide where possible, on both sides of the road and fully segregated from traffic and pedestrians. The speed limits of 30mph and 20mph across the length of Queen Edith’s Way are encouraging, however, must be enforced by police as a priority. Our Police and Crime Commissioner candidate, Nicky Massey, is working with police on enforcing 20mph speed limits and backs a trial of new speed cameras.

Parked cars pose a risk to cyclists, both as obstacles that may force them into the flow of motor traffic and the possibility of opening doors. Existing parking restrictions should be reviewed for ef-fectiveness and expanded if necessary.

Jacqui WHITMORE
(Green Party)

Queen Ediths way is a major through route for cars and cyclists, although it is not well designed to benefit cyclists despite major employers (Addenbrooke’s and the biomedical campus, and ARM) close to each end of the road. The lack of a dedicated cycle path is a particular problem and safety concern for cyclists. If elected, I will campaign for a fully interconnected, properly segregated cycle route on all major roads in Queen Ediths ward including Queen Ediths way so that people of all abilities and ages who want to feel safe to make cycling part of their local transportation.

# Question 6

LTN 1/20 is the government's new cycling design manual, with a focus on inclusivity and accessibility for all. How would you support our call for the county to affirm that they will use LTN 1/20 (and its successor documents) in all current and future schemes related to cycling?

Alex BECKETT
(Liberal Democrat)

The Liberal Democrats support LTN/120’s aims and I would work with officers to ensure its recommendations are taken into account.

Donald Fisher DOUGLAS
(Conservative Party)

I support the Design Manual.

Steve KING
(Labour Party)

I am pleased to see that there is a focus on inclusivity and accessibility in the manual. This guidance should become a model of best practice moving forward, helping to embed these principles in any future cycle infrastructure project. I would support the call for the County Council to adopt LTN 1/20 in any way I could, working with my fellow councillors and local residents as appropriate.

Jacqui WHITMORE
(Green Party)

The government's new cycling design manual needs to completely redefine the priorities for Cambridge as a city. Despite having a wealth of expertise and some very serious investment, we have not faced up to the truth of the climate emergency which requires a rapid transition to a low carbon economy, in a way that does not further disadvantage those who are the least well off. As part of this we need to make a focus on active transport, including cycling and walking, and concentrate on local centres to prevent the need for so many cross-town journeys that contribute so greatly to congestion and air pollution in Cambridge.

Every single development needs to have cycle parking that includes plentiful spaces with full access requirements for disabled cyclists, and cargo cycles, so that more families and individuals in Cambridge can be enabled to choose to use non-car methods of transport. We need specific policies to require this for every development, instead of relying on the hard work of groups like Camcycle to trawl every development and make objections - this needs to be at the forefront of every planning officers mind because it is an essential part of the local infrastructure.

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.