Elections

Romsey Division Bye-Election 2015: Romsey

Summary: County Council Bye Election in Romsey Division
Polling date: Thursday 25th June 2015
Division: Romsey
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Debbie AITCHISON  (Green Party)
  • Richard Graham JEFFS  (UK Independence Party)
  • Nichola Jayne MARTIN  (Liberal Democrat)
  • Zoe MOGHADAS  (Labour Party)
  • Raja RAHATUL  (Conservative Party)

Questions for Romsey division candidates (9 questions)

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

# 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?

Debbie AITCHISON
(Green Party)

Yes, I fully support this guide. It is in everybody’s interests to have a proper cycling infrastructure in place. Having cyclists sharing space with motorists is dangerous for cyclists, puts many people off cycling and is irritating to drivers. Dangerous roads lead to cyclists using footpaths which are often not wide enough to accommodate both pedestrians and cyclists, even when the path is designated as shared use such as on Brooks Road. This causes friction between cyclists and pedestrians. Further friction is caused by cars drifting into cycle lanes, a common phenomenon on Coldham’s Lane, and obstructions on shared foot/cycle paths, such as wheelie bins and parked cars. This is a recipe for disaster and results in much anger on the streets between cyclists, motorists and pedestrians.

In Romsey, I think that the principle of permeability in streets for pedestrian and cycle traffic is something that could be improved, with more two-way access for cyclists on one-way streets. I also love Dutch roundabouts and think the principles should be applied to the huge roundabout next to Sainsbury on Coldham’s Lane. The “improvement” to the roundabout next to Coleridge school is poorly designed, evidenced by the fact few cyclists use the system. It is extremely important that cyclists are involved in the planning process.

Richard Graham JEFFS
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Nichola Jayne MARTIN
(Liberal Democrat)

I fully support this guide without question. Cities like Cambridge thrive on cycling and this is something we should endeavour to lead by example by making our cyclists as safe as possible on the roads. In a lot of Cambridge streets where cyclists share the road with car drivers, it can be dangerous for both parties. Making separate space for cyclists would be beneficial for all.

In Romsey this can be achieved by using a variety of measures as laid out in Making Space for Cycling. Point-closures and cut-throughs being one that allows cyclists to avoid the busier roads and junctions, for example.

Zoe MOGHADAS
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Raja RAHATUL
(Conservative 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?

Debbie AITCHISON
(Green Party)

People currently rely too much on cars to get their children to school. At St. Philip’s they park all down Vinery Road and Vinery Way. The school drive is directly opposite the junction at the end of the one-way part of Vinery Road and people regularly park or sit in their cars right on the junction. In addition, people turn in that junction, often driving a short way through the no entry sign in order to make this manoeuvre. Additionally, there is a pinch point immediately on turning right out of that junction which tends to lead to a build-up of cars in that area directly in front of the school.

There are also often deliveries to the Vinery Stores at the time that children are going to school. Vans and lorries stop and unload at the yellow zig-zag lines. Although the school caretaker puts out cones to discourage parking on the zig-zags, which should not be necessary, I have seen delivery vehicles stop there anyway, just further out in the road, causing further obstructions.

We need to encourage people to walk and cycle to school. One option would be to set-up walking buses. Segregated cycle lanes on Vinery Road, leading to the school, would help parents feel safer cycling with their children. Parking restrictions must be enforced and loading/unloading needs to be prohibited at the beginning and end of the school day. This also appliers for construction work. A safe crossing point for children arriving via the one-way part of Vinery Road would also be beneficial.

Richard Graham JEFFS
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Nichola Jayne MARTIN
(Liberal Democrat)

There definitely needs to be safer cycle routes to schools. We should be encouraging young children to cycle to school and ease congestion on roads outside schools. This can easily be achieved by having segregated cycle routes around schools as well providing schools with covered bicycle racks.

With St. Philips Primary School we could do this along Vinery Road and Coldhams Lane. I will also take this approach into account alongside my campaign to get a new primary school in the local area for Romsey families. We would definitely make it as easy as possible to commute to the new site.

Zoe MOGHADAS
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Raja RAHATUL
(Conservative 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?

Debbie AITCHISON
(Green Party)

My husband and I have three bicycles between us and our 6 year-old son has a Tomcat Special Needs Tricycle, the back of which can be converted into a trailer on one of our bikes. When I was working in London I used to cycle to the station, take my folding bicycle on the train, cycle from King’s Cross to my place of work in Mayfair and repeat the journey home in the afternoon. My husband cycles to work. We are not yet at the stage where we can all cycle together as our son really needs to have someone holding the parent brake in case he decides to steer himself into danger. There are issues when towing him as his trailer/trike is quite wide and some of the cycle lanes on the roads are not wide enough. I would like to see wider protected cycle ways where we might be better able to allow our son a little more autonomy when on his tricycle.

Richard Graham JEFFS
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Nichola Jayne MARTIN
(Liberal Democrat)

Living in Cambridge, I have found it unnecessary to own a car and rely on my bike every day to get myself about. With regards to my family, my sister and brother-in-law actively take part in bicycle races. I do have concerns for cyclists on the road and appreciate attempts to make it safer for them getting around. Simple changes like traffic lights that give cyclists a head start at major junctions, like the crossroads of Hills Road and Lensfield Road and at Castle Hill. Examples like these can be brought across all over the city. We could have one on the crossroads of Mill Road and Coleridge Road, for example, to make it safer for cyclists.

Zoe MOGHADAS
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Raja RAHATUL
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 4

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?

Debbie AITCHISON
(Green Party)

I think it should be a requirement for council workers/contractors to make sure that cycle routes remain open, or sensible diversions for bicycles should be put in place where that is not possible. After all, a street would not be closed to traffic without a diversion put in place, why should it be different for bicycles?

Richard Graham JEFFS
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Nichola Jayne MARTIN
(Liberal Democrat)

When construction workers cut into cycle paths, there needs to be a separate, segregated diverted route for cyclists. I'll seek to work with other County Councillors & Utility companies to enforce this as ultimately it is there responsibility in most cases. Merging cyclists in with congested traffic does not ensure safety for either parties.

Zoe MOGHADAS
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Raja RAHATUL
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 5

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?

Debbie AITCHISON
(Green Party)

The alleyway between Malta Road and Coleridge road has barriers at either end which involve sharp turns. I would be in favour of removing these. The current obstruction serves no discernible purpose as the alleyway is not wide enough for a car. This would also allow simultaneous ingress and egress, rather than the current necessity to wait if someone is coming from the opposite direction. It may be worth putting a sign at each end of the alleyway to remind cyclists that they are about to encounter traffic travelling perpendicular to them.

Richard Graham JEFFS
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Nichola Jayne MARTIN
(Liberal Democrat)

The most obvious example for Romsey is the contraflow cycle paths of St. Philips Road. Even for a cyclist they are tricky due to the shared pavement parking. For this to be sorted we would have to consult local residents on what they would want to see as the best outcome. I think understanding what Romsey residents' vision for their street and local area is imperative to any decision.

Zoe MOGHADAS
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Raja RAHATUL
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 6

How would you improve conditions for people on bikes along Mill Road?

Debbie AITCHISON
(Green Party)

There is no simple solution for improving the cycling infrastructure along Mill Road. The street is narrow and there is no scope for widening it. Perhaps the solution lies in encouraging through-traffic to use a different route. This could be done by improving the fluidity of the junction from Coldham’s Lane onto Newmarket Road. The main problem is that traffic turning right from Coldham’s Lane onto Newmarket Road has a very limited right turn lane which leads to left-turning traffic being held up unnecessarily. Plus the phasing of the lights is such that only one or two cars can get through the next lights, a few yards further on, before they go red. This often leads to people blocking the junction. As the Renault garage has been vacated, this seems like an excellent opportunity to use some of the space to improve the junction. If that junction is improved then, perhaps, motorised traffic could be directed that way into town, rather than along Mill Road, leaving more room for cyclists on the latter.

Another possibility is to reduce Mill Road to single file motorised traffic at its narrowest parts using traffic lights, whilst allowing cyclists space to pass on either side. This would create a disincentive for non-residential motorists to use Mill Road to access town. However, this would only be effective if coupled with the improvements on Coldham’s Lane to provide a suitable alternative route.

Richard Graham JEFFS
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Nichola Jayne MARTIN
(Liberal Democrat)

Kilian Bourke's campaign to resurface Mill Road and to get rid of the central line has been a success for making cycling safer and I will endeavour to carry on his campaign by allocating more, possibly covered, bike racks around Mill Road and its surrounding streets for shoppers and residents. It is important that we keep Mill Road a vibrant and accessible part of Cambridge and making it easier to cycle and park safely will aid.

Zoe MOGHADAS
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Raja RAHATUL
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 7

Would you support closures for motor vehicles in North Romsey, as used in Petersfield?

Debbie AITCHISON
(Green Party)

Absolutely. However, it is important that it is well explained and that the decision be democratically made by the local community. It is important to have routes open to pedestrians and cyclists that do not become rat runs for motorists. The streets in Romsey are often quite narrow, so we want to discourage heavy use by motor cars. This will then make them a much more attractive route for cyclists leading to less mixing of cyclists with motor vehicle traffic. For maximum efficiency, these roads need to be resurfaced. In their current condition, they are hazardous for cyclists and one of the reasons they are not used more frequently.

Richard Graham JEFFS
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Nichola Jayne MARTIN
(Liberal Democrat)

We would need to look at all the relevant factors before proceeding to close the majority of the roads in North Romsey to motor vehicles. In principle, I support it as it would make cycling easier and safer through that part of the ward. However, we must take into account that there are lots of car users who reside on these streets - where would they drive in order to park outside their house? How much more is that going to add to the already congested Cambridge streets? To go ahead I would speak with all the residents to see what they wanted for their streets and take a level-headed approach into meetings to get the best outcome for Romsey residents.

Zoe MOGHADAS
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Raja RAHATUL
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 8

Would you support two way cycling on one way streets north of Mill Road?

Debbie AITCHISON
(Green Party)

In principle, yes. Many cyclists already cycle both ways down these streets so facilitating them would make it less dangerous and inconvenient. However, in practice, this is difficult. The roads are narrow and with cars parked on both sides, even when half on the pavement, there simply is no room. On St Philip’s Road, where a counter-flow cycling lane exists, it is frequently obstructed by construction work, cars or wheelie bins. An alternative would be to improve signs so cyclists are aware of which roads they can use to access Coldham’s Lane. To make turning across traffic easier, zig-zag lines prohibiting traffic to stand in front of Catherine Street and Ross Street should be introduced.

Richard Graham JEFFS
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Nichola Jayne MARTIN
(Liberal Democrat)

I understand that for some journeys around Cambridge, two way cycling on one way streets is a benefit to journey time and safety of cyclists by avoiding busy junctions so in principle I support it. Practically, however, as Romsey is a small ward with narrow roads, the journey time is not much different if you wanted to get to Fairfax Road going up Catharine Street than Sedgwick Street.

Zoe MOGHADAS
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Raja RAHATUL
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.

# Question 9

Do you support further on-street cycle parking as recently installed in Thoday Street?

Debbie AITCHISON
(Green Party)

Yes. Cycle parking shortages are a huge problem in Cambridge; particularly in areas like Mill Road where there are many pubs, shops and restaurants. If cycling is to be encouraged, then safe and convenient cycle-parking is a necessity. They need to be well spaced. When I have a basket on the front of my bike and a child seat on the back, some of the existing on-street parking spaces are too narrow for me to be able to negotiate my bike in and then get myself alongside so that I can lock the bike to the stand.

We should also consider improving the existing cycle-parking in front of the Co-Op. The bars are twice the length of regular bike racks and people often misuse them or take up two potential spaces with one bike. They really should be replaced with two regular racks to maximise the efficient use of space.

Richard Graham JEFFS
(UK Independence Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Nichola Jayne MARTIN
(Liberal Democrat)

I support the recent on-street cycle parking on Thoday Street. I understand from working with Kilian that it was a long drawn out process but I believe that on a streets like Thoday, where houses do not have a front garden to park their bikes safely, residents needed a space to lock their bikes within sight of their front doors and not block the pavement by locking to a drainpipe or a lamp post.

Zoe MOGHADAS
(Labour Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Raja RAHATUL
(Conservative 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.