Our questions for candidates: Labour responds

With local elections coming soon, we have offered four questions to parties and candidates standing for Adur District Council and West Sussex County Council.

Here are the responses we have received from East Worthing and Shoreham Labour Party…

Labour begins:

“In our election statement What Labour stands for in Adur we voice our support for “safe cycle routes – designed and planned with the community”.”

“Your questions are very Shoreham-centred, not surprisingly as you are Shoreham-By-Cycle! We have candidates who wish to represent all wards of Adur District Council and local county council divisions. All support improvements that will make it easier and safer for people to access spaces and get around with a choice to walk or cycle.

“We believe these choices must be available to people who are young, old, individuals or families, children going to school, adults going to work and for those with a physical disability.

Our question: In recent years, the people of Shoreham have experienced a growing dependence on cars as a default means of transport – even for short journeys. New housing developments look to bring more challenges for congestion and air pollution. How do you see the future of transport in our town? What changes need to happen in order for people to feel they have more choices for getting around safely and sustainably?

“In question 1 you ask about new housing developments and what changes need to happen in order for people to feel they have more choices for getting around safely and sustainably.

“We believe any new development should be of a scale that does not damage our environment or the local infrastructure. Any development over a certain size must offer additional infrastructure whether that be health services, schools, community open spaces or cycle routes and bus services. We support the creation of and better linking of safe pedestrian and cycle routes to schools, town centres and the sea, and improved, zero-emission, local public transport. At a county level we support clean school transport and an integrated travel system with, for example, interchangeable tickets across trains and buses, and better rural and suburban bus routes with subsidies restored.

Our question: Between district and county councils, there are many policies, strategies and consultation reports describing a need for cycle infrastructure. Though many councillors express support or sympathy for the cause of improving sustainable transport, an appetite for actual change is sometimes harder to find. Alongside the crucial task of listening to local people, what are your thoughts on the role of councillors as leaders, helping us to consider new, perhaps unfamiliar, ideas?

Labour responds:

“In question 2 you point out there is no shortage of district and country council policies, strategies and consultation reports describing a need for cycle infrastructure and you ask for our thoughts on the role of councillors as leaders, helping us to consider new, perhaps unfamiliar, ideas.

“Adur is not well served by the current county and district council leaderships who talk a lot but do little to support walking and cycling. West Sussex County Council has started to charge for Bikeability courses in schools; we would reverse this decision. We are committed to listening to our communities and responding to their needs; taking advice and looking at the evidence on the effectiveness of different approaches. That means standing up for innovations and replicating best practice of other councils to improve the well-being of our communities.”

Our question: Certain measures are recognised as ways to create safety and choice on our streets, by improving conditions for people choosing to walk or cycle. What are your thoughts on options like these?
• A network of high quality separated cycle routes reaching every part of Shoreham
• ‘School streets’, where areas outside schools are closed to traffic at the start and end of the school day
• 20 mph areas, reducing danger by lowering vehicle speeds in residential streets
• Reducing excessive traffic in selected residential streets by installing filters that allow pedestrians, cycles, emergency services and buses through, while limiting other vehicles to access only.

Labour responds:

“In question 3 you ask our views on a range of initiatives from school streets, through 20mph zones to filters allowing only some forms of transport into a given street. We would like to see plans and action, not simply for a single street, but for zones and the larger area; looking at how cycle and pedestrian routes can be created and improved; how motor traffic in streets used as rat-runs can be re-routed or limited and creating school streets where possible for certain periods to increase safety and air quality. Each of the initiatives you list has merit, as do low traffic neighbourhoods, in the right places, but will be most effective as part a thought-through plan for our streets. We support a network of separated cycle routes in Shoreham, and in other parts of Adur too.

“We support the introduction of a bike hire scheme.

“One of our commitments is to improve and regenerate local centres. That would include looking at improved cycle parking and routes to and from centres and more pedestrianised areas. Improved signage for town centre car parking, as suggested by local traders could also help to reduce motor traffic.

“All of the initiatives you list are already in place in other parts of this country and further afield. The evidence for their effectiveness and how they can be best used is clear and tested. We do not think there is a need for delay in coming forward with plans and action at county or district council level.”

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