Our questions for candidates: the Conservatives respond

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

Here are the responses we have received from East Worthing and Shoreham Conservatives

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?

The Conservatives respond…

“We are well aware of this issue and the impact on our health and well-being from both lack of exercise and the pollution created by transport. Adur was one of the first districts in West Sussex to approve a Local Walking and Cycling Plan, which was developed in consultation with many groups, to increase active travel and we are now taking every opportunity to implement that in further consultation with our community.  This action includes receiving a £250,000 grant from the government to develop a proposal along the Upper Shoreham Road, including a safe crossing over the Steyning Road, and nearby roads to create segregated cycling and safer routes to our two senior schools, Shoreham Academy and Sir Robert Woodard Academy.  For new developments, those along Shoreham Harbour are required to make space for a new cycle lane into Brighton as well as provide a shared car club and New Monks Farm/A27 to provide a safe walking and cycle route to link Shoreham up to Lancing and the Sir Robert Woodard Academy.  New Monks Farm will have a dedicated access route that can only be used by walkers, cyclists and public transport. Any new residential and commercial build has to have safe cycle storage and provision for EV charging.

“We are working with Worthing Borough and Brighton and Hove Councils to implement an innovative bike sharing scheme which will provide electric bikes as well as those requiring slightly more effort.  This will not only be useful for our community but it will also put Shoreham on the tourist map to help support our local businesses.

“Segregated cycling schemes are appropriate for key strategic routes but we need to ensure everyone feels safe on all our roads whether walking, cycling or driving so we will continue to promote and assist walking, cycling and public transport to reduce substantially the reliance on cars.  This policy will create more space on our roads for users who have to drive.”

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?

The Conservatives respond:

“The government has published world leading and exciting policies on carbon neutrality and sustainable and active travel.  As local councillors we have to listen so we can effectively represent and to take the lead on implementing that policy so that it best serves our community.  Last year Tim Loughton and Kevin Boram held a consultation exercise, which received 1,400 responses, on cycle routes around Shoreham. In addition this year West Sussex County Council held a further consultation on proposals for Upper Shoreham Road and other routes. We also fight for our community. Kevin received overwhelming support from a scrutiny committee against a decision made by West Sussex County Council on cycle lanes in Shoreham. Without that action Kevin would not have received the £250,000 to develop permanent cycle schemes.

“The Conservatives are not scared of taking bold initiatives to protect your environment.  As an example, the purchase of New Salts Farm and Pads Farm by Adur District Council will protect that land from further development will enable us to improve local wildlife habitat including providing rare intertidal and estuarial zones.”

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.

The Conservatives respond:

“Shoreham has changed significantly since the last in-depth study was completed on road use within the town. The Adur Local Plan is creating much needed housing and business space to create a sustainable community, not only financially but environmentally.  We will fight for a full road strategy review for Shoreham so that we can deliver transport schemes fit for our community and its future. All of the solutions above are great and the Conservatives fully support them in the right place.  Too many schemes implemented by other councils have had an overall adverse effect on the community. We need to ensure that Shoreham is a great and sustainable place for all to live and work.”

Our question: What other ideas do you have for transport in and around Shoreham and Adur?

The Conservatives respond:

“The way we live and work is changing rapidly, not only as a result of the impact of technology but also to deliver our carbon commitments to create a sustainable town to protect our future. We are committed to providing green and sustainable jobs, a vibrant and financially sustainable High Street and business sector and to protect and improve our natural and built environments.  Communities consist of many interrelated activities and cycling is important, but it is only a part of the holistic view we need to take to deliver that sustainable future. This includes interconnected public transport, EV charging points, as well as safe cycling routes and facilities that every-one feels safe to use whatever the time of day.”

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