2022 local election candidates: St Mary’s ward

We have asked all candidates in May’s Adur District Council elections to answer some questions on cycling and transport, to help residents decide on their vote.

Here are the responses we have received so far for St Mary’s ward. If you do not see a response from a candidate you’re looking for, we have not yet received one, and we’ll publish it when we do.

Candidate: Catherine Arnold
Party: Labour

1. What will you do (and, if incumbent, what have you already done) to bring meaningful improvement to cycling in Adur, not in the distant future, but soon?

In my four years as councillor for St Mary’s I have always spoken out for and campaigned for better and permanent safer cycling infrastructure and lanes. When we face an impending environmental collapse, to put it simply, we must be getting out of our cars and start walking and cycling more.

As a keen cyclist myself with young children I have seen first-hand how much more confident children become when they are protected from the traffic while cycling. Equally, I’ve seen that same child no longer wish to cycle as they are too frightened to be so near the traffic. That’s heart-breaking. I spoke out against the removal of the cycle lane on Upper Shoreham Road, purely on the basis of the data which showed how popular the cycle lane was. Refinements were needed and I recognise that some adaptations will be needed when it returns, but through collaboration I am sure this can be achieved.

I have responded to and encouraged others to give their views to the many consultations we have had on cycle lanes and done so myself.

Many good ideas have been put forward, but deeply opposing views have been used as an excuse to ignore the uptake data and for over-consulting.  Routes within Adur that link together can only serve to fulfil the needs of commuters, schoolchildren, disabled cyclists etc. This starts with a permanent and segregated Upper Shoreham Road cycle lane stretching from the west by the Toll Bridge and continuing to the Holmbush roundabout.

I also support the leisure bike hire scheme as well as plenty of bike racks, bike storage (as we see in Worthing), a crackdown on bike thefts and free Bikeability courses offered by WSCC to schools. I would like to see a trial of a school street, where on certain days schools shut their street and therefore pupils and parents can cycle or walk in.

As a councillor, I want to see budgets sought and secured, plans enabled and all councillors at a district and county level working together to make it happen.

2. In your ward, or in Adur more widely, what specific problems, challenges or solutions would you like to address that would enable more safe, easy everyday journeys by bike?

The air quality in Shoreham High Street has been noted as an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA). Despite writing numerous reports and submitting them to DEFRA yearly, the council has done little to materially change this situation over the years. I would like to see better air quality data capture and known (and arising area) hotspots targeted for cycle infrastructure first. This would improve the air quality situation and resultant health issues.

When commercial developments are built, I want to see those agreed travel plans adhered to and if not successfully achieved, interventions to make them happen. We cannot have the line “we need fewer car spaces at housing developments to tackle the climate” yet no supporting cycle infrastructure provided to alleviate the need for cars at said developments.

In St Mary’s many people of all ages want the opportunity to cycle safely. It is especially important for children and young adults and we need safer routes to Shoreham Academy and to Sir Robert Woodard Academy (SRWA). The county council’s refusal to see that the current route to school for pupils to SRWA is along a 70mph down to 40mph stretch of the A27, is dangerous and dismissive of parental concerns.  A protected cycle way needs to be sought here ASAP by WSCC and any new business inheriting the ex-IKEA land needs to factor this into their plans too.

The county council needs to win back respect on all sides, cease relentless surveys and consultations on the idea of cycle lanes, and come up with designs and funding. It must speak directly with stakeholders at a time that suits them and not the council.

Ideas for Middle Road, Eastern Avenue, Upper Shoreham Road need to be driven by officers, in consultation within councillors.

As a councillor I will insist on genuine local involvement, including schools, to bring about change and to ensure safe, active travel becomes a viable option sooner rather than later. We would implement the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan so families can cycle safely – well designed and planned with local residents who walk, cycle or drive.

 3. Do you have any other ambitions for cycling or other forms of sustainable transport in Shoreham and Adur, particularly as the population of our district grows in coming years?

1/3rd of carbon emissions in Adur comes from traffic, as individuals and businesses we need to be using our cars much less and walking and cycling more. As a local Labour group we still ask for an integrated travel system (like TfL) and continue to press this.

The council need to encourage more car sharing schemes and work with business parks to provide electric, shuttle buses or bike storage to encourage sustainable travel to large employment sites. WSCC need to stop procuring school buses on the cheapest wins basis and start to ensure certain contractors winning a certain size of business offer sustainable solutions.

Part of the issue for the unwillingness to switch from a car is cost (petrol/diesel has historically been cheaper than a bus/train ticket) .So I would like to see more electric car share/hire schemes, more bicycle “hire for the week schemes” and bike repair cafes being offered by the council/local suppliers to larger employers. I would welcome an electric scooter hire scheme for coastal stretches in the future too. I would like to make it easier for people to choose to leave the car behind. It should be easier and safer for local people to cycle to work, to school, to the shops or for leisure. I support more cycle lanes, more places to park cycles in town centres and workplaces, more 20mph speed limit zones and an affordable integrated public transport system.

More information about the policies I support is at https://www.ewslabour.org.uk/2022/04/14/our-priorities-for-cycling-and-transport-in-adur/

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