Bitterne Park ward

Summary: Elections to Southampton City Council in May 2018
Polling date: Thursday 3rd May 2018
(by surname):
  • Jenny BARNES (Green Party)
  • Rob HARWOOD (The Conservative Party)
  • Ashley MINTO (Labour Party)
  • James READ (Liberal Democrat)

Questions for Bitterne Park ward candidates (6 questions)

Question 1

If elected will you sign up to the Space for Cycling campaign?

Jenny BARNES (Green Party)
Rob HARWOOD (The Conservative Party) Yes I will sign up to the Space for Cycling Campaign.
Ashley MINTO (Labour Party)
James READ (Liberal Democrat) Although not currently a cyclist myself, I have an interest in getting into cycling for health and environmental reasons. If elected I would seriously consider cycling from my house in Bitterne Park to the civic centre for meetings, once I have regained the confidence to ride once again!
If elected, I would also work with local cyclists and my Liberal Democrat colleagues to deliver meaningful developments that improve cycling in Southampton.

Question 2

Are you in favour of removing road space for cars and using this for safe segregated cycle superhighways similar to London?

Jenny BARNES (Green Party)
Rob HARWOOD (The Conservative Party)
  • I am very happy to look at the cycle super highway proposal. I think any such schemes need to be very carefully thought out so as to not have adverse consequences. I can cite one example in the Freemantle Ward where road space has been taken away to provide a widened pavement to facilitate a dedicated cycle lane – Archers Road by the old Dell. This reduced the number of lanes from 2 to 1 and doubled the length of the traffic waiting at the lights. The Air pollution is appalling in the road which has a primary school on it.
  • I think that we need to plan to reduce car use in the city by supporting better public transport options and this needs to go along side improvements for cycling. To this end we would seek to make far greater use of light passenger rail. The city already has 8 urban train stations and we feel much greater use could be made of these with local services. We are also committing to carrying out a feasibility study into creating a new station at Northam and a new station in the Eastern Docks to take football and cruise passenger traffic off the streets. Hear more details here:
Ashley MINTO (Labour Party)
James READ (Liberal Democrat) The liberal democrats are committed to towns and cities that are designed to be safe and have attractive walking and cycling spaces. We are also committed to implementing the recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling report.
Segregated cycleways are clearly the safest ways to deliver this, however they are not always practical on certain roads where they are needed. We are committed to developing a comprehensive cycle network scheme that connects the key residential, working and recreation centres safely and to properly funding that scheme.

Question 3

Are you in favour of lowering speed limits to 20mph in some residential areas to make it safer for people to walk and cycle?

Jenny BARNES (Green Party)
Rob HARWOOD (The Conservative Party)
  • I am very much in favour of reducing speed limits to 20mph in some residential areas. Many of the streets in Southampton are narrow and driving at 30mph is quite dangerous. The law enables us to introduce 20 mph limits via traffic regulation orders. In the past 20 mph “zones” required engineering works to accompany the introduction of the 20 mph limit and the cost of this meant that roll out of 20 mph zones was largely limited to around schools.
  • This is a key commitment in the Southampton Conservatives 2018 Manifesto.
Ashley MINTO (Labour Party)
James READ (Liberal Democrat) We will introduce 20mph zones in residential areas across the city where residents want this, and would pro-actively encourage this in areas near schools, nurseries and parks.

Question 4

If elected what would you do to encourage cycling in Southampton?

Jenny BARNES (Green Party)
Rob HARWOOD (The Conservative Party) Our manifesto contains a number of key pledges:

  • By acquiring specialist velocity patcher machinery, Southampton Conservatives will dramatically speed up repairs on all of our roads and cycle routes. We would prioritise fixing roads which are official cycle routes. We would also ensure that potholes, which are currently ignored by the council because they are deemed not deep enough, get fixed. You can hear more details here:
  • To encourage cycling in the city, in addition to the proper maintenance of cycle lanes, we would make it planning policy to require showers for cyclists in new workspace buildings.
  • We would introduce 20 mph limits on residential roads where residents want them.
  • We want encourage more children to cycle, walk and scoot to school and would make keeping children safe a priority. We would ensure that every school that wants a lollipop person can have one. You can hear more details here: This is an especially important issue in Freemantle as all of our primary schools have expanded in recent years. Conservatives would also introduce no-idling zones around schools to improve air quality and protect our children’s health.
Ashley MINTO (Labour Party)
James READ (Liberal Democrat) The liberal democrats will deliver on our plans to improve cycling infrastructure through our revised, and fully costed, budget that adds £1M of extra capital expenditure for cycling and incorporating cycling and public transport considerations into the city-wide development, transport and housing plans.

Question 5

If elected would you be in favour of allocating 10% of the local transport budget to cycling?

Jenny BARNES (Green Party)
Rob HARWOOD (The Conservative Party) Yes I would be in favour of this. We would seek to achieve this by prioritising the resurfacing of roads in the city which are formal cycle routes. An example of this is Millbrook Road East.
Ashley MINTO (Labour Party)
James READ (Liberal Democrat) In our fully costed budget, presented to the council in February 2018 and available to read on our website, we committed £1M as notes above. This would be allocated to building new or improving existing cycleways across the city and prioritising pothole repairs to protect cyclists safety. This is in addition to existing revenues that Labour have already dedicated to spend on cycling.

Question 6

If elected would you be in favour of a Workplace Parking Levy?

Jenny BARNES (Green Party)
Rob HARWOOD (The Conservative Party)
  • I would be very nervous about the introduction of such a levy. We need to support and encourage businesses in the city. This is especially important given a recent deal with the government which enables Southampton City Council to retain 100% in the growth of its business rates, as opposed to passing this money up to central government. More businesses in the city means more business rates to support vital local services.
  • I would be in favour however of using a share of the growth in business rates, as well as developer contributions for new developments and the New Homes Bonus, for improvements in the city’s infrastructure. Also I would support a share of the additional business rates levied via new Business Improvement District going on better cycling infrastructure in the city centre.

In early 2017, Southampton City Council was awarded £2.2m from the Department for Transport’s Access Fund. We would wish to see more of this money spent on actual cycle improvement schemes. We are concerned that enormous amounts of money given to the city by government has been spent and in some cases wasted on advertising and marketing. Whilst we support efforts to encourage people to take up more sustainable forms of transport, we feel that a better balance is needed between this work and actual schemes to make physical improvements for cyclists in the city.

Ashley MINTO (Labour Party)
James READ (Liberal Democrat) Although I do not currently cycle in Southampton, I do regularly walk from my flat in Bitterne Park across Cobden or Northam Bridges towards the city centre and back again. It is clear that the level of air pollution is too high, and that has been shown recently in studies. It is the direct cause of the deaths of an estimated 200 people per year, and clearly something must be done about it, which must include finding ways of reducing the volume of traffic commuting into Southampton daily.
The Workplace Parking Levy could be an effective way to do this, and provide valuable funds to invest in alternative transport such as cycling. We would consider whether this would have the desired effect before committing to its implementation, and we would consider this among a number of options if elected.