Redbridge ward

Summary: Elections to Southampton City Council in May 2018
Polling date: Thursday 3rd May 2018
(by surname):
  • Matthew COWLEY (The Conservative Party)
  • Christopher JAMES (Green Party)
  • Richard LYONS (UKIP)
  • Cathie MCEWING (Labour Party)
  • Simon STOKES (Liberal Democrat)
  • Denise WYATT (Southampton Independents Putting You First)

Questions for Redbridge ward candidates (6 questions)

Question 1

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

Matthew COWLEY (The Conservative Party)
Christopher JAMES (Green Party) I would have to consider it more detail as to how it might be applied in Southampton. While there are many obvious benefits to dedicated cycle routes, I view them as only a partial solution. Cyclists should feel able to ride safely on any road it is legal to do so and without fear of abuse or intimidation. Once a cycle lane is in place there seems to be an expectation among motorists the cyclists must use it exclusively and stay off ‘their’ road. Instances where separate cycle lanes would benefit everyone would be going up hills. they would need to be wide enough to allow faster riders to safely pass slower riders.
Richard LYONS (UKIP)
Cathie MCEWING (Labour Party)
Simon STOKES (Liberal Democrat) My own views on cycling are largely in alignment with the Space for Cycling campaign, so if elected I would be more than happy to publicly support the campaign, and work with residents and my Liberal Democrat colleagues to find ways to improve cycling infrastructure and participation in Redbridge ward, and across the city.
Denise WYATT (Southampton Independents Putting You First) Yes, already on board with it. Are Southampton City Council under Labour? No.

Question 2

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

Matthew COWLEY (The Conservative Party)
Christopher JAMES (Green Party) On the question of removing road space for cars to set up segregated cycle lanes, I have I think partly answered that above. A big problem that I see affecting everyone on the roads is the level of on-street parking – often illegally on yellow lines and up on pavements. I have seen some ‘safe’ cycle routes in Southampton which direct cyclists of main routes and along ‘quiet’ residential streets with cars parked all the way along both sides. On many occasions when I have cycled along such roads I have been verbally abused by motorists behind me wanting me to get out their way, or had cars coming in the other direction being driven straight at me in a clear act of intimidation. Bad enough for a confident cyclist, others who are less would find this very off-putting. I would look into seeing how many of these residential roads could be made into one-way streets and lower the speed limit on them. Again I see this as measure to benefit all road users as it would also remove head on confrontations between motor vehicles. On roads which would need to remain two-way streets I would advocate no-parking on one side of the road at least.
Richard LYONS (UKIP)
Cathie MCEWING (Labour Party)
Simon STOKES (Liberal Democrat) As we published in our 2017 manifesto, Liberal Democrats are committed to designing “…towns and cities assafe and attractive walking spaces and implementing the recommendations of the GetBritain Cycling report.” Our cycling rates in Southampton are improving, but we’re still some way behind other comparable cities.

According to Southampton City Council’s own report, “On average 124 people riding bikes have been involved in a reported collision each year. This is almost 16% of all accidents in Southampton – despite cycling’s mode share being 1.4% of all daily traffic.”

Cyclists are more vulnerable than drivers on our roads, that much is obvious. I am in favour of segregated cycle routes, where they are required and appropriate. In future road development and improvement works, Southampton Liberal Democrats will require considerations be made with regard to traffic segregation options, to ensure the needs of all road users are met – not just drivers.

Denise WYATT (Southampton Independents Putting You First) Yes, definitely, and money should be considered to be used from multiple sources: the Itchen Bridge toll, Community Infrastructure Levy, the Workplace Parking Levy or a levy on HGVs bringing the huge and increasing number of containers to and from the docks, to fund it.

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?

Matthew COWLEY (The Conservative Party)
Christopher JAMES (Green Party) On the question of 20mph speed limits, I am very much in favour – but they must be enforced. We have 20mph limits in our area but I have never seen any enforcement and they are largely being ignored. On narrower residential roads with the parking issues mentioned above I would advocate 15mph limits.
Richard LYONS (UKIP)
Cathie MCEWING (Labour Party)
Simon STOKES (Liberal Democrat) I live in Redbridge ward, in a part of the ward with a 20mph limit. I supported the scheme when it was being trialled here, and I was disappointed that it wasn’t rolled out further or consulted on in other areas of the city. If elected, I will seek the support of local residents to introduce more 20mph zones in residential areas, in particular in the areas around nurseries, schools, parks and green spaces.
Denise WYATT (Southampton Independents Putting You First) We already have this in Millbrook and Maybush and it has been a failure. We warned the Council that the Police had no intention of enforcing it. In fact, as confirmed at a residents meeting that the Police attended, the Council implemented it without local Police knowing it was happening! Average speeds initially dropped but residents tell us that motorists are speeding again. If the Police enforced it, we would support it. Until they commit to doing this, we won’t support spending public money on something that won’t work.

Question 4

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

Matthew COWLEY (The Conservative Party)
Christopher JAMES (Green Party) I would like to see more ways to make good quality utility bikes available to people such as cargo bikes for shopping trips and school runs. I also think that a ‘cycling school bus’ scheme similar to ‘walking school bus’ schemes would have a positive long-term and short-term benefits. Short term would be the reduction of cars along routes to schools as well as cars being dangerously and illegally parked outside school gates. Long-term it instils cycling as a normal mode of transport and provides the opportunity for daily education in safe cycling rather than a one week or one day bike-ability course. Rides would be led by volunteers trained as ride leaders and I would give them the same powers that school crossing patrols have to require traffic to give way. Families would be encouraged to join up by the freedom from having to do the school run themselves and I would want to scheme to make good quality childrens bikes available either as a discounted purchase or as loan scheme allowing the bike to be swapped as the child grows out of it.
Richard LYONS (UKIP)
Cathie MCEWING (Labour Party)
Simon STOKES (Liberal Democrat) I think some of the main barriers to cycling in Southampton are around infrastructure. Our cycling routes are not particularly well considered, and the quality of the road surface in a lot of places is poor to the point of being dangerous. Personally, I’d like to see more segregated cycleways that would keep cyclists safer, out of the way of traffic.

In our fully-costed alternative budget (, we’ve pledged extra funds to expand the city’s cycle network. We will also step up pothole repairs.

I’d also be keen to capitalise on the growing popularity of cycling, following our international competition successes and community-based events like the Sky Ride, to encourage more younger people to get out and cycle. I fell in love with cycling as a child, and my bike was my main means of getting around at college and university, as well as a way to clear my head and unwind.

Denise WYATT (Southampton Independents Putting You First) Encourage action, not more strategies, visions and frameworks which for the Labour Council seem to be preferred. Six years they have had. Action is needed now. Please see our response to the 2016 consultation for more what we want to see, attached.

Question 5

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

Matthew COWLEY (The Conservative Party)
Christopher JAMES (Green Party) Yes I would be in favour an increased budget to fund cycling schemes – real cycling schemes with people working on them daily not just painting a few white lines on the road and then leaving it at that.
Richard LYONS (UKIP)
Cathie MCEWING (Labour Party)
Simon STOKES (Liberal Democrat) As I mentioned, our alternative budget allows for increased spending on cycling and local transport initiatives. Whether that amounts to 10% of the overall local transport budget or not, I couldn’t say. However, our alternative budget does commit more money than Labour has already allowed.
Denise WYATT (Southampton Independents Putting You First) The response to this depends on the overall budget for transport. We would prefer that all potholes were fixed and road surfaces were made safe for cyclists, motorcyclists and cars. The funding needs to be increased massively. We would sell the Arts Complex white elephant, amongst other measures, to do this. We have worked very hard to expose the total failure of the Council to allocate enough money to roads. If you are not aware, £30 MILLION double the original budget, has been spent on the Arts Complex. And it is five years late. We got it on the front page of last Friday’s Echo, because we believe roads come before arts. AND SO DO 99% OF RESIDENTS. Meanwhile, the roads remain a disgrace.

Question 6

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

Matthew COWLEY (The Conservative Party)
Christopher JAMES (Green Party) Work Place Parking Levy should be dependent on the distance travelled from home. Yes for anything under 5 miles and reducing rate between 5-10 miles. I would want to look at the possibility of a park-and-ride scheme and not just on buses but offering loan bikes as well. If such sites could be made secure then they could also be used for residential parking by nearby households – especially those with more than one car. The incentive here would be lower insurance premiums.
Richard LYONS (UKIP)
Cathie MCEWING (Labour Party)
Simon STOKES (Liberal Democrat) I would like to see a reduction in vehicle traffic in the city. Not only will this alleviate congestion, it will also cut down on air pollution, which is a particular concern in parts of my ward adjacent to the docks / A33 Redbridge Road. This might, in turn, encourage more people onto bikes.

However, I think a policy such as this could be problematic. For example, should it apply to everyone equally, or would one make exemptions for strategic workers like nurses, police, etc? Would it apply equally to electric vehicles as to ICE vehicles? I don’t know if Southampton City Council would have the jurisdiction to impose such a levy on private car parks.

Some organisations already have similar schemes, including the University of Southampton, but I’m not certain that it has had a significant impact on the numbers of staff swapping their car for another means of getting to work. For some, there is no sensible alternative to driving to work. I think we need to address that lack of suitable alternatives as a priority.

Alternatives might include a Park & Ride scheme, which Southampton Liberal Democrats are looking in to as a possibility. I have also seen in Vancouver, Canada, buses with bike racks on the front. This would allow people who have to travel greater distances to work to ride from their home to a bus stop, hop on the bus, then hop off later to cycle the remainder of their journey. This is an option I believe we should be exploring locally with bus companies.

Denise WYATT (Southampton Independents Putting You First) Yes, as well as other funding sources that tax “bads” like even more massive warehouses (5 extra in Redbridge ward alone recently, approved by Labour and Tories) to fund “goods” such as cycling.