Pedaller

General Election candidates for NW Hampshire asked about road danger reduction

I asked each of the candidates in the UK’s June 2017 general election what their views and positions were on several topics, mainly to do with road danger reduction. I heard back quickly from most – see their responses below – but I am still waiting for one response, from the UKIP candidate.

My thanks go to Andrew Smith, organiser of the hustings in Whitchurch, Hampshire on Tuesday, 6 June 2017, for the link to candidate information at Democracy Club.

Update: Kit Malthouse (Conservative) won the election – congratulations. I chased him again for a clarification to his original statements about Brexit, and an answer was received on 20th June 2017. It is copied below.

Questions Posed

My message was identical to all candidates:

Hello,

I would like to ask you some election related questions, as my potential MP here in NW Hampshire….

What will you do personally to improve the transport infrastructure in and around Whitchurch, specifically as it relates to walking and cycling?

Will your party implement the national funding and timeline set out in the ‘Get Britain Cycling‘ inquiry recommendations?

What will you do personally to improve the policing, CPS and judicial systems in regards to reducing road danger and the pursuit of people in motor vehicles that kill or injure others who use our roads, particularly those who choose to walk or cycle; and those who ride horses?

What will you do personally to address society’s health issues and the mounting costs facing the NHS related to: sedentary lifestyles and pollution?

What will you do personally to address the pressures faced by our local pubs; and the impact of large PubCos contacts on them; which has seen a couple demolished in Whitchurch in the past few years with more under threat?

What will you do personally to ensure quality and sufficiently funded primary and secondary schools‘ education in Whitchurch?

What will you do personally regarding the Brexit negotiations and potential deal with the EU? In what way do you see it affecting Whitchurch?

Thank you.

Best wishes,
~Andrew~

Responses

The candidates are (alphabetically by their surname):

UKIP: Roger Clark http://rogerclark.webs.com No response
  Labour: Andy Fitchet https://www.andyfitchet.co.uk/ Response
  Greens: Dan Hill https://andover.greenparty.org.uk/ Response
  Conservatives: Kit Malthouse http://kitmalthouse.com/ Response
  Liberal Democrats: Alex Payton http://www.libdems.org.uk/alexander_payton Response

Roger Clark (UKIP)

No response received.

Andy Fitchet (Labour)

Dear Andrew,

Thank you for your email and the specific questions. Again, apologies for the late reply – I wanted to give as full an answer as I could.

As you know I have been part of the community in Whitchurch as the Baptist Minister for the last 4 years and am well versed with the issues of the town, in particular the issues around transport and heavy traffic. I don’t know if you are aware but London St is on the provisional theory test as part of the hazard perceptions simulations!

Here are my answers to the specific points you raise:

What will you do personally to improve the transport infrastructure in and around Whitchurch, specifically as it relates to walking and cycling?

All traffic in Whitchurch being directed to the square makes the centre very congested and often leads to confusion at the junctions and backups on the roundabout – especially when there are Arctic lorries! Trying to introduce a ring road along around the town would be tricky or sending more traffic up Evingar road would cause more disruption on an already busy road. With the loss of the Train Station Car Park, the parking on Evingar road will undoubtedly get worse.

Pedestrianising the centre sounds like a wonderful idea, but in reality there is no other way from one half of Whitchurch to the other except through the centre.

Plan: Meet with the officers of Hampshire County Council (plus planning at BDBC, Chloe & Keith, Town Mayor) to walk around the town and use their expertise to see where extra parking could be installed o alleviate the slalom of driving. Look at the practicality of putting in cycle lanes and proper paths long all roads, such as London St.

Will your party implement the national funding and timeline set out in the ‘Get Britain Cycling’ inquiry recommendations?

In short, yes. We will invite the National Infrastructure Commission to recommend the next stages for developing and upgrading the National     Cycle Network. We reaffirm the commitments in the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.

What will you do personally to improve the policing, CPS and judicial systems in regards to reducing road danger and the pursuit of people in motor vehicles that kill or injure others who use our roads, particularly those who choose to walk or cycle; and those who ride horses?

This is a very pertinent point, particularly with the A34 so close to Whitchurch and how dangerous that can be. Whitchurch Police Station is home to the local traffic police and I would seek to support them properly and safeguard their base in Whitchurch and keep the station open.

As a party, I would vote in favour of every measure that we have put forward about increasing policing numbers. I would also want to see the laws created that would add points to someone licence who drive dangerously around horses and cyclists – something I would be willing to put forward in the House of Commons.

What will you do personally to address society’s health issues and the mounting costs facing the NHS related to: sedentary lifestyles and pollution?

The NHS should remain free at the point of use – regardless of people’s lifestyles. I am in favour of taxing more heavily supermarket alcohol, tobacco and sugar drinks to pay for the effects of their use.

We want to see a fully funded NHS and we will put in £30bn extra over the next parliament, scrap the internal market and cease the £56bn worth of private contracts given out by the NHS to increase funding. We will also scrap the 1% pay cap, which in real terms is a cut, for NHS workers so they are paid fairly for the work they do.

What will you do personally to address the pressures faced by our local pubs; and the impact of large PubCos contacts on them; which has seen a couple demolished in Whitchurch in the past few years with more under threat?

I am a supporter of CAMRA and their #pledgeforpubs campaign. I would always try to support pubs and encourage people to meet and socialise in our local pubs. Our Labour Party meetings are held in pubs across the constituency, usually the White Hart in Whitchurch.

I want to see the disparity between the cost of alcohol in shops and in a pub shrink. I would be in favour of putting an extra 10p on alcohol in shops to be able to help pubs, either through business rate relief or energy subsidies, to relieve the pressure on pubs.

What will you do personally to ensure quality and sufficiently funded primary and secondary schools’ education in Whitchurch?

Over the last 4 years I have been into the Primary School a number of times to lead assemblies. A Labour government would invest in education, for the primary school that would mean an extra £66,000 and for Testbourne an extra £73,800. I would never vote to lessen the funding of our schools.

What will you do personally regarding the Brexit negotiations and potential deal with the EU? In what way do you see it affecting Whitchurch?

I campaigned for remain. I believe that we need a deal with the EU that would give us full and uninhibited access to the single market. I believe that no deal would be the worst possible outcome. Many Whitchurch residents work in the City in finance, or still some in farming – a bad deal would be detrimental to their livelihoods.

I would not vote in favour of a deal that would adversely affect the rights and lifestyles of the residents of Whitchurch and try to get a deal that is good for both the UK and the EU. I think Sir Kier Starmer QC is the right person to oversee the Dept. for Exiting the EU.

Dan Hill (Greens)

Hi Andrew,

Firstly, paths are no good if you can’t use them. So overgrowth needs managing. The planning of transport infrastructure needs to take account the priority of sustainable transport modes, starting with walking > cycling > public transport > cars.

Money will be diverted from road spending for cycling, so yes, you can be sure the funding is there.

When it comes to matters of the law, I’m sure there are more opportunities for restorative justice here. Road traffic accidents are more down to a complete lack of appreciation from the driver of the fact they are driving a deadly weapon than it is any malicious intent. I would pursue that line of policy and resourcing if elected.

Pollution happens because the cost of environmental degradation does form part of our economic system. That would not be allowed to continue under a Green government.

The predicament of local pubs is it not something I’ve pursued any considerable thought on. Time being a finite resource too. If it’s a big concern for constituents that is sure to change.

There will not be funding cuts to schools. While real term increases may be a tough ask there is no question that school funding is tight enough already. Abolitions SATs will be the start of easing the burden.

The starting point of negotiations is in keeping the mutually beneficial agreements and only diverting where there is true conflict of views. There would be no weakening to environmental protection and workers’ rights.

Best regards
Dan Hill
Green Party Candidate for North West Hampshire

Kit Malthouse (Conservatives)

Dear Andrew

Thanks for getting in touch.

On your transport questions generally, I have for some time been puzzling about the layout, parking and associated traffic problems in the centres of Whitchurch, Overton and Kingsclere in the constituency. In all three there is the potential for significant improvement and the creation of really useful central public space. In Whitchurch, the centre of the town is dominated by traffic which is unfortunate. I am very keen on the notion of “shared space” which has been put in successfully elsewhere and I therefore plan to hold a seminar on this subject, probably in the autumn, to see if there is any appetite to explore this kind of proposal in any of the three areas. I know some of the leading proponents of the idea and so will invite them down to speak and explain, but you might like to watch this video which gives an idea of what is possible in a town with much more serious traffic issues than Whitchurch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vzDDMzq7d0

On get Britain Cycling and its recommendations – I don’t think the manifesto mentions it particularly so we will have to wait until after the election and see what funding is available. As you know I cycle regularly and am keen to see more people do so.

On motorists, I will be concentrating my fire on those who drink and drive repeatedly. I don’t know if you are aware but I was the first person to bring the notion of “compulsory sobriety” to the UK as a disposal for criminals who drink and I think this has huge potential for road safety. More here: http://kitmalthouse.com/2010/the-south-dakota-cure-for-our-drink-problem/ The Scheme has now been piloted very successfully in Croydon and elsewhere and I will be doing all I can to spread it.

On health issues relating to pollution, as you know I am a big proponent of the hydrogen fuel cell and will be working hard to promote this form of propulsion which emits solely water. As for sedentary lifestyles, if you think there is something the government can do that it isn’t doing already do let me know.

On pressured local pubs, I will be supporting the government as it seeks to support and preserve those which form an integral part of the community. It is perhaps worth reflecting that many pubs are suffering from changes in consumer behaviour about which the government can do little. Pleasingly in this constituency there are plenty of really thriving local pubs, some of which I have assisted in various ways over the last two years.

Whitchurch Primary recently received a very good Ofsted report, and Testbourne is rated outstanding, which means the town is doing well on the eduction front. Under the funding formula proposed in the last parliament, Whitchurch Primary was due to receive a 4.9% increase in funding and Testbourne a 0.012% increase. I made my views known about the funding formula, which was not optimal overall for the constituency and I have attached a copy of my submission to this email. I will continue for fair funding and am pleased that the government has committed that no school will lose cash and many will receive real terms rises in the years to come.
Attachment: KitMalthouse201706-NFFfinal

On Brexit negotiations I will be supporting the Prime Minister as she goes into bat on our behalf and I think Whitchurch will benefit in any number of positive ways, but the one which is most at hand is that you and everyone else will finally get a direct say through the ballot box in the way this country is run, and you can hire and fire those who make the rules once every five years.

With best wishes

Kit Malthouse
Conservative Candidate for North West Hampshire
2 Church Close
Andover SP10 1DP
01264 353398
www.kitmalthouse.com
www.facebook.com/kit.malthouse

 

Clarification sought

30 May:

Thank you, Kit, for that quick reply.

On your Brexit statement, I don’t understand your phrase about “finally get a direct say through the ballot box” because we had that already: voting for MEPs, most recently in 2014.
Could you clarify your statement please?
Could you give me a couple of examples of the “number of positive ways” you say Brexit will benefit Whitchurch?
Thank you again.

3 June:

Just wondering if you intend to clarify as requested?

I intend to publish responses, as other candidates have made public their responses.

3 June:

Thank you for getting in touch. This is an automated email to confirm receipt of your message.

During the campaign I receive hundreds of emails and I will do my best to answer them as quickly as I can. In the meantime you might find my website www.kitmalthouse.com useful.

18 June:

Hi Kit,

I hope that you will be clarifying your answer to me as requested?
Thank you,
~Andrew~

20 June:

Dear Mr Reeves-Hall

 

I think everyone, even the EU, accept that there is a democratic deficit in that organisation. While the Parliament is elected, it does not choose the leaders of the EU and does not originate legislation. What does the President of Europe (any of them) care what happens in Whitchurch? They have 500 million people to administrate and your interests are incidental to them. Our MEPs are unable to change legislation to benefit the town, whereas I am, and indeed have done so already.

 

There are plenty of ways that Whitchurch will benefit – a micro and a macro example:

 

Cycling up Newbury Road makes it almost impossible for elderly or infirm people unless they have an electric bike. Electric bikes can be difficult to use by the elderly unless they have a throttle which aids moving off from standing. The EU outlawed throttles on electric bikes two years ago in an attempt to protect the Italian moped industry. This meant all UK manufacturers, who are mostly small, had to redesign and re-engineer their products at enormous cost, making their products less useful and flexible than before. Leaving the EU means we don’t need the daft rule and elderly electric bike users will once again be able to get up Newbury Road.

 

Anyone in Whitchurch who suffers from cancer will be hoping for significant medical advances towards a cure or therapy. Critical to these advances are clinical trials. The EU clinical trials directive has stifled medical research in the UK. Once we leave, we can design clinical trial regulation to suit our own requirements which will enable faster development of life saving drugs.

 

I hope this is helpful.

 

With best wishes

(signed)

Alex Payton (Liberal Democrats)

Dear Mr Reeves-Hall

Thank you for your letter of 30th May.  The following are some responses to your questions, others require more detailed research and reflection.

Walking and Cycling in Whitchurch

In Whitchurch itself the scope for improvement is limited by the narrow streets and footways and few opportunities for segregating motor traffic from walking and cycling.  I look forward to development of shared cycle and footways along B3400, segregated from motor traffic.  I support the excellent work being done by “Walkers are Welcome”, “Walking for Health” and Whitchurch Rambling Club in cooperation with the County Council Countryside Service to clear and make passable all the many public footpaths around Whitchurch.

Pollution

Liberal Democrats aim to prevent 40,000 premature deaths a year by cutting air pollution. Our Air Quality Plan will include a diesel scrappage scheme, a ban on the sale of diesel cars and small vans in the UK by 2025, and the extension of Ultra-Low Emission Zones to ten more towns and cities.

Local pubs and the impact of PubCos

Two Whitchurch pubs have already fallen under the wheels of national PubCos. Perhaps the local planning authority could have done more to defend them (e.g. listing the Railway Hotel and defending the locally listed Harvest Home).  I am not aware of others being threatened by PubCos. The five survivors do so in competition, varying in quality occasionally under local management that comes and goes.

Liberal Democrats have consistently championed the importance of community pubs. I am proud of the work of my Liberal Democrat colleague Greg Mulholland, who fought for legislation to allow pub landlords to free themselves from unfair pricing rules by big pub chains, and to enable pubs to be protected in local areas by being listed as assets of community value.

Schools

I know that both local schools have expansion plans with capital funding from Hampshire County Council but schools need staff.  Liberal Democrats,including myself as part of the parliamentary party, would work to tackle workload and recruitment issues to guarantee that the profession is attracting and keeping high quality teachers.

Yours sincerely

Alex Payton

1 comment for “General Election candidates for NW Hampshire asked about road danger reduction

  1. Ruth Vale
    June 9, 2017 at 16:33

    Thank you for this. I was unable to attend the hustings. Whitchurch and Overton Primary Schools are each having to expand substantially. So the increases Kit Malthouse mentions are in fact not real in terms of what each pupil will get. In fact all schools are facing cuts to what is being given to them per pupil. This means schools are being forced to plan redundancies, increased class sizes or cuts to subjects taught.
    Well done Andrew Smith for organising the event.

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