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South Portslade Election Survey

Bicycle leaning against polling station sign

Only two of the candidates for the South Portslade election who have been sent surveys about their views on cycling locally and city-wide have responded. Residents vote for their new councillor on Thursday 11 January. Here are the replies of the candidates who have responded, in the order of their names as listed on the ballot:

1. What are the biggest barriers to cycling as a means of transport in Brighton & Hove?

Booth, Danny John (Green) – received 22/12/23
Many people feel unsafe cycling in traffic, especially if it’s busy or fast-moving. Unfortunately, only 3% of our city’s roads have safe cycling provision. Without a significant increase in the level of safe and convenient cycling infrastructure across the city, to form a comprehensive network, the number of people cycling is unlikely to increase. There is a clear lack of political will from the current Labour administration to improve this and no apparent understanding by Labour (at both local and national level) of the benefits of increased cycling. The previous minority Green Administration prioritised the introduction of cycling infrastructure but needed the support of other parties to make this happen. Unfortunately, Labour often sided with the Conservatives, for example, by deciding to remove protected cycle lanes on the Old Shoreham Road and make the road less safe for children cycling to school (leading to the removal of significant government funding). The current administration continues to make cycling unsafe by delaying ready-to-go schemes, such as the A259 and Valley Gardens 3. This follows the pattern of the 2015 Labour administration, which delayed the implementation of Valley Gardens 1 and 2 (launched by Greens).

Maples, David Timothy (Trades Union & Socialist Coalition) – received 22/12/23
I love cycling, but it is not an option for everybody. I am also disabled with a movement disorder. Cycling helps me to maintain my fitness and gives me mobility when walking is difficult.
Parents may have triangular journeys between home, school and work. Many workplaces have inadequate showering, changing and storage facilities. In many areas there is a shortage of secure cycle parking.
Many roads are in a poor condition with badly executed patch repairs and exposed iron work. Poor lighting exacerbates this as many people need to travel while it is dark.
I want good transport options for everybody whether it’s walking, cycling, public transport or private vehicles. With good planning different modes need not be in conflict.
Brighton & Hove’s geography also presents a challenge. I am standing as a candidate in one of the flatter areas of our city. 
The Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is opposed to cuts such as the Active Travel England Budget, cuts to public transport and cuts to road maintenance. I have lost teeth enough times.

2. The A259 between Hove Lagoon and the city’s western boundary is hostile to people on bicycles and on foot. What will you do to change that?

Booth, Danny John (Green) – received 22/12/23
Push the Labour administration into implementing the design for this section as soon as possible as it has both funding from the government and the consultation showed clear support. Improvements to make the area safer and more accessible were agreed by councillors in September 2022. While the plans for protected cycle lanes and improved access to the seafront for people walking and wheeling kerbs are not perfect, they are a vast improvement on the current situation. Implementing the plans would allow work on developing a long-term solution to be carried out with a greater chance of success.

Maples, David Timothy (Trades Union & Socialist Coalition) – received 22/12/23
The pandemic illustrated that quick improvements could be made to the infrastructure. Some were better thought out than others. This route illustrates many of the problems. Introducing new infrastructure can be difficult but this route is erratic.
I support measures such as the introduction of well-designed red routes, reducing the time commercial waste bins are on roads and regular pruning alongside cycle lanes.
As the first Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition (TUSC) councillor in the City I would be transport spokesperson. I would enjoy meeting regularly with cycling campaigners to give them a voice.

3. Old Shoreham Road is effectively the boundary of South Portslade because it’s an unpleasant, dangerous barrier to people not inside cars. What will you do to improve safety, usability and amenability for all road users, residents, and children walking or cycling to schools?

Booth, Danny John (Green) – received 22/12/23
It was incredibly disappointing and a massive step backwards when Labour and the Tories voted together in 2021 to remove the temporary lane on the Old Shoreham Road, making the road much less safe for people walking and cycling. Reinstating the cycle lanes and pedestrian crossings, with some design changes to reflect current design guidance, and making them permanent is an absolute priority for Greens. The city’s Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) was approved in March 2022, under the last Green-majority council, which laid out the changes needed to public space across our city, to make it safer and more pleasant for walking, wheeling and cycling. Cycle lanes on the Old Shoreham Road are fundamental to the plan, as a key route from Brighton to Portslade and Southwick. We want all children to be able to cycle to school safely.

Maples, David Timothy (Trades Union & Socialist Coalition) – received 22/12/23
Old Shoreham Road is horrific. Roads not race tracks. The accident figures for children starting secondary school illustrate the problem. I would campaign for the immediate reintroduction of segregated cycle lanes along this road. A red route would also benefit other vulnerable users.

4. Boundary/Station Road is the retail and social hub of Portslade, but it’s crowded by cars, people idling their engines at the train crossing, private car storage, and drivers obstructing buses. What will you do to centre our high street around people on bike, foot and public transport, rather than prioritising the convenience of cars?

Booth, Danny John (Green) – received 22/12/23
We would ask for more enforcement on idling at the level crossing, with more prominent signage. This is designated as a Strategic Route in the LCWIP and so we would call for a detailed study into what can be done to improve walking, wheeling, cycling and public transport. This would also help deliver the aims of the Bus Service Improvement Plan, approved under the last Green-majority council, which led to £28 million of government funding for bus improvements.
In the short term, we would press for the road to be designated as a Red Route, that is, a road on which stopping, loading or unloading a vehicle is not allowed. Red Routes have been shown to improve bus times and have been introduced on both London Road and Lewes Road in Brighton.

Maples, David Timothy (Trades Union & Socialist Coalition) – received 22/12/23
I want good transport options for everybody whether it’s walking, cycling, public transport or private vehicles. With good planning different modes need not be in conflict.
Creating extra traffic by requiring parents to go up to 2 miles to different schools will make the situation worse.
Boundary and Station Roads need to be replanned to encourage active travel. This could benefit everybody including motorists. It would also help the businesses and make the area more attractive. I would use my position as a campaigning councillor to be accountable to the community and have regular public meetings.

5. If the Council closes St Peter’s Community School, how do you propose children and carers travel sustainably to alternative schools without adding more car traffic to the school run?

Booth, Danny John (Green) – received 22/12/23
Greens will continue to campaign to make sure that this much-loved school doesn’t close as that would be a huge blow for the local community. If the worst does happen, the Labour Administration will be responsible, so Greens will be pushing them to make it safer for children to walk, wheel or cycle to more distant schools. The local transport network needs to be revamped to give local people the opportunity to make sustainable travel choices, without having to worry about their safety. Most of the closest primary schools are north of the Old Shoreham Road, which currently means a perilous and polluted journey up Trafalgar Road for families with small children. I would therefore push for the urgent development of detailed School Travel Plans for all nearby schools, with committed funding to implementing measures identified by these plans, which might include new bus services, cycling infrastructure and safe crossings (especially on Trafalgar Road). I would also look at ways to reduce the use of the road by HGVs, which adds to the pollution here. These changes are needed anyway, but the threat of the school closure highlights the major need to create a healthier environment there.

Maples, David Timothy (Trades Union & Socialist Coalition) – received 22/12/23
I have no intention of allowing the Labour councillors to get away with closing the school. Election of a Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition (TUSC) councillor on 11 January would boost the campaign and put Labour under enormous pressure to rethink. They wouldn’t want the issue to continue in a general election year.
Pupils have already have massive disruption to their education because of the pandemic. The last thing they need is to move to another primary and secondary. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is opposed to school closures. If pupil numbers are reducing, there should be smaller class sizes like private schools.
The proposals fail to take account of factors such as new housebuilding, enabling siblings to go to the same school, special educational needs, nursery provision and choices over faith education. Bin them. Questions 4 & 5 give even more reasons to oppose the closure.

The following candidates have not replied:

Franks, Benjamin James (Conservative) – Survey emailed 15/12/23 & 5/1/24. No response.

Gillespie, Jamie Rutherford (Independent) – Voicemail left 7/1/24. No response.

Guilmant, Josh (Labour) – Survey emailed 15/12/23 & 5/1/24. No response.

McKinley Fitch, Georgia Arabella (Democratic Liberation) – Survey delivered 16/12/23 & emailed 5/1/24. No response.

Rist, Kenneth Lloyd (Liberal Democrats) – Survey emailed 15/12/23 & 5/1/24. No response.

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