With the County Council elections coming up on June 4th I thought I’d speak to each of the nominees for my division (Weybridge) and find out their policies and plans for cycling in the area.
First up was the current incumbent Ian Lake (Conservative). He first talked about Surrey County Copuncil’s current achievements which comprised a bit of cycle lane along Portsmouth Road in Esher. On a positive note he indicated that the number of cyclists has consequently gone up from 50 or so to about 150 per day. He then talked about possible plans for the routes through Churchfields Recreation Ground and a shared path along Seven Hills Road.
When pressed he acknowledged that there was no budget for any improvements in the borough and admitted to not having a target should be be re-elected. He rated cycling as on a par with a number of other issues such as environmental policies.
He does not own a bicycle but does own a car although he says that he does walk a lot.
Next was Ian Davidson (UK Independence Party). He had no profound thoughts about cycling in the borough, but did feel that there was too much traffic and that we were reaching a crunch point. He felt that continual economic growth was unsustainable.
Ian does not own a bicycle although he used to cycle when he was younger, but his wife thinks it is now too dangerous to cycle on the roads. He owns a car and feels its is essential in the part of Weybridge where he lives as there is no alternative.
Vicki Mcleod (Liberal Democrats) feels that cycling is important and would like to see safe cyling routes established in the area. In particular she feels that guaranteed safe routes to secondary schools would be beneficial to children and alleviate traffic congestion by reducing the number of school runs at rush hour. She feels that a lot can be done to improve facilities for cyclists by establishing shared use footpaths in those areas where there is low pedestrian traffic. Vicki also feels that it is important to raise public awareness of pleasant cycling routes, such as those in the Surrey Hills.
When asked about budget, Vicki admitted that she had no idea but was aware that the current budget was non-existent.
Vicki is a regular and keen cyclist although she does use her car when on business. She also believes that cyclists should act responsibly by wearing hi-viz clothing and not jumping red lights etc.
As an Elmbridge Borough Councillor Peter Harman (Weybridge Independents) is already active in the promotion of cycling in Elmbridge. If elected he would promote both cycling and road safety in the area and demonstrated a good knowledge of the current hot issues (Seven Hills Road, Oatlands Drive etc). However, he has no idea about how much budget he would push for.
Peter does own a bicycle but does not use it frequently. He commutes by car to his regular workplace at Heathrow Airport.