#CWEST | #ECC15 election special

Often during election campaigns candidates are contacted by pressure groups and similar organisations asking them to respond to a series of questions.

On 13 April I was contacted by CWEST [Campaign for SW Exeter Smarter Travel] for my views on transport-related issues in SW Exeter.

I immediately contacted CWEST to let them know there would be a delay in replying to their 3 questions as I was busy with composing a long response to the Devon County Public Transport Review consultation – especially in regard to withdrawal of evening and Sunday services on the P bus route.

As it happened, in between receiving the questions and composing my letter answering them, things took an interesting turn as DCC decided to postpone a proposed workshop on the Alphington Park & Ride and announce that they may be considering alternatives to the current front-runner on the fields of Oaklands Riding Stables at the Ide Interchange of A30.

My short reply went in a few days later, on 20 April – a day after the end of the bus consultation – as did a much longer and more considered response. Both of these were able to include the recent pronouncements.

The next I heard from CWEST was a e-mail and a link to a press release on The Exeter Daily website, published on 28 April 2014 under the title Prospective councillors disappoint

A group campaigning for better travel solutions in the south west areas of Exeter has asked all prospective councillors for Cowick, Alphington and St Thomas for their views on key issues such as whether or not they support a review of proposed measures, including a park and ride on the site of Oaklands Riding School. The reply to date has been mainly silence.

CWEST (Campaign for SW Exeter Smarter Travel) spokesperson, Lynn Wetenhall said: “We are very surprised and disappointed with the lack of response from prospective councillors. 

“A fortnight after sending out the questions, only the Green Party candidates and one Labour party candidate have replied. You would think that prospective ward councillors would be keen to express their views on such important local matters”.

CWEST have not yet received any replies from the remaining Labour candidates, nor any of the Conservative, Lib Dem or UKIP candidates.

Of the replies received, the Labour party candidate (Paul Bull) and all of the Green Party candidates (Kay Powell, Andrew Bell, Emily Marsay) are agreed in saying that if elected, they would work to stop the park and ride being built on the Oaklands riding school site. All of those who replied also endorsed CWEST’s request for a full and open review of the current transport proposals for the SW area of the city.

I feel that CWEST have misrepresented my statement about the P&R somewhat.

My actual reply to the question What is your position whether a Park & Ride scheme should be built on the Oaklands Riding School fields was:
“I am not against P&R schemes per se, but I will not support a new P&R scheme on the site of Oaklands Riding School at any cost. DCC will have to convince me that a P&R scheme on this site is better than one located elsewhere, and if located here will work to reduce traffic congestion along the Alphington Road corridor.”

Maybe I wasn’t clear enough (or my phrasing led to some ambiguity) so let me clarify once and for all:
“I will not support a new P&R scheme on the site of Oaklands Riding School unconditionally. There would have to be a very strong case to be made by DCC to convince me that Oaklands is a suitable site”.

I have asked CWEST for the article on The Exeter Daily to be amended [to date at the time of writing, it is still misrepresenting my view]

I also asked CWEST  to follow up on their promise  they  “will be publicising all responses and non-responses from prospective councillors” by placing them on their website, which they did on 01 May 2015 and I reproduce here

Exeter Council election special

Attention if you live in  St Thomas, Alphington or Cowick wards. There are city council seats up for grabs on May 7th. This page contains information to help you make a decision on who to vote for if you live in these wards and have not yet made up your mind. Make your voice heard and influence what happens in your area.

CWEST wrote to all of the candidates, (on April 13th) asking them:
– if they agreed with the need for a review of current transport proposals for SW Exeter,
– whether they agreed with putting a park and ride on the Oaklands Riding School fields,and
– whether they agreed that the current and planned provision for pedestrians and cyclists  is wholly inadequate

Here are the replies CWEST has received so far and the ‘no replies’. Parties listed in alphabetical order…

1. Conservative Party. 
None of the prospective candidates have replied.

2. Green Party.
All the candidates replied via one response and agreed with all of CWEST’s proposals ie review of transport, not putting a park and ride on Oaklands site and the need for a more strategic approach to provision for cyclists and pedestrians in the area. See their full responses here

3. Labour Party.
Prospective councillors Hannah Packham and Paul Bull agree that “ there should be a full and open review of the current proposals for SW Exeter and that they “will not support a new P&R scheme on the site of Oakfields Riding School at any cost”.  They were both supportive of better provision for cyclists and pedestrians. Their full replies can be seen here and here

4. Liberal Democrats. 
None of the prospective candidates have replied.

5. UKIP.
None of the prospective candidates have replied.

I note that candidates from both BNP and Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition were not asked for comments.

I’ve tried the link to the Green’s collective response several times and this is what I’m still getting 48 hours after posting.

Screen shot 2015-05-03 at 10.53.24

I’ve seen at least 2 tweets referring to this site, so they obviously haven’t checked the links!

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