Newcastle City Council Elections 3 May 2018

Elections for Newcastle City Council are due to be held on 3 May 2018, with new ward boundaries as a result of the recent Local Government Boundary Review.

Gosforth is now split across four wards: Fawdon and West Gosforth, Gosforth, Dene and South Gosforth, and Parklands. Each of these new wards will be represented by three councillors and voters in each ward can vote for up to three candidates.

With lots of new faces we’re keen to find out what the candidates think, in particular about how they plan to address transport-related issues in our community. To do that we’ve come up with five statements or pledges and we have asked each of the candidates whether they support these or if not what they plan to do instead.

Below the candidate’s responses, which we’ll update as they are received, we have also written a bit of background about why we have chosen these particular statements.

Please keep checking back in advance of the elections on 3 May and if one of your candidates has not yet answered please do encourage them to do so. The very least we should expect from future local councillors is a willingness to engage with local residents and share their vision for the future of Gosforth.

THE SPACE FOR GOSFORTH PLEDGES

The five pledges we have asked candidates to support are:

1. Streets that are safe (and feel safe) for children to walk and cycle to school, to the shops or to the park.

2. Air pollution in Newcastle brought within legal limits as soon as possible.

3. Residential streets that are pleasant, safe and attractive places to live and where children can play out.

4. Rapid implementation of temporary changes to trial interventions to support these objectives.

5. Constructive community engagement about how to address the public health impacts of travel and the benefits of active travel.

Please see below for more on why we have chosen these pledges and what they mean in practice.


RESPONSES

Candidates are listed in the same order as on the Newcastle City Council local election website. Where a response is shown as a link, please click on the link for further details of the candidates response.

Candidates elected on 3 May 2018 are shown in the table in bold and underlined. Thank you to all the Councillors and candidates who responded either directly or by sharing their manifesto commitments.

Dene and South Gosforth Ward

Candidate Party Response
 Nick Arnold Labour Party ü Support
Simon Barnes Labour Party ü Support
Michael Bell Labour Party ü Support
Jason Birt Conservative Party  No response – see
Conservative manifesto
Heather Chambers Conservative Party  No response – see
Conservative manifesto
Henry Gallagher Liberal Democrats ü Support – see
Lib Dem manifesto
Joe Herbert Green Party ü Support
Gerry Langley Conservative Party  No response – see
Conservative manifesto
David Muat UKIP  No response – see
UKIP manifesto
Karen Robinson Liberal Democrats ü Support – see
Lib Dem manifesto
Wendy Taylor Liberal Democrats ü Support – see
Lib Dem manifesto

Fawdon and West Gosforth Ward

Candidate Party Response
Steve Axford Conservative Party  No response – see
Conservative manifesto
Mick Bowman Labour Party ü Support
Elizabeth Cook Labour Party ü Support
Nick Cott Liberal Democrats ü Support
Brenda Hindmarsh Liberal Democrats ü Support
Sandy Irvine Green Party ü  Support
Peter Lovatt Liberal Democrats ü Support
Wiliam Price-Green Conservative Party  No response – see
Conservative manifesto
Shumel Rahman Labour Party ü Support
Scott Wakeman Conservative Party  No response – see
Conservative manifesto

Gosforth Ward

Candidate Party Response
Colin Ferguson Liberal Democrats ü Support
Alistair Ford Green Party ü Support
Hilary Franks Labour Party ü Support
Philip Hall Liberal Democrats ü Support
Stoica Ion Labour Party ü Support
Steve Kyte Conservative Party  No response – see
Conservative manifesto
Jane Streather Labour Party ü Support
Marie Summersby Conservative Party  No response – see
Conservative manifesto
Alison Wake Conservative Party  No response – see
Conservative manifesto
Tom Woodwark Liberal Democrats  ü Support

Parklands Ward

Candidate Party Response
Pauline Allen Liberal Democrats  No response – see
Lib Dem manifesto
Robin Ashby Liberal Democrats  No response – see
Lib Dem manifesto
Simon Bell Conservative Party  No response – see
Conservative manifesto
John Dobie Conservative Party  No response – see
Conservative manifesto
John Dockerty Independent Does not support
David Down Liberal Democrats  No response – see
Lib Dem manifesto
John Hall Independent 22/4/18 – Response promised
2/5/18 – no response.
Frances Hinton Green Party  ü Support
Karen Jewers Conservative Party  No response – see
Conservative manifesto
Geoff O’Brien Labour Party ü Support
Susan Pearson Labour Party ü Support
Louise Sutcliffe Labour Party ü Support

 

WHY HAVE WE CHOSEN THESE PLEDGES?

Pledge 1. Streets that are safe, and feel safe, for children to walk and cycle to school, to the shops or to the park.

Everyone should be able to travel safely whether they walk, cycle, use public transport or drive and should feel safe while they do so, but this isn’t currently the case in Gosforth. Often, traffic is fast and heavy, which is intimidating to many people.

Children are less able to look out for themselves and are more likely to be injured or even killed in the event of a collision, so focusing on children, whether travelling independently or with an adult, is a good way to make Gosforth safer for everyone.

Children are also more vulnerable to air pollution and children driven to school can be subject to up to ten times worse air quality than children who walk or cycle, and the extra vehicles make it harder for everyone else who needs to drive. Children who walk or cycle also get the benefit of the exercise – with the NHS recommending that children need at least 60 minute of moderate or vigorous exercise every day.

When we say streets ‘that are safe and feel safe’ we mean streets where children can and do walk and cycle to school, to shops or to the park, and where parents feel comfortable to let them. Ultimately it will be for local residents, and in particular parents, to judge whether a street is safe for their children to walk and cycle. We hope to work with Councillors who sign up to this pledge to engage with local parents to determine what is needed to achieve this objective.

While it is right that children are the priority, the map below shows the locations of where 248 people have been killed or seriously injured in the north of Newcastle in the last 10 years (2008-2017). As with other UK cities including Liverpool and Edinburgh we hope Newcastle will also adopt a “Vision Zero” target i.e. zero deaths or serious injuries on Newcastle’s roads.

Crash-map showing locations of 248 people killed or seriously injured in the north of Newcastle 2008-2017

Pledge 2. Air pollution in Newcastle brought within legal limits as soon as possible.

In the last official figures from 2016, both City Centre and Gosforth Air Quality Management Areas were in breach of the legal limits that should have been met by 2010. Bringing air pollution within legal limits as soon as possible is actually a legal requirement and Newcastle City Council has been mandated by DEFRA to produce a plan to do this by the end of 2018. Our expectation is that legal limits in Newcastle can be achieved by 2020 however that will depend on the detailed modelling currently being undertaken by the Council.

Air pollution affects everyone but it affects the young and the old the most. In Newcastle it has been estimated that 124 lives are lost every year as a result of illegal air pollution just for nitrogen dioxide with particulate matter likely to be responsible for more still. As well as causing early deaths, air pollution is also known to be a major cause of heart disease, lung disease, cancer and has been shown to be responsible for birth defects and cognitive delay in children.

In a recent report, the Royal College of Physicians has recommended that to protect public health, the UK adopt even more ambitious targets than the current legal limits and we hope Newcastle will adopt and work towards meeting those more challenging targets.

Given this is a legal requirement that the Council must meet we expect all candidates will sign up to this pledge.

Official 2016 Air Quality Measurements from the South Gosforth Air Quality Management Area

Pledge 3. Residential streets that are pleasant, safe and attractive places to live and where children can play out without fear of traffic.

Streets aren’t just about movement of traffic. They are also where we live, shop and socialise, and for children also where they are most likely to play outside near their homes.

Many streets in Gosforth are suitable for children to play out but many are not. We’ve seen and published data showing that some residential streets in Gosforth that aren’t designed or intended for through traffic have high volumes of vehicles, sometimes averaging three or more every minute throughout the day, with a high proportion travelling in excess of the speed limit. As a result we don’t see as many children playing out as we might expect and certainly a lot fewer than we when were children ourselves. Parents cannot be blamed for keeping their children indoors with such high volumes of traffic.

Low-traffic neighbourhoods with streets that are safe for children are better for everyone with less noise, less danger and cleaner air.  It’s even been shown that people living on streets with less traffic have more friends and a better social life than those that live on streets with heavy traffic. This is no laughing matter when loneliness is now considered such a serious issue that the Government has appointed a Minister for Loneliness to create a national loneliness strategy.

As with pledge 1, it will be for local residents to judge whether a street is pleasant, safe and attractive and where children can play out without fear of traffic. We hope to work with Councillors who sign up to this pledge to engage with local residents who have concerns about  traffic-related issues to look at options for how this objective can be met for their street.

Graph showing traffic volumes on Linden Road with a high proportion of speeding vehicles (brown and red).

Pledge 4. Rapid implementation of temporary changes to trial interventions in support of these objectives.

If Pledges 1-3 are to mean anything there must be some meaningful and urgent action as a result. Often changes involving traffic are controversial with long and heated debates about the likely consequences of a change. Yet other cities have shown that there is a different way, with trial interventions that can be implemented quickly that let people experience what will happen without any permanent commitment being made.

Using trials as part of a range of interventions helps inform the debate as people can see the benefits for themselves, and if there are issues with the trial then they can be stated factually with councillors and residents then able to work together to resolve or mitigate those issues.

Clearly not all issues can be resolved straight away but we hope to work with Councillors  and other members of the community to identify and prioritise the areas of greatest concern, where trials might receive the most support and have the greatest benefit.

Pledge 5. Constructive community engagement about how to address the public health impacts of travel and the benefits of active travel.

Making streets safer and cutting air pollution should be objectives that everyone supports, but it is still important that the council and local councillors engage with the community to ensure that residents understand what the issues are and have a chance to help solve those issues. Air pollution in particular is invisible and we’ve found that many people haven’t been aware that it has been, and continues to be, a problem in Gosforth. Nor are people generally aware of the very serious health impact of sedentary lifestyles which cost taxpayers billions of pounds every year and are responsible for even more early deaths than air pollution.

Likewise it is often challenging to put ourselves in others’ shoes, to understand for example what it is like to be a child on Gosforth’s streets, what it is like to be a parent cycling or walking with children (or even alone) on busy streets during the rush hour, or what it is like for residents or visitors with disabilities or conditions for whom travel is a challenge. It is only by having this broad engagement that we can ensure that Gosforth’s streets are safe and accessible for everyone.


These five pledges are based on SPACE for Gosforth’s objectives which you can see here. They don’t cover all the SPACE for Gosforth objectives but we welcome input from candidates about how they will go about meeting other aspects of those objectives to make streets in Gosforth more healthy, liveable, accessible and safe for everyone of all ages and abilities.

If you don’t live in Gosforth please feel free to ask your local candidates to support these pledges as well. We know very well that Gosforth isn’t the only area that suffers from these issues.

You can follow SPACE for Gosforth on Facebook or Twitter. If you support the SPACE for Gosforth objectives please do join us. Information about how to join SPACE for Gosforth is here.

15 thoughts on “Newcastle City Council Elections 3 May 2018

  1. Sandy Irvine (Green Party candidate)

    I fully endorse the Space for Gosforth pledges. Indeed I think we need more radical action. Current council plans for more urban sprawl north of the city, for instance, will only put more traffic on already overcrowded roads. The obsession with keeping traffic moving also encourages people to stick to private car movements. It also led to the shameful plan for the mega-roundabout at the Blue House. The reduction of unsustainable traffic levels will also require a high quality, affordable and integrated public transport system. We must also pay more attention to the needs of pedestrians, doing more walking a more attractive and safer option. We underestimate the extent that shops and cafes depend on business from pedestrians and cyclists. It is good that the latter group is beginning to get a better deal though we have far to go to catch up with leaders in field such as the Netherlands.
    Regarding Gosforth High Street itself the aim must be to make an attractive ‘destination’. Currently, it is treated more as a corridor. We also need enforcement officers to be more active on the High Street and not just on side streets. Too often vehicles parked on double yellow lines dangerously block necessary ‘sight lines’ and force to swerve out.
    Overall we must abandon the goal of economic growth, embracing the notion of a ‘steady-state economy’. Otherwise we will be back to square one in terms of congestion, pollution, lost green spaces and so forth, whatever (real) good that traffic calming and switches in transport modes might achieve in the short term. I have been active on all these issues, not the least with regards the council’s Core Strategy ‘development’ plan as well as specific issues such as the ‘red route’ controversy, as local media coverage reflects.

    Reply
  2. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

    Response received from Joe Herbert – Green Party candidate for Dene and South Gosforth

    I fully support the pledges proposed by Space for Gosforth, and the positive directions they seek to pursue. These pledges represent issues which I feel strongly about both in a personal capacity as a resident of Gosforth, and as a representative of the Green Party, whose policies and vision for greener communities resonate strongly with the principles articulated by Space.

    In Gosforth, and throughout Newcastle for that matter, we ought to be pursuing safer, healthier and more enjoyable neighbourhoods. We need urgent and meaningful action to pursue these pledges, in light of the illegal levels of pollution present in community, created by heavy levels of through-traffic. The balance of priority in Gosforth at present is weighted too greatly in favour of motor vehicles, at the expense of pedestrians and cyclists. The safety and enjoyment of key streets in the community where people socialise, work, and shop, such as Gosforth High Street and Station Road, are being compromised by high levels of fast-moving traffic. It is deeply unfair and immoral that children walking to school – and any pedestrians for that matter – are subjected to highly dangerous air pollution levels which create long-term health problems. Another notable issue is the blockage of already minimal cycle lanes by parked cars on the High street, which poses a danger of collision to both cyclists and motorists.

    With the proliferation of urban sprawl development on Newcastle’s northern green belt, problems of heavy traffic flow through Gosforth will only increase if action is not taken. Instead of the continual growth of this traffic flow, we need to work to slow and decrease it. Vital to this task is the provision of an efficient and affordable public transport system, the development of safer and more comprehensive cycling infrastructure, and ensuring safe and low-pollution pedestrian routes. The priority should be that Gosforth is a safe and enjoyable place in which to live, rather than a fast route to and from central Newcastle.

    A key factor which should be added to important arguments made in Space’s pledges is the environmental damage caused by high levels of traffic and heavily congested roads. The air pollution this produces is detrimental to our health at a local level, but also to our environment on a global level. Large volumes of greenhouse gas emissions produced by heavy traffic contribute to the long-term warming of global temperatures beyond safe levels, exacerbating the damaging impacts of climate change. Therefore, by creating safer, healthier and more enjoyable communities, we can also play an important local role in tackling the threat of climate change, and moving towards greener, sustainable ways of living. It is for these reasons that I believe Space for Gosforth’s pledges are to the benefit of the community as a whole.

    Many thanks,

    Joe Herbert – Green Party candidate for Dene and South Gosforth

    Reply
  3. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

    Response received from Colin Ferguson, Philip Hall and Tom Woodwark – Liberal Democrats candidates for Gosforth.

    The Liberal Democrat candidates for Gosforth are delighted to support the five SPACE pledges.

    Our continued commitment to support a range of transport options which fit the diverse needs of all residents closely aligns with the pledges SPACE have published. The current approach to transport taken by the Council does little to satisfy any road users, and we remain concerned that the Council are yet to provide clarity on their plan to meet legal requirements on air quality, to say nothing of the importance of tackling climate change more widely.

    We sincerely believe that the most effective approach is one that engages and involves the whole community. The openness of SPACE to dialogue with candidates is a positive example of the best way to engage the wider community, and we welcome this approach going forward. Gosforth benefits when residents work together to face the challenges we face locally, coming up with novel, innovative solutions to issues such as traffic flow, provision of effective cycle lane networks, and safer streets.

    We all want to live in a safe, pleasant Gosforth, benefiting from great local assets such as the High Street, Gosforth Central Park, local schools, and the various community facilities throughout the area. However, for these to be used, residents need effective transport networks which meet local need in a safe and secure way. The five pledges are a positive way to begin to tackle the issues our community faces.  

    Reply
  4. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

    Response received from Labour Party candidates in all four Gosforth wards

    Pledge 1 : Streets that are safe (and feel safe) for children to walk and cycle to school, to the shops or to the park

    We, as Labour candidates, fully support this pledge and the work the Labour Council have done in the City should demonstrate this. There is a dedicated Road Safety Manager who works with schools across the city to develop School Travel Plans. These ensure that all children are able to walk and cycle to school wherever possible.

    There has also been a recent launch of a Play Streets Initiative whereby residents can apply to have their street closed to traffic for a few hours so that children can play in a traffic–free street.

    The Streets for People (S4P) programme is an excellent example of how the Council have engaged with residents to identify areas where there are problems and work to find solutions. 3 areas of the City (Heaton/Ouseburn, Jesmond and Fenham) each have £1m to spend on making improvements to make it easier to walk and cycle in their area.

    Pledge 2 : Air pollution in Newcastle brought within legal limits as soon as possible

    The vision of the Labour Council is that is one of the cleanest, greenest and most innovative cities in Northern Europe and ensuring that the city has clean air is fundamental to achieving this vision. National Government has been challenged by a range of organisations and in July 2017 published the Air Quality Plan. This Plan identified 3 areas of the city which exceeded the recommended levels of NO2 and Newcastle City Council is working with neighbouring authorities to address this problem to ensure compliance with EU Air Quality directives within the shortest possible time. However, it is felt that air quality is improved across the whole city and to achieve this the Labour Council has:

    – Created the first ever Cabinet role for Air Quality
    – Have a council fleet of electric vehicles (including the Lord Mayor’s car)
    – Introduced smart traffic signals in the city centre
    – Overseen the introduction of Mobike, a dockless cycle hire scheme
    – Installed the first ever moss tree in England
    – Gained £3.3m to improve buses operating in the City to Euro 6 standard
    – Improved cycling infrastructure with funding from the Cycle City Ambition Fund.

    Pledge 3 : Residential streets that are pleasant, safe and attractive places to live and where children can play out without fear of traffic.

    I accept that streets aren’t just about movement of traffic but that they are also where we live, shop and socialise, and for children also where they are most likely to play outside near their homes.

    As stated in the response to Pledge 1 we have seen the introduction of the Play Streets Initiative as well as having introduced a 20MPH speed limit in residential streets across the city.

    There is also a Healthy Streets Board which brings together representatives from various organisations including Public Health to discuss the introduction of initiatives to make our streets healthier and safer places to be. The Labour Council has also signed up to the Newcastle Streets Charter which aims to address street issues and raise public awareness of the impact these issues have on a range of street users including those with mobility problems and visual impairment.

    Pledge 4 : Rapid implementation of temporary changes to trial interventions in support of these objectives.

    Newcastle City Council always aim to introduce improvements as speedily as possible although we must operate within a legal framework which outlines the timeframe for things like consultation periods.

    Labour Councils very keen to introduce trials interventions and agree that these can inform debate and will always listen to resident’s concerns, introducing mitigation measures where appropriate

    The time it takes to introduce some measures can be frustrating but introducing such measures as double-shift operations (such as seen at the recent works on Barrass Bridge) can speed the implementation of some schemes

    These temporary changes can be used as a means to gain data on air quality, road safety, congestion and travel times with a view to using this data when considering permanent changes.

    Pledge 5 : Constructive community engagement about how to address the public health impacts of travel and the benefits of active travel.

    Newcastle City Council are completely committed to constructive community engagement and this has been referred to in the responses to some of your previous pledges.

    Schemes such as Streets for People, which has undergone a comprehensive consultation and Newcastle Street Charter which saw consultation with many community groups are good examples of this.

    There is also the Transport Forum which includes representatives from pedestrian groups, cycle groups, older people’s groups and disability groups. There are regular consultations with the Elders Council, RNIB, Guide Dogs Association and other voluntary organisations on proposals.

    There is a host of other initiatives and schemes across the city but I hope the above has given you an indication of our commitment.

    I look forward to working with you and the other volunteers from SPACE for Gosforth in the future.

    Reply
  5. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

    Response received from Alistair Ford – Green Party candidate for Gosforth

    I am happy to endorse all five of SPACE for Gosforth’s pledges for the local election. I wholeheartedly support the need for safer walking and cycling in our community, ensuring our streets are safer, our air is cleaner, and we help people to live healthier, more sociable lives. This is an issue about which I personally feel very strongly, as someone who cycles on most journeys across the city, and the Green Party’s policies on transport also align closely with the ideas that SPACE are pursuing.

    Pledge 1 – Streets that are safe, and feel safe, for children to walk and cycle to school, to the shops or to the park.

    SPACE’s work highlighting the number of speeding vehicles in our 20mph streets is particularly eye-opening, and something that I often personally witness. I often hear parents shouting “STOP!” at their children at every side road and back alley, demonstrating that residents and parents don’t feel safe walking through our neighbourhoods. Reducing traffic on our streets will also benefit us in other ways, reclaiming space used for parking cars to be used for more trees or planters, enabling children to play outside, and reducing road maintenance budgets. I believe that through traffic should not be able to use residential streets, with neighbourhoods designed to eliminate rat-running but still allow local access. Green councillors would push for the city to adopt the Vision Zero Charter, making it an ambition to reduce the number of people killed on the roads in our city to zero.

    Safe routes to schools are a Green Party priority, with ideas like ‘walking buses’ and good quality subsidised public transport for all pupils who do not live within a short distance of their school. Children and parents must also be involved in decisions about what transport provision the school needs. Children should be taught about the issues of transport’s impact on the environment and society allowing them to make informed choices. Excluding cars from areas around schools during drop-off and pick-up times will help make alternatives to driving even more attractive choices to make.

    Enabling more children to walk and cycle to school through low-traffic residential neighbourhoods will help remove cars from the road during rush hour. It will also help children to lead healthier lives, reducing their exposure from air pollution inside cars during the school run and improving their educational attainment. More local shops and services, accessible on foot or by bike, will also boost local businesses and keep more money in the local economy. What’s good for our kids is good for everyone!

    Pledge 2 : Air pollution in Newcastle brought within legal limits as soon as possible

    Air pollution in our city is a scandal. We launched our general election campaign last year on the issue, and this month saw the tenth anniversary of Newcastle’s Air Quality Management Areas, with no real progress being made. Air pollution from transport is a symptom of decades of failed policies by successive national and local governments. There are ways to bring air pollution in line with legal limits but “as soon as possible” means that we need political leadership with the vision and determination to take radical decisions. There are ways to improve air quality that can also make our city healthier, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and make our neighbourhoods nicer and safer places to be. Given the impacts on our health (as highlighted by SPACE for Gosforth’s excellent recent blog), it is vital that local councillors act now and act boldly.

    Air pollution is linked to city-wide planning policy. Focussing on one area risks pushing problems elsewhere and for some pollutants there are no safe limits to aim for. We need joined-up land-use and transport planning, ensuring that decisions on housing and employment locations take full account of their impact on air pollution levels from transport. Building houses on the greenbelt miles from any local service and business parks miles from any housing means that often the car is the only way to travel for many people. We responded to the council’s Development Allocation Plan, asking them to rethink their policies and include much more mixed-use developments. Our Green MP, Caroline Lucas, has pushed for government intervention on air pollution in parliament and Greens are leading the way in the Greater London Assembly too.

    One thing is for sure; we can’t solve air pollution by looking to technological fixes. We need a council that is bolder on the fiscal measures to reduce air pollution. Ideas like a Workplace Parking Levy and charging clean air zones can make people think twice about driving on short journeys or using park and ride for coming into the city. Smoothing traffic will never work unless the volume of traffic is reduced. Electric vehicles aren’t a silver bullet either, still generating fine particulates from brakes and tyres, still contributing to road safety issues, and clogging up our neighbourhoods with cars. More walking, cycling, and public transport use will address air quality, carbon emissions, and physical inactivity – this is the true silver bullet!

    Pledge 3 : Residential streets that are pleasant, safe and attractive places to live and where children can play out without fear of traffic.

    Streets should be places for people, not for cars. The Green Party’s transport policy has a section entitled “Streets for All”, spelling out the need to reduce the speed and volume of motor vehicle traffic in our residential areas. It is well known that the amount of vehicles on our road has direct impacts on the number of neighbours we speak to and the ownership we feel of the space outside our front doors. I firmly believe that we need to examine measures to reduce the number of cars on our residential streets through positive promotion and enablement of alternatives to driving.

    Streets with thousands of vehicles a day travelling along them, many of them well above the 20mph limit, are not safe and attractive places to play. Whilst temporary closures for play street events are a nice idea, we’d prefer to see streets that are safe all year round. As I mentioned earlier, I’d love to work with local residents as a councillor to look at their neighbourhood and identify ways to reduce traffic on our streets. Other countries (and even areas of London) use planters or bollards to close off streets to through traffic but still allow access to residents. This makes short journeys by car less attractive but people can still access their houses if they need to.

    Sticking up “20” signs on streets does not do anything to ensure that vehicles stick to speed limits. Streets like The Grove and Elmfield Road regularly see vehicles travelling well above the speed limit. We need to redesign our streets, using planters and street trees to narrow wide roads, raising pavements at junctions to give priority to those walking, and making streets feel like driving above 20mph isn’t something we should be doing. Particular attention should be paid to the safety of the most vulnerable – those with disabilities, older people, and children. I really want to see our streets being places for all!

    Pledge 4 : Rapid implementation of temporary changes to trial interventions in support of these objectives.

    I think that often there is an understandable fear of the unknown, worry that any changes to our neighbourhoods may make things worse. Trials are therefore an important tool in discovering the impact of proposed changes, and allowing things to be put back to normal again afterwards if they don’t work! I support the use of trials as part of a meaningful community engagement. The recent closure of Hollywood Avenue to through traffic is an interesting example, giving a glimpse of alternatives and allowing the community to discuss together the implications of changes.

    Measuring things like air pollution and vehicle speeds before and after trials can help that process. Whilst it will be impossible to ensure everyone is happy with any changes, I believe that it is the role of councillors to act (as in the Green Party motto) “for the common good”. This includes understanding different viewpoints (see Pledge 5), explaining the rationale for trials to local residents, and ensuring all voices are heard. Using a trial to better understand implications and gather data can help lead to better decisions, and I firmly believe that the more local people are informed about their area the better.

    Pledge 5 : Constructive community engagement about how to address the public health impacts of travel and the benefits of active travel.

    Couldn’t agree more! Engagement is key to ensuring that the reason for transport decisions is well understood, that those decisions consider the varied needs of local areas, and that people feel part of a process. As a member of both the Newcastle Transport Forum and the Blue House Working group I have seen the value of bringing together disparate groups to talk, to understand each other’s perspectives, and to build routes forward together. Local people should be trusted with information, engaged early, and be allowed to genuinely feed into decisions. Often transport planning in Newcastle is a top-down process but the Green Party believes strongly in grassroots government.

    There is often limited awareness of the public health impacts of travel or the benefits of alternative means of getting around. As a university researcher in transport and sustainability, I believe that it is vital that public awareness of these issues is raised so that people can make informed decisions. The role of a councillor is to listen and to lead; to listen to experts, to evidence, and to local people. To lead with a vision for a more sustainable and equitable future that puts local people first and protects our environment. This can only be achieved by engaging with the community, sharing information and ideas, and taking varying opinions on board.

    All the best, and thanks very much for your work!

    Alistair

    Reply
  6. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

    Liberal Democrats

    The Liberal Democrat Party are fielding twelve candidates, three in each of the four Gosforth wards. Three of the Liberal Democrat candidates have replied to SPACE for Gosforth’s requests for comment

    This is a summary of the Newcastle Liberal Democrat plans for active travel and air quality from their 2018 Transport Manifesto that will be implemented if the Liberal Democrat party control Newcastle City Council after 3 May 2018.

    Air Quality

    The Liberal Democrats “note the requirement to ensure clean air and bring forward proposals to improve air quality in blackspots including the A1, Coast Road, and Central Motorway.”

    They will “consult on the introduction of a “low emission zone” for the city centre core within the area of the city centre bus loop” and also on “introducing a licensing requirement to ensure that all taxis / private hire vehicles in the city are low-emissions by 2025”

    They “are supportive of efforts to move away from use of high-emissions vehicles and will seek to encourage greater uptake of low emission vehicles. We will audit existing charging point infrastructure and develop a plan to increase provision” and “will support efforts to encourage people to use cars less by using public transport or active travel options for a greater proportion of journeys, such as incentives to switch modes one day a week or one week a month.”

    They propose “the adoption of Quality Partnership arrangements with bus operators “ and “will expect bus operators to co-operate with a requirement to make significant progress towards introduction of clean low-emission buses as part of the city’s clean air strategy by 2025. “

    Walking and Cycling

    The Liberal Democrats “believe that active transport should be given the priority commensurate with walking and cycling being at the top of the transport hierarchy. Active transport is healthy, environmentally friendly and creates more convivial local communities.”

    They “are strongly supportive of extending sustainable and active transport choices as part of efforts to improve modal shift, although we do not believe it is desirable or feasible to design transport policy which largely or wholly excludes car use.”

    They “will support continued efforts to create “liveable walkable neighbourhoods” within new developments and to move away from car dependence on the “school run”.”

    They “will make reversing the removal of crossing patrols a political priority”

    They “will re-prioritise the completion of the City’s strategic cycle network as this will do most to encourage modal shift” and “will seek to introduce gritting (or equivalent) of strategic cycle routes during snow/ice events in winter.”
    They “will ensure that changes to road infrastructure include cycle & pedestrian- friendly features ensuring new junctions make walking and cycling easier.”

    They “support the essence of Newcycle’s City4Kids manifesto. We will make ‘child friendly’ the standard for cycling infrastructure, work with schools to provide safe access and cycle storage, encourage walking and cycling to school, provide links to other family orientated destinations, and enable communities to take back control of residential roads through projects such as ‘Playing Out’.”

    They “believe that it is important to ensure that local neighbourhood schemes are subject to meaningful local consultation and involvement of local stakeholders in scheme design. We are committed to enhancing cycling and walking infrastructure but we believe that this process will gain greater local support where it can be demonstrated that local feedback has been adequately taken into account.”

    Reply
  7. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

    Conservative Party

    The Conservative Party is fielding twelve candidates, three in each of the four Gosforth wards. None of the Conservative candidates have replied to SPACE for Gosforth’s requests for comment.

    The Newcastle Conservative Party plan for the city consists of four statements, two of which might impact active travel or air quality.

    1) The Conservative Party says it will “Replace the Lollipop men that Labour have got rid of”.

    2) They also say they will ”Look at ways parking can be improved in our communities”.

    Newcastle Conservative Party plans do not mention air quality directly, however Conservative Party national policy includes bringing air quality within legal limits in the shortest possible timescales and making walking and cycling the natural choices for short journeys.

    Reply
  8. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

    UKIP

    One UKIP candidate is standing in Dene and South Gosforth ward. UKIP have not provided a response and have no local manifesto for Newcastle. The national “UKIP Local Manifesto 2018” supports prioritising mending potholes, upgrading public transport and free parking.

    Free parking is likely to have a negative impact on air quality. The 2017 Newcastle Annual Air Quality report lists “Use of car parking charges to encourage alternatives” as an effective way to reduce pollution in Newcastle. https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/sites/default/files/wwwfileroot/business/trading-standards/laqm_status_report_2017.pdf

    UKIP opposes tolling on roads and motorways. This would rule out the implementation of Charging Clean Air Zones, which have been shown in the Government’s analysis to be one of the most effective ways to improve air quality.

    UKIP’s Local Manifesto does not mention air quality, road safety, children’s welfare or walking or cycling.

    Reply
  9. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

    Parklands Independent – John Hall

    We have no information on Mr Hall’s plans for road safety or air quality however he has promised a response and we will update this page as soon as we receive it.

    Update 2 May 2018 – no response received.

    Reply
  10. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

    Parklands Independent – John Dockerty

    Mr Dockerty has told us he does not support the SPACE for Gosforth pledges for clean air and safer streets for children and residents, and has declined to share with us a view for how or if these issues should be tackled. We would be happy to update this page should Mr Dockerty decide to share his plans with us.

    Reply
    1. John Dockerty

      No I didn’t say that. I said I could not support pledges, I said nothing about it being about not supporting clean air or safer streets. My post is misleading at best during an election campaign.

      I published a copy of my email to you on Parklands First with one section omitted which was a private paragraph about an observation I made in January.

      A copy of my statement to you. I did request that it was not published but as you’ve chosen to spin this in a different direction it’s only fair that the public see what I actually did say and it’s to stand firm to my principles, which I am sure SPACE for Gosforth do too. I seen a nasty fall out from this on Curtain Twitchers today which has subsequently been removed once it was read on my page, what I actually DID SAY.

      Here it is

      Good Afternoon

      As I am running part of my campaign on lack of communication, I didn’t want you to think I ignored your group during this campaign.

      I can’t support your pledges because to do so would be for me to go against my principles of being independent. A councillor should be there for all members of the community, especially those that did not vote for them, therefore I consider signing up to pledges to be fundamentally wrong for an independent candidate.

      My main worry is that, should I post something online that does not agree with these principles, I will be outed, made an example of and left out to dry. I have suffered abuse from members of SPACE for Gosforth as you well know and during the election process and beyond I am not subjecting myself, my partner or my close friends to the level of hate that has been thrown at us all. You know exactly who I am talking about too.

      I will support a cross section of views and opinions but I am not aligning myself to any set of principles made by unelected people. You may recall how many times I have been pulled for doing community initiatives and have people remind me that I am “unelected”, I might be unelected but no one can dispute my track record of making changes in Gosforth.

      I wish you well for the future but I simply can’t sign up to your pledges.

      John Dockerty

      Reply
      1. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

        Statement by the SPACE for Gosforth Team

        Mr Dockerty, an independent candidate standing in Parklands ward, has made a number of serious and unfounded allegations against SPACE for Gosforth, which we wish to respond to.

        1) We note that Mr Dockerty first published these allegations on his ‘Parklands First’ Facebook page on 1 May 2018.

        2) We can confirm that the words published by Mr Dockerty on the Parklands First Facebook page formed part of an email he sent to SPACE for Gosforth on 25 April. Mr Dockerty also stated in that email (in capitals) that “THIS IS NOT FOR PUBLICATION ON SPACE FOR GOSFORTH” hence we did not, as he requested, include those words in our summary of Mr Dockerty’s previously publicly stated position.

        3) We reject the suggestion that we have somehow misrepresented or ‘spun’ Mr Dockerty’s position. Even if he does not wish to ‘sign up’ to the SPACE for Gosforth pledges he may still, as per our request, set out how, or if, he intends to tackle issues related to road safety and air quality if elected. We expected that Mr Dockerty, having campaigned on traffic-related issues, might have a view on this matter. Our offer to Mr Dockerty to inform residents how he would propose to address our children’s safety and air quality issues remains open.

        4) We note that Councillors have a significant role in setting policy and that in general it is not possible to represent and/or satisfy everyone all the time. This is why SPACE for Gosforth has asked candidates their views on air quality and road safety matters to assist residents in deciding whom to vote for. We are grateful to those candidates and political parties who have done so either directly or via their manifesto commitments.

        5) We absolutely reject that there is or has been any hate or abuse on SPACE for Gosforth, directed at Mr Dockerty or anyone else. We will be seeking a full retraction and public apology from Mr Dockerty.

        6) We note Mr Dockerty refers to comments made on other Internet sites, however we also absolutely reject that it is a SPACE for Gosforth role to police the Internet on Mr Dockerty’s behalf. We have told Mr Dockerty on a number of occasions that SPACE for Gosforth has no desire to intervene in his personal disputes with local residents.

        Reply
        1. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

          Update 10/6/2018

          Mr Dockerty has confirmed to us by email that the alleged “abuse” that he mentioned in his Parklands First statement was nothing to do with the SPACE for Gosforth group. We look forward to Mr Dockerty doing the right thing and publishing a retraction and apology on his Parklands First page as we previously requested.

          We have confirmed to Mr Dockerty that our summary of his position was based entirely on his public statements in which he confirmed he had declined to support the SPACE for Gosforth pledges and wished to “support” people including those who oppose the ideas set out by SPACE for Gosforth in support of clean air and safer streets. We understand that Mr Dockerty has engaged a local firm of solicitors to represent him in this matter and we look forward to their confirmation that the SPACE for Gosforth summary was a fair and accurate reflection of his publicly stated position.

          Mr Dockerty has not responded to our offers for him to provide an updated statement for how he would tackle issues relating to air pollution and road safety. On this basis we assume that Mr Dockerty is content to allow the current summary of his position to stand as is.

          Links to Mr Dockerty’s election statements for reference:
          14 April 2018: https://www.facebook.com/parklandsfirst/posts/2004478582914006
          25 April 2018: https://www.facebook.com/parklandsfirst/posts/2016179448410586

          Reply
  11. Nick Cott

    The Liberal Democrat candidates for Fawdon & West Gosforth are delighted to support the five Space pledges.

    Our commitment in supporting a range of transport options we hope fits with the diverse needs of all residents and aligns with the pledges Space have published. The current approach to transport taken by the Council does little to satisfy any motor vehicle users, pedestrians and cyclists. We feel that the Council isn’t engaging with local residents about their priorities, with no discussion of the strategy and tokenism in its dealing with residents’ views about specific schemes.

    We remain concerned that the Council is yet to provide clarity on a plan to meet legal requirements on air quality, to say nothing of the importance of tackling climate change more widely.

    The community must be involved and we have been impressed with the openness of Space its its dialogue with residents and local elected officials. We hope that these relationships continue and grass roots, bottom up ideas – developed through discussion and consensus – are the result and that these are considered by the Council as solutions to traffic issues.

    We all want to live in a safe, pleasant area and the five pledges are a positive way to move forward as guiding principles in a dialogue with the local community.

    Reply
  12. Stewart Falconer

    I live in Castle ward – Libdems re elected – their pledge is “see nothing do nothing “ as per the last few years – they don’t even reply to e mails

    Reply

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