Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your letter. I believe it is important that interest groups engage with candidates; it ensures that we understand residents’ concerns.
Responding to your aims:
It would not be possible to disagree with the aim of “resisting inappropriate development”. On the other hand, the Local Plan has been developed in order that we can meet the desperate housing needs of local residents and development, wherever it is placed, will cause concern for residents.
The area covered by PALLS is a precious resource for the town. I cycle daily and the PALLS area is only a few hundred metres from my home. It is a great pleasure to cycle down the lanes and this special place should be protected for all of us.
Although it is impossible to protect every acre of the Green Belt, the aim of any council must be to protect it as much as possible.
Regarding your specific questions:
PALLS Transport Review. I agree that a link road between Ridgeway Lane and Lower Pennington Lane is wholly unsuitable. I believe that the emphasis should always be on reducing car use as much as possible and reducing driving speeds. Any additional road will exacerbate this. In my view, any highway plans should discourage car use. I suspect that the county highways department is stuck in the 20th century where building more roads is the solution to traffic control.
The issue of car parking on verges should be addressed by the Town Council. There should be adequate parking spaces within any development to prevent verge parking.
I think there should be a reduced speed limit on some parts of the lanes to 20 mph. I have been a long term advocate for 20’s Plenty and when I was a councillor in the Midlands, we had cross-party support for this initiative.
It is also important to make all road users aware of the need to respect these special places. I would also like to see pedestrians and cyclist having priority over cars, changing the perception that motorised vehicles have ownership of the roads.