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Letter: Really? A Boost for Walking & Cycling in Surrey?

Published on: 5 Jun, 2023
Updated on: 6 Jun, 2023

From: Zoe Franklin

Prospective Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Guildford

In response to: Boost for Walking and Cycling in Surrey

The government has indeed allocated a chunk of money for cycling & walking across the country but not the £200 million announced as part of the Department of Transport Active Travel Fund (ATF4) according to Cycling UK, cycling’s biggest lobbying and membership charity (who happen to be based in Guildford).

The interesting part of the analysis from Cycling UK is that not only is it only £170 million according to the government’s own numbers, it isn’t even new money! This seems to be a theme with the current Conservative government, holding back funding then releasing some money and saying it’s “new money” which it’s not.

Regardless, the fact that funding for sustainable transport in the UK is way behind our European counterparts demonstrates why we’re also way behind in cycling as a mode of transport.

This funding sounds like a lot for Surrey but the devil is in the detail. At just under £1 million this equates to £0.83 per head of population and is 60th place in the league of 66 councils awarded funds. Brighton & Hove on the other hand received £3 million which is £10.83 per head of population, that’s 13 times as much.

Once again, the Conservative Government is trying to take us for fools while hoping we don’t notice. Climate change isn’t stopping because this government plays charades with sustainability goals. As Liberal Democrats, we will put climate and sustainable transport funding at the front of our agenda to ensure everyone has the real option to leave fossil fuel behind.

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Responses to Letter: Really? A Boost for Walking & Cycling in Surrey?

  1. Helena Townsend Reply

    June 6, 2023 at 7:19 am

    Sometimes I wonder if this Ms Franklin lives in another town – she openly promoted North Street yet her party rejected it in a block vote at GBC’s Planning Committee – she supports safer cycling yet when a cycle lane is proposed along the London Road her party object to that too?

  2. Ciaran Doran Reply

    June 6, 2023 at 1:01 pm

    Just to correct a few misconceptions.

    While Zöe Franklin grew up in Farnham, she lives in Guildford, went to university in Guildford, has raised her family here in Guildford and sends her children to local schools – oh, and she cycles around Guildford too! She served two terms as a local councillor and has spent over a decade working to support local residents across Guildford, including as the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate since 2016. So I think it’s fair to say she might know a thing or two about the place she’s called home almost her entire adult life.

    In response to the specific points raised above, the Liberal Democrats have always supported and will continue to support the regeneration of the North Street site. We have always stated that Guildford needs more affordable housing so that the people who keep Guildford going can actually afford to live here. The Planning Committee rejected the North Street application in January on several grounds, some of which are of primary importance to our goals, namely the appallingly low number of affordable homes being allocated, 20 homes out of a policy requirement of 189, and a badly designed bus station that even Surrey County Council objected to.

    Similarly, the local Liberal Democrat councillors support the creation of a safe cycling and walking route along London Road. What they were not happy with was a five-month closure of London Road, announced with just six weeks notice, which would have caused chaos for local people, decimated local businesses and massively disrupted the GCSE/A-level exam season at local schools. So yes, while we want better cycling infrastructure we actively support our thriving communities too. With proper planning both can be achieved.

    Getting the right outcome can take longer than getting a quick outcome, but it is usually worth it. A good scheme that most people can be content with is far better than a quicker but mediocre scheme that most people hate.

    As for the original letter from Zöe Franklin, it seems she is not alone in the view that the Conservative government is pulling a fast one as our walking and cycling funds see significant cuts in funding. Another action group, the Transport Action Network, has announced yesterday that they are formally seeking a judicial review of the cuts announced by Mark Harper, the transport secretary!

    Ciaran Doran is the chair of the Guildford Liberal Democrats

  3. Howard Smith Reply

    June 6, 2023 at 5:02 pm

    Rather than filling The Dragon NEWS with her negativity, Zoe Franklin should be embarrassed by the lack of effort her party has put in to encourage residents to cycle more in Guildford.

    It remains to be seen what the new council will come up with, but no support was forthcoming for improved cycle lanes while her party ran GBC with the Residents for Guildford & Villages party, while a comprehensive cycle report, produced by the council, gathered dust on the shelf.

    The proposals we have had from SCC have been encouraging. Her criticisms have little merit if her party is unwilling to support improvements to make Guildford safer for cyclists.

    Howard Smith is a Labour borough councillor for Westborough

    • George Potter Reply

      June 7, 2023 at 10:24 am

      How much cycle infrastructure does Howard Smith think 83p per person will buy?

      Still, good to see that he can still be counted upon to defend and excuse Conservative failure at every opportunity.

      George Potter is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Burpham.

      • Howard Smith Reply

        June 7, 2023 at 2:33 pm

        As a strong advocate for cycling infrastructure, if it’s to be 83p per person for now, I’ll take it. It will be more than we’ll ever get from a Liberal Democrat government, which of course will never happen.

        And while he raises the subject, could Cllr Potter remind us of the party that enabled five-years of Conservative austerity and failure? I’ll give him a clue, it starts with “Liberal”.

        Howard Smith is a Labour borough councillor for Westborough

        • Andrew Haskins Reply

          July 4, 2023 at 12:48 am

          I wonder if Mr Smith might be tempted to join us in 2023, where the electric bicycle is increasingly ubiquitous, and where the human form has developed to the state where it can even propel a bicycle up a slope?

      • Andrew Mills Reply

        June 7, 2023 at 4:16 pm

        Good to see the councillor with the busiest portfolio in the town can still find the time for a snide comment.

        It’ll certainly cost more than 83p per person to get rid of all the hills, because that’s what is needed to get people on board with this pie-in-the-sky idea of cycling.

        We are not in Holland.

  4. Jim Allen Reply

    June 7, 2023 at 11:09 pm

    I think everyone is missing a few very important points.

    The emergent Gosden Hill Farm and associated “Strategic Movement Corridor”, (separate from cycle lanes planned by SCC) on London Road will also be affected by new sewage pipes for Gosden Hill.

    Activities need to be put in the right order.

    Establish the bus routes and cycle lanes after the sewers have been upgraded. No point resurfacing roads and installing fancy kerbs until the underground utilities have been fixed.

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