Council Elections on May 2nd 2013 – The Candidates’ Views

We have asked candidates standing in the Devon County Council elections on May 2nd 2013 for their views on the foot and cycle path proposal.

We have approached candidates in divisions within the locality Totnes (rather than the whole county).  These include:

  • South Hams: South Brent & Dartington Electoral Division and Totnes Rural
  • Teignbridge:  Newton Abbot (N and S), Teignbridge S, Ashburton & Buckfastleigh.

Many thanks to all the candidates who have contributed so far.  We will continue to update this post as and when comments come in.

It is very encouraging to see the growing list of strong support for the project, and we look forward to working with the successful candidates after the 2nd May, and finally seeing some real progress on this much needed cycle and foot path.

Below are the comments:

Totnes Rural

Robert Vint – Green Party

This cycle route is essential and will benefit residents, the environment and the local economy. Working together we can design a path that will also meet the needs of walkers and local landowners.

Carole Whitty – Labour

The many arguments for opening the Totnes-Littlehempston cycle path have been well made; I am supportive of the project and would certainly like to see it happen for many reasons, especially for its positive contribution to providing new routes to schools.

As a close follower of the process thus far and the issues raised, I would suggest that the election of the new County Councillor could prove to be a useful catalyst. It provides an opportunity to review action and progress so far, bring all parties together and facilitate a reasoned way forward. There are still certain barriers to be overcome, perhaps peace to be made in some areas. If elected, I would want to use my fresh voice and perspective immediately to establish a round table meeting for all parties. The intention would be to work collaboratively to set out a plan and timetable for resolution.

Andrew Bridgwater – Liberal Democrat

First of all I am, in principle, in favour of developing cycle paths to help and support cyclists and pedestrians such as your proposal.

However having contacted South Devon Railway and the Rare Breeds Centre in Totnes I am aware of both organisations’ serious security concerns which would result from leaving the South Devon Railway’s security gate permanently open to enable 24 hour access to your proposed cycle route.

I am also aware that Devon County Council is currently looking at alternative route options with full costings. I also understand that there is some capital budgeting available within 2015/7.

Therefore if elected I will ensure that this work progresses without delay so that a solution acceptable to all can be found and implemented.

Colin Hair – Conservative

Cycling is a great recreation, with benefits for health and the environment. If elected to Devon County Council I will support the provision of a cycle network around the county, including the Totnes to Littlehempston route.

South Brent & Dartington

Jacqi Hodgson – Green Party

Election time is a great opportunity to highlight issues that can get buried under arguments; as a keen cyclist I fully understand that we need to make this vital link happen if we are to encourage people out of their cars, bring more tourism to our villages and promote safe cycling for children.

Tony Whitty – Labour

I am in support of the project to create a cycleway between Totnes and Littlehempston. As a member of the Totnes on the Move Board, I am up to speed with the progress of the project and I fully supported the need for a security assessment. if I am elected next week you can be assured that I would work with all the necessary parties to expedite a successful outcome for all concerned.

Rosemary Rowe – Conservative

I fully support the local campaign to achieve the Littlehempston /Totnes route for the cycle path. It would open up a safe route for all to enjoy cycling in this beautiful area of South Devon.

If elected as your County councillor I will carry on the work which Cllr. Pennington has been doing to make this come to fruition.

Ray Harrington – UKIP

Yes of course I support the proposed path, and I have done for many a year.

Indeed, I joined your very first awareness ride in June 2009 from The Tally Ho Inn to the Plains. And I joined your last ride in September 2011 from the Pig&Whistle to the Sports Ground with our MP Sarah Wollaston. Not forgetting the August 2010 event where we all, and Sarah Wollaston, briefly occupied the steam railway pedestrian bridge.

Most Wednesdays (although not in the recent bad weather) I cycle with the Totnes Cycle Club, formally led by Julian Burns, and we often head up the A381 from the Plains to Littlehempston, so I can tell you first hand what an incredible dangerous road that is for cyclists.

As far as the proposed path is concerned, most of the track is already there. I know because I have cycled along it. Your campaign has demonstrated that there is a demand for it both locally and as part of the National Network, so yes you can count on my support.

And at the personal level, these last few years I have participated in the fund raising charity cycle rides across Northern India and VietNam to Cambodia.

Newton Abbot – South

Gordon Hook – Liberal Democrats

As one of the original signatories of the petition in the very early days I am happy to give my unequivocal, even passionate support for what you are trying to
achieve. I will support with the utmost vigour. No ifs no buts. As one who has cycled many of the cycleways of Devon and Cornwall I very much look forward to adding
Totnes/Newton to the list. Every good wish.

Newton Abbot – North

Jackie Brodie – Liberal Democrats

I am a candidate in the County Council election standing for Newton Abbot North in the County Elections. I have lived in Newton Abbot for the last 25 years, but was born and brought up in Totnes, at Hillbrook Rd. I was then and am still a very keen cyclist. Even back in my childhood, (a long time ago now!) I remember talk of a possible route to Littlehempston, that would negate the need for the horrible main road ride up the hill past what was I think called the Chateau BelleVue Hotel (is that right, my memory may have faded). The rest of the route to Newton Abbot can be done in minor lanes but this is a key section that is missing. I very much support the campaign for this route, I know it has been an ongoing campaign and would like to get involved and would be keen to know what the hurdles are that need overcoming.

Teignbridge South

Keith Clements – Green Party

As the Green Party candidateTeignbridge South, I am writing to give my 100% support for the Totnes – Littlehempston cycle/pedestrian path.
I will be keen to work with councillors, of any political hue, who support this and keep pushing for this model to become a reality in our area.

In fact I would go further. As a county councillor, as well as a keen cyclist, I will be pushing for a cycle/pedestrian path from Newton Abbot, via Littlehempston to Totnes and thereafter onwards to Dartmouth.
I am very keen to see Devon emulate the highly popular, well used and vandal free Camel Trail in Cornwall.

Running from a market town, 17 miles inland (Bodmin) alongside a steam railway part of the way, the Camel Trail goes via a quirky, small town (Wadebridge) 7 miles up a tidal river and ends at an estuary port (Padstow). This trail not only attracts small businesses to invest and open up along it’s length, adds over £3 million to the local economy, gives 34 full time, year round jobs to local people, but also is used year round by local schoolchildren and workers, commuting to school and work.

Alistair Dewhirst – Liberal Democrats

I fully support any safe cycle path and will continue to work with all Parish Councils and any other body to achieve a safe cycle path from Newton Abbot to Totnes via the villages.

Jacqueline Stewart – Labour Party

I am committed to increasing accessible and sustainable infrastructure for local communities, and I would most definitely support the project. I feel that with political will, a way can be found through any technical problems. Good luck with your campaign!

Dennis Smith – Conservative Party

I believe it to be important that Totnes and its outlying communities are not left out of the National Cycling Network. Although not a cyclist myself I know that there are many supporters in the villages that make up the Teignbridge South Division

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