VOTE 2010: Ask Worthing's candidates

HERALD readers were invited to send in their questions for parliamentary candidates to answer in print.

The first two questions were published on Thursday, April 22, and the second two will appear on Thursday, April 29.

Graham North, of Reigate Road, Worthing, asked: Given the dreadful state of the A27, what are your proposals to alleviate traffic congestion?

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Peter Honiball, of Lenhurst Way, Tarring, asked: There have been many negative campaigns about the developments proposed at Teville Gate, the Aquarena and Grafton car park without offering any viable alternatives or solutions to these issues.

What are your views on negative campaigns and what are your proposals for these areas?

Candidates responses are listed below

Worthing West

Peter Bottomley '“ Conservative

The unlamented John Prescott found ways to put this problem on the "do nothing" pile. I think Worthing's needs will follow action at Chichester and Arundel to the west '“ and this Labour government has found ways to avoid progress there as well.

What is needed is a practical plan online or north of the A27. Sadly, going into the Downs is unlikely to be acceptable and the residents on the present line might predictably have more influence than other locals including business who will benefit.

The way forward might be for national government to volunteer to pay for any proper proposal agreed by Worthing, West Sussex, Adur and Arun councils.

My aim is to have a positive campaign but this question invites me to be negative about the reported negative campaigns '“ this is a Catch22?

The council, councillors and officers with competitive offers by the private sector can, I believe, find the best options and then drive them forward so Worthing can have the best of its traditions with modern provision for visitors and residents.

I welcome recent council initiatives and I would be prepared to be criticised by the child-free who sometimes appear to deny the needs of the young.

Hazel Thorpe '“ Lib Dem

The A27, a by-pass or not, flummoxed even the current MP, who was the minister for transport in the last Conservative government.

We are now more conscious of the impact of our actions upon the natural environment and habitats, and rightly so.

I would want to be more creative and work with Norman Baker MP, transport experts and local knowledge to significantly reduce the toll on the roads around Worthing.

Locally, we have been working tirelessly for better bus services, a park and ride and a better rail service with working toilets on the local trains.

There is a difference between negative campaigning and criticising those in power, who, can if they wanted to, change Worthing and district for the better.

Negative campaigning which is personal, dishing the dirt on a member of the public, and which has no positive outcome for the community is to be condemned.

Criticism of the party or a group of people who are simply not doing their job adequately is acceptable and necessary if we want to improve and change our lives.

Ian Ross '“ Labour

I've cursed the A27 many times. Last summer, I met with the transport secretary, Lord Adonis, about improving the rail service between Southampton and Brighton and I think that is the way forward towards reducing congestion on the A27.

It takes forever to travel by train on the Southampton to Brighton line '“ 1 hour 45 minutes to make the 60-mile journey.

It would sometimes be quicker to fly off to Spain than to catch the train.

I want to see faster, more frequent rail services on this line that are affordable to entice people out of their cars.

Worthing has become left behind with a clear lack of modern facilities for young people and families.

We have more working age people than ever before living in the area and we need proposals that cater for everyone.

I would like to see the council doing more to encourage commercial developments, such as a cinema complex with ten-pin bowling.

We need to move away from a NIMBY culture towards a positive, forward facing vision.

I think we need a proper full public consultation for these sites, and then we can get on with developing them.

Worthing West candidates John Wallace for UKIP, and David Aherne, Green, did not respond. Stuart Dearsley, standing for the Christian

Party in Worthing West, registered as a candidate too late for our questions but his responses will appear on Thursday, April 29.

East Worthing and Shoreham

Emily Benn '“ Labour

Traffic on the A27 has been a long-standing problem '“ and our section of the A27 will have to be considered in the overall context of coastal road transport infrastructure, and how we balance the environment with a thriving economy that depends on good cross-country communications.

We're in favour of much better traffic management to improve the flow of traffic on the A27 through Worthing.

Improved public transport has played a big role in keeping traffic away from the A27. Further improvements to both rail and bus in conjunction with better traffic management will help.

Any major infrastructure scheme, especially one involving valuable community facilities, should be subject to a local referendum '“ that has a minimum level of participation to be valid.

Our proposals are: Teville Gate as a mix of private and affordable housing with neighbourhood facilities, including the pharmacy; the Aquarena redeveloped close to its present site, and the outdoor free children paddling pool must be part of the new development; the Grafton Street car park is an eyesore so parking on higher levels with cafs and small businesses would enhance the area.

James Doyle '“ Lib Dem

Unquestionably, Worthing needs a proper bypass '“ the bypass that Peter Bottomley scrapped when a minister in the DoT.

It should be a tunnelled route, in order to preserve the environment of the Downs and protect people's homes. This will take time to implement, and we need to take clear action in the interim: introduce a park and ride scheme for Worthing to take local traffic off the main roads; sort out the traffic lights the Tories brought in at Lyons Farm and Grove Lodge roundabout; and prevent rat-running through residential neighbourhoods.

Negative campaigning is as important to the democratic process as positive campaigning '“ without it, we might have a swimming pool in the wrong place, at the wrong price.

The current proposals for Teville Gate show promise, and we need to work with the developers to make sure the process happens properly, but efficiently.

The new pool should include an ice rink, and must retain a free paddling pool or equivalent.

The Grafton site was lost through Tory delays, and we should look to remarket it when the economy improves and the council can get a fair price for our asset.

Michael Glennon '“ UKIP

Traffic volumes in Britain have become unsustainable and the main parties are happy to open Britain's door to 500 million Europeans.

Controlling population growth is key to managing traffic. UKIP is committed to real border control to improve the problem.

Representation of voters takes place at two levels: Westminster and town council, and here again, we see dominance by two or three parties which leads to councils following the party line rather than listening to residents.

This will only change when more parties are returned to local councils.

At the end of the day, councils must listen to voters and it is their vote which UKIP would promote

Tim Loughton '“ Conservative

The Worthing bypass weighed large before I became the local MP in 1997, yet it has got nowhere, despite constantly raising it in Parliament.

To make it a reality, it must become a national, not regional, road priority.

Realistically, that's still years away.

Abolishing national housing targets and giving more planning powers back to local communities is essential to curb yet more congestion from further overdevelopment.

Locally, we urgently need a park and ride scheme, reliable and affordable hopper bus services and better and safer shared school transport rather than wasting money on dubious traffic light installations.

Regeneration of Teville Gate and the Aquarena have been so long coming that although new plans are imminent and investment secured, locals will believe it when they see it.

Yet these will be enormous confidence boosts to Worthing.

That is why I have formed Worthing 2020 with local business groups,councillors and others to talk up Worthing's prospects for the next decade, devise a blueprint for what Worthing people and employers want our town to become and challenge Worthing's stereotypes.

Worthing has huge potential and I hope everyone locally plays their part.

Clive Maltby '“ English Democrats

I am chairman for West Sussex English Democrats, and a volunteer driver for Arun Community Transport.

I have driven all over West Sussex roads, and they are all very low standard.

I would press for the Folkestone to Honiton M27 to be continued, as promised 40 years ago, with subsidy from the European Union.

The Aquarena is too old and small. It should be knocked down and replaced with an open-air swimming pool for swimmers, and more gardens for the retired to enjoy the sea views.

Teville Gate should be redeveloped with a new indoor swimming pool (Olympic size) to enable our young people to be able to train for the games, plus gyms, etc.

All the other town centre car parks should be removed to the outskirts, and a park and a low cost bus service.

Where is the money to come from? The English Democrats will stop subsidies to the European Union, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

East Worthing and Shoreham Green Party candidate Susan Board did not respond.

Arundel and South Downs (includes Findon)

Derek Deedman '“ Lib Dem

This also means the unacceptable use of rural roads around Worthing (A280/A24/A283) being used as an alternative bypass.

The latest cost estimate of a proper Worthing bypass in tunnels is over 1bn '“ well beyond any government finance for the foreseeable future.

Liberal Democrats want to move public funding from new roads to improving the rail network, which would enable much individual and freight traffic to transfer from road to rail.

Where this still leaves traffic congestion, such as around Worthing, I would look to the suitable provision of a toll road like that around Birmingham, constructed by the private sector.

Opposition criticism of a controlling party on a council who are simply not doing their job adequately is acceptable and necessary if we want to improve and change our lives.

As an MP, I would serve and be accountable to my constituents and if I didn't work hard I'd expect people to tell me.

As a regular visitor to Worthing, I consider it would be good if both parties on the council could work together to agree developments for these major sites, which would benefit the people of the town and improve the experience of visitors to the town.

Arundel and South Downs '“ Tim Lunnon, Labour, Stuart Bower, UKIP, and Nick Herbert, Conservative, did not respond.

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