Here is the full text of the responses received – strictly in order of receipt
Green Party Candidate Claire Lasko:
“Unpredictable congestion on the A40 is strangling social and economic life in West Oxfordshire The problem will only worsen when many more houses are built here.
Dualling the A40 is not a solution. Traffic reached saturation point years ago and more road capacity instantly attracts more traffic.
A public transport solution is required, preferably a train from Carterton through Witney to Oxford. It is extraordinary that a conurbation of the size that Witney-Carterton will reach in a very few years does not have a rail link to the outside world. Until it does, the area will continue in isolation and relative decline.
It is imperative that WOT continue its invaluable work if these aims are to be met.
(Green Party / on behalf of Claire Lasko 18/05/17 14:52 (email))
Robert Courts, Conservative candidate:
Thank you for your email about the A40. I am grateful to you for raising this matter and for all the work that you do to draw attention to problems on the road.
Let me assure you that I share your frustration about the congestion on the A40, and, if I may say, also share your determination to solve this matter once and for all.
Indeed, I have brought the Transport Secretary down to Witney to see the congestion on the A40 for himself, and have also raised this issue in the House of Commons. Should I be re-elected I will continue to lobby central government to provide the funding and expertise necessary to end the congestion on the road.
You might to be interested to know that I am currently petitioning Parliament for this very purpose. I hoping to amass as many signatories as possible to ensure the Government takes notice of the widespread discontent over the A40, and, crucially, the need to address this issue as soon as possible. Should I be re-elected, one of the first things I will do is present the petition to Parliament. I hope that this will bring the Government to the negotiating table so we can press for the funding and expertise necessary to provide a sustainable, long-term fix to the road.
I would invite you to sign the petition, (www.robertcourts.co.uk/a40
), and would be grateful if you could encourage others to do so too.
Many thanks again and I hope we can work together on this issue in the future.
(received by email at 16:01 Monday 22 May 2017)
PS) the Witney Gazette wrote to all the candidates and published their views here
Response from Laetisia Carter, Labour Candidate
Comment: We all know our infrastructure needs prioritising and adequate investment, and that includes transport in West Oxfordshire.
Not only will investment create local jobs during construction; it will also shape our economic future and needs careful handling!
The A40 is a vital link between jobs, hospitals and homes. It needs investment and since Labour councillors were elected to bang on about it on behalf of their neighbours we have seen some improvements. The bus lanes are very welcome but not enough.
For a sustainable future we need to build more jobs in our towns and villages. Fast broadband will help, as will a fairer economy with lending for local businesses. Let’s face it, after seven years of Tory and Lib Dem rule, any sort of regional policy and government action would be welcome! Our regional investment banks will help.
But we also need major improvements in public transport. Labour councillors have supported this, particularly buses, and would like to see light rail or similar in the district. We support a strong local plan and have criticised the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats for their ill-judged reforms to the planning system.
We are very keen on the sort of rural regeneration programme you suggest. And we are also keen to support Carterton and the base to work together to develop a science centre for the District. As Labour MP I would work with my councillor colleagues to bring jobs and homes together, with the right infrastructure.
In Chipping Norton we have very similar challenges and we need mobile connectivity (the signal is really poor!) as well as high quality jobs and better roads (with lorries out of the centre) to make our town strong again.
Time: 30/05/2017 at 22:52
Response from Liz Leffman, LibDem Candidate (responses to our questions in Italics)
1. Would you support the creation of an alternative transport mode, either as a light rail or similar, to serve the area in question, joining it up with the rest of the network? Yes
2. Would you be willing to look again at the development plans for the area, lobbying for the creation of a well planned and state of art housing approach, rather than a piecemeal one as we have now? I do not believe that under present legislation this will be possible. Rather, I would support a review of the NPPF as a whole. I would also support a move to require councils to plan housing and infrastructure together, instead of the piecemeal approach that we have at present.
3. Would you be willing to consider rural regeneration plans that would create affordable and sustainable carbon neutral communities instead of conventional housing through a partnership of the private and public sectors? Yes
4. How would you support the growth of areas like Carterton and Brize Norton as high tech centres for the District? Clearly the first step towards this is to have a transport plan for the A40, without which we will not be in a position to attract businesses to the area.
Received 1/6/2017 17:30