Beautiful woodland along the Strawberry Line

Somerset County Council candidates (2017) respond to our open letter

Letter to County Council candidates

Cheddar

Normal Scanlon (Labour)

I would support completely the four specific aims that you have listed. I would also suggest that any transport plan review would also invite the views of all organisations with aims to improve our environment – SUSTRANS, Friends of the Earth, as two examples.

I find it frustrating the Somerset County Council is so inactive on so many important issues - one reason that I'm standing as a candidate!

Tim Shaban (Liberal Democrats)

I would wholeheartedly support the measures you outline if elected and would actively try and overhaul Somerset County Council's approach to sustainable transport.

The benefits of the Tarka Trail and Camel Trail to Devon and Cornwall respectively are surely beyond dispute. Closer to home North Somerset Council, Bristol City Council and B.A.N.E.S. are light years ahead of Somerset in promoting traffic free paths and cycleways.

The people of Somerset should not have to put up with this appalling state of affairs and I hope that they will use their votes to support a different approach.

Nigel Taylor (Conservatives)

As a keen fell walker and rambler for over 45 years, I fully appreciate the ideas and strength of feeling behind the Strawberry Line plans to expand the Strawberry line footpath.

As long as Landowners and existing owners are adequately compensated for any land required, and that a full and proper business plan is put forward, then should I be fortunate enough to be elected in the forthcoming elections, – then subject to the rules of predetermination,– I would have a pre-inclination to fully support the extension.

Mendip West

Ros Wyke (Liberal Democrats)

While being a member of the [Strawberry Line Association] we have seen success of the link between Rodney and Draycott, the path from Wells Leisure Centre and Haybridge being completed, as well as the recent refurbishment and enhancement of the Wells to Dulcote path. In addition over £80,000 has been raised to complete the business case, planning application and associated environmental reports.

The difference between North Somerset and Somerset County Council's approach and proactive support for the path is very marked. If elected I will be very happy to actively support the suggested actions in your email, that of establishing both dedicated officer and County resources to support the development of the path, and to seek an urgent review of the County's Local transport plan, a critical policy for the well-being and sustainable future for the 22 villages of the Mendip West division.

In addition I would specifically seek an urgent review and any necessary update of the 'parked' planning application to expedite the path. We are a county of narrow often stone wall lined lanes built for another century, so off-road routes and key bus services are vital, today's motorist too would appreciate fewer cars on the road and the lack of delays from not being able to overtake cyclists.

Our green countryside should be readily accessible to all, it is at the heart of much of our tourism and the completion of the Somerset Circle will without doubt be a wonderful addition to our local economy.

Shepton Mallet

Peter Harlow (Green Party)

I enjoy traffic-free routes myself and have walked or cycled many of the open sections of the Somerset Circle. I admire the work of the Strawberry Line Association to date, and you may rest assured that, should I be elected to the Council, I would endeavour to support this project.

Garfield Kennedy (Liberal Democrats)

You have my wholehearted support for the Strawberry Line and its tributaries. I have already managed to raise £37,500 from Shepton Town a council to be held in reserve to be spent on cycleways in our vicinity... and it is one of the 3 identified key priority objectives in my main County Council election literature alongside safe crossings next to our local schools and a radical shake-up of our bus services to stop cutting off our communities.

Wells

Den Carter (Labour)

Let me assure you I am a keen supporter of this and look forward to its extension. [...] I am already a frequent user of the section which is just behind my house and I am also very committed to getting more multi user paths and less traffic – a significant issue for me both politically and personally as I live right on the A371.

You have my commitment that any opportunity to support this project will be taken up by me, and I would very much like to see this escalated up the agenda as I feel that given the plethora of new developments Wells is currently being swamped with, we need safer and more environmentally ways to get residents around.

John Osman (Conservatives)

I believe what you request is certainly achievable from Somerset County Council.

I made the Strawberry Line a priority and it even featured in my party's county council manifesto. I am sure if we all work together we will achieve the objective in the near future.