Thursday, 11 April 2019

Hustings

There is a “hustings” on the Abingdon Facebook group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/2211282796/

The members of my group would like to ask the candidates the following questions.

* What changes - specifically and realistically – would you make during your term to make Abingdon an even better place to live?
* How will you improve the cycling and recycling facilities in and around Abingdon?
* Through the work of the OCSB, how will you ensure that school’s safeguarding and inclusion policies are written by independent experts and adhere to the guidance laid out in the Department for Education’s “Working Together To Safeguard Children” document?
* The electorate has received mixed messages over whether the Vale can afford to "forward-fund" their share of the Lodge Hill junction slip roads. Please could you tell us your view on the situation.
*How would you celebrate the contribution of LGBQT people to our community?

I gave the following answers:

If elected I will of course go to all the Council Meetings and Committee Meeting and volunteer to help at Town Council events and take up any case work people raise with me.

I will also pro-actively look at the issues people have mentioned during canvassing and those on my manifesto and create a list of projects. These are not town council matters but matters of local concern. I will then do a little fact finding on each project to see which might be feasible to tackle in the first year, and which will need more planning and funding to address.

Projects I hope to tackle earlier rather than later include suggesting new litter bins where they are needed and even get some areas patrolled. Put up anti dog mess stickers in some areas and get them patrolled. Also request a speed indicator down Preston Road and let people know the response. I would also like to look at some ideas for safer cycling, having talked to cycling group, and set up a meeting to discuss them with County Councillors and Officers on site to see which could be taken further. At the same time ask the officers what can be done about parking on bends down Preston Road. Also find the facts about the dangerous Wilsham Road parking. Who parks there and why? What alternatives there might be. If there is a strong case to stop parking there then start a petition of local people, and also request letters of support for a change from Police, Ambulance, Fire Services. Then take the petition to the Town Council Planning and after discussion to County Council for formal consultation.

I am standing as a town councillor, not a district councillor, so will not have direct control over recycling. However my wife, and I, have given up plastic during Lent as we are not convinced plastic gets properly recycled and think it better not to produce waste in the first place. I would, as a Town Councillor, continue to promote Abingdon markets where you can buy without plastic, and promote Added Ingredients where you can get refills, and encourage any other such initiatives in other shops both as a councillor and through the Abingdon Blog (abingdonblog.co.uk) which I write. On Cycling I am committed to safer cycling and pedestrian routes from South Abingdon into town and would like to talk to cycle groups about how this can be achieved before putting forward a positive proposal. It has been tried before so we need something that will make a difference and work.

Regarding school's safeguarding, I am a school governor, and am fully committed to safeguarding our children and giving them the best, and a safe, start in life. I will be running a Code Club at school and any matters that come to my attention will be raised with the school child protection officer. In community events, put on by the Town Council, I will use my training in this area to ensure safeguarding risks are kept in mind when planning events.

I am not privy to information about Lodge Hill forward-funding. I strongly believe we need the infrastructure before the houses. The extra traffic from North Abingdon will have a knock on effect on Marcham Road and Drayton Road and make things worse for South Abingdon where traffic is already awful at times. My understanding is that the Highway Agency are considering the proposed plans but are probably not going to make a decision until they know what will happen with the Oxford Cambridge expressway.

I celebrate all who take part in our community whatever their race, religion, or sexual orientation. I do not discriminate. I love to see community engagement and have always covered LGBQT events on the Abingdon Blog which I write.

Alastair Fear

Independent Candidate for Abingdon Town Council in Caldecott Ward

P.S See my wife's blog about about giving up plastic https://unfantasticplastic.home.blog/.

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