Richard Davies

Richard Davies

richarddavies

Councillor Richard Davies is the executive councillor for Highways and Transportation at Lincolnshire County Council. He is also responsible for Access LN6, a £6.5 million programme to improve sustainable transport options in the LN6 area of Lincoln and Hykeham.


It’s been three months since we met with and asked people for their views and opinions about transport in and around Lincoln. And now, the Lincoln Transport Strategy team is busy feeding all of the responses into a blueprint for improving travel around Lincoln now and in the future.

Not only did we have the opportunity to speak with over 700 people at our engagement events, but we also received 1,300 completed surveys.

I’d like to thank everyone that shared their views with us. All of the feedback we had through has provided a very valuable insight into what people think we should focus on over the next two decades.

One of the early observations we’ve picked up is that people are really keen for us to complete Lincoln’s ring road by building the North Hykeham Relief Road sooner rather than later.

I want to assure everyone that this project will most definitely be included in the strategy and is something we’re continuing to work towards.

A lot of people also suggested offering more evening and weekend bus services, as well as making the city more cycle-friendly.

Sustainable transport is something we encourage, support and want to see more of in the coming years. So I expect Lincoln’s new transport strategy will include a number of options for encouraging more people to leave their cars at home and walk, cycle or use buses and trains when possible.

Lincoln’s current transport strategy, developed in 2006, has led to several major improvements to the city’s road network. These include dualling the A46 at Teal Park, completing the East-West Link Road and carrying out a number of congestion-busting improvement schemes and successful public and sustainable transport projects.

Not just that, but the largest project proposed in the current transport strategy – the Lincoln Eastern Bypass – is currently being built and is set to open next spring.

Our aspiration with the new transport strategy is to continue identifying and investing in the infrastructure Lincoln needs to keep growing and prospering in the future. All while keeping people living, working and visiting the city moving over the next twenty years.

Anyone interested in learning more about major road schemes taking place in Lincoln and elsewhere across the county can visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/majorprojects for details.

Councillor Richard Davies is the executive councillor for Highways and Transportation at Lincolnshire County Council. He is also responsible for Access LN6, a £6.5 million programme to improve sustainable transport options in the LN6 area of Lincoln and Hykeham.

Never in the field of human elections have so many experts been so wrong for so long. Some time ago controversial US presidential hopeful, Sarah Palin, was roundly ridiculed for saying of political polls “Polls? Nah… they’re for strippers and cross country skiers.” However after last week you could be forgiven for thinking they are more use on the piste than in the papers.

In a move that has dumfounded the pundits and the Labour Party, the UK electorate have come out in favour of the Conservative agenda. All the talk of red lines, coalition and deals is simply dead in the water. Those sad enough, like me, to stay up and watch the action develop on election night were presented to a spectacle like no other.

Having been presented with a certain fait accompli by most media outlets and commentators, then walking into the election count to be greeted by an exit poll suggesting a blue team victory was frankly unbelievable. Even on these very pages a narrative had played out suggesting that Lucy Rigby was a shoo-in to replace Karl McCartney as Member of Parliament for this key bellweather seat. As the night drew on the hope became a reality as the Labour vote stalled, UKIP failed to gain any sort of traction and our one time coalition partners, the Lib Dems, collapsed.

We woke to a new dawn with David Cameron firmly installed as Prime Minister with an unthinkable majority of 12 in the House of Commons. Lincolnshire is still blue at both local and Parliamentary level with only Lincoln City Council remaining red.

So what of the future? Well in simple terms Cameron has a job on his hands, his bold ambitious manifesto around the economy and taxation now has to be delivered, it’s tough enough to ‘walk the walk’ during a campaign but now the real job begins.

The impact in Lincolnshire is going to be significant. In the same way thousands of jobs were created during the last parliament and an unparalleled number of families had their tax lifted, we can expect more of the same as a sound long term economic plan continues to pay dividends to hard working families across the region.

I also think it’s fair to say the obviously popular welfare reforms will continue. Ian Duncan Smith’s laudable ambition to liberate people from the welfare poverty trap by encouraging employment will undoubtedly continue. I suspect without the Liberal Democrats to cool reform we’ll see more radical approaches to social policy with the right to buy plan expanding to enable more people to step onto the property ladder for the first time. Cameron has already pledged to see the welfare benefits cap reduced to £23,000 per annum from the present £26,000, further emphasising the role of working over benefit dependency.

Perhaps even more controversially we are probably going to see proper constitutional reform with the frankly criminal imbalance of constituency size being redressed properly. Here in Lincolnshire current constituencies vary in size from approximately 70,000 right the way through to nearly 90,000. The Conservative stated ambition to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 and standardise the size of each electoral area will see revisions in the local boundaries so that by the time of the next election you may find yourself living in another constituency.

Finally we have the question of Europe. Unable to deliver his promised referendum during the last parliament David Cameron has just two years until the deadline passes to give the British people a vote on continuing membership of the European Union. This will be a crucial decision for Lincolnshire businesses in particular and I really hope that the requisite prior negotiation will bring about the substantive reforms that will hopefully persuade us all to retain membership. However unless these discussions really get a handle on the immigration concerns many have then I fear we will leave the union. The only way I see the people of Lincolnshire supporting the European project is if it returns to be a free trade scheme and loses the trappings of political union that rightly us Anglo Saxons abhor.

Councillor Richard Davies is the executive councillor for Highways and Transportation at Lincolnshire County Council. He is also responsible for Access LN6, a £6.5 million programme to improve sustainable transport options in the LN6 area of Lincoln and Hykeham.

In a large rural county like ours, the road and transport network is absolutely vital. It’s what keeps everything moving, like the oil in a car engine.

As Lincolnshire County Council’s executive member for highways and transport, I care passionately about the local infrastructure – and, judging by my postbag and email inbox, so do residents!

Much of your correspondence with me is about potholes, so I’m pleased to tell you we’re making real progress in tackling them.

Extra money from the Government last summer – plus our own careful budgeting – enabled us to spend an additional £12m on highways maintenance in 2014, on top of the £50m already planned.

As this year draws to a close, we expect to have resurfaced over four million square metres of roads and permanently repaired thousands more potholes.

Already, I think we’re seeing a big difference, and I’m delighted – in my regular visits to all four corners of the county – to hear how many residents and businesses feel the same.

What’s more, it’s just been announced that we’ll be getting a further windfall of £9m from the Government for highways maintenance in 2015/16 – a real boost to our plans.

As well as maintaining the road network, we give priority to winter gritting, ensuring we have at least 34,000 tonnes of salt – bought in advance at the best prices – in stock at any one time.

More generally, we’re committed to long-term infrastructure investment to keep Lincolnshire moving. That’s not just good for local people in their day-to-day lives, it’s also crucial for our economic prosperity.

Leader of Lincolnshire County Council Martin Hill, Lincoln MP Karl McCartney, Councillor Richard Davies and Mayor of Lincoln Councillor Brent Charlesworth. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Leader of Lincolnshire County Council Martin Hill, Lincoln MP Karl McCartney, Councillor Richard Davies and Mayor of Lincoln Councillor Brent Charlesworth. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

At this time last year, we had just finished a major programme of works on Lincoln’s Newark Road, at the junctions with Brant Road, Hykeham Road and Rookery Lane.

As anticipated, it has eased congestion on a vital route in and out of the city, while the Access LN6 sustainable travel project though North Hykeham has also notched up real successes.

They include more than 2,500 rentals under our hirebike scheme since its launch in August 2013.
With an extra six hirebike stations now installed, the take-up should move up another gear in 2015, encouraging even more people to leave their cars at home.

Meanwhile, bus travel to Witham St Hughs and Bassingham has increased by more than 70% since 2011 – the equivalent of 14,000 new passengers on the PC Coaches 38 and 49 services.

On the coast, the council has been awarded £4m for sustainable transport in Skegness in 2016-17, enabling us to improve things like footways, cyclepaths, bus priority and signage.

In Grantham, too, the long-awaited relief road is finally starting to take shape, with work due to start in the spring on the first leg. Design on a similar scheme for Spalding is also underway.

Then there’s the vital East-West Link in Lincoln, where construction started in November, and a Canwick Road upgrade, due to begin early in New Year.

For the future, a public inquiry into the legal orders needed for the Lincoln Eastern Bypass will be held within the next few months, hopefully enabling us to move the scheme forward while £50m of Government funding remains available.

Away from roads, we and our “onlincolnshire” project partner BT are proud of our shared success in extending the availability of superfast broadband to over 1,000 more properties every week.

Whether it’s broadband or bypasses, bikes or buses, it’s all about investing in 21st-century connectivity for the benefit of present and future generations.

Despite the challenges ahead, that’s surely something to celebrate this New Year!

Councillor Richard Davies is the executive councillor for Highways and Transportation at Lincolnshire County Council. He is also responsible for Access LN6, a £6.5 million programme to improve sustainable transport options in the LN6 area of Lincoln and Hykeham.

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