It is unimaginable that anyone would wish for a dirtier one but, unfortunately, the devil is in the detail and, thanks to CoHSAT, we are able to drill down a little further into what tomorrow's candidates really think.
Essentially, CoHSAT designed a questionnaire that all of the candidates in tomorrow's elections in Oxfordshire were invited to complete. There were only 12 questions, all focused on making our communities more inviting places to live. Happily, all of our candidates for the County Council have answered the questionnaire so the members of our extended "constituency" will be able to see what they said and make their own choices.
So here goes, this is how our candidates responded at the next level of detail:
There is more detail on the CoHSAT site if you wish to explore further. The following is a summary of how many candidates responded by party, which should demonstrate, to some extent, how the political groupings view the subject as a whole. This snapshot was taken today (5/5/2021).
Each blob represents a candidate in tomorrow's election. The blank blobs represent candidates who, for whatever reason, did not respond.
I have indicated in earlier blogs that I don't believe that significant improvements for Faringdon would be particularly difficult or expensive. But we do need to start with a Local Walking and Cycling Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) if we expect to find extra funding from central government et al.
We have a world class cycle park for teaching children to ride a bicycle, for example, but not too many safe routes to cycle on once they have become proficient.
We started a process in 2009 to try to remedy this with a plan and it received positive responses from the then council but foundered in the bureaucracy. The political landscape has shifted significantly since then and it would be appropriate to try again.
We do need an LCWIP to achieve this, though.
The physical landscape has also changed so we need to start ASAP to consult on a version of a "tube map" to set out our priorities, both for journeys within Faringdon and for those into wider Oxfordshire. Here are a few we prepared earlier together with a first pass at an actual map for implementing the vision.
Good luck to all candidates and voters tomorrow in the County elections.
Active Travel loves 15-minute communities that stimulate Active Travel.
Our town of Faringdon in Oxfordshire is an ideal candidate to become a 15-minute community. We are gregarious, whether we know it or not. Provide the opportunity and the townspeople flock out to take advantage of the social interaction. With a few tweaks it could be a shining light. Most of the ingredients are already there. Most of us like each other. We smile and wave and shout "lovely day" on brisk mornings because the sun is peering out.
What a wonderful gift for our children. Let's not lose it.
We have: a picturesque market place flanked by pubs and restaurants and coffee shops, a quaint Town Hall on stilts at its centre; an annual festival, annual Bonfire display, cycle Sportive of note, a beer festival of brews (of which there are many) from the surrounding area; football, cricket, rugby, tennis, cycling, and running clubs; the Pump House Project for the young and the more venerable to dance the night (and afternoon) away; the Folly Tower itself which opens every month, the last grand folly in England with views across countless counties; eccentric people who do eccentric things, a town crier, a mayor who appears in full regalia at any opportunity; an exemplar training facility for young cyclists; a great bus service to the centres of Oxford and Swindon; a country park with a fishing lake; a choice of supermarkets; schools at all levels including the U3A; turning on of the Christmas lights; a piano to serenade the Folly; and many many more.
Here's a fantasy example to get Faringdonians thinking ...
It doesn't even have to be perfect weather to attract people to the Market Place but a number of tweaks could make it the envy of the region. A proper 15-minute community would be ideal.
There is a way to explain 15-minute communities that makes it the obvious way to proceed. Or is there? More than anything, it needs the will.
The will existed more than 12 years ago with an early attempt at a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP). Now that this process has been formalised, other towns are cashing in on funding available for implementation. As the saying goes, success breeds success and more funding is likely to follow. What is certain is that those towns that hesitate will fall even further behind.
What more do we need, you may ask?
Some of the pieces will be easier than others to implement so here are a few ideas ...
There are so many things we CAN do and there is no better time to start. Go for attractive infrastructure first and people will start to use it. Look to the medium to long term.