THE need to improve Fareham’s strained transport network dominated the discussion at last night’s News hustings.
A large proportion of questions put to general election candidates were around what they would do to ease congestion and relieve pressure on roads in and out of the town.
Tory candidate Suella Fernandes insisted the focus needed to be on improving access to the M27 and making improvements to junction 10 – which has no eastbound exit – which she said will happen through money being won by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.
But rivals argued more needed doing to get people out of their cars on to public transport – and criticised cuts imposed to bus services and poor rail journeys.
Lib Dem Matthew Winnington, addressing the audience at Fareham College, said: ‘There has been far too much concentration from government over the last 30 years on road driving.
‘A more holistic approach needs to be taken, which we need to push over the next five years of parliament, which is to look at other ways where we can get people into sustainable forms of transport.’
A more holistic approach needs to be taken, which we need to push over the next five years of parliament, which is to look at other ways where we can get people into sustainable forms of transport.Fareham’s Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Matthew Winnington
Green candidate Miles Grindey believes attitudes need to change.
‘The Green Party believes in maintaining existing motorways, not increasing them.
‘We need to find ways of getting people out of their cars on to buses and trains.
‘People for some reason seem to believe the only choice is getting into their car, and that’s not acceptable.’
Ukip’s Malcolm Jones said a big reason for the problem is people commuting out of Fareham to work and more money needs to be brought in to attract businesses and jobs.
Labour’s Stuart Rose said the coalition government’s austerity programme has hampered major road projects in the area. ‘We need a strong economy, allowing funds for projects like that under the last Labour government, such as the Hindhead Tunnel.’
It comes after candidates stressed the need for the government to provide the cash for a Stubbington bypass at this week’s Gosport debate – with Ukip candidate Chris Wood promising he would quit if re-elected if the scheme never materialises.
Candidates highlight importance of NHS investment
FRESH concerns were raised about A&E waiting times at
Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital.
Tory Suella Fernandes said while national figures were
positive, the local picture was a concern.
But she added that four in 10 admissions at QA are for alcohol and drug problems - and people need pointing to the right help and to take ‘personal responsibility’ for their welfare.
Lib Dem Matthew Winnington said his party has pledged to spend an extra £8bn on health services, and wants to campaign for improvements to waiting times in the mental health sector.