Jesmond cyclists to grill prospective Newcastle City Council representative ahead of by-election

City cycle campaigners will quiz aspiring North Jesmond politicians about their views on riding and transport

Katja Leyendecker, chair of cycle campaign group Newcycling
Katja Leyendecker, chair of cycle campaign group Newcycling

Cyclists in Jesmond have been given the green light to grill councillor candidates on their views of two-wheeled travel.

Ahead of August 28’s North Jesmond by-election, city cycling campaign Newcycling and Living Streets Tyneside are hosting a question and answer session to find out more about the five aspiring politicians’ plans.

The pre-election hustings from 7.30pm on August 14 at Jesmond Library, with the sole focus on transport.

Conservative Duncan Crute, Liberal Democrat Gerry Keating, Ukip’s Daniel Thompson, Labour’s Peter Smith and Shehla Naqvi of the Green Party will take centre stage at two-hour event, which will be chaired by Neil Murphy from national innovation company, Beyond Green.

Sally Watson, leader of Newcycling’s Jesmond branch, said the hustings would benefit all road users - not just cyclists.

She said: “For the last election there was a hustings but it covered everything and we didn’t want what people said about transport to be absorbed in discussion on all topics.

“We want to do what we can to make cycling more cycling for people in Jesmond where there are problems at the moment, like the big roads we need to cross to access amenities, the amount of through-traffic and parking issues.

“I would like to hear candidates say they will look at area-wide road network solutions and these will benefit drivers just as much as cyclists.”

Katja Leyendecker, chairman of Newcycling, said: “We believe transport touches on everyone’s life and there is much to talk about.

“Recent plans and projects in Jesmond - Acorn Road, Brandling Park and Tankerville Terrace to name a few - show that things are ‘moving on’ and the debate and questions should be about the direction, transition, transformation and vision for Jesmond’s transport future.”

She added: “It is important to continue the debate into what residents want Jesmond to be. I believe it has lost some of its diversity, both in terms of its people and transport options, and this event can keep the discussion in focus.

“There are small things that can be done to improve things in the next six to 12 months but we also need to think about where we want to go from here on a bigger scale.”

Previously, election hustings in the ward were organised by volunteer group Jesmond Local.

The North Jesmond seat has been vacated by Peter Andras who left the North East for a job at Keele University.

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