Simon Thomson, Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Dartford, is launching a six point plan to get Dartford moving again.  Mr Thomson has provided the following statement to Dartford Matters today:

Whether it’s being stuck in traffic gridlock or being left on a platform by a cancelled train – too often it seems like Dartford isn’t moving. We need that to change – we need a plan to get Dartford moving again. If I’m MP for Dartford next May I’ll tackle our traffic and transport issues.  I’m not going to pretend we can fix everything overnight – but there are things we can and should be doing to help get Dartford moving again. That’s why today I’m launching my traffic and transport priorities for Dartford:

  • Trains: I’ll fight to get a better service for Dartford: As a daily commuter on the Dartford line, I know just how poor the Southeastern service is at the moment. Expensive tickets, delays and cancellations, crowded and dirty carriages and a lack of information when things go wrong. Quite simply, Southeastern are letting us down, badly. The local Tory MP and his government colleagues have ignored your concerns and handed Southeastern a new contract until 2018. Dartford’s rail users deserve better. Labour will cap fares and if Southeastern won’t improve, I will push for a change in operator – preferably in the public sector — that can deliver the modern, integrated and affordable rail service that Dartford needs. And bringing the Oyster card to Dartford now, is a must.
  • Crossing: I’ll campaign against another river crossing at Dartford: Our roads grind to a halt whenever there’s a problem at the crossing. But the Tory government is considering building another crossing at Dartford. That makes no sense. Any new crossing has to be built away from Dartford or our town risks remaining a traffic bottleneck forever more. The local Tory MP campaigned to scrap the tolls in 2010. They went up by 30%. Now he’s failed to get this government to rule out another crossing in Dartford. He doesn’t stand up for Dartford – I will, by campaigning against another river crossing being built in Dartford.
  • Traffic Gridlock: Delivering a new Traffic Plan for Dartford: Gridlock on Dartford’s roads is an all too common experience.  The current traffic plan has failed and from congestion to the many problems with parking across Dartford – I’m clear that your concerns can’t continue to be ignored. That’s why as your MP, I’ll ask our local councils and government to work with me to deliver a new traffic plan for Dartford, and to find solutions to the many parking problems across the borough.
  • Infrastructure: I’ll work to bring Crossrail to Dartford: Thousands of new homes are being planned for Ebbsfleet and Eastern Quarry. Paramount wants to build a theme park on the Swanscombe Peninsular. Huge, exciting projects but I’m concerned that we don’t have the infrastructure to match. That’s why I believe we should benefit from being so close to London by extending Crossrail to Dartford and I’ll work hard to make that happen. I’ll also support a rail extension from Ebbsfleet to the Paramount development, to avoid Swanscombe and other areas getting swamped by traffic.
  • Cycling: Expanding safe cycling provision across the constituency: Cycling is healthy and enjoyable way of getting across town. But too many of us are put off from getting on our bikes because we feel unsafe in traffic. Many local cycle paths are overgrown; others are simply lines painted on the road, providing little safety to cyclists. Neighbouring boroughs are benefiting from the London mayor’s investment in cycling initiatives. I will work with the Mayor’s office, Kent County Council and the new Dartford Council to seek investment to improve cycling provision across the constituency, But that must mean designated cycle routes, properly separated from traffic.
  • Buses: Improving local bus services: Many people have been raising with me the issue of poor bus services delivered by Arriva across our constituency. In Longfield, services seem to bear little resemblance to published timetables and we need to improve and extend FastTrack. We need a fully integrated bus service, which meets the needs of passengers. Labour will give local regions the power to regulate their bus services, so that local people and businesses get the service they need. I will make sure this happens across our communities.

Mr Thomson would like to hear the views of Dartford residents and what your ideas are to get Dartford moving.  He can be contacted at simonthomson.org, via the Dartford Labour Facebook page or on twitter @simontthomson or @Dartford_Labour #GetDartfordMoving

About the author

Andy Clark is retired after a long career at Lloyds Register and subsequently the Civil Service. He has lived in Dartford for his entire life.

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