Prospective city councillor for St. Peter’s, Chris Giles.
My Pledges to You.
1) I’ll fight to reverse the decline of St Peters.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Vote Tory and your community will decline still further. I’ll fight for our public green spaces and sustainable transport corridors.
2) I’ll fight for safer roads.
I’ll measure traffic volumes and speed along St Peters drive with the objective of making it a safer road again for residents; not a race-track or rat-run.
3) I’ll fight for a better quality of life.
I’ll measure air-quality and noise levels caused by the excessive traffic volumes. I’ll use the results as a basis to effect change.
4) I’ll fight for our Post Office.
To obtain a commitment to house a Post Office either in one of the existing retail outlets or St Peters village hall, or to have a new build. Local Post Offices are vital, particularly to those of us who are older or have a disability.
5) I’ll fight for public transport.
We no longer have a Sunday bus service. With ever-increasing traffic, and the effect that has on air quality and the environment, we need to be increasing public transport provision, not decreasing it. I’ll do all I can, not just to prevent further cuts, but to increase and reinstate services as much as possible.
Does St Peters seem as good as it was – or is it getting worse?
We’re facing the closure of our local post office, ever increasing traffic and associated noise and pollution only exacerbated by cuts to bus services, loss of green space and deteriorating foot and cycle paths.
I’m extremely concerned for the natural environment: local, national and global. St Peters used to be such a green place, it really felt like living in the countryside, now it feels greyer and much less green. Trees being chopped down by the thousands and few replaced, so many lawns dug up to accommodate even more cars because commuters don’t have an alternative. Starling Pedway, to quote one resident, has changed from an attractive green link to an ugly mess cut back to within an inch of its life. It’s also become hazardous to those that use it. This all has an impact on the quality of our lives, our mental health and our physical health as air quality deteriorates.
All my pledges are achievable. To really make a difference we need a Labour government which I am committed to working for. I’m an active member of the Labour Party across the city. Whilst the Tories with obsessed talking about litter, I want to address the real problems facing the people of St Peters.
The A4440 is nothing to boast about.
Long queues of traffic are not healthy, and there is often one from Timberdine island all the way to the Ketch from 3.30pm to 6.30pm. They increase the stress of drivers and cause vast amounts of unnecessary pollution. This won’t be solved by the A4440 widening scheme, about which I don’t know whether to laugh or cry (scroll to the bottom of this page to find out why!). St Peters Drive is used inappropriately: excessive volumes and speed of traffic when it becomes a rush-hour rat-run.
A closed post office means yet more traffic
We are faced with losing our Post Office with the closure of One Stop sometime this year. When did we sign-up to a retailer being able close our Post Office?! And it’ll mean more people forced into their cars to travel further.
I’m Chris Giles, the Labour Candidate for St. Peter’s ward in the City Council elections on 2nd May.
I work as a teaching assistant at Worcester Sixth Form College. I’m a qualified further education teacher with a degree in Public Administration. I’m an honest citizen who has become increasingly angry that qualifications, integrity and hard work are no guarantee of success in workplaces beset by shoddy contracts, low pay and lack of protection. I am very fortunate that I have a full-time, permanent contract with my current employer which enabled me to become a first-time buyer two years ago.
When I moved to St Peters in 2002 you could get on the motorway, irrespective of time of day, in 5 minutes. I’d been living in Birmingham for years and was astonished at the difference in air quality and that was a principal reason for my decision to make St. Peter’s my home.
I lived happily in St. Peter’s for 15 years (and though I’m now in Battenhall, the bottom of my back garden is the ward boundary with St Peter’s!) but found myself watching in dismay as, especially in the last few years, St Peters became a less and less pleasant place to be.
The A4440: a very short stretch of road, a very long time to do it
I happened to be listening to Melvyn Bragg’s ‘In Our Time’ on BBC Radio 4 over the Easter holiday roughly this time last year, not always an easy listen, but this one was particularly interesting. One of the panel, Julia Elton, started talking about the London and Birmingham Railway, completed in 1838 and she talked about the scale of the undertaking and mentioned that it took five years. “Five years!”, chuckled Melvyn Bragg. Julia apologetically explained the horrendous difficulties with the Kilsby tunnel that took three years as well as some other problems. Melvyn then said his reaction was not because of how long it took but how quick it was. (Listen yourself, it’s 17 minutes and 30 seconds in: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09y6zfr) One hundred and twelve miles built by 20,000 navvies by hand using mattocks and dynamite. Bridges, tunnels, cuttings, embankments, the lot – in 5 years flat. Fast forward 180 years to the A4440 widening scheme. It’s already taken longer than five years to complete about two-thirds of this less than three-mile stretch. And half of it was already there! Meanwhile, the accidents, the queues, the delays and inconvenience, the pollution and the noise have been excessive for an excessive amount of time. Why?