Thursday, 18 January 2018

The dice was loaded from the start (East Reading Mass Rapid Transit

Lots of residents have contacted me recently voicing their outrage at the devastating new road being proposed along the Thames riverside by the Labour-run Council. A lot of people are asking – why aren’t they doing something else?

There was an ‘options appraisal’ done by the firm of consultants hired by the Council. However, they were assessing options against a set of criteria that is already loading the dice. Will the option:

1. Increase capacity and connectivity for movement of people within east Reading and the town centre.

2. Reduce the journey times and congestion along the corridor.

3. Facilitate economic development in the Thames Valley.

4. Allow access for mobility impaired and pushchairs.

5. Develop a system which visibly has priority over the private car.

6. Facilitate a future MRT network for the Thames Valley.

So whilst residents want to know the cost to the taxpayer (massive) and the cost to the environment (enormous), and weigh this against the benefits to congestion (minimal at best) and air pollution (negligible), the Council wants to know if it will 'facilitate economic development' and 'facilitate a future MRT network'.

Other options need to be properly considered. A congestion charge might well be cheap in comparison (say, £5 million to get started,) would return money in the form of those paying the charge, and remove cars from the network, resulting in a reduction in congestion and air pollution. (Would it facilitate economic development? Yes, if the charge was re-invested properly.)

You can view the plans and submit comments to the Council here: East Reading Mass Rapid Transit planning application must click

Or contact us and get involved:

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Wokingham Road area permit parking consultation meeting

The Wokingham Road area permit parking consultation is now available online – link at the bottom of this post. If you live in the proposed permit parking area you will get a paper version of the consultation through your letterbox. We are holding a public meeting for people to come along, find out more and ask questions.

Public meeting details below:

When: Thursday, January 25 starting at 8 PM

Where: Alfred Sutton primary school, 148 Wokingham Rd, Reading RG6 1JR. In the community room.

Everyone who lives in the area is welcome. The deadline for the consultation is February 2 2018.

We believe though that the best way to start to tackle road safety and parking problems in the area is to introduce permit parking. If you want to get street emails on issues like this then email me:

Park Ward surrounded parking map

Thanks to Google for the map.

The red lines on the map above show roads which have permit parking in east Reading. You can see that the Wokingham Road area is surrounded. The overspill from these permit parking zones, especially the newly introduced Hospital and University zone is what has caused a worsening of parking problems. These issues start at Hamilton Road, which has recently done a survey showing 85% of people are in favour of permit parking, and head east.

Your Green Party councillors (Josh Williams, Brenda McGonigle and myself) have long been working on this issue. When we surveyed residents about permit parking across the area recently, over 60% said they were in favour of permit parking. This support was either outright or if nearby roads decided to have it.

We believe urgent action is needed on the roads most acutely impacted such as Hamilton Road. There have already been a number of consultations in this area and we believe we could go straight to the design phase. We believe an areawide solution – most likely a combination of permit parking and double yellow lines – is best so as not to simply knock at the problem on to the next road. But if an areawide solution can’t be achieved then we must help those roads most in need with smaller schemes.

We have already held a number of meetings in roads and we have a few more in the pipeline. If you have been to one of the smaller road meetings then you don’t need to come to this meeting.

We have produced a frequently asked questions on how permit parking works.

A link to the consultation and supporting documentation can be found below. Please either respond online or by post to the one which will come through the letterbox:

We care about the local area keep working with you to improve it.

Monday, 18 December 2017

A new café in Palmer Park…

Chalkboard cafe sign s

Following the sad demise of the Chalkboard Café in Palmer Park we have been continuing to lobby the council to get a café reopened as soon as possible – Green councillor Josh Williams is taking the lead on this.

The council says that they will be starting the letting process this financial year (and inviting people to apply). They hope to have a new operator back up and running for spring 2018.

Luke Lloyd at the council is overseeing this process. He says that the letting opportunity will be advertised via the Council and Reading Voluntary Action channels. But if anyone wants to register interest in advance they can do by emailing him:

We care about the local area and will keep working hard to get the café back open.

Why not join the Green Party and help us make a difference?

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Blindingly obvious: new street lights too bright

LED streetlight s

Despite repeated warnings, Labour Council continues with over-bright LED street lights.

New LED street lights are being rolled-out across Reading as the old amber lights need replacing. The Council has ignored warnings that the ones being used are too bright for residential streets, for motorists, and for the environment; causing damage to insects and creatures that come out at night.

Brenda McGonigle said, “We’ll continue to campaign for appropriate lights in our streets, but you can ask the Council to reduce the power to the lights, or fit a shield that will stop the direct glare towards your house. Get in touch!”


Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Greens working hard on South Park Ward road safety and parking

Residents' parking sign s

We had a good street meeting on Green Road last night to talk about parking problems and to develop a scheme for the road.

A scheme in Green Road would be part of a larger South Park Ward permit parking area.

In preparation for the meeting I thought about what has happened in the run-up to the road safety and parking problems which I have copied and pasted below.

Let us know if you would like a street meeting for your road to work on tackling road safety and parking problems in the South of Park Ward. We will keep working with residents to improve the area:


3 years ago – Council starts actively working on a parking scheme for the Hospital and University area.

3 years ago – we suggest to Labour councillors that we work together on a bigger areawide scheme to prevent the parking knock-on which we have now. Labour said no.

2 years ago – we work with residents across a number of roads (Hamilton, Bulmershe, Crescent and more) collecting signatures on petitions asking for permit parking to prevent the parking knock-on problems from occurring. We also organised and attended public meetings on this issue. Following this the council transport planners support the idea of investigating an areawide scheme for the South of Park Ward.

This year – Redlands parking scheme goes live and as we predicted this causes problems at the edge of the scheme in roads such as Hamilton Road and Crescent Road.

This year – we have worked with residents, organising and attending meetings, to produce designs for how residents’ parking could work in some of the roads in the South of Park Ward.

This year – we have campaigned with the police, fire brigade, schools and residents for the South Park Ward scheme to be prioritised and for designs to be developed and consulted on.

This year – Labour double yellow line debacle on Hamilton Road has wasted a lot of councillor and officer time.

Recently – the council has agreed to consult on the idea of permit parking for the South Park ward area but not on a detailed design – slowing things down still further.

Unfortunately things are moving very slowly. Pavements continue to be blocked, parking is chaotic and road safety is bad. This is not good enough. We have already consulted residents and are ready to move to the design phase now.

We will continue to work with residents to get the Labour council to prioritise a road safety and permit parking scheme for the South of Park Ward, and get it in as soon as possible.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Improving roadsafety and parking in Park Ward

Crescent Road congestion s

We continue to work hard on tackling roadsafety and parking problems across Park Ward. Below is the latest update. We are in the process of organising street meetings for roads which haven't met recently. Let us know if you have time to help us organise one for your road – email me at:

Dear resident,

The East Reading transport working group – made up of councillors and transport planners – met in October. Sadly, little progress has been made on a roadsafety/parking scheme for South Park Ward, despite all the work that has been done by residents and Green councillors. But we will keep up the pressure.

There still aren’t any detailed drawings of a South Park Ward areawide roadsafety/parking scheme – from Cemetery Junction up to the Three Tuns pub, including Bulmershe Road. However, the November Traffic Committee as agreed to consult on a high level areawide scheme and generally on permit parking. Unfortunately this moves the date that a scheme could be introduced further into the future – autumn 2018 at best.

We believe this lack of progress is because, despite our lobbying, the council has not prioritised this roadsafety and permit parking scheme. Also distractions like the Labour proposal to put double yellow lines down one side of Hamilton Road in isolation, which fortunately have been defeated, haven’t helped. The way to accelerate progress is to get Labour Councillor Tony Page to give this scheme a higher priority and more transport planner time – and we will continue to work with you to keep up the pressure.

We know that Crescent Road is a nightmare for all road users especially pedestrians. We know that having to live day-to-day with blocked pavements, the struggle to find a parking place and concerns about being blocked in is a massive stress and inconvenience. We also know that this process is frustrating – and we are frustrated as well.

However we will keep standing up for residents and working with you to progress a roadsafety and parking scheme because we care about the area and want to improve it.

Yours faithfully

Rob White, Josh Williams and Brenda McGonigle

PS if you’d like to get email updates on this subject then let Rob know:

Green Party councillors, Reading

Monday, 4 December 2017

East Reading Mass Rapid Transit public meeting

East Reading MRT public meeting

The turnout of over 200 people on a cold, wet Friday evening shows the strength of feeling against building a road and car park on the woodland and green space just metres from the River Thames (East Reading Mass Rapid Transit).

Every single person from the audience who stood up and spoke was against this destructive scheme – which the council's own modelling shows only has a minor impact on congestion. I think the £30 million of taxpayer money could be far better spent on measures that will actually reduce congestion whilst preserving our precious green spaces – such as a station at Thames Valley Park. Lead councillor for Transport Tony Page was sent packing by the audience and my colleagues on the panel. I hope that he now seriously considers alternatives to this scheme which will put the Thames path in darkness for much of the day.

I urge people to join the thousands of people who have signed the paper and electronic versions of the petition against this scheme and to respond to the planning application