Tuesday, 22 December 2009
Today, assuming the weather is with me I will be catching the train from Reading up to see my parents who live in Congleton, Cheshire. My brother and grandma will also be joining us. If it is anything like other Christmases spent at home it will be a battle against eating too much food, combined with board games, reading and catching up with old friends.
Christmas should also be about peace and justice though. Unfortunately the corporate takeover of this spiritual festival continues relentlessly reducing it to shopping and non-stop television. So this Christmas as always my thoughts will be with the victims of injustice at home and across the world: the one in three children living in poverty in the UK and the 1.1 billion people across the world living on less than one dollar a day; the people killed and displaced by war in Afghanistan and elsewhere: and the people affected by climate change.
I would like to wish everyone in Reading and across the globe a safe and happy Christmas.
Monday, 21 December 2009
I have also launched the poll, "Have you fallen on the ice?".
Friday, 18 December 2009
Firstly I have never said that the Alfred Sutton portion of the playing field is under threat, it is the 5.6 ha of Thames Valley University playing fields next to it. It would be good to see what fact he is basing this allegation on?
He says that there is no plan. I would be interested to hear what type of document he thinks the Site Allocations Document is? The playing fields site is SA86 which is on page 155 of part three of appendix three: http://tiny.cc/SRPti
Richard mentions that the site won protection in 1999. Having spoken to Council officers already on this I think he is referring to the Alfred Sutton planning brief, which I have been informed is of questionable value due to the new Local Development Framework. The officers seemed to think it wouldn't hold up under an appeal from a developer.
That is enough now. I look forward to his response.
Thursday, 17 December 2009
On the front of the Labour 'newsletter' there are lots of warm words about not wanting any building on these playing fields. However the letter from Lead Member for Strategic Planning, Tony Page which is reproduced on the back isn't so straightforward. Cutting through the waffle at the start and heading straight to the juicy bits at the end there seem to be a few weaselly 'ifs' appearing. And the last sentence is the icing on the cake "it would not be appropriate nor possible to remove this site from the Site and Detailed Policies Document".
After having talked to officers again they have confirmed to me that actually it is possible to have this site removed from the Site and Detailed Policies Document and so we will continue to work to make this happen.
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Monday, 14 December 2009
Friday, 11 December 2009
"The level of crime (63%), clean streets (41%), public transport (39%), health services (38%), and parks and open spaces (37%) are the five aspects most frequently cited as important in making somewhere a good place to live. The five aspects considered to be most in need of improvement are; level of traffic (55%); level of crime (49%); activities for teenagers (39%); roads and pavements (38%); and clean streets (33%). Combining the two aspects shows that the high priority areas are the level of crime, level of traffic and clean streets."
"Satisfaction with the Council and the services it provides has generally fallen, with overall satisfaction down 11%, appearing to reflect the wider trend across the country1. Conversely respondents appear to have increased satisfaction with their quality of life in their local area, up 5%."
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Well done GLOBE and everyone at the school who helped make this happen especially the school council.
Monday, 7 December 2009
Just a quick note to update you on the campaign's progress in recent months. Following on from pressure from us, and negotiations, the new owners have informed us that Enterprise Inns have removed the covenant from the deeds of the property. This means that the building can now be reopened as a pub without fear of legal action for breaching the covenant.
The most recent development -- as anyone who has walked passed the pub will have seen -- is that the new owners have applied for a new premises licence. The campaign will be writing a letter in support of this application. If this is granted the only thing stopping the pub from reopening is having a person or brewery to run it. And as we have seen in the papers recently there is definitely interest out there in taking this on. So with a bit of luck and a fair wind the Jolly Anglers may be open by February.
Well done to everyone for all of your hard work so far. We will keep you posted of future developments and of when action is needed.
Thursday, 3 December 2009
"In case you didn't know already, there's a lovely photographic exhibition on at the main library, 2nd floor, at the moment. Most of the photo's are black and white and were commissioned in 1973, specifically to photograph the older part of Newtown before it was pulled down. It's interesting to see that many of the new roads kept the same names as the originals, although of course look completely different now. There are also a few newspaper clips from the time (very sad), some old maps of the area (from when it was all fields!) and a few more up to date photos."
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
"THE WAVE is the march organised by Stop Climate Chaos in London on 5 December, just before the UN Climate Negotiations in Copenhagen.
Join GREN for the Climate Emergency Rally, midday at Speaker’s Corner, and with campaigners from over 100 other organisations across the UK to march to encircle Parliament for the mass ‘Mexican Wave’!
GREN is encouraging people from Reading to go to the march and rally:
-- By train – meet at the front entrance to Reading a station 10.15 a.m. to catch the 10.33 a.m. train to Paddington from where we will go to Speakers Corner, Hyde Park for the midday rally. From there we will join THE WAVE march which leaves Grosvenor Square at 1 p.m. Please bring banners and other things to brighten up the event! See www.gren.org.uk
-- CAFOD have a few places on their coach which is leaving Reading Station at 8am and Woodley at 8:45am. They will then go to an Ecumenical Service at Westminster Methodist Central Hall at 11am before attending THE WAVE. To book a seat contact Rob White -- email@example.com -- and I will put you in touch
For more details, including the route for THE WAVE see www.stopclimatechaos.org
Dress code: Blue! Please bring blue gloves if you have them, or paint your hands blue for the 3pm climax!"
It was a well attended AGM at the Civic Centre with I would guess 20 or 30 people there. Other political types that I saw in attendance were Tory councillors Tim Harris and Andrew Cumpsty. I was pleased to hear that the festival was growing and doing well.
There was a speaker from the Gay Football Supporters Network who was very interesting and spoke very positively about Reading Football Club's positive attitude in wanting to tackle homophobic language on the terraces. Although there is still a long way to go!
It was finished in an hour -- which I think is a good length for an AGM -- and after chatting to a few people I cycled off home. Unfortunately my tyre was almost flat so as well as feeling every single bump, I think I may have a puncture.
Monday, 30 November 2009
Council meetings -- 0
Community meetings and events -- 11
Enquiries and requests for repairs from residents -- 32
-- I wrote a letter to the paper continuing the Green Party campaign to bring our troops home and stabilise the situation in Afghanistan.
-- I got involved with The Big Care Debate on the future of care in the UK.
-- I supported a local commuter to try and improve cycle parking at Paddington Station.
-- I continued the Green Party campaign against tuition fees by writing a letter and taking part in a debate at Reading University.
-- We campaigned against cuts to PCSOs at Reading University and in the surrounding area.
-- I joined the campaign to end inequality resulting in low pay for women.
-- Following on from Green campaigning the Council is making moves to get the old Rupert Square Information Shop back into use.
-- It has taken over a year of pressure but we finally got the landlord who owns a fly tipping hotspot on Norton Road in Newtown to clear and secure the space.
-- Worked with various agencies to clear the Kennet Mouth seating area.
-- Got an extra litter bin for duck feeding litter on the Kennet Side.
-- Worked with the Council to get problem cars for sale removed from the unofficial garage forecourt on the Wokingham Road.
"Reading is going to have its first massive Christmas environmental fair. There'll be plenty of original ethical Christmas shopping, fun kids activities, two cinemas, as well as scrummy Christmas cookery demos and tastings, plus a big focus on inspiration for health, fair trade and environmental lifestyle ideas. All this all day for only £3, £1 concessions. With delicious healthy meals and cakes to eat in or take away to make the lead up to Christmas easy!"
Friday, 27 November 2009
a fair economy for a fairer Britain
more and better jobs
decent homes for all
save and improve our services
for fairness and justice
a better future stars now.
More detail on their website.
Thursday, 26 November 2009
Both the Labour Party and the Tories are in favour of the scheme -- although the Tories want a road for cars rather than buses. The Liberal Democrats have not decided if they for or against the scheme yet. Only the Greens and residents are against this development.
This story in Get Reading mentions it towards the end, although it does not call it the new Cross Town Route, it calls it a park and ride on the Reading/Wokingham boundary.
I have created this Facebook group so people can say No to the New Cross Town Route.
The Palmer Park event is sponsored by Stella -- the beer company -- which I assume means they are stumping up a reasonable amount of cash for the benefit of the community, which is great. However the flipside of this is that the event is being promoted as over 18 only -- rightly so I would say. There are other events in the Reading but some people are not going to want to travel which will impact on the turnout.
I have not managed to get hold of the organisation yet but hopefully some of these trees will be hedging to replace the section we lost earlier in the year!
I am not sure whether I am in Reading on that day but if I am I will be heading down there to help.
UPDATE: The Council say that there will be at least three different planting areas in Palmer Park and children will be welcome to help plant trees by the playing area near the corner of St Bartholomew's Road and Wokingham Road.
Saturday, 21 November 2009
To summarise the rest of the debate Gareth Epps from the Liberal Democrats also argued against fees but acknowledged he was campaigning against his leader. Annelise Dodds from Labour agreed that the fees should not be increased -- unfortunately this is not the Labour position which is to wait for the conclusion of a review conveniently timed after the general election. Rob Wilson from the Tories managed to fill his five minutes without saying much other than he too would also be waiting for the conclusion of the review.
Everyone apart from Rob Wilson agreed to sign the pledge against any increase in fees and in favour of a fairer alternative.
There was one surreal point towards the end of the debate when Rob Wilson went off on a tangent complaining about constituents asking him to sign Early Day Motions and generally contacting him. I got a good laugh when I pointed out to Rob Wilson that that is democracy. One of the NUS campaigners informed me later in the evening that I scored double marks for this comment because apparently "that's democracy" is one of their often used catchphrases around the office at work.
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Wazir Hussain (Conservative) -- 16
Shirley Merriot (Labour) -- 0
Jon Hartley (Labour) -- 0
Considering some councillors have submitted around 50 items of work over this period the results for Park Ward especially from Labour are rubbish! Have the Labour councillors both thrown in the towel already? I know Shirley is stepping down but not until the elections in May?
For some statporn see Glenn's blog.
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
Despite this setback, the campaign goes on and I think we need a get together to regroup and assess the situation.
Monday, 9 November 2009
Friday, 6 November 2009
To summarise following on from pressure from residents of eastern Newtown who have real problems parking in the unrestricted roads the Council has been looking into introducing residents' parking across the whole of the Newtown area. The latest report going to the Traffic Management Advisory Panel considers the implications of making Liverpool Road residents' parking -- it would need to be made one-way.
If you want to read the whole report it is item 7 on the agenda for the Traffic Management Advisory Panel.
As the report says we will have to wait for the Reading wide residents' parking scheme review to finish before we get any further with this.
Anyone can attend the meeting if they want but be warned you may have to wait a long time before the relevant item is discussed and you only get speaking rights by contacting the chair in advance.
Thursday, 5 November 2009
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
Community meetings and events -- 15
Enquiries and requests for repairs from residents -- 22
It has been quite a busy few weeks involving Black History Month and Reading International Festival events. Still picking up casework from the door knocking. Went along to the full council meeting to support a colleague asking questions on cycling.
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
On Saturday I went to see a.P.A.t.T at South Street. Musically they were not exactly my cup of tea but visually two out of the four acts that I saw were quite interesting. One incorporated large men wearing aprons and a strobe light helmet. The last band were all dressed in white and had some very lively dance routines.
Finally on Sunday I went to see RASPO (Reading All Steel Percussion Orchestra) as part of Black History month at the Town Hall. I had seen three of them playing before and they were good, but numbering about 20 the whole orchestra was amazing especially the young girl who could play both the saxophone and a steel pan. There was some racy calypso dancing but with my injured ankle I decided to take it easy and spectate. The evening was ended by Michael Bubbles Oliviere who is making a comeback.
All in all a good weekend.
Saturday, 24 October 2009
• Extending the play area and installing new equipment
• Making play safe
• Rationalisation of the car parking to reduce its impact on the rest of the park until the Sports Facilities Strategy reviews the formal sports facilities to be provided within the park and any subsequent change in demand for parking
• Improvements to landscaping and new tree planting
• Relocating the recycling bins
• Moving and replacing fencing around the East Reading Adventure Play Area site
Friday, 23 October 2009
If anyone is interested in getting involved get in touch and I will point you in the right direction.
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
This is mainly positive stuff on the Wokingham Road side of the park, however no mention of the play equipment on the London Road side. We campaigned on this a while ago and managed to reverse Labour cuts to this equipment. But still no investment in it. The council has agreed to take the horrible high fencing down though.
Monday, 19 October 2009
We have an extra meeting of the full governors tonight for a briefing following on from OFSTED visiting us last week. Fingers crossed!
Friday, 16 October 2009
Street Pastors seems like a positive project. I hope they do not mind him using them as a political football?
Sunday, 11 October 2009
Community meetings and events -- 9
Council enquiries and requests for repairs -- 20
Now that the summer holidays are well out of the way everything has started up again -- Council meetings, governor meetings etc. My favourite event this month was the Nepalese Dashain Festival at the Warehouse.
Saturday, 10 October 2009
I have written to Tony Downes (Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University) urging him to reconsider this decision and asking what effect he thinks this will have on the area. The more people who write to him the better. You can e-mail him directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, 8 October 2009
Tuesday is the men's club and there were about 10 of us there. I had some salad, chapatis and a saucy and spicy curry dish. This was followed by a sweet dish of chopped up noodles -- I am not sure that they were noodles but that is what they looked like. This was all washed down with a few glasses of water. The chef informed me that the food is different every week. It was very tasty and there is no charge.
The final stop on my tour will be the Age Concern lunch club at the URC.
Monday, 5 October 2009
The Council will shortly be assessing all of the proposed sites and a list will be going to Full Council in January.
Monday, 28 September 2009
I have supported the campaign since I discovered it, I have delivered newsletters, spoken at public meetings and supported them at council meetings, so I feel as though I have contributed to this success in a small way. But hats off to Bob O'Neill who has been the real driving force behind this campaign.
Thursday, 24 September 2009
As much as anything else, borrowing and using the smart meter was fun and hopefully it will have helped me save a bit of money.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear from a friend that all of the energy meters from the Central library are currently on loan and there is a waiting list.
Here is some of the blurb about the book from the author Philip Vaughan:
"The Avenue Story is the first history of Eastern Avenue that has been written. Research began in early 2009, working through the resources of libraries, archives offices and the Internet, supplemented by original documents in the possession of many people living in the Avenue.
The resulting book is now in its final draft. The text is validated throughout with full reference to the primary or secondary sources used, and illustrated with maps, plans and photographs. Chapters include:
From farmland to the birth of the suburb: 1840 - 1861
The Avenue takes shape: 1861 - 1901
The twentieth century
The South Park conservation area
Tree protection orders"
I will try and get a copy for Palmer Park library.
Sunday, 20 September 2009
According to the report, the Council are also issuing posters similar to the ones we produced, to residents who request them. Unfortunately, the main plank of the campaign was for 20 mph zones where people wanted them which we still do not have.
Thursday, 17 September 2009
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
Council meetings -- 0
Community meetings and events -- 2
Council enquiries and requests for repairs -- 21
Friday, 11 September 2009
Thursday, 10 September 2009
Monday, 7 September 2009
The Community Furniture Project is good because it sells to everyone. It has a standard price and a discounted price for if you are on benefits. In Reading we have Christian Community Action which is good but only deals with people on benefits.
Sunday, 6 September 2009
A month or so ago I saw one from the Liberal Democrats but it seemed mainly to be plugging their Parliamentary candidate Mr Epps. Their previous one was June 2008. As the Liberal Democrats are way behind in fourth place in Park I do not expect them to do much apart from promote Mr Epps for the Reading East constituency.
Nothing from the Labour Party for a long while now. The last ward newsletter I saw was just before the 2008 local elections where Mr Hartley pipped me to the post by just 20 votes. Now with only two councillors in the ward, demoralised activists and people jumping ship left right and centre I think that Labour will struggle to defend Cllr Merriot at the next election -- although there are rumours around that she will be stepping down and Mr McKenzie will be standing.
Of course our ward newsletter Green Reading has been coming out quarterly now for a few years. And having just lost by 20 votes in 2008 and won in the ward at the European elections we will be continuing to work hard for the area.
Saturday, 5 September 2009
On a number of occasions I have requested that the Council improve the toilets by the children's play area and fence the Wokingham Road side of Palmer Park!
Friday, 4 September 2009
UPDATE: this article on the BBC website says that the National Front have pulled out.
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Homemade Locally Grown Food
Ice- Cream Sodas
BBQ – bring your own meat/fish to cook.
Eat an onion Challenge ( 3:30 pm )
Recycled object competition
( winner announced 4pm )
Plant and seed sale
Fresh Fruit & Veg
Jams and Preserves
( all activities subject to weather conditions, garden open regardless )
For more information contact them at:
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
Tax on our democracy
To stand in the general election every candidate has to pay a £500 deposit. This is returnable if we get over 5 percent of the vote. This barrier is designed to stop extremists from standing but it does not work, it just makes it harder for smaller progressive parties like the Green Party to get going. It is a tax on our democracy. A fairer system, which would be more effective at stopping the extremists, would be to scrap the deposit and to increase the number of signatures needed.
In the meantime we need to raise the £500 deposit and are selling election bonds for £20 each. You will get your money back if we get over 5 percent of the vote.
Predictions for the general election
At the last general election when the local party was a lot smaller we still managed to increase the number of Green votes by 50 percent polling 3.5 percent of the total vote. Since then we have been more active and got more done. At the recent European Elections we got 18 percent of the vote in the east Reading wards finishing in second place -- this does not include the Woodley wards for which no data was available.
How to buy a bond
If you want to buy a bond, please make cheques payable to Reading Green Party and send them along with your details -- name, address and phone number -- to Rob White at:
22 Cumberland Rd, Reading, RG1 3LB.
Feel free to club together with friends and family to buy a bond or make a donation for a lesser amount.
If you would like more information please get in touch:
9667183 or 07985 923938
*All donations over £200 must be declared to the Electoral Commission. If you are thinking of donating this amount please get in contact first.
** If you would like to make an electronic bank transfer then get in contact and I will supply you with our bank details.
Monday, 31 August 2009
I have been noticing this pothole on Norwood Road for a while now. It has grown to such a size that I have now reported it. I tried to give it some scale in the photo by putting my boot in there -- it is a few inches deep and about a foot across. If you know of any others in the area let the Council know, report them on Fix My Street or get in touch.
Thursday, 27 August 2009
Sunday, 23 August 2009
Saturday, 22 August 2009
Friday, 21 August 2009
While on holiday recently on the Isle of Wight my partner Sam and I headed down to the Vestas wind turbine factory which has recently been closed by its owners.
The closure received lots of coverage because some of the 600 workers who were being made redundant took to the roof in protest at the loss of jobs in an area of already high unemployment and the loss of the UK's only wind turbine factory at a time when the government says it wants to expand the renewables sector.
Just before leaving for holiday the roof occupation had ended, so I was not quite sure how the campaign was going. We got to the site via a scenic walk from the centre of Newport down the river Medina -- which was used to transport turbines to the port. Upon arrival I was pleasantly surprised by the level of activity. There was also a well provisioned protest camp set up outside the gates, loads of banners showing support from organisations ranging from the Fire Brigade Union to the local church. I was pleased to hear that the fighting fund was up to £10,000 and I chipped in my loose change, getting a copy of their protest song "Boys on the balcony" and a ribbon in exchange.
I found it really interesting to see the coming together of the different groups. The workers were leading the campaign. There was the RMT supporting them through the redundancies and fighting the sackings. People from the Climate Camp were there helping out generally and with the catering. The wider local community was also supportive. While I was there a number of people dropped in with supplies including fresh vegetables for the kitchen and cake.
If we are to tackle climate change we are clearly going to need this kind of broad coalition. We will also need the equipment to generate electricity in a renewable way. What better way to get people into work than to nurture and expand the renewable energy sector. This is part of what the Green Party have been calling for in the form of a Green New Deal, an innovative plan to restructure the economy through a billion-pound package for investing in green jobs -- in renewables and energy efficiency -- to dramatically reduce carbon emissions and cut householders’ fuel bills.
The proposed Isle of Wight closure is a blow for the 600 skilled British workers set to lose their jobs. It also threatens any attempt the UK makes to position itself at the forefront of global technological efforts to create a greener and fairer future.
Monday, 17 August 2009
Over the course of the week we did plenty of walking around the island. We ate well from our barbecue and gas stove. Our sightseeing included a windmill, possibly the oldest vineyard in the UK and a glassworks.
At night being in a tent there was not much to do apart from read and sleep -- no rude comments please! We did eat out one evening at the Hong Kong Express in Newport and their vegetarian set meal was very tasty and filling. On another evening we went to the cinema in Ryde to see the new Harry Potter film. I had been avoiding the films and books up until that point, but I thought I should see or read one. As the cinema price was £2.50 and seeing a film is quicker than reading a book I could not say no. I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the film.
On the Friday before we went home we had a free day and Sam discovered in the local paper that there was still campaigning going on at the Vestas wind turbine factory over its closure -- we had not realised until this point due to our limited contact with computers and mobile phones etc. So we decided to head down there -- more about this when I get the chance to do another post but suffice to say the campaign still goes on.
On Saturday before catching the ferry home we popped into the Garlic Festival. As you might imagine there was plenty of garlic merchandise -- preserves, beer, seed etc. There was also a strong man, bands and various other entertainment.
All in all a good holiday and I would definitely recommend the Isle of Wight as a holiday destination.
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
Community meetings and events -- 19
Council enquiries and requests for repairs -- 9
I did not make it to any Council meetings this month.
Community meetings and events
But I made it to lots of community meetings. The first weekend in July was particularly busy with the Kennet Walk barbecue on Friday, the Orts Road estate 30th anniversary on Saturday and East Reading Festival on Sunday.
Residents' enquiries and requests for repairs
I was busy talking to people about the plans to change Palmer Park and so only picked up a few items of casework.
The campaign to Reopen the Jolly Anglers been my main campaign recently.
I have coordinated the delivery of the latest Park Ward newsletter.
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
Well done to everyone for your hard work. The campaign continues to go from strength to strength. The Facebook group now has 213 members!
Later today MP Greg Mulholland -- from the all party Save the Pub group -- is coming to Reading. He will be at the Jolly Anglers from 11:40 a.m.
We now have a website:
The next event is Morris dancing at the pub on August 24 -- details to be confirmed, but put the date in your diary.
The petition still rumbles on:
Not bad for a group of volunteers! Most of this has been organised through our regular committee meetings. If you would like to get involved then please contact Cathy and she will keep you informed of when the committee meetings are -- email@example.com.
Friday, 31 July 2009
Thursday, 30 July 2009
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Unable to protect children from harm
Failing to provide school places for every child
Not ready to run a general election
Failing to meet fire safety regulations
Failing to keep within budget
Unable to maintain and service delivery from the Civic Centre
Failing to deal with projected cash shortages expected in the public sector.
This is pretty damning for the Labour Party who have been running Reading many years. However, if they wanted to the Lib Dems and Tories could get together and run the Council themselves -- as Labour do not have a majority -- but they are reluctant to do this as it is far easier to be out of power and criticise the Council.
Saturday, 25 July 2009
Monday, 20 July 2009
Overall it was brilliant. Healthy turnout (maybe 40-50 at times, ish? I find it hard to judge crowds...), wonderful community spirit, great food, drink, chairs, marque etc etc. The band were great!
I think everyone who did anything towards it deserve a massive thanks! The band (Black Diamonds/Colm/Peter), providers of food/drink/materials(chairs, marque etc), organisers, leafleters, photographers, the two girls who made and put lots of effort into the petition, the fishermans cottage, etc etc, all are stars.
My girlfriend took loads of photo's so we'll send them through asap, should get photos up on the website etc. We will fwd them especially to Bernie/media group etc so that a press report can be put together?
If there was any down side to today this was the only thing; as far as I could tell the press did not show up at all, so we will need to get photos and a report to them and press them to cover it.
But other than, damn good, thanks for a good day folks.
Monday, 13 July 2009
Community meetings and events -- 11
Council enquiries and requests for repairs -- 4
I attended the Traffic Management Advisory Panel to get some action on the dire parking situation in Newtown. I also went along to the Green City Forum -- which was very interesting -- to find out more about plans for Palmer Park.
Community meetings and work
It has been a busy month with lots of community events. Highlights included presenting certificates at the volunteer's party, the bike week critical mass organised by the Reading Cycle Campaign and a talk on Christianity and Islam at the Warehouse.
Residents' enquiries and requests for repairs
During the election period we picked up a few requests for action around noise and other issues.
The campaign that I have been putting most effort into recently is the one to Reopen the Jolly Anglers pub. I am on the events team and we are organising an awareness raising event this Sunday as part of the Big Lunch.
We have also been going door to door with the Palmer Park consultation to ensure people have heard about it and get it back to the Council in time.
Saturday, 11 July 2009
Emily asked me to plug this:
At The Ridgeline Trust Therapeutic Garden Site (top of Hamilton road).
Every Wednesday 11am – 4pm
Help save our local wildlife and develop the garden so that our local community can grow their own veg.
EVERYONE WELCOME, young children must have an adult to look after them as the plot is quite wild !
Call Emily for more information
Home number: 01183745562
Wednesday, 8 July 2009
Palmer Park is a really positive space in the local area. It provides sports, leisure and play facilities as well as habitat for wildlife. Following on from talking to residents, I submitted the following response to the Palmer Park consultation.
Answers to specific questions:
I am in favour of extending the play area, subject to consultations with the children who will use it.
I am not in favour of any net expansion of the number of parking spaces. I would like to see controls on the parking by the stadium to prevent abuse of this facility late at night.
I am in favour of moving the recycling as long as it remains visible.
I would like to see a fence along the Wokingham Road side of the park.
I would like to see the East Reading Adventure Playground Area fence removed or lowered.
I would like to see the toilet by the play area upgraded as it is a poor facility.
I would like to see a wildflower meadow between the stadium and railway track.
I would like to see the hedge, that was removed being replaced this autumn.
I would like to see a review into the blocked up toilets reopened as a cafe.
I would like to see a kids trail around the park, taking them between the play areas and other sections of interest.
I would like to see some history boards in the Park.
If the parking by St Bartholomew's Road is to be removed, I hope that the Council has considered the impact this will have on residents of the Road. The residents' parking may need to be extended.
Please keep me updated on the developments.
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
Thursday, 2 July 2009
Monday, 29 June 2009
I would not usually have a curry for breakfast, but as the previous two times I had attempted to go to the restaurant it was so busy, I gave up and went home hungry, I thought it would be the easiest way to get a table. Now I am a convert and will definitely be going back for another breakfast when time permits.
More information here.
Saturday, 27 June 2009
I had a great time there last year -- apart from the rain at the end. There were stocks with sponges being thrown at the unlucky occupant, a range of stalls and lots of people. It looks dry outside so hopefully another good one this year.
The Alfred Sutton one is on July 11 1:30 p.m. till 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
Saturday, 20 June 2009
Friday, 19 June 2009
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
The first I heard of this was yesterday afternoon when a friend told me that they would be closing at the end of the evening never to reopen and they were selling off the drinks cheap. I had a couple of meetings yesterday evening -- Green City Forum and a Green Party business meeting -- so I did not get down there till 10 30p.m. When I arrived there were still a good number of people there all pretty gutted that the pub was closing. Local pubs are part of the glue that holds communities together and so to lose one makes us all poorer. After a chat to the landlord I was a little more informed. Apparently the owning company -- Enterprise -- were selling the pub off to be converted to flats as has happened to a number of other pubs in the area -- Plasterers, Dove, Eastgate. John has already alerted the local and national papers, CAMRA and got a petition going. He is also asking people to lobby the Council as they will need to agree a change of use for the property if it is to be converted into flats. And so the campaign begins!
We are showing the environmental film 'Age of Stupid' at the Town Hall on Tuesday 30th June - more details below. I hope this is something you and your friends and family would be interested in seeing. If you would like the opportunity to win four tickets to see this film, then you can do so by completing the pledge on line at www.reading.gov.uk/climateplege This is useful if you have lost your paper saying what you are going to commit to doing!
The Age of Stupid - Film Screening
At Reading Town Hall on Tuesday 30th June 2009, 6.45pm for a 7.15pm start
Synopsis: A man living alone in the devastated future world of 2055, looking at old footage from 2008 and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?
There will be the opportunity to hear about local community environmental initiatives and sign Reading’s climate change pledge at this event.
Tickets: £5.50 Concessions inc YRP & Students : £4.50
****Fill in the Readings Climate Change Pledge on line now and be enetered into a draw to win four tickets: www.reading.gov.uk/climatepledge ****
Book tickets: on line at www.readingarts.com , call 0118 9606060 or at the box office at the Hexagon and the Town Hall.
reading Borough Council
0118 939 0100
Monday, 15 June 2009
Thanks to Cllr Willis for the idea of the summary.
Council meetings attended -- 1
Community meetings attended -- 9
Council enquiries and requests for repairs -- 8
I attended Cabinet to support the Kings Meadow Campaign to protect the baths and green space.
Community meetings and work
Highlights included taking part in the Reading Single Homeless Project sleep out, attending the Reading Cycle Campaign AGM and supporting the Gaza Crisis Group's football event.
Resident enquiries and requests for repairs
Although in election mode and not proactively seeking casework I helped residents on issues such as overhanging greenery, speeding and that perennial issue of parking problems in Newtown.
As well as the positive Euro election campaign results -- first in Park Ward and second in East Reading Ward's -- we succeeded in getting the alley at the top of Cumberland Rd gated to prevent fly tipping. This has taken at least two years of work including meetings, newsletters, clear ups and lots of liaising with the Council and local businesses.
Highlights from the last few months include having the big Green campaign bus in Reading and the hustings that Caroline Lucas took part in at RISC. The activity that has probably taken most of my time over the last few months though is canvassing which I always enjoy.
Sunday, 14 June 2009
The only minor problem of the ride was when the mass was cut in half at some traffic lights and we never got together again. Maybe some informal stewarding might of helped?
Thanks to Adrian for this video of the event.
There were a variety of stalls at the bike festival -- although a few people were complaining about the lack of tea and coffee! The bike surgery run by Cycle Zone and the company -- who's name I cannot remember -- giving people test rides were both popular.
I will definitely be there next year.
Sunday, 7 June 2009
This vindicates our positive campaign based around fairness, integrity and the environment. It also gives me great hope for the local elections in 2010, where we shall hopefully breakthrough and get our first Green councillor in Reading.
UPDATE: the Green Party finished in second place in the East Reading wards (C 6,051; G 3,504; Lab 3,057; LD 3,040; UKIP 2,169) thanks to Cllr Willis for the figures.
Friday, 5 June 2009
There were no other parties on the gate at either polling station in Park Ward -- maybe they were out spending their expenses? A Labour Party supporter had left a red rose at the Newtown school polling station, which I didn't have the heart to remove. By the end of the day the rose was looking a little worse for wear -- in a similar way to Labour's performance recently. Maybe the other parties had bussed their activists to help with local or county elections elsewhere, or alternatively, perhaps, they were just fed up and stayed at home?
Anyway, our election day statistics showed our vote was up on last year but we shall have to wait till the weekend for the count and see how that goes to see how many Euro MPs we get in the southeast and across the country.
Bike Week 2009 will kick off with a Free Wheel / critical mass bike ride from Palmer Park to Prospect Park starting at 9am at the Velodrome car-park.
If you have ever had the urge to take over Reading’s roads amongst a phalanx of other cyclists now is your chance – don’t miss it. If just half of the Reading Cycle Campaign membership turned out that would be over 300 cyclists!
Reading’s first Bike Festival will also take place on Prospect Park from 10am-4pm. There will be all sorts of bikes and accessories to try out, led rides, an off-road race, information stands, bike repair workshops, Dr Bike, face painting and more. Come along and celebrate cycling.
More information on Bike Week events around Reading can be found on http://www.bikeweek.org.uk/event
Monday, 1 June 2009
However, now is not the time for complacency and as the saying goes "there is many a slip between cup and lip". So please make sure all of your friends, family and colleagues at work have seen our Party Election Broadcast and so understand that the Green Party is about fairness, integrity and the environment and will get out and vote for us.
If you fancy helping on election day and ensuring that people who have pledged their support to us get out and vote please contact me.
I would just like to remind you that tonight at 6.30pm in the Civic Centre is the meeting (open to public) to confirm or reject the plan to build a hotel / flat /bars/ car park on King's Meadow.
Your attendance would be much appreciated as this will alert the Cabinet that you are not happy for a commercial development to take away your rights.
Thursday, 28 May 2009
Changing Reading for the Day: Town Centre Day Friday 29 May 11am - 4pm; Exhibition from 4-5.30pm.
jelly, with the help of Reading artists, will be helping anyone and everyone who wants to become an Artist for the day.
To celebrate 20 years of the Children's Festival jelly wants to create a town full of artists and artists in the making for the day - it is a hugely ambitious project, with many artists already signed up to help you take part creating something special. We will provide materials, the expertise and you will have the opportunity to be creative. The event is free and will take place in Town Hall Square, we are looking to recreate the Freeze exhibition of 1988 and create our own stars of the future, culminating in a mass art exhibition and changing the face of Reading for the day.
The exhibition of works created on the day will take place using the railings around Town Hall Square and the John Soane monument and through the Bristol and West Arcade complemented by window exhibitions of works by some of the artists who are helping us.
These works that are housed in 27/28 Market Place (pop-up jelly 27/28) are by artists, Karen Jackson and Ingrid Jensen. 173 Friar Street (pop-up jelly 173) is home to the works by f inc.Exhibiting in (173 Friar Street, Reading) are Anne-Marie Carroll, Marje Doyle, Maria Hofstadler, Anne Proctor, Julia Rogers and Mike Taylor.
The displays will be up until Friday 5 June. For more details visit
All this has been made possible by the generous help and support of Reading artists, Reading people and businesses, including picnic, Cream Design, Reading CIC, Reading Borough Council Voluntary Sector Support Unit, Sainsbury' s, Haslams, Fryer Holt, Brook Henderson, MUSE Developments and Hicks Development Ltd.
The second item is following on from a number of requests from residents through the Green Party for yellow lines to be added on corners (Melrose Avenue, Brackendale Way, Haywood Court) in the Ward to improve road safety consultation notices are up in the relevant areas. There are also notices up to inform people of the Council's plans to tidy up yellow lines in Newtown and create more parking spaces. Comments on these plans need to be in by tomorrow.
Sunday, 17 May 2009
Thursday, 14 May 2009
Food is served at 12:30 p.m. On Monday and Wednesday it is vegetarian and on Thursday and Friday there is vegetarian and non-vegetarian.
Wednesday, 13 May 2009
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Final version of South East Plan was published last Wednesday 6th May. I have not has time to read much of it so this mail is mainly to let you know it's out there, and to share a few highlights ... or whatever the right word is for the opposite of highlights.
The Plan applies for the period 2006 to 2026
See introduction on http://www.go-se.gov.uk/gose/news/816034/
Plan may be downloaded from http://www.gos.gov.uk/gose/planning/regionalPlanning/815640/
Introduction is in Section A
General Policies are in Section B
Policies for our sub-region - 'Western Corridor and Blackwater Valley' are in Section C on page 239.
Sadiq Khan, the Communities Minister, said an increase in single person households, immigration and the ageing population made it essential to increase housing stock in the area.
The housing total for the region has been reduced from 662,500 in the draft to 654,000 but the numbers for our sub-region - 'Western Corridor and Blackwater Valley' - remain at 102,100.
Annual rates for Berkshire authorities (all unchanged since the last draft) are:
Windsor and Maidenhead 346
West Berkshire 525
Wokingham's total 'includes some 2,500 related to the expansion of Reading.'
The Plan no longer contains a Region-Specific Policy on Strategic Gaps because the Secretary of State thinks that national policy document PP7 Para 24-25 is sufficient.
The Vision is:
A socially and economically strong, healthy and just South East that respects the limits of the global environment. Achieving this will require the active involvement of all individuals to deliver a society where everyone, including the most deprived, benefits from and contributes to a better quality of life. At the same time the impact of current high levels of resource use will be reduced and the quality of the environment will be maintained and enhanced.
Turn the page and the second Objective is for economic growth at 3% p.a. between 2006 and 2006.
Official Sustainability Appraisal says likely situation under the Final South East Plan is:
(selected quotations - all graded 'negative' or 'significant negative' see the whole starting page 96 in document "bSupporting_Document.pdf")
Air Quality and Causes of Climate Change: Increased air pollution from traffic associated with population and household growth, although policies on air quality and others seek to counter these effects. Up to 2.1MT CO2 emissions per year from new homes, plus 1.85MT embodied energy in the homes; plus CO2 from traffic associated with new homes. It would be impossible for the RSS not to have such impacts, given that its remit is to set a context for development (notably of housing) but does not allow it to control the developments’ air pollution and climate change impacts.
Biodiversity: .... However biodiversity is still likely to be affected by land take, increased disturbance, impacts on water levels etc.
Transport : ... Overall, however, provision of 32,700 new dwellings per year plus employment development and associated infrastructure will increase traffic levels and congestion in the region.
Water Resources: The RSS for the South East will lead to increased water use because of its proposal for more housing and employment. It supports water efficiency (although this support could in our view be stronger) and it also supports the provision of water infrastructure. Although per capita water use is likely to decrease, total water use in the region is likely to increase. Both demand management and resource provision are subject to uncertainties, and it is possible that water resources will be a constraint to development within the lifetime of the RSS.
654,00 seems to be an important number - as well the the number of new houses required - don't know if this is a mis-print but Sustainability Appraisal says 'likely situation without the plan':
"Employment in the region would increase by 654,000 jobs to 2026, thus requiring an increase in the labour supply of 654,000 assuming no change in the level of net out-commuting. There would continue to be no discernable reduction in levels of deprivation across the region and this deprivation would remain largely concentrated along the coast and in the larger urban areas."
Thursday, 7 May 2009
Friday, 1 May 2009
Thursday, 30 April 2009
Tuesday, 28 April 2009
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
My favourite bit of the talk was the International sunflower guerrilla gardening day that was mentioned and is coming up on May 1. The concept is simple, on that day plant some sunflower seeds in a neglected bit of land near you. Happy gardening...
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
A minor spanner was put in the works by the opposition councillors who called in the item to be discussed at the scrutiny meeting which is going on this evening. It will then go back to Cabinet with a recommendation, but whilst this has bought a little bit more time I am not particularly optimistic that this will change the Labour group's mind. What seems more likely as a way to put the brakes on the developer and the community back in control of this, is to force a public enquiry as was done with the Station Hill development.
Friday, 10 April 2009
All money raised will go towards Reading Single Homeless Project work in Reading. If you would like to sponsor me drop me an e-mail saying how much, your home address and whether you would like to gift aid it.
Thursday, 9 April 2009
To buy more time for the campaign and to get to the Council on board it was suggested that the decision could be called in to the full council, that people should go down to Cabinet to show support for the campaign and that a public enquiry could be forced. I will be going to Cabinet and I would urge anyone that cares about preserving green space and reclaiming a slice of Reading's culture and history to attend as well.
Tuesday, 7 April 2009
The data is from May 2008 to the end of February 2009.
You can find out who your councillors are here:
AYUB, Mohammed 12
BALLSDON, Isobel 62
BAYES, Kirsten 88
BEARD, Peter 18
BENSON, Daisy 174
BYRNE, Terry 4
CHOWDHARY, Jamie 55
CUMPSTY, Andrew 39
DUVEEN, Ricky 26
EDWARDS, Deborah 27
ENNIS, John 57
EPPS, Gareth 107
GITTINGS, Paul 18
GOODALL, Glenn 104
HANLEY, Jim 5
HARRIS, Chris 8
HARRIS, Tim 12
HARTLEY, Jon 5
HOSKIN, Graeme 9
HUSSAIN, Wazir 22
JANJUA, Azam 7
JONES, Peter 3
JONES, Tony 11
KHAN, Gul 47
LOVELOCK, Jo (Leader) 78
LUCKETT, Dave 18
MASKELL, Chris 11
MERRIOTT, Shirley 6
ORTON, Mike 112
PAGE, Tony (Deputy Leader) 159
PUGH, Fred 10
RALPH, Mark 68
RUHEMANN, Pete 23
RYNN, Jenny 37
SINGLETON-WHITE, Mary 8
SKEATS, Jeanette 15
STAINTHORP, Richard 6
STANWAY, Tom 58
STEELE, Tom 67
STEVENS, David 14
SWAINE, Warren 57
TICKNER, Bet 106
TOWNEND, Mike 12
WARMAN, Emma 27
WATSON, Debbie 14
WILLIS, Richard 28
Monday, 6 April 2009
I have continued our campaign for energy meters to be loaned out from libraries -- the Council are now in the process of buying some. I have also continued to work on our campaign about parking on pavements.
Crossing patrol at the Alfred Sutton School
Cleared up rubbish in Newtown and up the Wokingham Road for Reading RESCUE with Newtown GLOBE
Volunteered at the True Food Co-op
Meetings and events
Newtown NAG meeting
International women's day event at RISC
Thames Valley Vegans and Veggies event at Maiden Erleigh School
Age of Stupid film premiere
Green talk at Maiden Erleigh School
Reading University School of social work closure meeting
Climate camp meeting
Traffic Management Advisory Panel meeting to support Filey Road residents petitioning for a parking permit scheme
Meet the ambassador meeting at the Pakistani Community Centre
Alfred Sutton School International day event -- stalls about food and culture from around the world
Earth Hour at RISC
Alfred Sutton School Governor committee meeting -- Parents, Pupils and the Community committee
Since the local elections in May 2008 residents have raised 223 casework items with me. I have replied and closed 193 of these.
This month I have requested yellow lines, got some new public litter bins for Bulmershe Road and College Road, got a new Road sign for Eastern Avenue and supported residents asking for a solution to their parking problems in Newtown amongst other things.
Helped to deliver our Park Ward newsletter.
Sunday, 5 April 2009
"Now or Never…
King’s Meadow and Lock Island
Major area of green public space in peril as developer gets the wink from Reading Council Scrutiny Panel with final decision from Cabinet on Tuesday 14th April 2009.
OPTION 1: Hotels, bars, offices, multi-storey car park and flats
OPTION 2: Minimal impact fully restored Baths with family and sport facilities
NO LOSS OF PUBLIC SPACE
Have your say come to Public meeting:
Mapledurham Pavilion on Woodcote Road, Caversham Heights
Wednesday 8th April at 7.30pm - plenty of parking space
There was no charge.
If you are thinking of going remember to cover your head!
Thursday, 2 April 2009
Monday, 30 March 2009
Saturday, 28 March 2009
Friday, 27 March 2009
Thursday, 19 March 2009
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
In the afternoon I paid a visit to the group who were painting a mural in the Avon Place playground -- a seascape. It was looking great and I keep meaning to go back to see the finished product.
On the Sunday I helped a resident clear some of the fly tipped waste out of the alley between Church Road and Wokingham Road. Despite a bit of publicity it was just the two of us, but we still made some progress.
It would be good to have a Autumn RESCUE in future -- which the council has talked about before. I will definitely be trying to get more groups to take part of next time.
Thursday, 12 March 2009
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
The first lunch club I went to is almost opposite my new house on Cumberland Rd at the Warehouse/Wycliffe Church. It is at 12:45 p.m. on a Friday -- although not the next two weeks because the people that run it are away. I almost missed it due to stopping for a chat on the way! The food was vegetarian Indian. It was very tasty. There was water to drink and fruit salad to finish with. The cost was £2.50 and I'll definitely be going back when it restarts.
Monday, 9 March 2009
Saturday, 7 March 2009
As you may have heard by now, West Berkshire Council have now made a decision on the planning application submitted by AWE to build a new nuclear warhead assembly / dissasembly facility at AWE Burghfield.
To no-one's great surprise, the planning committee decided to grant permission to allow the development to go ahead. The planning committee have been very pro-AWE when considering previous planning applications submitted by the company, and this week was no exception. The Council officers seemed desperate to push the application through as fast as possible and the councillors on the committee seemed to be more interested in the surfacing for a new pathway that is to be built along
Burghfield Road than in the problems associated with the development itself. Only one member of the committee voted against allowing the new nuclear factory to be built at Burghfield.
The points we made about flood risks, public safety and populations numbers in the protection zones around the development, and the failure of the committee to hear evidence from Reading Borough Council were all ignored by the committee. However, although we lost the vote we won the arguments hands down. There was massive press interest in the issue - solidly on our side - and one journalist told us "I've been covering AWE stories for 20 years and have never seen this level of opposition to a
development there before". This looks set to translate into further public distrust of AWE.
We are currently investigating the possibilities of putting pressure on the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Hazel Blears)to call the development in for a public inquiry. Rob Wilson, Martin Salter, and Caroline Lucas have already written to Hazel Blears asking for an inquiry. If you are able to help in contacting other local MPs (Theresa May, John Redwood, Richard Benyon, or MPs further afield in Basingstoke and Bracknell) please get in touch with me.
We will have another opportunity to put a spanner in the wheels of new development at AWE Aldermaston in a few weeks time when a new planning application is submitted for an enriched uranium facility at AWE Aldermaston. This will be an even bigger development than the one at Burghfield, raising a whole new set of safety and environmental risks. If you would like to help un the campaign against this new uranium facility please contact me to let me know.
Finally, a very big thank you to everyone who helped with this campaign by signing letters of objection; collecting signatures; visiting MPs, speaking at meetings, or in any other way.