Thursday, 26 January 2012

East Reading Festival

There has been a festival in east Reading for a while now. In recent years it has been run and funded by the Council with support – sometimes a lot of support – from people in the community and various organisations.

As part of the Council's cost-cutting funding for the festival has been chopped in recent years and this year we will lose more and the officer support. This is both a threat to the festival happening and an opportunity for the community to really take ownership it.

Fortunately a number of people have stepped forward to ensure that the festival happens this year and in future years. Unfortunately we will be up against it, we are losing experience and deadlines are fast approaching.

The committee met earlier this week. Unfortunately I was unable to attend, but I am pleased to report that the festival will take place with small community events starting on June 7, 2012 and leading up to the finale in Palmer Park on Sunday, June 10, 2012. The theme for the festival will be "living on a budget".

If you are interested in getting involved with the committee, running a small event, having a stall at the finale or anything else get in contact and I can pass on your offer.

A new Facebook group has been set up here.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Latest on the proposed east Reading secondary school

Councillor Melanie Eastwood recently asked for an update from the Council on the possible new secondary school in east Reading and got the following back. She has also asked the College for an update.

In summary no more information is available, no decisions have been made and it has slipped back a year.

RBC: "The Department for Education has allocated a project team to work with Oxford and Cherwell Valley College with the ambition to open a University Technical College in September 2013. There are a number of hurdles to clear, not least of which are: securing a site; establishing a curriculum; agreeing a funding agreement and communicating the nature and ethos of the school to interested parents. All of this is the responsibility of the college."

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

How can we help you?

Cllr Melanie Eastwood and I will be holding the following residents' advice surgeries. No appointment necessary.

Friday, January 27 – walkabout surgery in the Orts Road (East) area, 3 PM to 3:30 PM

Friday, February 24 – outside Alfred Sutton school, Wokingham Road, 3 PM to 3:30 PM

Saturday, March 24 – outside Arthur Hill baths, King's Road, 11 AM to 12 noon

If you are unable to come along to any of these surgeries, but have issues you would like to raise please get in contact.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Labour hold up the white flag nationally

Below is a letter from Green MP Caroline Lucas on the Labour government's recent economic announcement:

In his interview with your paper on Saturday, Ed Balls effectively holds up a white flag and admits that Labour has given up any attempt to set out an alternative economic agenda (Beyond the hair shirt: Labour party can give Britain the tough love it needs, insists Balls, 14 January).

His capitulation before the Tory-led coalition's definition of economic credibility as meaning ever more fiscal austerity, and his jaw-dropping statement that "we are going to have to keep all these cuts" calls into question the very purpose of the Labour party.

Moreover, the choice he poses between higher public sector pay or growing unemployment conveniently ignores the fact that many public sector workers are on very low incomes, and falsely suggests that we can't afford to fund both. It is investment in decently paid jobs that generates income, and thus the tax revenues to pay for credit or borrowed money, not the other way round.

Instead of trying to outcompete the government in some kind of masochistic virility test to see who can threaten the greatest austerity, an opposition party worthy of the name would be making a far stronger case that austerity isn't working, and offering a genuine alternative.

A combination of more progressive taxation, a crack down on tax evasion and avoidance and, crucially, Green quantitative easing to deliver investment directly in the new jobs and infrastructure the UK urgently needs to make the transition to a more sustainable economy, would do far more to challenge the government than the Tory-lite policies set out by the shadow chancellor.

Caroline Lucas MP

Leader, Green party

Monday, 9 January 2012

Newtown residents' parking consultation results

The people of east Newtown – roads to the east of Cholmeley Road – have spoken and it would seem that a majority of people responding to the residents' parking consultation say yes they want one.

The report can be found here. It is item 6 on the agenda.

In summary, 221 (31%) residents responded. 185 (83%) said yes and 36 (17%) said no.

Residents favoured option one – one way Liverpool Road eastbound with the other one-way roads remaining the same.

I will be attending the Traffic Management Advisory Panel on Thursday, January 12 to keep this scheme moving now that we have a decent mandate.