Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Fossil free pension fund, Reading motion a success

As you might have seen here the Green Party divestment motion at a Reading Council meeting was a success. The final amended motion is below (actions at the end). Still some way to go to get Berkshire Pension Fund to divest but this is a good start.

ITEM 15 - FOSSIL FUEL FREE PENSION FUND & OTHER ETHICAL MATTERS

Recommendations moved by the Chair:

(1) Policy Committee notes:
· The Council’s public commitment to tackling climate change.
· That the Royal County of Berkshire Pension Fund, of which most Council staff are members, currently has over £27m invested indirectly in fossil fuels.
· That if fossil fuel companies extract and burn just 20% of the reserves they hold, this is likely to cause serious adverse climate change
· The legal duties on the Pension Fund under statute and under general trust law principles to manage the Scheme in the best financial interests of the Scheme members and beneficiaries. i.e. the Then Pension Fund must invest the money available to meet its future liabilities, and that as the Local Government Pension Scheme is a defined benefit scheme with regulated contributions from employees, the impact of investment performance feeds through into employer contribution rates, which are set to enable to Pension Fund to move towards full financing over a 30 year transitional period and these in turn will directly impact the Council’s budget.
· That the Pension Fund employs several specialist fund managers to make investments on its behalf, so has limited ability to change those investments at short notice.

(2) Policy Committee believes:
· The urgency of stopping climate change requires that we progressively stop burning fossil fuels now.
· That appropriate pension fund investment can be a positive driver towards a low-carbon economy.
· That public bodies and their related pension funds should, where possible, and where consistent with their legal duties direct investment into 'green energy' infrastructure rather than invest in fossil fuel extraction companies
· That local authority pension funds can and should consider directing a share of their investments to supporting the sustainable development of their local economies.

(3) Policy Committee resolves:
· To support the principle of fossil fuel divestment, and to encourage, through the Climate Change Partnership, Reading’s businesses and institutions to divest from fossil fuels.
· To include an explicit Ethical Investment Statement in the Council’s Treasury Strategy Statement:
The Council will not knowingly invest directly in businesses whose activities and practices pose a risk of serious harm to individuals or groups, or whose activities are inconsistent with the Council’s Corporate Plan and values. This would include institutions with material links to
- human rights abuse (e.g. child labour, political oppression)
- environmentally harmful activities (e.g. pollution, destruction of habitat, fossil fuels)
- socially harmful activities (e.g. tobacco, gambling)
These principles will be applied to all investments made by the Council.
· Not to accept direct sponsorship and advertising from fossil fuel companies, and to ask Reading Buses to adopt a similar position in relation to bus advertising.
· That the Managing Director write to Royal Berkshire Pension Fund and ask them to review and strengthen their own Ethical Investment statement, consider membership of the Institutional Investors Investment Forum with a view to avoiding new investment in the top 200 publicly-traded fossil fuel companies and to consider the possibility of divesting from fossil fuel investments (whether equities or corporate bonds issued by such companies) by 2020.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Christmas Carol services in East Reading

For those of you that enjoy a good sing song at Christmas time, here is a list of carol services in East Reading. Feel free to add details of other carol services in the comments section.
  •       Sunday December 20, 16:30 & 19:00, Wycliffe Baptist Church, carols by candlelight
  •       Sunday December 20, 18:00 to 19:00, Anderson Baptist Church
  •       Sunday December 20, 18:00, Park United Reformed Church, Traditional readings and carols by candlelight
  •       Monday December 21, 18:30, St John and St Stephen’s Church, carols by candlelight


Monday, 7 December 2015

Racially aggravated assault in East Reading

COPY We have asked transport planners to improve access from Arch to central island at Cemetery JunctionThe police after information relating to a racially aggravated assault in College Road. See below for more information.

"Thames Valley Police is appealing for witnesses following the assault of a man in Reading.

At 6pm on Monday (30/11) the victim, a 48-year-old man, was walking in College Road. He heard someone making derogatory comments and was then punched in his head from behind by an offender causing him to fall to the ground.

The victim hit his face on the pavement and briefly lost consciousness. When he awoke, he was helped by two men.

He sustained swelling to his jaw, nose and mouth which required treatment at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, from where he has since been discharged.

The offender was a black man however no further description is available.

Investigating officer PC Chris Liddicott, from Reading police station, said: “This victim was assaulted in an unprovoked attack as he was going about his day-to-day business. I would like to speak to anyone who saw the man being assaulted who may be able to provide details to help the investigation.

“I would particularly like to speak to the two men who helped the victim after he was assaulted as they may have witnessed the assault or have helpful information.”

If you have any information which could assist the investigation please call the 24-hour Thames Valley Police enquiry centre on 101.

If you don’t want to speak directly to the police, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers (opens new window) anonymously on 0800 555 111 No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court." .

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Electric vehicle charging points for Palmer Park...

Palmer Park benchAt a recent council meeting Jamie asked for an update on the electric vehicle charging points promised for Palmer Park. With Reading's pollution problems infrastructure to support electric vehicles would really help. Unfortunately the money was lost when the partner pulled out. The council has put another bid in, but only for the town centre.

Full question and answer below:

TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT SUB-COMMITTEE 3 NOVEMBER 2015

QUESTION NO. 2

Councillor Whitham to ask the Chair:

Electric Vehicle Charging Points

Some time ago, the Council announced electric vehicle charging points would be installed at various sites across Reading including one in Palmer Park. Please could I have an update on this ?

REPLY by Councillor Page:

I thank Cllr Whitham for his question.

Proposals to install electric vehicle charging points at Palmer Park, Rivermead Leisure Complex and Green Park were developed in response to a grant funding opportunity from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).

The grant funding provided by central Government included a requirement for 25% match funding to enable delivery of the chargepoints, which had been secured by the Council from a supplier of the chargepoints through a competitive procurement process.

Unfortunately the contractor appointed to deliver the chargepoints subsequently withdrew their offer at the last minute, thereby meaning we were unable to meet the timescales for the OLEV funding.

As a result we are looking to secure alternative funding to deliver electric vehicle chargepoints in Reading. To this end, we have recently submitted a bid to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for the provision of four chargepoints in the basement car park of the Civic Offices and we will continue to seek further funding as opportunities arise.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Latest on refugee crisis and Reading welcoming refugees

Rob White refugees welcome smilingAnother question was asked recently at a council committee on the refugee crisis and what the council is doing. A meeting has now happened with the Home Office but the council hasn't released any more information yet. I am trying to get a briefing on this.

Refugee Crisis

Could the leader update us all on meetings with civil servants on the details of government support for local authorities who will be asked to help with the refugee crisis?

REPLY by Leader of the Council:

Council officers met with officials from the Home Office on 16th October to understand more about the scheme.

The existing refugee dispersal scheme will continue, but Local Authorities are also being asked to provide support for those coming directly from the camps.

The Home Office has been meeting with individual Local Authorities in each sub-region, which in Reading’s case is the Thames Valley, which comprises Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. As the Home office has yet to meet with many of the Local Authorities in the Thames Valley area we have been asked not to talk about numbers of refugees until they have a complete picture.

The Government has confirmed that with the expanded programme, additional funding beyond the first 12 months will be provided. The Home Office officials were not able to give specific details at this stage but the Home Office has said that it will inform local authorities as soon as possible.

As I have previously stated Reading Borough Council is of course willing to help and I will update Councillors as soon as there is greater clarity from the Home Office.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Have you watched a web cast of a Council meeting? Viewing figures below

Small Civic CentreYou can now watch council meetings live over the Internet or look back at old council meetings via the web cast website here (great if you are struggling to get to sleep): http://webcast.nl/readingboroughcouncil/#!/overview

I think the web casting of meetings has definitely made some councillors less rude (although there is still some way to go), and it makes the meetings more open to scrutiny and more democratic.

Have you watched a web cast yet? What do you think?

Viewing figures here:

Date

Meeting

Views (number of times the webcast was watched for at least 1 minute)

Live views

7 July

Council

176

(not live)

20 July

Policy Committee

94

(not live)

8 October

Policy Committee

111

10

14 October

Planning Committee

129

29

20 October

Council

162

39

2 November

Policy Committee

71

17

5 November

ACE Committee

37

18

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Council spending on consultants and temporary staff is increasing

Small Civic CentreUnfortunately Council spending on agency staff and consultants is creeping up at a time when the council is trying to reduce this spending.

Following recent budget monitoring reports, and the council taking a very long time to update me on spending on temporary staff I asked about this at the recent Policy Committee. Unfortunately spending has gone up. Crudely adjusting the figures to make comparison easier spending on agency staff and consultants for the last six months was £6.4 million whereas for six months last year it was £5.9 million so it has gone up by £.5 million at a time when the council is trying to reduce this figure.

With care to elderly and vulnerable residents being cut, the voluntary sector set to lose half its council funding and building such as libraries and South Street facing closure this isn’t good news.

The council needs to be attracting more permanent staff to bring costs down, by being a good place to work and offering better pay and conditions in some areas.

Full question and answer below:

COUNCILLOR QUESTION NO. 1

Councillor White to ask the Leader of the Council:

Council Spend on Temporary Staff

In a recent budget monitoring report, overspending on agency and interim staff was identified in the area of Children, Education and Early Help Services.

The risk of overspending has also been identified in recent budget monitoring reports in connection with “high use of agency staffing & consultants” and “high use of agency staffing & consultants due to management turnover and staff recruitment & retention issues in social work”.

I have been awaiting a briefing on this general issue for many months but haven’t heard anything back.

Please can I get some reassurance that spending on agency staff, interim staff, consultants and contractors is not getting out of control?

Please can the council provide me with some figures for how much money the council has spent on each of the above categories of temporary staff so far this year and last year for comparison?

Please can I be informed how much the highest-paid contractor or consultant, who has worked for the council in the last 12 months, is paid per day?

REPLY by Councillor Lovelock (Leader of the Council):

The Council makes use of interim and agency staff for a variety of reasons, predominantly:

· To cover for short term absences

· To provide staffing in critical services where the Council has been unable to recruit sufficient directly employed staff

· To manage short and medium term peaks in workload

And

· To recruit staff with specific skills that are required for a limited period only

The Council also engages contractors and consultants for a similarly wide range of purposes including specialist technical advice and for short term and one-off projects were the skills and expertise are either rarely required or are not required in volumes that would justify employing staff on an ongoing basis. Consultants are also used extensively in the delivery of large capital programmes such as the Local Strategic Transport Fund or the Schools Expansion Programme.

Programmes of these types require a wide range of professional disciplines and specific expertise which varies depending on the precise nature of the schemes being implemented. A small unitary authority like Reading would not be able to sustain in-house expertise in all of these areas. The volume of this work varies significantly from years to year and the engagement of consultants is a cost effective way of ensuring that the appropriate skills are available when needed.

There is considerable overlap between the categories of staff mentioned and the information that is held is broken down into either Agency Staff or Consultants. Interim staff and contractors are not categorised separately as they appear in both categories, depending on the nature of their contract of engagement.

The spend recorded in the Council’s financial system is shown in the table below:

£,000

 

2014/5

2015/6 (to October)

Agency Staff

5,726

4,279

Consultants

6,123

2,199

The Council has seen an increase over the past year in the use of Agency and Consultancy staff, particularly to provide cover for some vacant higher cost senior management posts.

As has already been published in the Council’s Accounts the highest paid temporary post was that of the interim Director of Children’s and Early Help Services from January 2015.

The Council has a specialist team that focusses on the contract management of the Agency staff and independent consultants and contractors and has recently agreed new approval procedures to govern the decision to appoint, and the negotiation of contracts for these higher cost roles to ensure these costs are minimised and robust contractual arrangements are in place. The specialist team are also working to address the most difficult to fill categories of staff, such as Children’s Social Workers, to reduce the reliance on temporary staff. By its nature, the amount of temporary work required will fluctuate. The total spend and amount of temporary staff is closely monitored and, where necessary, action taken to reduce avoidable requirements in the future.

The arrangements to manage and control expenditure in this area is robust and subject to regular review by senior managers, however, occasionally the spend is not always as low as we would all like, but clearly when managers and front line staff move on we will need to have interim arrangements to ensure continuity of service.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Consultation on putting a destructive park-and-ride by the Thames in East Reading

Kennet Mouth Artist's impression afterWokingham have started the consultation process for putting a destructive car park by the Thames in East Reading. Details here: http://www.myjourneywokingham.com/park-and-ride

It is worrying that both of the consultation meetings are daytime/early evening making it hard for residents to attend and that on the website there are no detailed plans.

The beautiful Thamesside area is much loved by the local community who walk and play their often. Many people have concerns about the impact of putting a large car park, a link road into Reading town centre and a bridge over Kennet Mouth on it. There is already a petition against this project: https://www.change.org/p/no-park-and-ride-on-the-thamesside

This scheme was known as the Cross Town Route previously, Reading and Wokingham councils don’t want people to think of the park-and-ride, link road and bridge as one scheme. However, if the park-and-ride gets the go-ahead they will then put in for planning permission for the link road and bridge over the Kennet Mouth.

Given that the government is predicting road transport to increase by 46% by 2040 claims that this scheme, a car park for more cars, will do anything to reduce pollution and congestion are laughable. We need more radical measures to improve and make cheaper alternatives to the car to reduce car usage.

If Wokingham and Reading councils insist on building a park-and-ride, why not put another level on top of the new Winnersh one, which has been designed to allow this. It is on the same route into Reading and would mean we didn’t have to tarmac over yet more green space? I urge people to consider the impact of the car park, link road and bridge when responding to this consultation, and say no. Please also consider signing the petition against this scheme.

https://www.change.org/p/no-park-and-ride-on-the-thamesside

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Reading Council moves forward with fossil fuel divestment campaign

Last Night at full Council Green councillors asked the council to lobby Berkshire Pension Fund to sell its fossil fuel investments, £66.5 million, and invest in an ethical, sustainable future. Councillors agreed, across all parties, that we should look at this in more detail and broaden it to other ethical considerations.

ff-logo-orange-300x77

Still time to sign the Reading Divest from Fossil Fuels petition, we are approaching 200 signatures: https://campaigns.gofossilfree.org/petitions/reading-divest-from-fossil-fuels

Globally 200,000 individuals and 400 institutions have already committed to pulling their investments out of fossil fuel companies totalling a whopping $2.6 trillion.

Berkshire Pension Fund’s investments in fossil fuels are contributing to climate change rather than helping tackle it.

We only have one world and one chance. I’m pleased that councillors have followed the Green Party’s lead, and chose to be courageous ahead of the Paris climate change conference. There is still much work to do, but Reading has taken the first step towards becoming part of the fossil fuel divestment movement.

The report on fossil fuel divestment and other ethical matters relating to the Berkshire Pension Fund will come back to the Policy Committee on November 30, 2015.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Tidying up the Thames side and the Kennet side for Reading RESCUE

Reading RESCUE group shotThis week is Reading RESCUE community litter pick. Whether you live in Reading or Wokingham get involved and help tidy up your local area.

Newtown GLOBE have organised an event in east Reading.

Where: meeting outside the Jolly Anglers 314-316 Kennetside, Reading, RG1 3EA

When: 4 PM up to 5:30 PM on Saturday, October 10

If you don't live near Newtown details of other events can be found here: http://readingrescue.org.uk/

In Wokingham the big community litter pick happens in March, but you can adopt a street any time of the year. Details here: http://www.wokingham.gov.uk/transport/streets/adoptastreet

With the Newtown  GLOBE, east Reading event, the council will provide litter pickers, bags and gloves. We will litter pick the Kennetside, Thamesside and the Coal woods.

Come along, wearing some sturdy shoes and clothes and bring a friend. Let me know (bobby.blanc@gmail.com) if you are coming to make sure we have enough equipment.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Find out if your road is in the small electrical items recycling collections trial in Reading

2015-10-02 11.19.45Details about the trial below. Click here for a list of roads included in the trial.

Small Electrical Items Recycling – Collections Trial

A trial scheme has been launched to collect and recycle residents’ broken or unwanted small electrical items free of charge on their recycling collection day.

About the trial

Collections start week commencing 5th October 2015.

17,000 properties which are on two collection rounds will take part. Please see list of roads on pdf doc.

After the six month trial we plan to extend collections of small electrical items to the whole borough in March 2016.

Which properties can take part in the trial?

Only properties with a red recycling bin or box in these roads can take part in the trial. Residents whose properties are part of the trial will receive a special bin hanger leaflet on their bin with information about the trial. The bin hanger leaflets will be delivered from Friday 25th September on their recycling collection day.

How will residents on the trial recycle their small electrical items?

Residents are asked to put their electrical items in an untied carrier bag (not black sacks) and put them next to their red recycling bin or box by 7am on their recycling collection day.

How will the crews collect the items?

The crew will collect the electrical items and put them in special cages on the collection vehicles.

During the first month of the trial we will have an additional ‘mop up’ crew who will go out and collect any items the crews weren’t able to collect should the cages on the collection vehicles become full.

If residents put out the wrong sort of electrical items or electrical items which are too big we will leave a sticker on the item to let the resident know and which advises them to take the items to the Household Waste Recycling Centre (the tip) for free or to arrange a bulky waste collection for a fee.

Residents with electrical items which are still working are encouraged to think about re-using them by giving them to someone who could use them, selling it, advertising it on Freecycle or Freegle or donating them to charity.

Which electrical items can be put out for collection?

We can collect small electrical and electronic items that have a plug or use batteries. The maximum size item we can collect is 30cm x 24cm (about the size of a standard jug kettle or a 2 slice toaster) as items larger than this will not fit into the storage cages on the collection vehicles.

Residents are advised to recycle larger electrical items by taking them to Household Waste Recycling Centre (the tip) for free or to arrange a bulky waste collection for a fee.

Examples of items we can collect:

· Kettles

· Toasters (2 slice size only)

· Irons

· Hair dryers

· Straighteners

· Clippers

· Clocks

· Calculators

· Torches

· Remote controls

· Cameras

· Chargers

· Radios

· CD and MP3 players

· Small electronic toys

· Power tools

This list is by no means definitive.

The items do not need to be in working order. Residents are advised to leave any cables and plugs attached, remove any batteries and remove any personal data.

Which electrical items should not be put out for collection?

We can’t collect electrical items larger than 30cm x 24cm (about the size of a standard jug kettle or a 2 slice toaster) as they won’t fit into the storage cage on the collection vehicle.

We also cannot take:

· TVs

· computer monitors

· items with screens (laptops, notebooks, tablets…etc)

· fluorescent tubes

· light bulbs

Residents are advised to recycle larger electrical items by taking them to Household Waste Recycling Centre (the tip) for free or to arrange a bulky waste collection for a fee.

How can residents not taking part in the trial recycle their electrical items?

Residents can take electrical and electronic items to the Household Waste Recycling Centre (the tip) to be recycled. It is planned to extend the collections to all properties in the borough with wheeled bins in March 2016.

Why do we want residents to recycle their electrical items?

Unwanted electrical and electronic items contain really valuable raw materials which can be recycled and used to make new products

How will the small electrical items be recycled?

The items are taken to a reprocessor where they are broken up and the different metals and plastics recycled and used to make new products.

How are the collections being funded?

The scheme is funded by the Distributor Takeback Scheme. This is a scheme which retailers can join to meet their obligations under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations to ensure that their customers can reuse or recycle their broken or unwanted electrical items and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Warning Cemetery Junction roadworks, anticipated impact high!

COPY We have asked transport planners to improve access from Arch to central island at Cemetery JunctionJust got this from the council:

"We have been contacted by Southern Gas Network (SGN) and informed that they have located a gas escape on London Road, opposite No. 225, at Cemetery Junction.

The works are of an urgent nature and will take approximately 5 days to repair. During this time they will require a West bound (inbound) lane closure throughout the duration of the works.

Through ventilation of the gas SGN have been able to delay an immediate start until next Monday, 5th October, which will provide time for advance warning to members of the public. SGN will be erecting advance warning information signs, which will be on site from tomorrow and will we be notifying Reading Buses, Taxi association and putting messages on our Variable Message Signs (VMS).

We expect the works to be completed at end of play Friday 9th October, but will keep you informed should the works take longer to complete."

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Green councillor calls on Reading Council to welcome refugees

Rob White refugees welcomeGreen councillor Rob White has written to the leader of the council asking her to take immediate action to ensure that Reading plays its part in welcoming refugees.

In a letter sent today, the Green Group leader called for Reading to immediately pledge to take 50 refugees. This would form a starting point towards ensuring Reading is hosting its share of refugees fleeing conflict.

Rob White, Green group leader said: "seeing the tragic pictures of three-year-old Syrian boy Aylan drowned and washed up on the beach, and other people in desperate situations brought me to tears recently.

"It is appalling that the UK has only resettled 216 Syrian refugees in the past year. Germany has pledged to take at least 800,000 asylum seekers this year and other EU countries are losing patience with the way the UK Government are dragging their feet over helping those in desperate need of sanctuary. Central government must provide the funding that Councils need to be able to properly support people fleeing from persecution and war.

"Cities such as Glasgow, Birmingham and Edinburgh have already agreed to host 50 refugees. Reading must show we are a caring town and we must play our part."

In his letter Rob White also asked about the future of Reading Refugee Support Group who do an excellent job locally of working with refugees. Earlier in the year they got a last-minute reprieve from a 50% reduction in their grant while a review was conducted.

Rob added: "Reading Refugee Support Group do a brilliant job locally supporting refugees in many ways. I know that the council is looking at cutting grants to the voluntary sector in half. Reading council needs to join with other councils across the country and stand up to the government's cruel austerity agenda to preserve vital services like this."

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Have your say on scheme to improve road safety at Redlands Primary School

COPY Kizzi and Rob outside RedlandsYou may remember that a little while ago Green campaigner Kizzi Murtagh petitioned the council to improve road safety around Redlands Primary School. Also the school has been working with the council on this issue. The scheme is now being consulted on.

The plan can be found here (page 2): http://www.reading-travelinfo.co.uk/media/106143/redlands-ward.pdf

The scheme adds double yellow lines to the junction of Lydford Road and Blenheim Gardens to improve visibility and road safety and puts single yellow lines on to Lydford Road which should stop daytime and weekday parking, keeping the road clear.

Please get back to us if you have any thoughts on the scheme.

If you would like to comment on the proposals, objections and comments in favour can be sent by e-mail to highway.objections@reading.gov.uk, quoting ref: I2621 by no later than 10 September 2015. If you require any further information please contact Jim Chen on 0118 9372198 or Andrew Sturgeon on 0118 9372101.

Depending on how the consultation goes the scheme will either then be implemented or go back to the Traffic Committee.

We will keep working, with you, to improve road safety in the area.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

What do you think about the new Redlands area parking scheme?

Residents' parking signRedlands councillors have recently published plans for a large parking scheme across Old Redlands. In Redlands Green campaigner Kizzi Murtagh has also been working on parking problems and so we welcome these draft proposals for discussion however we also have concerns.

Below are links to a plan view of each road, from Redlands councillors, details of the exhibition and our concerns.

Let us know what you think and if you would like us to update you on further developments by email. You can do this by emailing me: rob@readinggreenparty.org.uk

Overview plan

Erleigh Road plan

Kendrick Road plan

Allcroft Road plan

Morgan Road

Redlands Road plan

Redlands Road plan A3

Erleigh, Denmark and Alexandra roads plan

Addington Road plan

Upper Redlands Road plan

Elmhurst Road plan

Alexandra Road plan

Eldon Square plan

Donnington Road and Blenheim Road plan

Cardigan, Foxhill, Blenheim Gardens, Hatherley and Donnington Gardens plan

Redlands councillors have organised a drop-in exhibition on the scheme, details below.

When: Monday 28 September 2015 5:00pm to 7:00pm

Where: St Lukes Church Hall, Erleigh Road

This scheme is a "draft for discussion". What do you think? My general thoughts are below.

Alternatives to private car ownership

Having knocked on many doors in the Old Redlands area recently it is not clear to me that residents' parking on its own will solve parking problems in the area. More work is needed on making alternatives to the car more attractive, thereby reducing car ownership, such as: better walking and cycling infrastructure (joined up cycle network), expansion of the Co-Wheels car sharing scheme, and cheaper bus fares.

Displaced parking

As always with permit parking, this scheme will create problems around its edges. We have again asked if Redlands councillors will work with us on this so we can minimise the impact on Park Ward residents. Either way, we will be working with residents to pre-empt any problems.

Visitors' hours

Some proposed residents' parking bays do not have any visitors' hours meaning that residents may go through their visitors' permits very quickly and end up having to buy more. More information on the council's website here: http://beta.reading.gov.uk/parkingpermits

Reduction in parking spaces

Some roads will lose 50% of their parking which will cause problems for people.

Hospital and University

Pressure also needs to be continued on the Hospital and University to get them to do their bit.

What do you think of the proposals? We will keep working with residents to improve the local area.

Friday, 17 July 2015

2015 council cuts in Reading

The next round of cuts are on the agenda for the council's upcoming policy committee. Greens are opposed to austerity. Join us and make a difference. https://my.greenparty.org.uk/civicrm/membership/joining 
 
The link below takes you to the report. Appendix 1 contains the cuts (page C25):
http://beta.reading.gov.uk/media/3560/Item-9/pdf/item09.pdf

Since 2010 the government has reduced its funding for local government in England by about 40%. Between now and 2018 a further £45 million will be cut (35% reduction in the money we currently have available). At the general election all of the main parties were signed up to austerity, which ever one was elected, Conservative or Labour, these  devastating cuts were  tragically coming.

Services have been cut to the bone over recent years, Labour are now crunching through the bone and we are starting to lose whole chunks of public service. Here are a few of the cuts:

South Street

So far the proposed cut which has received most attention is the one proposed for South Street. The council is seriously looking into selling this building even though the cost to the tax player is relatively small at around £30,000. Save South Street Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1039760576048947/?fref=ts

Adult social care

Care for older people and people with disabilities continues to be hit hard – the NHS may have been ring fenced but adult social care definitely has not. Many of the savings in this area revolve around cutting care packages (help getting up, help at mealtime and other support).

Sustainability manager

Despite massive carbon savings and reductions to the council's energy bills more cuts this year to the sustainability team. I'm waiting for more information on this, so I'm not sure how many people will be left and if it will qualify as a team any more...

Council Tax support scheme

In line with the Conservative governments crackdown on Social Security and the safety net that is there for all of us who fall on bad times the council tax support scheme will be less supportive. This will mean 7493 people who qualify for this benefit will get less and end up having to pay more – not easy if you are on a low, fixed income.

The Green Party is the only party on the council opposed to the government's austerity agenda. At the recent general election all of the other parties proposed slightly different versions of the massive cuts we are now being hit by. Greens are principled, we will continue to argue for an end to wasteful spending, such as over £100 billion on replacing Trident. Greens are courageous, we will continue to lobby for a fairer tax system where large corporations and the very rich pay their fair share. Greens are caring, we will continue to work for investment in public services, people and ultimately the future.

We want to see policies for the common good, not just the few at the top. Join us and make a difference:
https://my.greenparty.org.uk/civicrm/membership/joining

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Application to sell alcohol from a shop up to 4 AM

UPDATE: this application has been withdrawn.

BottlesWe thought residents might be interested in this application to sell alcohol up to 4 AM by an east Reading shop. Details below:

Dear resident

Re: application to sell alcohol until 4 AM by Ravi Stores, 55 Wokingham Road

The above-mentioned business has applied to the council to be able to sell alcohol until 4 AM in the morning each day. We are concerned about the impact that this will have on residents in the area.

If you wish to object, then you need contact licensing@reading.gov.uk on or before 24th July 2015. All representations should be related to one or more of the licensing objectives – prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, protection of children from harm and prevention of public nuisance.

Best wishes
Rob White, Josh Williams and Jamie Whitham

Green councillors, Reading

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Drawings for Riverside Day Nursery moving to Palmer Park

UPDATE: Council planning exhibition on plans to move Riverside to an expanded ERAPA on Wednesday, July 22 from 3 PM to 7 PM at ERAPA in Palmer Park.
Some of you may have seen the information at East Reading Festival about Riverside Day Nursery moving from New Town school to Palmer Park (plan to the left: yellow existing building, pink proposed building, blue prosed play area).
New Town school is expanding, meaning Riverside Day Nursery needs a new home. The council is planning on putting them in Palmer Park in an expanded ERAPA site – London Road, St Bartholomew's Road corner of the park where Barty Bears playgroup used to be.
This will involve putting one of the modern temporary classroom type buildings into Palmer Park – because there isn't the money for anything more expensive. The new building is shown in grey below.


We think it is important to make sure that we have enough nursery places, but we also need to protect our open spaces. Let us know what you think.
The timescales are given below:
Now: Pre-application was submitted 11 Jun ‘15
w/c 20 July: Planning Exhibition (date not confirmed)
w/c 27 July: Formal planning application submitted following exhibition
11 Nov ‘15: Planning Committee (expecting to be at November’s planning committee)
Jan ’16: Start on site
Jun ’16: Completion date. Riverside then move out of New Town at agreed date (tbc) and work can begin there.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Maiden Erlegh in Reading construction site contact details

Rob White ME2 Crescent Road demolition signAny problems with the Maiden Erlegh in Reading building site can be raised using the information below. Let me know if you don't get anywhere.

"In terms of a contact number, until such time as a permanent site set-up is established, and landlines are connected (early September 2015), the best way for any local residents to contact the site would be via Neil Thomson (Project Manager Kier Construction) on his work mobile 07827 928041 or the Newbury Office on 01635 36000.

There is an out of hours emergency phone number displayed on site which is : 01604 498849 and Reference No. NY1181 should be quoted.  Any calls to this number would be escalated down and ultimately to Neil Thomson.

Alternatively the following email addresses could be – neil.thomson@kier.co.uk or construction.newbury@kier.co.uk . If anybody were to contact the Newbury office then it is advised to use a reference in the subject line of the email “Maiden Erlegh Free School, Crescent Road”.

The Approved Construction Method Statement sets out that access to the site should be from the existing access at Hamilton Road/ Bulmershe Road junction."

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Expansion of New Town Primary School

image

Details on New Town Primary School expansion:

"New Town Primary School is currently a 1FE school with a pupil admission number of 30. In September 2012, the school took an additional reception class of 30 children and, following a statutory public consultation, the pupil admission number was permanently increased to 60 from September 2014. Their total number of pupils will increase from 210 to 420 and they will reach this new capacity in September 2021.

Proposed works

There are 3 phases to the proposed refurbishment. Phase I includes the completion of the new entrance, foyer and administration area with landscaping to the front fa├žade of the East building. The upper ground floor spaces will be refurbished at the same time. Existing school access arrangements will continue during this phase.

Phase II As the administration staff will have moved over to the East building, the second phase of work will be the current administration areas and staff room. Work to the canopy will also take place at this time. School access will be diverted to the site entrances on Cumberland Road and Cholmeley Road: there are several points of access along both roads

Finally Phase III will be the refurbishment of the space used by Riverside Day Nursery. During this phase, the school will not be in operation for the majority of the phase as it will be during the school summer holidays. When the phase and the end of school term overlap, the school access strategy will make use of the new entrance in the east building and the refurbished canopy space

The accommodation will comply with the requirements of the DDA and Approved Document M of the Building Regulations and Building Bulletin 99. There will be no loss of the existing building’s facilities due to the proposed development. It will create a new classroom and group room on the ground floor and a new Deputy Head’s office and staffroom on the first floor.

Stakeholders

Riverside Day Nursery currently rent a large area of the East building from New Town and a separate project is running in parallel to move them to new accommodation. This will be subject to an individual planning application and as such will have its own planning exhibition.

As the school has listed building status early conversations are being had to address any possible conflicts with that.

As with the majority of schools in the expansion programme one of our main issues will be dealing with the increased transport issues that residents are expecting following an expansion."

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Gas holders to be dismantled in Reading East area

Gas holderI have received more information on dismantling gas holders from the council. It is the ones in Wokingham which are being dismantled now. The one in Reading opposite Newtown school on the other side of the Kennet is not being dismantled in the short term but the owner has contacted the council about this.

More detail below:

Thank you for your enquiry, received on 19th May 2015, concerning the dismantling of two Gas Holders. Having contacted SGN, who sent the letter to your constituent, I can clarify that the letter relates to the dismantling of two gas holders to the west of Suttons Park Avenue [...]. This land is actually outside of the boundary of Reading Borough Council, and is instead within Wokingham Borough Council. SGN has confirmed that they have been liaising with David Wetherill from Wokingham Borough Council’s Planning Department (0118 974 6389 or david.wetherill@wokingham.gov.uk and copied into this email), so I would advise your constituent to contact David for all matters concerning this particular site. SGN confirmed that they notified Wokingham of their intention to demolish these gas holders last year, with further details being available to view via Wokingham’s website (use the reference number DEM/2014/0790 to view documents submitted and the decision notice by Wokingham).  

...

The entirely separate gas holder [...] is within Reading Borough Council (accessed via Kennet Walk). I can confirm that there are no current planning applications at this site, but in the past week a pre-application enquiry has been submitted concerning the dismantling of this holder. This is presently being considered by officers with view to providing advice to SGN. More generally, the site is allocated within the East Side Major Opportunity Area of the Reading Central Area Action Plan (2009). The specific policy reference is RC3f, with the principle allocation being as follows: “This area will be used for residential development. Development should enhance the character of the mouth of the Kennet and should maximise the potential of the site to be a river gateway to Reading”. As such, the future use of the site is earmarked for residential development. Under policy CS16 (Affordable Housing) of the Core Strategy (2008, altered 2015) 30% of the total number of dwellings would be sought to be affordable, unless viability circumstances justify a lower affordable housing contribution.

I hope that this information is of assistance to you. Should you have any questions or queries concerning the above, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Nepal Earthquake Relief Charity Musical Event in East Reading

Young people from the Nepalese community in Reading are organising a charity musical event to raise funds for the disaster relief effort in Nepal. Details below:

"The recent catastrophic earthquake in Nepal devastated thousands of lives and millions became homeless. In this difficult time we all are trying our best to provide relief and rehabilitation support to Nepal and Nepalese people.

I would like to appeal, invite and request wider community to join and help us in this endeavour. Nepalese youths of Reading are organizing a charity musical program on 30th of May, Saturday at Wycliffe Church, Kings Road ( Cemetery  Junction) to raise relief fund.

Venue: 233 Kings Road, Reading, RG1 4LS
Date: 30th May, 2015, Saturday Time: 7 PM
Ticket: £25
Organized by: Youths United

Monday, 18 May 2015

Newtown gas holders to go. Beautiful or ugly?

Gas holder UPDATE: a more up-to-date blog post on this subject can be found here http://cllrrobwhite.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/gas-holders-to-be-dismantled-in-reading.html

Just heard from one of my constituents that the two gas holders behind Newtown are to be dismantled.

Letter on this here and page 2 here. Unfortunately the email address didn't work for me.

I always thought these were interesting and a piece of local history, but I know they are not universally liked. What do you think?

I don't have much information on this at the moment, when I have some more I will post it here.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Whiteknights Road Reservoir ground investigation works

Thought this might be of interest to people living in the vicinity of Whiteknights Road Reservoir:

"Re -Whiteknights Road Reservoir Ground Investigation Works at Mockbeggar Allotments

I am writing to advise you of proposed ground investigation works programmed to take place on Whiteknights Road on the footway adjacent to the Mockbeggar Allotment site and on the road embankment within the allotment site.

These ground investigation works are required in order to determine the stability of the embankment which forms part of the Whiteknights Reservoir. Whiteknights Reservoir is located within the University of Reading grounds and borders Whiteknights Road and the Borough boundary.

The Reservoirs Act 1975 sets out requirements on the Statutory Undertakers of the reservoir to carry out an inspection every 10 years by the ‘Inspection Engineer’, who is appointed to the All Reservoirs Panel. Reading Borough Council has been determined as one of the Statutory Undertakers of the Reservoir, as set out in the Act due to the RBC public highway road running above the downstream reservoir earth embankment and the downstream slope boarding the Mockbeggar Allotment site.

The trial hole and investigation works are programmed to take 3 days and will commence on Monday morning 18th May at 9:30 am under traffic signal control. The signals will operate until 3pm at the latest when the road will be fully opened up to all traffic. Please refer to the trial hole location plan attached.

Advance notice boards will shortly be erected on site, letters have been sent to the allotment tenants, (copy attached for your information), and Reading Buses have also been advised. There will be some minor disruption during the investigation works within the allotments, but every effort will be made to keep this to a minimum.

If you have any queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

SAM SHEAN

Streetcare Services Manager

Highways | DENS

Reading Borough Council

19 Bennet Road, Reading, RG2 0QX

0118 937 2138 (72138)

0771 516 7880 (87497)

(sam.shean@reading.gov.uk)"

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Council tax debt collection and children

Civic CentreOver the course of the general election campaign I receive many emails on different subjects. One of them was over council tax debt collection methods where a household has children.

I asked the council about this and got the following reply. I would be interested in hearing from people who have had direct experience of this and the impact this had on them and their families so that we can lobby the council to improve its work in this area. I can be emailed at: rob@readinggreenparty.org.uk

"Council Tax Debt Collection methods


Firstly I need to apologise for my delay in responding to you regarding the enquiry you received from your constituent, as I am sure you can appreciate this is a particularly busy time of year for us, and we are experiencing high volumes of customer contacts.
That said we have also received a number of enquiries of a similar theme, as the Children’s Society have been running a campaign on their website encouraging residents to contact their local Councillors in light of publishing their recent report “The Wolf at the Door”, with regard to the recovery methods Local Authorities employ to recover outstanding Council Tax.
I enclose the link to their website for information:
www.childrenssociety.org.uk/counciltax

With regard to the numbers your constituent quotes to in in respect of the number of households in Reading affected by this issue - “4717 households were referred to bailiffs in Reading that's the equivalent of 69 bailiff visits for every 1,000 households”.
I am unable to advise you whether these figures are true or represent Reading as we can not validate the figures they have quoted or validate their source of this information. However I can assure you the figures they have quoted would be highly unlikely. We use “Enforcement Agents” as the very last resort.
It is our local practise before referring a Council Tax debt on to our enforcement agents for collection, that the customer will have received the appropriate number of reminders and opportunities to pay, via arrangement or instalment. Where payment have not been received despite our best efforts to contact the customer via correspondence, we will then check our records to see if we are aware of any Council Tax Support in payment, indicating they are on a low income. If this is the case, and they are in receipt of a qualifying benefit or we hold earned income details we will attempt to apply an attachment of benefit or earnings before taking any further steps. If this is still not successful we will try to reach the customer via telephone in order to make a last attempt to enter in to an arrangement. Only then will we begin to consider the use of enforcement agents.
We refer to the enforcement agents manually, after careful consideration and only ever as a last resort, and only after considering any vulnerability of the household make up. Our Council Tax database does not hold information regarding children within the household, as it is not relevant when deciding liability for Council Tax. However if there is a Council Tax Support claim we may be able to see if children are present and we will be mindful of this when deciding next action, but this only reflects a very small proportion of our Council Tax accounts in the whole.
We have a service level agreement with our enforcement agents, and they will contact via telephone and letter up to 3 times before a visit would be undertaken to recover the debt outstanding to us.
The enforcement agents are highly trained to recognise when contacting a customer if they are presented with a household that appears to be vulnerable including the sick and elderly and will refer back to ourselves for instruction before taking action.
I am not aware of any circumstances where I have been contacted regarding children being in fear as a result of our recovery methods.
We received a freedom of information request from the Children’s Society in January 2015, asking if we could provide information regarding the number of households in Reading in arrears where children were present. As this is not recorded within the Council Tax system we were unable to provide any information regarding this specific point. However we did advise them of our practice which follows “good practice guides for the collection of arrears”. We pointed out to them that our policy is to only use enforcement agents as a very last resort.
I trust that this answers your enquiry and you can assure your constituent that the use of enforcement agents in in Reading is very considered, limited and only ever the last resort."













Wednesday, 6 May 2015

WEA temporary parking success

Following the planning meeting where Green councillor Jamie Whitham was asked to work with the WEA and council to help ensure there is sufficient parking for studentsWEA temporary parking, we now have a temporary solution to keep courses going in the short term. More information below:

"Further to your enquiry below, I have been asked to respond as the building manager of Hamilton Centre.

We have been working with WEA to find a temporary solution which will ensure parking until the end of term.

As of the 12th May we have permission from UTC, who joint manage the playing field adjacent, to set up a temporary parking area on a triangular piece of land south of the centre. This will be available to WEA until the end of term. I have attached a map which has been shared with WEA organisers showing the area and how to access it. The route to access the parking will be marked clearly to ensure cars do not stray away onto the field and will be signposted to aid users...I will also be on site on Monday morning to help facilitate the students as they arrive and we will be monitoring the use of this area over the coming weeks."

Crowdfunding campaign helps get our message, for the common good, out in Reading East

crowd funded leaflet Reading EastThanks to everyone who chipped in to get a leaflet through the door of every house in the constituency about a fairer, healthier and more affordable Reading. Hopefully if you live in Reading East you have seen it? Text from the back page below:

Rob was elected as Reading's first Green Party councillor five years ago, and has worked with passion and commitment for the people of Reading. Rob joined the party in 2003 after Labour ordered the illegal invasion of Iraq. It was clear then, as it is now, that the business as usual parties failed to act for the many by not challenging inequality. Only the Greens offer real change from the status quo.

Rob’s priorities are making Reading a healthier, fairer, more affordable town. He is proud to be Leader of the Green Party on Reading Borough Council. Green councillors have achieved much for the common good – getting more people a living wage to tackle poverty and solar panels on council buildings to cut our carbon emissions and bills.

Rob is inspired by community, and his campaigning work has always focused on bringing people together. He believes that change is needed now more than ever and, if elected, will represent Reading East with tireless determination, supporting:

· a living wage

· our NHS

· council housing

· energy-saving measures

· free education for all

Rob will stand up for Reading against the tide of austerity that threatens so many of us. People who didn’t cause the financial crisis, don’t have off-shore accounts, and don’t get enormous bonuses – ordinary families and communities. With your help Rob wants to take his passion and hard work for Reading to Westminster as your MP.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Caroline Lucas endorses Rob White for Reading East



Caroline Lucas is offering a message of hope to those of us in Reading, endorsing Rob White as the Green Party candidate for Reading East. A living wage, affordable living, the cancellation of all tuition fees and debts. Every individual in this country deserves a truly fair chance without the fear of poverty, and that is what the Green Party offers.
On May 7th, vote for a fairer and more affordable Reading. Vote for a fairer United Kingdom. Vote Rob White. Vote Green.
Posted by Reading University Young Greens Society on Friday, 1 May 2015

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Maiden Erlegh, Crescent Road planning applications

Rob Crescent Road land saleStreet email: We are writing to update you on the subject of Maiden Erlegh on Crescent Road and the associated planning applications.

Your Green councillors believe that developing a secondary school on the Crescent Road site is important in meeting the school places crisis. However it has to be done in the best way possible and in a way that minimises the impact on local residents.

A planning application for the temporary buildings has been submitted. This is so the school can be up and running by September 2015. We agree with the general approach, but currently have a number of concerns mainly around transport and parking which we are working through with council planners.

Full details of the temporary classrooms planning application: http://planning.reading.gov.uk/fastweb_PL/detail.asp?AltRef=150381&submit1=Submit&ApplicationNumber=150381&AddressPrefix=&Postcode=

The temporary classrooms planning application is due to go to the Planning Applications Committee this week on Wednesday. The report can be found here: http://beta.reading.gov.uk/media/3183/Item-10/pdf/Item101.pdf

The Permanent school application has been received by the council and can be found here. This will go to the Planning Applications Committee later in the year:

http://planning.reading.gov.uk/fastweb_PL/detail.asp?AltRef=150594&submit1=Submit&ApplicationNumber=&AddressPrefix=Crescent+Road&Postcode=

Please feel free to get in contact with your thoughts.

We don’t have emails for everyone on the road so please forward this on to anyone who you think might be interested. If you receive a forwarded email let us know if you would like to be added to the list for future updates.

Best wishes,

Rob White, Josh Williams and Jamie Whitham

PS: we produce a monthly email newsletter with more general information about what is going on in the area. You can sign up for this here: http://greenparty.org.uk/signup.html

Green Party councillors, Reading

http://reading.greenparty.org.uk

If you no longer want to receive these emails please let us know and we will remove you from the list.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Five reasons to question the value of a (tactical) Labour vote in Reading East

Labour bar chart v1Our advice is to vote for what you believe in at the general election. Some people have told us though, that they are considering a tactical Labour vote. If this is you, you might want to think about these things:

1. Labour are saying only they can beat the Tories in Reading East. In 2010 they said the same but fell from second place to third place. https://electionleaflets.org/leaflets/5438/

2. Nationally Labour are NOT targeting Reading East. It is unlikely for a party to win somewhere that they are not targeting.

3. Nationally Labour are targeting Reading West (106 national targets in total, these are the seats they think are most winnable) and that is where the bulk of their resources are going. Full list of target seats here: http://labourlist.org/2013/01/labours-106-battleground-target-seats-for-2015/

4. After the 2010 general election Labour had 258 MPs. Recent polls are forecasting Labour winning around 282 seats (an increase of 24) indicating that they are not even going to win the 106 targets (the most winnable seats) let alone other constituencies such as Reading East.

5. Last time Labour finished in third place in Reading East. It is difficult to jump from third place to winning.

Our advice would be to vote for what you believe in, and you might just get it, or at least move things in that direction.

The Green Party has been working hard in Reading East to create a fairer, healthier and more affordable area. We are offering a radical progressive alternative to the business as usual of the old parties, policies that none of them offer (a living wage for all, a publicly owned NHS, massive investment in insulation and renewables). If you agree with these policies then vote for the Green Party, and why not get involved: http://reading.greenparty.org.uk/get-involved/

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Kizzi urges Redlands (and Reading) to get registered by midnight Monday

Kizzi register to voteKizzi Murtagh, Green Party candidate for Redlands Ward in Reading has called on residents to waste no time in getting registered to vote (www.gov.uk/register-to-vote). The deadline is midnight on a Monday, April 20.

Campaigning alongside other Green Party activists and members, Kizzi Murtagh said, “It’s so important that you don’t lose your voice in May. So much depends on the people we elect in the local and general elections; from decisions about parking and road safety at a local level, to defending a fully public NHS, scrapping tuition fees and tackling climate change at a national level.”

Nationally, the new individual registration system has seen 2% of voters lost from the electoral roll, and across Reading this rose to 5%. But Redlands Ward in Reading East has lost an amazing three times this at 15%.

Kizzi has commented on this, stating that, “we've been out knocking on doors all year and found large numbers of houses with no registered voters at all. In some roads in Old Redlands up to half of the people living there aren’t registered. What state does that leave our local democracy in?”

The deadline to register to vote is April 20th, it is simple to do and only takes two minutes online at:

www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

The only information you need, beyond basic contact details, is your national insurance number. If you're unable to make to the polling station on the 7th of May, you can also apply for a postal or proxy vote. Details of how to register for proxy or postal votes are available from the following link:

www.gov.uk/voting-in-the-uk

If you think you’re registered but haven’t received a polling card, you should call the council’s election hotline on: 0118 937 3717

Take Kizzi's advice, “Don't lose your right to vote! It doesn't matter who you intend to vote for, it’s important to just get registered, otherwise who decides the outcome of the local and general elections? Not you. Don’t leave a decision as important as that to someone else.”

Monday, 13 April 2015

Old Redlands residents' parking zone

Parked carsKizzi Murtagh and the Green Party have been doing a fair amount of doorknocking in the Redlands area recently and listening to people about their day-to-day problems. One thing that has come up time and time again is parking – there is now a petition for an Old Redlands zone.

We organised a small but perfectly formed meeting on parking a little while ago and at the meeting one of the Redland councillors mentioned that they were again considering a larger residents’ parking scheme in the “Old Redlands” area – terraced housing, no off-road parking, big parking problems.

Happy to support this resident-led petition to galvanise support for a consultation on residents’ parking in the Old Redlands area, but the council definitely needs to think about where this zone stops very carefully.

In neighbouring Park Ward residents’ parking has just gone in on College and Culver roads, will shortly be going in on St Bartholomew’s Road and is under consideration in Hamilton Road, Eastern Avenue and the Grange Avenue area.

Each of these road by road schemes will create problems at the edges. Is it time for an East Reading mega zone? What do people think?

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Green Party Deputy Leader AMELIA WOMACK Comes To Town To Discuss Housing Crisis – THIS THURSDAY!!

Letting agent boards in NewtownThe report, entitled “Everyone Knows We Have a Housing Crisis: Let’s Do Something About It” focuses on the action needed urgently to ensure that we have enough affordable housing to meet the needs of all.

Keith is introducing his report at a series of speaker meetings across the South East, visiting Reading this Thursday 9th April.

At the Reading meeting, Keith will be joined on the platform by Ian Caren (Launchpad), Clare Welton (Fuel Poverty Action), Martin Wicks (Defend Council Housing) and our very own national Deputy Leader Amelia Womack (seehttps://www.greenparty.org.uk/people/deputy-leader-amelia-womack.html).

All members and supporters are strongly encouraged to attend this meeting in order to discuss the impact of the housing crisis in the South East and to show the strength of local support for our national Deputy Leader and regional MEP! (Honourable exceptions, of course, to those who will be canvassing at this time.)

The meeting will take place at 6.30pm on Thursday 9th April at The Salvation Army hall on Anstey Road, Reading (RG1 7JR).

There is car parking nearby at the NCP car park in the Broad St Mall (http://www.ncp.co.uk/find-a-car-park/car-parks/reading-broad-street-mall). Parking costs £3.50 for the entire evening after 6.00pm.

PLEASE sign-up to attend the meeting here: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/everyone-knows-we-have-a-housing-crisis-lets-do-something-about-it-tickets-16106169988. (Note: the meeting is free and no tickets are required but signing up helps greatly with planning and organising the event).

” focuses on the action needed urgently to ensure that we have enough affordable housing to meet the needs of all.

Keith is introducing his report at a series of speaker meetings across the South East, visiting Reading this Thursday 9th April.

At the Reading meeting, Keith will be joined on the platform by Ian Caren (Launchpad), Clare Welton (Fuel Poverty Action), Martin Wicks (Defend Council Housing) and our very own national Deputy Leader Amelia Womack (seehttps://www.greenparty.org.uk/people/deputy-leader-amelia-womack.html).

All members and supporters are strongly encouraged to attend this meeting in order to discuss the impact of the housing crisis in the South East and to show the strength of local support for our national Deputy Leader and regional MEP! (Honourable exceptions, of course, to those who will be canvassing at this time.)

The meeting will take place at 6.30pm on Thursday 9th April at The Salvation Army hall on Anstey Road, Reading (RG1 7JR).

There is car parking nearby at the NCP car park in the Broad St Mall (http://www.ncp.co.uk/find-a-car-park/car-parks/reading-broad-street-mall). Parking costs £3.50 for the entire evening after 6.00pm.

PLEASE sign-up to attend the meeting here: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/everyone-knows-we-have-a-housing-crisis-lets-do-something-about-it-tickets-16106169988. (Note: the meeting is free and no tickets are required but signing up helps greatly with planning and organising the event). .

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Crescent Road closure

No entry road markingJust sent out an email to people on Crescent Road about an upcoming closure.

“…closure of Crescent Road outside No. 113 on 21st – 22nd April 2015. The order has been requested on behalf of Thames Water to carry out repairs to a leaking water main. During the works/closure a signed diversion route will be in place via Eastern Avenue, Whiteknights Road and Hamilton Road. Residents will be notified by Thames Water via a letter drop in due course.”

For more information, please contact Luke at the Council: 0118 937 2293

.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Palmer Park Heritage lighting and LED heads

Palmer Park lightingWe have been reporting problems with some of the faulty lighting in Palmer Park for a while now. They have recently changed some of the heads. See below for a message from Green councillor Josh Williams on this:

"Anyone concerned that the new LED lights aren't exactly a good fit for their heritage bases in Palmer Park - we've had confirmation from the council that these are only temporary. The original lanterns had reached the end of their life and had to be replaced. The new 'heritage' LED lanterns are on a long lead time, and so the council has used the standard LED lights from stock, but these will be replaced with something much more fitting in the next three months."

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Reading East hustings, come along and ask a question

COPY Rob White white backgroundbBelow are the upcoming hustings in Reading East. I should be at all of them, new baby permitting, answering questions and talking about Green Party policies and making Reading fairer, healthier and more affordable.

Why not come along and ask a question?

Thursday 26th March – University of Reading /Students’ Union Reading East hustings in the Students’ Union building, Whiteknights campus starting at 7:30 PM

Wednesday 1st April - Parliamentary candidates to discuss economic inequality - the topics are likely to be: housing, the living wage, pay ratios, and tax avoidance. Quaker Meeting House - 7:30 PM

Tuesday 14th April – Greater Reading Environmental Network environmental hustings (not necessarily Parliamentary candidates)in the Quakers meeting house starting at 7:30 PM

Wednesday 15th April – Pakistan Community Centre and Churches Together hustings in the Pakistan Community Centre, London Road starting at 7:30 PM

Thursday, April 23rd – NUT education hustings in the old town hall, 7:30 PM