Thursday, 30 April 2009

2009 South East region MEP hustings

RISC and other local groups have organised this hustings for the European elections on June 4. According to the flyer the main parties are all represented -- Caroline Lucas from the Greens, Sharon Bowles from the Liberal Democrats, Nirj Deva from the Conservatives and Philip van der Helst from UKIP -- apart from the Labour Party who aren't on the flyer?

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Reading climate change partnership

I went along to the Reading climate change partnership kick-off meeting yesterday. If we are to tackle climate change we all need to work together so I think this partnership is really important. There must have been about 50 people from different sectors and backgrounds in the room which was really positive to see -- private, public, voluntary, faith, community etc. We were trying to modify and agree a paper on the mission, aims and objectives of the group which was fairly hard going given the size of the group but we made some progress. The next stage is to set up a working group to put more flesh on the bones that we discussed and to select the executive board of the partnership. Hopefully this board will be agreed at the Local Strategic Partnership meeting in July and the first meeting of the climate change partnership will be in around September.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

International sunflower guerrilla gardening day

I went to the guerrilla gardening event at Reading Library on Saturday. It was interesting to hear about different activities going on around the world -- verges in America, roundabouts in London and occupied land in Africa. The local guerrillas from Common Ground community garden got a mention in the book that was being plugged and they asked for volunteers to get involved with their new garden in Kategrove.

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

King's Meadow update

I went along to Cabinet yesterday to support the King's Meadow Campaign. All seats were taken but the kind security guard found me one outside. Despite unanimous opposition from the public -- and opposition councillors -- to the Asket Hawk proposal the Labour group were still pressing to give them a period of exclusivity to work up their proposal.

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

Reading Single Homeless Project sponsored sleep out

This year I have decided to give the Reading Single Homeless Project sponsored sleep out on Friday the 24th of April a go. I am not normally too bothered about the creature comforts and I enjoy camping, but without a tent seems like hard work.

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

Kings Meadow Lido

I went along to the Kings Meadow Campaign meeting last night -- very well attended even though it was way out in Mapledurham. Whilst it was good to hear all about the history of baths and to bash the Conservative and Labour councillors who are there -- because one way or another they seemed to be supporting the developer and not the King's Meadow Campaign -- I thought the meeting needed a bit more of a focus on action as the Cabinet decision is just next week -- Tuesday 14th April -- click here for full details of the meeting.

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

How busy is your councillor -- Acolaid data

Here is the latest information showing how many items each councillor has put through the system -- Acolaid -- they use to ask questions of officers and request repairs -- simply put the higher the number that more active they have been. As people have pointed out on its own this isn't a guide as to how good or bad you Council is, but taken with other information it is useful.

The data is from May 2008 to the end of February 2009.

You can find out who your councillors are here:

Councillor Totals
AYUB, Mohammed 12
BALLSDON, Isobel 62
BAYES, Kirsten 88
BEARD, Peter 18
BENSON, Daisy 174
BYRNE, Terry 4
CUMPSTY, Andrew 39
DUVEEN, Ricky 26
EDWARDS, Deborah 27
ENNIS, John 57
EPPS, Gareth 107
GOODALL, Glenn 104
HARRIS, Chris 8
HARRIS, Tim 12
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
RYNN, Jenny 37
SKEATS, Jeanette 15
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

A month in the life of a Green Party campaigner -- March report

Here is my monthly Green Party activist/community campaigner support for March. I've tried to organise it into sections this time to make it easier to read. Feedback welcome.

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.

Community work
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.

Green Party
Helped to deliver our Park Ward newsletter.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Kings Meadow lido

For a number of years now the Council have been trying to get rid of the old Kings Meadow swimming pool. The Kings Meadow campaign have been working to preserve green space in the area. However with recent developments it looks like we going to get a large hotel and car park on the site. Thanks to Bob for this e-mail about a meeting to preserve the area and benefit the community.

"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

Have your say come to Public meeting:

Mapledurham Pavilion on Woodcote Road, Caversham Heights
Wednesday 8th April at 7.30pm - plenty of parking space
Refreshments provided

Lunch club tour -- Sikh temple

Although not strictly speaking a lunch club I went to the Sikh temple on Cumberland Rd with my partner Sam today for lunch on the advice of my landlady who is a member of the Sikh community. She said Sunday afternoon 12 to 2 p.m. is a good time to drop in. I had a very nice potato curry, lentil dish, flatbread and some salad.
There was no charge.

If you are thinking of going remember to cover your head!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Newtown NAG elections

Last night I was elected as the vice-chair of the Newtown NAG (Neighbourhood Action Group). In the past I have been critical of this group as it has appeared at times to be a front for the police and some councillors. It will be interesting to see what direction it heads in now with a new chair, vice-chair and secretary. Quite rightly it looks like our first task will be to reassess the community's top three priorities.