Friday, 20 April 2012

Donate to help elect Reading's third Green councillor

The local elections on Thursday May 3 are fast approaching.

Our opponents are funded by millionaires or trade unions donating blindly. But we believe that the true strength of our campaign is the number of everyday people owning a bit of it.

Our fundraising target to help elect Jamie Whitham as the third Green councillor is £900. Please donate £5 or whatever you can afford and help us hit our goal.

Alternatively you can send a cheque payable to "Reading Green Party" to our treasurer Marjory Bisset at:

19 Hyde End Road, Shinfield, Reading, RG2 9EP


Rob White

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Timescales for residents' parking in east Newtown and Talfourd to Holmes transport scheme

Just a quick post to update you with progress on introducing residents' parking in Newtown and the transport scheme for Talfourd Avenue to Holmes road – 20 mph, yellow lines at corners and a one-way plug for Talfourd.

Earlier in the week at Cabinet the final decision was taken to move ahead with these schemes.

They will be fully implemented – lining, signing, writing to residents about applying for permits etc – by the end of the summer holidays in time for the schools going back at the absolute latest.

Please get in contact with any questions.

Monday, 16 April 2012

More wildflowers in Palmer Park

You may have noticed a section of Palmer Park near the library being dug up recently. This is part of a project on pollination. More information below:

"I am pleased to be able to inform you that the Parks Department hasagreed to involvement in a country wide project to study pollinating insects inan urban environments, farms and nature reserves.  This project will takeplace over two years and will involve sowing flowers in fifteen parks with eachhaving an area of 300 square metres.  Within these fifteen areas five willbe sown with perennial flowers and ten with annual flowers.  Palmer Park has been chosento be sown with annuals which will take place before the end of themonth.  The process for this work will involve spraying the area to killthe existing grass, rotivation and then seeding.  I will be providing informationon the site to inform the public of the project.  The bulk of thesurveying of the sites for pollinators will take place during the second yearof the project."

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Planning briefing Crescent Road site

I recently asked officers about what changes to the planning system might mean for the Crescent Road site and the owner's plans to develop the site. I got a fairly comprehensive and informative reply so I am reposting it here:

"I refer to your enquiry below. The site, which includes the former TVU buildings (now in the ownership of the University of West London) and the tennis courts (currently used for parking) is a proposed allocation within the Sites and Detailed Policies Document (Submission version July 2011). The allocation identifies the site for ongoing use for Further and Higher Education. Where it can be demonstrated that the loss of FHE will not have a detrimental effect on the overall FHE provision, the site will be used for education use or, if not needed for any education use, then residential.

Other education uses means any education use other than FHE. The site could be used for primary/secondary school if a need is established.

Paragraph 13.4.4 indicates that the development for residential would not include the adjacent playing fields. The playing fields have no planning designation.

The former Thames Valley University ceased operations during summer 2011, and the site has been vacant since then. At the end of 2011 it was marketed by the current owners, the University of West London, for residential development.

The site was discussed as part of the recent Examination in to the SDPD undertaken by an independent Examiner (end of November to mid December 2011). At the examination, there was discussion regarding the recent application to the Secretary of State for Education by Oxford and Cherwell Valley College, supported by Reading Borough Council, for a 14-19 University Technical College (UTC)[1]. This application was approved by the Secretary of State for Education in October 2011. The UTC project has the Secretary of State’s support to open as early as 2012. It is understood that Reading UTC School Trust intends to submit a planning application to develop a school on the site at the earliest opportunity. However, it is understood the UTC project will not involve the whole of the site that is currently available. It is likely that some of the site will, therefore, remain with the University of West London and that their intention will be to dispose of that holding.

The Inspector’s report has not yet been published and currently we are consulting on proposed main modifications, none of which relate to this site.

The government published the National Planning Policy Framework last week. This Framework gives a lot of weight to adopted local plans where they are up to date and quite a lot of weight to emerging plans such as our Sites and Detailed Policies Document. So I would say that the Council has a strong policy that will certainly allow the council to fully explore how the site could contribute to future educational needs before any other form of development of the site needs to be considered."

[1] Information on what a UTC is can be found at:

Friday, 6 April 2012

Park Ward campaign update

Nominations are now closed for the local elections on Thursday May 3. In Park Ward we have candidates from the two main parties – Green and Labour – as well as the minor parties in the ward – Conservative and Lib Dem ; ). Below are the candidates:

Jamie Whitham – Green
Rachael Chrisp – Labour & Co-op
Laurence Taylor – Conservative
Hoyte Swager – Lib Dem

Click here for a full list of candidates across Reading.

The Chronicle this week tipped Jamie Whitham to win in Park Ward for the Green Party (first place, 1585 votes in 2011), which is great but I am a bit more cautious. Looking at the other parties, the Lib Dems (fourth place, 123 votes in 2011) have not put out a newsletter in the ward all year so I predict their vote will drop if it hasn't already hit rock bottom. I didn't even know who the Conservative (third place, 732 votes in 2011) candidate was until he was nominated and they haven't put out a newsletter since last year so I think it is safe to assume their vote will drop too. But Labour (second place, 1213 votes in 2011), although they have been quiet for most of the year, are having an election push, are doing okay nationally, and so are harder to predict.

We have been active over the whole year though on parking, schools, 20 miles an hour and many other things in the ward. Not to mention Reading-wide successes on renewables, a living wage and reintroducing bus fare concessions. We have knocked on every door out of election time, produced regular ward newsletters and completed hundreds of items of casework.

Our canvassing is going well so far, but we are not taking anything for granted and will be working hard up to 10 PM on election day to make sure Jamie Whitham is elected as our third Green councillor in the ward. Electing Jamie will allow us to get more done locally and give us a greater say on council policy.

Please vote Green, get your friends, family and work colleagues to do the same and get in contact if you want to help the campaign more formally.

Also, there is still time to register to vote – you need to do this if you haven't had a polling card yet – or register for a postal vote. The deadline for both is April 18. If you live in Park Ward get in contact and we can drop you round a form.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Reading RESCUE

Just getting around to blogging that Reading RESCUE was a great success in the area this year. Not only did we litter pick the Thames side, but we did some willow maintenance at Kennet Mount and tidied up the fly tipping in the Cumberland Road alley behind the Co-op.

This year was a joint event between Kennet and Brunel Residents' Association and Newtown GLOBE. If you want to hear about events in the future let me know and I can add you to the Newtown GLOBE e-mail list.

Below is a picture from the day.

GLOBE RESCUE IMG_20120311_114200

Monday, 2 April 2012

Reading Technical Academy update

I just got the following update from Reading Technical Academy. Unfortunately they are still talking children from age 14 upwards. If this school goes ahead on the Crescent Road site – which hasn't been confirmed – we may miss the opportunity of a school for children from 11 upwards on the site:

Dear Stakeholder,

RE: Reading Technical Academy consultation process

You will have no doubt heard of the plans to open an exciting new 14-19 Technical Academy in Reading. We are currently in the process of consulting on the proposals for this new school and would value your contribution. You can access the Reading Technical Academy consultation brochure, which provides an outline of the proposals, via the following link:

If you would like to read more on the proposals please visit the Technical Academy's website

You can also fill in our online questionnaire at this address.

We are holding two public meetings and one drop in open event to discuss the proposals on 18th April, 23rd April and 2nd May respectively - further details available within the consultation brochure and on the website. Members of the Sponsors and the Technical Academy project team will be present at these events to present and discuss the proposals for the Technical Academy.

If you have any comments you wish to make which cannot be expressed through the submission of a questionnaire please email us on

Please submit any comments or complete the consultation questionnaire by the close of consultation on the 11th May 2012.


Reading Technical Academy team

Contact us at:

Read about the Academy at: