Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Stop disfiguring Park Ward

Estate Agent's sign Grange Ave
It is student let time in Park Ward. In roads like Pitcroft, Grange and Liverpool estate agents have disfigured the streets with forests of For Let signs.

The Redlands NAG, of which I am a member, ran a campaign to get the estate agents to moderate the numbers they put up in any one street. They were pretty successful, however this year the estate agents are disfiguring the streets and pointing out to burglars which houses are student houses and can be targeted for break in.

I am pleased to say that the NAG is demanding action against the estate agents and has put up a petition against this invasion in to the street scene. I am happy to support the campaign and would urge you to sign the NAG's petition.

Its address is:

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Manning the Speed Trap

Spent the evening with Park's PSCO's, Traffic PC's and St Barts residents who were manning a speed trap in St Barts road. Local residents had been invited by the NAG and Police to see a speed trap at work and monitor how many drivers were speeding down the road. The road is a residential street that forms a link between the Wokingham Road and London Road. Residents are very concerned that motorists are racing down the road at high speeds endangering children and adults crossing the road.

The results were interesting. The Police had run the trap during the day and told me that motorists were averaging about 20-25mile and hour down the road, but a significant number were driving at more than 30 miles and hour.

The Police were there for about an hour and a half in that time 6 drivers were caught driving at more than 30 miles and hour. This may not sound like a significant number however it works out at one speeding car every 15 mins or 4 an hour, or between 70 and 80 speeding cars a day or more than 20,000 speeding cars a year. This makes this a significant problem and one which I will be taking up with the council.

It was good for the Police to see how many cars broke the law and I hope they run the speed trap again. I would like to thank them for letting residents see them at work and the NAG for organising the event.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

No Racists in Reading

EDL members manning illegal street stall
The English Defence League were in Broad Street today with an illegal street stall handing out leaflets. I was shocked, frustrated and disgusted that they were spreading their gospel of hate in my town.

Kath, my wife and I, saw the stand as we were walking through town after a very nice lunch together.She was so angry I had to hold her arm to stop her saying something.

So shocked was I, that I rang my colleagues in the Labour Party to see if anyone knew if the EDL had permission for their street stand in Broad Street, and discovered that they did not. I am pleased to say that after my intervention the Police were called and the stand was moved on.

EDL member handing out leaflets

I was on my own but had my camera with me. I asked very politely if they would pose for photographs which they were happy to do, they wer proud of the message of hate they were pedaling. As a result of the photos I had a long discussion with the fellow shown here and tried to persuade him that racism is not the answer for Reading.

The chap said some very frightening things like, " We are being outbred 6:1 soon the pakistanis will have taken over the country." He laughed when I pointed him out that if he was worried about the birth rate then he should be at home with his wife doing something about it not pushing racist policies on the streets of my town.

He told me that he was not from Reading but from a town between here and Slough, he though it was disgusting that English schools were being swamped with foreigners. When I asked him what sort of foreigners he meant, he clearly identified pakistanis as foreign. I was appalled  I tried to see what he thought of the Eastern Europeans he said they were different because they fitted in and were Christians.

It is interesting what him and his friends said about England being a Christian country, as I told him I was actually a Christian and what church they went to, strangely enough they didn't go to church.

So now we have racists trying to muscle in on our town. Maybe they feel they have been given permission to do this becuase the Council has withdrawn funding from the RCRE in Reading maybe they wanted to use the Mosque planing application in Park, I don't know what I do know is that right minded people in Reading, from whatever party, of what ever church or faith should stand up and say we don't want racists here.

Meeting Park's Public Where They Are

The Roebuck My Local
This week has seen us out and about meeting Park's residents throughout the Ward.

It is nice to see that we have some good news about our fight against the Conservative cuts and campaigns coming together. We were able to tell residents in Newtown about the progress we have made in getting a consultation on residents parking. We were able to talk to residents about our efforts to get the streets cleaned and the cuts to the street cleaning services in Park.

Friday saw me hold a regular meeting with the regulars in the Roebuck pub. Ok its a Friday end of week drink with friends, and it is nice to talk to Alex the landlady and the Friday regulars. It is amazing what snippets of information you can pick up from people

Doting about a bit met up with residents in St Barts to talk about their concerns with the Colleys site. It appears that it is staying as a restaurant, thankfully, however they have other worries which we will work on over the next few weeks.

This week is a critical week in the Maiden Erlegh campaign, it is expected that Wokingham will announce their response to their consultations. I have a feeling that they will stick with their strange zone plan. If they do I think this leaves Cllr Ralph, Balsdon, and Wazir's softly softly do nothing approach in tatters. We will see as soon as I have something I will publish it.

We are out and about a great deal and you will see the Labour bike all over the Ward. If you do say hi, I'll be happy to stop and chat.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Conservative Stealth Tax

I am a keen recycler and my wife is a keen gardener, Kath is responisble for our house in Hamilton Road being named the "Strawberry House" because of the huge crop of Strawberries growing in our front garden one year. All Kath's gardening and our grass cuttings create a lot of work for our Green recycling bin.

I was destressed to hear that Conservative administration have decided to charge me for my Green Bin. So now we see another of their Stealth taxes. A lot of Park on all sides of Palmer Park have a green bin. I already pay Council tax to have my bins cleared and now the Conservatives want me to pay twice for a service I already use.

We will of course be fighting this, however it is really annoying at this time when resources are short to be double charged. I encourage all Park's residents to write to the Council to complain and perhaps they will change their minds.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Another bad week for the liberal democrats

Its been a very very busy week, hence the time between posts. The news has been busy too, a fantastic win in Barnsley while the Liberal Democrats coming 6th and the Conservatives trailing after UKIP. In Reading Liberal Democrat councillor Gareth Epps has decided not to fight for his seat, perhaps bowing to the inevitable? On a national level the Coalition skillfully announced their desire for a no fly zone over Libya while advising of huge cuts in the RAF.

In my own life the week has also been busy, a lot of canvassing, talking to residents and attending meetings of Alfred Sutton's Parents' Forum, where I am Vice Chair.

Canvassing was interesting, apart from it being very very wet and cold. I was talking to a resident in Newtown she was very worried about the cuts that the towns Conservatives and their Liberal Democrat allies are forcing through. She was so worried she said to  me" Richard, the only way that the Council can change is for Labour to win in May, to win in Park Ward, and in all the other Wards in the town" I completly agreed and would do my best to see this happen in Park.