Sunday, 29 April 2012

Oxford Road - Black Bag Up-date

Action Agreed
Black bags will be collected daily until a permanent solution 
to this unacceptable situation is agreed
I recently highlighted the accumulation of bulging black refuse bags along the Oxford Road (Into Battle, local election edition 2012).
I said that the situation developing along the Oxford Road was totally unacceptable and that I would be contacting the council insisting they take strong action to stop this kind of abuse happening.
I am pleased to be able to tell you that following the discussions I had with the council and the lead member for the environment the following has been agreed
  • Black bags will be collected on a daily basis until a permanent solution to the problem can be agreed.
  • There will be a review of collection days, landlords/residents responsibilities, enforcement, lack of recycling, use of on street bulk bins for domestic waste.                  
  • Agree a strategy to effectively tackle illegal fly-tipping and the dumping of trade waste.

After the election I and my colleagues and the lead member for the environment will be holding a meeting with senior members of the Streetcare team to agree how bet we can stop the kind of abuse we are seeing along the Oxford Road. It is clear that those who are dumping the black bags have no right to do so.
We will also be considering the issue of those big industrial refuse bins. I was recently in West Ealing where there are terraced shops similar in character to those on the Oxford Road. What struck me was that there were no piles of black bags and no industrial size refuse bins on the streets. As part of our review of how refuse is stored and collected I will be asking council officers to visit other local authorities to look at how they manage refuse in areas similar to the Oxford Road.
I will let you know how things progress.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Desperate Tories

Out of Touch and Ill-informed
"Extract from the recent Tory election leaflet".
The Tory candidate in Battle ward thinks there will be a
cycle and pedestrian bridge built over the railway lines, what a joker.

In a desperate and badly disguised attempt to gain credibility and votes the Tory candidate in Battle ward is claiming responsibility for sorting out Cow Lane bridges.
Sadly, he, or rather those who write his publicity, didn’t do their research thoroughly enough. Anyone who has been the slightest bit interested or involved in getting the bridges sorted out would know that the foot/cycle bridge is not part of the final solution.
In 2008 Network Rail wanted to drop the northern bridge to ground level and construct a foot/cycle bridge over the railway lines. This would have blocked off Cow Lane to traffic and would have made it even harder for pedestrians and cyclists to access Rivermead and beyond. Battle councillors in partnership with Martin Salter MP campaigned against this and insisted both bridges were replaced and that is what is going to happen.
If the Tory candidate or Alok Sharma had taken the time and trouble to look at our councillor reports from 2005/2006 and 2008/2009 plus the spring edition of Into Battle, all of which are freely available to view under councillor reports and Into Battle at:
If either of them had been bothered to do any research themselves instead of leaving it to others they could have fully acquainted themselves with the work Labour councillors, under a Labour council, have been doing over the last 7 years to get the bridges sorted out. They would also have discovered that a project of this size and complexity takes longer than a year to conceive, plan, secure funding and reach the advanced stage the whole scheme has reached today. 
Incidentally the last Labour Government granted the funding for the work being carried out by Network Rail. However, Reading people will remember that for a short time the project was under threat from Coalition cuts. Thankfully the work had reached an advanced stage which meant cutting the project would have wasted the millions already spent and would have seriously impacted on the efficiency of our national rail network. 

Monday, 23 April 2012

Labour Manifesto

Labour’s manifesto for the 
2012 Borough Council elections

Fighting for a fair deal for Reading in tough times
Labour’s manifesto for the Borough Council elections, says Labour Leader Jo Lovelock, includes detailed commitments across the full range of Council services, commitments that Labour knows it can meet despite the huge financial pressures on the Council. “Our first promise in these tough times,” she says, “is to be upfront with people about what can and can’t be done, and to continue to involve residents in deciding what the priorities are.”

Faced with unfair cuts from central government, who have taken £73 away from every Reading resident as compared with £16 in Tory Wokingham, Cllr. Lovelock says, Reading needs a Council which will fight for a fair deal for Reading. “But,” she says,  “Labour will do its best to protect people where we can and we can make sure that the Council’s priorities are those of Reading people: working with businesses to bring jobs to the town; clean, safe streets; protection for the most vulnerable; and efficient, well-run services.”

Labour’s key pledges in this election are to:

  • Fight for a new secondary school for all 11 – 18 year olds in East Reading
  • Keep Reading clean with a crackdown on graffiti and fly-tipping
  • Promote jobs and investment
  • Use the Council’s watchdog powers to stand up for the NHS
  • Protect Reading’s green spaces
  • Continue to involve the public more effectively
  • Find further efficiency savings
  • Restore free OAP bus travel from 9am
  • Protect libraries, youth clubs and children’s centres
  • Promote environmental responsibility – the Council will lead by example and encourage others
  • Create a New Local Partnership to stand up for Reading

Cllr. Lovelock says that with the wheels coming off the Tory-LibDem government, it is even more important for Reading Council to be run for Reading people and not just there to make the cuts Whitehall demands. She is hoping for a working majority to give Labour the mandate to stand up for Reading.

Protecting our Environment

Protecting Our Environment 
Against Fly-Tipping

These are just a small sample of the kind of things we have removed from our streets. Every year we have to deal with hundreds of items because a tiny minority don't care.

Periodically we patrol the streets of Battle ward identifying issues that need to be addressed by the council. It is important we all work together to keep where we live clean and safe. If you see any fly-tipping report it to the council. REPORT FLY-TIPPING

Alternatively you can ring any one of your Battle councillors, just click the Battle councillors' button in the right hand column for contact details.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

About our MPs

Do our MPs’ only support the rich?

Thursday's vote will tell us a lot about our two MPs

When Reading West Conservatives election leaflet dropped through my door I was quite surprised one of the headlines on the front page was 'Protecting our pensioners'.  Despite not mentioning the fact they took away free travel from pensioners before 9.30 am when they were in coalition control of the Council, they also failed to mention the 'granny tax' proposed in the budget.  This will mean 40% of pensioners will be paying more tax then expected.  

The following from the BBC explains what pensioners are likely to lose: 'Figures from HMRC show that, taking inflation into account, this will leave 4.41 million people worse off than they would have expected, by an average of £83 a year in 2013-14. 

People due to turn 65 after 5 April 2013 will miss out on an average of £285 compared with what they expected in 2013-14. The biggest loss is £322 that year.'

That's a lot of money to lose when you are on a fixed income, especially with inflation higher than expected and the cost of  living increasing.

Jo Lovelock, Leader of Reading Borough Council said: “Wilson and Sharma should vote against the granny tax this Thursday”.
The Labour Party is forcing a vote in the House of Commons this Thursday against George Osborne’s ‘granny tax’ and Labour Leader Jo Lovelock says Rob Wilson and Alok Sharma know their constituents agree with Labour on this issue and should vote to stop the tax going through.

“Pensioners have had a raw deal under this Government,” she says, “but with the tax raid on them announced in the recent Budget, George Osborne is making tough times even tougher for older people. Everybody I have spoken to is appalled by the fact that millionaires will be getting a tax break while 4.4 million pensioners lose out, and I am sure both Reading’s MPs have been getting that message loud and clear from their constituents.

If Reading’s Conservative MPs back the Government on Thursday, they will be saying that they are only in tune with the super-rich, not the people who have worked all their lives and were hoping for a comfortable old age, and their families.  

Adult Gaming Shop

Battle councillors to oppose
24/7 Adult Gaming Centre 

It is proposed to turn this former Gym
into an Adult Gaming Centre

Reading Borough Council has received a planning application to turn the former Gym, on the corner of Connaught Road and Oxford Road, into an adult gaming centre. The applicant wants to trade 24 hours a day 7 days a week except Christmas day. How thoughtful ! 

My fellow Battle councillors and I believe an operation of this type opening on the Oxford Road would have a negative impact on our community. It is our view that a business such as this should be sited away from a residential area like ours. If this gaming centre is allowed to open there is a risk  that more could follow, frankly we would rather not take that risk, therefore we will be objecting to this application.

We have already received emails from a number of people who object for the following reasons: “Oxford Road already has enough problems related to drugs, alcohol and prostitution without the added problems which gambling will bring. There will be increased noise and possible anti-social behaviour”. We support this view.

Battle councillors in partnership with the local community have worked hard to improve the area over the last ten years. To allow this development would be a backward step.

If you would like to object to the application you should write to: Louisa Johnson, Planning Department, Reading Borough Council, Civic Centre, Reading RG1 7AE or email your objection to: - 

Please quote application reference: 12/00211/FUL
365-367 Oxford Road - adult gaming centre.


Promotion to the Premiership
Congratulations Reading FC