Saturday, 26 January 2013

Is Alok Sharma the worst MP 
in the country?

This will now become a gaming centre
So much for localism! A government inspector has overturned Reading Borough Council’s decision to refuse permission for a Gaming Centre on the Oxford Road.

Battle councillors and residents worked hard to get the original application refused by the Planning Committee because they felt it would have a detrimental impact on the area. The decision by the committee, which is an all-party committee, was unanimous.
Sadly and in the face of strong local opposition, the applicant decided to appeal against the decision. Following last weeks public hearing, set up to examine the appeal, a Government Inspector overturned the original decision in favour of the appellant. This now means the way is now clear for the gaming centre to open.
I find this decision repugnant and it goes against all that is decent. As councillor Sarah Hacker has said, this is a crushing blow to our community.  Put simply this decision is a slap in the face of ordinary people who want a decent place to live and care about the community they live in.
Despite being given only 4 days notice of the hearing, instead of the statutory 2 weeks, a number of local people attended the hearing. The inspector seemed to make no allowance for the fact that local people would have been nervous and possibly intimidated by the situation. Most certainly they would have been unfamiliar with the process. At one point I felt he was unreasonably aggressive towards a constituent which may have put others off speaking. I am extremely grateful for those who were able to attend the hearing their support was invaluable.
Battle councillors fought alongside residents to stop a Tesco opening opposite Oxford Road Primary School and we lost. We have fought alongside residents to stop a gaming centre opening on the Oxford Road and we have lost, but where was Alok Sharma, our MP, in all of this? The answer is ‘nowhere to be seen’.
Is Alok Sharma the worst MP in the country?

'Benefit cuts forcing young mums 

into prostitution'

Sex industry support worker says welfare reform to blame. Get Reading January 18. 
This is the shocking story we thought we would never have to tell. Alok Sharma, our mince-pie eating, ribbon cutting MP should hold his head in shame. It must be remembered he went from nothing straight into Parliament. He has no credentials except he wanted to be an MP. When has anyone seen him on the Oxford Road?
However, one thing is clear, he has supported his Government and their attack on ordinary people every step of the way. Alok Sharma MP has done nothing to support our town and most definitely he has done nothing to support the Oxford Road community I and my colleagues represent.
Where was he when we tried to stop Tesco opening another store on the Oxford Road because it was in the wrong place and would damage business? Where was he when we tried to stop a Gaming Centre opening on the Oxford Road because, as the police said, it would attract anti social behaviour? Where has he been as we work against crime, prostitution and drugs along the Oxford Road? Where was he when we challenged licensing applications, early on a Friday morning at the Civic Centre, to restrict business opening times and alcohol sales along the Oxford Road? What support has he and his Government ever given to the Oxford Road community? He and his Government have made it harder to challenge licensing and planning applications as we work to protect our community.
Surely he has to be the worst MP in the country. In my view Sharma MP is a shambles and not worthy of representing our community in Parliament, we deserve better. I look forward to 2015.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Medical Centre Up-Date

Medical Centre victim of Tory cuts

The PCT have confirmed they can no longer provide a medical facility for the Oxford Road community on the former Battle Hospital site (Tesco, West Village) as promised. 
The PCT say that, Conservative led Government cuts means that they cannot afford to take forward the plans for the Battle site and that the health centre is no longer a viable option. Instead they have decided to invest in the Walk in Centre in the Broad Street Mall.  As well as being available to all Reading residents it is our understanding the Centre is expected to take pressure off A&E at the Royal Berks. It has also been suggested the centre is designed to take pressure off our local doctors. However, the Centre is hardly local to Battle ward so it is hard to see how that is supposed to work.
We are deeply disappointed to break this news to you, especially as so many of you helped us campaign successfully, we thought, for a local medical facility.
The profile of the ward has changed since 2005 when we first consulted local people on what benefits they would like to see come from the West Village development. Many resident in Battle Ward today will not have taken part in the 2005 consultation. Residents priorities may have changed since then and as such we believe we need to start again and find out what you would like the money spent on. The figure we are talking about is in the region of £1million plus, this could be used to do an awful lot of goof in Battle ward.
In 2005 we campaigned for a medical Centre, that will not happen thanks to our Tory MP Sharma and his Government. In 2013 we have secured £1million pounds plus for our community, the final figure has yet to be agreed with the developer.
We have insisted Reading Borough Council carry out a public consultation before a single penny is spent, they have agreed to do that. Look out for our consultation in the next few weeks.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Winter Watch - Helping Vulnerable Residents Stay Warm This Winter

On a personal note, I am on the mend, my family and friends are looking after me. Sadly, many vulnerable people in Reading are not as lucky as me. Please do your best to help your neighbours because the Government won't.

Keep warm and well this winter
Winter Watch offers advice and help to older people, people with disabilities or long term health conditions and families with very young children whose health and well being is most at risk because their homes are cold and damp.

This includes:
  • advice on reducing fuel poverty
  • encouraging people take up the grants available to improve the insulation and heating in their homes.
  • Helping people get minor repairs carried out to their homes to stop draughts and protect them from the cold
  • introducing some energy efficiencies such as loft and/or cavity wall insulation.
Winter Watch is provided by the Council in partnership with local voluntary and health services to ensure that people can get the help and advice you need as a matter of urgency.
Other residents who are struggling to cope with their energy bills are also encouraged to contact independent agencies such as the Reading Citizens Advice Bureau 0845 071 6379 (mention the Winter Watch Project)
If you, or someone you know is struggling to keep warm this winter please contact Adult social Care Services (number below) URGENTLY for advice.

0118 937 3747

To view the information leaflet click on the Winter Watch button.