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?

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