YOUR LETTERS: As seen in The Wokingham Paper of February 13

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Wokingham letters

Thank you for your support over car park

The first I heard of the announcement from WBC that Denmark Street car park had been bought and will be re-open on February 14 was when the editor of The Wokingham Paper emailed me for a comment.

To say that I was over the moon is an understatement and I’m so glad for the businesses of Wokingham who will truly benefit for this car park reopening. Not only that but all the people who told me that this was the only car park suitable for them due to mobility issues and much more.

Much thanks needs to be passed on especially to the businesses based in Denmark Street who spent months gaining signatures and support for the petition in particular I would like to thank:

  • Brown Bag
  • Country Dry Cleaners
  • Jays Printers
  • Inspirations Hair Salon
  • Kerry Roberts Barbers
  • Kannaanmaa
  • Purple Butterfly.

I hope your hard work pays off and the business you have lost since the close of this car park comes back and grows for you in the future.

I would also like to thank my colleagues from the Conservative Party who were collecting signatures with me over many weekends and in particular, Dave Davis who started the fight against development in Denmark Street car park well before many of us had even heard about it.

Also a huge thank you to everyone who signed the petition we had a huge petition and one of the biggest in my memory (which was handed in on time) I look forward to seeing the car park open again on Friday, February 14.

Cllr Daniel Hinton, Wokingham Town Council Conservative Party Leader 

A response to the Global Goals letter

An open invitation to Mssrs Arthus-Bertrand, Burke, Cacho, Goodall, Yousafzai, Elba, Boyle, Cumberbatch, Fry, Fogal, Grylls, Hamilton, Ive, Knightley, Mumford, Nighy, Oliver, Watson and all the signatories of globalgoals.com

You say you are watching us, I invite you to come and see for yourself.

Wokingham Borough Council has embraced that this is a global climate emergency and is responding to it exactly as you have suggested.

As a council we unanimously declared climate emergency in July 2019.

Our initial action plan has adopted the UN sustainable development goals as the foundations upon which we have built our approach to tackling this global crisis and achieving a carbon neutral Borough by 2030.

There is £50million in our budget over
the next three years dedicated to actions and programmes that will actively reduce our carbon footprint.

Some of these initiatives we were already doing, others are completely new.

We have eight core actions:

  • To take control of our energy generation, storage and distribution via the construction of our own solar farms
  • To form a green bank to help support our residents in making green improvements to their homes
  • To change our planning regulations to require carbon neutral building
  • To move our residents around our Borough by way of alternative transport means
  • To plant 250,000 new trees
  • To recycle 70% of our waste and send Zero waste to landfill
  • To engage our future generations in a carbon neutral future via a sustainable schools programme
  • To deliver a continuous education programme to our residents to drive behavioural shift.

For full details of our climate emergency action plan I invite each of you to contact me directly.

My email address will be forwarded to you along with this invitation.

I welcome your thoughts, your feedback, your ideas and your suggestions, as I do from all our residents.

We are determined to live up to our responsibility as leaders.

We believe that our action plan will deliver against your global goals.

If you are watching then why not come and see for yourself?

We are waiting to show you all our ideas and hear yours face to face, just tell us when you can come and we will be ready.

Signed: Cllr Gregor Murray, Executive Member for Climate Emergency, Wokingham Borough Council.

Stand up for independence

Shinfield Independent Borough Councillor Jim Frewin’s letter in the paper last week headed ‘Residents can stand up for their Community’ sums up local politics perfectly. Jim’s final comment sums it all up and that was “The one thing that is certain is if we keep doing the same thing and in the same way nothing will change”. How true that is.

Next May’s local elections is the last opportunity for two years (there are no local elections in 2021) for Wokingham’s residents and their various action groups to make their mark on the political makeup of Wokingham Borough Council which has been run by the Conservatives for 20 years now. YES, 20 YEARS.

Residents have submitted all sorts of petitions over the years from  traffic, education, excessive housing, tree protection,  highways, and even one to save our wonderful lollypop ladies to name just some. 

The usual outcome is they all end up being kicked into the long grass.

Even the Council’s own consultations have a ring of do as we say as we will do it anyway. It’s time to change and next May gives residents a unique opportunity to do just that.

The best form of petition is the one where residents put their vote (X) in May. The Council cannot ignore this as it’s the only one which can throw  Councillors out of Office and gives others an opportunity to do want residents want.

As one of three Independent Councillors at Wokingham Borough we are not guided by any political dogma and we work very hard with a good degree of success to deliver what our residents want. Next May’s local election is a one-off opportunity for independent residents and residents action groups to join in the election so they can influence how the council is run and that should be for you and not their political masters.

As independents we are not guided by political masters so please put your names forward for May’s elections and see what happens.

As Independent Cllr Jim Frewin said: “The one thing that is certain is if we keep doing the same thing and in the same way nothing will change”.

Let’s use the opportunity to make changes to how we are governed locally.

Cllr Gary Cowan, Independent councillor for Arborfield at Wokingham Borough Council

Drive with care

I’d like to comment on a write up on page 9 of January 30 paper “When is 6ft 6in not 6ft 6in? – Pinch point is pinching motorists”. 

Why would the Council remove this restriction, it is there to prevent larger vehicles using Rose Street, the prettiest historic street in Wokingham, from becoming a rat run.

Who would want to see larger vehicles continually using Rose Street?

I know residents wouldn’t.

Consider also the fact that there is a medical centre, a church and access to Peach Place, so lots of pedestrians. Rose Street is already used as a shortcut for drivers at rush hour, let’s not make that situation worse.

The next point noted is regarding drivers who do not feel their car would fit the restriction.  These drivers don’t even try and even today a lady drove down the wrong side of the restriction without making any attempt to negotiate it. Vans and the latest 4×4 vehicles can get through this restriction, I have seen them do it, if drivers slowed down and positioned themselves properly there would be no damage to their vehicles.

If someone does not want to use the pinch point then they should go the other way and use Peach Street.  As for pedestrian safety, there is no reason for pedestrians to have an accident at this location as we should be looking in both directions before we cross a road. 

The council have visited the site and are satisfied the width restriction meets the legal requirement so no-one should be driving on the wrong side of the road. 

Drivers need to stop making excuses regarding this pinch point and use it appropriately.

Last week my husband and I encountered someone driving towards us on the wrong side of the road as he passed the church, he made no attempt to use the pinch point.

My husband stopped in the middle of the road but the driver just kept coming, as he passed us he wound down his window and said “get out of the way you old tosser” and drove off. 

The real problem here is that drivers are arrogant and becoming a law unto themselves. They need to drive safely, obey the law and respect pedestrians or not drive a vehicle.

Julia Tredwell, Wokingham

A day of regret

We deeply regret that on January 31 the UK left the European Union. 

We campaigned for almost four years to prevent this, based on our expectation of the damage it will cause to our people and our country.

However it seems that the consequences of Brexit need to be experienced, not just predicted, in order for enough people to accept our position. 

The act of leaving does not change our views. Pro-EU groups are not going away, and will continue to stand up for the European values of respect for human dignity and human rights, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law. 

In the near term, we will support EU citizens in our area whose lives are being upturned and, whilst we wish for nothing other than the best for our country, we will shine light on the harm that the more distant relationship
with the EU is causing in our local area.

We will continue to make the case for the closest possible relationship between the UK and the EU and we are confident that we will, in time, win popular support. 

Wokingham for Europe,

Berkshire for Europe

Modernise for mobility

Let’s modernise the transport system so that us old folk can take our mobility scooters on ordinary busses.

Have doctors surgeries all on one floor so that we can ride our mobility scooters in to see the doctor or the nurse and let’s make cafes more accessible to mobility scooters.

We are an ageing population, who knows, with a bit of luck I might even see 100.  I don’t expect that I’ll ever travel on that high-speed railway which so far has cost billions, but local buses I use a lot.

Wokingham Medical Centre wasn’t really designed for us old folk.

Could I take my mobility scooter up in their lift?

I don’t know, it’s a medium-sized one and how heavy it is, I have no idea. But you get the gist of what I’m trying to say.

So, it’s bye from Bob and bye from Bluebell – that’s my mobility scooter. She’s blue of course.

Bob Fletcher, Wokingham

Open letter to the PM

I do believe the euphoria of your becoming PM with a no-nonsense right-hand man Dominic Cummings, is rapidly declining.

To oversimplify, the reason concerns your concentration on expensive programs that fail to benefit the general public who voted for you.

The HS2 and its very expensive management, from London to Birmingham is surely of no interest to anyone – further north is where they desperately need an improved rail infrastructure. Please give consideration to the movement of more goods by rail – so important to the ever-increasing population.

Forget a new runway at Heathrow, or leave the planning until the world has decided how to get from A to B without polluting aircraft.

As for the G5 fracas, as an Engineer I condemn both selling off our engineering businesses, and using Far Eastern expertise, good as it might be – remember our capabilities as a technical country? (I ignore the security issue and the effect on our future relationship with USA.) All that is missing with so many things, is the absence of good management, vis not playing politics or constantly after financial benefits.

Please forget your major plans for impressing the world until we have proved we can profitably make our way in what may be difficult times ahead as an independent nation.

You and Theresa May tried to portray that your party was all about fairness and consideration of all our people. 

You would have proved that by first attacking the really serious issues of health – the vast and far too expensive and poorly run NHS, and the growing number of old and mentally (e.g. Dementia) affected people who need financing. It’s people who matter immediately. The public first!

Lastly, a job for Dominic: the major and huge waste of money is due to government-employed people and departments where costs are ignored and controls absent. How many ‘Airmiles Miles Andy’ type people are there, or how many Baroness Scotlands are there?

We all know about total lack of discipline for the Speaker’s position, as the last chappie seemed to be spending freely even after leaving his throne.

No-one should have the power to spend any public money without proven reason plus obtaining approval, e.g from your office. That should include the Cabinet Office of prima-donnas.

Best wishes Sir – do it my way and honour will be yours.

Reg Clifton, Wokingham

A load of toxic air

Government data shows borough’s air pollution above international guidelines” (The Wokingham Paper, February 6).

This unmasks, yet again, spurious claims emanating from the Shute End Towers Big Top.

It has been well-known for some considerable time that air pollution levels in parts of the borough exceeded international toxic air guidelines, a fact the powers-that-be chose to put on the back burner.

The council’s response to this breach of a municipal responsibility regarding amounts of permitted air pollution has been to fill hundreds of trees, concrete over acres of countryside, over- and continue to overdevelop the area with thousands of new houses and various unwarranted building projects.

Agree to the construction of 22 new flats in one of the town centre’s most congested and air-polluted bottlenecks, namely the junction of Peach Street and Easthampstead Road. Slap a few plants on selected lampposts and site “cut your engine, cut your pollution” signs some 10 feet (whatever happened to keep your eyes on the road?) above street level at a number of set of traffic signals.

If councillors walked the walk as half as well as they talk the talk, then perhaps they would find it possible to keep at least some of their empty promises.

JW Blaney, Wokingham

Please send me your stamps

I collect used stamps to help rescue animals. If anyone has any spare used stamps that we can use to help rescue animals, please forward them to Stamp Donations, Mrs D Ashton, 66 Highbank, Roe Lee, Blackburn, Lancashire BB1 9SX.

D Ashton, Blackburn

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