The Wokingham Paper

YOUR VIEWS: Readers’ letters as seen in The Wokingham Paper of May 16, 2019

Cartoon May

A totally oblivious response to losing office

Former councillor Tim Holton’s letter in last week’s Wokingham Paper neatly sums up how arrogant and out of touch the ruling group on Wokingham Borough Council has become.

He blamed the loss of his seat on Brexit and seems totally oblivious that the real reasons have been the botched regeneration projects, horrendous cock-ups such as the data breach, the Sheeplands fiasco and of course their support of massive housing developments whilst claiming the opposite.

When President Erdogan ordered a re-run of a recent election there was outrage with among others the European Parliament stating the decision would end the credibility of democratic elections in Turkey. Yet the deluded former councillor wants the winning Lib Dem candidates to stand down and contest a second chance election.

How many re-runs does he want?

I gather some former Tory councillors walked out of the count before the results were announced; have they never heard of being magnanimous defeat? That they couldn’t they be bothered to publicly thank the volunteers who assisted their campaign is a clear demonstration that they wouldn’t care about the electorate either.

Four years ago, the now former councillor Philip Mirfin said voting him into office demonstrated support for his plans to destroy Elms Field. Will he now state that the fact that he lost his seat shows the electorate don’t want their town centre park concreted over?

Peter Humphreys, Wokingham

Smell the coffee, Tim

Tim wake up and smell the coffee it’s not all about Brexit speaking for my own ward of Emmbrook a factor was the following:

  • We are going to get the North West Distribution Road is just been approved and is not on a route that 84% of local residents voted for
  • Infrastructure roads to accommodate all the houses being built in our area has not been delivered only the bits in the supply of developers have been delivered. The bit in WBC delivery is taking far to long. The bit from Old Forest road to reading just passed planning start next spring 2020 and not delivered till 2021 This is if we get the bridge over the railway
  • In my opinion councillors do not control council officers things that matter to local residents take far too long to deliver and they do not appear to be proactive to find a solution
  • We had one Liberal Democrat councillor now two they are very proactive and appear to do the best they can for local residents. By the way I did not vote Liberal.

If they keep up the good work I can see the next round of elections I can see Liberal Democrats getting control of the council.

Conservatives need to get control with positive solutions and in quick time

Rod Needs, Emmbrook

Grown-up politics

How unsubtle and crude of the so called Liberal “Democrats” to adopt  “B******S TO BREXIT” as a European elections slogan.

This shower has just won council seats in the local elections.

Is this the sort of stupid childish behaviour we can now expect from Liberal “Democrats” over the next few years at a local level?

What an example to set to children! Are non-affiliated voters, like myself, supposed to take these people seriously?

However, I see from my Wokingham Paper (Thursday, May 9) that the new Borough Council is made up of 31 Conservatives, 16 Liberal “Democrats”, four Labour and three Independents.

The Conservatives still have a majority!

I think therefore that the voters have voted “B*****S to the Liberal “Democrats”.

Please remember that the Liberal “Democrats” agreed to abide by the EU   referendum result, as did a lot of other political parties. This was, of course when they thought that they were going to win!

I think that the political establishment in this country needs to be taught another lesson in democracy.

It may be about to happen!

Paul Clarke, Wokingham

Putting people first

Firstly, I would like to thank all the residents that voted.

This is very humbling and to be elected to represent you shows a huge amount of faith in myself and the other councillors now that must be repaid.

Following the election, I was elected as the new Conservative party leader on the town council.

The results at the election for Wokingham Town were clear, no party won those elections and I would like to work with the other councillors, to provide the best services possible for the residents of Wokingham.

The election is over, it’s now time to put people before party politics.

We must all listen to the criticisms from voters and ensure we are learning our lessons to provide a more transparent and community-based council that is here for everyone.

We must work together; I would like to congratulate Imogen Shepherd-Dubey on her election as the leader of the Liberal Democrat Party for the town council.

As the leader of the Conservative Group, I will ensure we work with her to deliver the very best for all residents, whilst also providing proactive accountability. Under my leadership, we will not oppose for the sake of opposing, it’s time to rise above the Punch and Judy politics.

I would like to thank the councillors whose service on Wokingham Town Council ended at the election.

I would finally like to thank everyone for their support and kind words since the election and I look forward to delivering the very best for our town.

Cllr Daniel Hinton, leader of Conservatives on Wokingham Town Council

Thank you Maiden Erlegh

I want to thank the residents of Maiden Erlegh for electing me as their representative not only to Wokingham Council but also Earley Town council.

I will, of course, represent all the residents of my ward, and I look forward to the challenges over the coming years.

I am particularly interested in:

  • Pushing more for a green agenda. My focus here is on issues that support the residence to improve the quality of their lives;
  • The conditions of roads and general public infrastructure vary across Wokingham. Progressive differential leads to a gap that, then becomes difficult to close due to cost. Consequently, I want greater equity regarding financing initiatives across Wokingham;
  • I am also concerned about the burgeoning debt at Wokingham that is becoming a burden for its residents;
  • I will also talk to residents of Maiden Erlegh to better understand their priorities.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to represent you at Wokingham and Earley Councils.

Cllr Tahir Maher, Liberal Democrat councillor for Maiden Erlegh, Wokingham Borough Council

What the voters said

The votes have long been cast and counted. The electorate have spoken, the political balance of Wokingham Borough Council narrowed, warning shots fired across its bows, with a number of Executive Members and councillors paying the price for the administration’s arrogance, mismanagement and secrecy.

Forget Brexit: voters clearly demonstrated they quite simply had had enough municipal ineptitude.

While much of the damage already done cannot now easily be rectified, the new inmates of Shute End Towers, if they are to regain public confidence, will rather than continuing to brush aside the views and wishes of local businesses and residents, need to listen and take them into account as part of the decision making process.

It is essential they bring under control the unsustainable level of council debt, end the existing regime of secrecy and narrow party interests.

Stand up to central government and stop the pillaging and deforestation of the borough’s heritage and green open spaces.

If however, they choose to betray the trust placed in them, they too will discover there is a price to pay.

Rhetoric is one thing. The proof of their pudding will be in the eating.

J W Blaney, Wokingham

When will Dr Lee go?

As a former Conservative Party member, parliamentary candidate and national executive committee member, I would like to have a decent Conservative candidate to vote for at the next general election.

So, when will Bracknell Conservatives finally get round to deselecting Phillip Lee as their candidate for the next election?

I ask because, in so many ways, he has proved to be a bad representative for the area.

He has completely ignored the main plank of the last Conservative manifesto. He did not vote for a single option that would take the UK out of the EU in the recent votes in Parliament.

He only voted either to extend Article 50 further, or hold a second referendum (on what exactly?).

Even Ken Clarke, who is well known as pro EU, supported a soft Brexit Common Market 2.0.

So what was Phillip Lee thinking when he voted, effectively to stay? We know he thinks the Conservative manifesto he stood on is “irrelevant” (his words), and that he thinks Teresa May’s deal is a “turd” (again, his words). Such thinking is not really compatible with being Bracknell’s Conservative MP.

On Europe, he is out of step with his constituency (to whom Parliament delegated the decision on whether to leave the EU).

I have read his comments that “it is impossible to know how Bracknell Constituency voted in the referendum”.

Actually Dr Chris Hanretty of the University of East Anglia did the research, and says 53.25% of Bracknell electors voted leave. If Phillip Lee unaware of this, he does insufficient research to do an MP’s job properly. If he is aware of this then he is being untruthful to the electorate, again something for which he should be deselected.

But, it is not just his view on Europe which cause me to think he should go.

In the House of Commons (26 October 2012), he proposed that all the existing local hospitals serving the are be closed in favour of one in Maidenhead. Obviously, he has not tried getting from Bracknell or Finchampstead to Maidenhead in the rush hour, or this would have struck him as an unacceptable plan.

He has several times expressed the view, in the House of Commons (July 3, 2013) and elsewhere, that all the pharmacies in Bracknell constituency should be closed, removing a source of healthcare advice and placing still more pressure on our GP surgeries and A&E departments.

He claims £2,500 per month in rent on a flat in London (IPSA expense register 2018-19), despite the fact that he lives nearer to his office in Westminster than many people in his constituency who have to commute into London on a daily basis.

I am not alone in my view, even amongst potential Conservative voters- several have expressed views to me such as “if the Conservatives want to keep this a safe seat, they’d better choose a different candidate!”.

So, please can Bracknell Conservatives get a candidate that more of us could support?

Richard Arturi-Thomas, Finchampstead

On The Brexit Party…

We posted a video interview with the Brexit Party candidate for the South East in the European Elections. Here are three comments received about it.

I want to see street fairs and big campaigns for the brexit party all around the UK.

The labourtory party have trashed our referendum result and neither has any intention of delivering on it. That’s dictatorship, and the labourtory party’s response is to hush up the media so everyone forgets about the EU elections a week next Thursday.

I bet the BBC don’t even broadcast the result.

Everyone has to fight for this.


I would much rather vote for someone like this, that a trade politician who will lie, cheat and line their own pockets while essentially doing what they want.


Good man. And good luck fight the good fight

COYF Tigers

Mental Health week

As this week is Mental Health Awareness Week – it runs until Sunday – it is worth highlighting that although the national government is exceeding its targets for first appointments for NHS mental health treatments, it still has set no targets for any second or follow-up appointments.

The NHS’ own digital data still shows 16% of folk wait longer than three months for any second or follow-up appointments.

Awareness is important.

But with such long waits between first and any follow-up sessions control and/or recovery is still being delayed in far too many instances, with serious consequences.

Paul Farmer, Reading

It’s Epilepsy Week

Would your readers know what to do if they saw someone having a seizure? Would they know what was happening and how to help?

One in 100 people in the UK have epilepsy. For National Epilepsy Week (20-26 May) we are encouraging everyone to step up and learn how to keep someone with epilepsy safe when they have a seizure.

Recent statistics reveal that 36% of the public would be unsure or unwilling to help somebody having a seizure. A further 57% admit they have little to no knowledge about epilepsy.

Helping someone who is having a seizure is simpler than people think. Staying with someone, protecting them from further harm, and calling for help if it’s needed, are three vital steps. If in doubt, always call 999 and ask for an ambulance.

Epilepsy Action has created first-aid cards that people can order in time for National Epilepsy Week. They fit neatly into a purse or wallet so people can always have information handy. Posters are also readily available to be displayed in public places, such as schools, workplaces or waiting rooms. People can order these free of charge and find out more at

Your readers’ support could be life-saving.

Phillip Lee, Chief Executive at Epilepsy Action

ME awareness month

Many of your readers living with the complex, neurological condition myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.) are missing out on normal life; one in four are so severely ill they are house- and/or bed-bound.

As part of our work for global M.E. Awareness Month in May, UK charity Action for M.E. is asking everyone with M.E. to share their experiences of healthcare, welfare benefits, employment and education in our Big Survey.

We will use what you tell us to campaign more effectively for better services and support, and improve the lives of children, young people and adults with M.E. Take our Big Survey now at, open until 2 August – and please get in touch on 0117 927 9551 if you need information and support for you or a family member.

Sonya Chowdhury, Chief Executive, Action for M.E., 42 Temple Street, Keynsham BS31 1EH   Tel: 0117 937 6620

Independence Day

As a US citizen who has lived in various countries, from Thailand to India, I always look forward to celebrating July 4.

Now that I’ve returned recently to the UK and planning a barbecue for Independence Day, it struck me recently just how big a deal it is for the US economy.

For instance, did you know that 150million hotdogs are eaten in the US every July 4, when 65% of Americans attend a picnic or barbecue and $825m is spent on fireworks to mark the day?

It’s also America’s top drinking beer holiday of the year, with $1,720m being spent on beer and cider during the two weeks prior to July 4th, $1,114m on soft drinks and $568m on wine.

In Bristol, Rhode Island, they literally paint the town red, white, and blue, including a painted road for the annual parade on July 4, with the celebrations starting on Flag Day, June 14.

With 62% of Americans owning a US flag, it’s the biggest patriotic, flag-waving day in the calendar; last year, 87 per cent of the population, that’s 216m Americans, celebrated the day.

As the (US) President of the UK’s only American University where all of our students can gain a UK and US degree, I’d like to encourage everyone to celebrate July 4.

You don’t need to be in the US to mark Independence Day, have a picnic or barbecue, or find an event near you and make the day truly transatlantic.

Professor Lawrence Abeln, President of Richmond, The American International University in London





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