Friday, 28 June 2013

Cintra Park: Improvements On The Way

Following lobbying from Redlands Labour councillors and activists, Reading Council has agreed to spend £36,000 on a set of improvements to Cintra Park. These could include:

  • Completion of the footpath around the perimeter of the park (£14,375)
  • Exercise trail (£9,700) 
  • Extension of fenced play area (£6,500)
  • New park furniture – principally benches (£3,000)
  • Tree planting (£500 per tree)
The map below shows the locations of the proposals – the new path is indicated in red on the map.

The path should be completed in the same material and width as the rest of the park. Circular routes tend to be the ones most used by park visitors and effectively encourage exercise.
Exercise trail
We would wish to locate equipment at points around the perimeter of the park to encourage people to run from item to item, mixing running with other exercises. The location of the fitness trail equipment has not yet been determined.
Extension of fenced play area
Following requests for picnic seating which was free from dogs, the most effective method of doing this would be to extend the fencing around the play area. This has worked well at other sites including Christchurch Meadows. The space is used by both young children and adults as well as older family members. People are able to supervise their children and others wishing to simply stop and relax are able to do so without being in the middle of the playground.
The £6,500 budget would probably only buy 2 picnic tables but more could be added subsequently.
New park furniture
Benches or seats will cost in the region of £750-£1,000 to install on new concrete pads which are necessary to prevent erosion and excessive mud in wet weather.
Tree planting
In the last two years the council has tried on three separate occasions to establish new tree lines and these have been repeatedly vandalised. If we are to establish them we will need to protect them better and would propose to enclose them within a 1.5-2m wide wooden railing. If this does not work, it is unlikely that we could establish new trees in this location. We may therefore, choose to delay another year or two before planting.
Whilst the total of the above items exceeds the £36,000 budget, it will be necessary to determine the amount of furniture purchased and whether or not we decide to carry out the tree planting to keep within the budget. The tree planting for example, could be done at a future date when further funding becomes available.


Monday, 24 June 2013

Guest Post: Adult Social Care - Major Decisions To Be Taken

A Guest Post By Cllr Rachel Eden, Lead Member for Adult Social Care
"The meeting next Monday of the Adults', Children's and Education Services committee is the first one under the new system and will involve councillors of all parties (and the council's independent cllr) making decisions on a range of major issues.

From my own portfolio (Adult Social Care) there are decisions on the future of Arthur Clark care home, the proposed merger of Albert Road and Pheonix Day Services and the future of Day services more widely.

All the reports are publicly available here, including an independent survey into the Arthur Clark and Albert Road buildings.

These are serious decisions, and I know that all the Labour councillors on the committee are approaching them very thoughtfully and I hope, and believe, that the other councillors involved are as well."

Friday, 21 June 2013

20mph Speed Limit Coming To Redlands

Coming To Redlands Soon
Following lobbying from Labour Councillors in Redlands, RBC has agreed to develop proposals for the introduction of a 20mph speed limit on some roads in the ward.

The last Traffic Management Sub Committee, held on 13 June 2013, received the first outline plans which included Addington Road. Alexandra Road, De Beauvoir Road, Eastern Avenue, Erleigh Road and Upper Redlands Road.

However, given that the Council is about to install three pedestrian crossings in Redlands Road later in the summer, Redlands Councillor Tony Jones persuaded the committee that Redlands Road, Allcroft Road, Morgan Road and perhaps Kendrick Road should also be considered.

Council officers will now develop a public consultation strategy to ensure local residents have an opportunity to comment on the proposals.

Note: The introduction of a 20mph scheme in Portsmouth had led residents and councillors to belive that the benefits were:

Better for children – safe streets where they can walk, cycle and play.
Better for older people and the disabled – quieter roads with slower traffic means it’s easier to keep your independence and mobility.
Better for pedestrians – safer, quieter, cleaner streets are nicer places to walk.
Better for cyclists – a network of safe residential roads means many more journeys become possible without the need for cycle lanes.
Better for motorists – more people cycling and walking means less congestion and less pressure on parking. Slower speeds means less aggressive driving behaviour and fewer crashes.


Saturday, 15 June 2013

East Reading Festival - Sunday 16 June

East Reading Festival is a FREE fun day out in Palmer Park for the whole of the East Reading community, young and old and inbetween, from 12noon till 6pm.

If you live in East Reading, this is your day to celebrate, so come along and
Be Part Of It!
fantastic FOOD from around the world,
and a wide variety of STALLS and ENTERTAINMENT.
East Reading is a culturaly diverse area and East Reading Festival  is a fun day out where people from all parts of the community can come together to relax and enjoy each others company.  We hope to strengthen the connections between the people and organisations of East Reading.
Last year we had over 35 stalls run by mainly local people, including a wide variety of food stalls. Reading College students gave their end of year performances.
It was a great day out.  :o)
East Reading is our home, it's our village and we're proud of it.
We're proud of our community, and proud of our unity.
For more information visit the official website

Friday, 14 June 2013

Hexham Summer Fun Day


Hexham Summer Fun Day

at the Hexham Community Centre

Saturday 15th June 12 noon -3pm

Including at 12.00 the official opening of the play park
by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor
Free Fun for all the Family

Your Community Your Cash

Find out more about local people’s bids for the £15,000
Name of bid
Amount asked for
Hexham Community Centre
Home Start Holiday Activities
Hexham Community Centre
Hexham Health & Well being Group
Hexham Community Centre
Hexham Seniors Club
Hexham Community Centre
Men’s Room
Cintra Park
Hexham Strikers
Vote for your favourite project.
Every vote enters you into a free raffle to win £25!!
Come along to meet the animals
FREE Face Painting & Junk Art
From Butterfly to Robots show off your creative skills
Community Centre Light Bite Café
Open for light bites & refereshment at resonable prices

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Knock, Knock. Who's There?

This is a message sent via Thames Valley Alert. This information has been sent on behalf of Thames Valley Police.

There have been a couple of recent incidents of distraction burglaries in Reading where vulnerable people have been targeted. 
Around 10.30am on Saturday (8 June) a woman called at an address in Chester Street , Reading and gave the impression she lived around the corner and was locked out of her house. She asked for some help and money which was provided by the victim.
The woman is described as white, between 25-30 years old, 5ft 8ins – 5ft 9ins, slim build wearing black jogging bottoms and carrying an handbag.
Also on Friday (7 June) around 10.30pm a woman called at an address in Hamilton Road, Reading and stated she was locked out of her property and needed to call her mother. She also asked for money which was provided by the victim and a few days later she returned to the property but was refused entry on this occasion.
Thames Valley Police urges people to verify the identity of strangers who call at their homes, either by asking to see their identity card or by calling the company or organisation they claim to be from and checking with them. A legitimate caller will never mind and will be happy to wait while you do this. If someone claims to be from the police, this can be verified by asking for their shoulder number and calling the 101 enquiry line to verify this.
Never let someone into your home without doing this.
Anyone who sees suspicious activity should report it to the police via the 24-hour Thames Valley Police Enquiry Line on 101 quoting URN 733 08/06/13.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Redlands Ward Surgery - Saturday, 8 June

Cllr Jan Gavin and I will be holding our regular Labour Councillors' Ward Surgery for residents at Hexham Road Community Centre, between 10.30am and noon tomorrow.

No appointment is necessary and discussions are strictly confidential.

Ward surgeries are held on the second Saturday of each month, alternating between St Lukes Parish Hall, Erleigh Road and the Hexham Road Community Centre.

Jan and I also undertake "street surgeries" on other Saturdays and weekdays - so watch out for the window poster!

Monday, 3 June 2013

Bailed Out Banks Cut Lending To Business

The Bank of England reported a £300m fall in total net lending by banks and building societies taking part in the Government's flagship Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) in the first quarter, following a net decline of £2.4bn in the final three months of 2012 reports The Daily Telegraph.

RBS, which is 81pc owned by the taxpayer, cut lending by £1.6bn in the first quarter, while Lloyds, in which taxpayers have a 39pc stake, cut lending by £983m.

Santander, Britain's third biggest bank by deposits, cut net lending by £2.3bn. In total, the three lenders have tapped the Bank of England for £4.75bn since the launch of the scheme, but cut lending to the economy by £19.2bn over the same period.

All three banks shunned the FLS in the first quarter, despite a change to its terms in April that means high street lenders will be offered £10 of state-subsidised funding for every £1 they lend to small companies this year.

Come on Osborne and Cable - sort it out!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Law To Recall MPs: Another Broken Promise

As the Daily Telegraph reports on another MP alleged to be in breach of Parliamentary regulations forbidding taking cash for providing lobbying services, one is bound to ask what has happened to the promise to provide legislation to allow the recall of MPs by disenchanted constituents.

Following promises made before the 2010 general election, Nick Clegg introduced the Recall of MPs draft Bill and White Paper.

Clegg said "we must ensure that politicians are accountable to the people they serve" and proposed a process whereby an MP who is found guilty of serious wrongdoing could be forced to stand down and face a by-election. 10% of an MP’s constituents would have to sign a petition requesting a recall for a by-election to happen.

Following the publication of the BIll, the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee led a review between December 2011 and April 2012 and published its report in June 2012. The coalition government made it's response last September, "repeating our intention to introduce a power of recall".

So what now? The last session of Parliament finished early for lack of legislative business being put forward by the coalition goverment and with now less than two years to the next general elections, the prospects of this headline grabbing promise becoming law are now next to nil.

So much for restoring people's faith in the Westminster political system.

Another broken promise to add to an already very long list:
1. No frontline cuts
2. Protecting the NHS budget
3. 3,000 more police officers
4. Keeping VAT at 17.5%
5. Keeping the Future Jobs Fund
6. Keeping Education Maintenance Allowances
7. Preserving tax credits for middle earners
8. Removing the “couple penalty”
9. Scrapping tuition fees
10. No bonuses for bank directors
11. 3,000 more midwives
12. Three more army battalions
13. Pupil Premium additional to the schools budget
14. Keeping Child Benefit universal
15. Stopping A&E and maternity closures
16. A Post Office Bank
17. No new nuclear power stations
18. Removing high marginal tax rates
19. No cuts to the Royal Navy
20. Automatic prison sentence for carrying a knife
21. Cutting rail fares each year
22. Keeping the Child Trust Fund for the poorest families
23. No more top down NHS reorganisations
24. No cuts to public spending this year