Your park­ing cam­paign is not thought through

The Wokingham Paper - - VIEWPOINTS - Cllr Mark Ash­well, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Trade­Mark Win­dows Limited Keith Malvern, via email A dis­ap­pointed res­i­dent Name and ad­dress supplied Dav­ina Jones, via email Keith Taylor, Green Party MEP for the South East, Euro­pean Par­lia­ment

Your cam­paign in last week’s news­pa­per ‘Make It Free to P’ did make a glib head­line but it is ill-con­ceived and not-at-all thought through.

Your pic­ture of Den­mark Street was sim­ply not re­flec­tive of the scene most day­times and must have taken a while to con­trive.

It seems you are en­cour­ag­ing busi­ness and com­mu­nity to turn against the very Town and Bor­ough coun­cils that are in­vest­ing mil­lions of pounds to re­gen­er­ate their liveli­hood.

The per­cep­tion is you are also at­tempt­ing to pitch th­ese two coun­cils against each other.

You ad­vo­cate four hours free in ALL of our bor­ough car parks with­out real­is­ing that th­ese car parks are a ma­jor rev­enue pro­ducer that aid our other vi­tal ser­vices.

I call on our traders to re­mind you, The Wok­ing­ham

Pa­per, that the of­fi­cers at Wok­ing­ham Bor­ough Coun­cil are ac­tu­ally our val­ued cus­tomers. We wit­ness them dili­gently and loy­ally trudg­ing into town from Shute End to spend their hard earned cash at our stores. Where else would you be en­cour­aged lit­er­ally to bite the hand that feeds you!

The con­struc­tion work­ers now and the res­i­dents that will fol­low are ac­tu­ally also cre­at­ing foot­fall in them­selves.

Lots of our Wok­ing­ham traders do think that our park­ing charges are value for money com­pared to else­where, con­trib­ute to the pub­lic purse and have no rel­e­vance to their trade. They don’t think we need a cheap cam­paign and ac­tu­ally feel it de­means your oth­er­wise qual­ity pub­li­ca­tion.

We do need to pro­duce the col­lab­o­ra­tive mo­men­tum that is needed while we re­gen­er­ate our town. Pay on exit is the way to en­cour­age the dwell time that you pre­scribe.

To do this all you have to do is en­cour­age park­ing in our brand new multi-story car park which is pay on exit with the first 15 min­utes free.

Your pa­per has been a fan­tas­tic ad­di­tion to our bor­ough but please be very care­ful not to let a cheap head­line get in the way of sup­port­ing the col­lab­o­ra­tion of Busi­ness, Govern­ment and most im­por­tantly Com­mu­nity in our Won­der­ful Wok­ing­ham to­day

Yours in Busi­ness,

Best thing for small towns is free

Great cam­paign, I only hope it will work.

Two years ago the then “High Street” min­is­ter said that the best thing for small towns is free park­ing . Not un­ex­pect­edly Coun­cils ig­nored this.

It’s not too late to do some­thing. Make Satur­day park­ing free while the works con­tinue. En­sure that the new park­ing en­force­ment peo­ple make a pri­or­ity of stop­ping peo­ple abus­ing free park­ing on roads with a limited time al­lowance.

Multi-storey is too far away

There is been quite a lot of neg­a­tiv­ity in last week’s Wok­ing­ham Pa­per re­gard­ing the state of the Town Cen­tre.

I would like to add two points.

The new car park near the swim­ming pool is too far from the town cen­tre and I guess will not be of much use es­pe­cially for el­derly peo­ple.

I am just so amazed at the ad­vert in Rose Street an­nounc­ing ‘Great new restau­rants’. Do we re­ally need any more restau­rants? Wok­ing­ham is full of restau­rants!!!

Where then will the peo­ple park for th­ese new restau­rants.

I think the plan­ning is not very good to say the least. Have we the peo­ple been given a choice?

We need more dress shops

I would like to see some more dress shops now that we have lost M&S and Bar­bara Eas­ton, some­thing like Phase 8 and Mint Vel­vet.

I am sure there would be a ready mar­ket for th­ese. Also some more in­di­vid­u­ally owned restau­rants as op­posed to more and more chains.

I want to go to Ice­land

Ice­land should go in where M& S was.

PM is liv­ing is fear of scruntiny

Why is Theresa May so scared of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment?

Yet again Theresa May is avoid­ing mak­ing her case in pub­lic, this time run­ning scared of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment.

The Prime Min­is­ter lives in fear of scru­tiny, es­pe­cially when it comes to the Tory govern­ment’s var­i­ously mag­i­cal think­ing and en­tirely con­tra­dic­tory aims and claims on Brexit. If we weren’t gov­erned by democ­racy, it’d al­most be un­der­stand­able that she doesn’t want to lay out the Brexit sham­bles for all to see. But we do.

The PM might be in the habit of shut­ting out de­bate in her own Par­lia­ment, but, ul­ti­mately, she will have to face down MEPs. Her ex­treme Brexit plans and the dis­dain her min­is­ters have shown to­wards EU ne­go­tia­tors does mean, of course, this is go­ing to be a hard sell.

The first rule of ne­go­ti­a­tions is: you’ve got to show up. May would be wise to put some en­ergy into try­ing to get MEPs on side – if the PM fails to con­vince the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment on is­sues such as UK and EU cit­i­zens’ rights and en­vi­ron­men­tal safe­guards then any pro­posed agree­ment is likely to be re­jected when it is put to us in 2019.

It seems to have slipped her mind that MEPs will be vot­ing on the fi­nal Brexit deal (an op­por­tu­nity democ­racy dic­tates should be ex­tended to the Bri­tish peo­ple too). Theresa May would do well to in­volve us in dis­cus­sions, rather than shut­ting her­self away be­hind closed doors – again.

Facts ver­sus spin

Peter Humphreys in last week’s let­ters page stated that “Spin is alive and well in Wok­ing­ham” – that is ex­actly what his let­ter was: to­tal spin.

Here are the facts for those who are in­ter­ested 1. The or­gan­is­ers of Wok­ing­ham Fes­ti­val have never re­ferred to Cant­ley Event Field as “the Town Event Field”

2. The New Elms Field will be able to ac­com­mo­date, with room to spare, the size of Fes­ti­val as de­liv­ered by Wok­ing­ham Fes­ti­val in the pe­riod 2007 to 2016. I am happy to show any­one who is in­ter­ested the over­lay that I did at the time of the plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion was be­ing con­sid­ered

3. It is my per­sonal de­sire to see Wok­ing­ham Fes­ti­val re­turn to Elms Field when the de­vel­op­ment is fin­ished. It al­ways has been and al­ways will be my de­sire but I am but only one voice in that de­ci­sion.

4. The event moved this year be­cause Wok­ing­ham Fes­ti­val were told by WBC in the sum­mer of 2016 that the de­vel­op­ment was go­ing to start in the sum­mer of 2017.

In Au­tumn 2016, Wok­ing­ham Fes­ti­val put plans in place to move the event to Cant­ley Event Field af­ter look­ing at many other locations.

In May 2017 Wok­ing­ham Fes­ti­val was told by

WBC that there was a de­lay in the com­mence­ment of con­struc­tion works and we could stay in Elms Field for 2017 if we liked. By this time Wok­ing­ham Fes­ti­val had placed or­ders for the Fes­ti­val in­fra­struc­ture.

To change those or­ders would have meant the Fes­ti­val in­cur­ring can­cel­la­tion charges. The Fes­ti­val has al­ways walked a tight line fi­nan­cially so this po­ten­tial ex­tra cost was not one it was able to jus­tify

5. At the Fes­ti­val I asked the au­di­ence for a show of hands to find out which lo­ca­tion they pre­ferred and Cant­ley Event Field won by a large mar­gin.

6. I am in dis­cus­sion with a team of lo­cal res­i­dents who get off their back­sides and do things about bring­ing new events to the New Elms Field. The

Wok­ing­ham Pa­per will have full de­tails as and when they are firmed up.

Peter, if you would like to join our team of do­ers you would be made most wel­come.

Bus story was con­fus­ing and wrong

I found the ar­ti­cle ‘Changes to bus timeta­bles will see more late night ser­vices’ in your news­pa­per of Au­gust 31 to be both con­fus­ing and in­ac­cu­rate; I trust the fol­low­ing clar­i­fi­ca­tion helps.

The route and fre­quency of Leop­ard 3 (Read­ing - Ar­bor­field - Fin­champ­stead - Barkham - Wok­ing­ham) and Leop­ard 10 (Read­ing - Spencers Wood) re­main un­changed, al­though the reg­u­lar in­ter­val de­par­tures of th­ese ser­vices from Read­ing are now 15 min­utes later.

Leop­ard 3b is a new route (Read­ing - Ar­bor­field - Fin­champ­stead - Brack­nell), which ex­tends one of the reg­u­lar in­ter­val short jour­neys (Read­ing - Ar­bor­field). The fre­quency of this ser­vice is hourly, seven days a week, and to­gether with the Leop­ard 3 pro­vides a Mon­day - Satur­day 30 minute fre­quency be­tween Read­ing and Fin­champ­stead.

The Leop­ard 3b was in­tro­duced to co­in­cide with the open­ing of The Lex­i­con in Brack­nell and ad­di­tion­ally pro­vides evening jour­neys Mon­day - Satur­day.

All three routes are op­er­ated as stage car­riage ser­vices, which means all buses ob­serve all stops along the routes - not just the tim­ing points shown in the cur­rent Read­ing Buses timetable.

Puz­zled no more

I re­fer to the let­ter – ‘Puz­zled over Men­tal Health

Care’ – [The Wok­ing­ham Pa­per – 7th Septem­ber]. I don’t think that I have ever pro­posed the abo­li­tion of the NHS.

It is gen­er­ally the case – not that our peo­ple don’t WANT NHS ser­vices, but the dif­fi­culty in get­ting them, and the length of time that peo­ple have to wait on lists.

Fur­ther­more, there are some treat­ments – such as psy­cho­anal­y­sis – which are not avail­able in the NHS.

One of our mem­bers, who is rich, [be­ing rich doesn’t pro­tect you from hav­ing men­tal health prob­lems], was able to pay for his own psy­cho­anal­y­sis, but ex­pressed fears to me that he was be­ing un­fair to peo­ple wait­ing on lists for NHS surgery, when he also had his hipreplace­ment done pri­vately.

I as­sured him, that, by do­ing so, he was en­abling a pa­tient who couldn’t af­ford pri­vate treat­ment, to move up the list, and thus, get surgery more quickly.

We would love to be able to pay for peo­ple to have psy­cho­anal­y­sis, and other long-term ther­a­pies, but, alas, we can only scrape the pot for acute cri­sis.

I shall now leave Eli­jah in the Old Tes­ta­ment, and move to the New Tes­ta­ment – to the mir­a­cle of the feed­ing of the 5,000.

Even when we had the beds at the cri­sis house, we had only five beds, and two vol­un­teers, to stay overnight with guests, when nec­es­sary - the loaves and the fishes of the Bi­ble story! Like the dis­ci­ples of Jesus Christ, one might ask – ‘What is that among so many?’

If Na­tional MIND would put into prac­tice its twen­ti­eth cen­tury man­i­festo pol­icy – to set up cri­sis houses through­out the UK, and thus meet the needs of the thou­sands re­quir­ing men­tal health cri­sis care, it would, in­deed, be a mod­ern mir­a­cle!

But cri­sis houses, as I make clear in my book, Tri­umph and Tragedy, are not a re­place­ment for men­tal hos­pi­tals. We need both, so I sup­port the con­tin­u­ance of the NHS, but I would like to see it cut out lay­ers of bu­reau­cracy, and spend the money, thus saved, on more doc­tors and nurses.

Most con­sul­tants, in any case, work both in pri­vate prac­tice, and in the NHS, so the treat­ment is equally good in both sec­tors.

While sup­port­ing the con­tin­u­ance of the NHS, I do NOT, how­ever, sup­port the con­tin­u­ance of so­cial ser­vices. Medicine – the treat­ment of dis­eases by sci­en­tif­i­cally proven reme­dies – is a sound con­cept. So­cial work – the in­ter­fer­ence in peo­ple’s lives by agents of the State – is not.

As this lat­est child- pro­tec­tion fail­ure scan­dal demon­strates – the mur­der, by her mother, of Ay­eeshia-Jayne Smith – so­cial work is not a pro­fes­sion, should be abol­ished, and so­ci­ety’s wel­fare re­stored to char­i­ties – as my pre­vi­ous let­ters aver.

On the sub­ject of psy­cho­anal­y­sis, I shall re­gale your read­ers with the story of a friend of my youth – who un­der­went psy­cho­anal­y­sis with the Aus­trian, Dr Grosse, who had trained un­der Sig­mund Freud!

He con­cluded that my friend was nar­cis­sis­tic, and should do some vol­un­tary work – prison vis­it­ing.

We agree heartily with Sig­mund Freud. There is no need for any­body to feel use­less in life.

The Wok­ing­ham Vol­un­teer Cen­tre is al­ways seek­ing more vol­un­teers. Stop think­ing about your­self, get out there and do some­thing for other peo­ple, and it is amaz­ing how much bet­ter you will feel!

Toy­ota and Brexit

Toy­ota said it might shift pro­duc­tion out of the UK due to the Con­ser­va­tive Brexit govern­ment al­legedly with­draw­ing as­sur­ances that Bri­tain would con­tinue to en­joy tar­iff-free ac­cess to the sin­gle mar­ket postBrexit.

Toy­ota an­nounced £240m plans in March to be­gin up­grad­ing its Bur­nas­ton plant in Der­byshire af­ter ap­par­ently re­ceiv­ing writ­ten as­sur­ances from the govern­ment that car ex­ports from Bri­tain would not at­tract duty.

Fac­ing the present … and the fu­ture

Born in 1934, I was bought up in a Chris­tian UK, with Church be­com­ing my sec­ond home un­til leav­ing school. Prayer was one of the ac­tiv­i­ties that was fun­da­men­tal to life, and sure enough in 1940, the prayers of this na­tion were an­swered when Hitler put off his in­va­sion.

Still dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand his de­ci­sion in any other way, be­cause he would have suc­ceeded. There were even those ready to wel­come him!

I men­tion prayers as I be­lieve they are rel­e­vant to­day – for those suf­fer­ing in the Caribbean and the USA, those threat­ened by North Korea, those in Africa still dy­ing in their thou­sands, from dis­ease and hunger, those young girls suf­fer­ing from FGM (fe­male gen­i­tal

mu­ti­la­tion) in THIS coun­try – the list is end­less.

We have wit­nessed in say, the past 25 years, an aw­ful de­cline in our so­ci­ety, the be­hav­iour of peo­ple to each other, Chris­tian­ity and be­lief in God, and the in­tro­duc­tion of a new way of life, based on “self and wealth”. The cen­turies old guid­ance as to how we should be­have – the Ten Com­mand­ments – and bib­li­cal pre­dic­tions are ig­nored.

Apart from col­lec­tively try­ing to change so­ci­ety, e.g via the Ballot Box while we still have some democ­racy left, we need to look to the chil­dren who will in­herit the mess we have to­day. A mess that will get worse given the politics of to­day, the threats we face at home as dis­ci­pline and Law have bro­ken down – a po­lice force that de­cides what it will do, rather than do­ing what was in­tended by Par­lia­ment.

Chil­dren are a very pre­cious source of good for the fu­ture, IF they are bought up to un­der­stand the word “so­ci­ety”, their part in it and so­ci­ety’s du­ties to them.

Par­ents, Teach­ers, the Church and politi­cians as ex­am­ples, need to at­tend to the de­vel­op­ment of the phe­nom­e­nal brain power chil­dren have when born, to lead them to lead so­ci­ety later in life. That’s a mighty chal­lenge, and rates along­side the se­ri­ous chal­lenges world­wide, con­cern­ing the suf­fer­ing of chil­dren – let alone their par­ents.

Our chil­dren need to be “much bet­ter” than us of to­day, for the world to sur­vive. If a child could un­der­stand to­day’s dis­torted greed, whereby some earn vast salaries plus ben­e­fits - many tak­ing tax­pay­ers’ money such that we can­not af­ford the great NHS or pay the “work­ers” of this coun­try ad­e­quately, what would they think?

Teenage years are tough enough

Many peo­ple are sur­prised to learn there are more than 81,000 chil­dren in care in the UK.

Th­ese chil­dren are taken into care to pro­tect them from harm. In the fight to keep chil­dren safe, it’s vi­tal that we don’t lose sight of what chil­dren need and de­serve – a safe, sta­ble, lov­ing fam­ily.

And when I say chil­dren, I mean all chil­dren – in­clud­ing teenagers. They may ap­pear grown up but they still very much need love and sup­port.

It’s es­ti­mated there are al­most 50,000 teenagers in care in the UK – that’s around 60% of the to­tal num­ber of looked-af­ter chil­dren.

With a child go­ing into care ev­ery 20 min­utes in the UK, there are sim­ply not enough foster car­ers to look af­ter them.

At Barnardo’s we have cared for chil­dren for more than 150 years and reg­u­larly ap­peal for new foster car­ers to come for­ward to help fill the void, par­tic­u­larly for harder to place chil­dren like teenagers, as well as chil­dren from black and mi­nor­ity eth­nic back­grounds.

Teenage years are tough enough even when you’re not a child in care so we ur­gently need car­ers who could make a huge dif­fer­ence to a young per­son’s fu­ture by pro­vid­ing the safety and se­cu­rity that can pre­pare them for life.

Our foster car­ers are in­cred­i­ble peo­ple. They open their hearts and homes to chil­dren and teenagers who have had a very dif­fi­cult time, help­ing them to achieve their po­ten­tial in a safe and lov­ing fam­ily. And in re­turn, our car­ers tell us the re­wards for car­ing for a child or teenager are sim­ply amaz­ing.

Chil­dren and teenagers in care have al­ready been through enough up­heaval, and hav­ing the sup­port of a sta­ble car­ing fam­ily can re­ally trans­form their lives.

That’s why it’s so vi­tal that we find the right fam­i­lies for all chil­dren and young peo­ple in foster care – ones in which they’re able to be them­selves and ex­press them­selves.

We need peo­ple from all cul­tural, re­li­gious and eth­nic back­grounds to come for­ward. Our foster car­ers are of var­i­ous ages. You can be sin­gle or mar­ried, male or fe­male, a home­owner or rent­ing, straight, les­bian, gay, trans or bi­sex­ual. We be­lieve you can be a foster carer and so should you.

Any­one con­sid­er­ing be­com­ing a foster carer – es­pe­cially for teenagers - should visit our web­site at www.barnar­dos.org.uk/fos­ter­ing. You will re­ceive first class train­ing and con­tin­ued sup­port.

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