Your parking campaign is not thought through
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.