Safe routes to school from Fin­champ­stead

The Wokingham Paper - - VIEWPOINTS -

I am writ­ing with re­gard to your re­cent ar­ti­cle over the safe routes from Fin­champ­stead to Bo­hunt school.

There were sev­eral fac­tual er­rors in this ar­ti­cle and I would be grate­ful if you would pub­lish my let­ter so the pub­lic are not mis­led and have the full pic­ture. I also have con­cerns over the lack of bal­ance in this piece

This ar­ti­cle quotes at length lo­cal Lib Dem coun­cil­lor Ian Pit­tock’s views on this sub­ject. Nei­ther none of the three lo­cal con­ser­va­tive coun­cil­lors ( my­self, Daniel Sar­gent or Si­mon Weeks ) were con­tacted for a quote. If you are to use quotes from an op­po­si­tion cllr on a story it is only fair to give us the right of re­ply so your read­ers can get a bal­anced view. I am al­ways happy to give you a quote and am I sure my col­leagues would take the same view

There are also sev­eral er­rors in this ar­ti­cle

(a) The ar­ti­cle refers to the coun­cil’s orig­i­nal plan to pro­vide a safe route to school down Nine Mile Ride. It refers to the coun­cil’s fail­ure to de­liver this but does not re­fer to the rea­son why, which has been in the pub­lic do­main for sev­eral years. Over a long pe­riod of time over 80 prop­er­ties on this road have en­croached on high­ways land on this stretch of Nine Mile Ride. Ap­prox two years ago ( when this be­came ev­i­dent) my­self, Si­mon Weeks, Rob Stan­ton and Ian Pit­tock (be­fore he left the Con­ser­va­tive Party) met and agreed that due to this we would lobby WBC to light the green­way as a safe route to school as this was the op­ti­mum prac­ti­cal op­tion to re­solve this prob­lem.

(b) The ar­ti­cle made a very brief men­tion of the Green­way from Fin­champ­stead to Bo­hunt. It stated that it was closed due to on­go­ing work. This is not cor­rect. The gGeen­way has been lit over the sum­mer so that it would be a safe al­ter­na­tive route to school. This project was com­pleted weeks ago ( be­fore the school term ) and it is in use to­day

(c) In the pe­riod be­fore the Green­way was pro­vided WBC paid for lo­cal Fin­champ­stead chil­dren to have free bus travel to Bo­hunt as they had not pro­vided a safe route to school. There­fore WBC has al­ways and does pro­vide safe non-car routes to Bo­hunt from Fin­champ­stead.

(d) Your ar­ti­cle quotes a lo­cal res­i­dent who states that the only 30mph signs on this stretch of nine mile ride at the en­try and exit for the zone. If you drive down this road you will see this is sim­ply not cor­rect.

When the road was changed from a 40mph speed limit to 30mph speed limit some of the re­peaters were re­moved at the re­quest of the po­lice in the lit sec­tion – how­ever there are sev­eral re­peaters in the un­lit sec­tion.

There are also ad­di­tional light­ing col­umns go­ing up near Cal­i­for­nia Coun­try park to im­prove safety

I fully sup­port an in­de­pen­dent bal­anced lo­cal pa­per. I am also en­tirely con­tent for the lo­cal pa­per to crit­i­cise the coun­cil when things go wrong and mis­takes are made. How­ever this is not the case in this sce­nario and I would ap­pre­ci­ate for the sake of bal­ance if you would promi­nently pub­lish this let­ter. Cllr Charles Marge s Fin­champ­stead North

Tough ques­tions

Wok­ing­ham Bor­ough Coun­cil is pre­par­ing a re­vised Lo­cal Plan cov­er­ing the fu­ture 20 years. It is un­der in­creas­ingly se­vere fi­nan­cial pres­sure. Frankly, the Trea­sury is steal­ing coun­cil in­come from our rates.

The Bor­ough will have to make some re­ally tough de­ci­sions about cut­ting some ser­vices. Faced with this chal­lenge, it has de­cided to con­sult res­i­dents.

It has is­sued an On­line Bor­ough

Con­sul­ta­tion Sur­vey. I imag­ined that it might ask some quite di­rect ques­tions about pri­or­i­ties - like: “Which three ar­eas should be high pri­or­ity and pro­tected from cuts?”

“In which three ar­eas can we con­sider re­duc­ing ser­vices?” In­stead of this, it avoids the real is­sues and fo­cuses on ques­tions about “vi­sion” and “prin­ci­ples”.

This sur­vey can­not pro­vide use­ful hard data on res­i­dent pri­or­i­ties. It can­not pro­vide clear guid­ance on the tough fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions.

Un­for­tu­nately, what came across to me was “We haven’t a clue. Do you lot have any ideas?”.

I get the strong im­pres­sion that Wok­ing­ham Bor­ough Coun­cil is try­ing to avoid be­ing di­rect with res­i­dents about what ser­vices will have to be cut.

There ap­pears to be a lack of con­sen­sus among the ma­jor­ity po­lit­i­cal group.

My mes­sage is “Come on guys. Sort your­selves out. If you want our views, be di­rect. Don’t waffle around the is­sues.” David Nash, Wok­ing­ham

Squab­bling

From the Palace of West­min­ster to Shute End Tow­ers, they are all in­creas­ingly at it.

Politi­cians, their in­ep­ti­tude un­masked, are squab­bling amongst them­selves, fin­ger point­ing and back stab­bing their own party cronies.

Even Wok­ing­ham Town Coun­cil in the form of Cllr An­drew Wa­ters, chair of the plan­ning and trans­port com­mit­tee, has en­tered the fray, us­ing his let­ter to The Wok­ing­ham Pa­per (Septem­ber 13) to de­fend the, per­ceived by many, du­bi­ous poli­cies and ac­tions of his Shute End chums, ap­pear­ing in the process to ac­cuse the pub­li­ca­tion of some kind of con­spir­acy against those in mu­nic­i­pal au­thor­ity.

His at­tack on a jour­nal for sim­ply un­der­tak­ing its demo­cratic re­spon­si­bil­ity by un­cov­er­ing and chal­leng­ing mat­ters which the pow­ers-that-be would much rather be kept un­der their du­plic­i­tous hats is wholly un­jus­ti­fied and only goes to un­der­line the ne­ces­sity of hav­ing an in­de­pen­dent lo­cal press pre­pared to stand up for the com­mu­nity with­out fear or favour in the face of lo­cal gov­ern­ment bul­ly­ing and se­crecy, that even a num­ber of its own sup­port­ers find dif­fi­cult to stom­ach.

Heaven knows what “nod­ding and wink­ing” would go on be­hind

closed doors if those in power thought they could sim­ply get away with it with im­punity.

… And to close, it was good to see so many lo­cal res­i­dents, vis­i­tors, traders and en­ter­tain­ers sup­port­ing the join Mar­ket Place and Her­itage Day Cel­e­bra­tions on Satur­day, Septem­ber 15.

Or­gan­ised by Wok­ing­ham coun­cils and Love Wok­ing­ham, it was, at last, some­thing to sing their praises about.

But then again, one swal­low does not a sum­mer make. J W Blaney, Wok­ing­ham

From Whingeville

J W Blaney’s lat­est “Let­ter from Whingeville” ( The Wok­ing­ham

Pa­per, Septem­ber 20) makes me won­der if he even lives in Wok­ing­ham. Blaney crit­i­cises Cllr “Murfin” re­gard­ing our lovely new Mar­ket­place, sug­gest­ing that a ma­jor flaw is “the width of road pass­ing down Den­mark St” is “too nar­row to ac­com­mo­date [...] large heavy com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles”.

Mi­nor er­rors: its Cllr “Mirfin”, not “Murfin”, and it was never a ma­jor de­sign goal to en­cour­age HGVs though the Town cen­tre (nor, I imag­ine, would they be wel­comed by most towns­peo­ple).

Above all, how­ever, the width of the new road in the mar­ket­place - which en­ables a far greater con­fig­urable space for events etc. etc. - is wider than the cur­rent nar­row­est point in Den­mark Street. (In case Mr Blaney is un­fa­mil­iar with the town he weekly whines about, I en­close a snap of the rel­e­vant area. It’s been like that for 20+ years) Peter Lucey, Wok­ing­ham

In­de­pen­dent voices

It was great to see an exCon­ser­va­tive Wok­ing­ham Bor­ough Coun­cil­lor Claire Stret­ton has set up an in­de­pen­dent po­lit­i­cal party in Wind­sor and Maiden­head aptly named the­bor­ough­first.org

Like me Claire is an in­de­pen­dent Bor­ough Coun­cil­lor now but at Wind­sor and Maiden­head.

It is in­ter­est­ing that the Wind­sor and Maiden­head Con­ser­va­tives where a sim­i­lar dom­i­nant con­trol of their coun­cil like Wok­ing­ham al­lows nasty po­lit­i­cal dogma to rule the roost at the ex­pense of our res­i­dents.

Her sim­ple mes­sage is “We be­lieve that lo­cal peo­ple, free of na­tional po­lit­i­cal par­ties, are the best peo­ple to get the right things done for their lo­cal com­mu­nity, work­ing to­gether to put the

BOR­OUGH first.” She adds “Talk to us WE WILL LIS­TEN” sim­ple re­ally.

I fully sup­port Claire’s aim to fight all the seats in Wind­sor and Maiden­head next May on be­half of the res­i­dents.

I would like to see the same hap­pen in Wok­ing­ham where next May all 18 seats up for elec­tion are Con­ser­va­tive Coun­cil­lors.

This unique op­por­tu­nity to rid our­selves of over 20 years of non stop Con­ser­va­tive rule should not be missed. I would en­cour­age ev­ery Res­i­dents ac­tion group in Wok­ing­ham to put can­di­dates for­ward to chal­lenge the ex­ist­ing rul­ing party. Any­thing must be bet­ter than what’s there now.

Res­i­dents ac­tion groups care about our Bor­ough which is more than I can say for the smoke and mir­rors con­ser­va­tives and it’s about time they were shown that there is a very big price to pay for their ut­ter dis­re­gard for all of us.

I would be will­ing to of­fer ad­vice and help to any group who is will­ing to give it a go and by do­ing so change the face of Wok­ing­ham’s po­lit­i­cal di­rec­tion to a one that cares for its res­i­dents.

It’s very, very easy to do. Cllr Gary Cowan, In­de­pen­dent Bor­ough Coun­cil­lor at Wok­ing­ham Bor­ough Coun­cil

Have will power

As Chief Ex­ec­u­tive at the Bri­tish Heart Foun­da­tion (BHF) I see first­hand the in­cred­i­ble im­pact gifts left in Wills make to the char­ity. Re­search funded by the BHF has helped halve death rates from heart and cir­cu­la­tory dis­eases over the past 50 years and so much of our work has only been pos­si­ble thanks to the amaz­ing in­di­vid­u­als who have re­mem­bered the BHF in their Will.

These spe­cial gifts fund more than a quar­ter of all car­dio­vas­cu­lar re­search in the UK, which makes them in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant to help us beat heart­break for­ever for the seven mil­lion peo­ple liv­ing with these con­di­tions right now.

In the past year alone, res­i­dents in the South East left over £16.4 mil­lion in their Wills to the Bri­tish Heart Foun­da­tion to help fund life sav­ing re­search into heart and cir­cu­la­tory dis­ease, in­clud­ing heart dis­ease, stroke and vas­cu­lar de­men­tia. I would per­son­ally like to hon­our these peo­ple and ex­press our grat­i­tude for the re­search break­throughs and thou­sands of lives they have helped to save.

But there’s still so much more to do, and there are ap­prox­i­mately 940,000 peo­ple in the South

East liv­ing with car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease right now. A gift of any size, af­ter you’ve pro­vided for your loved ones, will en­able the BHF to con­tinue to fund pioneer­ing re­search to find fu­ture cures and treat­ments into heart and cir­cu­la­tory con­di­tions.

A re­cent sur­vey to sup­port

‘Will Power’, the BHF’s cam­paign to en­cour­age peo­ple to con­sider leav­ing a le­gacy in their Will, showed that the Bri­tish pub­lic would like to be re­mem­bered for their gen­eros­ity, kind­ness and hu­mour over their wealth or pro­fes­sional work achieve­ments. 7 in 10 of those asked said they

wished they could do more to help oth­ers and a quar­ter said they wanted their Will to im­prove the lives of oth­ers.

I would like to en­cour­age those peo­ple to down­load our free Wills guide and I must take the op­por­tu­nity to thank all of the gen­er­ous sup­port­ers – past, present and fu­ture – for their con­tri­bu­tions to the BHF.

We couldn’t make med­i­cal break­throughs such as heart trans­plants and pace­mak­ers with­out your gen­eros­ity and sup­port and it is be­cause of your sup­port that we con­tinue to fund £100 mil­lion of re­search into heart and cir­cu­la­tory con­di­tions ev­ery year – thank you.

To find out more about leav­ing a gift in your Will and to down­load a free Wills guide, please visit bhf. org.uk/wills Si­mon Gille­spie, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive, Bri­tish Heart Foun­da­tion

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