Safe routes to school from Finchampstead
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
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
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
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
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