Rubbish at Southlake shops collected

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I was told that fly-tipped rubbish had been left in the car park of the shops near St James’ Church. Apparently it had been there for some time. As soon as I was informed I told the Council and they collected it within a few days. If you see any fly-tipped rubbish please get in contact with me or let the Council know yourself by following the steps here.

Campaigning in Emmbrook

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It was snowing yesterday when I was campaigning for Conservative candidate Cllr Kevin Morgan in the Emmbrook by-election. Voting is on 17th February and I truly hope Kevin gets elected. He’s such a warm chap who genuinely wants the best for Emmbrook and has served the area as a town councillor since 2015. I think the result may be tight. Good luck Kevin!

Cala Homes get connected

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After many months of efforts from residents of the Cala Homes site as well as local MP Rob Wilson and myself, letters from Cala to the residents have confirmed they have reached a deal with BT OpenReach. For a long time residents didn’t know if they were going to be able to access fibre optic broadband on the site. For a number of them who work from home this was a serious concern as they were verbally told by Cala before moving into their properties fibre optic broadband would be installed. At times it seemed a deal would never be reached and it was confusing where the obstacles lay. Huge thanks must go to the persistent hard work of residents who have championed a fair deal for the area. Rob Wilson MP’s correspondence with the Managing Director of Cala greatly helped push through action. Brilliant teamwork led to success!

Have you thought about fostering?

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I sit on the Corporate Parenting Board at Wokingham Borough Council and we oversee that children in care in the borough are being championed and supported as much as possible. Children of all ages are looking for a foster home. You’re supported through the whole fostering process and you’d be making a real difference to a young person’s life. If you have an inkling of interest click here for straightforward info.

Antrim Road Success

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Weeds growing at the sides of Antrim Road were removed days after a resident got in contact with me as she had concerns the sweeper machine wasn’t able to clear the leaves and drains would be blocked. It may sound small but the resident was right that it could have caused flooding on the road or downstream.

What can we learn from the Trump win?

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There was no landslide, at least not in the popular vote, which is where public mood is to be identified. In fact, more people voted for Clinton. Therefore, more people wanted much of the same, the status quo was working for them or they felt safer away from Trump’s racist misogynist speech. Black people and the young voted in droves for Hillary.

Those who felt they didn’t want more of the same or felt what they had been entitled to had been taken away from them voted in numbers for Trump, mostly older voters and white people.

What has been shown is there is a huge number of people who feel they have nothing to lose and will vote for change in whatever form that takes.

Trump supporters say they voted for a strong President, someone they felt wouldn’t compromise the nation’s position, someone who would put them first. In a more globalised yet very unequal world where nations have closer relationships and people move around more than ever before I understand people’s unease about this. In reality this sometimes fails people and whole nations badly while there are successes. Like most things nothing is wholly bad or good and people can feel they get a raw deal. This can’t be swept under the carpet as this election shows too well. Those who feel left behind are angry at feeling others have been put ahead of them in whatever undeserving way is specific to their situation. This feeling can be very dangerous and yet completely understandable. Trump has a chance to get the economy going again (plan as yet not known) and unite his people. He won the election by dividing them, although I feel they were probably already divided, and by the people who feel left behind getting their leader elected hopefully he can give them, and the whole nation, what they need in a positive way. Here’s hoping.

Success on Campbell Road!

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I am ever so happy that the bay lines and hatching have been painted outside South Lake school. This will hopefully maximise parking for parents and keep the entrance to the school free to help the parking and traffic situation. I worked with Campbell Road residents and the traffic department at Wokingham Borough Council to make this a reality and I’m pleased it was completed during half term. Fantastic!

Visit to Reading Prison

Artangel have organised an open house of Reading prison with art installations. Although the art is few and far between being able to experience a prison so old that was in use until a few years ago is a rare opportunity to read the graffiti of prisoners and witness the inside of a prison. There were photos of inmates taken in the late nineteenth century when they were women, men and children as young as ten incarcerated together. I would have enjoyed a sign pointing out Oscar Wilde’s cell but the large number of visitors show the popularity of such a unique experience.

Travellers on Lytham Road car park

There are currently travellers in the car park on Lytham Road in Woodley. The car park is owned by Wokingham Borough Council and they have applied to Reading Crown Court for a court order for their removal. They are waiting on a court date and I have heard it may take two weeks for the Council and police to be able to move them on. Some residents have recommended height barriers as a possible deterrent. This was tried at a car park in Wokingham and unfortunately it was broken down by travellers when they wanted to move onto the site. There have been a number of incidents of travellers on sites in Woodley recently and any considerations to prevent this are taken on board.

My visit to Amsterdam

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I loved visiting Amsterdam. The people were friendly, everywhere felt very safe, clean and well-run. I was surprised by the number of British and American voices I heard everywhere too. When walking through the Vondelpark I thought I was in St James’ Park by the number of young people sitting in groups with English accents.

It is true the cycling network is one of the most advanced in the world. I did nearly get run over a number of times but it did strike me the sheer number of people on bikes. Most did not wear helmets, wore normal clothes and a lot had children with them. This was v different to the Lycra clad people with helmets and all the necessary equipment I’m used to seeing around Wokingham and London. Cyclists skipped red lights, took priority over pedestrians and largely had a relaxed yet very fast culture. I did feel very uneasy on the streets wherever I went in case a cyclist was going to hit me. The main problem with this in Amsterdam is that the pavements for pedestrians and cyclists are at the same level and colour. Along the canals the pavements are very narrow and often single file so you often have to step into the road and continually check if a bike is coming. I’m in a mixed mind about it. It would be great to decrease cars on roads and encourage cyclists but it does seem to add increased anxiety for pedestrians and cars.It’s not quite the cycling utopia the city is made out to be, apart from for the cyclists themselves. I’m sure London could learn a few lessons taking into account some improved tweaks.

The 4-5 story buildings impressed me too. They were beautiful. I did wonder why on Earth London hadn’t developed in the same way. In a time when London land is at a premium why haven’t we built up more? I don’t mean high-rise flats, I mean like the charming 4-5 stories which is the norm for Amsterdam. Walking along Brick Lane in London there were so many 1-2 story pubs and shops it did seem a shame they stopped there.

I’d thoroughly recommend a trip to the city.