Clayfield Copse – Park and Ride Protest
Since 11 June, when, at Labour’s Cabinet meeting, I objected to plans for Park and Ride at Clayfield Copse, I have been inundated with emails from users of the car park protesting at the plans to charge £4 for anyone who parks more than 2 hours (Mon to Sat). The Labour plan would see the installation of pay and display meters under the management of National Car Parks Ltd (NCP). Since the Labour administration has just scrapped the Sunday and bank Holiday reduced rate in all the Council’s other car parks there is a very real fear that this plan would be the thin end of the wedge leading to the proposed 2 hour free period disappearing in time.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been in contact with many local groups and individual car park users to get their views and their support for a petition in opposition to the plans. I have spent hours meeting with people, answering emails and on the telephone about this issue. I have been helped by people who have organised a leafletting campaign suggesting that people contact me with their views. So far I have had several dozen emails, with only two people equivocal or in favour.
I have worked with my colleague Cllr Jane Stanford-Beale and others to organise a photoshoot at the car park today with Rob Wilson MP, Residents’ Associations, Friends of Clayfield Copse, members of Caversham AFC and Caversham Park Tennis Club and local residents. In all about 100 people turned up this afternoon and most were happy to gather at the car park entrance for a photo. Interestingly the Independent Councillor for Peppard ward also showed up and had his former Independent colleague there snapping photos.
It was a fantastic turnout and it just shows how the community can be motivated when a much loved facility is threatened. I do hope that together we can persuade the Council to dump this plan.
If you want to add your voice to the protests please either comment below this posting or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE: I have written to the Chronicle to correct the inaccurate report given by their article on 14 June when they wrongly stated I supported these schemes at Cabinet. I didn’t. I said my Party supports park and rides in principle but then went on to explain in great detail why I had many concerns over the plans for Clayfield Copse in my ward.
The Independent Councillor for Peppard ward admitted that he had failed to read the papers properly and had “missed” this crucial proposal. He then echoed almost everything I had said to the annoyance of the Leader of the Council who allowed him to speak despite him not having indicated to speak on the item as is usually required under the rules.
Had I not spotted this plan for Clayfield Copse and Palmer Park and raised objections it would have gone through on the nod!
My earlier article about this is here.
UPDATE2: The Reading Post has a very fair article on this here.