Labour U-Turn Ends the Park & Ride Threat to Clayfield Copse
Last night I chaired a public meeting at Emmer Green Youth and Community Centre (see photo above) at which over 100 people expressed their concerns, anger and opposition to the plans for Clayfield Copse. The meeting was attended by the Deputy Head of Highways and Transport Ruth Leuilette who listened and took away with her the strength of local feeling.
I was angered to learn that despite his public protestations of support for our campaign, Independent Peppard Councillor Mark Ralph had in fact sought to have the public meeting with Transport Officers cancelled, by raising objections to their attendance at the meeting. He was told that we had every right to organise a public meeting and invite Council officers to attend. That didn’t stop him attending and playing to the gallery!
Earlier in the same day my Conservative ward colleague Cllr Jane Stanford-Beale and I met with the Head and Deputy Head of Highways and Transport to make the case against the plans. We also handed over no less than 45 objections to the plans based on the emails we have received from local people.
Tonight at the Full Council meeting the President of Reading Athletic Club presented a petition against the proposal at Palmer Park and it was in response to this that Labour’s Lead Councillor for Strategic Planning and Transport, Cllr Tony Page, announced a U-turn for both sites. The final decision will be made at the Cabinet meeting on 16 July but Cllr Page has made it clear what the decision will be!
I have no doubt that the combined efforts of everyone involved in the campaign made the Labour administration realise that they had not properly thought this through and had failed to consult people properly.
Jane and I would like to thank everyone who supported and helped with our campaign to protect Clayfield Copse. It has proven what can be achieved when elected Councillors, local groups and societies, and local residents all work together.