U-Turn Confirmed on Clayfield Copse Park and Ride Plans
Tonight at the ruling Labour Group’s Cabinet meeting the plans for micro park and ride schemes at Clayfield Copse and Palmer Park were finally killed off. The Cabinet accepted that the plans would cause problems for existing leisure users and that the (so-called) consultation had been badly flawed. Of course this would not have been achieved without the magnificent support of so many people across Reading who united to oppose the plans at both sites.
In Peppard ward local residents, sports groups, environmental groups and people from all parties and none came together to fight the plans for Clayfield Copse. Together with my Conservative colleague Cllr Jane Stanford-Beale, I led a campaign which involved a protest meeting at Clayfield Copse, a public meeting in the Emmer Green Youth and Community Centre and a petition which was taken door to door by local people and supported by the sports clubs and local shops. When the announcement was made at full Council that the plans would be withdrawn we already had over 400 signatures!
Tonight at Cabinet in response to my statement about the U-turn on the micro park and ride sites proposed for Clayfield Copse and Palmer Park, Cllr Tony Page sought to deflect his embarrassment by making the claim that I had endorsed the two sites when I was Lead Councillor, in the Council’s small bid to the Local Strategic Transport Fund. This is completely untrue! The bid was successful in bringing £4.9m to Reading for schemes such as the large cycle hire scheme I proposed but at no point did it include plans for micro park and ride at Clayfield Copse or Palmer Park. Don’t just take my word for it, you can find the bid on the Council’s website here or you can read the actual bid document here. As you will see, the bid endorses park and ride, and micro park and ride, in general terms but does not mention sites at all. I have always supported park and ride schemes but they must be in the right place!
Immediately Independent Councillor Ralph spied what he thought was another bandwagon and tried to leap aboard but he had clearly not read the small LSTF bid, just as he admitted he hadn’t read the Cabinet papers which orginally proposed park and ride for Clayfield Copse.
Despite Cllr Page’s bluster and Cllr Ralph’s opportunism, residents can rest assured that this ill-conceived plan is now dead. Leisure users at Clayfield Copse and Palmer Park should note Cllr Page’s pledge not to seek to resurrect the plans at some future date and the promise I extracted, reiterated tonight through gritted teeth, that the Council would repair the pot holes at the entrance to Clayfield Copse.