Richard Willis's Blog

First for local news and first for comment

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

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.


June 24, 2012 - Posted by | Local


  1. Hi. Having struggled for the last 30mins to find the relevant consultation documents on the Reading BC website, it would be useful if you could post a direct link to the TRO consultation document on here so that people can find it easily. It’s not really in the spirit of Localism and public consultation to “hide” these documents away! I’m not against the concept of Park & Ride but there seems that there is a lot more work to be done on the pracitalities of introducing the scheme at Clayfield Copse, including much more public engagement. I’m not sure what the big rush is for Reading BC to be pushing this through so quickly? Local Resident & member of Caversham Park Tennis Club.

    Comment by Sarah | June 25, 2012 | Reply

  2. I am appalled that the council has proposed this scheme without consulting local residents. I only found out from a neighbour yesterday. As I live in Holyrood Close I am already affected by the overflow from the car park when football tournaments take place. This proposal is totally non viable and I hope you can convince the council to drop it.
    Frank Drake

    Comment by Frank Drake | June 25, 2012 | Reply

    • Frank – absolutely right. I am working hard on this and will keep you posted!

      Comment by Richard Willis | June 26, 2012 | Reply

  3. Sarah – The Labour Council had n’t planned to consult local people – they tried to sneak this through a Cabinet meeting under the heading of Parking charges so you won’t find a consultation document!! These plans are the responsibility of Tony Page, a man whose contempt for local accountability knows no bounds – remember the one way IDR plans?

    Comment by Granny BK | June 26, 2012 | Reply

    • And never forgetting the Shinfield Road

      Comment by Howard Thomas | June 30, 2012 | Reply

  4. Is this just NIMBYism? Seems like a good idea to me…

    Comment by Craig | June 30, 2012 | Reply

    • Craig – no it isn’t NIMBYism! This car park is small and in an area of outstanding natural beauty. It is heavily used by the tennis club and football club, and at times is completely full and overflowing. Also why should existing users have to pay £4 to park for more than 2 hours? Once NCP is running this car park with pay and display machines the free period will disappear and the fees will be increased. Park and Ride is a good idea but this is most certainly the wrong place for it.

      Comment by Richard Willis | June 30, 2012 | Reply

  5. Those who would impose restrictions on our freedom of access to the beautiful area of Clayfield Copse and Blackhouse Wood should first read the report by Stephen Moss entitled Natural Childhood, available as a free PDF download from the website of the National Trust. I am not necessarily against the idea of a Park and Ride, but what is currently proposed is most definitely NOT the way to do it.

    Comment by John Hulbert | July 2, 2012 | Reply

  6. I think the fact that local residents weren’t informed of this proposal is disgusting! As a resident of Hertford Close I believe that bringing in charges would force the many cars that park there on football days to park on and around my street and surrounding streets. Which in turn could cause the council to bring in double yellows around the village to ensure that they get the income from the car park! Also how would they manage the cars that already park on the verges on tournament days? I think that charging all the families that park there to use the skate park and tennis facilities is awful!

    Comment by Paul | July 4, 2012 | Reply

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