Richard Willis's Blog

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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 When the announcement was made at full Council that the plans would be withdrawn we already had over 400 signatures!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.

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July 16, 2012 - Posted by | Local

4 Comments »

  1. Richard

    In some ways I can understand Tony Page attempting to shift the blame for this ill thought out plan onto you. It is, I suppose, the stuff of Politics between major political parties.

    The conduct of Cllr Ralph however is another matter, as by his actions he was simply trying to undermine the work of the whole community which united behind your efforts.

    I think this proves what many of us already knew of this man: that his motivations for remaining a Peppard Ward Councillor have nothing to do with the wellbeing of its residents.

    The people of this ward elected Cllr Ralph as a Conservative which by implication means that they wanted Conservative representation on the council. This supposition is underpinned by the recent election of Jane Stanford-Beale. Hence by definition, through his decision to leave the Conservative party and stand as an independent Cllr, he has lost his mandate to represent the people of this ward.

    I would therefore ask that instead of sending out sniping messages on Twitter which apart from being factually incorrect, discredit the efforts of the whole community, he resigns as a councillor so as we may have a by- election and thus elect a representative who has the majority mandate to represent Peppard.

    Andrew Waters.

    Comment by Andrew Waters | July 17, 2012 | Reply

  2. I see that Jamie Chowdhary is having a pop at you again. Does he really think that anyone gives a toss what he thinks now? It is becoming increasingly clear that he was the real poison in the local Conservatives and every time he posts another bitter diatribe it shows him up for the sore loser he is. Keep up the good work Richard. The people you represent know you are on their side. Also your new colleague is shaping up to be a strong addition to the Conservative team. Maybe that’s why she beat Chowdhary in both the selection contest and the election 🙂

    Comment by Paul | July 18, 2012 | Reply

  3. The proposal was evidently very badly thought out and ill considered. It was even contrary to the council’s own documented policy towards natural green spaces. Hopefully it will not now go ahead, because we have just heard that tonight at the Full Council meeting it was announced that the administration are abandoning their plans for a micro park and ride scheme at Clayfield Copse. We trust that the matter will soon be brought formally to a conclusion.

    Comment by internet marketing | August 1, 2012 | Reply

  4. The proposal was evidently very badly thought out and ill considered. It was even contrary to the council’s own documented policy towards natural green spaces. Hopefully it will not now go ahead, because we have just heard that tonight at the Full Council meeting it was announced that the administration are abandoning their plans for a micro park and ride scheme at Clayfield Copse. We trust that the matter will soon be brought formally to a conclusion.

    Comment by Sugel | August 9, 2012 | Reply


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