Monday, 28 September 2009

King's Meadow baths granted period of exclusivity

Hot off the phone, Bob from the King's Meadow Campaign has informed me that they have been granted a two-year period of exclusivity to draw up detailed plans and fund raise to restore the King's Meadow baths and get them back into use for the community. Considering not so long ago the Labour group was about to hand over the site to a developer who was going to concrete over a fair size portion of the area this is great news! Apparently the developer wanted a 200 year plus lease on the site which was the main reason for the Council to go with the King's Meadow Campaign.

I have supported the campaign since I discovered it, I have delivered newsletters, spoken at public meetings and supported them at council meetings, so I feel as though I have contributed to this success in a small way. But hats off to Bob O'Neill who has been the real driving force behind this campaign.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Using my energy smart meter

I had great fun playing with the energy meter that I borrowed from the library. Once I had got it set up -- took about five minutes -- the display told me that the house was using 0.2 kilowatts. No one else was in so this must have been from the display of radio alarms, phone, router etc. Next I had a play around turning appliances on and off. The most shocking thing in the house was the kettle. When I turned it on the display shot up to 2.0 kilowatts. We have not got a tumble dryer but I suspect that if I did turning it on and watching it eat electricity might bring me to tears!

As much as anything else, borrowing and using the smart meter was fun and hopefully it will have helped me save a bit of money.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear from a friend that all of the energy meters from the Central library are currently on loan and there is a waiting list.

The Avenue Story -- Eastern Avenue and its people through two centuries!

A few weeks ago I went to a community event on Eastern Avenue for the launch of a book about the same road. There was an interesting exhibition made up of extracts from the book, which covers two centuries of the Avenue's history. The exhibition included: illegal tree felling, the plugging of the Avenue, historical people from the Avenue and much more.

Here is some of the blurb about the book from the author Philip Vaughan:

"The Avenue Story is the first history of Eastern Avenue that has been written. Research began in early 2009, working through the resources of libraries, archives offices and the Internet, supplemented by original documents in the possession of many people living in the Avenue.

The resulting book is now in its final draft. The text is validated throughout with full reference to the primary or secondary sources used, and illustrated with maps, plans and photographs. Chapters include:

The prehistory
From farmland to the birth of the suburb: 1840 - 1861
The Avenue takes shape: 1861 - 1901
The twentieth century
Remarkable residents
The South Park conservation area
Tree protection orders"

I will try and get a copy for Palmer Park library.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Speeding and 20's Plenty!

Going back a little while we had a successful campaign called 20's Plenty calling for 20 mph speed limits in residential areas to make roads safer and improve people's quality of life. Following on from this campaign the Council signed up to a national road safety campaign, obtained some speed measuring equipment and responded to residents complaints about speeding traffic by going and measuring the speed of the traffic with its new equipment -- rather than just waiting for an accident to happen. The Council has now published the first set of figures from this campaign and produced a report.

According to the report, the Council are also issuing posters similar to the ones we produced, to residents who request them. Unfortunately, the main plank of the campaign was for 20 mph zones where people wanted them which we still do not have.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Labour lineup announced for local elections in Reading

Here is Labour's lineup for the next local elections in Reading. In Park Ward where I lost by 20 votes at the last local elections the Labour incumbent Cllr Merriot is standing down and Mr McKenzie -- who finished fifth for Labour Henley by-election -- is standing.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

A month in the life of a green party campaigner -- August

With holidays and school holidays August has been a quieter month in terms of meetings, but the doorknocking is picking up and so, so are the Council enquiries and requests for repairs.

Council meetings -- 0
Community meetings and events -- 2
Council enquiries and requests for repairs -- 21

Friday, 11 September 2009

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Heritage open days in Reading

Reading is sometimes accused of lacking history and culture, so I am glad to see the Council taking part in the national Heritage Open Days event. The event in Reading runs from September 10 to 13. The council have produced a leaflet and some of the things that I will be doing include: a self guided tour of Reading Old Cemetery at Cemetery Junction, a Real Time Video event at Blake's Lock, a Caversham Court Gardens visit and hopefully a visit to Reading Hindu Temple. There is a national website and if I have done it correctly, this link should take you directly to the Reading events.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Newbury furniture project

Just got some second-hand sofas from the Community Furniture Project in Newbury. It is good to be back to as many sofas spaces as people in the house especially after the first aborted attempt to deliver -- they were too big!

The Community Furniture Project is good because it sells to everyone. It has a standard price and a discounted price for if you are on benefits. In Reading we have Christian Community Action which is good but only deals with people on benefits.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Park Ward newsletters

I have just got hold of a copy of that rare item, a Conservative ward newsletter in Park. They appear to have selected their candidate -- Mr John Walker -- for the next local elections who I am informed comes from Caversham and has not done anything recently in Park except comment in their newsletter. Looking through my archive the previous ward newsletter from them came out over a year ago just before the 2008 local elections plugging their last unsuccessful candidate Mr Martyn Washbourne. Now they are trailing behind in third place in Park it will be interesting to see how much effort they put in over the next nine months.

A month or so ago I saw one from the Liberal Democrats but it seemed mainly to be plugging their Parliamentary candidate Mr Epps. Their previous one was June 2008. As the Liberal Democrats are way behind in fourth place in Park I do not expect them to do much apart from promote Mr Epps for the Reading East constituency.

Nothing from the Labour Party for a long while now. The last ward newsletter I saw was just before the 2008 local elections where Mr Hartley pipped me to the post by just 20 votes. Now with only two councillors in the ward, demoralised activists and people jumping ship left right and centre I think that Labour will struggle to defend Cllr Merriot at the next election -- although there are rumours around that she will be stepping down and Mr McKenzie will be standing.

Of course our ward newsletter Green Reading has been coming out quarterly now for a few years. And having just lost by 20 votes in 2008 and won in the ward at the European elections we will be continuing to work hard for the area.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Council park consultation

If you want to see your local park improved then fill out this consultation from the Council.

On a number of occasions I have requested that the Council improve the toilets by the children's play area and fence the Wokingham Road side of Palmer Park!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Reading Pride and the National Front

The Reading Pride parade and festival is happening tomorrow -- Saturday. Unfortunately the National Front are having a protest at the Market Place which the parade goes passed. I signed this letter from Unite Against Fascism on the issue. Come down and show your support for Reading Pride -- the festival should be good fun to.

UPDATE: this article on the BBC website says that the National Front have pulled out.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Ridgeline Trust Harvest Fete

The Ridgeline Trust are having a fete on Sunday, September 27, 1 to 4 p.m.

Homemade Locally Grown Food
Ice- Cream Sodas
BBQ – bring your own meat/fish to cook.

Bobbing Apples
Eat an onion Challenge ( 3:30 pm )
Recycled object competition
( winner announced 4pm )

Plant and seed sale
Second-hand books
Craft stall
Fresh Fruit & Veg
Jams and Preserves

( all activities subject to weather conditions, garden open regardless )

For more information contact them at:

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Rob White for Reading East -- election bonds

I am the Green Party Parliamentary candidate for Reading East. I want to put fairness, integrity and the environment back into our politics and make Reading a better place to live.

Tax on our democracy

To stand in the general election every candidate has to pay a £500 deposit. This is returnable if we get over 5 percent of the vote. This barrier is designed to stop extremists from standing but it does not work, it just makes it harder for smaller progressive parties like the Green Party to get going. It is a tax on our democracy. A fairer system, which would be more effective at stopping the extremists, would be to scrap the deposit and to increase the number of signatures needed.

In the meantime we need to raise the £500 deposit and are selling election bonds for £20 each. You will get your money back if we get over 5 percent of the vote.

Predictions for the general election

At the last general election when the local party was a lot smaller we still managed to increase the number of Green votes by 50 percent polling 3.5 percent of the total vote. Since then we have been more active and got more done. At the recent European Elections we got 18 percent of the vote in the east Reading wards finishing in second place -- this does not include the Woodley wards for which no data was available.

How to buy a bond

If you want to buy a bond, please make cheques payable to Reading Green Party and send them along with your details -- name, address and phone number -- to Rob White at:

22 Cumberland Rd, Reading, RG1 3LB.

Feel free to club together with friends and family to buy a bond or make a donation for a lesser amount.

If you would like more information please get in touch:
9667183 or 07985 923938

*All donations over £200 must be declared to the Electoral Commission. If you are thinking of donating this amount please get in contact first.

** If you would like to make an electronic bank transfer then get in contact and I will supply you with our bank details.