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Reading Liberal Democrats call for action on potholes

IMG_1119Reading Liberal Democrat campaigner, Glenn Goodall reports on the terrible state of our roads in central Reading:

We’ve heard from so many residents about the poor state of the roads and the neglect of Labour of keeping them up to scratch. I’ve been raising these issues with the Council for years, but the situation only seems to have got worse.

I, like many others, cycle to work each morning. But now I dread my daily cycle-commute across Reading’s deteriorating roads.

Before Christmas, I had reported several pot holes on Erleigh and Addington Road to the Council. A few of the worst offenders were filled but Council staff, but the majority were left – why they couldn’t fill them all in on the same stretch of road, I’ll never know. Since then, the covering has worn off, decaying the road surface further so that the section near Reading School is now more like a dirt track. I again reported this to the Council, but haven’t had a reply for almost a month!

I have seen several cyclists nearly fall or have to swerve onto the wrong side of the road, so that they avoid this mass of pot holes. It’s only a matter of time before someone is injured or killed. I’m also sure that car users can’t be impressed with the damage these pot holes are doing to their vehicles. So, I’ve submitted a question about this at the next full Council meeting: “When will this section of road be fixed?”

It’s worth noting that Labour-run Haringey Council have already been ordered to pay £1 million in compensation to a pedestrian that injured themselves crossing a pot holed road. Doing nothing is not an option.

No doubt Reading Labour will say it’s all because of the ‘Coalition cuts’ and not stand by their budget and their choice of budget priorities which have left our roads in a very sorry state.

Reading Lib Dems select new faces to join hard-working team

Greater Reading Liberal Democrats have selected Reading residents Janel Blattler, James Moore and Meri O’Connell to stand as candidates in Katesgrove, Redlands and Tilehurst wards in the Reading Borough Council elections in 2012.

Their selection follows individual decisions by councillors Peter Beard , Glenn Goodall and Warren Swaine not to seek re-election in the local Council elections in Reading in 2012.

  • Cllr Peter Beard is retiring in May 2012 after representing Tilehurst since 2001.
  • Cllr Beard represented Norcot ward between 1974 and 1982. His career as a local councillor included a very successful year as Mayor of Reading when he campaigned to improve the lot of the Reading Gurkha community.
  • Cllr Warren Swaine and Cllr Glenn Goodall are stepping down at the local elections in May 2012 to focus on their professional careers after four years serving local people in Katesgrove and Redlands.

New candidates set to make a mark

Janel Blatter, Liberal Democrat Candidate for Katesgrove

Janel Blatter, Liberal Democrat Candidate for Katesgrove


Janel Blattler began campaigning with the Lib Dems in the run-up to the 2010 General Election.

A Katesgrove resident originally from Canada, she works full time as a designer for a local software company and is also pursuing a MSc in Human-Computer Interaction at University College London.

Councillor Daisy Benson and James Moore, Candidate for Redlands

Cllr Daisy Benson and Liberal Democrat Candidate for Redlands, James Moore


James Moore lives in central Reading and works for a major software company in South Reading.

He is no stranger to being involved in the local community, having been a Scout Leader for six years in Runnymede, Surrey and sat on local Council forums and committees to represent young people of the area.

Councillor Peter Beard with Meri O'Connell, Liberal Democrat Candidate for Tilehurst

Cllr Peter Beard with Meri O'Connell, Liberal Democrat Candidate for Tilehurst


Meri O’Connell has lived with her husband in Tilehurst for 17 years.

They have 3 young children and Meri is a school Governor at Moorlands School. Recently Meri has been actively campaigning to stop the proposed changes to the retirement age requirement in Tilehurst’s sheltered housing communities.

Commenting on the news Cllr Daisy Benson, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Reading Borough Council said:

“We are very grateful to our outgoing councillors for all their years of service to their communities.

“James, Janel and Meri are energetic, enthusiastic, and committed campaigners who want to make a difference and give local residents in their area a voice on the Council.”

“All of them are already up and running in their wards and working alongside our councillors and I am confident they will make a fantastic addition to the hardworking Liberal Democrat team on Reading Borough Council.

Lib Dems welcome news that Council is reinstating end of term waste collections

Responding to the news that the Reading Borough Council is to reinstate end of term waste collections, Cllr Daisy Benson said:

“The reinstatement of extra collections is great news for residents.”

“Thank you to all the residents who signed our petition calling for action against this unnecessary cut.”

“We have campaigned hard over the past four years for the University area to receive extra attention from the Council in view of the waste management problems that can occur and we are delighted that Labour councillors have  responded to public pressure for action”

Dog Fouling – a Growing Problem

Investigations by the Lib Dems on Reading Borough Council have revealed only one fixed penalty notices been issued by the Council in relation to illegal dog-fouling in recent times.

This is despite the fact that dog fouling is a regular complaint of local residents.

Cllr Kirsten Bayes, Redlands ward councillor who tabled the question commented:

“Recently we have received a number of complaints across the area from local residents fed up with the amount of dog mess on footpaths and public areas – particularly in South Reading including Cintra Park and Bede Walk.

“This problem is the result of a handful of dog owners regularly failing to act responsibly.

“Reading Borough Council must take tougher and more concerted action to prosecute dog owners who allow their dogs to mess in public places.”

Cllr Glenn Goodall, Environment spokesperson for the Lib Dems added:

“One Fixed penalty notice has been issued in recent times – this clearly does not reflect the scale of the problem across the Borough.

“If this public nuisance continues it will be necessary for Labour-run Reading Borough Council to review the amount of resources focussed on this area to see if it’s doing the job.”

Traffic in Local Centres

Liberal Democrats have welcomed the results of the recent Neighbourhood Consultation on highways and traffic in the Maidens, Christchurch Rd and Whitley Street neighbourhoods, and called on the Council to respond quickly to residents concerns.

Cllr Daisy Benson, Redlands councillor, whose ward includes the Christchurch Road neighbourhood said, “We have been campaigning for some time now to get the traffic flow in the area looked at. The mix of parking, speeding cars, buses, and pedestrians on narrow streets in the area has worried many local residents. We will keep pushing the Council to sort out the problems.”

Cllr Gareth Epps, Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Reading East, and Katesgrove Councillor, whose ward covers the Whitley Street neighbourhood said, “It is clear that road safety and the safety of pedestrians are key concerns. The Council must act now to make the roads in these areas safe for everybody to use.”

“Local centres are what should give Reading its character. It is important that we give these areas special attention to make them as pleasant as possible, to encourage more people to use them and help local businesses to thrive.”

Lib Dems welcome start of work at Cintra Avenue, call for rapid completion

Liberal Democrat Councillors in Redlands Ward have welcomed the start of work to protect the lawns at Cintra Avenue, which have been subject to a series of incursions from travellers.

Reading Borough Council has said it expects the work will take several weeks to complete, and will include fencing, gating and width restrictions on the access road. The first section of fencing was installed on Wednesday (2nd July).

Cllr Kirsten Bayes met with local residents and officers from the Council’s Park Service on Tuesday, to make sure residents were happy with the proposed work and that the Council understood their concerns.

Kirsten said, “The Council needs to get the balance right between protecting the lawns while making it easy for residents to live their daily lives. Glenn, Daisy and I as Ward Councillors will make sure the Council listens to residents and does a good job.”

Cllr Daisy Benson who has campaigned for this work since April 2007 said, “It is pleasing to see the Council finally start work to protect the lawns at Cintra Avenue. This has been something we have been raising for more than a year. If only the Council had listened earlier, the problems with the repeated traveller incursions could have been avoided.”

Cllr Glenn Goodall added, “It is vital the work proceeds quickly.

Residents have told us how worried they are that the travellers could return. We need to have the fencing installed before another incursion is attempted. The Council must hurry up and get the job done.”

Lib Dems celebrate arrival of first bottle banks in Redlands – 2 years late!

Redlands Lib Dem Councillors Kirsten Bayes and Daisy Benson have welcomed the arrival of the FIRST EVER glass recycling facilities in Redlands ward after a 2 year campaign by the Lib Dems.

Cllr Daisy Benson said:

“I’m glad that local residents in our area will finally be able to recycle glass locally. Labour-run Reading Council has been promising ‘jam tomorrow’ to residents in Redlands since 2006 (when fortnightly bin collections were introduced)”

“I gave the Council a list of sites back in June 2006 – Redlands has had NO glass recycling facilities and has lagged behind the rest of Reading.”

Glenn Goodall, local resident and candidate for Redlands ward in the local elections in May said

“Local residents have been saying to me they desperately want to be able to recycle glass without having to drive to another neighbourhood. Thanks to constant pressure by the Lib Dems the first bottle banks are now going to be installed in April.

Cllr Kirsten Bayes said “We are delighted. This is one step closer to our long term aim of getting glass recycling on the doorstep”

“Glass bottles have been building up on doorsteps in Redlands ward for too long. . I asked the Council again back in February how much longer residents would have to wait and they are finally being installed: in time for the local elections.

Cllr Gareth Epps, Lib Dem environment spokesman and Parliamentary campaigner for Reading East has been leading the Lib Dem campaign for kerbside collection of glass and weekly food waste recycling in Reading.

Gareth said: “Under Labour, Reading is lagging behind on recycling: too much waste is going into landfill. The obvious next step is for food waste to be collected weekly. This is both good for the environment and saves taxpayers money”

Editors notes:-

  1. Kirsten Bayes asked a question to Council on 19 February asking when bottle banks would be installed in Redlands. 3 days later councillors were told that the installations would begin in April.
  2. Glass recycling facilities have been promised by the Labour Council since June 2006.
  3. The bottle banks in Redlands will be installed at the end of April on the footpath near the corner of Erleigh Road and junction with Donnington Gardens and on the green near to 116-122 Hexham road.
  4. Residents wishing to support the Lib Dem campaign should sign the petition here and keep the pressure on RBC: Recycle More Glass

Labour caves in to Lib Dem calls for action on empty homes

Redlands Councillor, Daisy Benson, and Lib Dem parliamentary campaigner for Reading East and Katesgrove Councillor Gareth Epps have welcomed Labour’s belated action to tackle empty homes after Lib Dems called for action TWO YEARS AGO.

In October 2007, the Lib Dem Group on Reading Borough Council tabled a motion to Council calling for action on empty homes. In October 2007, the Lib Dem Group on Reading Borough Council tabled a motion to Council calling for action on empty homes.

Daisy Benson said:

“Labour politicians bragged in Council meetings about the award the Council won for its empty homes policy back in the 1990s (now gathering dust in the Civic Centre). But when I asked about what the Council was currently doing about the problem, I was told by officers that no up to date empty homes policy existed.”

“I am impressed by what I’ve seen of the policy on paper. The Council will need to ensure it is adequately resourced and that officers are proactive in using the Council’s existing powers bringing back into use the hundreds of empty homes that exist all over Reading”

Gareth Epps said:

“Reading has the highest number of homeless people outside London. We all know that pressure for new development on spare land and back gardens is high.”

“Labour clearly took their eye off the ball on this issue and it was left to the Lib Dems to get the issue back on to the agenda.”

“A strategy is a useful first step. Now we need firm action to reduce the numbers of empty homes in Reading. The Lib Dems have identified empty properties across the town and pressed for action. We will continue to take a lead in highlighting where these properties exist.”

Editor,s Notes

  1. More background information on the Lib Dem Campaign can be found by following this link.
  2. There are currently an estimated 894 empty private properties in Reading (source: RBC empty homes strategy)
  3. The majority of empty properties are in Abbey (29), Minster (11), and Katesgrove (source: RBC empty homes strategy)
  4. Reading has the highest number of empty private sector properties in Berkshire (source: RBC empty homes strategy)
  5. (Lib Dems tabled a motion to Council in October 2007. More info here
  6. RBC was the second-only council in the country to establish an Empty Homes Strategy aimed at private sector properties

Standard of street lighting in Reading is not up to scratch – Lib Dems call for review of poor street lighting

Reading Lib Dems have welcomed long overdue plans to upgrade outdated street lighting but urge the Council to go further and review lighting across the town in areas such as the University area and South Reading.

Daisy Benson, Lib Dem Councillor for Redlands ward and Safer Communities Spokesperson has today called on the Council to extend their plans and improve lighting around the University area to address ‘legitimate safety concerns’.

“Students and residents have often told me how unsafe they feel walking in the streets around the University because the Council has used the old-fashioned ‘orange glow’ low pressure sodium lighting. Lighting in parts of East and South Reading is also badly in need of an overhaul.

The Council must review lighting in these areas and upgrade it for better, more energy efficient lighting.”

Bob Green, Leader of the Lib Dem Group on Reading Borough Council will raise the issue at Cabinet meeting on 3 December:

Bob said:

“The Council has finally admitted street lighting in parts of Reading is not up to scratch. Poor lighting contributes to fear of crime, and adds to the Council’s carbon footprint. It is important that the Council’s review involves ward councillors who work closely with local residents and are well aware of where the problem areas are.”

Sally Pearman, President of Reading University Students’ Union said:

“I’m so pleased that the Council are looking at the issue of lighting in Reading. I would urge them to extend their review of lighting to the roads around Campus. Whether it’s because of lectures, socialising, clubs or part time jobs students are always out and about in the evenings and any move to make Reading safer at night would be greatly appreciated by all of us.”

Cllr Gareth Epps, Parliamentary Campaigner for Reading East said the time to get streetlights fixed seems to be going up.

Gareth said: “Reading residents seem to be getting a bad deal from the Council’s contract. Too many lights in Reading are simply not working and do not repaired quick enough. This review must include plans to get better value for money for local tax payers.”

Editor’s Notes:

  1. RBC has launched a public lighting renewals programme. Details can be found on the RBC website – here
  2. The areas under the review (which do not include the University area) are listed on the RBC website – here

LIB DEMS increase pressure on council to collect glass

Liberal Democrat councillors in the University area have slammed the Labour Council after a list of new bottle banks for the town was produced – with none for Redlands ward which currently has no facilities for glass recycling.

The new banks are going to be limited to a handful of wards in Reading.

Commenting on the news, Cllr Daisy Benson, Lib Dem Councillor Redlands ward said.

“Speaking to residents on the doorstep they all wonder why the Council does not provide a kerbside glass recycling service, and they are fed up with excuses and no action. The Council promised residents the first ever bottle banks in Redlands last year when Alternate Weekly Collections were introduced. None have been delivered. This isn’t good enough.”

Cllr Benson and Greater Reading Lib Dems have launched a petition to extend the materials that can be recycling in Reading.

“The Council needs to involve the community in deciding where bottle banks should go. We want to hear why none of the sites we mentioned have come forward. The Council should reconsider its position on kerbside collection of glass as a priority.”

Cllr Kirsten Bayes, newly-elected Lib Dem Councillor for Redlands added:

“The Council needs to involve the community in deciding where bottle banks should go. We want to hear why none of the sites we mentioned have come forward. The Council should reconsider its position on kerbside collection of glass as a priority.”

Cllr Gareth Epps, environment spokesman and prospective parliamentary candidate for Reading East added:

“The local elections showed that people in Reading are fed up with Labour’s record on waste and recycling. The Council needs to make it easier for people to reuse and recycle.

Glass and food waste recycling must be brought in. There is now more evidence pointing to the importance of food waste recycling, and proven evidence that glass recycling not only is good for the environment but saves taxpayers’ money.”

We believe that Reading Borough Council needs to offer convenient bottle banks and kerbside glass recycling to all residents of Reading.

The experience of nearby councils shows that glass recycling is not only good for the environment but saves taxpayers’ money.

If you agree , please sign the petition below! -
Click here to sign the petition to improve Glass Recycling in Reading

Upcoming Events

   August  2014 »
Events on August 30, 2014
  • Reading Pride
    Starts: 12:00 am
    Ends: August 31, 2014 - 12:00 am
    Location: Kings Meadow, Napier Road, Reading, United Kingdom
Events on August 31, 2014
  • Liberal Drinks
    Starts: 7:30 pm
    Ends: August 31, 2014 - 10:30 pm
    Location: The Abbot Cook, 153 London Rd, Reading, United Kingdom


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