There are three Liberal Democrat candidates standing in Caversham Heights: Chris Burden, Jo Ramsay, and Thomas Weir. You can read the Reading Lib Dems' Manifesto here.
Chris Burden has lived in the Thames Valley all his life, and in Caversham for the last 21: he is a local. Originally from a science/technology background, he now works in project management. Chris believes in the importance of openness, tolerance, and individual liberty. Fairness and open communication would be at the heart of all he would do, if elected. But, he would focus particularly on social justice, confronted by deep unfairness, inequalities and divisions in society. As a councillor on Reading Borough Council, he would hold the (likely) Labour administration to account.
In Chris' own words:
I have lived in the Thames Valley all my life, and in Caversham for the last 21: I am a local. Originally from a science and technology background, I now work in project management.
I believe in the importance of openness, tolerance, and social justice – this above all is why I am a Liberal Democrat rather than a member of another party. Fairness and open communication would be at the heart of all I would do, if elected. This is something that has for the most part been sorely lacking North of the River in Reading, with many of our communities being largely ignored outside election time. Residents in Mapledurham told me of their frustration with their local representation in prior years and the lack of engagement over controversial issues – this needs to change.
Combating injustice will
be central to my approach – whether it’s ensuring that our green spaces and environment are safeguarded so future generations can live safely, to better enforcement against fly-tipping and speeding on our roads, to ensuring that high-quality services and genuinely-affordable housing are available to all, not just a privileged few.
If elected to the Council, I would hold the governing administration to account. I would also ensure that Caversham Heights residents were kept informed, updated, and consulted about what is happening in and around our community. The Mapledurham Playing Fields fiasco led many in our area to feel ignored by their representatives, and this cannot stand.
Dr Jo Ramsay has lived in Caversham for 21 years and has a PhD in electronic engineering; she has re-trained as an advocate working with older people and adults with learning disabilities. She is keen that local services and amenities are made accessible to all, and that local voices are heard when decisions are being made about our communities.
In Jo's own words:
I have lived and worked in the Caversham area for over 20 years, first moving here after I got my PhD in electronic engineering to work in the thriving telecoms industry in the Thames Valley. I later, in my 40s, retrained as a social worker after a sabbatical period when I volunteered as a general advisor with Reading CAB, and realised that community work was what I really wanted to be doing.
Currently I am working as an advocate across Berkshire, supporting older people and adults with learning disabilities to have their voices heard by services. I am passionate about making local services and facilities more accessible to all, and protecting our beloved local green spaces that have been such a lifeline during the last year.
Like so many other residents, I worry about the levels of traffic in this area, and the associated issues with air quality and parking. So many politicians for so many years have promised us that our problems will be solved by a third Thames bridge, which still shows no signs of happening, so we need to do something different that doesn't involve concreting over our green spaces. I share your concerns about poor public transport and community facilities in the area that have vanished.
I believe it is time for our brilliant grassroots communities and local activists to take the lead - if I am elected to Reading Borough Council, I will work hard to listen and be available for local residents, and fight for the support we need in Caversham Heights.
Dr Thomas Weir lives in the area with his wife and a very naughty golden retriever. He works at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as part of the development team, helping raise funds for work on disability, mental health, neglected tropical diseases and vaccine confidence. His background is in sports diversity, focusing on disability and LGBT+ inclusion. He is especially keen to support efforts to promote health equity: adequate care for all based on individual need, not individual finances; and also efforts to promote a cleaner, greener environment.