Tuesday 3 July 2012

Labour's Clayfield Copse Clanger!

Cllr Willis chairing, with Cllr Stanford-Beale in red  flanked by 2 RBC officers
Last night I attended my Conservative colleague & transport spokesman, Richard Willis's public meeting in Emmer Green about Labour's proposed Park & Ride scheme.  He organised and chaired the event to enable residents to listen and question Ruth Leuillette, the Deputy Transport Head of RBC.  His new Peppard Ward colleague, Cllr Jane Stanford-Beale sat with him to listen to and take notes of residents' concerns.

The Emmer Green Youth & Community Centre was packed with over 100 residents, unanimous in their opposition to the scheme.  They raised a multitude of worries that the Labour-run Council - one can only suppose - weren't interested in as no consultation whatsoever was carried out before Richard Willis spotted and objected to Labour's plans at last month's Cabinet meeting.

Clayfield Copse is enjoyed and loved not only by Caversham Park Village and Emmer Green residents, but also Caversham Heights residents in my Ward and further afield.  I myself have walked and ridden (a horse) in its beautiful woodland and fields.  Yesterday I delivered a letter to a boy in Chazey Road who regularly goes to the skate board park there as we don't have one here on Mapledurham Playing Fields - much to his chagrin.  

One resident at last night's meeting who walks her dogs at Clayfield Copse said she'd spoken to another walker to raise awareness of the Council's plans only to discover they came from Sonning Common.  Apparently when she asked the latter if they approved of the Park & Ride she was told no they were against it as they'd got an excellent bus service in Sonning Common!  Indeed another attendee questioned why anyone would want to pay more to park if the scheme goes ahead when drivers could park elsewhere nearby for free [at the detriment to local residents] and save themselves money!

On top of organising a well-attended protest in Clayfield Copse and last night's public meeting, Richard & Jane plus supporters have leafleted a substantial part of the local area with a residents' survey. You can read further about this divisive scheme on Richard's blog and in this article on Reading East Conservatives.

This Park & Ride proposal is just one example of how Labour tries to foist unwanted and ill conceived plans on residents, not giving a monkeys over the impact - even of just the idea - that it has on residents.  Fortunately because of Richard & Jane's hard work raising awareness the Labour administration has started back-tracking and my colleagues are hopeful that their joint effort together with that of the local community will completely overturn Labour's clanger!

Breaking Update: At tonight's (Tuesday's) Council meeting Labour has U-turned, scrapping their highly contentious micro Park & Ride proposals, both at Clayfield Copse and also Palmer Park!

Further Update: You can read the Post's coverage of Tuesday night's Council meeting here