This week Parliament is having a half term holiday! It is so frustrating, when there is a Greek crisis, the run up to the UK budget, tensions in the Middle East, rows over the Health Service reforms and much else that we need to be sorting out. I have to turn up the heat on www.johnredwood.com when there’s no Parliament to speak in. I do think we need to work more days each year in Westminster, like most other people in employment.
I received a most welcome letter last week. Mark Ashwell wrote to me, pledging his support to me as MP and Prospective Conservative Parliamentary candidate come the next election. He has asked to rejoin the Conservatives and wants to help us locally. I know Mark has lots of ideas about local issues. As an active leader of the Chamber of Commerce he is particularly keen to get the Town Centre redevelopment under way, and supports our proposals for a new station and road improvements. I think it will be good for him and the Conservative team on the Borough and Town Councils if they can work together for a better Wokingham.
It does feel as if we have some momentum over the station. There are difficulties with some of the Council’s plans for extra housing. Having chosen places where Councillors think the area could take more homes, they are naturally keen to ensure we do not end up with many more developments elsewhere as a result of appeals to the national planners. I have agreed a meeting for our Council leaders with Bob Neil, local government Minister, to try to sort out the remaining issues and concerns Wokingham understandably has. I support more localism. That means the Council should call all the shots on development, not just some of them. I will keep you posted of what progress we make. I do not wish to see our better greenfields, gaps between settlements and lovely countryside concreted over. Where new development is allowed it should come with the extra road capacity, better drainage, and other public service facilities new developments need to help them become successful communities.
I am busy putting together my submissions for the Budget. I am especially keen to get the government to change its approach to the state owned banks, so they can contribute more to business development and economic recovery. If you have ideas you want the Chancellor to know about, drop me a line at the House of Commons or put it on my website.