National election, local matters (for the Wokingham Borough part of the constituency)

The main issues that have dominated in Wokingham Borough in recent years are all related to one thing – the fast growth rate in new homes and in the numbers of people living in our community. Wokingham is a welcoming place to newcomers. Some growth is helpful to all. The problems occur if the growth is too sudden or too large.

It leads to strains on roads, public transport, NHS facilities, school places and other parts of our infrastructure.

The Council has difficult decisions to make about when and how to expand their local services. Put in school places too early, and the bills go up. Established schools lose pupils and money as the new schools open. Forest has lost pupil numbers thanks to the opening of the new Bohunt school.Leave it too late, and there are insufficient places. There is a scramble to find somewhere in the area, with longer travel times for pupils and a strain on school resources.

We are short of space on the roads, and up against limits on some public transport. I worked away to get a new station at Wokingham.  Reading station has now been given much needed extra train capacity. Crossrail will soon provide a better service into central and east London.  The Council is building the Shinfield, Arborfield and Winnersh by passes, and putting in two new link roads and a new railway bridge in Wokingham. The sooner this is done the better. The roadworks themselves compound difficulties, and current capacity is far below what is needed.

The government is promising some control over the pace of welcoming new migrants to the UK in future.I wish to work with the Council to come up with a fairer number of new homes the area can take to persuade the government we need a sustainable and realistic growth figure. The Council and MP in the next Parliament also need to make common cause and to put enough investment in so the developments improve the provision of transport and public service.

We need to keep enough green spaces and areas to absorb water run off, as too much development increases flood risk and removes too many countryside areas. We also wish to keep green spaces and gaps between settlements to keep the best of our local landscape.

Promoted and published by Fraser Mc Farland  on behalf of John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU

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4 Comments

  1. alan jutson
    Posted May 16, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    RG41

    Absolutely correct John, but afraid your post today is about 20-25 years too late.

    Wokingham for the most part is now an urban sprawl, and not the attractive Market Town it once was.

    The arrogant local Council have absolutely failed to limit or exert any proper or real control over ongoing development, which has now swamped what was once an attractive place to live and work.

    Yes I am fully aware that John Prescott made some big decisions, and overruled the Council on some development area’s, but since that date Wokingham Council have continued to allow massive growth, without making sure the infrastructure as a whole could cope.

    The new road schemes you suggest may help a fraction, but they are far too little, and far too late to be of any serious use.

    The new relief roads you speak of are housing development roads, which are simply too narrow, have too many tight curves or bends to be of much use at all and are certainly not suited to commercial traffic.

    The Council should have made plans for the routes of much wider roads and new feeds onto the A329M and other major existing routes, and constructed them BEFORE development was approved, at least that would have saved us from some of the road chaos we have, and will have to have for many more years.

    Wokingham is now joined up with Bracknell, Winnersh, Earley and Reading.

    Many of our so called country parks are now surrounded by housing, and the small Car parks within them are getting ever more expensive to use.

    Marlow and Henley should have been the examples to follow.
    Yes they have also expanded, but to a lesser and much more sensible degree, and they still remain character Towns.

    Wokingham Council as a whole have simply failed, and failed badly, some Councillors are now trying to do their best to rescue something out of the last two decades, but it all rather too late to make a big difference, the major damage has already been done.

    Problem for the Town was that opposition politicians at the time were also clueless as to what was needed.

    • Chris
      Posted May 16, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      I agree wholeheartedly with you, AJ.

  2. John
    Posted May 17, 2017 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Wokingham Station is not a new station its been their for 150 odd years, its just had a replacement station building (as the old one was failing) on one side that is often shut after dark, new lifts and replacement bridge used as a shelter for platform 2, due to the lack of shelter supplied by the replacement structure.

    The roads you speak of are being built after the developments rather than before and most are purely to provide by directional access to the new estates.

    Many of our internal green parks have been built on over the last 25 years, beginning around Martins Pool, Carnival Fields, the Football ground, Cricket club, pitches, tennis court, and now Elms Field. The majority sold by or developed by the Conservative Council. Even the compulsory green spaces get moved an recreated elsewhere. That require cars to commute to.

    The road drainage system regular overflows, due to a lack of replacement/maintenance and capacity. There is no real budget to maintain the roads we do have but their for new roads! I’m presuming we should buy suitable agricultural vehicles to cope with this?

    The wealth of Wokingham has increased and development supported by the jobs created in Bracknell, Reading and Winnersh. If they weren’t their Wokingham would still be a sleepy industrial market town, producing bells and lace. Now we are converting office blocks in Wokingham into flats for the employees of Microsoft and Oracle in Reading.

    Many of these restrictions/decisions are made by central government of which approximately half the time has been governed by your Conservative Party have to followed local Conservative council

    With such a safe Conservative seat in Wokingham, my fellow electorate do like their Conservatives. I’m surprised we have not had a PM as our MP, nor a Member of Parliament so detached from Wokingham that all he writes about and appears on is Europe, and the EU which he so detests.

    Reply. No, you have had an MP who is concerned with a wide range of issues both local and national and writes daily about a big range of topics. I agree we need to protect green spaces and keep open space at Elms Field. You can have a new station on huge site of an old one.

    • Cliff. Wokingham.
      Posted May 18, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      I am not sure if the people of Wokingham “like their Conservatives” because I am not even sure there is a true Conservative Party now. I like our host as a local MP and I feel he does a good job however, as I have said to JR many a time now, how can I support him as an individual, without endorsing the party’s leader?
      Mr Cameron took the party too far to the left and from what I have heard from her, Mrs May is even further to the liberal left than Mr Cameron.

      What worries me is what happens when real Conservatives, like our host retire, who will we have to represent us then?
      We have a four way choice in Wokingham this election namely, Labour, Greens, LibDems and our host representing the “So called Conservative party.” Whilst our host is very near to my own political views, his party and it’s leader are a million miles away. I expect I’ll end up voting for JR but, I feel that at a party level, the people of our country have very little choice, other than various degrees of socialism.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

    Promoted by Fraser McFarland on behalf of John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU

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