Letter to Wokingham Borough Council

Dear Councillor Jones

I am very willing to represent the Council to government where it has a good case, and think we would serve Wokingham better if the Council consulted me before sending letters to Ministers. Ministers are busy people who do not have continuing conversations with every Council in the country issue by issue. They are my colleagues where I am in regular contact with them over Wokingham issues in the context of national policy.

I see you have recently written to the Health Secretary proposing a pausing of the social care plans. I have been recommending to Ministers that they put more money into social services in Councils like Wokingham where a case is made based on need, and  have proposed a rethink of the social care policy. I wish to see the extra money concentrated on providing better services for those who are in need of social care support and wish them to improve  the quality and range of service provision.

If you wish to influence government over a local matter it is best to concert efforts with local MPs, to have a well researched case for more money based on need and existing financial provision where money is involved, and to only seek a meeting with a Minister where there is some new issue or new way of thinking the Minister needs to understand through a meeting.

I continue to receive complaints about the money  being spent on closing and narrowing roads and the plans for more restrictions of traffic on main roads.


Yours sincerely


Rt Hon Sir John Redwood MP DPhil FCSI

Remembrance Day 2022

I am grateful to the British legion and all who organised the Remembrance Day services and wreath layings.

On Remembrance Sunday I joined the British legion at Arborfield in the morning. We marched to the War memorial, where I laid a wreath and joined in the service.

In Wokingham during the afternoon I attended in the Town Hall where I and others laid wreaths before marching to St Paul’s Church for a service. I read a lesson from the Gospel according to St Matthew.

Both events were well attended. Uniformed services presented their standards.

We did remember them

My Visit to the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Shop

I visited the Royal British Legion shop in Wokingham to thank the organisers for helping the charity. They have a good range of items that can help us remember the great wars and sacrifices made. The money raised goes to such a good cause. I bought some historical items for my family to help them understand and remember what their grandparents and great parents went through.



My Letter to the Chief Executive at NatWest regarding the closure of their bank branch in Wokingham

Please see below my letter to Alison Rose, Chief Executive at NatWest:


Dear Ms Rose

Some of my constituents have expressed concerns about the closure of the Wokingham branch of NatWest.

The closure will disproportionately affect older customers who do not use online banking and who do not have access to transport to Bracknell.

While telephone services may be a suitable option for some there is the matter of long waits before speaking to a customer service representative.

Customers who are visually or hearing impaired will also be impacted by the closure of the Wokingham branch.

I should be grateful for your comments which I can forward to my constituents.

Yours sincerely

Rt Hon Sir John Redwood MP, DPhil FCSI


Dangers of too much development in Wokingham

I am publishing this press release from Wokingham Borough  Conservative Councillors  as I am also concerned about possible extra developments on appeal.




Wokingham Conservative Councillors have warned that the Liberal/Labour led Council have lost control of development across the Borough as appeals against planning decisions are increasing.


By halting work on the Local Plan, in progress under the previous Conservative administration, the Liberal Democrats, supported by Labour and the Independents, have opened Wokingham Borough up to a free for all for developers. The Conservative Opposition is now demanding that the coalition administration stops “dithering” and produces a Local Plan that residents can be consulted on.


Under the previous Conservative administration, the Council was on track to deliver its new Local Plan by December 2023. Officers of the Council have confirmed that the Local Plan will now not meet that deadline.


The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires local authorities to outline a five-year supply of specific sites to meet housing needs. Wokingham Borough now no longer has a five-year land supply, making the Borough increasingly vulnerable to developers.


Without the five-year land supply, the Council is more likely to lose appeals brought by developers. As a result, the wishes of residents will not be taken into consideration. Instead, planning decisions will be made by the National Planning Inspector, based in Bristol. On top of this, the Council loses the ability to ensure that necessary roads and local facilities are provided with new housing. Under the Conservatives, successful control of development meant that the Council only lost two planning appeals in the last four years.


At a meeting of the Council’s Community and Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee it was confirmed that as a result of not having a five-year land supply the Council is experiencing an increase in appeals for speculative housing development.


In September, the administration lost a planning appeal for new houses in Hurst. An increasing number of appeals against decisions to reject planning applications are in motion, such as a proposal for 54 new homes near St Anne’s Drive in Wokingham.


Liberal Democrat councillors have promised residents that they will lobby the Government to reduce housing numbers. Yet since they took office, there has been no progress to back up these words. By contrast, the previous Conservative administration worked with the Government to cut housing targets in half for Wokingham Borough.


Cllr Wayne Smith, Shadow Executive Member for Planning, said, “On the Lib Dems’ watch, the Council has completely lost control over development. Backed up by Labour and the Independents, they’ve undone the work on the Local Plan without presenting any credible alternative. When they were in Opposition, they promised every single community that they would stop new housing, in an attempt to win votes. Now they’re in power, they’re risking a free for all for developers – or else breaking promises to thousands of residents.


“The Conservatives believe in protecting our local communities from unsustainable development, which is why we made the tough choices and put together a Local Plan. The Lib Dem-led coalition needs to show some courage, stand up for the Borough, and get on with producing a new Local Plan.”


Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, Leader of the Conservative Group, said, “This is a ticking time bomb. The previous administration was set to deliver the Local Plan by December 2023. Without a plan and without a five-year land supply the Council is losing control of development”


“While Conservatives were in power we met with the Secretary of State and managed to reduce the number of homes being imposed on us by a half. Lib Dems say they are against unsustainable development, but their actions don’t match their words. This is the very opposite of what residents thought they were voting for.”


My Meeting with the Member of Youth Parliament for Wokingham

It was a pleasure to meet Holly Mackinnon, Wokingham’s Youth MP on Monday. She visited the House of Commons and called in for a discussion about current issues affecting constituents and the work of an MP. The Youth Parliament is highlighting cost of living issues in line with the major preoccupation of many families in the country. I told her all that I have been doing to press for lower taxes, for financial support with high fuel bills and action to abate inflation. So far the Government has agreed to reverse the rise in National Insurance and provide substantial reductions to fuel bills as I and others wished. We talked about the need to raise benefits to reflect cost of living pressures, and to assist more people into jobs. There are plenty of vacancies locally where opportunities present for people to earn more.

Holly raised the issue of young people’s mental health. I explained the way the Government is seeking to widen and improve mental health services and how recovery from Covid lockdowns should help.

Letter to the Environment Agency about water

Dear Julia


         I was disappointed  to read your latest fatalistic email asking me to tell the public how bad things are with possibilities  of both droughts  and floods. The immediate necessity is for you and the water companies to replenish the reservoirs quickly now there is plenty of rain and rivers are often running full. The authorities and companies need to ensure full capacity and plenty of supplies in case there is another dry summer. What action are you taking to put in more reservoir capacity? We cannot keep on accepting more people into the country and building more homes without putting in more water supply.


         I also would like an up to date report on the work underway in the Thames basin to contain excess water at times of high rainfall and potential flood. The main burden of flood prevention should rest with the authorities, not with individual householders. Whenever a Council is considering granting planning permission on flood plain I expect your Agency to write in as a Statutory consultee to strongly advise against such construction or to insist on flood control works as part of the development. Older properties were usually built above any autumn flood line.


Yours sincerely


John Redwood

Reducing housing targets

I publish my question and answer on housing numbers . This implies there will  be more local influence over local plans, but I will  be pressing this matter further as it does not expressly remove top down targets.


The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (75745):

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he taking to avoid concentrating new housing investment in areas already facing shortages of services and infrastructure from rapid development. (75745)

Tabled on: 01 November 2022

Lucy Frazer:

We are committed to enabling more homes to be built in the right places, and that is why we are taking steps in our Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill to get more local plans in place to deliver infrastructure in co-ordination with new homes. To make sure these homes are supported by appropriate infrastructure and services, we are introducing a new Infrastructure Levy to replace Section 106 obligations and the Community Infrastructure Levy.

We will also require local authorities to prepare infrastructure delivery strategies to ensure the right balance between delivering homes and infrastructure. This will build on policies we have already enacted in the National Planning Policy Framework, which set an expectation that local plan policies should make sufficient provision for housing, commercial development, infrastructure and community facilities.

The answer was submitted on 09 Nov 2022 at 17:57.




My Visit to Bracknell and Wokingham College for Colleges Week

On Friday 21 October I visited Bracknell and Wokingham College.  I was pleased to visit as the College does important work in equipping young people with the skills they need to find interesting and worthwhile jobs in our community.

I was shown the new care suite and facilities to train people for jobs in health and personal social services, looking after people and treating them when they face medical traumas.

I talked to a group of students about the role of an MP and what was happening with the change of Prime Ministers. The students asked a range of questions about national politics, social care and matters relating to mental health.

I am grateful to the College for the invitation and opportunity to see what they do. I wish them every success in helping more young people realise their dreams for the future.


My Letter to the Leader of Wokingham Borough Council regarding the Council’s Waste Disposal Consulation

Please see below my letter to Clive Jones, Leader of Wokingham Borough Council:


Dear Clive

I was most disappointed to read the Council’s Consultation document on refuse disposal. There are only two services which all householders and Council taxpayers use and rely on from the Council, the provision of roads and the weekly waste collection. One of the popular things about the services provided by Wokingham in recent years has been the continued provision of a weekly refuse service, combined with substantial recycling of many parts of domestic refuse. I think you would be wise to continue with a weekly waste collection.

What is the cost of providing wheelie bins for all and who pays? If these bins are made of plastic what is the environmental impact of their production?

It may be possible to provide additional recycling facilities, as we all agree the less we put to landfill the better. It is important  not to let large quantities of waste  build up by the side of people’s houses, given the way these can be disrupted by local animals or affected by wind and weather. I would urge you to think again, whilst seeing what more can be done to reuse, recycle or use for energy conversion more of the waste streams coming from our homes.

Will the Council act in accordance with public wishes on weekly collections in response to the consultation?

Yours sincerely

Rt Hon Sir John Redwood MP, DPhil FCSI