Jamie Wake

2014 Independent Candidate for Whitley ward in the Reading Local Elections
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    May 4th, 2014jamiewakerdgEight to get Straight, kennet island

    parking on kennet islandBeing a resident of Kennet Island, I share the residents frustrations – especially when it comes to the Parking Management and its Enforcement on Kennet Island.  Following consultation with residents, I developed my ‘Eight to get Straight’ on Kennet Island with Improved Parking Management being top of the list.

    Historically, there have always been issues with parking on Kennet Island.  There are simply not enough parking spaces available for the number of residents that live here.  This issue has been acknowledged by St James who have added further spaces in later phases of the development.  The parking situation has not been helped by the introduction of Parking Enforcement Companies.  The first, PCM, clamped vehicles in their spaces and even attempted to clamp supermarket delivery vehicle and we’re told attempted to clamp an ambulance!  Their threatening behaviour forced residents to call police on occasions and on one night, a group of residents attempted to block the clamper in.  Their customer service was poor and in many cases, residents clamped by mistake had to pay PCM the release fee and advised to appeal afterwards.

    Of course these stories reached the local press and the development became known as ‘Clampit Island’

    Kennet Islanders marooned by parking clampers

    Kennet Island parking row

    Support grows to fight ‘barmy’ car parking rule

    Clamped – but I had a permit

    Extra spaces should ease parking woes

    I was proud to be chair of the residents association at the time and we successfully had PCM removed from Kennet Island although they were replaced by UKPC who issues tickets.  UKPC decided to leave Kennet Island this year (Hallmark inform me that this was following ‘…a serious offence…’) and Hallmark replaced them with PCM without consultation with residents.  A petition has been launched to challenge this decision but we fear that this will be ignored by Hallmark.  After all, they manage to park in the visitors bays on Whale Avenue all day without a ticket.  Seems they have one rule for them and one rule for residents.

    Other issues with Parking on Kennet Island include the threat of a ban on commercial vehicles on Kennet Island – even if they were parked in a residents own parking bay.  This again was successfully challenged.

    Whilst UKPC were contracted, replacement and/or additional permits were charged at £5 whilst Hallmark were only charged 50p by UKPC.  Upon questioning, Pauline Southam of Hallmark insisted that the difference of £4.50 was deposited back in the developments Service Charge as income – even though there is not an entry on the service charge statements to verify this.  This is still being chased.

    PCM Park in residents bay for an hourTo give an example of PCM’s poor service, the PCM employee parked in a residents space today preventing the resident to be able to park in their own bay for an hour! A resident sent me the image to contact Hallmark and St James.

    As you can see, the current parking enforcement needs an overhaul.  That’s why its one of my ‘Eight to get Straight’ on Kennet Island.

    I will ensure that any appointed contractor by Hallmark/St James offers the residents of Kennet Island fairness, consistency and transparency.  PCM’s website state that there is potential client revenue generation from their appointment and I believe that any income generated from their appointment (or any other company) such as through the issuing of permits and any commissioned earnt should be accounted for and clearly displayed on the service charge statement and returned to residents through their service charge.

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    April 28th, 2014jamiewakerdgcandidate, elections, local candidate, whitley

    Today the Statement of Persons Nominated for election as a Borough Councillor for Whitley has been published and it confirms who will be standing for election in the ward of Whitley.  The candidates (and the wards they actually live in) are:

    • Jamie Wake – Independent Candidate (Lives in Whitley Ward)
    • Janel Blatter – Liberal Democrats (Lives in Katesgrove Ward)
    • Rachel Eden - The Labour Party Candidate (Lives in Norcot Ward)
    • Nicholas Brown – The Conservative Party Candidate (Lives in Whitley Ward)
    • Keith Johnson – Green Party (Lives in Park Ward)

    Surprisingly, UKIP have not fielded a candidate in Whitley and although the TUSC had listed Philip Dixon on their website as a candidate, he does not appear as a candidate on the Statement of Persons Nominated.  With Howard Thomas and his Common Sense Party having moved to UKIP there is also no Common Sense Party Candidate this year.  This leaves myself as the only alternative in Whitley to the main stream political parties this year.

    Looking across all the wards, Labour, Conservatives, Lib Dems and the Greens have fielded candidates in all wards though it’s worth noting that some of these will be ‘paper candidates’.  This means that they are just a name on the ballot paper.  Those individuals are asked to stand to give that particular parties supporters a choice.  This is usually because a party will be directing its resources to its target wards.

    UKIP have fielded candidates in all wards except Battle, Norcot, Southcote, Thames and Whitley.  The Roman Party. AVE are standing again in Battle.  The TUSC were listed as fielding two candidates on their website - one in Whitley and the other in Katesgrove but have instead fielded just one in Caversham.  There are three independent candidates standing: Myself in Whitley, Mark Ralph in Peppard and John Dickson in Thames.

    There is also a by-election in Park Ward this year so my guess is that Labour, Tories and Greens will all be targeting that ward.

    The full list of candidates can be found here on the Reading Borough Council Page http://www.reading.gov.uk/council/elections-and-voting/voting/

    The full document can be found at:  http://www.reading.gov.uk/documents/electoral/27714/StatementofPersonsNominated28apr14LocalElections.pdf

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    April 22nd, 2014jamiewakerdgEight to get Straight

    As a resident intending to stand as an independent candidate in the forthcoming Reading Borough Council local elections, my manifesto is not decided by a local/national political party.  I believe that it should be decided by the local residents – after all, local elections are about the local area where local residents live.  If elected on 22nd May to represent Whitley, being independent I won’t be ‘whipped’.  Being ‘whipped’ means that the respective party groups usually decide in advance how every member will vote. By having an independent councillor you’ll have a councillor who actually cares about the local needs of their residents and who will vote according to the local needs of their residents.  The residents of Kennet Island were surveyed and their needs have formed my ‘Eight to get Straight’ on Kennet Island:

    1. Improved Parking Management
      Parking and it’s control has always been a focal topic on Kennet Island.  I will ensure any appointed contractor offers fairness, consistency and transparency.  Any income generated from their appointment such as through the issuing of permits and any commissioned earnt should be accounted for, itemised on Service Charge Statements and returned to residents through their service charge.
    2. Service Charge
      Residents are concerned about the increasing service charge.  I will ensure that service charges are fair, accurate and offer residents value for money. I will propose that the management agent for the developer issues an easy-to-understand annual breakdown of how residents’ money is being spent and why certain contractors are appointed. I will also ask that they review excessive charges such as the £350 fee to issue a service charge statement if a resident decides to move.
    3. Faster Broadband
      I will continue lobbying for Superfast broadband for residents experiencing slow speeds and unable to obtain fibre broadband. SAY NO 2 GO SLOW!
    4. Safer Streets
      I will work with police and neigbourhood action groups to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. I also champion and seek to establish third-party reporting to enable and encourage residents to report incidents discretely when they occur.
    5. Cut Speeding on Roads
      One death on the road is too many. I will contiue to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding to local businesses including Royal Mail.
    6. Better facilities for Young People
      I will ensure that young people have something to do.  For example, establishing youth clubs and activities which will take them off the streets.
    7. Neighbourhood Planning
      I will ensure that the local community is consulted with correctly to ensure that there is suitable affordable housing and ensure there are adequate suitable local school places. I will also ensure that planning decisions in the future are community-based, sustainable and in the best interests of the local community and not developers.
    8. Give Power back to Local People
      Many residents feel left out of the decisions made that affect their lives.  I will ensure that local forums and residents groups are able to be established and supported to give residents a stronger voice.

    These ‘eight to get straight’ are areas of concern for the residents that live on Kennet Island and as a fellow resident, I appreciate why these have been raised as local issues.  Look out for my ‘Eight to Get Straight’ in Whitley.

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    April 21st, 2014jamiewakerdgPress Releases

    jamie wake - Independent candidate for Whitley in Reading local elections 2014Whitley resident, Jamie Wake, is announcing his intention to stand in the 2014 local elections as an Independent Candidate for Whitley.

    With the main parties in Reading announcing their candidates, Jamie wants to remind voters that there are alternatives to the main parties standing in May’s Local Elections. There are a number of residents standing as independent candidates to represent the wards in which they live in. Jamie intends to stand in Whitley Ward.

    Jamie says “Standing as an Independent candidate means that I’m not subject to party politics and can genuinely meet the needs of local residents rather than the needs of a political party.”

    Independents are able to respond to the local community in a way that serves the community interest and not a party political interest. This doesn’t mean that an Independent does not have any political views but that national concerns often do not translate well to the local scene. Independents act on the true concerns of their local electorate who are now beginning to see the benefits of having a representative who is not bound by party rules and regulations.
    Jamie ventured into Community Politics in 2009 after Chairing the Kennet Island Residents Association and joined the Lib Dems for their record on LGBT Equality. He stood as the Lib Dem Candidate in Whitley in 2011 but decided that he would stand in 2012 as an Independent Candidate.

    Jamie says “I became disillusioned witnessing the political point scoring and scaremongering between all local parties in Reading and decided that this wasn’t what I signed up for to make a difference in the community. All of the local parties have their good and bad points but it becomes tiresome watching their spats being played out on the pages of our local papers. To me that’s time wasted that could be spent dealing with local issues.”

    Jamie is known for the LGBT Campaigning he does in Reading and has recently retired as a trustee of the Reading Pride Charity. He was a vocal supporter of the Equal Marriage Campaign and organises Reading’s Annual Hate Crime Vigil. His involvement helped him decide not be aligned with any political party.

    “My membership of to a political party could be seen as a conflict of interest when it comes to the LGBT Campaigning that I do as well as the work that I do in my community. Standing in this year’s Local Elections as an Independent Candidate means that I can continue to demonstrate my commitment to the needs of my local community rather than the needs of a political party. This gives the community a genuine alternative that represents them and doesn’t waste time on political playground antics which could be better spent on making a difference.”

    Whilst local political parties will be starting to announce their manifestos, Jamie offers instead a set of 7 promises. They are to:

    • Continue to listen to residents and be accessible at all times
    • Represent the rights and needs of Whitley on the council and make sure that my vote on the council is used for the benefit of Whitley Residents
    • Protect valuable services used by people in our area and ensure that vulnerable adults and children get the care and/or support that they need
    • Work with residents, local police teams, Neighbourhood Action Groups and other Councillors to cut crime in Whitley
    • Fight for investment in Whitley to help build cleaner, stronger, safer communities
    • Continue to fight against discrimination in Whitley as well as Reading
    • Be here all year – not just in the lead up to an election

    Jamie’s website can be found at www.jamiewake.org.uk

    NOTE TO EDITORS

    Picture image available on request.

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    April 16th, 2014jamiewakerdgkennet island

    Following statutory consultation, Reading Borough Council will soon be implementing 6′ 6″ width restrictions along Longship Way and Fair Isle Way. Signs are up signalling that work will commence on 22nd April 2014. This action resulted from residents lobbying ward councillors about use of Kennet Island as a short cut by traffic with some travelling at speed. The width restrictions will act as traffic calming features and prevent large commercial vehicles using the island to cut through.

    This follows the traffic regulaion order that was made on 2nd May 2013 that enabled enforcement of vehicles (other than buses) travelling through the bus gate restriction (which is still occuring in the absence of the camera not being installed) and enfoce a 20 miles per hour zone thoughout the development.

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    April 16th, 2014jamiewakerdgemployment, kennet island

    I’ve just been browsing the Getreading website and noticed an article about Geopost moving from Commercial Road to Imperial Way.  Both roads are in Whitley and it seems their departure will finally address many of the issues that residents on kennet Island have been facing.  Both Royal Mail and DPD (owned by Geopost) use Longship Way as a cut through and drive at speed which could endanger the lives of the children that play and cross the street.

    The article, entitled New warehouse may bring 50 extra jobs to South Reading (yes it says MAY so actually the new warehouse may not bring 50 jobs), shows ward Councillors Rachel Eden and Kelly Edwards taking a selfie with Mayor Marion Livingston.  Sadly the photo submitted taken of them taking the selfie at the traditional ground-breaking ceremony has Rachel with her eyes closed.

    The work is due to be completed in August which hopefully mean that DPD may be gone by the Summer Holidays meaning the children can play without fear of being hit by a speeding van.

    Even though the articale says that there MAY be 50 extra jobs coming to Whitley, I hope that their move from Commercial Road does bring much needed work opportunities to the area.

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    April 16th, 2014jamiewakerdgwhitley

    At the last Reading Borough Council Traffic Management Sub-Committee which took place on 13th March, 8 requests for Waiting Restirctions withinin the ward were recieved.  They are:

    • Dovecoat Road – Requested by resident via Ward Councillor – Concern about footway parking and parking at the junction. Request for waiting restrictions to resolve current issues.
    • Chagford Road – Requested by resident via Ward Councillor – Request for no waiting at any time at the junction and restrictions to deter footway parking
    • Copenhagen Close – Requested by resident via Ward Councillor – Concerns with dangerous and inconsiderate parking outside the Community Centre and around its junction with Swallowfield Drive. Request for no waiting at any time to resolve parking issues.
    • Gilette Way – Requested by Business – Request of waiting restrictions review to deter inconsiderate park
    • Longship Way – Requested by Resident – Request for no waiting at any time opposite parking bay which is causing difficulties for vehicle access
    • Whitley Wood Lane – Requested by Residents – Complaint of vehicles parking near speed cushions that forces larger vehicles to bump over the speed cushions rather than straddle them. Request for no waiting restrictions to protect the speed cushions. Requested by Affinity Housing – Vehicles parked close to the private access causing visibility issues. Request for waiting restriction to improve visibility pulling out onto the main road.
    • Whitley Wood Road – Requested by Residents – Vehicles are frequently blocking private accesses to go to the shops near the corner of Northumberland Avenue. Request for restrictions review to resolve this issue which is causing residents a great deal of inconvenience. Requested by Reading Buses – Request for a bus stop clearway in the layby opposite Engineer’s Court.
    • Staverton Road Area – Requested by Housing (via previous review) – Further investigation required.

     

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    April 16th, 2014jamiewakerdgkennet island, public transport

    Kennet Island Greenwave BusThough it hasn’t been widely announced locally, there are currently road closures and diversions affecting the bus service from/to Kennet Island commecning from Wednesday 16th April 2014.

    According to Reading Buses, there is work being done to Gweal Avenue and from today until Friday 18th April, the greenwave buses and NightTrack N5 buses will not be able to serve the bus stops on the development.

    Reading Buses apologise for any inconvenience and advise the following:

    • For buses going towards the Green Park/Madejski/RIBP areas please use the temporary bus stop on the A33 sliproad south of the traffic lights. Buses will leave here two minutes earlier than normal time at Hilton Hotel.
    •  For buses towards Central Reading from RIBP/Madejski/Green Park areas and NightTrack N5 please use the temporary bus stop in Gillette Way close to the junction with Manor Farm Road.
    •  For the Central Reading – Kennet Island shuttle services please use the temporary bus stops on the A33 sliproad south of the traffic lights (leaving two minutes earlier than normal Hilton Hotel time) or Gillette Way near the junction with Manor Farm Road.

    Living on Gweal Avenue, I’m intrigued as to what work is being carried out!  I’ve not seen anything as of yet but will update when I have determined what the works are!

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    April 15th, 2014jamiewakerdgcycling, kennet island, reading, whitley

    Cycling in WhitleyWidely advertised, it seems we have our very own bike hire scheme coming to Whitley.  Labour’s Whitley News (Posted 25th March 2014) states that the ground works for the hire locations are programmed to be undertaken over the next 5 weeks which I make as being completed by 29th April 2014.  The site also confirms that the locations in Whitley will be on Basingstoke Road, Kennet Island, Green Park and at the Madjeski Stadium.

    The docking infrastructure has already arrived in Reading and Whitley News confirms that it will be installed in a rolling programme throughout April and Early May

    Having seen Reading Labour and Reading Conservatives both claim this a victory recently, I was intrigued by the scheme and started to look at the facts to share with residents.

    The first report on the Get Reading Website dated 18th September 2013 announces that the council has been a procurement process and will be announcing the successful bidder soon.  The second report dated 16th October 2013 announces that Hourbike are the successful bidder.  It confirmed that Annual Membership will be £50 per year which includes the first 30 minutes free as part of the rental.  The price will then be £1 per hour.  The next article dated 27th January 2014 gives the name of the scheme as readybike confirming that 200 bikes will be available across 29 docking schemes.  Then on 29th January 2014 Reading Tories announce that they welcome the scheme and remind readers that they proposed a cycle hire scheme for the Greater Reading area in 2008 in their Cycling Strategy which was published before the 2008 local elections.  Their scheme was to be called Readibike.  The same article reminds readers of the price and that all they need to do to rent a bike is to tap in their membership number and PIN at a docking station, select a bicycle and peddle away.

    The articles refer you to the webpage where you can find further details of the scheme here.  The locations in Whitley are listed as:

    • Academy Sport on Northumberland Avenue (to the right of the main building though this is technically in Church Ward)
    • Basingstoke Road (Just outside Morrison by the Bus Stop)
    • Green Park – Brook Drive (Opposite building 300)
    • Green Park – Lime Square (Just off South Oak Way in front of Lime Sq)
    • Green Park – Longwater Avenue (Outside entrance to building 100)
    • Kennet Island – On Rushley Way (side of Circle Hospital)
    • Madejski Stadium – In corner of car park on Hoops Way

    The website also states that helmets are not available “…Helmets are not provided as we are unable to guarantee the safety of the helmets provided. We do however encourage cyclists to wear a helmet and safety equipment and will be teaming up with local bike shops to help make purchasing any equipment easier…”

    Whilst I havent been on a push bike since my accident (Compound fracture with fractured spine and now left arm not as long as my right arm) I can see how a cycle scheme is both good for the environment as well as assisting the issue of congestion on our roads – though its unlikely to do anything for Junction 11!  It’s a shame the docking stations are not located near places where you can get cycle helmets as well.  I worry that people will use them without suitable protection otherwise.  I’m guessing that the dock on Kennet Island would be more suited for those working at the Circle Hospital though I’m yet to see how much space the dock will use up – especially as residents there are crying out for parking spaces.  I also note that there are no docking stations in West Reading.

    I guess we will have to see how successful the scheme is when it is launched.  I personally would be put off by the annual price of £50 when I see that at Halford that you can get a basic bike for £79.99.  Also, what happens if the Bike has a puncture?  I’m guessing like many of the things that the website states, it’s the hirers responsibility whilst they are hiring it. I am concerned about the safety of users with limited access to helmets by the docking stations and hope that Hourbike and Reading Borough Council work with local businesses to provide a supply of helmets.

    I of course do wish the scheme the very best and look forward to some of my concerns being addressed.

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    April 14th, 2014jamiewakerdgelections, local candidate, whitley

    Well it seems the local election season in Reading has now begun and I’ve decided to stand again in 2014 to represent Whitley as an Independent Candidate.  I made the conscious decision in 2012 to stand an an independent candidate as I didn’t wait to get bogged down in party politics.  I want to represent the people that vote for me and meet their needs – not the needs of a political party.

    As you will see throughout this website, I have made a number of promises to the residents of Whitley.  To me, they’re rather simple but I’d like to give an explanation and the resoning behind some of them.

    • Continue to listen to residents and be accessible at all times
      This underlies why any residents decides to stand in an election.  To me, it’s to make a difference for the community that I live in.  I can do that by simply listening to residents – my neighbours – and respond to the issues that they present.  This means being accessible to them.  Whether that is in person, by phone, by social media or skype.  Living in Whitley, I talk to people on the bus, in the street and in the local bar.
    • Represent the rights and needs of our area on the council and make sure that my vote on the council is used for the benefit of Residents.
      Again, this is why most people stand in a local election.  I believe that you can only do this if you are not a member of a political party.
    • Protect valuable services used by people in our area and ensure that vulnerable adults and children get the support that they need
      Working in Social Care, I see the results of austerity measures on the people I cae and support for on a daily basis.  I’m passionate about ensuring that those who are vulnerable recieve the care and support they need, when they need it. What I do find distateful, is the game of political ping-pong that political parties play when discussing social care.  We need to be innovative if we are going to meet the needs of older people.  This means working together to create a solution that needs to be cost affective, that protects the vulnerable and meets the needs and outcomes of an individual requiring care services.  It’s a problem that requires a solution and Local Authorities should be engaging with Social Care Professionals and Service Users to solve this problem.
    • Work with residents, local police teams and Neighbourhood Action Groups to cut crime in our area
      I believe that together we can tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.  I’m a strong supported of neighbourhood watch for example.  Residents need to be empowered to report anti-social behaviour and crime.
    • Fight for investment in our neighbourhoods to help build cleaner, stronger, safer communities
    • Continue to fight against discrimination in our ward as well as Reading
      As many know with my involvement with the Reading Pride Festival and the Annual Hate Crime Vigil, I abor discrimination in all its forms.  I was subject to dog whistling tactics during the 2011 election about my sexuality. Yes, I’m openly gay but that doesn’t make me or any other individual a second class citizen.  We should celebrate and embrace our towns rich culture and diversity.
    • Be here all year – not just in the lead up to an election
      One of the complaints I hear where I live on Kennet Island is that elected officials only seem to be visble in the lead up to an election. I want to be visible.  Afterall, I live here and to keep my other promises I need to be visible all year round!

    So who else is standing in the 2014 Local Elections for Whitley Ward?

    So far, I can determine that the following candidates have indicated that they are standing:

    • Labour – Rachel Eden
    • Conservative – Nick Brown
    • Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition – Philip Dixon
    • Lib Dem – Janel Blattler
    • UKIP – TBA
    • Green Party – Keith Johnson

    I will add names and any other candidates as they become announced.  With Howard Thomas defecting to UKIP from The Common Sense Party, I’m not sure on the Common Sense Party’s status.

    Some of these candidates will be actively campaigning in Whitley whilst others are just what’s knows as ‘Paper Candidates’.  This means that a lib dem supporter, for example, will have a lib dem candidate to vote for.  I personally belive that this is a waste of an individuals vote and disrespectful to the voter if political parties are just doing it to put name on a ballot paper.

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