Jamie Wake 2014 Independent Candidate for Whitley ward in the Reading Local Elections
  • scissors
    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.

    Tags: , , , , ,
  • scissors
    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.

    Tags: ,
  • scissors
    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.

  • scissors
    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!

    Tags: , ,
  • scissors
    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.

    Tags: , ,
  • scissors
    May 20th, 2012jamiewakerdgkennet island, Planning Applications

    Drake Way Kennet IslandOn the 3rd November 2011, a report was made to the Traffic Management Advisory Panel at reading Borough Council about installing waiting restriction along Drake Way on Kennet Island – Drake Way is the adopted road on the Island that does not currently have parking restrictions – this is a godsend to residents living here considering there is a great lack of parking spaces for residents and visitors on Kennet Island!

    The report reads as follows:

    1. PURPOSE OF REPORT AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    1.1 As the Kennet Island development progresses, access concerns have been raised by existing occupiers and future occupiers with regards the on street parking which occurs along Drake Way during weekdays. This on street parking can result in large vehicles being unable to reach there destinations safely while undertaking deliveries. These occurrences are likely to increase when the private Circle Hospital is completed and occupied in the summer of 2012 and when future development to the south of the Hilton Hotel commences.

    1.2 When the Hospital and further development (which is included in the adopted Master plan for Kennet island) is completed, there is concern that the current levels of parking may obstruct emergency vehicles.

    2. RECOMMENDED ACTION

    2.1

    That the Advisory Panel not this report.

    2.2

    That the following recommendation is made to Cabinet.

    2.3

    That in consultation with the Chair of the Advisory Panel, Lead Councillor for Regeneration, Transport & Planning and Ward Councillors, the Head of Legal Services be authorised to carry out statutory consultation on the relevant proposals as shown on drawings 24400/005/002 and 2440/005/003 where appropriate and subject to no objections being received that the Head of Transport implements the scheme.

    2.4

    If objections are received to the statutory consultations, those objections will be reported back to a future meeting of the Panel

    3. POLICY CONTEXT

    3.1

    The proposals are in line with current Transport and Planning Policy.

    4. THE PROPOSAL

    4.1

    Planning consent was granted for the redevelopment of the former Whitley Sewage works to a mixed used scheme (App 05/00548/OUT) and subsequently separate reserved matters planning applications have been submitted to cover the various plots on the site. These include Phases 1 and 2 of the residential scheme (App 09/00235/REM), the Hilton Hotel (08-00893-Ful) and the Circle Hospital (09/02187/FUL).

    4.2

    Following the completion of Phases 1 and 2 of the residential scheme and the opening of the hotel, deliveries to the hotel have been obstructed during the weekdays by on street parking along the west side of Drake Way. Safety has been further compromised by indiscriminate parking at the junction of Drake Way and Lindisfarne Way, which results in vehicles obscuring sight lines. When the non emergency private hospital opens and when the commercial developments commence on the vacant land to the south of the hotel, the potential for further obstructions to occur, will increase.

    4.3

    While parking occurs along Drakes Way in the evenings and weekends it is not to the same level as that which occurs during weekdays and the free flow of vehicular traffic is not severely hindered.

    4.4

    Therefore in order to provide clear access during the weekday it is proposed to introduce a limited waiting restriction of “Monday to Friday, No Waiting 8am to 6pm”, on the west side of Drake Way between the junction of Lindisfarne Road and Drakes Way and a point 140 metres south of this junction. This is the current adoptable length of Drake Way

    4.5

    However the developer is aware of the parking concerns within Kennet Island and therefore when the second phase of Drake Way is completed, the section adjacent to the Circle Hospital, parallel parking bays will be provided adjacent to the carriageway to accommodate the displaced parking. The developer has also confirmed that if the parking restrictions are approved, they will not be installed until after the new parking bays have been provided. This second phase of Drake Way is due for completion in summer 2012, prior to the opening of the Circle Hospital.

    4.6

    It should be noted that as the parking restrictions along Drake Way will only be between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, this will still allow visitors to the residential dwellings to park here during weekday evenings and weekends. Therefore, given the provision of the additional spaces on the second phase of Drake Way, the parking provision for the development will actually increase during these periods.

    4.7

    To approve the safety at the Drake Way / Lindisfarne Way junction it is proposed to introduce a “No Parking at any time” restriction on the 4 radii of

    the junction (junction protection markings), to prevent the indiscriminate parking here continuing.

    4.8

    It is also proposed to add junction protection markings to all the other junctions along Drake Way, including those within the length currently under construction, to prevent the indiscriminate parking transferring to these locations again to the detriment of road safety.

    4.9

    Parking bays exist along the east side of Drake Way and these are private bays for the residential units which are adjacent to the road. To ensure that these are not obstructed, access protections markings will also be placed along the carriageway edge in front these parking bays.

    4.10

    Appendix A contains Drawings 24400/005/002 and 24400/005/003 which indicate the proposals together with photographs of the existing on street parking issues.

    5. CONTRIBUTION TO STRATEGIC AIMS

    5.1 To promote equality, social inclusion and a safe and healthy environment for all

    6. COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND INFORMATION

    6.1 Statutory consultation will be carried out in accordance with the Local Authorities Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996. Additional local consultation will be carried out as required.

    7. LEGAL IMPLICATIONS

    7.1 Any proposals for waiting/ movement restrictions are advertised

    under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

    8. FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

    8.1 The works will be wholly funded by the Developer.

    9. BACKGROUND PAPERS

    9.1

    Planning Consents for Kennet Island

    9.2

    Section 38 Agreement for Drake Way

    I won’t upload the plans but these can be found at the RBC website at http://www.reading.gov.uk/meetings/details/3367/.

    Very few residents know about the consultation that ends tomorrow, 19th May 2012.  No letters have been recieved by residents and when quizzed at the KIRA AGM, Cllr Mike Orton didn’t seem to have any further information either.  In fact, RBC have not even contacted KIRA.  I objected on these grounds:

    Hi Chris

    I understand that the consultation into the above ends on 19th May 2012 and I would like to submit my objection on the grounds that the consultation has not been carried out to encompass all of the residents on Kennet Island that make use of Drake Way.  Signs have been sighted along Drake Way but residents along Drake Way do not appear to have any letters through their door, nor other island residents in other parts of the development, and the Kennet Island Residents Association has not been approached (of which I am a committee member and now Co-Chair) with details of this consultation.

    As you will probably be aware, residents parking on Kennet island is extremely limited meaning that in most cases, family and friends are unable to visit due to a distinct lack of  parking spaces.  The only option, if lucky to be able to obtain one, is to make use of the road side along Drake Way – this applies day or night.  This also applies to people unable to find parking for local businesses such as the Island Lounge or Hudsons Convenience store.

    Whilst I and other residents appreciate that the developers have raised concerns that large vehicles may not reach their destinations safely, I am more concerned that large vehicles are putting residents – including children – at risk by travelling through a residential area which includes Drake Way.  Surely the safest way would be to make use of an entrance via Commercial Way which is already used to such traffic?

    The developer says that they are aware of the parking concerns within Kennet Island – something that seems to have been ignored in subsequent planning applications for Kennet Island – but fails to state that the proposed parallel parking spaces will be equal in number to the spaces lost from Drake Way.

    Whilst this consultation appears to benefit the developers, it has done very little to engage with residents or offer any benefit to them.  On those grounds, I object.

    Kind regards

    Jamie Wake

    I sent this by email to Chris Saunders only to find he is on annual leave so had to send to Jane Hicks and Darren Cook – I hope they acknowledge it!

    Tags: , ,
  • scissors
    May 20th, 2012jamiewakerdgkennet island

    Jamie Wake and BlenhamAs you will have seen in the press, the Kennet Island developers, St James, and their management company, Hallmark wanted to charge leaseholders a fee of £36 per pet to obtain a license to be able to keep them in their property.  A poor written letter was posted to residents threatening to have pets removed if the fee wasn’t paid.  Understandably residents were extremely upset by this and I sprung into action by contacting St James and setting up a petition to evidence the residents’ bad feeling towards a money making scheme for Hallmark.

    Get Reading 18th May 2012 pet taxThankfully, St James and Hallmark have now seen sense and whilst they will still continuing with the scheme, they will now no longer charge for a license.  Our local Labour Cllrs are of course taking credit for this action (because they had a meeting with Hallmark) even though it was the residents here that were campaigning hard against this scheme and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate those residents that worked really hard in getting people to sign the petition, speak to the press and contact St James and Hallmark.  Obviously our pro-active Cllrs sent a press release to the papers (you have to publicise your successes) but thankfully our local papers phoned residents for further clarity and comments.  If you’re interested, the Labour site for Whitley, Whitley News says:

    Whitley Ward’s councillors have intervened to secure an agreement not to impose the controversial fee proposed for pet licenses to leaseholders on Kennet Island.
    Many residents have expressed their strong concerns about the proposal from the Kennet Island management company, Hallmark, to charge £36 to leaseholders for a license to own a pet. This has been reported in the local Press.
    Whitley councillors Mike Orton and Kelly Edwards met with Hallmark to discuss the issue. As a result of the meeting agreement has been reached not to continue with the proposal to charge a fee. Hallmark say they are very willing to discuss the issue with anyone who wants to meet with them about it.
    Mike Orton says, “I know this was causing a lot of concern to a lot of people and I’m pleased we’ve been able to act as ward councillors to bring about changes and help resolve the issue.”

    It’s a shame they didn’t want to mention the residents petition in their press release or any of the other actions residents have carried out but I guess that’s politics for you!  When Cllr Mike Orton (who I have a lot of time for) spoke at the KIRA AGM, he stated that they will never take credit for things other people have done!

    Politics aside, this was a good result for residents and now that I have been elected co-chair of the Kennet Island Residents Association, I am in a better position to do a lot more for residents here, where we live.

    When I get a bit more time, I will copy and paste the emails between myself and St James as they make for interesting reading!

    Tags: , , ,
  • scissors
    April 30th, 2012jamiewakerdghousing, kennet island

    Hallmark have issues letters to Kennet Island residents charging them for each petResidents that live on Kennet Island have come home today to find letters informing them that will need to pay £36 to the Management Company, Hallmark Property Management, for each pet that resides with them.

    It is not clear at this stage if this latest action is aimed at Residents who live in apartments where there are likely restrictions in their leases or to all residents.

    As I have not received a letter (and I own a pet), I can not be sure of which type of resident has received a letter but from the calls and emails I have received so far, residents feel as strongly as I do about this.

    There has been no consultation with residents or issues raised with them.  There is no indication on how long this license runs for, how it will be policed and how it can be interpreted if you had 10 fish for example!  It also does not state what the charge will be used for.  It it for example to pay towards the upkeep of the small grass areas that are used by residents with their dogs or it simply going into the pockets of Hallmark?

    I have written to Chris Gilbert, MD at St James for an explanation.  I have asked him whether this is some kind of misunderstanding and for St James reasoning for implementing this charge now when they have given residents permission previously.   I have also made him aware that residents are deeply unhappy about this and it’s management by Hallmark Property Services.

    If there have been issues with residents owning pets – why have they never been raised with KIRA before?  That way a mutually agreeably solution could have been found that is not bullying residents who are already disappointed with issues such as parking.

    I have launched a petition to evidence the feeling held by residents which I will send them as soon as residents have had the opportunity to sign it.  The petition can be found at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/say-no-to-pet-licensing-by-hallmark-and-st-james.

    It’s this sort of thing that happens in our community that has prompted me to stand in this Thursday’s Local Elections and I will of course keep you, my neighbours, informed as this pet licensing threat develops.

    Tags: , , , ,
  • scissors
    April 5th, 2012jamiewakerdgkennet island

    Junction between Gillette Way and Manor Farm Road by Kennet IslandAs many of you will know from Kennet Island Update, I launched a petition to fight for improvements to Gillette Way and the junction to Manor Farm Road.  I had set up a petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/safety-drivers-pedestrians-gillette-way-reading/ and although this is still yet to be presented, the TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT ADVISORY PANEL met on the 15th March 2012 to discuss this very subject (minus the crossing).  The report reads:

    “…due to the relatively quiet nature of Gillette Way outside of normal working hours, drivers of articulated vehicles tended to use the road as an overnight parking facility. The existing waiting restrictions permitted this as they only applied during the day. However, since the introduction of the Kennet Island development, the use of Gillette Way and many of the surrounding roads had considerably altered, with regular trips made throughout the day by residents on foot, by car or on the new public transport links. This change had resulted in the overnight parking along Gillette Way causing considerable obstruction along its length, and in particular to the bus services. Therefore, it was proposed to review the existing waiting restriction with a view to altering the hours of operation to protect the route…”

    The report recommended:

    “…(1) That, in consultation with the Chair of the Panel, the Lead Councillor for Regeneration, Transport and Planning and Ward Councillors, the Head of Legal and Democratic Services be authorised to include these requests as part of the 2012 annual waiting restrictions review, and make the appropriate traffic regulation order in accordance with the Local Authorities Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996;
    (2) That any objections received to the traffic regulation order, be reported to the Panel at the appropriate time…”

    This report will be presented to Reading Borough Council Cabinet on 16th April 2012 at 6.30pm.

    Whether someone had noticed that I and others here on Kennet Island were campaigning for this and wanted to act prior to the submission of our petition is irrelavent as at least some sort of action is being taken.  Sadly, there is no mention of a safe crossing which I will of course pursue.

    Tags: ,
  • scissors
    January 16th, 2012jamiewakerdgkennet island

    The latest edition of Kennet Island Update is out:

    Kennet Island Update January 2012

    Also availble in video format!

    Tags:
  • « Older Entries