Jamie Wake 2014 Independent Candidate for Whitley ward in the Reading Local Elections
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    On Wednesday evening, I was asked to accompany a resident to a meeting with developer, ST James, regarding residents concerns over the ever increasing service charges imposed by management agent, Hallmark. It is quite apparent that residents do not feel they are getting value for money and feel that they are being overcharge as well as being charged for services that they do not receive. The resident that had arranged this meeting was frustrated as she had contacted her elected councillor for help and she felt she was palmed off without any support. I was only too happy to help when other options failed her. The resident also invited a member of the Kennet Island Residents Association to the meeting as they hadn’t met with St James regarding the service charges and to avoid duplication over this issue.

    The meeting did seem proactive and I’ll update residents when agreed actions have been carried out. I will be meeting regularly to pursue the issues surrounding service charges plus any other issues that arise. During this meeting, the issues surrounding broken street lights on Kennet island have been raised. The lack of lighting in areas such as Gweal Avenue have created pockets of darkness by bike sheds and alley ways and seem to be hotspots for burglary. I anticipate ST James resolving this very quickly.

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    I have just got home from the Annual Kennet Island Fun Day and I can honestly say that the day was a roaring success.  The day is a community day in the purest sense of the word and is organised by a small but hardworking residents association that I once had the privilege of chairing before deciding to stand in Whitley as a Local Councillor.

    Jamie Wake manning a stall at the Kennet Island Fun Day

    Jamie Wake manning a stall at the Kennet Island Fun Day

    Being a resident of Kennet Island, Elections came secondary to me today.  When I wrote the constitution for the Kennet Island Residents Association that became adopted by the officers, I ensured that the association remains impartial politically.  Today I was just a resident who had a stall that represented his Travel Agency.  The Labour Candidate, Kelly Edwards, was on site and I got to meet her with Mike Orton and Rachel Eden.  Understandably, I could only make small talk as today was about the Kennet Island Community – not politics or the elections – and besides, I had a stall to run!

    As well as stalls, there was entertainment for the children and a fancy dress competition.  There was also a raffle and me and my partner both won prizes.  I won a set of wine goblets and my partner won 2 return train tickets on First Great Western to anywhere between Reading and Penzance.  I chose not to talk about the elections with residents when approached as I wanted to enjoy the day with the community.

    Then again, Local Politics is all about the community and I am standing to serve that very community in Whitley.   I think it’s telling that I am the only candidate in this election that actually lives in Whitley and I think all political parties should really take localism on board when selecting candidates.  At the end of the day, who else would understand the area except the people that live there?

    One of the things that we’re reminded of at the Fun Day is the growing number of Children on the development and lack of amenities for them.  KIRA Kids Club did well to get the play area installed earlier and having spoken to the technical manager at St James, the park and Boules Green are set to open Mid August.  With the addition of the reopening of the cafe as the Island Lounge (and applying for an alcohol license), that means all parts of the community are starting to be catered for.  So, on the island we currently have:

    • Cafe / Bistro
    • Hair Salon
    • Convenience Store
    • A Meeting Room
    • 2 Gyms (one on piazza and one in the Hilton)
    • A bar (in the Hilton)
    • A Restaurant (in the Hilton)
    • A Hotel
    • Kids Club
    • A Travel Agency

    Soon we’ll have:

    • A Pharmacy
    • A Hospital
    • A Play Area
    • A Park
    • A Boules Green

    Then think of all the people who are self employed from home who can also provide services!  Photographers, Graphic Designers, Web Designers, Recruitment Consultants – to name just a few that I know of.

    Kennet Island is a thriving community within Whitley and I’m proud and privileged to live here and I’m proud to stand here as a candidate in the local elections.  As my partner said yesterday – Local Issues = a local candidate and as many people in Whitley have told me, they agree and I agree with them too.