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

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  • scissors
    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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  • scissors

    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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  • scissors

    Well, bloggers all over Reading have given their opinions and analysis of the Reading Elections and put forward theories as to why some parties did well and others not so well.  Some say that many people in Reading were using their vote to protest against the coalition nationally whilst other talk of dirty campaigns.  Unless we’re knocking on voters doors to ask, I guess we’ll never know the real reasons why and I’m sure that we’d get a multitude of answers too.

    What is clear from looking at the turnout, is that the public are still disenchanted with local (and national) politics.  In Whitley for example, the average turnout has been around 25%.  I was pleased to see an increase this year to 30% but I’m still keen to see why 70% of Whitley residents chose not to vote?  That will be my pet project over the coming months.

    I don’t want to over analyse the results here in Reading.  For those who didn’t know, I came 4th with 140 votes with the Labour Candidate, Kelly Edwards, winning with over 56% of the vote.  I wish her well and I hope that she puts the needs of Whitley before her own political career.  I also hope she considers moving into the Whitley ward.  That way she’ll be able to understand Whitley a lot more. 

    A lot of residents here have approached me to tell me that they voted for me and one told me that regardless of the result, I am still a winner because I’d been making differences locally and then went out and tried to make a difference by standing for council. I will still continue to make a difference here in Whitley and time will tell whether I get selected by my local party to represent them in next years election.

    My views have not changed.  I still believe that the Lib Dems are the best political party that can make a difference both locally and nationally.  I still agree with Nick and I still say Yes!  I also believe that there’s too much time wasted on blaming people and being negative rather than getting on with the job in hand.  I’m proud to be a Lib Dem.

  • scissors

    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.

  • scissors
    April 30th, 2011jamiewakerdgcommunity, honesty, jamie wake, local, local candidate, reading, whitley

    Having just been out delivering leaflets about my standing in the election in my ward (Whitley), I’m continually amazed by the positive reactions I’ve been getting from residents. 

    I was under no illusion as to how difficult the whole process of standing would be and the attention it would draw but I believe it will all be worth it!  Having people wish me luck on the street has motivated me at every step and I believe residents care because I’m local.

    One of the things that many people have found it difficult to grasp is that I have a different approach to politics and quite frankly, I don’t blame them!  I have vowed to never waste time criticising other parties as that’s valuable time that can be used in solving our problems.  Of course, there will be times when I may have to defend myself and only recently I have been attacked for having been an actor!  Even today a resident has informed me that there is also a leaflet circulating in Whitley about me but I am yet to see it.  Of course, if it is found to be of an unacceptable nature, it will be handed over to the appropriate people.

    Whilst delivering by Swallowfield Drive, I got chatting to a few people who were fixing a car.  These guys apparently never vote because all politicians are the same.  The opinion that they had is that all they do is argue between themselves and forget about the people at the bottom.  I could see where they were coming from as I felt the same until a few years ago.  Handing them my leaflet, I assured them that I was different and shared the same issues that they did.  Whilst they told me that they wouldn’t promise to vote, they wished me luck and I left them to tinker with their vehicle.

    Another resident told a similar story and thanked me for standing but was bemused that I wouldn’t be critical of other parties! She asked me about the national debt and I said to her the same answer I say to everyone!  There is a huge debt and we’re way past playing the blame game when we can all work together to solve the problem. Laughing she agreed with me that I was different and I left her to get on with her day. 

    I believe that I can make a difference in Whitley – and It’s reassuring when residents tell me that they believe I can too.  Even the Kennet Island Management Company, Hallmark, wished me luck in their newsletter last week which bowled me over!  We”re in the final few days now where you have the opportunity to make that difference in Whitley so when you look at the names of the candidates standing on Thursday’s elections, ask yourself the following questions:

    • Which candidate actually lives in Whitley?
    • Which candidate is actually going to spend their time representing their community rather than being critical of other people?
    • Which candidate wants to deliver a difference to all members of the Whitley Community?

    I’m proud to be standing in Whitley and I’m proud to be the answer to each of those three questions.  It’s our Whitley – don’t lose your voice – use your vote!

  • scissors
    April 22nd, 2011jamiewakerdgcycling, kennet island, kira, local candidate, six to fix, whitley

    For those of us who don’t always explore our backyard, I was almost dismissive when the Chair of Reading Pride suggested a bike ride through Whitley.  Knowing that she rides a bike, I sent her an innocent text to ask where to go for a bike ride.  Having brought a bike recently in an attempt to start a keep fit regime without the costly expense of a joining a gym, I thought today would be the perfect day to ride it.  Within seconds of sending a text message, I received a call describing a route that she and her partner had cycled last week and I had not expected her to suggest a route within the ward of Whitley.

    Cycling in WhitleyRather nervously I set off via the Piazza on Kennet Island and I was rather pleased to see the buzz that the new cafe has created on there.  Members of the Kennet Island Residents Association greeted me as I cycled through and told me more about the May Day Celebrations that are coming up.  As a resident I will be of course be going and whilst I understand that other parties may be distributing ‘non political’ literature, I personally would not use this community event to seek voters.  Mainly as KIRA can not be compromised politcally and as the previous chair, I helped write the constitution to ensure that the association always remains impartial.

    Listening to what the new Vice Chair, Gavin Turner has achieved for the event so far, I also put them in touch with someone that might be able to help with gazebos for them too. 

    It was also nice to bump into the person behind KIRA kids club who has been campaigning for the Kids Play Area on the island.  She said she was disappointed to read in recent literature that had arrived through her door that others were taking credit for the play area and I assured her that residents of Kennet Island knew it was KIRA that pushed for the play area.  She’s not the first person to tell me that they were a little annoyed at the literature and I have blogged about my disappointment previously.  Once everyone had had a laugh at the idea of me with helmit going on a bike ride, I set off in search of adventure!

    Within minutes of Crossing the A33 and following the pathway running alongside the canal, I found myself in a beautiful natural surroundings viewing boats, swans and locks – how comes I had never discovered this before?  I’m rather cross with myself that having lived in Whitley for a number of years that I had never realised how close I was to this and I would recommend this little trip to any other resident – either walking or on a bike.  I guess we all miss what’s beyond our backyards and unless you live in an area, you don’t always have the opportunity to discover more.  This is the same with local issues.  Thankfully, living in Whitley, Im aware of many of the issues that residents face and I have made a promise that I will Continue to Listen to Residents and be accessible at all times.  This is a promise that lasts all year around – not just at election time.

    I could tell a porky and state that the cycling was a deliberate act of mine as part of my launch in Whitley of one our ‘Six to Fix’ – ‘A Cleaner and Greener Reading’.  It wasn’t but it does tie in rather nicely!

    • This year 12 local centres will receive a deep clean after years of neglect. Going forward we will ensure that local shopping areas are not overlooked in favour of the town centre.
    • Reducing fly-tipping, litter and graffiti remains a priority for the Lib Dems and we will use the tools and powers available to the Council to keep local areas clean and green.
    • We will look to increase the range of materials residents can recycle on the doorstep wherever possible.
    • We will promote schemes and initiatives that help residents cut carbon emissions and fuel bills in their own homes.
    • We will actively promote walking and cycling to reduce carbon emissions and ease congestion.
    • We will work and improve rail transport, including Reading Station upgrade.
    • We will fix pot-holes and continue to invest in improving roads and pavements in Reading after years of underinvestment.

    Well, having only cycled to Burghfield and back (right up to the Cunning Man but I forgot my wallet!) my body is starting to ache.  I have just called Lorna of Reading Pride to thank her for the route and to confirm that I will be there tonight at the Fundraiser held at the Granby.  In the meantime, I think I deserve a nice soak in the bath!