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 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 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, 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 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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    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:


    1.1 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.



    That the Advisory Panel not this report.


    That the following recommendation is made to Cabinet.


    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.


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



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



    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).


    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.


    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.


    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


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


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


    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.


    7.1 Any proposals for waiting/ movement restrictions are advertised

    under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.


    8.1 The works will be wholly funded by the Developer.



    Planning Consents for Kennet Island


    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!

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    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!

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    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.

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