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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    April 16th, 2014jamiewakerdgwhitley

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

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


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    April 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 19th, 2013jamiewakerdgequal marriage

    Don’t get too excited – I haven’t become fluent in Latin!  But the phrase seems very apt when I look at some of the amendments that have been tabled by a number of MP’s including one Rob Wilson, MP for Reading East.

    It goes without saying that I’m a vocal campaigner for Equal Marriage.  Of course being an openly gay man may have something to do with it so naturally I’m going to hold a little bit of bias.

    At the second reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill our local MP’s here in Reading acted very differently.  Alok Sharma (Reading West)  voted for the Bill (Thank you Alok) and as expected Rob Wilson (Reading East) voted against.  Actually he voted for as well so technically abstained citing that further safeguards are needed in the bill.   Not that he has a great record for equality for LGBT people anyway.

    I blogged just before the last reading about Rob’s attempt to meet the Gay Community in Reading and listen to what they had to say.  I still feel that it was a token meeting -  held during the day when people were at work and organised at short notice.

    Well the 3rd reading takes place next week and Rob Wilson, Tim Loughton and Charlotte Leslie have tabled amendments to the Bill to include Civil Partnerships for Straight couples.  I’m very much in favour of this if we’re going to have full equality for LGBT and straight people but I’m suspicious of this proposal and as the title of this blog piece reads, Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.  Let me explain.

    Tim Loughton has been a vocal opponent of Equal Marriage and voted against it at the second reading.  Like Rob, Charlotte Leslie abstained too.  Tim with David Burrowes were quite obviously trying to be human obstacles during the committee stage and I’m not surprised to see Tim and David joining Jim Shannon in submitting quite a few amendments to this bill anyway.  Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem) did not vote at the last reading (In fact I’m rather suprised at some of the Lib Dems at the vote – especially  as when I was a member I believed they were the right party to join for fighting for LGBT equality – I’m glad I quit now). Whilst Stephen Williams and Julian Huppert are tabling the amendment for the right reasons I’m cautious and convinced that the others are doing this to delay the bill.

    From the outside, it seems that much of the Tory party seems set on destroying themselves with their attacks and opposition to this Bill but I’m pleased that the debate has outed all of those MP’s who stand in the way of equality.

    We’re already hearing whispers that the government will attempt to compromise with the 150 Tory’s set to oppose the bill by considering amendments giving protection to “conscientious objectors”.  i.e Teachers and registrars who are against equality.  Evidence to me that there are still much to change within the party if they ever are going shake off that image of the nasty party.  Whilst some have deep rooted religious views, others are just worried they are going to lose their seat in the general election.  Not that religion should be an excuse for homophobia.  Religion and personally held beliefs should not change the way in which you do a job – whether you are a teacher, registrar or MP.   Many Tory’s are worried that Equal Marriage will prevent the Tory’s winning – I’m sorry to say this but the Tory’s have done quite a few other things since entering coalition that may sway voters to other colours instead of blue.

    Naturally, Rob has been tweeted by a few people about his voting intentions next week and his reply was non-committal and that there was a lot more debate to take place.  It’s quite likely that Rob already knows his voting intention (as we all felt he did last time) and a scheduled blog post will suddenly appear again straight after the vote with local gay Tory’s tweeting to his defence.  I guess it’s difficult trying to keep your known voters on side.  After all, wards such as Caversham contains a lot of Tory voters and Christian Tory Voters too.  Sadly us gays are all over the place – I guess this makes the game a lot harder to play!

    So yes, Rob Wilson may come bearing gifts but all that glitters is not necessarily gold.  Though I’m happy (and hoping) for Rob to prove me wrong.

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    January 5th, 2013jamiewakerdgdiscrimination, equal marriage, gay, homophobia

    As many people know, I’ve been pestering our local MP’s here in Reading about their stance on Equal Marriage for LGBT people and whether they would be supporting equality for their LGBT constituents.  For a year I’ve been tweeting Rob Wilson without response which I’m assured is nothing unusual and even through the Reading Pride twitter account we only received a letter TO Rob Wilson from Prime minister David Cameron confirming his commitment but still failed to give an indication as to how Rob would vote when he does with his conscience as all Torys will be doing when the time comes – dangerous considering how many people within the Tory’s hold what I would consider bigoted views.

    None of the other political parties are any better mind you.  Both Labour and the Lib Dems are no longer whipping their MP’s.  Labour’s shadow cabinet did a U-turn on 10th December on this matter allowing Labour MP’s to also vote with their conscience and according to Owen Jones in the Independent this U-turn was not proposed on a matter of principle but largely because 3 shadow ministers (including Stephen Timms and Gavin Shuker) had threatened to resign.  According to Owen, 3 Shadow Cabinet ministers – Angela Eagle, Stephen Twigg (both gay) and deputy leader Harriet Harman had argued passionately in favour of maintaining the line.  Suprising since Labour’s vote on the repeal of section 28 was a whipped vote.  The Lib Dems also followed suit offering their MP’s a free vote.  Nick Clegg criticised David Cameron for allowing a free vote but then announced that a whipped vote would not be very liberal.  I won’t waste my time even mentioning UKIP.  In my opinion, this decision by all party leaders was the wrong one.

    rob-wilson-response-equal-marriageBack in Reading, Rob Wilson finally responded – not to me – but to another tweeter.  I love the fact that he said everyone is getting the same response – sorry, Rob but you had failed to respond to me and Reading Pride.  As you can see from the short exchange to the left, Rob Wilson wants to hold local meetings about it!  Why Rob?  You either agree with Equality or you don’t.  It’s that simple!  Replace the word gay with words such as disabled or Asian and we would not behaving this conversation.  Then again, if we look at the public whip website, they record Rob Wilson as voting very strongly against equal gay rights.  Tim Harris once told me that this record is wrong or misunderstood and I have waited for an explanation.  Perhaps, Rob may change these statistics if he votes in support of equal marriage for LGBT people?  Then again….

    I also wrote a letter to MP for Reading West, Alok Sharma following comments he made in an interview to the Reading Chronicle.  I wanted clarity on how he intended to vote as his comments seemed to suggest that he places religion over equality.  I wrote the following on 17th December 2012:

    “…Dear Alok Sharma,

    I am writing to you following your recent quotes in the Reading Chronicle about Equal Marriage for people who identify themselves as LGBT.  For your reference, you are quoted as saying:

    “In many respects civil partnerships are recognised by the legal system in the same manner as civil marriage and the introduction of same-sex marriage would therefore not, in my view, amount to a revolution in the law.

    “However, I will never vote for legislation which forces religious organisations to conduct same-sex marriages and I will seek guarantees on this point from the Government.”

    I was wondering if you can help clarify what you are saying? As you will recall, I have written to you twice with regards to equality for LGBT people with my last letter asking if you will be supporting the thousands of people in West Reading who are LGBT to obtain same-sex marriage and therefore equality – your previous letter did not confirm how you will be voting when you vote with your ‘conscience’ of offer any reassurances to I or other LGBT people  in West reading of your commitment to equality for all of our many diverse communities.  Please can you confirm that you are not going to ignore a number of constituents?

    Please note that Civil Partnerships are not recognised as civil marriage otherwise they would be called marriage, would they not? Could you also explain how you priorities equalities – ie Religious freedom over marriage equality?

    As you can appreciate, I can choose to follow a faith but I do not have a choice over my sexuality and I have found your quotes in the paper to be insensitive to people, like myself, who have persecuted by society.

    Imagine changing the word gay and replacing it with the word disabled or the colour of an individuals skin? Whilst this sort of discrimination was widespread many years ago, I am pleased to see it is no longer acceptable and I hope the discrimination that LGBT people continue to receive becomes no longer acceptable either.

    I will be watching this debate very closely and see how elected representatives such as yourself and Rob Wilson represent your LGBT constituents.

    Yours sincerely,

    Jamie Wake…”

    response-from-alok-sharma-equal-marriageUnlike Rob Wilson, Alok Sharma responds very quickly (I had to wait a number of months before Rob replied to my email about the OK2BGAY campaign – mind you, neither MP’s pledged their support for it) and I received a letter on 20th December.  You can read it in its entirety to the left.

    Sadly, Alok didn’t confirm his support for his LGBT constituents in the same way that he confirmed his support faith-based organisations in Reading but says he is minded to support marriage equality if he receives a cast-iron guarantee that religious organisations aren’t discriminated against.    He won’t be making a final judgement until he has seen the detail of the legislation.  I wait patiently to see how he votes.

    Before any of my Tory friends jump on me, this blog piece is not about reinforcing the view that the Tory’s remain the nasty party – that’s a stigma you have to remove yourselves.  It’s also not an attack on any other party as I also don’t believe any political party has come out looking well in this whole debate.  My right to marriage should not be up for debate.  I beleive the church has come off even worse so – especially after the announcement of permitting Gay Bishops and not Female Bishops.  Many faith-based organsations do want to perform marriage for same-sex couples.

    Like anyone that campaigns for LGBT equality, I will be watching this debate very closely and am in the process of launching the We Vote Too Campaign which will monitor and challenge those elected MP’s that fail to represent their LGBT constituents.  With some elections being won on such small margins, wouldn’t it be funny if the LGBT community was mobilised in such a way to vote to prevent the homophobe winning an election?  “…Vote for anyone but xxxxx…”

    Well there you are, my first blog post of 2013 and yes I know, I haven’t blogged for a while!  I’ll try to rectify that this year!

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    April 29th, 2012jamiewakerdgcandidate

    As voters, many of us would probably think that we only have a choice of 4 political parties to choose from when the Local Elections come round.  I know I certainly used to think that.  But I believe that it’s important for the electorate to realise that there are other options.

    Of course there are other parties such as The Common Sense Party, The Roman Party. Ave! and of course UKIP but In Reading there are 4 Independent Candidates standing in this years Local Elections.  They are:

    • Myself in Whitley
    • Michael Turberville in Katesgrove
    • Jamie Chowdhary in Peppard
    • John Dickson in Thames

    Independent Candidates and Councillors are able to respond to the local community in a way that serves the community interest and not a party political interest.  This doesn’t mean that someone who is independent does not have any political views but that national concerns often do not translate very well to the local scene.  Independents act on the true concerns of their local electorate who up and down the UK are now beginning to see the benefits of having a representative who is not bound by party rules and regulations.

    I wish all candidates the best of luck in this years local elections – especially the other Independents who are standing here in Reading off their own back for the right reasons.

    That’s why I’m standing this year – to give the residents of Whitley – my neighbours – a genuine alternative.

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    April 8th, 2012jamiewakerdgdiscrimination, elections

    Pledging support for Reading Pride As we’re all probably aware, there seems to be allegations of Dog Whistling tactics within Reading’s Local Elections at the moment and I was quite surprised to see a blogger quote a piece that I had written from my blog with regards to the experiences I encountered in my first election last year.

    As readers of my blog will know, I have never accused any particular local political party of the homophobia I encountered – even though I was told on numerous occasions where the comments that had been made were presumed to have originated from. Thankfully the experiences I had didn’t cause as much online controversy as the latest accusations have though they did spur me at the time to rekindle some of the campaigns I founded to fight discrimination – including the OK 2B GAY Campaign. It also reminded me of the need for the annual Reading Pride Festival (and the SupportU Centre) and so I became a trustee of the Reading Pride Charity. To do this in a position that is unbiased, I had to leave the lib dems and be independent of party politics altogether – in my mind the best move I could ever make – as It means that if elected, I can truly represent the needs of residents here in Whitley and not the needs of a political party.

    I don’t know the candidate in question whose election leaflet has caused this stir so I do not feel that I am in a position to have an opinion either way but its fair to say that whilst it is possible that there may have been some Dog Whistling tactics this year, it’s also fair to say that simply the wrong choice of words have been used and that in hindsight, a better way of expressing what they were trying to say could have been found.  I feel sorry for both the candidates involved – the labour candidate whose leaflet it is and the Tory candidate who bloggers are reporting the dog whistling tactics being aimed at. I really hope that this is just a genuine poor choice of words.

    I can’t abide racism or homophobia or discrimination in any shape or form. It has no place in society and has no place in Reading. That’s why my election posters and my election literature state very clearly that I will continue to fight against discrimination in our ward as well as Reading. I believe that I’m the only candidate that includes this or something similar in their manifesto.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, wake up to the alternative.

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    April 6th, 2012jamiewakerdgelections

    The Statement of Persons Nominated for this years 2012 Local Elections in Reading have been announced.  Each ward has a candidate from the major Political Parties in Reading Parties plus this year there are four independent candidates including myself.  Surprisingly, here in Whitley there are six candidates:

    Nick Brown (Conservatives)
    Rebecca Chester (Lib Dem)
    Mike Diamond (Common Sense Party)
    Keith Johnson (Green Party)
    Mike Orton (Labour)
    Jamie Wake (Independent)

    I wish everyone standing the best of luck.

    Battlelines have already been drawn up here in Reading.  We have recently seen news stories about deselected Tory Jamie Chowdhary announce that he is now standing as an Independent Candidate amidst a blaze of controversy.  We’ve also seen blog posts starting to accuse Labour of Dog Whistling tactics and racism in church Ward.  We’ll just have to see how that one unfolds.

    Here are the candidates standing in the other Reading Wards:


    Kirsten Bayes (LD)
    Alex Coleman (Con)
    Hazel Murphy (Grn)
    Tony Page (Lab)
    Howard Thomas (CS)


    Imraan Ishtiaq (Con)
    Gul Khan (Lab)
    Alan Lockey (Grn)
    Jean-Louis Pascual (Rom)
    Mark Whiley (LD)


    Richard Davies (Lab/Co-op)
    Jenny Hicks (Grn)
    Dave Luckett (Con)
    Jenny Woods (LD)


    Annette Hendry (LD)
    Azam Janjua (Con)
    Vivienne Johnson (Grn)
    Kim Maysh (CS)
    Eileen McElligott (Lab)


    Janel Blattler (LD)
    Richard Robeson (Con)
    James Towell (Grn)
    Michael Turberville (Ind)
    Rose Williams (Lab)


    Kevin Jackson (Grn)
    Matt Plunkett (CS)
    Daya Singh (Lab)
    Jon Walls (LD)
    Emma Warman (Con)


    Isobel Ballsdon (Con)
    Chris Burden (LD)
    Dougie Coulter (Grn)
    Ashley Pearce (Lab)


    Sunil Gandhi (Grn)
    Georgina Hughes (LD)
    Alanzo Seville (Con)
    Liz Terry (Lab/Co-op)


    Michael Fairfax (Con)
    Jo Lovelock (Lab)
    Margaret McNeill (LD)
    David Patterson (Grn)


    Rachael Chrisp (Lab/Co-op)
    Hoyte Swager (LD)
    Laurence Taylor (Con)
    Jamie Whitham (Grn)


    David Absolom (Lab)
    Mustafa Chaudhary (LD)
    Jamie Chowdhary (Ind)
    Kate Day (Grn)
    Jane Standford-Beale (Con)


    Robert Booth (Grn)
    Tony Jones (Lab/Co-op)
    Leo Lester (Con)
    James Moore (LD)


    Ali Asghar (Con)
    Debs Edwards (Lab)
    Kizzi Murtagh (Grn)
    David Warren (Lib Dem)


    Duncan Bruce (Lab/Co-op)
    John Dickson (Ind)
    Ed Hopper (Con)
    Helen McNamara (Grn)
    Guy Penman (LD)


    Haji Banaras (Lab/Co-op)
    Doug Cresswell (Grn)
    William Macphee (UKIP)
    Meri O’Connel (LD)
    Rob Vickers (Con)

    Best of luck to everyone standing!

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    April 1st, 2012jamiewakerdgPlanning Applications

    A33 Casino Location Unit 7 Rose Kiln LaneAs many of you know, I make it a habbit of trawling through planning applciations to see if there is anything that affects the ward of Whitley.  In my search I have found a planning application (App no 11/01907/FUL) by Grosvenor Casino Ltd to change the use of Unit 7 Rose Kiln Lane (formally the Peter Green Furniture Store).  Technicaly its in the ward of Southcote but it’s proximity to our ward means its relavent to residents who use the A33.

    The proposal, to be discussed at the Planning Applications Committee on Wednesday 4th April 2012 at 6.30pm, is set as “..Change of use to a Casino including associated changes to the façade and extension to the entrance, extension of the existing mezzanine floor, erection of a smoking terrace and alterations to the car park…”

    The report to be discussed reccomends permission to be granted subject to consideration of a Screening Option and conditions to include:

    1. TL1 – Full 3 years
    2. AP1 – Approved plans
    3. Materials as submitted
    4. C5 – Construction Method Statement
    5. C1 – Limit on hours of construction and demolition – standard hours
    6. TR8 – Vehicle parking before occupation – approved plans
    7. Car Park / Delivery Management Plan to be submitted for approval prior to occupation
    8. Travel Plan to be submitted for approval prior to occupation
    9. Bicycle storage to be submitted for approval prior to occupation
    10. Noise assessment for plant to be submitted for approval prior to occupation
    11. Development in accordance with Arboricultural Report
    12. L1 – Landscaping details to be submitted
    13. L2 – Landscaping – implementation of approved details
    14. Bat survey to be submitted for approval prior to commencement
    15. LTG1- External Lighting to be submitted for approval prior to occupation
    16. CCTV scheme to be submitted for approval prior to occupation

    According to the report, reading Borough Council’s Licensing Department have confirmed that the following license have been granted for the operation of the building as a casino:

    • Gambling Licence – This allows a site to be used solely for a casino and permits the provision of gambling facilities 24 hours per day.
    • Premise licence – This allows music, a stage area, live performance and late night refreshment; the premise licence has been granted for these uses 24 hours a day, while the sale of alcohol has been granted between the hours of 10am and 6am each day.

    A public consultation was carried at 25 – 27, Cadogan House, Lex Reading, MVf, Matalan Rose Kiln Lane; Harveys, Rosebys, Magnet from Reading Link Retail Park were notified by letter, and a site notice posted on site. No letters of comment have been received.

    The report does remember that the “Racino” complex has been permitted on the former trail park noth of Island Road, opposite the Kennet Island Development.  But it also seems to forget how close that would be to the proposed casino!  Grosvenor casino has advised the council that the Casino Market has evolved, needing larger premises, and “…would not compete directly with the other existing casinos as it is a different type of casino venue with a different offer to the existing casino facilities, and would be in a different area of Reading…”

    I guess we live to see the similarities and differences between this planned Casino and the Racino complex.  It would bring new jobs into the area which can only be a good thing and thankfully, most casino users would use the facilities during the evening meaning an increase traffic would be unlikely during peak times.  Though with the addition of the Racino and the promxity of the football stadium, will the A33 cope?  I guess we just have to wait and see.

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    January 3rd, 2012jamiewakerdgpublic transport

    Until recently, I had the misfortune of commuting daily to London from Reading and I have read with continued interest of the bad service and fare hikes still being experienced by commuters who like me have had no option but to accept such poor service as the norm.

    I actually enjoyed my job in central London and even though I have spinabifida, I got used to the back pain encountered of never having a seat, getting bruised by train staff desperate to get bowls of rolls to First Class Passengers and regularly being trapped on the train outside Twyford with no explanation and then having to pay £10 to get a taxi home as the train never quite managed to meet up with the bus times!  Thankfully, those days are now gone following an accident where I sustained a Compound Fracture, reserved seats were never reserved and most times I was unable to get through the overcrowding in my sling to get to my seat.  The turning point was when I fell and bashed my fracture against a wall.  My complaint fell on deaf ears and I decided that I would have to leave my beloved job and take a pay cut and work closer to home – even though it took double the time to get there (it involved a mile and a half walk from the station to the office) the small benefit was the seat on the train!

    I’d obviously tried blocking those years of agony from my mind but came across a number of news articles over the last few days that brought it all back to me! The Reading to Paddington line is labelled Britain’s worst train service and from today fare hikes see an extra £256 going on top of the annual season ticket – no doubt much more than that will be going on top of the train lines salaries!  Many, like me, see little comfort in extra planned carriages coming in soon on a train which on average is already at times more than 300 people over capacity.  If First Great Western know that this line is over capacity and I must say at times very unsafe, surely a better solution should be found?  For example, a Fast shuttle train between Reading and Paddington would alleviate the pressure.

    I found this article on a website which I believe got it from the Guardian – its seems I’m not alone in my views.  Plus looking at the traffic coming to my blog from search terms such as “First great western tender” it seems others are hoping that a new train company comes in and dramatically improves the service.  well we can hope, can’t we?

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