A campaign to get Reading West’s residents in West Berkshire a fair deal is being launched this week by Labour’s Victoria Groulef.
The Reading West General Election candidate says the campaign is needed as people in the area feel they are being short-changed by Newbury-based West Berkshire Council.
Last year Victoria surveyed every household in the West Berkshire section of Reading West and held a number of coffee mornings and consultation events.
Hundreds of people took part in the consultation and raised a number of local concerns including how they can get a fairer deal from West Berkshire Council.
Victoria said: “From local people in Pangbourne fighting to keep their library open for 27 hours a week, to residents in Calcot wanting a play area for older children, overwhelmingly people felt they were being short-changed by their Newbury-based Council.
“That’s why I am launching a Fair Deal for West Berkshire because I believe that people deserve better from the council.”
Victoria has also hit out at West Berkshire Council for not ensuring residents can access community funding created by levies on developments in the area.
Residents Could Miss Out On Development Funds
In Westminster this week, the Conservative Newbury MP, Richard Benyon, tried to request that West Berkshire Council was given an exemption to new planning rules (The Community Infrastructure Levy).
These rules allow residents to access money from developers to pay for community projects at the parish level.
Three years ago Alok Sharma MP welcomed the Community Infrastructure Levy saying it would ‘allow residents who are directly affected by development to realise real improvements in their area to compensate for any effects of living alongside extra housing or other developments’ but he did not try to stop the requested exemption.
Victoria said: “So we have a Newbury MP who tried to ensure that people in parishes across Purley, Pangbourne, Theale and the West Berkshire bit of Tilehurst do not have a say in what happens to their local community. Meanwhile our MP Alok Sharma was nowhere to be seen to intervene and stop this.
“That’s why I’m launching A Fair Deal for West Berkshire because we deserve better than this.”
Notes for editors
Details of the request by Richard Benyon MP can be found
Mr Benyon was requesting that the planning minister grant WBC an exemption so they do not have to adopt the community infrastructure levy in April which with parish plans in place could enable Parish Councils to gain access to 25% of funding secured from local development.
Details of the debate on the Localism Bill can be found at http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/content/localism-bill-debate