Featured post

Question to council: William Marshal

Richard Stainthorp to ask the Lead Councillor for Culture Heritage and Recreation: William Marshal As I am sure the Lead Councillor is awar...

28 Feb 2013

NAG Public Meeting: Prostitution Update

The date of the next public meeting of the Oxford Road Neighbourhood Action Group (NAG) will be:

Thursday 7th March

7.30 - 8.30pm at Argyle Church, Argyle Road.

This will give local residents a chance to receive an update on prostitution since our last public meeting in October.

I regularly attend the Oxford Road NAG as it's a really effective way of sharing intelligence, picking up issues that I can help with and sharing information with the Police, residents and community groups.


20 Feb 2013

Gone Pothole Potty!

The recent wet and cold weather has played havoc with the road surfaces around Reading.  I first noticed a couple of deep potholes on Sherwood Street while on the school run.  They'd developed rather quickly but were now deep enough to be throwing out the big stones used under the tarmac.  I took a couple of pictures on my phone and reported them. 

I popped the pictures on my Facebook page as I like to keep residents up-to-date with what I am doing and this resulted resulted in a flurry of further pothole reports which I have passed to the Council.  Roads I have reported potholes in include:

  • Sherwood Street
  • Chester Street
  • Prospect Street
  • Kensington Road
  • Lorne Street
  • Gun Street & St Mary's Butts
Some have already been filled and some have been placed on the repair schedule.  If there is a pothole in your street that need attention let me know because the Council need to know about them to fix them!

14 Feb 2013

The Alternative Queen of Reading

I have been following this event with interest as it's such a wonderful idea.  Many others have advertised it and I figured it was my turn.  So here it is:

8pm on 8 March at the Shehnai in London Street.

Click here for the full flyer!

7 Feb 2013

A #OneBillionRising event in Reading!


13 February 5.30 for 6pm start

Monroe's Rock Cafe

On 13th February campaigners, local organisations and general knowledge buffs will come together for a fun evening to raise funds and awareness for survivors of sexual abuse. The ultimate goal is a centre to provide support for rape and sexual abuse victims in Reading.

6 Feb 2013

Open letter to Alok Sharma - Residents Parking Fact Check!

UPDATE: 6 March 2013

Well I've still not had a reply.  I hope he doesn't treat his other constituents like this but, having spoken to a few, he does!

Dear Mr Sharma

In reference to your recent ‘report back to Battle Ward’.  I was surprised to see you claim credit for persuading the council to:

  • Increase the number of free books of visitor permits to households located in a permit parking zone from one to two.
  • Begin issuing visitor permits, valid until 10am the following day, rather than 8am.
  • Look favourably upon, and within reason grant, requests for allocation of visitor permits above the total official annual allowance of seven books per household.
 I am sure you will recall that the changes you claim to have reversed were brought in by the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition council in 2010/2011.  You did not object to these changes when your Conservative colleagues on the Council were making them and you suggest the changes were not properly consulted, presumably by the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition?

Only at a later date did you object to these changes AFTER the Labour controlled Council had already reversed the unpopular and unfair changes to the residents parking scheme by increasing the number of free books of visitor permits to two and pledging to return the 10am cut off time once the existing stock of permits has been used.

As a Labour council we have listened to residents and made the changes they asked for when we were back in control of the council. 

We have also recently re-affirmed our commitment to the first parking permit being free and we ensure any changes to the residents parking scheme are fully consulted, as you well know.

I hope to see more care taken in your claims in future literature.

Yours sincerely

Sarah Hacker

Labour Councillor, Battle Ward



Press at the time:  The article in the Reading Chronicle makes it clear he was criticising the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition yet on his leaflet (below) makes it seems he was criticising Labour!  Both articles make it clear the unpopular changes he refers to were made by the coalition and that they had already been changed by Labour when Alok Sharma decided to speak up!  I wonder if we'll get a leaflet correcting these mistakes?

Reading Chronicle October 2011

Get Reading October 2011

Never mind the picture's in Abbey ward too!

5 Feb 2013

Reading Labour supports Equal Marriage - and calls on Reading’s two Tory MPs to do the same

Reading & District Labour Party Media Release

3rd February 2013

Reading Labour are calling on Conservative MP’s Alok Sharma and Rob Wilson to vote in favour of the Equal Marriage Bill coming before Parliament this Tuesday (5th February), which allows same sex couples the right to get married.

3 Feb 2013

Race For Life - What Have I Done?

Well, I've signed up for the Race for Life.  I've had too many family and friends touched by cancer to do nothing. 

If anyone remembers me from my days at Meadway Secondary school, they'll remember by complete disengagement with all PE apart from swimming and dance.  I hate running - I don't see the point unless I'm sprinting for a 17 bus but I like a challenge and the Race for Life will be just that!

I am going to start training soon and you'll probably see me huffing and puffing around the streets of Battle ward.  If you do see me, please say hello or shout some encouragement - I'll need it.

I have set myself the target to raise £100 but I would love to raise more for Cancer Research UK so if you can, please sponsor me.


I have a button top-left too that takes you to my fundraising page.  Anything you can spare will be appreciated.

I'll be running the morning race on Sunday 21 July at Prospect Park.


2 Feb 2013

Battle 106 - Sharma has missed the point entirely

Just got a leaflet through my door from Alok Sharma asking Labour councillors to honour their pledge to spend the Battle 106 money on healthcare. 

He does understand that the money was never going to be spent on healthcare doesn't he?  It was going to provide a building to house healthcare services that were to be provided by the Primary Care Trust (PCT).  Not a single penny was going to pay a nurses wage or buy so much as  plaster.  The PCT took that healthcare away because of cuts to the NHS.

When the PCT pulled the healthcare rug from under Battle residents feet at the end of 2011 he didn't care (see here).  Shouldn't he then have expressed his outrage that Battle residents were having a service they wanted taken away from them then?  Shouldn't he have lobbied the PCT to restore this funding?  He did nothing.

He has not contacted us about this money, just used it as a cheap political football.  He has seen who we have selected as our parliamentary candidate and realised he needs to actually do something for residents if he wants any chance of keeping his parliamentary seat.  But rather than engage in a useful way, he has decided to do his own thing. 

Why should he and his petition decide what this money should be used for (it won't - the consultation will)? He hasn't given residents any options.  He is telling them.  People from outside the borough, let alone outside the immediate Battle are can sign his petition.  Why should they tell Battle residents what they want?

Battle councillors and Reading Borough Council are going to consult local residents and ASK them what they feel is important to them and how they want the money spent.  Nothing has been decided and nothing's been ruled out.  We have already started work on the consultation. We ask, not tell!