Ash pearce - Labour Church Ward Councillor
Church's Labour Team, led by our Councillor Ashley Pearce

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Monthly Archives: September 2019

Letter to Reading buses regarding the frequency of the number 9

Dear Mr Williams

I am writing to you in my capacity as one of the councillors for Church Ward to bring to your attention a couple of issues that have been flagged with me which relate to Reading Buses.

  1. Number 9 buses along the Whitley Wood Road.

The first issue relates to the frequency of Number 9 buses along the Whitley Wood Road route. A number of residents, many of whom are elderly and for whom the bus is their only mode transport, have commented to me that the Number 9 buses are not frequent enough. It seems to me that this is a significant problem for a large number of people in what is a fairly wide residential / geographical area.

With the above in mind, I would therefore like to know whether Reading Buses have any plans to change / increase the frequency of buses servicing this route or indeed whether there are any plans to consult residents on the bus service in the Whitley Wood Road area.

I would be grateful if you could provide me with a breakdown of passenger numbers (not limited to revenue as many users will be using concessionary bus passes) for the Number 9 route and would be interested to find out whether the number of users of this service has gone up or down?

  1. Student related ASB at Christchurch Road bus stop.

The second issue relates to anti-social behaviour at the bus stop on Christchurch Road (located near to the junction with Whitley Park Lane). Residents have complained to me that this bus stop is a hotspot for noise nuisance and anti-social behaviour, primarily caused by university students using the bus stop on week nights after 9pm at night.

I would like to know whether Reading Buses would investigate or consult on the possibility of implement a temporary closure of this bus stop after 9pm at night. Alternatively would Reading Buses consider moving this bus stop up or down the road and away from residential areas?

To this end, it would be useful if you could provide me with the statistics for the number of bus users who embark at this particular stop. Is there a way to find out how many non-university students use the bus stop after 9pm? Furthermore, would it be possible to find out how many concessionary bus pass users make use of this particular stop after 9pm?

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions relating to the above matters. If it would be useful, I would be more than happy to meet in person to discuss the above issues and explore possible options.

I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Best wishes.

Yours sincerely

Ashley Pearce
Councillor, Church Ward

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Letter to shops on Christchurch road

Recently several residents have contacted me regarding issues with the shops on Christchurch road. I have written the below letter and will soon be sending to each of the shops from the Council to help improve local relations.

Dear proprietor

I am writing to you on behalf of residents and Reading Borough Council as one of the proprietors of an outlet on Christchurch Road. The shops are located in between two wards, Church Ward and Redlands Ward, and are regularly used by many local people. Locals appreciate the service these shops provide and wish to work collaboratively with the shops to ensure that the local area is as good as it can be.

Over the last few months I have received numerous emails, especially from residents of Northcourt Avenue and Whitley Park Lane which are closely located to the shops, to ask me if I can help in facilitating a discussion between residents and shops to ensure some issues are addressed.

The major issues that residents are concerned about are:

Deliveries (being considerate of the frequency, timings and noise of these)

Delivery lorries parking considerately, especially close to the junction of Northcourt Avenue and Christchurch Road to ensure pedestrians crossing at this busy junction (including those in wheelchairs or with push chairs) are able to pass safely.

Litter around the front and back of the shops

Noise from customers later in the evening

Improving the access road behind the shops

Residents stress that they are supportive of the shops, many use them and they wish to work collaboratively. One of the ways this may be possible is by taking part in Reading Borough Council’s Adopt your street scheme, where local businesses work with the Council to help clean up the area once a month. Myself, the Council and residents would be grateful if you were able to support this.

Please contact me in response to this letter so we are able to take good community relations forward.

Kind regards

Cllr Ashley Pearce
Church Ward
Ashley.Pearce@Reading.Gov.uk

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Nursery funding question response

For years our governments have neglected fundamental educational issues – such as funding and teacher recruitment – in favour of what are, at best, secondary issues, and at worst mere ideological passions.

Early years education has not been spared such treatment. “There seems to be little strategic direction to government policy on early years,” concluded the House of Commons Education Select Committee in February – and this is, in truth, an understatement. 
The Department for Education and Ofsted have devoted much of their energy to promoting sweeping and contentious changes to the early years curriculum, while studiously failing to address what is for many providers an existential crisis of funding.

Nowhere is this tension clearer than in the maintained nursery sector. While ministers and inspectors talk as if one of the main factors to prevent the narrowing of the attainment gap is the reluctance of the sector to adopt a more formalised curriculum, they overlook far more potent problems: the effect of benefit cuts, the rise in child poverty, and the decision to drain away resources from forms of provision that could work against such a programme of social destruction.
The achievements of maintained nursery schools are well-known. They demonstrate the difference that specialist, integrated provision can make. Concentrated in the poorest areas, they give priority in their admissions to disadvantaged children and children with special educational needs and disabilities. And they have the expertise and skills to support them successfully. 

As research quoted by Early Education points out, in 2018 maintained nurseries had the highest percentage of children who were at risk of developing special educational needs. Yet many children identified as “at risk” at age 3 had caught up with their typically developing peers by the age of 5. 
In a country where education policy was based on reason, evidence and a commitment to social justice, achievements like these would be studied, celebrated and copied. 

But, as England enters its 10th year of austerity, the opposite is happening. These nurseries will lose nearly a third of their funding in 2020 if supplementary funding is not continued.  Uncertainty hangs over the whole sector. In July, three in 10 told Early Education that they were unsure about their immediate future, Chancellor Sajid Javid and education secretary Gavin Williamson have announced what they claim are “step-change” increases in educational spending. But they have said nothing about maintained nurseries, other than a promise to keep the issue of funding under review.
This isn’t good enough. Guaranteeing to fund maintained nursery schools at 2016-17 levels should be among the top items on Javid’s list. Its absence is a scandal. 

In the face of this neglect, we on this side are supporting the School Cuts petition on nursery funding. Autumn will be a turbulent time for politics in Britain. But, whatever happens, we will make sure that the needs of the youngest, most vulnerable sections of our population are not forgotten. 

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October events

Councillor’s advice surgery: Church Ward Councillors will be available to discuss any issues with residents on Saturday 5th October at 10.30am-12pm at The Whitley Café.

Canvassing– Councillors and activists will be out speaking to residents on Saturday 5th on Birdhill Avenue (am), Saturday 12th on Barnsdale Road (am), Shinfield Road on Sunday 20th (am) and Windemere Road on Wednesday 30th (am).

Church Ward Labour party meeting: members of the local party will be meeting to discuss issues & campaigning on Monday 14th at 7.30pm at 103 Northcourt Avenue. All local members welcome to join.

ACE committee meeting: Ashley and Ruth will be in attendance at the Adult, Children services and education committee meeting on Monday 21st October at 6.30pm at the Civic centre. A report on recent educational results in Reading will be discussed.

Schools Forum: discussions between school head teachers will take place on Wednesday 16th October at 5pm at the Civic Centre.

SEND workshop: Discussions on the SEND strategy between Ashley as lead member for education, officers of Brighter futures for children and School heads will take place at Church End Primary on Wednesday 2nd October from 9am.

Primary Heads meetings: Ashley will hear updates and concerns of Primary head teachers on Wednesday 2nd October at Micklands school at 2pm.

Meeting to discuss land between Staverton Road and The Lawns: A meeting to discuss a plan to revive some derelict land between the above places will take place on Wednesday 9th October at the Whitley Café at 3.45pm.

Pupil place planning event: Head teachers, Councillors, Governors and Council officers will be discussing future plans for school places and how we best plan for this on Monday 21st October from 2pm at the Civic Centre.

Cedar Road waiting restrictions consultation: A survey will be delivered in the next few weeks to seek resident views on potentially introducing waiting restrictions on the road.

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Whitley Library Sale

The Council will shortly be marketing Whitley Library for sale on the open market and to the voluntary sector which may include a range of offers, subject to planning including community use and possible residential conversion.

The Council will be advertising the property on the RVA (Reading voluntary Action) website from in accordance with the Community Lettings Policy to give the voluntary sector a circa 4 week lead in to open marketing exercise which will itself commence in mid October for a further 8 week period.

The building is locally listed and there are tree preservation orders on the site so the Council will be looking for offers that retain/convert the building and respect the TPOs.
It is also proposed to include within the sale an area of land outside the extent of the current library site for use as ancillary parking.

More information is available on the RVA website: http://rva.org.uk

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