- Councillors surgery: Ward Councillors and the Whitley area PCSO will be at The Whitley Cafe on Saturday 3rd February from 10.30am-12pm. Please come along and discuss any local issues.
- Planning meeting: This months planning committee including the St.Patricks hall application will take place on Wednesday 7th February at 6.30pm at the Civic centre.
- Canvassing: Doors on Tamarisk Avenue & Hillbrow will be knocked to ask residents concerns on Thursday 8th February at 5.30pm and Blagdon Road on Saturday 11th February at 11am.
- Full Council meeting: Ashley will be asking a question regarding secondary school provision as well as other business on Wednesday 28th February at 6.30pm at the Civic centre.
- Ridgeway Full Governors meeting: Ashley will chair the second Full Governors meeting of the school year on Thursday 8th February at 7pm at Ridgeway school.
- Reading Banner delivery: The latest edition of the Reading wide Labour party newsletter the Reading Banner will be delivered through doors this month and can be viewed elsewhere on this website
- Reading Council Big event: This years RBC big event will focus on ways to tackle loneliness in Reading. It will take place on Wednesday 21st February at the town hall from 5-8pm.
- Labour AMM: The Labour All members meeting will take place on Thursday 22nd February at the Civic centre at 8pm.
- Ridgeway parents evening: Ashley will be meeting parents in his role as Chair of Governors on Thursday 22nd February at 6pm.
Monthly Archives: January 2018
At this month’s Full council meeting I will be submitting the following motion for discussion:
“This Council notes:
The average monthly rent in Reading is now over £1000 a month (valuation office agency)
The average house price in Reading is over £300,000 (according to the Land Registry)
The earnings to house price ratio in Reading is now 10:1.
The average house deposit in the UK is £33,960 and in Reading this is much higher (Halifax)
Reading Council is doing all it can to ease the housing crisis with the Homes for Reading company and the building of new Council houses including at Conwy Close.
This Council resolves to write to Housing Minister Sajid Javid to ask if he will support the Local Government association campaign that asks to enable Councils to:
Allow Councils to borrow to invest.
To keep all of the money received from the sale of homes on right to buy.
To use this and other funding to reinvest in building new homes that are good quality and affordable.”
I hope that this is able to gain cross party support as it is an issue in Reading that needs urgent action and spans party political lines. It supports a local Government campaign (again, cross party) that calls for local Councils to be able to borrow to build and help us solve our housing crisis.
Teresa May visited a first time buyer in Wokingham earlier this month which was reported on in Get Reading. Some of the kinder comments included: “How old is this first time buyer? 58?”, “first time buyer from a wealthy family who chucked 50 grand at them” and “First time buyers? Do they still exist?”
The number of first time buyers has dropped by nearly 250,000 in 20 years, the average age of home ownership has risen and the deposit needed is now somewhere in the region of £50,000. Without the bank of mum and dad, many people are unable to even entertain the idea and have simply given up on the prospect of home ownership. This has led to many people moving out of the area all together. For someone that has spent all of their life in Reading, seeing people having to up sticks due to housing costs is deeply saddening.
The tinkering in the budget was not enough, the crisis is now and needs immediate action to remedy it, not vague promises and targets that are tied to some artificial goal post. If Councils were able to borrow to build homes, for real people and families, not buy to let landlords for profit, then a future revenue stream or asset sale is created for the Council. An asset is on the books and welfare bills fall from lower housing benefits and B&B accommodation. It really is a win win situation.
The Conservative leader of Norfolk district Council John Fuller said after the budget that the opportunity to “Fully lift” the cap on local authorities ability to borrow and build has been missed. I hope that he is wrong, that this motion will pass and that housing Minister Sajid Javid will press for this change and help the residents of Reading.
In September last year I became the Chair of Governors at Ridgeway and wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and my background.
My background and experience have both long been in education. I have been a teaching assistant in the past, and have been a teacher at a secondary school for ten years now. Further to this I am a local Councillor for Church Ward and sit on the ACE committee (which includes the education work of the Council) as Vice-Chair. In the last year I have visited and spoken to the Head teachers of our two most local secondary schools, John Madejski Academy and Reading Girls School in an attempt to aid improvement, and help bridge the transition gap.
I will have been a Governor at Ridgeway for 5 years this summer, and it has been a greatly rewarding experience. I have been on various committees to help oversee standards, and I have had particular responsibility for Pupil Premium monitoring. During my time as a Governor we have helped oversee the impressive expansion of the school and its buildings, curriculum overhaul and the appointment of our new head Ms Steele.
I have visited the school on many occasions to see the pupils and staff in action, and have always left impressed and full of pride. There are obviously always challenges and areas for improvement and I am working with the Head teacher to help implement the post- Ofsted action plan for school improvement. Budgets need to be fit for any future changes and, looking forward, pupil numbers and development in South Reading are ever-changing and contribute to the challenge we face.
I am always looking to hear parent’s views and opinions on the school and its future, so if you ever wish to contact me, please email or call on the contact details below.
Chair of Governors