Stephen Conway with lots of Lib Dems with yellow diamond signs behind him
Stephen Conway with some of our 2024 candidates
Graphic with heading "we're making Wokingham Borough a great place to live. Helping those who need it most (picture of Andy talking to an elderly man in his home) "working as a community (a picture of the Emmbrook team outside the local community centre) "creating a Thriving Greener Future" (picture of two of the Arborfield and Barkham team by a car charging point)

Our key priorities

  • Helping those who need it most
  • Working with the community
  • Building a thriving and greener future for Wokingham Borough.

In 2022 and 2023 Wokingham residents voted in unprecedented numbers for the Liberal Democrats to restore competence, trust and care to their council in these challenging times.

We have focused on caring for those who need it most, working with the community and building a thriving and greener future for Wokingham Borough.

We took the difficult short-term decisions needed to stabilise the council’s finances whilst ensuring we could continue to support those most in need.  The unprecedented financial pressures on local government are not reducing and we have looked ahead to ensure that the council can remain able to meet the needs of local people.

We have established long-term plans across the council’s responsibilities so that we can continue to deliver for residents. These include spending to save for the future and early interventions to deliver better outcomes and reduce the long-term demand for services.  We have worked closely with partners, including the voluntary sector, using their knowledge, expertise and resources to help us deliver. 

With your support, we have stood up for the borough’s interests, demanding fairness from central government on funding and on housing targets.

We have delivered on many of the promises we made and will work tirelessly to deliver those remaining.  We are proud of what we have achieved and we have the vision, the plans and the energy to continue our work.

Already, we are seeing the results with Wokingham being assessed independently as amongst the leading local authorities in adult social care, social housing, attainment in schools, learning disability, road maintenance, employment and other areas.

A record of action and a promise of more

    • We aim to become one of the leading local authorities in the UK for supporting residents living on low incomes and fighting poverty in an otherwise affluent area.
    • We provided £250,000 of funding for long-term, high-value projects to tackle the root causes of poverty in the area. Our Tackling Poverty strategy is being reviewed which will provide future direction for our commitments and priorities.
    • We invested £60,000 in the Winter Warmers project to provide energy-saving equipment for residents living on low incomes, saving them £1.2m on their energy bills. 
    • We provided the initial funding for a community pantry run by our voluntary and community sector partners, to ensure that residents living on the lowest incomes can afford a healthy diet. 
    • We are working on a trail-blazing project to ensure that the costs of the school day, including school uniform, are affordable for all families in Wokingham Borough.
    • We are developing a strategy for affordable housing. We have repurposed parts of the council’s own estate for accommodation for vulnerable groups, such as care leavers, and additional temporary accommodation, saving the council money on expensive emergency accommodation.
    • We are improving the lives of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) through extra school provision.  In addition to the expanded provision at Addington and the new SEND school in Winnersh, we bid successfully for extra government funding to build two more SEND schools in the Borough. 
    • We are investing in care homes to provide much needed additional good-quality dementia and nursing care for people in the borough, saving money in the long term and allowing people to continue to live in their communities.
    • We are taking steps to become a ‘Marmot’ borough, tackling both poverty and poor health to reduce health inequalities in the borough and give everyone better opportunities and life chances.
    • We implemented a Bus Service Improvement Plan and obtained a £400k government grant to support it. We want to further grow local bus usage and expand the bus network in partnership with bus operators.
    • We approved the borough’s first ever strategy to tackle Violence Against Women and Girls.  We led the council to achieve White Ribbon accreditation, and we will work towards the elimination of violence against women and girls.
    • We set up a Home Refuge Scheme for victims of domestic abuse to provide support for victims/survivors who want to stay in their own homes.
    • We are engaging with all sectors of the community, including young people, and town and parish councils, to develop a Community Vision that reflects everyone's long-term aspirations for the sort of place we want Wokingham Borough to be.
    • We are supporting local businesses: We organised job fairs in Wokingham and Woodley to help local businesses recruit and help residents find work. We are providing Business Startup support and High Growth support programmes. We are working on a strategy to help our town centres adapt and overcome the challenges they face, in order to thrive.
    • We have established a strategic partnership with the University of Reading and played a key role in the creation of the newly created Berkshire Prosperity Board. We will use these partnerships to support our climate emergency response, Town Centre strategy, and education and employment ambitions. They will also enable us to bid for funds, including government funding for cross-authority infrastructure projects. 
    • We are helping bring employment to the borough. We supported the arrival of the British Museum onto the Thames Valley Science Park in Shinfield. The Natural History Museum is scheduled to follow in 2024. The global healthcare manufacturing company, Lonza, has chosen Thames Valley Park for a large lab and office facility in order to accommodate its expanding UK business. 
    • We have planned ahead and worked with schools to deliver more school places;  97% of senior school entrants (2024 applicants) gained entry to one of their preferred schools, the highest ever achieved in the borough. We want to do more. This year, alongside finalising the next local plan, we will be reviewing our school place strategy, including how to better provide school places for areas which are not currently well served locally.
    • We have worked with the multi-academy trust to fund improvements to Bohunt, including the new Sixth Form, meeting the needs of the community.
    • We have supported the creation of a “Social Care Future Charter” developed by groups of residents and organisations with experience of social care in the borough. We are ensuring those who rely on these services are central to the decisions made about their support. 
    • Our Tenant and Landlord Improvement Panel received the Affordable Housing Award for Excellence in community-led decision making, for putting tenants at the heart of decision making.
    • We are working closely with the voluntary and community sectors via the Hardship Alliance and the Hardship Alliance Action Group to pool knowledge, expertise and resources to better help residents.
    • Our integrated approach to adult health and social care, working through the Wokingham Integrated Partnership, has resulted in fewer hospital admissions, people staying out of hospital after discharge, and more people returning to their usual home rather than a care home. We are enabling a healthier population for the future.
    • We are committed to the Council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan, and have included actions in it to ensure it delivers real change. We will continue to work hard to reduce our carbon footprint towards the goal of carbon neutrality.
    • We have declared an ecological emergency which will guide everything the council does to help protect and improve local biodiversity.
    • We have been working hard to ensure the next Local Plan is better than the one we inherited from the Conservative administration. Although the government has not removed housing targets from the updated National Planning Policy Framework, nor included credit for the additional 2,000 houses built in the previous 15 years, we will improve the plan we inherited in a number of ways. We will include bold new environmental policies, we will protect more greenspace, we will push for affordable housing and we will deliver planned infrastructure on-time.
    • Our strategy for active travel, including walking, cycling and wheeling for local trips will reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality, health and wellbeing benefits, and reduce COemissions which cause climate change.
    • We are progressing plans for active travel corridors from Winnersh to Wokingham town centre and from Woodley town centre to Reading (Palmer Park).  More will follow as we roll out the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan which we published in 2022.
    • We installed 38 public electric vehicle charging points in autumn 2023 using funds bid for and secured from government.  More are planned as a part of our developing electric vehicle strategy.
    • We will continue to seek more funding from government to address the long-term underfunding of road resurfacing, without which our roads will continue to suffer. Although we inherited an enormous backlog of road maintenance and insufficient government funding, we have innovated to make the funding go further and have been recognised nationally for our performance in repairing defects. 
    • We are adapting our own housing stock to improve its energy efficiency and we are ensuring enhanced environmental standards for new housing in the emerging local plan.
    • We will start planting in the COVID memorial wood which will increase canopy cover and provide a place of quiet contemplation for relatives and friends of victims of the pandemic.
    • We will plant 1.7 hectares of trees and 4.8 hectares of wildflower meadows at Ashenbury Park in Woodley, to make the site more welcoming to wildlife.
    • We are investing in renewable energy. The new solar farm at Barkham is scheduled to be built and connected by 2026 - more than a decade earlier than previously advised - and is forecast to generate £3,000,000 a year for the council to invest in other priorities. We are looking for additional sites for more solar farms.
    • We have delivered schemes for residents to reduce their carbon footprint and save on energy bills: Solar Together makes it easier and cheaper for residents to install solar panels, and free advice is offered for residents on how to make their homes more energy efficient and save money on energy bills.  More will follow.

Click on the down arrows for more information.

A Liberal Democrat controlled council will allow us to continue our work, helping those who need it most, working as a community, and ultimately creating a thriving, greener future for everyone who lives here.

In challenging times for our country and our community, Liberal Democrats have led the council responsibly and compassionately, meeting the most urgent needs of residents and making the changes needed to make our borough better in the long term. 

There is much more that needs to be done and we cannot afford a return to the short-term and complacent Conservative management of the past 20 years.  We have achieved a lot in a short time and have the energy, enthusiasm and experience to continue.  

Please back us so that we can continue our work to make Wokingham Borough a great place to live.

 

Find out about your ward and candidates here

We have 54 Liberal democrat candidates, 3 in each of the 18 wards, so wherever you are in the borough, you can use all three of your votes to elect Liberal Democrats. Click here or on the picture to find out more about the candidates in your area.

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