I know I speak for all our local members, and I’m sure, everyone in Wokingham, in expressing our horror and outrage at the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Whilst everyone was all too aware of the increasingly threatening behaviour by Vladimir Putin, it still came a tremendous shock to us all that a despot and dictator could once again bring war to Europe, purely on his own whim.
As we watch the hundreds of thousands of ordinary Ukrainian people forced in terror from their homes, it seems unbelievable that fellow Europeans could have their lives broken apart in such a brutal and arbitrary way – and all at the behest of the deranged ego of one individual.
This is a grim lesson for the democratic nations – the world that seemed so safe and secure is no such thing. As Burke is alleged to have said; ”The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. Our parents and grandparents learnt this only too well.
It may be that we, in our cosy little lives, have done nothing for far too long about the way Putin and his cronies have been behaving. The brave people of Kiev and elsewhere are paying a price for that.
We literally cannot imagine what the people of Ukraine are going through right now, but I know that our thoughts and prayers are with them.
Chair, Wokingham Liberal Democrats
Liberal Democrats select election candidate for ultra-marginal Wokingham constituency
The Liberal Democrats have selected local councillor Clive Jones to contest the ultra-marginal Wokingham constituency at the next general election.
The party slashed sitting Conservative MP John Redwood’s majority to under 8,000 at the last election after gaining a dramatic 23% swing, taking the Conservatives below 50% of the overall vote. The Wokingham constituency has become known as a Blue Wall constituency, meaning it will be a close contest between the Conservative party and the Liberal Democrats in a two-horse race. The Liberal Democrats won the Blue Wall seat of Chesham and Amersham in neighbouring Buckinghamshire last year and have now set their sights on winning Wokingham at the next election.
The Liberal Democrats are on a winning streak in Wokingham after gaining control of Wokingham Town Council last year and winning 13 Borough Council seats from the Conservatives since 2016.
Local Councillor Clive Jones has led the Liberal Democrats’ campaigns in Wokingham and has now been selected as the party’s general election candidate. Clive has lived in the local area for 40 years and was elected to the Borough Council in 2016. He is the Leader of the Lib Dem Councillor Group on Wokingham Borough Council. Clive is a community activist who leads campaigns on protecting green spaces from unnecessary housing developments. Clive is currently leading a petition to reduce the number of new houses being built in Wokingham following the Conservative Council approving building on green land. He has also been lobbying for increased funding to Wokingham’s schools and has helped keep a local
post office safe from closure. He is a Governor of the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey MP said:
“In Clive the Liberal Democrats have selected the polar opposite to an out of touch Conservative MP. Clive is well known for working tirelessly for local people. He listens to people and takes up their concerns. Meanwhile, the Conservative party ignores local people, unfairly hikes taxes on hard-pressed families and stands by a law-breaking Prime Minister. “Clive will make a fantastic local MP for Wokingham and I can’t wait to join him on the campaign trail in what will be a close two horse race at the next election.”
Liberal Democrat candidate for Wokingham Clive Jones said:
“People in our area are furious that John Redwood has remained loyal to Boris Johnson. I’ve heard truly heart breaking stories from local people who sacrificed seeing dying loved ones during lockdowns because they were following the rules. Yet John Redwood thinks the Prime Minister shouldn’t lose his job over partying in Downing Street. “People in Wokingham are fed up with being taken for granted by the Conservative party. I am determined to finally oust a Conservative party that never listens to people in Wokingham.”
Residents have until 24th January to have their say on the local plan. If you haven’t already done so, this is your opportunity to put in your views on the proposed development sites, green space sites, and more strategically about the approach to development. Documentation and how to take part can be found here https://engage.wokingham.gov.uk/en-GB/projects/right-homes-right-places-local-plan. You can also send in your comments to [email protected].
The Town and Parish councils have made their submissions, as have the Lib Dem council group.
Cllr Sarah Kerr (Evendons) made a submission which was specifically about climate change mitigation, adaptation and environmental considerations. This submission was written following an excellent session just before Christmas with many of our members who fed in their ideas and expertise. Details of this submission can be found in her blog here:https://cllr-kerr.co.uk/2022/01/18/
Last night the Wokingham Borough Planning Committee REFUSED the application to build a supermarket and 43 homes on the land off Meldreth Way, Lower Earley.
Thank you for the role that you played in helping to achieve this important outcome, by supporting our long and robust campaign against this development.
The land is designated as countryside and the Case Officer emphasised that in the initial plans for Lower Earley it was amenity Land - open space. The Planning Committee supported the submissions of hundreds of residents that this green space, part of the continuous green corridor extending from Showcase roundabout to Pearman's Copse, is not suitable for any type of building. It was heart-warming to hear the officer say that the proposal was in planning terms unacceptable in principle, and that, therefore, further changes to the planning application would not alter the Officer recommendation.
We will almost certainly have to battle on as the applicant has a right to appeal the decision, but last night’s refusal was still a significant victory. We will continue to lobby hard to have this vital green space protected forever. We will also write to the developers to ask them to acknowledge the enormous strength of feeling against their plans when deciding whether or not to appeal the Refusal.
We will continue to keep you updated.
Wokingham Liberal Democrats demand Fair targets for NEW housing numbers.
"It's time the Conservative government changed the way it calculates local housing needs and the way they calculate the number of new houses that they force onto local councils.
"Wokingham borough is expected to allow developers to build almost 16,000 NEW houses in the next 20 years. This is on top of the 11,000 houses that have already been built by developers in the last 15 years.
"16,000 New houses in the next 20 years just is not fair", says Cllr Clive Jones, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Wokingham Borough Council.
He continued “Councils who have worked with developers to deliver high numbers of new homes in the last 15 years should not be expected to do the same again in the next 20 years”..
At the 12th of November Executive Meeting that approved the draft Local Plan update, Cllr Halsall, Conservative Leader of Wokingham Borough Council said there was no point local residents raising petitions against any development because the Conservatives would not be taking them into consideration..
"This is very undemocratic and its wrong for the Council Leader to take this attitude. Local residents are entitled to express their opinions and take what action they feel is appropriate to support their areas.
“Local Lib Dems have decided to petition the Secretary of State for levelling up, housing and communities to lobby them to reduce our numbers in Wokingham.
"We need as many Wokingham residents as possible to sign our petition. It can be completed online at https://www.wokinghamlibdems.org.uk/housing , says Cllr Jones.
In addition, local Liberal Democrats will be delivering 40,000 leaflets over the next few weeks to residents across the borough with details of the petition and providing a paper copy of the petition
We encourage as many residents as possible to sign the petition.”