South East Wokingham


Your Lib Dem representatives

Lib Dems represent this area on both Wokingham Borough Council and Wokingham Town Council. We are the largest group on Wokingham Town Council with 11 councillors. We have 8 borough councillors representing Emmbrook, Evendons, Wescott and Winnersh wards. Find out more about our councillors by clicking here.


Latest News from South East Wokingham


Lib Dem petition mentioned in the local paper

Our candidate for Wokingham Without, Robert Comber, has handed in our petition to make the new distributor road safer for pedestrians and cyclists, and it has made the local paper.

 

https://www.wokingham.today/petition-presented-to-make-new-distributor-road-safer-for-pedestrians-and-cyclists/

 

We'd like to thank everyone who signed this petition.


Letter to Wokingham.Today We need men to take accountability

Letter signed by one of the Liberal Democrat Councillors for Evendons is published in Wokingham.Today

 

We need men to take accountability

Last week was a difficult week for women. We started by celebrating International Women’s Day on Monday.

The celebrations were cut swiftly short by a well-known, male TV presenter vilifying a young, prominent woman who was brave enough to share her truth regarding her mental health.

The next day a serving officer in the Metropolitan police was arrested on suspicion of the murder of Sarah Everard, a young woman who went missing in south London on her walk home from a friend’s house. Her remains were sadly identified on Friday.

Every woman has felt unsafe on a journey home. We’ve taken a longer route home that’s better lit, we’ve held keys between our fingers, we’ve crossed the road just to check if the person behind us is following, we’ve made a pretend phone call and we’ve arranged to call/text our friend when we get home.

Many people have responded to the outpouring of grief and stories being shared on social media to say, “Hey, wait! #Not all Men”. We understand that, but it is ALL women who do not feel safe, and we can’t tell which men it is.

We also learned, in a report that surprised not a single woman, that 97% of young women in the UK have been subjected to sexual harassment.

On Thursday, MP Jess Phillips read out the names of 118 women who have been killed in the UK over the last year where a man has been charged or convicted. We know these women’s names due to the work of Karen Ingala Smith who collects this data on an annual basis because there are no official statistics. Two women a week are killed in England and Wales by a current or ex-partner. This has increased to one every three days since the first lockdown.

Femicide is an epidemic yet we neither measure it nor seek to address it. It is something we have accepted as part of life.  Since Sarah Everard went missing last week, six women and a little girl have been killed in the UK.

We finished the week on Mother’s Day, a subdued bookend to a horrific week. We opened the papers and checked social media on Sunday morning to be confronted with images of police manhandling women to the ground.

Women who had brought flowers and gathered outside, peacefully, in remembrance of Sarah Everard and all women who have been the victims of male violence. To those who say the gathering should not have taken place due to the pandemic, I remind you that we are also in the midst of an epidemic; an epidemic of male violence.

The response to violence against women is that women should behave differently. Women should not walk home alone, not go out after dark, be mindful of what we are wearing, we should wear headphones, we should not wear headphones, we should leave…

There is no end to the advice given to women, yet despite decades of this advice nothing changes.

Women are not the problem. It’s time to stop victim blaming and hold men accountable. According to the Office of National Statistics 93% of convicted murderers are men.

What are we doing as a society to address the direct thread linking the acceptance of sexist jokes, cat-calling, street harassment, domestic violence, all the way through to the abduction and murder of women and the murder of 118 women a year by their partners? The tolerance of misogyny in all its forms leads to a society where we are not safe on the streets, nor in our own homes.

We need men to take accountability for the solutions. We need you to speak up and challenge the acceptance of these horrific statistics. Because they are not just statistics, each one is a person’s life. Male allies need to be as appalled as women and you need to be vocal in your outrage: Speak up and speak out when you encounter sexism in all its forms, including supposedly innocent sexist banter and lewd remarks.

Talk to your sons, don’t just focus on protecting your daughters. We all stand to gain from a society in which we are safe, and we all need to take responsibility to make it safe.

Louise Timlin – Branch Leader, Women’s Equality Party, Reading and Wokingham

Vickie Robertson – CEO Kaleidoscopic UK

Cllr Sarah Kerr –  Wokingham Liberal Democrats

 

See this and other letters here: https://www.wokingham.today/readers-letters-as-seen-in-the-print-edition-of-wokingham-today-of-march-18-2020/


FROM THE CHAMBER: Imagine a world without the arts

By Cllr Sarah Kerr

Creative industries contributed £111 billion to the UK economy in 2018, a 7.4% increase on the previous year. 

This means that at the time, growth in the sector was more than five times larger than growth across the UK economy as a whole. 

Spring forward to now and the pandemic has been cataclysmic for the arts and culture industries and, while there was the £1.57 billion rescue package, the package left an unforgivable gap: individuals. 

The majority of those who work in these industries are self employed or work on short term contracts, and many have found themselves with minimal support. 

The job losses have been huge, with many creatives finding work in other industries in order to survive. 

A large number of them are unlikely to return. 

We now need to look to how we can help these industries recover, and they must recover, not just because of their intrinsic value, but also because they are a strategic resource. 

These industries have a demonstrable impact on education, health and wellbeing, society and our economy, but more importantly, they enrich us and make us human. 

Can you imagine a lockdown without them?  No books, TV, music etc?

Here in Wokingham Borough, there is a lot going on in arts and culture. 

I am proud to be a part of the Wokingham Arts and Culture Alliance where we’re looking more strategically at the sector. 

The Alliance is a partnership of representatives from arts and culture organisations, the borough council  and town and parish councils. 

It is a collaborative process, and we aspire to make Wokingham Borough a cultural destination of the future and further enhance our communities through what is known as place-shaping.   

Place-shaping means using creative powers to influence and promote the general well-being of a community and its citizens. 

It is a way in which local partners can collectively work together to create attractive, safe and prosperous communities, where people want to live and work. 

The new strategy we hope will be approved soon and will be the first strategy of its kind in the borough. 

What will be key though is the actions that come out of it, and I very much look forward
to seeing it come to life. 

 Councillor Sarah Kerr is the Lib Dem lead for Arts and Culture and councillor for the Evendons ward of Wokingham Borough Council

 

This piece was published in Wokingham.Today https://www.wokingham.today/from-the-chamber-imagine-a-world-without-the-arts/


Liberal Democrats present Petition for Safe Walking and Cycling on the South Wokingham Distributor Road

Liberal Democrats present Petition for Safe Walking and Cycling on the South Wokingham Distributor Road

On 18th March Wokingham Borough Liberal Democrats presented a petition to Wokingham Borough Council calling for redesign of the South Wokingham Distributor Road (SWDR) and its connections for safe walking and cycling. 

The current design for the SWDR and its new connections into the road network expect pedestrians and cyclists to share the same footway or cyclists to share the road with traffic.  With 2,500 houses planned in this area plus through traffic, congestion on the shared footway and safety concerns will be a real barrier to people travelling on foot or by bike.  More than 200 local people signed the petition, which was organized online due to the pandemic.

Presenting the petition, Liberal Democrat candidate for Wokingham Without Rob Comber implored the Council to “Make it safe and encouraging for non-motor vehicle users, and help prepare us for the next twenty years.   A small amount of time and money now will save us a fortune in the future and provide for a better standard of life right from the start.”

This same week, on 15th March Wokingham Borough Council belatedly agreed that it would follow government guidance from July 2020 that pedestrians and cyclists should not be expected to share a path where flows of each are high and for continuous and safe cycles routes at junctions and roundabouts. 

Cllr Paul Fishwick, Lib Dem spokesperson for highways and transport said that “whilst we welcome the council finally agreeing to follow this important guidance, we are disappointed that it has not committed to doing so for any scheme that has already started design, such as the SWDR and the connecting Western Gateway Roundabout.” 

Cllr Fishwick added that “these 2 schemes were due to be reviewed by the Planning Committee on 24th March where objections to the design from the community would be aired.  However, we understand that this has now been postponed to the other side of the local elections. Whilst we hope that the delay is a sign that the necessary improvements will be made, we fear that it could also be a way of shifting this unpopular decision to beyond the election.”

If elected in May, Wokingham Borough Liberal Democrats will develop a network of high-quality walking and safe cycling routes to link residential areas, local businesses, shops, schools and transport hubs.  We will prioritise this over investment in schemes that will only encourage additional motorised traffic onto the roads, as a part of our commitment to addressing the climate emergency and poor air quality.

 


Lockdown Playground

The Matthewsgreen Playground is open.

During Lockdown you have to work a little harder to find the positives. Well yesterday, was one of those. After a lot of delay due to Covid 19 and getting safely signoffs, the developers of the Matthewsgreen estate were finally able to open the new children’s playground. There could be no ‘official’ opening, but I was lucky enough to be there when they did it.

https://imogensd.mycouncillor.org.uk/2021/03/05/lockdown-playground/


Wokingham Liberal Democrats Reaction to last week’s Budget

Cllr Imogen Shepherd-DuBey, Wokingham Borough Council Liberal Democrat Shadow member for Finance says “What we needed in last week’s budget was help to get our economy back on track when the lockdown and the furlough payments end. Public Finances are under a huge strain, but we are not being given the proper funding that our residents need.

 

"Covid 19 combined with Brexit has put our economy in one of the deepest holes in over 100 years. Liberal Democrats applaud the business rates relief for our hardest hit companies, particularly in the Hospitality and Leisure industries. The loss of the Business Rates income to Local Authorities will also be compensated, so it should not affect our Council services locally.

 

The extension of the Furlough Scheme until September is welcome and has been asked for by Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey, but the extension may have to be until the end of the year or longer, because it will take some time for businesses to recover from this pandemic."

 

However there are a number of things that the Chancellor has missed.

 

 

  • "Why was there nothing at all in the budget for our struggling Adult or Children’s Social Care services at this difficult time? These are our most vulnerable and the most severely affected by the Covid Pandemic, but there is no additional funding?”

 

  • "Where is the support for public health services provided by local councils? We need to focus on preventative health and Mental Health as opposed to expensive, acute treatment when sufferers hit crisis point and have to use the NHS", says Cllr David Hare, Lib Dem Shadow Adult Social Care spokesperson.

 

  • "Where is the funding to tackle our Climate Emergency? – Where people have had to alter their lifestyle, we want to be using that opportunity to improve renewable energy sources and to create employment in green jobs. Climate change is an emergency, but the government has set the priority of allocating £28 million for the Platinum Jubilee, and only £20 million on developing offshore wind farms.", says Cllr Sarah Kerr, Lib Dem Shadow Climate Emergency spokesperson.

 

  • "There are no plans to deliver more social housing, or to tackle the cladding scandal which is destroying people's lives by making their homes uninsurable and unsaleable", says Cllr Prue Bray, Lib Dem Shadow Housing Spokesperson.

 

And lastly,

 

  • "There is Nothing to help those excluded from the COVID support packages or any support to help struggling businesses make a recovery. Nearly 1 in 7 small businesses will go bankrupt if they do not receive more support by April. There will be some funding for ‘Restart Grants’, but it is not nearly enough. Lib Dems have been calling for more support for small businesses for months", says Cllr Clive Jones Lib Dem shadow Business spokesperson.

Welcome to the South East Wokingham blog page

Welcome to the blog page for South East Wokingham where we will post updates and news from around the local area.



Ward map images are a remix of previous work available on the Wikimedia Commons (created by Nilfanion, using Ordnance Survey data) and are licensed under CC-SA-3.0 and the attribution must contain the following notice also:  Contains Ordnance Survey data (C) Crown Copyright and Database Right.
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