Meet our new Mayor of Wokingham Borough

New mayor elected AT borough’s first virtual Annual Council meeting
At last night’s annual meeting of council, held virtually for the first time, Cllr Malcolm Richards was elected as Wokingham Borough Mayor for the coming year (2020-21). He takes over the chain of office from Cllr Bill Soane.
The Mayor is officially the ‘first citizen’ of the borough with a civic role, representing the council and the people of the borough as well as presiding over borough council meetings. Unless Her Majesty the Queen or her representative is in attendance, the Mayor takes precedence over any other dignitaries at events.
“It’s a great honour to serve the borough where I have lived for many years,” said Cllr Richards. “These are difficult times and many of our residents are facing significant challenges. I’m truly grateful to the many of them who’ve helped others in our community and made such a positive impact on their neighbours’ lives. It just reinforces what a fantastic borough we live in.  Once restrictions are further eased, I look forward to continue representing the borough and meeting as many of you as I can.”
The Mayor traditionally chooses a local charity to benefit from fundraising during their year in office. This year, Cllr Richards has chosen to support both Homestart Wokingham and First Days Wokingham. Homestart Wokingham gives a range of emotional guidance, practical advice and support, to families with at least one child under five.  First Days works to reduce the effects of child poverty by equipping them with essential items they need for their early years and at school, also combined with guidance.  Their services are each directed at a family with children in urgent need, but the type of provision varies.

“With so much understandable and much-needed support for the NHS in recent months, I don’t want families with children to be left out when it comes to funding,” said Cllr Richards. “That’s why I’ve chosen these two fantastic local charities because they support children from birth all the way through to school and beyond.”
Cllr Richards has lived in Wokingham since the late 1970s when his family moved into the Bean Oak area of Norreys.  He has two children and four grandchildren.  Both his children went to local schools and they retain strong Wokingham connections.
– MORE –
Now retired, Cllr Richards’ career was spent almost entirely in IT and corporate systems, working for major technology and business providers across commerce and industry, both public and private sectors, at home and abroad.  He has worked in the UK, Europe, USA, Australia and Indonesia.  He also has extensive teaching experience in schools and colleges in computing, business and academic subjects. He has a keen interest in many of the council’s areas of responsibility, but especially in planning, roads and transport systems, and the environment – holding executive member positions in these.  On a personal level he enjoys watching a range of sports including football, rugby, athletics and motor racing.
Cllr Richards’ deputy for the year is Cllr Keith Baker who has represented Coronation ward in Woodley since 2006.  He has been leader of Woodley Town Council since 2011 and has held a variety of senior roles in the borough council including leader, executive member for both highways and planning and chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee. For more than a decade has been a school governor at Addington School, one of the best special needs schools in the country. In June 2019, he was awarded an MBE for his contribution to public and political services.
Cllr Baker is a well-known figure within Woodley after living there for nearly three decades together with his wife of 21 years. Now retired, he worked as a marketing manager for a computer networking company having spent more than 30 years in the IT industry in a variety of roles covering the UK, Europe and worldwide. He has six grandchildren with two families living locally and one in New York, USA.
His interests are wide and varied – he says he follows most sports from the comfort of his armchair, with rugby his favourite.  His other love is the theatre.  A previous chairman of Woodley Light Operatic Society, he spent 20 years helping local youth theatre group Starmaker as assistant stage manager.
“I’m very much looking forward to supporting Cllr Malcolm Richards in his mayoral duties,” said Cllr Baker. “It’s a privilege to be asked to perform this role, particularly at a time when so many people need our services and support.”
– ENDS –
For more information
Contact Mayoral Support by emailing: mayoralsupport@wokingham.gov.uk

PIC BY STEWART TURKINGTON
www.stphotos.co.uk

New shopping etiquette (as shops reopen today)

The main shopping areas in Wokingham town centre, Woodley and Twyford will look a little different when they start to reopen from Monday.

The key changes are:

  • Realigned roads and paths to give you the space to walk around safely
  • Signs outside and inside shops reminding you to socially distance, sanitize your hands and queue safely
  • Marked queuing areas outside shops

These changes are temporary and we’ll monitor them during the coming months, and adapt as needed. We’re offering support packs (posters, signs and floor stickers) to retailers across the rest of the borough who can email us at: economicdevelopment@wokingham.gov.uk

Shopping local helps our businesses and economy survive and recover. But it’s crucial we follow the advice on shopping safely to limit the spread of Covid-19 and avoid a localised lockdown.

Road works notice – 4th & 6th June B3349 School Green, Shinfield/A327 Arborfield Road & Chestnut Crescent.

Notification of Temporary Closure – School Green, Shinfield 

 TEMPORARY ROAD CLOSURE

LOCATION: School Green, Shinfield

DESCRIPTION: Antiskid Works

CLOSURE DATES: 4/6/20 (20:00-05:00)

 Dear Sir/Madam,

Please be aware that Wokingham Borough Council as Traffic Authority gives notice under Section 14 (2) (a) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 that no vehicle shall proceed along:

B3349 School Green, Shinfield between its junctions with A327 Arborfield Road and Chestnut Crescent.

The alternative route for all traffic affected by the restriction shall be by proceeding via B3349 Hyde End Road, Basingstoke Road, A33 Basingstoke Road, B3270 Lower Earley Way, A327 Shinfield Road and Hollow Lane or by this route in reverse

Works requiring this restriction will take place between 4th June and 5th June 2020 between 20:00 and 05:00.

The reason for these prohibitions is to allow Wokingham Borough Council contractors to undertake anti-skid work in safety.

Access for residents and businesses within the boundaries of these restrictions will be maintained at all times.

The restriction imposed by the Order shall only apply during those periods when traffic signs complying with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 are lawfully displayed.

The dates of these restrictions may be subject to change.

 

We apologise for any inconvenience that these restrictions may cause.

 

Regards,

 

Street Works Team

Highways and Transport Team

Wokingham Borough Council

Tel: 0118 974 6000

 

Sign up for text and email alerts for emergency and planned highway works at http://www.wokingham.gov.uk/community-and-safety/emergencies/borough-alert/

 

Wokingham-Highway-Alliance-Logo-(email-sig)

Loddon Reach is now online (no hardcopies at present)

The Loddon Reach magazine is not being printed and put through your letterbox during lockdown. The April/May version was on-line and the Bumper Summer Issue  (June/July/August) is being made possible by a generous grant from the Shinfield Parish Council. You can see the latest edition at www.loddonreach.org.uk . The magazine is on the homepage – just tap or hover over it and select ‘full screen’ to view it, then you can click the arrow on the right of each page to turn the pages. The Bumper Edition will be available from Monday 1st June.

re3 recycling centres to re-open next week on restricted basis with a booking system in place

re3 recycling centres to re-open next week on restricted basis with a booking system in place
To gain access to sites, residents will have to book a time slot using a ‘Click & Tip’ service
The re3 recycling centres on Longshot Lane, Bracknell and Smallmead Island Road, Reading will reopen on 18th May, Monday with a booking system in place. The sites have been temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

An online booking system, ‘Click and Tip’ will open at 10AM, 15th May, Friday and residents of Bracknell Forest, Reading and Wokingham Boroughs will be able to book a time slot via the webform provided on the local councils and re3 websites. Bookings will be available for slots from 8am – 6pm, Monday to Sunday, and residents can book up to 7 days in advance. Due to the limited number of booking slots available, with the sites only operating at 50% of usual capacity, residents are urged to continue to safely store waste at home and only make a booking if the trip to the recycling centres is essential.

More information can be found on the re3 website.
Bookings will go live on 10AM, Friday and residents can make a booking via the webform: Click&Tip service.

The health of residents and staff is always the highest priority, so everyone visiting the reopened sites must follow traffic signs, staff advice and adhere to the social distancing measures that have been put in place.
To ensure that social distancing guidelines are adhered, the following safety measures will be introduced on both sites:
– Limiting the number of vehicles allowed at the site at any one time.
– All visitors are required to keep the appropriate distance from each other, at least 2m apart.
– To minimise unnecessary contact with staff, residents should display their proof of address through closed windows and use contactless payments for transactions if possible.
– No assistance for unloading can be provided by site staff who will be available to direct the public and manage residents parking.
– In line with Public Health England guidance, residents who are vulnerable, or who are showing symptoms which may indicate coronavirus, must not visit the recycling centres.
Things to remember when visiting the re3 sites at Longshot Lane, Bracknell and Smallmead, Reading:
– You must make a booking before you visit the site. If you do not having a booking you will be refused entry.
– Please bring proof of address that shows you are a resident of Bracknell Forest, Wokingham or Reading such as driving licence, a council tax bill or a utility bill and place it on your dashboard for staff to see.
– You must arrive at the time of your booked slot.
– You must come in the car for which you made your booking (identified by the number plate).
– Visitors who come without a booking, outside of their booked slot, without a proof of residency or in a different car from the booking will be turned away.
– We will accept all usual items, including chargeable waste, so plan your visit when loading your car as it will help minimise the amount of time on site.
– There may be delays accessing the site and possibly queues of waiting vehicles, so please have all your documents available.
– Please be patient and follow the instructions of staff onsite at all times.

Council approves strategy to TACKLE fly-tipping

Date:                   27 April 2020

Issued by:           Rebecca Bird

Issue No: 66/20

Version:   0.1

 

Council approves strategy to TACKLE fly-tipping

At the first virtual meeting of its executive committee on Wednesday 22 April, Wokingham Borough Council approved a strategy aimed at tackling the growing problem with fly-tipping.

 

Fly-tipping has been on the increase in recent years, but has seen an additional increase in the last couple of weeks due to the closure of the rubbish and recycling centres. All waste and recycling kerbside services are running normally and the decision to close the tips is being assessed on a daily basis.

 

Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of waste or rubbish on public or private land, and is a significant blight on our local environment; a hazard to wildlife; and a nuisance.

 

Within Wokingham Borough there were 1298 incidents of fly-tipping during 2019/20 and 1171 in 2018/19.  This is an average of approximately 100 fly-tips per month.  These figures exclude much of the waste dumped on private land, which landowners are liable to dispose of at considerable cost.

 

The most common type of fly-tipped waste found in Wokingham Borough is household waste (black bags), followed by construction waste.

 

This strategy will help ensure the borough’s residents, businesses and landowners understand their responsibility for their waste and shows how the council will work with all partners to keep the borough clean and deliver a pro-active approach to tackle waste crime.

 

Specifically, the strategy includes information about how the council will deliver against the following specific aspects of activity:

  • Prevention
  • Communication
  • Reporting Incidents
  • Responding to Incidents
  • Enforcement
  • Working with Partners

– MORE –

 

 

The strategy includes a comprehensive action plan for how the council and its partners will work to reduce the impact of fly-tipping across the borough.  A selection of key actions for 2020 are:

  • Install additional signage in higher risk areas across the borough
  • Deploy CCTV in hotspot areas
  • Work closely with town and parish councils to identify and tackle local fly-tipping hotspots
  • Promote campaigns made up of interested parties working in partnership to prevent and tackle fly-tipping
  • Publicise existing council waste collection service, including bulky waste collection
  • Keep up-to-date information on responsibilities for residents, businesses and landowners in one place on the council website
  • Clear fly-tipped waste on public land within five working days of reporting
  • Attach a large orange sticker on each fly-tip after it has been inspected to confirm to residents that it is due to be cleared
  • Regularly inspect businesses’ waste disposal arrangements
  • Issue fixed penalty notices for fly-tipping and to businesses without the correct waste disposal arrangements
  • Publicise fixed penalty notices and convictions
  • Provide landowners with advice on how to deal with clearance and disposal of fly-tipped waste
  • Establish a network to share intelligence on fly-tipping incidents, best practice and resources on prevention and enforcement between partner organisations
  • Provide feedback to residents on the result of investigations and any subsequent prosecutions

 

“Fly-tipping has been on the increase and we have made tackling fly-tipping a high priority over the last year,” said Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure. “Not only is fly-tipping illegal but is an eyesore, a blight on our beautiful towns and countryside, but it also adds to the risk of flooding by blocking ditches and gulleys. We just should not have to tolerate this illegal behaviour and we are doing everything we can to try and stop it.”

 

“So let this be a warning to those contemplating this illegal fly-tipping practise. We are watching and monitoring you. We have installed CCTV cameras and our staff are out there watching anyone fly-tipping illegally. Those caught will be punished through on the spot fines and may even face jail for persistent abuse of our beautiful countryside through the ugly practise of illegal fly-tipping”.

– ENDS –

 

Further information:

  1. More from executive member for environment and leisure, Cllr Parry Batth at parry.batth@wokingham.gov.uk

Wokingham Borough Council approves plan to improve public rights of way

Wokingham Borough Council approves plan to improve public rights of way

 

Wokingham Borough Council’s plan to improve its Public Rights of Way (PROW) network has been approved by its decision-making executive after extensive public consultation with residents, local community groups and town and parish councils.

 

The network, which consists of 233km of PROW, is 15% of the total highway network within Wokingham Borough and is used by thousands of residents to travel across the borough as part of their regular commute, and more relevant now for daily exercise during the Coronavirus pandemic.

 

Great progress was made over the previous ten year plan with new rights of way in the council’s major development areas; resurfacing pathways that link to schools, local amenities and public transport; replacing stiles in conjunction with the Loddon Valley Ramblers; preventing the illegal use of paths; and more.

 

The plan for the next ten years will build upon this work, and contains 84 actions to fill gaps, improve information about the network, and create more off-road links between towns and more circular routes, as well as increasing accessibility and improving surfaces and drainage, while protecting river banks and helping encourage wildlife.

 

After significant consultation with the public, the original improvement plan was updated to include, as requested, a new revised list of proposed routes, as well as a greater emphasis on creating multi-use routes instead of cycle routes, which allow horse riding and cycling.

 

The new plan also takes into consideration any changes that would restrict existing vehicle access and looks at other options to balance the needs of all users while encouraging increased engagement with vehicle user groups to solve problems on byways.

 

“There have been many successes over the past 10 years. Looking forward to the next 10 years, we need to build on the work that has been done and take it to the next level,” said Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure.

 

“Encouraging use of the network has always been a part of our plan, but now more than ever we hope to encourage the use of sustainable transport. We are going to create more walking and cycling routes between towns and villages so a greener way of travelling is possible and more appealing.

 

“We are grateful to all our residents and local communities who have provided vital feedback through the consultation which has allowed us to update our improvement plan and provide a proposal that will benefit our residents for the next ten years and beyond.”

 

Public rights of way are public footpaths, bridleways, restricted byways and byways. They are a crucial part of a wider network which includes public parks, nature parks, permitted routes, cycle routes and the wider highway network.

 

For further details visit www.wokingham.gov.uk and search ‘Footpaths and Bridleways’.

 

-ENDS-

For further information please contact Cllr Parry Batth at parry.batth@wokingham.gov.uk