Lib Dems are pleased to report the success of their campaign to bring public toilets back to Woodley. Wokingham Borough Council is expected to approve plans and allocate money for toilets in Woodley at their meeting on 30th May.
Sam Rahmouni Lib Dem Councillor for Bulmershe said “Many Lib Dems have worked hard to get proper public toilets back into Woodley after they were so callously taken away by the Conservatives. I know many residents in my ward of Bulmershe will be happy with what Lib Dems working together have managed to achieve”.
Amanda Downes, Lib Dem Woodley Town Councillor for Bulmershe said “Pressure by a Lib Dem controlled Woodley Town Council forced a U-Turn by the Conservatives leadership in Wokingham, who had abandoned proper public toilets in favour of the much hated ‘local loo scheme’ she added “Lets hope that Conservatives in Woodley who grabbed power with the aid of the former Lib Dem Councillor Cllr Lesley Hayward do not undo all our good work”.
Beth Rowland said “Surely not even the Conservative group in Woodley could attempt to claim credit for these new toilets as they have only been in charge for a number of days and the new Conservative leader of Woodley Town Council, Cllr Baker, has always been a key Conservative spokesperson against the need for proper public toilets”.
We are all being told by pollsters that resident’s faith in politicians in general is at an all time low. The antics of the Conservatives and their new ally Cllr Hayward can have made it no better, with their coup on Woodley Town Council at the recent Full Council meeting. The control of the council changed from Lib Dem to Conservative without an elector casting a vote. Since then one of the moves by a newly Independent Cllr Cox to nominate a Conservative to the Leisure Services Committee has been ruled invalid and Cllr Mark Willson’s place on the committee has been revoked.
Phil Challis Deputy Leader of the Lib Dem group said “Lesley Hayward became an Independent when, rather than stay in the Lib Dems whilst the party investigated irregularities in the branch, she resigned from the party and her role of Chair of the local Lib Dem branch at the same time” Phil added “With a single Independent member, the council was hung at 12 seats to each main party and Lib Dems offered to form a power sharing administration with the Conservatives but they chose another course of action”
Beth Rowland, Leader of the Lib Dem group said “In a controversial move, the day before Full Council, Conservative Cllr Nick Cox declared himself Independent, which changed the way that committee places were allocated on proportionality” Beth added “A newly ‘independent’ Cllr Cox then proceeded to nominate a Conservative member for what should have been an Independent position on Leisure Services. This gerrymandering has been ruled to be against the council’s Standing Orders and Conservative Cllr Mark Willson has been removed from the Leisure Services committee with immediate effect”.
Phil Challis said “It is unbelievable that the Conservatives really seemed to think that it would be acceptable to residents that they should have the majority of committee places when they actually have fewer seats on the council than Lib Dems”
Beth Rowland said that “I am also very concerned that in electing Mayor Cllr Soanes to be Chair of Leisure Services Committee, that the Conservatives have politicised the role of the Town Mayor. When Lib Dems were in charge we always took the town clerk’s advice that the Mayor should be above politics and that the Mayor should not be the chair of any of the political committees.” Beth added “I didn’t really need the advice from the town clerk’s as it just seemed to me that is what resident’s would think was the right thing to do! However the Conservatives have other ideas about what is right and what is wrong and this controversial move just confirms to me the contempt that Conservatives seem to have for residents”.
Kay Gilder, chair of the Woodley Town Council Lib Dem Group said “These are not the only irregularities about the events at the Full Council and Lib Dems are making a submission to the Standards Committee regarding some of the issues – this is not just sour grapes – its about making sure that councillors behave in a way that residents should expect”.
The Lib Dems in Wokingham have been campaigning for years for short term free parking in the Borough to help boost trade and are delighted that one local MP, John Redwood, has been converted to the cause. Mr Redwood is asking for some free parking in Wokingham town to allow people to pop in to buy a newspaper or a loaf of bread without being deterred by car park charges.
Phil Challis, Deputy Leader Woodley Town Council, said: “I have long campaigned for an area of short term free parking in Woodley as it is important element in attracting people into the town. After the somewhat negative responses from Wokingham Borough’s Conservative leadership in the past, I welcome the recent conversion of John Redwood MP to the idea, let’s hope he can persuade the Tory Executive at Wokingham Borough to come on board – for all our towns in the area not just Wokingham”.
Leader of the Lib Dem Group on Wokingham Borough Council, Prue Bray said: “The Lib Dems featured a free half-hours parking in our election campaign in 2011. We are pleased to see at least one Conservative coming on board, let’s hope others follow!”
Local Liberal Democrats will continue to press the Borough’s Conservatives to not just focus on Wokingham Town and call for parking initiatives to be introduced to benefit all the Borough’s town centres.