Lib Dems on Wokingham Borough Council are shocked by the lack of gritting and clearing of the borough’s car parks when compared to the council’s own staff car park at Shute End which has been cleared.
Councillor Phil Challis said “I was amazed at how clear the car park at the Wokingham Borough Council’s offices was when I attended a meeting today (Tuesday 12th). Since the snows I have been receiving phone calls from residents about the poor state of the roads and car parks around the borough and was shocked to see how much effort had gone into clearing the staff car park, when nothing appears to have been done in the public car parks.”
The attached photos show the councils own car park and the adjacent public car park managed by the council and clearly show how well the council’s own car park has been cleared of snow and the disastrous state of the public car park next door.
Lib Dem Group Leader Councillor Prue Bray said “This gives the impression to the public that the council is more concerned about itself than its residents. The council should remember that residents pay council tax and are actually charged to park.
Wokingham Liberal Democrats have welcomed the borough council’s decision to provide funding for bus services in Woodley and Earley, previously cut by Reading Buses, to be retained. The one year subsidy, approved last Thursday, will secure the future of the No 62, the No 22 and the No 83 bus routes.
Cllr Prue Bray, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Wokingham Borough Council, said, ‘We are especially pleased to see the Number 62 service saved. Our recent bus survey showed that this particular service is seen as a lifeline by many residents. However, this is not a completely satisfactory solution, as people in Mohawk Way will see their off peak service reduce from four buses an hour to one an hour, whilst Earley residents will see their off peak service halved.’
Cllr Phil Challis, Wokingham Borough Councillor for Loddon, said: ‘The Conservatives must make sure that Wokingham Borough Council is not held to ransom by bus companies again. They must make sure that the contracts awarded are well written and ensure that when business picks up again, as we emerge from recession, that the services can be restored without the need for subsidies. It is also important that we get accurate figures on the number of users, ticket sales and income from the operators in this contract so that everyone can see value of these routes to the community.’
The Lib Dems are calling on the Conservatives to apologise to residents for the way they have run Wokingham Borough Council following the latest judgement on the council’s performance from the Audit Commission and Ofsted, published on 9th December.
The Audit Commission has rated Wokingham as only “adequate” overall, putting it firmly in the bottom half of councils, the majority of which are “good” or “excellent”. Wokingham was also only adequate for both the way it manages it performance and for its use of resources. Slough is the only other council in Berkshire which has not been rated as “good” overall – and they have received a “good” rating, for the way they managed their performance.
In an even more damning judgement, Ofsted has rated Wokingham’s Children’s Services as “poor” because of shortcomings in the council’s safeguarding service, making it one of the worst in the country.
Leader of the Opposition on the council, Lib Dem Councillor Prue Bray, said “Wokingham residents have been let down by the Conservatives. There are no two ways about it. They have run the council badly and services are not as good as they should be. Most worryingly, Ofsted has identified a number of failings in the services that are supposed to make sure children are kept safe. There is a new team now in Children’s Services who are seeking to put things right, and there are signs that they are starting to turn things round. I really hope they can. But the Conservatives should never have got the council into this situation in the first place.
“What I find most frustrating is that every time we raise our concerns about Conservative failures, they accuse us of playing politics. But how can we keep quiet when we can see so many things going wrong? The Conservatives try to pretend everything they are doing is wonderful. They would do better to own up to their mistakes – then perhaps we would have a chance of improving council services.”