LIBERAL DEMOCRATS have outlined their vision for the future of Wokingham.
At a special launch event held in the town last week, The Wokingham Paper – the only newspaper present – learnt of the party’s plans for the borough.
- Building council homes
- Protecting the green belt
- Co-ordinating roadworks
- Better communication with residents
- Lobbying for better school funding
- Boosting recycling
- Scaling back the Elms Field and Carnival Pool plans
Cllr Lindsay Ferris told The Wokingham Paper: “We have started to put forward proposals of solid financial basis providing services for the local people and focusing on what people want: local homes for to live locally.
“It is important we feel that the current members have lost their way and we have an opportunity. We believe there are enough residents here who could help us to take control sometime in the future.”
On whether Wokingham would ever vote for the party at next year’s local elections, he said: “People have voted Liberal Democrat in the past and we did run the council for four years in the late 90s.”
Here, we present a round-up of their ideas:
The Liberal Democrats believe that the borough is “under threat from an avalanche of housing” and propose to try and stop that.
“The numbers projected would destroy the very nature of our area. We are being told to take 30% growth in population,” Cllr Ferris said.
“Such growth would lead to gridlock.”
Instead, the Liberals would lobby for a fair system on housing numbers, push for local decision making powers, reduce the number of proposed homes, fight green belt development and also aim to build homes for people in their 20s and 30s.
“We believe now is the time to use some of the borough’s land to provide really affordable homes for local people. We would focus on one- and two-bedroom homes for our younger people plus we would build smaller, lifetime accessible bungalows for our older residents to downsize into.
“We believe there is sufficient land to build 5,000 of these types of homes … the vast majority made available solely for local people.”
“We will ensure the road network is in place before the development is built, provide better co-ordination of works and better communication with the public” was the key message from Cllr Ferris.
“We would put pressure on the Government to increase revenue funding for all our schools, not just secondary schools,” promised Cllr Ferris. “There is also an urgent need to reassess the school support capability provided by WBC.”
ENVIRONMENT AND WASTE
The current council is “complacent” and “lazy” on recycling, Cllr Ferris said.
The party is pledging to keep weekly blue bag collections, assess the need for glass collection and extend the range of plastics recycled.
It would end charges for DIY waste and support actions to improve air quality.
The cost of the regeneration projects are being questioned by the Liberal Democrats: “The interest and increasing cost is currently being ploughed back into the Regeneration Project making it more expensive”.
The Liberals propose scaling back the Elms Field development, introduce spending limits on the projects and spread revenue through the borough.
“We would develop a local transport and parking strategy including one that helps local traders. This would include a temporary free for two hours parking capability.”
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