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VOTE 2018: Independent Jim to stand in Shinfield

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A MAN who battled the council over the long-delayed Shinfield Eastern Relief Road is to stand in Shinfield South.

Independent candidate Jim Frewin said that he is taking on incumbent Conservative Barrie Patman as a result of a lack of trust that he says ward residents have over the borough council.

“In simple terms, I dealt with Wokingham Borough Council over the Shinfield Eastern Relief Road,” he said.

“They were less than helpful, less than forthcoming and tried to hide behind process.”

Mr Frewin, whose home backs on to the road, added: “The lack of trust in the council in Shinfield is pretty high.

“A few people said we needed to do something.”

He felt that the ruling Conservative party on the council had got “very comfortable” as they had been in power for a long time.

“They’ve switched off from their primary agenda of looking after the people,” he said.

He argues that the Conservatives have run the borough with secrecy, highlighting concerns over the University of Reading’s plans for land near its new science park as one such issue, accusing the council of bringing a scheme forward to avoid it clashing with plans to build 15,000 homes in Grazeley.

“And that has been announced as if it was a done deal,” Mr Frewin said.

He pledged to be a transparent candidate if elected.

“I’ll tell people how I voted and why,” he promised. “I’ll put residents first as I have no party. Councillors have a responsibility to their national party, then their local party and then they look at the community. I think that’s absolutely wrong.

“Local councillors should be part of the local community.”

Mr Frewin was optimistic about his chances, but hoped to make an impact on the ballot box.

“I think if I can run close it will be a warning shot across the bow [of the council],” he said. “It’s a reminder as to what their primary purpose should be.”

But one of his opponents, Barrie Patman, felt that Mr Frewin needed to understand how the council works and that some of the complications caused by the Relief Road, which opened 15 months late, were down to the University and its contractors rather than the council.  

“His heart is in the right place,” he told The Wokingham Paper. “But I’m proud of the governing party and our ability to influence what is going in the borough on Shinfield’s behalf.

“An independent councillor only has a single voice and doesn’t have the right to be on the committees. It’s difficult for anyone in that position.”

Also standing in Shinfield South is Christopher Johnson (Liberal Democrats) and Marcus McDowell (Labour).

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Phil Creighton

Publisher of The Wokingham Paper

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