We exist to serve you
Our goal is to provide to you the best quality services and the best value for money we can.
It is your taxes the council spends after all. You deserve to know that they are being spent wisely and prudently wherever it is required on your behalf.
According to recent surveys, Wokingham Borough is already the healthiest place to live in England and one of the top ten places to live in Britain. We are hugely proud of this achievement but we are ambitious to do even more.
Our ambition is to make Wokingham Borough the best place to live, learn, work, grow and do business in Britain.
How will we achieve it?
The best services for you
Cllr John Kaiser said “Both the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy and the global accountancy experts Ernst and Young state that Wokingham is one of the best managed councils financially in the country. Total net debt is just £83million vs. total assets in excess of £1.4billion.”
We are committed to delivering the best value for money possible in all of the services we provide you.
- We are determined to maintain our position as one of the best managed councils financially in Britain, with assets far in excess of our borrowings.
- We will continue to identify new income streams that allow us to become less reliant on taxes for income and be able to fund more non-statutory services without additional cost to you.
- We are committed to making our council services easier for all residents to access, regardless of ability or capability.
- We are committed to continuing to improve our communications and transparency, so you know what we are spending your council taxes on, and more importantly, why.
- We are committed to investing in vital infrastructure to ensure it is available when it is needed.
“During the pandemic we haven’t cut any services other than the ones that lockdown has forced us to temporarily close,” said Leader of the Council, Cllr John Halsall, “We didn’t furlough any of our staff. Instead, we redeployed 120 people to support the front-line Covid response, assisting residents, delivering over 5,000 food parcels and 917 prescriptions, conducting over 19,000 welfare checks and making 3,500 calls to vulnerable adults.”
The best place to live
Conservatives want Wokingham Borough to be a vibrant, inclusive and diverse community with opportunities for all.
- We are committed to combating poverty, inequality, anti-social behaviour and homelessness across our borough. In a community as affluent as Wokingham no one should live in poverty.
- We will continue to help all those in need of assistance, support and a place to live by continuing to reduce instances of rough sleeping and homelessness across our borough.
- We are committed to ensuring everyone has a home in our community.
As we emerge from the pandemic it is vital that we continue to support those vulnerable, at risk and elderly residents in our community who have been forced to deal with many months of isolation and uncertainty.
Conservatives are committed to continuously improving our care services, providing greater focus on individual need over statutory requirement.
We will continue to work with the voluntary sector, and the ‘One Front Door’ to ensure that all our residents have access to the help and support they need as life returns to normal.
“The dedication and commitment of our volunteers in supporting our community over the last 12 months has been outstanding,” said Cllr Charles Margetts. “Very soon we will be welcoming the charity ‘MIND’ to our community. The support they will offer the mental health of our residents post-pandemic will be invaluable to many across our borough.”
- We are committed to creating more opportunities for our young people to find careers or work experience and also access new affordable accommodation, leisure facilities, social opportunities and open spaces.
- We are committed to improving the way residents move around our borough.
- Conservatives will invest into the quality of our roads, pavements, paths, green ways and cycleways.
- We will invest in smart traffic light systems to ease congestion, improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions.
Cllr Pauline Jorgensen said “We will invest £4.8 million in road repairs over the next 12 months, which is double what we spent last year. 2020 was already one of the busiest years ever for highways repairs as we used the Covid travel ban period to conduct repairs that otherwise would have disrupted traffic. We are spending £94million on roads, cycleways and paths, reducing congestion and increasing air quality as well.”
- Conservatives are committed to fighting the causes and prosecuting the perpetrators of fly-tipping.
- We will continue to oppose unnecessary speculative house building using all means available.
“In 2020 we successfully stood up to our own government and led the national charge against the proposed changes to the national house building targets,” said Cllr Wayne Smith. “Those plans would have required the council to double the number of houses built across our borough each year. We are now working to ensure a fair house building target for Wokingham Borough. The council has also retained the best property barrister in the country to help us fight planning appeals, like the one successfully defeated at Woodcray.”
- We will build 1,000 new council, social, affordable and key worker homes over the next four years.
- We will support our residents to lead active, healthy lifestyles by investing in greenways, cycle paths and world class leisure facilities.
“Over the last five years we have invested more than £50million into building new, or updating, existing sports and leisure facilities across Wokingham Borough,” said Cllr Pauline Helliar-Symons. “Loddon Valley, Bulmershe, Ryeish Green & Arborfield, California Country Park, Emmbrook, Cantley Park, Arborfield Primary, Dinton Pastures and the Carnival Pool have all received significant investment into their facilities. There are more than 90 parks and accessible green spaces across the borough along with over 170km of greenways and public rights of way. Once we have emerged from lockdown there really will be no excuse for residents not to get up, get moving and get exploring all that our wonderful borough has to offer.”
Conservatives are committed to investing into the future of all our communities investing to keep our streets secure, reducing instances of anti-social behaviour and keeping our low crime thus enabling opportunities to live, learn, work and grow across the borough.
The best place to learn
Conservatives are committed to ensuring every school in our borough attains a minimum of a ‘GOOD’ Ofsted rating.
We have planned to build three new primary schools and expand special educational provision within our borough.
Cllr UllaKarin Clark says, “Every child in our borough deserves the best start in life possible. Even though we can’t influence many aspects of our school’s curriculums or admissions process, we can ensure they are supported in offering the best learning environment possible.”
We are committed to expanding opportunities for continuing adult learning for all our communities, including retraining for those who have lost their jobs as a result of Covid.
The best place to work
- Conservatives are committed to ensuring that everyone throughout Wokingham Borough has access to work and employment opportunities.
- We will continue to build a diverse economy, providing access to opportunities for all, encouraging new industry sectors to make Wokingham Borough their base.
- We are committed to ensure there is adequate high-speed broadband in all areas of our community, enabling residents to access the vital communication tools they need for their work and personal lives.
“Soon, the Wokingham Employment Hub will open across the borough” said Cllr John Kaiser. “This will bring together employment opportunities across multiple industries, along with help and support for those seeking employment. We see this as an essential element of getting our community back to work post Covid.”
The best place to grow
Conservatives are committed to protecting our environment for future generations. We are extremely proud to have been the party that proposed declaring a Climate Emergency in Wokingham Borough and are honoured that it is our Action Plan that is reducing our carbon footprint.
Our environmental vision is to be a Net Carbon Neutral Borough by 2030. To help achieve this we have set out some very clear goals:
1. Dramatically reduce the volume of waste we produce.
2. Extend our recycling program to include 70% of our waste.
3. Send Zero Waste to Landfill
4. Eliminate non-essential Single Use Plastics from the council’s supply chain and operations.
5. Build four solar farms, generating clean energy for at least a third of the homes in our borough.
6. Plant 250,000 new trees, including 10,000 on residential properties
7. Set home building conditions that require the highest levels of carbon and energy efficiency in their construction and use.
8. Invest in sustainable alternative transport options for moving us around our borough and to support growing electric vehicle usage by building necessary infrastructure.
9. Protect our green spaces, encourage biodiversity and protect our veteran trees.
“Our declaration of Climate Emergency is changing everything that we do as a council,” said Cllr Gregor Murray, “It is rightly front and centre in all our thinking. We have come a long way in the last two years, but the hardest work is still to come. What is satisfying is that our work is being held up as best practice and supported by many external bodies. One example is the recent £300,000 grant given to Wokingham Borough by the Woodland Trust to support our tree planting and maintenance program. We are one of only ten councils to be awarded first phase funding and I am hugely proud of the role I played in making this happen for our community.”
The best place to do business
For many years Conservatives in Wokingham have sought to support and encourage businesses of all sizes. Throughout the pandemic we have supported our local economy: distributing more than £60million in business rates relief and in business support and discretionary grants.
The important regeneration work has brought new retailers, cafes, bars and entertainment venues to Wokingham town and is a model that is hoped will be expand to other communities in our borough.
Over the next five years it will be essential for us to continue to help our local economy recover and grow again following the pandemic. Conservatives are committed to working with all businesses in our community to help them build back better following the pandemic.
We are committed to creating new job opportunities across our borough by encouraging existing businesses to expand, and by bringing new businesses and industries to our community, particularly those in the ‘green economy’.
“There has never been a more important time to support local businesses and help them thrive,” said Cllr Stuart Munro. “The recent announcement of the new Shinfield Film Studios is a great addition to our local economy and will bring employment for skilled trades people, for support industries and for the arts community, many of whom have been hardest hit by the pandemic.”
“Conservatives have always been hugely ambitious for Wokingham Borough and we continue to be so,” added John Halsall. “The Covid pandemic has shown us just what can be achieved when our amazing community comes together and sets itself very clear objectives.
“We believe that our goals and objectives are clear. We exist to serve you.
"We want to make Wokingham Borough the very best place to live, learn, work, grow and do business in the country.
"A vote for the Conservatives on May 6th is a vote for the future of our community.