On 5th May, residents of Wokingham Borough will go the polls, asked to decide who your councillor should be.
It’s disappointing that leaflets produced by the Liberal Democrats and Labour – and the rant by the Council’s Opposition Leader in last week’s paper – are relentlessly focused on what’s going on in Westminster.
Local elections are incredibly important but are so often not given the attention they deserve. These elections are about how your local community is run and who oversees many services that affect your daily life.
This is a local election!
We are arguably the best council in the land; the healthiest and most prosperous and one of the most desirable places to live. We have high-performing schools equipping young people with the skills and education for the future. Many small, medium and large businesses are locating within our borough.
We deliver excellent services for you. Thanks to careful management, we are one of the few councils that still collects bins every week and have also added food waste collection. We have undertaken a comprehensive programme of rebuilding and refurbishing leisure centres across the Borough. We have invested more than £100million in new roads to tackle congestion, at the same time as creating new cycleways and greenways and working to maintain and enhance the kinds of bus services that are being axed in other areas.
This has not all happened by accident but by twenty years of good conservative administration.
We have the lowest level of deprivation and the lowest level of government funding. We are not complacent and have a full programme which is embodied in our three-year financial plan to make the Borough a better safer, happier, and more secure place to live. We never forget that the only reason we are here is to serve our residents.
We face difficult times ahead; it is no time for novices. As with the last few years, the Borough needs a steady and experienced hand on the tiller, the adverse winds are gale force and increasing. There are only too many Councils going into financial difficulties; a Council which is bust is no good to anyone.
The Conservatives have a clear programme if we are re-elected on 5th May. We know that many are struggling with the cost of living, and we will continue to issue grants to help individuals and businesses. We will freeze car parking charges, helping businesses and customers alike. We will maintain the Council Tax Reduction Scheme to help the least well-off in our community, something which Labour and the Liberal Democrats refused to vote for.
We will build new primary and secondary schools to meet the demand for places, including the first Special Educational Needs school in Winnersh. Spending on adult social care will be increased to £61million, with a greater focus on individual need.
To keep our roads congestion-free, we will introduce a smart traffic system, invest in expanding our road network, create more cycle lanes, and ensure that utility companies can’t dig up roads where other nearby roads are already closed.
Wokingham was rated as the healthiest place to live in 2021. We are determined that this continues and will continue investing in greenways and leisure centres to help people keep fit and active. I was the first Council Leader to declare a Climate Emergency, and our plan to tackle has been rated one of the best in the country. Alongside our Action Plan, we will plant 250,000 new trees and build four new solar farms.
As the Borough is such an attractive place to live, we know that young people don’t want to be forced to move away when they decide to leave home. We have built and will build 300 new social homes per year and invest £57million to build and modernise social and affordable housing. At the same time, we will continue to fight against developers looking to profit by dropping too many houses in the wrong location. We’ve successfully worked with the Government to reduce our housing numbers, which we will continue to seek to reduce to a level that is reasonable for our area. We are also working collaboratively with the Government to get changes to the planning system to stop housing going in the wrong places. We will continue to pursue developers to ensure that they pay their fair share towards local infrastructure.
Your choice at these elections is a local Conservative Council with a record of delivery and a plan for the future – or Liberal Democrat and Labour parties obsessed with what is going on at Westminster and no ideas about your local area.
Please support the best for Wokingham Borough by voting Conservative with your postal vote or at the polling station on Thursday 5th May.