Would you vote for an extra tax? You might be surprised to hear a voting process is underway right now in Reading for exactly that. It’s a simple Yes/No referendum. On this occasion, it’s not residents being polled – frankly nobody’s in a hurry to ask the public to make any more binary political choices at the ballot box. But thankfully it’s not us being taxed either. The votes on two separate town centre “Business Improvement Districts” (BIDs) ask local employers to agree, by way of a majority, to a 1% levy on their business rates (taxes) to fund a range of initiatives to “enhance their trading environment”. Continue reading “Town centre bids for success”→
Having closely followed local news and discussion all year – #rdguk on twitter, various groups on Facebook, /r/reading on Reddit (which is mostly shoo-ing away people trying to talk about books) – I feel I’m well placed to summarise the year’s discourse in the form of a seasonal letter to Santa from us all. I hope you get what you want this Christmas, thank you so much for reading my rambles this year, and best wishes for 2019. Enjoy… Continue reading “Reading’s List for Santa”→
It’s been a while since I posted, and a number of you have been asking for updates on what’s going on around town. Whilst pretty much all of this has been reported in various places, hopefully it’s useful or interesting to pull it all together. And I promise, it’s not all about flats! …Okay, some of it is about flats.
I think residents underestimate the influence they have on the development of our town. One small decision locally stood out for me over the summer: the refusal of flood lights for existing tennis courts in suburban Reading. Whilst the main reason for refusal was linked to the light directly, the documentation reveals local complaints related to noise were also upheld:
“Youthful high spirits!” Look, I’ve nothing to suggest the correct laws and processes weren’t applied. Maybe those laws should be reviewed, but my main point here is that we need people to be more community-spirited than the folk at number 23. Wouldn’t it be great if people directed their energy and influence to making exciting new things happen, rather than constantly protesting against the endeavours of others? As it happens, this week – Wednesday 5th September – you have a chance (actually a second chance) to do exactly that. The council is consulting on initials ideas for the regeneration of a swathe of central Reading, including Hosier St, the former civic centre site, and the police station. I went to the first consultation earlier in the summer. Continue reading “Have your say on Hosier St Plans”→
I find whales fascinating. (Bear with me.) After millions of years, fish evolved into creatures that ultimately ventured out of the water onto land. We lost the gills, gained some lungs, and mammals then roamed the earth. Some of those mammals then stumbled across the oceans and quite enjoyed a swim, eventually giving up the land entirely for an evolutionary path leading to whales. Over a slightly shorter timeframe, we’ve seen the street food concept burst out of the kitchen to roam free. Yet apparently now it’s ready for a further progression – heading back indoors. Like the whale, street food appears to have gone full circle, lured to return to its physically constrained origins. Okay. Tenuous. But you’d get bored with yet another “I’ve just spotted a new planning application…” post wouldn’t you? Continue reading “Street Food heading indoors”→