The Third Reading Bridge

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You can’t write a blog about Reading without tackling the longest standing local talking point.  Awful traffic jams on all approaches to the existing Caversham and Reading Bridges are the bane of lives both sides of the river – it’s not hard to see why more capacity is needed.  When it comes to Reading’s Third Bridge saga, the only difficult question to answer is for exactly how many decades this idea has been discussed and procrastinated: I’m afraid I can’t do any better than ‘many’.

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The Third Reading Bridge

Smallmead and Small minds

What can a council do to make itself as unpopular as practically possible?  The bright sparks down the road at West Berks have hit on the perfect formula.  It turns out that there are four key factors to ensure universal discontent:

  1. Mess something up related to household waste – for many the bins are the showpiece local council responsibility – “it’s your one job!”, cries Joe Public
  2. Waste public money – always key to maximising disgruntlement
  3. Bicker amongst yourselves or your neighbours – nothing riles more than seeing elected representatives turning toddler-esque tantrums or taking their toys and sulking in the corner.
  4. Unfairness – if you screw everyone over you’ll only ever achieve a mild grumble.  To truly enrage you have to arbitrarily target one subset of your electorate for your punishment.

Having identified the right recipe, the Newbury authority has validated its accuracy with devastating effect, combining lashings of each ingredient to produce what can only be described as “the mother of all unpopular policies”.

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Smallmead and Small minds

Reading 2050 -The plan for the Tram

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What is #Reading2050?

A couple of weeks ago I attended an exhibition in town called Reading 2050.  The initiative seeks to create a vision for the development of the town.  Their representative was an enthusiastic Scottish lady who talked visitors through some glossy but fairly non-specific visuals.  Their document talks of three alternative visions:

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Reading 2050 -The plan for the Tram

Should we abolish Wokingham Borough?

WokinghamSign

This blog is not generally intended to be political.  However, there are a few subjects where it just can’t be helped.  In 1998 Berkshire County Council was abolished and replaced with six unitary authorities.  With those councils currently agonising over setting their 2016 tax rates, this seems like an opportune moment to stand back and take a look at the system implemented nearly two decades ago.

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Should we abolish Wokingham Borough?