The Whitley Pump

The view from Katesgrove Hill

Category: Opinion (page 1 of 3)

A Panegyric on Martijn Gilbert, Ex-CEO of Reading Buses

‘Destination Zoë Andrews’ at the Reading Buses July 2018 open day. Photo (c) Zoë Andrews

I hadn’t lived in Reading properly since 2010 when I moved back in 2015. Throughout university in Cardiff, I regularly came home. One of the comfort blankets of home was the buses. I lived in both Cardiff and Bristol between my spells of being back in the ‘ding, and I can tell you something categorically: we have a very good bus service in comparison to elsewhere.

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The changing nature of Christchurch Green

Christchurch Road parade, Reading

I’ve occupied my present home in Northcourt Avenue, Reading for 30 years, but I’ve lived in the Whitley area my whole life. In that time, I’ve witnessed a lot of change as Reading has grown and the number of people living and working in the town has followed suit. Traffic and parking issues appear to be an inevitable part of this growth.

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Reading’s Transport Strategy 2036 Consultation comes to south Reading

The first drop-in event for Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) Transport Strategy 2036 consultation will take place at the south Reading community hub, 252 Northumberland Avenue, on Tuesday 6 August from 3pm until 6.30pm.

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“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”

Feeding Frenzy

In times of austerity, when Reading Borough Council (RBC) are struggling to finance basic services, the one-off uplift in special responsibility allowances (SRA) which will be proposed at tonight’s RBC full council meeting looks like a greedy move which is difficult to accept.

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Liam Challenger, the Labour Party candidate in the Katesgrove local election

Liam Challenger Katesgrove Labour Party local election candidate 2019

Liam Challenger is standing as a Labour Party candidate in the local election on Thursday 2 May. There are four candidates in Katesgrove, and the winner will become a local councillor at Reading Borough Council. We asked each candidate the same eight questions to learn more about them.

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Natalie Greenstreet, the Conservative Party candidate in the Katesgrove local election

Natalie Greenstreet, Katesgrove Conservative Party local election candidate 2019

Natalie Greenstreet is standing as a Conservative Party candidate in the local election on Thursday 2 May. There are four candidates in Katesgrove, and the winner will become a local councillor at Reading Borough Council. We asked each candidate the same eight questions to learn more about them.

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Peter Kinsley, the Liberal Democrat candidate in the Katesgrove local election

Peter Kinsley, Katesgrove Liberal Democrat local election candidate 2019

Peter Kinsley is standing as a Liberal Democrat candidate in the local election on Thursday 2 May. There are four candidates in Katesgrove, and the winner will become a local councillor at Reading Borough Council. We asked each candidate the same eight questions to learn more about them.

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Louise Keane, the Green Party candidate in the Katesgrove local election

Louise Keane, Katesgrove Green Party local election candidate 2019. Photo: Louise Keane.

Louise Keane is standing as a Green Party candidate in the local election on Thursday 2 May. There are four candidates in Katesgrove, and the winner will become a local councillor at Reading Borough Council. We asked each candidate the same eight questions to learn more about them.

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Don’t look at this thing! Look at that thing, over there!

By Scaramouche.

Reading Borough Council treated the town to a masterclass in diversion and obfuscation at their council meeting of 26 February, only managing to clarify that councillors were not obliged to clarify anything, and that rather than asking pettyfogging questions about how they were spending their money, the public should bask in the glow of virtue signalling instead.

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Will I know my special place?

By Tamana Hamidy.

Kabul, by Masoud Akbari via Wikimedia Commons

The end of the year is a time when people from all around the world turn to thoughts of home and family. This year, Tamana Hamidy, who is learning English in Reading, sends a letter of love back to her home town of Kabul.

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Technical fault at Reading Borough Council

By Scaramouche.

Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) lead councillor for health, wellbeing and sport Graeme Hoskin unexpectedly started channelling Little Dorrit at the policy committee meeting on 29 October. It is gratifying to know that in this era of austerity RBC can still maintain the high standards of circumlocution and inaction for which all levels of English government are justly famed.

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Community acts together to defeat Milman Road parking ban

West end of Milman Road

Milman Road residents were surprised in early August 2018 when Reading Borough Council (RBC) put up a notice at the west end of the road saying they proposed to permanently ban parking there.

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Could St Laurence’s drinking fountain flow again?

St Laurence’s Church Fountain

Always a nice moment when conflicting agendas collide and something good comes of it for everyone. During the ‘questions from the public and councillors’ section of an edgy and rancorous Reading Borough Council (RBC) policy committee on 24 September, councillor Tony Page seemed to suggest that St Laurence’s drinking fountain could flow again.

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Reading Borough Council accounts 2016/17 expected to be qualified

An Inca quipucamayoc with quipu and yupana

The Reading Borough Council (RBC) financial year 2016/17 ended on 31 March 2017. The statutory deadline for signing off its accounts was 30 September 2017. The report going to the next RBC Audit and Governance committee on 27 September 2018 says that this sign-off is not now expected until October or early November; this is over a year late.

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That’s the way to do it!

By Scaramouche.

The abrasive relationship between Reading’s Green and Labour parties hit another of its troubled patches at Reading Borough Council‘s (RBC) traffic management sub-committee on 12 September. It devolved into the kind of public row that leads to television news stories where neighbours stare sadly at bloodstained driveways and say “they seemed such a nice couple… ”

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Mamma mia! Italians invade Reading!

Italian students at the English language summer school at Bradfield College. Photo : Pierluigi Lippolis

This year, the Whitley Pump’s very own theatre reviewer Gillie Tunley helped teach English to Italian students at Bradfield College, an impressively beautiful independent school near Theale. The students spent a day in Reading and shared their views on the town.

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Sale of the Central Club

The ‘Black History’ mural

Reading Borough Council (RBC) have agreed to sell the Central Club on London Street in Katesgrove to Red Line. They will develop the site and take over responsibility for the maintenance of the mural. Councillors were at pains to point out at RBC policy committee on 16 July, that the process of finding a new use for the club since it closed in 2006 has been protracted.

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Reading the tea leaves on council finances


Is no news good news? The Whitley Pump antennae are trained downhill on the Civic Offices hoping to pick up any crackle that would indicate some progress on the production of Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) accounts for the two previous years.

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A meeting of mathematical minds

I joined thirteen students from year nine of Whitley’s John Madejski Academy (JMA) on a day trip to Reading University in March this year, organised by the JMA’s head of mathematics, Mrs Pareek.

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30 April – has the audit been completed?

At the Reading Borough Council (RBC) audit and governance committee on 17 April, auditors Ernst & Young (EY) announced that if their audit of accounts for the year ended 31 March 2017 (2016/17) was not completed by today, 30 April 2018, they would have to pull out until August because their resources were needed elsewhere.

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