Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Standing here and only here

All Apolitical - Newbury Town Council, Northcroft Ward

The Conservatives have abandoned the town centre.
The Lib Dems have abandoned their principles.

All eight Apolitical candidates are standing in just two wards Northcroft and Victoria. Each voter can choose two councillors for West Berks District Council and four councillors for Newbury Town Council.

We believe it's important for a councillor who sits on both the District and Town Councils to represent the people of only one ward.

All Apolitical - West Berks District Council, Northcroft Ward

This may sound obvious, yet the Lib Dems are blatantly fielding candidates who are standing in two different wards.

This piece of vanity flies in the face of the work of the Boundary Commission which seeks to define the size of each ward in order to allow equality of access of the people to those who represent them.

Those Lib Dem candidates standing in two wards at once (one is standing for Northcroft in the District election and Falkland in the Town election; another is standing for Speen in the District and Northcroft in the Town) are showing arrogance and lack of respect for the electorate. In the unlikely event that they win, they will create a democratic deficit for those in all three wards.

Or it may be that yet again they are showing their disrepect for the electorate by merely making up the numbers on the party candidate lists in seats they don't believe they will win and do not wish to win.

Opposition for opposition's sake.

We are being asked why the Apolitical candidates are targeting the Town Centre wards. For the plain and simple reason that we all live here!

All Apolitical - Newbury Town Council, Victoria Ward

We're standing here and only here. We think it's important to be fair and local in local government.
All Apolitical - West Berks Council, Victoria Ward

Vote All Apolitical in Newbury Town Centre.

Representation not Confrontation

No more White Elephants!

The Lib Dems are claiming to be the only worthwhile choice of opposition to the Conservatives on West Berkshire District Council. We as Apoliticals don’t believe that the task of our councillors is to support or oppose the big name tribal parties just for the sake of it. We believe that our elected representatives should be exactly that - the representatives of the wishes of the people.

Lib Dem claims in this election:
  • They claim to have ‘negotiated’ the works on the new skate park and play equipment in Victoria Park.
    But these are enabling works to make space for the new Arts Pavilion that the Conservatives want to build! And why start works at the beginning of the school holidays?

  • They claim to be ‘investigating’ the installation of a new Hydro electric scheme on the tow path adjacent to the Lock Stock and Barrel and claim it will part-power the Library.
    It will never be connected directly to the Library, and it is not likely ever to provide enough electricity to keep the lights on in there. And it will take decades to recoup its own carbon footprint in green power generated.

  • They claim ‘to oppose’ green field development in favour brown field sites.
    Yet they brag about scuppering the redevelopment of the eyesore that is Sterling Mill.

  • They have ‘overseen’ a flood survey which identifies large flood danger Zones in Newbury.
    Yet requests direct to our elected representative for the roadside drains to be cleared in those High Risk areas have fallen on deaf ears. Another four years have passed and still some are untouched.

  • They’ve ‘identified’ that the roads are in a terrible state!
    As our elected representatives, why haven’t they done something about it before now?

  • They ‘claim’ to be pressing for more community wardens then show pictures of real policemen!
    We want to see more real police out from behind their desks and in our Town Centre.

  • They are about to ‘spend’ £5,000 “of our money” putting up signs on a ‘walk’ round the fields to the West of Northcroft.
    We are yet to find anyone who thinks this is a good idea!

  • They claim to be ‘fighting’ for ‘us’ here in the town centre!
    Yet on their watch they allowed the £750,000 of developers contributions, earmarked for the building of a new nursery at Shaw to be given to the Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre.
What we Apoliticals want for the Town:

We want the Council to understand that we are sick of living in a building site. The overwhelming concern of the people we have spoken to, is that Newbury is losing its identity as a small market town. People in the town centre want to stop the continual development; to see more market traders encouraged to the town; for conditions to be put in place that support small independent shops, and to have access to a diverse and vibrant social life.

In the face of cuts we need services, not more capital vanity projects.
We need local people to fight for our rights here in our Town Centre.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Bank holiday Parking Scam!

Cross posted from Charlie Farrow
I've just passed words (not very polite ones in my case) with a Parking Warden who is ticketing cars in the residents parking bay in Berkeley Road. I did the same with the Wardeness on Good Friday too!

Quite apart from the iniquity of paying this bloke £30 an hour (yes that's right!) to do this task on a Bank Holiday, who for heavens' sake do his council masters think they are serving by ticketing today in this quiet residential street?

Certainly not us residents. The only possible benefit to us from this unwanted scheme is to deter shopppers and office workers from hogging the spaces so that we can park near our homes.

But it's Easter Sunday! All offices are shut. Even that temple to capitalism, Tesco, is shut today! The only cars in Berkeley Road belong to the people who live here and to our friends and loved ones who have come to share a festival / holy day with us.

The scheme was introduced against the wishes of Berkeley Roaders who held a public meeting at the Library attended by Council Officers. We agreed unanimously to reject the project. But it was imposed on us anyway!

It's not hard to see why. From the Council's point of view it's a top idea. It is not about easing congestion or making life better for the residents. It is a straight forward revenue earner. It forces the office workers and shoppers into paying in the Town Centre Car Parks, thereby paying for itself. On top of this the penalty tickets are extra earners and the punitive late payement levies and collection charges are obscene.

So today we're paying extortionate overtime to a man to do something we didn't want in the first place, and that is totally inappropriate today, in particular, since there is no congestion to be eased!

Craven Road

It is a fallacy to call it a Residents Parking Scheme, since permits are being sold to people who are not even resident in the ward, as evidenced by the painting out of the word RESIDENT. So clearly even the Council sees that the scheme is not for the residents' benefit.

As the permit scheme is not applied to all roads in the ward, it can be therefore nothing other a local tax selectively and unfairly applied to some resident car users but not to all.

As Apolitical candidates we are pledging:
  • to issue all qualifying residents with two free car permits, as the scheme is self-liquifying from car park revenues;

  • to put a stop to the blatant revenue grabbing persecution of our guests on Sundays and Bank Holidays;

  • and to end this shameful squandering of over-time money on an inappropriate task.
And if Berkeley Roaders decide again to scrap the scheme we promise to abide by their wishes.

Any way, back to my Easter turkey-lurkey, I need to get the veg on!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Vote Apolitical in Newbury Town Centre because...

The Conservatives have abandoned the town centre.
The Lib Dems have abandoned their principles.

Genuinely Local - Genuinely Different

Eight Apolitical candidates are standing for election in Victoria and Northcroft - the Town Centre wards.
We are the only party whose candidates all live here, and are all only standing here!

The Tories are in power on the District Council, but until now it has been the Lib Dems who have control in the Town Centre. On May the 5th you have a chance to make a real difference for change.

What the Liberals have done to the Town Centre:

  • They’ve sat back & allowed the Primary Health Care Trust in Reading to send its addicts to be housed in Newbury as respite from ‘their’ dealers.

  • They’ve actively encouraged housing associations to destroy family homes & gardens, replacing them with blocks of so-called ‘affordable’ housing. These are then allocated, not to families, but to single people whose “disability qualification” for social housing is merely their drug or alcohol addiction.

  • On their watch, we’ve had a drop-in centre and needle exchange sited beside St. Nick’s primary school so addicts can get easy access!

  • They imposed a selective car tax on some of us, under the guise of resident permit parking. A scheme which was not designed to make parking easier for us, but to force people working in Newbury into the town centre car parks.
Over the last four years the residents of Northcroft and Victoria collectively have paid £20million in Council Tax, and in return we have been given cycleways used by smackheads on our kids’ stolen bikes!

In the twelve months since the formation of the coalition, the Liberals have not called in a single useful item for scrutiny at the Council. Their election manifesto does not contain the word Crime!

What we Apoliticals want for the Town:

  • A commitment to encourage Market trading in the Town by reducing stall holders rents.

  • The damage to Victoria park to be made good by the Parkway developers at no extra cost to us.

  • A proper commitment by the police to remove drug dealers from the Town, and to clamp down on anti-social behaviour and vandalism caused by users.

  • Residents who qualify for parking permits to be issued with two free badges for cars.

  • A reduction of traffic on the dual carriageway through town, by the simple alteration of the road sign at the Swan Inn roundabout on the A339, so it directs M4 and North bound traffic from Basingstoke to the A34 by-pass at Tot Hill. Wasn’t that the point of the by-pass?
In the face of cuts we need services, not more capital vanity projects. We need local people to fight for our rights here in our Town Centre.

We are local people standing on local issues of real importance to our community.

'Apolitical' describes a convention of impartiality amongst people active in politics, like the Speaker of the Commons, the Cross-Benchers in the Lords or most parish councillors, who are not subject to the party 'whip' or told what to think by a political party.

Being Apolitical doesn't mean apathy or lack of interest in democracy or local affairs.

We believe we should be guided by our electors' wishes, considered evidence, our real world experience and expertise, and our consciences.

In that order.

Printed, published and promoted by C Farrow on behalf of Apolitical Democrat candidates, all at 59 Berkeley Rd, Newbury RG14 5JG

Apolitical Candidates for Northcroft Ward

You have 2 votes in Northcroft ward
for West Berks District Council
Vote APOLITICAL ~ Vote Yates and Farrow

David Yates stood as Apolitical candidate in the General Election 2010.

He joined the army as an apprentice at age 16, and has lived locally since he first came to Newbury with the army in 1981. Army-trained as a land surveyor, he currently works as a builder.

David is turning 49 the day before polling day. He is married with 4 children, 2 of whom still go to school locally. David is an active parent governor at their school.

He is keen to get away from the kind of knee jerk tribal politics that can see a donkey elected simply for sporting a particular colour of rosette. He believes that a councillor should represent the wishes of the voters, rather than their own or their party's interests.

David's aim is to provide a counter balance to discredited, big-party tribal politics and a credible alternative to the usual out-of-touch politicians.

Charlie Farrow has a background as a marketing professional specialising in the Education sector and has worked in local government.

She has lived in Northcroft ward for twenty years. She is married to David Yates and they have four children, two of whom are still at St Barts School. She is a former Governor of Park House School, and is an active member of the Sustainable Newbury group on Newbury Town Council, for whom she is currently overhauling the website.

She has a love of the history of Newbury and is concerned that its heritage is being squandered with the ever greater needs of 'vanity projects'. She wishes to stop daft capital projects, while maintaining a sound level of service in the face of imposed cuts.

...and 4 votes for Newbury Town Council
Vote APOLITICAL ~ Vote Yates, Farrow, Dennis & Page

John Dennis (40) has lived and worked in the area for 15 years, where his daughter is currently at secondary school. He is a professional Chef currently working as Catering Manager for BUPA.

He is a keen allotment gardener and is passionate about locally sourced, grown and produced food. He cares deeply about the impact of 'food miles' on the economy and the environment, and is keen to see more edible crops planted on and harvested from municipal land. He would like to help promote the education of young people, regarding healthy eating, growing their own food, and to encourage the foraging and wildcrafting of food and herbs.

He has always had a lively interest in political issues but has before now found nothing that appealed to him in the existing parties. He is keen to bring a fresh, new view to the Town Council.

James Page (21) is from Newbury and lives in the town centre.

He achieved good grades from Park House in his GCSEs but chose to enter the world of work at the age of 16 rather than go on to further education.
He completed an
apprenticeship with Malone Roofing and now works full time as a roofing

He is concerned about there being enough opportunities for young people to learn a trade as he has been fortunate enough to do and then for them to be able to find worthwhile employment opportunities locally.

Apolitical Candidates for Victoria Ward.

You have 2 votes in Victoria ward for
West Berks District Council
Vote APOLITICAL ~ Vote Reid and Wallace

Dave Reid (61) has run a variety of pubs around the country. He was based in Cheltenham before moving to Newbury in August 2000 to take over the Coopers Arms. As a Town Centre business man he is well placed to understand trading conditions and issues affecting the town.

"I feel that the standards that I encountered when I first came to Newbury have been allowed to slip and I would like to think that I could help to restore some of these if I'm elected as a Councillor.

Behind my bar I am always accessible to people in the town centre and I have been listening for years to people's ideas and opinions, gripes and moans. I feel it's time for me to try and help to implement or put to rights issues that I have been made aware of."

Iain Wallace (27) has lived in Newbury for sixteen years where he grew up and went to school from the age of eleven. Currently he is Functions Manager at Newbury Rugby Club, prior to which, he managed several local pubs and a local taxi service.

From this highly customer-facing view-point, Iain has been well placed to have seen a lot of change in Newbury - and believes that much of that change has not been in a good way.

He's never got involved in politics before but he believes it's time for a change for the better. And he would like to think he can help with that by standing as an Apolitical candidate for both the District and Town Councils in Victoria ward.

...and 4 votes for Newbury Town Council
Vote APOLITICAL ~ Vote Reid, Wallace, Bell & Farrow

My name is Aaron Bell. I am 19 years old and have always held an interest in politics. I am currently attending Newbury College and am just completing my third year in Carpentry. I attended St Barts School for five years and did well in my GCSEs.

I have always lived and now work part time in Newbury and my main aim is to be a voice for the young people in this town.

Their views and experiences will mould Newbury in the future and it is vitally important that they are heard in order that the policies made for everyone benefit every age range.

Today's youth is tomorrow's parents and Newbury's future.

Alex Farrow is 23.

He has lived in Newbury almost all of his life. He went to St. Bartholomew's School where he was House Captain of Patterson and played an active role in school life. He graduated in Philosophy from King's College London in 2005.

He is now a secondary school teacher but will be familiar to many in the Town Centre as a recent Manager of the Farmers Market where he was frequently to be seen actively promoting the market and local produce on a tri-shaw or dressed as a free-range chicken!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Victoria Park playground shut for Easter hols

Today's Newbury Weekly News reports that the children's play area in Victoria Park will be closed from Monday for six weeks to install new equipment. Newbury Town Council services manager apologised for the inconvenience.

It would be a darn sight less inconvenient if he'd realised that the schools break up for the Easter holidays tomorrow.

Why on earth isn't this being scheduled for term time? It's not rocket science.

Cross posted to Charlie's blog.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

West Berks Local Elections 2011

A total of eight Apolitical candidates will be fighting it out for seats on Newbury Town Council and four Apolitical candidates are also standing for West Berkshire District Council.

Party Leader, and 2010 General  Election candidate, Dave Yates is standing for one of the two district seats in Northcroft Ward, alongside his wife Charlie Farrow. They are both also hoping to serve on Newbury Town Council alongside Apolitical running-mates John Dennis and James Page.

In Victoria Ward, local publicans David Reid, landlord of the Cooper’s Arms and Iain Wallace, of Newbury Rugby Club have teamed up in true Apolitical-style to run for the 2 district seats. They’re also looking to represent the town centre Victoria ward on Newbury Town Council alongside Apolitical running-mates Aaron Bell and Alex Farrow. What with Aaron being a student at the College and local barman and Alex, a former Manager of the Farmer’s Market, there’s not much these four don’t know about Newbury Town Centre.