Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bank Holiday Parking Scam!

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!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Apolitical Candidates for Northcroft Ward

Cross posted from Apolitical Blog.

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.

YOUTHLOT Youth Art Café

A new youth arts project has set up in an empty shop King’s Road West (round the corner from the King Charles Tavern). It's a voluntary project providing a space for young people to drop in and use as they wish. It will provide young people with a space to hang out, meet others, plan and run community art projects and exhibit their work.

It has a blog website which is a bit jumbled and needs a good tidy up, but from what I can gather Youthlot is open Monday to Saturday 10am - 6pm and offers occasional 'Late Lounges' on Friday and Saturday nights until 11pm. It also runs various sceduled events.

  • Music Circle Every Sunday from 2.30pm
    Music Circle is a chance for musicians, singers, songwriters or producers, either in bands or on their own to come in and mingle with like-minded people. You can bring your instruments to jam with others, teach or learn to play, write music and even find band mates.

    25th June 2011 the gallery is being turned into a recording studio, to perform and record a live album. The day is being recorded by sound, film and professional photography as well as being broadcast live on Youthlot’s internet radio station.

  • Drama Club Mondays 4.30-5.30pm
    Weekly get together for drama enthusiasts.
    The first term starts 8th May and will be working towards creating a mockumentary DVD and a live performance in Victoria Park.

  • Film Club Wednesdays from 6pmFilms are available to watch with popcorn in the Youthlot lounge. Each week two people will be given cinema tickets to watch and review a film at the cinema.

  • Film Discussion Sundays 2.30 – 3.30pm
    Group discussion the films seen and to write reviews for Youthlot’s monthly newspaper.

It's funded by corporate and public donations and sponsorship and has been allowed use the empty shop without rent. Young people can achieve volunteering and arts awards through participation.

All in all it seems a very exciting initiative that needs to be publicised much more widely.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Are Your Children Playing With Lucifer's Testicles?

Anyone for a little seasonal light reading?

"This book teaches parents how to easily explain to their children that Easter (as it is celebrated by the Unsaved) has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus Christ but is actually a holiday celebrating lewd and sexually explicit pagan rituals of fertility.

"It's not that difficult to understand," says Author/Creation Scientist, Dr. Daniel Cameroon. "In the old days, deluded pagans would gather round and hump like bunnies on Easter Sunday because they thought it would make their tomatoes grow faster."

Dr. Cameroon explains that it doesn't matter what god or idol the Pagans were humping under on Easter Sunday, because any god other than "Jesus" is "Satan."

Dr. Cameroon dedicates four chapters in the book to Easter Eggs. "Easter Eggs are one of the wiliest tools of the Devil," he says.

"Pagan kids didn't have anything to do on Easter Sunday because their mommies and daddies were stuck in a false temple all day, naked and writhing around with their neighbors in Satanic orgies of the flesh. You see, parents had to come up with a way to occupy their children while they were away from home, praying and fornicating under the altar of Satan. And since they didn't have babysitters back then, they gave their kids eggs to play with and sometimes paint," he says.

"But the reason they chose eggs had nothing to do with any sort of fertility or fertilizers (as some misguided Christian historians would have you believe).

Nope, it was because of Lucifer's testicles! Glory to God!"
Hilarious! I'm loving his You Tube Channel too!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

West Berks Library Fine Amnesty

West Berks Libraries have announced a cap on overdue fines in order to encourage people who can't afford their fines back to the library to become active users again. During April and May anyone with charges outstanding will pay no more than £8 for adults and £4 for children's existing fines.

Better still from now on there will be no more fines on children's books that are kept beyond the due date, making it easier for families to be keen library users.

This is great news! Woop woop!

Not everyone realises that the Libraries also have a raft of really useful on-line services that are absolutely free to access from home using your library card barcode. This service is brilliant for homework or research giving free access to the full OED and all the Oxford Reference resources, news and other sources.

Thursday, April 07, 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.