Saturday, 22 June 2013

Local News: Controversial Gravel Extraction Application Passed

A controversial proposal to extract 200,000 tonnes of gravel per year for the next 12 years from the Kennet Valley bed between Woolhampton and Aldermaston has been given the green light despite strong local opposition.

Gravel, the pits!
173 acres of land will be dug up by aggregates giant Lafarge before being re-landscaped. Ground level will be reduced by several metres, eventually allowing for new angling lakes to be created.

The mineral itself will supply a local factory, supporting 75 jobs which would otherwise be lost when the Midgham quarryworks are exhausted.

Complaints centred around increases in lorry traffic on road access to the site described as 'inadequate', potentially harming road surfaces, damaging listed buildings located next to rural routes, as well as increasing danger for pedestrians from speeding lorries and adding to noise levels.

Meanwhile additional concerns about the potential for flooding caused by the impact on underground water flows were dismissed on the grounds that this would be mitigated by increases in surface water storage capacity.

The application has been a long time coming - it originated following consultation on the Preferred Options for the Joint Minerals and Waste Local Development Framework in September 2007 and submission of a new Core Strategy on 27th February 2009, and lapsed last year - which raises the question whether WBC is abiding by its own Statement of Community Involvement.

Local LibDem campaigner, James Spackman, commented,
"The determination of West Berkshire Council to push ahead with unpopular plans without making any concessions gives the clearest possible indication that Tories are not listening."
James added,
"The failure of West Berkshire Conservatives to agree a new minerals and waste plan means exclusion sites have lapsed and they are powerless to save protected areas. No wonder residents are angry!"

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

What LibDems Are Achieving In Coalition Government

Many people ask why LibDems decided to form a Coalition Government with our local opponents - well, there was much more to it than simply guaranteeing economic security at a time of crisis and uncertainty.

So, to explain further, it's infographic time... enjoy!

Credit where credit's due.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Lift-off At Brimpton Airshow

It was good turnout at Brimpton Airfield for the annual Airshow and Fly-in last Sunday.

Crowds gather to watch the Fly-in
More than 100 people had a lovely day watching more than 30 aeroplanes, all designed to raise awareness of the good work done by the Thames Valley & Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust.

Among attendees, LibDem Parliamentary Candidate Judith Bunting joined your local Aldermaston Ward team to enjoy the afternoon.

Judith commented, "It's not often you see nearly as many people fly-in to an event as turn up in cars - it was a really fun day!"

High visibility!
The weather was cooler than the rest of the weekend, but stayed fine. There was only one report of burns - around the barbeque - which luckily didn't require air-lifting to hospital!

High visibility, medium cloud coverage and intermittently gusty wind meant good conditions for flying, for both the vintage 'planes and the radio-controlled model display.

After circling the beautiful airfield grounds we descended on the TVCAA stall.

Judith Bunting PPC at the TVCAA stall
There we met TVCAA volunteer John S. and listened as he explained the vital types of work undertaken by the Air Ambulance service - such as airlifting traffic accident victims to specialist treatment centres.

Judith said, "I was glad to meet John S. from the Air Ambulance and to hear about the good work they do in West Berkshire and beyond. They're an impressive outfit, and I signed up to their lottery as soon as I got home."

You too can give your support to the charity by signing up at their website:

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Health Priorities in West Berkshire

Healthwatch West Berkshire have published a poll highlighting the health priorities of local residents.

40% of respondents feel elderly care is most important
20% said mental health is top priority
7% want more attention on youth issues

Among other comments, dealing with the implications of linked health and social care is a key challenge.

For more information see: