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Council IT 'just not acceptable' says Jamie
Council IT Concerns presented to Cabinet by Jamie Chowdhary
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Tories threaten to axe Mark Ralph!
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In the Council

Council IT 'just not acceptable' says Jamie Chowdhary
Have you got a problem with a service in our Ward? Please tell us ...

Alok Sharma's Website
Reading's only useful MP!



Budgens Precinct - A Result!

Planning approved, work to begin shortly.

UPDATE, 2nd May 2012: Following a detailed discussion this morning with Mr Rabin, the Assets Manager of Wolfe Properties, the company responsible for the Budgens Precinct, Jamie Chowdhary received confirmation that 'work will begin within 3 months'.

Jamie Said "I am delighted that the landlord's agent is making all the positive moves, demonstrated by their submission for a successful Planning Application. While I would love to see this work done quickly due to many public safety issues, I am pleased that we are finally making some positive headway having chased this ongoing problem for several years. I re-emphasised to Mr Rabin the need to carry out the works as quickly as possible before someone is badly hurt due to the number of users, the rapid and ongoing deterioration of the car park and the footpath.

Mr Rabin and Jamie Chowdhary agreed to discuss this development on a regular basis until the works have been completed satisfactorily.  Mr Rabin also asked Jamie to coordinate any other problems at the precinct back to him in an effort to resolve all outstanding issues as soon as practically possible. Mr Rabin is keen to rebuild public confidence and assure the users of the precinct that their concerns and safety are being taken seriously.

UPDATE, 27th April 2012:
We are pleased to report that on Friday 27 April, full Planning Permission was granted to Wolfe Properties for the much needed works to commence!

"I would like to thank Wolfe Properties for making a positive effort in getting these problems sorted. The Budgens precinct is a busy and essential shopping area at the very heart of our community. I am delighted to see that the owners have put public safety first".
Cllr Jamie Chowdhary

Let's set the record straight!
We have received a number of emails and questions from our residents asking:

"A number of people are claiming to have ‘sorted out’
the problems with Budgens car park and footpath.
Who is really responsible?”

Bloggers and local newspapers have also made references to this saga. In the interest of the 'Clean Election Pledge' setup by the Conservatives and blogged here on Cllr Richard Willis's blog, we would like to set the record straight:

It is true that all three Ward Councillors have been in direct contact with the landlord, Wolfe Properties, at different times and via the Council but the state of the car park and footpath at
Budgens shops has continued to deteriorate.

Environmental Visual Audit (EVA)
However, on
9th May 2011, Mark Ralph and Jamie Chowdhary met with the landlord’s representative, Reading Borough Council’s Environmental Officers, local Police Officers, shopkeepers and local residents and conducted an Environmental Visual Audit (EVA) which was documented in detail resulting in a list being produced of ‘’works to be done”. This list, including a number of photographs has been on our website since May 2011.

Budgens 'works to be done' list for the car park and footpath from May 2011

Continued follow up
Mark and Jamie continued to chase the progress of this work throughout 2011 and 2012 but during one of their monthly ward surgeries in March 2012, Jamie witnessed a little girl trip and fall on the paving stones and an elderly resident reported that he too had fallen on the footpath and had to be helped up by passers by.

Robust actions required
Following this, Jamie wrote to Wolfe Properties via the Council and insisted that more robust action be taken to enforce the badly needed works , as discussed in May 2011. Jamie was advised that the landlord had already submitted a Planning Application (now approved!) to have the uneven footpath slabs removed and obtained quotations to have most of the car park resurfaced.

Richard Willis claimed initiative
For those aware of the letters referred to by Cllr Willis in his blog, inferring that he had led this initiative, we refer readers to the words below of Roland Hazell, Proprietor of Cavendish Meats in the Precinct for many years, and our original EVA inspection titled "Budgens Tidy-UP" on the 9th May 2011.

It is also worth noting that Cllr Willis is evidencing this through use of the ‘most recent correspondence’ referred to in the landlords Planning Application. This indicates that he has not written since August 2011 but refers to a letter from Mark Ralph of 4 November 2011. It also precludes subsequent contact from Jamie Chowdhary that closed the matter.

An email from a former shop owner at Budgens:
Just looked at Richard Willis` blog. I was very surprised to see him taking credit for getting the works done in the Budgens car park and walkway to say the least! I traded from number 6 Cavendish Road for many years as Cavendish Meats and addressed this problem with yourself many years before Mr Willis even became a Councillor! While I was at Cavendish Meats I know how much work you did in improving Emmer Green in general. It was a rare sight indeed to see Mr Willis even after he was elected and I hope he is not now jumping onto your coat tails trying to claim some of the credit which is rightfully yours”

Roland Hazell, Cavendish Meats.

Now, what was that pledge again? Ah yes, it was the
Clean Election Pledge!

Loose slabs to be replaced with Tarmac!

We have been on the case!
As I have logged before, Mark Ralph and I have been in regular contact, both in writing and site visits, with Wolfe Properties, landlords and site managers for the Budgens shops, footway, grass and parking area.  On the 9th May 2011, Myself, Cllr Mark Ralph, Reading Borough Council's Environment Officers, Police officers, Landlord's representative, shopkeepers and residents met at Budgens for an Environment Enhancement Visual Audit (EVA) where amongst other things, the state of the footpath outside the shops and the pot holes in the car park work discussed in detail and then listed as a follow up for remedy. As you can see from  our web listing Budgens Tidy up, I took several photographs of all the problems that required attention and to keep a visual record of the EVA audit.

At last! We have an outcome!
Following many months of correspondence, I have now received a letter from a senior Reading Borough Council officer informing me that once the final, of three, quotations has been received, a contract will be signed to resurface an area equivalent to about 50% of the car park. This is real evidence that the landlord is now taking things very seriously!

Planning Application underway for the footpath!
Wolfe Properties have also submitted a Planning Application (download) to replace the uneven and loose paving slabs in front of the shops with tarmac. For those interested, the Application Reference is 12/00351/FUL (approval given 27th April 2012!) and it can either be downloaded here or can be viewed on the Reading Borough Council website, which shows the proposed area. As a part of the planning process, locals are invited to submit any objections to the application, and the closing date for comment on the Planning Application is 10 April 2012. I hope the major will support this in which, I am confident that Planning will be approved and it is only a matter of time before this work is carried out to the relief of to so many of our residents.

Thank you Wolfe Properties!
I would like to thank Wolfe Properties for making a positive effort to get these problems sorted. The Budgens precinct is a busy and essential shopping area at the very heart of our community. I am delighted to see that the owners have put public safety first

A Planning Application is in place to resurface
at least 50% of the carpark!

In the meantime, photographs of the near-illegible parking sign and the footway have been forwarded to Wolf Properties, asking for the issues to be addressed as soon as possible.

Copyright 2008-2012 Jamie Chowdhary. All rights reserved