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Tories Refuse to Back Settlement Option to Accommodate District Housing Allocation

July 5, 2006 12:00 AM

At last night's Council meeting at Wokingham District Council, Councillor Stephen Conway (Deputy Leader of the Lib Dem Group and Councillor for Twyford ward) sought Tory agreement to Liberal Democrat proposals for a single settlement to be developed in the south of the District as the best way of coping with the housing the Government require the District to take.

The Lib Dems were startled by the Conservative reaction to Councillor Conway's proposal, when speaker after speaker spoke against the idea and the Conservatives used their majority to vote it down.

At the meeting Councillor Conway said, "One of the big advantages of having a single settlement is that it would bring massive investment to pay for the infrastructure we so badly need, such as roads, public transport, shops, parks, doctors and schools. The piecemeal backland and infill development that blights our District does not bring such investment with it."

Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Conway expressed his frustration with the Conservatives, saying, "In May, the Conservative Executive unanimously agreed that the Council 'should support the option of a new settlement if housing has to be delivered' (see note below). So the Lib Dems asked for this to be debated in the belief that it would attract cross-party agreement. But only a month after they agreed to a single settlement those same Executive members have done a complete U-turn and voted against it.

What are they playing at?"

Councillor Prue Bray (Leader of the Lib Dem Group and Councillor for Winnersh ward) said, "I find it quite incredible that the Tories voted against the motion. It seems that they'd rather deny their own Executive decision than publicly agree with the Liberal Democrats. This petty-mindedness on the part of the Tories is not in the interests of our residents. Councillors of all parties should be working together on this crucial issue."

NOTE: The Tory Executive made the decision to support a single settlement at the Executive meeting held on 25th May 2006 (item 8.00). The supporting report to this decision specified Arborfield Garrison as the proposed site.