Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Pincent's Hill Ablaze With Blame

The blame game and petty politicking over the proposed Pincent's Hill development went up a notch as both Labour and Conservative parties accused each other of supporting the plans while simultaneously campaigning to prevent them from going ahead.

Reading West MP Martin Salter (whose constituency includes the parts of Tilehurst in West Berkshire council) attacked the local authority for 'dumping' housing on the outskirts of Reading and concreting over greenfield sites, also explaining that similar practices in tory dominated areas resulted in the high-density estates in Calcot and Lower Earley.

Mr Salter described the Conservative councillors who missed the opportunity to block the unpopular plans as "gutless and unprincipled".

Conservatives struck back by stating the centrally-imposed targets for regional housing had been forced upon local representatives by Labour bureaucrats in Whitehall and Westminster and called Labour's 'hypocrisy' over the issue 'disgraceful'.

Meanwhile, amidst the frantic positioning by both parties to prove they are each local champions on the side of residents, the proposals edge one step closer as West Berkshire approved it's draft housing strategy.


For more information visit the Save Calcot campaigning website and join the facebook campaign group.


Update: Alex Gore reports the Conservative party angle.

Linda Fort reports on the open letter explaining the details of the proposed development which has been sent to "all interested parties" as Blue Living consult the public in preparation for the submission of their outline planning application.

Matt Blackall
encourages readers to take action.

Whether it is to copy one of the template letters or only to sign the petition if you don't make your voice heard
you won't be justified in complaining later.

Matt also notes inconsistency in the tory ranks - although all three Birch Hill councillors have been campaigning against the development Cllr Emma Webster abstained, Cllr Joe Mooney voted for the plans without amendment and Cllr Tony Linden, well, he didn't even turn up to vote.

If you oppose the development please sign the petition, the online version remains open until 26 February 2010 and already counts over 400 signatures.


  1. Martin Salter is so typical of Labour - attack the messenger not the issue. I am delighted to have been called unhinged by Martin Salter myself for suggesting that West Reading was becomming a dog turd infested dump.

  2. Digressing from the issue of New Labour verses Tory, as someone who lives in Tilehurst and a 5 minute bike ride from the site, i am extremely worried about the effect this site will have on traffic. One of the ideas is to open up the top of Pincients Hill to traffic (along Little Heath Road), right next to a secondary school... All this will do is to divert some of the traffic from Langley Hill into Tilehurst and then down this proposed estate. Bye bye Tilehurst as a relatively low traffic nice area.

    The developers at a local Friends of the Earth meeting i attended said that they hope this development will help Reading by increasing its population to meet it's jobs demand (as apparently there are more jobs than people here (not said by Blue Living)- took me 5 months to find a job whilst holding a degree and work experience...) but the reality is that this will just be a stopping block for London. Situated right next to the M4, but with cheaper house prices than London- commuters dream! Watch the traffic around Tilehurst/Junction 12 grow and grow!

  3. I have a particular attachment to these fields which stems from when I went to school at LH. They were the location of several firsts...

    But talking of developments along the M4 corridor, RL has covered what's going on around Shinfield...

  4. Thank you for the link(s) to my post(s) just to point out, it's Birch Copse, not Birch Hill :-)

  5. Please note I did not abstain from the vote, I was unable to participate because the company that I work for are promoting another site being considered as part of the consultation.

    After taking legal advice I was advised that it would be inappropriate for me to be involved in the vote and I therefore removed myself from the meeting and the vote. I did not as you have reported abstain.

    I am in the process of taking further advice so that I am in a position to be able to speak against the proposal when it comes before a later meeting.

  6. Thanks for clarifying Emma.

    I'm sorry you were prevented from representing your community when it came to the vote, as for you to come here clearly shows you care enough for the record to be put straight.

    However the fact remains that public representatives should be accountable for what they say and what they do - so far on this matter it seems that the public will is being stymied by gross inconsistency between the two.

    So I'm very glad to hear that an increase in reporting is ironing our the creases in our local democracy.

    If you have any issues (green or otherwise) which you feel would benefit from additional attention, please get in touch (my email can be found on my profile page).

    Similarly, this also goes for other readers.

  7. The Save Calcot Action Group would really like just to fight any development on Pincents Hill regardless of where the threat comes from e.g. West Berks or Blue Living. We don't really care where the suggestions for development came from as long as all concerned can make it go away. We do have an observation to make, why is Blue Living having all these meetings, especially the Liaison Committee Meeting to discuss what people would like to see on the Hill. The answer is - nothing but trees. However, if their intentions were honest they would incorporate the suggestions and put in for Full Planning Consent, not just Outline Planning which means nothing. Or are they not too sure that they are going to get the dreamed Outline Consent? Tilehurst Parish Council seem very quiet on this issue. One must query their refusal to meet a request to put up a banner at Highfield which simply says "Save Pincents Hill - fight 4 it or lose it"!


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