Long before I became Lead Councillor for Housing I have cared deeply about the need to help to create decent homes and neighbourhoods in Reading. This grew out of my experience as a ward councillor representing one of the most deprived estates in the Borough - Hexham Road.
Since 2006, both in opposition and more recently in administration I have actively campaigned to help create a better local built environment in Reading.
Recently residents from Caversham to Whitley have been in touch with me and colleagues at the Council to welcome the new spring blooms planted by the Council's housing department on public land and funded by our unique Decent Neighbourhood Fund which are currently adding colour to many estate areas across Reading.
Locally I have led the campaign for estates to receive more attention from the Council after many areas were neglected for many years by Labour councillors.
The Decent Neighbourhoods Fund which I helped create is localism in action: local residents have the power to decided what improvements should be made in their neighbourhood and Housing officers are always keen to hear from residents with ideas.
For example, in Southcote older residents successfully won funding from the Council to create an outdoor gym in their neighbourhood.
"Perhaps some of these photos could be used in the Whitley Green Residents Association Newsletter or other Council publications to show that Whitley/Whitley Wood can look very pretty in Spring with the help of the Daffodils in bloom - - - - - - and they have all been left intact for everyone to admire and not vandalised !!"Daffodils and other plants have been planted all over Reading over the past 18 months, on housing land, including: Elizabeth House, Gosbrook Rd, Wensley Rd, Coley; Whitley Green; Coronation Square, Southcote; Granville Road, Southcote, Swallowfield Drive, Whitley; Hexham Estate, Whitley.
A wildflower meadow is being established, also thanks to decent neighbourhoods, under an apple tree in Brunswick Street. Once completed, the area by the flats will feature a beautiful display of flowers.
Above is a picture of me with members of Emmer Green Residents Association in Peppard who have welcomed the new blooms planted by the Council.
Of the display one resident told the Council:
"It looks beautiful. It is sheer pleasure to drive past and see the hundreds of daffodils and crocuses in bloom, and to know that now the fences have also been put up so people can't park there, the flowers will be there year after year. I want to thank you so much for lifting the spirits of people in Emmer Green." "Over the next year the Council will invest a further £400,000 improving neighbourhoods and estates in Reading managed by Reading Borough Council even further. I think this is money well spent and the comments I have received from residents bears this out. Please get in touch if you live on an estate in Reading and have ideas as to how we can improve the look and feel of your neighbourhood.