This week Wokingham mourned the death of Councillor Bob Wyatt. He served our community well for many years. He raised money for charity, supported those in need, was active as a councillor and was much respected in the town he loved. As the tributes to him reminded us, he always brought a caring and gentle approach to people and problems, along with an impish sense of humour. The civic service in All Saints was a fitting memorial to the man and his work.

The Town Centre works are progressing. It will be good when Peach Place is fully open and more shop tenants have arrived to provide us with a wider retail offer. The early success of the pioneers including Gail’s Bakery and Waterstones is good to see. Wokingham will have more outdoors space for street cafes and for watching the world go by. I look forward to the town centre attracting more shoppers and those in search of a good coffee or a well prepared lunch.

I am working with the council on the issue of overdevelopment. I am keen to make a joint submission to the government for a slower rate of new housebuilding in the revised future plan. Today we see a hectic pace of building which is placing too much stress on our road system, utilities and services. New build needs to be at a pace the local community can accept, and needs to follow the proper provision of school places, surgery capacity and roadspace.

The extra money I helped the council secure for this year’s budget provides an opportunity to catch up in areas where the financial pressure has been felt. I look forward to more improvements in our roads, from pothole filling to better junctions and resurfacing. I am pressing for more money for our schools which are still at the bottom of the national lists for per pupil funding. The Chancellor has promised a review in the autumn, where I am keen he should be more forthcoming to help us. Social care too is an area in need of more resource.