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Residents could help shape the future of their town

Residents could help shape future of Reading Credit: ITV News Meridian

Residents are being offered the opportunity to help shape the future of Reading - including the development and protection of sites - over the next 20 years.

Reading's new consultation document (Issues and Options paper) discusses what should be included in the plan and what the strategy should be, including key questions such as how many houses should be built each year. It also outlines sites put forward by the public, landowners or organisations for potential future development.

The Council is seeking consultation responses so that people's views can be taken into account before the key planning document is finalised.

The sites being consulted on are not endorsed by Reading Borough Council as sites for development. The Council nevertheless wants to hear which sites residents think could be developed up to 2036, and which should be protected.

People can have their say on Reading's Draft Local Plan at www.reading.gov.uk/newlocalplan by emailing LDF@reading.gov.uk or writing to Planning Policy Team, Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Reading, RG1 2LU. Residents, businesses or organisations have until 9th March 2016 to respond to the consultation.

National changes in planning policy mean every local authority now needs to replace existing development plans with a single Local Plan that seeks to meet its need. The Local Plan will eventually become the main consideration in deciding planning applications in each local authority area.

  1. Phil Hornby

The Last Word, January 2016

Alex Phillips from Brighton's Green Party, Maria Caulfield the Lewes Tory MP, and Alan Whitehead MP, Lab, from Southampton; debate the crisis in the NHS and the junior doctors' strike; rail passenger anger; and a new national anthem. And music from Norman Baker's band proves there is life after politics.

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"Look again at £69m cuts," Cameron tells council

David Cameron is unhappy with the cutbacks Credit: ITV

The Prime Minister is urging Oxfordshire County Council to look again at its proposals for £69m of cuts. He says he understands that councils must make further savings but, as an Oxfordshire MP, he says the council should have a re-think.

Oxfordshire and other councils must continue to reform the way they work to become more efficient, both in back-office functions and in front-line service delivery. Further savings do still need to be made, and with councils accounting for a quarter of all public spending they need to continue playing their part in tackling the deficit left by Labour.

The recent Spending Review included a package of measures to support local government, enabling them to streamline their asset base and invest in services.

We have made it possible for councils to sell property assets and use the capital to invest in transforming local services – and ensure further savings. We have introduced council tax flexibilities to help councils with the growing costs of adult social care. And by the end of this Parliament, councils will also keep 100% of local taxes including all £26 billion from business rates.

– Rt Hon David Cameron MP
  1. Phil Hornby

The Last Word, January 2016

Alex Phillips from Brighton's Green Party, Maria Caulfield the Lewes Tory MP, and Alan Whitehead MP, Lab, from Southampton; debate the crisis in the NHS and the junior doctors' strike; rail passenger anger; and a new national anthem. And music from Norman Baker's band proves there is life after politics.

Man with brain damage says Headway charity has 'changed his life'

A man who suffered brain damage at birth is leading calls to save the charity which, he says, has changed his life.

Andy Baker goes to the rehabilitation centre at Headway Oxfordshire in Kennington once a week. Along with its own fundraising efforts the organisation receives money from the county council.

The local authority is due to discuss its budget next week. Mr Baker says if planned cuts go ahead the charity may not be able to continue all of its good work. Kate Bunkall reports.

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Isle of Wight Council to save another £26m

Huge savings need to be made Credit: ITV

Isle of Wight Council must save £17m from its budget in 2016/17 and a total of £26m over the next two years.

This comes on top of savings of £50m already made over the last five years, leaving the council with a remaining budget of £124m from which the further savings need to be drawn.

The Budget Paper published by the Council for consideration on 20 January is to inform councillors and the public of the financial situation.

  1. Tom Savvides

Paralysed man wins housing battle with council

A desperate year of stress and worry. That's how a paralysed man from Sussex has described his battle with a council that tried to force him out of specialist care and in to unsuitable accommodation. Simon Gray, from Burgess Hill, has now won the right to live in a fully adapted home after the local Government Ombudsman ruled in his favour. She said the council was at fault in the way it handled the case. Tom Savvides talks to Mr Gray and councillor Pru Moore.

20 years since the start of work on the Newbury Bypass

The twentieth anniversary of the 'Battle of the Newbury Bypass' is upon us.

Back in 1995 hundreds of protesters took to the trees and tunnels to try to stop the road being built. Two decades ago tomorrow work began on the route, angering eco warriors whose demonstrations made national headlines.

The one hundred million pound project was designed to ease traffic at one of the country's worst bottlenecks, but protesters believed the local habitat was to pay too heavy a price.

First Prime Minister's Questions of 2016

MPs from our region are back at Westminster and they were queuing early to get a good seat for the first Prime Minister's Questions of 2016.

For both main party leaders this will be a crucial year. Jeremy Corbyn needs to persuade most of his own MPs that he's the right man to lead Labour.

And David Cameron could be putting his OWN leadership on the line with the EU referendum. From Westminster, our political correspondent Phil Hornby reports

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