Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Did Cllr Keith Baker tell an outright lie in www.getwokingham, did I or was there a mistake?

Further updates below are highlighted and dated


In a recent article I requested that public meetings are allowed to be filmed and shared with the public in an open and accessible manner have been very vocal in condemning any person who stands against it. Those are few. In fact no one says openly that is should not happen.

In the online getwokingham article the 18th comment is from Cllr Keith Baker

 "Full marks to Kaz for only telling part of the story. He has been told that we have every intention of filming all the SDL Forums and have even suggested he could "pitch" for the business. Unfortunately we simply did not have the time to organise it and we did had some indication of people not being comfortable with this. 

Two weeks is simply not time enough to get the Churchs permission and to alert all attendees that we would be filming. Whatever we do we cannot put barriers in place which stops resident participation. So this has to be handled carefully.
Cllr Keith Baker
12/02/2013 at 19:32 Offensive or Inappropriate? 

Other than twitter rants which are public this is my last communication with the council on the matter. 1st Feb.

Hello Kaz,

Yes – sorry to have missed you. I had spotted you and thought I’d catch you at the end but you were chatting to a developer and I was putting away chairs – and then you were gone I think.

Anyway, issue of videoing or using other forms of social media to increase accessibility is on table for discussion here so I am not sure what else we would ask you to do at this stage - although you can obviously continue to encourage debate via twitter etc as you wish.



David Allen Partnership Development Officer Wokingham Borough Council Shute End Wokingham


So either there is a mistake somewhere or one of us is lying or he has been lied too. If the Right Honourable Cllr Baker could ascertain where the confusion has come from from then we can move to highlight the cause and avoid repeat occurrences.


I arrive at the North Wokingham SDL with my kit, speaking to attendees about the issue of lack of publication and refusal of transparency regarding the developments and was pleased to find that all seemed to be in favour.

When the council arrived it turned out that they had included a questionnaire with a tick box to allow filming. The idea being so long as the majority was in favour. 100% was and I filmed.

I had agreed in advance that I would share the film unedited on my www.youtube.com/wokinghamvoice and provide the the council and Wokingham times. At the end Cllr Baker came to me and asked that it should go on the council site only but they would allow open comments and not restrict it at al without notifying me.

I have sent them a link to download the video and apparently they can not do so.

The main thing is that there is a record from which account can be held and I have a lot on my plate anyway so I'll worry about that when I have all the detail from the meeting to share also.


On arrival at the Southern SDL meeting I was advised that I should not yet put up my equipment because I may not be allowed to film. Poor Dave is clearly not comfortable with conflict and he already knew it was coming. A very different vibe than the one in May.

I was then made aware that if 1 person said no it would be unfair on that one person who will not be on film. There was one. Possibly a plant from the Developers or there friend Cllr Baker. Unlikely to be a concerned local wishing for the public to be involved, made aware and for there to be reference material should the answers to the hard questions go on unresolved.

There was a little ruckus but unsurprisingly from the 4 or 5 regular members of the public who actually bothered to attend. Unsurprisingly Cllr Baker tried to present it as anything but un-democratic and again lied, this time insisting that the Northern SDL meeting recording was on the same terms.

The meeting was interesting. One developer explained that they needed to pay less infrastructure contribution because their landowners cut, who they have a contract with to buy the land from at a set price when planning is approved, and the new extra cut that network rail want  leaves them too little profit.

Good. Why, if we are allocating greenbelt for development are we allowing developers to set up contract and negotiate terms? It is a big fat mess with a a few professional negotiators batting around big numbers. This worries me.

Compulsory purchase the allocated green belt. Competitive tender developers to plan developments. Break the lots into parts and competitive tender construction. 

Less already wealthy opportunists get to multiply their wealth doing nothing of actual value so that our children can pay an extra £100k for their home. The profit can go to sustainable jobs and subsidised housing.

1 comment:

  1. It should be between the developer and the land owner to agree a price for the land, if there are other costs which mean that effectively the land is less valuable, then why should this be subsidised by the local authority ? Just as if the land needs clearing or draining this is an additional cost which means the land is worth a bit less, why would the rail issue effect the contribution to infrastructure ? surely it just means those costs mean that the land is worth a little less because the costs are higher? Surely that's for the developers to agree with the landowners. If they had already agreed a price, they have to either re negotiate due to new info (as you might if the survey on a house found a problem), or pull out and let someone else negotiate a fair price. I can't see why local government who are short of cash as it is, should reduce the infrastructure charge.