When Park Ward Labour candidate Rachael Chrisp told residents round the Crescent Road area that the supporters of the new Reading Technical Academy were proposing to sell off half the Alfred Sutton playing fields to help fund the scheme, that was dismissed by Oxford and Cherwell Valley College and Rob Wilson MP accused the Labour Party of “grubbing around in the dirt for votes” (Reading Chronicle, 2 April).|
But, Rachael Chrisp says, the truth will out. At the consultation meeting on 23 April, Sally Dicketts, the Chief Executive of OCVC, admitted that the site was to be sold to a developer, contradicting what OCVC had said only three weeks ago and giving the lie to Rob Wilson MP, chief sponsor of the scheme.
“These playing fields are a precious asset for the people of East Reading,” Ms Chrisp says, “and are protected from development under Reading’s planning policies. But Michael Gove seems to believe he can flog them off regardless of local feelings, and when Reading Labour Party tells people the truth about what is being planned we get attacked by an MP who clearly doesn’t want people to know the truth. I have seen emails about this sale on which Rob Wilson is copied in and I know he knows about it, and knew about it when he made that attack. Local people will know never to believe a word he says again.
“It goes without saying that Labour will continue to protect the Alfred Sutton playing fields, as we always have,” she adds, “and we will fight Mr Gove’s plans.
Lead Councillor for Education John Ennis adds: “The Council has tried to work with Rob Wilson to deliver the 11-19 school which is what local people want, but all he wants to do is to use his status as an MP to attack the Labour Party, regardless of the facts of the situation. I think he should apologise publicly, to Labour and to the people of East Reading.”