Katesgrove voters can choose between four candidates at the election on 5 May. The Whitley Pump invited all of them to a personal interview. Rose Williams is standing as the Labour and Co-operative Party candidate.
What do you think is Reading’s greatest challenge?
The greatest challenge is balancing the books, keeping the services that we value and we know that people in Reading rely on and need.
I thought the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) was a very interesting document. I sit on an east Reading advisory body for children’s services. In the last year, they’ve made space for midwives so that we capture details of babies before they are born and so that mothers know the support services are there.
What are the main problems in Katesgrove and how would you tackle them?
The main problem is the huge churn of people. On the 2014/15 register of electors 7,100 people were eligible to vote. Of these 1,900 were new to the register, so 27 % of local population is not getting the best out of the town nor giving us their best. Labour councillors have thought of preparing a “Welcome to the Neighbourhood” leaflet for newcomers to Katesgrove, advising on local amenities, libraries, parks, community centres and how to keep Reading clean.
What is your experience of working with the community?
I go to Katesgrove Knit and Natter on a Tuesday afternoon, and east Reading advisory body for children’s services. I hold a monthly ward surgery on the first Saturday of the month in Pau Brasil, from 10.30am and work to help in community clean ups.
What are your links to the area?
I’m a Whitley girl born on Cressingham Road near Whitley Library. I was one of the first tenants in Hexham Road flats in 1966.
Katesgrove is such a variety. It’s not very cohesive so it’s a real challenge. It’s uphill and downdale. I’ve been a Katesgrove councillor for the past 4 years.
How many hours a week do you think a councillor needs to spend on council affairs?
About 20 hours a week depending on community work and committee work. It can require up 40 hours work and Reading has the poorest paid councillors in Britain.
I’m probably on more committees than I’ve ever been because I’ve got the time. I am on the Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport Committee, Licensing Committee, Adult Social Care, Children’s Services and Education, and was on Housing, Neighbourhoods and Leisure. Sadly I’ve dropped Housing, Neighbourhoods and Leisure but still get the committee papers to read and take an interest.
I like walking up a street and seeing a bit of rubbish or a bit of a brickwork sticking out and I make a note of that and can get it fixed. I like having access to council officers to get things done and I love the Love Clean Reading app.
Are you prepared to publish your tax return?
Yes. Rosemary is retired and is willing provide details of her income.
What chance do you think you have of winning?
A fair chance, I have done the best I can to serve the community.
What will you do if you don’t win?
Go down the allotment.