Day: 09/04/2013

An Open Letter to the People of Wargrave

Dear Wargrave residents,

Five months ago, I became one of your parish councillors. I confess, that I had little idea what Wargrave Parish Council did before then. I knew more than most, probably, knowing what the technical function of a parish council and having more than average familiarity with local government. But still, the day to day, meeting to meeting tasks. They were a mystery.

So what now? What about five months on?

Well, for starters, I know just how hard the councillors work. Unpaid, largely unappreciated, they do more than simply the two meetings a month. I can’t speak for other councils, but Wargrave sends a councillor to look at every planning application. We only give recommendations, which the Borough Council as the planning authority doesn’t always agree with us. But a great deal of professionalism goes into every decision.

In the last five months I have had a few notable personal highlights and achievements:

  • Every employee of the council is paid above the living wage. I was all set to make a stand on this at the budget meeting, but gratifyingly found I didn’t have to. Where government drifts towards, Wargrave boldly leads the way!
  • We have made a stand against further development in the flood plain. Every year the Thames floods, and yet there seems no end to the planning applications to concrete over yet more land, making the situation yet worse. Wokingham’s record on backing us up has been disappointingly poor, but we do what we can.
  • Hundreds of pounds of grants have already been distributed to worthy causes across the parish. Reading through the requests for grants I was shocked by just how many charities go about their work helping residents without a word of recognition. We might not be able to give much, but I am hugely glad to give what we can.

So in that light, I am extremely sad to be having to tender my resignation. Yes, as of tomorrow my time in Wargrave (six years) and indeed in Wokingham borough (seven) will be at an end as Ashleigh and I move to central Reading. I have already attended my last meeting and given my resignation to the council and its clerk.

This letter is for the residents who I have been representing.

It has been an honour to sit on your parish council. I have enjoyed the experience immensely, and it is a fantastic day to contribute to the community. There is now a vacancy on the council, and I would strongly urge any resident with the spare time to consider filling it. But above all, your councillors work very hard, and do a very good job. You are very well served by them.


Matthew S. Dent
Former councillor, West Ward
Wargrave Parish Council.