MINUTES OF THE 21st ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
OF THE EMMER GREEN RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION, HELD AT ST BARNABAS HALL,
EMMER GREEN ON 20th APRIL 2005.
The meeting was chaired by Mr Paul Gallagher, and 59 others were present,
including local ward Councillors Bob Green, Annette Hendry and Mark Ralph.
Diana Hartrup, Susie Downer, Eddy & Noreen Hooper, Mrs DM Johnson,
Maggie Churcher, Hilary Gallagher, Edwina Childs, Mr and Mrs Derek Colverson,
Lettitia Andrews and others.
2. THE MINUTES OF THE 20th AGM held on
the 14th April 2004 had been
circulated and it was agreed they were an accurate record of the proceedings.
They were signed by the Chairman.
3. MATTERS ARISING
Topics other than those covered in the Chairman's report were raised
After an absence of a year in protest at the lack of consultation from
the Council, EGRA representatives had resumed attendance at the Safer
Caversham Community Forum and North Reading Youth Project committee meetings.
We had been welcomed back, but unfortunately the reason for opting out
in the first place was not entirely resolved.
Mature trees were still being removed or having drastic work done to
them without prior notification to nearby residents or the association.
Copies of his report had already been circulated to all members and they
were also available on the Association’s website www.map-reading/egra
. The following lists the topics where additional comments were noted:
Street Cleaning & Grass Cutting
the last year considerable improvement had been made in street cleaning,
especially in the area
around the shopping precinct, for which we had to thank the efforts of
two Council workmen in particular. There were still pockets of problem
areas, notably Highdown School. So far, the response from them had been
rather negative, but in time it was hoped a community initiative could
be set up. Less satisfying was the grass cutting, particularly in spring
when the growth rate was excessive. It was hoped that the frequency of
cutting could be better spaced throughout the growing period and the
situation will be monitored and the Council chased if necessary.
Things had certainly
moved forward during the year and the working partnership with the Council
had been a success, albeit
with inevitable frustrations along the way. The pavilion/changing rooms
in the Grove Road Recreation Ground, which had been cleaned off three
times now, had not actually been targeted for four months. We were still
awaiting news of a second training day in the use of the anti-graffiti
kits, to enable more volunteers to participate in the scheme. Another
complication was the NTL cable boxes, which were high priority targets.
We were still awaiting news of a meeting between NTL and RBC and had
been promised we would be invited to the discussion that took place.
Caversham Safer Community Forum
Bob Cruickshank is the EGRA representative at these meetings.
Friends of Clayfield Copse
The Woodland Day is on Saturday 4th June and EGRA had agreed to supplement
the funding of two carved seats in the shape of animals, by Jason Trewinnard,
a local chainsaw sculptor, to the tune of £150.
Highdown Hill Road
EGRA had given support to a good campaign by the Highdown Hill ‘Action
Group’ against future development. Despite the fact the inspector
had ruled against it, the developers had already put forward a new proposal,
without addressing the main areas of concern, such as the character of
the road and local area. Resident Brian Kendrick would be re-activating
the campaign and all support would be welcomed.
Planning/Traffic Concerns- The North Area Access Study
The impact of infill development on traffic in the area had not gone
un-noticed and a traveling ‘exhibition’ to display and
offer the opportunity to discuss changes/possible solutions had recently
been in the area. But although the intentions may have been very good,
the execution was poor. Initial leaflets to promote the event were
never distributed, and had to be re-issued at the last moment. The
venues were totally unsuitable – Caversham Library bursting at
the seams with people desperate to have a say, and Emmer Green and
Caversham Park left with a bus, with impossible access and opportunities
to view a large map stuck on a piece of card, let alone contribute,
very haphazard. What was needed was a proper Powerpoint presentation
in a suitable venue. However, this was the first joint consultation
exercise on the subject, and it was hoped the Council would be noting
the responses. Everyone was urged not only to complete the questionnaire,
but also to write separately to air their views. The Chairman would
be penning a letter on behalf of the Association outlining the dissatisfaction
and concerns about some of the proposals.
5. TREASURER'S REPORT AND ACCOUNTS
the fact the Association had undertaken another project in 2004, namely
the community notice board, funds were
still at a very healthy £5500.
We had been re-imbursed for the village sign last year, and there was
the promise that a contribution would be made by Reading Borough Council
towards the cost of the notice board too. Ideas for future projects would
be welcomed. Julian Pearce had again done a very good job auditing the
accounts and was thanked for his assistance.
Proposer: Jill Verran.
Seconder: Owen Jewiss
6. ELECTION OF COMMITTEE, OFFICERS AND AUDITOR
Current members were introduced and it was announced two members were
leaving. The first was David Miles who had been an invaluable and hard
working contributor for 21 years. He was thanked by Chairman Paul Gallagher
and presented with an engraved tankard. Anne Ayres was also resigning
because she had moved out of the area. The Chairman thanked her and
gave her a clematis for her new garden. Because last year we had co-opted
members on the committee, the resignations now left us with a full
complement of eleven. Julian Pearce had also agreed to continue auditing
Proposer: Owen Jewiss.
Seconder: David Miles
7. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Policing in Caversham
Since the police box had been removed from Marshlands Square it was hoped
more use would be made of the new office that had been set up in Church
House at the bottom of Prospect Street, Caversham. Unfortunately due
to staff shortages this facility had been inaccessible for most of
the time. But there was hope things would change in the future with
the promise of a Neighbourhood Police Initiative, due to take place
in 2006. No specific date had been given, however. Proposals included
a new team in the office in Church House and more publicity.
Cllr Mark Ralph had met with the new Police Inspector, Graham Dix, who
had some constructive suggestions, including parental responsibility
for wayward youngsters.
Liz Herbert was the lady responsible for the Neighbourhood Watch information,
and if anyone wanted to set up a scheme in their own area, or had any
other queries, they should contact her.
Sheila Higginson raised the issue that although there was a long waiting
list for new plots, some had been empty and unworked for a very long
time. Communication or response from the Council had been unproductive.
Cllr Bob Green offered to assist.
Owen Jewiss was worried that loose granite kerbstones near where he lived
were causing a hazard and was advised to let the local Councillors
The increase in development and change of school catchment areas was
causing problems for both primary and secondary schools. Very worrying
was the situation whereby siblings could not be admitted to the same
primary school, even though one was already there. The problem was
exacerbated because most of the schools were concentrated in a fairly
small geographical area, but served communities some distance away.
The developers were sometimes obliged to offer money towards education
through what is known as 106 agreements, but there was no clear information
from Reading Borough Council as to how it was spent and where it is spent.
Cllr Green informed the meeting that two proposed developments – 91
Peppard Road, and 9 Buckingham Drive - had been refused.
South East Area Plan
Details of this were circulated by the South East England Regional Assembly
(SEERA), an unelected government body, to every household in the area,
with an opportunity to respond via a questionnaire. EGRA had also replied
with a detailed letter. The intentions were also to liaise with CADRA,
other local residents associations and even into South Oxfordshire
in further getting the message to SEERA that massive expansion of housing
development without first tackling the deficiency in the infrastructure,
especially traffic congestion, was not supported by existing residents.
The meeting concluded with Bob Cruickshank giving thanks on behalf of
us all, to Chairman Paul Gallagher for his relentless hard work and dedication.
8. GUEST SPEAKER
After the formal business, Mr Peter Adamson from the Air Ambulance gave
an informative and entertaining talk. It takes £900,000 a year
to run the service, which is currently in need of a new helicopter.
It does get support from businesses and is very efficient in its running
costs. On average the helicopter makes four emergency visits per day.
Members were encouraged to join the ‘Whirlybird’ lottery.
The evening finished off with wine and nibbles.