MINUTES OF THE 23rd ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
OF THE EMMER GREEN RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION, HELD AT ST BARNABAS HALL,
EMMER GREEN ON 24th APRIL 2006.
The meeting was chaired by Mr Paul Gallagher, and
60 others were present, including local ward Councillors Bob Green, Annette
Hendry and Mark Ralph.
Sadie Cooke, Rev Derek Chandler, Susie Downer, Jim Dunkley, Peter and Janice
Halter, John and Margaret Notton, George Pritchard, Tara Taylor, Barbara
Tee, Brian Warren, Marie-Christine Weeks.
2. THE MINUTES OF THE 22nd AGM held on
the 19th April 2006 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
It was noted that a public meeting on the Inner
Distributor Road had been held.
Planning permission had been granted for an extension to Coral Bookies.
EGRA was concerned that the seat overlooking the pond that it had provided
should be saved and relocated, but no firm assurances had been received
It had been established from RBC that the signage on the local parking
restrictions was in order and enforceable.
4. CHAIRMAN'S REPORT
Copies of his report had already been circulated to all members and they
were also available on the Association’s website www.map-reading.co.uk/egra.
The following lists the topics where additional comments were noted:
Emmer Green Post Office
It appears that a post office will re-open in the florist shop in the former
'Pictures Art Gallery' on the precinct. However, it will cost about £30,000
to buy the franchise and equip the shop with counters etc, and Cllr Hendry
been active in identifying a number of organisations that might provide financial
support, although in most cases applications need to be made by a community
organisation rather than an individual. The Association offered to submit such
an application on behalf of the community, and Cllr Hendry has circulated a
questionnaire to Emmer Green residents asking them to provide information in
support of such an application. It was noted that a good response had been
received. However it is unlikely that any external money will be forthcoming
and the new sub-postmistress Kim Legg and her husband Ian look set to fund
the project themselves. The patronage of the local community will be vital
to their success.
Precinct car park
For the last few years the Association has been requesting the precinct
landlord, Wolfe Properties, to make good the atrocious state of the
precinct car park. The filling of the potholes has been completed,
and a dead tree and paving replace and. The broken lighting issue still
has to be resolved. Hopefully Wolfe Properties will be more mindful
of their responsibilities in the future. The role of the Ward Councillors
in achieving some progress was acknowledged.
Grove Road tree planters
Working with Cllr Hendry, the Association’s Secretary has agreed
a set of maintenance measures in respect of the damaged planters. Some
of the alders have now been pollarded, four trees have been felled and
parts of the crumbling brickwork removed. In time all of the brickwork
will be removed and new trees planted directly into the ground.
Queen’s 80th Birthday commemoration
A Turner’s Oak, in commemoration of the Queen’s 80th birthday,
has been planted at the edge of the recreation ground. The Committee
is reviewing the options for the purchase of a suitable seat upon which
a commemorate plaque can be affixed.
Animal carvings at Clayfield Copse
The Association has obtained the support of the Council to have logs
from a partially felled oak tree in the field bordering Caversham Park
Road carved into animal shapes. With funding from the Association a
local craftsman, Andrew Noyes, has completed the creation of an impressive
dragon, and has involved a group of young people in the designs, some
of the finer carving detail and painting. Everyone agreed that this
was a gratifying outcome, and thanks were expressed to all involved.
It was hoped that further work could be commissioned.
Footpath from Russet Glade
Blocking of the footpath between Jefferson Close and Russet Glade was
threatened by possible development at the rifle club site, and several
local residents submitted written evidence forms, and gave oral statements
to the legal department at Reading Borough Council, to have the footpath
formally added it to the definitive map and statement. An objection
had been received, however, and the matter remained under discussion,
with further inputs required from RBC and the Open Spaces Society.
St Barnabas Garden Party
The Association had participated in this event in July 2006, and had
been successful in recruiting several new members. Attention was drawn
to the 2007 Party scheduled for 14th July.
Art work at Clayfield Copse
Local artist Jenny Leach, who spoke at our last AGM, informed the meeting
of her progress regarding the artwork proposed for Clayfield Copse.
She has gained the support of RBC Parks Department, and involvement
of young people including those at Thames Valley University. Contacts
will also be made with Highdown School and the North Reading Youth
Project. A bid for an Arts Council grant has been successful. The aim
was to launch the display in August, and the hope is that this might
be accompanied by an impromptu community picnic.
North Area Youth Project (NRYP)
Tina Heaford, the Youth Leader, and her team are working very hard and
the youth provision in the north Reading area has increased fourfold
in the last year. An Association member, Tara Taylor, was thanked for
her work on the management committee, and, overall, things are very
encouraging in the North Reading Youth Project.
It would be helpful for more local residents to be aware of the benefits
of the Project, and consideration would be given to arranging a special
meeting to provide a showcase for the work being done.
Caversham Safer Community Forum (CSCF)
It was noted that the Peppard Ward now had the lowest rate of recorded
crime in Reading. Bob Cruickshank and Vera Bodman were thanked for
their participation in the work of the Forum.
It was stated that the situation was relatively good at present, and
that progress was being made with the RBC repainting of the NTL boxes.
Short updates were given on the situations in Crawshay Drive and with
the Whiteknights Laundry site.
The stump of the tree that had fallen outside Pinetree Court still remained
to be cleared. This would be taken up with RBC.
Members and the Association had made representations to South Oxfordshire
Council about the lorry-mounted advertising signs at the Henley Road
Garden Centre, but they remained a problem and efforts to ensure their
removal should continue. It was noted that local objections had lead
to improvements in the signs outside the White Horse.
Julian Pearce (auditor) and Clive Ormonde (webmaster) were thanks for
their efforts and the local ward councilors were also thanked for their
invaluable support. The Chairman also expressed his appreciation of
the support he had received from the Committee.
5. ACCOUNTS AND TREASURER’S REPORT
Bill Harper briefly introduced the accounts for 2006. The balance in
hand remained substantial, but expenditure on the animal carving and
the seat at the Commemoration tree will be incurred. Last year ideas
were put forward for a donation to St Barnabas Church and the provision
of an award at Highdown School, and progress with these was outlined.
Other worthwhile suggestions would be welcomed.
Adoption of the accounts.
Proposer: Owen Jewiss
Seconder: Ben Cosh
6. ELECTION OF COMMITTEE, OFFICERS AND AUDITOR
Brenda Deller and Mark Hutchins were standing down, and were thanked
for their work on the Committee. Brian Warren was also retiring from
the Committee after a long period of valuable and committed service.
A presentation of two crystal goblets had been arranged to mark his
contribution. The following had offered to serve in the coming year:
Chair Margaret Ormonde
Vice-Chair Tara Taylor
Treasurer & Bill Harper
Minute Secretary (Pending the appointment of a Secretary)
Membership Sec Jill Verran
Members Vera Bodman, Ben Cosh, Bob Cruickshank,
Paul Gallagher, Diana Hartrup, Kate Manton, Barry Prior.
Association members are always welcome to participate in the work of
Julian Pearce had agreed to continue to examine the accounts.
Proposer: Hilary Gallagher
Seconder: David Miles
Margaret Ormonde paid tribute to Paul’s
exceptional period of service as Chairman since 1996. He had been dedicated
and the Association and the area had much to thank him for. Margaret
made a presentation to Paul on behalf of everyone in the Association.
It was reported that membership now stood at 446, and members were encouraged
to participate in the email group being managed by Jill Verran.
7. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
A report from this AGM drew attention to the need for funding for the
replacement of the wind vane on the gazebo at Caversham Court, and
to a City University research project on Councillors’ relationships
with the public. Participation in the project was encouraged, and details
Former Emmer Green Post Office premises
A planning application for conversion of use to a financial services
premise had been submitted, and Bob Green confirmed that there were
no grounds for refusing this, as there was a shortage in the immediate
area. However the boarded up shop remained as such, with no imminent
signs of re-opening.
Pathway – Cherry Tree Close/Kiln Road.
This path became overgrown in the summer, but since it was privately
owned responsibility rested with the adjoining residents. Rumors of
development in the area had been circulating, but in the absence of
a planning application no action was possible.
Small Business Club
There was seen to be a need for such a club in the area, but it would
not be appropriate for the Association to sponsor such a body. Details
would be offered of relevant web site links.
Emmer Green Festival
Some enthusiasm for such an event remained, and it would continue under
review despite earlier considerations, which had drawn attention to
the extent of organisational effort required, and the potential liability
issues. Cllr Mark Ralph had been involved in trying to set up such
an event a couple of years ago. It was felt EGRA would be happy to
help publicise and support such an event, but had not got the capacity
to help with the setting up and organizing.
Emmer Green Remembered
The video had now been produced in DVD format, and copies could be obtained
from Caversham Library or Jill Verran.
PRESENTATION ON NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICING
Sergeant Warren McKeown, PCSO Callum Bushall (Lower Caversham) and by
PCSO Jeni Williams (Upper Caversham) joined the meeting to describe recent “community
policing” developments in the area. Whilst the number of police
officers in Caversham had reduced, the recent introduction of Police
Community Support Officers had increased the overall manning level for
the area -. The role of the PCSO’s* was explained, with an emphasis
on their remit to build up links with the local community. A wide-ranging
discussion covered a variety of topics, including:
Local crime levels – actual and perceived.
· The complex issues involved in dealing with anti-social behaviour, particularly
involving young people.
· The factors that conditioned the priorities influencing the levels of
police response to incidents.
· The problems of making contact with front line police personnel.
The meeting welcomed the developments being introduced, and the open
way in which they had been presented and discussed. People looked forward
to establishing contacts with the local PCSOs. A meeting at St Andrews
Church Hall would give local people a voice in the future of police operations.
* Police Constable Support Officer