Minutes of Committee Meeting
Summer 2000

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Tuesday 22nd August 2000

Present: Mr Paul Gallagher, Mrs Jill Verran, Mrs Margaret Ormonde, Mrs Sue Ballard, Mr Bill Goodworth, Mr Bill Harper, Mr David Miles, Mr Brian Warren, Mrs Vera Bodman.

Mrs Anne Ayres, Mr G Goldsmith.

2.Minutes of the last meeting (11th May 2000) were approved.

3.Matters arising:

St Barnabas Road Traffic Island
This had now been completed and the return of the schoolchildren in September would test its effectiveness.

St Barnabas Road
This had now been resurfaced, and the verge on the eastern side reinstated. Unfortunately no traffic-calming measures had been installed and inconsiderate drivers saw this as an opportunity to speed, particularly at quiet times of the day.

Chambers Copse Footpath
No news

Grove Road Development
Nothing further plans had been submitted to the Council, and it was hoped that the builder had abandoned his determination to buy up land for infill housing.

Safer Caversham Forum
Vera Bodman had attended the last meeting and although many of the problems were outside our area, we felt they needed our support. The light summer evenings had exacerbated the tendency of youngsters to congregate on the street. Trouble flared when rival ‘gangs’ met up. The shopping precinct at Emmer Green was a local ‘hot spot’ and shop- keepers had complained it was keeping customers away.

Complaints had been received about the difficulty of contacting the police. 999 calls were directed through to call centres at either Kiddlington or Aldershot, and it was feared things were not being dealt with as quickly as they might.

Gravel Hill Development
Residents had been informed that they would have to contact the police, if they were personally affected by contractors’ vehicles making deliveries.

Bugs Bottom
Concerns were raised that the definitive path at the southern end of the valley had been diverted. Assurances were given that this was just temporary, and that planning permission was awaited for housing.

Lyefield Court
Planning permission had been granted for the building of seven town houses and garages on land between 13 & 15 Kidmore End Road, and the Recreation Ground (adjacent to Lyefield Court). It was not clear if the application had ‘gone to committee’ or if it had been ‘delegated’.

North Reading Youth Project
There had been a meeting with the new head of Youth Services. Concerns were raised about the possibility of transferring funds from some of the wealthier clubs to those in poorer areas. Emmer Green may be one of those adversely affected by this.

4.Treasurer’s Report
Current balance was £2235.44. There were still around 13 members who hadn’t paid and various committee members agreed to knock on doors in the hope of extracting some money. We had got 35 new members recently, largely as a result of the exhibition. Total membership was now 301. A warning was given that not many subscriptions were due for renewal next year. The policy of allowing members who joined later in the financial year to carry over their subscriptions to the end of the following year, was endorsed by the committee, with the agreed cut off month as June. This would be verified at the next AGM.

Not discussed at the meeting, was the decision to make Mr John Dean the nonagenarian from Dorset, an honorary life member. This was because of the tremendous effort he made to attend the exhibition and his continued interest in the area. He had been informed and was highly delighted.

5.Secretary’s Records
The increasing use of e-mail meant that significant occurrences in Emmer Green (such as the recent bus timetable changes) were not actually on paper and kept on the Secretary’s files. E-mails were tending to replace phone calls too, so it would be impractical and costly to print out everything, but relevant letters could be extracted as necessary and printed for filing. It was suggested that the Secretary submitted regular expenses to cover this cost.

6.Village Sign
Johnny Johnston from Autumn Close had asked if we were still planning to pursue the plan for a sign at the centre of the village. It was explained that it had been temporarily shelved because we were unable to get a grant. The idea hadn’t been abandoned altogether and the Berkshire Woodcarvers were still available. It was possible that sales from the sale of the film or book. In any case with the current spate of petty crime and vandalism it was felt that now was not the best time to be thinking about it.

7.Reading Buses
A reduction in the off-peak 24 service to Chalgrove Way to one per hour had caused considerable inconvenience to those in the area. The bus had also been re-routed so that it reached the station via Friar Street. Annette Hendry arranged a meeting with Colin Thompson of Reading Buses on Tuesday 8th August. She had also distributed forms to those households worse affected, and 90 had been completed and returned. Four residents attended the meeting together with Paul Gallagher and Sue Ballard from the Residents’ Association. The meeting was amicable with Mr Thompson explaining some of the difficulties he had running the buses, in particular recruiting and retaining drivers. Also they were required by law to make a profit. The sole shareholder was Reading Borough Council.

A suggestion to re-route the 44 bus was rejected, but there were some positive results from the meeting. Any extra charges from Friar Street to the station would be scrapped. He also looked into re-instating the 9.00am bus, and promised to improve the reliability of the buses overall. It was stressed how important it was for drivers to key in those with passes, so that the company could claim those fares back from the Council.

8. Any Other Business

Millennium Exhibition/Book on Emmer Green
An interim meeting on the 18th June devoted to the exhibition and its aftermath had been minuted and copies circulated. There had been much demand for a book, and whilst this was felt quite a big step to take we were encouraged by the success of other such ventures in Reading, and the possibility of a grant from the lottery again. This time however we would be limited to about £3400. Julie Wickham had been responsible for the book on Katesgrove which had sold the first 500 copies, and had a further 300 done. Estimates had been supplied by the Short-run Book Company based on a laminated (two colour cover) paperback 100 pages long, mostly monochrome, but with a few colour photographs. 750 copies seemed to be about the optimum print run and by doing the typesetting, design, layout, and scanning the photographs ourselves we could save a lot of money. Print costs would probably be about £5.00 per book. In order to catch the 2001 Christmas market we would need to start things moving now, as printing often took longer than was indicated, so everything would need to be completed by early June 2000 at the latest. We should aim to gather remaining information by the end of the year with March being the cut-off point for last minute odds and ends. A list will be circulated delegating tasks to committee members.

Laurie Joyce was still keen to go ahead with the film and a meeting had been arranged for the 14th September. The time-schedule of that would be discussed together with the linking of the film and the book.

There were a considerable quantity of leaflets left over from the exhibition, and whilst we still wanted to supply libraries and schools, there was no particular hurry to dispose of them all.

St Barnabas Road – speeding traffic
Bill Goodworths concerns over this had been deemed a low priority by the Council, but he was keen to persist. Brian Warren suggested contacting the police to ask for an officer with a radar gun to be deployed.

Sustrans Cycleway through the golf course
Cyclists had welcomed the coming of this new route, but it didn’t take long for motorists to remove the temporary barriers and abuse the lane. It was hoped Sustrans would be installing something more permanent before too long.

Refuse Collections
Some areas had had collections delayed by up to four days on two occasions. Complaints to the Council were often met with evasion and excuses. It was felt that if this happens again more formal action should be taken.

Flooding on the corner of Kiln / Peppard Roads
This was still a problem after heavy rain.

9.Date of next meeting
Thursday 23rd November, at 8.00pm. 23 Tredegar Road.