Minutes of Committee Meeting
Autumn 2001

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Thursday 22nd November 2001

Present: Mr Paul Gallagher, Mrs Jill Verran, Mrs Margaret Ormonde, Mr David Miles, Mr Brian Warren, Mrs Anne Ayres, Mr Bob Cruickshank, Mrs Sue Ballard, Mrs Vera Bodman.

Mr G Goldsmith

2.Minutes of the last meeting (23rd August 2001) were approved

3.Matters arising

Highdown Recycling Site
The Council had now agreed to improve and re-surface this area. Although the Association had been asked for a contribution towards the costs, with membership subscriptions of only £1.00 a year, it was not deemed an appropriate use of funds.

Parking along Kidmore End Road
Local Councillors had met staff from RBC Highways department in the summer. Various proposals were due to be put before a meeting of the transport committee in November, then local residents would be consulted. The idea was to reorganise the parking but retain the same number of parking spaces. In recent months traffic wardens have been patrolling the area and this has had a temporary effect of clearing the streets in the worst areas.

Communications Masts
Disappointingly the Council had made a mistake when they agreed to find an alternative site for the proposed mast at the junction of Buckingham Drive and the old Peppard Road (near Surley Row). However, a meeting had taken place between Angela Johnston from BT Cellnet, the Association, Councillor Chris Brown and nearby residents. There was now a possibility that the antenna could be incorporated into a nearby lamppost and that more sensitive consideration would be given to the siting of the control boxes. Residents near the other proposed mast behind the White Horse pub, were also concerned about the 15 metre mast. It could not be stopped on legal grounds (as radiation levels met European standards) and the fact that it was on private property made things even less flexible. The file at the Council offices showed plans of a single monopole, which was due to be sited at the back of the car park amongst trees. Despite a lengthy letter from the occupant of no.9 Grove Road expressing worries about the effect it may have on her small children, the Council had deemed it to be a favourable site.

Further dishes were to be added to the Water Tower to serve the next generation of technology. Nearby residents had been informed.

Planning Applications
The original planning application to build properties behind 76-78 Kidmore End Road had been refused. Although new plans had been submitted, details of those had not yet been passed to the Association. The application to build two large detached houses behind 46-52 Kidmore End Road had been rejected on the grounds that they were out of keeping with surrounding properties.

Clayfield Copse
The surface of the car park continued to deteriorate with no sign of the Council even attempting to repair the many pot-holes. Consideration was also given during the meeting to the provision of play facilities for young children visiting Clayfield Copse. The sculptures and the carved pig had been a great success and it was wondered what else could be done. The main concerns were the level of vandalism in the area, not helped by the fact that it would be in a fairly isolated location. Friends of Clayfield Copse were to be approached for their views on both matters.

Book on Emmer Green
Any doubts lingering from the last meeting that the book might not succeed were cast aside, when thanks to a pre-sales campaign and special launch, a total of 400 books were ordered and paid for with a further 100 sold on the day. About 50 complimentary copies were distributed to contributors and relevant organisations. The remaining 300 copies were sold direct by the Association within the next four weeks. This was partly helped by the landlord of The Black Horse, Andrew Simpson, who had sold over 60 to his customers. Jill Verran was thanked for handling the sales and accounts, as were those selling at the launch. Write-ups and photos had appeared in local newspapers and letters of appreciation had been received. The initial rush to buy books had passed, but there were still some requests for books, and there had also been an approach by commercial outlets asking to sell them. Copies were now available for loan from local libraries. No discussion took place on the future of the book. Margaret Ormonde was officially thanked for all her hard work on the project.

Thanks to a grant from the Millennium Festival Awards for All, the Association was able to meet all its costs and offer a generous discount to local residents and other customers. A summary had been completed and sent to the Millennium Festival Awards for All. It was proposed that some of the money be donated to the Bill Goodworth fund at the local surgery. This had been set up to replace the ECG heart machine with a new one. An initial sum of £250 was agreed, and Paul Gallagher was to contact the surgery to see how the fund stood.

Village Sign
There was now a possibility that the village sign, first proposed a couple of years ago, could become a reality. A neighbour of Brian Warren had contacts in the local timber industry, and the firm which was out in Woodcote, was sympathetic to community projects. There was also a possibility of some timber being available from a felled tree in Caversham Park. The Berkshire Woodcarvers would need to be contacted again for a revised estimate. Slow progress had been made on the sign for Caversham which had received a grant through the North Area Consultative Committee.

Jubilee Year 2002
Councillor Steve Waite was proposing marking the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in June with a festival in Caversham, either at Westfield Park or Caversham Court. Whilst general support was given to the idea, the feeling was that Emmer Green should have its own celebrations, perhaps at a different time to those in Caversham, so that people could attend both. The Queen’s Coronation in 1953 prompted a large-scale party in the Emmer Green recreation ground, and the Silver Jubilee was marked by a number of local street parties in 1977. The Millennium Year in Emmer Green had seen the historical exhibition, Woodlands Day at Clayfield Copse, and Flower Festival at the church. The Highdown Show was the main local event now and was already scheduled for May 2002. Although it was suggested we contact other local organisations, such as the church, scouts, guides, schools TG and WI, Friends of Clayfield Copse to see if they wanted to join in, it was thought the site for such an event should be fairly central to the village – the recreation ground for a fairly large event, or perhaps something on smaller lines would be more suited to the green opposite the St Barnabas Church. Suggestions for a large picnic, or ‘open gardens’ day were put forward. Jill Verran offered to spearhead the initiative, assisted by Vera Bodman. Suggestions, or offers of help from the general association membership would be more than welcome. There was also a possibility of grants being available for such an event.

4.Treasurer’s Report
The books were all now sold and the combined balance in the Associations accounts was just over £4700. The membership stands at a record 375, with an additional 73 new members recruited as part of the marketing of the book. It was good that people were joining because they wanted to be part of a thriving group, not just because there was a problem they wanted help with, or a common cause to fight. In 2002 there would be over 80 membership renewals.

5.Feedback from Committees

North Reading Youth Project
Senior youth worker, Steve Green, who had been doing valiant work at Emmer Green Youth and Community Centre over a number of years, had built up a very good rapport with the youngsters. He had been successful in obtaining a six months secondment to manager the Sure Start facility in Whitley, which was a government project for mothers-to-be and mothers with young children. It was felt unlikely that he would return to Emmer Green. He had produced a detailed exit report, but there were concerns about a lack of replacement, and on some nights it had been left to a trainee youth worker to manage the facilities at the centre. It was felt that if things were allowed to run down more youngsters were likely to get in to mischief.

Safer Caversham Forum
The officer on the Peppard beat had already been lost, and although crime statistics seemed to be up generally, with a spate of incidents in Surley Row, we were reminded that the area north of the Thames, Peppard Ward in particular, is one of the safest in Reading. A draft Community Safety Strategy was passed around. The proposed street lighting along the walkway from the surgery to Eric Avenue was being progressed by Cllr Hendry.

North Reading Area Consultative Committee
There had been no recent meeting of this group and thus there was nothing to report. Bob Cruickshank had agreed to attend the next meeting as the Chairman would be on holiday.

6.Any Other Business

The re-routing and re-numbering of the service to and from Emmer Green had been a big success. One observation was that buses returning to Reading and stopping to wait below Chalgrove Way were doing so with their headlights on, confusing car drivers coming in the opposite direction. Margaret Ormonde agreed to inform Colin Thompson.

Speeding Traffic
Traffic calming measures were being installed near the school entrance in Surley Row.

Tredegar Road was still victim to speeding cars.

Local Associations
It had been suggested that we should forge closer links with CADRA and CPV. They are already sent details of the minutes and newsletters and of course there is access to information through the website.

AGM 2002
The date was set for Thursday 18th April at 8.00pm. Lady Audrey Durant was to be invited to speak on the history of Surley Row. As it was Jubilee year it was suggested rounding off the meeting with cheese and wine.

The website had been running for a few months now, long enough to see how effective it is and whether those ideas formulated for it, by those present at the meeting in May, are working. Although there is an opportunity for people logging on to respond via e-mail, either to comment or to apply to join, or send photos in, very few had done so, so far. Jill Verran had been highly successful in asking other sites to set up links to us and it was hoped in due course that we would reciprocate. It was agreed that we could provide political links as long as all parties were included. There was evidence too that we were starting to appear on search engines. There was discussion on how the site could be made more interesting, with a possible expansion into a community site. Clive Ormonde had set up the site and was willing to continue maintaining it if that was what was wanted. There are currently monthly updates from Chairman, Paul Gallagher, and this seemed to work quite well. Any expansion of the site would involve other members taking on responsibility for maintaining those areas and supplying updates. Ideas were being formulated for further consultation.

7. Date of next meeting
8:00 Thursday 21st February 2002 at 15 The Ridings.