Minutes of Committee Meeting
Spring 2002

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Wednesday 5th June 2002

Present: Mr Paul Gallagher, Mr Bob Cruickshank Mrs Margaret Ormonde Mr Bill Harper
Mr David Miles Mr Brian Warren Mrs Anne Ayres Mr Geoff Goldsmith

1.Apologies
Mrs Jill Verran

2.Minutes of the last meeting (21st February 2002) were approved

3.Matters arising

Highdown Recycling Site
Temporary repairs had been carried out to the site and it was understood that major works to the gas pipeline would be carried out once the school term ended in the summer. The longer term future of the recycling facility was not yet clear.

Parking along Kidmore End Road
Since the survey was undertaken the Councillors had called on households to discuss the car parking problems. Residents were still being fined for illegal parking, and this had been a double blow because some who had parked further away from their homes had found the cars were being vandalised. The traffic wardens tended to finish work at around 5.30 pm which meant visiting cars could still cause chaos in the evening, with no consequences. Unfortunately, the hands of the Council were tied until Central Government revised their policy on residents’ parking permits. Even this would not solve an ever growing problem and it was felt some innovative thinking was needed. Cllr Hendry was to be contacted to see if there was any more news.

Planning Applications
Planning consent was finally granted at a Council meeting on Wednesday 29th May for the first phase to proceed on the land behind 70-76 Kidmore End Road. Campaigner Jon Barclay of Chalgrove Way and Paul Gallagher attended the meeting where Cllr Bob Green made an impassioned speech representing the concerns (traffic, safety, parking etc) of the residents opposed to the project. Cllr Stainthorpe spoke in favour of the proposal, branding the opposers as ‘nimby’, and the voting went in favour. No 76 would be demolished, a wide access road created and the initial plans were for five houses (up to sixteen eventually). Where properties were likely to lose parking places outside their homes, provision may be made at the rear.

46-52 Kidmore End Road
although the initial application had been refused because it was felt two big detached properties were incongruous with the surrounding area, the subsequent submission had not changed significantly.

The opposition to the demolition of a bungalow and construction of a large dwelling in St Barnabas Road had led to the application being refused and the developer had withdrawn completely and resold the property.

Village Sign
The sign had previously been given the go-ahead by the committee and on Saturday 25th May a meeting between Paul Gallagher, Margaret Ormonde, Anne Ayres from EGRA and Bill Mander, Gordon Bennett and Peter Ambrose from the Berkshire Woodcarvers was held to discuss how to proceed.
The wood would probably be sourced and prepared by a nephew of Bill Mander. Another quote had been supplied by Bouchiers, but although this seemed cheaper, it only covered the bare timber and not the preparation. The decision had been left in the hands of the carvers.

The design of the sign was discussed. Because there wasn’t really one image to represent Emmer Green it was decided to divide the top panel into four, with an architectural theme on one side and local interest on the other. This would probably suit the carvers too, as the sign was being carved by a team of people.

The topics decided were:

Side one - St Barnabas Church, Caversham Grove (Highdown School), Tudor Cottage, row of cottages.
Side two – two horses (facing in the same direction, inwards), the brick kiln, the water tower (minus aerials), the pond.

The name EMMER GREEN would be carved over the top. Although the sign would not be painted, different shades of stain would be used to emphasise designs. It was felt the sign would be appreciated most by people standing beside it, rather than those driving past. The most popular site with the members was the area of land to the south of the pond.

The CADRA sign for Caversham was still going ahead, and we were following its progress. As it was being funded by the North Reading Area Consultative Committee, the Council were going to install and maintain the sign. It was hoped we could follow the same path.

There were no requirements for health and safety, but planning consent was underway in the form of an ‘advertising consent application’. The valuation department of the Council were to confirm who owned the land

The Berkshire Woodcarvers, several of whom live in Emmer Green had already made a unique contribution to the area with the Clayfield Copse waymarkings. The sign seems a fitting outlet for their skills, a present to the people of Emmer Green, and a commemoration of the Jubilee year.

Jubilee Year 2002
The idea of a low key event for the 3rd June was abandoned because of logistical complications, lack of support and also because the grant to fund it was refused. However the St Barnabas Garden Party on the 6th July had a Jubilee theme and EGRA had been invited to take part. Paul Gallagher had been in touch with the organiser Julie Kent and suggestions for the stall had included an historical display, quizzes etc. Bob Cruickshank was happy to look after the quiz with the Village theme and Paul Gallagher would seek help from other committee members on other quizzes. Any funds raised would be paid directly to the church for their charitable cause.

Website
The application form to join EGRA had now been revised, so that it could be printed and posted to the Membership Secretary. The community site had been established with an interesting contribution of some aerial photographs. Other local photos from members are still needed.

4.Treasurer’s Report
The books were all now sold and the combined balance in the Associations accounts was just over £5100, including a recent contribution of £71.00 from video royalties.

5.Feedback from Committees

North Reading Youth Project
Details were still awaited concerning the consultation exercise with youngsters on the Clayfield Copse skateboard facility improvements. Sums of £20,000 have been mentioned.

Safer Caversham Forum
The current chairman Derek Bartlett had relinquished his post after valiant service. It was decided that future chairmen/women should be represented by local groups in the area, for one year at a time. EGRA was the first to be offered this post and David Miles had stepped into the role. It was hoped that the minutes of the first meeting, taken by Secretary Chris Bloomfield, would be sent before the next meeting scheduled for June11th. Many of the topics covered were outside Emmer Green, but it was important that we look at and contribute to issues beyond our own boundaries. Amersham Road was at the forefront of discussion and a police ‘Electrode’ operation on horseback had helped calm things down. In fact the area was environmentally a pleasant place to live, just being spoilt by a few inconsiderate residents.

Leaflets and brochures had been produced on Reading’s Community Safety Strategy 2002-2005. The aim is to ensure that communities work closely with police to reduce and prevent crime. The areas of concern were high volume crime, anti-social behaviour, hidden crime, drugs and alcohol abuse, youth issues and crime hot spots. Comments on this were to be passed to David Miles.

Disappointment was expressed by the EGRA committee that the Caversham Chat (including the local crime figures) was no longer distributed as an e-mail attachment. Copies were available from Caversham Library.

There had been a spate of crime at Reading Golf Club with cars broken into and valuables stolen from changing rooms.

North Reading Area Consultative Committee
Bob Cruickshank, who had attended a previous meeting, volunteered to attend future meetings, as the EGRA representative, and it was hoped that at the next meeting there would be some good news about the financial award for the village sign.

6. Draft Summer Newsletter
This had been circulated to committee members and was given approval. Additional information about proposed changes to the allotments was to be added. The plans were to encourage the use of vacant plots and the improve the general upkeep of the site by dividing existing plots in two. New wider paths were also to be created to the concern of some allotment holders who may lose some land.

7. AGM
This year’s had been a particular success for a number of reasons. The culmination of events with cheese and wine was something we hoped to follow up in future years.

8. Any Other Business

The seat which had been donated by EGRA in 1995 was in need of maintenance to preserve it. David Miles volunteered to undertake this task at some point during the summer.

There was to be yet another Chambers Copse enquiry on the 20th August.

Although the application to build on land behind 19-21 Grove Road was refused the builder has appealed to the Secretary of State against the decision and an Inquiry was to be held.

CADRA are arranging more liaison meetings between local groups and EGRA were amongst those invited to attend. Ideas to be put forward by EGRA included:

1. Recycling from roadside collections

2. Identifying areas for tree preservation orders

3. Allotments – the new proposals and the need to maintain the land

4. Car parking problems

5. Telecommunication masts

The date was still to be announced.

Post boxes
The Royal Mail had recently been contacted about the lack of posting facilities in the Hemdean Valley / Tredegar Road area. Also it had been pointed out this was having a knock-on effect on the box outside St Barnabas Church that was often overflowing and during the school rush period causing additional traffic problems because of users parking.

Date of next meeting
8:00 pm Wednesday 25th September 2002 at 18 St Barnabas Road.