Minutes of Committee Meeting
Summer 2002

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Wednesday 25th September 2002

Present: Mr Paul Gallagher, Mr Bob Cruickshank, Mrs Margaret Ormonde, Mr Bill Harper, Mr David Miles, Mrs Anne Ayres, Mrs Jill Verran

Mr Geoff Goldsmith Mrs Sue Ballard

2.Minutes of the last meeting (5th June 2002) were approved and the Secretary thanked for doing the minutes efficiently.

3.Matters arising

Parking along Kidmore End Road
Unfortunately things had come to a standstill on this problem, and recently the car park of the White Horse has had a barrier installed across the entrance, denying access to non-customers. It was felt all the work that had gone into undertaking the survey was of little use. The traffic wardens had been less vigilant over the past few months, but there was no indication that they wouldn’t return at some point in the future. Cllr Annette Hendry was to be contacted by e-mail to see if there had in fact been any progress.

Village Sign
After consultation with the committee a number of images were passed to the Berkshire Woodcarvers and the timber has been ordered and final size sketches made.

The scenes decided were:

Side one - St Barnabas Church, Hay cart, Mafeking horses
Side two –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 still hoped that funds would be forthcoming from the ward allocation of funds held by the North Reading Area Consultative Committee. Planning consent had been granted by the Council. In due course decisions will be made about the plinth, which it is hoped will feature local flints. It was thought there might be water pipes in the area, so the location would have to avoid that. Bill Harper was to investigate.

Jubilee Year 2002
The St Barnabas Garden Party on the 6th July had a Jubilee theme and EGRA took part. It was a very successful afternoon and a small sum of money was raised for the church’s charitable cause. EGRA’s Vice Chairman underwent a transformation during the afternoon, and whilst he did not make national headlines, managed to get his painted face into the local press! We hope things will be even better next year and plan to purchase some display boards to enhance our stand.
The Caversham Jubilee Festival on 14th September had been a big success (over 4000 people), if not necessarily a big money spinner. Neither CADRA or EGRA were represented at the festival – something which we may wish to consider in the future.

There were regular monthly up-dates on the site and over the past couple of months members who had submitted e-mail addresses were informed of the up-date. There had been a very favourable response to this.

The seat, which had been donated by EGRA in 1995 was in need of maintenance to preserve it. David Miles had undertaken this task, sanding down the seat and applying two coats of varnish. This was now the best looking seat in the village.

4.Treasurer’s Report
The books were all now sold and the combined balance in the Association’s accounts was just under £5,100, including the recent contribution of £250.00 to the doctors’ surgery for the heart monitor in memory of Bill Goodworth. Members’ subscriptions since January 2002 amounted to £373. It was agreed that the division in the accounts between book funds and Association funds was no longer necessary. If such information was required at a future date the historical record could be reviewed.

5.Feedback from Committees

North Reading Youth Project
Sue Ballard was due to attend the next meeting on the 3rd October. However, it was reported that youth worker Dominic Salter had regrettably moved abroad and that the Council were having great difficulty recruiting a replacement. This was a problem in Reading generally.

There was no capital money to improve the skateboard facilities at Clayfield Copse this year, but RBC were considering expenditure over the next 24 months, with a view to perhaps doing things in stages. Cost was expected to be between £20,000 and £25,000. Ben Stanesby, the Parks Manager, had in the meantime met with a couple of local lads to discuss the skateboarding facilities in the town generally.

Safer Caversham Forum
David Miles had chaired a meeting at St Anne’s Church Hall on 13th August. It was attended by representatives of other local residents’ associations, Thames Valley Police, Reading Borough Council and a couple of audit commissioners. 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 again at the forefront of discussion, but it was felt that things were improving and that steps were being taken to make the residents feel less isolated. The feeling that it had become a better place to live was endorsed by Christian Digance of the Ealing Housing Association. A BMX track (and possibly a shelter for young people) was to be built on some Council owned land in the area.

A Distraction Burglary Project (DBP) had been set up to help vulnerable people. There were initiatives in place to visit those people who weren’t yet aware of the scheme to let them know that help was at hand. The scheme had the support of Social Services.

Disappointment was expressed by the EGRA committee that the Caversham Chat (including the local crime figures) was no longer being published. Emmer Green and Caversham still had very low crime rates. There was concern that future statistics might distort the figures unfavourably because all reported crime has to be recorded even if it turns out to be a false alarm. ‘Wise-up’ cards had been produced to distribute to local children to encourage them to protect their possessions.

North Reading Area Consultative Committee
Area Consultative Committees currently advise RBC on projects that should be supported from central government grants, which amount to £2,000 per ward per annum. Other Consultative Committees in Reading are not as well attended as the North Reading one and there is now a real danger that they may all be discontinued. Current unspent funding across the whole town is £30,000 with about £4,000 for the three wards north of the river. In the past Peppard Ward had allocated its share to other local projects in Thames/Caversham wards on the understanding that there would be future allocation of funds towards the Emmer Green village sign. Concerns have been expressed that this may not now be forthcoming and, perhaps more importantly, the future of this committee was in doubt.

Liaison Meeting
There had been a liaison meeting between residents’ associations in the area. This mainly focused on such issues as flood plain development, but agreed there was a need for us to support each other generally. It transpired that EGRA’s concerns about not always being informed by the Council about important local issues was also being experienced by other associations. It was felt that if we became affiliated to RFTRA, which represented Housing Association tenants, information and consultations would automatically be filtered through before it was too late. Affiliation was free and the chairman took an action to contact RFTRA.

6. Any Other Business

There was an ever worsening problem with litter at Highdown School, particularly around the edges of the playing fields where it tended not to get picked up by the grass cutters. The chairman took an action to write to the school again about this on going problem.

There was to be a Special Council Meeting – ‘Moving forward in Partnership’ on the 15th October at the Town Hall. Bob Cruickshank agreed to attend.

There had been a minor incident along St Barnabas Road whereby a lot of Sunday Mail newspapers had been dumped. Their origins were never traced.

Jill Verran reported a dead tree at the bottom of Courtenay Drive and was informed the council officer to contact was Richard Stimpson. She also repeated her concerns about the continued deplorable state of the Clayfield Copse car park.

A member had requested that we ask Reading Buses if they were prepared to move the No 45 bus stop from the northern end of Grove Road back to its original location at the eastern end of Kidmore End Road. Reasons given were that the pavement along Grove Road was narrow. The bus no longer turns right at the junction, so in theory there would be no reason for it not to revert. The secretary took an action to seek the views of Reading Buses and in particular the drivers.

Anne Ayres announced that Abbey Rugby Club was keen to improve its links with Emmer Green, and had offered the use of its facilities to anyone who was interested.

The White Horse pub had recently undergone major refurbishments again. Unfortunately a new large sign had been positioned far too high above the wall in the garden, spoiling what was otherwise a worthwhile job. The site foreman and area manager had already agree it needed to be changed, but as the deadline for comments to the Council was 30th September, it was felt as well to inform them of the situation. The secretary would monitor the situation.

Marshlands Square /Heathcroft
Plans had been submitted to the Council for a development of 35 flats/maisonettes. Some of these were low cost housing, which was felt was very appropriate and much needed in an expensive area. Car parking spaces had been allocated although not sufficient for every property. It was decided EGRA would not object to the development but would seek guidance on the density of dwellings in regard to the allocated parking.

Date of next meeting
8:00 pm Wednesday 4th December 2002 at 6 Tredegar Road.