Minutes of Committee Meeting
Spring 2003

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Wednesday 18th June 2003

Present: Mr Paul Gallagher, Mrs Margaret Ormonde, Mr David Miles, Mrs Anne Ayres.

No apologies were received, but the following absences were noted:
Mrs Jill Verran Mrs Vera Bodman Mr Brian Warren Mr Bill Harper Mr Bob Cruickshank

2.Minutes of the last meeting (13th March 2003) were approved.

3.Matters arising

Kidmore End Road Parking
Annette Hendry was to be contacted by Margaret Ormonde to see if there had been any news on the car parking situation.

The litter problem at Highdown School was still unresolved and although teams of schoolchildren had been seen scouring the grounds they were unsupervised and very little was achieved. It was hoped the school could liaise with the Council Maintenance team in time for the autumn term. A further letter was to be sent to Trevor Keable, Chair of the Highdown Governing Body and a copy to Geoff Goldsmith, Clerk of the same.

Clayfield Copse
Assurances had been given that the pavilion was on the agenda for graffiti removal. Paul Gallagher was to remind Andie Gillespie of this and establish if a date had been set.

Dead / Replacement Trees
Two small saplings had been planted in Peppard Road and it was hoped the same would happen in Courtenay Drive. A large Beech tree had been felled near the junction of Fallowfield Close. There was very little consultation and a small notice pinned to the tree had done little to reassure local people. The Council were adamant the tree was unsafe because of a fungus, but there seemed to be very little outward evidence of this. The Council had promised to notify EGRA when future felling was planned so that consultation and notification with concern residents could be ensured.

White Horse Pub
A white line had been painted along the inside edge of the path outside the pub to make it safe. Although Greene King had been contacted about the cracked paving, still no response had been received to the letter and no repairs had been carried out. There had also been complaints about the number of signs outside the pub, both on public and private property. Loud music coming from speakers on the outside wall frequently upset local residents and, because it seemed to be an ongoing problem, the Council had been informed. They were to be contacted again for an update on the situation.

Emmer Green Book
The second edition of Emmer Green, Past and Present was now printed and on sale locally. Once again it was proving to be extremely popular and folk who had missed out first time round were highly delighted. The copyright would remain with EGRA and a royalty fee of 50p for each book sold was to be paid to the Association. A short article was due to appear in the Henley Standard.

Planning Consents
The planning application for the former Heathcroft site was still pending. No notification had been received from the Council about the forthcoming appeal/application and it was only when an Association member rang to express concerns that the chairman wrote a letter of objection, only to find it had missed the closing deadline.

Grass Cutting
Yet again the grass verges had become unacceptably overgrown, not just in Emmer Green but the rest of the town too. Reminders were like water off a duck’s back. Eventual mowing left many areas looking like a hayfield. Reminders had also been sent about the Grove Road hedge which every year poses a danger to pedestrians, particularly the young and elderly. (The hedge has now been cut)

Although several months behind schedule, to the concern of many existing plot holders, work on the refurbishment of the allotments was now nearly complete. It had generated a lot of new enthusiasm and formerly vacant plots were in a healthy state. There are still however gaps in the hedge and concerns about its long-term survival. Assurances were given that some replanting would be carried out in the autumn.

4.Treasurer’s Report
Due to the absence of the Treasurer, no report was read out.

5.Feedback from Committees
After the last committee meeting it had been collectively decided to withdraw from representation on local committees as a way of making clear our disappointment with lack of consultation from the Council. This had been endorsed at the AGM. The following is the response from such committees.

North Reading Youth Project
Sue Ballard had been the most recent representative and Dr Simon Bradford had written to say how they had valued her contribution. Although he understood our reasons for not sending a replacement, he hoped our actions would have the desired affect and we would be able to resume our role in due course. It was reported by David Miles that new youth leader, Lee Middleton, had an outgoing personality and was promising for the future.

Safer Caversham Forum
Emmer Green Committee member David Miles completed his year as Chairman of this forum at the end of April. Derek Bartlett had written to David Miles thanking him for his contribution. Jacquie Allan representing Ealing Housing Association was to be the new Chair for the forthcoming year. She was to be assisted by Vice Chair Alan Hopkins. The last meeting had been well attended and Chris Bloomfield of RBC had thanked David for his chairmanship. A report highlighting crime hot spots and how to reduce petty crime had been presented. Details of the new capital bids budget was presented by Chris Bloomfield. A suggestion that the Council select future Chairpersons was firmly rejected.

It was regretted that EGRA were no longer to be represented in the near future as part of the protest over lack of Council consultation. In order to be effective this had to be complied with and it was felt that by attending the meeting, one committee member had misunderstood the situation. It was hoped things would be rectified before the next SCF meeting.

North Area Consultative Committee
Although now controversially disbanded, there was still the outstanding issue of the grant for the village sign from the remaining capital funds. There were two other projects under consideration and it was feared Emmer Green was being sidelined in favour of the others. What was more important was that we needed to be informed as soon as possible if the final decision had been made.

The Association’s chairman had attended the CADRA AGM in April at which Bruce Manning had decided to stand down as the CADRA chairman. CADRA also expressed grave concerns about lack of meaningful Council consultation, but for the time being were going to adopt a pester, rather than withdrawal approach.

6.Village Sign
Sections of the new village sign were on display at the Clayfield Copse Woodlands Day at the end of May. Dave Moore from the Council had been instrumental in arranging the installation of the Caversham sign and was able to undertake the same operation for Emmer Green. It was important that the sign was as secure and vandal proof as possible. The area needed to be checked first for any utility pipes. A formal unveiling ceremony was scheduled for late summer /early autumn. The mayor was to be contacted to see when she was free and it would hoped she would be able to perform the ceremony in conjunction with a former resident of Emmer Green who had made a major contribution with regard to information and photographs for the Exhibition and Book.

7.St Barnabas Garden Party
EGRA were to take part again this year on the 12th July. The theme was ‘The Mad Hatters Tea Party’. It was agreed that we would both sell 'Emmer Green Walk' sheets for people to do at their subsequent leisure and also devise a simple 'Treasure Trail' based on Alice in Wonderland characters for the kids to do on the day. The possibility of getting our own gazebo and display boards was to be looked into.

8.Summer Newsletter
As last time, it was hoped individual committee members would each contribute and pass their summaries to the Chairman for editing. David Miles agreed to write a short piece on the recent death of longstanding Emmer Green resident Alan Perrin, who had been one of the earlier secretaries of EGRA. David had passed on our sympathies to his family at this difficult time.

Margaret Ormonde would put paragraphs together about the book and the web site

9. Committee Membership for 2003-04
There were still two vacancies on the committee, but a few people had expressed an interest in joining, All had other commitments until later in the year, but it was hoped it would not be long before the full compliment was restored.

10. Any Other Business

St Barnabas Church Hall
A feasibility study had been undertaken by the church regarding proposals to demolish the old iron hall and rebuild a parish centre attached to the church. At this stage just the congregation had been consulted and shown plans and budgets. The next stage would be a wider consultation within the community.

The recurring problem of flooding at the junction of Kiln Road and Peppard Road had been mentioned to Bob Green and Chris Brown at their last surgery. The chairman had also contacted Faber Thorndike of RBC who said flushing of the culvert was already scheduled.

Red recycling wheelie bins
Red recycling wheelie bins had been spotted in areas of Caversham and it was felt these were more practical than the small boxes. Not all areas of Emmer Green were even covered by the boxes. It was felt Reading’s way of sorting the re-cycleable materials was very inefficient with teams of workers sorting by hand and some of it going to landfill if it could not be done quickly enough.

Woodlands Day
Many people turned out for the second event of its kind, which was a great success. Unfortunately this time round Friends of Clayfield Copse had had their grant application refused and their funds were depleted. Congratulations were offered to all those organising the event and it was hoped that EGRA could make a financial contribution to the cause.

Date of next meeting
8:00 pm Thursday 11th September 2003 at 23 Tredegar Road.