Minutes of Committee Meeting
Summer 2003

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Thursday 11th September 2003

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

1.Apologies Mrs Vera Bodman

2.Minutes of the last meeting (11th June 2003) were approved.

3.Matters arising:

Kidmore End Road Parking
Annette Hendry had said although the parking issue had been put on hold, the Council were now ready to move forward and the first step would be to consult residents about parking permit proposals. It was noted that a similar undertaking in Queen’s Road, Caversham had been a success, but this was partly because it had deterred car users from parking there to use the town or the station. It was noted recently that he double yellow lines had been repainted, covering a different area than before. There was one anomaly whereby the line finished halfway across a property, which was adjacent to a driveway. Room for a Smart car if you are lucky. There had also been an increase in parking along Grove Road making it more difficult for buses to navigate.

Litter at Highdown School
There had been an exchange of letters between Trevor Keable and EGRA Chairman, Paul Gallagher, but without any positive action. All agreed it was largely children who were responsible for the litter. Although, the suggestion was made that local residents might like to become involved in the clearance, the committee advised they do so in a supervisory category, alongside teachers, staff and parents, with the pupils in small groups undertaking the work. If the Association could muster volunteers for such a task it was hoped the school would co-operate. Initially a grand sweep would be needed, with monitoring of the situation thereafter. David Miles was to contact the school.

Clayfield Copse
Still nothing had been done to clean the pavilion of graffiti, but the nearby tennis court buildings had had the offensive paintwork removed. The car park remained in its usual state of neglect. Lack of action and response to our requests was to be deplored.

White Horse Pub
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. The situation worsened during the summer months when regular live music belted out from the pub garden on a Sunday, drowning out any sounds residents may want to utter in their own homes and being heard loud and clear as far away as St Barnabas Church. This time the Council did respond to the concerns of residents in general and staff from the Environmental Health Department visited the White Horse on August 11th to discuss matters. A report on that meeting is still awaited, but thankfully things have been quieter since. A reminder next spring may be necessary to avoid the problem next summer.

Planning Consents
The developers of the Heathcroft site had been successful in their planning appeal to build 35 apartments, despite some very valid objections. Despite there being only a 30% success rate for appeals, it was felt because this was an infill site in an existing built up area that was sufficient for it to be passed. A full planning application had recently been made by Dave Tanner Partnership (Elegant Homes Ltd) for the development of 13 dwellings on land between 54 and 74 Kidmore End Road. Notifications of new planning applications had been offered and accepted via e-mail. Mysteriously other associations had been offered the same with a threat of a £200 fee if they chose the to continue with the paper option. Electronic means suited us as an efficient way of circulating topical issues around the committee and if necessary to our members.

After a difficult re-adjustment period the refurbishment of the allotments was deemed a great success with some of the new plot-holders living opposite in Grove Road. There had been a few isolated incidents of vandalism, but was hoped these would not be repeated, and it was a pleasure to see the site revitalised.

4.Treasurer’s Report. The association had paid for the village sign whilst awaiting reimbursement from promised Council funds. The current balancein the Association’s funds was nearly £3000 and it was suggested the committee and members might like to put forward ideas as to how some of this might be spent on future projects.

5.Feedback from Committees: 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.

North Reading Youth Project.
Dr Simon Bradford had decided against contacting the Council directly, but still hoped EGRA would return to meetings in the not too distant future. The committee decided to have the desired effect it was still too soon for that, but the situation would be monitored

Safer Caversham Forum.
It was regretted that EGRA were no longer to be represented as part of the protest over lack of Council consultation. EGRA was still given feedback via the minutes of the meetings, and whilst the long term future was to resume and contribute, this was still early days. Committee member Vera Bodman had been involved in the past, and although she was still keen to do so as an individual, whilst she remained on the EGRA committee, this was deemed inappropriate, and that for the time being all connections needed to be severed.

6.Village Sign
A large community gathering took place on the green by the pond on September 6th when the new oak village sign, painstakingly created by the Berkshire Wood Carvers was unveiled by the Mayor Jeanette Skeats and resident Mrs Esme Ellingham of the Fisher family. Dave Moore from the Council had been instrumental in arranging the installation of the sign and the brick plinth. There had already been positive feedback and even the visually impaired were able to sense the carvings on the post. This is the third success of the Residents’ Association in the last three years and there is no doubt the exhibition, the book and the sign have served to foster the feeling of community spirit. Particular thanks were given to Paul Gallagher for all his work with the sign.

The Berkshire Wood Carvers were sadly being ejected from their workshop at New Town School and were looking for new premises. Help and suggestions would be warmly welcomed.

8. Committee Membership for 2003-04 Vacancies still remained on the committee and although there were still some contenders, new offers were most welcome.

9. Membership and Publicity
Whilst membership still remained healthy, it was sometimes an effort to persuade people to rejoin after the membership had elapsed. It was learnt that CADRA were embarking on a big recruitment drive to boost their membership and whilst this was to be welcomed, the fact that their territory included Emmer Green and we had not been consulted was an issue worth raising. Residents needed to be aware of both associations and those on the EmmerGreen/Caversham borders may opt for Caversham or both, but the choice should be open to all. It was felt if house to house leafleting was being undertaken it could be shared with details of both groups being dropped through letterboxes.

It was also suggested we create a welcome pack for residents who have recently moved into the area. The website needed more publicity and laminated signs were to be made for the library and community notice board.

A community website had also been set up to benefit members and an idea for this was to add a recommended tradesman’s list. It was felt if members could put forward their own personal recommendations and contact details for the tradesperson it could be a very valuable resource. There would have to be a general disclaimer, but it was a step in the right direction. I there was a good response, at some stage a printed list might be included in a future newsletter

10. Any Other Business

Post box near St Barnabas Church
Frequent requests to relocate this box away from traffic danger seem to have fallen on deaf ears. Traffic management had the area on their pending list for investigation, but everything was on hold for the time being.

Red recycling wheelie bins
had been delivered to new areas in Emmer Green. Paper and plastic bottles but not glass would be collected once a fortnight.

Litter bins outside the shops
were constantly overflowing and needed the Council to empty them more often

Clayfield Copse
A meeting was due to beheld at the Milestone Centre on Thursday 25th September to discuss the site and its future. Friends of Clayfield Copse is an enthusiastic band of local volunteers, mostly appreciated by the public, but occasionally misunderstood. All are welcome to attend.

Date of next meeting:
8:00 pm Thursday 27th November 2003 at 18 St Barnabas Road.