Minutes of Committee Meeting
Spring 2004

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Thursday 13th May 2004

Present:
Paul Gallagher, Margaret Ormonde, David Miles, Anne Ayres, Jill Verran, Mark Hutchings, Diana Hartrup, Bill Harper, Tara Taylor

1.Apologies
Brenda Deller, Brian Warren, Bob Cruickshank

2. Minutes of the last meeting (Thursday 12th February 2004) were approved.

3. Matters arising:

Litter at Highdown School
A response had been received re the litter situation at Highdown School saying particular areas of attention were around the re-cycling bins. Also the children were being encouraged to take a more responsible attitude.

Graffiti
Strong feelings had been expressed at the AGM about graffiti and vandalism in general. There were signs that Andy Gillespie from the parks department and his team were tackling it on park buildings, but evidence of a co-ordinated overall Council policy was sorely lacking. Margaret Ormonde had, during the afternoon, spoken to Andy Gillespie on the ‘phone re the various costs and effectiveness of treatments, with a possibility of including some volunteers in the clean-up process. Although it was likely Caversham and other Residents’ Associations might want to put forward ideas, it was thought initially to confine discussion to Emmer Green. Paul Gallagher and Margaret Ormonde offered to meet up with Andy Gillespie and David Wilks, who had voiced concerns and possible solutions at the AGM, was to be contacted too, in the hope he might become involved.

Planning Consents
Jon Barclay of Chalgrove Way was keeping a close eye on the development behind 54-74 Kidmore End Road to ensure the developer complied with the restrictions.

The application for the development of houses behind gardens in Highdown Hill Road was rejected by the RBC Planning Committee, largely on the grounds it would spoil the character of the area. Cllr Bob Green had given an impassioned speech. It was likely, however, that the developers would go to appeal, which may not necessary have the desired end result.

Another proposal for Highdown School to sell off land for development had been suspended because the LEA was not supporting such measures until the government review on school building and maintenance was published.

Village Sign
Concerns were expressed that the maintenance of the sign had lapsed rather, with it being in need of a good oiling to preserve the wood and the carvings.

Membership and Publicity
Subscriptions had been coming in at healthy rate, but a few remained from a long while back and it was decided to curtail membership of these households.

Living Spaces
is part of the Urban Parks Forum and had sent out a leaflet inviting organisations to apply for grants to improve local open spaces. One of the projects discussed had been a children’s play area at Clayfield Copse, in a sympathetic style using logs etc. Before things could proceed permission was needed from the Head of the Planning Department. Paul Gallagher had written, but as yet had no reply.

Feedback from Committees
It was over a year now since we had formally withdrawn from local committees in the hope it may encourage the Council to re-think their attitude on better communications. The opinion was that they were keen for us to participate again. As an initial step it was felt we should return in an observer capacity and Bob Cruickshank’s name was put forward for the Caversham Safer Forum. Another committee we would hope to return to was the North Reading Youth Project. There were indications that efforts were being made in this area and initiatives such as the new youth mobile unit and ideas for special ‘graffiti walls’. Paul Gallagher was to look into this and Tara Taylor also expressed an interest in attending a future meeting. These were held six times a year

4. Treasurer’s Report
The association had a healthy balance of just over £5800, boosted by the re-imbursement from the Council for payment of the village sign. Thanks were given to Paul Gallagher for his tireless efforts to secure this. Ideas of how to spend some of this money included a new community notice board at the shopping precinct.

5. Community Notice Board
Bill Mander from the Berkshire Woodcarvers had been approached and detailed drawings had been supplied for him to pass on the Matthew Mander, so both could supply quotes. Another avenue for the supply of the materials was Brian Kendrick, who has contacts at Bouchier Limited, and the same information had been passed to him as well. Nothing could actually proceed until planning consent had been approved, and although Paul Gallagher made an initial approach to the Council, no acknowledgement had yet been received.

6. Sale of Land Guidance
Over recent years the Association was becoming involved in often controversial issues over the selling of land for infilling. Its membership included both parties selling and nearby upset residents. The advice was for individuals to take up their own specific issues with the planning authority, and that the Association would involve itself in the wider issues, such as the impact on the area as a whole or effect on local amenities and infrastructure. A set of guidelines had been prepared, ready to include with the next newsletter, setting out some of the pitfalls of accepting tempting offers from developers. Details of useful websites were also to be included.

7. St Barnabas Garden Party
The theme was an English country garden. EGRA would once again be taking part on Saturday 10th July. Another Emmer Green walk route had been prepared for sale. And an idea for a giant shuffle puzzle, with an appropriate picture for young people, sounded promising too.

8. Any Other Business

Road cleansing
More funds had been allocated for this north of the river. A map was being prepared by the Council indicating the frequency it is to be expected from now on. It is hoped that before long we will all notice a difference and that they will include street signs (some of which are hard to read now) in the work undertaken.

St Barnabas News
From 11th – 13th June the church has its 75th anniversary celebrations, which will include a visit from the new Bishop of Reading on the 11th June. Also attending would be former vicars and priests-in-charge, and over the weekend a lunch in the church. On the 13th a special family barbeque would be held in the grounds of the school.

Planning applications
Planning applications were being submitted for a £350,000 church centre behind and alongside the existing church building, plus a £22,000 refurbishment of the church hall. The new building would include meeting rooms, parish offices, a large entrance and toilets. Fundraising would be required to meet the costs and was likely to take a few years.

Car Parking – junction St Barnabas Road /Grove Road
Difficulties had again been raised at the AGM, particularly with reference to the chaos at school finishing time. The Council had assured us it was on the list of things to be considered in the future, but at the moment there were insufficient funds for even a survey to take place.

Date of next meeting
8:00 pm Thursday 12th August 2004. Venue to be decided.