Minutes of Committee Meeting
Autumn 2004

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Thursday 25th November 2004

Present: Paul Gallagher, Margaret Ormonde, David Miles, Anne Ayres, Jill Verran, Mark Hutchings, Diana Hartrup, Brenda Deller, Bill Harper, Bob Cruickshank, Vera Bodman

1. Apologies Brian Warren, Tara Taylor

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

3. Matters arising:  

After the survey of Emmer Green’s graffiti was completed and the map distributed, a second meeting took place between EGRA representatives and Andy Gillespie (Parks) and Tracey Ward (Street Cleansing) from RBC. The proposals were to second volunteers from the community and to assist Kendel Falconer (RBC) in clearing the graffiti from high profile areas, beginning with the changing rooms on the recreation ground. In addition to this the street cleansing department were happy to issue anti-graffiti cleaning kits. These needed to be applied for and were for use on localised tags rather than any major works. The first clean–up (with volunteers from EGRA) took place at the very end of October and was very effective for a few weeks. A second removal was due to take place soon, and it was hoped by dealing with it effectively and quickly the perpetrators would quickly tire of having to re-paint their inappropriate ‘artwork’. Communication had also taken place with Stephen Taylor from NTL with regard to the green cable boxes. It appeared because of various health and safety issues he felt obliged to work through the Council and a meeting was due to be arranged between himself, representatives from the Street Cleansing department and EGRA, to see how best to take things forward.
Limited success had been achieved in convincing others of the effectiveness of CCTV cameras.
Community Notice Board
Wood carver Andrew Noyes had been working on the new frame for the community notice board, and was just awaiting delivery of the new oak posts. EGRA had funded the materials and labour and thanks to the efforts of Paul Gallagher, Cllrs Annette Hendry and Mark Ralph, Reading Borough Council agreed to fund the installation of the finished board.
Street Cleansing
The autumn was a particularly bad time for street cleansing with fallen leaves creating quite a hazard for pedestrians in some areas where the pavements were narrow (Surley Row for example). Constant reminders were needed to the Council.
4. Treasurer’s Report
The Association still had a healthy balance of nearly £5800. Some funding was required for the new community notice board, but it still left an amount suitable for another worthwhile project. Ideas were to be welcomed.

5. Feedback from Committees

North Reading Youth Project
This was a very well attended meeting and EGRA was represented by Tara Taylor and Paul Gallagher.
Lee Middleton was a very good youth leader and spoke about possibilities of a renewed skateboard facility at Clayfield Copse, his experiences of the effectiveness elsewhere of designated graffiti walls, as well as a specially equipped (computers games etc) van which travelled to ‘hot spots’ and was very popular. Discussion also ensued with regard to funding the erection of a covered meeting place for young people. An appropriate location was still under discussion.

Safer Caversham Forum
Bob Cruickshank continued to represent EGRA, but again there was nothing specific to the Emmer Green area. CCTV was being tested in the Tilehurst area and its effectiveness was to be monitored.
In future, electronic crime statistics were to be made available to the meetings.
6. Planning Consents
Various infill sites throughout Emmer Green were either well under construction – Kidmore End Road, Cavendish Road, Marshlands Square/Buckingham Drive, Grove Road and planning permission had been granted near to the Water Tower. Others, where permission had been refused, were in a state of appeal. The sensitive issue of selling school playing fields for building meant the Highdown plans were on hold and it was hoped funding would be available separately for the long awaited and deserved school hall. Again, it was worrying the impact all this new development was having on the local infrastructure and transport in particular. It was hoped representatives of the six residents’ associations north of the Thames could arrange a meeting with the local planning authority to re-emphasise their concerns.
7. Draft Winter Newsletter
Copies of this had been circulated to committee members for appraisal/additions. It included updates on the community notice board, graffiti, Clayfield Copse, local committees and the never ending planning issues.
8. Any Other Business
Woodlands Day
Friends of Clayfield Copse had been successful in their application for a grant from The Heritage Lottery Fund to support the third Woodlands Day on 4th June 2005. EGRA would be supporting this and had a particular interest in the provision of chainsaw carved animals near the car park, which might provide a permanent interest once the day itself was over.
Peppard Ward Event
A circular had been sent via e-mail by Cllr Mark Ralph to see if there was enough support for an event to be held in the Clayfield Copse area in midsummer. EGRA felt in view of their commitment to the Woodlands Day in early June, and the annual St Barnabas Garden Party in mid-July, it was not appropriate for 2005 for us to get involved and there was a majority view that it was not something EGRA would want to organise at any future time. In addition, most schools in the area already had their own fund-raising/community events, including a major fayre at Highdown School in May.
Dying Street Trees
It was noted that many trees planted in streets some fifty years ago were now reaching the end of their lives and in some cases dying off. It was the responsibility of the Council to replace as necessary, but it was noted that these were often being replaced by completely different species, meaning some streets noted for their avenues of spring blossom were now losing their character.
Budgen’s Car Park Lights
Valiant efforts had been made in the past to chase up the owners of the car park to repair the lights. Unfortunately little success had resulted. Cllr Mark Ralph was to be approached to see if he was happy to take up the cause.
Licensing Laws
The responsibility for licensing premises was moving from Central to Local government and all concerned would have to re-apply between February and August 2005. The three main applicants in Emmer Green were The White Horse, The Black Horse and The Gardeners Arms. There was a possibility these applications would include some changes to the status quo. Notices would be pinned up outside the establishments for local viewing and also in the local newspapers.
Recycling old computers
There were not really enough of these to justify collection in Emmer Green alone and RFTRA were to be contact to see if the idea could be spread wider within the Reading community.
9. Date of next meeting
8:00 pm Thursday 24th February 2005 at 42 Surley Row