Thursday 24th February 2005
Present: Paul Gallagher, Margaret Ormonde, David Miles, Anne Ayres,
Diana Hartrup, Brenda Deller, Bill Harper, Bob Cruickshank, Vera
1. Apologies Brian Warren,
Tara Taylor, Mark Hutchings
2. Minutes of the last meeting (Thursday 25th November 2004) were
3. Matters arising:
Since the last committee meeting volunteers from the EGRA committee
had twice helped to clean paintwork off the changing rooms in the
recreation ground. There were still frustrations that the Parks
Department took so long to set up a session after the vandalism
had been reported, but it was hoped things might improve.
The other area of progress was with the Street Cleaning department
of RBC. About a dozen volunteers had completed a form to accept an
anti-graffiti kit and a training day was arranged for the 23rd February.
As it was during working hours, many were unable to attend and so
it was hoped other arrangements could be made. Unfortunately there
seemed to be some misunderstanding as to the purpose of the kit.
Unfortunately Tracey Ward who had been involved in the earlier discussions
was not at the training day. Chris Camfield seemed under the impression
they were solely for residents to clean up their own properties,
but with the chemicals given out being solely for use on non-porous
materials and for small items only, removing from brickwork or fences
(the most likely subjects fro private graffiti attacks) their usage
would be limited. In fact the idea was that volunteers monitor an
area close to their home and remove with speed any tags and suchlike
that appeared on street furniture such as lampposts, bollards, road
names etc. It was appreciated the Council had graffiti team tackling
this, but such was the scale and extent of the problem they could
never expect to keep up with it all. Another stumbling block was
the progress made with NTL and other utility companies. Although
we were already in contact with representatives from NTL, liasing
with them and the Council to make progress had been notoriously slow.
And last but not least, we got more than we bargained for at that
training day. Despite the fact we hope to keep this whole exercise
quite and low key, we arrived to find the room filled with television
crews, microphones and cameras at the ready. Perhaps our broadcasting
efforts will encourage other communities to follow.
Community Notice Board:
The board had now been finished and erected.
The original marine ply, which had weathered and become stable was
rescued and surrounded by a solid oak frame with lettering at the
top. Unfortunately it is still very difficult to stick pins into
it, but a staple gun is apparently very effective. Thanks to local
wood carver Andrew Noyes for his craftsmanship and efficient handling
of the job.
Chris Camfield and his team were very responsive
when it came to requests to clean up specific areas. We had also
had a personal meeting in January with Trish Haines, chief executive
of Reading Borough Council and Mark Ralph, local Councillor. The
issue of litter was brought up then, particularly with regard to
areas that needed to be treated by hand. Brenda Deller had noted
the worst of these areas and offered to contact Chris Camfield to
resolve things. It was also noted that a team had been very efficient
cleaning round the shops area.
Saturday 4th June
Volunteers were still needed to help out on the day and anyone interested
should phone Anne Latto on 9484454.
EGRA were supporting the installation of a carved seating area, close
to the car park area, and although the chainsaw carvers had already
been booked for the day, we had funding available to extend their
time and finish the job. It was necessary to arrange for big logs
to be moved into position before the day itself.
Budgens Car Park Lights:
It was noted repairs to the tarmac surface
had been undertaken, but the lighting still left a lot to be desired,
even after constant reminders. Cllr Mark Ralph was to be contacted
to see if he was able help.
Licensing Laws – re White Horse
It had been brought to our attention in early January by Cllr Hendry
that the White Horse had applied for both a public entertainment
license and an extension to opening hours on Friday and Saturday
nights to 12.30am. There followed a vigourous consultation with
surrounding neighbours to oppose particularly the noise pollution
and extended hours. It is reassuring to report that all our concerns
have been taken into consideration and a letter has been received
confirming that another application will be made with the hours
reduced to 11.00pm and an assurance the external speakers will
not be used and there is to be no music in the garden.
NB with regard to the White Horse, the paving that was broken and
dangerous on the forecourt, has been replaced. The bad news is that
the new slabs have already broken up, and had done within days.
4. Treasurer’s Report:
The Association had an end of year
balance of over £5500. Ideas for future projects were to be
welcomed. Membership was continuing to increase with current numbers
standing at 404. 147 of these had e-mail addresses, which helped
enormously in circulating news. Recent distribution of extra copies
of the newsletter had resulted in 15 new members.
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.
Dr Simon Bradford, and Cllrs Annette Hendry and Sue Stainthorpe were
Lee Middleton had now resigned after 3 or 4 years of excellent work.
Another senior assistant had resigned too, but the two remaining
trainees were very competent, and the centre had recently had a complimentary
Ofsted report. Lee had left a very clear handover package and the
Council were actively recruiting replacement staff.
In future, the budget responsibilities were being taken over by the
Council to centralise that activity.
Safer Caversham Community Forum
Meetings were now held every 10-12 weeks; the last being was on 6th
December in the Mayor’s Parlour. Bob Cruickshank continued
to represent EGRA, but again Emmer Green statistics showed it to
be the safest area north of the Thames. Unfortunately there was
still resistance to siting CCTV in the locality, partly on the
grounds that the footage was difficult to monitor, with current
police staffing levels. There was also discussion on the change
to the licensing laws and Anti Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs).
Subsequent EGRA discussion on crime related issues, included the
link with Neighbourhood Watch. The fact we had so many members now
on e-mail, it was hoped that certain crime information/statistics
in the hands of NW could be passed on. Liz Herbert, the Neighbourhood
Watch co-ordinator was contacted with regard to this and it appears
for security reasons (‘Ringmaster’ messages covered by
the Data Protection Act) this is not possible. However Liz Herbert
said she would be more than happy to help anyone to set up a Neighbourhood
Watch Scheme if one did not exist in their area.
6. Planning Consents
Infill development continued, with little regard for the collective
impact on the area. The Highdown Hill Road development had been
rejected on the grounds it would destroy the character of the road,
but it was fully expected the developer would re-submit plans with
alternative access. An application had been received to build flats
on land at 19 Buckingham Drive.
Unfortunately an unwelcome impact on the area was the proliferation
of developers’ signs, most of which were illegal. The chairman
Paul Gallagher had been very active in making objections known to
the Council and they were hoping to remove the signs in the near
Every household in the South East had
received a questionnaire ‘Your
Shout’, and invited to respond with views on continued development
in the South East. A more ‘in-depth’ letter was to be
sent on behalf of EGRA expressing all our concerns, particularly
with regard to the South Oxfordshire countryside and the impact on
infrastructure/amenities etc. The chairman agreed to circulate a
A draft copy of the Chairman’s Report was circulated and approved.
St Barnabas Church Hall was booked for Wednesday 20th April at 8.00pm.
It was hoped the speaker would be a representative from the Thames
Valley & Chiltern Air Ambulance organisation. A donation would
be made from EGRA and it was hoped there would be an opportunity
for others to follow suit. Wine and nibbles would be served.
8.Any Other Business
Unfortunately the Church House Police Office, a drop in centre in
the middle of Caversham was closed due to lack of manpower. PC
Stratton had retired and PC Chris Manetta was off sick.
We had been very lucky in the past, getting all our newsletters etc
printed off at Emmer Green School. But it was time to seek an alternative
arrangement. One option would be to offer some members them in
electronic form, so they could print off their own. Investigations
were also being made to source the cheapest printed copies. Jill
Verran would email members and Paul Gallagher would contact RFTRA
to see help could be provided.
The one near the reservoir (Kiln Road) was being replaced, but as
this was away from housing and any buildings and was not considered
In order to preserve it, the oak sign needs regular maintaining.
The south facing side was particularly vulnerable. Andrew Noyes
was to be contacted to see if he was interested in being employed
to do this.
Two of the committee were standing down. Anne Ayres who had served
for a number of years and had recently moved to Caversham Heights.
David Miles had given remarkable service for 21 years, including
an 11 year stint as Chairman. Both would be missed, but would hopefully
stay in touch. This gave an opportunity for last year’s co-opted
new members to become fully signed up.
9.Date of next meeting:
8:00 pm Tuesday 10th May 2005. 37 Kidmore