Tuesday 7th March
Present: Paul Gallagher, Margaret
Ormonde, Bill Harper, Brenda Deller, Vera Bodman Tara Taylor, Brian
Warren Jill Verran, Diana Hartrup
1. Apologies Bob Cruickshank,
2. Minutes of the last meeting (Tuesday
29th November 2005) were approved.
3. Matters arising:
Woodland Carvings :
The project to carve a series of animal shapes into large woodland
logs had been suspended, partly because of attempted vandalism last
autumn, and also because of the weather. It was agreed that this should
not deter the project and local woodcarver Andrew Noyes would be re-approached
to see how best to take things forward.
Village Sign :
Andrew Noyes had submitted a very reasonable estimate, for maintaining
both the village sign and the community notice board. Unfortunately
progress had been very slow on getting any staining/preserving
work done on the sign. Paul Gallagher had intervened with his ladder
and pot of oil, but this was really an interim measure. It was
natural for the wood to darken with age, but in this case it had
got very shabby, particularly the south facing side. Further discussion
would be needed with Andrew about the kind of stain/preservative
to use, and when it can be carried out
Sound System :
The mini sound system had been purchased and was due to be tested
out in readiness for the AGM in April.
Coral Betting Office, Junction of Peppard
Road/Kidmore End Road :
The original application for a single storey front extension to the
betting shop near the sub-post office had been withdrawn and resubmitted,
with a few cosmetic changes and some pretty pictures. The Association
still objects on the same grounds that the extension will be an
incongruous and unsightly construction, and will block off the
attractive view towards the village pond.
In addition the Secretary received a letter from Trevor Hucker of
Crickmay, the Chartered Surveyors representing Coral. This indicated
that their main consideration was for their disabled customers, and
as consolation for the loss of a precious view and expanding an already
bland and incongruous building, they were prepared to plant a tree
and provide a new seat (where presumably residents/potential customers
could sit and watch the traffic). They also implied it would boost
business on the western side of Peppard Road, forgetting of course
there is a serious car parking problem. (Only shoppers in the precinct
are permitted to use that car park)
We have again suggested that Coral Estates Limited, if they need
larger premises, should consider the less expensive option of taking
over one of the shops on the parade, which often become available,
and lease their existing premises to another retailer.
The response from the Council is that because of the complexity of
the case it may go before a full Planning Application Committee.
We will be informed the date this will take place in case we want
to present our opinions in person. Bob Green is to be informed of
Highdown School Hall :
Plans were shown of detailed proposals for the new hall. One of the
football pitches was to be lost to car parking, but things had
been re-arranged on the south side of the development to restore
With a completion schedule of Spring 2007, there will be much to
be done in the time. The venue proposes holding up to 1000 standing
and 600 seated, with an entrance hall and lobby for art exhibitions/receptions
etc., and a separate arts and drama hall with 100 seats. It is hoped
it will be of benefit to the community as a whole.
Artist’s Proposals :
Unfortunately the temporary billboard proposal put forward by local
artist Jenny Leach, had met with a very negative attitude from
Wolfe Properties, owners of the land in front of the shopping precinct.
An alternative site near Clayfield Copse car park was an option,
and from a meeting with Judith Oliver and Anne Latto (FOCC) and
the Council Parks department, the outcome has been much more favourable.
The billboard displaying environmentally and thought provoking
images would remain in place for four weeks. Jenny had agreed to
talk more at the EGRA AGM on the 19th April and we could also promote
it on our website.
4. Treasurer’s Report:
The Association’s funds continued to rise and at the end of
the 2005 stood at £6089. Income over expenditure for the year
was £545. It was hoped we could donate a sum of money to Friends
of Clayfield Copse - £100 was suggested.
Membership remained steady at around 400, and the annual subscription
remained £1. It was important to welcome newcomers into the
area. E-mail (news and notices) had broadened our horizons and made
communication with members quicker, but the downside was that it
denied us face to face chatter and further enlivening community spirit.
5. Feedback from Committees
North Reading Youth Project :
The next meeting will be 5th April.
Tina Heaford, the new team leader, was very positive and proactive.
This included going out and talking to youths on the streets and
discussing what changes they would like to see in their area. The
new skateboard facility had been a great success, and the nearby
lit shelter was progressing well.
There were a number of ongoing community projects and a few youngsters
were willing to help out in gardening/conservation projects. Tara
took an action to ask at the next meeting if there was a suitable
project that the young people might have, which EGRA could consider
providing a financial contribution towards.
Refurbishment of the Community Centre had included a new kitchen.
Safer Caversham Community Forum :
Bob Cruickshank attends these meetings to represent EGRA. He was
absent from the meeting and so there was no news.
Reading Proposed IDR Meeting 22nd March
The meeting on Wednesday 22 February, attended by about 80 residents,
was very successful. A panel comprising Pat Baxter (RBC Transport
Strategy Manager), Mr Rob Wilson MP and Councillors Mark Ralph,
Bob Green and Annette Hendry fielded questions from a large audience.
Pat Baxter led on most of the issues raised, and provided a comprehensive
overview of the projected future traffic problems in the town and
the possible strategies for managing the situation. Consultation
on the proposal to make the IDR a one-way road is still on going
and residents who could not make the meeting are encouraged to
send in their concerns and views. Minutes were recorded of all
questions and answers in case anyone is interested. The Henley
Standard gave a good and accurate report of the evening.
South Oxfordshire discuss 3rd Reading Bridge :
EGRA hosted one of these regular meetings of South Oxon Parish Council
representatives on the 18th January. It was a very lively evening,
with many differing opinions, based on where people lived. The
final consensus was that there should be a basic non-specific letter
drafted by Giles Catemole, their secretary, persuading South Oxfordshire
to at least recognise there is a problem and putting the item in
their new transport strategy document. This has now been done and
carried forward – a big step as far as RBC are concerned.
6. Planning Issues & Consultations
Coral Betting Office, Junction of Peppard Road/Kidmore End Road
See Matters Arising above
9 Buckingham Drive
had written about access concerns on to Buckingham Drive, suggesting
Marshlands Square as a safer alternative.
Unfortunately this had been ignored by the Inspector and the original
84 Kidmore End Road
application for 2 storey flats had been withdrawn, but it was expected
a revised submission
would be made soon, as was the case for a couple of ongoing Grove
Road development plans.
Highdown Hill Road
The remaining role of the Highdown Action Group was to ensure developers
complied with regulations and were considerate to local residents.
But concerns had been expressed by the leader Brian Kendrick that
money from the Clause 106 agreement was going straight into central
pot and not being used locally, as would be more appropriate.
7. Any Other Business
Proposals to replace the rifle club between Jefferson Close and Russet
Glade, with housing, were controversial because of the threat to
block of a strategic, well established footpath. Thirty nearby
residents objected to this and the plans have been revised, with
a comment that the footpath would remain unimpeded. However, activity
is continuing to submit an application to have the footpath added
to the definitive map and statement.
Vera Bodman put forward some suggestions as how to spend surplus
funds. One of these was to sponsor a Highdown School Award (possibly
a book). Also it was felt we could fund some worthwhile youth projects
in the area (see NTYP above).
The EGRA tradesmen’s list was about
to be updated and re-printed. Bob Cruickshank would be asked to
verify that tradesmen were happy
to be added to the list.
A walkabout has been arranged with RBC staff and Peppard Ward Councillor
Annette Hendry. A few things which were put forward to mention were:
The footpath between Surley Row and Grove Hill; Car Parking on grass
verges along Evesham Road; reappearance of potholes in the newly
repaired/surfaced Clayfield Copse car park; the ongoing scenario
of the state of Budgen’s car park and the lights (private land,
but it was hoped they were under some kind of legal obligation)
The date of the AGM was confirmed as Wednesday
19th April 2006, 8.00pm with artist Jenny Leach as the speaker (see matters arising
above). Nibbles and wine would be provided.
8. Date of next meeting :
8:00 pm Thursday
8th June 2006 at 39 Kiln Road.