Summer 2000 Newsletter

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1 Annual General Meeting

The sixteenth AGM was held in St Barnabas Church Hall on 13 April 2000 and was attended by 44 members.

Prior to the AGM, the vice-chairman Alan Elliott had decided to stand down as he was moving away from the area to be nearer his daughter in Norfolk. At the meeting a warm vote of thanks and appreciation was given for all of the dedicated service and hard work that Alan had contributed to the association. Geoff Goldsmith had kindly volunteered his services to fill the vacancy on the committee and Sue Ballard had agreed to take over the role of vice-chair. The remaining committee members had offered to continue in their roles for another year and all were duly elected. The composition of the committee is therefore:

Chairman Paul Gallagher, 6 Tredegar Road

Vice Chair Sue Ballard, 31 Brooklyn Drive

Secretary Margaret Ormonde, 20 Kidmore End Road

Treasurer Jill Verran, 39 Kidmore End Road

Committee Anne Ayres, 203 Surley Row

Vera Bodman, 15 The Ridings

Geoffrey Goldsmith, 68 Rosehill Park

Bill Goodworth, 14 St Barnabas Road

Bill Harper, 37 Kidmore End Road

David Miles, 23 Tredegar Road

Brian Warren, 29a Highdown Hill Road

Jill Verran presented a statement of the audited accounts which showed that the balance at 31 December 1999 was £2,149.51 - an increase of £345.04 on last year's accounts. Mr Julian Pearce was thanked for auditing the association's accounts. It was agreed that the subscription rate should continue at £1 per annum. The association currently has over 260 members.

The formal business of the meeting was followed by a talk from guest speaker Anne Latto of the Friends of Clayfield Copse. Anne gave a lively talk about how her love of woodlands had developed in Australia and matured over the last ten years with her involvement in the environmental management of Clayfield Copse. She then described the proposed Woodlands Day which the Friends were planning for 17 June 2000 and which was being financed through the Millennium Fund for All. A wide range of activities and displays were planned and those attending the AGM were encouraged to come along and enjoy an hour or two getting to know the woodlands and the ancient and modern activities which woodlands supported.

The Woodlands Day has since come and gone and was very entertaining. The weather was beautifully clear and sunny, large numbers of people attended, particularly many family groups, and the range of events was extensive and extremely interesting. The organisers, Anne Latto and Judith Oliver, are to be congratulated on organising such an fascinating and successful day.

2 Millennium Exhibition

Another successful event which has come and gone is the association’s exhibition celebrating Emmer Green ‘Past and Present’ which was held in the Ocean Suite at Highdown School from 20 May to Friday 26 May 2000. Many of you will have visited the exhibition and the committee was gratified by all your kind comments which made all the hard work fully worthwhile. Large numbers of local residents, school parties and local associations visited the exhibition and a number of past residents from further afield came to Reading in order to visit the event. Very complimentary reports were published in the local press and a centre spread was printed in the July edition of Caversham Bridge (admittedly this was penned by the chairman!)

Many visitors asked if the material that had been gathered could be published in a book. Unfortunately the association does not have the funds to independently undertake such a project. However, the Millennium Funds for All company has been approached with a view to a further award in support of a book. If a grant is not available then the association would look to deposit the material with perhaps Berkshire Record Office or Reading Library’s Study Room. Members are reminded that if they have material to compliment or add to that which was displayed (e.g. photographs, post-cards, newspaper cuttings, etc.) please contact the associations’ secretary Margaret Ormonde (tel. 9470922) or the vicechair Sue Ballard (tel. 9472934). There are still gaps in the historical record of the area and all additional material would be welcomed.

Please note that there remain many copies of the leaflet which accompanied the exhibition. These are being distributed to the local schools, the libraries, the tourist centre, the museum, etc. A copy is enclosed with this newsletter to ensure that all those members who could not visit the exhibition have a copy and if you wish for further copies, for example to send to friends and relatives overseas, please contact any committee member who will be only too pleased to help.

3 Chambers Copse footpath

Following the postponement at short notice of the 3 February 2000 Inquiry into the modification order on the footpath through Chambers Copse, the hearing was reopened on Monday 8 May 2000 at The Council Chamber, South Oxfordshire District Council Offices, Crowmarsh, Wallingford. The Inquiry was attended by six committee members and about 20 residents and started at 10.00 and went on until 19.30 with only a 45 minute break for lunch. Jill Verran plus five residents were called to give evidence supporting the modification order and the opposition called the co-owners of the Copse. All witnesses were subject to cross examination. Generally the proceedings were tedious, repetitious and poorly prepared. On the following Friday (13 May) the Inspector conducted an on-site visit to the Copse accompanied by one of the owners, the legal representative of Oxfordshire County Council and several association members. It was difficult to judge which way the Inspector might decide and his recommendations will not be known for several months.

4 Planning proposals

The association has been involved in making representation on a number planning proposals recently:

Land to rear of 37-49 Grove Road - erection of 8 detached houses plus an access road by the demolition of 39 Grove Road by Infill Land Consultants. RBC Planning Committee have still to consider this proposal.

Shipnells Farm development - control of heavy-goods vehicles delivering building material to the site and likely destruction of Gravel Hill road by such vehicles. RBC have denied responsibility and referred residents to Thames Valley Police.

Land at Jefferson Close, Emmer Green - the original proposal would have resulted in the loss of the footpath between Jefferson Close and Russett Glade due to the south west corner of the garden of a proposed house and garage cutting across the existing footpath. Being incomplete this application was not considered. A new application has recently been submitted which does not cut off the footpath.

Land off Lyefield Court - application from Annsgate House Investments Limited to build houses off the access road to the residential homes in Lyefield Court. RBC Planning Committee have still to consider this proposal.

5 Vandalism, joy-riding and graffiti

Anti-social behaviour continues to be a problem in the area, although not as bad as other parts of Reading. The association appeals to all members, if they see any vandalism or graffiti being committed not to tackle the perpetrators but to immediately telephone both the police (tel: 9536000 or 9481290) and the Council offices (tel: 9575911).