Summer 2001 Newsletter

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Annual General Meeting

The seventeenth AGM was held in St Barnabas Church Hall on 26 April 2001 and was attended by 51 members.

Long serving committee member Bill Goodworth had decided to stand down after sixteen years of dedicated service, which had included rôles as Vice-Chairman and Secretary. The Association presented him with an inscribed pewter tankard in recognition of his service and Bill responded saying how he had enjoyed participating in the work of the Association and how lucky the residents were to have such a body looking after their interests.

Bob Cruickshank had kindly volunteered his services to fill the vacancy on the committee and the remaining committee members had offered to continue in their roles for another year and all were duly elected. The composition of the committee for the current year is:

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

Bob Cruickshank, 18 St Barnabas Road

Geoffrey Goldsmith, 68 Rosehill Park

Bill Harper, 37 Kidmore End Road

David Miles, 23 Tredegar Road

Brian Warren, 29a Highdown Hill Road

The Treasurer presented a statement of the audited accounts which showed that the balance at 31 December 2000 was £2,298.75 - an increase of £149.24 on last year's accounts. Mr Julian Pearce was thanked for auditing the association's accounts. There was no proposal to alter the subscription rate, which would continue at £1 per annum. There had been an increase of 53 in the association’s membership to 313 households currently.

The formal business of the meeting was followed by an illustrated talk from guest speaker Bet Tickner of the BBC Monitoring on the life and workings of the set up, from its beginnings in 1943 through to the present day. The talk was very enthusiastically received. It was hoped a visit might be arranged during the summer, so that the residents could have a chance to see at least the grounds, which do not have public access.

Millennium Book about Emmer Green

As previously reported, the Association has received a grant of £3,400 from the Millennium Funds for All towards the production and publication of a book about Emmer Green following on from the successful exhibition last year. The Association would also like to thank the very generous anonymous donor of £100 towards the production of the book plus the donation from the late John Dean for a donation of £40.

The book, Emmer Green - Past and Present, is due out this Autumn in time for Christmas gifts! The book will be a quality paperback edition with 120 pages, eight of which are in full colour. There are over 350 photographs, some from last year’s exhibition but many never published before. Accompanying the photographs is a detailed text outlining the history of Emmer Green from pre-historic times up to the present day. As well as a general history there are pages devoted to various groups and organisations in the area and memories of the people who have lived here.

The book will be available in local shops at a price of £10.00 but anyone buying directly from the Association will be able to purchase it for £7.50. The total production and publication cost is £7,950 and it will greatly help the Association’s cash flow and determine the print run if members can order in advance. To encourage this members have the opportunity to buy their first copy at £6.50 using the enclosed form, which should be returned no later than 31 July 2001, either with payment at the time or no later than 20 September 2001. Members pre-ordering will obviously be guaranteed what they order. Advance sales will be co-ordinated by the Association’s Treasurer but may be placed through any committee member.

Reading Buses - 24 service

Representatives of the Association met again with the managing director of Reading Buses on 12 April and discussed a proposal to actually discontinue the 24 altogether, and divert the 44 and 45 to cover the Courtenay Drive area. This would provide six buses per hour in this part of Emmer Green. However, it would lead to buses in both directions along Kidmore End Road, and the feasibility of this will need investigating depending upon where the two services passed each other.

Kidmore End Road

Inconsiderate parking on this road, between Chalgrove Way and Peppard Road, has been raised by local residents with a variety of possible measures proposed. However, the Association has requested that the Council and/or the local councillors undertake a consultation with residents of Kidmore End Road before considering any action on parking issues along this road.

Emmer Green Pond

It had been noticed recently that the grass in front of the Associations’ seat near Emmer Green pond had not been cut and that a number of the brick sets in front of the seat had been torn up by vandals and thrown into the long grass. This was brought to the Council’s attention on 14 May and they cut the grass on the following day. The Association were then able to find the missing brick sets and re-position them. The Council are looking to ensure they are more firmly bedded. As many residents will be aware the pond has been polluted recently with sewage from a pipe running into the pond and Thames Water are investigating why this is happening. Hopefully they will be able to clean the water and ensure it does not happen again.

Allotment hedge on Grove Road

Following the rather fierce but necessary cutting of this hedge the Association have been in discussion with the Council regarding the gaps that have been created and the concerns about ease of access for casual vandalism to take place. The Council have efficiently responded by putting palings in the gaps and have promised to plant additional material if the hedge does not naturally close the breaks.

Caversham Bridge Newspaper

A number of members may subscribe to this very informative monthly newspaper and might be interested to know that two of the Association’s members, Joy Lowther and her daughter Hilary Gallagher, have recently spent many hours putting together an index of the paper’s articles and reports from the date of its first publication in 1964 to the current issues. This could be of use to local historians and is available in hardcopy and electronically at the paper’s offices in Church Street and can be supplied free of charge on disc from the Association.

Recycling facility

The potholes in the entrance to the recycling facility at Highdown School have become very deep and the Association has raised the matter with the Council about possible repair or resurfacing. The Council are currently obtaining costing to resurface the area. In a similar fashion the matter of potholes in the car park at Clayfield Copse has also been raised with the Council. This is a more extensive problem and the best that can be expected is patching of the worst sections.

Planning proposals

The association has been involved in making representation on a number planning proposals recently. However, it cannot be over emphasised that the more residents, local to a proposed development, that object in writing the more notice the Council’s planning department takes note of our concerns.

Land to rear of 37-49 Grove Road - the original proposal, for 8 detached houses plus an access road by the demolition of 39 Grove Road by Infill Land Consultants, was refused by the RBC local planning authority. The developer made an appeal against this decision and an Inquiry was held. However, the Inspector’s report of

12 December 2000 dismissed the appeal and supported the local planning authority’s rationale for refusing the application. Unfortunately, the developer has simply modified his proposal slightly and submitted a new planning application (ref: 01/00298/OUT/JL). The Association has again made an objection in writing dated

7 April 2001 on the grounds of the adverse impact on the open nature of the area, the invasion of privacy of adjoining properties in Knights Way and the increased traffic onto an already congested route.

Land to rear of 19-29 Grove Road - a second developer, Hicks Developments, has now submitted a planning application for the erection of 7 x 3 bed houses behind 19-29 Grove Road with access from Unity Court. For similar reasons the Association has again made an objection in writing dated 27 May 2001.

Land to rear of 64-79 Kidmore End Road - the developer, Annsgate House Investments Limited, who is building the houses on the land between Lyefield Court and the recreation ground (next to the small children’s’ play area) has submitted a proposal to build houses on the opposite side of Kidmore End Road behind house numbers 64-79. The Association has again made an objection in writing dated 24 February 2001 on the grounds of the adverse impact on the open nature of the area, the invasion of privacy of adjoining properties in Kidmore End Road and Chalgrove Way and the increased traffic onto an already congested route.

Telecommunication Masts and Antenna - the Association has recently objected to the siting of cell phone masts in Emmer Green and asked via the Council’s planning office that the developers discuss their proposals with local residents and concerned groups before proceeding. This courtesy was not offered and the following masts have been allowed:

A 10 metre antenna, support structure and two equipment housings for BTCellnet on the wedge of land between Buckingham Drive and the old section of Peppard Road. The planning authority notified the Association on

25 May 2001 that this had been permitted.

A 15 metre antenna, support structure and equipment cabinets at 9 Kidmore End Road (The White Horse pub) for TELECOM SECURICOR. The planning authority notified the Association on 10 May 2001 that this had been permitted.

Current legislation allows telecommunications companies to erect any equipment they like so long as it meets certain safety specifications. At present they need not discuss their plans with local residents although a bill currently before Parliament may make this mandatory in the future. The 10 metre structure between Buckingham Drive and Peppard Road will be somewhat screened by the surrounding trees but the 15 metre structure at

9 Kidmore End Road is likely to be an eyesore.

Association’s web site
Member Clive Ormonde has kindly put together a web site for the Association.

This can be found at and contains the following pages:

Newsletters - a copy of the current and the previous newsletter
The committee - details of the present committee members
Minutes of the latest committee meeting
The minutes of the last annual general meeting plus a copy of the corresponding chairman’s report
Village History - background information about Emmer Green
An electronic application form for new members
· Links - there are links to other sites of interest such as the exhibition data on the Highdown site

Current Issues - which contains a note about current issues concerning the Association plus copies of recent letters of objection from the Association to Reading Borough Council’s planning department about current planning applications.
The latter can be used by residents affected by a planning proposal as the basis for a letter of their own. As previously mentioned the importance that the local planning authority gives to residents’ concerns is in direct proportion to the number of letters of objection they receive.