EGRA enters its 25th year, it's time for reflection. Preparations
are already underway for the anniversary party on Saturday 9th
May 2009. More details about the event will be revealed in the
winter newsletter. An EGRA history section has been set up on the
website (click on the 'History' button). Kate Manton has requested
any one willing to share photos of Emmer Green over the last twenty
five years please get in touch with her - email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 0118 9017251.
Barry Prior (Vice Chair),
Bill Harper (Treasurer),
Margaret Ormonde (Chair),
Kate Manton (Secretary),
Tina Heaford (Guest Speaker).
Photo: Owen Jewiss
This year's AGM on 29th April coincided with an evening of torrential
rain! Nevertheless over 40 people turned out to listen to the business
of the past year, and to be enlightened by our guest speaker, Youth
Services Worker, Tina Heaford. Three committee members stood down -
Paul Gallagher, Bob Cruickshank and Ben Cosh. All were thanked for
their contributions. Bob Cruickshank will still help out in various
ways, but as committee support. Two new candidates stepped in - Carol
Sutton and Cathi Edwards. We welcome them both.
After a bit of a remix, the new committee is:
Chairman Margaret Ormonde, Kidmore End Road
Vice Chairman Barry Prior, Kiln Road
Secretary Kate Manton, Buckingham Drive
Treasurer Bill Harper, Kidmore End Road
Membership Secretary Jill Verran, Kidmore End Road
Newsletter Distribution Diana Hartrup, Kiln Road
Carol Sutton, Twin Oaks
Cathi Edwards, Kidmore End Road
Tara Taylor, Tredegar Road
Vera Bodman, The Ridings
Minutes of the previous year's meeting were approved and the Chairman's
Report was aired and commented upon. Detailed minutes of the 2008 meeting
are on the website. Tina Heaford demonstrated how youth work has been
adapted to changing circumstances. All government targets have been
exceeded in North Reading and Tina portrayed a very hopeful picture
of the development of youth in North Reading. The North Reading Youth
Project hold their AGM at Amersham Road on Wednesday 16th July (see
Thanks go to member Owen Jewiss for supplying a detailed account and
photo to the Caversham Bridge.
Houses Of Parliament Tour
EGRA has arranged, through our MP Rob Wilson, a special tour of the Houses
of Parliament/ Palace of Westminster. Our allotted time slot is Tuesday
September 9th at 11.16am. As a special concession during 2008, the permit
also includes free entry to the nearby Jewel Tower. You will have to
make your own way up to London, but otherwise it is free. The outing
has proved very popular. We anticipate places for this current trip will
be taken shortly. Do check if there are any left, or add your name to
the waiting list. Another trip may be arranged if there is sufficient
Reading Recycling Plant
Not quite as grand as the Palace of Westminster, Reading's brand new
recycling plant is due to be completed this autumn. EGRA has been promised
a group tour of the new facilities once they are operating.
If you are interested in either please contact Margaret Ormonde on email@example.com or
Tel: 0118 9470922
The Upper Caversham Neighbourhood Action Group
EGRA has had at least one representative at every NAG meeting since they
began just over a year ago. The most recent ones have been generally
well attended and the focus has been on speeding traffic, with specific
trouble spots being identified. News was given about RBC's year long
Road Safety Awareness Campaign. Examples were bright poster campaigns,
illuminating signs, speed enforcement vans, mobile vehicle activated
devices. At the last NAG meeting specific concerns in Emmer Green were
identified as the junction of Peppard Road and Surley Row and speeding
along Kiln Road. A traffic island was also due to be installed where
Surley Row crosses Rotherfield Way. Traffic issues around local schools
have come to the fore, with a focus on Emmer Green Primary. EGRA committee
member Cathi Edwards is liasing with the school in the hope of taking
The police continue to remind us to be extra vigilant with our property
during the summer months and lighter evenings. Anti social behaviour
by is being closely monitored by all the agencies. Please report hot
As usual, members of the public have the opportunity to meet the police
team at Church House, Caversham on the 1st Monday in the month 5.00 -
Safer Caversham Community Forum
EGRA is still in touch with the Safer Caversham Forum, and receives minutes
of meetings it is unable to attend. Feedback from the March SCCF meeting
relevant to Emmer Green, reported us as the lowest crime area in Reading,
and an overall reduction of 18%. A bid was to be put into more secure
and sustainable lighting of the shelter area at Clayfield Copse.
Thames Valley Police Authority Meeting
A three-year police strategy was revealed in March, which amongst other
things advocated regular
stakeholder meetings promoted jointly by the Authority and the Force
throughout Thames Valley. Key improvement targets, included strengthening
neighbourhood policing, and improving services to victims.
St Barnabas Church
EGRA made a £250 donation towards the church building fund.
At the time of going to press, the annual St Barnabas Garden Party (in
aid of the Daynes Education Trust) is in the future (Sat 5th July). The
Association will be having a stall with information on EGRA's activities,
an opportunity to join, and a few games for anyone entering into the
spirit of the afternoon.
Reading 50 Plus+ Older Person's Forum
EGRA is happy to support and promote this joint venture - RBC, Age Concern,
and the NHS. This year there have been two meetings held at St Barnabas
Hall. The EGRA wireless speaker has proved an asset for those sitting
right at the back. The theme on 30th June was Safety in the Home by
a representative from the Berkshire Fire and Rescue. An update was
given on the opening of an Active Retirement Club, which was launched
on 25th June. These meetings are proving so popular, that interested
attendees are asked to contact Marvetah Hines at the Reading Age Concern
office on 0118 9594242, to book a place. You can also indicate if you
need help to get to the meeting.
Recommended Tradesmen's List
We are happy to issue the members only 2008 version of the Tradesmen's
list. All entries are from members' recommendations. Please note this
does not imply a responsibility or liability on either the Association
or any of its members in the event of possible dissatisfaction with
any of the tradesmen listed.
SCHOOL REPORTS AND YOUNG PEOPLE
North Reading Youth Project
The second NRYP AGM will take place on Wednesday 16th July at 7.30pm
at Amersham Road. Simon Bradford will Chair the meeting with Tina Heaford
presenting the Youth Services. The youngsters from Amersham Road and
Emmer Green have been busy preparing a few speeches and baking cakes
to sell. Certificates recognising their achievements will also be presented.
The popular annual "fun day" Emmer Green School's major fund-raiser,
will be held on Friday 18th July. All music will cease at 9.00pm and
the site cleared by 9.30pm. The school is very much aware some of the
local noise concerns and wants to behave in a considerate way.
The Hill school is the recipient of a £25 book token for their
new library, and two pupils will be nominated from Highdown School
to share the EGRA annual community award. This will be presented on
Thursday 17th July.
Cllr Mark Ralph is trying to encourage local people who have a bit
of time to spare to help youngsters with literacy skills. Please contact
him Tel: (0118) 9481615 for more information.
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE
We are happy to have formed close links with CADRA over the past year
and liase with them on planning interests of mutual concern. We continue
to keep a watchful eye on happenings in South Oxfordshire, and encouraged
a proactive response to their planning consultation earlier this year.
Infill development has slowed recently, but anyone directly affected
is urged to read the Planning Guidance page on the EGRA website. Printed
copies can be supplied to anyone who doesn't have access to a computer.
The building of 9 houses behind 41-49 Grove Road is now underway. Recent
developments include the news that an appeal has been made against the
decision to refuse permission to build 6 flats (08/00164/FUL) on land
behind Chalgrove Way. An application to build two 3 bedroomed detached
houses on the site of the bungalow, 11 Grove Road (08/00270/FUL) has
again been refused, as have proposals to demolish garages behind Evesham
Road (08/00241/FUL) and replace with houses. An application to demolish
No 1 Rosehill Park (08/00527/FUL) and replace with flats, will now come
before the Planning Committee.
READING TRANSPORT COMMISSION
The full results from the Commission, headed
by Sir Brian Briscoe, can be found on the RBC website from July 2nd.
Barry Prior, EGRA’s
representative attended the meeting on 1st July and reported back on
the 16 recommendations made by the team. The first of these highlighted
the fact that Reading’s problems extend far beyond the Borough
boundaries, and that there should be a single Local Transport Authority
to include Wokingham, West Berkshire and Oxfordshire. They collectively
should put a case to Central Government for funding from the Transport
Innovation Fund. The Commission recommended abandoning the one-way IDR
plans. They were in favour of a third bridge (possibly toll). Improvements
needed to be made to public transport, with the bus ticketing system
being improved and better use of bus lanes. Walking and cycling to be
encouraged and car use actively discouraged, with a possible targeted
road pricing scheme. Review of modal conflict traffic lights, pedestrian
crossings and bus lanes, and traffic regulations needed to be better
enforced. A Park and Ride should be available for each quadrant, with
better transport connections in the east. And finally “The Council
should make better and more transparent communications with the public,
focused around the interests of the citizen, rather than political groups.”
Night Buses - cheaper and more regular
Improvements to Reading Buses night-time services in Reading came into
force Monday 26th May. They mean more buses running during the night,
and Night Track passengers carrying a daytime ticket like a Busabout
or Travelcard can travel for just £1.00, (half the normal rate).
N23 - Caversham Park & Emmer Green 00.12am Monday-Thursday, 00.12am & 2.12am
on Friday & Saturday nights.
Bus Passes for the Over 60s
Please consult the Local Information page of the EGRA website for details
on the national 'smart' cards (ENCTS) for the English National Concessionary
Travel Scheme introduced this April.
Emmer Green was lucky enough to have a number of trees plant this year.
Some planted thanks to Caversham Globe, and others thanks to RBC's
funding from the Local Area Enhancement Scheme. During the first year,
these are particularly vulnerable. If you have one near your house,
please monitor and water if it appears in danger.
Reporting litter/street-cleaning/ verges/hedges /graffiti
We regularly monitor grass and hedge cutting, and feedback to the Council
anything reported to us. Their resources are limited, but generally
things are encouraging. Bob Cruickshank heads our graffiti clean up
team and he asks for you to report to him on 0118 9482900 or email
Reading Borough Council promotes recycling. Although EGRA favours eventual
kerbside collections of glass, a new glass bottle bank has been installed
in the in the Golf Club car park, giving more convenient access for
nearby residents. Waxed cartons (Tetrapaks) can now be taken to the
Milestone Centre. Unfortunately bottlebank sites do attract fly tippers.
The Council are aware of the situation and shortly hope to make use
of mobile CCTV cameras in hotspots.
Batteries: Tilehurst Globe have team who collect batteries locally to
deliver to the Civic Centre. Tina Gower is trying to set up collectors
in the Caversham and Emmer Green areas. Any interested volunteers can
ring Tina on 0118 9472671 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to the persistence of EGRA, the Grove Road allotments are finally
to get a couple of notice boards that were promised years ago. Although
this wont directly solve the problem of shortage of plots, communication
should be improved.
From April 6th 2008 Councils have been given responsibility for dealing
with stray dogs and they (the dogs!) are no longer dealt with by Police.
The contact number in Reading is 0118 9390251 during office hours.
01344 786584 (Outside office hours). This is the Dog Warden, to whom
complaints re. dog fouling and excessive noise can also be made.
BEYOND OUR BOUNDARIES
There was an overwhelming response in 2006 to the proposals to make changes
at Mapledurham Playing Fields. Although the majority have been listened
to, because of how the survey was worded, the facility is still under
threat, with loss of the hall, and a changing rooms only replacement.
Warren and District R A have recently drafted a letter expressing their
concerns for the future and EGRA has supported this in writing.
Longer opening hours - Daily, half an hour earlier from 9.00am. Wednesday
open all day 9.00am -5.00pm
Caversham Good Neighbours
This is a group of volunteers who serve people in the Caversham, Emmer
Green, Mapledurham. If you can spare any time, ring the Caversham Bridge
Office on 0118 948 3466
NHS Community Responders
The Berkshire division of South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust is
now recruiting volunteers, who will be trained to respond to certain
types of medical emergencies while the ambulance is en-route.
Contact Hugh Whitaker, Divisional Community Responder Manager - email@example.com or Tel: 0800 587 0207
We try to ensure everyone in our membership is as well informed as possible.
Anyone can access the EGRA site at www.map-reading.co.uk/egra. If you
do not have a computer yourself, a family member, or friend may allow
you the opportunity. Caversham Library offers hour-long sessions free
of charge. Anyone on e-mail, who has not passed on their address (firstname.lastname@example.org),
please do. All information is strictly confidential and will not be used
for any other purpose. As well as saving paper and the environment, it
enables us to send alerts and monthly update information. Paper copies
will still continue for those who prefer it in that form.
Thanks to everyone who keeps EGRA a thriving organisation
We always welcome extra help. Please fill contact any committee member
if you would like to assist in any way.
If anyone took part in the Bugs Bottom protest march on a wet summer’s
day in 1987, we have a wobbly copy on DVD which you may borrow.
Margaret Ormonde, July 2008