The committee wishes all members an enjoyable Christmas (although this
may have passed by the time you receive this newsletter) and a healthy
New Year. Again, thank you to all members for your invaluable support over
the last year. As usual, the Association has been busy on a number of issues
since the summer newsletter and the following may interest members.
Waiting Restrictions : Editor
Members will remember that at the last couple of the Association’s
AGMs it had been agreed to press the Council to consider some form
of parking controls near the post box on Evesham Road next to St
Barnabas church. This is a particular problem at school drop off
and collection times, which has been made more dangerous with the ‘new’ crossing
refuge in the middle of the road. We were notified in July that,
as part of a review of 50 waiting restriction schemes being considered
around the town, three were proposed in Emmer Green, namely at:
· Kidmore End Road between Grove Road & Lyefield
· Southdown Road junction with Evesham Road
· St Barnabas Road/Grove Road/Evesham Road area.
The Association’s committee considered these proposed waiting
restrictions and fully support the schemes. The Council’s Traffic
Management Department confirmed these schemes except for that part of
Kidmore End Road opposite the recreation ground and are to instead look
at providing parking permits to the local residents.
Parking/driving on grass verges : Editor
A number of grass verges are continually being destroyed by parked
cars, which occurs in many cases where there is room in the drive
of each property alongside the verge where these cars are parked.
The Association has asked the Council if they would send a letter
to all residents along roads with grass verges asking householders
not to park on them and to look into reseeding the verges where
vehicles have killed off the grass.
Cutting of the grass verges : Editor
The Council’s target for the cutting of the grass verges is that
they will complete 10 cuts in the growing season. This year they only
made 5 cuts to the verges. The Association’s chairman met with
one of the Council’s Environment Managers, Kevin Wigginton, in
September to discuss the Council’s difficulties in regularly
cutting the verges.
It was explained that when the previous sub-contractor (Brophy Limited)
did not renew the grass-cutting contract, the Council entered into
a three-year contract hire of four grass-cutting machines and employed
two cutting teams each of 4 workers. However, the machines have turned
out to require a large amount of maintenance, resulting in a lot of ‘down-time’,
and are also not very efficient if the grass is wet. One year of the
contract remains and it is understood that the Council will then look
at more useful cutting machines. In addition to these problems, the
Council’s budget constraints have reduced the work force to 6
members. The Council’s Environment Department, which is responsible
for verge cutting, is also responsible for grass-cutting for schools,
open spaces, OAP lawns, the trimming of some hedges, tree maintenance
and the general street environment. Separately the Council’s
Parks Department is responsible for grass cutting of parks and playing
fields, some other open spaces and any surrounding hedges. Recent staff
changes within the Council have resulted in these split responsibilities
being reviewed and, to make better use of both equipment and manpower,
the merger of these two departments is being considered.
Woodlands Day : Paul
The Woodlands Day on Saturday 4 June was very successful and blessed
with good weather. There was a big turn out of visitors and the Friends
of Clayfield Copse are to be congratulated on their smooth organisation
of the event. Members may have wondered what happened to the chainsaw
sculpting of animal shapes that our Association had agreed to fund.
Unfortunately, the sculptor had suffered a foot injury whilst in Cornwall
during the previous week and was unable to travel back to Reading in
time for the Saturday event. Two logs had already been put in place
and we had intended that a further log be added to the group, however,
the local vandals have recently set fire to the logs and we are reconsidering
whether to proceed with the project.
Primary School Places : Editor
Many readers will have heard about the situation that developed in
the summer when Emmer Green primary school could not take in14
children in its catchment area and 7 children with siblings already
at the school. The Association supported the parents (many also
members) by making representation to both the LEA and the DfES,
but without success and with no offer to review the situation now
or in the future. The unfortunate outcome has resulted in some
parents having to take current pupils away from the school and
to send them and their siblings to schools in South Oxfordshire.
In consequence, Reading LEA will have lost funding from the DfES
for these children.
Safer Routes to School : Editor
Under the Safer Routes to School initiative, the Council has published proposals
to impose a 20mph speed limit in the vicinity of Highdown School plus the
installation of 75mm speed cushions in Grove Road and Surley Row. The Association
has supported the proposals in principle, but considers the cushion design
[if similar to that in Grove Road and Evesham Road as part of a similar
scheme for Emmer Green primary school] will be inadequate in slowing down
Graffiti, littering, fly-tipping
and fly-posting : Editor
These topics were recently covered at one of the Joint Environment
Committee meetings of RFTRA.
Currently in Emmer Green the problems we encounter are mainly graffiti,
although there are some problems of litter at places like Highdown
School and around the north side of the village pond. Fly-tipping occasionally
takes place near Marshland Square and at the northerly end of Kiln
Road near Clayfield Copse. The Association has cleaning kits supplied
by Reading Borough Council to remove graffiti and this is currently
proving quite successful in keeping down the amount of graffiti in
the village area. The Council will remove some graffiti free of charge
depending upon its size and nature. Young offenders are often recruited
to help, and although they are not paid they can have their sentences
reduced. With regard to littering, the Council have an on-going education
programme with schools, businesses and the public, but in serious cases
they have powers under the S.87 Environmental Protection Act (1990)
to issue formal warnings and £50 fixed penalty notices. For fly-tipping
the Council operate surveillance equipment in conjunction with the
Police and with the Environment Agency and have powers to impose even
larger fines. Any member who notices such anti-social activity is encouraged
to notify the Council (via the Association if preferred) who will inform
the relevant bodies.
Pub licensing hours : Editor
The Association and local residents were notified of applications from
The White Horse, The Black Horse and the Gardeners Arms to extend their
licensing hours. Objections were submitted, including those from the
Association, on the grounds that the longer licensing times and live
music requested were excessive and inappropriate for a suburban residential
environment. The local authority’s licensing panel agreed with
the objections against the longer hours but allowed smaller extensions,
particularly to allow hours on different days to be consistent. Many
thanks are due to Cllr Hendry for her support and advice with these applications
and during the hearings.
Safer Caversham Community Forum :
The Forum does have a modest budget for capital expenditure on safety
improvements, which would otherwise be low down the Council’s
list of priorities (e.g. additional lighting in dangerous spots, bus
shelters, kerb and pavement improvements etc). We have nothing in the
pipeline just now but if any of our members have suggestions for making
Emmer Green a safer place please let any of the committee members know.
The most noticeable impact the Forum has made in the area recently
is to see the removal of the vast amount of graffiti from the Milestone
Centre and its surrounds. The Police say that it has resulted in a
reduction in anti-social behaviour in the area and they are to keep
an eye on it. This builds on the initiative we took last year, and
are continuing to take, in keeping graffiti off our road signs and
other street furniture. We still have to persuade NTL and the Electricity
Suppliers and other Utilities to co-operate with us in cleaning up
The Police Surgeries are now in operation at Church House, Caversham.
On the first Monday of every month between 5pm and 8pm there will be
someone there to answer any enquires or complaints you may have.
Following consultations with nearly 50 users of the skateboard ramps
at Clayfield Copse, it has been agreed to set up a seated youth shelter
there, which will be illuminated, but not floodlit. This may also help
to move some of the younger people away from the Emmer Green shops in
North Area Youth Project :
Bob Cruickshank & Tara Taylor
Public Consultations :
A new Youth Services officer, Tina Heaford seems to be breathing new
life into our local youth clubs. They meet at Emmer Green on Mondays
catering for 13-19 year olds and at Milestone on Wednesdays also for
13-19 year olds but with a different programme. They meet again in
Emmer Green on Fridays this time for 11-14 year olds. While she was
doing a similar job in Southgate last year she was Moderator for the
Youth Achievement Awards of the Summer 2005 Community Project. 151
young people in the Reading area took part and 3 Silver and 6 Bronze
Portfolios were awarded to participants. The silvers were the first
to be awarded to people in the area, two of which live in Emmer Green
(Jason Charles and Idris Kamara), and we extend our congratulations
to them. Well done.
The skate board area at Clayfield Copse is working out well with the
local youths who are using it. At the last meeting it was reported
that the dispersal order at the shopping precinct had run out and it
was thought that the youths hanging around were probably unaware. The
Youth workers have reported that the youths were only there to meet
and chat with their friends and that they had nowhere else to go and
they certainly weren't intending to be intimidating to the older generation.
When the young people’s meeting facility at Clayfield has been
installed then this should take some of the pressure away from the
There have been a number of consultations to which the Association has responded,
and these include:
· Reading Borough Council’s Draft Statement of Community
Involvement in Planning Applications.
South Oxfordshire District Council Statement of Community Involvement
in Planning Applications.
Night Flying Restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports.
Stage 2 of consultation on restrictions to apply from 30 October 2005.
South East England Regional Assembly (SEERA) consultation on how the
proposed 2,620 new homes per year between 2006 and 2026 (i.e. a total
of 52,400 more houses in Berkshire) should be distributed between the
six Berkshire authorities.
Caversham Lock Area, which has various ideas for developing King's Meadow,
King's Meadow Swimming Pool, Caversham Lock Island, View Island and Hill's
Meadow car park.
The future of the Inner Distribution Road (IDR), which has a proposal
to make the IDR a counter clockwise one-way road, removing the fly-over
past the Oracle car park completely.
Park and Ride facilities on the north side of Caversham.
Demolition and rebuilding of the Hexagon on Hill’s Meadow as an
List : Editor
In the near future we will be re-issuing our list of local tradesmen
that have been used by members. If any member has used a local tradesman
and been pleased with the service then please let the Association
know and we will add them to the list. Many thanks.
Issues : Paul Gallagher
The following planning applications have taken up the Association’s time
since the summer newsletter.
· Proposal to build 9 houses in the
rear gardens of 10-18, 22 Highdown Hill Road and 6 Highdown Avenue.
After many objections, rejections
by the Council and rejection at Appeal, the Council has felt bound to
permit the modified application. Already the developer has contravened
the planning consent conditions placed upon the development and attempted
to demolish 14 Highdown Hill Road before they had met all the conditions.
The Association is very grateful for the vigilance of the Highdown Action
Group and speedy intervention by the Council to halt the demolition.
· Proposal to build 8 houses and 6
apartments in the grade II listed Caversham House at 91 Peppard Road.
After a number of resubmissions
the Council has given permission for this development and work has already
commenced with the demolition of the three dilapidated bungalows.
· Proposal to demolish 9 Buckingham
Drive and replace it with a block of 10 flats.
The Council supported the Association’s objection and this application
has been refused.
· Proposal to build 5 houses in the
rear gardens of 161 ‘Old’ Peppard
Road, opposite The Hill School.
The Council upheld objections from the
Association, the school governing body and parents of pupils. Disgracefully
the developer went to Appeal, but before an Inquiry could be held the
developer went into receivership and the proposal has now lapsed.
· Proposal to build 10 terraced houses
in the rear gardens of 41-49 Grove Road.
Having been rejected by the Council, this application had gone to Appeal.
The Inspector concluded the proposal was not suitable and dismissed the
· Proposal to demolish 94 Kidmore
End Road and replace it with 8 flats in two blocks.
The developer subsequently withdrew this application, and thus no decision
was made by the Council.
· Proposal by Hutchinson 3G for a
radio base station together with a replacement street lamp to house
the antennas, adjacent to the
Esso Garage on Buckingham Drive. The Association made a number of comments
on this application but did not object. The Council has affirmed the
proposal was permitted.
The Association has also been consulted on a number of smaller, single
dwelling applications and applications in such as Hemdean Road that impinge
on neighbouring householders within Emmer Green. We have also expressed
our concern over worrying applications such as the proposal to build
three-storey blocks of flats accommodating over 90 units on the site
of the Whiteknights Laundry at 72-80 George Street.
The most recent application is for a single
storey front extension to the betting shop near the sub-post office.
This will displace the Association’s
seat, which was paid for by ourselves and the Council, and may also displace
the post box. The Association has objected on these grounds and that
the extension will be an incongruous and unsightly construction, which
will block off the attractive view towards the village pond. We have
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.
Subscriptions : Jill
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It would be very helpful if you would send us your subscription
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