Minutes of the 2002 AGM

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MINUTES OF THE 18TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE EMMER GREEN RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION, HELD AT ST BARNABAS HALL, EMMER GREEN ON 18TH APRIL 2002.

The meeting was chaired by Mr Paul Gallagher, and 60 others were present, including Councillor Bob Green.

1. APOLOGIES
Mr & Mrs G S Child, Joy Lowther, Bill Harper, Sue Ronay, Susie Downer, Eddy Hooper, Vera Bodman, Geoff Goldsmith, Cllr Annette Hendry, Cllr Chris Brown, Mr & Mrs Halter

2. The minutes of the 17th AGM held on the 26th April 2001 had been circulated and it was agreed they were an accurate record of the proceedings. They were signed by the Chairman.

3.MATTERS ARISING
Topics other than those covered in the Chairman's report were raised.

Heathcroft Home
It was noted that the home had been closed and the building was empty encouraging vandalism and dumping. Cllr Green said that the Council intended to demolish the building as soon as possible and the land would be cleared and fenced off. He would keep the Association briefed about any proposed redevelopment.

4.CHAIRMAN'S REPORT

Grove Road Hedge
The Council had been much more efficient with the cutting of the hedge and it was looking better than it had done for years. It was hoped the care would continue.

Highdown Recycling Site
Temporary repairs had been made to the surfacing, as major gas pipeline works were to be carried out in the summer, and a date for future resurfacing of the site was uncertain.

Chambers Copse Footpath
Surprisingly the issue had surfaced again during the summer of 2001, but the outcome was the same and the path would not be re-opening.

Caversham Park Open Day
Everyone who had been lucky enough to get tickets to view the property and the grounds agreed what a splendid afternoon it had been. It was hoped the event would be repeated this coming September.

Reading Buses
The ‘new’ 44/45 service was working well despite the fact that some of the services had been cut back. Long waits for buses had been less frequent, but there was still room for improvement, as noted by Mrs M Churcher who had recently waited 1¼ hours.

EGRA Millennium Projects
A lot of work had gone into the book, which had been highly successful. It was possible that some of the profit made could be put towards the village sign. Other suggestions from members were welcome.

Village Sign
The Berkshire Woodcarvers were waiting for the final go-ahead on what we hoped would be our Jubilee project. Funding would either come from the book profits or a grant from the NACC (see below). Plans were passed around for people to indicate their favoured position for the sign. The majority (67%) opted for a location on the grassed area just to the south of the pond.

Kidmore End Road Car Parking
Margaret Ormonde was thanked for conducting the consultation exercise. It had been very successful with an 80% response. Unfortunately the Council had put things on hold whilst the issue of Residents' parking permits was debated nationally. These were seen as a first step to helping residents, but not necessarily a solution to the problem. It was for the local residents of KER to decide how to resolve things.

Safer Caversham Forum
The lighting between Chiltern Court and Gorselands had been a success. The small projects committee of the Forum had been asked to investigate whether there was a need for improved lighting at the bus stop at the bottom of Courtenay Drive. The current Chairman Derek Bartlett (CADRA) was due to stand down this year. He had done an excellent job and it had been decided that in the future a dozen Residents' Associations would share the role, taking turns each year. Because of their consistent support for the Forum, EGRA had been asked to provide the first chairman.

North Area Consultative Committee
The committee had given grants of £2000 per ward, which in previous years had gone to Thames and Caversham. It was understood that Peppard would be favourably looked upon this time (see account of village sign), but the outcome was unlikely to be known for at least a couple of months.

North Reading Youth Project
Emmer Green Community Centre was about to be re-decorated and a DJ was to be employed to encourage attendance by older youngsters. The skateboard facility at Clayfield Copse was not adequately used and this was probably because the equipment was poor and out-dated. There was to be a consultation exercise with young people and expenditure considered was likely to be around £20,000 for a new facility incorporating the latest equipment.

Planning Applications

Bell Court
The houses were now complete and some occupied. There had been a compromise regarding the retention of the laurel hedge along Kidmore End Road. A wooden fence had been erected in front of it, leaving only the top of the hedge visible. It was hoped the blank ‘canvas’ would not be a target for vandals and graffiti artists.

Grove Road
Although the plans to build between Grove Road and Knights Way, south of house no 37 had been approved, the development with access from the road beside Unity Court had been rejected on the grounds of safety.

Kidmore End Road
The application submitted for land next to no. 164 had been rejected. The application for land between 70 and 76 had been withdrawn from the next RBC planning committee, awaiting more information from the developer. Controversially the plans for a new junction, opposite the playground, to provide access would involve removing some of the grass verge, and moving the bus stop. Car parking space already at a premium would also be reduced. Petitions from residents had helped to bring residents’ concerns to the Council and Jon Barclay was thanked for organising these petitions. Revised plans had also been submitted for developments at the back of 46-52 KER.

Telecommunication Masts
There had been recent consultation with Hutchinson 3G about more masts on the water tower. Although a discussion meeting was arranged at short notice, it was quite productive and concessions were agreed, such as lowering the height of the extra masts and painting them a colour to match the water tower. There was still concern about radiation produced from multiple antennae. South Oxfordshire District Council had also provided plans submitted by Airwave mmO2 Ltd (a Marconi company) for a proposed 25 metre 'TETRA' mast at the reservoir. This was to provide cover for the emergency services such as police, fire and ambulance. Further consultation had been requested by the Association and as they weren't tied to being in Emmer Green it was felt that Crowsley Park might be a much more appropriate site. RBC were set to recommend that SODC refuse.

Website
A lot of work had gone into creating a website for the Association and member Clive Ormonde was thanked for this. The Chairman reminded everyone that it wasn't just a static site and that there were regular monthly updates. Also contributions of photos from members of the Association and other residents were welcome.

Thanks
The Chairman thanked the committee for their hard work throughout the year and in particular thanked the retiring Treasurer, Jill Verran, for her magnificent work for over a decade in the position.

Acceptance of the Chairman's report was proposed by Jill Verran and seconded by Hilary Gallagher.

5.TREASURER'S REPORT
A copy of the treasurer's report has been circulated showing that a balance of nearly £2,800 is held in the Portman Building Society. There was a surplus of £467 for the year. A separate account had been opened for the Emmer Green Book, and although things still had to be finalised it was estimated that there was a profit of around £2,300. Thanks were given to auditor Julian Pearce for his continued work. The adoption of the accounts was proposed by Anne Ayres, and seconded by Owen Jewiss. There had been 77 new members throughout the year bringing the total to a record 391 households. There was also a warning that photocopying costs might rise in the future.

6.ELECTION OF OFFICERS, COMMITTEE AND AUDITOR
All of the committee had agreed to stand for another year, but Bill Harper was to take over the role as Treasurer, leaving Jill Verran to retain the role of Membership Secretary. For family reasons Sue Ballard was to relinquish the job of Vice-Chairman to Bob Cruickshank. Other officers were all remaining in their current posts. Julian Pearce had offered to continue auditing the accounts. The committee and auditor were proposed by Sir Anthony Durant and seconded by Jon Barclay.

7.ANY OTHER BUSINESS

The first question raised was by a resident disappointed not to get a copy of the Emmer Green Book, asking when it was likely to be reprinted. The possibility was under consideration, but it was not likely before 2003.

Parking outside schools
It was felt the safer schools initiative around Emmer Green School had been a success and that the Hill School was due to get the same treatment. However, local residents were not entirely happy with this, pointing out that it was a few insensitive drivers that had consigned them to living with humps all the year round. Suggestions were made that a car park be created on land adjacent to the school.

Cllr Green said there would be a full consultation and all ideas would be welcome.

It was also insensitive drivers who were parking at the post box outside the church. It was felt a post box might be needed down in Bugs Bottom to help the situation. It was agreed that the question of double yellow lines around the corner near the post box should be raised with the Council.

Concern was expressed about potholes in the roads and pavements. Frustratingly many of these had been highlighted in paint suggesting they were about to be repaired, but this seemed to be a false hope. It appears this was because they were largely the fault of contractors (eg cable layers, gas, electricity etc) and RBC spent a lot of time trying to prove liability and get them to repair the damage.

Clayfield Copse
The potholes in the car park were still an unresolved issue. There were also abandoned cars, which even if they were cleared away by either SODC or RBC, the debris (glass, plastic, oil, etc) which accompanied them was not. RBC was now able to remove scrap cars for a fee of £25. It was agreed that the contact at RBC for dealing with follow-up cleaning would be identified and the details published in the next newsletter.

The Chairman Paul Gallagher was thanked and given a spontaneous round of applause for his continued work for the Association. He thanked his wife for her support.

8. GUEST SPEAKER
Lady Audrey Durant gave an animated and informative illustrated talk on the history of the Surley Row Conservation Area, which was very well received. There was an opportunity afterwards to look at the selection of photos she had brought along.

This was followed by wine and nibbles.