Association has been involved in numerous issues since the last AGM
and these are summarised as follows:
Millennium Exhibition & Book
it may seem longer, the highly successful exhibition celebrating Emmer
Green ‘Past and Present’ was held in the Ocean Suite at Highdown
School at the end of May last year. Many of you will have visited the
exhibition which was formally opened by Bob Green, The Mayor of Reading.
Large numbers of local residents, school parties and local associations
visited the exhibition and the committee was gratified by all the compliments
which made all the hard work fully worthwhile.
many visitors asked if the material from the exhibition could be collected
together in book form, the committee applied for a second grant from
the Millennium Funds for All and at the end of last November we heard
that we had been successful. The award was for the balance of the previous
grant and amounts to £3,400. This will not cover the full costs
of producing the book but will allow the finished book to be sold at
an affordable price and thus recover the Association’s own outlay.
Progress is going well, with much additional material to that displayed
at the exhibition having been collected. It is intended that the book
will be available prior to Christmas.
years of effort by the association’s treasurer, Jill Verran, an
Inquiry was held in May of last year regarding the footpath through Chambers
Copse. Unfortunately, the Inspector’s decision, published in September,
was not to confirm the footpath. The reasons for his decision were published
in the Winter 2000 newsletter but in summary, he concluded that, on the
balance of probabilities, the footpath did not subsist or was reasonably
alleged to subsist over the order route and therefore should not be confirmed.
ruling was not the one we had hoped for but thanks must go to all those
residents who gave their time to completing evidence forms, attending
the Inquiry in Crowmarsh to provide testimony and subsequently walking
through the copse with the inspector.
Barnabas Road & Grove Road
Barnabas Road was eventually resurfaced and the levels improved with
kerb stones being installed on the eastern side to channel rain water
to the gullies. The run away of surface rain water is now very good.
consultation with local residents and parents of schoolchildren going
to Emmer Green Primary School the traffic island near St Barnabas Church
was also installed and now provides a safer crossing point.
then some consultation has taken place on the proposals by RBC Traffic
Management Committee to introduce various traffic calming measures
to these two roads to provide a ‘safe school zone’ for
the primary school. These will include a combination of speed cushions,
extended pavements, warning signs and dragon’s teeth. The Association’s
view was that at the start and end of the school day there were huge
traffic problems, but doubted that this particular scheme would make
much difference as congestion automatically restricted the speed of
traffic. It has also been noted that Emmer Green Primary School is
to be extended and this will result in extra vehicles of the construction
company and ultimately more parents’ vehicles. It was recognised
that the situation will only get worse.
Association were only made aware in November of the proposed closure
of the Heathcroft respite facility in Marshland Square for parents of
children with mental and/or physical disabilities. Since the home is
within the Emmer Green area and members of the Association are parents
of children using the facility the committee agreed to support local
parents in asking RBC Social Services & Health to guarantee a suitable
alternative before proceeding with any closure. This assurance was supplied
in a letter of 18 December 2000 from the Lead Councillor for Social Services & Health
and an expected date of October 2001 was given for the transfer of the
Enforcement Scrutiny Panel
July committee members Bill Goodworth and Margaret Ormonde plus Association
member Chris Odell presented evidence to this Scrutiny Panel, which was
chaired by Cllr Ian Fenwick. They particularly dwelt on the subject of
RBC officers failures to enforce bylaws, agreements and conditions imposed
on developers to ensure that traffic to and from their building sites
caused the minimum inconvenience to local residents. Their testimony
showed RBC planning officers to have been poorly informed, uncaring and
unable to enforce regulations on the developers. The panel thanked the
attendees for the detail provided and said this would help in their investigation
into better enforcement procedures.
with four residents and frequent users of the 24 service, the Associations’ chairman
and vice-chair met with Colin Thompson, Managing Director of Reading
Buses, on 8 August 2000 to discuss the deterioration in the bus service
to Emmer Green. Also attending were Cllr Annette Hendry and Ian Brown
of Caversham and District Residents’ Association. The attendees
were informed that Reading bus services on all routes were suffering
for various reasons but particularly because of a shortage of drivers
due to difficulties in recruitment and retention.
Buses undertook to study again the possible re-routing or diverting
of buses in Caversham and Emmer Green, to look at re-instating the
9.00 service of the 24 and to improve the reliability of the 24 service.
However, as residents know the situation was sufficiently severe that
Reading Buses had to cancel a number of services across the town to
ensure the remainder of their schedules ran and were more reliable.
It must be said that over recent months the service to Emmer Green
seems to have improved.
members continue to attend this very important Forum which meets every
five weeks. Such issues has traffic wardens, police resourcing, Neighbourhood
Watch, anti-social behaviour (vandalism, graffiti, intimidation), business
community concerns, burglary and car related crimes are addressed. The
Forum also promotes various events to raise awareness of the public to
prevent crime. The Operation Safeguard meeting in September covered ways
and means to combat and deter burglary and theft from cars and was very
the Forum receives money through the Safer Reading Campaign to support
capital projects that will have a positive impact on community safety.
The Association and the ward councillors put forward a number of suggestions
and support was agreed for additional lighting for the path between
Stuart Close/Surley Row and for the cut-through by the Knights Way
flats to the Pond.
Reading Youth and Community Project
vice-chair of the Association now attends the meetings of the long standing
advisory group for the North Reading Youth and Community Centre. After
much debate over the last year the management committee for the Project
has recently agreed with RBC a new constitution and it is hoped that
the efforts of the group can now be focused on the activities of the
North Area Consultative Committee
Committee members have continued to represent the Association at
meetings of this group and recent topics for consultation have been
Public Transport Provision
in Caversham, Living in Reading & The Future of Housing, the Church Street
Improvements, Caversham Bridge Improvements and new guidance for Building on
the last financial year RBC allocated to this committee £2,000
per ward to be spent on local schemes to benefit the community of each
area. The Association’s representative suggested that, in the
light of the fluctuating bus service to Emmer Green, some of the money
should be spent on providing bus shelters with seats at all stops in
Emmer Green. Other groups suggested a village sign for the centre of
Caversham, improvement works to Prospect Street, pavement lighting
on Caversham Bridge, cleaning of the clock and face of Caversham Library
and making the Hills Meadow recycling facility more attractive. The
committee was informed that bus shelters were too expensive and could
not be considered. It was decided that the Caversham village sign and
the recycling facility proposals should be supported. The Association
asked that if similar funds were available for the next financial year
that priority should be given to supporting a village sign in Emmer
Green village sign
From the survey forms sent out with the winter newsletter 67 responses from
301 issued had been returned. There were 55 for and 12 against. Five responses
expressed concern about vandalism. Only two responses were against because
of cost. The committee feel that this is an insufficient mandate to proceed.
However, as noted above RBC monies through the North Area Consultative Committee
may be available in the next financial year to support this project.
Association continues to try to monitor planning applications although
this is still made very difficult by RBC Planning Department’s
haphazard notification of interested parties. The following are planning
applications in which the Association has taken an interest over the
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 as the local planning
refused permission on this application. However, the developer made an appeal
to the secretary of state on 18 September and an Inquiry Hearing was held on
12 December 2000. Bill Goodworth represented the Association at the appeal
hearing. Notification of the appeal’s dismissal was received on 31 January
2001 in which the inspector had taken note of highway safety issues, the adverse
effect on the character and appearance of the area and the non-compliance with
RBC policies relating to comprehensive development. The only remaining course
open to the appellants will be to take the matter to the High Court and it
is doubtful that they would take such action.
at Jefferson Close, Emmer Green
The second proposal, which did not affect the footpath between Jefferson Close
and Russett Glade was not opposed by the Association.
Proposal to erect 41 x 2, 3 & 4 bedroom houses and garages. The
Association had made written objections to the initial proposal because
of the intention
to re-route and enclose the definitive footpath and Paul Gallagher made an
oral objection at the Planning Applications Committee on 10 January 2001. However,
the application has been approved subject to a Legal Agreement. The Open Spaces
Society (OSS) had contacted the Association to enquire whether there was sufficient
support if the OSS took the matter to appeal but it was thought that the chance
of over turning the decision was remote.
off Lyefield Court
Application from Annsgate House Investments Limited to build houses off the
access road to the residential homes in Lyefield Court. Although the LPA have
approved this application, and the land has already been cleared in preparation
for building, several restrictions have been imposed in relation to parking
behind 74 & 76 Kidmore End Road
An outline proposal (again from Annsgate) to demolish houses 74 & 76
and build a small estate off Kidmore End Road has been received.
have been expressed by adjacent householders about the loss of established
trees on this land if such a development was passed. The Association has written
to the LPA expressing concern about additional traffic entering Kidmore End
Road, which is narrow and already congested, and the increased risk to the
safety of both pedestrians and motorists.
thanks as usual to all the committee members for their active and substantial
support throughout the year and all the time they have unselfishly devoted
to pursuing matters brought to their attention by Association members.
Unfortunately, the committee is about to lose the invaluable services
of long serving member Bill Goodworth. On behalf of the Association we
express our heartfelt thanks for his boundless local knowledge and his
dedicated hard work and wish him all the best for the future.
thank you to the ward councillors for their continuing interest and
support of the Association in its concerns and activities within Emmer
Green. Here also we bid farewell as Ian Fenwick will be retiring as
a councillor in order to give credence to his status as retired! Ian’s
support and invaluable knowledge of the mystical workings of the Council
have been greatly appreciated and we wish him well in his complete