The following summarises the numerous
issues that the Association has been involved in since the last Annual
General Meeting on 14 April 2004.
Local Tradesmen’s list and Information pack:
This was completed by the vice chairman, Bob Cruickshank, in time for
posting with the summer 2004 newsletter. There have been a few amendments
and additions since then and we will look to include these in a new edition.
Likewise with the Information pack; a number of items have changed and
we will update this for the web site in the first instance.
St Barnabas Church Garden Party:
Although last year’s event in July was unfortunately wet the Association
made £20 towards the charitable Amajuba Education Fund and the
event as a whole made in excess of £1,100. Again, we sold ‘treasurer
hunt’ maps and new clue sheets full of pictures and questions about
interesting features to be seen around Emmer Green. While for the younger
visitors we had a very large-scale jigsaw of the superheroes The Fantastic
Four, which proved popular.
Street cleaning & grass cutting:
These two issues have been pursued with the Council throughout the year.
With regard to the former a map was supplied by the Council, showing
how often each road in Emmer Green is scheduled to be cleaned. As this
is in colour it was circulated only by email. However, copies can be
made available to other residents via any committee member.
The regularity of grass cutting continued to be far from satisfactory.
The Association repeatedly asked the Council throughout the summer and
autumn months to cut the verges but with only minor success. Cllr Mark
Ralph took up the issue on residents’ behalf and met with the cutting
team in late September and walked around Emmer Green discussing the issue.
The Council’s target of 17 cuts per year has proved difficult for
the cutting team to meet. We have suggested that the target number of
cuts be reduced to about 12 if the Council will guarantee that the cutting
takes place at regular three-week intervals.
A meeting took place in June between Council officers and the Association
to discuss ways and means of tackling the problem of graffiti. The
committee undertook an audit of the location and type of graffiti throughout
Emmer Green and created a map of this information. Copies of this were
then sent to the Council and utilities, particularly the cable television
company whose boxes seem to come in for the most defacement.
A further meeting was held in October with the Council officers responsible
for cleaning graffiti. The officers informed us that they would be undertaking
educational initiatives with local schools to attempt to get the message
across that graffiti is not acceptable. It was also agreed that a small
group of residents would work with a Council officer to clean the recreation
ground pavilion. This took place in October when five Association members
gave up their Saturday morning and, under Council supervision for health
and safety reasons, cleaned the three visible sides of the pavilion.
Since then the pavilion has been defaced again on two occasions with
subsequent cleaning taking place and the back wall has been painted.
The Association has also supported the Council’s offer of using
their mini-cleaning kits for use on small items of graffiti, such as
tags on street signs. A number of local residents’ associations
and other community groups attended a training session run by the Council
in February and were then supplied with several small graffiti cleaning
kits. The session was given wide publicity by the Council and was covered
by a number of local television companies.
We now need members near to graffiti ‘hot spots’ to act as
either observers of new graffiti, who would alert the Association, or
anyone who would be prepared to keep and use one of the cleaning kits.
Caversham Safer Community Forum (CSCF)
The local Forum has been re-established under the wider Safer Reading
Campaign, the Reading Borough Council’s Crime Reduction Partnership.
It consists of around 12 agencies and associations such as Reading
Childrens’ Trust, Ealing Family Housing, Toynbee Housing, Churches
Together in Caversham and the Residents` Associations in Caversham,
Caversham Park Village, the Warren as well as ourselves. The Thames
Valley Police also attend and report, as do the Ward Councillors (intermittently),
plus Council representatives from Housing, Street Care, Youth Provision
and the Safer Communities Unit.
The budget, for small bids, covering the whole Reading area is now
with twelve local SCFs bidding for the funds. The bids are for expenditures
that are not on the Council’s current budget, and would probably
never get on the main budget, but which the residents feel are desirable
or necessary to tackle safety issues.
The majority of recent projects have been for additional lighting in
black spots, but there are also street patrols, litterbin projects and
abandoned cars projects on going or in the pipeline. The Association
has proposed the purchase of portable CCTV equipment, to be used in graffiti "hot
spots" on Council property, shared across all 12 SCFs. To date the
CSCF has been less than supportive of the idea.
North Area Youth Project (NRYP)
Committee member Tara Taylor and the chairman have rejoined the management
committee of the NRYP during this last year. The two meetings to date
have been well supported by the Council and by young people from Emmer
Green who use the service.
Items that have been dealt with include the
purchase of auxiliary music equipment to enable the young people to
hold band rehearsals, the replacement
of five canoes at The Warren Canoe Club, various redecoration requirements
at the centres, a covered meeting/gathering point, a graffiti ‘legal-wall’ and
the installation of a skateboard facility. The first three of these are
to be paid for from NRYP reserve funds. The funding of a meeting point
will be sought from the Safer Caversham Forum, which has paid for such
facilities in the past. The location has still to be determined. The
last two are to be researched further before any firm decisions are made.
Unfortunately, both the senior youth worker, Lee Middleton, and senior
assistant, Denise Bradley, have recently tendered their resignations.
Lee is moving to a new job with Connexions and Denise is moving to Cyprus
where her husband has been posted. Both will be sorely missed since they
have being doing a very good job with the service.
Recycling old computer equipment
The Association expended a lot of effort in trying to organise a collection
of old computer equipment from local residents by a London-based charitable
organisation who refurbish such items for third world countries. However,
although they collect free of charge, to minimise their transport costs
they need to collect at least 20 computers and unfortunately only about
half that number of items were offered by members. We then approached
the umbrella residents’ organisation in Reading (RFTRA) to see
if they could coordination such an initiative across the whole town
but without success. Consequently, we have had to forget the idea for
Emmer Green Community Notice Board
The new notice board was installed and unveiled in December. Thanks are
due to local woodcraftsman, Andrew Noyes, for making and carving the
board and to Dave Moore of the Council for organising its installation.
On 30 June the School hosted a meeting with concerned residents about
their proposal to sell off part of the playing fields (tennis courts)
for housing development in order to pay for a school assembly hall.
Since then the Reading local education authority has received government
approval to take out 25 year preferential loans to build this assembly
hall. This will avert the need to sell part of the school playing fields
to finance the building. The school has proposed that the hall also
provides a community facility and they are open to ideas on such usage
and also on possible design features that local residents may like
Friends of Clayfield Copse
The Friends have been successful again in securing a grant from the Heritage
Lottery Fund to organise another Woodlands Day, which will be on Saturday
4 June. Our Association has previously discussed the funding of a play
area for small children at the back of the car park at Clayfield Copse.
This would simply have taken the form of logs embedded in the ground
in a formation to allow children to jump from one to another. However,
the Council, who own the land, have forbidden this idea as they consider
it too dangerous! In consequence, we have suggested to The Friends that
on the Woodlands Day we fund the two chainsaw sculptors, who carved the
two pigs from the Lebanon cedars at the first event, to carve several
animal shapes from logs placed near the car park. Apart from their artistic
appeal, the sculptures can subsequently be used as seats. This will cost
Major in-fill development is currently underway in Marshlands Square
(2 developments), Cavendish Road and Kidmore End Road. The following
planning proposals have also concerned the Association over the last
Application for 6 houses in rear gardens of 33-39 Grove Road.
Application to demolish 49 Grove Road and build 10 terrace houses and
1 detached house in the rear gardens of 41-49 Grove Road.
Kidmore End Road:
Application for 6 houses to rear of 54-74 Kidmore End Road.
Application to demolish 1 Rosehill Park and replace it with 2 detached
dwellings. Refused and new application to build a block of four flats – also
refused. Appeal pending.
Highdown Hill Road:
Various applications to build 11/14 houses in rear gardens of 10-18,
22 Highdown Hill Road and 6 Highdown Avenue. Appeal against refusal.
Inspector upheld the refusal in January.
Congratulations must go to the efforts of the Highdown Hill Road ‘Action
Group’ in co-ordinating the objections to this development and
achieving this most sensible outcome.
Application to build a bungalow in the rear garden of 46
Highdown Hill Road.
Application to build of 6 x 3 bedroom dwellings in the rear gardens of
161-163 Peppard Road with the access near The Hill School.
Application to demolish 376 and 378 Peppard
Road and build 12 dwellings in the rear gardens of 372 – 390
Peppard Road; southward from the perimeter of the Water Tower.
Application at 91 Peppard Road, to convert the grade II listed Caversham
House into 6 self-contained 2 bed-roomed apartments; to demolish the
flat roof extension and replace it with a terrace of 5 houses and to
demolish the three dilapidated bungalows and replace them with 3 town
houses is still to go before the Planning Committee.
Application to demolish the bungalow at 9 Buckingham Drive and replace
it with an apartment block of 10 flats.
Meeting with RBC Planning Department
The chairman of the Association, together with similar representatives
from Warren & District Residents Association, Caversham & District
Residents’ Association, Grosvenor Road Residents and Lower Caversham
Community Association, met with local ward councillors and the Council’s
Planning Officers in January to discuss the apparent excessive amount
of infill building taking place north of the Thames.
The meeting was very useful, even if it only
confirmed that additional development would continue at about 100 dwellings
per year north of the
river. This level of building is driven by the government’s economic
strategy for the South East and the Council’s concurring policy
of attracting and encouraging untrammelled growth in new businesses within
Reading. The resultant demand for more houses to accommodate the increased
population is only constrained by their type and suitability since planning
regulations closely define the powers of local planning authorities in
terms of housing density. The Council acknowledged the justifiable concerns
about the continuing, and increasing, adverse impact on the volume of
traffic on local roads and the pressure on the general environment. We
were informed that there is to be another consultation exercise in the
wards north of the river about traffic flows.
Association’s web site
The Association’s web site, which can be found at www.map-reading.co.uk/egra,
contains current and previous newsletters, minutes of committee meetings, a
current issues page, AGM minutes and reports plus links to other web
sites of interest. Thanks are due to Clive Ormonde who skillfully maintains
the site for us. Members who have access to the internet are encouraged
to join the email group by sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
This will enable the membership secretary to provide you with current
Many thanks as usual to all the committee members for their active and
invaluable support throughout the year and the time they have unselfishly
devoted to pursuing matters brought to their attention by members of
the Association. Thank you also to Julian Pearce for again auditing
the Association’s accounts. And thank you to the local (Peppard)
ward councillors for their continuing interest and support of the Association’s