We’ve continued to provide information for our members and encouraged
local democracy where appropriate. We have been actively consulting this
year, including a survey to members on the Gravel Hill closure. Where
incidents were of general local importance we notified all residents
in an affected area. Follow up news was then given to members.
our website www.egra.co.uk is open to all, but we hope those who regularly
view and use it would join the association.
Please note that minutes of last year’s AGM can be viewed through
the EGRA website. Hard copies will be available at the AGM, or if anyone
would like one before then, please let us know.
For those of you on the EGRA email list, you should be receiving monthly
links to web updates, plus two newsletters a year. If you are not, then
please inform the Membership Secretary, firstname.lastname@example.org,
who will ensure she has your up-to-date contact information.
Subscriptions will still remain £5.00 for five years, but in order
to encourage this we propose making the payment for one year £1.50.
Approval will be requested at the AGM.
There are still a few subs outstanding for this year. It makes a big
difference to us if you pay on time. Alternatively let us know if you
do not wish to renew.
25TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS
The party took place at Emmer Green Primary School on the afternoon of
9th May, and over 250 members, friends and well-wishers came to our
family event. These included past and present Councillors and local
MP Rob Wilson. Also present was EGRA’s inaugural Chairman Mr
The celebrations were opened by the then Mayor of Reading,
Councillor Peter Beard, who having studied the photographic history
of Emmer Green, joined everyone in a celebratory glass of wine and
slice of birthday cake.
During the afternoon we were entertained by the Earley Music Centre
Jazz Band. In between the band’s performances, the children of Mo’s
Dance & Drama School showcased lively routines. To round off the
afternoon’s entertainment, the children were held spellbound by
the tricks and dexterity of Uncle Charley.
In particular the committee would like to thank Emmer Green Primary School
for making the hall available and Neil Ingram, the school caretaker for
his help. Thanks to Budgens supermarket, who donated the snacks, and
to cake maker Len Smales.
There is a new EGRA web page under construction
which is dedicated to the day. Please enter the history section on the
website and scroll down to 2009 for the link. If anyone would like copies
of photos taken on the day do let us know. The event would not have been
possible without a whole team of dedicated volunteers, in particular
Barry Prior who worked very hard on the final arrangements.
We try to encourage local democracy on planning
issues and there are plenty of guidelines on the website. We receive
weekly planning lists
direct from RBC, and CADRA kindly share with us their summaries of
development proposals north of the river. EGRA will respond as a body
to reflect the wishes of the residents affected, if there is evidence
of sufficient local concern. Recent cases have involved land adjacent
to 54 Highdown Hill Road and Autumn Close. Both applications were refused.
Thames Ward Councillor Isobel Ballsdon is planning spokesman.
Development Management & Site Allocations
Reading Borough Council launched a consultation on important decisions
affecting the borough over the next 15 to 20 years. There were updates
to these consultation documents in autumn 2009 and EGRA responded as
an organisation. One site of particular relevance was Reading Golf
Course. We urged those most affected, to reply in writing or online
with their views. There was an opportunity in March to review the outcome
at local libraries.
We have informed members of a public enquiry on the future of the footpath
between Russet Glade and Jefferson Close on Tuesday 20th April at 10.00
am Reading Town Hall.
TRAFFIC AND TRAVEL
Bus Route Changes
In December EGRA mounted a vigorous campaign through affected residents,
in the hope of retaining the 24’s anti-clockwise loop, but economics
won the day. Most residents have benefited from the new Vitality 2 service,
which runs directly down the Peppard Road. (EGRA has requested a review
of stops near the Coutenay Drive junction). The subsidised 28 now offers
a limited service in Marchwood Avenue and has recently been diverted
(Cllr Richard Willis gets a mention here) down Courtenay Drive to alleviate
some of the problems caused by the withdrawal of the 24. We have also
been encouraging use of the daily Motts Travel bus and ReadiBus service
We encourage the continued use of all bus routes into
Reading and Age Concern have set up a meeting at the Civic Offices to
discuss specific issues on April 8th 2.00-4.00pm.
Following an experimental closure and consultation in 2009, we have now
been informed that the closure is permanent.
The 30mph restrictions on Peppard Road are to be extended to the borough
boundary. There has been a new policy on installing moving warning signs
at strategic locations, so they remain as fresh reminders.
We have informed members that gas mains are being updated in Kidmore
End Road between Chalgrove Way and the Peppard Road. A one-way system
will divert southbound traffic from Kidmore End Road up Courtenay Drive.
It is anticipated that this work will start early April, and continue
for about 8 weeks.
As the new school term begins we need be aware of danger spots. The area
around Emmer Green Primary is particularly vulnerable and a vacancy
still exists for a school crossing patrol person. Unfortunately some
drivers have been parking on the green itself at collection/ drop off
time. We still remain active on both these safety issues and hope to
see a resolution eventually.
Local Area Enhancement Scheme
We still await news on Phases 2 and 3 of the Local Area Enhancement Scheme,
which our Councillors have been actively campaigning for.
Ice and Snow
We have been given assurances by Reading Buses that should there be adverse
weather conditions in the future, strategies have been put in place
to keep the premier bus routes operational. We note that some additional
grit bins have been installed and we have already requested RBC add
more to their list for consideration
The Upper Caversham Neighbourhood Action Group
It has taken a whole year for the issues of the original group to be
resolved. During that time a decision has been made to merge the NAGs
and Safer Caversham Forum. The impressive response to a re-launch public
meeting on 9th February justified the demand that we keep both Upper
and Lower Caversham NAGs as two separate enterprises. At the follow
up meeting in March priorities such as speeding and burglaries were
addressed. Cathi Edwards is one of the EGRA representatives and we
encourage all interested residents to support the group.
Neighbourhood Police Officers
The current team is headed by Inspector Penny MacKenzie.
The police ask us to be vigilant about home security and continue to
report crime, because even if nothing materialises, the case will have
been logged and if a pattern emerges locally, the issues can be targeted
and resources allocated. Non-urgent crimes can be reported electronically
in a secure way to Thames
Valley Police. Still
dial 0845 8 505 505 for more serious matters, and 999 for anything urgent.
YOUNG AND OLD
For the second year running EGRA were able to present a couple of community
book awards to pupils of the school. In return EGRA were presented with
a 2009 Highdown Achievement Award! We are happy to have good relationships
with local schools and it has been particularly rewarding to loan the
EGRA history display boards to Highdown School for use in their forthcoming
North Reading Youth Project
Tara Taylor continues to represent EGRA NRYP meetings. The third NRYP
AGM, Chaired by Dr Simon Bradford was held on 20th January 2010 at
Amersham Road Community Centre. It was very inspirational. A big change
for the forthcoming year is going to be the expansion of the Youth
and Community Centre in Emmer Green to create a new Surestart Children’s
Centre. Nearby residents have been consulted over the plans and implications
of the building process. We are also assured that teenagers that use
the facility will still be catered for with a chill out area of their
own plus upgraded equipment.
Reading 50 Plus+ Older Person's Forum
EGRA continues to promote this joint venture between Age Concern, RBC
and the NHS. The very well attended meetings have been held quarterly
in St Barnabas Hall. There has been an Active Retirement Club set up
which offers Tai Chi class sessions on Wednesday mornings. Cllr Mark
Ralph is still working hard to set up a local ‘Buddy Scheme’ to
connect those who may be living alone.
EGRA also had a representative at the Reading Older People’ Partnership ‘Big
Care Debate’, where we heard about ways to help people to stay
independent for longer and possible fair ways of funding the proposals.
We work very closely with Reading Borough Council staff making suggestions
and monitoring the health of recently planted trees, and reporting damaged
specimens. We have actively responded to the Draft Tree Strategy of 2010.
EGRA continues to make representations at RG3 meetings at Smallmead Waste
Management Park. Please visit the recycling page on the EGRA website
for the latest information.
We congratulated the Smallmead site on winning the ‘Civic Amenity
Site of the Year’ category in the prestigious ‘letsrecycle.com’ Awards
for Excellence in Recycling and Waste Management.
We have been planning outings for 2010. A guided tour of newly restored
Caversham Court Gardens is arranged for Friday 14th May at 7.00pm.
The tour is free, but numbers are limited so please email email@example.com
or telephone 0118 9470922 to book and say if you need help with transport.
Later in the year we hope to visit the Thames Valley Police Museum,
Sulhampstead. Details in the Summer Newsletter.
EGRA has sponsored and organised the refurbishment of two dilapidated
seats by the pond. It has also canvassed locals about moving a redundant
seat abutting a tree at the top of Peppard Hill to the green opposite
the shops. Hopefully this will be carried out by the Council in the coming
At the end of last summer Cllr Mark Ralph alerted EGRA, who in turn informed
members of a survey on the replacement of play equipment in the recreation
ground. More recently EGRA has been involved discussing the detailed
proposals resulting from that. We hope that the suggestions made were
helpful and look forward to an exciting and imaginative area for our
children to play. Once we have clearer picture of what will be installed
we may fundraise or sponsor enhancements. We understand the focus will
be on a natural environment and that extensive tree planting will be
part of the scheme.
St Barnabas Church
Cathi Edwards manned the EGRA stall on Saturday 11th July at the annual
St Barnabas Garden Party (for Daynes Education Trust). This was the
first year we were able to use and celebrate the newly completed Parish
Recommended Tradesman's List
The next overhaul will take place in summer 2010, and will be distributed
to members with the newsletter. For those not receiving paper copies,
do remember to save the document. If anyone wishes to help out with
this ongoing biannual exercise, please let us know.
Jenny Leach joined the committee during the year and we welcome her contribution.
Thanks to the rest of the committee for continued dedication; thanks
to our new auditor Janette Joyce; thanks to other non-committee members,
such as our team of committee supporters, newsletter delivers, notice
board carers and partners/family of committee members, without whose
support most of us couldn't manage.
EGRA was saddened to learn of the death of former Cllr Bob Green. For
many years Bob worked tirelessly for residents in Peppard Ward. We valued
his knowledge and dedication. Condolences go to his wife and family.
Tel: 0118 9470922