Minutes of Committee Meeting
Autumn 2000

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Thursday 23rd November 2000

Present: Mr Paul Gallagher, Mrs Jill Verran, Mrs Margaret Ormonde, Mrs Sue Ballard, Mr Bill Goodworth, Mr Bill Harper, Mr David Miles, Mr Brian Warren, Mrs Vera Bodman.

1. Apologies
Mrs Anne Ayres Mr G Goldsmith

2. Minutes of the last meeting (22nd August 2000) were approved

3. Matters arising

Chambers Copse Footpath
Unfortunately the decision on re-opening the footpath went against us. Jill Verran who had campaigned for this for years sent letters thanking all those who had given their support.

Grove Road Development
The builder was appealing, (enquiry on 12th December) and quite determined to get his way. There was still much local opposition, including CADRA. It was thought he might consider entry from Knights Way, thus alleviating the traffic concerns of Grove Road.

Gravel Hill Development
Nearing completion, so it was hoped the problem of access for lorries had ceased.

Bugs Bottom
The planning proposal had been deemed unacceptable

Village Sign
A letter had been drafted to attach to the Winter Newsletter asking members their opinion on a village sign, and asking if they were prepared to make a financial contribution.

Reading Buses
There had been a lot of correspondence and complaints about the bus service. The 24 was cut during the summer, and just recently there had been further cuts throughout the town. The main problem seemed to be the shortage of drivers, and things were unlikely to improve in the near future.

Millennium Exhibition/Book on Emmer Green
Since the last meeting we had applied for a grant towards the costs of the book, and learned tonight that we had been successful. £3400, whilst not covering the entire costs of publication, would save the Association the worry of funding the project in its entirety, and enable us to sell it at a realistic price. A schedule for completing the book had been outlined, and it was hoped everyone would pull together to help out. A copy of the work that had been done on the book so far was circulated. Tim Royle, head of Highdown had given his support to the book, and offered us space at the school if we wanted to host the launch there. The film of Emmer Green was also going ahead, and we had had a meeting to discuss it. This was followed by them being shown around the area, and being given historical and other information. The film makers, operating as Business Video Solutions were prepared to take on board the financial risk, sharing with us any profits, once they had recovered their costs.

Sustrans Cycleway through the golf course
Sustrans had installed some large boulders at entry points to the track, and at least this was preventing any access to cars.

4. Treasurer’s Report
Current balance was £2251.15. There were still 8 members who hadn’t paid and various committee members agreed to knock on doors in the hope of extracting some money. We had got 40 new members recently, largely as a result of the exhibition. Total membership was now 307. Sue Ballard had replaced Alan Elliott as the third signatory to the building society account. It was agreed to include a request for e-mail addresses and telephone numbers on future renewal forms.

5. Feedback from Committees

North Reading Youth Project
Sue Ballard attended the last advisory group meeting, but indications were that the council were keen to see these revert to management committees. This would involve health and safety, which was really felt to be outside our remit. Whilst we wanted to adopt the role of observer to monitor the Emmer Green site, other centres outside Emmer Green were not really our direct concern. There had also been difficulty recruiting youth workers, but computers had now been installed in the Emmer Green Youth and Community Centre, and the Pre-school Group was flourishing.

Safer Caversham Forum
Vera Bodman had attended the last meeting and it was encouraging that a few of the graffiti culprits had been caught, and made to clean it off. The police tried to say that the darker evenings had reduced the troubles, but this was not necessarily so with alcohol playing a major part, with youngsters often as young as 14. Bonfire night had seen troubles at Balmore Park with several fires being started.

Concerns that 999 calls were directed through to call centres at either Milton Keynes or Windsor were justified, with as much as a ten minute wait for response.

Martin Davies was the new policeman in the area and it was suggested that he might like to attend one of our future meetings.

We had been invited to put forward suggestions as how to pend part of a £50.000 grant on capital projects to improve safety in Caversham as a whole. Street lighting seemed to be one of the Council’s preferences and two suggested areas were between Knights way and the pond, and between Stuart Close and Surley Row.

North Reading Area Consultative Committee
Paul was due to attend a meeting on the 14th December where it was to be decided how to spend the sum of £6000 for Caversham as a whole. We had suggested seats and shelters by bus stops.

6. Draft Winter Newsletter
This was given approval and would shortly be completed and distributed.

7. Any Other Business

Safer Routes to Schools Project
During the summer a Central Government grant had been made available to make Emmer Green Primary School a ‘safe zone’. It appeared consultation had taken place with the councillors, but as far as Jill Verran, a School Governor was concerned, no-one at the school itself had been contacted. Whilst it was agreed that at the start and end of the school days there were huge traffic problems, it was doubted that this particular scheme would make much difference. A map was circulated showing an elaborate combination of speed cushions, extended pavements, warning signs and dragon’s teeth.

Heathcroft
Home for the mentally handicapped. It had been reported in the local paper a few weeks ago about the Council’s intentions to close the home. It was purpose built in the 1970s and the only one of its kind in |Reading. Wokingham, who funded 6 respite places were pulling out to build their own premises. It had been devastating news for all those parents concerned, and the answers they were given for alternative respite care and help were most unsatisfactory. It was felt that this was a cause well worth fighting for, and that if necessary it should be taken beyond the boundaries of Emmer Green. (Jane Griffiths, local MP?) There had been a valuation of the land at £2.5 million.

Fireworks
Jill Verran brought to the attention of the committee, that a resident had complained to her about the length of time the firework season lasted with its attendant noise.

8. Date of next meeting
Thursday 15th February 2001, at 8.00pm. 29A Highdown Hill Road.