Wednesday 13th March 2003
Paul Gallagher, Mrs Margaret Ormonde Mr David Miles Mrs Anne Ayres
Mrs Jill Verran Mr Geoff Goldsmith Mrs Sue Ballard Mrs Vera Bodman
Mr Brian Warren Mr Bill Harper Mr Bob Cruickshank
of the last meeting (4th December 2002) were approved.
End Road Parking
There was a feeling of despondency that it was over a year since EGRA voluntarily
undertook a survey of the parking situation along Kidmore End Road. No acknowledgement
or response from the Council had ever been received and the situation remained
Work for the sign was well underway and the carvers were asking
for suggestions for the smaller panels to go on the post. The
chairman, Paul Gallagher had
written a report and taken some photographs which were displayed on the association’s
website. It was hoped that some of the carved pieces that will make up the
sign could be brought along to the AGM on April 10th
Litter was still an on-going problem, especially around the periphery of Highdown
School. Local residents not only had to contend with looking at the mess
on the playing fields, but suffer the consequences of it blowing on to
their land. As very little response had come from the school itself, Paul
Gallagher had written to Andrew Daykin from the Education Authority to
find out who was responsible.
The pavilion was still subjected to repeated graffiti and the perpetrators
had even painted one wall white, so they had a blank canvas to work on. Andy
Gillespie from the Council stated considerable effort had been made cleaning
up in the Kings Meadows area. The buildings were being monitored to see how
long it took to come back and the effectiveness of the anti-graffiti coating.
He gave assurances that Clayfield Copse was on his list. The Clayfield Copse
Interpretation board had also been affected. There was some hope that the surface
of the car park would be treated in the coming months, but this was likely
to be on a volunteer basis and not a permanent solution. There had also been
an abandoned car left on the football pitch. The contractors who moved it did
not clear the remaining debris which meant a football match had to be abandoned
on grounds of safety. Astonishingly the groundsmen marking the white lines
had not appeared to notice the broken glass.
Reading Buses response to the request to temporarily move the bus stop was
negative, on the grounds of potential traffic congestion. They had contacted
the Thames Valley Police over the issue and they had advised against it.
/ Replacement Trees
The committee had been assured that the tree recently cut down in Courtenay
Drive and the two on Peppard Road that were scheduled for cutting would all
be replaced with saplings.
Although the Council had agreed to paint a white line along the inside edge
of the path outside the pub to make it safe, no such action had yet been taken.
More recently a resident had complained that recently laid paving outside the
pub had become cracked and dangerous. Greene King had been contacted about
this issue, but no response had been received to the letter and no repairs
had been carried out.
It had been decided that the forthcoming re-print of the book would be taken
over by MAP READING. The reprint was scheduled for late spring 2003. The copyright
would remain with EGRA and a royalty fee of 50p for each book sold was to be
paid to the Association.
Applications for development in Autumn Close were halted because of legal restraints
on the land. It was noted that the house and land had been for sale separately
and things were currently in the hands of solicitors.
for flats and houses on the Heathcroft site in Marshlands Square
had been refused because of the density of dwellings. It was still
hoped that the new submission would be aimed at the socially affordable
Although some areas of Emmer Green were efficiently cleared when the Council
were reminded, several black spots seemed to have been missed, particularly
in the Peppard Road/Rosehill Park area. Transco were usually very efficient
at clearing up after working in an area, but the verges in Surley Row had been
left in a bad state and they would need reminding through the Council.
Council had reminded the owner of a property along Grove Road that
his hedges needed trimming back. Things were better, but there
was still room for improvement.
The balance at 31st December was £3,862, and the accounts
are currently being audited. Since January 1st the only transaction
are receipts of subscriptions
Of all the subs still due 58 had paid up, 42 were still due (14 of those from
the previous year). In some cases it was because the original occupant had
moved away. New householders were often happy to continue membership. It was
felt a welcome pack could be provided for folk moving into the area.
Reading Youth Project
Sue Ballard attended the most recent meeting and reported that a new senior
youth worker was due to start at Emmer Green on the 1st May. It was Lee Middleton
who was currently working in the Wokingham area.
The trainee, Liz Heading meanwhile had been coping really well, holding the
fort in an impressive way whilst her new boss was being recruited. Although
there was still no funding for improvements to the skateboard facilities (apart
from safety maintenance), a petition had been sent round to the local schools
asking for ideas for the future. There was to be general review of all Youth
and Community Services.
Emmer Green Committee member David Miles would complete his year
as Chairman of this forum at the end of April. He had been assisted
throughout this time
by EGRA Chairman Paul Gallagher, who had also lent a hand taking notes when
the Council were unable to provide a minute taker. It was hoped one of the
other participants would follow on to take the Chair – CADRA, Caversham
Globe, Warren and District RA. There had even been a proposal from the Council
that the SCF take on other issues, but Derek Bartlett and other groups at the
SCF rejected this out of hand if they had no relationship to the crime and
safety issues of the forum. Ongoing problems of juvenile and petty crime continue
to be discussed. There had been an increase in spates of vandalism including
joy-riding along the Peppard Road. Graffiti seemed to be on the increase again.
Gangs of youths had been spotted congregating at the junction of Courtenay
Drive and Burnham Rise, but there was nothing to suggest they were doing anything
untoward. A lot of effort was being put into warning of distraction burglary
and a leaflet ‘Beat the Bogus Caller’ had been published. It was
still regretted that the Caversham Chat had ceased to be. The subject of the
next guest speaker at the SCF was to be domestic violence..
Meeting with RBC
On 3rd February CADRA, EGRA, LCCA, Warren & District and Caversham Globe
met with Chris Bloomfield and Zoe Hamin of RBC to discuss the Council’s
approach to consultation. Concern was expressed about the way in which the
NACC had been discontinued without prior notice and the decision not to fund
the EGRA village sign. Chris Bloomfield apologised for the poor handling of
the matter and agreed to look into progressing the funds for the sign. He also
explained the RBC hope to use the SCF in a wider consultation role. However,
the community groups present said they were not happy with this if it distracted
from the crime and safety remit of the forum and the possibility of disengaging
the police input.
Derek Bartlett had put in a great deal of time and effort arranging this event
to give local people an opportunity to quiz directly Council officers and representatives
from leading organisations such as Reading Buses and TV Police. Over 70 questions
had been received but because of the constraints on time only a handful were
chosen, and topics were quickly moved on. Unfortunately the Council representative
from the planning department was absent due to ill health, and answers had
to be referred back via a deputy. It was hoped if the event was repeated there
would be room for more questions and a more open debate.
to withdraw support from RBC committees and fora
A motion was taken on whether to withdraw from Reading Borough Council's formal
consultation committees, fora and events in the light of these processes being
perceived as purely cosmetic. There are several examples of the lack of genuine
consultation but the matter had been brought to a head by the cancelling by
RBC of Area Consultation Committees without warning or discussion and without
anything to replacement them, coupled with the withdrawal of ACC funds previously
agreed to support the Emmer Green village sign. Other such examples include
the recent examination and discussion by EGRA Committee on the Draft Interim
Licensing Policy. Valid suggestions made were completely ignored and the document
returned with one small amendment and no feedback. Attendance at the meetings
by RBC representatives was often very poor.
appeared to be tentative support for the motion from those present.
However, since some committee members were not present, a vote
was not taken and instead it was proposed that all committee members
be given a few days to decide. The motion would then be put to
the membership at the forthcoming AGM.
chairman had worked tirelessly to ensure contact was maintained
and that we made a worthwhile contribution to things, but it was
felt in the end our Association and others were not given the respect
they deserved either for their time or their points of view. Any
withdrawal would be seen as open ended with perhaps an option to
resume our role if things improved.
was also hoped if the decision was finally taken to withdraw, that
we would be able to put forward our viewpoints via letters to local
newspapers / media, although in reality this had its drawbacks
Draft Chairman’s Annual Report to the AGM
A comprehensive summary of events over the past year had been
put together by the Chairman and this was being prepared together
with the minutes from
last year’s AGM for circulation to the membership.
Committee Membership for 2003-04
Mr Geoff Goldsmith was standing down from the committee after three years service.
Mrs Sue Ballard had also decided to step down and thanks goes to Sue for her
contribution towards the exhibition and the book and involvement with the North
Reading Youth Project committee.
Any Other Business
Wolfe Properties who owned the land in front of the shops needed to be contacted
about the poor state of the lighting in the car park. Also a couple of trees
that had been severely storm damaged last autumn were still either surrounded
by debris or looked unsafe.
on-going programme to restore and improve the Grove Road allotments
was sporadic in its execution. The manner in which the work was
being undertaken left a lot to be desired, leaving many current
allotment holders in a state of despair. It was appreciated things
may need to look worse before they get better, but practicalities
aside, the character of the site had been bulldozed away together
with some prized possessions. Communications between Council /
contractors and the allotments on-site representative had been
particularly difficult to the frustrations of those involved. It
was hoped the work would be completed and new plots distributed
as soon as possible.
The date is Thursday 10th April 2003 at St Barnabas Church Hall.
The speaker is Graham Horn on his adventures on Mt Kilimanjaro.
It was a fund-raising event
and the committee would be offering a contribution from EGRA and it was hoped
that members of the audience would donate as well. Invitations to attend were
being sent out together with minutes from last year and the Chairman’s
report. Free wine and nibbles which proved so popular last year will be on
of next meeting
8:00 pm Wednesday 18th June 2003 at 6 Tredegar Road.