Tuesday 29th November
Present: Paul Gallagher, Margaret
Ormonde, Bill Harper, Bob Cruickshank, Brenda Deller, Vera Bodman
1.Apologies Tara Taylor,
Brian Warren, Mark Hutchings, Jill Verran, Diana Hartrup
2. Minutes of the last meeting (Tuesday
23rd August 2005) were approved.
3. Matters arising:
The year overall had been very rewarding regarding the pro-active removal
of graffiti. Most of that removed by EGRA teams during the year had
not returned. A small amount on the largely unseen end of the changing
rooms had now been attended to. Committee members who had undergone
training, and had been issued with kits, were on standby, should
another wave occur. Also new Police Inspector Dix had been enthusiastically
supporting zero tolerance on graffiti (see Safer Caversham Forum
below) and had seen Emmer Green as a good example of what can be
done. He had agreed to contact local householders whose property
was affected and to put them in touch with either EGRA or RBC. Unfortunately
the kits issued by RBC could only tackle non-porous surfaces, not
brick walls and wooden fences. The use of CCTV cameras in hot spot
areas in the future was now more likely.
Street Cleansing :
Despite the new reduced grass cutting agenda of ten times per annum,
by autumn 2005 it had only been done five times. Clearly this was
unacceptable. Excuses such as reduced manpower and machinery breaking
down did little to compensate and we can only resume the same pressures
next season, in the hope that it may at long last produce what
we are entitled to.
Brenda Deller pointed out that the path between Surley Row and Scott
Close had been cleared a couple of times since the last meeting.
There was also an enthusiastic householder in the locality, who was
very vigilant in clearing her own patch.
Woodland Carvings :
Local woodcarver Andrew Noyes had been approached to see if he was
happy to undertake the carving of the logs that had been dragged
to the site in the summer (for the aborted Woodlands’ Day
chainsaw sculpting). It is hoped another carving of a wasp, which
is sited near the football pitch field, can be dragged, by the
Council, to the new area, together with another log, making four
altogether. Once Andrew has worked out a schedule, it is hoped
he may be able to involved schoolchildren in some way, primarily
in a way that suits the way he operates.
Licensing Laws – re three local
The Association and local residents were notified of applications
from The White Horse, The Black Horse and the Gardeners Arms to
extend their licensing hours in accordance with the Licensing Act
of 2003. Objections were submitted, including those from the Association,
on the grounds that the longer licensing times and live music requested
were excessive and inappropriate for a suburban residential environment.
EGRA representatives (and Cllr Annette Hendry) spoke at all three
hearings, not only reasoning the concerns, but emphasising the
need for us to work together as one community. The local authority’s
licensing panel agreed with the objections against the longer hours
but allowed smaller extensions, particularly to allow hours on
different days to be consistent. We now have the opportunity to
monitor behaviour and report to the Council any breech of the agreement.
Village Sign :
Andrew Noyes had submitted a very reasonable estimate, for maintaining
both the village sign and the community notice board. Concern was
expressed at the current condition of the village sign. Despite
several oilings it was in danger of deteriorating quicker than
anticipated. Discussions would be held with Andy to consider better
ways of preserving the sign, including staining and special wood
Sound System :
As other neighbouring Residents’ Associations had declined
an interest in sharing any sound equipment, EGRA felt we had sufficient
funds to ‘go it alone’. It was thought a small portable
system costing less than £200 would suit our needs very well.
Hopefully something would be in place by the 2006 AGM.
4. Treasurer’s Report
The Association’s funds continued to rise and now stood at over £6350.
5. Feedback from Committees
North Reading Youth Project :
The recruitment drive was very successful and the Youth Service is
now running with more staff than it has done for sometime. Obviously
they are a very new team and will take time to settle into their
new roles, but everyone is very positive and they hope to be running
the service more efficiently soon.
The reburbishments have taken place at Emmer Green, but there has
been an over spend of £12k which NRYP is going to top up.
Safer Caversham Community Forum :
Throughout the summer increased policing in sensitive areas had been
effective, notably at Emmer Green shops. Plain clothed police officers
had also successfully been deployed to catch burglars. Caversham
now had a sergeant and four constables. PC Manetta had been to Highdown
School to speak to the pupils. Church House in Caversham, the police
station which replaced the Marshlands Square hut, was due to re-open
There had been a new initiative to rid the area of unsightly graffiti,
partly fuelled by the stance of EGRA and their hands-on approach,
and also the appointment of Inspector Dix who firmly believes that
removal of graffiti leads directly to a diminution of general anti-social
behaviour. Bob Cruickshank will tour the area on 8th December with
the Council’s recently appointed Graffiti Watch Officer (Julie),
highlighting outstanding and ongoing problems.
6. Planning Issues
Demolition of 3 bungalows is already underway and building work
Highdown Hill Road
Proposal to build 9 houses in the rear gardens of 10-18, 22 Highdown
Hill Road and 6 Highdown Avenue. After many objections, rejections
by the Council and rejection at Appeal, the Council has felt bound
to permit the modified application. Already the developer has contravened
the planning consent conditions placed upon the development and
attempted to demolish 14 Highdown Hill Road before they had met
all the conditions. The Association is very grateful for the vigilance
of the Highdown Action Group and speedy intervention by the Council
to halt the demolition.
Coral Betting Office, Junction of Peppard Road/Kidmore End Road
An application has been received for a single storey front extension
to the betting shop near the sub-post office. This will displace
the Association’s seat, which was paid for by ourselves and
the Council, and may also displace the post box. The Association
has objected on these grounds and that the extension will be an
incongruous and unsightly construction, which will block off the
attractive view towards the village pond. We have suggested that
Coral Estates Limited, if they need larger premises, should consider
the less expensive option of taking over one of the shops on the
parade, which often become available, and lease their existing
premises to another retailer.
The response from the Council is that because of the complexity of
the case it may go before a full Planning Application Committee.
We will be informed the date this will take place in case we want
to present our opinions in person.
EGRA had already commented on the proposals for the Caversham Laundry
site, and encourage the membership to respond to the plans for
the Caversham Lock area. Although not directly appropriate for
the Association to be involved in, it is nevertheless of great
7. Any Other Business
Highdown School Hall
Bob Cruickshank was due to attend a meeting the following day – some
details of which are included in these minutes:
With a completion schedule of Spring 2007, there will be much to
be done in the time. The venue proposes holding up to 1000 standing
and 600 seated, with an entrance hall and lobby for art exhibitions/receptions
etc., and a separate arts and drama hall with 100 seats. The centre
will be located to the right of the manor house, but what has still
to be decided is the precise location and orientation of the building
and the provision of car parking spaces. It is hoped it will have
a minimum effect on any of the rugby pitches.
St Barnabas Garden Party
The date was set for Saturday 8th July 2006 and EGRA had agreed to
host a stall again.
This was nearly ready to roll off the presses, just awaiting inputs
on SCCF and NRYP, and Margaret Ormonde offered to arrange for the
printing to be done at the RFTRA offices
Local artist, Jenny Leach, had met with Paul Gallagher and Margaret
Ormonde earlier, to discuss her background and her style of work.
Much of her work is concerned with social, political and environmental
injustices. The hope was to get funding and support from the local
Council and the Southern Arts Council. The idea will then be to
erect a billboard (the current intended site being on Emmer Green
green, in front of the shopping precinct) for a limited period
of nine weeks. Three of the strongest images will be selected and
each one will be pasted up for a period of three weeks. At the
end of this period, the billboard will be removed.
The committee gave this a favourable response, and the aspect which
appealed to most was the idea of 'bringing art to the people'. Planning
permission would need to be sought from the landowners and possibly
the Highways department if the structure is near the road. The possibility
of an alternative site opposite St Barnabas Church was mentioned
if permission was not granted for the first choice. Also it was felt
that it might be worthwhile to involve local schoolchildren, or other
local artists. This would be left to the artist.
8. Date of next meeting:
8:00 pm Tuesday 7th March 2006 at 6 Tredegar Road.
The next AGM will
be held at 8:00 pm at St Barnabas Church Hall on Wednesday 19th