Wednesday 17th September 2006
Present: Paul Gallagher, Margaret
Ormonde, Vera Bodman, Tara Taylor, Jill Verran, Diana Hartrup, Bob
1. Apologies: Mark Hutchings,
Bill Harper, Brian Warren, Brenda Deller
2. Minutes of the last meeting (Tuesday
8th June 2006) were approved.
3. Matters arising:
Woodland Carvings :
Although the use of a tree felled at Christchurch Meadows had been
offered, subsequently an old oak tree at Clayfield Copse had been
considered unsafe and felled. Some of the tree was still standing,
but more than enough was available to suit our purposes. The size
of the timber was such that special arrangements would be needed
to drag it to site. Andrew Noyes was still happy to undertake the
carving. Jill Verran had circulated photos of carved animals, which
looked very impressive.
Village Sign :
Ongoing maintenance of both the sign and the community notice board
had hit a stumbling block. Despite having funds to pay for the
work to be undertaken, so far no-one was willing to carry out the
work. The chairman had valiantly single-handedly restored the sign
one rainy afternoon in early September, but a longer-term solution
was still needed. The membership would be circulated in the hope
that someone might be prepared to take on the paid job. JV to circulate
Coral Betting Office, Junction of Peppard Road/Kidmore End Road
It was disappointing that there had been so few objections to a building
affecting the heart of Emmer Green. But local Councillor Bob Green
was caught unawares too, when out of the blue it was announced
that extension planning proposals had been passed in an apparently
undemocratic manner. EGRA's concerns now were that the seat, which
had been donated by the residents’ association, was salvaged
and relocated on the other side of the pond. Funded by Coral. MO
to write to Coral.
Post Office Closure
Sadly there has been no progress on this former Post Office/ Newsagents
site over the summer. It gave an air of neglect and dereliction
to the area, as well as the loss of a most vital local service.
MO to write for an update.
Highdown School Award
Since the initial enthusiastic response from Deputy Head, Mr Loveys,
nothing had since been heard. We decided to wait for the school
to respond to our offer of an annual book prize.
Things were still uncertain about the future of the long established
footpath between Jefferson Close and Russet Glade. The developer
still claims the path won’t be blocked off, but some residents
in Jefferson Close appeared worried about the path remaining, and
a RBC legal representative is currently interviewing residents.
There is a possibility that the matter may go to an enquiry.
Some had already been distributed since the last meeting, with a
positive response and new members. It is hoped to continue this
to cover new developments and households in the area.
St Barnabas Garden Party
Paul Gallagher and his wife Hilary manned the stall, helping to raise
funds for the St Barnabas African charity and recruiting at least
7 new members to EGRA.
Grove Road Planters
Following a Councillors and RBC staff walkabout in July, there was
positive news about the planters in Grove Road. Funding is available
for this year to remove alternate planters - those in the worst
state as it happens and replant with more suitable species at ground
level. When those are better established, in say three years, the
remainder too will be removed and replaced. Nearby residents have
already been informed by letter.
It has been decided to use Association funds to plant a tree on the
edge of the recreation grounds in commemoration of the Queen’s
80th birthday. Diana Hartrup was looking into the matter and had
been in touch with staff from the Forbury Gardens about the provision
of a fairly mature specimen. A couple of species of oak had been
suggested and the Turner's oak seemed the most appropriate. It has
also been suggested that EGRA provide a seat near the tree, with
a plaque commemorating it and the tree. (DH)
Garden Open Day
There had been very little response from members re the suggestion
of an Emmer Green Gardens Open Day. Given that, and the virtually
impossible conditions for gardeners during the past summer, it
was difficult to press ahead on a collective basis. However if
wished to open their garden on an individual basis under the umbrella
of the Yellow Book, then EGRA would be happy to publicise things.
4. Treasurer's Report
The Association’s funds continued to rise and currently stood
at £6447. A few small projects were underway, including the
carving of the animals in Clayfield Copse, and the installation of
seat and tree (see later) to commemorate the Queen's 80th birthday.
5. Feedback from Committees
North Reading Youth Project:
The last meeting was in June and discussed funding equipment. There
had been a bit of trouble whilst the Milestone Centre was closed,
but this was just temporary. The success of the new shelter at
Clayfield Copse and subsequent lighting, had been marred by the
vandalism of the lights (see later), but the team working at the
Youth Centre, lead by Tina Heaford were still very proactive and
doing positive things for the young people of the area. Tara Taylor
was due to attend the next NRYP meeting within a few days and a
summary of her report will be available at the next committee meeting.
Safer Caversham Community Forum:
Vera Bodman was unable to attend SCCF the following evening (28th
September), so Bob Cruickshank kindly stepped in. A summary of
his report is:-
Emmer Green News:
Crime in Reading overall is falling. On average Emmer Green crime
figures have remained stable.
There were currently no capital bids under consideration for Emmer
Green, but we would be very happy to hear from our members of anything
which they think would help us feel safer. One disappointment was
that the lighting, which was provided along with the Youth Shelter
and the Skateboard Ramp at Clayfield Copse, was wrecked very shortly
after it was installed. Means are being sought to raise the height
of the lights consistent with not allowing light leakage to the nearby
residents and with providing stronger reinforcement of the breakable
Moveable CCTV cameras have been installed in Church Street, Caversham.
Operation Forage operates every weekend in the town, from Thursdays
to Saturday. Both are helping to combat anti-social behaviour.
There is now a thriving Pub Watch scheme in Caversham with 70 licensees
attending regular meetings.
The Police Office in Church House is working well. It is opened on
the first Monday of each month from 5pm to 8pm.
A Community Support Officer will be joining the police staff in December
Neighbourhood Policing will come into force in February next year.
Neighbourhood Action Groups will be set up to include the Police,
Local Authority officials, and relevant agencies, Residents` Groups,
school, Publicans etc.
A Community Safety Event at Westfield Road Recreation Park in June,
was one of 7 in the town. The results of a questionnaire requested
more activities for young teens and pre-teens, and more Beat Police
Officers and Community Wardens.
6. Planning Issues & Consultations
An incident had recently occurred whereby, following refusal by the
planning department for the proposed development at 58 Crawshay
Drive, on the grounds of a neighbour's hedge obscuring the site
line, the builder (Mr Karl Simmonds) took matters into his own
hands by making an early morning raid on the said hedge and began
hacking it down. Despite the owner's objections, he did not cease
until the police were called. It is hoped charges will be brought
for criminal damage, which might have an impact on the developer’s
Over recent years EGRA has been in many planning application battles.
It's never represented individual cases (unless the impact is likely
to affect the wider community), but has been particularly active
where there have been wider implications such as the transport,
amenity or safety aspects. It is especially difficult when not
all residents in areas feel strongly about a proposal, and don't
bother opposing it. An enormous amount of time has been devoted
to this, and things need to me made clearer in the future. General
policy is now that the committee representative will only respond
if at least a dozen objections have been submitted to the Council
Planning Officer, by those affected. This and other helpful information/guidelines
will shortly be posted on a new EGRA website page. (PG/MO/CO)
It was vital too that the Council's planning officer continued to
send through notifications of applications.
It had been noted that with the new development in the area of Lyefield
Court/St Benets inadequate parking had been provided, to the extent
that the parking on the road was blocking access for other vehicles
- especially emergency services.
7. Any Other Business
Excessively Noisy Events
The main focus of this was the end of term party at Emmer Green Primary
School. It was only held once a year and finished at 9.00. Unfortunately,
this July was very hot and the sound outside easily carried across
the open golf course to the houses beyond. There was a mixed reaction
to this, with some residents tolerating a noisy once a year event,
but others clearly complaining and wanting action before next year.
Because the event took place on Council/LEA property, the usual
channels of noise enforcement cannot be applied. However it was
all a question of being neighbourly and it was hoped the event
could still go ahead in the future, with lower noise levels. Cllr
Annette Hendry was on the board of Governors at the school and
would be bringing it to their attention.
Earlier in the year it had been reported that ducks were being killed
as they waddled across the road from the pond to the shops. The
suggestion was for a couple of road signs to be installed and paid
for by EGRA. The Council submitted a quote for £288, but
one of the signs would have to be on a separate post. This we felt
would add clutter to the area. It was hoped with the Pedestrian
Crossing that motorists should already be slowing down, and that
the incidents in the Spring will not repeat themselves. The project
is in abeyance for the time being.
As part of the new recycling arrangements, the Council are looking
for an extra site in the Emmer Green area. The entrance to the
main shopping precinct was the suggested location but after consideration,
noise for nearby residents, overflowing broken glass, the darkness
of the area (owners refuse to repair lighting), we decided it would
not be a suitable site. In fact it was pointed out, that since
paper and plastics had been removed from the Highdown site and
an extra glass bank installed, it was more than meeting demand.
It was hoped in time to have door-to-door glass collections.
Advertising Posters on White Horse Public House
Several people had complained about the emergence of a giant promotional
poster on the garden wall. It was located at a busy junction and
was an unsightly addition to the plethora of advertisements already
on the site. Cllr Bob Green contacted the Council and it appears
although the others, which promote the services of the pub are
legal, this particular one is not. It is hoped it will be removed
Resignation of Chairman
After ten years of leading the helm, Chairman Paul Gallagher announced
he would be standing down at the next AGM. Paul has done an outstanding
job and the Association has gone from strength to strength during
that time. Thankfully he still wishes to remain on the committee
in a different capacity. Various possibilities were discussed for
the future, and there will be a special meeting of the full committee
on Friday 10th November 2006 at 6 Tredegar Road.
8. Date of next meeting:
8:00 pm Wednesday 17th January 2007 at
20 Kidmore End Road
9. Date of the Annual General Meeting:
8:00 pm Tuesday 24th April
2007, St Barnabas Church Hall.