Summer 2009 Newsletter

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25 YEARS


The quarter centenary was marked with an AGM in a new venue. The Grace Church on the Peppard Road opened its doors to a record number of attendees on 28th April. Amongst those was David Miles, EGRA’s inaugural Chairman. We have been very lucky over the years to have dedicated and hardworking committee, who have pushed the scope of the Association way beyond its original remit. Jill Verran is the longest standing committee member and her enthusiasm and hard work has remained throughout. She was presented with a wildlife book. We thank Kate Manton for her contribution as Secretary over the last two years, and welcome her replacement Carol Gibson. Tara Taylor and Diana Hartrup have also left the committee, btu continue to offer support. Richard Bennett from Reading Civic Society gave an enlightened talk after the formal business.

A few weeks later followed our anniversary party. The event took over a year in the planning and a big thank you goes to all those who worked so hard leading up to the day and helpers on the day itself. Photographs were taken and we hope, in due course, to devote a web page to the occasion. EGRA member Jenny Leach was there with her family “We were all at the celebrations on Saturday, loved the band and the girls loved Uncle Charley. It was also poignant to see the photos of the old village.

The event’s main organiser, Barry Prior has written an account of the afternoon:

Were you near Emmer Green Primary School on the afternoon of 9th May, to hear the foot tapping strains of a jazz band, or the applause of an audience, or the excited laughter of children? During the afternoon over 250 members, friends and well-wishers came to our Family Event.

The celebrations were opened by the then Mayor of Reading, Councillor Peter Beard, who having toured the hall and studied the photographic history of Emmer Green, joined everyone in a celebratory glass and enjoyed a piece of our “ birthday cake”.

During the afternoon we were entertained by the Earley Music Centre Jazz Band. The band gave two excellent sessions of familiar jazz numbers, mainly trad. and blues. In between the band’s performances, the children of Mo’s Dance & Drama School entertained everyone with lively dance numbers. Everyone showed their appreciation of the dancers’ enthusiasm. To round off the afternoon’s entertainment, the children were held spellbound by the tricks and dexterity of the well known children’s entertainer, Uncle Charley.

In particular your committee would like to thank Emmer Green Primary School for making the hall available and Neil Ingram, the school caretaker for his help both before and after the event. Thanks and appreciation should also be given to our local supermarket, Budgens, which donated all of the snacks and biscuits served during the afternoon and to Len Smales who made our celebratory cake.


www.egra.co.uk

The new location of the EGRA website is now operational. The search engines may take a while to pick up on the new name, but we hope, with a name that is concise and easy to remember that it will have long-term benefits. Many thanks go to Clive Ormonde for his skills in designing and maintaining the site over a long period. For those without computer, the site can be freely accessed at the local library.



Outings

March saw an EGRA outing to the re3 Recyling Visitor Centre at Smallmead. Unfortunately the trip was over-subscribed, but we have been informed the there will be forthcoming public open days, so watch out for announcements in future web updates or in the local press.
Following on from the visit to The Houses of Parliament last year, we are looking into a similar free group visit to Mansion House, London. The tours are heavily oversubscribed, so we may have to wait a while. If you might be interested, please contact via phone or email egramargaret@googlemail.com or 0118 9470922 to add your name to our list.

 

Planning for the Future

The economic downturn has given us a respite from the relentless infill development, and knock on effect that has. However, we continue to monitor all local planning applications and respond to consultations as necessary. In particular we keep an eye on the area of South Oxfordshire, just over the border and the forthcoming new Thames Bridge proposals.
Unfortunately the situation with the housing market is bound to affect the local economy and one victim has been the estate agent Stuarts, which for a while occupied the former Post Office.

Roads, Pavements and Travel

Experimental Closure Of Gravel Hill To Motor Vehicles
The Council closed Gravel Hill to motor vehicles, except for access, on an experimental basis from 17th June. This is to address local concerns about its condition and assess the impact of its closure on the surrounding highway network and on Gravel Hill. An experimental order of this kind can operate for a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 18 months. Objections will be accepted by The Council for a period of 6 months from its date of introduction and should be addressed to: Head of Legal Services, Reading Borough Council, Civic Centre, Reading RG1 7AE. Nearby residents will be contacted again in September for their views.

Pavements
Several members have commented to us about the poor state of some pavements. Please report these, either to us or local Councillors, so the information can be passed on.

New Bus Services

The Vitality No 2 began serving Emmer Green and Caversham on 20th April and offers a more frequent and extended service. The 28 has been introduced to serve residents of the Marchwood Avenue area.


Police Matters

http://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/yournh-tvp-pol-area-N130 This is the direct link to the Caversham North neighbourhood section of the Thames Valley Police website. It gives details of our local officers and forthcoming police surgeries outside Budgens. Unfortunately the Neighbourhood Action Group meetings for Upper Caversham have been suspended whilst considerations are given to how the NAGs might operate most effectively in conjunction with Safer Forums throughout the town. We hope to have news on this soon.

There has been a spate of burglaries this year and residents are reminded to keep valuables secure and keys out of easy reach. However, anti-social behaviour appears to have lessened and we hope that trend continues.

Thames Valley Police Open Day on Saturday 8th August between 10.00am -4.00pm at the Training Centre at Sulhamstead near Reading. Adults £2.00, under 16's free. Limited parking. No dogs, except guide dogs.

Environmental Issues

Litter / street-cleaning / verges /hedges / graffiti
We regularly monitor grass and hedge cutting, and feedback to the Council anything reported to us. Summer grass cutting does appear to be more regular. The Council’s resources are limited, but generally things are encouraging. Bob Cruickshank heads our graffiti clean up team and he asks for you to report to him on 0118 9482900 or email deecbee@talktalk.net .

Recycling
Reading Borough Council has an obligation to site more bottlebanks to give residents access within walking distance. Whilst EGRA encourages recycling we support the views of nearby residents and other wider concerns concerning disposal of glass. Please contact us if you have an issue with any proposals, or alternatively if you can suggest a viable location.

Clayfield Copse
Friends of Clayfield Copse continue to meet for active conservation work on the first Sunday of each month. They also arrange guided walks through the woods. Contact Anne Latto email annelatto@cheerful.com.

 

School Reports and Young People

Highdown School
We shortly hope to be in a position to present to second of our annual book prizes to pupils of the school who have shown an interest in the community. We are also pleased to say, that following on from our recent local history photo display, we have loaned the boards to the school to use in a new teaching project for the autumn term.

Emmer Green Youth & Community Centre
There are plans to expand the footprint of the centre. This will allow a base for the North Children’s Action Team, a multi agency team who work closely with schools and the community to support children and young people. It will also be a hub for the third phase of Children’s Centres, which will prioritise outreach services to support families with children under 5 years within the locality.

 

Snippets

St Barnabas Garden Party.
Saturday July 11th 2.00pm – 4.00pm. Also an opportunity to look round the new Parish Centre. There is also an opportunity to view the centre between 8.30 and 11 am on Tuesday and Thursdays, and following the 10am service on Wednesdays.

Age Concern 50 Plus+ Forum, and AGM.
Monday 13th July at 2.00pm, at St Barnabas Church Hall. Apart from the official business, there will be the launch of Mark Ralph’s Buddy Scheme, a talk on Dementia and Alzheimer’s and the work of the Albert Road Day centre. Please respond to Marveta Hinds 0118 9594242.

Seat for Caversham Court Gardens.
EGRA will be joining forces with CADRA and Reading Civic Society to provide a seat in the newly restored gardens, due to reopen later this year.

Royal Mail.
It was brought to our attention at the AGM that the postal delivery service had deteriorated since the move of the sorting office to Swindon. The Reading Chronicle highlighted the issue. For anyone still having problems contact the customer helpline on 0845 7740740 or feedback online via www.royalmail.com .

Overflowing drain.
One of the drains near the pond has been overflowing after heavy rain for a long while. The Council assure us the matter is under investigation, so hopefully things will be resolved by next winter.

Repairs.
Thanks to members Bryan Verran and Brian Bernard, the base of the village sign has a new layer of brickwork. The sign itself is made from oak and we have been advised to let it weather naturally. The commemorative Turners Oak in the recreation ground has thankfully repaired itself with healthy new growth.

Recommended Tradesmen’s List.
Accompanying this newsletter is a supplement to the 2008 list. The next complete revision will be in 2010. As before, all entries are from members' recommendations. Please note this does not imply a responsibility or liability on either the Association or any of its members in the event of possible dissatisfaction with any of the tradesmen listed.

Caversham Good Neighbours.
This is a group of volunteers who serve people in the Caversham, Emmer Green, Mapledurham. If you can spare any time, ring the Caversham Bridge Office on 0118 948 3466.



Committee

The new arrangements seem to be working well, with a smaller committee plus team of support who fulfil vital roles and maintain regular contact:

Committee - Chairman Margaret Ormonde, Vice Chairman Barry Prior, Secretary Carol Gibson, Treasurer Bill Harper, Membership Secretary Jill Verran, Schools’ Liason Cathi Edwards, Safer Caversham / Age Concern Vera Bodman.

Committee Support - Environment/ Tradesmen's List Bob Cruickshank
Newsletter Distribution Diana Hartrup Website Management Clive Ormonde North Reading Youth Project Tara Taylor

Thanks go our teams of volunteers who help deliver the newsletters and keep an eye on the notice board.

WE VALUE ALL HELP AND SUPPORT. THERE ARE VACANCIES ON THE COMMITTEE. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO FIND OUT MORE.

Margaret Ormonde, Chair. Tel: 0118 4970922 email: egramargaret@googlemail.com.