Summer 2010 Newsletter

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The AGM was held The Grace Church on the Peppard Road on 28th April. After the formal business we were lucky to have two speakers this year. Pat Baxter Head of Transport for Reading Borough Council and Paul Newman from Network Rail outlined the Reading Station development. Pat also gave us an insight into other transport proposals north of the river and reassured that in future severe cold weather conditions a realistic coping strategy is now in place. Details of the committee are at the end of the newsletter.

OUTINGS

One sunny evening in May a group of EGRA members were lucky enough to have a guided tour of Caversham Court Gardens led by Anne Latto.

EGRA’s Barry Prior is organising a future outing to the Thames Valley Police Museum at Sulhampstead . We do not yet have a date, but if you might be interested, please email barry.prior@backhouses.co.uk or phone 0118 9461150 to add your name to the list.

PROJECTS



The arranging and funding of the refurbishment of two dilapidated seats by the pond has been undertaken by EGRA. The work was carried out by local carpenter Steve Munnings (Woodworks) and Bryan Verran organised the brass plaques. And after consultation a seat, previously at the Surley Row junction, has been relocated by the Council on the precinct green. We hope they are all enjoyed by the community.

TRADESMEN’S LIST

Accompanying this newsletter is the ‘members only’ 2010 Recommended Tradesmen’s List. The next complete revision will be in 2012. As before, all entries are from members' recommendations. Please continue to pass on the names of good workers and feedback on dissatisfaction. As before we particularly thank Bob Cruickshank for managing and compiling the list over a number of years. This is his last year, so we will be looking for someone new to take on the role. Please note content 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.

PLANNING

New planning applications remain fairly quiet, however, we continue to monitor all local planning applications and respond to consultations as necessary. Cllr Isobel Ballsdon (Thames Ward – which covers some areas of Emmer Green) is now Chair of the Planning Committee.
We also monitor beyond the boundary and have been informed South Oxfordshire Council's Development Framework has now been withdrawn until it has heard from Minister of Local Government.

Following a public enquiry in April it has been formally agreed that the footpath between Russet Glade and Jefferson Close will become a public right of way.

TRAVEL

Bus Shelters
Cllr Richard Willis has kindly given us the schedules for bus shelter replacement:
Emmer Green Pond - 16 July
Buckingham Drive (inbound) - 16 July
Buckingham Drive (outbound) - 22 July
Rotherfield Way - 30 July.
St Barnabas Church - 25 August
Kiln Road - 25 August
Grove Hill / Hemdean Rd - 24 September

There have been additional requests for a new shelter at the northern end of Peppard Road, and we have heard, that because of new usage figures, there are plans to move the former shelter at the top of Courtenay Drive to the bottom of the road. Please let us know as soon as possible if you are in favour or against this change. One of the smaller shelters at Cavendish Road belongs to RBC and will remain in place.

Bus Services
There is continued disappointment at the withdrawal of the 24 clockwise loop. Barry Prior attended the public meeting in April with James Freeman and Pat Baxter, Heads of Reading Buses and RBC’s Transport Department respectively. A number of issues were raised and we are still pressing for improvements and will keep you informed.

Transport Users Forum
Meeting chaired by Cllr Richard Willis, Tuesday 13th July 6.30pm - Kennet Room, Civic Centre


POLICE & SAFETY ISSUES

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 dates for forthcoming Neighbourhood Action Group meetings at Highdown School. The relaunch of the Upper Caversham NAG has been highly successful and we would urge residents to support meetings. The next meeting is at Highdown School on 20th July 6.00-8.00pm. Please contact Inspector Penny Mackenzie on 0845 8 505 505 if you wish to attend.

Warm summer weather means open windows and a change in behaviour patterns. Anti-social behaviour, albeit from noisy neighbours, or late-night revelling should not be tolerated. Please report incidents: Noise Pollution: Environmental Health Section on FREEPHONE 0800 626540.
Or non-emergency police call 0845 8 505 5050
Please be security minded in your home - residents are reminded to keep valuables safe and keys out of easy reach.

Parking on Green
In response to concerns from various EGRA members and worried parents, we have been campaigning to stop cars parking on the green opposite Emmer Green School at school pick up and drop off time. Despite letters from the school and requests not to put children’s safety at risk, the abuse continues. Cllr Richard Willis has now passed the matter to Transport Officials and RBC’s Housing Department, who is responsible for the land, is bidding for funding from the Decent Neighbourhood Fund to install metal trip rail to prevent vehicular access to the green. We will keep you informed


ENVIRONMENT

Verges

We regularly monitor grass and hedge cutting, and feedback to the Council anything reported to us. We have commented on the state of some of the grass verges following on from gas pipe laying and hope that in due course, decent surfaces will be reinstated.

Litter and Recycling
Reading Borough Council has an obligation to site more bottlebanks to give residents access within walking distance. Some have recently been installed near the Tesco / Esso Garage.
We welcome the introduction of the recycling receptacles at the precinct and have requested an additional litter bin next to the newly installed seat near the shops, as well as more on the playing fields at Clayfield Copse.

Grit Bins
The bins have only been removed for the summer and will be put back into the positions in October. Thanks to feedback from members recommendations for positioning of further grit bins, have been added to our list and be taken into consideration when the Council is evaluating roads on which to position the grit bins.

Graffiti
Bob Cruickshank currently heads our graffiti clean up team and he asks for you to report to him on 0118 9482900 or email deecbee@talktalk.net . Thankfully things are very much better than they were, but if you would like to help out please get in touch.

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 on 0118 9484454 or email anne_latto@yahoo.co.uk

Rosehill Cedar
Sadly it has come to our attention that the veteran tree planted 200 years ago is likely to be felled. EGRA members who live in the vicinity have been informed of this intention. If this happens, the Council have stressed an obligation to replant with the same species

YOUNG PEOPLE

Highdown School

We shortly hope to be in a position to present the third of our annual book prizes to pupils of the school who have shown an interest in the community. The Emmer Green History web pages, which for ten years has been hosted by Highdown, will be moving to the EGRA site once everything has been reconfigured. Thanks in particular to Jane Moody of their IT department who helped set it up and maintain it.

Emmer Green Youth & Community Centre
There have been several consultations over the forthcoming Children’s Centre building programme, which will provide 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. To minimise disruption, work will be carried out during the school holidays – July and August. The Youth Club will be relocating to the park on Monday and Friday evenings and other holiday activities to Highdown School.

Recreation Ground
At the end of last summer Reading was awarded a Lottery grant and ‘Playbuilder’ funding from the DCSF. New play facilities are being installed throughout the town. Work is now nearly completed on the new children’s play area (park landscaping* to follow in the autumn). It has provided a generous space for our young people enabling them to build and develop social and recreational skills. Unfortunately there is a small element whose behaviour can be deemed as anti-social. This is being addressed by the Parks Manager and the Police Community Support Team. Inappropriate activities are being monitored and reported.

We have also been advised that when the Emmer Green Community Centre is being rebuilt in July and August that supervised outdoor activities for the Youth Club will be relocating the park on Friday and Monday evenings. Games will cease at 9.00pm.

*8 oak trees to be planted in autumn; rowan and hawthorn in playground area. Possibilities - border of daffodils near hedges and wildlife areas.

www.egra.co.uk

The new location of the EGRA website has been operational for a year. Many thanks go to Clive Ormonde for his skills in designing and maintaining the site over a long period. For those without a computer, the site can be freely accessed at the local library. We will shortly be transferring the Emmer Green History site from its former Highdown host.


SNIPPETS

St Barnabas Garden Party.

Saturday July 10th 2.00pm – 4.00pm.
Scarecrow theme. This year the fete is in aid of the new quiet garden behind the church. EGRA stall.

Age Concern Berkshire Diamond Jubilee Celebration
Saturday 17th July 11.00am - 3.00pm Forbury Gardens.
Music, Tai chi, archery, line dancing, circus skills, gardening, children’s craft sessions. Trading Standards, Police, Fire and Rescue.

Age Concern 50 Plus+ Forum, and AGM.
Next meeting is Monday 13th September at 2.00pm, at St Barnabas Church Hall. Please respond to Marveta Hinds 0118 9594242

Car Clampers
Please be aware that there has been a recent crackdown on illicit parking at the precinct car park. It is a privately run car park with a two hours maximum stay. We hope to get clarification on the disabled bays and, if a miracle happens, better lighting.

Caversham Good Neighbours
This voluntary organisation based in Caversham helps residents of Caversham and Emmer Green by offering transport to local surgeries, the hospital etc., and home visits. They would like to recruit more volunteers and also promote the service they offer. Please phone the office on 0118 9483466 Monday to Friday 9.30am -11.30am or Secretary Pat Rawlings on 0118 9477778.

True Food Co-op
The official opening of True Food Co-op shop took place Saturday 15th May. It is a not-for-profit organisation helped by volunteers, and serves as a base for their local market stalls. It offers organic wholefoods, fresh fruit and vegetables and eco-friendly household products. www.truefood.coop .


COMMITTEE

Chairman Margaret Ormonde
Vice Chairman Barry Prior
Minute Secretary Carol Gibson
Treasurer Bill Harper
Membership Secretary Jill Verran
General Members - Cathi Edwards, Jenny Leach, Vera Bodman, Jane Handley
Committee Support - Graffiti Bob Cruickshank, Newsletter Distribution Diana Hartrup, North Reading Youth Project Tara Taylor, Website Management Clive Ormonde .
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 9470922 email:
egramargaret@googlemail.com