This page was last changed on
11th December 2009
by Clive Ormonde

 

Winter 2009-10 Newsletter

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The EGRA committee wishes everyone a joyful Christmas and fruitful New Year.

Our 25th Anniversary celebrations in May seem a distant memory now. If anyone has any photos they took on the day, please forward them to us.

EGRA has a few projects in the pipeline for 2010. Most are in the early stages of investigation, so details will be revealed early next year.

We welcome Jenny Leach on to the committee. Jenny, an accomplished artist, has a keen interest in environmental matters.

The 2010 AGM will again be held at The Grace Church, Peppard Road on Wednesday April 28th.

Planning for the Future

We continue to monitor all local planning applications and respond to consultations as necessary. There is excellent planning guidance on the EGRA web page.

EGRA will respond to reflect the wishes of nearby residents, or if there are implications for the wider community. One such recent case has been land adjacent to 54 Highdown Hill Road, where a request has been submitted to build four houses on ancient woodland and a sensitive wildlife area. We have requested the land continue to be protected for the future and have just learnt that the application has been refused.

Reading Borough Council is in the process identifying sites for specific purposes. As part of this, at the end of 2008, the Site Allocations Document was issued showing a number of sites, which have been suggested for development or protection. Additional sites have now been put forward for consultation and one of these was land at Reading Golf Club. EGRA leafleted every house in the vicinity, encouraging all to respond to the Council. EGRA’s own response reflected members’ wishes and we cited traffic and access as a main concern.

A recent application for Jefferson Close was rejected and at the time of print, outline plans to develop land belonging to 43 Grove Hill and 3 Kiln Cottages are pending consideration.

Traffic Solutions

Gravel Hill
The temporary experimental closure of Gravel Hill commenced on 17th June. Due to the impact on local people, EGRA conducted an email survey of members within a reasonable area who were potentially the most affected. We had a high percentage of response and analysed that information. Although unofficial, the collective results were forwarded to interested parties. Objections to the closure are being accepted by the Council for a period of 6 months from its date of introduction. These should be addressed to: Head of Legal Services, Reading Borough Council, Civic Centre, Reading RG1 7AE. Members who wish to receive a copy of the EGRA survey analysis should contact us.

White Lines
In response to a member’s concern, the Council were very quick to respond to EGRA’s request to repaint the white border on the pavement outside the White Horse pub.


Police Matters

Upper Caversham Neighbourhood Action Group will be re-launched on Tuesday 9th February 2010, 6.00-8.00pm at Highdown School’s hall. The results of the recent residents’ survey showed the top three concerns as:
Road Traffic Issues – speeding, cycling on the footpath and volume of traffic
Burglary - to homes, cycle theft
Environmental issues – litter, lighting and noise
Please watch out for publicity on the re-launch meeting, when these issues will form the basis of discussion. Homes will be leafleted nearer the time and the local December Update on the TVP website will have detailed information.

Members of the public are now able to report non-urgent crimes electronically, in a secure way, to Thames Valley Police. The system will be introduced in several phases, beginning with an electronic crime and incident reporting form, which can be found on the website. This should not replace the non-emergency number (0845 8 505 505) for more serious matters, and 999 for anything urgent.


Environmental Issues

Trees In Recreation Ground
The EGRA committee has been consulted by Reading Borough Council about their replacing of dead and damaged young trees in the area and we look forward to activity before too long.

Litter / street-cleaning / verges /hedges / graffiti
We regularly monitor grass and hedge cutting, and feedback to the Council anything reported to us. 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
Smallmead site has won the Civic Amenity Site of the Year category in the prestigious ‘letsrecycle.com’ Awards for Excellence in Recycling and Waste Management. The award winners were announced in October at a ceremony in London, hosted by television personality and newsreader Dermot Murnaghan. For anyone who missed out on EGRA’s March visit to the site, we have been assured there will be another public Open Day early in the New Year. Date to be announced.

Caversham Globe have set up a volunteer battery recycling scheme. There are three collection points where redundant household batteries, including V & I Hardware in the precinct.

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

EGRA is looking into ways it can help support the restoration of some of the waymark sculptures.

Highdown School
The second of our annual book prize went to two pupils of the school who have shown an interest in the community. In return EGRA was presented with a 2009 Highdown School Achievement Award medal. If anyone was at The Grove school in the mid 1960s and can recall details of a time capsule being buried in the grounds can you please get in touch.

School Places
CADRA held an open meeting on the 10th November to hear and discuss the future of school places north of the river. It was declared there would be no extra schools, but an adjustment of primary catchment areas for 2010. The main view on secondary schools was that Highdown should not expand but should have closer links with Chiltern Edge so that there continues to be choice. Discussions are underway with Oxfordshire Education Department.

Children’s Safety
As the new school term begins we need be aware of danger spots. The area around Emmer Green Primary is particularly vulnerable and a vacancy still exists for a school crossing patrol person. Unfortunately some drivers have been parking on the green itself at collection/ drop off time. The land is Council owned and they actively discourage the practise. Traffic wardens have patrolled the area at key times, but it’s up to parents to act responsibly.

Emmer Green Youth & Community Centre
There are still hopes to expand the footprint of the centre for a base for the North Children’s Action Team, a multi agency team supporting children and young people. However, due to emergency vehicle access problems, the plans are being redrawn before final consideration .


Older Generation


Age Concern 50 Plus+ Forum
For those interested in the popular meetings organised by Age Concern in St Barnabas Church Hall, the date of the next is Monday 25th January 2010 at 2.00pm. Please respond to Marveta Hinds on 0118 9594242.

EGRA also had a representative at the recent Reading Older People’ Partnership ‘Big Care Debate, where we heard about ways to help people to stay independent for longer and possible fair ways of funding the proposals. Feedback was welcomed.
Cllr Mark Ralph (0118 9481615) also introduced his ‘Buddy Scheme’, which is being trialled in Peppard Ward.


Community

St Barnabas Church
Thankfully the rain stayed away for this year’s garden party. Cream teas were served in the splendid new Parish Centre and there were the usual stalls to entertain. EGRA was able to donate £10 to the Daynes Educational Trust. The Parish Centre is a real asset to the community and opens on Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday mornings for tea and coffee. A leaflet (available at the centre) has been published giving more details on this and future proposals.

True Food Community Co-operative
http://www.truefood.coop/
This is not-for-profit community co-operative based in Reading, that currently has 5 mobile markets selling a wide variety of organic produce from loose foods to fresh vegetables.
Thanks to the help of a Lottery Grant, awarded as part of the Local Food Initiative, the Co-op is able to take this opportunity to expand into its first fixed shop at Grove Road. It is regarded as a community venture involving volunteers. The shop is due to open next spring and if you wish to help contact the store manager Alex Trott at alex_trott@hotmail.co.uk

Seating
Caversham Court Gardens reopened formerly on 7th August. Apparently the restoration work was under budget, so seat donations were not required.
However in response to members’ requests, EGRA investigated the feasibility relocation of an existing seat in Emmer Green to the green by the main shops. We leafleted 40 nearby houses/shops in the consultation process. The response has been very positive and we hope that matters will proceed before too long.

New Play Equipment In Park
Cllr Mark Ralph informed us that Reading has been awarded a Lottery grant and ‘Playbuilder’ funding from the DCSF. Staff from RBC’s Parks and Children’s Services sought views on current facilities in the recreation ground and opportunities for improvement.

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

Repairs
Thanks to committee members Barry Prior and Bill Harper, who spruced up the seat north of the pond


Committee

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

Committee Support:-
Graffiti/ 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 470922 email: egramargaret@googlemail.com .