following summarises the numerous issues that the Association has been
involved in since the last Annual General Meeting on 18 April 2002.
May Awards for All notified the Association that we were unsuccessful
in our application for a grant to support a village picnic in celebration
of the Jubilee. Without a grant, coupled with insufficient interest from
other organisations, the idea for an Emmer Green get-together was reluctantly
abandoned. However, the Association was invited by St Barnabas Church
to partake in its Annual Garden Party to celebrate the Golden Jubilee.
This took place on Saturday 6 July in glorious weather. We had a small
stand displaying some of the historical material from the 2000 Exhibition
and sold quiz sheets, which seemed to be enjoyed by all who took part
and the small profit that was made went to support a South African student
who was being sponsored by the Church.
verges & leaf clearance
the summer the Association took issue with the Council (directly and
via the ward councillors) about the verges in Emmer Green and the rest
of Caversham not being cut frequently enough. It took over six weeks
of chasing in June & July since the previous cut to get some action
and frankly the excuses offered were totally inadequate. The Association
subsequently monitored the regularity of cutting to try and ensure that
the time between cuts did not exceeds three weeks. Thankfully this was
achieved by the Council without further effort on our part. Similar efforts
were made in the Autumn to ensure footpaths were cleared of fallen leaves
Following the issue being raised at the last AGM, Royal Mail were contacted
about the lack of posting facilities in the Hemdean Valley / Tredegar Road
area and the knock-on effect on the box outside St Barnabas Church that was
reported to be often overflowing. Eventually in September Royal Mail replied
to say their investigations had revealed that an additional post box on the
lower part of Tredegar Road was not justified and the St Barnabas Road post
box did not appear to be over used but they would continue to monitor the situation.
collections of recyclable material were introduced in parts of Emmer
Green during last summer. However, because the red bins were seen to
be emptied wholesale into the collection vehicle, questions were raised
as to what happened next. Upon enquiring the Association were told that
all the material is sorted at the recycling plant. Plastic bottles are
extracted by a mechanical sorter, then cans are removed by magnets, leaving
the paper and cardboard to be screened and sifted manually. Because of
the way the re-cycling plant operates it is actually unhelpful to put
newspapers etc into plastic bags first: if the bags don't come apart
in transit, the sorters will simply treat the whole thing as non-recyclable
plastic and it will go to landfill. Further concerns were raised by residents
in February regarding plastic items, in particular that only plastic
bottles were collected for recycling and that all other plastic items
are sent to land fill. Many of these other plastic items are made of
the same material as the bottles (polyethylene terephthalate) and are
recyclable. We are trying to find out more about the Council’s
future intentions in this area.
Green water supply
in the Autumn of last year Thames Water replaced the water main connecting
Emmer Green Reservoir with the Water Tower, which runs across the farmland
north of Phillimore Road, down Peppard Road and across the end of Tower
Close to the Water Tower. Thames Water were most diligent in notifying
local households and the Association of the state of each stage and of
any expected inconvenience regarding access through Tower Close. The
Association subsequently wrote to compliment them on keeping everyone
fully informed of the progress and for the neat state of the completed
facility at Clayfield Copse
September a meeting was initiated by the Association between the Council’s
Parks Manager and a group of Emmer Green young people to discuss the
possibility of up-grading the skateboard facility at Clayfield Copse.
Although there was a useful exchange of ideas, the Council did not have
the funds to install any new facility, which is estimated to cost about £20,000,
and at present there is no known timescale whereby this facility can
will have noted that the seat overlooking the pond near the bookies,
which was donated by the Association in 1995, was lovingly refurbished
in October. Thanks must go to committee member David Miles for his hard
work in sanding down and repainting the seat, which now puts to shame
many other seats in the area.
In February, residents brought to our attention the extreme tree
surgery that had taken place to oak trees along Peppard Road in one
case leaving just the
trunk. Upon questioning the Council, we have been informed that there was ‘die
back’ and the trunk and another nearby long dead tree will be felled
in the near future. The Council Estate Services also informed us that they
have raised ‘replacement tree request forms’ for these two oaks
and for the tree removed from the bottom of Courtenay Drive.
Green Precinct car park
Association was notified in October about notices appearing in the Precinct
car park, regarding new parking penalties for long-term parking of vehicles
by people not using the shops. The overwhelming view following e-mail
canvassing of members was that two hours parking allowance was considered
quite adequate for shopping and that the restrictions seemed to apply
only whilst the shops were open. In consequence, the Association did
not take the matter up with the precinct landlord, Wolfe Property Services
Limited. However, in February a member kindly brought to our attention
a clamping incident in the precinct car park and users need to be wary!
Association has pursued the issue regarding waiting restrictions near
the post box on St Barnabas Road, which members raised at the last AGM
in April. The Council Highways Department has informed the Association
that they have scheduled work of this nature for 2003 and will inform
us of more details later. The proposals will be formally published in
the local press in due course to allow residents to be consulted. A further
issue has arisen with drivers parking in front of St Barnabas Church
gates, which has caused access difficulties when a funeral service is
taking place. The Association has asked the Highways Department to take
this matter into consideration when determining the appropriate restrictions.
spent much discussion last year with the Council Parks Department regarding
sensitive cutting of the hedge bounding Grove Road allotments, in December
residents were perturbed to see a section of the hedgerow being grubbed
out as part of the Council’s work to improve and restructure the
allotments. The Association was assured at that time that the hedge would
be put back in order when work is complete. Since then concern has been
expressed about the lack of progress and the mess that has been created.
The Council’s Parks Operations Manager has notified the Association
that wet weather had severely hampered the work being done by their heavy
plan but they hoped to make good progress now that it was dry.
The Association has been inquiring about whether the Pavilion can
be cleaned of its long-standing graffiti. The Council’s Parks
Operations Manager informs us that this cannot been undertaken in
the current financial year.
Similar work done at Kings Meadow has been successful but expensive and this
site is now being monitoring to see how quickly the graffiti returns. The Clayfield
Pavilion should be next on the list, we gather, and hopefully not far into
the new financial year.
work in Surley Row
In December the holes dug by Transco’s sub-contractor, Morrison,
in Surley row were unattended for four weeks. The Association wrote
to Transco expressing
concerns for Highdown pupils (and other residents) in having to walk into the
road to get around these workings but received no response. Consequently, the
regulator was contacted and work was then completed within two weeks. However,
the grass verges were left in a poor state and the Council has agreed to ask
Transco to reinstate the verges as soon as drier weather permits.
The Caversham and District Residents’ Association (CADRA) organised a ‘Question
Time’ at the Baptist Church in February 2003 with a panel representing
RBC Planning, RBC Education, Reading Buses, Ealing Housing Association and
Thames Valley Police. This was well supported and the Association’s Chairman
and Secretary attended with questions. However, over seventy questions had
been received and not all could be put to the panel, the two from EGRA on litter
and parking failing to make the cut!
Association’s book, Emmer Green - Past and Present, which was so
successful in 2001, is to be reprinted. With nearly 200 outstanding orders
the Secretary has kindly agreed to up-date the book and bear the printing
costs. The new edition should be available by the middle of this year.
September the designs were agreed and will consist of a single image
of Emmer Green pond circa 1908 (see p13 of the Emmer green book) on one
side and a montage of the haymaking scene (p85 of the book), St Barnabas
Church (rear cover of the book) and the horses leading the wagon with
the Mafeking Oak (p75 of the book) on the other side. The top of the
sign above the pond image will carry the words Emmer Green around a sheaf
of wheat in ‘Copperplate Gothic’. Planning approval for the
sign to be positioned on the southern corner of the pond was received
continued support of the North Area Consultative Committee (NACC) members
over the last two years for the next ward project, supported by NACC
funds, to be the Emmer Green village sign, the Council have suspended
the ACCs and withdrawn the remaining funds (about £7,000). There
has been considerable communication between the Association, various
councillors and Council officers on these matters. Although the Association
has lost faith in the Council over their ‘consultation’ process
the issue of funding for the sign is still being pursued.
End Road - Parking
last year’s AGM, the Association requested, through the local councillors,
that the Council undertake a consultation with residents of Kidmore End
Road about parking and safety issues along this road. In September Cllrs
Annette Hendry and Bob Green, together with two officers from the Council’s
Transport Management Section, visiting Kidmore End Road to review the
situation. However, the Council made no progress in arranging for consultation
with residents as they estimated it would cost £3500. Margaret
Ormonde agreed to conduct the survey on behalf of the Association. There
was 80% response and an estimated shortfall of parking spaces of around
14 cars. Cllr Hendry took the results to discuss the outcomes with the
Council but without any progress.
liaison meeting was held on 23 September between the various residents’ associations
north of the river. Issues discussed concerned flood plain development,
vandalism & graffiti, the future of the North Area Consultative Committee
and the general concern that RBC were not keeping residents’ associations
fully informed of issues affecting their members and local residents.
One outcome has been that the Association took up affiliated membership
of RFTRA (Reading Federation of Tenants & Residents Associations)
and attended their AGM in October. However, it is not expected this will
improve consultation on issues local to Emmer Green.
Reading Youth Project
Following the loss of the Senior Area Youth & Community Worker
over a year ago, the replacement has also left. This currently leaves
only a trainee youth
worker, Liz Heading, who it must be said is doing sterling work under difficult
circumstances. The Council are finding it next to impossible to recruit new
youth workers on the salaries they are able to offer. Concern has been expressed
about the continuing situation through the chairmanship of the Safer Caversham
Association undertook the roles of chairman and vice-chairman of this
Forum in July of last year and have not only supplied this support but
also provided secretarial service on occasions. Apart from addressing
issues of safety, crime and the fear of crime, the small capital grants
facility has been used in Emmer Green to provide improved lighting at
the bus stop on Courtenay Drive near the junction with Kidmore End Road.
Association continues to monitor planning applications and to respond
to those that have an adverse impact on the local environment or pose
traffic safety or congestion issues. The following are those planning
applications in which the Association has raised concerns over the last
behind 70 -76 Kidmore End Road
proposal to develop this land by demolishing 76 Kidmore End Road to provide
a new access road was passed by the RBC Planning on 29 May. The committee
was attended by the Association’s chairman and member Jon Barclay,
who presented comprehensive objections to the development, supported
by a forceful speech by Cllr Bob Green but all to no avail. Cllr Green
did elicited from the developer that this would be only phase #1; phase
#2 would be an application for eleven more house followed by a phase
#3 for a further, as yet undetermined, number of houses.
Square /Heathcroft site
In October plans were submitted for a development of 35 flats/maisonettes.
Although the Association recognised the need for low cost housing in the area,
it expressed concerns about the density of housing and the likely adverse impact
of so many additional vehicles in the cul-de-sac. The planning authority had
similar concerns and rejected the proposal, which has now been resubmitted
but for 18 houses.
radio tower at Emmer Green reservoir
October despite the concerns of local residents and several objections
from the Association, South Oxfordshire Planning Department granted planning
permission for the erection of a 25 metre radio tower at Emmer Green
reservoir. This is now nearing completion.
Clive Ormonde kindly continues to maintain the web site for the Association,
which contains current and previous newsletters, minutes of committee meetings,
a current issues page, AGM minutes and reports plus links to other web sites
of interest. The site can be found at www.map-reading.co.uk/egra
thanks as usual to all the committee members for their active and invaluable
support throughout the year and the time they have unselfishly devoted
to pursuing matters brought to their attention by members of the Association.
Thank you also to Julian Pearce for again auditing the Association’s
accounts. Finally, thanks to the local ward councillors for their continuing
interest and support of the Association’s activities.