12th February 2004
Paul Gallagher, Mrs Margaret Ormonde, Mr David Miles, Mrs Anne
Mrs Jill Verran, Mr Brian Warren, Mr Bob Cruickshank, Mrs Vera Bodman
Welcome to prospective new committee members
Hartrup, Brenda Deller and Mark Hutchings were welcomed to the meeting,
with apologies from Tara Taylor.
Apologies Mr Bill Harper
Minutes of the last meeting (Thursday 27th November
2003 11th) were approved.
at Highdown School
Exasperation was expressed that there had not even been a reply
from the last correspondence to Highdown School regarding our
offer of help to resolve the
on-going litter problem at the school. The initial enquiry to the Chief Executive
of the Local Education Authority referred us to the school’s Governing
Body and it is thus the latter that we will have to press for a response. Publicity
in the press might be a last resort.
It was delightful to hear that in addition to prickly bushes being planted
around the pavilion, it had just been repainted with what was hopefully anti-graffiti
paint. It was hoped the Council staff would return to do the roof.
changing rooms in the Grove Road recreation ground had also recently
been cleaned up, but in this case the door had been missed.
Jon Barclay of Chalgrove Way had taken on the responsibility of contacting
the planning department with any concerns about the forthcoming development
behind 54-74 Kidmore End Road. At this stage it was more a case of ensuring
the road was safe and that tree preservation orders were adhered to.
The new sign remained a focal point in Emmer Green. The Townswomen’s
Guild and Women’s Institute’s insets were complete and waiting
to be installed.
Mander had offered to maintain the sign and the committee were
to ask for a quote. An option was to undertake the work ourselves.
Some of the insets were already in need of further treatment with
special preservative oil (Danish oil).
Subscriptions had been coming in, but a few remained from a long
while back from households that could even have moved. Sixty–six
renewals had come in so far this year.
progress had been made too on preparing an up-to-date tradesmen’s
list thanks to Bob Cruickshank. This comprised selected names from
an earlier local list (which had all been checked out) together
with additional entries submitted by members. It was agreed the
final list would be printed out to include in the welcome pack,
given to all current members and a complimentary copy supplied
to the traders concerned.
ways of printing material, including newsletters, in the future,
were discussed and Jill Verran will check whether Emmer Green Primary
School facilities are still available.
A long letter had been sent to Andy Gillespie from the Council detailing the
neglected areas in the heart of the village. There was a new litterbin
in front of the post office, but the one that was thrown into the pond
has only been replaced by a plastic bag attached to the railings. There
was concern about this area generally. David Miles had been personally
vigilant in clearing litter from the grass triangle outside the bookies.
RFTRA, to whom EGRA is associated, had published an article promoting the
idea that local residents could volunteer and provide labour to clean up
their own locality. The Rescue initiative was a perfect example of this.
It began in the spring, several years ago, focusing on the Thames and Kennet
rivers. But it had now gone well beyond that, intruding on areas that should
be covered by Council employees and for which we pay taxes. A number of
Globe groups in the locality were happy to partake, but it was felt it
did not fall into the remit of the Residents’ Association.
was part of the Urban Parks Forum and had sent out a leaflet inviting organisations
to apply for grants to improve local open spaces. The pond was a key area,
and it had had wholesale attention in recent years, both from the Council itself
and the owner of the property behind it. But regular day to day maintenance
was a problem. In particular the area in front of the seat beyond the grass
triangle, which accumulated rubbish which was very difficult to access. But
it was intrinsically a wildlife area and further discussion should involve
both wildlife experts and the Council. It was agreed to put it before the local
Councillors at their forthcoming surgery.
at the shopping precinct
Although the lights nearer the shops were now working, some in the car park
itself were still in need of attention. It was pointed out the pavement immediately
in front of the supermarket was the responsibility of Budgens. This area was
particularly difficult to monitor because of the complexity of ownership.
It was nearly a year now since we had formally withdrawn from local committees
in the hope it may encourage the Council to re-think their attitude on better
communications. Re-joining was open to consideration and could be mooted at
the AGM. But an investigation to see if anything had changed was needed first.
There was celebration the news that the Council had at long last
sent a cheque to re-imburse the funding of the village sign.
This enabled us to pass the
final payment on to the wood carvers. The current balance in the Association’s
funds was a healthy £5700 and ideas as to how some of this might be spent
on future projects were discussed. One idea was to assist in the costs of replacing
the community sign at the shopping precinct, as mentioned by Councillor Hendry.
This was perhaps another opportunity to involve the Woodcarvers. Also it was
felt another useful asset to the group would be a small laminator to seal posters.
The Friends of Clayfield Copse had been sent a donation of £100 towards
their 2003 Woodlands Day. But a cheque was also handed over for £100
in royalty payments from the sale of the book, Emmer Green, Past and Present.
Pearce was praised for his dedicated auditing of our accounts.
Appreciation in the form of a gift of some kind to him was well
Draft Welcome Pack
Chairman passed round copies of a possible welcome pack for new members.
It comprised an extract from our own website, together with information
from the Council’s website, as a basis for an introduction
to Emmer Green. It could also include an EGRA membership form and
a copy of the tradesmen’s list. (see above)
date for the AGM had top be changed to Wednesday, 14th April 2004
due to a double booking. Gill Franklin from Cross Lanes Apple Farm,
the proposed guest speaker, was still free on that date and we looked
forward to her talk.
current committee had been running with two members short for the
past year, but fortunately this time round there had been a keen
interest. All existing officers were prepared to continue in their
current roles, so it was decided the simplest option would be to
co-opt all four potential members on to the committee for the forthcoming
year. There would also be free wine and nibbles on offer for all
Any Other Business
Verran put forward her suggestion of a children’s play area
at Clayfield Copse. Pictures of possible ideas were circulated, which
would be fun for small children and sympathetic to the surroundings.
It was suggested that a partnership be formed with Friends of Clayfield
Copse to apply for this project under the Living Spaces Initiative.
The Council would also need to be involved as they are the landowners.
Hill Road area had been targeted for infill development (11 houses),
with a chalet bungalow opposite the junction to Eric Avenue being
sold for access, and adjacent householders prepared to sell off
land to make it feasible. There had been quite vociferous opposition
from those not directly involved in the potential sale of gardens.
A second application has recently been submitted which is now an
outline planning application for 13 dwellings. The additional two
houses being shown on land at the rear of 4 and 6 Highdown Avenue
and 22 Highdown Hill Road. This development was likely to have
adverse affects on traffic volume and the rural character of the
area. Concerns were expressed that undertakings like this were
dividing communities, and that the only real winners were the developers.
Cllr Bob Green sat on the Planning Committee and might be able
to offer help.
Borough Local Plan - Draft Special Strategy
published booklet was distributed to several members, but was based
on a limited survey with unreliable results. Also it was out of date,
because all structure plans in the south-east were being superseded
by regional plans under the South East England Development Agency.
of next meeting
8:00 pm Thursday 13th May 2004 at 6 Tredegar Road.