12th August 2004
Gallagher, Margaret Ormonde, David Miles, Anne Ayres, Jill Verran,
Mark Hutchings, Diana Hartrup, Brenda Deller, Tara Taylor, Bob
Cruickshank, Vera Bodman
Warren, Bill Harper
Minutes of the last meeting (Thursday 13th May 2004)
The meeting between Andy Gillespie and others from the Council involved in
solving the graffiti menace took place in June, with Paul Gallagher and
Margaret Ormonde representing EGRA. Despite some pretty grim news generally,
constructive ideas were well received and a partnership between the Emmer
Green community and the Council was envisaged, with the hope of involving
local volunteers. It was hoped the deployment of moveable CCTV cameras
could also be adopted. Progress since then has involved a survey of all
the graffiti within the Emmer Green postcode area. It was noted that the
Council has made efforts to clean up some key routes, notably the Peppard
Road, but their work was limited to property they owned. The findings will
be plotted on a large map, which when complete will be presented to the
Council and other interested parties, such as the Safer Caversham Forum
and the utility companies. Hot spots have also been indicated on the map
and photos taken of some of the worst places. It is hoped that if a zero
tolerance pilot scheme can be set up in Emmer Green, that it can be deployed
in other areas too.
Thanks were given to Chairman Paul Gallagher who valiantly carried
his ladder all the way to the village sign and gave it a coating
of Danish Oil, to help preserve it and improve its appearance.
is part of the Urban Parks Forum and had sent out a leaflet
inviting organisations to apply for grants to improve local open
spaces. One of the projects discussed had been a children’s
play area at Clayfield Copse, in a sympathetic style using logs etc.
Jill Verran had a meting with a representative from Living Spaces.
Very sadly there appeared to be insurmountable regulations stating
where a park for small children had to be located and nowhere at
all could be found on the site to match this. But the good news was
that money was to be spent on refurbishing the skateboard park, which
would be fenced off.
Wood carver Andrew Noyes had put in a very favourable quote
for renewing the dilapidated notice board at the shops. Materials
would be in addition to this. Wolfe properties (site owners) had
been contacted to ask for permission, but it transpires that this
had already been agreed with the Council some time ago, and the news
never passed on.
Interestingly after the issue of street cleansing north of the river had been
raised at the AGM, a fancy map was produced by the Council. This was then copied
and made available for residents to see. The mystery then deepens because some
four months on the situation is probably unchanged, with gutters being full
of soil and weeds.
seat near the pond
The seat near the pond, donated by EGRA, had been surrounded by weeds, but
these had been cleared recently, thanks to the valiant efforts of committee
member David Miles
Barnabas Garden Party
EGRA were at the Garden Party selling local walk maps (there
are still spares available) and inviting people to participate in
a giant jigsaw puzzle. Over £20 was made on the day contributing
to overall profits of £1200. Very commendable considering the
Parking – junction St Barnabas Road /Grove Road
Council now had sufficient funds for a survey to take place.
The Association had a healthy balance of nearly £5800.
Some funds had to be set aside for the proposed community notice
board, but it was likely that some would remain for another project.
Feedback from Committees
Cruickshank represented EGRA in the return to the Safer Caversham
Forum’s meeting, after a deliberate absence of over year. We
were welcomed back, but most of the meeting was dominated by on-going
problems in the Amersham Road area, making our own onslaught on the
graffiti menace look rather insignificant. Unfortunately it seemed
funds were not as high as had originally been thought. But it was
hoped that if armed with more information and we took the idea of
CCTV monitoring (using mobile camera which could be deployed on a
rotational basis), that the concept of Emmer Green being used as
a pilot scheme might be advantageous for the wider area too. It appeared
reported crime north of the Thames had fallen by 7% and Bob Cruickshank
read out the statistic for each locality.
There had been yet another flood of infill planning applications
and concern was expressed that the pressure on the infrastructure
in the area north of the Thames was at crisis levels. In Emmer Green
alone it included a development from the Water Tower southwards,
on the old Peppard Road, opposite The Hill School. Grove Road had
a further two outstanding and was of a particular concern because
of all the potential exits on to the already busy Grove Road. ‘Sale
of Land Guide’ letters were to be sent to selected householders
in areas of Emmer Green that developers were likely to target. It
was not intended to influence any decision to sell off gardens or
land, but to give information on the subject.
application for the development of houses behind gardens in Highdown
Hill Road had been re-submitted, but local residents were determined
to carry on fighting. (post meeting note: this was refused at the
Planning Committee meeting on 18 August)
proposal for Highdown School to sell off land for development had
been suspended, pending central Government’s decision, to
be made this autumn, on the funding of capital projects for schools.
It was hoped Highdown would be included in Phase 1 of this initiative.
This however did not mean the idea of building on school land would
be forgotten, as the school, has plenty of other pressing needs.
Another concern regarding these proposals was the possible compulsory
purchase of parts of gardens along Surley Row to allow access to
communication from Trevor Keable suggested a ‘NIMBY’ attitude
from a few of those present, but this was not thought to be representative
of anyone from EGRA and in fact no-one in attendance can recall
any such attitude.
Any Other Business
This gave very useful information on local Councillors, including potted biographies,
contact details and the committees on which they served.
It was emphasised that EGRA always has been apolitical and wished to remain
so. A recent change to the ward boundaries now meant that we had six local
Councillors representing the area. By coincidence Rob Wilson, the elected
Councillor for Thames Ward, was also the Conservative prospective Parliamentary
candidate for this area. His involvement with EGRA was under the former
capacity as a ward representative of local residents.
It was understood that there had to be a lot of these to make it worthwhile
to the company concerned travelling to collect them.
Chairman Paul Gallagher was complimented on its contents.
of next meeting
8:00 pm Thursday 25th November 2004. 23 Tredegar Road.