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Saturday, 9 April 2022

Additional roadworks in Caversham

I received the following from RBC Streetworks Friday evening 8th April:

Additional information relating to Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) - Instalcom works around Church Road/Church Street Caversham

 

Further to the information provided earlier this week relating to the progression of works being carried out by Instalcom around Church Road and Church Street, Caversham.  I regret to inform you of two further emergency works notified to the Streetworks Team that are impacting on the immediate area around Church Road and Church Street Caversham.

 

Thames Water are addressing an active leak within the current Instalcom site in Church Road.. I understand a specifically designed clamp has been ordered and will be fitted Saturday morning (9 April).  I have received communication from Instalcom confirming for reasons of safety, this added emergency work will unfortunately prevent the traffic management from being temporarily relocated this weekend as planned.  The site continues to be under Instalcom’s traffic management and the temporary signals manually controlled 7am-7pm daily, including weekends. 

 

Thames Water are also addressing emergency repairs to a burst on a 6” main within the carriageway in Prospect Street.  To allow works to be carried out safely the permanent signals on the junction of Prospect Street, Peppard Road, Henley Road and Westfield Road have been switched out and replaced with temporary signals.  Thames Water are aware of the impact this second emergency site will have on the immediate area and have confirmed these temporary signals will also  be managed under manual control 7am -7pm daily including this weekend and whilst these works have been Noticed until Thursday 14 April,  they will endeavour to complete works as soon as possible and switch on the permanent signals.

 

The Streetworks Team are  aware of the impact these additional unforeseen emergency works will have on the Network and we wish to assure you we continue close and frequent communications with both Utilities and will pursue the lifting of any unnecessary traffic management at the earliest opportunity, when safe to do so.

Thursday, 7 April 2022

Response to misrepresentations over proceedings at MPF Management Committee mtg


Mapledurham Playing Fields (last year) 
Tonight I made a statement at the Mapledurham Playing Fields (MPF) Trustees Sub-Committee meeting to set out a couple of facts regarding last week's MPF Management Committee meeting which I chaired on 29th March.

These related to posts on social media which have falsely represented what I and other members said and agreed at our meeting. Below is my statement, which includes a link to an extract of the initial draft MPF Management Committee minutes for the relevant part of the meeting.

Good evening

Thank you for the opportunity to make a statement.

I’ll start by sharing feedback on the completed works at Mapledurham Playing Fields. I’ve heard much praise for the vastly improved accessibility which has opened up the playing fields to wheelchair users. Now mobility impaired grandparents are able to enjoy watching their grandchildren play football, and children’s buggies and wheelchairs are able to reach the new playground. Added to this, the lighting up of the central avenue, together with the fact that there are more people about, has made residents feel safe to walk their dogs alone.

The Pavilion’s major rebuild and partial refurbishment has transformed it beyond recognition into a fabulous facility for everyone. A few finishing touches still need doing - you have already seen and approved the request to buy and install sound proofing panels, plus the need for more kitchen storage, but the building is nearly there. Some residents who originally opposed the building of the school have changed their minds. They’ve acknowledged the massive benefits achieved. As Trustees, I hope you will be as pleased as I am that this highly controversial project has been such a tremendous success. We, along with officers, can all hold our heads up high.

I’d like to turn now to the meeting I chaired on Tuesday 29th March of the Mapledurham Playing Fields Management Committee, at which we discussed officer reports about the playing fields and pavilion.

Madam Chair, as you will be aware, the following organisations each have a representative on the Management committee: Mapledurham Lawn Tennis Club, Caversham Trents Football Club, Mapledurham Parish, The Heights Primary School, User Groups, and WADRA.

In addition, the Council has three councillors including me on the Committee. Three officers were present to support the Committee, one of whom took the minutes.

I have had confirmation back from the majority, that my recollection and account of the meeting is correct.

One of the topics discussed was rental charges, including the charges to WADRA for use of the Pavilion for their Thursday afternoon Community Café. 

WADRA appear to have taken for granted that, unlike all the other voluntary user groups of the Pavilion on the discounted community rate, they are entitled to its free use. The Council does have a process for groups to apply for funding and I have provided this to WADRA. The Community Café is in itself a good thing and I hope they are successful with their application.

Tonight, to set the record straight and to correct the inaccuracies and misunderstandings that some on social media have displayed – I set out the facts.

Point One: Because the representative of Caversham Trents Football Club was unable to attend, I read out the statement he had sent me, expressing support for the principle of WADRA being given a fee reduction/waiver for the Community Café but said that WADRA should provide attendance numbers and look at funding opportunities. Hardly a misrepresentation or misinterpretation of Caversham Trents’ position.

Point Two: There was no vote. There was no vote on whether to waive the charges or otherwise. Instead, it was noted that WADRA had believed they were getting free usage, but that that hadn’t been officers’ understanding. It was agreed that officers would investigate further the exact situation and evidence in terms of what had been agreed to be charged, and come back to the next Management meeting with options for resolving the situation.

Following the meeting there’ve been several posts on this topic on Caversham’s social media. Specifically, I am alleged to have misrepresented the views of Caversham Trents Football Club, while Committee members and I are alleged to have voted against WADRA getting free usage of the Pavilion, resulting in closure of their Community Café. These allegations grossly misrepresent both the proceedings and the outcome.

I ask that you note my statement, which is corroborated by the relevant section of the initial draft minutes that I forwarded to you in advance of this meeting.

In closing, it’s obviously very disappointing, indeed a matter of great regret, that some posts online, have chosen to criticise my handling of the Committee meeting and to denigrate me and other members of the Committee. Now that the facts are in the public domain, inaccurate posts should cease. I reserve my right to institute legal proceedings.

A YouTube recording of last night's meeting is here.

Update on City Fibre's road works in Caversham

Here is an update on the Caversham roadworks commissioned by CityFibre, on which I've reported before, to install full fibre network.

Failure of temporary lights - if out of hours - call me on 07717 292 003 and I will report it direct to the management company's out of hours number. Alternatively, call Reading Borough Council's call centre via: 0118 9373737 and they will ring the management company.

Ongoing works

At the beginning of this week, the left hand filter for vehicles coming north over Caversham Bridge (towards the Griffin Pub) was meant to be opened back up. However because of damage caused by vehicles to the existing permanent signals - which will require immediate work to fix/replace the poles and heads - this did not happen.

To avoid the risk of any revisits needed here a Council Highways officer has told me their signal contractors will be carrying out these repairs today (7th April) but will require the filter lane to remain closed to complete this safely.

It is important they action this as soon as possible so the permanent signals can be fully operational and in safe working order upon completion of these works.

The filter lane should be reopened before close of play tomorrow, 8th April.

I have asked the Council to put out communications regarding the works in Caversham as they have a PR Department.

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Avoid Caversham Bridge until 15 April

CityFibre's works to install full fibre network across Caversham Bridge and into nearby roads Caversham side started a week ago. The works, which entail digging up and laying fibre caballing, are due to be finished by 15 April. If travelling during the daytime, especially in the rush hour, you are best off avoiding the junction altogether.

Lane closed northbound, Caversham Bridge
North of Caversham Bridge, 3-way temporary lights have been installed at the Church Street junction with the A4074/Church Road, with the northbound lanes on the bridge reduced down to one. Any northbound driver wanting to turn left past The Griffin PH towards St Peter's Hill has to wait in the queue as the filter left is closed. Added to this, because the lights are 3-way rather than the usual 2-way, the junction's capacity has been reduced dramatically, causing long tailbacks.

I've pressed Reading Borough Council's Highways to ensure everything possible that can be done is being done to minimise disruption to residents and businesses. The two most experienced 'gangs' are working on this area; they are opening up and closing up the trenches as swiftly as possible; they've got more supervisors concentrated here than elsewhere and the grab machine is onsite - to be as time efficient as possible. In addition, during peak hours they are manning the lights. 

Church Road approaching the junction
I've asked whether it might be possible to change to 2-way lights - so that vehicles can travel south from Church Street at the same time as northbound vehicles come over Caversham Bridge. Officers are looking into this but have highlighted the challenges of the bend near the former Lloyds Bank where sight lines are bad. As everyone will appreciate, pedestrian and cyclist safety is extremely important.

For those who have to go through the centre of Caversham, remember everyone's journey will be improved if the junctions are kept clear. Don't be like the arrogant, impatient driver who rather than wait his turn, overtook the westbound traffic on the wrong side of the road, only to meet an east-bound car head on that forced him to reverse back along the Gosbrook Road, delaying others, and himself.

Separately I've asked Thames Valley Police whenever possible if they are able to enforce the Church Street/Bridge Street box junction and also the keep clear at the roundabout south of Caversham Bridge during peak hours.

The benefits to residents and businesses of getting digitally connected through CityFibre's works will far outweigh the inconvenience of the next few weeks. 

UPDATE: On behalf of 2 residents who have commented on my post I've asked officers whether the council can get the contractor to work weekends. I've also asked whether by preventing traffic from turning right into Church Road this would enable north and south bound traffic to travel through the junction at the same time.

Monday, 24 January 2022

Incident at zebra crossing on A4074

Shortly after the incident
This morning shortly before 7.30 am an incident happened at the new zebra crossing on the Upper Woodcote Road (A4074). 

I've received accounts from a couple of residents who saw the aftermath. Fortunately it appears as though nobody was injured. There was damage to two vehicles travelling in the same direction from an impact between them.

Thames Valley Police (TVP) attended the scene. They have a duty to investigate the incident. They will send their report to Reading Borough Council. In such cases the council would need to implement safety actions  TVP identifies. 

I am in contact with The Heights school as large numbers of parents and pupils use the crossing to get to and from school every day. I have had a conversation too with an RBC Highways officer.

Previously there have been calls for the pedestrian crossing to be signalised. Another request has been for the introduction of a 20mph speed limit.

I would welcome residents' views while we await the outcome of TVP's investigation. Please email me at: Isobel.Ballsdon@reading.gov.uk

Friday, 29 October 2021

Community Safety Survey for Reading Borough's residents

Reading Borough Council is inviting the town's residents to fill out the 2021 Community Safety Survey  about crime, disorder and other local issues.

Here is a link to this online survey. Please encourage friends, neighbours and relatives who live in Reading Borough to complete it too.

Monday, 20 September 2021

Help needed to catch flasher in Caversham

Thames Valley Police have issued the following statement. If you can help find this man, please contact them: 

"Thames Valley Police is appealing for information following an incident of exposure in Caversham.

The victim, a teenage girl was walking in Morecombe Avenue at about 3.25pm on Monday (13/9).

A man then approach the victim and exposed himself to her.

The offender is described as a white man and about 5ft 5ins tall. He was wearing a black rainproof jacket with the hood up and dark trousers.

Investigating officer PC Mark Stubbs said: “We are appealing to anyone who may have seen a man acting suspiciously in the vicinity of Morecombe Avenue on Monday afternoon, or anyone with footage, whether that be from CCTV, dashcam or doorbell camera in the area to contact the force.

“You can contact the force via our website or by calling 101, quoting investigation reference 43210412623.”