Monday, 15 September 2014

Flasher in Balmore Park Today

Please see notice below from Thames Valley Police:

"Thames Valley Police is appealing for witnesses after a man exposed himself to three young girls in Balmore Park, Caversham.

"Between 8.15am and 8.20am today (15/9), an offender exposed himself to three school children, aged between 12 –years-old and 15-years-old, who were walking to school.

"The offender is white, in his thirties and wore a black hooded top and tracksuit bottoms with trainers and sunglasses.

"Police are appealing to anyone who has any information regarding the incident or may have seen the man in the area to please get in contact via the non emergency 101 enquiry centre.

"If you don’t want to speak directly to the police, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers (opens new window) anonymously on 0800 555 111 No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court."

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Reading Festival: Waste Recycled

A sale of the nearly new camping equipment left by revellers after this year's Reading Festival is being held tomorrow, Sunday 31 August from 10 am until 3 pm in Mapledurham Pavilion.  There will also be a tea and cake stall.
GetReading's photo from last year's promotion of the sale

Volunteers organised by the Warren & District Residents Association (WADRA) have worked with Festival Republic to tidy up and minimise wastage by collecting up discarded equipment after the end of the Festival last weekend.

Do come along to the Pavilion and take advantage of the knocked-down prices of tents, sleeping bags, wellies, camping chairs and other equipment tomorrow: All monies raised will go towards the regeneration of the Pavilion!

Note:  The Pavilion is on Mapledurham Playing Fields, off the A4074 (Woodcote Road), Caversham Heights, Reading, RG4 7EZ.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Government Funding to Improve Local Roads

Thanks to the Conservative-led Government’s Local Transport Plan Settlement for Reading, our town’s roads are benefiting from £1.38 million investment.

In lower Caversham earlier this summer, resurfacing took place in Hemdean and Gosbrook Road.  Now in Caversham Heights we are about to benefit from a share of the £368,000 programme of resurfacing residential streets and minor roads (part of the £1.38m).

Twenty-seven minor roads and residential streets' surfaces are to be renewed to improve routes for drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

The minor roads surfacing programme will begin on Monday, September 8, and is planned to run until Saturday, September 20. Any required road-marking and ironwork adjustment will follow during the two weeks after surfacing work.

In Woodcote Way, between Geoffreyson and the junction with the Upper Woodcote Roads, surfacing work is schedule for Friday 12 September.  This follows the recent work to seal the joints using a bituminous material with fine aggregate over the top to provide grip.  I’m advised that on the 12th a 12 mm thick micro asphalt layer will be used to seal the road, giving a finish similar to the top part of Woodcote Way which was done last year.

Road-marking is due to be carried out approximately seven days later when ironworks will also be raised.  The section of Woodcote Way will be closed during surfacing work with temporary parking restrictions in place.

St Peter’s Avenue, between Highmoor Road and Kelmscott Close is also scheduled to be resurfaced on 12 September though the work is anticipated to take two days rather than just one. Road-marking is due to be carried out approximately seven days later when ironworks will also be raised. The road will be closed during surfacing work with temporary parking restrictions in force.

Work to put right pronounced dip
A couple of months ago I was pleased that my persistence in repeatedly reporting a pronounced dip near number 47 Woodcote Way paid off and the remedial work necessary was carried out. Concrete was pumped underneath the concrete slab which alleviated some of the problem to a point with the slab no longer moving when buses went over it.  This enabled the council's contractors to build up the road and reset the kerbs on the side of the road.  

If you have a particular bugbear with any of the local roads do let me know so I can do my best to exert pressure on Reading Borough Council to sort it out.

A full list of the roads included in this phase of resurfacing works can be found here.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Gates on EFA's Site to Come Down

New gate which is being taken down
This morning RBC's Planning Enforcement Manager responded to my enquiry about the new 2.2 m high gates installed at the entrance to Highridge in Upper Warren Avenue.  On behalf of a ward resident I'd asked RBC's Planning Department to investigate the planning issues as a matter of urgency, as no planning permission had been sought by the EFA.

As regular readers of my blog will know, the Education Funding Agency (EFA) bought the Highridge site in June for The Heights Primary School's permanent location.  The news of the acquisition was of substantial interest to the local community, as evidenced by the hundreds who came to the meeting I held in St Andrew's Church on 17 June, chaired by Rob Wilson MP.

UPDATE: Old gates reinstated
The Enforcement Manager informed me that the new gates will be taken down by the EFA, with the original gates being reinstated.  Inside the site, Heras fencing will be erected to prevent public access for health & safety reasons.

I am pleased that the work is to be carried out imminently.  I hope residents will be reassured by RBC Planning Team's prompt investigation and the resulting actions being taken by the EFA.

I know tempers are running high with the ongoing uncertainty over the permanent location for The Heights Primary School and ask that residents try and remain civil at all times.  It is worth bearing in mind that The Heights school had nothing whatsoever to do with the installation of the gates.

UPDATE:  The old gates are back in place, the 2.2 m high green ones having been taken away.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Third Annual Mapledurham Playing Fields Summer Fete

This Saturday sees the third annual Summer Fete at Mapledurham Playing Fields.  It should be a fantastic day, kicking off at Noon - 5.30 pm, followed at 6.30 - 10.30 pm by a Live Music Festival.

I will be running my usual wooden skittles stall for young and old to play, to help raise further funds for the regeneration of Mapledurham Pavilion - the charity all proceeds are going towards. I thoroughly support this worthy cause as our community needs and deserves a decent hall and ancillary facilities.

There will be a vast array of things to do, watch and enjoy from foods to eat, Pimms & beer to drink, games to play, dogs & cars to watch and plants to buy.

The event is organised by the Warren & District Residents Association (WADRA) and has become an established highlight of the summer drawing people from far and wide. If you'd like to volunteer to help run the event now is not too late to get in touch with WADRA

Do come along and join in the fun as there is something for everyone!

Site Selection for The Heights: EFA's Response to Rob Wilson MP

BREAKING:  Rob Wilson MP has published the Education Funding Agency's (EFA's) letter received today following his meeting with them on 23 June, together with an open letter to residents in The Heights primary school's catchment area.  Both can be read here.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Reading Labour's education failure

At tonight’s Reading Borough Council’s meeting the Labour administration chose to debate the supposed lack of legislative business in the Queen’s speech for the remaining part of the current Government.

Although in general it was fairly pointless, I could not let the opportunity pass to stand up for my residents and all the many families across the town failed by both the local Labour administration and the last Labour government.

This is what I said:

      “This Labour administration has failed to deliver a new school for families in my Ward, residents who for decades have had no realistic chance or very little of a primary place at a local catchment school.  Michael Gove’s reforms have enabled residents to right that long-standing wrong. 
       In addition Mr Gove’s reforms have enabled WREN [actually ASAG - see update below] to set up the “outstanding” rated All Saints Junior School in Brownlow Road.  Of course there is WREN’s secondary school bid which was successful and hopefully will be making progress after last week’s decision by the High Court. 
       The Conservative-led Coalition has and is investing in, to list 3 more: 
         ·         Reading University Technical College (UTC)
·         New school building for Reading Girls School
·         The eagerly awaited Maiden Erlegh 2 
        Mr Mayor, to respond to what Cllr Ennis said earlier, Mr Cumpsty was expressing a personal opinion and does not speak for this [Conservative] Group.  His statements in the press appear to be influenced by his home being 2 doors away from the site that the DfE has bought for The Heights primary school. 
        So Mr Mayor this Government is not only clearing up the mess of the last government’s failure to provide sufficient school places, but also is giving Reading’s families a wider offer of educational provision.”

Update: I have been corrected on All Saints Junior School's location which is in Brownlow Road, Downshire Square.  Also the parents who set the school up had the anacronym ASAG = All Saints Action Group.  Some of these parents went on to form the WREN group.