Saturday 17 June 2023

Where else to find my posts

 The majority of the time I use my Facebook page. Do check it out here.

Wednesday 1 February 2023

Result: Chazey Road mobile phone mast refused!

I am delighted to say the application for a mobile phone mast in Chazey Road has been refused by Reading Borough Council.

Click here to download and enlarge
The decision notice states:

I am writing to advise that Reading Borough Council as local planning authority hereby REFUSE approval for the siting and appearance of the development proposed in the abovementioned application in accordance with the submitted drawings and documents.

Reasons for Refusal:

1. The proposed 18m high wraparound monopole and the associated cabinet equipment, by reason of their design, height, bulk and prominent siting would appear as visually dominant, obtrusive and out of keeping with the verdant character of the street, with
consequent harm to the visual amenity, character and appearance of the immediate and wider surrounding area, contrary to Policies CC7 and OU3 of the Reading Borough Local Plan (Adopted November 2019) and the NPPF (2021).

2. Without sufficient detail and compelling evidence to justify the choice of site, the proposed development has failed to demonstrate that no preferable alternative sites are potentially available which would result in a development that would be less visually
intrusive, contrary to Policy OU3 of the Reading Borough Local Plan (2019) and the NPPF (2021).

You can see my original post here alerting residents to this application. Thank you to everyone who took the time and trouble to respond to the statutory planning consultation. It is great so many people expressed their views.

Please note however that the applicant may appeal this decision. If you have any questions on this, or any other council-related matter, do get in touch with me.

As ever, I will highlight planning applications of great interest, whether I'm in support or have concerns.

Sunday 1 January 2023

Proposed mobile phone mast in Chazey Road near junction with St Peter's Avenue

Click here to download and enlarge
Happy New Year to all my readers!

I'm afraid my first post this year is a call to action on a planning application.

In December C K Hutchison Networks (UK) Ltd submitted a planning application for an 18 m (59 ft) tall telecommunications street pole and three cabinets. It is proposed in Chazey Road near the junction with St Peter’s Avenue on ‘site to the south of 55 St Peter’s Avenue’.

I am bringing this to your attention because I have strong concerns about the impact it will have on the character of the area. Should you share my objections, please respond to the consultation as soon as possible (deadline 6th January).

There are only three valid planning grounds on which such an application can be refused. These are:

1. Siting and appearance – the developer should ensure that the apparatus is sited and designed so as to minimise its visual impact. The proposal should not have an adverse impact on the visual amenity of the surrounding area.

2. Alternative sites – the applicant is required to show that a robust search of potential sites was conducted and various alternative sites were considered and discounted. The reasons for discounting alternative sites should also be included.

3. Health Matters – the applicant must demonstrate that there would be no health risks associated with the proposed development.

Rough illustration using Google Street View
The applicant has submitted several documents to show there is no basis for a refusal on health matters. However, I believe there are grounds for refusal on the first two and I have submitted my objections accordingly. 

If you would like to object too, follow this link to the council's website and write the application reference number 221825 in the appropriate box. Fill in the other boxes as prompted.

All the plans and supportive information can be read on the council’s website here.

Let me know if you have any questions on this, or any other council-related matter, by sending me an email: 

Sunday 29 May 2022

Keys jewellery and emptied bag found after party at Mapledurham Playing Fields

Last night, Saturday 28 May, about 40 teenagers had a party at Mapledurham Playing Fields near the woodland in the north-east corner. 

First thing this morning I found a girl's bag (not shown in photos) which looked like someone had rifled through it as it was inside out with contents strewn a little way away but there wasn't any money or cards.

If I am right, I fear it was one of the group. I haven't touched the bag with my hands just in case the owner wants to report a theft to the police. 

Amongst the items were some keys and jewellery. Do get in touch if they are yours, my number is 07717 292 003.

Leaving that aside I'm pleased to say I didn't find any broken glass nor vandalism to trees. 

However the vast majority of the youths, who I'd guess were Year 13 & 14s, weren't strong enough to take their lighter, empty glass bottles of vodka, cans or plastic bottles over to one of the litter bins. 

This is ridiculous as they will all have had to carry the full bottles and cans a much longer distance to get to MPF. The black sack in my first photo is mine, but the Tesco and other bags had been used to bring the food and drinks to the party. The bag in my second photo had actually partially been filled by the teenagers, but none of them could be bothered to carry it to a bin.

Let everyone enjoy the open space, so leave it in the condition you find it. Clear everything away you bring. Thank you.

If you are a parent, please drum it into your teenagers to take responsibility for their rubbish. Other people shouldn't have to clear up after them.

UPDATE: I am pleased to say I've managed to reunite the owner of the bag with her possessions.

How the rubbish near the bench had been discarded across the wider area before being litter picked

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.