Monday, 17 August 2015

EFA Confirms MPF for The Heights

BREAKING: Rob Wilson MP has just published letters with the news that the Education Funding Agency (EFA) has decided to pursue Mapledurham Playing Fields (MPF) for the permanent siting of The Heights primary school. 

The results of Reading Borough Council's (RBC's) consultation clearly influenced the EFA's decision, as the public's choice was strongly in support of MPF over the four other sites.

Rob Wilson MP has offered to set up a new meeting of stakeholders to ensure ongoing public engagement and involvement with the EFA's plans.  

I echo Rob’s call for constructive dialogue with residents, all users of MPF, RBC and the EFA.  

As the local councillor for the area and Chairman of Mapledurham Playing Fields Management, I have been listening to the concerns about possible implications of the EFA’s decision.  I am pleased therefore that the parameters I had identified before now have been included by Rob in his response to the EFA. 

I will ensure that all issues voiced to me are fed into the appropriate channels so they can be given full consideration so that The Heights primary school will be able to benefit the community for generations to come.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Mental Health Care Report

Concerns have been raised that public services such as NHS trusts, clinical commissioning groups and local authorities, are failing to work together to ensure there is round the clock access to crisis care.  

In addition it has been found that healthcare professionals, eg those in A&E can appear to lack compassion and warmth in how to care for and speak to people who are having a crisis including those who have harmed themselves.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) which regulates health and social care providers was asked by the Government to investigate the treatment received by mental health sufferers in crisis.  CQC’s report has highlighted a disparity in the care and compassion that mental health sufferers have received in contrast to patients with other medical illnesses.

Reading was not one of the areas covered in CQC's investigation, however as mental illness is suffered by a large number of the population and the findings should be acted upon, here is CQC's report.  Do also read about the Charlie Waller Trust which is a local charity set up to help people with mental health illness.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Published: The Heights Consultation Results

Reading Borough Council (RBC) has just published the keenly awaited results of the public consultation.  Residents were asked to list in order of preference the five possible sites for locating The Heights Primary School.

The results can be read on RBC's website.  The EFA will now review the consultation responses as part of its further work to decide which site it will pursue as the permanent site for the Heights Free School. It aims to announce how it will move forward in July.

Update: The Reading Chronicle's report

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Publication of The Heights Consultation results

The question on most people's lips in Caversham Heights over the last few weeks has been 'when will The Heights Consultation results be published?'

I am not privy to the results (though I assume the Labour administration is), as the RBC officer in charge has replied this evening to my question:
"We will be sending all of the information to Luke Kennedy of the Education Funding Agency in a large parcel early this week.  It is their decision about what is released and when, however I hope that residents will not have to wait too much longer for a view of the survey response,  while a decision by the EFA may take a while."
I will write again as soon as I have further information.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Update: Bungled Delivery of RBC’s Consultation Letter

As I reported on 25 March, many residents did not receive Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) letter in which RBC announced the public meeting held that night and set out details of the consultation process to identify a permanent site for The Heights primary school.

On 1 April I was sent the following response from Kevin McDaniel, RBC:

“As you know the Council hired a local distribution company to carry out the letter drop in the Borough. We have asked the company to review the roads they distributed to as a matter of urgency.  The company in question provides GPS tracking information on deliveries and the Council asked them to review this data, particularly those roads where we have been contacted by residents.  Their investigation showed that one distributor did not deliver as comprehensively as he should have. We understand his contract has already been terminated because of this. The company have apologised and have revisited missed roads over the past week.

“Apart from the letter drop, the consultation has been widely publicised, and all consultation details are listed on the website at More than 500 people attended the public meeting last week, and the Public Survey part of the consultation process formally started on Monday May 30, for which we have already received a large number of responses. This survey runs until May 1 so all residents will have the opportunity to have their say.”

However yesterday (Thursday) I was notified by a resident that people in Nuney Green, in Mapledurham Parish, still had not received RBC’s consultation letter.  An RBC press officer told me that although a local distribution company had been contracted to deliver RBC’s letter across Reading, the Parish of Mapledurham was too rural for the contractor so RBC staff had taken on the job.

As the public meeting happened over a week ago I asked RBC’s press officer to produce a poster with details of the consultation and asked for it to be displayed in Mapledurham Village’s notice board, sent to Mapledurham Estate and to the Clerk of Mapledurham & Kidmore End Parish Councils.  In addition I asked for copies of the poster to be put through the doors of homes on Nuney Green.

Southern Gas Works Scheduled in Caversham Heights

I have received notification of the following from Reading Borough Council (RBC):

Southern Gas Networks need to replace the final part of their gas mains on Upper Woodcote Road, which is scheduled to begin from Tuesday 7 April 2015, near to its junction with Woodcote Way.

Phase 1 of these works will begin using 3-way portable traffic signals for approximately 2 weeks and will aim to be completed within the Easter school holidays. After this phase of the works is completed the works will be moving away from Woodcote Way and only 2-way portable traffic signals will be necessary to complete the remaining works. This phase of the works will take approximately 3-4 weeks to be completed, during which time the portable traffic signals will be manned throughout the peak traffic periods to avoid build-up of traffic.

RBC will be notifying Reading Bus operators of the upcoming works shortly and residents have been notified and will also receive a letter drop from Southern Gas Networks contractors in the coming days.

The works were postponed as the contractors working on behalf of Southern Gas Network had two crews allocated to this scheme, both of which left the company at very short notice and there wasn't adequate resource to replace them. 

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Proposal Drawings for Arthur Clark Site

For those unable to go to yesterday's public viewing of A2 Dominion's proposal to build 44 apartments for the over 55s I've got permission to publish the indicative drawings here.

Please note that A2 Dominion is consulting the public at the moment and is yet to submit a planning application to Reading Borough Council (RBC).

As regular readers of my website will know, I sit on RBC's Planning Committee and therefore keep an open mind to avoid the risk of predetermining planning applications.

Yesterday I provided a little more information about this particular proposal so please refer to my last post.  Thank you.