Thursday 31 March 2016

EFA's Proposal for The Heights on Mapledurham Playing Fields

Extract from The Heights School's March Newsletter
The Education Funding Agency's (EFA) preview and public consultation events earlier this month were well attended.

Lots of residents and users of Mapledurham Playing Fields (MPF) came to look at & discuss the EFA's proposal of where to build The Heights primary school.  In particular people spoke about the outlined area of Trust land in the preliminary layout proposal, as well as what possible benefits could be part of the EFA's formal proposal for the wider community.

As regular readers will be aware, the siting of The Heights primary school's permanent home is a widely debated issue in the community.  No matter what your views, the EFA would like as many residents as possible to fill out their consultation form, so please make time to respond.

The deadline is Monday 4 April 2016.

I remain neutral on where the school is built for two reasons: (1) I am on Reading Borough Council's (RBC) Planning Committee and (2) As the elected councillor for the area it is my job to represent the views of all residents.  It was clear at the previews and public consultation events that there were mixed views: Some residents were pro the school, some were opposed to any Trust land being built upon, whilst others were wishing to see exactly what the EFA's formal proposal will be to Reading Borough Council (the Trustee) before making their minds up.

Caversham and District Residents Association (CADRA) is also remaining neutral as their committee recognises the fact that their members have mixed views.  I agree with CADRA's stance.  I hope that the Warren & District Residents Association's (WADRA) committee will rethink their approach which has been to align with the MPF Action Group (MPFAG) against the school being built on MPF thereby leaving some WADRA members feeling marginalised.

Tuesday 29 March 2016

Caversham Heights Without Post Office Services

The Post Office failed to get its services up and running inside Conisboro Stores on 22 March as
originally planned.  Having closed the much loved, dedicated post office counter inside the Woodcote Way shop on Monday 21 March and stripped out the equipment, PO customers have been left high and dry.

PO customers have been forced to get in their cars or jump on a bus to a post office elsewhere and as yet I have had no response back from the Post Office as to when post office services at the shared counter in Conisboro Stores will be up and running.

This is extremely frustrating for residents, especially since there was such overwhelming opposition to the Post Office's proposed move of postal services from Woodcote Way in the first place.

If, like the local business people who have contacted me, you too are being inconvenienced you may wish to make a formal complaint to the Post Office, in which case you can do so here.

The Conisboro Stores manager thinks it unlikely that the Post Office's engineers will be able to carry out the necessary recalibration until Thursday at the earliest and services may not be working until Monday (4 April).

In the meantime the queue in the Post Office down in Caversham has been tailing outside, one frustrated would-be customer told me!

Further Update
The Post Office has informed me that postal services are up and running now in Conisboro Stores (Friday afternoon, 1 April)

Friday 4 March 2016

Breaking: Temporary Closure of Mapledurham Pavilion Extended

Pavilion - taken a while ago
This afternoon Reading Borough Council (RBC) published a report to its Policy Committee which recommends the continued closure of Mapledurham Pavilion.  Here is the report.  

As blogged on 21 January, RBC’s administration announced its decision to temporarily close the Pavilion pending a detailed structural survey.  RBC estimated that this would be for a period of 6 weeks.  The decision followed the recommendation of an earlier survey which raised safety concerns about bowing of the southern external wall.

Today’s news of the prolonging of the temporary closure was communicated to User Groups by RBC this afternoon.  I too wrote to the users and as readers may be interested, here is what I said:

“I know your respective groups have all been inconvenienced by the temporary closure of the Pavilion, for which I am very sorry.  I appreciate that the news of the continuing closure is most unwelcome.

“As chairman I have called an urgent meeting of the Mapledurham Playing Fields Management (MPFM) Committee to discuss the report going to Policy Committee, Agenda item 8, a link to which is:

“MPFM Committee meeting
The MPFM Committee meeting will be in the Civic Centre at 8 am on Thursday 10th March.  You are welcome to attend as long as you register your wish to attend with Nicky Simpson by noon on Wednesday 9th March so she is able to check that there is sufficient seating and that your name is added to the attendees list.  This will ensure that security will let you into the building (which doesn’t open until 9 am) when you press the intercom at the building’s main entrance. 

“In order for the meeting to finish in time for people to get to work I will not be allowing observers to speak.  If there are any questions you would like considered, please notify me by noon on 9th March.

“Policy Committee meeting
Members of the public are allowed to attend Policy Committee which will take place on Monday 14th March at 6.30 pm.  I will be addressing the committee on Agenda item 8 as MPFM’s chairman.  Simon Hill in Committee Services is the Policy Committee’s administrator to contact if you have any queries, his details are on the same link mentioned above.”

For those interested, here is the detailed structural report referred to in RBC's Policy Committee report.