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Sunday, 24 March 2019

Waste Collection Calendar Cock Up

Residents across Reading have been left guessing when their waste will be collected from April onwards for the new civic year.

In previous years residents have always been given a calendar (see right) but some bright spark in the Labour administration quietly decided to ditch this important communication.

My residents might have approved of the saving if the council had actually told them about the decision, given the reasons and, oh yes, popped it on the website. Would it have been so difficult to include the news with the Council Tax notification?

Officers are unhappy as they fear this failure to communicate will simply create more work for them with a rise in residents' complaints.

One of my residents asked me what the dates were because without internet access he thought he was excluded from seeing the calendar. The reality is, everyone is in the dark. The new calendar isn't on the council website.

You might ask why does this matter? Well there are several reasons including:

  • If you miss a grey bin collection, you've a whole fortnight to wait
  • In hot weather your bin will really stink after 4 weeks, and you might have problems fitting all your rubbish in 
  • People may put their bins out at the beginning of the week to ensure they don't miss it being emptied
  • Not only is this ugly, but having wheelie bins on the pavement causes problems for the partially sighted and those with mobility issues, as well as people pushing buggies
  • Readings recycling rates have been going down. Labour needs to encourage people by at the very least making it easy to know when collections are going to be made
Pull your collective finger out Reading Labour, get the calendar for grey, red and green waste collections published and include an apology for your failure to communicate!

Monday, 11 March 2019

Works at Mapledurham Playing Fields for The Heights school

Planning permission granted and legal action dismissed, works on site at Mapledurham Playing Fields began at the end of February.

View from car park over school site
The site in the north west corner abutting the car park was cleared of trees by Kier Construction's contractor, Bennett's Tree Care.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) neatly pruned back the trees along the vehicular access off Chazey Road to give clear access. They then took out the trees around the playground to make way for the works to the playing fields which will enable an intensification of use, ie more football to be played by drainage improvements as well as a levelling of the areas with pitches.

Today (11 March) and tomorrow, Kier will be carrying out soil investigation works as part of the upgrading of the existing car park and access road off the Upper Woodcote Road entrance.

Vacuum excavation plant will be used to locate all the existing services in these areas and complete and record a survey prior to their reinstatement. The areas around the excavation and plant will be enclosed with Heras fencing whilst these works are progressively completed. This plant is powered by the diesel engine of the vehicle and so this will be operating throughout the period it is on site.

Over the 13 and 14 March six trial pit excavations will be completed in the car park area. During these works 6 to 8 car parking spaces will not be available.

Works to relocate the playing field access gate are programmed to start on 14 March and completed by Friday 15 March.

Should anyone wish for further information do let me know as I have further plans showing the relevant areas.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Lease granted for The Heights primary school

On Monday 25 February, Reading Borough Council granted a lease of the north west corner of Mapledurham Playing Fields.

Clearance works started on Monday to prepare the site for the building works with temporary Heras fencing cordoning off the area so that the trees due to be felled could be done so safely.

The Council's press release states:

"Work on New Heights Free School Set To Begin

THE Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is set to begin work preparing for the construction of the new Heights Free School on part of Mapledurham Recreation Ground this week, after full planning consent was granted today (Feb 25th).

A lease of part of Mapledurham Recreation Ground was granted by Reading Borough Council - in its capacity as trustee of the Mapledurham Recreation Ground Charity - in favour of the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on February 18th. The lease has been entered into in accordance with a decision taken unanimously by members of the Mapledurham Playing Fields Trustees Sub-Committee, which has delegated authority from the Council to make decisions in relation to the Charity.

It follows the ESFA’s amended planning application, which was approved by the Council’s Planning Committee on February 6th. Full planning consent was granted earlier today (Mon Feb 25th).

The ESFA’s contractor, Kier Construction Ltd, has confirmed it expects to begin work to clear the school site this week, in preparation for main construction of the new school.

The clearance work includes the removal of all the trees within the school site. Soil investigation work within the playing field car park and entrance road will also take place. For safety, Kier has confirmed they will cordon off the area with temporary heras fencing whilst the work is carried out. Clearance work is anticipated to be completed week ending March 8th.

At the same time, the Council will also be removing 15 trees in the middle of the playing fields in preparation for landscape enhancement work later this summer. This work will improve the quality of the football pitches and provide a greater flexibility and more sustainable use of the area, as unanimously agreed by members of the Mapledurham Playing Fields Trustees Sub-Committee. There are plans to plant 57 replacement trees in the area."