Monday 21 December 2020

Recycling over Christmas in Caversham

Reading Borough Council (RBC) has announced today recycling information covering the Christmas period.

RBC will be operating Christmas tree collection centres across the borough between 4 January  and 22 January. Residents can take their trees to 3 designated areas north of the river located in the car parks at:

  • Albert Road Recreation Ground
  • Clayfield Copse
  • Hills Meadow

Trees left at the above collection points will be chipped and used in a range of landscaping schemes across the borough. Another way to dispose of your Christmas tree is to chop it up and put it in your green bin if you subscribe to the garden waste collection scheme. Alternatively residents can book a slot at the re3 recycling centre and take it there.

Please note that there will not be a collection point at Mapledurham Playing Fields! I've asked officers to put up notices as soon as possible so last year's debacle can be avoided.

Civic Amenity Site

The Recycling Centre in Island Road, Reading, will be open between 8am and 6pm over the festive period except on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day when it will be closed. Also, it will be open between 8am-4pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Changes to collection days

As usual, bin collection days will change over the holiday period and it is possible to check the revised dates here.

Garden waste collections due on Friday 25th December will take place on Tuesday 29th December. The Garden Waste Service will then be suspended until week commencing 11th January, when collections will take place one day later than your normal collection day.

Wednesday 21 October 2020

Ways to protect yourself from scammers

Scammers are sending emails which are quite convincing. It's always worth taking a couple of minutes to check the details before risking pressing anything within an email.

Things to check include: hovering your mouse over the sender's email to reveal the actual account it came from. If the scammer quotes your account number or licence number, check that too. Another indication worth checking is did they use your name in the salutation?
Have a look (to the left) at the email I received this evening. It asked me for just £12 and helpfully gave me a "Pay Here" button. However the TV Licence number quoted is not mine, I don't use the email address the scammer sent it to for paying our TV Licence, and the email account they sent their email from is not Gov.UK TV Licensing but instead
If you realise an email is from a scammer and you haven't clicked on anything within it, please report it to:
If however you realise after providing information that it was a scam, report it to: or ring them on 0300 123 2040. If this included your card or bank details, talk to your bank immediately.

Sunday 11 October 2020

Mental health is just as important as physical health

In my life I've never known a time when there has been so much pressure on people's mental health. Coronavirus has a lot to answer for, what with lock down making it feel like we're living in a zombie-type disaster movie. Many haven't been able to hug their loved ones for fear of catching the virus. Tragically people have died without family or friends' visits during the hospital and care home lock down. It will therefore be no surprise to have more than the usual 1 in 4 of us suffering from a mental health issue (like anxiety or depression) this year.
- The sun will rise tomorrow -
An early swim before work helps me
A recognised problem is people don't feel that seeking help for poor mental health is as important as it is for physical conditions. It's easy to know a broken leg needs urgent attention, but not so when you are feeling terribly lonely, depressed or simply just not yourself. Perhaps you have or someone you know has found it difficult to get out of bed, to bother to wash and dress, cook or to go outside? People can worry that it is silly to 'bother' their GP, embarrassing to admit to themselves or others that their mental health is poor: but it is brave.

Mental health can affect anybody at any age. You are not alone, it is ok to ask for help - you don't have to do this by yourself. The sun will rise tomorrow.

There are many different ways to try and improve mental health. It isn't something that you can just snap out of; however there are things that can help - these will be different for each of us. For me gardening, being with my cat, swimming, getting outside playing the piano, listening to music and painting help.
Pets offer wonderful companionship
Companionship is more of a challenge, especially for people who live by themselves. Pets are truly wonderful. 

Try to pop out every day - even just to the local shop or for a short walk is good.

Especially this year, lots of people are feeling alone. The first step is to reach out to family, friends, your GP or one of the support groups.

Look after yourself. If you are finding this difficult, do ask for help. 

Here are some suggestions:

Sunday 4 October 2020

Construction progress of Mapledurham Pavilion

I took lots of photos when I was shown around Mapledurham Pavilion last month by Andy Lockwood - Reading Borough Council's officer who has been doing an excellent job overseeing the refurbishment works. 

Sadly due to covid restrictions it is unlikely the council will be opening it for lettings until the New Year. A virtual meeting of the Mapledurham Playing Fields Management Committee is being held on 13 October. Progress of the Pavilion's refurbishment and the re-profiling of the Playing Fields will be discussed as well as other matters such as parking. Members of the public will be able to register to observe the meeting (contact me for further details).

This photo of the Pavilion's new roof, was taken on my visit to The Heights' construction site earlier in September.

Pavilion's impressive new roofs viewed from on top of The Heights
(the school's scaffolding in the foreground)

The morning I visited the Pavilion it was cloudy as you can see from the photo below. The main hall has six double doors on this elevation. The central four are glazed which will give superb views across the playing fields, with the ones either side being filled in as they are Fire Exit doors. The glazed doors will have externally fitted, electric shutters for security. 

Southern side of the Pavilion

It has been about 20 years since the council boarded up the windows this side - done partly because of the vandalism, but also because of the poor state of the old frames. Although I remember how disheartening it was to have to carefully sweep up all the broken glass before being able to open up the hall for the Escape parent and toddler group I ran, it was so sad and claustrophobic having the windows boarded up. I'm sure I'm not alone relishing the views being opened up!

Kitchen's external hatchway/window and door
to playing fields. Part-clad wall

Inside, the partitioning has nearly been completed, as has the wiring. We saw the progress being made in the two football changing rooms. These will be accessed solely through two external doors on the western side.
Doorways to football changing rooms
(both ends of the western elevation)
View of both changing rooms
(partition wall yet to go in)

The main hall was coming along well. I'll just leave it to the photos and captions to show you the rest.

View of the main hall from what will be the kitchen hatch

Doorway along widened corridor to ancillary rooms (store room
on LH, kitchen RH side, WCs + 2 mtg rooms and Tennis Club's room)

Kitchen viewed from main hall through hatchway. Kitchen
units/appliances yet to be finalised and installed
(white door to Tennis Club's room visible in the distance)

Pavilion's front entrance - yet to be clad externally

Lamps to the side of the footpath from the Pavilion to Chazey Road
(avenue of trees yet to be planted this Autumn)

Do let me know if you have any questions. My contact details can be found here.

Monday 28 September 2020

Virtual celebration of Older People's Day

Reading Borough Council has published details of a virtual celebration this Thursday, 1 October - see below to which everyone is welcome to attend:

Reading will be celebrating National Older People’s Day 2020 with a free online event on Thursday 1st October, highlighting the contribution all older people make to the Reading community.

The event this year is a virtual one which be held on the Reading Culture Live website. In previous years the event has been held at Broad Street Mall and this year we acknowledge the Covid-19 situation which has created increased loneliness and isolation for older people. The aim of this year’s National Older People’s Day event is to demonstrate the resilience of older people in our community and the great work of voluntary organisations and community groups who have supported older people during difficult times.

The event is organised by Age UK Berkshire and Age UK Reading, with support from Reading Borough Council and members of the Older People’s Working Group.

Reading’s Older People’s Day 2020 celebrations start with a live virtual coffee morning event hosted by Age UK Berkshire at 10:30 am. Meet and connect with older people in Reading and share lockdown experiences. To join the virtual coffee morning, register online or email or call 07811 026070.

The online Reading Older People’s Day event then moves to the Reading Culture Live website A video introduced by Mayor of Reading, Cllr David Stevens will showcase the rich array of local services that have supported older residents during the pandemic and lockdown. An information booklet with the content of the video and information about local services will be published. If you would like a printed copy, please contact or call 07811 026070.

Memory project video; the second video reflects on the town during Covid-19 and how it has affected the older people. Contributions will be shared featuring stories, thoughts and memories.

The videos will be available on the Reading Culture Live website from 1st October onwards to watch at a convenient time.

Lead Councillor for Adult Social Care, Cllr Tony Jones, said: “Older People’s Day is a lovely chance to celebrate later life and the huge contribution older people make to our communities. This year our event moves online. I’d encourage people to register to join our virtual coffee morning and watch the videos celebrating local services who have supported older residents during the pandemic, and the memory video which has captured a snapshot of this unique time and how it has affected the older people of Reading.

Please spread the word, invite your friends, family and anyone you know who might benefit.”

For more information including support with IT and accessing the event please call, 07811 026070 or email

Wednesday 23 September 2020

Construction progress of The Heights at MPF

On Friday I went to Mapledurham Playing Fields and visited The Heights school building to see how construction was coming along. With me kitted out with my safety hat, high viz and safety glasses, Andy Mason - Kier's Senior Site Manager - kindly showed me around. 

As is visible from outside Kier's boundary fencing, the school's steel frame is encased by scaffolding, with monoflex on the western side to give residents living closest to the school privacy from the workmen.

Inside the site I was struck by the quantity of grey soundproofing panels on the inside of the construction boundary fencing. Also noticeable was the drop in ground level in the north-west corner, the school being at least a metre lower than Hewett Close. 

One challenge the pandemic has created is the need for Kier to increase welfare space. Their canteen, which usually would hold up to 30 people, can only be used by 5. So 2 further canteens are being delivered, plus an extra office and toilet block (the latter will be connected to the tank on the north-eastern side to keep any smells away from residents' homes).These welfare units will take up space on site which means construction material deliveries must be timed meticulously for immediate use.

Andy showed me the ground floor which was being worked on as we spoke. Preparation of the floor slab includes a 250 mm layer of sand then an insulation membrane, finished off with 250 mm of concrete. This should be completed this week.

The first floor's concrete was poured last week. Next goes down the latex. The steel framing system (SFS) arrives this week. It will be installed first on the western side. Then, to minimise future impact to residents nearest the school, this side will have its exterior boarding completed as this will help shield them from the rest of the works.

To minimise noise, the steel panels have been cut to size off site at the manufacturers. This has meant the concrete floors and the frame have had to be constructed incredibly accurately with a tolerance level of just 3 mm instead of the normal 25 mm. 

Kier are going above and beyond too by building a soundproofed room to house a cutting machine, again to minimise disturbance to residents. 

We climbed up the temporary, external stairs to the roof, where all the school's plant will be located as well as a large quantity of solar panels. 

It was fantastic to see the Playing Fields from this view point. They are looking so good. Installation of the path from Chazey Road to the Pavilion, which will make the area much more accessible for all, is nearing completion (visible in the photo).

It was good also to get a bird's eye view of the Pavilion's spanking new roof, completed in the last few weeks. I'll post a picture of this as well as internal photos in the next few days once I've checked out how the Pavilion's refurbishment is going.

The school is on track for Easter 2021 completion. If you have any questions, do let me know. 

Wednesday 2 September 2020

Unpopular Caversham One-Way System dismantled

I am thrilled by the success of the "One Way No Way" Caversham Facebook Group to get Reading Borough Council's Labour administration to eventually see common sense. The unpopular one-way system's bollards drilled into the road yesterday, were this afternoon removed!

It is a shame Labour didn't listen to local residents and my Conservative colleagues back in May 2020 when we all said the proposals were going to cause congestion, thereby increase pollution and fail in their purpose.

At least it wasn't as colossal a financial fiasco as Labour's "One Way IDR", announced back in 2006 - the plans of which cost residents more than an eye-watering £1 million!

Here's the council's full press release about this welcome, if over-due, u-turn:

Reading Borough Council News Release

Weds Sep 2nd

Caversham One Way Systems to be Removed This Week

TEMPORARY one way systems along Caversham’s Gosbrook Road and Westfield Road will be removed this week in response to concerns raised by the local community.

Reading Borough Council is moving swiftly to revert to the previous road layout after listening to the views of local residents and businesses in Caversham and seeing first-hand the dangerous behaviour of a minority of motorists ignoring the new one way systems. Work to reverse the temporary scheme is expected to be fully complete by the weekend.

The one-way systems in Caversham are just one part of a wider package of Active Travel schemes introduced in Reading under temporary powers afforded to all Councils by the Government in response to the pandemic. The intention is to make social distancing easier by creating more road space for pedestrians and cyclists, whilst recognising the on-going restrictions on the capacity of local public transport.

Central Government awarded funding to local authorities, including Reading, to implement road schemes in response to Covid 19, which continues to be a threat. Both the funding and road schemes were awarded under temporary powers which did not allow for the usual extensive period of consultation with local residents prior to implementation. The Gosbrook Road and Westfield Road schemes were specifically designed to alleviate pressures on social distancing caused by narrow pavements in the area, which are also on routes to schools.

Delays in the supply chain caused by large numbers of councils attempting to source the same road infrastructure at the same time meant the scheme was significantly delayed. As a result it was implemented more than six weeks later than originally planned. The result of this delay was that traffic levels were much higher than anticipated at the point of introduction which - combined with the constrained road network in Caversham - has led to traffic bottlenecks created in the area. A minority of motorists have been observed flouting the one-way systems whilst driving dangerously.

Ward Councillors have been in the area collecting feedback from local residents and businesses since the scheme’s introduction last week. This has been shared with the Council, leading to the decision to reverse the scheme.

Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:

“I would like to apologise to residents and local businesses in Caversham for the obvious disruption and inconvenience caused by the introduction of this temporary scheme. We are now moving swiftly to reverse it due to the widespread lack of support in the local area.

“The scheme was well intentioned to make travelling by bike or walking easier in response to the pandemic, which was important in the narrow pavements and streets of Caversham. We were also very aware the same constrained road layout in the area meant these changes were challenging. It has quickly become apparent there is a lack of local support for the scheme which is why we are moving quickly this week to revert to the previous road layout.

“It is worth noting the Government guidance issued to all Councils under the Active Travel scheme was that changes could be implemented under temporary powers and without prior consultation. This was understandable in the circumstances, but it does emphasise again the importance of local consultation before any major changes are introduced.

“I would like to thank ward Councillors who I know have been out speaking to local residents and businesses about the scheme and feeding back those views to the Council. We have listened to those views and the old layout will be back in place by the end of this week.”

Councillor Page added:

“It is important to note that the Council continues to fully support the principle of Active Travel schemes and the significant benefits they bring to people and communities. The fact that this specific scheme has not worked does not change that position in the slightest.

“There are a number of Active Travel schemes already in place across the Borough, many operating successfully as part of the first phase of work. We will continue to monitor these closely and will consult widely before any are made permanent.

“We also look forward to the result of our ambitious Phase 2 bid to Government which includes key ‘missing link’ cycle lanes fully segregated from general traffic.”

Details of all Reading Borough Council’s Active Travel schemes can be found at

With social distancing measures likely to remain in place for some considerable time in response to the Covid 19 pandemic, the Council has moved to design a series of schemes to create more space for…

Thursday 20 August 2020

Impact of mini heatwave on Mapledurham Playing Fields

Today the council has notified me of a delay to taking down the fencing around the newly levelled and grassed area of pitches. This is because the mini heatwave set back the grass by a week or two. The heavy rainfall that followed has made the ground soft so that any vehicles collecting up the fencing could easily damage the grass.
New growth coming through sun-damaged grass

Although the delay is very frustrating, I support the decision as it is prudent to let the young grass establish itself before allowing us all to use it. Officers will review the situation and hope to take down the fencing in the week commencing 7 September.

As the area between the Kier site and the play area has been churned up it has been raked and the council is in the process of arranging a temporary surface to be laid in the week commencing 24 August. It will be returned to grass after the works are completed but is likely to be in place for the duration of the winter according to officers.

Sunday 9 August 2020

MPF: Update from Reading BC officers

 A diligent officer sent out the following update about Mapledurham Playing Fields' pitches, the landscaping works and the Pavilion, yesterday (Saturday 8 July). 

The news our community has been eager to hear about is the coming down of the fences to open up the  newly levelled and grassed pitches on the eastern side of MPF. The good news is we shouldn't have to wait long. Monday 24 August is the likely date, though this is dependent on weather conditions.

In other news the central footpath along the desire line walking/running/cycling across MPF from the Pavilion to the entrance on Chazey Road will start later this week. It'll further improve accessibility for all and with the avenue of trees that will be planted along it in the tree planting season, this landscaping will be an attractive and eye-catching feature.

Here is the officer's update:

Thinner stretches of grass visible along drainage lines

Sports pitch works

The new grass sports turf is steadily growing, has been cut several times and is regularly assessed by an independent expert. The area around the play area has been be re-opened for recreational use with the heras fencing adjusted to allow access on the west and south sides of the play area.


The main area of new turf is starting to become established in most areas but the grass along the new drain lines is vulnerable to dogs digging and could be damaged by some activities such as informal kickabouts. See the photos to show the differences in the growth of areas of grass. We are hoping that the grass will become more established over the next few weeks.


We are looking to remove the fence around the boundary from Monday 24th August to allow access for recreational use. However, if the area becomes damaged in large parts by dogs digging or over use then we may need to re-instate the fencing across the area to protect it. We ask that playing sports eg football is kept to the west side of the playing fields, next to the new play area and will install some goals to encourage use on this area.


Other Landscape works

We will be starting work on the central footpath on Thursday 13th August. This will involve moving the heras fence line running north to south to enable the path to be installed. The contractor will form a small compound adjacent to the pavilion works to avoid materials being stored on the playing fields and will maintain access to the popular new play area. Works will continue throughout August and September to install the new path and benches and then the new footpath lighting before the autumn wet weather sets in. In November we aim to plant the avenue of new trees.


Pavilion improvement works

AYM are making good progress with the new side extension now taking shape, and new roofs and external cladding being installed. Work will then mainly be inside installing new heating and electrics. The internal fit out and decoration will follow as we aim to complete the works by late October.

Thursday 6 August 2020

A look inside Mapledurham Pavilion

I was thrilled to check out the progress of the comprehensive refurbishment of Mapledurham Pavilion in July.

View east across the hall, entrance from car park RH corner
The photo to the left shows the main hall. It remains the same size, though without the walls and ceilings in place the wood gives the allusion of a smaller space.  The main entrance from the car park is in the far right corner (to the right of the propped-up orange door). 

Straight ahead are the spaces where two mirror image FA standard football changing rooms are being created. This is a conversion of the old storage rooms and kitchen, as well as a small extension. Access will only be from the western side of the Pavilion through an exterior door to each one, with a wall between them and the hall. 

On the left hand side of the photo you can see the steels - the sole remaining feature from the Warren & District Residents Association's (WADRA) refurbishment in 2019. These gaps will have glazed doors with exterior security shutters. It will be fabulous to have the views across the playing fields restored and improved after over 20 years! Back when my two were little and I ran the parent and toddler group 'Escape', the council boarded up the old, rotting windows following several broken windows.  

New flooring will be going down as there was asbestos under the lino that was laid in 2019. The Football and Tennis clubs both agreed with me that it was sensible to eradicate the asbestos at this opportune time rather than store up problems for the future.

New kitchen
The photo to the left shows the space where the new kitchen will be. You can see that two large serving hatches are being created - one for serving the main hall, the other - which will have security shutters - for serving events on the playing fields.
The kitchen is a much more generous size than the old one and also benefits from having two doorways. These improvements should make it fit for catering for large events.

WADRA is paying for kitting the kitchen out with appliances using money fundraised (from residents and Festival Republic's donations).

Storage room off hall
In the hall's north-east corner is a door to what will be a large storage room for the hall's regular user groups (see right).

Widened, reconfigured corridor
Next to the storage room will be a door to a widened, reconfigured corridor giving access to the kitchen, the men's/women's/and accessible loos and the Tennis Club's room.

The corridor also leads to the old changing rooms which are being converted into two rooms available for hire for meetings or other small events. 

Two large windows have been made in the wall facing out onto the car park, transforming the dark cramped old changing rooms into inviting, light spaces. 

View into new meeting room
You can see into the first one in the photo to the left (viewed from the corridor with the doorway to it straight ahead and at the far end of the room the two large windows).

According to the council officers - who have been doing an excellent job overseeing the project - the works should be finished ready for the Pavilion to re-open this October. Hopefully by then covid-19 restrictions will have eased further and the user groups and others in our community will be able to make full use of it.

The improvements have been funded predominantly by Department for Education money paid to the council (Trustee of Mapledurham Playing Fields) as part of the legal agreement for building The Heights School. 

Tuesday 4 August 2020

Update on Mapledurham Playing Fields

The new grass on the eastern side of Mapledurham Playing Fields' pitches is looking very good! 

The contractors, Agripower, have cut the grass several times now and added feed to help strengthen it. I was keen to take the opportunity in July to inspect it with officers. I took this short video standing in the middle which hopefully gives you a good view.

I'm as keen as anybody to get the fences down so that everyone can enjoy the space and new grass - however for a number of reasons, sensibly officers have held off. 

As can be seen in the photo to the right, there are lines where the grass is thinner - this is above the drainage channels as it is taking a little longer for the grass to establish as a result.

Another reason for the reluctance is that vehicles would need to drive on the new grass so it must be able to withstand this, otherwise the huge investment (funded by part of the developer contribution monies from the DfE) could be put at risk.

I hope to be able to have a better idea when the fences will be coming down later this week. 

Monday 20 July 2020

Reading Bridge re-opens early and creation of more cycle lanes

Reading Borough Council published the press release below Monday 20 July. It details new temporary cycle lanes being put in to create more space for residents wishing to socially distance while fewer choose to travel on public transport.

I've highlighted in yellow the paragraphs relating to Reading Bridge and Caversham as these may be of particular interest.

WORK begins this week to roll out the next phase of new cycle lanes in Reading to make travelling by bike easier in response to the Covid 19 pandemic.


Road markings for new cycle lanes will be put in place along the Oxford Road – from Norcot Road to the edge of the borough boundary to the west – Southampton Street, Silver Street, Mount Pleasant and Whitley Street. The new cycle lanes are expected to be open for use by cyclists by the end of July. Plans for a brand new cycle scheme along Redlands Road is also in the final stages of development and expected to be implemented in early August.


The raft of temporary new cycle lanes form part of Reading Borough Council’s response to the Covid 19 pandemic, and is in line with the Government’s Active Travel programme. With social distancing measures likely to remain in place for some considerable time, the Council has moved to design a series of schemes to create more space for pedestrians and cyclists, which recognises the on-going restrictions on the capacity of local public transport.


The Council quickly implemented temporary signs and markings throughout the town centre, reminding visitors about the need to socially distance. Similar measures are a being rolled out to other busy local centres across the town.


Temporary, advisory cycle lanes have also been implemented across Reading Bridge to provide an additional cycle link across the Thames by removing one lane of traffic. While Reading Bridge closed in late June for Southern Gas Networks (SGN) to replace two gas pipes, it re-opened again three weeks ahead of schedule yesterday (19th July). This means both northbound and southbound cycle lanes have now been reinstated and are fully operational.


With Reading Bridge re-opening three weeks ahead of schedule, it means that the introduction of the previously announced new temporary one way systems along Gosbrook Road (Westfield Road to Prospect Street), and Westfield Road (Henley Road junction to Gosbrook Road), to increase capacity for walking and cycling, and with segregated new cycle facilities, can go live next week.


A new one way system at Sidmouth Street – with the introduction of a segregated new two-way cycle lane – is expected to become operational by the end of July. The introduction of this scheme was delayed due to difficulties sourcing the necessary equipment, arising from the heavy demands from scores of local authorities across the country all introducing active travel schemes at the same time:


Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:


“The introduction of these new advisory cycle lanes forms part of the Council’s response to on-going social distancing guidelines, and the reduced capacity on public transport, which means it is essential we create more space for people to walk and cycle safely.


“As with the previously announced schemes on Reading Bridge, Gosbrook and Westfield Roads and Sidmouth Street, it is important to note these are temporary schemes which may be made permanent at a later stage, once we see how well they operate and only after detailed public consultation.


“The re opening of Reading Bridge three weeks early, following work to replace two gas mains by SGN, means we can now get on with implementing the new one way system and segregated cycle lanes on Gosbrook Road and Westfield Road. We hope this will be fully operational by the end of the month, in addition to the dedicated new cycle lanes in Sidmouth Street.”


Reading Borough Council is developing a dedicated new webpage as a point of information for all of the Council’s Active Travel schemes. This will go live in the coming days and can be found at

Friday 26 June 2020

Reading Bridge closure on 29 June for 6 weeks

Urgent gas mains replacement – Reading Bridge, George Street

Bridge closure: from Monday 29 June for approximately six weeks



A message from SGN:

"Firstly, please accept our apologies for such short notification of the work outlined below.  Following the tragic events in Reading last weekend, we were requested to hold on sending out wider communications until now.   

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Reading.


"As I’m sure you are already be aware, SGN have been given the approval to commence urgent work to replace two strategic gas mains on George Street/Reading Bridge.   The gas mains being replaced are mandatory gas pipes that supply Reading and Caversham and have a priority rating to be replaced.  We will be replacing the old metal gas pipes with a new plastic pipes that will ensure we can continue to provide gas safely and efficiently to the local area long into the future.  Their replacement will also significantly reduce the risk of future leaks resulting in disruptive emergency works and potential unplanned closures of Reading Bridge.


"You may recall we attempted to replace one of the gas mains across the bridge last year, following further on-site investigation and discovering there was a potential of losing local gas supplies, our project team immediately stopped work, sending the project back to our network specialist teams to be re-engineered.   Following their direction, we will be now be replacing both mains to ensure we can maintain the network integrity and supply for the community.  


"Work on the bridge will start on Monday 29 June for approximately six weeks, with the closure in place for the duration. There will be no vehicle access across Reading Bridge, access to George Street will be from the north side of the bridge via the B3345 and a signed diversion will be in place.


"Access across the bridge will be maintained for pedestrians and cyclists.  To support social distancing guidelines, there will be two pedestrian walkways and two cycle paths across the bridge.  Each pathway/cycleway will be clearly signposted with the direction of traffic flow.  


"We appreciate this work will be disruptive for road users at a crucial time for the town returning to some normality following COVID 19 lockdown.     You may also question why this work couldn’t have taken place sooner during the full lockdown.  Like all organisations SGN have been following Government guidelines and only returning to planned works when advised it is safe to do so for the public and our engineers.  To protect our workforce and operational teams, SGN have only continued with emergency work during the lockdown.


"At the request of the local authority, we have resourced this project to bring forward these works to allow at least some of work to be carried out whilst the road networks are still quieter than normal.  It is also vital that we carry out this work during the summer months to ensure we can maintain network reliability.  Carrying this work out in cooler months would put significant pressure on the gas network and local supplies to Reading and Caversham.  


"I would like to reassure you, SGN are working closely with UK Government and public health bodies to make sure we carry out our project in line with all current coronavirus safety guidance. We have no plans to interrupt gas supplies to homes or businesses, and our engineers won’t be calling at residents’ homes other than in the case of an emergency where strict social distancing measures will be adhered to.


"We have extra safety precautions in place to protect our colleagues and our communities from the virus. Our colleagues will be keeping to social distancing guidelines on our sites and we’d ask communities to keep their distance too. There’s more information about our coronavirus response on our website:


"We will be working a seven-day week with support from additional teams. Due to local environmental restrictions, night-time works will be kept to a minimum and only when necessary. We would like to reassure you that our engineers will be working as quickly and as safely as possible to complete this work without delay.


"If you’d like to get in touch with us about this project, please call our Customer Service team on 0800 912 1700 who will be happy to direct your enquiry. There’s more information about our coronavirus plans, as well as other ways to contact us, on our website:"

Follow on Twitter: @SGNgas