Thursday 30 April 2020

Works to re-start at Mapledurham Pavilion

This afternoon Reading Borough Council (RBC) announced the welcome news that refurbishment of Mapledurham Pavilion will restart on Monday 4 May.
Mapledurham Pavilion's works to restart on 4 May 

Below is the information RBC has provided:

Re Mapledurham Pavilion works
The works to the pavilion started in early March by AYM Services Ltd, but were temporarily put on hold due to Covid-19 and the difficulty in meeting social distancing guidance.

Central Government have identified that where construction work is able to safely continue it should do so to aid future economic recovery. The Government have recently updated its Covid–19 construction safety guidance giving more specific advice on safe working practices. AYM have adjusted their working practices to reflect and meet this updated advice on social distancing rules.

AYM will re-start work on the pavilion on Monday 4th May with a reduced work force to build the small side extension and replace the existing roof and windows. Then the majority of work is inside, refurbishing the interior of the pavilion, for example installing new heating, electrics, changing facilities and toilets.

We have not taken this decision lightly. The pavilion is a community facility that we would like to reopen as soon as we are allowed for local people to use. We are aware of resident concerns about noise, disruption and social distancing caused by other nearby works and have put in place measures to address these concerns for the pavilion works. These include:
  • A smaller workforce to meet revised Covid-19 construction safety guidance and will mean less activity on site at any one time
  • We have asked that AYM work with the Council’s Environment Protection (EP) Team and apply for a S61 noise licence to limit or reduce any noisy work where possible to reflect that there are more people staying at home
  • A noise monitor is to be installed near the pavilion to automatically record noise levels to help the EP Team monitor noise and target any site visits on the pavilion works
  • All compressors and generators, where practicable, will be ‘sound reduced’ models fitted with acoustic covers to remain closed whenever they are in use
  • All plant and machinery are to be fitted with effective silencers where available, will be sited away from houses where practicable, and will be shut down when not in use
  • The AYM site manager will letter drop nearest neighbours to provide information as work progresses and will be available on site to listen to any queries about the pavilion works 

AYM construction working hours are Monday–Friday 8 am - 6 pm and, if needed, Saturday 9 am - 1 pm. They will be arriving on site between 7 am - 8 am to carry out safety checks but are aware that actual construction work is not to start before 8 am.

To help immediate neighbours to the pavilion know what is happening AYM will provide regular updates to them. The site manager of AYM is Michael Leith, AYM site manager and may be contacted by email on,uk.

For all enquiries relating to the construction of the Heights Primary School, in the first instance please contact the Kier project manager on While the Department for Education are controlling the works to the Heights School, the Council’s Environment Protection team are also monitoring the school works and may be contacted at For more general information about the Landscape works taking place at Mapledurham Playing Fields, please visit RBC's website page

Monday 27 April 2020

Urgent works to Grade I listed Chazey Court Barn

Chazey Court Barn - start of new scaffolding (taken on 24/4)
Chazey Court Barn, one of only six buildings within Reading Borough to have a Grade I listing, is at last to have urgent works carried out. It dates back to the 17th Century and has been on the Heritage at Risk Register for many years because of its precarious condition.

Last week new scaffolding started going up to support the building. The scaffolding will be going higher as there will be a temporary tin roof  above the tiles to keep the building watertight.

Chazey Court Barn is owned by Mapledurham Estate. There is a long and complicated planning history. For years there has been a stale mate with many organisations and individuals, fronted by Reading Borough Council (RBC)  trying to get the owner and/or leaseholder to look after this important building, the restoration of which forms part of a successfully appealed application to build a nursing home.

RBC had a meeting on site in February with Historic England and the sub-leaseholders, InMind to discuss and agree a schedule of urgent works. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions coming into force, commencement was delayed. JM Civil Engineering are carrying out the restoration works. They have put up a sign with their contact details and are extremely keen to keep disruption to a minimum.

RBC has asked the sub-leaseholder to submit a Certificate of Lawfulness for a proposed development to establish that the planning permission is extant, ie that all pre-commencement conditions have been adequately satisfied and that the time limits set by condition for starting the development and/or submitting reserved matters have not expired.

Digger on top of the soil temporarily put into the balancing pool
On Friday lorry loads of soil were off-loaded temporarily into the area previously dug out for the flood alleviation balancing pond. More lorry loads will be off-loaded here this week. Please do not be concerned as the soil will be taken out to create a bund around the barn and the balancing pond (whilst maintaining access to the properties to the west) to secure the site.

Contractor's details
Do get in contact with me
mob: 07717 292 003 if you would like any further information or would like me to put specific questions to John at JM Civil Engineering or the RBC planner dealing with this site.

Tuesday 21 April 2020

Plea from Thames Water + Green Waste Collections Re-starting

Thames Water are pleading with residents to put 'non-disposables' in the bin rather than down the toilet.
Bin wet wipes, kitchen roll and tissues: don't flush them!

"One of the unfortunate impacts of COVID-19 is that we are seeing an increase in blockages in our sewer networks, as people doing extra cleaning or who have had problems buying toilet tolls are flushing non-biodegradable alternatives, such as kitchen roll or antibacterial wipes. This is creating problems in our sewers which can result in sewage backing up into people’s homes or polluting the environment."

Welcome news for gardeners is that Reading Borough Council's green waste collections will be re-starting from w/c 27 April. The annual charge will run from this date.

Green waste collections had been suspended on 27 March because the council wanted to ensure grey and red bin collections were prioritised despite staff shortages due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Excess garden waste will not be collected: only that presented in the green wheelie bins or bags provided.

To sign up for the green waste service visit fill in this form

Saturday 18 April 2020

Mid April update on works at MPF

Here's an update on various matters which I hope you'll find helpful.

The Heights primary school
The piling works for the new school will be finished by the end of this Wednesday, 22 April. Kier, the DfE's contractor, has managed to reduce dramatically the programmed 4 weeks of piling works down to 2 weeks. Testing checks on Thursday 23 April might possibly be needed, but if so should only last that day.

Here's a video of Andy from Kier describing the works when I visited the site office a few days ago to check out the noise and vibration levels.

Mapledurham Playing Fields' drainage works
Drainage channel with sand on top

Agripower, the Council's contractor, re-started its works this month within the cordoned off area of the pitches.

Drainage is being improved and once complete, grass seed will be put down. The area will be re-opened as soon as the grass has become established enough to walk on.
1 of 3 new tarmac links from Hewett Ave

Separately, back in late March, the council finished off and tarmacked the three entrances into MPF from Hewett Avenue to enable easy access for all.

Mapledurham Pavilion works
Council officers are investigating with the contractor how to re-start the Pavilion refurbishment works while complying with Covid-19 distancing instructions.
Pavilion - awaiting a restart of refurbishment works

View west across playing fields one sunset

One Reading Community Hub Support

As a reminder, One Reading Community Hub Support has been set up for Reading Borough residents to help provide extra support where needed.

If you, or someone you know, is in need of extra support due to Covid-19 either:

Fill in the form at online coronavirus support form and someone will be in touch, or call:

Freephone 0808 189 4325 from 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Fridays and 9 am to 1 pm on Saturday and Sundays.

If you, or your business wish to volunteer, fill in the form here.

Groups can register online with Reading Neighbourhood Network