Friday, 21 October 2016

Palmer Park library to close temporarily

See below for an update from the council about Palmer Park library closing temporarily so repair works can be done. When I get more information I will post it here.

"Palmer Park Library will temporarily close in November for five weeks for essential maintenance work following a routine inspection from the Council’s property services team. An issue has been identified with plaster coming away from the walls in several areas around the library, necessitating its removal and replacement.  Affected areas inside the library have been cordoned off since July whilst the nature of the problem was assessed.

It is expected that the library will close at 4pm on November 12th and re open at 9am on Monday 19th December 2016 – we will confirm this by Thursday 20 October. The work is expected to take approximately 5 weeks during which time the library will not be available for use by the public. The site will need to be emptied of books due to the nature of the works and the likely dust created by plaster being stripped back from an unstable position. Staff will be redeployed elsewhere in the service for the closure period. Property Services colleagues are aware of the imperative to complete works to the agreed timescales and to re-open as published.

To keep customers informed we will clearly publicise the reasons for the temporary closure and the anticipated timescales for reopening.  Please note that:

*We will extend return dates on borrowed items so that none are due back during the period of the works - this will commence from 3 weeks in advance of the works so public awareness will be raised (fairly soon).
*Books can be returned to any of the other Reading libraries as at all times.
*We are looking to see if any local venues are able to host our popular Rhymetime sessions whilst the library is unavailable.
*Dates at present are still subject to confirmation, however, if there is further delay it is likely to happen in 2017, due to the Christmas period.

We are still working with Reading College on a partnership model for the provision of library services from Palmer Park from the spring, as per the Policy Committee report which was approved on 18 July."

Bad news on Arthur Hill but the fight goes on

Disappointing news, at the council meeting on Tuesday all Labour councillors voted for closing Arthur Hill swimming pool in December. However, all is not lost...

Labour councillors also voted down the Green amendment, to keep the pool open until the end of the financial year so a rescue plan could be developed – the amendment was supported by the Lib Dems and Conservatives.

Well done to everyone who has been part of the campaign and especially those that Labour made wait a very long time at the meeting until the debate on Arthur Hill swimming pool started. It was a shame Labour ignored my request to move it up the agenda.

The swimming pool isn’t closed yet though. We have put the council on notice about a legal challenge. Our asset of community value application is in, as is the community right to challenge form.

As Peter Burt said at the meeting “this isn’t over. You will be hearing from us again.”

Best wishes
Rob and the Friends’ of Arthur Hill

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Tackling speeding on London Road by the hospital

Green councillors are often contacted by people raising speeding on London Road in the Cemetery Junction/hospital area. We have been working with police on this for a while. Update below. The headline is that they are now enforcing this area. Let us know what you think.

"Thank you for your recent letter about speed enforcement. I have taken the liberty of emailing you in reply to make sure you get a timely reply.

We deploy safety cameras and officers to tackle road safety issues. We  focus them mainly on enforcement of the so called “fatal 4” offences of speed, mobile phone use, drink/drug driving and seatbelt offences. This is because it I shown that targeted enforcement of these offences can positively impact on reducing the volume of killed or seriously injured collisions.

Clearly catching offenders is an important part of our role as without this there would be no deterrent, nor a route to educating drivers (through diversion courses where applicable).

In relation to the stretch of the A4 which you mention, we have a mobile camera enforcement site there. The site was approved in August 2014 and runs from Cemetery junction to the junction with Eldon Road which is just prior to the Royal Berkshire Hospital. I understand that you were supportive of the initial request for enforcement there.

In the last 12 months there have been 34 visits by the mobile camera van which have detected 1040 offences. These were supplemented by officer led enforcement on both an ad-hoc and targeted basis.

In the last 5 years (01/07/2016 to 30/06/2016) there have been 9 reported personal injury collisions along this section of the A4, 2 of which were serious injury collisions."

Monday, 10 October 2016

Help with tree planting in Palmer Park...

See below for a message from Kate about tree planting in Palmer Park:

Cultivation Field is planting 420 Woodland Trust tree saplings in Palmer Park, Reading, on the weekend of 12th-13th November 2016. RBC has given permission to plant the Woodland Trust trees. This project incorporates the local community, artists and groups including Transition Town Reading and the Green Party. We will be continuing a line of trees planted a few years ago along the fence next to the railway line.
For the tree planting on 12th November, we will start at 11am. Meet either in front of the sports centre or find us at the fence next to the railway line behind the back sports centre, (close to Palmer Park Avenue). Please bring your own digging tools, (spade, fork or trowel). If you would like to participate in this project please contact Cultivation Field through our contact page.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Community meeting to save Arthur Hill pool

Well done again to Peter for presenting the petition to the council, Kizzi for asking a question and everyone for coming to the demo and signing the petition. We now have a public meeting to discuss how we can save Arthur Hill swimming pool.

Customers and friends of Arthur Hill Pool are invited to a Community Meeting to discuss the future of Arthur Hill Swimming Pool and Reading Borough Council plans to close the pool.

7.30 – 9.30 pm, Thursday 6th October
The Warehouse Centre, 1A Cumberland Road, Reading, RG1 3LB

Come along and have your say.

Bring your ideas to keep the pool open!

All welcome – admission free

Best wishes
Rob White and the Friends’ of Arthur Hill

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Palmer Park Astroturf court closures

I got the following update from the council about works to the Palmer Park Astroturf lights meaning that the Astroturf pitches will be closed for 3 weeks at the start of October. See below for more detail:

"Following a safety inspection of the lighting at Palmer Park we need to replace the power supply and columns around the Astro-turf at Palmer Park.    This does NOT relate to concerns over lamp column structures but degradation of electrical supply. This was identified during regular routine inspection of electrical services. We are taking the opportunity to re-site the columns and replace the lamp fittings with a much more efficient arrangement. This will provide energy savings in comparison to the existing lamps and will also allow one court at a time to be illuminated rather than an all or nothing arrangement as present.

The work includes laying new power cables from the stadium building. Since the original lighting was installed trees have been planted over the cable runs or immediately adjacent to the columns.  Three trees will therefore need to be felled as part of this process. The trees are planted mainly as screening around the courts, and we are aware that if we encounter similar problems again in the future we may need to repeat the process if we replant trees in similar positions. On balance we feel it is worth maintaining this vegetative screen even if this means the trees have a limited period they can be grown before potential replacement. One tree to be felled is a large ornamental tree called a Catalpa. We will be planting 4 replacement trees this autumn.

This electrical work is scheduled to be undertaken from 3rd October and will mean the courts will be closed for 3 weeks. The tree works will precede this."

Thursday, 22 September 2016

4 ways to save Arthur Hill baths

Thanks for signing the petition to save Arthur Hill swimming pool ( As I write this email 873 people have currently signed it online and we have another 200 signatures on paper! If we can get to 1500 petition signatures (online and paper combined) this will force a debate on the issue at Council and buy us some time.

Here are 4 ways we can reach this target:

1. Promote the online petition using social media such as Facebook and Twitter (share from this Facebook page
2. Collect signatures on paper from family members, at schools and at work. Print out a petition sheet here:
3. Put up a poster promoting the petition and upcoming council meeting:
4. Come to the demo before the council meeting on Monday, September 26, 6 PM outside the new Civic Centre on Bridge Street. Just turn up or bring a sign

Thanks everyone in advance. Together we can make a difference on this.

Best wishes
Rob White

And the Friends of Arthur Hill Baths team