Friday, 20 December 2019

Reading University end of term update


We got the following update from Reading University. Green councillors will keep working with the University to improve the town for everyone.

This is probably my last post of the year so merry xmas everyone.

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As many of you may know, the University term ended on 13 December and the University closes for Christmas on the afternoon of Friday 20 December. Before we close, I wanted to send an update on local community activity this term (I’ve also sent this to local community groups, including East Reading SNF, Earley NAG, NARA, ACER, MERA, KCA and Woodley and North Earley Forum).
The University opens again on Thursday 2 January, but I will not be in the office until Monday 6 January. If you need to speak to someone at the University on 2 or 3 January, please call the switchboard on 0118 987 5123 or University Security Services on 0118 378 7799. University Street Wardens will begin patrols in local neighbourhoods again from Saturday 11 January.
New Neighbourhood Complaints Officer – January 2020To start with some very good news – the University has created extra resources to help manage neighbourhood complaints. From January, a new part-time Neighbourhood Complaints Officer will work Monday-Friday 8.30-12.30. This will provide extra resource to respond to complaints quickly and proactively manage local issues. Please continue to use the telephone number 0118 378 6764 and community@reading.ac.uk to raise complaints or issues and do feel free to contact me directly at any time.

3G All Weather Playing Pitch Event – 16 January 2020The University is holding an information event about the proposed 3G pitch on Thursday 16th January between 15:00-20:00, at the Reading University SportsPark. We are leafletting houses around the campus this week, including New Road, Elmhurst Avenue, Northcourt Avenue, Redlands Road and Marlborough Road. I have attached an electronic copy of the invitation – please do pass onto anyone who might be interested. I will also send a reminder out at the start of January.

Safety review of Whiteknights lakeWe carried out a safety review of the Whiteknights Campus lake and made a number of upgrades, which you can read in detail on our website.
University Alcohol Action PartnershipThe University has created a University Community Alcohol Partnership with Reading Borough Council, academics and professional service colleagues, to reduce alcohol harm by students on campus and in the local community. This term we have completed the following tasks:
         We have held 3 alcohol awareness and brief intervention training sessions at the start of term aimed at student bar workers and hall welfare reps. The training gives advice on the risks of excessive alcohol consumption, myth-busting, practical tips to consume alcohol responsibly and ways to support friends and peers. We have had very positive feedback and will continue to work with students and experts to further develop the training, before rolling it out to RUSU sports clubs and societies.
         We launched our Be A Mate campaign during national Alcohol Awareness Week. The campaign includes campus wide posters, social media activity and practical tools to encourage students to look after one another when consuming alcohol.
         The practical tools include measuring glasses for students to use to learn more about units and measurements and scratch-cards, which students can use to self-determine how much alcohol they consume a week and where to get help if they need it. We know from other universities that both these things are very successful at initiating conversations, which is one of the most challenging barriers when addressing alcohol harm.
         The Students’ Union Welfare Officer recorded a podcast on alcohol and mental health, including interesting interviews with the welfare rep of the rugby club and our expert on alcohol, Dr Ranjita Dhital, Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice.
         We have held a number of regular alcohol-free events on campus throughout the term. Some of these have been more popular than others, and are useful in learning why and how students consume alcohol. Free tasters of alcohol-free drinks have been well received by students, as have been low-alcohol and alcohol-free drinks for sale in halls bars. However serving alcohol-free beverages on busy club nights have proven less successful, but we know from feedback that many teetotal students want to socialise in the same venues as their friends who do drink alcohol – so we need to do more research and try more of these events.
         We are working with the new Alcohol and Drug provider in Reading, Change Grow Live (CGL), to provide support to students on campus and to potentially provide training to students who are disciplined for misconduct relating to misuse of alcohol and drugs.
Community Forum reportI recently sent a link to a report on the University Community Forum held on 26 September. You can find reports from all the University Community Forums held since 2018, on a new community webpage on the University website. This page will be regularly updated with community meeting reports.

Reading and Wokingham Student Strategy Partnership
The University has created a Reading and Wokingham Student Strategy Partnership, based on best practice from Manchester universities and Manchester City Council. The partnership includes key officers from Reading and Wokingham borough councils to discuss issues relating to students living in local neighbourhoods. The aim is to agree a partnership action plan for how we reduce negative impacts. We held the first meeting on 21 November 2019, and are currently agreeing the action plan including measurable activities. Once we have agreed an action plan, this will be published on our new community webpage.

Community Leaders ForumFinally, we aim to create a forum to bring together community leaders in the area, to better understand University impact in local neighbourhoods, and improve the way we communicate with community groups. I am still working on the detail of this forum, but we aim to include chairs of community and residents groups, ward councillors, faith leaders, trustees of non-profits and small business leaders. More information to follow on this.

Friday, 29 November 2019

East Reading gas holder to be demolished - unfortunately


At the last Planning Committee, unfortunately approval was given for three large blocks of flats to replace the existing East Reading Gas Holder. The blocks range in size from 2 to 9 storeys, and you can see the report that came to Committee here: https://democracy.reading.gov.uk/documents/s9032/ABB%20-%20190627%20Gas%20Holder%20Site%20PAC.pdf

Residents attended the meeting and spoke against it for its overbearing nature, sheer size and the fact that it was unsupported in the Local Plan. Green Councillor on the Committee, Josh Williams, also spoke against it as over-development on a small site, and the mass and scale of a 9 storey building being completely inappropriate for the area. He, along with three other members of the Committee, voted against the development going ahead, but sadly, all Labour Councillors voted for the application to be approved meaning that it was.

Thank you to all residents who took the time to engage with the planning process, with many objecting, and especially to those who attended the meeting itself.

We will miss the gas holder as piece of our industrial heritage and a landmark of East Reading. We don't object to development, especially for much needed housing, but we will continue to support residents against inappropriate and over-sized flats.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Council plans to relocate Phoenix College to Hamilton Centre #rdguk


The Reading Council consultation event on relocating Phoenix College to the Hamilton Centre - where the children's centre used to be until it was closed by the Labour council - is planned for Thursday 12th September between 3.30pm & 6.30pm and will take place in the Community room at Alfred Sutton Primary School.

Proposed works include:

Refurbishment of Existing Hamilton Road Centre
To provide general and specialist teaching accommodation,
ancillary and support spaces including recladding, re-roofing and
re-glazing of existing building.

New Build Hall Block
The construction of a single-storey block comprising main
entrance, dining room, kitchen and changing rooms and a double
height sports / assembly hall.
Associated hard and soft landscaping

Let us know what you think? rob@readinggreenparty.org.uk

We will share more on the planning application when it is submitted.

Monday, 9 September 2019

New Wokingham Road #rdg tiger crossing road safety audit...


The council has responded to our raising residents road safety concerns on the new Wokingham Road tiger crossing with details of the latest road safety audit. No major changes for now but keep letting the council know about any problems and copy us in (network.management@reading.gov.uk and rob@readinggreenparty.org.uk). We will keep working to improve road safety across Reading.

"We can confirm that a road safety audit was undertaken on changes to the crossing on the Wokingham Road in July, including two separate site visits at the end of the school day and a further visit at night. The audit was attended by a representative from Thames Valley Police and RBC officers, in addition to the independent assessor and another road safety professional. As part of the Stage 3 audit, the independent assessor considered concerns raised by members of the public, including those regarding the visibility of pedestrians on, or waiting to cross, the road.

Whilst the draft Road Safety Audit report does not recommend any fundamental changes to the design of the crossing at this time, it does set out the following three recommendations; the application of anti-skid or improved road surface on approach to the crossing, additional tactile paving outside the park to warn those with visual impairments that cyclists are joining the foot/cycle way and reducing the overhang of the tree on the northern footway outside the park to improve visibility of pedestrians/cyclists to eastbound traffic. These are currently being investigated and will be taken forward shortly.

The auditor has also suggested that both driver and pedestrian behaviour continues to be monitored over a short period of time and is reported back to him."

Thursday, 11 July 2019

East Reading power cable roadworks - road closures and lights


The council has got in contact with more information including timescales and specific road closures in connection with the SSE power cable installation roadworks – currently causing disruption on the Wokingham Road. More information below. Let us know how this goes and we will keep up the pressure for it to be done as quickly as possible.

If you have any questions contact Luke Massey at the council Luke.massey@reading.gov.uk if you are struggling to get an answer email me rob@readinggreenparty.org.uk

The council says:

"SSE are in the process of laying a new 33khw cable to increase the power supply to Readings Network/substations due to the current supply nearing capacity. The works began outside of Reading Borough (Wokingham Borough from A4 London Road) and will ultimately end at Northumberland Avenue/Cressingham Road sub-station. Due to the location of existing services within the carriageways, and the required space to direct the substantial cables along a suitable route, SSE has considered it necessary to close some streets for safety reasons while the works are carried out.

The works have been taking place on Wokingham Road under temporary traffic signals while ducting is laid between Palmer Park Avenue and Crescent Road. This phase of these works is due to be completed by SSE on 21st July, then to progress along Crescent Road under their full road closure until 1st September (throughout the School Holidays to minimise disruption to the schools within this Street).

SSE have committed to issuing a press release and to conducting a letter drop to affected properties prior to the works beginning here. They have provided the below programme of works, but please note this is subject to change dependant on any unforeseen engineering difficulties that they may encounter. SSE’s manager for this project has offered to host a meeting with local councillors to discuss the works in detail should you wish and will keep us updated on any significant developments.

Road Name
Area
Guide Dates
Traffic Management
Wokingham Road
Between Crescent Road and entrance to Palmer Park
17/06/19 – 21/07/19
Traffic Signals
Crescent Road
Between Wokingham Road and Addington Road
21/07/19 – 02/09/19
Road Closure
Cressingham Road
Between roundabout with Northumberland Avenue and Shinfield Road
05/09/19 – 26/10/19
Traffic Signals
Addington Road
Between Crescent Road and Alexandra Road
02/09/19 – 20/09/19
Road Closure
Alexandra Road
Between Addington Road and Upper Redlands Road
20/09/19 – 04/10/19
Road Closure
Upper Redlands Road
Crossing between Alexandra Road and Elmhurst Road
04/10/19 – 14/10/19
Traffic Signals
Shinfield Road
Between Cressingham Road and Elmhurst Road
26/10/19 – 21/12/19
Traffic Signals
A4 London Road
Between entrance to Palmer Park and Roundabout with A3290
14/10/19 – 03/11/19
Traffic Signals
A4 London Road
Across roundabout with A3290 to near Aisha Masjid & Islamic Centre
03/11/19 – 05/12/19
Lane Closures
Elmhurst Road
Between Upper Redlands Road and Shinfield Road
06/01/20 – 28/01/20
Closure
Northumberland Avenue
Between existing substation across roundabout into Cressingham Road
06/01/20 – 11/01/20
Traffic Signals
Palmer Park
Works within park land between Wokingham Road and London Road
TBC
TBC

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Wokingham Road #rdg roadworks


We have got more information through on the Wokingham Road roadworks. We are still trying to get a better idea on the timescale for these works. We will keep pushing for them to be over as soon as possible.

"Thank you Councillor, for raising your concerns regarding disruption caused by Roadworks  on Wokingham Road. We wish to clarify the works currently in progress are not related to the National Cycle Network which will follow later this year.  The works in progress are part of planned major works being carried out by SSE for the installation of a new 33khw cable being installed along the A4 corridor. The cable enters Reading Borough on London Road under the Network Rail Bridge, adjacent to the A3290.

At this juncture the cable will be divided into two, running in opposite directions; parallel to the rail line, towards the Tesco store, Napier Road and Vastern Road to connect in to the SSE sub-station. The other cable will cut across the back of Palmer Park and parallel to Palmer Park Avenue, exiting on Wokingham Road, leading into Crescent Road, Alexandra Road Elmhurst Road, Shinfield Road, Cressingham and down to Northumberland Avenue to feed in to SSE sub-station.

To help minimise disruption to Road Users in Wokingham Road these works have been planned under temporary traffic signals and allow for continuous use by Road Users. In comparison other sections of the works are planned with road closures and reduced lane availability in consideration of the timing of works during school term times or Summer holidays around Crescent Road Alexandra and Elmhurst Road. 

We are in frequent contact with SSE and the works are being closely monitored to ensure the works are being completed in a safe and timely manner. 

Should you Councillor, or your Constituent wish to discuss the works further directly with SSE we have been advised they would be happy to explain their works and we would be happy to arrange contact.

Please feel equally welcome to direct any further enquiries regarding these works through myself within the StreetWorks Team."