Monday, 30 March 2009

Cumberland Castle

Great news, the Council property affectionately known by locals as "Cumberland Castle" -- on Cumberland Road, due to the graffiti on it -- which has been empty for a number of years is now being brought back into use by another organisation. This has been a real eyesore in the area and a fly tipping hotspot so I am glad that our calls to get it back into use have been answered.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Alfred Sutton International Day

I just got back from the International Day fundraiser at the Alfred Sutton school. I spent the first hour taking money on the door and sheltering from the wind, rain and hail but that was okay because I had someone to talk to. I then went inside talked to people about the different countries -- 21 represented in total -- but more importantly sampled lots of delicious foods. At the end Richard McKenzie soothed us with the sounds of his saxophone, I helped pack up a bit and then left. All in all a great event which I hope the PTA repeat in the future!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Cycling in Reading -- is the bush too big?

Living in Newtown I spend a lot of time cycling down the Kennet side into the town centre. This is generally a nice cycle, but it gets a bit hairy round the back of the Queens Road car park. This is because there is a row of shrubs and trees at a sharp bend in the path. These stop you seeing round the corner making collisions more likely. I asked the company who own the car park to cut the shrubs which they have done. I would be interested to hear if people think they need to go any lower?

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Age of Stupid -- green tie premier

I went to see Age of Stupid -- film on climate change -- at the weekend at Vue in the town centre. Once I had recovered from the price of a ticket -- about £10 -- I enjoyed the evening. It started with a photo op on the green carpet -- from Freecycle -- then a bit of networking, then a live linkup to the premier in London, then the film and then another live linkup. The Reading one sold out so hopefully there will be some more screenings. Maybe someone on Eastenders will even go and see it as part of the show and it will make its way into the popular culture?

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

RESCUE weekend

I had a good RESCUE weekend. On the Saturday I helped Newtown GLOBE and residents clear one of the alleys at the top of Cumberland Road. We must of cleared about a skips worth of fly tipped waste!

In the afternoon I paid a visit to the group who were painting a mural in the Avon Place playground -- a seascape. It was looking great and I keep meaning to go back to see the finished product.

On the Sunday I helped a resident clear some of the fly tipped waste out of the alley between Church Road and Wokingham Road. Despite a bit of publicity it was just the two of us, but we still made some progress.

It would be good to have a Autumn RESCUE in future -- which the council has talked about before. I will definitely be trying to get more groups to take part of next time.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Reading RESCUE

It's that time of year again, Reading RESCUE is happening this weekend. The acronym stands for Rivers and Environmental Spaces Clean Up Event. There are things happening across the Reading area. I'll be helping clear up an alley in Newtown and another one off of the Wokingham Road. For details of all the events see the website:

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Lunch club tour and review

To meet people, make links to communities and get a good feed I have embarked on a lunch club tour. I thought I would plug the different lunch clubs that I go to on my blog and do a quick review.

The first lunch club I went to is almost opposite my new house on Cumberland Rd at the Warehouse/Wycliffe Church. It is at 12:45 p.m. on a Friday -- although not the next two weeks because the people that run it are away. I almost missed it due to stopping for a chat on the way! The food was vegetarian Indian. It was very tasty. There was water to drink and fruit salad to finish with. The cost was £2.50 and I'll definitely be going back when it restarts.

Monday, 9 March 2009

International women's day

I went to the International women's day event at RISC on Saturday. It was a good community event, with lots of people, and all the bands I saw were good. Especially the last one Invocal.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

AWE gets the go-ahead

Thanks to Peter for this update on the AWE expansion plans:

Dear Friends,

As you may have heard by now, West Berkshire Council have now made a decision on the planning application submitted by AWE to build a new nuclear warhead assembly / dissasembly facility at AWE Burghfield.

To no-one's great surprise, the planning committee decided to grant permission to allow the development to go ahead. The planning committee have been very pro-AWE when considering previous planning applications submitted by the company, and this week was no exception. The Council officers seemed desperate to push the application through as fast as possible and the councillors on the committee seemed to be more interested in the surfacing for a new pathway that is to be built along
Burghfield Road than in the problems associated with the development itself. Only one member of the committee voted against allowing the new nuclear factory to be built at Burghfield.

The points we made about flood risks, public safety and populations numbers in the protection zones around the development, and the failure of the committee to hear evidence from Reading Borough Council were all ignored by the committee. However, although we lost the vote we won the arguments hands down. There was massive press interest in the issue - solidly on our side - and one journalist told us "I've been covering AWE stories for 20 years and have never seen this level of opposition to a
development there before". This looks set to translate into further public distrust of AWE.

We are currently investigating the possibilities of putting pressure on the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Hazel Blears)to call the development in for a public inquiry. Rob Wilson, Martin Salter, and Caroline Lucas have already written to Hazel Blears asking for an inquiry. If you are able to help in contacting other local MPs (Theresa May, John Redwood, Richard Benyon, or MPs further afield in Basingstoke and Bracknell) please get in touch with me.

We will have another opportunity to put a spanner in the wheels of new development at AWE Aldermaston in a few weeks time when a new planning application is submitted for an enriched uranium facility at AWE Aldermaston. This will be an even bigger development than the one at Burghfield, raising a whole new set of safety and environmental risks. If you would like to help un the campaign against this new uranium facility please contact me to let me know.

Finally, a very big thank you to everyone who helped with this campaign by signing letters of objection; collecting signatures; visiting MPs, speaking at meetings, or in any other way.

Best wishes,


Thursday, 5 March 2009

New role of school governor

I have just taken on the new role of a school governor (responsible for raising standards at the school by helping take strategic decisions) at the Alfred Sutton school -- there are 15 of us in total and a few vacancies. It all came about because I had been campaigning on road safety outside the school and one of the existing governors informed me that there was a community governor vacancy. She sent me some information, I thought it sounded interesting and useful and so I applied.

At this stage it feels a bit daunting, but the other governors that I have met seem very supportive which helps.

Monday, 2 March 2009

February monthly report

February has been a very busy month mainly due to my house move -- I'm now on Cumberland Rd. Despite being without home e-mail access for over a week I've still managed to keep busy and get a few things done:

-- knocked on doors to talk to people -- we have now knocked on every door in the Ward since the elections in May campaigning on reducing junk mail and helping people tackle local issues

-- following on from conversations with residents we have got some new public litter bins, got graffiti cleared, requested yellow lines and made progress with getting streetlights fixed -- to name just a few of the bread and butter things we've been working on

-- did my crossing patrol duties at Alfred Sutton school

-- helped organise some RESCUE (Rivers and Environmental Spaces Clean Up Event) events for March

-- made some progress with getting the Sun Street community garden finished

-- lobbied the Council for a better insulation scheme

-- kept people informed with regards to the landscaping works in Palmer Park

-- supported the campaign against AWE Burghfield expansion plans

-- attended meetings including: PTA, East Reading Community Workers, Transition Town Reading, waste stakeholder meeting, Green Party AGM.