Wednesday, 18 December 2013

How can we help you? Residents' advice surgeries in #parkward #rdguk

If you have any issues of concern your Park Ward Green Party councillors – Jamie Whitham, Melanie Eastwood and Rob White – will be holding the following residents' advice surgeries. No appointment necessary.

Saturday, December 21, outside the New Christian Community Action shop, 93 Wokingham Road, 10 AM to 10:30 AM

Saturday, January 25, outside the Co-op, Cemetery Junction, 10 AM to 10:30 AM

Saturday, February 22, outside Earley Cafe, 121 Wokingham Road, from 10 AM to 10:30 AM

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Kwik Save coming to Cemetery Junction... #rdguk

See below for an update on Kwik Save coming to Cemetery Junction. It is great news that this building is going to be locally listed to give it some protection, the Granby is a real landmark at the junction.

"Just to let you know, the applicant has withdrawn the planning application for the single storey rear extension and new glass shop front at 120 London Road (130970).
Objectors will be informed in writing.

The building has also now been placed on the List of Locally Important Buildings and Structures of Local Heritage Significance (The Local List) – the site owners have a 6 week period to come back to the Council with any reason why the building should not be locally listed."

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Picture of my #Movember moustache and a threat

As the keen eyed amongst you may have noticed. We are now in December and I haven't shaved off my Movember moustache – growing a moustache for men's health.

This is because I have been particularly bad at doing any fundraising.

In the spirit of aiming low and hitting my target what I would like is for 10 people to sponsor me one pound each, to raise £10 for men's health – I already have one.

You can do this here:

Think of Sam – my partner – she hates my moustache and wants me to get rid of it. If 10 people don't donate one pound each then Sam may need to donate the whole £10 to get rid of it!

end of Movember

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Distance markers installed around the perimeter of Palmer Park #rdguk

Runners, walkers and other Palmer Park users may be interested to know that some distance markers have been installed. See below:

"I am pleased to be able to inform you that the stainless steel distance markers have now been set into the path following an anti-clockwise route around the perimeter of the park every 100m.  The total distance of the route which starts close to the play area is 1633m.

We have recently installed identical markers in the path at Cintra Park and these are already proving to be very popular."

Monday, 18 November 2013

Find out if your road is part of the additional pothole repair scheme #rdguk

The Council is prioritising some roads for pothole repairs. These include roads used a lot by buses and cyclists.

In Park Ward roads which are getting potholes repaired above and beyond the normal cycle are:

London Road
Wokingham Road
Eastern Avenue
Whiteknights Road
St Peter's Road
Wykeham Road
Cholmeley Road
Liverpool Road
Radstock Road

The full report and list of roads across Reading is here. Item 17, Highways Maintenance Update.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Kings Meadow lido, London Road improvements, and a samurai sword all in Reading Green News

Below is our latest monthly email newsletter. Sign up here:

Hello all

You might have seen Melanie on the front page of Get Reading. This was following her principled stand for councillors on the planning committee to listen to residents to make sure that projects such as the cycle bridge are as good as possible.

Or you might have heard that Jamie found a samurai sword while litter picking in Newtown as part of Reading RESCUE!

In short we’ve been keeping busy on a local ward issues like litter and the bigger issues like cycling infrastructure.

As a small political party the Internet is a great way for us to get our message on these issues and our values – fairness, integrity and the environment – across to people. So please ‘like’ our Facebook page, and share stories on our website with the ‘like’ and retweet buttons.

Here is a brief update on other things Reading Green Party has up to recently:

Blog post on the future of the Kings Meadow lido by Rob White

Council moves to speed up A4 journey times

Green councillor cuts through litter

Letter on slippery pavements

Reading’s bike hire scheme

A new cycle strategy for Reading

Greens propose supermarket tax

If you've got any feedback, ideas or want to get more involved please get in touch.

Please feel free to forward this on to other interested people and as always, for more recent news from the Green Party, to join us, or to find out more about our policies, go to:

Best wishes

Rob White, Melanie Eastwood and Jamie Whitham

Green Party councillors

PS the Green Party is a democratic membership led organisation. The more members we have the more we can get done. Please consider joining:

More cycle parking for the Wokingham Road and Cemetery Junction #rdguk

On the Wokingham Road outside PFC people kept locking their bikes to the bin store meaning it was hard to keep a bin there. We now have some more bike parking coming to this area as well as the South side of Cemetery Junction. See below:

“We have reviewed your request for additional cycle parking outside PFC on Wokingham Road. As a result, we will aim to install two new Sheffield stands in this location shortly.

In addition, Andrew Wood requested an update on your inquiry regarding the installation of cycle planters outside Crown Colonnade. There are plans to install three cycle stands in this area as part of the Eastern Area Study.”

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Poppies in Palmer Park #rdguk

The keen eyed amongst you will have noticed that a couple of strips of land have been rotovated in Palmer Park and elsewhere around Reading. This is following a request from a resident which I passed on. See below for more information.

"In response to a request to commemorate the start of WWI 100 years ago next year, the Parks Department was asked to arrange the sowing of poppies at appropriate locations across the Borough.

Our first idea was to sow poppies around or near war memorials in parks (Forbury Gardens and Christchurch Meadows), and at Tilehurst Triangle. To supplement this, we bought sufficient to include some other prominent locations.

For poppies to come back year after year, the ground needs to be disturbed annually (as with annual ploughing of farmland).  We are not intending to do this.  This will be a one-year project, specifically for the centenary.  After flowering next year, we will simply re-commence mowing, and allow the grass to come back.

The ground has been mechanically rotovated, and the seeds broadcast by hand spreader.

The sites that have been sown are:

- behind the war memorial at the Victoria Gate at Forbury Gardens

- around the war memorial at Christchurch Meadows (leaving mown access to the ‘front’ for wreath-laying on 11 November)

- in front of the war memorial on Tilehurst Triangle

- on the large roundabout at the corner of Tilehurst and Liebenrood Roads

- on the Wokingham Road frontage of Palmer Park near the library and children’s playground

- in some of the large area of conservation grass at Balmore Walk

- outside the Whitley Advice Shop

Kind regards"

Friday, 8 November 2013

Crescent Road to be resurfaced #rdguk

It proved a bit trickier than initially thought to get Crescent Road resurfaced, but Mel, Jamie and I have kept up the pressure on this through thick and thin and it is now going to happen. See below:

"Dear Councillor,

I am writing to notify you with regards to arrangements that have been made to resurface the existing highway on Crescent Road, between the junctions with Eastern Avenue and Hamilton Road from Tuesday 12th November to Wednesday 13th November.

In order to keep the duration of the works to a minimum and to ensure that workers and members of the public are kept safe it has been deemed necessary to close the road whilst the work is carried out which will be between the hours of 08.00 – 18.00h."

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Cumberland Road to Amity Road cut through to be brightened up

Just got a response from our request to brighten up the cut through between Cumberland Road and Amity Road:

"Thank you for the above enquiry, regarding, Trees in the  cut though between Amity Road and Cumberland Road

The bulbs and machinery have arrived from Holland in October 2013 and the planting have started.  Daffodils bulbs will be planted in the cut though in November 2013 the trees are on order and two cherry trees will also be planted later in November 2013.

Thank you for your concern and for drawing this case to my attention, and I will update you once the works have been completed."

Friday, 1 November 2013

Help needed with a final push for a Reading wide 20 mph zone ahead of the #rdguk Traffic Committee

The agenda for the Traffic Committee is out and the small example 20 mph area proposed a few meetings ago has grown to a good sized area taking in a lot of East Reading and including all of Park Ward – item 11 on the agenda.

The map below shows the proposed area within the solid red and blue lines. The green areas are existing 20 mph zones.

We have been lobbying for 20 mph for a number of years to calm our roads down and create a safer or pleasant environment for walking and cycling – with some successes like the recent Talfourd to Holmes scheme.

But we would like to see a town wide approach in all residential areas. There is still time, ahead of the meeting on Tuesday, November 5, to sign our petition to encourage the Council to go for a town wide "big bang" approach.

We are also going to have a push collecting signatures on paper outside schools early next week. If you can help let me know – or 07985923938.

Please spread the word.

20 mph map-page-001

Monday, 14 October 2013

Saturday morning photo diary: Reading RESCUE, Samurai sword and cycle demo #rdguk

I had a busy day on Saturday taking part in both Reading RESCUE and the cycle demo.

We met at the bottom of Cholmeley Road in East Reading at 10 AM and litter picked the Thames Side, the Kennet Side and the Coal Wood. We also cleared an alley in Manchester Road.

The weather was far better than the previous RESCUE event that I attended when it snowed! It was great to see lots of people out and about making a difference tidying up the area. The find of the day, from Green councillor Jamie Whitham, was an ornamental Samurai sword!

Reading RESCUE before tidy up photo:

Rescue 2013 winter before lq

Reading RESCUE after tidy up photo:

RESCUE 2013 winter after lq

Jamie with ornamental Samurai sword photo:

Jamie Samurai sword RESCUE lq

Next I headed off to the Reading Cycle Campaign demo only to find it had been cancelled. Fortunately and coincidentally there was a leisure ride taking place around the cycling facilities in the town centre. So I joined this instead. The number of cyclists who were taking part – 108 – showed the strength of feeling that there is still some way to go to improve cycling facilities around the town.

Cycling along the north side of the Thames:

bike ride Christchurch Meadow lq

I got home at about 2 PM for a well earned rest.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Reading RESCUE community litter pick on Saturday, October 12

Rob and Mel RESCUE lqI love living in East Reading because of the community, diversity and proximity to both the town centre and the Thamesside. And I know from talking to many of you that you value the area for these and many more reasons.

One thing that I think lets Newtown down a bit is the litter and fly tipping.

Reading RESCUE is a community tidy up organised by the Council. They provide gloves, litter pickers, bags etc and will take away the rubbish afterwards. It is a great way to make a difference locally, meet others and strengthen our community. All we need is people...

Details of this year’s Newtown Reading RESCUE – organised by Newtown GLOBE and the Kennet and Brunel community Association – are as follows:

When: Saturday October 12 from 10 AM for as long as you like

Where: the bottom of Cholmeley Road where it meets the River Kennet

Depending on the number of people we will litter pick some of the Thamesside, Kennet Side, Kennet Mouth and the Coal Wood. We will probably do a few hours, but the event is informal so feel free to stay for as long or as short as you want.

If you have your own gloves please bring them along.

If you can’t find us on the day please give me a call on my mobile phone: 07985923938

There are other events across Reading, over about a week, see the website for more information:

Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday, October 12 and making a difference.

Best wishes

Rob White

Newtown GLOBE

9667183 or 0798 5923938

69 Coventry Road, Reading, RG1 3ND

Thursday, 26 September 2013

How can we help you? Residents' advice surgeries in #parkward #rdguk

If you have any issues of concern your Park Ward Green Party councillors – Jamie Whitham, Melanie Eastwood and Rob White – will be holding the following residents' advice surgeries. No appointment necessary.

Friday, September 27, outside Newtown primary school, School Terrace, 3 PM to 3:30 PM

Friday, October 18, outside Alfred Sutton primary school, Wokingham Road, 3 PM to 3:30 PM

Friday, November 22, at the junction of Church Road and St Peter’s Road, in the vicinity of Earley St Peter’s primary school, from 3 PM to 3:30 PM

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

King’s Meadow Baths #rdguk saved, but will you be able to afford to go in?

One of the biggest items on the agenda of the Policy committee earlier in the week was King's Meadow Baths – item 8 on the agenda.

There were a number of organisations/people who had expressed an interest in acquiring the site from the Council each with a different opinion on how the baths should be restored.

Labour's preferred option was Clifton Lido. I'm sure they will do a good job of restoring the baths, but the per swim price mentioned of £20 is going to be unaffordable for many people.

Their second preference was Mr Ali's scheme but unfortunately he proposes to fill the pool in.

I voted in support of the King's Meadow Campaign proposal which called on the council to provide backing for a national lottery bid. Unfortunately we were defeated. So it would seem that we are either going to end up with a pool which is too expensive or no pool.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Warm Homes Initiative comes to Newtown #rdguk

We have been lobbying for a while for the Council to bring its Green, Warmer, Safer campaign to Newtown. This offered free insulation measures amongst other things to everyone in a particular area and the Council has been working round areas of deprivation.

This scheme has changed its name to the Warm Homes Initiative and unfortunately there is less money available, but it has made it to Newtown.

There is still lots that you can get for free which can make a real difference to tackling climate change and your bills. See below for the flier – click to make the pages bigger..

Warm Homes Initiative Flyer-page-001 (1)Warm Homes Initiative Flyer-page-002

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Travellers in Palmer Park #rdguk

Below is an update from the Council on the travellers who are in Palmer Park:

Officers have now served notices on the two caravans at Palmer Park which arrived this afternoon. These vehicles are part of the same traveller group who have been setting up camp at many sites across Reading over the last several weeks.

They gained access onto the site by driving onto the footpath from the corner of Wokingham road and Palmer Park Avenue. They did not force entry and therefore no damage was caused.

Rebecca Wrigley will be attending site first thing tomorrow with the police and will be carrying out the necessary welfare checks.

It is expected more caravans will arrive tonight and Parks staff will be serving the necessary papers on the new traveller arrivals first thing tomorrow.

It is hoped that the police will use their Section 61 powers as the group grows, and we will update you as soon as we have further information.

Please let me know if you have any questions in the meantime.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Arthur Hill reopens, Council buys East Reading education site and action session all in Reading Green News

Below is our latest monthly email newsletter. Sign up here:


As always you can find below a selection of what your local Green Party has been up to over the last month. If you are on Facebook we have started a new page to keep people updated on our work. Please ‘like’ us.

Park Ward councillors welcome the reopening of Arthur Hill swimming pool

Council buys west end of old TVU site from housing developer

Reading Pupils mark Malala Day

Residents benefit from bus lane extension

No council tenant will be evicted solely on bedroom tax arrears

More electric car charging points coming to Reading

Sleeping rough so others don’t have to

Open letter: Our NHS is not a cash cow

Major work planned for Reading’s woodlands

And coming up we have an action session and social in East Reading:

Doorknocking and delivering session promoting Reading RESCUE (community litter pick) followed by a barbecue (optimistic we know) on Saturday, September 21, meeting at 11 AM at 69 Coventry Road, RG1 3ND. Email us for more details or have a look at the Facebook event here.

Best wishes

Rob White, Melanie Eastwood and Jamie Whitham

Green Party councillors, Reading

Monday, 2 September 2013

Arthur Hill swimming pool reopened #rdguk

I popped into the newly reopened Arthur Hill swimming pool this morning. The attendant was kind enough to give me a tour of the works. Forgive my massive oversimplification, but the corroded beam (top right of the photo running from back to front) has been repaired and better supported (white pillars running from ceiling to floor) – see my photo below. The poolside has also been resealed.

Arthur Hill supports underneath pool

Friday, 30 August 2013

Reading Peace Group update on #Syria local and national action #rdguk

This is the latest update from Reading Peace Group. You can sign up for email updates here:

"The world will be watching London tomorrow - we need the biggest
possible turnout to send a message around the globe that the anti war
majority is staying in the streets".
- Stop the War Coalition

Dear friends,

Congratulations and many thanks to everyone who came out at short notice
to demonstrate in Reading yesterday against attacks on Syria. Public
actions like ours were vital in helping to defeat David Cameron's war
plans in Parliament - but Cameron will be keen to push the matter
forward again and Obama is ready to commit the US to military action, so
the crisis isn't over yet.

1) Stop the War Coalition national demonstration tomorrow (Saturday)
Meet at Reading station (South side) by the information desk and screens
to travel to London together at 11.00 am. Please have your ticket
bought and be ready to travel then, as there can often be long queues at
the ticket office on Saturday.
In London, gather on Temple Place, off Embankment (nearest tube: Temple)
at 12 noon for march via Parliament and Downing Street to Trafalgar
Square where a rally will be held.


2) Weekly Peace Vigils in Reading every Friday evening.
We will be holding a peace vigil in Reading town centre every week on
Friday evening until the crisis is over. Join us from 6-7 pm outside
the Old Town Hall in Friar Street, near Marks & Spencer. There will be
someone there every week with banners and flags. We are also hoping to
organise a similar vigil on Saturdays for those who can't manage Friday

3) Reading Peace Group business meeting
There will be a Reading Peace Group business meeting to discuss future
campaigning on Syria and group affairs on Monday 9 September. All welcome.
Meeting Room 1, RISC Centre, 35-39 London Street, Reading, RG1 4PS
7.30 - 9.00 pm, Monday 9 September.

4) Burghfield blockade, Monday 2 September
At the same time as British government ministers are champing at the bit
to attack Syria over the use of chemical weapons, Britain's own weapons
of mass destruction are quietly being manufactured at the AWE Burghfield
nuclear factory near Reading.

Action AWE and Trident Ploughshares have set up a two week disarmament
camp near the base and on Monday a blockade is planned with the aim of
closing down the base for the day. All welcome.


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Reading Peace Group don't attack #Syria – in Reading town centre on Thursday #rdguk

As the tragedy continues to unfold in Syria it is good to see Reading Peace Group organising some local action:

"The Cruise Missile Liberals, who casually call for other people’s children to fight their wars and for bombs to fall on the heads of those they will never meet, are beginning to cry for military action".
- Owen Jones, Independent, 25 August 2013

Join Reading Peace Group and friends in Reading town centre on Thursday to say 'Not In My Name' to the government's plans for a military attack on Syria.

Peace vigil between 6 pm - 7pm at the Queen Victoria Statue in Friar Street, outside Marks & Spencers, at the same time as Parliament votes on approving military action.

All welcome - bring friends, positive attitude, and flags / placards / banners

Stop the War Coalition are organising events in London this week to oppose attacks on Syria:

- Protest tomorrow 5pm, Wednesday 28 August, Downing Street, London
- National Demonstration: Saturday 31 August, 12 noon, Embankment, London

More details:

Read Hans Blix in the Huffington Post discussing why an attack on Syria will be "a sad day for international legality":

Friday, 23 August 2013

#ArthurHill to reopen on Monday, September 2...hopefully #rdguk

I recently got the following update from the Council on Arthur Hill. I know lots of people have been frustrated that it has been closed over the summer. Personally I have trekked over to both Central and Meadway for a swim and so will definitely appreciate having Arthur Hill so close when it reopens. We will keep pushing on this and let you know when we have some more information.

"Arthur Hill Pool and Fitness Studio Update – 21st August 2013

Repair works at Arthur Hill Pool and Fitness Studio are progressing well and all structural work is on schedule to be completed by the end of next week. Our engineers are planning to start the re-commissioning of the plant equipment and swimming pool on Tuesday 27th August to get everything ready for the re-opening of the site the following week.

The provisional re-opening date of the site will be Monday 2nd September 2013. A further update will be sent out after Tuesday 27th August to confirm the date in case there are any issues found with the plant operations after they have been out of action for a while.

For customers who have had their memberships temporarily suspended, Direct Debit collections will recommence on 1stOctober 2013 and customers will be able to use the site from re-opening.

While Arthur Hill is closed your nearest RSL gym facility can be found at Palmer Park Sports Stadium, Wokingham Road,Reading. Tel: 0118 937 5080. Your nearest RSL swimming pool is Central Swimming Pool, Battle Street, Reading. Tel: 0118 937 5070. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused and we look forward to welcoming you at our other sites during the closure."

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Picnic and petition for no park-and-ride on the Thamesside #rdguk

Thanks to everyone who has signed our ‘No park-and-ride on the Thamesside’petition so far. Reading and Wokingham are still pressing ahead with their plans for the car park, and we learnt recently that their plans for the link road are also further ahead than we thought.

Sorry about the short notice but we had the idea of a picnic by the Thames in the vicinity of the park-and-ride site. This would be a good opportunity for people to get their heads around where the link road will go and where the car park will go.

We thought we better organise one quickly before the good weather goes. We will be meeting this Sunday (August 25) at 12 noon where Cholmeley Road meets the River Kennet.

We will walk to Kennetmouth and then along the Thames taking in the location of the link road and the park-and-ride car park. Then at approximately 12:30 PM we will have a picnic on the green space by the Thames in the vicinity of the Wokingham Waterside centre.

Let me know if you can make this and feel free to bring along a few friends. And remember to bring along some picnic food.

PS if you haven’t signed the petition yet it can be found here:

We have also set up a Facebook page here please like us:

Friday, 16 August 2013

#Walking and #cycling improvements in East Reading update #rdguk

Good outcomes on walking and cycling facility improvements in East Reading so far, more to come:

"Dear Steering Group Members

Please see below an update on progress with delivery of the pedestrian and cycle schemes as agreed at the Eastern Area Steering Group meeting in June.

· The two pedestrian refuge islands on Redlands Road (near to the junctions with Acacia Road and Addington Road) have been installed and the resurfacing works are scheduled for the end of the month.

· Implementation of the zebra crossing on Redlands Road, to be positioned between the junctions with Morgan Road and Redlands Road, is due to commence at the end of this week and will be completed once the resurfacing has been undertaken.  Consultation with local residents directly affected by the scheme has resulted in the crossing being repositioned further north, closer to the junction with Morgan Road.

· Implementation of dropped kerbs and associated works in Craven Road, to form a pedestrian refuge island to the north of the junction with Erleigh Road, is planned for September.

· Implementation of the advisory cycle lanes on Southampton Street and Silver Street is planned for September.

· The procurement process to appoint a contractor to undertake the substantial works at Cemetery Junction and London Road is currently being progressed, with works scheduled to commence in November."

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Courses at the Ridgeline Trust #rdguk

I got the following from the Ridgeline Trust:

"A couple of free introduction courses running at Ridgeline – therapeutic gardening in East Reading – if you have any individuals in mind, or can help spread the word?

1)  We have a free 6 week social & horticultural therapy introduction course, at the garden, aimed at people with physical or mental disabilities, or carers, starting on Tue 10th Sep(for 2hrs, 10.30am - 12.30pm).  We would like the group to be mixed, so on the whole would only like to see up to 2 people from a particular group or organisation.  We are looking for 8-12 people for the course, we have a few people in mind so far.  There will be a new course running from 29th October for a new batch of people if demand is high, and again early 2014. 

2) We have a Sow & Grow course for people over 50, in association with Thrive.  We need to determine demand before we can determine course length etc, but would like to do an initial session atleast.  This would probably be on a Tues or Weds, around 2pm-4pm, with the session to take place before end of Sep."

Arthur Clark, Palmer Park lighting and school places all in Reading Green News #rdguk

Below is our latest (August) monthly supporters email newsletter. You can sign up for it on the Reading Green Party website on the right-hand side or by emailing me:

Hello all,

We hope you are having a good summer. Below is a brief update of what Reading Green Party has up to recently.

One small thing first though. Do you have a Twitter or Facebook account? If you click through and read a story, why not ‘like’ it or Tweet it using the buttons at the bottom of the story. This is easy to do and really useful as it helps spread our message to new people. Thanks in advance.

The last Naach Gana in Reading?

Action needed on badly maintained and dangerous roads in Caversham

Happy Birthday, NHS!

Greens welcome new lighting at Palmer Park

Council wins support for more primary school places

Closing Arthur Clark takes us backwards not forwards

Crossing patrol volunteer hangs up his lollipop

If you've got any feedback, ideas or want to get more involved please get in touch.

Please feel free to forward this on to other interested people and as always, for more recent news from the Green Party, to join us, or to find out more about our policies, go to:

Best wishes

Rob White, Melanie Eastwood and Jamie Whitham

Green Party councillors

PS we have a NEW Facebook page, please ‘like’ us:

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Play Streets in Reading @Aliceplayingout #rdguk

The roads that have applied for the Play Streets scheme are listed below.

Talfourd Avenue
Larkswood Close
South View Avenue
School Terrace
St Peter’s Road
Lorne Street
Blenheim Road

We have three in Park Ward, it could have been five but unfortunately the organisers were put off by the amount of bureaucracy/legwork required. Maybe next year we will be able to reduce this.

Well done to the organisers and good luck.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Help shape the future of Heathrow airport business consultation @hacan1 @airportwatch @greenKeithmep

I thought people might be interested in helping shape the future of Heathrow airport. I'm sure that the people running the consultation will want to hear from a wide variety of businesses.

Green MEP for the Southeast put out a press release on expansion recently.

"Thames Valley Berkshire LEP, along with four other partnership organisations around Heathrow (Buckinghamshire Thames Valley LEP, Oxfordshire LEP, Enterprise M3 LEP and West London Business), has appointed Regeneris Consulting to conduct a study looking into the economic implications of future development scenarios for Heathrow Airport. The study will be looking at the three main options: a new hub airport to the east or north-east of London, with the closure of Heathrow; an expanded Heathrow; and a “do-nothing” option.

To help inform the work, Regeneris is carrying out a business survey and we would be very grateful if you could spare a few minutes to respond to the questions before the closing date of 23 August. Click here to take part in the survey.

Once completed, the study will be submitted to the Airports Commission chaired by Howard Davies to inform the debate on the UK’s aviation infrastructure needs.

Please note: in order to maximise the engagement with businesses about how important Heathrow Airport is to them, this survey is being sent out via a number of different business networks. As a result, you may receive the link to this survey more than once. If this is the case, please accept our apologies for this duplication. We are keen to get feedback from as many businesses as possible, as this will help us to make evidence-based representations to the Airports Commission on how any changes to the status of Heathrow would affect businesses."

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Help clean up your community with @ReadingRESCUE #rdguk

Do you know of a grot spot in your local area? If so, why not get involved with Reading RESCUE – community clear up/litter pick – and organise an event to tidy it up?

If you don't want to organise one yourself, closer to the event a list is published and you can get involved with which ever event you choose.

Dear RESCUE Organisers

Hope you are well and enjoying the weather. Some updates from RESCUE that may be of interest, especially if you are looking to take part in our next event:

1) The RESCUE registration form is open until 16th September for clean up teams* to register for Autumn RESCUE, 10 - 12 October.

2) We have a refreshed website, which you can visit when you go to read our latest newsletter found on this page of the website.

3) We are just finalising the volunteer pack: a useful resource for new groups in particular.  I will notify you when this is complete and available on the website.

4) Lastly, the Mayor will be hosting an appreciation reception for RESCUE volunteers.  It will be in early September, so if you have been taking part in RESCUE for a few years, please expect an invite in your email box soon.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Road safety at Cemetery Junction #rdguk

At the last full Council meeting I kept up the pressure to improve road safety at Cemetery Junction. See below for my question and the response. It is amazing that in so many words there can be so little substance! We will keep lobbying for action though.

QUESTION NO. 8 in accordance with Standing Order No.10

Councillor White to ask the Lead Councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning & Transport:

Road Safety Improvements, King’s Road

Over a year ago on February 21, 12-year-old Harsh Dharmendra was hit and killed by a vehicle while he was crossing King's Road at cemetery junction. The trial has now finished and justice has been done. However the Council has not implemented any road safety improvements on Kings Road yet. What action does the Council plan to take on this issue and when?

REPLY by Councillor Page (Lead Councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning & Transport):

I thank Cllr White for his question and the opportunity to up-date on this tragic case.

By way of background, colleagues will be aware that the tragic accident causing the death of 12 year-old Harsh Dharmendra resulted in the trial and conviction of the driver, Aadil Asghar, at Reading Crown Court.

Mr Asghar, 25, was jailed for five-and-a-half-years for killing Harsh by dangerous driving, banned for 5 years and will have to take an extended driving test before regaining his licence.

The jury convicted Asghar after hearing how his Audi fatally hit the 12 year-old at a pedestrian crossing as he sped down a bus lane in King's Road. The Judge told Mr Asghar that he alone was to blame for the death of Harsh Dharmendra as he tried to cross King's Road.

Mr Asghar had illegally driven his Audi down the bus lane in King's Road at about 45mph, and witnesses had seen his Audi cutting in and out of traffic earlier in the journey on February 21 2012.

The court heard Asghar had been involved in a collision in the bus lane in 2007, just 100 yards from the fatal collision, and was sent on a driving improvement course. He was given three points for exceeding a 30mph limit in March 2009. His Audi was caught on camera driving in another bus lane in Reading in October 2011 and he was convicted of jumping a red light in Earley in December 2011, leading to six month disqualification.

Sentencing, the Judge said he believed Asghar deliberately entered the bus lane in King's Road in congested rush-hour traffic. He said: "You did so because your manner of driving was aggressive, selfish and heedless of the safety of others. By your actions that day, you deprived a loving family of their young son. The simple fact is that he would be alive today if you had not behaved so irresponsibly. This was a wholly avoidable accident which caused a wholly avoidable death. Only you are to blame."

We all know Cemetery Junction is a challenging area that carries significant volumes of vehicular traffic, as well as catering for pedestrians that need to cross the road. This tragic fatality has put the area in the spotlight and we all agree that road safety and reducing casualties is a priority. As a member of the Eastern Area Steering Group, Cllr White is well aware that much of the work is focused on road safety and exploring options for reducing casualties.

Such busy junctions are to be expected within the urban environment and all road users are required to behave appropriately when travelling through the area. The Highway Code helps everyone understand what is required of them and if we all acted as we are supposed to then Cemetery Junction would be as safe as it could be.

The Council produces an annual Road Safety Programme based on injury accident statistics which identifies patterns of accidents that can be treated. This is an ongoing process and will include Kings Road even though safety improvements were carried out in 2005. As was clear in the tragic case of Harsh Dharmendra - where aggressive, dangerous and selfish driving took place - anything that we do is unlikely to stop irresponsible individuals who are determined to break the law.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Reading Old cemetery at Cemetery Junction on TV #rdguk

Last night the Cemetery Junction cemetery featured on Urban Jungle with Chris Packham! For those who didn't see it it is on BBC iPlayer. It is the first item after the introductions. You might recognise a few locals traipsing around the cemetery looking a bit bleary eyed for our 4 AM dawn chorus event.

This event was organised by the Friends' of Cemetery Junction group. If you would like to find out about more wildlife and history events in the cemetery let me know ( and I will add you to our email list.

We also have a Facebook group here.

Reading Town FC is now the only trade union owned club in the country #rdguk

Thought this might be of interest:

"Dear all,

They play in a red 'n' black strip. They are the only club fully owned by the trade union movement. Their goal is to create a fully anti-corporate, union owned, community football club.

No not St. Pauli, rather "the St Pauli of the Thames Valley"... READING TOWN FC!

Ok, the Premier League this ain't and the crowd can be counted in tens. 

But, Reading Town Football Club is now owned by Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Council and sponsored by the GMB union. It is the only trade union owned club in the Country.

Their sponsor says:

"Reading Town have their first home game on 10 August at 3pm. Can you put the word around that Left and union activists are especially welcome at Reading Town"

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Roads resurfaced, but for how long? #rdguk

A number of people have complained to me about roads being resurfaced and then deteriorating very quickly. I raised a few specific roads, which had been mentioned to me, below is the response. The main point raised is that roads being resurfaced are guaranteed for two years:

"Dear Councillor White,

Thank you for your recent enquiry regarding the Resurfacing Programme 2013/2014.

There is a 2 year guarantee on materials for schemes on both the major and minor resurfacing programme so the work scheduled for Rotherfield Way and Oxford Road over the next few weeks would have a materials guarantee of 2 years.

I have checked the records we hold and Rotherfield Way and the section of Oxford Road near Tilehurst Station do not appear to have been resurfaced in the last 10 years. Given it is at least 10 years any previous guarantees would have expired.

With regards to Kiln Road I cannot find any records of Kiln Road being resurfaced in recent years so any previous guarantees also would have expired.

Hope this is helpful."

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Walk for women in Reading #rdguk #walkforwomen

Just heard about this national event. And we have one going on in Reading.

A few words from Cath, the organiser:

I decided to try and organise the walk after finding out nothing had been set up for Reading - which seemed a huge shame - so it is a bit last minute! For me, not to mark this event would be to belittle the efforts of all those women (and men) who fought to alter society and thereby allow women like me to live as I choose today - in a tolerant & equal society in which I have both a voice and the right to vote. I think this becomes even more pertinent when you look at the situation in so many countries currently and the atrocities perpetrated against women who choose not to live under the religious dogma of the state , or who simply want to be educated... oops, think I might be ranting!?

The walk will start on Sunday from the Queen Vic statue near Reading Museum at 12.30pm. On the way through Newtown we will be picking up another group from by the Fisherman's Cottage and then slowly making our way to the Tea garden at Sonning Lock for refreshments before the return journey. Have had about 20 people show an interest so far, but I think turnout will be somewhat weather dependant!

Friday, 19 July 2013

Big Brother is watching you, stop Tempora

Guest post from a local Green Party member concerned about privacy:

Given the recent revelations about GCHQ’s ‘Tempora’ program UK citizens are facing the greatest threat to their civil liberties in this country’s history. Indiscriminate surveillance is being collected on the populace on a massive scale with no public mandate or accountability. This is being allowed through a legal loophole which would have been legitimized with the Snooper’s Charter. If this kind of system is allowed to exist at all at the very least it should have a mandate from both the public and parliament – with external accountability and auditing. No publicly accountable body currently exists to audit this program.

Why is privacy important?

Privacy is the tool with which individuals maintain their autonomy and individuality. This is the ability to make your own decisions from what to wear, what to eat, who to socialise with, what to read, what to watch, what to believe, who to vote for, whom to worship; without regard to your neighbours or rulers. As soon as an individual becomes aware of being monitored behaviour automatically changes. A society in which you are constantly watched encourages conformity. This conformity becomes prevalent because any thought or behaviour which may invite attention or judgement or condemnation is stifled. Without privacy there is no longer the freedom to choose and the distinction between citizen and slave fades; democracy itself dies.

This is how tyrannies ensure that people remain subservient and subordinate.

The role of a democratic government is to serve its people; a tyranny retains its power through any means necessary. As we move from persecuting a criminal to preventing a thought crime the closer we move towards the abyss of a totalitarian state.

To truly judge how free a society is look to how they treat their critics and dissidents rather than their ‘loyal’ unquestioning subjects. This sort of intrusive large-scale surveillance is designed to intimidate any form of activism, criticism and dissent which then removes any form of accountability for those in power; Orwell’s vision realised.

This petition demands a debate in Parliament to examine the implications of GCHQ’s ‘Tempora’ program, for the government and GCHQ’s legal advice on this program to be reviewed, and for a full public consultation and possible inquiry on the implications of this program and impact on the individuals’ human rights and right to privacy under both UK and EU law.

Dates and generations for road resurfacing contract #rdguk

More details, on the Council's roads resurfacing programme including dates and generations:

Dear Councillors,

Re - Major & Minor Roads Resurfacing Contract 2013-14

Further to Richard Ponchaud email of 4th July, I am now able to provide you with more details about the upcoming resurfacing programme. As previously stated the programme is due to commence on Monday 22nd July and will last for 7 weeks (weather permitting). The programme should therefore be completed on Friday 6th August.

The resurfacing works will be carried out by Eurovia Infrastructure Limited, on behalf of Reading Borough Council, and have been timed to coincide with the school summer holidays. Advance warning notices will be erected on site and letter delivered to affected properties.

The areas we are intending to resurface and expected durations are as follows:

Rotherfield Way/Southdown Road – Hemdean Road to Evesham Road (Peppard / Thames Wards) – Monday 22 July, expected to last 3 days. Working hours 8am to 8pm. Full road closure required with a signed diversion route in operation.

Prospect Street – Henley Road to Church Street (Caversham / Thames Wards) – Thursday 25 July, expected to last 2 days. Working hours 9.30am to 3.30pm. Full road closure required with a signed diversion route in operation.

Church StreetProspect Street to Church Road (Caversham) – Sunday 28 July, expected to last 2 days. Working hours 8am to 8pm. Full road closure required with a signed diversion route will be in operation.

Eastern Avenue – Full length (Redlands / Park Wards) – Monday 29 July, expected to last 4 days. Working hours 8am to 8pm. Full road closure required with a signed diversion route in operation.

St Peters Hill/Church Road - Darell Road to Church Street (Caversham/Thames Wards) - Tuesday 30 July, expected to last 5 days. Working hours 8am to 8pm. Full road closure required with a signed diversion route. No works over the weekend and the road will be open at this time.

Wokingham Road - Cemetery Junction to Palmer Park Avenue (Redlands / Park Wards) - Saturday 3 August, expected to last 6 days. Working hours 10am to 8pm on the Saturday and 8am to 8pm for the remaining days. Full road closure required with a signed diversion route in operation.

Oxford RoadAlma Street to Norcot Road (Norcot Ward) – Tuesday 6 August, expected to last 3 days. Working hours 8am to 8pm. Full road closure required with a signed diversion route will be in operation.

Westwood RoadSchool Road to Armour Road (Kentwood / Tilehurst Wards) – Friday 9 August, expected to last 5 days. Working hours 8am to 8pm. Full road closure required with a signed diversion route in operation. No works over the weekend and the road will be open at this time.

Shinfield RoadElmhurst Road junction (Redlands / Church Wards) – Friday 2 August and Saturday 3 August. Working hours 8am to 8pm. Road remains open, works carried out under temporary traffic lights.

Bridge Street, Caversham – Richfield Avenue to Church Road (Abbey / Caversham Wards) – Saturday 10 August, expected to last 2 days. Working hours 8am to 8pm. Full road closure required with a signed diversion route will be in operation.

Christchurch Gardens – Full length (Katesgrove/Redlands Wards) – Friday 9 August, expected to last 2 days. Working hours 8am to 8pm. Full road closure required with a signed diversion route in operation. No works over the weekend and the road will be open at this time.

Oxford Road - Sections from Overdown Road to Borough Boundary (Kentwood / Norcot Wards) – Thursday 15 August, expected to last for 4 days including the weekend. Working hours 8am to 8pm. Full road closure required with a signed diversion route in operation.

Kendrick Road – Full length (Redlands / Katesgrove Wards) – Tuesday 13 August, expected to last for 4 days. Working hours 10am to 8pm on the Wednesday and then 8am to 8pm. Full road closure required with a signed diversion route will be in operation.

The Forbury – Sections from Market Place to Valpy Street (Abbey Ward) – Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 August. Working hours 8am to 8pm. Full road closure required with a signed diversion route in operation for the duration.

Caversham RoadChatham Street to Abattoirs Road (Abbey Ward) – Monday 19 August, expected last 2 days. Working hours 8am to 8pm. Road remains open, works carried out under lane closure.

Southampton StreetCrown Street to IDR (Katesgrove Ward) – Monday 2 September, expected to last 2 days. Working hours 8am to 8pm. Full road closure required with a signed diversion route in operation.

Redlands Road – Sections from Elmhurst Road to Morgan Road (Redlands Ward) –Tuesday 27 August, expected to last for 4 days. Working hours 8am to 8pm. Full road closure required with a signed diversion route will be in operation. No works over the weekend and the road will be open at this time.

NB: All programmed dates are subject to change depending on weather conditions

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Improvements for pedestrians in east Reading #rdguk

I just got this update from the Council, still a long way to go to make Reading pedestrian friendly, but good to see progress:

"As you will be aware, the preferred option designs for the series of pedestrian and cycle improvements in the study area were agreed at the Steering Group meeting in June.  Due to the early completion of the civil works for the Kings Road bus lane extension, we will now be able to commence implementation of the two pedestrian crossing refuge islands on Redlands Road next week, prior to the highway resurfacing which will take place in August.  The installation of the zebra crossing in Redlands Road will be undertaken in September after the resurfacing has been completed."

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

More 20 mph schemes across Reading #rdguk

At the recent Traffic Committee there was a report continuing the Council's work on 20 mph. It proposed creating five new 20 mph zones across Reading.

We have been campaigning for all residential roads in Reading to the made 20 mph, so this isn't exactly what we wanted, but it is a step forwards.

At the meeting a number of councillors argued for the zone in/near to their ward to be expanded and the transport planners said they would consider this. We have asked for the East Reading zone to be expanded to include the whole of Park Ward.

Maps of all of the zones are below – click to enlarge:

1 20MPH University Area20MPH Amersham Road20MPH Merton Road20MPH Oxford Road20MPH St Giles Close

Monday, 8 July 2013

Major & Minor roads resurfacing contract 2013-14 to begin on Monday, July 22 #rdguk

Having been lobbying for a number of roads in Park Ward to be resurfaced I am pleased to see this moving forwards. Here is the update from the Council:

“This year’s programme of carriageway resurfacing is due to commence on Monday 22 July. The contract is for a period of 7 weeks (6 weeks work, with a break for the festival) and works should be completed by Friday 6 September, weather permitting.

I am currently waiting for our contractor to finalise a few details of the programme and traffic management. Once I have this information I will send a further email giving more details of the work to be carried out and the planned dates for each road and issue a press release. Please be aware that in order to give residents as much notice as possible the contractor may erect some advance signs on site prior to you receiving the full programme. I also need to make you aware that street notices advertising road closures, parking restrictions and other temporary traffic regulation orders required to carry out the resurfacing were erected on site yesterday afternoon. These notices do not mention specific dates for each individual road but I can assure you that the restrictions will only be in operation on each road when required. I have attached a copy of the street notice for your information.

I have attached Appendix A from the Highways Maintenance Programme report that went to the Traffic Management Advisory Panel in March this year detailing the roads we are looking to resurface this summer. Please note that the list (Section A) includes reserve sites and whether or not we are able to resurface one or more of these roads will be dependant on the overall costs as the programme progresses.“

Monday, 1 July 2013

Invitation to fracking film tour

A message from Green MEP for Reading Keith Taylor:

"This July a brand new film about Fracking will be touring the South East of England.
The film, called ‘Drill Baby Drill’, tells the inspirational story of activists in Poland and Pennsylvania standing up against the multinational companies wanting to frack in their communities.

I’d be delighted if you’d join me at one of our screenings. The film will be showing in Sandwich, Canterbury, Brighton, Balcombe, Reading and Oxford.

All screenings will be followed by a discussion on fracking led by experts and activists.
If you’d like to come to either of these free screenings then please book a ticket. We only have a limited amount of tickets and this could be your only chance to see this brilliant film, so make sure you book in advance.

Kind regards,
Keith Taylor MEP"

Free Tickets:
Friday 12th July: The Empire Cinema, Sandwich
Saturday 13th July: The Gulbenkian Cinema, Canterbury
Sunday 14th July: The Hanover Pub, Brighton (
Monday 15th July: Victory Hall, Balcombe (
Tuesday 16th July: Quakers Meeting House, Oxford (
Wednesday 17th July: RISC, Reading

Friday, 28 June 2013

Lunch at Reading College and tackling youth unemployment #rdguk

A little while ago Sam and I went for lunch at Reading College. The restaurant is run by students at the college. Reading has more jobs in the hospitality industry than people who can fill them, so this training, experience and the qualification at the end of it are really important locally.

The food was very good and very reasonably priced. Here are a few pictures:

More details of the restaurant here.


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Video from save Arthur Clark care home and Albert Road day centre demo/meeting #rdguk @savearthurclark

We were happy to support the Arthur Clark/Albert Road campaign yesterday both at the demonstration and by speaking at the Council meeting. Unfortunately we lost the vote, but there will be another opportunity to save these facilities at the upcoming committee meeting on Monday July 1.

It was disappointing that we did not hear from either the Labour councillor for Caversham or from their parliamentary candidate for Reading East (who is also a Reading councillor).

Below is some video from the evening. My speech is 26 minutes 20 seconds in.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Latest on Arthur Hill swimming baths #rdguk

The Council has released a bit more information on Arthur Hill, we will keep pushing to get it open as early as possible:

"Arthur Hill Pool and Fitness Studio has been temporarily closed while repair works are carried out to the structure of the building.

Work is due to start on Monday 24th June 2013 and is expected to last for approximately 10 weeks. Due to the complexity of the work being carried out we will have regular updates during that time to keep customers informed of progress and to confirm the exact re-opening date as we get closer.

While Arthur Hill is closed your nearest RSL gym facility can be found at Palmer Park Sports Stadium, Wokingham Road, Reading. Tel: 0118 937 5080. Your nearest RSL swimming pool is Central Swimming Pool, Battle Street, Reading. Tel: 0118 937 5070. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused and we look forward to welcoming you at our other sites during the closure."

Monday, 24 June 2013

Reading primary school expansion programme #rdguk

I got the following letter from the Council about expanding primary schools in Reading:

"Dear Councillor,


In common with many other urban areas in the country, Reading is experiencing an increased demand for Primary School places, due to rising birthrates, and people moving into Reading. Many of our Primary Schools are either at capacity or approaching capacity, and in order to provide sufficient school places the Borough Council is proposing to expand the schools listed below.

As part of the proposed expansion programme the Borough Council is required to formally consult on the expansion proposals for each school.

  • Alfred Sutton Primary School
  • Churchend School
  • E P Collier Primary School
  • Geoffrey Field Infant School
  • New Town Primary School
  • Southcote Primary School
  • St. Martin’s Catholic Primary School
  • St. Michael’s Primary School
  • The Ridgeway Primary School

But before we go ahead with this, we want to give local people an opportunity to tell us what they think about the proposals. This is a statutory consultation under the School Organization (Prescribed Alterations to Maintained Schools (England) Regulations 2007.

The Council has already used the flexibility in the Schools Admission code to temporarily increase the admission numbers in some schools for the 2013/14 intake. The current capacities for the schools are listed below along with what they are proposed to increase to and how long it will take to get to this new capacity.


Current capacity

New capacity by Sept 2015

Alfred Sutton Primary School



Churchend School



E P Collier Primary School



Geoffrey Field Infant School



New Town Primary School



Southcote Primary School



St Martin’s Primary School



St Michael’s Primary School



The Ridgeway Primary School



The consultation will take place over a period of 4 weeks from Friday 21 June until Friday 19 July 2013, and is primarily directed at School Communities, Diocesan Authorities, Trades Unions, Ward Councillors, and Local MPs. Details appear on the Council Consultation website at

Please contact me if you want further information in respect of the consultation.

Yours sincerely”

Travellers in Palmer Park update #rdguk

I got the following update from the Council on the travellers in Palmer Park:

"Travellers pulled on to site at Palmer Park over the weekend (Sunday afternoon).

Access was gained by forcing over a bollard from the smaller Wokingham Road car park and the group (19 vehicles) are currently set up around the newly established Funfair area, adjacent to the stadium.

The incident was immediately reported to the police who attended site yesterday afternoon and took details of the vehicles and occupants etc.

The police reference for this incident is URN701 of 23/06/2013.

Billy Davis Funfair had been due to pull on to site today to begin to set up to trade from the 27th June – 14th July.

I have contacted the Funfair operator and made them aware of the situation and have also been in contact with Thames Valley Police to see if (with the above in mind) they will consider using their section 61 powers to move the group.  I am currently waiting for a call back from Thames Valley Police to discuss what can be done.

I will update all as progress is made with resolving this issue."

Residents' advice surgeries, how can we help you?

We have got the following residents' advice surgeries coming up. No appointment necessary.

Saturday, June 29, 2013, 11 AM to 11:30 AM
Outside the Post Office, 75 Wokingham Road

Saturday, July 20, 2013, 11 AM to 11:30 AM
Outside the Co-op, cemetery junction

Saturday, August 17, 2013, at 11 AM to 11:30 AM
Outside Palmer Park sports stadium

If you are unable to come along, but have issues that you would like to raise, please get in contact.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

New blog features: upcoming events and map of achievements

I have just finished adding a couple of new features to my blog that people might find useful.

First, on the right-hand side there is now a link to the Google Map that I have been updating of things we have done in Park Ward. Have a look and see what we have done in your area.

Second, again, on the right-hand side I have added some of the events from my Google Calendar: Council meetings, Reading East events and Green Party meetings. Let me know of any events in Reading East which should be there and aren't.

Finally, not a new feature but we do a monthly email newsletter. Email me, address at the top of the right-hand side column, to be added to the list.

What do people think? Are these useful?

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Hope not hate event to tackle racism in Reading #rdguk

Just saw this event on tackling racism in Reading. Unfortunately I am away and so can't make it, but I thought I would publicise it.

Event Name: We Are The Many in Reading


We have stood up to the EDL's attempts to exploit the Woolwich murder but we cannot be complacent. There are still too many who share their anti-Muslim hatred and we also need to start addressing the preachers of hate who inspired the killers. The BNP might be on the decline but we have UKIP using increasingly hostile anti-immigrant language.
HOPE not hate stands for more than just being "anti-EDL" or "anti-BNP". It is about offering a positive antidote to hate - it is about a value system that celebrates tolerance, equality, diversity and fairness. It is about offering HOPE. Does that work for you? If so, get involved

Over the next few weeks we are holding meetings across the country to give our supporters a chance to discuss the challenges we face - be that from the EDL, hate preachers or the rise of UKIP.

Please come along and help us build on the 'We Are The Many' campaign so we can develop positive initiatives that will make a real difference in local communities.

Time: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 7:30 PM -:00 PM GMT+01:00

Host: Hazel Nolan

Location: 2 Church Street (Reading, Berkshire)

Monday, 10 June 2013

More detail on Arthur Hill swimming baths #rdguk

I got the following briefing with a bit more detail on the Arthur Hill swimming baths situation. Good to hear that the Council is no longer talking about if they will reopen but when.

"You asked for further details on the structural issue at Arthur Hill pool. Please see below.

You will be aware that there is a lobby at Arthur Hill pool. The issue relates to the two very large beams that support the substantial internal wall which is situated between the lobby and the pool. These beams are concrete with a steel beams encased within.  Water from the pool has penetrated this support which has 2 effects, corrosion of the steel work and weakening of the concrete as chlorides build up within it.

The beams have been monitored regularly, however following an inspection it was felt that the deterioration was such that the wall had become unstable and the pool was closed for safety reasons.  This course of action was corroborated by a member of the Council’s Building Control team.

We were also advised by Building Control that to do nothing and just close the pool was not an option as the supporting beams needed attention to prevent the risk of collapse which could affect adjoining buildings and the public.

The supporting beams can only be accessed via a winding narrow staircase and there is also old cast iron pipe work under the beam and some large boilers in the cellar making the area very hot and cramped to work in. This very much limits the methods that could be employed to repair the building.

Although a number of potential options were open to the council, the only practical one, and therefore the only one considered, was to repair the beam.

We believe this is the most cost and time effective solution as it addresses the safety concerns raised by Building Control and enables the pool to be reopened. The cost of the required works is circa £85,000. We cannot be more exact until the final structural support has been designed, approved by Building Control and contracts let. You have asked to see the report produced by the structural engineers. This report identifies budget costs, methods for repair and the specification against which we will be engaging contractors.  Since we are still in the process of engaging some of these contractors, and seeking to get the best value for money, the report is commercially sensitive and we are not able to release it at the moment.

You have also asked about the future of Arthur Hill. Once we complete the repair work, the building will be re-opened to the public. As you know, the Council is conducting a review of all its facilities. This is still on-going and a report will be produced in due course. Arthur Hill, as is the case with all Council buildings, will be included in this review, but it would be wrong to speculate on the final report or any future decisions at this stage."

Friday, 7 June 2013

The Spirit Level film trailer

This book highlighting inequality and the problems it causes was great, I am hoping the film will be even better and reach a far wider audience.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Big Lunch street parties this weekend #rdguk

Following our lobbying for the Council to offer free road closures again – this year for Big Lunch street parties – it's good to see that many are happening this weekend:

Saturday 1 June – afternoon * Newport Road * Lydford Road (from Cardigan Road to Foxhill Road)

Sunday 2 June – afternoon * Baker Street (from Howard Street to Carey Street) * Kenilworth Avenue * St Peters Road (from Clarendon Road to Lennox Road) * Carnarvon Road * Talfourd Avenue * Matlock Road, Caversham * Harrogate Road (from Matlock Road to Buxton Avenue)

Sunday 2 June – evening * Oakley Road (from Albert Road to Kidmore Road)

Also taking part in the Big Lunch is the Sun Street Community Garden in Newtown, which is holding a barbecue on Sunday 2 June between 2pm and 4pm - just bring your food to share.

Good luck to everyone, the weather forecast looks good!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Future of the Three Tuns pub up in the air #rdguk

Regulars of the Three Tuns pub – Wokingham Road, Church Road crossroads – have alleged that the owners are planning to turn it into more of a pub restaurant and a bookable venue, rather than the existing community pub that it is.

Residents have set up a Facebook group here. CAMRA are organising a small informal meeting, details on the Facebook group, open to everyone to try and establish the facts and get the best result for the community. I am happily helping.

As we saw with the campaign to defend the Jolly Anglers the more local to get involved the better the chance of preserving community facilities like these.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Dawn chorus walk at Reading Old cemetery #rdguk

One for the early birds!
09-Jun-2013 4:15 AM - 09-Jun-2013 6:30 AM
Location: Reading Old Cemetery, Cemetery Junction, RG1 3AQ
Reading Old Cemetery
Come along and join us as the sun comes up, for a gentle wander around the cemetery to hear our local dawn chorus.
Our leader will be wildlife enthusiast Adrian Lawson.

This is an Econet event organised by the Friends of Cemetery Junction


Thursday, 23 May 2013

End of University term waste collection #rdguk

As usual, the council is having a push to keep the area tidy as students move out. Let me know of any problems and I can pass them on.

University Clearance Programme 2013

Refuse and recycling collections

The university summer term ends Friday 28th June 2013

Domestic waste (extra bags) will be collected –

W/commencing 12th June 2013

W/commencing 26th June 2013

Recycling waste (extra bags) will be collected

W/commencing 19th June 2013

W/commencing 3rd July 2013

  • Crews will collect all domestic or recycled bagged waste adjacent to bins throughout a three week period on the relevant week, in the lead up to a single additional Saturday collection on 6 July.
  • It is anticipated that the majority of bagged waste not collected during the preceding weeks will be presented in front gardens for collection on Saturday 6th July. Waste operations staff will collect all bagged waste from the area on this extra date.
  • The Waste Operation Management Team will survey the area daily (excluding weekends) and identify any properties with visible excess bagged waste. The team will arrange for the crew attending that property to take extra bagged waste on the domestic week following Saturday 6th July 2013.
  • Any complaints or councillor enquiries received by Streetcare Admin will be cleared without investigation by the attending crew on the next domestic collection after Saturday 6th July 2013.
  • As in previous years, no bulky waste collections will be made by Waste Operation staff. These are available to residents and landlords on request at a cost. Streetcare Environment Team to deliver Bulky Waste leaflets once students have vacated properties. The University will also advertise the service as part of the build up to the end of term.
  • Environmental Wardens will have previously visited various areas and have written to occupiers regarding items found in front gardens.
  • Environmental Wardens on late shifts each week will be tasked to knock on known student properties if possible to ensure as much household waste is presented in good time ahead of scheduled refuse collection each week.
  • Streetcare Environment Team to monitor properties after students move out to ensure landlords remove and dispose of appropriately bulky items and waste from gardens.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

East Reading Festival detailed programme and information #rdguk

What’s happening at East Reading Festival 2013?
East Reading Festival.  Sunday 16th June, 2013
12 noon till 6pm.  Palmer Park, Wokingham Road, RG6 1LF

There’ll be:
1.     3 music and performance marquees!
2.     Over 40 stalls! 
3.     Lots of fantastic food!

Stalls – There’ll be . . .
·        Henna, facepainting and Samosas.
·        Organic soap, Nepalese dumplings, and Free health advice.
·        Jewellery, Jerk Chicken and butternut squash.
·        Crazy cakes, telescopes and children’s clothes.
·        Basket ball, books and black eyed peas.

Music – There’ll be . . .
·        Belly dancers, break dancers and Brazilian dancers.
·        Circus skills, comedy and choirs.
·        Ukuleles, Singer songwriters, and close harmony.
And much much more!

Plus  +++ Bouncy castles    +++ Ice cream van   +++ Fairground rides
·        It’s going to be a really fun day, there is so much going on!
·        We have searched through East Reading to bring you the best local acts.
·        There will be fun and entertainment for everyone, young and old.
·        The festival is a fun day for families and ANYONE who lives in East Reading.
         We’ve made sure there will be entertainment for everyone.

East Reading Festival is a REAL community festival.
We’re proud of our community and proud of our unity.
We want to celebrate everything that is good about East Reading.
And have a great day showing the world what we can do.
We have so much talent in this area it’s unbelievable!

** Come along and see for yourself why we’re so proud of our community! **

East Reading Festival.  Sunday 16th June.  12 till 6pm.  Palmer Park, Wokingham Road, RG6 1LF

Music at East Reading Festival 2013
Wow!  Look what’s on!

Music Marquee
12.00 – Opening Ceremony
12.15 – Children from the Pakistan Community Centre – Delightful performance by local youngsters.
12.35 – Bhangracise with Rajeev Gupta – Get fit and have fun at the same time!
12.55 – Nepalese dance – Beautiful to watch.
13.10 – Zarand of La Mort Subite – Real Hurdy Gurdy player!
13.50 - St Josephs school choir – What a lovely sound!
14.25 – Jack Cade - Country, Americana and Folk.
15.05 – Reading Ukulele Group - Ukulele's galore!
15.45 – Bear & the woods - A unique Folk 'n' Roll four piece from Reading.
16.25 – The Retreat Singers – Close harmony, Andrew’s sisters, gospel and folk.
16.55 – World renowned performer Rahi Bains and pupils.
17.20 – The Floydian Doors – Stunning tribute band.

Reading College Stage
12.05-12.15 Punam-Nepalese dance
12.15-12.25 Gopal
12.25-12.35 Calvin Brown
12.35-12.50 Andy Robbins
12.50-13.05 Sean Best
From 1 till 3 .300pm - Four bands from the level 3 music course at Reading College
15.25 – C’nergi
16.05 – Airlocked band
16.45 – Risen Solution
17.25 – Ija & the Acoustic Messengers

Music & Performance Marquee
Belly dancers,  Break dancers and  Brazilian dancers!
Circus skills and Comedy!
2.30 – Anand Thapa
2.45 - Savour the Flavour
Local talent - Singer songwriters from ERAPA.

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