Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Honouring My Mother

My mother - Joyce Jones, BEM
I was delighted to learn that my mother, Joyce Jones, had been included in the New Year's Honours. The official listing, for the award of a British Empire Medal, says: 

"Mrs Joyce Pauline Jones. For services to the community in New Tredegar, Caerphilly through the New Tredegar Communities First Partnership (New Tredegar, Caerphilly)"

My father, sister, brothers and I are all very proud of you Mam.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Ed Miliband's New Year Message 2014

"We are in the midst of the biggest cost of living crisis in a generation. It's the way people feel." 
Ed Miliband's New Year message for 2014: Labour's programme for change.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! 
That's all for this year - 
so a Happy New Year as well!

Monday, 23 December 2013

A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall

 Hardly a Christmas carol I know, but an old favourite nonetheless!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Royal Berks Hospital: Time For A Fresh Start

RBH: Time For Better Leadership
With the announcement on Friday night of the departure of RBH Chief Executive Ed Donald it is time the hospital trust governors ensures that the New Year brings a fresh start for the hospital. 
Clearly the opportunity presented by the departure of the last Chairman in March 2012 to deliver strong strategic leadership has been missed, so will they act now?

While we all want the hospital to do well - and individual care can be excellent - recent reports suggest that the hospital is struggling to maintain standards against a range of national measures. The health watch-dogs Monitor and CQC may have more to say about the RBH soon.

Add to that:

  • the recent collaboration in the controversial and utterly bonkers idea of creating a new secondary school for East Reading at the London Street site - with the governing body apparently not being told about this venture or the survey work undertaken earlier in the year, until relatively recently 
  • the £18million overspend on a botched IT scheme at a time of extreme financial stress 
  • and the Trust's complete failure to engage with Reading Council in sorting out car parking pressures in and around the hospital, leading local councillors to brand the hospital as a "bad neighbour" at a recent planning committee.

Take all this together and it's hard not to think that the Friday night announcement of the departure of the chief could be seen as being the action of an increasingly troubled organisation.

I'm always prepared to stand up for the NHS, but cannot defend a poorly run organisation which cares little about the impact it has on the local community in which it sits.

Redlands deserves better, Reading deserves better.


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Spectator Political Speech of the Year: Ed Miliband

Last week Ed Miliband secured the distinction of winning the Spectator Political Speech of the Year Award, for his Energy Price freeze pledge at the Labour Party conference.
He wasn’t at the glitzy award ceremony himself, but sent this message.

Friday, 8 November 2013

We Will Remember Them











As Deputy Mayor of Reading, I shall be at Brock Barracks, Oxford Road, on Sunday at 11.00am and the Cenotaph, Forbury Gardens, at noon to lay a wreath honouring those who made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf.

On Monday, I shall be leading the two minutes silence outside the Civic Offices at 11.00am.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

A School Expansion Programme for Reading

31/10/2013 - Reading Borough Council Press Release

READING Borough Council can today announce the next stage in it’s on-going plan to cater for the significant increase in demand for school places.

Proposals for a major expansion programme of 13 primary schools across Reading will create an additional 2,520 school places over the next seven years. This will be made up of 12 classes of 30 children in each of the seven primary age year groups.

The school expansion options have been developed following the ‘Lets Talk Education’ consultations last year and earlier this year, in which the Council engaged schools, parents and local communities about how best to deal with the extra demand for school places.

A detailed report will now go to a meeting of the Council’s Adult Social Care, Children’s Services and Education Committee (ACE) on Thursday November 7th for consideration.

The report - which can be found at http://www.reading.gov.uk/meetings/details/3599 (Item 11) - outlines a £64 million investment in 13 primary schools across Reading. Expansions could be either through traditional or more modern, modular construction techniques, and would be tailored according to the individual needs of a school. This would be achieved in close consultation with headteachers, governing bodies and parents.

Reading Borough Council is committed to providing a excellent learning environment for every child and expansions would need to fit criteria which includes: sufficient space for effective teaching and learning; no classes larger than 30 pupils; teaching spaces which are warm, safe and dry; sufficient access to outdoor space for break times.

The 13 schools to be expanded under the proposals are:

• Alfred Sutton Primary School
• The Ridgeway Primary
• Geoffrey Field Infants
• Geoffrey Field Juniors
• Southcote Primary
• Churchend Primary
• St Michael’s Primary
• New Oxford Road Academy
• EP Collier Primary
• Thameside Primary
• Dee Park & Ranikhet Primary Redevelopment
• Newtown Primary
• St Michael’s Primary


John Ennis, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Education, said:

“This school expansion programme is being put forward by the Council following detailed conversations with schools, parents and local communities as part of the ‘Lets Talk Education’ consultation. Census figures have shown us there has been a 34% increase in children aged 0-4 years old in Reading since 2001. That is the second highest rise in the whole of the South-East and over the coming years the Council has a duty to provide a school place for every one of those children.

“The key to this process however will be making sure the expansion options, and importantly the design of those options, work for individual schools. That means having further conversations with headteachers, governing bodies, parents and local communities. Every school building is different, which means this can’t be a ‘one size fits all’ approach. By talking to schools early in the process about what works for them, I am confident we can get this right. This is not just about catering for the extra demand for places, but about creating an excellent learning environment for our children which will help them achieve their potential.

“Unlike other places, Reading is a tight urban area with limited space or land for new schools. That makes it all the more important that we put in the extra work necessary to make sure the expansions meet the needs of schools, both now and for the future generation of pupils . I’d like to thank all the headteachers and governing bodies for their help in bringing this key project forward.”

The ACE report sets out a range of building options, and their suitability for each site. In some cases, because of the location, the configuration of the existing building or the heritage status, the only option will be to build using traditional techniques. However, in other cases using modern, modular construction will provide a better solution and deliver more flexibility.

Reading Borough Council has already been working closely with school headteachers and governing bodies to develop viability studies. These discussions will now continue with meetings with heads, governors and planned open events for parents and staff, as well as local residents who are not parents as common issues to address as part of the process will include transport and parking.

The total estimated cost of the proposed expansion programme is £64 million. The Council was successful in its bid for £19.1 million through the Government’s Targeted Basic Needs Programme. The proposal is for the remainder of the cost to be financed through section 106 planning agreements, education grants and long-term borrowing.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Tory Leader Quits: Who's Next?

Leader of the Opposition on Reading Borough Council, Tory Tim Harris, has confirmed that he is to stand down at the next election. With Labour piling up over 50% of the vote last time in Church Ward, the only question was whether he would try to chicken run to another seat or give up altogether. Well, now we know.

Former leader of the Lib Dems Daisy Benson is also widely believed to be following Harris out of the council next May, rather than face defeat in Redlands.

That's two Labour gains.

So who else will quit - or be thrown out?

No political contest in Abbey or Battle wards.

In Caversham, where Labour won so convincingly last time against the Tory incumbent, former Tory leader Andrew Cumpsty faces an awkward decision. Will he stay or will he go?

Katesgrove Lib Dem Rebecca Rye has already said she's leaving. Another Labour gain in prospect.

Labour is on the rise again in Kentwood beating the sitting Tory last time, so every chance of Tory Jenny Rynn losing if she braves it out.

No election in Mapledurham and no real contest in Minster and Norcot.

In Park ward the Green vote is softening at an alarming rate so Rob White's future is by no means secure.

Peppard is a dog's breakfast as the Tory in-fighting continues.

There is no reason to believe there will be any changes in Southcote, Thames or Whitley, which only leaves Tilehurst, where current Lib Dem leader Ricky Duveen faces a fresh Tory challenge. The Lib Dems threw huge resources into this ward last time, but I'm not convinced that even a repeat effort by them will bring the old boy back in 30 weeks time.

What is guaranteed is that there will be many new faces in the council chamber after the May 2014 elections, most of them on the Labour benches as the group refreshes and expands it's team.



Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Reading Buses: Best In Britain


Reading Buses has been recognised as the best bus operator in the country at an awards in London last week.

The National Transport Awards citation reads "Bus Operator of the Year Reading Buses passenger and revenue growth is underpinned by solid performance improvements. High customer satisfaction is borne from a significant focus on improving staff morale, skills training, vehicle cleanliness and investment in new technology as well as improved on-board information displays. Recruitment changes have achieved 2% increase in female drivers."

The company, which is wholly owned by Reading Borough Council, also collected the award for "Dedication to Access for All" at the event, because it's fleet of 100% low floor buses - four years ahead of target deadline.

In the past year the frequency of its biggest route, the purple 17, was increased on Monday to Saturday services, boosting passenger numbers by 20%. There has also been a 25% growth in the Greenwave services and 17% more young people are using buses under the Solo.

On-line ticket sales have also increased by a massive ten times in value.

All in all, well done! 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

RBH School: No Playing Fields, More Parking

 
RBH School: No Playing Fields, More Parking
Reading East MP Rob Wilson presses ahead with his ill-considered plan to turn the Royal Berks Hospital London Road buildings into a secondary school for east Reading.
 
There is no doubt that we need additional secondary school places in east Reading, but it would be much better if the development of any free school was in consultation with the local education authority which has responsibility for planning school places and we hope that the hospital and Education Funding Agency will meet with us soon to discuss their plans.
 
While I understand that the condition of this hugely significant listed and iconic building is a problem the RBH has to deal with, it seems likely that the cost of refurbishing it and turning it into a free school would be very high.
 
There will also be significant planning issues which need to be looked at - everything from traffic to the protection of the listed building. I would also have questions about obvious issues such as where there could be outside space for sport and recreation which all schools need.
 
And it will certainly be the case that residents in Redlands ward will not welcome even more car parking being squeezed on to our streets.
 
Rob Wilson seems to be determined to seek any site other than the one recently purchased by the council at Crescent Road, adjacent to the new UTC, in the heart of east Reading. Perhaps he should put his ego to one side and work with the council to come up with the best solution for the future school needs in the area.
 
Come on Rob, the RBH site on London Road is the wrong place.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Arthur Hill Pool And Fitness Studio Re-Opened

ARTHUR HILL OPENED IN 1911
Residents are reminded that the Arthur Hill Pool and Fitness Studio has re-opened following a four  month closure for essential repairs.The leisure centre had to be temporarily closed at the beginning of May for a structural survey followed by essential repairs.

Paul Gittings, Readings Lead Councillor for Culture, Sport and Consumer Services, said:

“I am certain regular users of Arthur Hill will be pleased to see it is now re-open. These were essential works and I’d like to thank all of those people for their patience while the centre was closed.”
Areas of work completed during the closure which included:
  • Repairs to the main concrete and steel beams in plant room
  • Repairs to leaking mains water supply
  • Installation of additional steel frame support to repaired concrete beams in plant room
  • Cracks in pool tank repaired
  • Leaks in pipes repaired
  • Windows made safe
  • New door fitted to the mens’ toilet
  • Specialist floor coating on pool side to prevent water ingress
  • Hand rails in disabled change
  • Cycle racks back in to use
Arthur Hill Pool & Fitness Studio is the oldest of the sports facility in Reading. Built in 1911 it retains much of its original character. The Gym offers an excellent range of equipment and a circuit training facility, while the centre also offers a good programme of swimming courses, sessions and classes along with a dedicated 'Spin Studio'.

For details of facilities available for public use at Arthur Hill, please call 0118 937 5057 or go to
http://www.readingleisure.co.uk.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Wilson's Barmy Plan: RBH To Become School

Royal Berks Free School Anyone?
News has reached me that Reading East MP Rob Wilson has been busying himself (at last) trying to find a site for a new free school in east Reading. It is nearly a year since a public meeting was told that he was "60% there" in securing a workable plan.

Now, twelve months on, central government officials have been in contact with Reading council to ask if we supported Wilson's plan to turn the historic old front buildings into a free school. Council officers, I understand, were less than impressed with such a barmy plan!

Not put off, I also hear that NHS land at Craven Road is also the subject of some frantic speculation.

We will see. I think the best bet for a new school in east Reading is still at the Crescent Road site - recently purchased back by Reading council - land which others seemed content should be used for housing.




Friday, 30 August 2013

Guest Blog: Electoral Reform Society


An important piece of legislation is coming up for second reading in Parliament next week and we thought you’d be interested in hearing about what’s going on.

Along with many other non-governmental organisations, charities and campaigning groups, the ERS has become increasingly concerned about the latest changes to the Government’s Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill.


We’ve written to the Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform, Chloe Smith MP, to express our concern that one consequence of the Bill could be that small campaigning organisations like the ERS are unfairly constrained and penalised. We are particularly alarmed that the new financial limits to be placed on NGOs during election years could undermine our ability to function as a modern campaigning body. You can read our blog about it and the Electoral Commission has published a useful update outlining the problems with the Bill here

While the ERS is broadly supportive of the principles of greater transparency in relation to lobbyists, we have stressed to Chloe Smith that a strong democracy relies on its citizens’ ability to participate in the battle of ideas in the lead up to an election. A vibrant general election campaign relies on diverse participation from across civil society.

We are concerned that should the Bill be passed in its current form, the ability of the ERS and many other charities and NGOs to raise important issues could be severely limited. We have asked the Minister to take our concerns into consideration and urgently clarify the consequences of the Bill.

How can you help?

Stay up to date and join the discussion by liking us on Facebook


Follow us on Twitter


Join us! If you’re passionate about political equality and building a better democracy in the UK, please join us for £1 or £2 a month – we need your help and it would be great to have you on board! Become a member and help us keep up the pressure on the Government.
We’ll keep you posted and let you know what the Minister says in response to our concerns. With your help, we will build a better democracy.

Best wishes,


KatieGhose signature.jpg

Katie Ghose

Chief Executive
Electoral Reform Society

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

East Reading School: Site Bought By Council

READING'S LABOUR COUNCIL SECURES POTENTIAL SCHOOL SITE AT CRESCENT ROAD

Labour controlled Reading Borough Council has secured a site which could accommodate a new secondary school for 11 to 16 year olds on land at Crescent Road in East Reading.

Current projections are that by 2017 secondary school in Reading will be full for those starting secondary education . The Council is therefore moving now to buy the freehold of the key Crescent Road site which could provide a new school to help cater for the rising demand.

The location means that children at the school would have access to playing fields and the opportunity to share resources with both neighbouring Alfred Sutton Primary School and, it is hoped, the new University Technical College (UTC). The proposed new school would also fulfil Reading Borough Council’s ambition for a new secondary school which caters for 11 to 16 year olds. The proposal to make the UTC an 11 to 16 year old college was rejected by the Department for Education (DfE) when it was put forward by the Council in 2011.

The purchase of the Crescent Road site was approved at a meeting of the Council’s Policy Committee on July 15.

John Ennis, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Education, said: “Despite having to make savings of approximately £40m over the next few years, children’s education remains a key priority within the spending plans of the council. By securing this site, which could accommodate a new secondary school, the Council is taking a big stride towards addressing the concerns of parents in East Reading.

“The Council was clear at the time that while we welcomed the UTC to Reading, we also thought it should open its doors to children from the age of 11, rather than just from the age of 14 as is currently the case. Unfortunately the Council’s proposals on this were turned down by the Government but I’m pleased to say that a proposed new school would fill that gap and hopefully help to reassure parents who would have been understandably concerned.”

During the Autumn of 2012 a group of local parents in East Reading submitted a bid to open a Free School serving the local community using a site other than Crescent Road. That bid was turned down by the DfE in the bidding round in March 2013, but the need for additional school places in East Reading remains. Now that the Council has secured the Crescent Road site, the route for a new school in East Reading is again likely to be the Free School option.

Cllr Ennis added “The Council is willing to work closely with any parent group in East Reading that may want to help take this forward and I would be happy to sit down with parents to have that discussion.”

A national shortage of school places in being mirrored in Reading. Latest Census figures show a population explosion of 34% in Reading of children aged 0-4 years old. This is the second highest rise in the whole of the South-East since 2001.

Ongoing economic difficulties also mean that young families that would traditionally move out of central Reading into the suburbs and into larger properties, are now remaining where they are. This is placing a significant added burden on school places in Reading.

A YEAR AGO WE WERE TOLD ROB WILSON WAS 60% THERE - SINCETHEN HE HAS ACHIEVED NOTHING OF SUBSTANCE

 As I reported on the public meeting held on 27 September 2012 Cllr Isobel Ballsdon disclosed that the current Reading East MP Rob Wilson was "60% there" in plans for a new 11 to 16 school for east Reading. Well, nearly twelve months on Wilson, Ballsdon and their Tory cronies have achieved nothing of substance.

Meanwhile Reading's Labour council has taken positive action to move a new secondary school a big step closer.



Sunday, 25 August 2013

Lib Dems: Only 7 Women MPs - And Could Fall To 2

Lib Dems: Only 7 Women MPs
 
Nick Clegg is planning to award peerages to a number of the Liberal Democrats’ key female activists in an attempt to rebut claims his party is anti-women according to the Daily Telegraph.
 
At the moment just 7 of the Lib Dems’ 57 MPs are women (12.7%), a figure which compares unfavourably with Labour, where almost one in three MPs (31 per cent) is female. The Conservatives are on 16 per cent.

And Lib Dem insiders believe the proportion could go down after the next general election in 2015, because five of the Lib Dems’ seven women MPs, represent constituencies which are among the 12 most vulnerable of the party’s seats.
 
The source said “It’s very hard for us to do anything about that in the Commons for the next election, because we have so few winnable seats where a new candidate can be chosen."
 
Mr Clegg plans to use the appointment of working peers to promote more women despite saying last year that he would refuse to take up a peerage  - something which could open him up to hypocrisy charges. He said at the time “I personally will not take a seat in an unreformed House of Lords. It just sticks in the throat.”
 
Last month Angela Eagle, Labour’s shadow transport secretary, pointed out there were as many knights on the Lib Dem benches in the Commons as there were women. 

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Reading Festival 2013
















Wednesday 2pm: Roads in and around Reading are already getting busy with visitors arriving for the world famous Reading Festival.

Traffic delays are expected across the Reading area due to the sheer volume of visitors heading for the Richfield Avenue site and the various car parks and campsites in the vicinity.
Local shops and supermarkets are doing a brisk trade in catering for all the expected needs of the young, hungry and thirsty.


So if you aren't planning to be at the Festival - and the £200 weekend tickets sold out a month ago - but are planning to travel into Reading town centre on any of these days, allow extra time for your journey times: better still, leave the car at home and jump on a bus.

Relatively normal traffic flows are expected on Saturday and Sunday ... and abnormal weather is expected for the Bank Holiday weekend - with hardly a muddy welly in sight!

Let's hope it's a good one!

 



Police: Local Priorities, Meetings And Officers

Local priorities

The following priorities have been identified by the Redlands and Park communities and the police:

Traffic Issues - Parking and speeding in residential roads and near local schools
Burglary - Houses with multiple occupants
Anti Social Behaviour - Alcohol related

These are being dealt with by your neighbourhood policing team in partnership with residents and other agencies. Progress will be reported in the Neighbourhood updates.

Neighbourhood updates

Have Your Say meetings

Meet your local neighbourhood officers and have your say on policing priorities and concerns in your local area.

Find out more about Have Your Say meetings.

Type: Have Your Say Meeting
Date: Wednesday, 21 August 2013
Time: 13:00 - 15:00
Venue: Hexham Road Community Centre
Contact: Redlands & Park Neighbourhood Policing Team
 
Type: Have Your Say Meeting
Date: Sunday, 25 August 2013
Time: 10:30 - 12:30
Venue: The Warehouse, Cumberland Road
Contact: Redlands & Park Neighbourhood Policing Team
 
Type: Have Your Say Meeting
Date: Sunday, 25 August 2013
Time: 15:00 - 16:00
Venue: The Arch, Cemetery Junction
Contact: Redlands & Park Neighbourhood Policing Team
 
Type: Have Your Say Meeting
Date: Tuesday, 03 September 2013
Time: 14:45 - 15:45
Venue: Exbourne Road, outside the schools
Contact: Whitley & Church Neighbourhood Policing Team
 
Type: Have Your Say Meeting
Date: Wednesday, 04 September 2013
Time: 13:00 - 15:00
Venue: Hexham Road Community Centre
Contact: Redlands & Park Neighbourhood Policing Team
 
Neighbourhood officers
  • Inspector Lindsay JamesInspector Lindsay James
  • Sergeant Marie MathiesonSergeant Marie Mathieson
  • PC Richard AngellPC Richard Angell
  • PC Richard BrazellPC Richard Brazell
  • PC Becky PackerPC Becky Packer
  • PC Mandy GibsonPC Mandy Gibson
  • PCSO Sue RoffPCSO Sue Roff
  • PCSO Carla IrvinePCSO Carla Irvine
  • PCSO Rafal GorniakPCSO Rafal Gorniak
  • PCSO Steve PengillyPCSO Steve Pengilly

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Reading In FA Cup Action Today


Yes, it is August and no, there's no goal line technology, but FA Cup action is back in Reading today.

Unbeaten Reading Town FC take on Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division rivals Wantage Town in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round.

Kick off at 3pm at Scours Lane.

http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/readingtownfootballclub/

twitter: @OfficialRTFC

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Celebrating Eid In Reading


Cumberland Road and Alexandra Road mosques are observing Eid-ul-fitr - also known as the breaking of the fast - today. South Street mosque celebrating Eid on Friday "due to the moon not being sighted today".

If you are supporting any of these events (or none at all) Happy Eid.

Hope Not Hate: send a card here.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Vince Cable: Case For HS2 Still To Be Made
















The case for the High Speed Rail train link between London, Birmingham and the north of England has yet to be made, according to Vince Cable.

And senior Tory Archie Norman expresses his "astonishment" about the Government’s cost-benefit analysis and concludes that "HS2 is not just a bad piece of accounting. It is a failure of imagination: surely we can think of something better to do with £50bn?"

Boris Johnson has weighed in to the debate with his view that “This thing isn’t going to cost £42 billion, my friends. The real cost is going to be way north of that (keep going till you reach £70 billion, and then keep going).”

So whether the final cost is estimated to be £42billion, £50billion or more than £70billion, this farce must be stopped now. If the project is to increase capacity, then bring in double-deck carriages; if it is meant about saving time, spending billions to save minutes doesn't add up as a good use of public money - and with ever increasing sophistication (and falling costs) of portable personal communications - we should cut our losses and spend the money on the most "shovel ready" projects available: increasing affordable housing.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Financial Times: Case For HS2 "Unconvincing"



















As the latest estimated cost of the proposed High Speed Rail (HS2) jumps from £33billion to over £42billion, the case for the project according to the Financial Times is "unconvincing".

Now the Guardian reports that ministers have "misled the public" over the true costs and benefits of the scheme.

The puzzle about this project is why the Tories are so keen on it, since it tramples through so many Conservative constituencies (without stopping) and whose returns, even before the latest revisions, were marginal.

Since then, mobile internet and tablets have made the time fly, and even the former CEO of what is now HS1 thinks HS2 is “away with the fairies”. 

I firmly believe that HS2 will never be built.

However, it is time for the coalition government to stop this white elephant in it's tracks, cut our losses and spend money on more productive public investments, such  as a badly needed new house building programme.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Cintra Park: Improvements On The Way

Following lobbying from Redlands Labour councillors and activists, Reading Council has agreed to spend £36,000 on a set of improvements to Cintra Park. These could include:

  • Completion of the footpath around the perimeter of the park (£14,375)
  • Exercise trail (£9,700) 
  • Extension of fenced play area (£6,500)
  • New park furniture – principally benches (£3,000)
  • Tree planting (£500 per tree)
The map below shows the locations of the proposals – the new path is indicated in red on the map.

 
Footpath
The path should be completed in the same material and width as the rest of the park. Circular routes tend to be the ones most used by park visitors and effectively encourage exercise.
Exercise trail
We would wish to locate equipment at points around the perimeter of the park to encourage people to run from item to item, mixing running with other exercises. The location of the fitness trail equipment has not yet been determined.
Extension of fenced play area
Following requests for picnic seating which was free from dogs, the most effective method of doing this would be to extend the fencing around the play area. This has worked well at other sites including Christchurch Meadows. The space is used by both young children and adults as well as older family members. People are able to supervise their children and others wishing to simply stop and relax are able to do so without being in the middle of the playground.
The £6,500 budget would probably only buy 2 picnic tables but more could be added subsequently.
New park furniture
Benches or seats will cost in the region of £750-£1,000 to install on new concrete pads which are necessary to prevent erosion and excessive mud in wet weather.
Tree planting
In the last two years the council has tried on three separate occasions to establish new tree lines and these have been repeatedly vandalised. If we are to establish them we will need to protect them better and would propose to enclose them within a 1.5-2m wide wooden railing. If this does not work, it is unlikely that we could establish new trees in this location. We may therefore, choose to delay another year or two before planting.
Whilst the total of the above items exceeds the £36,000 budget, it will be necessary to determine the amount of furniture purchased and whether or not we decide to carry out the tree planting to keep within the budget. The tree planting for example, could be done at a future date when further funding becomes available.


  

Monday, 24 June 2013

Guest Post: Adult Social Care - Major Decisions To Be Taken


A Guest Post By Cllr Rachel Eden, Lead Member for Adult Social Care
 
"The meeting next Monday of the Adults', Children's and Education Services committee is the first one under the new system and will involve councillors of all parties (and the council's independent cllr) making decisions on a range of major issues.

From my own portfolio (Adult Social Care) there are decisions on the future of Arthur Clark care home, the proposed merger of Albert Road and Pheonix Day Services and the future of Day services more widely.

All the reports are publicly available here, including an independent survey into the Arthur Clark and Albert Road buildings.

These are serious decisions, and I know that all the Labour councillors on the committee are approaching them very thoughtfully and I hope, and believe, that the other councillors involved are as well."

Friday, 21 June 2013

20mph Speed Limit Coming To Redlands


Coming To Redlands Soon
Following lobbying from Labour Councillors in Redlands, RBC has agreed to develop proposals for the introduction of a 20mph speed limit on some roads in the ward.

The last Traffic Management Sub Committee, held on 13 June 2013, received the first outline plans which included Addington Road. Alexandra Road, De Beauvoir Road, Eastern Avenue, Erleigh Road and Upper Redlands Road.

However, given that the Council is about to install three pedestrian crossings in Redlands Road later in the summer, Redlands Councillor Tony Jones persuaded the committee that Redlands Road, Allcroft Road, Morgan Road and perhaps Kendrick Road should also be considered.

Council officers will now develop a public consultation strategy to ensure local residents have an opportunity to comment on the proposals.

Note: The introduction of a 20mph scheme in Portsmouth had led residents and councillors to belive that the benefits were:

Better for children – safe streets where they can walk, cycle and play.
Better for older people and the disabled – quieter roads with slower traffic means it’s easier to keep your independence and mobility.
Better for pedestrians – safer, quieter, cleaner streets are nicer places to walk.
Better for cyclists – a network of safe residential roads means many more journeys become possible without the need for cycle lanes.
Better for motorists – more people cycling and walking means less congestion and less pressure on parking. Slower speeds means less aggressive driving behaviour and fewer crashes.

 

Saturday, 15 June 2013

East Reading Festival - Sunday 16 June


East Reading Festival is a FREE fun day out in Palmer Park for the whole of the East Reading community, young and old and inbetween, from 12noon till 6pm.

If you live in East Reading, this is your day to celebrate, so come along and
Be Part Of It!
 
There'll be MUSIC, PERFORMANCES,
fantastic FOOD from around the world,
and a wide variety of STALLS and ENTERTAINMENT.
 
East Reading is a culturaly diverse area and East Reading Festival  is a fun day out where people from all parts of the community can come together to relax and enjoy each others company.  We hope to strengthen the connections between the people and organisations of East Reading.
Last year we had over 35 stalls run by mainly local people, including a wide variety of food stalls. Reading College students gave their end of year performances.
It was a great day out.  :o)
 
East Reading is our home, it's our village and we're proud of it.
 
We're proud of our community, and proud of our unity.
 
For more information visit the official website http://eastreadingfestival.moonfruit.com/#

Friday, 14 June 2013

Hexham Summer Fun Day

banner

Hexham Summer Fun Day

at the Hexham Community Centre

Saturday 15th June 12 noon -3pm

Including at 12.00 the official opening of the play park
by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor
 
Free Fun for all the Family

Your Community Your Cash

Find out more about local people’s bids for the £15,000
 
Location
Name of bid
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£1,154
Hexham Community Centre
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£4,113
Hexham Community Centre
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£1,500
Hexham Community Centre
Men’s Room
£3,980
Cintra Park
Hexham Strikers
£7,390
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Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Knock, Knock. Who's There?



This is a message sent via Thames Valley Alert. This information has been sent on behalf of Thames Valley Police.

There have been a couple of recent incidents of distraction burglaries in Reading where vulnerable people have been targeted. 
 
Around 10.30am on Saturday (8 June) a woman called at an address in Chester Street , Reading and gave the impression she lived around the corner and was locked out of her house. She asked for some help and money which was provided by the victim.
The woman is described as white, between 25-30 years old, 5ft 8ins – 5ft 9ins, slim build wearing black jogging bottoms and carrying an handbag.
 
Also on Friday (7 June) around 10.30pm a woman called at an address in Hamilton Road, Reading and stated she was locked out of her property and needed to call her mother. She also asked for money which was provided by the victim and a few days later she returned to the property but was refused entry on this occasion.
Thames Valley Police urges people to verify the identity of strangers who call at their homes, either by asking to see their identity card or by calling the company or organisation they claim to be from and checking with them. A legitimate caller will never mind and will be happy to wait while you do this. If someone claims to be from the police, this can be verified by asking for their shoulder number and calling the 101 enquiry line to verify this.
Never let someone into your home without doing this.
 
Anyone who sees suspicious activity should report it to the police via the 24-hour Thames Valley Police Enquiry Line on 101 quoting URN 733 08/06/13.