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Residential development planning application for up to 245 residential dwellings 

A planning application was submitted by Gladman Developments Ltd for 245 homes in South Oxfordshire adjoining Emmer Green and the Reading border. The site boundary and map can be found here. The full details of the outline application to South Oxfordshire District Council can be found http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/ccm/support/Main.jsp?MODULE=ApplicationDetails&REF=P16/S3630/O.

Reading Borough Council has been formally consulted by South Oxfordshire. RBC is therefore consulting before submitting its response – details at http://planning.reading.gov.uk/fastweb_PL/detail.asp?AltRef=162174&ApplicationNumber=162174+&AddressPrefix=&Postcode=&Submit=Search.

CADRA has been in contact with other organisations in both Reading and South Oxfordshire and we thought it may be helpful to list some of the concerns which are being expressed to us.

  • Traffic pressures through Caversham and across the Thames
  • Traffic pressures on Peppard Road and Kiln Road
  • Additional demand on existing bus services in peak periods
  • Additional demand on primary and secondary schools in Caversham and Emmer Green which are already over capacity
  • Additional demand on GP services in Caversham and Emmer Green which are already experiencing problems meeting demand
  • The financial contribution to infrastructure would be received by South Oxfordshire District Council while most pressures would fall on Reading Borough Council
  • Capacity for water supply and drainage
  • Loss of ancient countryside and habitat
  • Breaching the green edge of Caversham and Emmer Green

If you have concerns about the application, you can comment in two different ways.

  1. Comment online to South Oxfordshire District Council following the link at http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/ccm/support/Main.jsp?MODULE=ApplicationDetails&REF=P16/S3630/O or by emailing registration@southandvale.gov.uk quoting reference P16/S3630/O. Deadline 9 January 2017
  2. Comment to Reading Borough Council who are consulting on the Reading response to South Oxfordshire, on line at http://planning.reading.gov.uk/fastweb_PL/detail.asp?AltRef=162174&ApplicationNumber=162174+&AddressPrefix=&Postcode=&Submit=Search or by emailing  susanna.bedford@reading.gov.uk quoting reference 162174 no later than 9 January 2017.

Any of the above issues would be relevant points to raise.

Further concerns have been expressed to us, though they are unlikely to be accepted as a legitimate reason for refusal of the application:

  • Potential, once the green edge has been breached, to absorb South Oxfordshire villages in a sprawling conurbation
  • The cumulative effects of successive developments on highways and other facilities
  • The interest of land owners in the area to seek development opportunities
  • Gladman has, in the past, passed successful planning applications on to another developer which has subsequently increased the density and the number of homes
  • The application is clearly against South Oxfordshire planning policy and locations for new housing. Gladman policy is to employ top legal Counsel to overturn refusal at appeal.

This could be a long drawn out process. We will keep members informed of each stage where there may be the opportunity to comment.

Our neighbourhood policing team

New poster showing our policing team for Peppard, Caversham, Mapledurham and Thames wards.

A permanent site for the Heights Primary School

The Education Funding Agency made a formal offer to Reading Borough Council, the Trustees of Mapledurham Playing Fields. This was considered by the Council's Heights Free School Sub Committee on 12 July 2016 who agreed to consider the offer further. The report to the committee indicated that the offer includes "a payment of £1.36m, of which the EFA have attributed £30,775 to the value of the part of The Trust Land which they wish to purchase for the school." The full report is available at http://www.reading.gov.uk/media/5622/Item-4/pdf/Item_4.pdf. See also http://www.anewhomefortheheights.co.uk/

Since then, the Mapledurham Playing Fields Action Group have established a new charity called Mapledurham Playing Fields Foundation and have set out an initiative called Fit4all. http://www.protectmpf.uk/

CADRA supports the need for the school but remains neutral on the choice of site.

Future location of the Heights Primary School

community newsletter has now been issued here with details of public exhibitions on 21 and 22 March. It explains how local people can express their views and gives a broad indication of where the school could be located on the playing fields

Further consultation on reduction and changes to Library Services

As part of a wider programme on cost savings, the Council undertook a consultation from October to November 2015. This included these comparative statistics for Reading Libraries. CADRA encouraged local people to use their local library and to respond to the consultation. Following contact with members, CADRA sent this response.

The Policy Committee on 15 February 2016 is asked to approve a second consultation on more detailed proposals. These include a reduction in the opening hours of Caversham Library from 50.5 to 35 hours per week. The full report includes an analysis of responses to the earlier consultation and a set of proposals. Recent press coverage offers a summary. The consultation will run from 22 February to 16 May 2016.

Reading Festival

Reading Festival and Reading Borough Council have issued information for residents - Festival Republic letter. http://beta.reading.gov.uk/article/7960/Festival-Transport-Advice. Traffic is expected to be heavier this year with the anticipated rail strike and a higher proportion of festival goers travelling daily.

Budget cuts

Reading Borough Council needs to save a further £39 million over the next three years to 2019. Find full details at http://beta.reading.gov.uk/budget

It is important we express our views on some significant changes.

Reading Borough Council Budget Consultation

Reading Borough Council estimates it needs to save a further £39 million over the next three years to 2019. This is because since 2013/14 the Government has cut Reading’s grant funding by 40%. These cuts are taking place at a time when demand for local Council services in Reading is increasing. Over the next three years the Council will be making a series of budget proposals to make the savings needed. This is being widely publicised and the consultation runs until 5pm on Friday 16th October.

Brief details are set out in a leaflet which is available in Caversham Library or at http://beta.reading.gov.uk/media/3646/Budget-Consultation-Leaflet/pdf/Budget_Consultation_Leaflet.pdf.

The full proposals are also available in Caversham Library or at http://beta.reading.gov.uk/budget

Here you will find links to summary proposals and full proposals and half way down the main page a link take part in the budget consultation. This link also allows you to look at particular budget headings.

It is not surprising that the list of services being examined is a long one. It includes: Adult Social Care, Children’s Social Care, New Directions, Town Hall and Museum, The Hexagon and South Street, Libraries, Education, Housing, cleaning and public conveniences, pest control and dog wardens, Planning, Building Control, Parks, street care, waste, parking charges, commissioning from the voluntary sector and RBC customer services.

If these services are a concern for you, we strongly suggest you should register your views through the consultation.

Caversham Library

Among the savings proposed is a £600,000 saving for libraries. It is clear that this includes reductions and possible closures of local libraries. More information is available here.

If you too are concerned about library services in Caversham, please express your views through the main consultation. CADRA will keep members informed of the next stages of consultation.

Heights School

CADRA is one of the groups represented at the Stakeholder Meeting. We have always been clear that, in view of our membership across all areas north of the river, it would be wrong for us to support or oppose particular sites for the school. The local consultation has shown clear support for a school on Mapledurham Playing Fields. If the EFA decides to pursue this option, the emphasis should be on maintaining and improving sports and community facilities (including during school hours) along side a school and on minimising problems for those living nearby. This has been a difficult and divisive time for the community in Caversham and we need now to move forward and heal divisions.

Announcement on a permanent location for The Heights Primary School

On 17 August a letter from the Education Funding Agency to Rob Wilson MP was made public. This indicates that the EFA will now begin work on a proposal for a school on Mapledurham Playing Fields. The full letter and a response from Rob Wilson setting out a series of commitments that would help frame a positive and constructive dialogue can both be found at http://www.robwilsonmp.com/news/efa-decision-permanent-location-heights-primary-school.

The EFA has pledged to continue working with the steering group on which CADRA is represented.

Reading buses: Closure of Reading Bridge (18-31 May)

Reading buses are putting on extra services while Reading Bridge is closed. Could we all leave our cars at home? http://www.reading-buses.co.uk/articles/closure-of-reading-bridge/

Timetable for consultation on the permanent site for the Heights School.

The EFA asked Reading Borough Council to carry out a public consultation on its behalf. Around 67,000 letters will be sent to individual households in Reading and the Parishes of Mapledurham and Kidmore End, outlining how the consultation process will work.

The consultation will consist of a public information phase at the start, including an Information Pack on the five preferred sites for the school selected by the EFA. An Open Public Meeting will follow on Wednesday March 25, followed by a Public Survey where people will be invited to have their say.

When the Survey is complete, Reading Borough Council will collate all data and pass it to the EFA for consideration. It will then be up to the EFA to select a location for The Heights Primary School, based on the public responses received.

The Heights Primary is a Free School, currently located on a temporary site in Gosbrook Road, Central Caversham. Under Government rules, only the EFA can select where a Free School can be located.

Key dates:

  • Week beginning 16 March, Information Pack available on line at
    http://beta.reading.gov.uk/schoolsite
  • Wednesday 25 March, open public meeting
  • Monday 30 March at 9.30 am, survey opens
  • Friday 1 May at 5.30pm, survey closes.

The Information Pack will set out information on the 5 sites:

  • High Ridge, Upper Warren Avenue
  • Mapledurham Playing Fields
  • Albert Road Recreation Ground
  • Shipnells Farm (better known as Bugs Bottom)
  • Dysons Farm (Land at the junction of Shepherd's Lane and Kidmore Road).

Those wishing to attend the public meeting should register on line at http://beta.reading.gov.uk/schoolsite. This link will subsequently show a recording of the meeting for those unable to attend.

Hard copies of the Information Pack and the survey will be available at the Civic Offices, Libraries and Leisure Centres. More information at http://beta.reading.gov.uk/PRHeightsConsultation.

Are you a good neighbour? Do you want to protect vulnerable residents from rogue traders?

Relevant advice from the Trading Standards Institute for Caversham where many older residents have been targeted in the past. The intention is to promote consumers into being good neighbours and look out for, and report any possible signs of vulnerable residents and their involvement with rogue traders.

Visit the Trading Standards Institute advice page

Essential Strengthening Works for Reading Bridge Begin in November

ESSENTIAL works to strengthen Reading Bridge begin in November.
Reading Bridge is almost 100 years old and is a major strategic route, both through Reading and the wider region. The structure is now in need of essential strengthening and waterproofing to ensure it can continue to carry the amount of traffic it does in future years.

Read the full announcement

Your Say: Arts, Heritage and Sport Consultation

Residents, visitors and businesses are being asked their views on sport and culture in Reading as part of the ‘Your Say: Arts, Heritage and Sport’ consultation.

Running from 9th June until 30th September, ‘Your Say: Arts, Heritage and Sport’ will help to shape Reading’s new culture and heritage strategy, and is being developed by Reading Borough Council with community groups and partners including The Cultural Partnership, Reading UK CIC, Reading College and creative arts charity, Jelly.

There’s loads going on already in Reading and real potential to further develop this into the future. Responses will be used to shape the strategy and generate ideas on how sport and culture can play an even bigger role in promoting wellbeing and be an integral part of an even more vibrant and economically successful town.

Thank you to those who have already taken part and shared your views with us. For those who would like to, you can complete the short survey online at: www.reading.gov.uk/yoursay

The consultation is open until 30th September and initial findings are due at the end of the year.

The EFA response to Rob Wilson MP

Rob Wilson's comments

The letter from the EFA

A site for the Heights Primary School

A public meeting on 17 June allowed residents to air their concerns and to ask questions following the announcement that the Education Funding Agency had secured a site on Upper Warren Avenue. There are naturally strongly held concerns both about that site and on the need to progress provision of a school. At the end of the meeting, Rob Wilson MP asked that the community come together to find a workable solution to meet the needs of local children.

The CADRA believes that it can best serve the community by remaining neutral on individual sites and by supporting a process of calm community engagement. CADRA is therefore involved on a neutral basis as part of a wider group including parents of the Heights Primary School (but not Trustees) as well as the two groups formally opposing the use of the site on Upper Warren Avenue

A report of the main issues raised during the public meeting can be found here.

New housing on the edge of Caversham?

South Oxfordshire District Council is running a Consultation until 23 July on where to locate an extra 5900 houses by 2031 , and one option, Option F , is to split the provision between the outskirts of Oxford and Caversham. CADRA will be objecting strongly to this option, but individuals may also wish to sent comments.

The Height Primary School announces permanent location

The Education Funding Agency has now completed the purchase of a permanent site for the Heights Primary School. After a search of over 40 public and privately owned sites, a development site of about 1 acre, known as Highridge, has been acquired on Upper Warren Avenue.

The School hopes to see the EFA progress design work to enable public consultation to take place later in 2014 before the submission of a planning application. http://theheightsprimary.co.uk/permanent-location-press-release

Ward Councillors Isobel Ballsdon and Ed Hopper have called a public meeting on Tuesday 17 June 2014 at 7.30 pm in St Andrew's Hall for local people to hear more information and to have their say.

New bus routes

News of a new bus route between Reading, Shinfield, Aborfield and Wokingham. More details via Reading Buses newsletter.

Regeneration of the St Martin's Centre

CADRA members have been invited to attend a private and pre-public exhibition briefing on the emerging proposals for the regeneration of St Martin's Centre. Details have been circulated to members. If you are not a member of CADRA, joining instructions are here. For details of the public exhibition, see http://www.stmartinscentre-caversham.co.uk/

Youth Clubs: times and locations update

AGE 11-19? Looking for a safe and relaxing place to hang out with friends and try new things? Visit your local Youth Club?

Consultation - Ready for Ageing

The Ready for Ageing Alliance would like to ask you:
What do you think would make the UK a better country to grow older in?
When you think about growing older, what concerns you most and why?
http://healthwatchreading.org.uk/consultation-ready-ageing/

NHS Call to Action Feedback

Reading’s CCGs have released their summary of the feedback received from their last NHS Call to Action event held in November 2013.The next NHS Call to Action event in Reading is on 29th April - booking essential. http://healthwatchreading.org.uk/nhs-call-action-feedback/

Caversham Rewards Scheme

The Caversham Rewards Scheme is growing fast,with over 600 card holders and over 30 local businesses offering discounts and offers on shopping, eating out, dry cleaning and other services. You can buy cards from participating businesses or register on line. Schools, clubs, churches or charities can raise funds through the scheme and a contribution from every card helps to build up a fund for local improvements. http://www.choosecaversham.co.uk/caversham_rewards.php

Beat the Street

Following a successful pilot in Caversham last year, the initiative is being rolled out across Reading from 1-31 May 2014. Flyer

Oxfordshire 2014 Strategic Housing Assessment

The key findings of this report have now been published. This indicates a need of an additional 725-825 houses per year in South Oxfordshire from 2011 to 2031. This will be an important factor in developing the new Local Plan 2031.

More information can be found on the South Oxfordshire District Council website pageExternal Link. And the Strategic Market Housing Assessment pdf can be downloaded hereExternal Link.

Abbey Quarter Project Consultation

The Heritage Lottery Fund invited Reading to reapply for a grant to conserve of the Abbey Quarter and revised proposals are to be submitted in February 2014. Public support is an important factor in the decisions of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

If you would like to add your support, you can complete a short survey on RBC's websiteExternal Link which is open until Friday 31st January 2014.

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