Environment Agency Flood Risk Design Drop-ins - February 2020 Newsletter

30 January 2020

The Environment Agency will be holding drop-in sessions locally from the end of February, where they will show their latest design for reducing the flood risk to homes in north Reading and Lower Caversham. The drop-in schedule and what they want to achieve from them are in their February Newsletter

 

Environment Agency flood risk plans - January 2020 Newsletter

12 January 2020

The Environment Agency‘s (EA) have issued their January 2020 Newsletter about their investigations into reducing flooding in Caversham. The backgound to their proposals follows:

The EA proposals for large-scale flood prevention works on both sides of the river, but particularly on the Caversham side, will have a big impact on the riverside environment, especially through tree loss and the excavation of a very large channel across part of Christchurch Meadows. We are in touch with the EA and supporting the excellent work of the recently-formed Campaign for a Better Flood Alleviation Scheme (CABFAS), who among other things are focused on limiting immediate damage from the EA’s site investigation works. The following drawing show how the scheme would impact Christchurch Meadows. For details go to: EA Information Page

Prior to this, the EA undertook a public consultation in July 2018 and published their analysis in the Consultation Response Report. This was followed by a newsletter in November 2018 and then a ‘drop in’ event in December 2018, where comments invited.

Flood Risk Awareness and Climate Adaption Event - 19 November

12 October 2019

Ayo Sokal, the Caversham councillor, has organised a ‘ Flood Risk Awareness and Climate Adaption Event’ on Tuesday 19 November at 6.30pm in the Civic Offices. The event has been organised to provide information about flood risk to residents of Caversham. It includes a talk about flood risk, resilience and climate change adaption.

The guest speaker is Chris Beales, Chair of Reading Climate Change Partnership (RCCP). Chris is a Hydrologist with over 20 years of experience. In his role as chair of RCCP he is leading the partnership through a period of growth and developing stronger links with communities and businesses across the town in order to focus on climate change in light of ever-more regular extreme weather events.

Air Quality (GLOBE's Jul 18 test results)

4 August 2018

Caversham GLOBE  have completed another set of air quality tests, which show nitrogen dioxide levels higher than their previous tests in Mar 18. Air Quality Test Results

RBC to consider kerbside food waste collections

1 July 2018

The RBC Strategic Environment, Planning & Transport meeting on 2nd July will be discussing proposals to introduce kerbside food waste collections.

The proposal is part of the Re3 waste action plan report

Strategic Environment Planning and Transport Committee meeting 2nd Jul agenda

The committee will also consider the draft St Peters Conservation Area Community-led Appraisal, which CADRA has had a major role in.

What we do

CADRA takes an interest in all open spaces and footpaths in Caversham and, from time to time, becomes involved in particular areas or schemes, including Caversham Court Gardens, King's Meadow Baths and Mapledurham Pavilion.

Air Quality

There has long been concern about the poor air quality in central Caversham. A nitrogen dioxide test tube installed by Caversham GLOBE at the Church Road/St Anne’s Road junction for two weeks in December 2017 registered 56.2 µg/m3 of nitrogen dioxide, which exceeds the legal annual mean limit of 40µg/m3. In Mar 18, CADRA funded four more test tubes, which GLOBE installed at busy junctions in central Caversham. In Jul 18, GLOBE did the tests again and the results in micrograms were:

Location Jul-18 Mar-18

Dec-18

59 Church Street, RG4 8AX (Waitrose Roundabout) 41 41  
14 Church Street, RG4 8AR (Priory Avenue Junction) 49 47  
Peppard Rd, Prospect St Junction (Prince of Wales Pub) 71 51  
Church Rd, St Anne's Road Junction (Griffin Pub) 50 57 56

RBC has four automatic monitoring stations which measure the levels of different pollutants, in real time, across the borough; one is located near the roundabout on the south side of Caversham Road.

The Council also operate a non-automatic network of passive diffusion tubes looking at nitrogen dioxide levels (NO2). There are a number in Caversham along: Church St, Church Rd, Prospect St and Gosbrook Rd. For more information visit  Air Quality

Reading Borough Council

Parks

Reading Borough Council provides information on all open spaces under their jurisdiction and any plans for change at Parks

Allotment Availability

To find out about the availability of allotment sites and plots visit Allotments

Environment Agency

The Environment Agency  deals with all aspects of flooding and building on flood plains. It also deals with the effect of major developments on the environment.

For a list of ways to contact the Environment Agency follow this link: EA Contacts

Flood Risk Scheme Latest Proposals

The Environment Agency has sent us the following update on their scheme for a major flood relief scheme in Caversham, which we are happy to pass on to you. For more details and images follow theses links: Reading and Caversham Scheme  Information Page. Some before and after images follow this statement.

“Flooding can be devastating, as we have seen around the country in recent weeks. It can have long lasting effects financially and on people’s mental health. The average cost to a household is £30,000.

Reading has been fortunate this year. We haven’t seen the kind of rainfall that has affected Wales, the Midlands and the north. However, it could be just a matter of time.

There is a long history of flooding from the River Thames in Reading and Caversham from the major floods of 1894 and 1947 to the more small scale floods in 2003, 2012 and 2014.

There are over 700 properties at risk of flooding in north Reading and Lower Caversham with wider impacts such as loss of power, other utilities and disruption to transport.

At the Environment Agency, we would like to work with partners and communities to reduce this risk of flooding before it happens.

We have been speaking to local residents about our latest plans, which include a combination of flood walls, embankments, temporary barriers and a new channel. We  have met with various resident and environmental groups and held a series of public drop-ins.

At previous public drop-ins in 2018 and 2019, people said that they wanted to see more detailed information, so we have produced landscape plans and before and after pictures to help residents to visualise what the scheme could look like.

We have also talked to people about their current flood risk and what they can do now to reduce that risk, such as sign up for flood warnings and make a flood plan.

We also displayed material to help with some common mis-conceptions, including the level of current flood risk, height of walls, flood impacts elsewhere and the number of trees being affected.

Any walls built would be set back from the river and are likely to be a similar height to existing fences and walls. Where this is not possible we will look at how the appearance of walls can be softened, and if scheme goes ahead will discuss options with local residents.

We have also explored how we can reduce the number of trees affected. Any trees lost would be replaced and we will ensure that the local community is involved in choosing the location and species of replacements trees. “

We are applying our modelling techniques to work out the best standard of protection, such as heights of walls, to protect as many properties as possible, and will not build a scheme that transfers risk from one place to another. We are keen to develop a project that will enhance the area for the local community as well as protecting it from flooding.

It is important to remember that the scheme is still in the early stages of development and it does not have the necessary permissions or funding. “ 

Images of areas currently at risk in a major flood now, and if the scheme were implemented:

 

Towards Reading Bridge from the play area, as it is now:

What the EA are proposing, showing the new channel diverting water away from The Thames:

Regents Riverside as it is now and as proposed:

 

 

Caversham Court Gardens

In May 2006 the Heritage Lottery Fund approved funding to support the restoration of Caversham Court Gardens. Much of this funding was used to restore the 17th and 19th century features of the garden, including the gazebo and its causeway, the crinkle-crankle retaining wall, and the ancient yew family and hedge.

Some historic features that had been removed over the years have been replaced, like the ornamental Pugin style gateway. The planting has also been restored to recreate the intimacy of the private garden with its flower borders and riverside walk.

Archaeological excavations were carried out following the uncovering of remnants of the old glasshouse. The foundations of an earlier and later glasshouse have been discovered, together with what appears to be an ornamental pond, a water storage tank, old pipework, the flue of a boiler and internal paths.

Further information about the gardens can be found on the: Friends of CCG

The Tea Kiosk situated in Caversham Court Gardens, is run by five local charities and is normally open from the 1st April to 31st October each year.

King's Meadow Baths

Thames Lido Opens

Following a long and successful campaign by the Kings Meadow Baths Campaign team to save this important local landmark, working alongside Reading Borough Council, the sensitively and imaginitively restored baths reopened as  Thames Lido in October 2017. 

The Baths

The Women's Outdoor Swimming Pool was built in 1902. The ironwork was made by Allan & Kidgell at their Caversham Bridge Engineering Works.

The pleasure bathing pool was built to allow Edwardian women to bathe in privacy. It was originally fed from the Thames though it was converted to main supply in the 1950s. It is a rare and fine example of a complete Edwardian Lido.

The Background

Following the Grade II listing of the baths in 2004, the Council sought a viable future for the building. A set of planning principles for both the baths and the adjacent Lock Island was formally agreed in 2006 after a public consultation.  Working with the Environment Agency, tenders were invited. Two proposals were considered. One was a commercial proposal for a hotel, cafes and offices and would have converted the baths into a hotel spa. A proposed bridge over the meadow to a car park caused widespread concern. The other was from the King's Meadow Campaign who had long been seeking to restore and re-open the baths.

After the commercial tender withdrew the opportunity of public access to the baths, the Council gave the King's Meadow Campaign a limited period to raise funds. That period was extended in October 2011 and the Campaign was warmly encouraged to continue their work.

In September 2013, Reading Borough Council voted to give the management team from Bristol Lido the opportunity to develop the site and reopen the pool. The Campaign Team stood down in July 2017,when the restoration was nearing completion.

Mapledurham Pavilion

Planning permission for the  refurbishment of the Pavilion -  No, 130613 - was granted in July 2013. 

It was hoped that the project could be funded by £100k from Section 106 monies and a £50k contribution from Festival Republic, with  the balance raised from  grant applications  and local fundraising. 

The Pavilion was closed to the public in  January 2016, and refurbishment is currently on hold pending the outcome of the  application from the Education and Skills Funding Authority  to build a primary school on  adjacent  land.