Our friends at the ‘Keep Emmer Green’ (KEG) campaign have asked us to tell our members about the planning application that went live a couple of days ago.
Below is the information from KEG:
“A planning application for 260 properties on Reading Golf Club land has been validated by Reading Borough Council today, and has gone live on Reading’s planning portal. There are a considerable number of documents, so it’s going to take KEG and our planning consultants some time to go through all the documentation.
We (KEG) have already queried the duration of the planning consultation period with the Council, as such a large application requires at least 13 weeks according to government guidance; the current consultation period has only been specified as 4 weeks.
We aim to get in touch with KEG members as soon as possible to suggest a number of points that opposition to the housing estate development should centre around. We would encourage everyone to read the documents, to make notes, but to wait until KEG have had time to fully appreciate the detail of the plans.
Caversham GLOBE encourages our members/readers to put in their comments via the planning applicationlink above.
Planning application details can be found here on the Reading planning website.
If you are not a subscriber to ‘Keep Emmer Green’ (KEG), or you know those who would be interested, please subscribe so we can send you updates on the planning application.
You can subscribe by pressing on the ‘subscribe to updates’ link via the KEG article on the ‘Keep Emmer Green’ (KEG) website here.”
The Environment Agency has been running multiple consultations regarding a flood defence scheme based on heavy engineering of walls, bunds and a conveyancing channel proposed for North Reading and Caversham.
Caversham GLOBE is opposed to this approach owing to the destruction of hundreds of trees and large areas of habitat that would be lost wherever the walls, bunds, and the channel would be built (approx. 5 km of walls running through parks and riverside, a 25m wide conveyance channel running from the Christchurch meadows play area across George Street into Hill’s Meadow would lead to the loss of a large swathe of the iconic avenue of Lombardy poplars. Relocation of the play area would result in the loss of well used open areas of Christchurch Meadows, part of the Hill’s Meadow car park and many trees there would also be removed.)
Amersham Road playing fields and the area around Dean’s Farm would also be badly impacted by walls and bunds.
Hedges would be ripped out and replaced by a wall along the Reading side of the river between the two bridges.
The EAs estimates CO2 emission of over 24,000
tonnes from the walls and bunds alone.
Walls could be a magnet for anti-social
behaviour including graffiti.
We would instead prefer that the EA look into more natural flood defences further up/downstream instead of solely relying on concrete walls and bunds.
Examples of more natural approaches are common
across the country in other flood schemes: one example is the Denham, Suffolk
flood scheme that has implemented natural flood defence approaches (storage of
excess water, whilst also creating habitat).
This is mentioned in the EA published case study data on 31st October showing the use of natural flood defences as part of flood management schemes:
“The study includes a project in Debenham, Suffolk, where
modelling has shown that installing a range of natural flood management
features along the River Deben could provide more than 30,000 m3 of water
storage – thereby reducing annual average damages to properties and farmland by
New builds are increasingly building in a variety of flood defence/flood resilience mechanisms, why not apply some of these approaches to the few properties actually at risk?
For example, the scheme could give out grants to retrofit items like flood-proof doors, non-return valves, closable air bricks, replacement of floor with flood resilient materials, moving electrics higher up walls etc.
You can read more about these measures in the ‘Know Your Flood risk’s Homeowner’s guide to flood resilience’ here:
Government and EA sees Natural flood management as important:
We are not alone in thinking that
natural defences should be used in flood schemes, as Emma Howard Boyd,
Chair of the Environment Agency, said:
“Natural flood management is an important part
of our approach, alongside traditional flood defences and helping homeowners to
improve their own property resilience. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution
to flooding and this scheme is a fantastic example of how we can use a variety
of measures that work together to reduce flood risk.”
The harm to human health and our environment of “Poor Air Quality” has been the subject of international, UK and local media discussion for some years. The alarming measurements taken by Caversham GLOBE (Go Local On a Better Environment) group, as part of a national campaign organised by Friends of the Earth (FoE), reveal the dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in central Caversham. Special test tubes were obtained and installed to measure the amount of harmful and dangerous nitrogen dioxide (micro-grams per cubic metre) on some local roads and the results were analysed by Gradko Laboratories of Winchester.
These results, in µg/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre) are as follows:
Church Street/Prospect Street
Near Church St/Priory Ave jnc
Church Road/St Anne’s Road jnc
Peppard Rd near Prospect St jnc
This means we’re breathing in
dangerous particles! The legal MEAN
ANNUAL limit for nitrogen dioxide is 40µg/m3. These alarming results show
just how bad pollution is on our roads and how dangerous they are for residents,
pedestrians and cyclists.
Of more concern is the equivalent information that RBC has collected for air quality measurement – see below – showing that THREE CAVERSHAM LOCATIONS HAVE EXCEEDED THE MEAN ANNUAL LEGAL LIMIT FOR THE PAST NINE YEARS!
What is to be done? Who will do it? When? These crucial questions and many more
need some answers. This matter has now been raised with the RBC Strategic
Environment and Transport Committee. However, the agenda papers of 21 November 2018
on Air Quality (search for 7 page RBC document at http://www.reading.gov.uk/article/11415/Archived-meetings-from-01-September-to-31-December-2018 )
does not make any reference to AQ readings north of the Thames, even though
Prospect Street readings have been above the illegal limit for many years and
GLOBE’s AQ readings are not mentioned. Residents groups and RBC Councillors in
north Reading need to develop a joint approach for remedial action underpinned
with funding and commitment from RBC This could include more trees, street
planters and green walls. However, only
by reducing the levels of polluting traffic exhaust fumes will residents,
pedestrians and cyclists be able to breathe cleaner air in the long term.
Readers should also note that the infamous Cow Lane Bridges project will be completed in Spring 2019. This will result in increased eastbound vehicle traffic coming to Caversham Bridge junction with Richfield Avenue as well as more traffic coming from the north and east seeking a westbound route across town. Reading Borough Council proposes to restrict traffic in west Reading, on the Oxford Road, so that Portman Road, Richfield Avenue and Caversham Road will be an alternative route. High density of residential apartment blocks planned for Caversham Road, Vastern Road and nearby locations will also bring heavier vehicle traffic. Anyone can reasonably predict longer traffic queues, slower journey times and increased air pollution. Action is overdue. Meantime, best advice might be “hold your breath”?
RBCs planning committee voted unanimously last night to send strong objections to South Oxfordshire on the speculative application from Gladman to build 245 houses on open countryside immediately adjacent to Emmer Green.
All of the public speakers and councillors spoke in very robust terms against the application which GLOBE believes to be unsustainable, contrary to the approve SODC local plan and objectionable on many other grounds including ecology and the burden on local services and the road network in Reading.
Caversham commuters are seeing increased travel times as they find that can’t drive over the Reading bridge due to strengthening works. The reading bridge is closed for two weeks from Monday, 18th May 2015.
Well, I have some good news for you… The bridge is still open to pedestrians/bike users on foot…
So if you are going into reading or close by, why not ditch the car for the two weeks and save some time!
Plus, it will save you sitting in the traffic jams, while also saving fuel costs and giving you some nice health benefits.
PS: If you want to see updates on the Reading bridge strengthening progress, get reading have a page up here.
Caversham GLOBE were very pleased to receive this award at RESCUE event celebrating 25 years of Reading RESCUE (Rivers and Environmental Spaces Cleanup Event).
Background on RESCUE
RESCUE was started in 1989 by a group of committed and concerned canal users from West Berkshire and Reading, the Rivers & Environmental Spaces Clean Up Event has changed tremendously over the years. It has grown to include business sponsorship and urban areas.
You can read more on RESCUE and get involved by visiting their website:
In April 2011 Reading Borough Council (RBC) told Caversham GLOBE that, due to budget cuts, the Council would no longer be maintaining the 22 planting boxes along Church Street Caversham. These planters had been installed by RBC in 2001 as a millenium project to improve the appearance of Caversham village centre. In 2012, Caversham GLOBE agreed to look after the 10 RBC planters on the BT Telephone Exchange frontage. The following year, encouraged by the Caversham Traders Association (CTA), GLOBE extended its work to include the 12 RBC planters on the north side of Church Street. This is how it was reported in the local paper “Get Reading” in May 2013 when the planters were all woodstained, selectively pruned and partially replanted.
Thanks were due to the Caversham Traders Association, Drews Hardware for materials and RBC for a small grant. 10 Caversham GLOBE activists gave up much of their Bank Holiday time to carry out the first stage of painting and replanting. Then six volunteers from Scottish & Southern Energy Vastern Road Offices, as part of their “Community Programme”, later assisted in concluding these improvements for Spring 2013. Five of the Caversham traders made the generous gesture of paying the costs of buying new plants. GLOBE subsequently watered and replanted, with the help of Green Shoots Garden Centre (part of the Ways and Means Trust Charity).
In June 2014, as result of the installation of Bicycle Hire stands, some of the planters on the BT Exchange forecourt have been replaced and we await replanting by Reading Borough Council. In the meantime,GLOBE has been encouraging BT Facilities Management to implement a maintenance programme for a tidy frontage and removal of the remaining redundant railings. This eyesore should soon be just a bad memory!