Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Public consultation on opening a new secondary school in East Reading #rdguk

I recently got the email below consulting people on plans to open a new secondary school on the Crescent Road site in East Reading (Maiden Erlegh 2). We have been campaigning to plug the gap in school places, so it is good to see this moving forwards:

Dear Stakeholder
Public consultation on proposal to open a new school in East Reading
The public consultation on the proposal to establish a new secondary school in East Reading- Maiden Erlegh School in Reading- to open in September 2015 is now open and will run until Monday 24 November 2014.
Our vision is to create another centre of excellence like the Maiden Erlegh School in the Borough of Wokingham. We will do this by:
Providing a stimulating and challenging environment
Ensuring all students make exceptional levels of progress and attain excellent outcomes
Working in close partnerships with families, providing a hub that responds to the needs of the community
Offering a secure and caring community
Our brochure provides detail of our plans - click link to view Maiden Erlegh School in Reading Brochure
Our Admissions policy can be found at the following link, together with the supplementary information form. Admissions Policy 2015-16          Supplementary Information Sheet
Our school policies will be based on the Maiden Erlegh School policies which can be seen at the following link. http://maidenerleghschool.co.uk/information/key-policies/
Further information about the new school can be found on our website:
We wish to continue to seek the views of local stakeholders and invite you to participate in our consultation in one of three ways:
1.  Public consultation meetings
There will be an opportunity to meet the Headteacher and the proposer group and to hear more about the school. Details of these meetings are as follows:
Thursday 2 October          8.00-9.00pm               Alfred Sutton Primary School,
                                                                            148   Wokingham Road, Reading, RG6 1JR
Saturday 11 October        10.30-11.30am           Maiden Erlegh School, Silverdale Road,
                                                                            Earley, Reading, RG6 7HS
2.  Completing our consultation questionnaire
Our consultation survey is available via this website: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MESiR
3. Contacting us directly
If you would prefer, please contact us directly by email - newschool@maidenerleghschool.co.uk or by post to Maiden Erlegh School- Consultation, Silverdale Road, Earley, Reading, RG6 7HS
Once the consultation is complete, the Trust will consider all the responses. We will provide a formal report on the consultation to the Department for Education.
We believe that the establishing of Maiden Erlegh School in Reading will provide an increased choice for parents of East Reading and we look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Yours sincerely
Huw Jones
Chair of The Maiden Erlegh Trust

Friday, 19 September 2014

Questions frequently asked by #rdguk residents

We have developed this frequently asked questions blog post as we thought it might be useful to residents and also save us a bit of time. Let us know what you think and if anything is missing or incorrect.

I would always suggest talking to your neighbours, advice organisations and the council about a problem first and if you are struggling to get anywhere then raise it with your councillors. This means we can work for you most effectively and concentrate on things people are unable to resolve themselves. Also, quite often you will get a quicker response by going directly to the council.

Please remember that most councillors have other jobs as well and that the Green Party is a volunteer organisation. The more people who get involved the more we can get done.

Q. Practically what does a councillor do? Q. How do I contact the council and my Green Party councillors?
Q. Where can I get independent advice in Reading?
Q.Where can I find out more about a planning application in my area?
Q. Where can I find out about an ongoing transport consultation?
Q. What can I do about speeding in my road?
Q. What can I do about cars parking on and blocking the pavement?
Q. I’m generating more waste than will fit in my bin what can I do?
Q. I’m fed up with litter and fly tipping in my area what can I do?
Q. There are so many cars in our road that we are struggling to park. What can we do?
Q. I have noisy neighbours what can I do?
Q. What can I do about weeds and hedges blocking the pavement?
Q. The streetlight outside my house is broken, what can I do?
Q. What can be done about someone parking blocking the dropped kerb in front of my drive and blocking me in?

Reading councillors are responsible for setting the strategic direction of the council. Councillors represent residents views at council meetings when developing strategies and policies. Councillors also work with their constituents tackling smaller problems impacting on a road or individual. Councillors can help with anything from education to the economy to care.

Q. How do I contact the council and my Green Party councillors?

This page has the contact details for the council:

You can find contact information for your Green Party councillors here.

Q. Where can I get independent advice in Reading?

In East Reading there is Communicare: http://www.communicare.org.uk/
In the town centre there is the Citizens Advice Bureau: http://rcab.org.uk/
In West Reading there is the Welfare Rights Unit: http://www.readingcommunitywelfarerightsunit.co.uk/
The national housing charity Shelter provides excellent housing advice: http://england.shelter.org.uk/

Q.Where can I find out more about a planning application in my area?

You can look up details of planning applications on Reading Borough Council’s planning portal which is here: http://planning.reading.gov.uk/fastweb_PL/welcome.asp

If you have a query you can contact the duty planning officer via the Council call centre.

Q. Where can I find out about an ongoing transport consultation?

You can look up details of current transport consultations here: http://www.reading-travelinfo.co.uk/traffic-orders/advertised-traffic-orders.aspx

Q. What can I do about speeding in my road?

You should report this to the police: http://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/yournh/yournh-tvp-pol-area/yournh-tvp-pol-area-n468
Also let your councillors and the council know. Following a Green Party campaign the council has some speed monitoring equipment which it can deploy in your road to find out what speed people are travelling at. The appropriate action can then be taken.

Q. What can I do about cars parking on and blocking the pavement?

We think that it is important to keep pavements clear so that people can walk down them safely and are not forced out into the road. However sometimes this can be a balance and sometimes two wheels on the pavement does not cause any problems. You can get hold of a leaflet on the issue to use as you see fit here. Alternatively sometimes restrictions such as double yellow lines can be used on one side of a road, for example, to tackle this problem.

Q. I’m generating more waste than will fit in my bin what can I do?

If there are over five adults living at a property then you can be issued with extra bins. Contact the council to ask about this and if you don’t get anywhere with them please contact your local councillors.

Q. I’m fed up with litter and fly tipping in my area what can I do?

Let us know if you have any information about who is fly tipping or dropping litter. You can download an app for your smart phone to report litter and fly tipping more easily.
You might also be interested in organising a cleanup in your area as part of Reading RESCUE.

Q. There are so many cars in our road that we are struggling to park. What can we do?

There are more cars in the area than it was ever designed for. The Green Party has been promoting alternatives to the car, but without action from the government progress is slow. Residents’ parking is one thing that might make a difference because it limits the number of cars per household to two. The council usually wants to see support from over 50% of the residents in a road. You could collect signatures to demonstrate this. Get in contact and we can provide more advice.

Q. I have noisy neighbours what can I do?

You should contact the council and the Environmental Health Team may be able to help. If you believe the noise is coming from a student household you should contact the University. Let us know and we can supply you with the correct contact details.

Q. What can I do about weeds and hedges blocking the pavement?

The council is responsible for the public highway, so the council is probably responsible for weeds and hedges blocking it. The council tackles weeds once a year and will contact householders whose hedges are encroaching on the pavement to get them to cut them back. I would suggest contacting the council directly on this with specifics such as house numbers.

Q. The streetlight outside my house is broken, what can I do?

Every streetlight has a number on it. Contact the council with this number and telling them what the problem with the streetlight is – no light, blinking, on in the daytime. It usually takes the council’s contractor about a month to fix them.

The police are responsible for taking action when someone has blocked a dropped kerb in front of your drive – if you are blocked in. If you are blocked out then they will not take any action. You can get the council to paint an advisory white line (access protection marking) on the road by your dropped kerb. It should be noted that these are only advisory and so people parking on these cannot be ticketed. There is also a charge. Contact the council for more information on this.

If you have contacted the council on anything and not been able to get anywhere then please let us know and we can chase it up.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Oppose the rush to war in the Middle East #rdguk

Rob at Reading Gaza DemoReading Peace Group have organised the demo below to oppose the rush to war in the Middle East. See the email below:

Dear friends,

Peace vigil this Friday: 19 September
6 - 7 pm, Queen Victoria Statue, Friar Street (outside old Town Hall)

Over recent days the drift towards yet another war in the Middle East has accelerated. Barack Obama has committed the USA to air strikes against Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria, and has not ruled out the deployment of military forces on the ground. David Cameron is itching to join in and has ruled nothing out - regardless of the vote in
Parliament last year which refused to allow the government to take military action in Syria.

For the next few weeks Reading Peace Group will be undertaking a regularly Peace Vigil in Reading town centre to clearly demonstrate that we will not allow the government to get away with waging another war in Iraq. Please join us this Friday between 6 and 7 pm at the Queen Victoria Statue in Friar Street (by the old Town Hall) to show your opposition to the war. You don't have to stay for the whole hour – just come along for as long or short a time as you can manage.

We will be conducting vigils over the following few Fridays as well depending on how the situation develops and will keep you informed by email.

I hope to see you on Friday.

Thanks and best wishes,


Friday, 5 September 2014

Update on #CemeteryJunctionworks in Reading #rdguk

Jamie highlighting raised roadAnyone that lives near or passes through Cemetery Junction will have seen the ongoing improvement works at the junction and along London Road (picture above of Jamie Whitham by new raised crossing). This should benefit all road users, pedestrians, cyclists and bus users especially.

The Green Party got the council to start the transport study which led onto these works when we held the balance of power back in 2011.

Residents have been asking a few questions which we have answered below.

Q. When will this scheme be finished?
A. It should be finished by the end of September. Some of the things left to do are: pavement resurfacing, reinstalling bike parking, planting trees and shrubs, removing old traffic lights.

Q. Why is the crossing by the Abbot Cook moving?
A. A camera survey was done of the junction and the new position of the crossing by the public toilets was found to be the most desired route. This route has been safety audited independently.

Q. What has happened to the bike parking (railings) outside the Co-op?
A. All railings are going as part of the decluttering initiative. This creates wider pavements and the evidence is that it improves road safety. People don't jump over them and fall for example. Bike parking is to be reintroduced in the form of angled stands outside the Co-op and Mr Cod.

Q. How do I get from the Arch to the central island?
A. There will be a white island painted on the road and the dropped kerb will be extended to make this route easier.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Live near a grot spot? Alley needs clearing? Reading RESCUE could help #rdguk

Reading RESCUE is a community tidy up event. Why not organise one in your area?
Jamie Samurai sword, mop RESCUE lq
In the past we have organised clear ups along the Kennet and Thames, we have done alleys – above is Green councillor Jamie Whitham with the rubbish he cleared from an alley on Manchester Road –  Newtown and parks.

Do you have a bit of land nearby that could benefit from a clear up? Why not get together with a group of friends and family and organise a RESCUE clear up. The advantage of doing this is that you can get some equipment from the council and that they will take away the rubbish afterwards.

Alternatively, Reading RESCUE publishes a list of groups and where they are working closer to the weekend so you can join a group running an existing event instead.

The next Reading RESCUE weekend is Thurs 9th to Sat 11th October 2014. The following one will be in the spring.

More information on Reading RESCUE including the online registration form can be found here.