Thursday, 26 February 2015

Police appeal for information on an incident in Palmer Park at about midday on Saturday, February 21

I got this appeal for information on an incident in Palmer Park. See below:

Thames Valley Police is appealing for information after an allegation of sexual assault in Reading.

The victim, a 25-year-old woman, entered Palmer Park from the London Road entrance at about midday on Saturday (21/2).

She was then approached by three men, who had been sitting in a sheltered seating area near the playground.

The victim is unsure exactly what happened next but she was later at a property near the Madejski Stadium in south Reading.

She alleges that she was sexually assaulted at this address.

The first offender is black, in his late thirties to early forties, muscular and clean shaven.

The second offender is black, in his late thirties to early forties, slim with short hair.

The third offender is Asian in his late thirties to early forties, of medium build, with black spiky hair and a goatee beard.

Investigating officer, Det Sgt Anthony Jenkins of Force CID said: “I would appeal to anyone who saw a woman with three men in the vicinity of Palmer Park on Saturday afternoon, or saw three men together matching the descriptions in the park to contact police immediately via 101.

“We are working hard with the victim to establish what happened and she is also being supported by specially trained officers at this difficult time.

“We will be conducting house-to-house enquiries in the vicinity of Palmer Park and carrying out extra patrols in the area both to gain intelligence about the incident and to provide reassurance to the local community.

“I understand that some people don’t feel comfortable speaking to police, so if you have information about the offence you can always contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online No personal details are taken, i said that on an nformation is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.”

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The future of the Three Cooks and Unity Sports Association

Last night there was a question at full Council on the future of the Three Cooks and Unity Sports Association in East Reading. Both of these organisations have been trying to do a good job and have laudable aims. Both of these organisations fear that they will have to leave Cintra Park Sports Pavilion. Answer below.

REPLY (Leader of the Council):

Firstly, the decision as to whether or not to renew a lease to Unity has not formally been taken. However, officers informed Unity of the Council’s intentions in the Autumn of last year. The Council’s intention not to renew the lease, as explained to Unity, was based on a number of concerns relating to health and safety, financial management and Unity’s growing debt to the Council. Further to this, the Council’s Head of Economic & Cultural Development wrote to the Chair of Unity on the 12th of December 2014 setting out the Council’s concerns, the rationale for recommending that Unity’s lease not be renewed and requesting any further representations. The Council received a response to this consultation on the 10th February 2015 that needs further consideration and I anticipate a decision on the matter to be taken at a future public committee meeting in due course.

However, to set the record straight I would like to state that over the last two to three years, the amount of money that Unity owes the Council for use of facilities such as sports pitches and the pavilion has continued to grow (and is now in excess of £12,000). The Council has made several arrangements for Unity to both reduce their costs and enable them to raise income from managing the facilities at Cintra Park. For example, the Council has given control over sports pitches to Unity at a significantly lower cost than a hire fee and given them the ability to rent to third parties to generate income; Unity have only been charged a peppercorn fee for the lease of the building; and the Council have been undertaking planned preventative maintenance within the pavilion at no charge.

Despite these numerous attempts by the Council to guide and support Unity to provide a safe and financially sustainable service, the level of debt has continued to rise and promises of payment remain unfulfilled. At a time of significant financial constraint it is not an appropriate use of council taxpayers’ money to continue to allow this debt to grow even further and it is not fair on other groups who do pay what is owed.

This is why we have been looking for an alternative arrangement but this does not mean that Unity cannot continue to operate from the building. We have explicitly said to Unity that we would wish them to continue with their community sports activities under a sub-letting arrangement, but an organisation with appropriate capacity and management skills need to oversee the operation of the facilities in a more efficient, safe and cost-effective way. This would also greatly reduce the financial burden and management responsibility on Unity so that they can focus on community use of the sports facilities.

With regard to The Three Cooks’ use of the building, that commenced in May of last year, this was an arrangement entered into directly with Unity, initially without the Council’s knowledge, and certainly without the Council’s permission as the landlord as required under the terms of Unity’s lease. Whilst we acknowledge that the work of The Three Cooks in providing meals for the elderly is valued they have no formal basis for operating from the Pavilion and I have asked officers to work with them to find alternative accommodation.

So in summary we believe that Unity can continue to provide a range of sports and social activity at Cintra Park and we are working hard to find alternative accommodation for The Three Cooks.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Why not organise a community litter pick as part of Reading RESCUE

Jamie RESCUE 2014 autumnIt is that time of year again, time to  get involved and tidy up your area.

Reading RESCUE is a community litter pick. The council and RESCUE committee coordinates activities across the town. If you can get a group together, they will help supply equipment (litter pickers, gloves and so on) and take the rubbish away afterwards.

More information about the event below including the application form. Please note the deadline for registration is close!

Well done to Summreen, the committee and everyone involved with RESCUE it has made a real difference building community and tidying up the town.

Unfortunately budget cuts are going to impact on the way this is organised, hopefully though RESCUE will survive...

Dear RESCUE-ers!

Some of you have already been in touch about registering for RESCUE.  I’ve updated the registration form and it’s nowon the website.  Deadline for registration is Monday 2nd March please.  RESCUE event dates are 26th – 29th March.  This is later in the month due to Mothers Day and the Reading Half Marathon taking place inconveniently over the two previous weekends!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Maiden Erlegh in Reading model

Below is a picture of the Maiden Erlegh in Reading current model from the consultation meeting this evening. This is changing by the day though!

Crescent Road is at the bottom of the picture, Bumpy Bulmershe on the right. UTC on the left. On the far right – separately – are the temporary classrooms on the car park/tennis courts up by the Hamilton Centre.

Upcoming meetings on this are:

– Public consultation meeting in February/March details to be confirmed
– temporary classrooms to go to March Council planning meeting
– full planning application to go to April planning meeting

What do people think?

Maiden Erlegh in Reading model

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

More cuts coming to Reading which will impact on all of us #rdgukcuts

Civic CentreTragically, Reading Borough Council has had its budget cut by tens of millions of pounds under the coalition government. This has had a very real impact on public services and people’s lives. Unfortunately more cuts are on the horizon.

The 2015/16 budget report will be going to the Policy Committee in February 2015 and then on to full Council later in the month to be debated and agreed. This report hasn’t been published yet but the scale of the cuts is still huge with another £25 million needing to be saved between 2015 and 2018.

Earlier in the year the council announced £8 million of cuts which will be in the coming budget.

The Green Party believes in standing up for the public services on which we all depend, especially the vulnerable and so we opposed cuts to adult social care and education which have already been proposed. We also believe in tackling pollution and climate change and so voted against cuts to the sustainability team.

Despite some posturing the reality is that both locally and nationally there is much agreement between Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems. Labour have announced for example that they will be sticking to Conservative spending plans after the general election if they win.

In the run-up to the 2015/16 budget being published I will be reminding people of the cuts that have been voted through so far this year using Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #rdgukcuts.

If you agree that the public have been abandoned by the old parties and it is only the Green Party that is offering a fair and sustainable alternative for the common good then why not get involved?

In my experience the budget savings proposal wording is never that useful, but it gives you an idea of the cut. The full Policy committee report from September where £8 million worth of cuts were first announced can be found here, item 8 on the agenda, appendix 1 contains the specific cuts: