Saturday, 29 September 2012

The Students Are Back- Horrah?

Reading's University students are back and they have introduced themselves to East Reading residents with a BANG.

Last night's peace was rent asunder by the sound of the loudest party I have heard for a long time. As is traditional in this part of the University area, the culprits were in "Party Row" in Crescent Road. Local residents, including my wife, were woken up by the din, and I am sure that local parents whose children are not sleeping well appreciated the noise.

I was less disturbed as I had been out in town, however I came home at around 2am to the sound of the word fuck being shouted across the music emanating  from the house concerned. Its obviously a house full of very poor students judging by the numbers of cars parked outside it this morning.

So what can residents and students do about the occasions when student houses disturb the night and rob residents of sleep?

 I happen to know that some residents called the Police, last night however I understand that they are loathe to intervene and may or may not  have attended the house yesterday to ask the students to turn the music down.

In most cases the most powerful weapon is to call the University's Community Relations Manager,  Ann Westgarth  0118 378 4479 or email her on and advise her of what has happened. The University has, in the past, taken such issues very seriously and has some pretty draconian powers to "encourage" wayward students to be good neighbours and not to bring the University in to disrepute.

Friday, 28 September 2012

UTC Update

What is the subject that causes the most heat in Park Ward and East Reading? It is the provision of school places for East Reading's children and so it was to discuss the subject that about 100 people gathered in Alfred Sutton's main hall last night.

Passions rose as the meeting, led by Cllr John Ennis, described the coming shortages in junior school and senior school places. Residents passions bubbled over in to anger when Conservative Councillor Isobel Balsdon, never known for her comfortable relationship with the public, tried to score political points while speaking on behalf of Rob Wilson MP. Passion became anger when Cllr Balsdon announced that our MP was secretly negotiating with a "provider" for a school for 11-16 year olds to be built "somewhere" in East Reading. That anger doubled when she stated that she was not at liberty to tell us anything else because of "bad publicity. Balsdon is well remembered by Park and Redlands residents as the Cllr who most vehemently supported Wokingham's plans to exclude Reading children from Maiden Erleigh School.

Cllr Ennis and Chief Education Officer Kevin McDaniel calmly presented the issues in East Reading of pupil place shortfall. In short Reading has seen a 34% growth of the 0-4 cohort from 2001 to 2011 and from 2014 will be short 12 classes at reception and the area will be short 16 classes at year 7.  The £25m spent by Reading on its junior schools in expanding class provision will deal with this problem in the Junior/Primary sector, however it is at Secondary level that there are larger problems, which brought the meeting to the subject of Rob Wilson's UTC on Crescent Road.

The above map shows the way that the "Alfred Sutton" site on Crescent Road is divided.

A1 and A2 is the land that belongs to Alfred Sutton Primary School.
A3 is the site of the childrens' centre on Hamilton Road
B1 and B2 is the site of the UTC
C1 and C2 is the part of the site owned by a developer

The temper of the meeting was that the UTC is going to happen, it will only take children aged between 14-19, but since it is going ahead we should work with it. Kevin McDaniel advised that because of its catchment area and age range it may have only a minimal effect on Reading's shortage of secondary places.

What is worrying is the fact that the Sports Hall and Tennis Courts is under the threat of development. The covenants on the land mean that it can only be used for education, unless there is no educational use for the land. Cllr Ennis explained that RBC would like to put either a 2 form primary school on the site or Secondary School. Both these ideas would need funding, and while he stated that the council was looking at borrowing to build, Government rules dictate that the option of Free School has to be muted as a first step and only when this step has been exhausted can the Council step in. There are also issues of density and making it fit it with the general area. The meeting agreed that it did not want to see housing on the site, however could not agree what it wanted.

Cllr Ennis and Kevin McDaniel both said that this morning was the beginning, not the end of the process. They both asked residents to give them their views, either directly at the meeting, or by taking part in the consultation process that will start on the 15th Oct.

So what do you think should be done with the area C1 and C2, school? something else? Whatever your opinion please take part in the consultation. When the link is up I will post it to help this.

If you want to tell me your opinion please comment below (note all comments will be moderated)

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Tagger Strikes Again

The Tagger who vandalised the wall on the junction of Hamilton and Crescent appears to have struck again.

This time the vandalism is on the wall of the Coop in Erleigh Road.

Perhaps it is time for Mr or Ms Tagger to pack it in now or even for someone who knows them to make a call and dobb them in.

In the meantime the Tag will be reported and hopefully removed soon.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Walk On By?

The taggers have struck again on the wall between Crescent Road and Hamilton Road.

I've reported it to the Council and they are pretty good at getting the wall cleared.

If you see graffitti and tagging its so easy to report, simply ring RBC on 0118 9373737 and the helpful staff will  note the problem and get it dealt with.


Friday, 21 September 2012

School Places in East Reading

Rob Wilson MP having appeared to have washed his hands of his "half cocked" plans for a Senior School for 14-18years olds in East Reading, I am pleased to see that RBC, under the Labour Lead Councillor, Cllr John Ennis, is holding a public meeting to discuss the issue with local residents.

I spent a very pleasant morning delivering leaflets to parents as they went in to Alfred Sutton Primary advertising a Public Meeting to be held on the 27th September at 6.30pm. Most of the parents I spoke either said that they would come along or would send someone on their behalf.

Unfortunately the Head of Alfred Sutton seems to be a little confused and is humming and hawing about whether the meeting should be advertised in the school newsletter. I bumped in to a Governor of the school who told me that she is under the impression that it is some sort of party political meeting and therefore won't be advertising it. I hope after the conversation I had with the school Governor and a good reading of the leaflet above will help her to change her mind.

Nevertheless I hope that as many local parents from Alfred Sutton, Newtown, Redlands and St Johns will be able to make it as the decisions made about Secondary provision will effect East Reading for generations.

I will be there and I hope to see you there too.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Romney taped at secret donor talk

The power of the internet and the recorder has done for Romney.

This is a reminder to all polititians that they have to be honest across their whole. Romney is guilty of the worst sort of contempt for the US electorate. But how many of our politians in the UK or even in Reading are the same.

I have seen with my own eyes how certian politicos in Reading say one thing in public and another in private?

Friday, 7 September 2012

Dave Geary

David Geary - URL from Evening Post
I was sad to read that Dave Geary, former Reading Mayor and Kentwood Councillor, died last week.

I worked with Dave in 2003 when he retired as a Councillor and I was fighting for the seat he left vacant.

Dave was kind enough to endorse me and when I was knocking on doors in the Ward, so many people told me about how Dave had helped them, listened to them, sympathised with them and made their lives better.

After he retired he continued to be involved in local campaigns and especially in Kentwood. I particularly remember that he remained part of the team especially with the Siler Roses tea party, which we used to run in Kentwood Ward for the older members of the Ward and other Reading West Wards.

When I was a Councillor Dave was a guiding voice, he had a strong sense of the right way to go and Reading will miss his counsel.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

What A Summer

Olympics 2012 Eton DorneyETD83ETD81ETD82ETD71ETD63

ETD73ETD74ETD75Eton Dorney LakeETD SheepTL Photo
Team PhotoThe Team OriginalETD 24Canoe Sprint StartLOCOG cars waiting to goETD 22
Olympics Scrap Book, a set on Flickr.

What a Summer it has been for me. I have been working on the biggest project in the UK this summer the London 2012 Olympics.

I have been working for G4S, I know but I needed a job, helping to provide the security to the Eton Dorney rowing site. I will publish my thoughts on G4S later, however I would like to share my photo scrap book of the time I have spent at Eton Dorney.

I arrived at the site on 9th July and have been there ever since. My feelings about G4S will be dealt with in a later post, however my feelings about the Olympic and Paralympics can be summed up by the lump in my throat that formed when I heard the national anthem followed by David Bowie's Heroes at the last medal ceremony of the Rowing Paralympics. I felt an intense pride at having worked at a world event which the wider TeamGB, athletes, organisers, volunteers, staff, security guards, military, police, builders, and general public worked so well together.It seemed to be a moment when we could be proud to be us, proud to be a chaotic, multi layered, multi peopled, slightly cynical, and disorganised nation that can really pull it out of the bag when we need to.

It will be a long while before we see days like this again.