Ash pearce - Labour Church Ward Councillor
Church's Labour Team, led by our Councillor Ashley Pearce

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Ward News

Ward News

Ward news round up

Waiting restrictions: Shinfield Road has become a problem area for parking in recent months and has now been replaced on the waiting restrictions review list. This will be heard at March’s transport committee meeting where if passed, Council officers will undertake further investigations into what actions we can take.

Speeding: on the same agenda at the March transport meeting as the above is potential speeding restrictions on Northcourt Avenue and the surrounding roads. If passed the same process of further investigation by the Council will take place.

Road resurfacing: the Council will soon put into place the biggest investment into repairing our roads ever. This includes many roads in Church Ward to be repaired in the next 3 years. Roads in most need will be prioritised and the full list of roads will be available soon.

Local CIL spending: a small pot of money is available to spend on local projects every couple of years from Community Infrastructure Levy payments. At the end of this year we expect the crossing to Ridgeway School on Whitley Wood Road and on Northumberland Avenue by Reading Girls School to be completed. The next round of funding will be discussed soon and I’m happy to hear from residents. Currently improvements to Shinfield Rec park off Linden Road and improving the Christchurch Road shops area are high on the priority list.

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School streets trial could come to South Reading

A School Street is a road outside a school with a temporary restriction on motorised traffic at school drop-off and pick-up times. The restriction applies to school traffic and through traffic. The result is a safer, healthier and pleasant environment for everyone.

School Street schemes offer a proactive solution for school communities to tackle air pollution, poor health and road danger reduction. A School Street scheme will encourage a healthier lifestyle and active travel to school for families and lead to a better environment for everyone.

A traffic management order is applied to a street around a school, temporarily restricting access to motorised vehicles. That street will in, effect, become a pedestrian and cycle only zone. Times for the restrictions are determined in agreement with the school. These can be for between 30-45 minutes and only on weekdays and term times.

At a recent Clean Air Safer Transport forum meeting the issue of School Streets was discussed and pilot schools have been sought to test the scheme. Two of our local schools in Whitley have expressed an interest in becoming an area this could be implemented. Discussions with these schools will continue and our ambition to introduce this scheme is also clear in the new transport plan.

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New Reading station Green Park opens in 2020 – final details confirmed

Reading’s new Green Park train station is still set to open by the end of 2020 after plans for its building were finalised.

Councillor Tony Page, lead member for Transport and Planning, said the station is scheduled to open by the end of 2020 but “hopefully a bit earlier” and is now fully funded.

Green Park train station’s building was given the green light by councillors in September with the condition that the issues over the disabled toilet are resolved.

The building will include a ticket and enquiry desk, ticket office, staff rest and toilet facilities, male and female toilets, one accessible outside toilet, a baby change facility, self-service ticket machines and shops.

The station will be part of the Reading to Basingstoke Line run by GWR.

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Food waste collection coming to Reading in 2020

Between 30% and 40% of the household rubbish put into our grey bins in Reading is food waste. This often ends up in landfill where it rots and releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. When recycled, food waste can be turned into fertiliser for farming and energy. It’s also cheaper – every time we compost a lorry load of food instead of sending it to landfill it saves £100.

We’re introducing weekly kerbside food waste collections from October 2020. Over the coming year we’ll provide you with all the information and equipment you need to take part.

The benefits include:

  • Composted food waste can be turned into electricity fertiliser for farming.
  • Composting food instead of burying it in landfill reduces the amount of methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) released into the atmosphere.
  • It’s cheaper – every time we compost a lorry load of food instead of sending it to landfill it saves £100.
  • Separating food waste means you have more room in your black bin to put things you cannot recycle.

You will have two food waste containers, a small indoor kitchen caddy (5 litre) to put in your kitchen and a larger outdoor caddy (23 litre) for you to put outside for collection. These will be delivered to everyone’s home.

The food waste will be collected weekly.

You’ll receive more details nearer the time, including all the information and equipment you need to take part.

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Matt Rodda’s ‘re-elected in Reading East

Labour candidate and MP for Reading East Matt Rodda held on to his seat and increased his majority. He received 27,102 votes – beating Conservative candidate Craig Morley by 5,924 votes. Matt has been an MP since 2017 and is a regular in Church Ward at surgeries and canvassing with local Councillors.

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£9 Million Proposed for Reading’s Biggest Ever Road Investment Programme

Reading Council will embark on the Borough’s biggest ever road repair programme as part of a new £9 million investment package being proposed.

Over the next three years, every resident and road user in Reading will benefit from newly laid local road surfaces, newly laid pavements and footpaths and a purge on potholes,  which is being proposed as part of the Council’s new budget for 2020 -2023.

While the Council carries out a main road resurfacing programme every year, an estimated 80% of the current maintenance backlog in Reading relates to residential roads and pavements. Most of the complaints received by the Council and local Councillors are about the condition of residential roads.

As a result, around £2.5 million – the bulk of the proposed new capital funding – would be invested next year on new road surfaces and repairs for residential streets and housing estates, with more than £500,000 spent on new pavements surfaces. The Council will continue to invest up to £900,000 of the annual Local Transport Plan capital award, received from central Government, on main roads.

Roads will be selected using the Council’s existing road priority selection criteria, where they are repaired in order of condition. It is envisaged that Councillors will be provided with the prioritised road list for their ward and will then be able to feed their local knowledge into the process, as they are often the first lobbied by residents about priorities in their areas. The rolling list of roads would be reviewed annually to ensure the money is being spent where it will make the most impact.

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We are Whitley logo design competition

Shift youth and community will soon be launching a logo design competition for youngsters living or attending school in Whitley. Details are set out below.

We are Whitley’ Logo Design Competition
The purpose of this competition is to give young people an opportunity to create a unique logo that celebrates the Whitley community.
It is being organised by Shift Youth + Community (SYC), a local charity working with disadvantaged children, young people and communities in Whitley.

Eligibility Criteria
Participants must be either residents of Whitley or study at one of the primary or secondary schools.

Entry Requirements and Important Dates
Competition begins on Thursday, 2nd January 2020.
One logo design per participant is permitted.
Participants can choose to design a paper-based or digital logo.
Paper-based logos should be submitted to the teacher in-charge. SYC will collect them from your school starting 10th Feb. to 14th Feb 2020. Designs could also be posted or dropped off to this address by Friday, 14th February 2020: Shift Youth + Community, c/o Tyndale Baptist Church, 2-4 Cressingham Road, RG2 7JE.
Digital logos must be emailed to reneta.kuttan@syc.life by 14th February 2020 in JPEG format (file size should be 2 MB or less).
Designs must be created using no more than 4 colours. A short description of 250-300 words explaining the rationale of your logo design must be provided.
Participants need to provide the following information for contact purposes: Full name, date of birth, school, year group, teacher in-charge, and postcode.
(Note: Participant information will be discarded at the end of the competition.)

Judging Process
Once all the designs have been submitted, they will be judged by a panel of representatives from the Whitley community.
Designs will be marked on the following criteria: Originality, aesthetic quality, relevance to the theme, adaptability to different platforms.

Other Terms and Conditions
By submitting the design, you confirm that it is original and not copied from any other source.
The winning designs will be used at the South Reading Churches Fun Day, Whitley notice boards, and community centres. The designs may be further incorporated on the different promotional materials for Whitley.
SYC will contact winning participants by 24th March 2020. Incase, SYC is unable to reach you, the runner up from shortlisted entries will be given the winning position. So, please ensure you share the correct information.

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Road safety improvements for ward

There is a proposal from Ashley for an extension to the existing 20mph zone on Northumberland Avenue, extending beyond Reading Girls School. The request also includes an improved crossing facility outside the school. The element to extend the 20mph zone has received CIL funding and we have commenced initial investigations.

A recommended concept design has been developed that we believe to be deliverable. The proposed scheme includes a combination of traffic calming measures and also two informal crossing points with herringbone imprints – we felt that these would be a welcome enhancement.

A proposal to install a zebra crossing on Whitley Wood Road to improve pedestrian access to The Ridgeway Primary School has also been put forward. The proposed scheme includes a zebra crossing on Whitley Wood Road at the top of the hill (between Hillbrow and Rushden Drive), and an informal crossing point with a herringbone imprint between the existing traffic island at the bottom of the hill (by the roundabout with Hartland Road). The design shows the introduction of some waiting restrictions, therefore a statutory consultation will be required.

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Community safety survey

Overview

The purpose of this survey is to ask residents their views about issues such as crime and disorder and other local issues, to help identify priorities across Reading.  The Safer Neighbourhood Forums are required to consult on priorities with a community safety focus every 2 years.  

Why We Are Consulting

This community safety survey is being carried out across Reading to inform our neighbourhood working and local safer neighbourhood forums to find out what issues residents consider to be their highest priority at present.  Whilst we will look at all issues raised in this survey in order to compare local concerns to previous consultations, we will not be able to impact on all of them and issues such as pot holes and parking may be referred back to the relevant service if there are sufficient concerns.  Feedback from this survey will be looked at in conjunction with the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) priorities for Reading and locally reported crime across the Borough alongside the British Crime Survey and priorities identified by Thames Valley Police.  Priorities will then be set accordingly.

https://consult.reading.gov.uk/dens/community-safety-survey-2019/
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Letter to Reading buses regarding the frequency of the number 9

Dear Mr Williams

I am writing to you in my capacity as one of the councillors for Church Ward to bring to your attention a couple of issues that have been flagged with me which relate to Reading Buses.

  1. Number 9 buses along the Whitley Wood Road.

The first issue relates to the frequency of Number 9 buses along the Whitley Wood Road route. A number of residents, many of whom are elderly and for whom the bus is their only mode transport, have commented to me that the Number 9 buses are not frequent enough. It seems to me that this is a significant problem for a large number of people in what is a fairly wide residential / geographical area.

With the above in mind, I would therefore like to know whether Reading Buses have any plans to change / increase the frequency of buses servicing this route or indeed whether there are any plans to consult residents on the bus service in the Whitley Wood Road area.

I would be grateful if you could provide me with a breakdown of passenger numbers (not limited to revenue as many users will be using concessionary bus passes) for the Number 9 route and would be interested to find out whether the number of users of this service has gone up or down?

  1. Student related ASB at Christchurch Road bus stop.

The second issue relates to anti-social behaviour at the bus stop on Christchurch Road (located near to the junction with Whitley Park Lane). Residents have complained to me that this bus stop is a hotspot for noise nuisance and anti-social behaviour, primarily caused by university students using the bus stop on week nights after 9pm at night.

I would like to know whether Reading Buses would investigate or consult on the possibility of implement a temporary closure of this bus stop after 9pm at night. Alternatively would Reading Buses consider moving this bus stop up or down the road and away from residential areas?

To this end, it would be useful if you could provide me with the statistics for the number of bus users who embark at this particular stop. Is there a way to find out how many non-university students use the bus stop after 9pm? Furthermore, would it be possible to find out how many concessionary bus pass users make use of this particular stop after 9pm?

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions relating to the above matters. If it would be useful, I would be more than happy to meet in person to discuss the above issues and explore possible options.

I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Best wishes.

Yours sincerely

Ashley Pearce
Councillor, Church Ward

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Letter to shops on Christchurch road

Recently several residents have contacted me regarding issues with the shops on Christchurch road. I have written the below letter and will soon be sending to each of the shops from the Council to help improve local relations.

Dear proprietor

I am writing to you on behalf of residents and Reading Borough Council as one of the proprietors of an outlet on Christchurch Road. The shops are located in between two wards, Church Ward and Redlands Ward, and are regularly used by many local people. Locals appreciate the service these shops provide and wish to work collaboratively with the shops to ensure that the local area is as good as it can be.

Over the last few months I have received numerous emails, especially from residents of Northcourt Avenue and Whitley Park Lane which are closely located to the shops, to ask me if I can help in facilitating a discussion between residents and shops to ensure some issues are addressed.

The major issues that residents are concerned about are:

Deliveries (being considerate of the frequency, timings and noise of these)

Delivery lorries parking considerately, especially close to the junction of Northcourt Avenue and Christchurch Road to ensure pedestrians crossing at this busy junction (including those in wheelchairs or with push chairs) are able to pass safely.

Litter around the front and back of the shops

Noise from customers later in the evening

Improving the access road behind the shops

Residents stress that they are supportive of the shops, many use them and they wish to work collaboratively. One of the ways this may be possible is by taking part in Reading Borough Council’s Adopt your street scheme, where local businesses work with the Council to help clean up the area once a month. Myself, the Council and residents would be grateful if you were able to support this.

Please contact me in response to this letter so we are able to take good community relations forward.

Kind regards

Cllr Ashley Pearce
Church Ward
Ashley.Pearce@Reading.Gov.uk

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Whitley Library Sale

The Council will shortly be marketing Whitley Library for sale on the open market and to the voluntary sector which may include a range of offers, subject to planning including community use and possible residential conversion.

The Council will be advertising the property on the RVA (Reading voluntary Action) website from in accordance with the Community Lettings Policy to give the voluntary sector a circa 4 week lead in to open marketing exercise which will itself commence in mid October for a further 8 week period.

The building is locally listed and there are tree preservation orders on the site so the Council will be looking for offers that retain/convert the building and respect the TPOs.
It is also proposed to include within the sale an area of land outside the extent of the current library site for use as ancillary parking.

More information is available on the RVA website: http://rva.org.uk

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Views sought on speed calming

Councillors have recently been speaking with residents regarding parking restrictions and speeding in the ward. After the successful introduction of waiting restrictions in Ennerdale Road & Northcourt Avenue, we are seeking resident views on whether these are needed in other roads.

As well as parking, we are aware of issues of speeding in the ward, especially around Cressingham Road, Hazel Crescent and Sycamore Road (amongst others). We will soon be meeting with Council officers in the transport department to discuss options available to us to help with speed in these and nearby roads. Any resident views, please get in touch.

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Ward news round up

It has been a busy few months for Councillors in Church Ward.

Ashley met with representatives from the Council, WCDA, Affinity and Food4 Families about a project with a piece of land in between Staverton Road and The Lawns flats. We are seeking to turn the unused piece of land (pictured above) to create a community garden for use of local residents. We will be having further meetings and pressing for progress.

The tennis courts on South Reading Leisure Centre on Northumberland Avenue received an upgrade just before the start of Wimbledon! We hope this will lead to greater use of the courts and local enjoyment.

Travellers encamped briefly in South Reading initially on Rabsons Rec and then Long Barn Lane. The initial encampment was able to be moved swiftly on after residents contacted Councillors who worked to get the right measures in place quickly. If there are any future encampments in the area, please pass on concerns caused to Councillors and police as quickly as possible as it helps the process of moving on.

The St.Patrick’s hall appeal from Reading University against the Council was dismissed. Ashley gave evidence at the appeal alongside residents where it was again affirmed that the proposed development was too large and for too many students. We hope any further proposals from the University fully consult and consider residents views.

The South Reading fun day this year moved to JMA school on Northumberland Avenue but was of course a huge success again. Many community groups, young people and locals came together for a fun day of art, crafts and information.

The Whitley Community Development Association celebrated its birthday in the Summer with a gathering of all those that have helped the project in the last few years. Part of the Big Local project, WCDA have been involved in a huge number of projects to help the community in the last few years including the opening of the Whitley Cafe amongst many others.

Remember, as well as our regular canvassing sessions to seek resident views, we have our regular advice surgery on the first Saturday of every month at the Whitley Cafe on Northumberland Avenue from 10.30am-12pm.

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Reading Council declare climate emergency

Reading Council recently passed a motion to declare a climate emergency in Reading after campaigners called for action.

Reading Borough Council has outlined its desire to eliminate Reading’s carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 . The resolution sets out a wide range of measures that need to be embraced and pursued by governments at all levels. Carbon dioxide emissions in the borough have fallen by 41% since 2005, the 20th highest reduction in the UK, while the council has reduced its own emissions by 53% since 2008.

Reading Council will also be becoming plastic free after another recent motion was passed. Plastic straws, packets and cutlery will all be on the banned list after council bosses voted to stop single use plastic.

The motion pledges a number of ways to achieve the reduction, including phasing out the purchase of single use plastics in all services commissioned by the council.

Church Ward Councillors showed their commitment to a cleaner, greener Reading with a recent clean up of Shinfield Rec off of Linden Road. The park will also soon see some new lighting installed as well as more bins.

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