29 Jan 2013

Oxford Road - Revealing Hidden History

This is an exciting new project for the Oxford Road.  We have a long and interesting history which is going to be fascinating to reveal.

There will be a meeting of the Oxford Road - Revealing Hidden History group this Saturday 2 February from 10.30am at the Open Hand Open Space Studio in the Keep at the Brock Barracks.  Very handy for locals and right next to a 17 bus stop!


This will be a chance to build upon the beginning that was made during the first meeting last week and for those who were unable to attend this, to discover more. 

I will be a Battle councillors surgery 10.30-12 so won't get a chance to join in but hope to in the future.

27 Jan 2013

Battle Councillors at Building Blocks!

Battle councillors will be at Oxford Road Childrens Centre's Building Blocks toddler group on Wednesday 30 January from 9.30-11.15 at the Salvation Army on Oxford Road.

We want to speak to as many residents as possible this year and we want find out what is important to them.  This is the first of many new things we will be doing this year.

For information on the Oxford Road Children's Centre please see here.  They can also be found on Facebook here.

If you would like us to come long to your community event or group, please contact me on sarah.hacker@reading.gov.uk

25 Jan 2013

Battle Residents Dealt A Crushing Blow - Gaming Centre Allowed

Battle residents have been dealt a crushing blow as the Government Inspector has allowed the gaming centre on the Oxford Road to be built despite huge community resistance. To say I am disappointed would be an understatement.

Reading Borough Council planning committee refused the planning application after hearing from residents, local community groups and all Battle councillors. We all had very real concerns about the effect of the gaming centre on vulnerable adults and the potential for anti-social behaviour.

So much for this Governments insistence that locals would have more control over their communities. This, along with the decision to allow planning permission for a Tesco opposite Oxford Road Community School, shows it's all just lip-service and empty words.

And where was the support from our MP when this application went to appeal?

The Government Inspector has ignored a communities concerns.

This was the article in The Reading Chronicle from when the planning application was refused:
http://www.readingchronicle.co.uk/news/reading/articles/2012/06/06/60083-adult-gaming-centre-blocked/


Here is the appeal decision: http://www.pcs.planningportal.gov.uk/pcsportal/ViewCase.asp?caseid=2182699&coid=2099755

20 Jan 2013

Medical Centre and 106 Funding Update!

Buildings
If you have been reading my blog for some time you would have seen that we found out the Medical Centre was scrapped in my blog piece in December 2011: Battle Site Medical Centre A Victim Of NHS Cutbacks

The fact is has taken until now for Alok Sharma MP to voice his concerns is no surprise to me.  We rarely see him in Battle Ward - I think I have seen him once in nearly three years.  It was a meeting and he turned up as it was ending.

Battle contains areas of great deprivation, areas that should be supported by their MP.  They aren't.  Instead his Government are pushing hardworking families harder and harder with their attack on working benefits.

It has it's problems with prostitution and our MP has done nothing.  Battle cllrs, along with the Oxford Road NAG, have been pushing the Police for action, and recent press has shown this is happening.

Off out now to do a leaflet delivery, working everyday for the residents of Battle, unlike our MP!

'The PCT have confirmed they can no longer provide a medical facility for the Oxford Road community on the former Battle Hospital site (Tesco, West Village) as promised. 

The PCT say that, Conservative led Government cuts means that they cannot afford to take forward the plans for the Battle site and that the health centre is no longer a viable option. Instead they have decided to invest in the Walk in Centre in the Broad Street Mall.  As well as being available to all Reading residents it is our understanding the Centre is expected to take pressure off A&E at the Royal Berks. It has also been suggested the centre is designed to take pressure off our local doctors. However, the Centre is hardly local to Battle ward so it is hard to see how that is supposed to work.

We are deeply disappointed to break this news to you, especially as so many of you helped us campaign successfully, we thought, for a local medical facility.

The profile of the ward has changed since 2005 when we first consulted local people on what benefits they would like to see come from the West Village development. Many resident in Battle Ward today will not have taken part in the 2005 consultation. Residents priorities may have changed since then and as such we believe we need to start again and find out what you would like the money spent on. The figure we are talking about is in the region of £1million plus, this could be used to do an awful lot of good in Battle ward.

In 2005 we campaigned for a medical Centre, that will not happen thanks to our Tory MP Sharma and his Government. In 2013 we have secured £1million pounds plus for our community, the final figure has yet to be agreed with the developer.

We have insisted Reading Borough Council carry out a public consultation before a single penny is spent, they have agreed to do that. Look out for our consultation in the next few weeks.'

10 Jan 2013

Gaming Centre Appeal Next Week!

We have been informed that the appeal against the planning committee's decision to refuse planning permission for a gaming centre at 365-367 Oxford Road is on Tuesday 15 January from 10am in the Waterhouse Chamber at the Town Hall.

7 Jan 2013

Winter Watch

There's talk of snow!  The Countryfile weather forecast hinted about something 'atmospheric' being on the horizon and @MEschoolweather (see here) tweeted a picture today forecasting snow at the beginning of next week.  Winter has been fairly mild so far but a cold snap is rarely far away and some of Reading's residents may find it difficult to stay warm and safe.

I have popped a button top right that links to a leaflet about Winter Watch which gives advice on how to stay warm and what help is available to those at risk.  The picture below will also link to the leaflet.  Please share this information and help keep people warm should temperatures plummet.

Please also remember help for the homeless is also available during very cold weather and you can find out more here.


6 Jan 2013

Joining In With Natures Calender

The Woodland Trust run Natures Calender which asks anyone who wants to to look out for natures 'firsts' when you are out and about.  Inspired by seeing a flowering snowdrop yesterday outside the Civic Offices I joined up (I am already a Woodland Trust member but it's free to non-members). 

The data you gather can be used to spot trends in nature - early/late flowering for example.  These may be indications of a changing climate.  It is important to record these changes as they could threaten plants and animals, especially those that cannot move quickly and may find their usual habitat no longer habitable.

I also thought it would be a nice thing to do with my boys when we are going on walks as they provide downloadable materials like spotters guides.  I like to sneak a bit of education in without them realising!

If you would like to join please see here: http://www.naturescalendar.org.uk/