Great Langborough Residents Association
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Minutes of the 2021 AGM

Minutes of the 2021 AGM

The Committee considered holding a 'live' AGM but decided that, as in 2020, an alternative 'virtual' format would be more appropriate. This would update members on our activities, conduct the constitutional business of the AGM, and allow members to ask questions and raise concerns.

20 members responded to an online survey and a number of issues were raised by members.

1 Chair's Annual Report 2020-21

Please see the article here.

2 Approval of the Minutes of the 2020 AGM

The minutes were unanimously approved.

3 Election of the Committee

The current committee were all willing to continue as members. David Nash wishes to stand down as Secretary for a year, and Lesley Kendall is willing to act in his place for this period. This was unanimously agreed by members.

4 Treasury Report and Accounts

The report and accounts were unanimously agreed by members.

5 Annual subscription

The proposal that there should be no subscription for the year 2021/22 was agreed by 19 votes to 1.

6 Any Other Business

Members raised the following issues.

Community living

One resident would like to see the GLRA promote community living

We are not clear about this query and would need further information to comment.

Borough Local Plan

One resident expressed the view that the Plan should be released as soon as possible.

Since this item was raised, the Local Plan Update Revised Growth Strategy has been released and is out for consultation which closes on 24 January 2022. Details of this are on our website and of course that of WBC.

Existing Library Building

A resident asked about the future of the building.

The existing library site is now identified for 15 homes in the Local Plan Update Revised Growth Strategy.

Junction of Gipsy Lane/Southlands Road/Erica Drive

One resident expressed concern about the increasing use of this area

Further information is needed to clarify this comment. That area is used by taxis collecting pupils from the school which may be why there appears to be more parking there.

If the parking causes concern and is illegal, residents should contact the relevant authority.

Aircraft noise

One resident noted the increased concentration and frequency of planes above the area.

This has been raised in the past but is not something our committee can address. It may anyway reflect the increase in air travel since the lifting of restrictions.


2021 Chair's NewsLetter

Chairman's Introduction

The committee is disappointed that this year’s AGM could not be a live event. This was a reflection of current circumstances generally and personal issues for committee members. Hopefully next year will be different and we hope to bring the next AGM forward into the summer months.

This year, we have followed the same format as last year providing links to our submissions on Council planning applications and an online survey (see this survey at https://www.survio.com/). To complete the business of the AGM we ask residents to complete this survey, in which we also hope that residents will leave any feedback for the committee.

Committee Activity

The committee has continued to review council planning applications and to comment on them. Our reports can be found on our website: http://glra.org.uk/.

We have commented on the following:

  • Re-applications for the Carnival Leisure Centre along with pressure to provide Public Art beside it
    • Planning application here, comment here.
  • Re-application for the SWDR
    • Planning application here, comment here.
  • Re-application for the South Wokingham housing development for 171 houses in-stead of 190
    • Planning application here, comment here.
  • Application for the Molly Millars Lane/Finchampstead Road Roundabout
    • Planning application here, comment here.
  • Development of Ascot House from office to residential. There is currently a Face-book page on this issue.
    • Planning application here.

We have also supported local residents over difficulties with an impinging tree in Gipsy Lane with the help of our Councilors.

On a wider issue, we have reviewed and commented on the government’s document on CHANGES TO THE CURRENT PLANNING SYSTEM which happily mirrored many of the concerns expressed elsewhere and seem to have given the government pause for thought.

Members of the committee have continued to liaise with the council officers and councilors and to apply pressure for Public Art to be included in plans for new developments.

Matters arising from last year’s minutes

The committee was pleased to note that the issues of Antisocial Behaviour in Howard Palmer Gardens have greatly improved. At a meeting in the Gardens last summer, the Town Council had agreed to reduce the low hedge which left a hidden area behind which drug use was possible. In fact, the low hedge was cut down completely leaving no place to hide.

As a result of these connections with the town council and police, we have made further contact with the Norreys and Westcott Neighbourhood Action Group. I have personally been attending their meetings and sharing any useful information. The group is open to all residents. The next meeting is online on the 1st November.

The poor condition of the lime trees on Langborough Rec was raised and presented to the Town Council. Residents will have noticed that three of the trees have now had ground treatment and hopefully more will follow.

The Wildflower Garden has been a great success and was awarded an ‘Excellent’ by Wokingham in Bloom. The group would welcome any new volunteers.

Treasurer's Report

The GLRA had a total of £663.08 on 31 March 2021. Please see the full Treasurer's Report for more detail.

Election of committee

I would like to thank the committee members for their support and contributions over the past year. I would also like to specifically thank Philip Robinson for his contribution as he will not be standing this year.

The other existing members of the committee are willing to stand again. These are:

  • Pat Smith; Chair
  • David Nash; (standing down as Secretary)
  • Lesley Kendall; standing as secretary
  • Phil Lawman; treasurer
  • Andrew Pearce; website administrator
  • Robin Cops
  • Anita Stein

Please vote to accept these members.


2020 AGM Minutes

Minutes of the 2020 AGM

In September 2020, restrictions on public gatherings precluded a “live” AGM. The GLRA Committee decided on a format that would bring members up to date on our activities during the year since the last AGM, conduct the constitutional business and provide an opportunity for members to ask questions and bring up concerns. We decided on the format of an online survey (using Survey Monkey). We were pleased that 30 members completed the survey. Two issues were raised under “AOB” that we were able to deal with subsequently and report back - see Item 5 below.

1. Chair’s Annual Report 2019- 20

Pat Smith, GLRA Chair, remarked that this year had been 'strange' to say the least. Despite the preceding 150 days restrictions, the committee had been ‘meeting’ regularly - more recently online during the lockdown.

We had been actively engaged with local situations as they had arisen.

Some of our actions during the past year were as follows. Please follow the links for more detail : -

We made significant submissions to the Wokingham Borough Local Plan Update and commented on the planning application to build 190 houses south of Gipsy Lane and the Waterloo railway. Members of the GLRA committee attended meetings about both.

There had been a number of design changes in the new Carnival Pool Leisure Hub. We continued to study these and commented on each successive Planning Application.

We contributed to the recent ward Councillors’ report on the traffic in our area.

We pursued the case for more public art in the town and in the wider Borough.

Network Rail upset the local community for the second time by installing a noisy alarm on the level crossing from Gipsy Lane to Knoll Farm - with little warning to nearby residents. Members of the GLRA committee supported those affected in making their objections. Some changes were been made to lessen the disturbance.

There had been increasing anti-social behaviour in Howard Palmer Gardens. We linked with the Wescott and Norreys Neighbourhood Action Group to try to resolve the problem.

We circulated information emails from the Borough council to residents. We recorded minutes of all meetings and significant actions on our website.

We had a meeting with Susan Parsonage, the CEO of Wokingham Borough Council, to follow up on her presentation at our 2019 AGM. We discussed the WBC Community Vision for the next 5 years and the plans for delivery of its strategic priorities: Enriching Lives, Safe & Strong Communities, A Clean & Green Borough, Right Homes in the Right Places, Keeping the Borough Moving, Changing the Way the Borough works.

For further information, the Wokingham Borough Council website Community Vision page contains both the Community Vision statement and the Corporate Delivery Plan to 2024.

These documents, published in February 2020, provide comprehensive answers to the priority and strategy questions raised with Susan Parsonage during the 2019 AGM

The Chair confirmed our intention to keep residents informed on local matters through the GLRA website and by email.

The Chair then went on to ask members to participate in the Survey Monkey poll to vote on the constitutional AGM business and to raise any questions or issues under Any Other Business. We received 30 completed returns.

She concluded by stressing that she was always keen to hear from residents about local issues and to offer help when we can. She also invited any member who was interested in serving as a GLRA Committee Member to contact us.

Email to Pat Smith: chairman@glra.org.uk

2. Approval of 2019 Minutes

Via the Survey Monkey poll, the minutes of the 2019 AGM were approved.

3. Election of Committee

The current committee were all willing to continue in their roles. Via the poll, they were re-elected.

4. Treasury Report & Accounts

Via the poll, the members approved the 2020 GLRA accounts.

5. Any Other Business

Via the Survey Monkey poll, two members raised the following concerns: -

a. Planning Applications in a Conservation Area

A resident questioned how Wokingham Borough Council was policing planning applications to alter visibly properties in the Langborough Road Conservation Area. (By referencing the WBC Planning Officer’s recommendation to refuse the application that was cited, we were able to demonstrate the protection of Conservation Area status in that instance.)

b. Lime Trees in Langborough Recreation Ground

A resident expressed a concern about the visible distress of some of the 24 lime trees bordering Langborough Recreation Ground on three sides. He requested our support in raising the necessary funding for a recommended root treatment to extend their healthy life.

(We passed on the concern to our local Town and Borough Councillors. They facilitated our attendance at a meeting of the Town Council Amenities Committee. This committee subsequently approved a pilot to treat an initial number of trees, starting in January 2021. See a copy of our letter outlining the issue - http://glra.org.uk/2020-11-16-LimeTrees.pdf)


2019 AGM Minutes

GREAT LANGBOROUGH RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION

26th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Attendees

A good turnout of 33 residents signed the register plus 8 GLRA Committee members, the CEO of Wokingham Borough Council (WBC), one WBC officer and 2 Councillors. Residents who signed the attendance sheets, those who sent apologies and attending councillors will receive a copy of these minutes. A copy will appear on the Association’s web site http://www.glra.org.uk

Committee Members:

  • Robin Cops Minutes,
  • Lesley Kendall,
  • Philip Lawman Treasurer,
  • Anita McPhilimey,
  • David Nash Secretary;
  • Andrew Pearce Webmaster,
  • Philip Robinson,
  • Pat Smith Chair

Councillors:

  • Maria Gee, Borough & Town;
  • Oliver Whittle, Borough

Apologies

None recorded.

Guest Speaker:

  • Susan Parsonage, Chief Executive Officer of Wokingham Borough Council

Introduction:

The Chair opened the meeting and welcomed residents, councillors and guest speakers. She outlined the agenda for the evening. She asked that everyone signed in and included their email addresses, so that they could be included in Association’s circulation list.

She reminded the audience that they could also follow progress on the GLRA web site. She welcomed and introduced WBC Councillors for Wescott Ward, Maria Gee and Oliver Whittle, and the new WBC Chief Executive Officer, Susan Parsonage, who was the guest speaker at the meeting.

Annual General Meeting Business

Opening

The Chair asked all residents present to sign the attendance sheets with their e-mail addresses. This would also act as their acceptance of the GLRA’s GDPR published policy and allow documents to be sent to them.

She also directed the meeting to the GLRA web site http://www.glra.org.uk for the 2018 Chair’s Newsletter, the 2018 AGM Minutes and the 2018 Treasurer’s Report. Copies of the 201 8 draft minutes with a summary of the 2018 Questions put to our 2018 AGM guest speakers and subsequent Answers, plus developments to date, had been distributed amongst the members present.

Minutes of AGM meeting 2018.

The first item of business was to agree the 2018 AGM minutes. This was proposed by Sophie Scott, seconded by Lesley Kendall and passed unanimously.

Chair’s Report – Pat Smith

Town centre Regeneration Update

All residents had observed the progress of the regeneration so there was no need to go into details.

The Market place was finished although she believed that it still awaited the final surface clean.

It was great to see so many of the units in Peach Place being occupied. She expressed concern about the competition between the many coffee shops and hoped that they could all survive.

It was sad to know that the Wallis branch would be closing, as it had been such a stalwart of the precinct. We had to hope that a similar provider would move into the town.

Elms Field was also rapidly taking shape, with Aldi already open; the play area seemed to be very popular.

Luckley Path was now closed to vehicular traffic, other than cycles and mobility scooters.

The committee had contributed to the discussion about the closure. We had requested that WBC should provide evidence for the reasons for closure; particularly about whether there had been any accidents and any data on the air pollution issue.

With the assistance of councillor for Wescott, Julian McGhee Sumner, council officers did provide evidence from the Police about accidents. This was sufficiently convincing. GLRA then withdrew its objections.

Meetings

Committee members had set up and attended a number of meetings with WBC and Wokingham Town Council (WTC) representatives. Detailed reports on these were on the GLRA website.

We continue to meet with our WBC ward councillors before our committee meetings. This had been really useful, particularly in getting to know our new WBC councillor Maria Gee.

A group of committee members met with John Halsall, the current Leader of WBC. There were constructive discussions about traffic issues, climate emergency measures and public art. We understood there was to be a new Arts and Culture Strategy. A Wokingham Town Centre festival in 2022 would celebrate the completion of the town centre regeneration.

Robin Cops and Pat Smith had been pleased to show Susan Parsonage around the town, highlighting some issues of current concern.

Some committee members had attended the recent South Wokingham SDL Forum held at St Crispin’s school. Current plans for the Southern Distributor road were displayed as well as the proposed residential developments. Hopefully some of the members present may have also attended.

Langborough Recreation Ground Wildlife Garden

Members may have noticed the developing wildlife garden on Langborough Rec.

This was the project of Susannah McClymont who had approached GLRA for support and also had help from the town council and Wokingham in Bloom team. The next work party was be on 29th September at 11am. Anyone with spare plants could donate them. The wildlife garden details were available from Susannah.

Election of Committee and Officers

All current committee members had indicated their willingness to serve another year. It was proposed by Melanie Allen seconded by Susan Brenner that the Committee should be elected en bloc.

This was approved unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report - Philip Lawman

Philip presented the details of the accounts in the GLRA financial year ending 31st March 2019, plus provisions for expenditure in the current year to date. The bulk of the GLRA funds (£ 620 ) were deposited in the Association’s bank accounts at National Westminster. The largest expenditures of the Association were associated with the AGM – hall hire and printing of publicity – plus expenses associated with the GLRA web site: a total of about £120. The only source of revenue was from voluntary contributions by members and guests at the AGM. Philip encouraged the attendees to give generously to support the continuing work of the Association. The statement of accounts to 31.03 would be available on http://www.glra.org.uk

Andrew Le Breuilly asked what the reserves were to be used for. Philip answered that the funds were used for general admin including room hire and printing flyers. The current reserves were not enough for campaigning. If GLRA needed to fight a campaign, it would have to come to residents for a specific collection. The Association needed to be in a position to pay for professional services, should the need arise. David Nash cited a case in the past where specialist legal advice was needed about the protected status of Langborough Rec as a Town Green.

Note: There was an exit collection which raised £171.10. Many thanks to those who contributed.

Any Other Business – Pat Smith

Q: Christine Roper, Purslane: How did residents get to know what was going on? They were not well informed by WBC on matters like Elms Field. Was there a case for targeted emails?

A: There were multiple sources of information.

GLRA Note: There is a news centre on the WBC web site http://news.wokingham.gov.uk/ and residents can receive updates by registering on https://www.wokingham.gov.uk/contact-us/sign-up-manage-text-and-email-alerts/

There is also the Regeneration web site at https://www.regenerationcompany.co.uk/latest-news

The Wokingham Paper (published in print every Thursday) is also a good source. https://www.wokinghampaper.co.uk

Comment: Chris O’Donnell, Howard Road: There were a number of incidents in which drivers in the town centre were driving very close to pedestrians who were crossing the roads. There was hostile and aggressive language by some drivers.

Q: Christine Field, Sturges Road: What was being done about providing a public toilet in the town centre? Some men had been observed using walls as a urinal.

A: David Allen (WBC) said that the new public toilet in Peach Place would open shortly (Note: opened at the beginning of October).

Q: (Name unrecorded): Trees on Langborough Rec are subject to die back. In high winds, large branches can be brought down. What is the council doing about it?

A: David Nash replied that the Town Council employed a tree surgeon every few years to prune branches that displayed morbidity.

This was the conclusion of the AGM business session of the evening.

Presentation by Susan Parsonage (SP), CEO of Wokingham Borough Council

“Ambitions For Wokingham”

SP had been appointed at the end of February 2019. She opened by explaining why she had been interested in applying for the post of CEO of Wokingham BC.

Why Wokingham?

  • It was a local authority that was ambitious;
  • it was investing in its places and infrastructure.
  • There was strong partnering & community involvement.
  • It was a beautiful location and was rated as a top ranking place to live.
  • It had high performing schools and great connectivity.

Early activities:

  • Getting to know the area and main interest groups. Enabling her to focus on key areas.

Establishing what matters to residents:

  • Ability to move around the borough without congestion and constant road works;
  • rate of housing growth;
  • providing infrastructure to support growth;
  • affordability in a high priced area.
  • Residents expected excellence in fundamentals, great services for younger and older people, great environment, leisure and culture (e.g. local Libraries) and value for their council taxes.

Messages for Wokingham BC officers:

  • remember that a council would not exist but for its residents & communities, innovate, push boundaries and address needs.
  • Ensure transparency of decision making, measure and monitor: know the starting position – benchmark - understand end goals.
  • Establish true partnership and collaboration: within and across organisations.
  • Recognise our own strengths; catalyse; enable; and get out of the way when someone else can do it better.

Be value driven & outcome focussed.

Challenges & opportunities:

  • create and share vision and goals.
  • Move performance from good to great.
  • Know communities and places to make informed decision making.
  • Be more self-aware in dealing with customers - less officious, more caring;
  • Focus on problem solving and outcome; be accountable, own decisions;
  • Step up performance setting and monitoring; focus on pace and delivery;
  • Adopt commercial principles;
  • Be clear on who does what;
  • Join up in house and shared services; strengthen collaborative approach;
  • Work with voluntary and community sectors;
  • Celebrate your achievements.

Current focus areas:

  • Develop the places in the Borough, including arts and culture;
  • Provide high level and good value services for children and adults (70% of WBC expenditure);
  • Tackle congestion;
  • Safeguard green spaces and become carbon neutral.

Susan Parsonage: Questions & Answers

Q. Chris O’Donnell: How will you measure performance?

A. SP: Establish Key Performance Indicators and measure against them.

Q. Christina Roper: How will you communicate to residents? What about a targeted E-Mail? WBC website a bit clunky.

A. SP: As answered earlier by Pat Smith. Communication is also a two way process.

Q. Mike Konig: Point to something you’ve done already.

A. SP: Prioritised Children Services. It needs turning around.

Q. Malcolm Smith: Is the regeneration of the Town centre successful, or are there gaps?

A. SP: Wokingham hasn’t got empty shops like other places. It has a lovely feel and we need to retain its uniqueness.

Q. Martin Gibb: Are businesses opening by getting sweeteners like rental free periods? Is this part of a 3 year cycle for new shops?

A. SP: Businesses have to plan on long term sustainability.

Q. David Smith: As a “shareholder” how can I judge how you are doing?

A. SP: Strategy with targets is currently being written by the Corporate Leadership Team. Examples are:-

  • improving Children’s Services, which is 25% of the budget
  • Obtaining enough investment to grow.
  • Becoming carbon neutral.
  • There is enough scrutiny in the committee structure of WBC to monitor progress against targets.

Q. Martin Spooner: Is there enough car parking in the town centre?

A. General discussion focused by the closure of Euro car park. Robin Cops pointed out that there was no identifiable parking strategy for the town. SP commented that Cllr. Pauline Jorgenson was reviewing the provision.

Q. Andrew Le Breuilly: Does the Council have a Data Strategy?

A. SP: Need to check and report back. GLRA Note: A data strategy should be driven by the overall business strategy of an organisation. It is designed to deliver an organization's strategic priorities and answer its key business questions.

Q. Phil Lawman: Can you share with us what are your top five breakthrough issues and how will you measure success in sorting them?

A. SP: Examples are the improvement of Children Services and the reduction in Traffic Congestion. SP added that she would like to meet with GLRA in three months and go through the top items in detail when the Council Plan had been published.

Meeting Closure

Pat Smith closed the meeting by thanking Susan Parsonage for the presentation; a copy of the slides will be made available on the Association’s web site at http://www.glra.org.uk. She also thanked attending residents and guests for coming to take part.

Margaret Hendra thanked the committee for their hard work on behalf of residents.

Members of the GLRA Committee will actively follow up the questions raised by our members at the AGM and provide information via email and our web site as it becomes available.

The meeting closed at about 9:00 p.m.


2018 AGM Minutes

GREAT LANGBOROUGH RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION

25th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Attendees

A substantial turnout of 57 residents signed the register plus 6 GLRA Committee members, 1 WBC Director and 3 councillors. Residents who signed the attendance sheets, those who sent apologies and attending councillors will receive a copy of these minutes. A copy will appear on the Association’s web site www.glra.org.uk

[Bold names are Committee members]

  • Robin Cops,
  • Paul Ibson
  • Anita McPhilimey
  • David Nash, Secretary
  • Philip Robinson
  • Pat Smith, Chair

Councillors:

  • Julian McGhee-Sumner, Borough & Town
  • Oliver Whittle, Borough
  • Philip Mirfin, Borough & Town

Apologies:

  • Philip Lawman, Treasurer
  • Andrew Pearce, Web Master
  • Gwyneth Garrad
  • Patricia McIntyre
  • Elizabeth Ramsay
  • Aileen & Nick Wood

Guest Speaker

  • Cllr Philip Mirfin, Executive Member for Town Regeneration
  • Bernie Pich, Head of Regeneration WBC

Annual General Meeting Business

Opening

The Chair asked all residents present to sign the attendance sheets with their E-Mail addresses and this would also act as their acceptance of the GLRA’s GDPR published policy and allow documents to be sent to them. She also directed the meeting to the GLRA web site www.glra.org.uk for the 2017 Chair’s Newsletter, the 2017 AGM Minutes and the 2017 Treasurer’s Report. Copies of the 2017 draft minutes and a summary of the 2017 Questions put to our 2017 AGM guest speaker, Andy Couldrick and subsequent answers, plus developments to date, were distributed amongst the members present.

Minutes of AGM meeting 2016

In relation to those questions asked in 2017, most of these would be addressed in the Chair’s Report later.

Anita McPhilimey proposed that the minutes be accepted. This was seconded by Philip Robinson. Approved unanimously.

CHAIR’S REPORT - Pat Smith

Wokingham Town Centre Regeneration Update

You may have noticed that things have been changing in the town... not least that we have all achieved far more steps on our pedometers in getting around the town.

We are assured that the Market Place will return to more normal use by July, and hopefully it will be before that.

Peach Place is clearly taking shape and Elm’s Field development has started with a sad loss of trees and traffic issues for Langborough Road again. Hopefully that too will be short lived. I do not propose talking any further on this topic as I anticipate that will be Philip Mirfin’s specialist subject!

The committee contributed to the consultation on the carnival pool development on September 17 which has been passed by the planning committee.

We provided individual responses to the proposed closure of Luckley Path, the result of which is still awaited.

Meetings

Committee members have also set up and attended a number of meetings with WBC and WTC representatives. Reports on these are on the website, so I do not plan to go in to much detail.

Our meetings included a number attended by our local Wescott Ward Councillors, Oliver Whittle and Julian McGee Sumner, who are here today. As you may know, Julian has been elected town mayor and also deputy leader of WBC recently. We congratulate him on these.

There has been a meeting with the regeneration team and David Nash attended a short lived Highways Advisory Committee.

We also had a meeting with councillors and officers from the development company (McLaughlin and Harvey) for Elm’s Field to discuss the impact of the development and road closures proposed for Denmark Street and Langborough Road. As a result, we got agreement on 2 separate occasions that Langborough Road should remain 2 way down to the Western end of LR but inevitably the closure of half of Denmark Street recently by WBC has caused major disruption to traffic flow around the town.

There has also been a Forum for Southern Wokingham Distributor Road. The first section and bridge from Montague Park to Easthampstead Road now has planning permission. However, there is no time scale to build the Spine Road or Western Gateway at the Tesco roundabout.

The next follow up forum has however been cancelled - quite possibly for lack of a firm decision.

Parking Issues.

As an update to last year’s minutes, we note that since the council have taken on the control of parking enforcement from the police, parking in our roads has improved.

Election of Committee and Officers

All current committee members had indicated their willingness to serve another year. In addition Lesley Kendall has volunteered to join the committee. She was proposed by Pat Smith and seconded by David Nash.

It was proposed by Melanie Allen seconded by Chris O’Donnell that the Committee should be elected en bloc. This was approved unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report - Philip Lawman (presented by The Chair in his absence)

Pat presented the details of the accounts in the GLRA financial year ending 31st March 2018 plus provisions for expenditure in the current year to date. The bulk of the GLRA funds (£568) were deposited in the Association’s bank accounts at National Westminster. The largest expenditures of the Association were associated with the AGM – hall hire and printing of publicity – plus expenses associated with the GLRA web site: a total of £105. The only source of revenue is from voluntary contributions by members and guests at the AGM. Pat encouraged the attendees to give generously to support the continuing work of the Association. The statement of accounts to 31.03.18 will be available on www.glra.org.uk

Note: There was an exit collection which raised £169. Many thanks to those who contributed.

Any Other Business – Pat Smith

Q: Chris O’Donnell, Howard Road: What is the outcome of the proposed permanent closure to vehicles of Luckley Path? This was proposed without proper consultation and local residents were against this. He was organising a demonstration against this and asking for volunteers.

A: (by Cllr Julian McGhee Sumner). WBC recognised that consultation was lacking and so the proposal is on hold until a full consultation can be held. This is currently being organised with a leaflet drop to residents and shopkeepers explaining the reasons for the proposed closure.

Q: John Brennen, South Drive: Is South Drive part of the GLRA area?

A: We understood that South Drive/Close had its own RA but residents are welcome to take part in the GLRA by signing on at the meeting or E-Mailing us.

Q: David Robertson: Parking is poorly controlled down Fairview Road and Gipsy Lane and now the bin lorry can’t get through. Can we get better control?

A; We will reflect this through to WBC and ask for better control using the Parking Wardens; Action: GLRA

This was the conclusion of the AGM business session of the evening.

Presentation by Cllr. Philip Mirfin and Bernie Pich

“Wokingham Town Regeneration and After”

The Chair introduced Philip who has just taken on the expanded role of Executive Member for Regeneration supported by Bernie Pich, Head of Regeneration for WBC. Philip will now be responsible for all matters related to the Regeneration including town centre streets and highways.

A copy of the slides will be made available on the Association’s web site at www.glra.org.uk.

In Philip’s presentation, he gave us a view of the following: -

  • Context for the Town Regeneration.
    • “A growing town in a growing borough”
    • Core Strategy 2010. 10,000 new homes with right infrastructure. By 2026 20% growth in population.
    • Not about making money. The private sector not interested as they couldn’t make money
  • Objectives
    • Thriving town centre economy
    • 18 hour economy – social viability
    • Changing the face of retail. Clicks and bricks
  • Letting Strategy
    • Strengthen the retail core
    • Differentiate between Reading and Bracknell
    • Build quality independent local retailers on the back of key aspirational nationals
  • Strengthen the 18 hour economy
  • Masterplan objectives
    • Spaces to breath
    • Streets as places
    • Setting the design standards
  • Achieved
    • New station
    • Station link road
    • Peach Street replacement 2014
    • Carnival Hub phase 1 June 2017
    • Peach Place
      • Scaffolding down end June
      • Key Worker housing
      • New retail
      • Completed by November 2018
  • Future
    • Market Place Improvements
      • Unforeseen difficulties mean late completion (March 2019?)
    • Elms Field
      • Foundation work started and on schedule
      • New road finished by December 2018
    • Carnival Hub
      • New pool
      • New library
      • New multi-use auditorium and sports hall
      • Completion by 2022

Questions & Answers to Philip and Bernie

Q: Tania Britz, Langborough Road: How are we ensuring that shops stay in the area with the recent spate of closures? What incentives are being offered? How about rate subsidy for shopkeepers hit by the regeneration work?

A: Few have closed due to local circumstances. There is a remarkable list of people interested in shops (unable to be specific due to commercial confidentiality). For those that want shorter leases we have asked to examine their business plans.

The Council have offered help in applying for nationally available rate relief. So far 6 have taken this up. Other incentives have been offered particularly to local traders. But the best help is if residents use the local shops for their shopping.

Q: John Milner, Gipsy Lane: How many new retailers have been confirmed for Peach Place and Peach Street?

A: None - but 6 going through at the moment. Peach Place opening is on schedule for the end of November. Aiming for commitments by 3rd week in September to allow for 3 to 8 weeks fit out.

Q: Chris Singleton, Crescent Road; With the predicted build up in traffic in the next three years what is WBC’s timing on the Northern and Southern Distributor Roads?

A: NDR will be completed by 2021. Work is on-going to complete the first section (Eastern Gateway + railway bridge) of the SDR but because of the slowdown in house building there is no commitment to complete the SDR for the foreseeable future.

Q: Martin Spooner, South Drive: Why don’t you start the roads, particularly the Northern and Southern Distributor Roads, before the developments are built to encourage building and relieve the town centre of traffic ASAP?

A: We need the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) to fund the roads. On average CIL brings in to WBC £42K per house of which 15% goes to WTC. CIL only becomes available once the houses are built and we don’t want to over-borrow. This is similar to the town centre which we have kept going during the redevelopment.

Q. David Robertson, Fairview Rd: Will there be a west side cross route between Molly Millers Lane and Reading Road to take the pressure off Wellington Road and the new Elms Field Road which will act as rat runs?

A: Nothing planned. We will review when the roads are opened

Q: Barrie Thompson, Gipsy Lane: When will Langborough Road and Denmark Street return to normal operation?

A: WBC is committed to a final opening date for Market Place of 27th July 2018. Langborough Road and Denmark Street will be fully open before that.

Q: Will Denmark Street need to be shut or made one-way again after?

A: Only once for one a 24 hour period. We also have some ideas we are investigating to ease traffic conditions in Langborough Road

Q: Robin Cops, Langborough Road: Can you ensure that we are consulted on any proposed changes to Langborough Road and area before any decisions are taken?

A: Absolutely – we will

Q: Lucy Allen, Langborough Road: If there is any consideration of losing the on-street parking in Langborough Road can we have a reserved area for LR residents in the Denmark Street car park?

A: No. Greater enforcement of parking under CPE will create better parking.

Q: James Wooders, Gipsy Lane; Are there any plans for the existing Library site after it closes?

A: Nothing decided yet. We’ve got 4 years and we are looking at traffic easement in the area.

Q: Keith Greenwood, Murdoch Road; we’ve got single lane traffic running through the town after it is finished. How will emergency vehicles get through during busy periods?

A: The town centre will be substantially levelled and emergency vehicles can use pavements and bays where necessary to get passed as they always did.

Q: Terry O’Donnell, Gipsy Lane, Will the new stone surface in market Square be cleaned before opening to get the oil and tarmac stains off.

A: Balfour Beatty will clean and seal the stones before handover which should last for 5 years. Every four months the surface will be cleaned by the Council.

Meeting Closure

Pat Smith closed the meeting by thanking Cllr Philip Mirfin and Bernie Pich for the presentation; a copy of the slides will be made available on the Association’s web site at www.glra.org.uk. She also thanked attending residents and guests for coming to take part.

Members of the GLRA Committee will actively follow up the issues raised by our members at the AGM and provide information via email and our web site as it becomes available. \

The meeting closed at about 9:00 p.m


2017 AGM Minutes

GREAT LANGBOROUGH RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION

24th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Attendees

A substantial turnout of 49 residents attended the meeting, plus 8 GLRA Committee members, 3 councillors and our guest speaker. Residents (44) who signed the attendance sheets, those who sent apologies and attending councillors will receive a copy of these minutes. A copy will appear on the Association’s web site www.glra.org.uk

[Bold names are Committee members]

  • Robin Cops,
  • Paul Ibson
  • Philip Lawman, Treasurer
  • Anita McPhilimey
  • David Nash, Secretary
  • Andrew Pearce, Web Master
  • Philip Robinson
  • Pat Smith, Chair

Councillors:

  • Julian McGhee-Sumner, Borough & Town;
  • Oliver Whittle, Borough;
  • Bob Wyatt, Town

Apologies:

  • Sue and John Brenner.

Guest Speaker

  • Andy Couldrick, Chief Executive, Wokingham Borough Council

Introduction

The Chair opened the meeting and welcomed residents, councillors and guest speaker Andy Couldrick, Chief Executive of Wokingham Borough Council. She outlined the agenda for the evening.

Annual General Meeting Business

Opening

The Chair summarised the Association’s Activities for the past year.

She also directed the meeting to the GLRA web site www.glra.org.uk for the 2016 Chair’s Newsletter, the 2016 AGM Minutes and the 2016 Treasurer’s Report. Copies of the 2016 draft minutes and a summary of the 2016 Questions put to our 2016 AGM guest speaker, Councillor Malcom Richards and subsequent Answers, plus developments to date, were distributed amongst the members present.

Minutes of AGM meeting 2016

In relation to those questions asked in 2016, most of these would be addressed in the Chair’s Report later.

However, regarding the delivery record on affordable housing, Pat Smith stated that we had been assured that the future targets would be met. We planned to continue to monitor them.

Regarding aircraft noise, WBC was a member of the Heathrow community Noise Forum where these issues were discussed. She reminded the meeting that there had been trials to assess noise impact. Concerns had also been raised and pursued by our politicians, particularly in relation to Heathrow’s possible third runway. A decision about the third runway seemed to have stalled again.

There were no points further arising from the minutes.

Anita McPhilimey proposed that the minutes be accepted. This was seconded by Philip Robinson and Sophie Scott; approved unanimously.

CHAIR’S REPORT - Pat Smith

Wokingham Town Centre Regeneration Update

The town centre was now in the process of Regeneration. The GLRA Committee had been involved in earlier consultations and stakeholder meetings about the various developments. Plans were now coming to fruition.

Peach Place

Much of Peach Street retail was now missing. Rebuilding would commence soon. Peach Street itself had been reduced to one lane but should reopen around the middle of June.

Market Place

The refurbishment programme begins in mid-June. The Chair regretted the felling of the large trees in Market Place. She understood they were regarded as too large for their setting. The roots were lifting the pavements. The remaining trunks and roots would be removed as part of the resurfacing and redevelopment of the area. More appropriate trees would replace them.

The market would continue during refurbishment, but would be temporarily relocated to the Piazza.

Carnival Pool hub

The Phase 1 car park was well on its way and the bowling alley was to be added soon.

Carnival Hub Phase 2 was under discussion and a number of drop in sessions had been set up at the Library.

It had come as a bit of a surprise to many Wokingham residents to find that the council were considering moving the library into the hub. WBC had approved the move in principal. There was an impression that this had been without consultation. Subsequent discussions confirmed that there had been some.

A further drop in session on 30th May aimed to highlight the advantages and reasons why it should be included in that development. The Chair hoped some of the audience had managed to review all the information and contribute to the consultation. GLRA had submitted a response.

Meetings with Wokingham Borough Council

Committee members had set up and attended a number of meetings with WBC representatives.

Reports on these were available on the www.glra.org.uk website. Therefore, she did not plan to go into much detail. Topics included: -

Regeneration - finances

In a series of meetings, we were able to explore the financial background to the Regeneration programme. Further meetings were planned.

Traffic planning

This meeting had been set up to explore the basis for and outcomes from current traffic modelling. There was specific focus on the Tesco roundabout and the twin railway bridges in Finchampstead Road. It was a positive and reassuring meeting. The time spent by Chris Easton of WBC Traffic Department in explaining this complex subject had been much appreciated.

Following the previous AGM, we had been made aware that there were plans to reconfigure the roundabouts around Denmark Street. The modelling to date indicated that the planned distributor roads would redirect a proportion of the through traffic away from the centre of town.

The Chair drew the attention of the meeting to the clear signs of traffic data collection throughout the town and surrounding roads. This would contribute to the ongoing traffic modelling. Data was also being collected around the Borough. The GLRA would continue to pursue the issue.

Parking issues.

Decriminalisation of parking was due to occur. This removed the responsibility for enforcement from Thames Valley Police. It enabled the local authority to set up Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE). It was hoped that this would stop some of the inconsiderate parking affecting Langborough Road, Sturges Road and other town centre roads in our area.

The option of resident parking permits in Fairview Road and other roads was an issue that needed further exploring after CPE was active.

South Wokingham Distributor Road

The Chair handed over to David Nash for an update on this plan.

David showed a slide of the estimated dates for completion of the main sections of the Southern Distributor Road that had been shown at the SDL Forum in November 2016.

The Eastern Gateway, including a bridge from Montague Park over the Waterloo railway, was due to be completed in the summer of 2019. Network Rail was to be the main contractor for this phase. A planning application and public consultation were expected in the summer of 2017.

At the Western Gateway of the SDR was the junction with Finchampstead Road at the existing Tesco roundabout. This included a major modification to the Guildford railway line bridge to widen and deepen it and widening and slight realignment of Finchampstead Road. This was a major engineering project. Estimated completion date was the spring of 2020.

The connecting Spine Road and other work at the Western Gateway was due to be completed by the spring of 2021.

Chris O’Donnell and Colm Lennon expressed concerns about the restriction on flow caused by heavy traffic at the Tesco roundabout. David Nash answered that this was the subject of detailed study and that several detailed designs for Finchampstead Road layout had been modelled. To ease flow further south, redesign of the junction with Molly Millar’s Lane was also in plan. Traffic data showed that 80% of the traffic entering Wokingham town centre at peak times had destinations out of town. The SDR was designed to improve that pressure. Data collection from within the Borough and from neighbouring boroughs was ongoing. Modelling would continue.

Anita McPhilimey asked whether the resident preferred route for the SDR was yet firm. David Nash answered that the position would be clearer only when a planning application was presented for approval.

Election of Committee and Officers

All committee members and all existing officers had indicated their willingness to serve another year.

It was proposed by Sophie Scott, seconded by Melanie Allen that the Committee and Officers should be re-elected en bloc. This was approved unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report - Philip Lawman

Philip picked out the main features of his report. He presented the details of the accounts in the GLRA financial year ending 31st March 2017 plus provisions for expenditure in the current year to date. The bulk of the GLRA funds (currently £351) were deposited in the Association’s bank accounts at National Westminster. The largest expenditures of the Association were associated with the AGM – hall hire and printing of publicity – plus expenses associated with the GLRA web site: a total of over £100. The only source of revenue was from voluntary contributions by members and guests at the AGM. Philip encouraged the attendees to give generously to support the continuing work of the Association. The statement of accounts to 31.03.17 will be available on www.glra.org.uk

Note: There was an exit collection which raised £231.80. Many thanks to those who contributed.

Any Other Business – Pat Smith

Elizabeth Ramsay raised an issue about vehicles parking in the turning area in Gipsy Lane at the foot of the footpath on the eastern side of Langborough Recreation Ground. Often, this prevented access for mobility scooter users, of which she was one. There was no road marking prohibiting parking on the area. Philip Robinson reported that he had observed large vans parked in the turning area. Pat Smith suggested that this and other problems would be alleviated only when Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) was implemented in the Borough in November 2017. Chris O’Donnell confirmed that he had contacted the Thames Valley Police at a senior level to discuss the almost complete absence of parking enforcement in central Wokingham. He had been told that TVP resources were not prioritised to cover this issue.

David Nash committed to discuss the CPE measures and resources with Councillor Oliver Whittle and report back to members via the GLRA web site.

A copy of the AGM slides can be found here

This was the conclusion of the AGM business session of the evening.

Presentation and Discussion: “Wokingham: A View From The Top” - Andy Couldrick, Chief Executive, Wokingham Borough Council

Robin Cops introduced Andy Couldrick, Chief Executive of WBC for the last 6 years. Andy had recently been appointed to the new role of Chief Executive of the Birmingham Children’s Trust, responsible for a budget bigger than that of WBC’s. Before his departure, the GLRA committee had asked him to reflect on the current state of Wokingham and where it would be in the future.

In his presentation, he gave us a view of the following: -

  • his time in Wokingham Borough Council;
  • the key issues and priorities for our local authority;
  • the sources of finance and how the Council manages the budget;
  • the key current challenges and opportunities;
  • future possible scenarios

He typified Wokingham as an attractive area in which to live and work. He had entered the Authority as Head of Children’s Services in 2009. In that job, he had delivered at a level that had secured his appointment to Chief Executive in 2011. He outlined the key issues that he had found at that time.

The core of the mission had been to deliver high quality services to the community in the face of tough and increasing financial restraints. Central Government support amounted to only 23% of Wokingham BC net expenditure, contrasted with 46% paid to the average Unitary Authority. WBC had made cumulative savings of over £36 million over the last 6 years – a 32% cut in the Net Budget. Despite these constraints, an Independent Peer Challenge review this year praised the progress achieved in many services.

The desirability of Wokingham as a location in which to live would continue to drive an inevitable growth in housing demand. This would impose more loads on infrastructure and public services. Central Government would continue to decrease financial support, with the threat of a negative support grant by 2019/20! New homes would deliver some additional Council Tax revenue. However, further streamlining would have to be delivered under the 21st Century Council initiative. In addition, the Council would have to establish further revenue generation sources, such as town centre regeneration and further council owned enterprises.

Future growth and demographic trends would bring a rising demand for services to children and older people. Local government might experience fundamental structural changes. However, Andy Couldrick was leaving Wokingham with this appraisal: “Wokingham is well led and well run, by committed and able members and talented and skilled officers”.

A copy of Andy Couldrick's slides can be found here

Questions to Andy Couldrick & Answers

Q: Chris Singleton: With a planned 900+ additional houses per year, how bad might congestion become before the NDR and SDR roads are completed in 2021?

A: Andy Couldrick: How bad? Probably worse than it is now. WBC is working with developers and Network Rail to co-ordinate efforts to complete the distribution roads as quickly as possible.

Q: Is funding a constraint to progress?

A: Andy Couldrick: There is an upper limit to what the local authority can borrow at any one time. However, WBC has set a high rate of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) to maximise the level of contribution by developers to infrastructure.

Q: Colm Lennon: How firm are the dates for the SDR?

A: Andy Couldrick: They are current best estimates. WBC is still talking to developers to establish firmer commitment to the mile stones.

Q: Sophie Scott: Have you thought of Park & Ride?

A: Andy Couldrick: Park & Ride is in the plan for a site by Coppid Beech.

Q: Elizabeth Ramsay: Why is Wokingham at the back of the queue when it comes to getting central government funding?

A: Andy Couldrick: Funding is decided by applying a set of formulae that do not play to WBC advantage. Some of the data is not current and does not reflect the real situation. For example, school funding is affected by the data on the proportion of ethnic pupils reported at the last census. Unfortunately, the census data says 10%; the actual current percentage is nearer 25%.

Q: Chris O’Donnell: What is our local MP doing to help obtain additional funding? What assurances can we have that our MP is lobbying hard on our behalf?

A: Andy Couldrick: This is a difficult area on which to comment. The Chief Executive has to remain non-political, especially in the run up to a General Election. However, I have more contact with him than other local MPs.

Q: Colm Lennon: Is there a map of the cycle ways in the Borough? There are bits and pieces, but no comprehensive map.

A: Andy Couldrick: There is an emerging plan for cycle ways and green ways in the Borough. (Note: maps of routes can be found here: http://www.myjourneywokingham.com/discover-wokingham/cycling/ )

Q: Philip Lawman: Pressure on roads and medical services increases from new homes around existing settlements. In filling causes more and more problems. Are new villages the way forward?

A: Andy Couldrick: The Grazeley proposal was not designed for public consumption. There was an approach to local authorities by the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG). The Grazeley Garden Settlement expression of interest was a confidential response to this approach. The Local Plan (2016 – 2036), which is currently being developed, is the key document.

Q: Philip Lawman: Can local residents help to put pressure on central government?

A: Andy Couldrick: Consultation on the new Local Plan should be out in the next 6 months.

Q: Pat Smith: Do we as residents have any power to resist development?

A: Andy Couldrick: What central government is doing is profoundly disingenuous. Opportunities to influence the centre are hard to find. We’ll be talking after the election.

A: Cllr. Julian McGhee-Sumner: I’d like to revisit these questions after the General Election.

Q: Andrew Pearce: Would you comment about the WBC relationship with revenue generating companies?

A: Andy Couldrick: One of the planks of future financial success for WBC will be its ability to generate income. Local authority operating companies, joint enterprises with other authorities and outsourcing are all options for economies of scale and generating revenue. For example, the move to private rental or growing affordable housing.

Q: Andrew Pearce: Wouldn’t that limit WBC accountability?

A: Andy Couldrick: No, in all these areas, accountability cannot be outsourced – it stays with us.

Meeting Closure

Pat Smith closed the meeting by thanking Andy Couldrick for his open and straightforward presentation and wished him well in his new appointment of Chief Executive of the Birmingham Children’s Trust. She also thanked attending residents and guests for coming to take part Mildred Clisby proposed a vote of thanks to the GLRA Committee for its work on behalf of residents – approve by acclamation.

Members of the GLRA Committee will actively follow up the issues raised by our members at the AGM and provide information via email and our web site as it becomes available.

The meeting closed at about 9:00 p.m.


2016 AGM Minutes

GREAT LANGBOROUGH RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION

23rd ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Attendees

[Bold names are Committee members]

  • Pat Smith, chairman;
  • David Nash, secretary;
  • Phil Lawman, treasurer
  • Robin Cops;
  • Phillip Robinson
  • Anita McPhilimey
  • Lucy Allen
  • Melanie Allen
  • Jeremy Allison
  • Andrew Le Breuilly
  • Daphne Burlton
  • Mel Burlton
  • Frank Clisby
  • Mildred Clisby
  • Geoff Cook
  • Rosemary Cook
  • Andy Croy
  • Philip Frost
  • Gwyneth Garrod
  • Stanley Harris
  • Thelma Hawke
  • Paul Ibson
  • Tony Jarvis
  • Angrid Johnston
  • Greg Johnston
  • Mary McCarthy
  • Pat MacIntyre
  • Elizabeth Manley
  • John Milner
  • Jayne Mosses
  • Catherine Napier
  • Chris O’Donnell
  • Elizabeth Ramsay
  • Valerie Robinson
  • Ken Smith
  • Malcolm Smith
  • Pam Smith
  • Rob Sparkes
  • Barbara Thompson
  • Barrie Thompson
  • Sydney Treadgold
  • Geoff Wilde
  • Helen Wilde

Councillors (including Guest Speakers and those who are residents):

  • Malcolm Richards

Apologies:

  • Andrew Pearce, treasurer;
  • Lucy Herd;
  • Terry O’Donnell
  • Cllr Julian McGhee-Sumner,
  • Cllr Chris Singleton
  • Cllr Oliver Whittle

Introduction

The Chair opened the meeting and welcomed residents and guest speaker Cllr. Malcolm Richards.
She explained that a standard Association AGM format would precede Cllr. Richards’ presentation and Q&A on Traffic and Transport.

Annual General Meeting Business

Opening

The Chair summarised the Association’s Activities for the past year.

She also directed the meeting to the GLRA web site www.glra.org.uk for the 2015 Chair’s Newsletter, the 2015 AGM Minutes, the 2015 Treasurer’s Report and various reports on the Town Centre and South Wokingham SDL Forums from the past year.

CHAIR’S REPORT 2016

This year has been a busy one for the committee. We have been involved in discussions around the various aspects of the Town Centre Regeneration and of the South Wokingham Development Location. Both of these are subjects will be discussed this evening by David Nash and our guest speaker Wokingham Borough Councillor Malcolm Richards, who was recently appointed Executive Member for Highways and Transport.

As regards the Town Centre Regeneration: -

Plans for the Carnival Pool and Elms Field gained planning consent in March 2015 and on March 30th 2016 respectively.

I am sure residents will all have noticed stirrings around the town. A new car park is being built at the station. Meanwhile, the old Wellington House car park has been reopened and the tennis courts are being used as temporary car parking.

I understand that the Elms Road multi-storey car park will be refurbished; also, that work started this week on the car park on the Carnival Pool site with closure of the existing car park.

Recent reports confirm that the current operators of the leisure centre on the Carnival Pool site, American Amusements Limited (AAL), have committed to provide similar facilities on the ground floor of the car park building.

The time scales for the works around the town are: -

  • Market Place refurbishment starting Spring 2017 and completion by end 2018.
  • Peach Place Phase 2 development is planned to start at the January 2017 with a view to completion by the end of 2018.
  • Carnival Pool development - new car park has just started – completion Spring 2017; further Leisure Extensions to be delivered 2019-2020.
  • Elms Field is in line to start work in May 2017 to be completed by end 2019.

See the map at the Regeneration web site: http://www.regenerationcompany.co.uk/town-map

Sounds like it could be a bit chaotic around town in 2017!

The committee’s other activities are listed here: -

  • We have attended a number of stakeholder meetings ahead of formal consultations
  • David Nash and I also attended a workshop looking at the design details for Peach place.
  • David Nash and Phil Lawman attended a similar one for the Market Place.
  • We have responded to consultations and planning applications
  • David Nash and Robin Cops have called meetings with councillors and WBC officers to better understand the financial background and assumptions of financing the Town Centre Regeneration plans.
  • We continue to liaise with councillors, officers and other Wokingham organisations.

Residents should be aware that the Borough Council is just starting the next round of the Local Plan Update for the strategic development period 2013-2036. Currently, evidence is being gathered and the revised plan is due to be completed by March 2018.

You may also have seen in the papers that the Borough Council has finally committed to decriminalise parking. That will come into effect in 2 years’ time. The implication is that responsibility for parking enforcement will become the responsibility of the council via wardens and not the police.

Minutes of 2015 AGM

The attendees were referred to copies of the 2015 AGM minutes that had been distributed. There were no actions from that AGM. Anita McPhilimey proposed that the minutes be accepted; seconded by Philip Robinson: accepted unanimously.

Election of Committee and Officers

The Chair reported that Lucy Herd was not standing for re-election because of personal commitments. All other committee members and all existing officers had indicated their willingness to serve another year. It was proposed by Melanie Allen, seconded by Elizabeth Manley that the Committee and Officers should be re-elected en bloc. This was accepted unanimously.

Paul Ibson indicated a wish to discuss joining the Committee. There is provision in the GLRA Constitution to co-opt Committee Members. Discussions with Paul will be arranged after the meeting.

Treasurer’s Report - Philip Lawman

Philip gave the main features of his report to be available on www.glra.org.uk The GLRA funds were currently held as cash as the Association was in the process of changing bank accounts. The AGM alone cost £75 to arrange – hall hire and printing. Web domain name registration took the total to over £100. Therefore, the current balance of £290 represented under 3 years’ average expenditure.

Philip reminded the meeting that, in the absence of an annual membership levy, voluntary contributions were needed to support the ongoing activities of the Association.

Note: There was an exit collection which raised £149.50. Many thanks to those who contributed.

Other contributions would be gratefully received.

Any Other Business

Pat Smith Jeremy Allison and Chris O’Donnell raised concerns about the recent increase in aircraft noise – mostly from commercial flights to and from Heathrow. Angrid Johnston referred attendees to John Redwood’s recent report on a meeting that he had convened on this matter at http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2016/06/08/heathrow-noise-meeting/

Andrew Le Breuilly drew attention to the activities of the Wokingham Litter Heroes at http://www.wokinghamlitterheroes.uk/

South Wokingham Strategic Development Location and Southern Distributor Road (SDR) – David Nash

By way of an introduction to the presentation by Cllr. Richards, David showed a slide of the area of the SDL with the currently planned adopted Route (B,B1,B2) for the Southern Distributor Road. (This route had drawn over 80% support of the resident input.)

He informed the meeting that this route was now subject to an engineering survey. This was ongoing but no firm date for confirmation of the route had been announced.

At the eastern end there was to be a bridge over the Waterloo railway to Montague Park. Negotiations between Network Rail, Wokingham BC and developers had been ongoing for a long time without the announcement of a firm agreement.

At the western end of the SDR was the junction with Finchampstead Road at the existing Tesco roundabout. He showed the major modification to the Guildford railway line bridge to widen and deepen it. This would necessitate moving Wokingham Motors to a new site and would involve a closure of Finchampstead Road. The estimated period of closure was not yet available.

David showed the forecast of over 850 additional houses per year over the next 20 years in Wokingham Borough. This would generate 1,300 additional cars per year if the current average of 1.6 per household was maintained.

He then introduced Cllr. Richards to present on the challenges that this represented and to answer residents’ concerns.

Presentation and Discussion: Wokingham Highways & Transport - Malcolm Richards, Executive Councillor for Highways & Transport

Cllr. Richards presented in detail on his role and its scope. He laid particular emphasis on the investment by Wokingham Borough Council on advanced models for traffic simulation.

The Chair opened a question and answer session following Cllr. Richards’ presentation. The main traffic and transport issues raised by the audience were: -

  • Confirmation of the route for the Southern Distributor Road had been a major concern for too long, especially so since amendments had been made to the preferred Northern Distributor Road. Anita McPhilimey mentioned the onsite testing that she had observed for the SDR. It was a sign that work is in progress. However, there was no announcement of a planned end date. Members were anxious to know when the precise route would be confirmed.
  • There was general concern about the continued build-up of traffic volumes through Wokingham town centre. There was a need for urgent completion of the S. Wokingham SDL spine road to relieve the peak hour congestion in the town centre. If funding could be a delaying factor, had Wokingham BC considered temporary borrowing to speed up construction? Some members had doubts about the capability of a distributor road to deal adequately with the volumes.
  • Members wanted to understand the projections of the peak hour queue times on the roundabouts at Wellington Road/Carnival Pool, Denmark Street/Langborough Road, Tesco and Molly Millar's Lane/Finchampstead Road. Because complex construction projects would be taking place, our residents wanted to understand the effects at various key times: -
    • What is the worst case as volumes continue to build BEFORE work starts in Finchampstead Road?
    • The projected impact and duration of the Finchampstead Road railway bridge and road realignment project. What temporary relief measures had been considered to diminish the impact?
    • The projected peak time queues at the above junctions when the construction of the SDR and Finchampstead Road re-engineering is complete. Would the improvements be significant?
  • There was also an issue about parking on our residential roads by town centre workers and other travellers. Specifically, there was a need by some residents to understand the possibility of Resident Only parking permits in key areas: special interest from Fairview Road.
  • Cllr. Richards mentioned that his Deputy Cllr. David Sleight took a special interest in air and rail topics. He could assist in understanding the outlook on the increase in perceived aircraft noise in the town centre - especially from Heathrow flight path adjustments.

Members of the GLRA Committee will actively follow up the issues raised by our members at the AGM and provide information via email and our web site as it becomes available.

The meeting closed at about 9:15 p.m.


2015 AGM Minutes

GREAT LANGBOROUGH RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION

22nd ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Attendees

[Bold names are Committee members]

  • Pat Smith, chairman;
  • Andrew Pearce, treasurer;
  • David Nash, secretary;
  • Robin Cops;
  • Lucy Herd;
  • Phillip Robinson
  • Anita McPhilimey
  • Melanie Allen
  • Michael Andrews
  • John Blest
  • Sue Blest
  • Elaine Brimmer
  • Richard Brimmer
  • Frank Clisby
  • Mildred Clisby
  • Geoff Cook
  • Rosemary Cook
  • Keith Crump
  • Gwyn Garrod
  • Bridget Harris
  • Stanley Harris
  • Thelma Hawke
  • Elizabeth Manley
  • David Matthews
  • Pat McIntyre
  • Elizabeth Ramsay
  • Nick Ravinet
  • Philip Roleinem
  • Christina Roper
  • Sophie Scott
  • Diana Singleton
  • Ken Smith
  • Pam Smith
  • Malcolm Smith
  • Barbara Thompson
  • Barrie Thompson
  • Johan Vries
  • Lena Webb
  • Melanie Williams
  • Barbara Young
  • Rory Young

Councillors (including Guest Speakers and those who are residents):

  • Philip Mirfin,
  • Chris Singleton,
  • Bob Wyatt

Apologies:

  • Colm Lennon

Introduction

Pat Smith opened the meeting and welcomed residents, councillors and guest speaker Philip Mirfin.
She explained that a standard Association AGM format would precede Philip Mirfin’s presentation and Q&A on the Town Centre Regeneration Plan.

Annual General Meeting Business

Chairman’s Report

Pat Smith summarised the Association’s Activities for the past year.

She also directed the meeting to the site for the 2014 Chairman’s newsletter, the 2014 AGM Minutes (accepted unanimously), the 2014 Treasurer’s Report and various reports on the Town Centre and South Wokingham SDL Forums from the past year.

She reported on the action from the 2014 minutes about the flooding in Gipsy Lane. Two storm drains and sinks had been installed. Wokingham BC would decide whether these were sufficient after testing with a suitable heavy downpour – which had not happened to date. Resurfacing of this section of Gipsy Lane could then follow.

CHAIR’S REPORT 2015

Our committee has continued to represent our residents since the last AGM in June 2014. We have been in regular contact with the Town and Borough Council members, discussing and challenging the developments proposed by them.

These include the Town Centre Regeneration and South Wokingham Distribution Road.

We have also liaised with other Residents’ Associations and the Wokingham Society.

At the invitation of Wokingham Borough Council, members of the committee have attended stakeholder events scoping the proposals before they went to the planning committee. We have provided formal responses on behalf of the residents addressing some concerns. However, on the whole, the plans were welcomed.

It appears that some of the responses provided by residents of Wokingham have made an impact on the plans - especially those for Elm’s Field. However, there was no suggestion that it should be left as a green space, as originally intended in the gift.

The plans for Peach Place are still a cause for concern; not least as there does not appear to be a formal car parking strategy.

The council has also proposed developing the Carnival Pool site, which we have generally welcomed.

David Nash and Phil Lawman have attended the South Wokingham Forum and reported back to the committee and to the AGM.

We have also challenged the council over the finances around the town centre regeneration and a meeting was planned for shortly after the AGM to allow for some exploration.

We will continue to keep a watching brief and any reports we send to the council can be seen on our website.

South Wokingham SDL and Distributor Road (SDR)

David Nash showed slides of the area of the SDL with the adopted Route (B,B1,B2) for the Distributor Road. This route had drawn over 80% support of the resident input.

He informed the meeting that these routes were now subject to an engineering survey. The outcome was most likely to be a recommendation for a route that followed B, B1,B2 as closely as was practical.

A major feature of the SDR at the eastern end was to be a bridge over the Waterloo railway to Montague Park. Wokingham Borough Council had chosen a design partner for this. Agreement with Network Rail over the size of the “Shared Value” fee was edging towards resolution. A considerable benefit to Network Rail was the planned closure of the Waterloo Road level crossing.

At the western end of the SDR was the junction with Finchampstead Road at the existing Tesco roundabout. He showed the major modification to the Guildford railway line bridge to widen and deepen it. This would necessitate moving Wokingham Motors to a new site and would involve a long term closure of Finchampstead Road. The period of closure was not yet available.

A planned update on the plans to the Community Forum had been announced for June 17th.

However, for reasons unknown, it had been cancelled at short notice. Chris Singleton offered to obtain both a reason for the cancellation and an update statement.

There was a resident concern over some effect on journey time of closing the Waterloo Road crossing and had it been decided after public consultation. David Nash replied that consultation had taken place during review of both the both the Strategic Development Plan and the more detailed Masterplan stages. There would be a further opportunity when a full planning application was submitted. An alternative was the planned junction of the SDR and Easthampstead Road.

A suggestion that consideration be given to a pedestrian underpass rather than a bridge to replace that from Gipsy Lane was supported by Keith Crump, who lives very close by.

In answer to a question, David Nash reported that traffic modelling estimates that peak time delays at the junction of the SDR and Finchampstead Road by 2026 would be about the same as currently experienced.

Election of Committee and Officers

All committee members had indicated their willingness to serve another year. Andrew Pearce would continue to be the Association’s web master. However, he had indicated that he wished to stand down as Treasurer. Phil Lawman had offered to stand as Treasurer.

It was proposed that the Committee and Officers should be re-elected en bloc. It was also proposed that Phil Lawman should be elected as Treasurer. In the absence of any other member offering themselves, these motions were seconded and passed by acclamation.

Treasurer’s Report

Andrew Pearce gave the main features of his report to be available on www.glra.org.uk. He reminded the meeting that, in the absence of an annual membership levy, voluntary contributions were needed to support the ongoing activities of the Association. The AGM alone costs £75 to arrange – hall hire and printing. Web domain name registration took the total over £100.

Note: There was an exit collection which raised £105.00. Other contributions would be gratefully received.

Any Other Business

There was no other business raised.

Presentation and Discussion: Wokingham Town Centre Regeneration

Philip Mirfin, Executive Councillor for Regeneration and current Wokingham Town Mayor, presented the key items in the current plan.

He gave a well received and informative review of the council's plans for the three sites around the town centre.

Residents were given time for a question and answer session following Philip Mirfin's presentation.

A major concern for the expansion of Wokingham was the increased traffic volume. However, Philip Mirfin pointed out that the number of households in Wokingham Town was to be expanded by over 4,000 by 2026. Wokingham also had one of the highest car ownership per household averages in the UK at 2.4. However, he reported that traffic modelling is indicating no real change to the current flow in the Town. There was still some concern about the impact on Langborough Road. The chicane system was regarded by residents as vital to retain. Even with this management feature, peak traffic times often resulted in temporary gridlock.

Questions focused on the costs and who will pay for the scheme. Philip Mirfin stated that the overall project would be self-funding. There would be no impact on Community Charge. Planned revenue from the retail premises and hotel would cover the costs of servicing the capital loan.

On the impact on the character of Wokingham, Philip said that English Heritage was against the concept of new buildings attempting to copy the oldest buildings. The aim was to build structures acceptable today that would still be regarded as such in the future. The impression of large areas of red brick in the exhibition drawings was misleading as to the finish of the final buildings. WBC was looking for variation in brick colour, texture and rendering in the final designs.

There were concerns expressed about the height of the car park (five storeys) planned for the Carnival Pool site. Philip Mirfin was clear that this capacity is required and that the site by the railway is the least obtrusive location for such a building.

We were also concerned about the residential accommodation to be built on the Carnival Pool site. Its location opposite the multi-event space and next to a busy car park could cause high noise levels. Philip Mirfin was happy that incorporated modern sound proofing would be adequate to mitigate against this. He stressed that the Regeneration Company was forced to adopt the highest standards in such aspects because of the “in house” relationship with the WBC Planning Department.

We expressed on-going concerns about the need to occupy part of the Elms Field site with a supermarket. Philip Mirfin stated that reviews of retail studies support the capacity need. There were two supermarket groups very interested in becoming tenants. Also Premier Inns were committed to the hotel site and were planning a ground floor restaurant.

The size of the remaining green space continued to be an issue. Philip stressed that the acquisition of 'brown' land behind Denmark Street had allowed for an increase in the green space compared with previous plans. We were also told that the council are planning to open up Broad Street Walk and using the derelict garages and ground to create pedestrian access up to Broad Street and retail starter units. This was welcomed and a very positive step forward. The concern was expressed, however, that this route could draw footfall away from Denmark Street shops.

Philip mentioned that GLRA committee members have a meeting with Councillors and Officers on 3rd July to further understand the finances of the plans.

The Mayor was thanked for his presentation and he in return thanked us for our on-going interest and input to the council's plans.

The meeting closed at about 9:15 p.m.


2014 AGM Minutes

GREAT LANGBOROUGH RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION

21st ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Attendees

[Bold names are Committee members]

  • Pat Smith, chairman;
  • Andrew Pearce, treasurer;
  • David Nash, secretary;
  • Robin Cops;
  • Terry O'Donnell
  • Phillip Robinson
  • Anita McPhilimey
  • Melanie Allen
  • Michael Andrews
  • Barbara Brailey
  • John Brenner
  • Barbara Brown
  • Roy Brown
  • Harriet Carrivick
  • Frank Clisby
  • Mildred Clisby
  • Claire Cohen
  • Rosemary Cook
  • ? Ford
  • Gwyn Garrod
  • Anne Harrison
  • Thelma Hawke
  • Margaret Hendra
  • Lucy Herd
  • Jackie Husk
  • Elizabeth Manley
  • Alistair Napier
  • Catherine Napier
  • R Nelson
  • Elizabeth Ramsay
  • Nick Ravinet
  • Christina Roper
  • Sophie Scott
  • Diana Singleton
  • Ken Smith
  • Pam Smith
  • Malcolm Smith
  • V Stepien
  • Lena Webb
  • Marcelle Williams
  • Rita Wright

Councillors (including Guest Speakers and those who are residents):

  • Prue Bray,
  • Julian McGee-Sumner,
  • Philip Mirfin,
  • Chris Singleton,
  • Bob Wyatt

Apologies:

  • Phil Lawman (Committee Member)

Introduction

Pat Smith opened the meeting and welcomed residents, councillors and guest speakers Prue Bray and Philip Mirfin. She explained that their discussion of the Town Centre Regeneration Plan would follow a standard Association AGM format.

Annual General Meeting Business

Chairman’s Report

Pat Smith summarised the Association’s Activities for the past year.

She also directed the meeting to the site for the 2013 Chairman’s newsletter, the 2013 AGM Minutes (accepted unanimously), the 2013 Treasurer’s Report and various reports on the Town Centre and South Wokingham SDL Forums from the past year. Great Langborough Residents’ Association!

The committee have had a busy year. We have been in dialogue with council members over the Town Centre Regeneration and the Strategic Development Location. We have contributed to the consultations about them and have also contributed comments and letters to the local press. This includes objections to the time scale for the planning application for the Town Centre Regeneration and a review of the application as far as was possible in the time allowed. You will know that the plans were actually withdrawn but we sent in our comments anyway.

All formal comments and letters have been posted on our website if you would like to view them.

Last year Prue Bray prompted a reopening of discussions around the plans for Elm’s Field through her e-petition which resulted in the extraordinary council meeting held at St Crispin’s school. Four of us attended that meeting and three questions were presented by Pat Smith, Robin Cops and Philip Lawman with subsidiary questions.

The final motion however was given to Alistair Corrie to present. It seemed at the time that the numerous questions had not been allowed to impact on the council’s thinking.

Committee members have also challenged the suggested plan to alter the access to the library car park to Langborough road. This appears now to have been dropped.

You may be aware that the plans for the Southern Distributor road are now out for consultation and David Nash our secretary who attends the community forum relating to this is going to give a brief description of these but as they are only recently released we do not propose taking any questions about them.

South Wokingham SDL – Route Alternative for Distributor Road

David Nash showed slides of the area of the SDL and the 3 alternative routes for the Distributor Road.

He informed the meeting that these routes were now subject to an 8 week period of public consultation from 23 July to 22 August. He also made the meeting aware of the exhibitions announced to support this consultation.

Election of Committee and Officers

Terry O’Donnell was not offering himself for re-election after serving on the committee for many years. Pat Smith thanked Terry for his contribution to the Association’s work. All other committee members had indicated their willingness to serve another year. Lucy Herd was offering herself for election to the committee and was introduced to the meeting.

Marcelle Williams proposed that the Committee, including Lucy Herd, and Officers should be re-elected en bloc. Mildred Clisby and Gwyn Garrod seconded and the motion was passed.

Treasurer’s Report

Andrew Pearce gave the main features of his report to be available on www.glra.org.uk. He reminded the meeting that, in the absence of an annual membership levy, voluntary contributions were needed to support the ongoing activities of the Association. The AGM alone costs about £80 to arrange.

Note: There was an exit collection which raised over £100. Other contributions would be gratefully received.

Any Other Business

  • Elizabeth Ramsay & Gwyn Garrod raised the issue of the poor state of repair and frequent flooding of the narrow middle section of Gipsy Lane.
    • Councillor Chris Singleton offered to take up this matter with the Highways Department of Wokingham BC. Chris reported back on 17 July that the drainage problem was a lack of storm drains in that part of Gipsy Lane, possibly aggravated by the embankment constructed at the back of the new property in South Drive. Chris Singleton has committed to continue to follow up this issue. Some minor repairs of some but not all pot holes have been undertaken.
  • L Webb: could anything be done about the problems of foxes spreading rubbish from bin bags over night before collection?
    • David Nash replied that the refuse bags could be made more secure if put out inside a dust bin.
    • Andrew Pearce reminded the meeting that a request to this effect is printed on the blue bags: -
      • “Please use a standard dustbin to prevent animal damage from where we will take the tied blue bag/bags”
  • Harriet Carrivick: What can be done about the speed at which cars are driven in Langborough Road?
    • This provoked a number of comments but no resolution was forthcoming.

Presentations and Discussion: Wokingham Town Centre Regeneration

Councillors Philip Mirfin, Executive Member for Regeneration and Prue Bray, Leader of the Liberal Group in Wokingham Borough Council each gave a short statement about their respective proposals for the regeneration scheme followed by a lively Question and Answer session.

A report on this by Pat Smith is also available on the GLRA web site here.

Q&A session with Prue Bray and Philip Mirfin

Initial Statements:

Philip Mirfin

The review of the plans started in February 2014. What we have decided so far is a reduction of the developments planned for Peach Place / Plaza and agreements on residential developments on the West & North sides of Elms Field.

J Sainsbury withdrew from discussions to build a 60K square feet supermarket. Discussions are under way with another grocery business for a smaller 30K square feet store.

Prue Bray

We would have liked to think that the yearend withdrawal of the planning application would have instigated a much greater re-evaluation of the whole scheme. It would be a tragedy to build houses on the West side of Elms Field if this is not needed to fund the larger scale plans. The site previously occupied by Wellington House could accommodate housing.

All discussions have been carried out in closed sessions in the council. Informal discussions had been deferred until after the May elections.

Q&A

  • Question: In answer to a question by Ken Smith of Gipsy Lane about the amount spent so far:
    • Philip Mirfin : £15M had been spent on acquiring land. This is currently yielding an income that is performing at better than break even after the interest payments on the loan. The budget for the whole plan as previously announced was £95M.
  • Question: n answer to a question by a resident of Crescent Road about the “eye sore” of Peach Street: The arcade and apartments in Peach Street have so many individual owners it would be difficult to purchase for redevelopment. There will be a new “gateway” development at the north end of Peach Street.
    • Prue Bray : We would be happier if the council had a plan of what to do next in this part of town. For example, Easthampstead Road car park is little used but there are no plans for its redevelopment.
    • Philip Mirfin : The team is working on all aspects of a revised plan: roads, parking, etc.
  • Question: Terry O’Donnell put a question about the development of better leisure facilities in Elms Field.
    • Prue Bray : We would mostly see Elms Field as offering the opportunity for facilities for a range of age groups.
    • Philip Mirfin : What would be left after regeneration would be better “sustainable” facilities. There would be installed services to support concerts and other events. The plans for the park are not finalised. They are still being reviewed.
  • Question: Julia Stanton of South Close asked why the council was not listening to the objections voiced by residents about the plans.
    • Philip Mirfin : The Council had gone overboard to give people opportunity for their comments. Over about the last 20 years there have been a number of consultations (3 to 5?). When the plans are ready for consultation a Planning Application will again be made – possibly by the end of the year. We will give as much information as we can on the proposed changes.
    • Prue Bray : All the decisions were being made in the Conservative Group; the Liberals were not allowed to engage in a meaningful dialogue. In fact she mentioned that this was the first occasion when she had been in a dialogue with Philip since his appointment.
    • Philip Mirfin :
      • (Mel Allen, who Philip had brought along, tried to justify Philip's statement. The audience had no time for what went on historically but just wanted to hear that alternative views would be considered seriously.)
      • Philip said that when they (i.e. the Conservative Group) had written their new planning applications the residents would of course be able to make their comments as part of the planning process.
      • (What Philip did not say was that alternative views would listened to and that the plans were still open for modification.)
      • Philip said that the Conservatives had increased their vote. He was presumably trying to make the point that residents had voted back Conservatives with an increased majority of councillors (true) and therefore were showing support for their plans (i.e. the Conservative plans not the Liberal alternative). That is the Conservative line - some Conservative Councillors are unhappy with that line but others just want to get on with it.
    • Prue Bray : The council finds itself running in “tram tracks” that it cannot get off.
    • Philip Mirfin : Wokingham cannot stand still. There will be another 10,000 residents by 2026. We need to keep them shopping in Wokingham rather than in other nearby towns.
  • Question: David Nash stated that a supermarket of any size needed adjacent parking. Where would the car park places for the proposed smaller supermarket be if not in Elms Field?
    • Prue Bray : Our priority for Elms Field would have been as a leisure facility. There is no affordable housing included in the Wokingham BC plans.
    • Philip Mirfin : The opportunity to bring Carnival Pool site into the plans brings new options, including parking. There is a firm intention that in the centre of town there will be a leisure area. It is, however, too soon to come up with a definitive plan at this time.
  • Question: Margaret Hendra of Crescent Road: how will an increase in car parking in the Carnival Pool area affect footfall in town centre retail?
    • Philip Mirfin : There are opportunities for new retail outlets: for example, the derelict garages in Broad Street Walk could be converted into starter retail units.
  • Question: Anita McPhilimey of Gipsy Lane remarked that the refurbished statement building on the corner of Rose Street and Market Square (Clarks, Boots Opticians, etc.) had been unveiled to general criticism. Is this what we should expect for the rest of the retail development?
    • Philip Mirfin : This was primarily a new re-cladding of an existing building so the options were limited.
  • Summary:

The meeting closed at about 9:30 p.m.


2013 AGM Minutes

GREAT LANGBOROUGH RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION

20th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Attendees

[Bold names are Committee members]

  • Robin Cops, chairman;
  • Andrew Pearce, treasurer;
  • Pat Smith, secretary;
  • David Nash;
  • Phil Lawman
  • Phillip Robinson
  • Anita McPhilimey
  • Lucy Allen
  • Claire Cohen
  • Patrick Hopkinson
  • Bob Newman
  • Sydney Treadgold
  • Barbara Young
  • Wayne Barron
  • Nigel De Souza
  • Paul Jacques
  • Chris O’Donnell
  • Chris Singleton
  • Rory Young
  • Daphne Burlton
  • Paul Frost
  • Gordon Jones
  • Richard Pavitt
  • Johan Vries
  • Mel Burlton
  • Stanley Harris
  • Colm Lennon
  • Caroline Perkins
  • Marcelle Williams
  • Henry Butterfield
  • Margaret Henda
  • Pat McIntyre
  • Nick Ravinet
  • Adrian Williams
  • Frank Clisby
  • T. Holdstock
  • Stuart Mitchell
  • Sophie Scott
  • Melanie Williams
  • Mildred Clisby
  • Helen Hopkinson
  • Una Murray-Wood
  • Malcolm Smith
  • Bob Wyatt

Guest Speakers

  • Councillor Keith Baker, Executive Member for Planning and Highways, Wokingham Borough Council
  • Jan Nowecki, Town Clerk, Wokingham Town Council

Apologies

  • Gwen Garrod,
  • George Haigh,
  • Terry O’Donnell,
  • Barbara & Barry Thompson

Introduction:

Pat Smith opened the meeting and welcomed residents and guests. She introduced Jan Nowecki and Keith Baker. She explained that their sections would precede a standard Association AGM format

Jan Nowecki: Travellers on Langborough Recreation Ground

Jan reported on the successful removal of travellers from Langborough Recreation Ground. They had arrived on 4th June and left on Sunday 9th June.

She said that the distribution of emails by GLRA to residents had improved communication to residents and had enhanced the inflow of useful intelligence.

Wokingham Town Council had worked with the Borough Council and Thames Valley Police to move the travellers. They had migrated to Elms Field, but she believed that they had now vacated that site.

The Town Council was planning to improve barriers to unauthorised vehicles entering the park. The short term plan was to install more wooden posts and a small amount of fencing on the NE corner. Jan invited suggestions from the meeting as to what longer term barriers should be considered.

Gordon Jones posed the danger of wooden posts being attacked with chain saws. Caroline Perkins recommended cast iron posts. Chris O’Donnell questioned the effectiveness of wooden posts. Philip Robinson remarked that even steel posts in Molly Millars Lane had been cut off in the past.

Keith Baker informed the meeting that he was the Borough Councillor with responsibility for gypsy and traveller liaison. Any intentional damage or a presence in excess of 6 vehicles would enable measures under Section 61 (of The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994) to be taken by the police to remove travellers in 24 hours.

Jan Nowecki asked for a show of hands in favour of cast iron posts. About 10 people indicated their support for this.

Jan concluded by thanking residents for their support and notes of appreciation.

Keith Baker: South Wokingham Strategic Development Location

Progress Report

Developers, said Keith, have to take measures to mitigate the effects of additional road and junction loading that is caused by the extra population in their dwellings.

However, the local authorities have to demonstrate convincingly that the effects are likely to have an unacceptable impact. This is especially important when a plan goes to appeal.

This has justified the acquisition of an advanced traffic simulation model by Wokingham BC. In addition, they have employed specialist in-house consultants. They have also carried out extensive traffic surveys to provide higher quality data. The model simulates traffic over a wide area because of the effects of developments outside Wokingham BC territory.

A study is being carried out to predict problem roads and junctions in each SDL. This will enable the council to demand appropriate road and junction provision and design. (This power excludes Buckhurst Farm, where the planning permissions are in place.)

Such a study is in progress in the Southern SDL south of the Reading Waterloo railway. The study report will complete around the end of June/early July 2013.

For more details refer to Keith’s slides on See the link to Keith’s slides at <TBC>

There were a number of questions for Keith Baker (KB): -

  • Andrew Pearce: Has the purpose of the road been defined; is it a distribution road or a bypass?

    • KB: It is intended to fill both requirements. It will be a 30 miles per hour capacity road.
  • Pat Smith: Is the 30 mph limit decided?

    • KB: Yes
  • Colm Lennon: Will the road be funded and built in one piece before houses or as development proceeds?

    • KB: Developers will not pay up front for a complete road. Wokingham BC is to attempt to obtain a government loan for the funding of a pre-development road.
  • Colm Lennon: Would WBC borrow the necessary sum and repay gradually through S.106 contributions?

    • KB: The cost of finance for such a large loan could be an inhibitor. For the general provision of infrastructure (e.g. schools) there will be the usual schedule of trigger points for S.106 contributions.
    • At some future time, Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) will replace the S.106 scheme.
  • Bob Newman: What is the validity of the plan to close the Waterloo Road level crossing?

    • KB: The major consideration is safety. There is an opportunity to consider closing the crossing. However, there will be extensive consultation on the subject.
  • Caroline Perkins: What measures are being considered to eliminate major “pinch points” that cause congestion? Is the possibility of opening through Woosehill Lane still under consideration?

    • KB: Woosehill Lane as a through route is not now possible because of the houses that have been built. WBC highways engineers will negotiate a number of improvements as appropriate with developers.
  • Phil Lawman: What are the 3 optional routes for the Southern Distributor road?

    • KB: Not in a position to answer that before release of the study report around the end of June/early July 2013.
  • Robin Cops: It appears from some planning estimates that there is an assumption that many pupils from the Southern SDL will walk or cycle to school. Could KB initiate a review of this assumption, which seems unrealistic?

    • KB: Thanks for the information. He will look into it.

Annual General Meeting Business

Pat Smith summarised the Chairman’s newsletter, which is available on the www.glra.org.uk web site.

She also directed the meeting to the site for the 2012 Chairman’s newsletter, the 2012 AGM Minutes, the 2012 Treasurer’s Report and various reports on the Town Centre and South Wokingham SDL Forums from the past year.

She mentioned that the Town Centre plan appeared to have slipped by about a year. Early phases will include Peach Street residential development, the station and slip road construction followed by Elms Field.

She recommended that residents submit comments to the formal consultations during the statutory periods. The members of the Town Centre Forum had been disappointed that their workshop recommendations had not been taken into account, as they had not been repeated as input to the consultation.

She was surprised to find that, on the occasion that she visited the Public Realm forum, she was the only non councillor present.

Chris Singleton made the meeting aware that he is on the regeneration working party and was thus a local councillor contact.

Election of Committee and Officers

George Haig was not offering himself for re-election. All other committee members had indicated their willingness to serve another year. Robin Cops was standing down as Secretary; David Nash had offered to take on this role.

Marcelle Williams proposed that the Committee and Officers should be re-elected en bloc. Sophie Scott seconded and the motion was passed.

Treasurer’s Report

Andrew Pearce gave the main features of his report to be available on www.glra.org.uk He reminded the meeting that, in the absence of an annual membership levy, voluntary contributions were needed to support the ongoing activities of the Association. The AGM alone costs about £80 to arrange.

Note: There was an exit collection which raised less than £50. Other contributions would be gratefully received.

As “web master” for the Association, Andrew asked how many of the residents at the meeting had used www.glra.org.uk – only a small number indicated that they had. Pat Smith asked for a show of hands to indicate that the website would be valued and should continue given the cost. This was agreed.

David Nash took an action to put the South Wokingham SDL Forum dates on the site, as these are public meetings. He would also provide links to the Public Realm Exhibition illustrative panels.

Any Other Business

  • Gordon Jones raised an issue of the danger of crossing Langborough Road at the exit from Howard Road. He was of the opinion that many drivers accelerated out of the Langborough Road chicane
    • KB recommended that Gordon Jones should raise this concern through ward councillors, copy himself. They would then progress the matter through Wokingham BC officers.
    • Pat Smith added that there were other areas that raised similar concerns. There was very little police and zero warden presence. What were the options for residents who had concerns?
    • KB answered as follows:
      • Report parking obstruction to Thames Valley Police via the non-emergency 101 number.
      • When there general speeding complaints, the measures are to gather data by road sensor, analyse them, present the evidence to the police. An average of 30 mph ± 5 mph was considered as “acceptable” in a 30 mph limit area.
      • Accident statistics from those reported to the police were also important.
  • Colm Lennon: Is the traffic model being used to study areas outside those immediately impacted by the SDLs?
    • KB: Yes. For example, it is being used to study the impact of 2-way traffic in Rectory Road and other traffic congestion issues. In the case of Langborough Road, KB was not sure of the current situation. He directed future resident queries to WBC Cllr. Chris Singleton, recently appointed as Deputy Executive with responsibility for congestion.
  • Colm Lennon: Are air pollution levels being monitored?
    • KB: Yes. There are a number of air quality monitoring boxes are moved around to measure this.
  • Phil Frost remarked that residents have a duty to monitor their own speed. They should remember that, if they stick to the limits, drivers following are also forced to stay at the same speed.
  • Phil Lawman asked which organisation decides on pedestrian crossings.
    • KB: The Highways Department of Wokingham BC. Signalised crossings cost from about £50,000 to £100,000; without signals – around £30,000. Residents should address requests for crossing provision to the Highways Department or through the ward councillors.
  • Caroline Perkins thanked Phil Lawman for alerting residents to the original plans for the Langborough Recreation Ground play area.
  • Dangers to pedestrians crossing Langborough Road at the Fairview junction: At least ten residents supported Phil Lawman's request for the council to review the possibility of putting a pedestrian crossing at a suitable point near to this junction.
    • ACTION: This request should now be put to Ward councillors for them to request support from Keith Baker.

The meeting closed at 9:15 p.m.


2013 AGM Chairman's Newsletter

On the 12th June we will hold our AGM (see our flyer here) and I look forward to seeing as many residents as possible then.

Last year we reported on the town centre regeneration and the housing plans for the area.

Nothing significant has changed with regard to the town centre regeneration which is passing through the planning system as we speak!

Our current focus has shifted somewhat toward the South Wokingham Strategic Development Location (SDL). From our point of view, this is the area South East of Wokingham bordered to the north by the London road and to the west by the Finchampstead road specifically at Tesco.

The committee has therefore asked Cllr Keith Baker, Wokingham's Executive member responsible for Planning and Highways, to speak to us about the implications for that area, and the impact of the road which will run through the new estates both for the estates and upon the town centre.

SDL Forum

David Nash our representative on the SDL forum reports that:-

Phase 1 - Buckhurst Park: has outline planning permission and has moved to the "reserved matters" stage. In this stage, detailed plans are submitted by the developers for design of houses, public buildings, roads, junctions, etc.

Phases 2 through 4: Wokingham BC has launched a comparative study of 3 main alternatives for the route of the Southern Distributor Road: through the middle of the development, to the north and to the south. The study is currently due to be published in June. There will follow a period of public consultation.

The route and size of the spine road is controversial and David will expand on this later. There are also of course issues relating to the northern distributor road and SDL.

Town centre regeneration

I have written a separate report to update information about this (published on the news page). The development is moving into the planning application phase and should lead onto real changes in the near future.

These applications will result in the following developments plans taking effect:-

  1. Station Link Road: you will have noticed that work started in Feb 2013 and completion is expected by end of May 2014
  2. Station Relocation: this work has started with limitations in car parking and the sudden disappearance of the footbridge, and is expected to be completed by end of August 2013
  3. Wokingham Town Regeneration: this is split into 3 projects:
    • The first project is the corner of Peach Street and Rose Street up to Bush Walk:
      • The council are currently in the process of appointing the contractors
      • The work should begin July/August 2013 and complete in about 18 months
    • The second project is Elms Field:
      • This is currently still in the planning phase and needs to get approval
      • The council hope to appoint the builder later this year, in the Autumn
      • Subject to planning permission, work is expected to begin early 2014 and complete end 2016
    • The third project is Peach Place Plaza:
      • This project is tightly linked and dependant on the Elms Field development
      • It is currently still in the planning phase and need approval
      • The council hope to appoint the builder later this year in Autumn
      • Subject to planning permission, work is expected to begin late 2015 and complete early 2017

Public Realm

You may also be aware of the discussions and public consultation around this. This is the overall appearance and set up of the roads, signage and general appearance of the town. The exhibition also featured possible changes to the traffic system. I hope as many of you as possible saw the exhibition.

The committee will be interested to hear residents' views about this.

You need to be aware that your comments need to have been presented to the council in the required format to be taken into consideration and that this is the case for any consultation.

GLRA Needs You!

Your committee members have continued to participate in the debates that surround all these issues and we would welcome residents who would like to join in those discussions. The work is not onerous but it will certainly keep you abreast of the current issues and get you involved if you are interested.

Come along to the AGM and make your interest known to one of the committee.

And once again, do make sure you come along to the AGM on 12th June at The Salvation Army Hall (7.30 pm) to hear our speaker as well as meeting the rest of your committee.

Pat Smith Chairman GLRA


2012 AGM Minutes

GREAT LANGBOROUGH RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION

19th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Attendees

[Bold names are Committee members]

  • Robin Cops, chairman;
  • Andrew Pearce, treasurer;
  • Pat Smith, secretary;
  • David Nash;
  • Terry O’Donnell
  • Phil Lawman
  • Phillip Robinson
  • Colleen Jacobs
  • Tony Chambers
  • Siobhan Sanctuary
  • Sarah Lawman
  • Jameson Wooders
  • Elizabeth Manners
  • Christine Holland
  • Anita McPhilimey
  • Roger and Sue Gook
  • Peter and Lorraine Clayton
  • Barbara and Barry Thomson
  • Karren Howick
  • Stan Harris
  • Wendy Hoggetts
  • Nick Warren
  • Rita Wright
  • Thelma Hawke
  • Richard Messas
  • Sally Stevens
  • George Haigh
  • Sue Blest
  • Chris and Edna Champion
  • Lucy Allen
  • Patricia Young
  • Frank and Mildred Clisby
  • David Garrod
  • Elizabeth and Stan Harris
  • Bob Newman
  • John Brenner
  • Barbara Young
  • Sam Jones
  • Ray & Barbara Brown
  • Nick Ravinet
  • Cllr Bob Wyatt
  • Elizabeth Manley
  • Jackie Husk
  • Christine Roper

Apologies

  • Pat and Bill MacIntyre
  • Cllr Julian McGee Sumner
  • Cllr Chris Singleton
  • Diane Singleton

Town centre Regeneration

The meeting welcomed Will Robinson of Wilson Bowden development and Bernie Pitch, town council who gave an update presentation on the proposed town centre regeneration.

Will Robinson reported on the proposed refurbishment of Peach place and particularly the Rose Street corner with views of residents from consultation taken into account. The refurbishment should mirror existing features of the town centre and will close off the access areas to the building above the Rose street shops which should become residential rather than offices.

He outlined the time scale:

  • Stand-alone refurbishment of Peach Street spring 2012
  • Planning consent July 2012
  • Elms Field retail development May 2013 - December 2014
  • Residential development Oct 2013 - Mar 2016
  • Peach Place new retail Jan 2015 - Aug 2016

Questions raised included:

  • What time frame for station link road? David Nash
    • Through next year. The link road is ½ BR and ½ Town Council. BP
  • How big will the play area be and how will the needs of older young people be accommodated? Also concerns about youngsters gathering at Elm’s field now and felt to be drunk and threatening.Terry O’Donnell/ Ania McPhilimey / Sue Blest
    • Will be part of imminent consultation process but also that sec 106 contributions from the council are required to replace existing facilities such as the tennis courts, possibly at Cantley. There have been school visits to engage the views of young people. Residential provision is felt to improve this as the area will be overlooked but it will need policing BP
  • How much car parking?
    • There will be underground car parking for 350 cars under the food store and retained parking at council offices. Further parking should be around the outside of the town centre. BP
  • Traffic issues were raised particularly in regard to Langborough road and the proposed hotel facing it’s exit.
  • Why another food store?
    • Research suggests this is needed and will draw people into the town and to use further shops and facilities. WR

Will Robinson and Bernie Pitch were thanked for their presentation

Main Agenda items

  • Minutes of previous AGM were displayed and had been accepted by the meeting.
    • Matters arising were identified in the agenda.
  • Treasurer’s report:
    • Andrew Pearce presented the accounts which were approved by the meeting
    • Funds have been spent this year on printing the flyers and on the hire of the hall. No levy of subscriptions has been made for some years.
    • It was agreed again that a collection at the end of the meeting would defer a levy this year. £85 was collected at the end of the meeting which covered the costs of this AGM.
    • Further consideration needs to be given whether to make a formal levy of residents for next year. Action GLRA Committee
    • Roman Laird donation. Barbara Young brought this issue to the committee’s attention. A sum of money was donated to be used for legal protection against the council should it wish to pursue its plan to let out Langborough Recreation Ground for formal football matches.This has not been needed and the money has remained in the accounts but not identified as such.
      • Terry O’Donnell proposed that the money should be subsumed into the GLRA general funds so that it could be available for use when needed.
      • The proposal was accepted overwhelmingly.
  • Website: www.glra.org.uk
    • Robin thanked Andrew for setting up the association’s website which is now live. Andrew gave a short presentation about the website emphasising that we would update it when appropriate but that it would not be interactive.
  • Election of committee members
    • The current members were willing to stand again this year with the exception of Colm Lennon for personal reasons.
    • Sue Blest proposed the retention of the existing committee other than Colm Lennon. Seconded by David Nash.
    • Nominations for new members were
      • Anita PcPhilimey, proposed by Phil Lawman (elected)
      • George Haigh, proposed by Pat Smith (elected)
    • Robin is standing down as chair and Pat Smith has agreed to take over the chair This was agreed by the meeting. Proposed by Nick Warren and seconded by Gweyn Garrod.
      • Robin Cops was elected as secretary.
  • Langborough Recreation Ground.
    • At last year’s AGM, Cllr David Davies stated that money had now been allocated for refurbishment of playground areas in the parks and Langborough rec has been allocated funding. The toilets have been refurbished but the showers are disabled.
    • Plans were proposed to extend the play area considerably which was felt by some residents to be excess to need. Following further consultation with residents a new, smaller plan is now proposed. Residents who want to comment can respond directly to the WBC planning department.
  • South Wokingham Strategic Development Location (SDL)
    • David Nash gave an update on the current situation and plans. Further information is available on the website.
    • Questions from the floor included
      • What secondary provision will there be as there are planned primary schools within the developments?
        • Robin reported that St Crispin’s is being expanded with a new £5.6m science block currently in build to take it towards 1500pupils. The overall secondary provision is taken into the planning for the SDLs
  • AOB
    • David Nash noted that the government intends to terminate sec 106 and replacing this with a community levy by Local Authorities based on square footage for new buildings. Bracknell Forest are already making plans to accommodate this and it is likely that Wokingham will follow.
      • There will be a open meeting hosted by the Wokingham Society on 18th July at the Bradbury Centre when the main presentation will be on Localisim
    • Lorraine Clayton asked about traffic issues and past actions for Langborough road .Robin addressed this, concluding that the current traffic islands for calming the traffic flow work as long as cars are not parked on double yellow lines.
    • Anita McPhilimey proposed a similar presentation to theTown Regeneration regarding the SDL and traffic modelling and it was agreed that this would be discussed at the next committee meeting.
    • John Brenner proposed a vote of thanks to the committee for last year’s work.
    • Robin asked attendees to leave their E-Mail address where possible so that we could look at E-Mail communication on important issues
    • Thanks were expressed to The Salvation Army for the use of their facilities and in particular to Lt. Nicola Muir for providing tea and biscuits during the meeting

The meeting closed at 9.10 pm for refreshments.


2012 AGM Chairman's Newsletter

On the 25th June we will hold our AGM and for the first time I can post our newsletter on the web rather than through your door. This was the commitment we made last year and thanks to the help of Andrew Pearce we now have our own website up and running.

So another busy year for our area:

  • Pat Smith has written a report about the development of the town centre (published on the news page) but now that we are entering the planning phase, many of the issues we have discussed during the various consultations are starting to become real. Some of it is still controversial (especially the development of Elms Field) and I am sure that during planning there will be a lot more input from residents and of course your committee. Because of this we have asked Bernie Pitch from Wokingham Borough Council and Will Robinson from Wilson Bowden Developers to come and address us on this subject at the AGM.

  • An issue that arose right in the middle of our residents this year was the proposed development of the Langborough Recreation Ground Playground. Following consultation, this was agreed by the Town Council and included the funding not only for the replacement of the existing equipment but extending the area to include some more equipment for older kids. When the actual design materialised in the planning phase it became clear that a significant number of residents objected to this extension. Indeed, your committee was also divided on this issue and therefore did not feel it could take a position. Instead it recommended to the Council that the application be withdrawn and a further consultation take place on the design. This suggestion was adopted and as a result a much smaller design has been put into Planning involving replacing the existing equipment plus a small extension to contain two more items. This is being considered as I write.

  • The Strategic Development Locations (SDLs), part of Wokingham's Core Strategy to build 12,500 new houses, are now also in the planning phase and the first materialisation of the Southern SDL in our area is the start of the Buckhurst Farm development. However the route and size of the spine road is still subject to some controversy. David Nash has an update on this SDL later.

  • Your committee members actively take part in the debates that surround all these issues and we would welcome residents who would like to join in those discussions. The work is not onerous but it will certainly keep you abreast of the current issues and get you involved if you are interested. Come along to the AGM and make your interest known to one of the committee. I'll be stepping down as Chairman this year due to pressure of other commitments but I'd like to record my thanks to the committee members for the work and enthusiasm they have put into our organisation.

And so back to the website. If you're reading this you have most probably found it at http://www.glra.org.uk. Currently it is a reference point for information on the GLRA but in the future we hope to make it more of an interactive site. In the meantime if you would like to give in your E-Mail address to either your local committee member or at the AGM we'll be able to communicate directly with you on any appropriate issues or announcements.

And once again, do make sure you come along to the AGM on 25th June at The Salvation Army Hall (7.30 pm) to hear our two speakers on the town regeneration as well as meeting the rest of your committee.

Robin Cops Chairman GLRA


2011 AGM Minutes

GREAT LANGBOROUGH RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION

18th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Attendees

[Bold names are Committee members]

  • Robin Cops, chairman;
  • Andrew Pearce, treasurer;
  • Pat Smith, secretary;
  • David Nash;
  • Terry O’Donnell
  • Phil Lawman
  • Phillip Robinson
  • Marcelle Williams
  • Valerie Robinson
  • Sam Jones
  • Ken Priest
  • David and Gwyn Garrod
  • Elizabeth Ramsay
  • Diana and Chris Singleton
  • Margaret & Peter Hendra
  • Elizabeth and Stan Harris
  • Steph Faulkner
  • Frank and Mildred Clisby
  • John Brenner
  • John Milner
  • Carol and Bob Newman
  • Ray & Barbara Brown
  • M.P.Brazell
  • Barbara Young
  • Cllr. David Davies
  • Christine Roper
  • Nick & Donna Ravinet
  • Cllr. Bob Wyatt
  • Cllr Matt Deegan
  • Elizabeth Manley

Apologies

  • Elizabeth and Sydney Treadgold
  • Catherine and Paul Turner
  • Pat and Bill MacIntyre
  • Sue and Roger Gook
  • Julian Salomon

Town centre Regeneration

The meeting welcomed Cllr. Matt Deegan, WBC Executive Member for Regeneration who gave a presentation on the proposed town centre regeneration.

Matt identified the positive impact the £100m regeneration would provide:

750 new jobs, £21m wages, £2.2m tourism, additional affordable housing and a catalyst for further regeneration.

He outlined the time scale:

  • Design phase June – Nov 2011
  • Stand-alone refurbishment of Peach Street Jan - Aug 2012
  • Planning consent July 2012
  • Station link road agreement signed. New station to start in 2012
  • Elms Field retail development May 2013 - December 2014
  • Residential development Oct 2013 - Mar 2016
  • Peach Place new retail Jan 2015 - Aug 2016

There will be a public exhibition in Unit 4 Peach Street from 7th -9th July with a flyer circulated shortly to all householders informing them.

Matt was asked for comparable developments by Wilson Bowden Developments and will provide details. Action M. Deegan

Main Agenda items

  • Minutes of previous AGM were displayed and had been accepted by the committee.
    • Actions arising :
      • 6 Langborough Road development monitoring. The happy outcome is that the house has become a family residence and the new owners were welcomed to the meeting.
  • Treasurer’s report:
    • Andrew Pearce presented the accounts which demonstrated that we are currently in the black to the tune of £339.93.
    • Funds have been spent this year on printing the newsletter and on the hire of the hall. No levy of subscriptions has been made for some years.
    • It was agreed that a collection at the end of the meeting would defer a levy this year. £79 was collected at the end of the meeting.
    • Further consideration needs to be given whether to make a formal levy of residents for next year.\
  • SDL - David Nash gave an update on the current situation and plans
  • Langborough Road Parking
    • Robin Cops has exchanged E-mails with Councillors and notes the difficulties of de-criminalising parking in Wokingham. As a result the police will mount a short-term campaign against illegal parking in Langborough Road.
  • Langborough Recreation Ground. (partial village green)
    • Cllr. Dave Davies attended and introduced himself. Though a town councillor for Westcott East he lives in the GLRA area, has a role on the amenities committee and is responsible for the town owned Parks.
    • He stated that money had now been allocated for refurbishment of playground areas in the parks and Langborough Rec. is top of that list as the equipment is in poor and elderly condition.
    • The changing rooms need refurbishing and are no longer in regular use. The options open to the Town Council are:
      • Demolish the changing room and extend the play area
      • Mothball the changing room until a need is established
      • Remove the showers and refurbish the toilets for rec. users
      • Complete refurbishment of the block including a new boiler.
    • In the meantime, it has been agreed that the toilets will be open for matches held on the field. Dave is looking for feedback from members of GLRA. Action Robin Cops
    • Dave can be contacted on david.davies@wokingham-tc.gov.uk
  • Election of committee members
    • The current members were willing to stand again this year with the exception of Julian Salomon for personal reasons. Colm Lennon has agreed to stand in place of Julian.
    • The proposal for election of those members was made by Marcelle Williams and seconded by Elizabeth Manley and agreed by the meeting.
    • It was suggested that if any other residents wanted to work on the committee there is room for more.
  • AOB
    • Cllr Chris Singleton, town councillor recommended attendees to contribute to the consultation process and there are 2 current opportunities which close on 27th July.
    • The Managing Development Delivery Development Plan Document (MDD DPD) which is a new, key planning document, encompassing the various strands of development policy, http://www.wokingham.gov.uk/draftoptionsmdd/
    • The South Wokingham SDL, on which there is an opportunity for limited comment on the addition of a Sustainable Environmental Assessment, http://www.wokingham.gov.uk/planningcontrol/planning/masterplanning/sdls/sdlconsultation/
    • A member asked if a website could be established for the GLRA where minutes, treasurer’s statements etc could be posted. It was agreed that Andrew would see if that could be done. Action Andrew Pearce
    • Robin asked attendees to leave their E-Mail address where possible so that we could look at E-Mail communication on important issues
    • Thanks were expressed to The Salvation Army for the use of their facilities and in particular to Lt. Nicola Muir for providing tea and biscuits at the end of the meeting

The meeting closed at 9.00 pm for refreshments.


2010 AGM Minutes

GREAT LANGBOROUGH RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION

17th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

09 June 2010

7:30 p.m.

Wokingham Town Hall

MINUTES

** NOTE: attendance addresses removed **

ATTENDANCE:

A list of the 28 members attending is attached at the end of these minutes.

Apologies for absence: Ann McCutcheon, Sally Pearce, Julian Salomon, David Taylor, Paul & Cathy Turner and Elizabeth & Sydney Treadgold

WELCOME

David Nash reminded attendees that the Association was inaugurated at a meeting on 3 March 1992.

The Agenda reminded members of the aims of the Association, as set out in its Constitution:

AGENDA:

  1. Minutes of 2009 AGM and matters arising
  2. Chairman's Report
  3. Treasurer's Report
  4. Election of Committee and Officers
  5. Any Other Business

Note: GLRA has been used in these minutes as an abbreviation for Great Langborough Residents’ Association.

David Nash welcomed the attendees at the meeting, advised on fire alarm procedure and introduced the members of the Committee. He thanked the Committee for their support during the past year.

Minutes of 2009 AGM

Acceptance - passed unanimously.

Chairman’s Report

Wokingham Borough Plan

David Nash summarised the recent milestones in the strategic plan cycle of Wokingham Borough Council (referred to later as WBC). The plan started in 2004 to take over from the previous 10 year plan that expired in 2006. In July 2008, the Government of the South East (GOSE) imposed targets for housing development on all local authorities in the South East region. Wokingham Borough got 12,460 houses over 20 years: 623 per year average. The WBC Core Strategy was submitted in August 2008 and adopted in January 2010 after a Public Examination in March/April 2009.

The WBC strategy created four new Strategic Development Locations (SDLs). These included Northern and Southern SDLs bordering Wokingham town, comprising 1,500 and 2,500 dwellings respectively.

The Southern SDL extended from the Guildford line over Easthampstead Road to include land to the north of the Waterloo railway to London Road and up to Coppid Beech. A new road from the Tesco roundabout on Finchampstead Road passed over Easthampstead Road, bridging the railway and joining the Coppid Beech roundabout.

A serious issue was secondary education. WBC would close Emmbrook, limiting the number of schools to the current eight, saving £30 million pounds. St. Crispin’s was to be enlarged to provide extra capacity.

The next stage was to draw up more detailed “Masterplans” for each SDL, published in September 2009. Consultation followed in late 2009 and the Masterplans are currently due for adoption on 24th June.

The Conservative Party issued a Green Paper pledging to remove nationally set local housing targets. This was confirmed by Caroline Spelman, previously Shadow Minister for Communities & Local Government, in a letter of September 2009. Eric Pickles, now the Minister, had sent a short letter to council leaders in May, confirming the current government’s position and promising “a formal announcement soon.” Both John Redwood MP and various resident associations had requested that WBC put a hold on the adoption of the current Masterplans and take time to review targets. Angus Ross, now Borough Councillor with executive responsibility for planning, had written to one residents’ association as follows: “the current number of houses to 2026 has to stay at the moment as we need more information (from the Government) before any discussion can be held on changing the numbers. If we were to throw out our large development location plans now, we would lose control over where development could take place in the short term”.

Follow up questions from the floor and further discussion ensued: Oxford City had suspended its strategic plan process; gardens were not now categorised as “brown field” sites; WBC currently will not share its traffic planning data. It ended with approval of David Nash’s proposed action to seek further discussions with Angus Ross. The key objectives would be to seek an indication that overall targets would be reduced, that development in SDLs would be prioritised to impact areas of lower amenity value first and that certain areas of high amenity value could be totally excluded from development.

Town Centre

Three developers had been selected by Wokingham BC to respond to the Vision document for the town centre. Public consultation events had been held in the autumn of 2009. An exhibition based on a Masterplan for the town centre had been held in January/February 2010. Public feedback was sought in May 2010. GLRA put in a representation expressing concerns about traffic flow, parking, the possible height of up to 5 storeys of the proposed “anchor store” at the bottom of Denmark Street, lack of a plan to improve Peach Street and preservation of existing trees. It was not yet clear whether the Town Centre Masterplan would be included on the agenda for adoption on 24th June.

Treasurer’s Report

Andrew Pearce reported on the Accounts during the period 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010. The balance of funds was now £523.83. The acceptance of the Treasurer’s Report was proposed by Terry O’Donnell, seconded by Pat McIntyre and passed unanimously. The meeting agreed with the Treasurer’s recommendation that subscriptions be waived again until such time as it was necessary to raise funds.

Election of Committee and Officers

All existing committee members and officers had resigned as of the AGM date. All Committee Members and Officers had offered themselves for re-election. Andrew Pearce as Treasurer and Pat Smith as Secretary had also offered to stand in those positions. All these members were re-elected en bloc, proposed by Marcelle Williams and seconded by Jerry McCarthy.

David Nash was not standing again as Chairman.

Robin Cops had offered to stand. He was proposed by David Nash and seconded by Elizabeth Manley.

Robin Cops introduced himself to the meeting and took the chair.

Marcelle Williams proposed a vote of thanks to David Nash for his contribution as chairman over several years. This was seconded by Robin Cops and David Garrod and carried unanimously.

Any Other Business

No.6 Langborough Road

Colm Lennon queried the current status of 6 Langborough Road, the large house at the western end of the conservation area.. Robin Cops had taken a detailed interest in the progress of planning applications and updated the meeting. The latest application had once again been refused. The building was in danger of further deterioration – perhaps to an irreparable state. Colm Lennon said that he believed that WBC had powers under the Town & Country Planning Act to intervene to force the owners to keep the building in a reasonable state of repair.

ACTION: Robin Cops would investigate what actions were now available.

Possible impact of cuts in local government budgets

Terry O’Donnell raised the question of the possible impact of budget cuts. Robin Cops replied that GLRA would continue in its efforts to influence Borough Council policy to the benefit of our residents.

Robin Cops closed the meeting at around 9 p.m.

LIST OF MEMBERS ATTENDING:

  • Tony Chambers-Howard Road
  • Marie J Christie-Howard Road
  • Wesley Christie-Howard Road
  • Frank Clisby-Gipsy Lane
  • Mildred Clisby-Gipsy Lane
  • Robin Cops-Langborough Road, Chairman **
  • David Garrod-Gipsy Lane
  • Chris Gee-Crescent Road
  • Maria Gee-Crescent Road
  • Liz Harris-Gipsy Lane
  • Stanley Harris-Gipsy Lane
  • Peter Hendra-Crescent Road
  • Margaret Hendra-Crescent Road
  • Philip Lawman-Gipsy Lane
  • Colm Lennon-Murdoch Road
  • Jerry McCarthy-Gipsy Lane
  • Elizabeth Manley-Langborough Road
  • Pat McIntyre-Gipsy Lane
  • David Nash-Gipsy Lane,Committee Member
  • Carol Newman-Gipsy Lane
  • Terry O’Donnell-Gipsy Lane, Committee Member
  • Andrew Pearce-Langborough Road, Treasurer
  • Kenneth Priest-Gipsy Lane
  • Philip Robinson-Murdoch Road, Committee Member
  • Pat Smith-Sturges Road, Secretary
  • Marcelle Williams-Gipsy Lane
  • Rita Wright-Fairview Road
  • Barbara Young-Howard Road

** Elected as Chairman at this AGM


2009 AGM Minutes

GREAT LANGBOROUGH RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION

16th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

21 July 2009

7:30 p.m.

Wokingham Town Hall

MINUTES

** NOTE: attendance addresses removed **

ATTENDANCE:

A list of the 28 members attending is attached at the end of these minutes.

Apologies for absence: Mildred & Frank Clisby, Robin Cops, Liz & Stanley Harris, Elizabeth Manley, Sally Pearce, Julian Salomon, Pat Smith, Paul & Cathy Turner and Marcelle Williams.

WELCOME

David Nash reminded attendees that the Association was inaugurated at a meeting on 3 March 1992.

The Agenda reminded members of the aims of the Association, as set out in its Constitution:

AGENDA:

  1. Minutes of 2008 AGM and matters arising
  2. Chairman's Report
  3. Treasurer's Report
  4. Election of Committee and Officers
  5. Any Other Business

Note: GLRA has been used in these minutes as an abbreviation for Great Langborough Residents’ Association.

David Nash welcomed the attendees at the meeting, advised on fire alarm procedure and introduced the members of the Committee. He thanked the Committee for their support during the past year.

Minutes of 2008 AGM

Acceptance proposed by Carol Newman, seconded by Barbara Young and passed unanimously.

Chairman’s Report

Wokingham Borough Plan

David Nash summarised the recent milestones in the strategic plan cycle of Wokingham Borough Council (referred to later as WBC). The Core Strategy for 2006 – 2026 was submitted to central government on 20 August 2008. In July 2008, the Government Of the South East (GOSE) imposed targets for housing development on all local authorities in the South East region. Wokingham Borough got 12,460 houses over 20 years: 623 per year average.

The WBC strategy created four new Strategic Development Locations (SDLs). These included Northern and Southern SDLs bordering Wokingham town, comprising 1,500 and 2,500 dwellings respectively.

The Southern SDL extended from the Guildford line over Easthampstead Road to include land to the north of the Waterloo railway to London Road and up to Coppid Beech. A new road from the Tesco roundabout on Finchampstead Road passed over Easthampstead Road, bridging the railway and joining the Coppid Beech roundabout.

A serious issue was secondary education. The Borough contained no publicly funded secondary schools south of Wokingham. WBC planned to close Emmbrook School, subject to regular flooding, and “relocate” it to Arborfield, to serve the proposed SDL on MOD property. WBC would not agree a plan for nine secondary schools, limiting the planned number to the current eight, saving £30 million pounds.

St. Crispin’s was to be enlarged to provide extra capacity. Travel of extra pupils was an issue. No account had been taken of the additional need posed by lower enrolments in private secondary schools.

David Nash had participated in the Examination in Public by the appointed Inspector, which ran from 17 March to 30 April 2009. The Inspector’s report, binding on the Council, was expected in October 2009. David Nash was not optimistic about the outcome.

Now most local Resident Associations had changed their strategy. They would collaborate in the later detailed planning phases. They aimed to optimise their impact on the town and its environment. This process had already begun. David Nash had participated in a “Shaping Our Communities” workshop. This provided recommendations for the Master Planning detailed stages of the local SDLs. All three workshop groups focused on the Southern SDL had recommended independently that development should start at the north eastern end in the Buckhurst Farm site. There had been an exhibition of the detailed plan for Buckhurst Farm on 17/18 July.

This topic raised a large amount of discussion. David Nash confirmed that a Strategic Flood Assessment had been carried out to define areas bordering Emm Brook that were unsuitable for development. The meeting debated the likely effects of a change of central government. David Nash gave the opinion that targets might be removed, but that demand probably would stimulate housing development.

Elms Field and the Town Centre

The Wokingham Society had ended its attempt to claim Elms Field as a Town Green on legal advice. Three developers had been selected by Wokingham BC to respond to the Vision document for the town centre.

Langborough Recreation Ground

The play equipment in Langborough Recreation Ground might be renewed in the 2009-2010 fiscal period, but funds were not known to be allocated.

The rough area of ground by the changing rooms had been improved. Offers of ongoing maintenance from both Southfield School and the Probation Service had been withdrawn, for different reasons. The Town Council would have to fund contractor effort from its limited funds.

Traffic and Parking

The possibility of resident parking permits in Langborough Road, instigated by Robin Cops in 2008, had been held up because of the general discussion of various parking strategies for the town. Chris Singleton gave an account of the debate at the Borough Council meeting. Speeding in Langborough Road was raised as an issue. David Nash advised that no action was likely unless accidents occurred.

Treasurer’s Report

Andrew Pearce reported on the Accounts during the period 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009. The balance of funds was now £574.97. The acceptance of the Treasurer’s Report was proposed by Carol Newman, seconded by Barbara Young and passed unanimously. The meeting agreed with the Treasurer’s recommendation that subscriptions be waived again until such time as it was necessary to raise funds.

Election of Committee and Officers

All existing committee members and officers had resigned as of the AGM date. David Nash praised the contribution of Nicola Thompson, who would not be offering herself for re-election. All other Committee Members and Officers had offered themselves for re-election. David Nash gave notice that he would not stand as Chairman at the 2010 AGM.

Philip Robinson offered himself for election to the Committee. He was proposed by Gwyneth Garrod and seconded by David Nash. All offering themselves were re-elected en bloc, proposed by David Garrod and seconded by Jerry McCarthy.

Any Other Business

Refuse Collection

Terry O’Donnell raised the issue of rubbish left on the road after refuse collection. David Nash reported that he had written to Wokingham BC on this matter before, suggesting that this should be an element of Service Level Agreement performance.

ACTION: David Nash would again write asking for this improvement. An email has been sent to Mark Moon, senior manager at Wokingham BC responsible for refuse collection services.

Parking access to the rear of 36 Langborough Road

Andrew Pearce pointed out that there was space behind this currently unoccupied commercial property. There had been threats of multiple properties on the site in the past.

ACTION: David Nash would ask Robin Cops to investigate its temporary use..

The chairman closed the meeting at around 9 p.m.

LIST OF MEMBERS ATTENDING:

  • Daphne Burlton - Southlands Close
  • Mel Burlton - Southlands Close
  • Keith Crump - Gipsy Lane
  • David Davies - Langborough Road
  • David Garrod - Gipsy Lane
  • Gwyneth Garrod - Gipsy Lane
  • John Guice - Crescent Road
  • Shirley Guice - Crescent Road
  • Anne Harrison - Murdoch Road
  • Emma Jenkins - Langborough Road
  • Philip Lawman - Gipsy Lane
  • Jerry McCarthy - Gipsy Lane
  • Bill McIntyre - Gipsy Lane
  • David Nash - Gipsy Lane, Chairman
  • Carol Newman - Gipsy Lane
  • Terry O’Donnell - Gipsy Lane, Committee Member
  • Richard Pavitt - Southlands Road
  • Andrew Pearce - Langborough Road, Treasurer
  • Philip Robinson - Murdoch Road, Committee Member **
  • Valerie Robinson - Murdoch Road
  • Chris Singleton - Crescent Road (Town Councillor, Wescott)
  • David Taylor - Gipsy Lane
  • Adrian Williams - Gipsy Lane
  • Melanie Williams - Gipsy Lane
  • Dyce Willoughby - Gipsy Lane
  • Charlotte Willoughby - Gipsy Lane
  • Nicky Wootton - Langborough Road
  • Barbara Young - Howard Road

** ELECTED TO THE COMMITTEE AT THE 2009 AGM

Email about refuse collection

Subject: Refuse Collection Issue

From: David Nash

Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2009 12:07:34 +0100

To: mark.moon@wokingham.gov.uk

Mark:

I believe that you are the senior manager of Wokingham BC who is responsible for Refuse Collection Services.

At an Annual General Meeting of our RA last week, the issue was raised of refuse deposits frequently left on the streets following a collection.

I offered to raise this issue with the Borough Council.

Therefore, I have the following questions: -

Is the performance level on cleanliness of roads following a refuse collection a feature of your Service Level Agreement with SETA?

If it is, what measures to monitor performance are in place?

If not, when does the SLA come up for renewal? Furthermore, would you consider making this performance parameter part of the SLA, with financial consequences for under performance?

Looking forward to hearing from you on this matter.

David Nash

Chairman, Great Langborough Residents' Association

And the response:

Further to your email to Mark Moon dated, 26th July, we asked the appropriate officers in the waste team to prepare a response.

We do not have a day to day monitoring system in place for the work of the contractor but do follow up and respond to reports of rubbish left behind following the collection being done.

The contractor is expected to pick up any rubbish they drop and provided it is their fault, we will ask them to return and clear it up. However, we need to bear in mind it is often very difficult to prove who is at fault, as often the rubbish is left out, inappropriately, over night and animals and birds etc get to it. It is then assumed the contractor was at fault when they weren't.

We do continuously raise the need for diligence in cleaning up any mess the contractor makes at our contract meetings and when incidents arise.

The contract comes up for renewal in 2012 and the matters you raise will be considered as part of the re-contracting process.

It should also be noted that under the measurement of achievement of National Indicator 195, which relates to the cleanliness of roads the inspection is not able to take place after a refuse collection has taken place. This is because there may be a lower level of cleanliness arising from refuse not having been contained properly when put out for collection by residents.

I trust this answers your queries.

Joan Grady (Corporate Support Manager), Wokingham Borough Council


2008 AGM Minutes

GREAT LANGBOROUGH RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION

15th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

23 June 2008

7:30 p.m.

Wokingham Town Hall

MINUTES

** NOTE: attendance addresses removed **

ATTENDANCE:

25 members were at the meeting. A list of members attending is attached at the end of these minutes. Apologies for absence were received from Heather Boyed, Dr and Mrs Garrod, Sally Pearce and Elizabeth Ramsay.

WELCOME

The Association was inaugurated at a meeting on 3 March 1992.

David Nash referred attendees to copies of the Agenda, which reminded members of the aims of the Association, as set out in its Constitution:

  • To be a voice on behalf of the local population on local issues.
  • To offer an open forum on a regular basis for local residents to air their concerns about the area.
  • To collect and publicise information for the benefit of local residents and appropriate governing bodies.
  • To make representation to appropriate bodies where necessary.
  • To assist in ensuring that residents’ rights are safeguarded.
  • The Association shall not be party political.

AGENDA:

  1. Minutes of 2007 AGM and matters arising
  2. Chairman's Report
  3. Treasurer's Report
  4. Election of Committee and Officers
  5. Any Other Business

Note: GLRA has been used in these minutes as an abbreviation for Great Langborough Residents’ Association.

David Nash welcomed the attendees at the meeting, advised on fire alarm procedure and introduced the members of the Committee. He thanked the Committee for their support during the past year.

Minutes of 2007 AGM

David Nash referred the attending Members to the distributed copies of the minutes of the 2007 AGM. He suggested that the meeting should continue while members read them. Items arising could then be covered later.

Later in the meeting, Julian Salomon asked what had happened regarding rubbish left on the road by refuse collectors. David Nash replied that he had received no reply to his email to WBC, which was written last year.

Acceptance of the minutes was subsequently proposed by Julian Salomon, seconded by Marcelle Williams and passed unanimously.

Chairman’s Report

David Nash began his report by remarking that the last year had seen a lower level of activity, mainly because the strategic plan cycle of Wokingham Borough Council (referred to later as WBC) had been halted temporarily. This was to review the issues raised by the Inspector’s report on the Southeast England plan. The Secretary of State had yet to respond to the Inspector’s report, but planned to do so by the parliamentary summer recess in July.

Wokingham Borough Plan

The major effect of the Inspector’s report had been to raise the housing development target for Wokingham to over 600 houses per year average for the next 20 years.

The main feature of the WBC housing strategy was the creation of four new Strategic Development locations. Two of these were to be around the boundaries of Wokingham town – the Northern SDL with around 1,500 houses and the Southern SDL with around 2,500 houses. The others were at Arborfield with 3,400 and South of the M4 (Shinfield, Three Mile Cross, etc.) with 2,500.

The Southern SDL included Woodcray Manor and a very large area south of the Waterloo railway line to the road to Ludgrove School. It would extend from the Guildford line over Easthampstead Road to include land stretching to the Bracknell boundary and to the north of the railway to London Road and up to Coppid Green. It would include the land owned by the pheasant farming business and the equestrian centre at Chapel Green.

David Nash distributed copies of the map covering the Southern SDL. He planned to attend the WBC Executive meeting on 26 June, when the Core Strategy was on the agenda. He had submitted a question about an alternative large site that might take the pressure off Wokingham.

Potential objections to the Southern SDL could include the problems associated with the extra traffic generated and the existence of a flood plain around Emm Brook. The public consultation period would run from 20th August to 1st October.

Barbara Young said that there had been an attempt to make Chapel Green a conservation area. (Possibly this was based on the presence of Lucas Hospital as an important Grade 1 listed building.)

Carol Newman pointed out that John Redwood had been active in supporting the victims of the 2007 flooding in Wokingham. He might support an objection to the Southern SDL as it lies on a flood plain.

Robin Cops advised that successful objections need to offer alternative plans. David Nash responded that there was a known interest from some landowners south of the M4 but west of the A33 in making a proposal that could accommodate a large number of dwellings. Terry O’Donnell mentioned that The Wokingham Society was aware of such plans and supported them. (Note: this site, reference 2SH154 in the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment, is estimated to have a capacity of over 8,000 dwellings.)

The slower economy may make developers less keen to build. There was also the issue that WBC had identified a need for an £800 million investment in infrastructure and facilities to support the SDL population. This would have to come primarily from developers.

Linda Barnes confirmed the numbers of houses in the SDLs as above. She said that there was an opinion in WBC that major developments should occur around the “central hub” of Wokingham Town, so that new dwellings could be near existing facilities. There was also a perceived need to take pressure off in filling as a way of meeting targets. David Nash pointed out that in fill was still a featured contributor in meeting the overall WBC targets.

David Nash mentioned that WBC had not satisfied him that the “Southern Relief Road”, which was envisaged as the feeder road in the Southern SDL, would solve any traffic problems in the town centre. It had the major problem that it ended in a junction with Finchampstead Road – most probably at the existing Tesco roundabout.

Tim Chinchen asked whether there was any link with Airtrack and a proposed railway station at Amen Corner. (Note: the Core Strategy document has been checked & has no mention of this – David Nash)

David Nash mentioned that WBC thought that enhancement of the retail activities in Rances Lane might support the Southern SDL. (Quote from the Core Strategy document: “In order to ensure the sustainability of development at south Wokingham, it will be necessary to ensure adequate provision of facilities including retail. This could be achieved by upgrading the existing shopping parade at Rances Lane to the standard of a local centre.”)

ACTION: The meeting gave unanimous support for an objection to be raised by David Nash to the Southern SDL. There could also be a repeat of the effort in 2006 that generated 2,600 letters from households in Wokingham.

Elms Field and the Town Centre

Wokingham Borough Council had invited developers to submit proposals for the “Southern Gateway” on Elms Field. A major incentive was to get developers to contribute to a replacement for Wellington House. Robin Cops challenged the WBC perception that it needed to be replaced. It could be refurbished at much lower cost. David Nash said that WBC regarded Elms Field as a high prestige project. It might take the focus off the lack of progress on the Rose Street development.

Pat Smith had attended a community workshop on Elms Field alternatives and reported that even the most attractive proposals left very little green open space.

Angus Lyon complained about the fact that empty retail sites gave a strong impression that the town centre was dying. David Nash mentioned that the current developer appeared to have experienced difficulties in attracting sufficient investment. Angus Lyon asked what could be done to push for more rapid progress on the town centre development.

ACTION: David Nash offered to write to the WBC Leader. There was unanimous support for such an action.

(Note: there was a public meeting on Saturday 28 June, which was attended by Pat Smith. Although detailed feedback is not yet available, the following extract from a WBC press release is encouraging: -

“Wokingham Borough Council is committed to seeing improvements made to Wokingham town centre to improve its vitality and viability and will do everything within its power to see these happen to ensure Wokingham residents use and enjoy the town.

Developer Rock Investment Group plc - as they are now known - has been trying to bring about the development for the best part of a decade. The council agreed back in 2002 to sell them Rose Street car park to assist this development. Despite having six years to complete the sale of the car park, Rock has failed to do so. … on June 26, council officers were given the go ahead to take back control of Rose Street car park by the council’s decision-making executive.

The council is looking at the redevelopment options in relation to the whole of the town, including the possibility of talking to other developers. …. On June 27 - the council is setting the wheels in motion by announcing its intention to publish a notice in the Official Journal of the European Union - OJEU - to invite expressions of interest to work jointly with the council to regenerate Wokingham town centre, not just Peach Place. This notice would allow the council to have a direct interest in the development.”

Langborough Recreation Ground

Recently, the Town Council was due to carry out its annual inspection. It was abandoned for lack of a quorum. On behalf of the Town Council, Linda Barnes confirmed that the play equipment in Langborough Recreation Ground might be renewed in the 2009-2010 fiscal period.

The rough area of ground by the changing rooms had been further discussed. The headmaster of Southfield School had agreed with the Town Council an outline plan for the school to adopt the management of the land as a community project. The initial groundwork would need to be undertaken by contractors. Apparently, there was a hold up in the availability of funds from WBC to the Town Council to allow this. Linda Barnes offered to investigate the position to see if the work might be brought forward.

Robin Cops suggested that labour might be forthcoming from the Probation Service. A further suggestion was that sponsorship might be sought from a garden centre in the area. Linda Barnes noted these suggestions.

Traffic and Parking

Robin Cops reported on a study that he had completed on the possibility of resident parking permits in Langborough Road.

There were 62 properties, of which 54 had given their views. 44% of properties had no off street parking. The road might accommodate 17 parking slots. There were 27 properties to contend for these slots.

Issues included: -

  • Difficulty of providing for visitor parking
  • Resident slots might remain empty during the working day
  • Difficulty accommodating two cars per household
  • Enforcement unlikely unless parking became decriminalised in Wokingham. This would mean that WBC would be responsible for enforcement – Thames Valley Police were not resourced to cover this.
  • Cost of parking permits – likely to rise above the level of others already established.

(Note: the WBC Executive agreed on 26 June to raise the price of resident parking across the Borough to £30 per year.)

Several residents raised the potential issue of cars that would have been parked in Langborough Road now being diverted to Gipsy Lane. It was suggested that the resident parking scheme might be extended to cover Gipsy Lane.

Robin Cops noted these concerns for further discussion with WBC.

Treasurer’s Report

Una Markham reported on the Accounts during the period 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008. Copies of the accounts had been distributed to the meeting. The Association had spent nil during the year. The balance of funds was now £649.43.

The acceptance of the Treasurer’s Report was proposed by Marcelle Williams, seconded by Terry O’Donnell and passed unanimously.

The Treasurer recommended to the meeting that subscriptions be waived again until such time as it was necessary to raise funds.

Election of Committee and Officers

All existing committee members and officers had resigned as of the AGM date. David Nash informed the meeting that Una Markham would not be offering herself for re-election, because she was moving out of the area. He thanked her for her valuable contribution to the Association as a Committee member for over 10 years. All other Committee Members and Officers had offered themselves for re-election.

Andrew Pearce offered himself for election to the Committee. (After the meeting, Andrew volunteered to become Treasurer and was appointed by the Committee.)

All offering themselves for election were re-elected en bloc, proposed by Liz Manley and seconded by Stanley Harris.

After the meeting, Sally Pearce of Langborough Road was co-opted to the Committee.

Any Other Business

New Property in Gipsy Lane behind Langborough Road.

Nicola Thompson reported that a large fence had been built – apparently without planning permission. David Nash thought that this was temporary - to protect the site during excavation.

Fence erected in the narrow part of Gipsy Lane on the boundary of the derelict site at the end of South Drive

David Nash informed the meeting that he believed that the large site of over 2 acres had been purchased to erect a single dwelling. Residents of South Drive were reported to be relieved. There had been threats of multiple properties on the site in the past.

New houses being erected

Terry O’Donnell expressed the view that new houses in the area seemed to be out of character with existing nearby properties. David Nash advised the residents to become involved in commenting on all new plans at the application stage. If there was any evidence of the building being different to the design of applications that had been passed, this should be presented to WBC.


The chairman closed the meeting at 21:10.

LIST OF MEMBERS ATTENDING:

A Barclay Langborough Road

Linda Barnes Erica Drive

Tim Chinchen Gipsy Lane

Frank Clisby Gipsy Lane

Mildred Clisby Gipsy Lane

Jane Cops Langborough Road

Robin Cops Langborough Road Committee Member

Liz Harris Gipsy Lane

Stanley Harris Gipsy Lane

Angus Lyon Howard Road

Pat McIntyre Gipsy Lane

Liz Manley Langborough Road

Una Markham Howard Road Treasurer (retiring)

Byron Mawdsley Langborough Road

David Nash Gipsy Lane Chairman

Carol Newman Gipsy Lane

Terry O’Donnell Gipsy Lane Committee Member

Andrew Pearce Langborough Road Treasurer **

Elizabeth Pike Langborough Road

D Richardson Langborough Road

Julian Salomon Crescent Road Committee Member

Pat Smith Sturges Road Secretary

Nicola Thompson Langborough Road Committee Member

Marcelle Williams Gipsy Lane

Barbara Young Howard Road

** ELECTED TO THE COMMITTEE AT THE 2008 AGM AND APPOINTED AS TREASURER AFTERWARDS.

READ AND PASSED AT THE 2009 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

David Nash, Chairman