Thinking of getting an electric car?

Go Electric Reading is a Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) funded project run by Reading Borough Council to look at providing electric car charging for people who have to park their car on the street.

The initiative will install the chargers using the existing electrical supply to street furniture, such as lamp posts, allowing residents to charge their vehicles on street and outside their own homes.

The first stage of the council initiative is to identify residents without off-street parking who may be able to benefit from the scheme. This could benefit residents in the Bell Tower area – so if you have an electric vehicle or are thinking of getting one now is the time to tell the council.

The council has opened a survey to gauge demand – if you are interested please visit www.reading.gov.uk/goelectric for more details. The survey is open until 14 December.

Drews Ironmongers to close

Drews The Ironmongers in Caversham Road is set to cease trading at the end of this year. The Bell Tower Community Association will be sad to see them close as they have been very supportive of the association, including being a regular advertiser in our newsletter for several years and offering discounts to members.

Chris Drew from the family-run business said the decision was made with ‘great regret’ after years of loss making.

He told the Reading Chronicle: “After an extensive review of possible options for the company, the directors have proposed closing the business and disposing of the site for development.

“Drews has been in business in Reading for 87 years and has gained a first-class reputation for quality and service.

“We are working with our suppliers to ensure that we can continue to supply special orders as we always have done.”

The closure will result in the loss of 26 jobs. A stock clearance sale has already started, with 25 per cent off goods across the store.

Crowne Plaza proposes budget hotel next door

Reading Borough Council has received an application which could see a 132-room budget hotel built near the River Thames, in the car park of the Crowne Plaza.

It would be a five-storey building with a reception area, a café/restaurant, meeting rooms and a small gym on the ground floor.

If permitted, the development would see a reduction in the hotel’s existing 200 space car park to 119 spaces. The developer also states it will provide 33 new trees in the plan – a net gain of 17, and claims that there is a relatively low risk of flooding on the site.

Reading Borough Council is holding a consultation into the plans, which can be viewed and commented on at planning.reading.gov.uk/fastweb_PL/detail.asp?AltRef=181056.

Since this was published the planning application has been withdrawn.

Have your say: proposed flood defences for the Thames

Floods have been close to our area a few times in recent years, most notably in 2014 and 2003 when the Thames path was under water for a time and homes in low lying areas of Caversham were in danger of flooding.

The Environment Agency is investigating how to reduce flooding from the River Thames in north Reading and Lower Caversham. A number of options have been identified, all of which need further investigation to decide which, if any, could be taken forward. One of these options includes extra flood defences on the south bank of the Thames that might reduce flooding in our area.

The Environment Agency would like to hear your views on the options they have been investigating as well as general feedback to help make sure they have considered all possible options before developing a design.

Full details and the online consultation are at https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/thames/reading-and-caversham-flood-reduction-options/. The deadline for responses is Thursday 26 July 2018.

Traffic committee supports road closures

Reading Borough Council’s traffic committee has voted to support the closure of Milford and Meadow Roads to through traffic near the junction of the two roads. The council’s informal consultation yielded 74 forms from residents in favour of closure, with 20 against.

The closure would stop through traffic between the area and the industrial estate. The Bell Tower Community Association has been working with the council for some years on this and supports the closure, which would stop rat-running through the area. Drivers are more likely to use the area as a short cut when the Cow Lane bridges are fully open in early 2019 so we are hoping to prevent this.

The proposal to close the roads will now go through the formal consultation process. At this stage no decision has been made on whether the width restrictions in the area will be kept or not.

Fun for all: Newport Road street party 2018

Saturday 16 June 2018 – another great street party! We were worried about the weather this year so the gazebos were out, but fortunately it stayed dry, if a bit cool and breezy. Splat the Rat was back, along with Readipop’s drumming workshop. We had live entertainment from the New Hope Gospel Choir and a reformed version of the Bell Tower Shower with some rock covers. New for this year was a Reformer Pilates demonstration from Refresh Health in Caversham Road, who brought one of their machines for us to try, and the fire brigade came along with one of their engines for the children to take a look at (and climb over, of course!) This year’s quiz was set by David and hosted by Jonathan again and featured local knowledge, with prizes provided by the Standard Tandoori. Many thanks to everyone who helped and the residents of Newport Road for hosting. And special thanks to everyone at New Hope for organising the children’s activities, and to the Moderation for the delicious free barbecue food.

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