School proposal for Richfield Avenue

Reading Borough Council has proposed Richfield Avenue as the preferred location for a new secondary school in Reading, with the proposal set to be considered at a meeting of the Council’s Policy Committee on 11 June.

The council has been considering possible locations for a new 6-form entry secondary school needed to cope with the growth in demand for school places in the town. Current estimates are that by 2025/26 an additional 1,000 new secondary school places will be needed in Reading.

Following the exercise, land at Richfield Avenue – west of Rivermead Leisure Centre and bordering Thameside Promenade – has been chosen as the preferred site for the new 900-place free school. If this goes ahead it would open in September 2021.

The site comprises a former golf driving range and open land bordering Richfield Avenue. The land had previously been earmarked for a new outdoor activity and education centre, including a high ropes facility. This will now not go forward.

A school in Richfield Avenue would mean that proposals for a traveller site on nearby land next to Cow Lane will not go ahead.

Cox & Wyman development plans approved

The proposal to demolish the former Cox & Wyman works and build a new housing estate on the corner of Cardiff Road and Addison Road was approved by the council’s planning applications committee on 30 May.

The Bell Tower Community Association has broadly supported the application, with some suggestions for improvements relating to access and design. In particular, the association would have preferred access via Meadow Road rather than Addison Road, but it was explained that this would not be feasible with a large industrial unit opposite the development.

At this stage the timetable for the development is not known, but demolition of the old printing works is unlikely to start before the autumn because of the presence of nesting swifts on the site.

Priory Avenue Surgery to close in June

NHS Berkshire West has just announced the closure of Priory Avenue Surgery in Caversham, which is the nearest surgery to much of our area, on 30 June 2018.

Patients living in the RG4 postcode area will be able to transfer directly to surgeries at Balmore Park or Emmer Green, but those of us that live south of the river are ‘out on our own’ and are going to have to find another surgery for ourselves. Patients are advised to register with a new GP practice by 13 June, after which one will automatically be allocated if no registration has been made.

If you are currently registered at Priory Avenue Surgery you will receive a letter explaining the options, with a list of surgeries that are accepting registrations. The list can be downloaded directly from http://healthwatchreading.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Southcomparisontable.pdf

Consultation on closing Meadow and Milford Roads

Reading Borough Council has launched an informal consultation on closure of Milford and Meadow Roads to through traffic near the junction of the two roads.

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.

Residents have been sent consultation letters with response forms that can be returned to the councillors via free post. Alternatively, if you have any comments or questions you can email our councillors directly. The deadline for responses is Friday 1 June:

Tony Page: tony.page@reading.gov.uk

Mohammed Ayub: mohammed.ayub@reading.gov.uk

Karen Rowland: karen.rowland@reading.gov.uk

Six month delay for Cow Lane works

Improvements to the road under under the railway line at Cow Lane have been delayed by six months.

Cow Lane bridge was demolished last year – as part of the £850m Reading station development scheme scheme – to make way for a two-lane traffic system. However, Network Rail said that due to “unforeseen issues” completion will be delayed until early 2019.

The scheme was due to be completed before Reading Festival in August.

The delay means that the road will remain the same for a further six months. The council has announced that the current northbound-only one-way system will end in July and that the previous two-way traffic light system will be put back in place, presumably until the works are completed.

In the meantime, the junction of Cow Lane and Cardiff Road is closed for six weeks until the end of June – the bollards in Cardiff Road have temporarily been removed and the alternative route via Milford Road, meaning a lot more traffic for some Cardiff Road residents.

Show us your blooms!

Our gardening competition is back! This is an opportunity to beautify your home and possibly win a cash prize – all you need to do is cultivate your front garden and let us know.

Tell us about your window box or hanging basket – there is a chance to win prizes of £50 (first prize), £30 (second) and £20 (third).

To give us all a chance, local gardener Bob Murrant, whose legendary front garden in Cardiff Road has won several awards, has kindly agreed to be one of the judges.

If you wish to enter please let Barbara at 77 Addison Road know. The closing date for entries is 30 June, and judging will take place in July.

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