New ward boundaries proposed

Ward boundaries and councillor allocations are under review in Reading. Since the town’s population has been increasing faster than the national average, it has been proposed that the town will have two extra councillors, bringing the total to 48; to accommodate the new council seats and even out ward populations the ward map will have to be redrawn. Abbey ward, in particular, is projected to grow to over 50% more than Reading’s average ward population by 2025 because of the proliferation of new developments.
Our area could end up in a new Thames ward (unrelated to the existing ward with the same name); most of this ward would be the area between the main railway line and the Thames, with a small part of Lower Caversham and the area around Kenavon Drive. The Bell Tower Community Association is broadly in agreement with the proposal, as it groups together areas of similar character.
The consultation for the proposed boundaries is now open – details of the new boundaries and the opportunity to make comments are at consultation.lgbce.org.uk. The deadline for submissions is 13 April 2020.

First plans for Carters land published

An application has been submitted for terraced housing in Swansea Road and Northfield Road – this would replace the derelict buildings in Northfield Road and the ‘Mast-Co’ building in Swansea Road. The plans feature a ‘coach house’ in Swansea Road with an archway to a private car park at the back.

Our initial impressions are that the developer has made an effort to produce a terrace reasonably in keeping with the existing street scene, and we would therefore be supportive of the plans.

No plans have been submitted yet for the wider Carters site area including the car workshops and the shop, and we will be watching out for more information. More detail will no doubt follow, and we are expecting in particular to resist anything excessively tall.

The application can be viewed at www.planning.reading.gov.uk/fastweb_PL/detail.asp?AltRef=191924

First car charging points for the area

Reading Borough Council has installed fifteen electric vehicle (EV) charging points on lamp posts on public roads in Reading. As part of this scheme two new charging points have been installed on lamp posts in Caversham Road.

The lamp posts were selected after the council’s Go Electric public consultation in 2018, when the council asked EV owners or potential purchasers in Reading if they would like a charging point on their street.

33% of Reading’s households live in properties with no off-street parking and this makes EV overnight charging difficult. The council has successfully bid for an air quality grant from DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) to install charging points on such streets. The lamp post EV chargers use the lamp’s own electrical supply and will cost 30p per kilowatt-hour to use.

There is a longer list of the new EV charging points in Reading online and a map of EV charging points. We expect the new charging points will be added to the map soon.

Cox & Wyman demolition expected to start in November

The film set storage company has now left, and the former Cox & Wyman site is now empty. We have been given an update by a representative of Bellway Homes, who now own the site.

Contractors have been visiting the site in the last few days to do surveys for asbestos – what they find will of course affect the demolition programme.

At the moment we expect demolition to start by the end of November. Access will be via the entrance in Meadow Road until a new roadway can be built off Milford Road – this will probably be in early 2020 as it will require moving a BT fibre optic cable, which will take time to arrange. Demolition is expected to take 12 weeks.

96 units – 48 houses and 48 flats – will be built according to the existing planning permission granted in May 2018. Bellway expects to have the first houses ready for occupation in late 2020, with construction complete by the end of the year.

Newport Road Street Party 2019

Saturday 6 July 2019 – and time for another street party! The weather was perfect this year, and a great time was had as always. We had live entertainment from the New Hope Gospel Choir again and for the young ones dance instructor Jo Wright did one of her Wiggle-Waggle sessions. This year’s quiz was hosted by David and again featured some 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 and Thai food.

Lamp posts upgraded at last!

Addison Road residents will notice a small and long-awaited change. SSE contractors visited today and have started to upgrade the street’s Victorian cast iron lamp posts to take LED lanterns after a long campaign to save them.

As well as a new lantern the lamp posts are being fitted with a new swan neck and a small isolating bollard nearby. We understand that they are due to be repainted soon as well, and the remaining cast iron lamp posts in York Road and Newport Road are due to be refurbished this summer.

All the cast iron lamp posts in Addison Road were made in foundries in Reading, some of which were by the Thames right next to our area. These lamp posts are likely be originals from about 1900 when the street was built – after refurbishment we look forward to seeing them working for many more years to come.

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