Power plant planned for Cardiff Road

A planning application has been submitted for a gas-fired micro power station in Cardiff Road, near the Cow Lane end. The proposal is for two generators housed in containers similar to those in the photo.

The Bell Tower Community Association has concerns about the potential for additional noise and pollution from the plant. The air quality report shows a measurable increase in NO2 levels over an area extending as far as Caversham Road, and this part of Reading is already a designated Air Quality Management area because of its high levels of pollution. We are also not sure about noise levels for residents of Cardiff Road, some of whom are less than 300 metres from the site.

We recommend looking at the planning application on the council’s website and giving your views using the online feedback form. You can find details and give feedback at planning.reading.gov.uk/fastweb_PL/detail.asp?AltRef=182242.

Date set for lamp post refurbishments

We have now got a confirmed schedule for refurbishment of the Victorian cast iron lamp posts in Addison Road. This will start on Monday 25 February working from the Cardiff Road end northwards.

The work will be carried out by SSE, and will involve installing a small bollard near the lamp post, typically just across the pavement, replacing the swan neck and fitting a new LED lantern similar to the ones recently installed on new lamp posts. The contractors expect to be able to refurbish two lamp posts per day, so should finish the job the same week.

Although some lamp posts have recently been replaced in the area, we have been assured that all our remaining cast iron lamp posts will be kept unless they are found to be unsafe.

We don’t yet have a date for the remaining cast iron lamp posts in York Road, Newport Road and Barry Place, but would expect these to be completed in the next 2-3 months. There will be a separate programme to paint the lamp posts, which is expected to start in the spring.

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.

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