Newsletter – Autumn 2020

EARLY MORNING THEFTS,   DRUG DEALERS MOVED ON,   PARKING ON PAVEMENTS CONSULTATION.  HOW NEW PLANNING RULES MAY AFFECT WHITEGATES… MEETING WITH MATT RODDA M.P.

COLD CALLING…. MEMBERSHIP SUBSCRIPTION PAYMENTS

Hello everyone.  ACER has continued to work on your behalf throughout this difficult time and has participated pro-actively in on-line meetings using ZOOM, TEAMS and SKYPE.  ACER Committee meetings have also moved on -line to regular monthly ZOOM meetings on the first Thursday every month, which will allow our members and local councillors to join in by invitation.  If you have an issue you want raised, contact chair@acerwhitegates.org.uk and we would be pleased to hear from you.

Early Morning Thefts

A thief is operating in the Whitegates area.   The thief has been seen very early in the morning around 5.30 am trying all the car doors in driveways and on the street, including Milton Road and Byron road. Unfortunately, one of our members had left their car unlocked and a number of items were taken. Make sure you always lock your car when it is unattended in the road or driveway  Sign up to Thames Valley Police alert messages alert@neighbourhoodalert.co.uk for the latest warnings on current criminal activity.

Drug Dealers Moved On

Drug dealers operating on Hilltop and in Chiltern Crescent have been moved on due to the diligence of residents reporting to the police. It is quite likely that they will pop up elsewhere. As before, the number to call is 999 if a crime is in progress, otherwise 101.   In all cases the police require as much information as possible including make and colour of car, clothing etc..

Parking on Pavements

You may be aware that cars are now banned from parking on pavements in London, and the Government are considering expanding the scheme nationally.  A paper ‘Managing Pavement Parking’ is out for consultation.  There are several ideas in the paper and it is interesting to note that grass verges could be incorporated into any future legislation. ACER will be responding to the paper. In Japan you are not allowed to own a car unless you have somewhere off the road to park.  When it became known that the tough Philippine President was in favour of the same policy, streets in Manila became clear of parked vehicles within a few weeks without waiting for legislation!

How New Planning Rules may affect Whitegates

The Government has decided to tear up the existing planning system in England and start again.  They have produced a White Paper for consultation titled ‘Planning For The Future’ which has very good aims of making the planning process clearer and quicker, however some of the proposed policies to achieve these aims risk making the situation worse for existing built up areas like Whitegates, due to their policy of ‘gentle densification’, which  means cramming more accommodation into established suburban areas. This cramming process, which we are already witnessing in Whitegates, often has adverse affects on neighbours, the appearance of properties, and parking.  ACER has responded in detail to the White Paper, and our full response plus the Government White Paper can be seen on our website

The Government has also relaxed Permitted Development rules, to allow two extra storeys to be added to two storey family homes.  This will not apply to rented houses and is only allowed if the house was built after 1948, so although many streets in Whitegates will not be affected, several streets are at risk. 

Meeting with Matt Rodda MP

ACER was so concerned about the impact on Government Planning policies in Whitegates we advised the Reading East MP, Matt Rodda, of our views.  Matt Rodda e-mailed back the same day saying he would like to meet ACER to discuss the issues and an initial meeting took place on 24th October. ACER was able to explain our concerns and show how some Planning policies had adversely affected Whitegates. A follow-up virtual (Zoom) meeting is being scheduled to agree the way forward.

Town Lane Path Clearance

ACER volunteers joined the path clearance of Town Lane organized by our locally elected Councilors. This former road leads to allotments and Woodley alongside Bulmershe open space and had become weed infested and overgrown.  The idea was to make it a safer pedestrian route less prone to icing over during the winter.

Cold Calling

Unwanted cold callers looking to sell anything from double glazing, building and gardening work, beds or carpets are at best an annoyance but can also be the first step in an attempted crime

No Cold Calling Zones are a partnership between Trading Standards and the Police to help you, as residents, say No to unwanted callers. Each household will be provided with a door sticker and signs will be erected on lamp posts at the entry to the Zone. This is often enough to prevent cold callers but if not Trading Standards can take action against those who ignore the signs and still cold call.

New Zones can be implemented where the majority, over 66%, of residents are in favour. A volunteer is required from each zone to help run a short consultation exercise in conjunction with our local Trading Standards, who will then provide letters, consultation cards and a short guidance sheet on how the consultation works.  If anyone is interested in setting up a No Cold Calling zone contact Trading Standards at tsadvice@westberks.gov.uk or 01635 519930. Please let ACER know your intentions.  See also: https://publicprotectionpartnership.org.uk/trading-standards/no-cold-calling-zones

Pitts Lane Pong

Members reported a sewerage smell in the summer around the junction of Pitts Lane and Hitch Hill Close. ACER is concerned over the smell plus possible environmental damage due to leakage of sewerage into the streams which run underground in that area. Thames Water say the main sewer is OK.  The sewer from the recent Hicks development at Hitch Hill Close has not yet been ‘adopted’ into the public sewerage system.  Wokingham Council have acknowledged and recorded the issue but may require chasing up.

ACER Finance and Membership

Many thanks to everyone who has taken the trouble to pay £2 annual subscription this year.  Unfortunately due to Covid it has not been possible to do doorstep collections this year and as a result we still need more money to cover our running costs. 

We hope the £2 annual subscription per household is seen by you as good value for money. If any resident or former member who have not paid their subscription this year IT IS NOT TOO LATE.

. The more members we have, the more representative and the more effective we can be.

Due to covid, the payment options are:

  • On-line payments are possible. Via Paypal ( www.paypal.com/paypalme/ACERWhitegates/2)
    • Put £2 cash in an envelope.  Mark it ‘ACER’ with your name and address
      • Drop it in the letter box of your local street representative, if you have one (see page bottom)
      • Drop in the letter box at 21 Milton Road

ACER CONTACTSemail: chair@acerwhitegates.org.uk      Committee:Tim Marsh (Vice Chair,  Acting Chair)          Siôn Williams ( Treasurer), Eric Ayers, Mary Bather, Jenny Lissaman, Graham May, Chris Wigmore,

Local Wokingham Borough Councillors:   Andy Croy  andy.croy@wokingham.gov.uk  07793 767314;    Carl Doran carl.doran@wokingham.gov.uk  07811 157287,  Shirley Boyt    shirley.boyt@wokingham.gov.uk  

Local Earley Town Councillors:  Sheena Matthews  sheenamatthews@earley-tc.gov.uk   07766 424098 ,     Gurdeep Bhangra  gurdeepbhangra@earley-tc.gov.uk    Marion Shaw marionshaw@earley-tc.gov.uk.

If you have a local street representative  they are:       _______________________________________      at _________________________________