Christmas Newsletter 2021

  website:-acerwhitegates.org.uk

SEASONS GREETINGS TO ALL OUR READERS         

We hope you all enjoy the company of family and friends in this season of Goodwill

New Committee for the New Year.  At the recent much delayed AGM your new Committee was elected who are very keen on listening to the views of residents on all aspects of living in Whitegates and helping with your concerns, including dealing with local authorities. Your new committee members are listed at the end of the Newsletter together with your Councillors and their contacts

Issues raised by Residents at the Social Evening /AGM

At the lively ACER Social Evening held at Earley Home Guard and Social Club, residents were able to ask Councillors and the ACER committee directly about issues that most concerned them. A variety of issues were raised including the need for a clear definition of the area covered by ACER, with a map on the website and newsletter. The poor condition of the local bus shelters was also mentioned and it was noted that we were still awaiting replacement of the bus shelter on the northern end of Church Road. ETC councillors assured ACER that this was on their ‘to do’ list. A resident commented on the fact that small buildings in back gardens were considered to be ‘permitted development’ by WBC, despite the fact that the gardens on the south side of Pitts Lane were in the Site of Urban Landscape Value. ACER is aware of these concerns and is seeking to strengthen the protection of the open area between Woodley and Earley through the work of FoBOS (Friends of Bulmershe Open Space). The issues causing most concern, however, were those of speeding on local roads and inconsiderate parking. Specific mention was made of speeds in excess of 30 mph on Church Rd, Pitts Lane, Milton Rd and Erleigh Court Gardens and residents commented on the impact of more households parking business vehicles on the road due to lack of space in their drives. Speeding, together with parking near to junctions , driveways, and on double yellow lines made it difficult for many residents to exit their drives or’ T’ junctions safely or for pedestrians to cross the road. Particular mention was made of the difficulty in crossing the Culver Lane end of Church Road for both school children and residents wishing to use the bus stop.

Inaugural Committee Meeting

At the inaugural meeting of the newly elected Committee, it was agreed to focus on issues concerning residents that were raised at the AGM and to conduct a survey, with the aim of ensuring that ACER took up issues concerning the majority of residents in all sections of the community. Please note that any Member or Councillor is welcome to attend any of the monthly committee meetings.

Contact chair@acerwhitegates.org.uk if you wish to attend a committee meeting or raise a concern.

Speeding and Speedwatch

The ACER committee decided to initiate an independent Whitegates Speedwatch group open to any resident of Whitegates who wishes to participate.  ACER is using its contacts to get the group set up, after which it will act independently.  Training has been made available on-line under the authority of the Thames Valley Police Commissioners office.  Organised groups of volunteers are able to borrow and operate Police owned Speedwatch equipment.  Evidence of speeding is uploaded onto the central Thames Valley Police computer system, and the Police will take appropriate action using the recorded evidence. Officially recorded evidence is essential to prove the need for speed calming measures and thereby reduce the risk of more accidents.  It is hoped to enrol a large pool of Speedwatch volunteers.  In the first instance please contact chair@acerwhitegates.org.uk if you are interested.

Tidy Up and Bulb Planting: Thanks to all the local residents who joined ACER committee members and Cllr Shirley Boyt, leaves were swept, brambles and overhanging trees cut back and litter picked on Saturday, 13th November.  ACER has also organsised the planting of over 200 bulbs on a number of grass verges and in Bulmershe Park.

Yellow Lines: The recent painting of double yellow lines and immediate ticketing of pre-parked cars caused consternation due to the lack of warning.  In addition, lines extending further than the ten metre no-parking zone specified in the Highway Code, now stops guests parking outside the front of corner properties.  A new TRO (Traffic Regulation Order) concerning yellow lines has been prepared and will be out for consultation shortly.  This offers the opportunity of adding double yellow lines at other restricted-visibility junctions plus amending the existing schemes.  If you have any suggestions, please contact ACER, who have put together a draft document(see our website), which includes provision for short-term parking outside the corner shop at the Palmerstone Road/Culver Lane junction, to discourage customers from parking on the double yellow lines at the corner.

Parking: Restricting parking with double yellow lines puts more parking pressure on the rest of the road network. Re-located parked vehicles, including large vans and mini-buses are restricting visibility.  The situation is not helped by increased car ownership in houses, particularly rented Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO); for which WBC have no ‘Parking Standard’, and therefore apply ‘ residential standards’, typically 2 parking spaces, regardless of car ownership at a property.   ACER is pressing for more realistic revised Parking Standards (see our website), to be adopted when the enabling policies are drawn up for the new Local Plan which is currently under consultation. Parking on pavements and grass verges has increased, is technically an obstruction and risks enforcement action. Vehicles blocking visibility when trying to exit driveways are technically an ‘obstruction’ and can be reported to 111.

Bus Service Improvement Plan: A new draft plan has been issued by WBC following a series of consultations including inputs from ACER and our adjoining Residents Association in Maiden Erleigh, with whom we have been working.  Final details are yet to be determined.  The Plan can be seen on the WBC website. ACER will review and monitor progress.

Earley Town Council -Green Events: During September and October, ETC organised a series of activities and events with an environmental theme.  ETC are in the process of developing a Climate Emergency Plan and a Green Infrastructure Plan. ACER were able to join with other resident’s groups to provide feedback on these plans, both of which will be reviewed in the spring.

Friends of Bulmershe Open Space (FoBOS): Following an initiative by ACER members, a Friends Of Bulmershe Open Space (FoBOS) group has formed to press for action to protect and enhance the landscape of our green open spaces at Bulmershe Field and Bulmershe Park. Members of the group include several Town and Borough Councillors.  Action has been taken to support the status of ,Village Green, Status for the park, plus discussions with the Borough Council  to secure appropriate tree planting and biodiversity, consistent with the essential function of both ‘Green Space’ and for informal recreation.

WANE (Woodley and North Earley Community Forum – organizer Cllr Marion Shaw)

WANE is a forum whose remit is to work with the police to identify and address issues in the area. Issues such as speeding, parking on pavements, E scooters, cyclists without lights, drug dealing and burglaries can be discussed with Police representatives.  The next meeting is on Tuesday September 28th at 7pm in the Oakwood Centre.

£2 Annual Subscriptions: There are a number of ways you can pay – cash via your street rep, contacting ACER and asking for someone to visit to collect, putting the money in an envelope with your NAME AND ADDRESS and dropping it at 21 Milton Road, or by PayPal – https://paypal.me/ACERWhitegates.  Please ensure your ADDRESS is in the PayPal additional info box!

ACER CONTACTS email: chair@acerwhitegates.org.uk   Committee: Tim Marsh (vice-chair / acting chair), Siôn Williams (Treasurer), Mary Bather, Naomi Cambridge, Jenny Carr, Graham May, Jenny Lissaman.

Local Wokingham Borough Councillors:   Shirley Boyt  Shirley.boyt@wokingham.gov.uk Carl Doran carl.doran@wokingham.gov.uk;       Shahid Younis  shahid.younis@wokingham.gov.uk;   

Local Earley Town Councillors:  Gurdeep Bhangra  gurdeep.bhangra@earley-tc.gov.uk; Sheena Matthews sheena.matthews@earley-tc.gov.uk  07766 424098,  Marion Shaw marion.shaw@earley-tc.gov.uk;  

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