Summer Newsletter 2022

website:-acerwhitegates.org.uk

You are invited to a…..FRAUD PREVENTION INFORMATION EVENING

Wednesday, 6th July, 6.45pm for 7pm start, St Peter’s Church Hall, Church Road Earley

Caroline Stevenson, Public Protection Partnership will give a presentation followed by a’ Question and Answer’ session on ‘How to detect and avoid Computer, Telephone and Doorstep scams’

Presentation 7pm – 8pm followed by refreshments until 8.45pm

(Funded by a Grant obtained by ACER from funds generated by sale of convicted criminals’ assets)

WHITEGATES RESIDENTS SURVEY RESULTS

Many thanks to all the residents who took the time to complete the Survey. There is more detail available via our website.  The following is a SUMMARY of some of the key results

  • Speeding: Over 80% were concerned about speeding in local roads and 83% supported Speedwatch Activity. The few that did not support Speedwatch may not have been aware that no one can be prosecuted for speeding using Speedwatch evidence.
  • Traffic Calming: 52% did NOT want traffic calming measures in their road, with 45% in favour.
  • Parking:  62% stated there were parking problems in their road.
  • Pavements and Verges: Just over 50% said they were not happy with the pavements and verges.  Reasons given included lack of repairs and parking on pavements and verges.
  • Greenery in Streets and Trees:  Almost 70% were concerned about the loss of greenery in our streets, and 75% wanting more trees planted.
  • Crime and Vandalism: Although just over half were concerned about security with a third reporting houses broken into in their street, Vandalism was low with 11% reporting vandalism near their home. 64% were interested in joining a Neighbourhood Watch scheme and 54% interested in Police Security advice with 47% already signed up to the free Thames Valley Police Alerts.
  • Litter and Graffiti: 42% reported litter problems but less than 9% suffering graffiti problems.
  • Visual Appearance of Outbuildings: 59% wanted restrictions on the Appearance of outbuildings in order to better fit in with garden vistas, e.g., Log cabins/Home Offices, rather than bungalow style brick buildings.
  • Community Activities: Although 50% wanted more local community activities, there was a huge variety of interests, with not much in common.  Woodley Hill House has rooms to hire if anyone is interested in starting up a group. There is obviously a latent pool of residents interested in doing Something.
  • Residents Association support:   93% thought that a Residents Association was a good idea with 88% stating ACER was doing a good job. There were heartening messages of support as well as some criticism. The Chair would appreciate direct dialogue with those critical of ACER in order that it can improve.

Litter Pickers needed. ACER works with EASI (Earley Adopt a Street Initiative) They have volunteers for all streets except Shepherds House Lane, Erleigh Court Gardens and Church Road (Mays Lane to Eastcourt Avenue). If you think you could find the time please contact Richard Tredgett at easilittergroup@gmail.com

ACER supports the Friends of Bulmershe Open Space (FoBOS): A two-stage strategy for tree planting and biodiversity enhancement within Bulmershe Field/Bulmershe Park has been agreed in principle following a meeting on site with WBC officers and representatives from Earley and Woodley Town Council.. Key features include: boundary planting, reinstatement of tree loss and successional planting adjoining Church Road.
Government proposed Planning Reforms. One of the original proposals was to have a better-defined set of planning rules, as in other countries. Final details (design codes) to be set locally. Following a change of Minister the latest proposal is for residents to hold ‘Street Votes’ on what development should be allowed on their patch. This raises many questions regarding practical and fair implementation. No details have been published yet.

2022 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – SUMMARY

At the Social/ AGM evening ion 29th March, residents were able to meet and talk to their local Councillors from both Earley Town Council and Wokingham Borough Council in an informal atmosphere with complementary tea and coffee. Attendees were able to take advantage of the bar in the re- decorated Earley Home Guard Social Club. Topics discussed covered a wide range of issues. The full Minutes of the meeting can be viewed on our Website.

P.C. Lee Turnham, from the Thames Valley Police Commissioners Office spoke on the SPEEDWATCH initiative, explaining in detail how it works and how the data is monitored by the Police. The scheme is now a national system. Volunteer teams can do their monitoring at a time to suit them. It is easy to register. Training is compulsory but easy to access and takes less than an hour. No one can be prosecuted for speeding from Speedwatch evidence, BUT persistent offenders and those driving at speeds 50% above the speed limit will be contacted by the Police.  There is a very good success rate of over 80% of no re-offending after letters are sent by the Police.  As the aim of Speedwatch is toeducate and deter speeding on residential roads, this is an excellent result.  TVP have now agreed 12 Speedwatch sites in the Whitegates area. If you are interested in helping with Speedwatch, contact chair@acerwhitegates.org.uk  and ACER will forward the link and joining instructions. Karen Collins, the Thames Valley Police Neighbourhood Administrator for Wokingham Borough Council stated that although burglary had reduced by 40%, keyless car thefts and domestic violence are on the rise. Cybercrime is a major issue. Karen covered topics including E- Scooters, traffic jams at local gatherings and parking. HANDY HINT: when reporting parking problems to 101 tell them that there is an OBSTRUCTION caused by a vehicle. Police will direct you to the Council if you report a ‘parking’ problem, but if it is an OBSTRUCTION, then the Police are responsible.  Be persistent. Mark valuable goods with UV marker pens (provided by Karen and available from ACER). Report anything suspicious to 101 (or Crimestoppers if you wish to remain Anonymous).

Chair’s report extracts

  • Tim Marsh thanked Mary Bather and Jenny Lissaman who were both standing down from front-line Committee work after over 20 years’ service each to the community. Both will remain active and supportive members.
  • Several topics were covered in the Chairs report, including:-Parking, Loss of greenery in Front Gardens, Planning experiences and Yellow Lines. The Chair finished by stating that:-
  • By forming this Residents Association, we have been noticed and listened to.
  • Getting results was never going to be quick or easy, but we have made progress and our concerns are better understood by those in authority.
  • One of our shortcomings is communication with our members. We are committed to making improvements to our email systems and our website in order to be able to communicate swiftly about your concerns.
  • For ACER to function efficiently we need a full committee and more volunteer hours. There is currently an unsustainable weight on the Chairman. Key vacancies are currently: Secretary and Communications Officer.
  • Future of ACER and 2022/23 subscriptions – As ACER is not yet fully “staffed” with committee members and volunteers, activities will have to be scaled back until further notice. The website and communication by email will become more important. It was proposed and unanimously accepted by the meeting, that, in view of this scaling-down, ACER would not ask for fixed subscription fees this year. Residents are encouraged to make a minimum donation of £2 to remain with us and receive updates by email. The newsletter is a significant cost to us, but it does go to every house (not just members) and is much appreciated. To support this and our other work, donations are vital.

To make your donation, please use PayPal   https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/acerwhitegates/2.  For collection contact the Chair, or drop in an envelope to 21 Milton Road. Don’t forget your name and address.

PLEASE KEEP IN TOUCH: Urgent messages and notices are sent to members via e-mail. To be included PLEASE E-MAIL ACER at chair@acerwhitegates.org.uk and ask to be put on to ACER Google Groups. This information is GDPR compliant and will not be passed on to any other organisation. If you do not have an e-mail, we will deliver a note.

ACER CONTACTS email: chair@acerwhitegates.org.uk   Committee: Tim Marsh (Chair), George Blackwell (Vice Chair). Siôn Williams (Treasurer), Naomi Cambridge, Jenny Carr, Graham May,

Local WOKINGHAM BOROUGH COUNCILLORS:   Shirley Boyt  Shirley.boyt@wokingham.gov.uk                              Andy Croy andy.croy@wokingham.gov.uk;       Shahid Younis  shahid.younis@wokingham.gov.uk;   

LOCAL EARLEY TOWN COUNCILLORS:  Gurdeep Bhangra  gurdeepbhangra@earley-tc.gov.uk; Sheena Matthews sheenamatthews@earley-tc.gov.uk  07766 424098,  Marion Shaw marionshaw@earley-tc.gov.uk; 

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