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Question to council: William Marshal

Richard Stainthorp to ask the Lead Councillor for Culture Heritage and Recreation: William Marshal As I am sure the Lead Councillor is awar...

31 Dec 2011

Cow Lane bridge - time lapse video

Very impressive to watch and at one point it looks like the old embankment is being eaten by yellow dinosaurs.  They are going to line the inner walls with bricks which will look nice.  Can't wait to go under it!

This really is a historic moment for Reading. I have a friend whose relative helped build the bridges which then where in farmland.  They were never designed as road bridges, their name makes that clear, so it is great we are getting something fit for purpose.

26 Dec 2011

Boxing Day at the new Cow Lane bridge

The embankment and rails have gone.

Biggest and a big truck.

Loads of people watching.

The new bridge being moved into place.

24 Dec 2011

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year
My eldest son and Father Christmas (or is it?)

21 Dec 2011

Walk away the Christmas excesses

Random post alert.  I was wondering what to blog about before Christmas.  Crime figures (good news as they are down), bin collection dates (available here) or about last nights Carols in the Community at Battle Library (which was great with a surprise presentation for Marjorie)?  I then glanced upon my latest Current Archaeology magazines and thought I would share some of my favourite winter walks with you all instead.

My family and I often go for a winter walk to blow away some of the Christmas cobwebs that set in after a few days of TV and Christmas food.  Last year we went to Uffington White Horse.  Took a while to get there and was very cold but offered stunning views.

The head of the horse
One of our favourite walks is Lardon Chase overlooking Goring.  It is a short drive outside Reading and again has great views over the Thames Valley.  We go to this one all year round as it's so easy.

One year we fulfilled my ambition to go to Wittenham Clumps.  I had seen them from afar on many journeys but had never actually 'found' them.  I always seemed to miss them.  I love learning about the ancient history of Britain so visiting a Bronze age hill fort was a worthwhile journey.

Another favourite from years ago is Calleva Atrebatum or Silchester.  We are yet to take the boys but I am sure they will love the ampitheatre as much as I did as a young girl.  I would love to go to the field school the University of Reading run each year and have a go at archaeology.

So far we haven't decided where we will go this year - suggestions welcome.

18 Dec 2011

Carols for the Community

I am in the middle of watching Countryfile (love Countryfile) and they are examining Christmas and community.  They are suggesting the current period of austerity is making people want to come together as a community again for support, encouragement and some festive cheer.  The recent Let's Talk events highlighted Reading residents drive for community activities, especially the Town Hall event where residents had some wonderful ideas for local groups and activities. 

16 Dec 2011

Today I visited the new Cow Lane bridge.....

Today Battle councillors Chris Maskell, Gul Khan and I visited the new Cow Lane bridge along with Cllr Tony Page (Lead Cllr for  Transport, Planning and Regeneration) and Network Rail.

We were shown the new bridge and it was explained to us how they are going to lift, then drive the bridge, into place over Christmas.  They will then replace the road surface and create the footpath and cycle way.  We were not expecting the footpath and cycle way to be in place so quickly (although only under one bridge) and the benefit will be immediate as there is no footpath under this bridge at the moment.

The work that is being put into this project is immense and I shall try to watch the new bridge being driven into place on Boxing Day.  Further information on the road closures and viewing platform can been read in my other post about the project here.

Cllr Chris Maskell, and former Battle cllr and Redlands candidate Tony Jones fought hard for this project which will be of great benefit to the residents of Battle ward.

Below is a short video on the Cow Lane project which was shot today:

15 Dec 2011

The problem of fly-tipping

Fly-tipped items this month

Fly-tipping is still a problem in Battle ward.  Here's how you can report it:

  • Contact one of your councillors.  You can contact us through councillor services here or directly here.
  • Call the council on 0800 626540.
  •  Complete this online form.
  • You can report litter and fly tipping problems by texting the Council GROT number 81722.
  • You can even report it via www.fixmystreet.com as the council is sent reports from this website.

If you have bulky waste you cannot remove yourself, the Council can remove it for a fee.  Complete this form to arrange collection.  Alternatively you can take it to Household Waste Recycling Centre or donate it to charity.

 For more information on fly-tipping from Reading Borough Council please see here.

12 Dec 2011

Civic Carol Service

Below is the press release about the wonderful Civic Carol Service.  I have been to a few now and they are really special.  Reading Minster Church of St Mary the Virgin is a beautiful church and I am looking forward to attending this year and singing my socks off.

9 Dec 2011

Battle site medical centre a victim of NHS cutbacks

It has been confirmed by the local health authority that the much anticipated medical centre on the Battle Hospital site will not be built.  To say this is disappointing would be a massive understatement.  For years Battle residents have been waiting for the medical centre and it was something they decided they would like on the former hospital site after being consulted in 2005.

In a press release from NHS Berkshire, financial constraints were given as one of the reasons for abandoning their plans.  This is a very real demonstration of how the Tory/Lib Dem's plans for the NHS are effecting  the people of Reading already, before the highly damaging health bill is passed.  For example the number of patients on waiting lists for more than 18 weeks has risen 153 % in Berkshire West since May 2010.

Battle councillors believe the Primary care Trust (PCT) will sell off the land in West Village for further housing.  Battle councillor ChrisMaskell said: “This is a betrayal of the Oxford Road Community. In 2005 we held a series of public meetings and surveyed the entire ward to find out what people wanted to come from the redevelopment of the Battle Hospital site. The overwhelming response was that people wanted a medical centre to replace Battle Hospital. “

Battle councillor Gul Khan said: “This is a devastating blow to the Oxford Road Community. We believe the Coalition Government is “cleaning up” the NHS in preparation to sell off the profitable bits to the highest bidders wherever they may be in the world but only time will tell. However, what we do know is, cuts to the NHS are happening now even though the Coalition Government’s NHS reform bill has not yet passed into legislation. What the PCT is proposing is a disgrace.”

Here is the press release from Reading and District Labour Party about this weekend of action.  There will be a stall outside Battle Library from 10-1 tomorrow (Saturday 10 December 2011) and you can sign the petition to drop the bill here:

7 Dec 2011

Cllr Gul Khan our candidate for 2012

I am very pleased to confirm that Cllr Gul Khan will be standing in Battle ward in May 2012 after Battle Branch Labour party selected him as our candidate.

Gul has lived in Battle ward for many many years and has been one of it's councillors since 2008.  He was Mayor in 2010/2011 and is Deputy Mayor this year.  Gul is a popular character within the community and works well within our team of councillors.  Cllr Chris Maskell and I are delighted he is standing again.

You can view his blog here.

5 Dec 2011

Cow Lane to close again

This Christmas the project to replace Cow Lane Bridges will take a huge step forward with the replacement of the bridge closest to Salisbury Road.  The road between this junction and the Safestore entrance will be closed from 19 December until 23 January 2012.  The road between Safestore and Cardiff road will then be closed 23-30 January 2012 for preparation work on the second bridge.

It will potentially be a difficult time for residents of Battle ward as there will be disruption to traffic flow however it will be for a huge benefit once the bridges are complete, as large vehicles and through traffic will no longer need to use the Oxford Road.

This video very neatly shows the improvements to the station and, near the end, Cow Lane Bridges!

You can check if your train journey will be disrupted here.  You can also visit the Network Rail pages for this project here.

You can even go and watch the bridge being moved into place from a viewing platform in the Dairy Crest yard on Boxing Day.

I am going to try and go along.  I will never forget watching a bridge being pushed under the main line to London.  It was part of the Maidenhead flood defences.  They ran wires through the railway embankment to freeze and stabilise it, dug the bank away and pushed the bridge underneath all while the trails continued to run over the top (slowed down though).  I saw it as part of my Degree course.  Fascinating.....

UPDATE:  Just received notification that  Cow Lane will be shut between Safestore and Cardiff Road for three nights 8pm until 6am from 5 to 8 December for safety reasons.

3 Dec 2011

Good news for families in need

Reading Borough Council Press Release

Families in need are to benefit from £300,000 worth of extra investment over the next three years as part of a new and expanded Community Family Support Service for Reading.

The Community Family Support Service provides a valuable lifeline for vulnerable families who are struggling to cope due to circumstances. The service sees trusted volunteers go into family homes and provide parents with the skills and confidence they need to eventually help themselves and to turn their lives around.

In recognition of the vital role the Community Family Support plays in Reading, the Local Strategic Partnership has committed a new grant of £300,000 over the next three years to helping vulnerable families who would benefit from the service. Added to the £58,000 a year the service receives from Reading Borough Council, the total funding pot in this key area of work will be £474,000 over the next three years.

1 Dec 2011

Are we heading for a drought?

Drought is usually something we consider in the summer months if the weather has been glorious but it seems Reading may be at risk of drought now.  It's dark, gloomy and feels like autumn so how come we don't have enough water?