Emmer Green Residents' Association

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In the Beginning …….
At one time the whole of Emmer Green was rural. Post World War II housing became a priority and building continued apace. It was in latter years that over-development was deemed undesirable. Emmer Green Residents’ Association was set up in May 1984, primarily to try to monitor planning in the area by supporting Reading Borough Council in their fight to preserve a valued stretch of open countryside. The Hemdean Valley (Bugs Bottom) was the area that sparked things off. Subsequent interests have included the redevelopments of the Bison Flats in Scott Close, Gorselands (former allotments), Wordsworth Court (built on the site of the former Reading Athletics Club). Lately the focus has been on garden grabbers and small scale infill development. Housing is always going to be a fine balance between providing roofs over people's heads and preserving the status quo. In recent years infill development has been particularly contentious, affecting local infrastructure and amenities, and dividing communities. Worryingly, it has denigrated local democracy. Usually the best that can be hoped for is a compromise as to the density and nature of the development. Planning issues are still the main concern of the association.

From those early beginnings an active association has continued and has served the community in a variety of ways. Projects can take years of work before coming to fruition, and as EGRA approaches its twenty-fifth anniversary, it is also fascinating to delve back through the minutes and newsletters to see what has and hasn't changed. Subscriptions remain at the bargain price of £1.00 and Julian Pearce is still auditing the accounts! Meetings used to be more formal with no casual use of forenames. The treasurer kept hand-written accounts.

Projects, Campaigns and Events
……… some we have organized; some we have funded; some we have supplied volunteer help; some we have given advice and moral support; we have even made donations to worthy causes.
Often we just seek to inform.
There have been a number of landmarks throughout this period:


1984 Start of Hemdean Valley (Bugs Bottom) campaign.
Inaugural EGRA meeting in May.
1985 Exhibition of Third Thames Bridge and Cross Town Route at AGM.

Requested sign-posting for Emmer Green.
Donation to Reading Urban Wildlife Group.
Collaborated on 'Conserve the South Chilterns Committee'.
First of a succession of speakers at AGM.

1987 Supported public opposition to further Oxfordshire / Berkshire boundary changes.
Campaign to preserve open space in front of shopping precinct.
1988 Supported Cleaner Reading Taskforce projects.
1989 Friends of Clayfield Copse group set up (independent of EGRA).
1990 Supported Bugs Bottom Action Group.
1991 Electronic EGRA database of the membership set up.
1992 The 'Save Chambers Copse Footpath campaign' began.
Stand at RBC's Green Day event in Town Hall.
1993 Reading Borough Council compelled to agree to Bugs Bottom development.
Publicised new bus route along Kiln Road.
1994 First houses appeared in Bugs Bottom.
Arranged public meeting with Thames Valley Police.
1995 Following objections, The Magic Pub Company agreed 'The Pickled Newt' was an inappropriate name for The White Horse.
Landscaping of area north of the pond and funding of seat.
Reported that the first speed cameras appeared in Emmer Green.
1996 Donation to St Barnabas Church roof repair fund.
1997 Established a postcode area for Emmer Green.
Supported 'Reading Trees for the Millennium Project'.
Opposed sale of land by Reading Golf Club and relocation of clubhouse.
1998 Ideas to celebrate the Millennium discussed - village sign and history exhibition.
1999 Preparation for forthcoming historical exhibition.
2000 Successfully made representation to Reading Buses to improve services in Emmer Green.
Chambers Copse footpath enquiry held - path not recognised.
Millennium Exhibition - Emmer Green Past and Present.
Supported Clayfield Copse Woodlands Day (FOCC).
2001 Establishment of the association's website www.map-reading.co.uk/egra.
Publication of local history book "Emmer Green Past and Present".
Indexing of Caversham Bridge newspapers.
2002 Setting up of e-mail contact group for EGRA members.
Collaborating with local film-makers on a local video, "Emmer Green Remembered".
Endorsing major changes to Grove Road allotments.
First stall at annual St Barnabas Garden Party.
Kidmore End Road car parking survey.
2003 Reprint of "Emmer Green Past and Present".
Supported Clayfield Copse Woodlands Day (FOCC).
Funded the Berkshire Woodcarvers to create a village sign.
2004 Established first Local Tradesmen's List for members only.
Monitored RBC's grass cutting.
Commissioned woodcarver Andrew Noyes to construct a new community notice board.
Initiated local anti graffiti campaign.
2005 Graffiti clean-up training.
Supported Clayfield Copse Woodlands Day (FOCC).
Successful objections to extended pub licensing hours.
2006 Supported campaign to reinstate local Post Office.
Alerted to Mapledurham redevelopment consultation and potential impact on Clayfield Copse.
2007 Commissioned Andrew Noyes to carve a dragon at Clayfield Copse.
Supported CROW project in Clayfield Copse.
Planted Turner's Oak tree and installed seat to commemorate Queen 's 80th birthday.
Agreed to donations to St Barnabas Church building fund, annual book prize to Highdown pupils for community involvement, books for The Hill School library.
Pressed for Grove Road planters to be replaced.