Friday, 3 July 2015

Speech I made to West Berks Council calling for meetings to be webcast

I believe that it is true to say that all councils could do more to engage with their residents. Residents are usually not aware of decisions being taken by the council on their behalf unless alerted by the local press, campaign groups or local members. They usually get to know even less about the reasons why particular decisions are taken. Web-casting meetings is one way to start addressing this, though much else needs to be done. Many councils have introduced web-casting, including:
  • Hampshire County
  • South Oxfordshire District
  • Waverley District
  • Woking Borough
  • Guildford Borough
  • Plymouth City
  • West Sussex
  • Cornwall Council
I also understand that the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority is considering its introduction.

I am not saying that everything we discuss will be lapped up by our residents! However, very many will be interested in decisions like that on the Housing Site Allocations DPD to be taken in the autumn. Probably many more that be accommodated in this small chamber. Many people potentially affected by tonight's decision on the CPO would probably have liked to be able to follow the discussion.

Residents are often very interested in planning applications that affect them or their community. Our district is large and some residents have to travel long distances to attend planning committee meetings. For example, those who live in places like Hungerford, Lambourn or Thatcham.

Some of the journeys to meetings cannot be made easily by public transport. Work and childcare commitments often make physical attendance at meetings difficult for residents. However, they could easily watch webcasts from their homes or workplaces.

I am therefore proposing that we investigate the introduction of web-casting all Council, Executive and committee meetings as a first step to improving our communications with our residents.





Thursday, 2 July 2015

Question I will be asking the Chief Constable of Thames Valley this evening

I will asking the Chief Constable the following question at his briefing to West Berkshire Council this evening:

It has taken many months to replace the leading officer in the neighbourhood team that covers Theale after she was moved to CID. I understand that her replacement is to be part-time. Our PCSOs are now doing work that used to be performed by police officers. They are also having to cover a much wider area. Over the same period, Theale has experienced a spate of house and outbuilding break-ins, and thefts of motor vehicles. There has also been major outbreaks of vandalism to the primary school, playground and skatepark.

Could the Chief constable please tell me what he is planning to do to address problems like these in areas like Theale?

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Agenda for regular meeting of Theale Parish Council meeting on 6th July

The agenda has been published for the meeting of Theale Parish Council meeting on 6th July. It can be viewed by clicking here.

The agenda includes items on:

  • Co-option to the two vacancies on the Council
  • Latest planning application for the Red Lion
  • Planning application to extend the temporary planning permission for two modular classrooms at Theale Primary School
  • Planning application for a new house on the land behind Greystoke in St Ives Close
  • Problems caused by stray cricket balls and inconsiderate parking by Theale Tigers

As usual, there is an "open forum for members of the public" early in the agenda. This enables residents to speak to the Parish Council about any matters in the parish, including those on the agenda.

Please note that the agenda does not include a decision of the site for the new primary school.



Friday, 26 June 2015

Special Theale Parish Council meeting to decide on site for new primary school POSTPONED

The special meeting of Theale Parish Council scheduled for June 30th, that was called to decide whether to release land on the North Street Playing Field for a new primary school, has bee postponed.

This is because information provided to the parish council for that project appears to conflict with information provided to support the renewal of planning permission for the temporary modular classrooms.




Thursday, 25 June 2015

Special meeting of Theale Parish Council to be held at 7:30pm 30th June to decide whether to release land for new primary school

THEALE PARISH COUNCIL
SPECIAL MEETING AGENDA


Parish Office
The Pavilion,            
Englefield Road
Theale,
Reading, RG7 5AS
Tel: 0118 9306592



To:  All members of the Parish Council

Dear Sir/Madam,

There are matters requiring attention before the next meeting of the Parish Council.     

The Chairman has therefore called for an extraordinary meeting of the Parish Council to be held in the Peter Gooch room, The Pavilion at 7.30pm on Tuesday 30th June 2015.

Yours faithfully,



Jo Friend
Clerk to the Parish Council


AGENDA

PART 1

Apologies for absence & Declarations of Interest

1.     Open forum for members of the public. (15 minutes)


SECTION B

2.     Parish Council Statement

3.     Resolution

“Theale Parish Council will agree, in principle, to release five acres of land in North Street Playing Fields to facilitate the building of a primary school as requested by West Berkshire Council. Any agreement to the release of land will be subject to Terms and Conditions as set down by Theale Parish Council. Full Terms and Conditions yet to be approved by the parish council.”

4.     Members’ discussion about Terms and Conditions.

5.     Second Public Open Forum on the matter of Terms and Conditions.  (15 minutes)    

Information about site for new Theale Cof E Primary School that was requested at public meeting

West Berkshire Council agreed to provide further information about how they selected the North Street playing field as their preferred site for the replacement Theale Church of England Primary School at the recent public meeting.

The majority of the promised information has now been made publicly available and consists of:
  • a covering letter
  • summary of information regarding site selection
  • map of catchment area for the school
  • highways consultant's report

These can all be accessed by clicking here. The Council has, however, asked that information regarding compulsory purchase and the "hope value" of land that may be allocated for housing be kept confidential for the time being.

The parish council has noticed some discrepancies in the information, particularly between the highways consultant's report and the other reports.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council
www.theale.org.uk

Please keep in touch by:

Following me on Twitter: @alanmacro
Liking my Facebook Page: CllrAlanMacro
Reading my Blog: //alanmacro.blogspot.com
Subscribing to my Theale news list: send an email to addme@theale.org.uk





Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Information on selection of site for new Theale C of E Primary School

West Berkshire Council have a project to replace Theale Primary School on a new site. The school is full and needs to be expanded to accommodate 315 pupils to cater for the number of primary school age children expected in Theale in 2017. The new school also needs to be able to expand to 420 pupils to accommodate children from housing that has been given planning permission and any new housing sites that may be allocated. The Council has allocated almost £7.5M for the new school.
A significant amount of time was spent in trying to find a way to expand the school on its existing site but this proved to be not possible. Eleven sites around Theale were considered but only one proved to be viable. This site is on part of the “North Street” playing field. This is situated on the opposite of Englefield Road to the Village Hall. Please see this map.
The field is leased by Theale Parish Council from the Englefield Estate and the parish council would have to agree to release five acres of the 13.5 acre field. The remaining field would be large enough to accommodate three full size football pitches.
West Berkshire Council have produced this leaflet to introduce the project and describe how the proposed site was selected.
Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council
www.theale.org.uk

Please keep in touch by:

Following me on Twitter: @alanmacro
Liking my Facebook Page: CllrAlanMacro
Reading my Blog: //alanmacro.blogspot.com
Subscribing to my Theale news list: send an email to addme@theale.org.uk