Monday, 31 December 2012

Good news for Theale Primary School parents for the New Year

The project to narrow Church Street at the zebra crossing outside the primary is to go ahead at last. The scheduled date for the work to start is the week beginning 18th February 2013. This project is in response to a request by Theale Parish Council to West Berkshire Council and to the petitions that parents and myself raised.

The narrowing will:
  • make the crossing more obvious to drivers
  • help slow traffic
  • reduce the distance for children and parents to cross
  • give more space on the pavement
The work will almost double the width of the pavement on the school side of the road. This will also give more space for children and parents waiting to cross the road.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Sunday, 30 December 2012

Temporary sewage pump has been installed at Church St/Lambfields sewage pumping station

My getting our MP involved has borne fruit. He contacted a Thames Water director he knows and a temporary pump was installed overnight. The temporary pump extracts sewage from the pumping station and pumps it along a temporary pipeline and into a manhole a couple of dozen yards down Church Street.

This means that the north side footway is closed between Lambfields and the Lamb pub. One lane of Church Street is closed for a shorter distance, with priority working for traffic. However, this seems a small price to pay for removing the tankers that were causing such a disturbance and that caused their own highways obstructions.

I am waiting for feedback from the affected residents, but the temporary pump seems much less noisy than the tankers when pumping.


Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Theale-based volunteer group urgently needs volunteer drivers and office helpers


The STANDBY volunteer group covers  Theale, Englefield,  Holybrook , parts of Tilehurst, Bradfield and Stanford Dingley. They are based at Theale Medical Centre

They are a group of volunteer drivers who use their own cars to help people, who do not have access to transport, to take them to hospital and surgery appointments.  This includes dentists and opticians. They pick up the client, take them to the appointment, wait for them and take them back to their home. 

Their office  is manned by volunteers on Mondays and Wednesdays between 10a.m. and 12 noon and requests are dealt with by a simple call to the office (Tel: 0118 930 6419).

A pick up time is agreed , which enables the patient to meet their appointment time.

An Answerphone  is available out of these hours.

Their drivers are all volunteers who receive a mileage allowance. A donation from the client to the Standby Group would be expected to help with this and other administrative costs.

All of the above will not function without volunteers who are prepared to give their time.

STANDBY URGENTLY NEEDS DRIVERS, with fully comprehensive insurance.

At present they have two volunteers who man the office, in turn, and a back up of one or two others who are prepared to step in at the last moment, when required. They are also looking for another willing volunteer or two to join thier back up team and become second reserves – to cover holiday or sickness.

If you are interested, please contact:

Peter and Marion Moulder (Co-Chairmen of Standby) on 0118 974 4439

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Saturday, 29 December 2012

Public meeting to be held re Theale High Street gas mains replacement

The project to replace the gas mains  in Theale High Street will re-start soon (no actual start date has yet been scheduled).

A public meeting will be held at which Southern Gas Networks and the contractor, Foremost, will explain the plans for the project. The meeting will be held at Theale Village Hall in Englefield Road on the 10th January 2013 at 6 pm.

Kevin Horne, the SGN project manager, will be happy to answer any questions in the meantime. He can be contacted by email at kevin.horne@sgn.co.uk or by phone on 07831528205.


Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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MP now involved in Theale Church Street pumping station nuisance

I copied our MP, Alok Sharma, on my emails to the Thames Water CEO and his PA regarding the problems caused by the tankers pumping out the sewer at this pumping station. Alok has replied saying that he knows a Thames Water director that he has appraised him of the situation.


Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Emailed Thames Water CEO re noise and disturbance caused by tankers pumping out sewage from the Church Street pumping station, Theale

Prompted by an email from a Theale resident, I have sent the following email to the Chief Executive Officer of Thames Water (copied to our MP):

Dear Mr Baggs,

you have been copied on an email from Sandra Ilsley, a Theale resident, regarding the disturbance caused by the tankering of sewage from this pumping station.

I have received complaints from other residents about the disturbance caused by the noise and flashing lights from the convoys of tankers pumping from this station. As soon as a tanker is full, another takes over the pumping. Late at night, the noise can be heard, and the flashing lights seen, from several hundred yards away.

The tankers are also causing obstruction on the road, particularly when they park in Lambfields which is a single-lane street. They park with wheels on the footways, to reduce the obstruction, but this is damaging the kerbs and footways.

Problems at this pumping station have been occurring for several years, particularly after periods of heavy rainfall.

I would be grateful if you could inform us on the reasons for the latest problems and the plans that Thames Water have to fix them.

Kind Regards,
Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Road between Theale and Burghfield closed due to flooding

Dean Copse Road, that runs between the Burghfield Road and Hanger Road in Sunnyside, is closed due to flooding.

The alternative route between Theale and Burghfield is via the A4 in Calcot.

I'm not sure whether it is still possible to use Hose Hill (that runs between Sunnyside and Burghfield village).

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Sunday, 16 December 2012

West Berks & Reading Councils making poorest pay council tax

At the moment, the poorest in our society don't pay Council Tax. They get something called "Council Tax Benefit". The government has abolished that and given councils the ability to give council tax discounts to the poor instead. The government is giving an extra grant to councils to help them do that, but this is lower than the council tax benefit that would have been paid in the council's area. In West Berkshire's case it will be about 14% less.

Lib-Dems in government insisted that councils should also be able to reduce the discounts for second homes and empty homes. The extra income from these reduced discounts can largely make up for the reduction in government grant.

Councils therefore had a choice. They could either impose a proportion of council tax on poor families who do not pay it at present, or they could reduce the discounts on second homes, etc., to make up the shortfall in grant. Both Labour-controlled Reading and Conservative-controlled West Berkshire have decided to both reduce these discounts AND impose a proportion of council tax on the poor.

The proportion that the poor is not high, 8.5% in the case of West Berkshire, but will cause real difficulties for families already spending all of their limited income on rent, fuel and food. About half the 4000 families affected in West Berkshire have members in work, so it's not just the unemployed that are affected.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Arranged for watercourse at end of Volunteer Road to be cleared out

I noticed that this watercourse, that marks the boundary between the allotments and the public open space, now has water in it. I believe that it enters a culvert under Cavalier Close and Meadow Way and re-emerges behind the Co-Op. However, this latter section is still dry.

I investigated and found that the part behind Cavalier Close is choked with branches and other garden debris. The entrance to the culvert is completely covered. I suspect that some residents have been dumping their garden rubbish in it.

I have now arranged for the watercourse to be cleared by West Berkshire Council.

May I ask that, if you live near a watercourse, please do not dump rubbish in it. A watercourse may be essential for drainage even it is sometimes dry. If it gets blocked it nearby properties may get flooded if there is a heavy rainstorm.


Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Thursday, 29 November 2012

Q Tel have compostable liners for food waste caddies in stock

West Berkshire Council have stopped giving out free liners for the food waste caddies that they supplied to households

The Veolia website gives the names of shops where you can buy the liners. The only one mentioned in the Theale area is Sainsburys Calcot (Savacenter). However, I couldn't find any when I checked the other evening.

I checked with Q Tel in Theale High Street this morning. They have compostable liners in stock. They cost £1.49 for a roll of ten liners. This compares with £9-29 for three rolls of 25 liners from the online store that the Veolia page links to.


Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Monday, 26 November 2012

Sainsburys taking IKEA Calcot planning permission to judicial review

Sainsburys are taking the planning permission granted by West Berkshire Council for the proposed IKEA store at Calcot to judicial review.

Sainsburys had expressed concerns to the council about the extra traffic generated by IKEA causing traffic to back up into the Sainsburys car park. They had asked for detectors to be placed in their car park exit. If these detectors detected traffic backing up, Sainsburys wanted the detectors to change the traffic light phasing to clear their car park. Modelling by the council's highways department showed that this would cause unacceptable delays on the A4. The council therefore refused Sainsburys request and it was not included in the plans that were approved.

If Sainsburys wins the judicial review then it is likely to put the whole IKEA plan back in the melting pot.


Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Major improvements planned for Theale Station

A successful "Access for All" bid to provide disabled access to Theale Station was announced several months ago. Now, successful bids to the "Local Sustainable Transport Fund" and "National Station Improvement Programme" fund have meant that further improvements can be made. The plans are for:
  • A new footbridge, with new stairs from the car park and and Newbury-bound platform. Lack of space means that there will probably not be stairs from this bridge to the Reading-bound platform
  • Lifts from the car park and serving the two permanent platforms. It has not yet been decided whether the temporary platform on the freight loop line will become permanent
  • A new two-window booking office. This will probably be a "modular" building
  • Public toilets.
The new bridge and lifts will be at the Reading end of the station.

It is hoped that these improvements will be provided by next summer.

The "fly in the ointment" is that the lifts will probably only be operational while the station is manned and First Great Western have not committed to extend the time that that the booking office is open.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Sunday, 11 November 2012

A beautiful day for the Remembrance Day ceremony in Theale!

What a beautiful day for the Remembrance Day ceremony in Theale!

Parish councillors from Theale and Holybrook led the parade through the High Street to the church.

The church was absolutely packed. Every seat in the main body of the church and in the gallery were taken. Cubs, scouts, brownies army cadets and St John's cadets were sitting in the choir. The choir were sitting in the sanctuary.

The service moved outside for the final part of the service, as there was a surprise. The surprise was a fly-past by an RAF Chinook helicopter. One hymn and the national anthem were sung outside, accompanied by a trumpet played by a young lady.

The young lady also played the last post and reveille before and after the two minutes silence.

I always find the reading of the names of the Theale fallen very evocative, particularly the names of the three Herberts and two Davies who died in the First World War.

Wreaths were laid by the Church, the two parish councils, by me, the police, army cadets, scouts, cubs, brownies, St John's and by Maurice Smith. Maurice was a guardsman who served in the second world war and wore his guardsman's dress uniform and a chestful of medals

A Gurkha in uniform also attended the parade.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Thursday, 8 November 2012

Ground surface at gateway into North St playing field repaired

The surface of the gateway into the North Street playing field in Englefield Road, Theale, has now been repaired. The ground in the gateway had subsided several inches and has now been made good.

I was told by a resident during my Saturday morning walk-about in Theale High Street that a lady had fallen in the gateway. I therefore asked Theale Parish Council to repair it as a matter of urgency.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Sunday, 28 October 2012

Fingerprinting of School Children - letter to NWN

I wrote the following letter to the Newbury Weekly News last week. It did not get published - they printed a letter that I had sent the previous week for the second time!

Dear Editor,

it is reasonable and understandable for parents to be suspicious and concerned when asked to permit their children to be be fingerprinted by schools ("Anger as fingerprinting introduced at school", NWN, October 18th).

Parents should therefore be given the option of not allowing their children to be fingerprinted without disadvantaging them. Their children must still be allowed to be served school meals.

Parents are concerned that the fingerprints may be used for other purposes. Also, there have been occasions in the past when the computer databases holding details of such fingerprints have been hacked into. Schools must therefore assure parents that:

- fingerprints and associated data will only be used for school meal identification purposes

- the databases that hold the fingerprint data have state-of-the art security preventing unauthorised access.

Both schools that have introduced, or are proposing to use, fingerprints are academies. However,  West Berkshire Council have responsibilities as community leader and should therefore advise all schools in the district on best practice on the use of this technology.

--

Alan Macro
Opposition Spokesman for Children and Young People
West Berkshire Council

Monday, 22 October 2012

Tankers outside sewage pumping station in Church St, Theale

Tankers have been pumping out the sewer pumping station in Church Street, Theale, for most of the day. I spoke to one of the Thames Water engineers who was on site. He told me that there had been a pump blockage but they were having difficulty removing the pump to fix it. However, he expected the problem to be fixed by tonight.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Permission has been granted for 9 houses and 3 flats on old Theale Motor Works site


Planning permission was given on 8th October for 12 dwellings on the old Theale Motor Works site:

Four 2-bed houses
Five 3-bed houses
One 2-bed apartment
Two 1-bed apartments

The site is behind the "Clock House" in Theale High Street and accessed off Station Road.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Thursday, 18 October 2012

Latest on school fingerprinting and school meals contract

Trinity School, the school that wanted to use fingerprints to identify children for school meals, has its own school meals contract. It does not partake in West Berkshire Council's school meals contract.

ISS, West Berkshire Council's school meals contractor, does not use biometric data, such as fingerprints, to identify children. It uses a device called the Cyberpad. However, Cyberpads have proved very problematic in West Berkshire's schools. This, and several other problems, have led to the council calling a default on the new contract.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Latest on fingerprinting of Newbury schoolchildren

The original complaint was from a parent of a child at Trinity School, Newbury.

I have just had an update from West Berkshire Council's Education Service. Trinity School make their own arrangements for school meals. They do not use West Berkshire Council's school meals provision. Schoolchild fingerprinting  must therefore be a Trinity School requirement and nothing to do with the new West Berkshire Council ISS-provided school meals contract.

Apparently, Kennet School in Thatcham has been using "biometric" identification for school lunches for some time.

Both Trinity and Kennet schools are now academies, so neither the council nor councillors have much influence on what they do.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale

West Berkshire Council
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Monday, 8 October 2012

Parents asked to consent to have their children fingerprinted

I heard to day that letter went out to parents of schoolchildren on Friday asking for permission for their children to be fingerprinted today (Monday 8th October) or on Wednesday. Children would not be able to have school meals if they had not been fingerprinted on either of these days.

I'm trying to find out:

  • Who authorised this
  • Why the notice period was so short
  • Why no alternative arrangements are being made for children are not happy about their children being fingerprinted.
I presume that the requirement is being imposed by the new school meals contractor.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale

West Berkshire Council
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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

High Street gas main replacement postponed until new year

Southern Gas Networks have just informed me that the replacement of the gas mains in the main part of the High Street has been postponed until early next year. They will just finish the part between Hoad Way and the M4 for now.

The postponement is because there have been some delays which meant that they would not have been able to finish the work before the Christmas lights switch-on event on December 1st.

Unfortunately, this will also mean that the resurfacing of Church Street between Englefield Road and Church Street will be delayed for even longer. Otherwise, the newly resurfaced part between Crown Lane and Station Road would have been dug up again by the gas contractor.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Monday, 1 October 2012

Rubbish collections return to Andrews Close

I am pleased to say that, following my intervention on behalf of a resident, dustbins will be emptied as normal  in Andrews Close from today.

Normal dustbin collections were suspended over a year ago after a bin lorry collided with a parked car. Residents had to wheel their bins to the junction with Crown Lane. This caused problems for some elderly residents, though other residents have been helping them.

The parking bay that car was parked in was removed a few months ago, meaning that its now safer for the bin lorries to turn into the close.


Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Friday, 28 September 2012

Church Street resurfacing postponed yet again!

The much needed "machine patching" of Church Street between its junctions with Englefield Road and Crown Lane has been postponed yet again! It has already been postponed twice: once because of works by the gas company in Station Road, then because of the bad weather last weekend. Now, West Berkshire Council has belatedly realised the road at the corner of Station road will be dug up as part of the work to replace the gas mains in the High Street.

This also means that this section of Church Street will therefore not be closed to traffic this Sunday (30th September).

The council has asked Southern Gas Networks to change their schedule so that the work at the High Street/Station Road junction is done before the main part of the High Street. Once this is done, the council will then be able to get on with the resurfacing.

The resurfacing needs to be done urgently as the potholes in this stretch are a danger to cyclists.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Friday, 21 September 2012

Updated: Church Street resurfacing postponed again!

The re-surfacing of the stretch of Church Street between the junctions with Englefield Road and Crown Lane has been postponed again. It was scheduled for this Sunday, 23rd September. There is a bad weather forecast for that day, so the work has been postponed until 30th September/7th October.

Let's hope that's the last postponement!

This stretch of Church Street will therefore not be temporarily closed this Sunday.

I am checking whether the re-routing of the buses (to avoid the road closure) has been changed.

Update: Jetblack 1 bus will run normally through Theale on Sunday 23rd September:

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Thursday, 20 September 2012

Heating oil stolen from Theale Village Hall


Theale's Parish Clerk has discovered that what she thought was fly tipping of large plastic containers in the recreation ground was actually a case of thieves bringing their equipment to the site in order to return later and steal heating oil from the Village Hall tank.

When she spotted the first containers to be ‘fly tipped’ she had them removed almost immediately by the Neighbourhood Wardens. However, the thieves have still managed to steal almost £2,000 worth of oil. The theft has been reported to the police. 

Security of the area will be discussed at the Village Hall meeting on Monday evening.

If you see containers anywhere that look like they could be used for such a theft, then please alert the police by phoning 101.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Updated: Container in Theale High Street to be moved today

After pressure from me, Southern Gas Networks have promised to move the container that has been parked outside 85-89 High Street today. The container is used to securely store equipment used in the gas main replacement project. It was originally intended to be put in the gated-off section but there was a problem unlocking the gate. The container is scheduled to be craned into that section today.

Update: The container had been moved by the afternoon (20th September)

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Monday, 17 September 2012

Postponed Church Street road repairs to go ahead on 23rd September

The works to "machine patch" the stretch of Church Street between Englefield Road and Station Road will go ahead this Sunday, 23rd September.

There repairs are much needed as they will repair potholes that are dangerous for cyclists and could cause damage to vehicles.

The works were postponed in July because the gas company were carrying out investigation work in station Road around the same date.

Church Street will need to be closed while this work is carried out.

Update 21st September: the resurfacing/temporary closure has been postponed until 30th September/7th October because of a bad weather forecast.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Saturday, 15 September 2012

Reported 5 road and footway defects to West Berks Council today

I often find things to report to the council while walking around Theale. These can be anything from potholes to overflowing litter or dog bins.

On my regular Theale High Street walk-about today I surpassed myself! I reported five problems with the road or footway. The latter included defects outside the dentist and King Wok that cause trip hazards to pedestrians.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Sunday, 2 September 2012

Latest on Theale High Street gas main replacement project

I met the Southern Gas Network manager responsible for the replacement of gas mains in Theale High Street yesterday (Saturday 1st September). The project is part of a programme to replace all steel gas mains with plastic ones.

No labour is available to start work tomorrow (3rd September), the original start date, so the start is likely to be postponed until 10th September. However, if labour becomes available work could start earlier.

The first section to be worked on is that between the M4 and Woodfield Way. This will require excavation across the road and footpath to connect to the gas pressure station just beyond the last house. The gated off area will be used for compounds to store equipment and materials.

A public meeting to inform affected residents and businesses will be held before work starts in the main part of the High Street.

The work is to replace two steel gas mains on the south side of the street with plastic ones. There is also a gas main on the north side of the street, but this is not being replaced in this project. The new plastic mains will be pushed through the old ones. This is to minimise disruption.

The main nearest the footway will require a hole to be dug about every 40-50 metres to access the old pipe. An area in the parking bays of about this length will also be required to store and weld the new pipes. Holes will also have to be dug to re-connect each property that has a gas supply. Steel gas pipes to properties will also be replaced. Properties should not have their gas cut off for more than 8 or 9 hours.

SGN are planning to insert the new pipe in the other main, for the complete length of the main part of the High Street, in one operation. Pushing such a length involving this diameter pipe (250mm) has not been done before.

Inter-connections at the Hoad Way and Station Road junctions will required holes to be dug. It may be necessary to control traffic with temporary traffic lights while this is going on.

The project schedule extends to 3rd December, but this includes contingency. It is hoped that it will be finished before the Christmas Lights event on the evening of 1st December.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Two new modular classrooms being installed at Theale Primary School today

Two new modular classrooms are being installed at Theale Primary School. Installation was scheduled to be completed today but is running late (one classroom had not even been delivered when I checked at 5 p.m.)

The classrooms are to enable the school's intake to be increased from 30 to 45 pupils per year. This will ensure that all Theale children who are starting school can attend the school.

The project has been started rather late by West Berkshire Council so the classrooms will not be usable at the start of term. Children will have to be accommodated in non-teaching rooms for a few weeks.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Roadworks in Church St, Theale, are to connect two gas mains

The roadworks outside the entrance to Theale Green School, in Church Street Theale, are to connect two gas mains. The pressure in one of the mains is too low and the connection is to correct this.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Friday, 24 August 2012

Gas mains in Theale High Street to be replaced this autumn

A gas main runs down each side of the High Street. Southern Gas Networks are planning to replace these mains this autumn. They have told West Berkshire Council that they are planning to start on September 3rd and finish on 3rd December. The start date is now looking rather optimistic!

They may be able to insert the new pipes through the old. If so, this will significantly reduce the amount of digging they have to do. They would still need to excavate a hole outside each building with gas supplies to re-connect it, though.

I am very concerned about the disruption caused to the shops and businesses. I have asked West Berkshire Council to look at various options for temporary car parking.

I will post news on this here as soon as I receive it.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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End of Blossom Lane to be closed for one day on 5th September

The part of Blossom Lane between numbers 39 and 41 will be closed for one day for resurfacing on 5th September. This is the country lane beyond the entrance to the old sewage works. The main part of the lane, between the sewage works and Crown Lane, will remain open.

Please note that the road sign advising of the closure has the wrong date. I have informed the relevant officer at west Berkshire Council of this.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Tuesday, 21 August 2012

A340 to be closed at M4 overbridge between Theale and Tidmarsh 9pm-6am 28-30 Aug

The A340 is to be closed at the M4 overbridge between Theale and Tidmarsh between 9pm and 6am from 28th to 30th August. This for repairs to be made to the bridge.

The suggested alternative route is via Bradfield and involves minor country lanes. This route is not suitable for heavy goods vehicles. The other alternative route is through Tilehurst, but this has a 7.5 tonne weight limit.

There will be a further closure, for resurfacing the bridge, later this year.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Thursday, 16 August 2012

Parking in Crown Lane to be suspended from 22nd to 24th August

I have just been informed that parking in Crown Lane is to be suspended from 22nd to 24th August, inclusive.

This is to allow the drainage system to be jetted and for investigation of the drainage system by CCTV cameras to be carried out.

The purpose is to investigate the reasons for the recent flooding of the road.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Thursday, 9 August 2012

Please watch out for travellers trying to enter land in Theale

It was noticed today that the security gates protecting Theale Parish Council's playing fields in North Street had been interfered with, making them insecure. It is suspected that travellers had done this to allow them entry onto the fields. Travellers moved onto a site in Newbury in the last couple of days.

One of the parish councillors has arranged for a skip to be put into the entrance to try to prevent unauthorised entry. He also warned Great Western Trains, as the height restrictors at the station were not in place.

If you see anyone suspicious trying to drive a vehicle onto any of the playing fields, or other open land in Theale, then please call the police on 101 and quote incident number FP4098805-12.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Monday, 6 August 2012

Audi stolen from Meadow Way

I received the following message from Thames valley police this morning:

Sometime between the 4th and 5th August a silver Audi was stolen from outside a property in Meadow Way, Theale.  It was later found in Theale High Street on the 5th August (URN 1165 of 05.08.12).  If you have any information about this incident please contact the Police on 101 and quote the URN number and date.

Please contact the police on the non-emergency number (101) if you have any information.

Please also ensure that your car is locked when left outside your house and that your car keys are not left near your front door (where they could be fished for by a thief).

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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West Berkshire Council did not need to close its youth clubs

West Berkshire Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee was told last week that it could not keep its youth clubs open because there was no money. However, the council took £1.5M more from the taxpayer last year than they needed to cover their spending on services. The Conservatives would have needed to spend only a small part of this to keep the youth clubs open.

The committee was also told that the council is not monitoring youth clubs run by volunteers. How can parents be confident that clubs are being run by suitable people?

Councillor Alan Macro

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Monday, 16 July 2012

Church Street temporary closure for road repairs postponed

The "machine patching" to repair the stretch of Church Street between Englefield Road and the High Street that was scheduled for July 22nd has been postponed. This is because the gas company is going to do road works along Station Road, and these works will cross Church Street.

This part of Church street will therefore no longer be temporarily closed on July 22nd.

The gas company's road works will be protected by temporary traffic lights.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Saturday, 14 July 2012

Condition of West Berkshire's roads is the third worst in the south east

The condition of West Berkshire's roads is the third worst in the south east, according to a report by the GMB union.

What is worse, West Berkshire Council seems to give priority to little-used country roads at the expense of heavily used roads like some in Theale when scheduling road repairs.

You can read the GMB's report here.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Olympic Torch Arrangements for Theale - Latest

The torch will be paraded through Theale tomorrow.

The parade will start in Hoad Way at about 10:05. The torch will then be carried through the High Street and Church Street. It will finish at the junction of The Green and St. Ives Close at about 10:20.

About 3,500 schoolchildren are expected to watch the torch carried through Theale. There will also be many adults (one torch bearer has invited 50 family and friends!). The schoolchildren will be arriving from about 08:30. Pavements have been marked to show where different schools should stand. It will be helpful if other spectators could stand in areas not marked out for schools.

Parking in the above roads will be banned between 1 am and midday. Cars illegally parked will be towed into adjacent roads. Please note that the parking ban also applies to vehicles with a resident's parking permit.

A temporary car park will be provided at the eastern end of the High Street (between Woodfield Way and the M4). The one planned on the recreation ground in Englefield Road cannot be used because the ground is too soft because of recent heavy rain.

Hoad Way, High Street, The Green and some roads off will be closed from about 30 minutes before the torch is due. Please note that the A4 through Calcot will be closed before the torch reaches Theale.


No buses will serve the bus stops in Theale between 09:30 and 10:30. The nearest stops that will be served during this time will be in Waterside drive (on the Arlington Business Park) and on the A4 at the end of Wigmore Lane.


Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Monday, 9 July 2012

Electoral Registration Forms Being Sent Out By West Berkshire Council

Electoral registration forms are being sent out by West Berkshire Council. These are normally sent out in the autumn, but are being sent out early this year because of the election for the Police and Crime Commissioner to be held on 15th November.

If there are no changes to the electors in your household, then you need to register by doing one of the following:

If registering by phone or on the Internet, you will need to provide the "Part 1" and "Part 2" numbers printed on the form.

If there are changes to the electors registered at your address, you will need to amend the form and send it back to the council using the reply paid envelope.

If you are not registered for a postal vote then please consider doing so. Doing so would mean that you could still cast your vote if you are away, ill or late home from work on election day. You will need to amend and return the form if you want to change to postal voting.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Roads works in Blossom Avenue and Blossom Lane on 20th July


The following roads in Theale are going to be repaired ("machine patched") on July 20th:

  • Blossom Lane, between Chestnut Close and the old sewage works
  • Blossom Avenue, between the Play Platt side of The Crescent and the The Orchard

Traffic will be controlled by temporary traffic lights between 8 am and 5 pm.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Saturday, 7 July 2012

Church Street, Theale, to be partially closed on 22nd July

Notices have gone up in Church Street saying the part between Englefield Road and Station Road will be closed  for one day on Sunday 22nd July.

I believe that this is to carry out the machine patching that was previously scheduled for 8th July.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Updated: Details of Olympic Torch Relay Through Theale

The torch will be paraded through Theale next Wednesday (July 11th).

The parade will start in Hoad Way at about 10:05. The torch will then be carried through the High Street and Church Street. It will finish at the junction of The Green and St. Ives Close at about 10:20.

About 3,500 schoolchildren are expected to watch the torch carried through Theale. There will also be many adults (one torch bearer has invited 50 family and friends!)

Parking in the above roads will be banned between 1 am and midday. Cars illegally parked will be towed into adjacent roads. Please note that the parking ban also applies to vehicles with a resident's parking permit.

Temporary car parks will be provided at the eastern end of the High Street (between Woodfield Way and the M4) and on the recreation ground in Englefield Road (entrance next to the medical centre). The latter may not be available if there is too much more rain, though.

These roads will also be closed from about 30 minutes before the torch is due.

Please note that the torch will be carried in a vehicle between Calcot and Theale and between Theale and Thatcham.
Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Sunday, 1 July 2012

Last chance to complete survey to see what activities for young people are wanted in Theale


Theale Parish Council is working with the Neighbourhood Wardens to try to provide activities for young people in Theale. This is to help fill the gap left by West Berkshire Council's closure of the youth clubs it used to run.

I have been carrying out an on-line survey for the parish council to see what kind of activities are wanted.  We want to hear what all residents want, but particularly want to hear from young people themselves.

To take part in the survey, please go to http://kwiksurveys.com/?u=ThealeYouthSurvey

The survey will close at midnight, Sunday, 1st July

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale

West Berkshire Council

Email: councillor.macro@theale.org.uk

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Friday, 29 June 2012

Survey to see what activities for young people are wanted in Theale to close on Sunday 1st July


Theale Parish Council is working with the Neighbourhood Wardens to try to provide activities for young people in Theale. This is to help fill the gap left by West Berkshire Council's closure of the youth clubs it used to run.

I have been carrying out an on-line survey for the parish council to see what kind of activities are wanted.  We want to hear what all residents want, but particularly want to hear from young people themselves.

To take part in the survey, please go to http://kwiksurveys.com/?u=ThealeYouthSurvey

I am going to close the survey this Sunday, 1st July

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale

West Berkshire Council

Email: councillor.macro@theale.org.uk

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Three roads in Theale to be repaired in July

The following stretches of roads are due to be "machine patched" in July:

Church Street, between the Red Lion and the Co-Op, on Sunday 8th July

Blossom Lane, between Chestnut Close and the old sewage works, on 5th and 6th July

Blossom Avenue, between the Play Platt side of The Crescent and the The Orchard, on Thursday 5th and Friday 6th July.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Monday, 18 June 2012

Survey to see what activities for young people are wanted in Theale to close soon


Theale Parish Council is working with the Neighbourhood Wardens to try to provide activities for young people in Theale. This is to help fill the gap left by West Berkshire Council's closure of the youth clubs it used to run.

I have been carrying out an on-line survey for the parish council to see what kind of activities are wanted.  We want to hear what all residents want, but particularly want to hear from young people themselves.

To take part in the survey, please go to http://kwiksurveys.com/?u=ThealeYouthSurvey

I am going to close the survey at the end of June.

Alan MacroCouncillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

Email: councillor.macro@theale.org.uk

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Sunday, 17 June 2012

Planning Application for 12 Houses and Flats on Old Theale Motor Works Site


A planning application has been submitted to West Berkshire Council for 12 houses and flats on the land behind 22-24 High Street, Theale. The plans can be viewed, and comments made, by searching www.westberks.gov.uk for application number 12/00985/FULMAJ.

There is already permission for 14 flats on the site. The last application for a mixture of houses and flats was withdrawn.

The plans can also be viewed at Theale Parish Council offices in the Recreation Ground, Englefield Road between 10 am and 2 pm Monday to Friday.

Comments can also be sent by post to the Chief Planning Officer, West Berkshire Council, Market Street, Newbury, RG14 5LD, or by email to planapps@westberks.gov.uk, quoting application number  12/00985/FULMAJ.

Theale Parish Council will be deciding on its comments on the proposal at its meeting at 7:30 pm on Monday 18th June. The meeting will be held in:

Peter Gooch Room
The Pavilion
Recreation Ground
Englefield Road
Theale

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Thursday, 14 June 2012

IKEA and coach stop at Savacenter

One of the big concerns that local west Berkshire Council councillors had when considering the IKEA planning application was that the extra traffic caused by IKEA would get tangled up with coaches serving the Calcot coachway (as the coach stop at Savacenter is officially called). The coaches stop in the same lay-by as Reading buses. Quite often, the lay-by is full of buses and coaches, and arriving coaches block the junction. Councillors were assured that the coach stop would move to a site near M4 Junction 11 by next year, probably before IKEA was built.


However, I have just had the following information from the West Berkshire Council public transport officer:

- There is no definitive date as to when National Express may decide to move its coaches from Calcot to any transport interchange that may be provided at Mereoak, south of M4 Junction 11;

- The reason for this is that Wokingham Borough Council has not committed to the construction of the long-proposed Park-and-Ride site at Mereoak, which would incorporate a National Express stop;  

- My understanding from brief discussion with Wokingham Borough colleagues is that while Wokingham Borough owns the land in question - and notwithstanding Reading Borough Council's desire to see the Park &
Ride site provided - there are financial and other considerations which mean it is unlikely to be constructed in the short-term;   

- I note from recent media reports (see www.getreading.co.uk/news/s/2106952_first_safety_training_centre_plan_for_mereoak_lane_compound -) that a 4-year lease on the site, known as Mereoak Lane Compound, was granted in January to a training company, although this does not preclude future construction of the Park & Ride and National Express coach stop.

This means that local councillors fears will probably come true.

I feel that councillors, including myself, were misled.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Pleased to see that the grass has been cut on the Theale Bypass central reservation.

I was very pleased to see that the grass on the Theale bypass central reservation has been cut. I asked for this to be done nearly two months ago as I was concerned that it was causing a road safety danger. The tall grass was obscuring drivers' view of vehicles on the bypass/Hoad Way/Waterside Drive roundabout.

West Berkshire Council highways department do not appear to appreciate the danger.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Monday, 11 June 2012

No parking in Theale High St or Church St on the morning of July 11th

Advance Notice:

There will be no parking in the main part of the Theale High Street or Church  Street on the morning of July 11th. This is to clear the way for the Olympic Torch relay and spectators. There will be alternative parking provision in the part of the High Street between Woodfield Way and the M4.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Reported 2 blocked drains threatening flooding at Trinity Court, Theale, to West Berks Council

I noticed that Trinity Court was awash with rainwater while walking my dog this evening. This was caused by two completely blocked drains.

I have reported the blocked drains to West Berkshire Council at high priority. There is a danger that further heavy rain, as forecast, could flood the flats.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Saturday, 2 June 2012

Don't forget the Jubilee Big Lunch on Theale Rec Tomorrow

The Big Lunch and Jubilee Garden Party will take place on the Recreation Ground in Englefield Road tomorrow afternoon.

It will start at 12:30, following the Jubilee Service at Holy Trinity Church (which starts at 11:00 a.m.)

There will be a marquee, so don't worry about rain!

Please bring your own picnic, though there will be a barbecue.

The programme of events will be:

1:00 - 1:30 p.m. Fancy Dress Competition
1:30 - 3:30 p.m. Children's Country games
2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Pub Tug of War

There will also be:
  • Bouncy Castle
  • Strawberry Cream Teas
  • Rifle Range
  • Face Painting
  • Bookstall
Entry is free!


Tuesday, 29 May 2012

New high pressure water main to be built past Theale

Thames Water have told Theale Parish Council that they are going to build a new water main between Tilehurst and Hermitage. It will run under the M4, across the old sewage works, behind the gardens in Chestnut Close, Kathleen Sanders Court and North Street, and then beside the footpath to North Street.

It may be installed past Theale by putting it in an excavated trench and then covering it with earth, or by "directional drilling". The latter would cause less disturbance to residents but would require a "reception pit" to be dug in the playing fields. It would also require a narrow area along the edge of the field to weld the plastic pipes together.

The project will probably start in about a year's time, after the football tournament.

The purpose of the 12-inch high pressure (170 psi) main is to reduce the amount of water abstracted from the ground in the Kennet and Lambourn valleys to supply Thatcham. The water would come from the waterworks at Fobney in Reading instead. Abstraction is currently causing abnormally low ground water levels in those valleys and this is starting to affect wildlife.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Wednesday, 23 May 2012

A pleasurable day marred by tragedy

Theale Parish Council submitted my name for a ballot for parish councillors to attend a royal garden party at Buckingham Palace. I "won" and the party was yesterday.

We decided to go by train. When checking the National Rail "departure board" for Theale, I found that the train we planned to travel on had been cancelled. The previous train was displayed as 5 minutes late, so I thought we might just be able to catch that. When we got to Theale station we discovered that all services were suspended because a person had been hit by a train. This turned out to be the fatality at Ufton Nervet level crossing. We therefore decided to drive to Reading station.

When we got to Reading station we discovered that services were seriously disrupted by another incident where someone had been hit by a train. The next "main" train was therefore 55 minutes late. Fortunately another 3-car train was about to depart. We got on that and even found seats. The train left and proceeded at a snails pace as far as Maidenhead because a track defect had closed the main "fast" line.

We got to Paddington just after 3 pm, which still gave us enough time. We shared a taxi, which took 40 minutes to get to the palace because of very heavy traffic.

We enjoyed a warm, sunny, afternoon in the beautiful palace gardens. We got close to a few royal family members.

Our return journey was also eventful. It took ages to catch a taxi. Then the return train was delayed by a signal problem that closed the "slow" relief lines.

However, it was still a pleasurably memorable day with a few good photographs (cameras are not allowed in the palace grounds).

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
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Monday, 21 May 2012

IKEA planning application latest

My request for the IKEA planning application to be "called in" to be decided by the Secretary of State has been rejected. Therefore, provided that IKEA sign the Section 106 legal agreement by August, their planning permission will be granted.

A statement on this planning application in Theale's Future's newsletter is rather misleading. If the IKEA application does not go ahead and another company submits a planning application for the site, then they will have to fund any highways improvements that their application requires. These may be more (unlikely) or less than those required from IKEA. What was said at the planning committee meeting was that road improvements would be required to cope with rising traffic in any case and that the council would be unable to afford them without the contribution from IKEA.

In the meantime, there are rumours that the developers who put in the (refused) application to build 750 homes on Pincents Hill may put in another planning application. It is difficult to see how the road system could be improved to cope with the traffic from both that and IKEA.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Reported flytipping in Theale High Street to West Berks council

Noticed on Sunday that this furniture had been dumped in Theale High Street:



It was still there today, so I have reported it to streetcare@westberks.gov.uk

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Handed out flyers for young people's activity survey at Theale Green School

I have been handing out flyers to students going home from Theale Green School this afternoon.

The flyers "advertised" Theale Parish Council's survey to find out what kind of activities are wanted for young people.

Councillor Alan Macro

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Warning signs had been stolen at fatal tragedy ford

Warning signs had recently been stolen from the West Berkshire approach to the ford across the river Enborne where a man and a dog drowned yesterday.

The car in which they were passengers entered the ford when the water was over 5 feet deep.

It is possible that the tragedy may not have occurred if the signs had not been stolen.

West Berkshire Council were in the process of replacing the stolen signs. They are also reviewing the signage to see if the warnings could be made clearer.

Councillor Alan Macro

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Saturday, 28 April 2012

Reading free "Changing ways of Theale" book

I was given an interesting book: "The Changing ways of Theale" by Theale library yesterday.

It is full of interesting photos of Theale and it is free!

It covers the history of Theale, concentrating on the influence of transport links.

The photos were taken by the Kingsley Photographic Group. This is a group of people with physical and learning difficulties based at the Greenfield House day centre in Calcot.

Publication of the book was financed by the Heritage Lottery fund.

I was also given a booklet commemorating the Theale Community Quilt that was made by Theale villagers to celebrate the millennium. The quilt is on display on the wall of the main hall in Theale Green Community School.

The library still has good stocks of the book and booklet - go in and ask for them!

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Arranged special recycling collection for Alderfield Close tomorrow

An Alderfield Close resident phoned me this morning to say that the recycling was not collected yesterday. This was because inconsiderately parked vehicles meant that the recycling truck could not get into the close.

I have therefore arranged for a special collection tomorrow (25th April).

I have also asked the local police to monitor parking in the close - I have had previous complaints about one of the vehicles involved. They will warn the owner and prosecute if necessary.

Councillor Alan Macro

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Thursday, 19 April 2012

Asked West Berks Council to enforce parking restrictions around Theale Green school

After being contacted by two affected residents, I have asked for "Civilian Enforcement officers" (traffic wardens) to patrol the Meadow Way/Church Street/Volunteer Road area around school leaving times. This is to act as a deterrent against thoughtless parking by parents picking up Theale Green School pupils.

Councillor Alan Macro

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