Tuesday, 10 November 2015

New planning application submitted for lakeside site in Theale

An outline planning application for a residential development of 325 houses and apartments (including 70 extra-care units) has been submitted for the Lakeside site in Theale. The application number is 15/02842/OUTMAJ. The planning documents can be accessed by clicking here

The following map shows the location of the site (shaded black):



The proposal is for:
  • 91 3-bedroom houses
  • 38 4 or more bedroom houses
  • 16 1-bedroom flats
  • 110 2-bedroom flats
  • 29 1-bedroom "cluster flats"
  • 41 2-bedroom "cluster flats"

"Cluster flats" are flats that share a kitchen or common room. I suspect that the 70 "cluster flats" make up the extra-care sheltered housing.

Access to the site is proposed to be by both the existing (closed off) access off The Green and from the end of St Ives Close.

The southern part of the site already has planning permission for 350 homes, including 5-storey blocks of flats.

A special meeting of Theale Parish Council will be held on 30th November to decide on objections to the application. The meeting will start at 7:30pm and will be held at:

    The Peter Gooch Room
    The Pavilion
    Englefield Road
    Theale

Although the application says "matters to be considered - access", many details are supplied that will set the scene for detailed applications. These details need to be taken into account now if you are considering any objections.

You can comment on the application on the Public Accesssystem or send them to mailto:planapps@westberks.gov.uk


West Berkshire‬ Housing Site Allocations DPD, including the sites in Theale approved for submission

The West Berkshire‬ Housing Site Allocations Development Plan Document was approved for submission at a special West Berkshire Council meeting on November 5th. The DPD allocates sites around the district for building homes and included these two sites in Theale:


THE003: 15 homes (reduced from 50 in the "preferred options" version of the DPD)

THE009: 70 homes (reduced from 125 in the "preferred options" version of the DPD)

I tried to table an amendment to exclude site THE009 (70 homes) in Theale, among others in Thatcham and Newbury, but this was ruled out of order. Council officers claimed that my amendment would negate the motion to approve the DPD. I disputed that removing four sites out of a total of 29 negated the motion but had to accept the Chairman's ruling. I then spoke against these sites in my speech on the main motion.
The DPD has now gone out to formal consultation, which will close on 21st December. It is important for as many of you as possible to respond to the consultation. These responses, along with the ones submitted to the preferred options DPD last summer, will go to the planning inspector who has to approve the DPD before it can be adopted. Things have changed since the preferred options stage. It is important to comment on those changes and to support the rejection of the old Theale sewage works site, land at M4 J12, and Pincents Hill - the landowners/developers will be likely to try to get them put back in.

You can read the DPD and associated documents by clicking here. You can take part in the consultation on that site or by emailing your comments to planningpolicy@westberks.gov.uk

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Latest News on Housing Sites Proposed for Theale

West Berkshire Council consulted on proposed sites for new housing in the district last summer. These were called "preferred options" and were included in a document called the "Housing Site Allocations Development Plan Document" (DPD). Those preferred options included four sites around Theale:

THE001 Former sewage works in Blossom Lane - 88 homes
THE003 North Lakeside - 50 homes
THE005 Land at Junction12 (between J12 and Theale) 50 homes
THE009 Field between A340 and The Green - 125 homes

The Council has now looked again at all the sites throughout the district as a result of the consultation and has produced a new version of the DPD as a result. The Council has removed some sites altogether and has changed the number of homes proposed for many sites. It has also put in sites previously rejected (though not in Theale).

In response to consultation comments made by residents, Theale Parish Council and me, the following two sites in Theale have now been rejected:

THE001 Former sewage works in Blossom Lane - 88 homes
THE005 Land at Junction12 (between J12 and Theale) - 50 homes

Also, the number of homes proposed for the remaining two sites in Theale have been reduced significantly:

THE003 North Lakeside - now 15 homes
THE009 Field between A340 and The Green - now 70 homes

These sites are shown on the map below.





So, whereas Theale was threatened with a total of 313 new homes, 85 are now proposed. However, some people who who live in The Green face the prospect of new housing sites both in front and behind them.

There is a strong possibility that a new planning application will shortly be submitted for the two Lakeside sites (between The Green and the bypass). If this is approved then it is likely to include the 15 homes proposed for North Lakeside (THE003).

The DPD is due to be approved by a special meeting of West Berkshire Council at 7pm on November 5th at St Bartholomews School in Newbury. Residents will be able to attend the meeting but will not be able to speak. The meeting will also be webcast on the Council's Youtube Channel

Assuming it is approved, this final version of the DPD will go out to consultation between 9th November and 21st December and then submitted to the Secretary of State. It will then be subject to an independent examination. It is likely to be adopted in about a year's time.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Housing study finds that 665 new homes need to be built in ‎West Berks ‬each year.

The study, a Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), looked at future needs across the whole of Berkshire and established the number of homes a year that will need to be built between now and 2036. It also proposed how those should be split across the six Berkshire councils.
The study was produced by the six Berkshire local authorities and the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership and is intended to help shape local discussions about how many houses should be built and where. The study also looked at the need for affordable housing and what housing is needed for specific groups such as older people and communities. All the information collated will help West Berkshire Council prepare a new Local Plan.

The Assessment can be access by clicking here.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

More delays to the building of the lifts and new footbridge at Theale station.

It has now been decided that the project to build a new footbridge and lifts will be carried out by Network Rail rather than Great Western Railway (First Great Western as was). This is because Network Rail will be carrying out a lot of other work at the station in connection with the electrification and new trains. This work will include extending the platforms.

Unfortunately, Network Rail will be re-tendering the project because of the length of time since the last tenders were received. Network Rail are hoping to have finished the re-tendering by mid March and to start work soon after that.

We are trying to schedule a meeting with Network rail and GWR next month to discuss the situation.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Wrote letter to ‪Reading Chronicle in response to letter from a man who doesn't "give a fig" about the environment

Dear Editor,
Mr. Eoin may not “give a fig” about the environment (Chronicle letters 8th Oct) but I hope that he cares about the air we breathe.
Government figures show that nitrogen dioxide, the pollutant subject to VW’s defeat device, contributes to 23,500 deaths per year in Britain. Particulates, the oily soot produced by diesels, contributes to another 29,000 deaths. These account for almost one in ten of all deaths in the UK.
We all live in, and affect, “the environment”. Everything that we do to it affects everyone.
Alan Macro
Theale

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Tree work on Theale bypass embankment.

I have received several complaints from residents about the tree work that has been carried out on this embankment, behind Cavalier Close and Mulberry Way, over the last few days:



I passed these complaints on to West Berkshire Council's grounds maintenance manager. He had one of his officers visit the site and speak to the tree surgeon on Monday.

They have agreed to pollard affected willow trees to six metres above ground level, rather than two to three metres, from now on. This pollarding will still look drastic, but the willows will re-grow quickly (like the ones at the end of Cavalier Close and opposite the library did). 

I have received a copy of a tree condition report that was carried out last autumn. This specified different treatment for different groups of trees, and individual trees, depending on their condition and location. Some willows are specified to be coppiced (cut down, but leaving a stump to form a base for re-growth). Again, these should re-generate quickly. Trees growing between the noise fence and the bypass, growing within a metre of the fences or in the ditch are specified to be felled. There are also several trees that are to be felled because they are dead (including some elms) or are leaning.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

IKEA Calcot store to open next summer

I attended a meeting of local councillors with the new store manager last week. She said that the store will open next summer. She said that they will recruit about 350 "co-workers" and that they will be attending the Reading Jobs Fair at The Hexagon on Oct 1st to start recruiting. They pay the Living Wage (the one monitored by the Living Wage Foundation, not the imitation created by George Osborne).
She assured me that co-workers (staff) would be able to park in their car park - there is no separate staff parking.
She also told me that they would consider a park-and-ride scheme during the first few months to avoid the kind of traffic gridlock that we have seen elsewhere. They are putting much more emphasis on home delivery, so its not so important for customers to drive to their stores.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Fallen tree obstructing footpath from ‪‎Theale‬ to M4 footbridge reported to ‎West Berks‬ Council

This tree was reported to me and to the Council by a concerned resident. I followed this up by calling the Council asking it to dealt with urgently as many people use the footbridge between Theale High Street and Pincents Lane to cross the M4.


Letter to local papers re West Berks Council responsibility for affordable housing scandals

Dear Editor,

It is indeed good news that progress is at last being made on provision of affordable housing at Parkway, Newbury, and Taceham House, Thatcham.

However, this should not deflect from the fact that Conservative-controlled West Berkshire Council must accept blame for the delays.

The Council has taken six years to sell Taceham House to a housing association
since it boarded it up.

A poor legal agreement drawn up when SLI was given planning permission for Parkway meant that SLI were able to sell its private apartments for over two years while the 37 affordable apartments on the site stood empty. It's only sanction was to stop those sales. When the Council belatedly did so, it badly affected innocent buyers of the private apartments.

Meanwhile, over one thousand families in real housing need have been waiting for a home.


--

Alan Macro
Liberal Democrat Spokesman for Housing and Planning
West Berkshire Council 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Consultation on new proposal for housing on the Lakeside site in ‪‎Theale‬

Consultation on new proposal for housing on the Lakeside site in ‪#‎Theale‬
The site is in the triangle formed by the Theale bypass, The Green and Volunteer Road. The site currently has planning permission for 350 homes (80% flats) on the southern part of the site. This permission was given by an inspector at a planning appeal.
The new proposal is for a total of 325 homes on both sides of the lake consisting of: a 70 unit extra care sheltered housing complex, 128 houses and a mixture of 3, 4, and 5 storey flats (60%). The density would be under 50 dwellings per hectare, compared to 78 per hectare under the scheme already given planning permission.

Each house would have on-plot parking and there would be one parking space for each flat plus visitor parking.
The material displayed at the open day can be viewed here
The first page shows the plan that has already been given planning permission. The last page shows how the buildings MIGHT look. Please send me any comments and I will get them passed on to the developers


Thursday, 6 August 2015

Exhibition of new housing proposal for Lakeside site in Theale to be held on 19th August

A new housing development  is being proposed for the Lakeside site in Theale. The site is around the lake in the triangle of land between The Green, the Theale Bypass and Volunteer Road. The land south of the lake was given planning permission for 350 homes by a government inspector several years ago.

The new proposal covers the land both south and north of the lake, which have been under different ownership. If it goes ahead, it will be instead of the 350 homes already permitted.

The developer will hold a drop-in exhibition so that residents can see the proposals and comment on them. It will be held between 4pm and 8pm on Wednesday 19th August and will be held at:

The Peter Gooch Room
The Pavilion
Recreation Ground
Englefield Road
Theale

The Pavilion is the building next door to the village hall and social club.

Please pass this information on to your neighbours and friends in Theale.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Updated: Asked West Berks Highways to investigate safety of Theale Bypass/Waterside Drive/Hoad Way roundabout

A lady who runs a business in Theale complained to me about the safety of the Theale Bypass/Waterside Drive/Hoad Way roundabout. She told me that she has two or three near misses a week when turning right into Hoad Way. She told me that vehicles approaching the roundabout from the west often fail to give way to vehicles already on the roundabout.

I have been concerned about safety on this roundabout for some time. There is a dip in the roundabout that, when combined with the up-slope on the western approach to the roundabout, obscures vehicles on the roundabout. Visibility is made much worse when the grass on the central reservation grows long. I have asked for this grass to be cut on several reasons for this reason.

I have therefore asked the Council's Highways Service to investigate to see if a safety audit is required.

Update from West Berks Council Highways Officer:

I have looked at the accident record for the above roundabout.  Considering the amount of traffic it fares well in comparison to similar roundabouts.  Over the most recent three years there have been six  injury accidents at this roundabout with five resulting in slight injuries and one serious.  The breakdown of accidents at this roundabout are as follows:

·         Three occurred on the Hoad Way approach to the roundabout all of these were rear end shunts caused by human factors.
·         One occurred on the A4 (M4 approach) again a rear end shunt with human factors being the cause.
·         Two occurred on the roundabout one bicycle (no information on causation) and another involving a motorcycle which resulted in serious injuries, this was caused by an elderly driver was taken ill at the wheel.

No accidents were recorded involving a right turn manoeuvre into Hoad Way so would indicate drivers are coping well with this at the moment.  As a comparison I have looked at the A4/A340 roundabout.  In the same period there have been 14 injury accidents on this roundabout (4 serious and 10 slight).  I have attached a screen shot showing the location of the accidents for both roundabouts.


We will continue to monitor this but at this time we do not have any concerns over this roundabout.

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

Alan re-elected as Councillor for Theale on West Berkshire Council

I am very happy and pleased to thank voters in Theale for re-electing me as Councillor for Theale on West Berkshire Council.

I increased my share of the vote from 56% in 2011 to 58% this time. 

Please click here for detailed results.

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

Friday, 10 April 2015

Three candidates nominated for #Theale ward in the Council elections on May 7th

Three candidates have been nominated for Theale ward in the Council elections on May 7th:

Theale
(One seat)
Name of Candidate
Home Address
Description (if any)
Name of Proposer
Invalid
MACRO
Alan Michael
17 The Green, Theale, Reading, RG7 5DR
Liberal Democrats
Bown Stephen G, Grana Mario J, Grana Andrew M, Fowler Sylvia D, Macro Sheila M, Walker Sylvia, Smith Gillian M, Long Evelyn M, Dunn Pamela J, Wood David W

REYNOLDS
Billie Sarah
47 Elizabeth Court, Theale, Reading, RG7 5AQ
Labour Party
Hopson Sharon F, Ohsan Genevieve M, Lyons Valerie E, Ahuja Haneet, Bateman Charles, Eynon Angelina D, Bliss Mary E, Brown Elizabeth, Wells Anthony K, Fawzy Mohammed K

THOMPSON
Andrew Guy
14 Purley Magna, Purley on Thames, RG8 8EL
Conservative Party Candidate
Conner Susan P, Bucknell William A, Callaway Ian S, Quinnell Leigh N, Bold Georgina D, Fisher Greg, Sennett Matthew, Sennett Emma J, Turner Stephanie V, Glanfield Gillian L






(extracted from the STATEMENT OF PERSONS NOMINATED AND NOTICE OF POLL issued by West Berkshire Council)

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council

Please see what is happening in Theale 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

Published and promoted by Tony Vickers on behalf of Newbury & West Berkshire Liberal Democrats, Ringway House, Kelvin Road, Newbury, RG14 2DB, Tel 01635 47375.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Have you received your polling card from West Berks council?

Polling cards for West Berkshire residents started being delivered last week. Everyone who was registered before March 1st should have received one by now.

If you haven't received one, it may be because you have not been registered on the electoral roll at your current address. You can register on-line at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

You need to be registered by 20th April to be able to vote in the general and council elections on 7th May.

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

Please see what is happening in Theale 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


Published and promoted by Tony Vickers on behalf of Newbury & West Berkshire Liberal Democrats, Ringway House, Kelvin Road, Newbury, RG14 2DB, Tel 01635 47375.

Resurfacing of Station Road, Theale - temporary traffic lights and road closures from this weekend

Work on resurfacing Station Road is starting on Friday evening and continuing on the following three Sundays. Traffic will be disrupted as follows:

Friday Evening 10th April - Plane Off Full Carriageway - 2 Way Traffic Lights And Convoy Working.

Sunday 12th April - Road Closure

Sunday 19th April - Road Closure

Sunday 26th April - Road Closure

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

Please see what is happening in Theale 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


Published and promoted by Tony Vickers on behalf of Newbury & West Berkshire Liberal Democrats, Ringway House, Kelvin Road, Newbury, RG14 2DB, Tel 01635 47375.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Suspicious tradesmen knocking on doors in #Theale

I have received an email from a resident of Blossom Lane saying a man knocked on her door saying her gable end needed fixing. She was suspicious and politely refused.

Reputable tradesmen do not normally need to go touting for business.

Please do not give business to people like this. You do not know how skilled they are and whether they will charge a  reasonable rate. You do not know whether the work actually needs doing.

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

Please see what is happening in Theale 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


Published and promoted by Tony Vickers on behalf of Newbury & West Berkshire Liberal Democrats, Ringway House, Kelvin Road, Newbury, RG14 2DB, Tel 01635 47375.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Updated: Outcome of Theale Parish Council Special Meeting to Decide on Location for Replacement Primary School

This was a very lively meeting! Many residents spoke passionately about the need for a new school at the beginning of the meeting. Equally, many residents spoke with equal passion about the need to keep public open space.

Several residents complained about the lack of notice about the meeting. It was explained that this was because West Berks Council had asked for a decision before Easter. There was also a delay in publicising the meeting  because advice had to be obtained on whether such a decision could be taken during the election campaign.

West Berks Council officers gave explanations of why their preferred site was on the North Street playing fields. However, residents and parish councillors felt that there were not fully satisfactory answers to all questions, particularly on planning, traffic and road safety.

The Parish Council therefore decided to defer a decision and to organise a public meeting so that West Berks Council could fully explain their reasons for preferring this site and so that planning and highways questions to be fully answered.

It is intended that the public meeting will be held after the school holidays but before the end of April.

Update 14/4/15:

West Berkshire Council have asked for the public meeting to be put back to the second week in May. The exact date will depend on the availability of a suitable hall availability and of the appropriate West Berkshire Council officers.

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


Published and promoted by Tony Vickers on behalf of Newbury & West Berkshire Liberal Democrats, Ringway House, Kelvin Road, Newbury, RG14 2DB, Tel 01635 47375.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Special Meeting of Theale Parish Council to Consider Releasing Land for a Replacement Primary School

Theale Parish Council are holding a special meeting this Monday evening, 30th March. The council will discuss the following agenda item:

New Theale Primary School

West Berkshire Council has approved the construction of a new, replacement, primary school on a new site in Theale.

West Berkshire Council's preferred site is on the North Street playing fields, Englefield Road, which is currently leased by the parish council and used for football and public open space.

Members to discuss whether the site should be relinquished and RESOLVE on any actions required.

The proposed school site will occupy about 5 acres of the 13.5 acre field and it is anticipated that the remainder will remain as playing fields and public open space.

The meeting will be open to the public and the first item on the agenda is an Open Forum for Members of the Public.

The meeting will start at 7.30pm and will be held in:

The Peter Gooch Room
The Pavilion
Recreation Ground
Englefield Road
Theale

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Letter to press re cuts to West Berkshire Council Children's Services budgets

 Dear Editor,

The Conservative leader of West Berkshire Council has said that he was "delighted" with their budget.

This presumably means that he is delighted that:
  • the cuts to the budget for short respite breaks "may increase the likelihood of family breakdown"
  • cuts to speech, language, physio and occupational therapies to children with Special Educational Needs may lead to "to provision falling short of statutory requirements and being open to challenge"
  • several of the cuts will cause services to "focus exclusively on children at the bottom of the edge of care, at risk of exploitation or those who go missing".
  • cutting the budget of the Youth Offending Team "could lead to an increase in the number of young people receiving a custodial sentence,with potential associated non-avoidable costs to us [the Council] ". This team used to have one of the best records in the country.
  • cuts to Educational Welfare "will mean less support for more vulnerable pupils and their families, with a negative impact on schools and standards".
  • ceasing to commission the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service "may lead to a reduction in effective support to highly vulnerable young people"
  • the reduction in training budgets "runs contrary to our [the council's] plans to invest in our workforce to improve the quality of social work with children and their families"
  • the reduction in capacity in school place planning and transport will negatively affect "a high pressure area".
All the quotes above are directly from the Tory Administration's own budget papers.


--


Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale
West Berkshire Council 

Friday, 13 March 2015

Food hygiene at one of the takeaways in Theale needs "urgent improvement"

As of 13th March 2015, the food hygiene rating for the Oriental Bar takeaway in Theale was "0 - Urgent Improvement Necessary".

Please check these Food Standards Authority Food Hygiene Ratings for takeaways in Theale before you use this takeaway.

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, 11 March 2015

Latest application to turn Theale Red Lion into flats refused planning permission

The latest Red Lion planning application has been refused. It was refused on the following grounds:

  • Actual and perceived overlooking of homes in Meadow Way
  • Overlooking of 7 Church Street
  • Insufficient parking
The application was to demolish the skittle alley and extend and convert the pub to provide nine apartments.

I have been informed that the applicant is likely to appeal.


--
Kind Regards,

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, 4 March 2015

£7.4M allocated for replacement primary school for Theale

West Berkshire Council agreed their capital investment programme last night that includes investing £7,373,740 in a new school to replace Theale Church of England Primary School.

This is good news for Theale as the current school is full. However, it will not be finished until at least the summer of 2017. There have been long unnecessary delays in the project and a site for the new school has still not yet been finalised.

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


Lane closures on Theale Bypass Thursday 5th March

There will be lane closures on the Theale Bypass during the day on Thursday 5th March. This is for gully (drain) cleansing.

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

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Demolition work behind 40-58 Theale High Street due to start 2nd March

Demolition work behind 40-58 Theale High Street is scheduled to start Monday 2nd March. Thi is in preparation for the development of 27 homes for the over-55s.

The work may affect the access between Kaya's and Cropper's that leads to Cumber Hall and Leonard court.

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

Please see what is happening in Theale 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

Bridge taking A340 Theale to Pangbourne road over the M4 will be closed from 2nd to 13th March, traffic will be diverted

The bridge taking the A340 Theale to Pangbourne road over the M4 near Tidmarsh will be closed for repairs maintenance from Monday 2nd March to 13th March.

Traffic will be diverted.

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

Please see what is happening in Theale 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

I asked neighbourhood wardens to clear away fly-tipping and rubbish near North Walk & Cavalier Close

I had a complaint from a resident about fly-tipping alongside the footpath that leads from North walk to North Street. I investigated and found broken furniture and a tyre had been dumped. I have asked the neighbourhood wardens to clear this. They may not be able to access the broken furniture, however, as this is behind a security fence.

I also asked them to clear a small accumulation of rubbish from the footpath leading from Cavalier Close to Volunteer Meadow (the green area between the allotments and the bypass).

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

Please see what is happening in Theale 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, 25 February 2015

Asked West Berks Council officers to solve the problem of HGVs obstructing Theale High Street

Last November I asked officers to look into the problems caused by delivery vehicles obstructing Theale High Street by double parking. In particular, the problems caused by the large lorry that delivers flowers to the flower shop on Tuesday evenings. I asked them to look into the possibility of introducing time limited loading bays. Officers agreed to investigate.

I received complaints last night about the flower lorry blocking the access to Cumber Hall, which was being used at the time by cub scouts. I have therefore chased the officers to do the investigation and give me an update.

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

Please see what is happening in Theale 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



Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Dismay That West BerkshireHomeless Families Sent To Bed And Breakfast In Slough

I have just issued the following news release in my capacity as Opposition Housing and Planning Spokesman:

Liberal Democrats Dismayed That Homeless Families In West Berkshire Are Being Sent To Bed And Breakfast Accommodation In Slough

Alan Macro, Liberal Democrat spokesman for Housing and Planning on West Berkshire Council, is dismayed that homeless families from West Berkshire are being put up in bed and breakfast accommodation in Slough. He said "putting up homeless families so far away is very distressing for the families. This is especially so for the children as their schooling is extremely disrupted. The families are also a long way from their families and friends".

He added "I understand that the immediate cause of the problem is that owners of bed and breakfast accommodation in West Berkshire and nearby are reluctant to take in homeless families. However, the real cause of the problem is that there is not enough affordable housing or homeless accommodation in the district. This problem has been made much worse by the scandal of  buildings and flats standing empty for years:
  • Taceham House in Thatcham used to be used to house homeless families. However, Conservative-controlled West Berkshire Council allowed it to stand empty for over six years before putting it up for sale. Planning permission was granted months ago to replace it with affordable flats. However, protracted negotiations between the Council and a housing association means that the block has been neither re-developed nor available for homeless families.

  • The 37 empty affordable flats at the Parkway shopping centre were completed over 18 months ago but are unlikely to be available for occupation until the autumn. Tory West Berkshire Council has allowed this awful situation to develop by drawing up poor legal agreements with the developer and taking an extremely long time to take action, ineffective so far, to try to get the flats occupied."
Judith Bunting, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Newbury, will be asking a question about the Parkway affordable housing scandal at the meeting of West Berkshire Council on March 3rd. Judith commented that "You have to question why this Council is sending people in need away from West Berkshire. Relocating individuals and, especially, families so far from their established support networks is unreasonable and counter productive."