Friday, 29 July 2016

Final decision on future of ‪‎West Berks‬ libraries to be taken by all 52 councillors of the full council

I received the following email from West Berks Council Executive Member for Culture today:
From: Hilary Cole 
Sent: 29 July 2016 12:15
To: All Members <>

Subject: Libraries Needs Assessment update
Following a question to Executive by Cllr Macro regarding the Library Needs Assessment drop-in sessions, I took the opportunity to outline the process now that these sessions have concluded, this is set out below.
1)The outcome of the assessment will be known shortly and will be made public.
2) A report will then be prepared for Executive recommending that a six week consultation period takes place to gather the views of residents of West Berkshire in accordance with our consultation arrangements.
3) At the conclusion of the consultation process and following a thorough assessment of the responses the matter will be reported to full Council for a final decision as it is considered that the outcomes may be significant in terms of effects on communities in the district as well as in terms of budgetary implications.
A press release to this effect is also being issued.
Regards – Hilary
Councillor Hilary Cole
Ward Member, Chieveley
Executive Member: Adults, Care & Culture

CQC rating for "are services safe" at Theale Medical Centre now "good"

Overall summary:

Letter from the Chief Inspector of General Practice:

Our previous inspection in November 2014 found breaches of regulations relating to the safe delivery of services. We found the practice required improvement for the provision of safe services, and was rated good for providing effective, caring, responsive and well-led services. The population groups were rated as good for the patients registered at the practice. This inspection was undertaken to check the practice was meeting regulations. For this reason we have only rated the location for the key questions to which these relate. This report should be read in conjunction with the full inspection report of 26 November 2014. We found the practice had made improvements since our last inspection. At our inspection on the 30 September 2015 we found the practice was meeting the regulations that had previously been breached. Specifically we found:

  • Improvements had been made to maintain the accurate records of patients information. For example home visits had been properly recorded to ensure other staff would be able to access an accurate record of patients most recent care and treatment.
  • The practice had instituted systems to manage medicines and nomad or blister packs were checked by a second member of staff.
  • Staff were complying with the practice control of infection policy.
  • The practice was actively identifying, assessing and managing risks to health and safety of patients, staff and visitors.

We have amended the rating for this practice to reflect these changes. The practice is now rated good for the provision of safe services.

Professor Steve Field (CBE FRCP FFPH FRCGP) Chief Inspector of General Practice

Full Report:

Sunday, 24 July 2016

New planning application for 25 homes on North Lakeside site in ‎Theale‬

Outline planning application 16/01846/OUTMAJ has been submitted to build 25 homes on the North Lakeside site, off The Green, Theale. Permission for 7 houses on the adjacent site at the end of St Ives Close has already been given by a planning inspector.
These sites make up part of the Lakeside site for which a planning application for 325 homes was submitted late last year. This major application is still being considered by West Berkshire Council planning officers. A very complicated situation!

Thursday, 14 July 2016

People waiting for ‎Calcot‬ IKEA to open this morning

I was outside the new Calcot IKEA being interviewed by Meridien this morning. About 50 people were queuing for the opening. I was told that the first two in the queue had been there since 7am yesterday and had slept in a tent overnight!

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Planning permission given for new Theale Primary School

The planning application for the New Theale Primary School on the North Street Playing Field in Englefield Road was approved unaniously by West Berkshire Council's Eastern Area Planning Committee tonight (13th July).

Theale residents Andy Button and Paul Dinsdale spoke very strongly in favour of the application. A large contingent of Theale residents in the audience applauded Andy and Paul. They also applauded West Berkshire Councillors who spoke in support of the application.

No-one spoke against. Theale Parish Council was not represented.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Extraordinary meeting of Theale Parish Council confirmed decision to not release land for new primary school

An extraordinary meeting of Theale Parish Council last night (11th July) confirmed their approval of a letter sent to West Berkshire Council that said that they had decided not to relinquish the lease on the land that was the proposed site for the new primary school. They had decided not to relinquish the land on the North Street Playing Fields because conditions that they had set could not be met by West Berkshire Council.

The extraordinary meeting was necessary because correct notice had not been given of the meeting at which the original decision not to relinquish the lease was made.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Please sign this petition about the future of West Berks libraries

The decision about what happens to the public libraries in West Berkshire after the Needs Assessment is complete is currently intended to be taken by the Council's Executive Committee. This committee consists of ten members of the ruling political group (Conservative). Only members of the committee can vote and other councillors have very limited rights to speak at its meetings.

This petition asks for the decision to be taken by the full Council. This would allow all councillors to speak and vote on the decision. The petition also asks for the full report from the Needs Assessment to be published and for groups such as Friends of Theale Libray and parish councils to be consulted on its proposals

The petition reads:

The West Berkshire Council Executive is proposing radical changes to the library service.
We ask the Council to:
  1. Publish the full Libraries’ Needs Assessment Report in the interests of transparency of decision making
  2. Consult with stakeholder groups on proposals resulting from the Needs Assessment in order to allow co-creation of practical joint solutions
  3. Discuss and decide on the proposals in Full Council so that all Members can participate
and can be signed on-line at

Theale Library "have your say" session was very busy

It was a busy afternoon on Thursday for Wendy Crosson-Smith, the RedQuadrant consultant doing the Needs Assessment for West Berkshire Council. She was talking to library users continuously from 3pm to when the library closed at 7pm. She didn't manage to see everyone, unfortunately.

If you want to have your say and couldn't see her for any reason, then please send your comments to me and I will forward them

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Proposal for 88 New Homes on Old Theale Sewage Works Site

Developers are proposing to build 88 new homes on the former sewage works site at the end of Blossom Lane in Theale. The map below gives the location of the site:

© OpenStreetMap contributors

This site was one of those considered for a site for housing by West Berkshire Council last year, but was rejected because of:

Access problems
Motorway noise
Site crossed by power lines
Flooding risk
Possible contamination

However, the developer was represented at the public examination of the Council's proposed sites for housing. Their agent was trying to convince the inspector to have the site allocated.

No planning application has been submitted yet, but the developers will be holding a public exhibition of their plans at:

        The Peter Gooch Room
        The Pavilion
        Recreation Ground
        Englefield Road

On Monday 18th July between 3pm and 8pm

Their agent told the inspector that they aimed to submit an outline planning application in August.

Theale Parish Council has decided not to release land for new primary school

West Berkshire Council press release: Theale Parish Council has decided not to release land for new primary school

Theale residents no longer able to use the Smallmead waste and recycling centre in Island Road, Reading

West Berkshire residents can no longer use the Smallmead waste and recycling centre in Island Road, Reading. From 1st July only vehicles bearing a windscreen sticker issued to Reading, Wokingham and Bracknell Forest residents, or drivers showing a utility bill proving they are a resident of one of those districts, are able to use the site. This is because West Berkshire Council has stopped paying for their residents to use it.
West Berks residents now have to take non-recyclable rubbish to the Newtown Road Household Waste and Recycling Centre in Newbury. This is off the A339 south of Newbury.
Recyclable materials can be taken to the Padworth Recycling Centre. This is in Padworth Lane, off the A4 just before the Aldermaston junction. This site is open Mon - Fri: 12.30pm - 6pm and Sat - Sun: 8am - 6pm.
For more local recycling facilities, please see