News Sheet Autumn 2015
Goring & Streatley Amenity Association
Welcome to our Autumn 2015 News Sheet !
Our Autumn Meeting will be held in the Morrell Room, Streatley, at 8.00 pm on Monday 26th October when our speaker will be Rose Somerset, Communications Officer of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty who will talk about the history and special features of the area, the work of the organisation and its current major concerns in continuing to protect it. Do bring your friends and voice your personal concerns!
The meeting will be preceded by a short update of the most important local issues.
Traffic in the High Streets
Goring’s newly-elected parish council has been looking again at the various aspects of traffic and pedestrian safety in the High Street. One result of this, as you have probably seen in August’s Goring Gap News, is the resurrection of the suggestion that a one-way system could be introduced in the village centre, down the High Street towards the river, returning up Glebe Ride. This idea is not new, having been first considered seriously in 1971 and at least twice since then. Indeed it was used for a short time in the early 1980s during a spell of roadworks.
Whilst it has long been said that there is a substantial body of opinion in the community that believes something needs to be done about traffic in the High Street, this has never been properly tested and we are also aware that there are those who say there is no need for any change. Your Association has therefore not previously strongly supported a one-way system as the best solution to the concerns of residents, preferring other possible solutions such as one or more pedestrian crossings or traffic light control of, and pavement-widening in, “the narrows”.
In response to renewed interest in the subject, we carried out our traffic survey in 2009 and discussions with the parish council and OCC were reopened but no action was agreed. The reasons are unclear but previous attempts to persuade OCC to do something have failed on the grounds that there have not been any or enough serious accidents to justify it, and OCC Highways are perennially short of money.
Parish councillors have said that they are due to meet OCC again in October, but in our opinion the prospect of any action arising from this meeting is once again probably low. Nevertheless it might help the parish council to make a better case if there was some new evidence of significant support within the community for some action to be taken. Therefore we ask that you let this committee and the parish council know your views on this topic (e.g. do you think there is a problem?), and specifically whether you support the council’s proposals as described in GGN. The Association has not yet formally commented on the council’s latest proposals but will consider how to respond in the light of your responses. Please reply to email@example.com
Meanwhile we understand that Streatley’s refreshed Parish Plan proposes a survey of views on parking arrangements in their High Street and that discussions are continuing between the parish council and West Berkshire Council on possible changes there.
Housing in Goring
The Neighbourhood Development Plan is progressing slowly but surely. A formal Steering Group has now been formed and has agreed its Terms of Reference with the Parish Council, to which it is responsible. The majority of the members of the steering group were elected from among their number by the 60+ people who have already volunteered to help prepare the plan and we wish to record our congratulations especially to the 4 of the 5 elected members who are members of this Association. The Terms of Reference indicate that the area to be covered by the plan is the whole Parish of Goring on Thames, subject to confirmation following a 6-week period of public consultation which will start soon. The only other decision of note is that the target date for holding the village referendum on the finished plan is now the day of the county council elections in May 2017. The process is being led by Councillor Brandon Hancox.
Streatley Parish Plan Refresh
The Parish Council has resolved that the plan is now ready to be submitted for approval by West Berks Council and to be posted on the village website.
A new application for the hydro-electric scheme involving installation of three Archimedes screws in the weirs next to Goring lock has just been submitted to SODC. As well as adding a new control gate to alleviate the risk of flooding above the weir, the associated building previously sited on the island beside the lockkeeper’s house has now been moved to a position on the weir above the turbines. This is shown in the attached photomontages as having a red brick frontage. The deadline for comment to SODC is 21st October.
Tesco’s appeal against SODC’s failure to decide their original planning applications covering the details of their proposed conversion of the former Queen’s Arms was upheld by the inspector in June. However, a condition was imposed that more detailed plans of what was proposed should be submitted. Tesco had already submitted new applications (still undecided), although it is unclear what the differences are between these and the earlier ones. Also, the attempt to have the building declared a Community Asset (which would have given villagers several months to attempt to buy it) failed. Developments are awaited.
In Streatley, substantial alterations to The Granary, a listed building which faces the weir pool, have been approved by WBC despite the parish council recommending refusal.
Gap Fun and Fitness
Following its earlier rejection of the plan for open-air exercise equipment put forward by a group of our members, Goring parish council has been pursuing options for improved play facilities for 7 to 11year olds, with a member of our original group on their working party. The council has sought advice from South Stoke residents involved in their recent installation of new facilities and further consultation on what is needed in Goring will take place during the autumn. There are also several proposals for improved exercise facilities in Streatley’s refreshed Parish Plan.
Another project arising from the Jubilee Children’s Competition organised by the Association in 2012 has become established. The film shows for under-12’s are into their third winter and continue to be well-supported.
However we are disappointed to learn that support within Goring parish council for the suggestion for a kayak launching site at Ferry Lane appears to have declined in the face of various financial and practical objections and a lack of evidence of real public support.
Other Local News
The tolls on Whitchurch Bridge have recently been raised following a public enquiry during the summer. It remains to be seen how much of an impact this will have on the levels of traffic using Goring bridge.
Once again we congratulate Goring Gap in Bloom on their efforts to brighten and tidy up both villages this summer and on the recently-announced achievement of winning the Thames & Chilterns Small Towns and Large Villages class and another gold award.
We also congratulate the organisers of the Food and Drink festival on their successful event.
The Public-Access defibrillator has now been installed on the front of Goring Village Hall. Access is available to anyone requesting a code from the emergency services and the equipment comes with full instructions for its use. See the August GGN for further details.
Subscriptions due and Membership Forms
We would appreciate it if all Members who have not yet paid their subscription for 2015 would do so as soon as possible. Cheques should be sent to GSAA c/o 4-5 High Street, Goring RG8 9AT and electronic payments such as bank transfers and Standing Orders to TSB Goring, sort code 30-13-42, account no. 00014219. Subscriptions are £2 per annum per household or £1 per annum for single occupants. To save expense, we encourage payment for five years in advance or, if annually, by Standing Order.
In order to keep our records up-to-date, we are asking all Members to complete a Membership Form which confirms all their contact details including their email address. As stated in earlier News Sheets, all communications with Members are now by email. Copies of the Form will be available at the Autumn Meeting on 26 October and we ask for them to be completed and either handed to a committee member or sent to GSAA c/o 4-5 High Street, Goring RG8 9AT.
Finally, keeping our records up-to-date and communicating with our Members are two of our primary objectives. These require some skill and dedication. Any Member who has such talents and is prepared to help should please tell any committee member or email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to GSAA c/o 4-5 High Street, Goring, RG8 9AT.
Thank you for your continued support of the Association.