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The view from Katesgrove Hill

Category: Housing (page 1 of 5)

Problems with council accounts ‘a disgrace’ says Councillor Ricky Duveen

Civic Offices April 2019

Liberal Democrat councillor Ricky Duveen used Reading Borough Council‘s (RBC) full council meeting on 25 February to say that the “never-ending issues with producing the council’s accounts are a disgrace.”

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Big Brother RBC

Reading Borough Crest

Reading Borough Council (RBC) plan to spend £2.5 million over the next four years implementing a new customer service strategy. This will offer more online services and includes a system to hold all the data they have about us in one place.

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Matt Rodda MP speaks in Parliament about fire safety in buildings

Matt Rodda at the count 13 December 2019

Matt Rodda, Labour MP for Reading East, took part in the debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday 21 January to consider the Grenfell Tower Inquiry: Phase 1 Report. This had been preceded the day before by the Government’s announcement of a package of reforms to the building safety system.

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Katesgrove’s link with carols in the trenches in 1914

25 December 1914 Archibald Buchanan-Dunlop (left), Captain M. B. G. Copeman (centre), and Captain W. C. Wilson (right) in the trenches at La Grande Flamengrie. Image courtesy Robin Buchanan-Dunlop

Major Archibald Henry Buchanan-Dunlop of Whitley Rise was pictured in the Berkshire Chronicle of 8 January 1915 beneath the headline “Major who sang carols between the trenches”. A short paragraph beneath reported that he was one of the “moving spirits” in the Christmas truce between British and German troops on the Western Front [ref 1].

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Red Cow public house has a walk on role in surreal planning committee drama

The Red Cow

The Red Cow in 2016

The Red Cow public house at the corner of Southampton Street and Crown Street was mentioned at last week’s Reading Borough Council (RBC) planning applications committee. Julie Williams, RBC acting planning manager, told the committee that during the ongoing refurbishment developers had been asked to rebuild a section of wall. This was because they had laid bricks in stretcher rather than Flemish bond and, as the pub is a listed building, the method used had to be in historically appropriate.

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Twinned with the Whitley Pump – Walton Well drinking fountain

Walton Well drinking fountain

In Jericho, Oxford’s answer to Katesgrove, you will find Walton Well drinking fountain. It is situated at the junction of Walton Well Road with Southmoor Road and Longworth Road and right opposite the site of the former Eagle Ironworks. There had been a well, a spring and a ford at this point until the 1880s, but that had been filled in. Former Oxford Mayor William Ward presented the fountain in 1885.

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Kobanî House lives to fight another day

Kobani House celebrates the dismissal of IPO at Reading County Court

Kobanî House celebrates the dismissal of the IPO

The owners of the former Red Lion pub on Southampton Street, renamed Kobanî House by its new occupants, have failed in their first attempt to evict the building’s residents. Reading County Court dismissed the application for an interim possession order (IPO) on 3 December because the landlord had not followed the correct service procedure.

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Reading’s political parties discuss climate change, a fairer society and the EU at the Quaker Hustings

Reading GE hustings 2019 at the Quaker Meeting House

From L-> R: Matt Rodda & Rachel Eden (Labour), Yemi Awolola (CPA), convenor John Crosfield, timekeeper Christina Hughes Nind, Imogen Shepherd-DuBey (Liberal Democrat), Jamie Whitham & David McElroy (Green).

An estimated 60 people attended the parliamentary hustings at the Quaker Meeting House in Katesgrove, Reading on Thursday 28 November. Candidates Matt Rodda and Rachel Eden (Labour), Jamie Whitham and David McElroy (Green), Imogen Shepherd-DuBey (Liberal Democrat) and Yemi Awolola (Christian Peoples Alliance, CPA) answered questions from the Reading public about the UK’s future relationship with Europe, a fairer society and the climate emergency.

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The Berkshire Data Observatory


The Berkshire Data Observatory is a new website that presents data about the local population, crime, housing and economics. It has been compiled and is kept up to date by ‘Public Health for Berkshire’ together with Berkshire’s six local authorities, including Reading Borough Council (RBC).

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Southampton Street’s Red Lion Pub reopens as Kobanî House

Adem playing the Turkish guitar at Kobani House (the Red Lion Pub), Southampton Street

Adem playing the Turkish guitar at Kobanî House (the Red Lion Pub), Southampton Street

The former Red Lion pub on Southampton Street has gained a new lease of life as a social and political space. The new occupiers have re-named the building ‘Kobanî House’ after the city in Rojava province in northern Syria, and they hosted their first open-mic night on 7 November, featuring music from Kurdistan.

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Planning and building control applications in south Reading for the week ending 9 November

There were 11 new planning or building control applications in south Reading this week. They may be discussed at one of the next Reading Borough Council planning applications committees.

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University neighbours are fed up with parking problems, HMOs, litter and public disturbance, say Northcourt Avenue Residents’ Association

Garbage at the Whitley Park Lane bus stop

Garbage at the Whitley Park Lane bus stop

People living near the University of Reading (UoR) think that the university and its students are causing parking problems, damaging local communities by demanding more houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), littering and causing late-night disturbances. The Northcourt Avenue Residents’ Association (NARA) have released the analysis of a consultation they ran this year to see what residents really thought about living next to the University.

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The old Whitley Library is now for sale

The old Whitley Library building has now closed

The old Whitley Library building has now closed

Reading Borough Council (RBC) has put the old Whitley Library up for sale on the open market with agents Dunster & Morton, describing it as an ‘attractive listed building with potential for conversion to residential use’. Voluntary organisations can also put in a bid for the property through the third sector process. The deadline for all offers is 5pm on 19 December 2019.

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A new planning application for the Woodley Arms site on Waldeck Street

Rear of the Woodley Arms 23 October 2019

Lainston Woodley Arms LLP (LWA), who have planning approval to build student accommodation on the site of the Woodley Arms public house on Waldeck Street, have submitted a new application for 38 ‘co-living units’.

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Hug the Gaol on Sunday 13 October

Oscar Wilde gates on Chestnut Walk

The atmospheric art exhibition inspired by Oscar Wilde‘s haunting Ballad of Reading Gaol at the Riverside Museum at Blake’s Lock recently provides a compelling cultural backdrop to the Hug The Gaol Event on Sunday 13 October at 2pm. The emotive images evoked by the ‘Pit of Shame’ lead us to a feeling of redemption as we surround Reading Gaol in a mass hug to demonstrate our desire to have Reading Gaol at the heart of the community.

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Former Central Club sold subject to planning permission

The former Central Club on London Street

The FOR SALE signboard at the former Central Club (Reading Central Youth Provision) on London Street says that the building has been sold subject to planning permission.

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Reading Borough Council tenant awards 2019

Nominations are now open for the Reading Borough Council (RBC) tenant awards 2019. There are eight awards for council tenants, including two for gardens, that will be presented at an awards ceremony in February 2020.

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Student accommodation and Reading’s new local plan

The government planning inspector who examined Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) new local plan has advised that clarification is needed on the policy on student accommodation developments. The local plan will guide Reading’s planning policy until 2036, and this is the first time that Reading will have had a planning policy on development for student housing.

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Reading MP Alok Sharma speaks in Universal Credit debate

Alok Sharma, Conservative MP for Reading West and the minister of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), took part in a debate on Universal Credit and Debt on Wednesday 5 June. The debate had been requested by Ruth George, Labour MP for High Peak and took place in Westminster Hall.

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East and west Reading point in opposite directions in the second round of indicative Brexit votes

Matt Rodda (Labour MP for Reading East) and Alok Sharma (Conservative MP for Reading West) voted in parliament on the four indicative Brexit votes selected by the speaker on 1 April: Joanna Cherry’s motion G, Mr Clarke’s motion C, Nick Boles’s motion D and Peter Kyle’s motion E.

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