2016 News Archive

New SANG Now Officially Open

We reported on 12th October that the new Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace, or SANG, on the Matthewsgreen Farm development had been opened, but the formal, “official” opening only took place on 14th December.  The following is the text of the press release that has been issued by Middlemarch Communications, the PR agency working on behalf of Bovis.

“On Wednesday 14 December, a new park for Emmbrook was formally opened.  The park is a Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace, or SANG, and part of the Matthewsgreen Farm housing development which is being delivered by Bovis Homes Thames Valley and Linden Homes Chiltern.

“The SANG was formally opened by Councillor Angus Ross, Wokingham Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment.  Bovis Homes Thames Valley have worked in close partnership with Wokingham Borough Council to deliver the SANG.  Local residents’ groups, Wokingham Borough councillors for the Emmbrook ward and town councillors attended the opening.

Cllr Ross said, â€œI am delighted to see another SANG or country park here.  We are lucky to have to provide even more open space for our new developments within seven kilometres of Heathland.  We are approaching 100 Hectares in the borough.  The new area at Toutley will mature into another great outdoor facility to encourage residents to exercise, with or without a dog.â€

The new SANG covers 6.7 hectares and is accessed via Old Forest Road.  Featuring walkways and bridges across the Emm Brook, as well as ponds, newly planted trees and wildflowers, the SANG will be an attractive, open green space – ideal for those keen to enjoy the great outdoors.

Terry Tedder, regional Managing Director for Bovis Homes Thames Valley, said, â€œAfter years of careful design and hard work we are delighted that we are now ready to welcome local residents to the new park.  We hope that this previously inaccessible land will become a well-loved outdoors area for the community to enjoy.â€
Posted 21st December 2016.

Hewden Development

Most residents will be aware by now that an application has been made for yet another housing development, on the site currently occupied by the Hewden plant hire company in Old Forest Road.  We consider the plans, as submitted, are out of scale and are not suitable for the Emmbrook area.  We have therefore submitted to Wokingham Borough Council our comments on the proposal.  To read what we have had to say on the matter, please click here.
Posted 13th December 2016.

New ERA Committee Member

We are delighted to announce that Rod Needs has agreed to join the  ERA committee, and he has been co-opted as a member.  He will stand for election formally at the next Annual General Meeting, on Thursday 18th May 2017.  He is a very welcome addition to the team, as there is always plenty of work for us to do.

Even with Rod on board, in accordance with the ERA constitution there are still vacancies for three more committee members.  If you would like to join us, or if you would like more information about what is involved, please contact the Chairman, Paul Gallagher.

New Flower Beds at Corfield Green

As a part of our liaison with the local schools, ERA has been working with the Emmbrook Infant and Junior schools to develop a planting scheme for Corfield Green.  We have also been kindly assisted by Paul Smith from Wokingham in Bloom, both in selecting Corfield Green as a suitable site for planting and providing advice and assistance in developing the proposals with the school.  WiB have also provided some of the bulbs for planting and agreed to provide some further funding.  ERA also contributed towards the costs, and the planting was carried out by the school children in late November.

If you would like to know anything else about the project, please contact ERA committee member Chris Mallett on 0774 764 3553 or at [email protected].
Posted 23rd November 2016 and updated 26th May 2017.


Quiz Night – A Great Success The quiz night at the Village Hall on Saturday 19th November was a great success, with 64 people taking part in nine teams.  Quizmaster Andy put together a great quiz as usual, there were well over 20 raffle prizes and we managed to sell £166 of raffle tickets.   Subject to fine tuning, we made a clear profit of something like £350 and that was after giving our Quizmaster £100 towards the Alzheimers Support Group he is associated with. We also gave Andy £15 from the “heads and tails” game for the Alzheimers Group so he was delighted.
Posted 23rd November 2016.

Flooding Under Emmbrook Road Railway Bridge

Many residents will have noticed that the road under the railway bridge flooded as a result of the recent heavy rains.  We have asked Wokingham Borough Council for advice on what residents should do to request prompt assistance in the event of flooding, and this is the advice we have received:

“When flooding is noticed by a resident then they need to contact  either Wokingham Borough Councils Customer Services on 0118 9746000 (Mon-Fri 08:30-17:00) or contact the Out of Hours service on  0800 212111 (Monday to Friday 17:00 to 09:00, weekend days and public holidays).  If their concerns are not urgent they can email [email protected]  to notify us of any problems.

When WBC are notified our contractor will attend and will take any necessary action to alleviate the flooding.  If we are unable to remove the problem then the decision will be made as to whether the road can remain open with flood warning signs erected or if the flooding is too severe the road may be closed and Road closed signs and any necessary barriers erected.  This will be monitored and signs will be removed once the flood water has abated.”
Posted 22nd November 2016.

The History of Emmbrook – Volume 5

The fifth in our series of booklets about the history of Emmbrook has now been published and has been distributed free to subscribing ERA members.  To get your own copy either subscribe to ERA – see details here – or email the chairman to buy your copy for £4.

The booklet is packed with many stories of the Emmbrook past. To give you some idea of the varied content, read it and you will be able to answer the following questions …

  1. What was the main feature of the Salisbury Treatment?
  2. What calamity occurred at The Dog and Duck in 1930?
  3. What happened twice in 1898 at Matthews Green Farm?
  4. Where was the “dead fence” that Richard DANCE stole in 1870?
  5. A 23 year old shepherd tried to drown himself in 1870. Where was he employed?
  6. What precisely had twice the manure value of London sewage?
  7. In 1878 a 10 year old Emmbrook boy was ordered to be detained at an Industrial School until he attained the age of 16 years. What was his offence?
  8. How did George JONES try to frighten his wife?
  9. What were three young men stealing at Christmas time, 1883?
  10. Where was the iron foundry in Emmbrook?

Copies of volume 5 are available from the Emmbrook Post Office, whose owner, Sanjay Odedra, has kindly agreed to stock it for us.
Posted 11th November 2016, updated 16th January 2017.

Loddon Catchment Flood Risk Management Group

The Loddon Catchment Natural Flood Risk Management Group held a workshop on 16th September 2016 and they have now published a detailed report on the proceedings.  If you would like to read the report, please click here.
Posted 21st October 2016.

New Official Website Address for Bovis

We have been advised that the website address for Bovis, in connection with the Matthewsgreen Farm development, that we have previously noted on these pages has changed.  For future reference please use this this link.

Please note that there is a feedback page on the site that includes a form that residents can complete so that they are included on Bovis’s mailing list.  Please do join the mailing list so that you will be kept up to date with everything that Bovis have to say about the development.
Posted 12th October 2016.

Environmental Issues – Emmbrook Catchment Area Group

Following on from previous meetings to set up an Emmbrook Catchment Area group to address flooding issues, the Environment Agency has appointed Becky Hibbert as the local representative to talk to local residents and groups to discuss ideas for ways to deal with the problems around the Emmbrook Walk area, in particular Matthewsgreen Road and the access to the school. Becky is asking for ideas on holding various community events to raise awareness of problems and also to find possible solutions. An informal ‘walk and talk’ along the Emm Brook watercourse has been suggested as an opportunity to identify opportunities to improve the habitat using natural management methods. Local schools will be approached with the aim of involving the children in the process.

As the ERA Committee is fully stretched dealing with other local matters, none of its members is able to take on this obviously important though very time-consuming process but, if you are interested in getting involved, we give below the contact details you will need:-

Becky Hibbert, Catchment Co-ordinator – Wey and Loddon CatchmentsEmail : [email protected]
Tel : 02030 259592
Phiala Mehring, Loddon Valley Residents AssociationEmail : [email protected]
Tel : 07587 185736 / 0118 3484807
Posted 9th October 2016

Neighbourhood Action Group

We are sorry to report that, at a meeting on 20th September, the chairman of the Emmbrook & Woosehill Neighbourhood Action Group stood down and as no volunteers were forthcoming to take his place – or to act as secretary, another post that was vacant – the decision was made to disband the group.
Posted 2nd October 2016

Matthewsgreen Street Names Announced

The names of the first batch of streets on the Matthewsgreen development have been announced.  They include names that have been suggested by local historian (and ERA committee member) Peter Shilham, and they are based on notable local historic figures.  To go to the Matthewsgreen page and see a map off the streets, and to read Peter’s commentary on the names, please click here.
Posted 27th September 2016

Problems with Environmental Issues and How To Solve Them – Hopefully!

On our Environmental Issues page we report the story of how frustrating it can be to report simple environmental problems, with multiple agencies passing the buck between each other and leaving the person who is trying to report the matter feeling as if they are banging their head against the proverbial brick wall.  Fortunately our story has a happy ending, as we can now advise residents how they can – we hope – contact a “one stop shop” to achieve a resolution of these issues.  To read the story – and to get the contact details of the agency concerned – please click here.

We will be interested to hear from any residents who use this facility, to learn how they have fared by using the contact we have provided.
Posted 20th September 2016.

Update on Proposed Development at Bell Farm

Readers might recall that ERA was invited by Wokingham Borough Council to comment on the proposals for the above proposed development.  It will come as no surprise to residents that we have taken advantage of this invitation.  An update is given on the appropriate page of this website, but for a quick link to our response please click here.

Emmbrook Sports and Social Club – Planning Application

Following the public meeting in February the Club eventually submitted an amendment to their application which removed the erection of a 1.85m high close boarded fence on the Lowther Road boundary.  This amended application was considered at the Planning Committee Meeting on the 20th July.  The planning officer recommended approval of the application with a set of conditions which were aimed at reducing the impact of the proposal on residents and the area in general, such as limiting the use of the flood lights.  The Committee approved the application as recommended by four votes to one, so we will have to wait to see just how effective these conditions will be.  Anyone interested in seeing the conditions can do so via WBC’s “Search Planning Applications” web page by entering Application Number 153382, clicking on “See the plans and documentsâ€, scrolling down to the “Decision Notice†and opening file 153382dn.pdf.

Emmbrook Sports and Social Club – Application for a Premises Licence

The application by the ESSC for a premises licence was heard by a sub-committee composed of three members of the full licencing committee on 19th July.  The general public were allowed to speak at the hearing by prior arrangement, as was the applicant.  A resident spoke against the application on behalf of a group of residents who live adjacent to the Club’s grounds, as did a representative of the ERA.  The ERA made a case for the imposition of additional conditions that, if the sub-committee was minded to approve the application, would stop the Club holding the types of activities that would be most likely to cause disturbance to residents.  After hearing all from all parties present the sub-committee went into a closed session in order to make their decision.  Unsurprisingly, they allowed the application with no additional conditions, although the Club did make one concession in that they withdrew the application to carry out the licensable activities (i.e. the playing of music, dancing, etc) out of doors.

Wokingham Borough Council – New Web Page

Wokingham Borough Council has introduced a new web page that provides updates on developments in the north of Wokingham.  Of course, we already provide this service ourselves in respect of the Matthewsgreen and  Bell Farm developments, but if you want to see what the council is saying about these and other developments in the area, please click here.

Flooding – Volunteer Representative Sought!

There is a proposal to create area-wide Catchment-based Flood Risk Management groups to work towards reducing the flood risk.  Phiala Mehring of the Loddon Valley Residents Association has been very active in promoting action on this topic in the Loddon Catchment, working with CEH Wallingford (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology) and the Environment Agency etc.  There is a meeting scheduled for September to identify a couple of areas to consider within the Loddon Catchment, including those near the Emm Brook, Barkham Brook, Blackwater, Whitewater etc, to trial this proposal.  Phiala is looking for representatives from experts such as residents, landowners and Local Authorities to join the group in working towards reducing the flood risk in the Loddon catchment.  The meeting on Friday 16th September is at Reading University, 10.30am to 1pm and, if this role appeals to you, please contact Phiala Mehring ([email protected]) for more information.

Work at the Old Forest Road/Reading Road Junction

Many residents will have noticed the activity that has been going recently on at this junction, with men in hi-vis jackets, and vans belonging to the contractor company Gracelands in evidence.  Having enquired what exactly was going on, we have been advised as follows:

“Works currently taking place here are to establish the exact depth and location of the existing stats equipment. As all the stats equipment needs to be relocated prior to the junction works, the main junction works are likely to start either at the back end of the year or early next year dependant on road space and other commitments, we await a programme from the contractors on this.”  We have been further advised that “stats equipment” refers to “pipes, fibre-optic cables, phone lines, basically anything buried in the ground.”

We will keep you advised with regard to any further information we receive on this subject.

ERA Secretary

Sadly, we have to report that our long-serving secretary, Lesley Dow, will be moving away from the area and, consequently, also leaving ERA.  We therefore need, as soon as possible, to find a new secretary.  If you are interested in applying for this position, please visit the ERA Committee page for a description of the tasks and the skills that are required.

Network Rail Works

In a letter dated 25th May, which was delivered by hand to selected addresses in the Emmbrook area, Network Rail gave advance notice of works to be carried out in connection with the upgrading of the electricity supply for the trains serving the Wokingham to Waterloo line.  These works involve the installation of a new electrical substation on land behind the Emmbrook Sports and Social Club in Lowther Road.  No precise date has been given for the commencement of these works, which are scheduled to take place between the summer of 2016 and early 2017.  Presumably Network Rail will be more specific nearer the time that they are proposing to start work.


The quiz closed for entries on Tuesday 17th May and a draw to determine the prize winners took place at the Annual General Meeting on Thursday 19th May.  Please visit the Quiz page to see the answers and to find out who the lucky winners were.

Matthewsgreen Farm Development News

The new housing development on the site of Matthewsgreen Farm is outside of the area currently served by the Emmbrook Residents Association.  However the process of construction, and the additional burdens that the increased population will inevitably impose on the local infrastructure as the new homes are progressively completed and occupied, will undoubtedly impact on the Emmbrook area.  The ERA committee is taking a keen interest in the progress of the development, and doing everything in its power to ensure that the detrimental effects are minimised as far as possible.  This new page brings you the latest news on the development, as it happens and as we are made aware of it.

North Wokingham Distributor Road

Related to the Matthewsgreen Farm development, but also planned to serve other housing developments in the north of the town, the NWDR is intended to convey traffic between the east and west sides of Wokingham.  The most recent news concerning this road will be found by clicking on the link above, which will take you to the Planning Applications page.

Social Activities

We have introduced this page to draw attention to social activities that are being promoted in the local area by both ERA and the neighbouring Joel Park Residents Association.  We would welcome suggestions for future social activities, as part of our efforts to increase still further the sense of community in Emmbrook.