2017 News Archive

Thames Valley Police – Survey on Increase in Council Tax to Fund Enhanced Policing

Thames Valley Police have launched a survey to gauge public opinion on a potential increase in council tax to fund enhanced policing in the area.  The survey is open for members of the public to contribute their opinions until 11th January 2018.  If you would like to read the relevant communication from the Police and Crime Commissioner, and to take part in the survey, please visit our Policing page.
Posted 29th December 2017.

Grass Against Seed

ERA were able to persuade Bovis to deal with the weed strewn verges down Toutley Road by turfing.  The areas were planned to be seeded but we used the argument that seed would not germinate at this time of year and turf would have an instant effect of making the area look better for both residents and sales of houses.  Thank you Bovis.
Posted 29th December 2017.

Objections to concrete batching plant

The ERA would like to thank the large number of residents who posted objections, approximately 48, at short notice.  We are monitoring the situation for developments and we will keep you all updated.
Posted 29th December 2017.

Toutley/Matthews Green Junction

Some of you might believe the finish of this area is not of the quality you would expect.  This surface is temporary as there is a plan for a complete upgrade of this area at a later date.
Posted 29th December 2017.

Primary School and Community Centre on Matthewsgreen Development

At a meeting of the Planning Committee on the 13th December a decision on the planning application for the primary school on Matthewsgreen was deferred and the application sent back to the Council officers for reconsideration.

A brief explanation of how we have arrived at this situation is:

  • Early in the planning of the Development it was agreed with Bovis that, due to its size, it warranted a single stream primary school (referred to as a one form of entry, or a 1FE, school). Bovis agreed to supply the land for the Council to build it;
  • In the meantime Bovis refused to provide a decent community centre for the Development, offering just a room over the proposed retail units, consequently it was eventually agreed to combine it with the school so that they could share the facilities and to minimise build costs;
  • The Council’s Children’s Services decided to “future proof” the school by designing the building so that additional classrooms could be built onto one end of it to provide a second form of entry if/when required.

The problem is that the site is not large enough to accommodate the community facilities and the larger 2FE school building and still provide outdoor space for the pupils to the Government’s recommended minimum; hence the Planning Committee’s decision.
Posted 18th December 2017.

Fake Government Grants Fraud Alert

Thames Valley Police have issued a warning about fraudsters attempting to represent themselves as agencies whose purpose is to assist individuals and businesses to apply for government grants.  To read the full text of the warning from the police, please visit our Policing page.
Posted 16th December 2017.

SANG Update

We have now had the land at the bottom of Old Forest Road open for public use for a year. It has proved popular with dog walkers and those who just want to stretch their legs. By the end of the month we hope to have an Information Board installed at one of the entrances with its new nicer name – Old Forest Meadow.

We have been liaising with the appropriate WBC department about the maintenance and possible improvement of the site. Here are some highlights of what has been happening and what is to come:

Three wooden benches are to be installed at various points round the site by the end of January.

  • The final cuts of the year have happened, and will resume in April.
  • The area of meadow south of the Emm Brook has been put out to contract for spraying twice, then it will be rotavated and re-seeded (again!) during the Spring by WBC’s own contractors.
  • We have asked that a small area of the Emm Brook be opened up for people to get closer to the water. This will be done very soon at the northern point of the site with fencing installed as a safety measure.
  • Tree planting along the northern motorway boundary is programmed in for January/February.

We are in discussion with WBC about the use of a salvaged oak tree trunk from the Matthewsgreen site for a wooden sculpture on the site, and we have secured some funding. Current thinking is to have a sculpture of a deer, given that they are occasionally seen on the SANG. If you have a view on this, please let us know as soon as possible.

If you have any suggestions about further enhancements to the site, please forward them to us and we will see what we can do.
Posted 13th December 2017.

Newsletter from Bovis

Bovis have published a newsletter detailing what is in store for Phase 4 of the Matthewsgreen Farm development.  To view the newsletter, please click here.
Posted 7th December 2017.

Police “Drop In” Session at Wickes, Winnersh

Thames Valley Police will be holding a “drop in” session at Wickes store in Winnersh on Monday 11th December between the hours of 10.00 and 16.00.  They will be highlighting the issue of fly tipping and waste carrier licences but there will also be officers and PCSOs available to answer any questions or queries.
Posted 1st December 2017.

Police Advice for Safe Online Shopping

As Christmas come closer the shopping frenzy will be building up, and increasing numbers of transactions will be taking place on the internet.  Thames Valley Police have issued some advice on how to stay safe whilst shopping online, and this can be found by following this link to our Policing page.
Posted 28th November 2017.

Wokingham Town Council Civic Awards

Each year, the Town Council looks for individuals living or working within Wokingham who deserve recognition for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the town.  The council is now inviting members of the public to submit nominations for potential recipients of the awards for 2017.  If you wish to make a nomination, please use this link to access the relevant page of the council’s website.  Please note that the deadline for nominations is Thursday 30th November.
Posted 24th November 2017.

New ERA Committee Members

Some months ago we circulated the information that we were about to lose two key members of our committee – our Treasurer and our Secretary.  This threatened the very existence of ERA.  I am delighted to announce that a number of volunteers from the community came forward and as a result we now have three new committee members – Tor Tigerstedt, Pierre Featherbe and Andy Goffin.  Pierre is taking the Secretary role, Andy is our new Treasurer and Tor will assume some specific responsibilities within the committee in due course.  It is always good to get “new blood” onto a committee and we really look forward to their contribution.  However, at the same time we are sad to have lost the services of Phil Preston who has fulfilled the Treasurer role for many years and to be losing the Secretary services of Lesley Dow at the turn of the year.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank them both for their hard work for the community and wish them well for the future.

You can see more details about our three new members on the ERA Committee page.
Posted 16th November 2017.

Second Video in Support of Town Centre

Wokingham traders have now released the second of three videos in support of town centre shopping.  It can be seen by following this link:

Posted 16th November 2017.

Call to Support Wokingham Retailers at Christmas

It is no secret that many shop keepers in Wokingham are suffering a loss of trade currently, largely due to the “regeneration” works that are taking place in the town centre.  Many of those retailers have joined forces to produce a short video asking for the support of the public in the run-up to the all-important Christmas selling season.  The video can be watched on YouTube by following this link:

Posted 14th November 2017.

Joel Park Residents Association Carol Service

The Joel Park Residents Association is sponsoring a carol service to be held in the car park of the Dog and Duck from 4.30 to 5.00pm on Sunday 10th December.  Supporting the singing will be the St Sebastian Wokingham Band.  All are invited to attend this festive occasion.  Admission is free of charge but donations to the band’s funds will be greatly appreciated.

Posted 14th November 2017.

Free Bike Security Marking Event

The Wokingham Borough Council Security Wardens will be offering a free security marking service for bicycles on Tuesday 14th November, between 11.30am and 1.30pm, at the Bike Shed near the pond at the rear of the Shute End offices.
Posted 8th November 2017.


Hallowe’en is almost upon us and, while a lot of people regard it as a fun occasion, to others it can be a nuisance or, in some cases quite frightening, to receive visits from “trick or treaters”.  The police have published a poster that can be used to deter unwanted callers on the 31st October, and copies can be obtained by emailing a request to this address:
[email protected] 

Posted 4th October 2017

Replacement of Street Lighting

Wokingham Borough Council have notified us of the programme for the next phase of street lighting upgrades in our district, as set out in the table below:


Posted 23rd September 2017

Message From Thames Valley Police

Over the last few weeks the police have seen several homes which are undergoing renovations being broken into and tools left inside stolen.  People who are engaged in renovation activities, or otherwise leaving their homes unoccupied for any length of time, are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Conduct frequent checks of the property at different times of the day to note any signs of trespassing or interference
  • Install a burglar alarm and set it
  • Secure all doors and windows with deadbolt locks
  • Install timers on internal lights and motion detectors on external lights to make the house appear occupied and offer natural surveillance of the property
  • Ensure that the building doesn’t look neglected. Cut the grass and hedges regularly
  • Remove rubbish from inside the building and around the perimeter
  • Put measures in place to protect empty buildings against arson, theft and vandalism
  • Avoid the build up of post and unsolicited mail
  • Keep any tools left inside in a secure place out of sight from windows and doors
  • Report any suspicious activity to the police

Posted 11th September 2017.

Wokingham Virtual Museum – Volunteer Required

We have received the following message from Gemma Cumming, the Arts & Culture Officer at Wokingham Town Council:

“As you may know the Wokingham Virtual Museum has been online for the last four years and in that time we have placed online a number of the artifacts within the Town Hall.

“The aim always was to expand this out into the wider town but for the time being we are still processing the items we have.  We would like to speed this process up so we are looking for a volunteer who might be able to help with the inputting of items that we already have imagery and information for and to assist me in identifying items that should be online but have yet to be fully catalogued. “The volunteer would need to have an interest in local history, a good standard of written English and be comfortable and confident working with computers.  Training on the particular web software that runs the Virtual Museum will be given.  We are looking ideally for someone once a week for a morning or an afternoon at a mutually convenient time. “We have got in touch with Wokingham Volunteer Centre in the hope they will also be able to promote this opportunity however as the Civic Society in the Town and a staunch supporter of Wokingham’s heritage we wanted to make sure you were aware of it.” If you are interested in volunteering for this role, Gemma can be reached at:Telephone: 0118 974 0889Email: [email protected]

Posted 11th August 2017.

An Opportunity to Get Involved With the Police (In a Nice Way!)

We have been notified by Thames Valley Police of an Open Day to be half at their Training Centre at Sulhamstead on Saturday 5th August.  Full details, as provided by the police, follow:

“There is less than a week to go until Thames Valley Police opens its doors once again, to host the eleventh force Open Day on Saturday 5th August.  The event is being held at our Training Centre in Sulhamstead, near Reading (RG7 4DX) and will be open between 10am and 4pm.

“With over 40 exhibitors attending, there is something for everyone.  This year the Open Day promises to be even bigger and better than before.  Here are just some of the highlights in the jammed packed programme:

• Become a detective for the day and solve the crime
• Arena displays showcasing the specialist dog, horse and public order teams
• See the force helicopter up close and meet some of the pilots
• Listen to expert talks about tactical armed policing, the dangers of sexting and how we are combatting organised crime
• Children’s fancy dress – come dressed in police themed costumes
• Name a police puppy competition
• Sample some mouth-watering delights in the Fun Food Kitchen
• Visit the on-site museum to learn about some of our most notorious cases.

“For the first time, visitors will be able to become a detective for the day. Working with our Forensic Investigation Unit, you can solve various clues to reveal how Mr Money Bags met his unfortunate demise. Children are also encouraged to come dressed in police themed costume, with a parade at midday and a fabulous prize up for grabs.

“The theme this year is Children and Young People and there will be a dedicated Kids Zone featuring our Cadets and Mini Police recruits. We are also supporting SAFE, a charity that helps people aged between 8 and eighteen who have been affected by crime within Thames Valley.

“Limited parking is available and will be offered on a first come, first served basis. Dogs are not permitted (except for assistance dogs) and must not be left in vehicles.

“The Open Day will close at 4pm with the last entry at 3.30pm.”
Posted 1st August 2017.

Police Alert re Increase in Vehicle Crime

We have received an alert from Thames Valley Police, advising us that they have seen an increase in vehicle crime around the area and would encourage people not to leave items in the car, in one incident golf clubs were left in the boot and then stolen.  They provided us with a list of recent incidents and although thankfully none of them were in Emmbrook we should not become complacent.

Tips from the police to avoid becoming a victim of vehicle crime follow:

  • Neverleave items in your car, sunglasses, loose change, satnav – the thief will search through the glovebox and side pockets – we support the empty car campaign
  • Always close the windows, lock the doors and activate any security devices.
  • Report anything or anyone suspicious immediately to the police on 101Never leave items in the car or van whether valuable or not – it only encourages someone to break in and find out it’s a paper bag!
  • Report anything or anyone suspicious immediately to the police on 101.

Posted 28th July 2017.

Temporary Closure of Toutley Road

We have been advised by Gracelands, a contractor to Bovis, that Toutley Road will be subject to closure for a period of six weeks from next Wednesday, 26th July.  The text of the letter that we received from Gracelands follows:

“As part of the Matthewsgreen housing development Gracelands Ltd are the construction company who have been asked to complete the final coordinated works for the new Northern Distributor Road and Toutley Road. This includes the upgrading of existing highway drains for eighty meters north of the tie in and improvements to the junction between Toutley Road and Matthewsgreen Road.

This work has been agreed between Bovis Homes, Linden Homes and Wokingham Borough Council.

All the works are due to commence on the 26th July and are expected to take six weeks to complete. The works have been planned to take place over the summer holidays to minimise disruption.

Toutley Road will need to be closed for the duration of the works, and working hours during the improvements will be 8am to 5pm from Monday to Friday and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. For residents on Toutley Road who are directly affected by improvement works in front of their properties, temporary parking will be provided in front of the Linden Homes development.

The works to upgrade the highway drain will be managed using traffic lights on Toutley Road.

The widening of the Toutley Road/ Matthewsgreen junction is necessary to allow for an extra traffic lane from Toutley Road to Matthewsgreen Road and will be managed using a three-way set of traffic lights. The junction will have new anti-skid surfacing and white lining, and a new Zebra crossing will be installed by the junction.

Full details of the diversion route and road closure can be found at:

Should you need to contact someone in an emergency during working hours please call me on 07850 189094. For all other enquiries, please email Bovis Homes’ appointed community liaison officer Gemma Gallant: [email protected].

We apologise for the inconvenience caused by these works and thank you in advance for your patience. When the work is completed we hope you will appreciate the improvements to the area.

Posted 23rd July 2017.

Wokingham Music Festival at Cantley

We understand that the Wokingham Music Festival at Cantley in August has been approved by the Wokingham Borough Council Licencing Committee with appropriate conditions imposed regarding noise monitoring, etc, which address the concerns that had been voiced by ERA.
Posted 24th June 2017.

Matthewsgreen Footpath Works – Completed

We have been advised by the developers that the footpath/alleyway widening work in the Matthewsgreen area has now been completed.
Posted 24th June 2017.

Policing Updates

As a new feature, we are going to include on our Policing page updates and advice that we have received from Thames Valley Police on security and other issues.  Please go to the Policing page to see the latest information we have received.
Posted 15th June 2017.

Events at Cantley – An Update

We had previously reported – on 26th May – that there were proposals for two events to be held at Cantley in August.  We have now been advised by Wokingham Borough Council that the organisers have withdrawn their application for a premises licence for the first event, the “Big Weekend”, which was scheduled for 5th-6th August, as the event has been cancelled.

So far as we are aware plans are still going ahead for the second event, the Wokingham Music Festival, to run from 25th-27th August, with set-up taking place on the 23rd-24th August.
Posted 14th June 2017.

Out-of-hours Working at Matthewsgreen Development – An Explanation

We have been advised by the developers that while carrying our construction works on Matthewsgreen Farm Phase 2b during the course of Wednesday 7th June, part of the work undertaken was to expose a section of the foul rising main.  The rising main was due to be disconnected and made redundant, but this work has not yet been carried out.  While excavating around the main, a section/joint within the main ruptured, causing waste water to seep onto the surface of the development.

Thames Water services were immediately notified of this and attended the development to carry out a localised repair later this afternoon. The on-site team formed a bund to ensure the discharged water was contained.

While they were carrying out this work, the drainage pumps were running continuously.  Flood lights were also set up to allow them to complete the repair.

We are assured that every effort was made to minimise disruption, but the developers have offered their apologies for any inconvenience caused to those residents living closest to the Phase 2b site.
Posted 10th June 2017.

Flower Beds at Corfield Green

As previously reported, 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.

The first stage of the planting was of spring bulbs.  Now that their season is behind us we are pleased to report that the next stage of planting is planned to take place on 9th June, when we will be filling the beds with plants and turning the school children’s design into reality.  We also plan to provide a bench around the large oak tree.
Posted 29th May 2017.

Latest News from Matthewsgreen Farm Developers

Footpath/alleyway widening work in the Matthewsgreen area will continue during week commencing 30th May, with work ongoing on the third footpath (known as number 16).  The map showing which footpaths are being widened can be found on the Bovis Homes community website.
Posted 27th May 2017.

Festivals at Cantley in AugustWe have become aware that there are two music festivals planned for Cantley Park this August.  Whilst we are not opposed to these in principle, we believe residents should be aware and have the opportunity to comment to Wokingham Borough Council should they so wish. 

The first event takes place on 5th and 6th August, and is called the “Big Weekend”.  We have no information on this other than that shown on the organiser’s website, http://www.bebw.co.uk/.  The website says that the event on Saturday starts at 11am and will run until 11pm, and the event on Sunday starts at 11am and finishes at 7.30pm.

The second event is the Wokingham Music Festival which has normally taken place at Elms Field but needs to be relocated temporarily because of the redevelopment of Elms Field.  It will take place on 25th August (6pm to 11pm), 26th August (10am to 11pm) and 27th August (10am to 11pm), preceded by set up on 23rd and 24th.  To see the relevant letter from the organiser please click here.If residents have comments or concerns, they should be addressed to the Council’s licencing department at [email protected]. Important – you only have until 20th June to respond on these matters.Posted 12th May 2017 and updated 26th May 2017.

Latest News from the Matthewsgreen Farm Developer

Two-way traffic lights will be remaining in place on Toutley Road week commencing 8th May to allow traffic to pass while operatives install a low voltage cable for the streetlights.

A second footpath is being reopened on Wednesday, having now been widened.  Work will start on the third footpath widening on Thursday.
Posted 7th May 2017.

Incursion of Travellers at Joel Park

Many residents will be aware that travellers have taken up residence in Joel Park.  In this connection, we have received the following message from Jan Nowecki, the Town Clerk of Wokingham:

“I know that a number of you are already aware that travellers are now occupying Joel Park but just to confirm that we are in liaison with the police, who were on site last night.  This is a result of criminal damage, our groundsman was on site yesterday and all fencing and the secure bollard were intact, the latter has been ripped out and dumped in the bushes.  This mode of entry should mean that it will be quicker to evict them, though this will undoubtedly take a few days.”I am working with the police, solicitors and relevant agencies to draw this to a swift conclusion. I am very happy for people to contact me directly and I have already spoken to a number of residents this morning  but my plan is to give you a very regular update so that you can let people know through your own mechanisms. “Please know that we will be working very hard to resolve this as soon as possible and return the park to its rightful state.”Posted 4th May 2017.

ERA Annual General Meeting

All members will have recently received (or will shortly receive) formal notice of the AGM.  Unfortunately, due to an editing error, the dates on the notice were shown as 2016 instead of 2017.  For the sake of clarity, the meeting will be held at Emmbrook Village Hall on Thursday 18th May 2017, starting at 8.00pm, and nominations for membership of the committee should be submitted to the secretary, Lesley Dow, by Tuesday 16th May 2017.

Non-members of ERA will be welcome to attend the meeting but, of course, only paid-up members will be entitled to vote on any issue.
Posted 28th April 2017, updated 4th May 2017.

Exploring the Emm Brook

The Loddon Valley Catchment Partnership, in conjunction with Friends of the Emm Brook, are running an event on Saturday 6th May, to explore the natural environment of the brook.

You are invited to take part in this event, which will take place from 10.00am to 1.00pm on the Riverside Walk, by  the Kingfisher Bridge.  There is no charge for admission and full details are given on the poster shown here.
Posted 4th May 2017.

Work on Alleyways on Joel Park Estate

We have received the following information from Gracelands, who are working on behalf of Bovis, the main developers of the Matthewsgreen Farm site.

“As part of the above development Gracelands Ltd have been asked to widen and upgrade all of the various alleyways highlighted on the attached plan.

“This work has been agreed between Bovis Homes and Wokingham Borough Council.

“The works are due to commence in the week commencing Monday 3rd of April 2017 on alleyways 14 and 15, as marked on the attached plan.  In the interest of safety all walkways will be closed during the works.  We believe each alleyway will take a week or so to complete from start to finish.

“Once we have completed 14 and 15 we will follow on with 16, 17 and 18.  The number system used is based on pre-agreed engineering drawing numbers and the sequence of work was agreed with Wokingham Borough Council to minimise disruption to school children and local residents. Alleyway 19 and 20 will be done during the summer holidays.

“Should you have need to contact someone in an emergency then please ring Andrew Grogan of Gracelands on 07850189094.  Should you wish to contact Bovis Homes’ appointed community liaison officer then please email [email protected].

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank you in advance for your patience. When the work is complete we hope you will appreciate the improved access.”

The plan that is referred to in the letter is shown below.
Posted 5th April 2017

Matthewsgreen Farm – Linden Homes Update

Linden Homes, who will be responsible for developing Phase 2b of the Matthewsgreen Farm site, have provided us with a newsletter with updated information on their plans.  To view the newsletter, please click here.

Matthewsgreen Development – New and Widened Footpaths

We have been notified by the developers that during week commencing 3rd April work will be starting on the widening of the existing footpath along Matthewsgreen Road to a width of two metres.  The new pram crossings on Matthewsgreen Road have now been completed.
Posted 3rd April 2017.

New Website Page

We have recently introduced a new page to the website, where we are planning to record events where intervention by ERA has helped to achieve beneficial results for the community.  We will also, wherever appropriate, give credit to the individuals in the local authority, the utilities, and other areas where they have taken action as required.  You will find the new page, “ERA Working for You” under the ERA and You tab, or to navigate directly to it please click here.
Posted 16th February 2017.

Advice on Flooding

At the request of an ERA member who lives in Ashton Road, the Environment Agency has supplied a map identifying the local areas that might be at risk of flooding.  We are reproducing the map below.
Posted 2nd January 2017.