Once upon a time the Woodley Arms on Waldeck Street was a thriving and well loved public house. The brewery, Greene King, sold the pub when it closed eight years ago in 2012. It waited patiently as the years past and the developer submitted a succession of planning applications. It is now a very sorry and sad site with the former car park a sea of discarded furniture, tyres and general household rubbish in black bin bags.
Thank you to all our readers and regular and occasional contributors for making it a wonderful year on Katesgrove Hill. We hope that you continue to enjoy reading or contributing to the Whitley Pump in 2020.
There are certain places in Katesgrove where rubbish likes to congregate. We continually pass the same spots blighted by dumped rubbish and fly-tipping on our daily routes to work, shops and schools, or just going out .
Muir Group Housing Association (MGHA) have introduced parking controls and penalties, operated by FlashPark, on the part of the Whitley Street estate which they own and manage. Signs have appeared on the sides of the garages on the estate warning of an £85 charge for unauthorised parking.
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.
The apparently relentless drive to convert the area’s pubs, offices and vacant lots into flats and HMOs (houses in multiple occupation) continued apace this year. Some proposals, including the demolition of the After Dark Club and the Woodley Arms, were rejected, whilst others, such as the new residential care home near the Rising Sun Arts Centre, will proceed. The saving of the South Street Arts Centre was a major success in keeping Katesgrove at the front of Reading’s arts scene.
Katesgrove’s first local election hustings for many years was held at RISC on Saturday 30 April. Topics discussed included local traffic and parking, cross-party co-operation, voluntary contributions to council work, litter and the provision of green spaces, but the biggest issue was the cost, economics and politics of housing.
The Hop Leaf was a beerhouse without a name in 1869 when George Benwell was granted a Beerhouse certificate. This is the first licensing record for the pub which had probably operated since at least the end of the 1850s. In 1830 the Beerhouses Act had allowed easy registration of beerhouses on payment of a fee of 2 guineas (£2.10) by householders who paid rates. In 1869 beerhouses came under the same regulations as other premises licensed for the sale and consumption of alcohol and there was continued pressure to reduce the explosion in numbers licensed premises caused by the 1830 Act [ref 1].
2016 is Reading’s year of culture and events are being held all over the town. This coincides with the 25th reincarnation birthday of Katesgrove’s own Rising Sun Arts Centre. Meanwhile, Reading’s growing pains means that the stand-off between development and residents doesn’t look like it will end any time soon, and the struggle between social need and council budget cuts appears to be reaching a crisis.