We Asked, You Said, We Did

Below are some of the issues we have recently consulted on and their outcomes.

We asked

We asked for your views on our initial concept ideas on 4 schemes:

• Bath Road/Castle Hill (Southcote Lane – Inner Distribution Road (IDR)/Castle Street)
• London Road (Borough Boundary to London Street)
• Shinfield Road (Christchurch Green – Shinfield Rise)
• Southampton Street (Pell Street/Crown Street –Bridge Street/Fobney Street)

You said

Out of the 928 responses recieved, the Shinfield Road scheme was the best supported and least opposed scheme.

We did

We obtained approval from the Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport Committee on 30th June 2021 to progress the Shinfield Road scheme. We will now commence the detailed design stage.

We asked

In December 2020 we shared three potential designs for the refurbishment of Cintra Park Children’s Playground. We asked residents to vote for their preferred option and leave their comments.

You said

The results of the public vote can be seen in the table below:

Cintra Park Children's Playground Refurbishment

Design

Online Vote
 

Ranking

Option 1 – HAGS
 

179

1st

Option 2 – Sutcliffe Play Ltd
 

18

3rd

Option 3 – Wicksteed
 

98

2nd

Total
 

295

 

  • Cintra Park is well used and in need of refurbishment, it’s tremendous news that it is receiving investment 
  • Not all items of equipment are wheelchair accessible within the designs, as they do not have linking paths
  • Play panels provide a range of stimuli for children of all abilities, please could more be provided
  • Pleased to see accessible play facilities, it would be wonderful to see accessible play equipment for older children
  • Cintra Park needs to remain secure during works on site

We did

Based on your feedback, we awarded the playground refurbishment contract to HAGS. 

HAGS’ design already included an abundance of equipment, however we worked with them to take on board feedback provided. All items of equipment within the playground will be wheelchair accessible, through the provision of linking paths. An additional three play panels were added to the original design, giving a total of five play panels.

We ensured there is a mix of equipment, for all ages and abilities. However, Cintra Park is not a destination park, significant destination parks are: Palmer Park, Prospect Park, Christchurch Meadows and John Rabsons Recreation Ground.

We are working closely with HAGS and RBC parks team to ensure that Cintra Park remains secure throughout works.

Next steps

Works will start on site on the 19th March and take approximately eight weeks to complete.

We asked

In Autumn 2020, Opinion Research Services (ORS) were commissioned by the Council to undertake a representative sample survey of 1,000 residents via telephone. The purpose of the survey was to gauge levels of satisfaction with the local area, the Council and the services it provides.

You said

When compared to our citizens panel survey of 2018, the results are very positive (although comparisons should be made with caution due to the different methodology used in 2018). However, the results are slightly lower than those from the Local Government Association (LGA) national survey, as they often are for more urban areas:

  • 77% of residents said they are satisfied with their local area as a place to live (compared with 65% in the 2018 survey, 83% in LGA survey)
  • 64% said they are satisfied with the way the Council runs things (compared with 38% in the 2018 survey; 68% in LGA survey)
  • 45% agreed that the Council provides value for money (22% in the 2018 survey; 54% in LGA survey)

The things that respondents thought are most in need of improving are:

  • road and pavement repairs (47%)
  • the level of crime (32%)
  • the level of traffic congestion (30%)
  • affordable decent housing (26%)
  • parking (24%)

We did

The results have been considered in the development of the Council’s Corporate Plan for 2021/22.

Road and pavement repairs again came out as the highest priority area in terms of needing to be improved – 47% of responses, compared to 58% in 2018, which indicates an improvement in the period which correlates to the Council’s investment in highways infrastructure. The Council has committed to invest £14.5m in the Council’s local highways infrastructure (including bridges) over the period 2021/22-2023/24 to continue to address this resident priority.

We’re refreshing our Community Safety Strategy and introducing a new Housing Strategy that outlines plans to improve access to good quality housing they can afford, within a thriving neighbourhood.

Our Local Transport Plan outlines investments in walking and cycling initiatives, public transport, and electric vehicle infrastructure that will make it easier for residents to make healthy choices, and feel the benefits of clean, green neighbourhoods.

We asked

In September 2020, we shared two potential designs for the installation of a new outdoor gym and the refurbishment of the existing BMX track at Longbarn Lane Recreation Ground. We asked residents to vote for their preferred option and leave their comments.

You said

The results of the public vote can be seen in the tables below:

Longbarn Lane Outdoor Gym Installation

Choice of design

Hexham Community Centre

South Reading Leisure Centre

Online

Total

Ranking

Option 1

The Great Outdoor Gym Company

 

5

 

15

 

76

 

96

 

1st

Option 2

Fresh Air Fitness

 

5

 

12

 

65

 

82

 

2nd

Total

10

27

141

178

 

 

Longbarn Lane BMX Track Refurbishment

Choice of design

Hexham Community Centre

South Reading Leisure Centre

Online

Total

Ranking

 

Option 1

ForteTrailscapes

 

 

3

 

14

 

44

 

61

 

2nd

 

Option 2

Clark & Kent

 

 

4

 

15

 

97

 

116

 

1st

Total

7

29

141

177

 

  •  Feedback was positive, with residents stating they were pleased to see the projects, stating that this area needed improvement.
  • The provision of facilities which benefit all ages and abilities was complimented in both schemes.
  • There were concerns raised by local residents over site security during works on site. The need to have precautions in place to prevent unwanted access was something which many people fed back.
  • We received several ideas for other improvements we could make to the park in the future. 

We did

Based on your feedback, we awarded the outdoor gym installation contract to The Great Outdoor Gym Company and the BMX track refurbishment contract to Clark and Kent Contractors.

We worked closely with Clark and Kent Contractors, The Great Outdoor Gym Company and RBC Parks team to ensure that the site would remain secure throughout the installation.

We have passed on additional comments / ideas to the parks team and relevant officers in case additional funding becomes available.

Next steps

The outdoor gym was installed and ready for use in December 2020, this will be completed in May 2021.

The BMX track refurbishment began in November 2020 and completed in March 2021. The contractor will return later in the year to complete reinstatement works.

More information can be found at: www.reading.gov.uk/longbarn-lane
 

We asked

For feedback on the community safety in your area.

You said

The top priorities identified were:

1. Drugs (3rd in 2017)

2. Parking Issues (1st 2017)

3. Potholes (2nd 2017)

4. Burglary

5. Speeding (5th 2017)

We did

Many respondents suggested they would like to get involved in activities in their local community.  The Neighbourhood Initiatives Team at Reading Borough Council is starting to make contact with those individuals.  You can contact us here Neighbourhoodinitiatives@reading.gov.uk

  • Each Safer Neighbourhood Forum will receive a breakdown of the results for their area, the local groups can then decide their areas of priority and the action they take.
  • Issues such as parking, potholes and bins will be referred to traffic management and highways/streetcare for their information and consideration in line with the group’s terms of reference to focus on crime and disorder
  • Work from within the Community Safety Partnership e.g, actions on drugs will be shared with neighbourhoods when appropriate.

We asked

We asked for your feedback into the early stages of designing a new transport strategy for Reading to last the next 15 years.

You said

You gave a wide range of feedback about how we can make transport in Reading faster, simpler, safer, less congested, more connected, more accessible and better for the environment.

We have published the full results on the consultation page.

We did

This consultation was the first step in designing a new transport strategy for Reading.

We are now using your feedback to inform the strategy document, and there will be a further consultation on the draft strategy in spring/summer 2020.

We asked

…for your views on three proposed priorities for Reading’s next Homelessness Strategy to shape and inform our approach regarding homelessness over the next five years. This included determining if you felt there were any gaps we hadn’t identified.

 

Our proposed strategic priorities were:

  • Priority 1: Intervening early to prevent and reduce homelessness in Reading
  • Priority 2: Increasing access to decent, suitable accommodation
  • Priority 3: Supporting people who are vulnerable to recurring homelessness

You said

…you were in overall support of the proposed priorities with 93% agreeing they are clear; 93% agreeing with using Priority 1; 92% agreeing with using Priority 2 and 93% agreeing with using Priority 3 within a new homelessness strategy. You identified areas of disagreement and where you felt that priorities or groups had been missed.

We did

Following the closure of our on-line consultation and analysis of all stakeholder feedback, we drafted Reading’s Homelessness Prevention Strategy 2020 – 2025. The strategy will be presented to Policy Committee on 24th August 2020 supported by a full Consultation Report.

We asked

A draft document on improving standards of sustainability in new buildings, to implement the policies of the Local Plan, was subject to consultation.

You said

There were 17 comments on the Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which dealt with various aspects of the document.  Summaries of the comments can be seen in the Statement of Consultation.

We did

A revised version of the SPD was adopted on 16th December 2019, which took the results of consultation into account.

We asked

Views were sought on changes to the Local Plan arising from a public examination.

You said

There were 114 responses to various elements of the Plan.  Most of the responses related to the proposed development of Reading Golf Club.

We did

Responses were passed to the independent Planning Inspector who conducted the examination into the Local Plan.

We asked

We asked specialist companies to submit a design for a new outdoor gym for all abilities and we put the choice of five designs to the public vote.

We wrote to 720 residents living near the recreation ground, we asked parents of pupils attending St Mary and All Saints Primary School and users of Coley Community Centre to choose their preferred option.  We also asked people to vote online.

During the consultation, you said you wanted a better description of the equipment. So we asked the companies to provide additional information which included a description of their equipment and its functions.

You said

We received 115 votes in total, with the winning design, number 4 from TGO (The Great Outdoor Gym Company, receiving 38% the votes.

The results of the consultation are tabled below:

Choice of design

All Saints School

Coley CC

RBC hub

TOTAL

RANKING

1

CALOO

 

 

2

 

5

 

5

 

12

 

 

3rd

2

HAGS

 

 

8

 

26

 

8

 

42

 

2nd

3

SUTCLIFFE

 

 

0

 

3

 

3

 

6

 

5th

4

TGO

 

 

7

 

33

 

4

 

44

 

1st

5

WICKSTEED

 

 

2

 

5

 

4

 

11

 

4th

 

TOTAL

 

 

19

 

72

 

24

 

115

 

We did

The winning scheme was returned to the school and community centre for the public to view. More details on the winning scheme.

It is anticipated that work on the new gym area will begin in September 2019 and be ready for use by the half term week in October.

We asked

We asked specialist playground companies to submit a design for a new play area for children up to the age of 12 years for all abilities and we put the choice of five playground designs to the public vote.

We wrote to 200 residents living near the playground, we asked pupils attending Wilson Primary School and users of Rivermead Leisure Complex to choose their preferred option.  We also asked people to vote online.

During the consultation, you said you wanted a better description of the equipment. So we asked the playground companies to provide additional information which included a description of their equipment and its functions.

You said

We received over 800 votes in total, with the winning design, number 2 from Kompan, receiving over half the votes.  It was overwhelmingly the favourite choice of the school children.

The results of the consultation are tabled below:

Choice of design

Rivermead

Wilson Primary

RBC hub

TOTAL

RANKING

1

HAGS-SMP

 

 

9

 

29

 

0

 

38

 

5th

2

KOMPAN

 

 

123

 

249

 

57

 

429

 

1st

3

PROLUDIC

 

 

30

 

34

 

81

 

145

 

3rd

 

4

SUTCLIFFE

 

 

18

 

20

 

2

 

40

 

4th

5

WICKSTEED

 

 

49

 

103

 

5

 

157

 

2nd

 

TOTAL

 

 

229

 

435

 

145

 

809

 

 

We did

The winning scheme was returned to Wilson Primary School and Rivermead Leisure Complex for the children and public to view.  More details on the winning scheme.

It is anticipated that work on the new play area will begin in September 2019 and be ready for use by the half term week in October.

We asked

We asked for views on whether changes are needed to the Statement of Community Involvement (SCI), which sets out how the Council will consult on planning documents.

You said

There were 9 comments on the SCI consultation.

We did

The Council is still considering the way forward with the SCI, and will report on the results when available.

We asked

Your views on:

  • A proposed relocation of the Council’s Learning Disability respite service from its main building at 118 Whitley Wood in South Reading.
  • What is important about the service, now and for the future

You said

  • You agreed that the Council should be making the best use of its resources and look to relocate the Learning Disability respite service to a more suitable building.
  • You agreed the Council should take the opportunity to review the future aspirations for the service.
  • You said the top priorities were: securing a suitable alternative building for the service, providing sensitivity and support to those who use the service, and that the relocation is well managed.  You also said that accessibility of the building, access to support staff, and flexibility of the service was a key priority.

We did

  • We have taken on board the feedback you’ve given us and it is being considered alongside a wider review of our buildings.  We have used the feedback to explore some of the options going forward.
  • We have presented our key findings to Councillors and they have agreed to our recommendation to explore and discuss the options in more detail.

We asked

Your views on:

  • A proposed relocation of the Council’s mental health accommodation service (Focus House) from its main buildings at Castle Crescent
  • What is important about the service, now or for the future

You said

  • You agreed that the Council should continually improve its services, extend the Focus house service and increase access to other mental wellness activities and support.
  • You’d like a mixed approach – where some residents can move together into a new location and still receive onsite access to staff, with others moving into smaller, supported living accommodation elsewhere in the borough.
  • You said a ‘smooth transition’ is the biggest priority, as well as a safe and homely environment, and developing independence.

We did

 

  • We have taken on board the feedback you’ve given us and it is being considered alongside a wider review of our buildings.  We have used the feedback to explore some of the options going forward.
  • We have presented our key findings to Councillors and they have agreed to our recommendation to explore and discuss the options in more detail.

We asked

We drafted a strategy to set out Reading’s drug and alcohol related vision and priorities for the next five years.

We asked for your views on whether you agree or not with the 3 priorities:

  • Prevention; reducing the amount of alcohol people drink to safer levels and reducing drug related harm.
  • Treatment; Commissioning and delivering high quality drug and alcohol treatment systems
  •  Enforcement and Regulation; tackling alcohol and drug related crime and anti-social behaviour.

You said

Feedback was supportive of the 3 priorities. There were general comments submitted on how we should tackle each of these priorities in more detail.

A total of 91 questionnaires were returned.

  • Priority 1 – 92.31% agreed
  • Priority 2 – 93.41% agreed
  • Priority 3 – 93.41% agreed.

Additional comments were highlighted for consideration on areas to tackle.

We did

The response was reported to Policy Committee on 24th September 2018.

All the results have fed into a wider action plan to consider actions for the areas highlighted.

We have re-commissioned the drug and alcohol treatment service with a new provider commencing 1st October 2019.

We asked

As part of savings proposals, the library service was interested in feedback on reduced opening hours and patterns of opening at 6 of Reading’s 7 libraries.

You said

We had over 1,300 responses, and over 5,000 pieces of individual feedback which helped us review and revisit the proposals.

We did

These responses helped shape the proposals put before Policy Committee – and changed some of the hours based on feedback. A set of opening hours was approved which will be implemented following staff consultation. We have also noted other feedback given with further suggestions and mitigations. 

We asked

From December 2017 to February 2018, the local authorities for Reading and for Wokingham consulted with residents about the possibility of commissioning a combined Reading and Wokingham Local Healthwatch service.

You said

Most people who responded to the consultation disagreed with the proposal to commission a combined Local Healthwatch service. However, in relation to most Local Healthwatch responsibilities, a majority of people felt there were more potential benefits than losses in having a single organisation deliver the Local Healthwatch functions across both boroughs. The one exception to this was the community engagement area, where most people felt moving to a single provider operating on a reduced budget would result in a lesser service.

A key issue which the consultation feedback demonstrated is that each borough needs to have its own Local Healthwatch service in order to maximise both public and volunteer engagement. This is not necessarily a barrier to a shared infrastructure, however, such as a single organisation trading as both Healthwatch Reading and Healthwatch Wokingham in different contexts.

We did

The Council is grateful to everyone who responded to this consultation. Reading Borough Council has re-commissioned Healthwatch Reading to continue to provide a Reading-only service.

We asked

For views on the Pre-Submission Draft Local Plan, which contains planning policies and proposals to guide development up to 2036.

You said

We received 193 written responses to the consultation.  These related to a variety of matters across the plan.  A Statement of Consultation has been produced to summarise consultation results in more depth.

We did

Consultation results were considered in producing a Submission Draft Local Plan, which was submitted to the government in March 2018.  There will be a public examination of the document beginning in September.

We asked

For views on whether or not Reading Borough Council should introduce a new Public Space Protection Order to tackle alcohol related nuisance, illegal mooring, taking drugs in public, motorbike nuisance, aggressive begging, problematic busking, public urination and defecation, littering, uncontrolled dogs and dog fouling.

You said

We received 685 responses to the consultation from residents, businesses and individuals who work and visit the town. A summary of the responses can be found in the Housing, Neighbourhoods and Leisure Committee report which was presented to the committee on March 14th 2018.

We did

The responses helped to inform the final recommendations to implement a new PSPO. The Housing, Neighbourhood and Leisure Committee approved recommendations to repeal the Street Drinking Restriction and Dog Control Orders, which are currently in place and introduce a new PSPO to include conditions to tackle alcohol related nuisance, aggressive begging, drug taking in public, public urination and defecation, litter, nuisance busking and dog fouling and control. Due to the responses from the consultation it was recommended that conditions relating to Motorbike Nuisance, Illegal Mooring and the number of dogs which can be walked by one person are not included in the Order. Amendments were also made to the wording of several conditions, which are set out in the committee report.

We asked

The consultation outlined the Council’s intention to review the catering service which was originally set up to provide hot meals at lunchtime to tenants and local residents at Cedar Court and Oak Tree House extra care housing services as well as The Maples Day Service based at Rivermead.

We asked for your views on possible alternative ways to access a meal at lunchtime and sought your view on the current service. We wanted to understand why you choose to eat/not to eat in the restaurant and we wanted to understand any impact closing the restaurant may have.

We wanted to use this feedback to inform the future catering requirements at these services.

You said

The theme across the responses was that people did not want the restaurants to close. The majority of respondents wanted to maintain access to a hot freshly prepared meal.

72.5% of respondents from the Extra Care schemes (Oak Tree House and Cedar Court) indicated that they ate in the restaurants every day. 65% of respondents from the Extra Care schemes indicated that if the restaurants were to close they would not get a hot meal that day.

Of the alternatives proposed, only 30% of respondents from the Extra Care Schemes were happy to try a Fresh Meal Delivery Service and only 7.5% were happy to try a Frozen Meal Delivery Service.

75% of respondents from the Day Service indicated that they currently purchase the available hot meal. However, 37.5% indicated that they would not be bothered by a change to this service. 31.25% expressed concern that they would not get a hot meal that day.

Respondents from the Extra Care schemes wanted the restaurants to remain open, to continue to provide a freshly prepared hot meal alongside and opportunity to socialise. Respondents from the Maples Day Service were also keen to still access a hot meal but were more open to this being sourced elsewhere since it is not currently cooked on site anyway.

As well as responses from residents and service users, responses were also received from relatives, carers and an MP.

Responses also highlighted the number of people who would need assistance to prepare a meal should the restaurant close and that the restaurant had been an important factor when choosing to move into these schemes.

Feedback provided in the 6 Focus Group sessions also echoed the above views.

We did

We reviewed the responses received and acknowledging the view that it would be best to keep the restaurants open, we sought a micro-business that would be able to use the kitchens to continue to provide a hot meal service.

We also looked at alternative ways to provide a hot meal including a hot meal delivery service.

We were successful is sourcing a micro-business to continue to provide a 7 days a week hot meal service in the restaurant at Cedar Court. This micro-business is also able to continue to provide hot meals to The Maples Day Service.

The landlord at Oak Tree House has also sourced a micro-business to continue to provide a service. This will be available 6 days a week (excluding Saturday, although cold food can be provided on the Friday to residents on request) and will provide a café service alongside one hot meal option each day.

There will be a change in meal price for each location. The meal prices are set by the micro-businesses and will therefore differ between sites.

At Cedar Court the meal price will increase from £4.45 to £5.05 for two courses (£4.05 for main course only). At Oak Tree House the meal price will change from £4.45 for two courses to £4 for a Main Course and £1.50 for a Pudding (£5.50 for two courses). At The Maples the price for a two course meal and refreshments will increase from £5.40 to £5.50.