Barkham Village Residents Association

 2020 03 21 IanOIan Overton, the long standing Treasurer of the BVRA, has just “retired” after nearly 20 years in the role.  In recognition of his sterling support of the residents’ association, we bought Ian a retirement gift of a terracotta planter (pictured).

I first met Ian when he joined the BVRA Committee in the autumn of 2001 when he took over from one of the founders of the residents’ association, Pam Edwards.  He has been a much valued member of the committee ever since.

One of the first events for which he had to hold the purse strings was the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations in Barkham in 2002.  Over the years he has offered guidance to the committee on matters relating to the BVRA’s finances and has been much trusted in these matters.  He has kept the BVRA on a sound financial footing to ensure we have a “fighting fund” if that proves necessary, whilst supporting spending money on “special events” for Barkham such as the 2012 celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee  

In recent years he has been seen at BVRA social events running the bar with his wife, Evelyn.  He has also been an ever-present at the popular Carols in Park just before Christmas, directing traffic and collecting donations for the band.

When Ian announced his wish to step down, we were very pleased that Alison Gouge came forward to take on the Treasurer role and they have just completed the handover.  Our Chairman, Alan Dixon, welcomed Alison in the spring edition of the Barkham Newsletter available here

I am sure Barkham residents will want to join me in wishing Ian many thanks for his service to the BVRA and best wishes for his "retirement".

Stewart Richardson
BVRA Committee Member

The BVRA needs a new Membership Secretary. The role will take around 30 to 40 hours a year. If you are interested or would like more information please contact the Chairman, Alan Dixon chairman@barkham.org.uk

Barkham Bridge – update from John Kaiser, WBC councillor for Barkham (07714192352) 

The Barkham Bridge project consists of a new bridge structure across the Barkham Brook and approximately 300 metres of associated carriageway realignment. The current Barkham Bridge is a highway structure along B3349 Barkham Road, operating on a priority give-way system. It will be retained and be converted to a shared footway/cycleway, connecting the sections of footway to the east and west. The new bridge is to be constructed south of the existing Barkham Bridge within private land. The improvements are in order to accommodate continuous flow 2-way traffic which are needed in order to alleviate a potentially dangerous choke point and help ease congestion.

As part of the project scope, the council have included the refurbishment of the existing highway drainage system leading up to School Road.  In addition, the project team is aware of the condition of the existing Thames Water main on Barkham Road and will likely have to divert a section of this as part of the bridge works. They will explore opportunities with Thames Water to look at the water main beyond the project scope, particularly, in light of the burst pipes in mid-August 2018. This means the site will occupy a considerably larger footprint than would be expected just to deliver the bridge.

Confirmation from the Planning Authority in February 2017 concluded that the improvements were considered permitted development under the Town & Country Planning Act and did not require a planning application.  Preliminary design work was completed and agreed in March 2018 which proposed a new off-line bridge to the south of the existing structure to provide 2-way traffic on Barkham Road, removing the existing bottle neck.  As the project has developed since February 2017, we recently sought confirmation of this permitted development based on the scheme layout.

Balfour Beatty has started the work after undertaking some ground investigation works which included feedback from Thames Water and the Environment Agency, to inform the detailed design of the bridge structure and further survey works will be on-going to inform the design.

There is a communications plan and list of key stakeholders with Balfour Beatty to allow them to take forward on-going project updates, more details can be found on Wokingham Borough website at https://www.wokingham.gov.uk/roadworks-and-outdoor-maintenance/major-new-roads/barkham-bridge/

Construction starts in autumn 2019 and is due to open for traffic in spring 2021.

Barkham Bridge is part of the £124m Highways Programme delivered under the SCAPE Procurement Framework which includes the Arborfield Cross Relief Road, Barkham Bridge improvements, Winnersh Relief Road - Phase 2, Lower Earley Way Dualling and three projects which form the South Wokingham Distributor Road, Eastern Gateway, Spine Road and Western Gateway.

Satellite view of the area

BarkBridge1

Map showing the old and new road layout
BarkBridge2

Our photo compettion has now been judged 

pamIt is with great sadness that we announce that our Committee Secretary Pam Edwards passed away on 20th July 2019, after a short illness. She has been a driving force behind the BVRA since its inception and we send our deepest condolences to her family and friends.

As co-founder of the organization which was formed by herself and Christine Thomas in 1987 to raise awareness of the threat of development in The Coombes, which then became the BVRA, she has been a major part of the community for many years. A keen bridge player, quilter and talented crafter who was always willing to give her time to run cardmaking sessions with the Barkham Ladies Club. She was active with so many groups, she will be sorely missed.

Wokingham Borough Council will on the 22 November 2018 at 7.00pm be debating the substantial Petition submitted on 20 September, reflecting the concerns of over 4000 residents about over-development in the Barkham area, and in particular any impending plans for up to 1000 houses on Barkham Square.

This is the largest petition ever presented to WBC. Given the strength of feeling from residents, a clear message needs to be given to the Borough that this is not sustainable and 'Enough is Enough'.

Prior and separate to the Debate itself, there will be a 30 minute period allocated for questions from the Public. These will take the form of written questions submitted in advance by residents. To set the scene for the debate a number of Barkham residents have already taken this opportunity to submit certain relevant questions which will be read out and answered by the Executive Members.

Everyone is welcome to attend this full Borough Council meeting and your support will be much appreciated. This is scheduled to take place at WBC's offices at Shute End on 22 November starting at the earlier time of 7.00 pm. Given the ongoing building works outside of WBC, there are various other parking spaces within reasonable proximity, with the closest being Denmark Street car park, Rose Street car park or the Carnival multi-storey, all of which offer free parking after 6.00pm. Please note that the Elms Road multi-storey closes at 6.30pm.

Kind regards,
Barkham Parish Council/ Barkham Village Residents Association

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