Review of the Year: NovemberBy Ralph Webb
January 07, 2013
A new secondary school could be built by 2015 after a U-turn by education bosses who announced The Emmbrook School will not move from its current site.
Campaigners won a seven-year battle to keep the school in Emmbrook Road after years of uncertainty and council plans to move it to Finchampstead and then Arborfield.
Instead of moving the school, Wokingham Borough Council invested £2.45 million in flood prevention work, replaced its heating system and improved Sixth Form accommodation.
Paul Gallagher, Emmbrook Residents’ Association chairman, said: “It is frustrating there has been so much uncertainty for so long. But the right decision has been made.
“The school is a very valued asset in the community and a lot of people moved to this area because of the attraction of having good schooling in walking distance and to have that retained is great news.”
Angry customers blasted safety measures introduced at a parcel collection office after a woman was hit by a post van.
Huge queues blocking the pedestrian crossing and post office entrance snaked down the pavement when Royal Mail slashed opening times by more than half, following the accident.
The woman was clipped by the van as it passed her in the entrance to the delivery yard in Broad Street.
Families queued for up to an hour after collection times were reduced to just two-and-a-half hours a day so staff could supervise people coming in and out to minimise further accidents.
Becky Galbraith, 35, who queued for an hour in the rain with her five-month-old baby, said: “It’s a disaster.
“They say it’s because of health and safety, but the queue is blocking the crossing and the post office.”
Campaigners hoped plans to transform ‘Useless Crescent’ into a ‘flagship community’ would reduce problems on the estate.
Dozens of families from Norreys welcomed designs to revitalise the run-down flats in Eustace Crescent at a Norreys Community Forum meeting.
The forum was the first time neighbours had got to see four designs for the buildings, which range from 67 to 91 homes with varying amounts of green space.
The current three- and four-storey blocks of flats will soon be demolished, and neighbours joked they would like a viewing platform set up so they can sip Champagne as the flats fall.
Trevor Roberts, 56, of Whaley Road, said: “I hope this is the start of fewer problems in the estate.
“We have the four-storey flats overlooking us now and some of the language that comes from it is atrocious.”
A schoolgirl was ‘honoured and humbled’ after her historic appearance wearing a hijab in the House of Commons.
Sumaiya Karim, Wokingham’s Member of Youth Parliament (MYP), led a winning debate in the chamber.
The 16-year-old was believed to be the first female to wear a hijab while speaking at the Despatch Box in Parliament.
“It was absolutely brilliant and a fantastic experience,” Sumaiya said.
“This was one of the best things I’ve ever done – something I’ll never forget for the rest of my life.
“I was feeling a bit nervous, but I’ve been told that didn’t come across.”
The Maiden Erlegh School Year 12 pupil, who is hoping to study medicine at university, has decided to wear a Muslim headscarf for most of her time at secondary school.