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In pictures: Wembley ready for historic FA Cup match

Arsenal and Reading pin badges on sale before match Credit: PA
Young fan on the way to the ground Credit: Vikki Bray
Arsenal and Reading scarves on sale Credit: PA
A young Reading fan arrives at Wembley stadium for the game Credit: PA
A Reading fan with a half and half scarf as he makes his way to the stadium for the match Credit: PA

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Wembley awaits arrival of The Royals

Public survey open for the Heights Primary

People can now have their say on a permanent home for the Heights Primary in Reading Credit: The Heights Primary

The Public Survey phase of the on-going consultation to find a permanent home for The Heights Primary School is now open.

The survey opened at 9.30am this morning and can be filled in at http://beta.reading.gov.uk/schoolsite

The Government’s Education Funding Agency (EFA) has selected five possible sites for a permanent location for the school and has asked Reading Borough Council to carry out a public consultation on its behalf.

The Public Survey is now the opportunity for people to tell the EFA which of the five sites they prefer, and the reasons for their choice.

The EFA’s five preferred sites are:

  • High Ridge, Upper Warren Avenue
  • Mapledurham Playing Fields
  • Albert Road Recreation Ground
  • Shipnells Farm (better known as Bugs Bottom)
  • Dysons Farm (Land at the junction of Shepherd’s Lane and Kidmore Road)

The Public Survey is open for just over one month and the deadline for responses is 5pm on Friday May 1st. When the survey is complete, Reading Borough Council will pass all responses to the EFA. It will then be up to the EFA to select which location for The Heights Primary School it will pursue, based on public responses received.

Residents filling in the Public Survey are also being asked to provide a name and address. This is so that the EFA can take all geographical data into account when making a final decision on the permanent location for the school.

For people without access to computers, hard copies of the Public Survey are being made available at the Civic Offices in Bridge Street, and local libraries and leisure centres.

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Residents asked to give views on extra care housing

Plans will go on show next week on the redevelopment of the former Arthur Clarks Residential Home and Albert Road Day Centre in Caversham.

Both closed two years ago despite a long campaign.

A new extra care housing scheme has been proposed for the site which would see forty one and two bed units with communal facilities built.

"Local residents have been saying they want to see this site used for services for older people so that they can continue to live fulfilling lives in their own community. I'd encourage people to give their views on the proposals to help ensure that the services provided are the best they can be."

– Lead Member for Adult Social Care, Cllr Rachel Eden

"The Council is working with A2 Dominion to ensure that this site continues to benefit older people in Caversham. Our priority it to deliver a sustainable, high quality housing development that includes activities for older people in the wider community."

– Lead Member for Housing, Cllr Richard Davies

The Council will contract additional specialist providers to deliver care services, catering and community activities at the new facility.

Subject to gaining planning permission, it is expected that builders will be on site later on this year to start work on the scheme.

Multi-million pound rail investment to ease overcrowding

£50m investment to ease overcrowding Credit: ITV

It's been described as the biggest investment in rail services for a generation. Today millions of pounds worth of improvements have been announced in the Thames Valley to help provide a solution to daily overcrowded commutes.

200 First Great Western trains will be renewed or refurbished. More carriages and services will also be added to provide an extra three million seats a year. And stations in Berkshire, Surrey, Wiltshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire will benefit from a £50 million upgrade scheme.

It's all part of the company's new three and a half year contract to operate the service. Rachel Hepworth was in Reading to hear the announcement.

Council to protect former prison site made famous by Oscar Wilde

A key planning document protecting the heritage and history of the former Reading Prison site is set to be adopted by Reading Borough Council this week.

A Grade II listed building, Reading Prison - famous for Oscar Wilde’s poem “The Ballad of Reading Gaol,” - was shut down by the Government in December 2013. Although the Ministry of Justice has indicated it intends to sell the site, 16 months on the historic building sits empty with no indication on progress.

This week, Reading Borough Council is moving to adopt what is known as an Outline Development Framework. This important document provides a framework to help shape any potential future use and development of the prison site. The proposed adoption of the framework follows a public consultation exercise where members of the public were invited to comment on a draft.

The Outline Development Framework for Reading Prison is set to be adopted at a meeting of the Council’s Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport Committee on Thursday.

“More than 16 months after the Reading Prison was abruptly shut down by Government, this historic building remains empty with nothing definitive from the MoJ on progress. The Council is nevertheless moving to protect the history and heritage of what is a key site for Reading."

– Tony Page, Lead Member for Strategic Environment for Reading Borough Council

Motorcyclist suffers serious head injuries in crash

Thames Valley Police is appealing for witnesses to a crash in Reading on Friday.

At 12.41pm on the A329 Oxford Road, near the junction with Constitution Road, there was a collision between a grey Vauxhall Insignia and a black Suzuki motorcycle.

The rider of the motorcycle, a 21-year-old local man, suffered serious head injuries as a result of the collision and was airlifted to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where he is still being treated.

Police are appealing for any witnesses to the incident, in particular, the driver of a white van who was reportedly at the scene before the police arrived.

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