The District Shopping Centres will be given a one-off deep clean with litter, graffiti, weeds removed. Street furniture will be will also be repaired or cleaned up and council officers will encourage local traders to clear any areas of private land they are responsible for.
The dozen shopping centres will each be the subject of an Environmental Visual Audit (EVA) by the Streetcare Teams, with officers from housing, parks, highways, planning, environmental health and licensing teams all encouraged to attend.
Residents who live in the immediate area and the shopkeepers themselves are being invited to join in the visual audits as they will be most familiar with specific environmental issues which need tackling in their local neighbourhoods. Ward councillors are also being invited.
The idea behind the initiative is to provide a boost to neighbourhood shopping districts, making them more attractive places to work out of and visit by tackling any environmental issues, and making a note of longer-standing issues which could be addressed in the future, like parking, licensing or planning issues.
The twelve shopping centres are spread across the borough. Two EVA’s and two clean ups have already taken place – at the Dee Road / Meadway and at the Basingstoke Road / Buckland Road shopping centres.
A timetable of visual audits runs through until September this year, with a timetable of works running through until October:
DATES OF EVA:
MEADWAY / DEE ROAD: 31/1/11
BASINGSTOKE ROAD / BUCKLAND ROAD: 21/2/11
CHRISTCHURCH ROAD / SHINFIELD ROAD: 14/3/11
CHURCH STREET CAVERSHAM: 28/3/11
PROSPECT STREET CAVERSHAM: 18/4/11
KIDMORE END ROAD / PEPPARD ROAD: 9/5/11
NORCOTE ROAD / OXFORD ROAD: 31/5/11
NORTHUMBERLAND AVE / WHITLEY WOOD ROAD: 20/6/11
THE TRIANGLE: 11/7/11
WOKINGHAM ROAD: 1/8/11
WHITLEY STREET: 5/9/11
CORONATION SQUARE: 26/9/11
Local residents, businesses and ward councillors in each area are being written to inviting them to attend visual audits on specific times and days. Once the audit has been completed, details of actions will be noted and will be circulated to all interested parties with a scheduled date of works a fortnight after the visual audit takes place.
Cllr Ricky Duveen, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Environment and Sustainability, said: ‘The Administration is taking a fresh look at local shopping centres. Efforts were concentrated on the town centre previously and we want to redress this situation because we believe that these local centres are a key plank of our economy and of daily life in Reading. We want to make sure they are well looked after and I hope local residents and shopkeepers will get involved and support this initiative.”
Cllr Jeanette Skeats, Lead Councillor for Communities, Voluntary Sector and Enterprise, added: ‘Local shopping districts like these form the heart of local communities and it is great to see this initiative being launched. I’m particularly pleased to see local residents and businesses being invited to take part and I hope as many local people as possible take up the offer so we can make this a real community effort.’