Katesgrove Residents’ Association was formed on 7 October 1971 at a meeting at Katesgrove School, partly as a result of a group study by Reading College of Technology, “Spotlight on Katesgrove”, supervised by D. L. Lee which also produced a film “Katesgrove 1971” first shown at the University of Reading on 5th May 1971.
The founding committee included C. H. Coward (1st Chairman), Anita Rendel, Clive Woodland, Les Suter (1st Treasurer) Simon Rendel (1st Secretary), Mr Rose, Rev. Anthony Boult (1st Vice Chairman), Karl Saunders Singer, Geoffrey Cowley and Mr Wheeler.
The first action of the Association was to solicit residents’ views on problems in their area. The 3 primary outcomes of this survey were Building Developments (Whitley Street Flats/Houses), Street Cleaning and Refuse Collection and Parking (Some things never change). At the same time, we started efforts to involve ethnic minorities in activities.
In 1972, Elgar Road residents complained that they were not informed of meetings and felt they were being sidelined (some things do change).
Katesgrove Labour Party have taken an interest since 1972. In the early 1980s a Liberal Councillor accused the Labour Party of using KRA for its own political ends. While all residents of Katesgrove are welcomed, whatever their political views or affiliations are, we are not aligned with any political party. We reserve the right to pillory all of them.
In the early 1980s there were many accidents in Elgar Road involving serious injury to pedestrians, which at that time was the main road from South Reading to West Reading. We campaigned for the A33 Relief Road, the first part of which (Rose Kiln Lane), from Berkeley Avenue to Basingstoke Road, was opened in 1984. At that time the extension to the M4 (Junction 11) was promised within 6 years – it finally took 13 years, opening in 1997. We are still campaigning on traffic and parking issues.
We have always taken a keen interest in all building developments in the area since our founding, and even where we have been unable to stop a development we have been able to ensure that the appearance of the buildings have been in keeping with their neighbours.
The Association started campaigning for children’s facilities in July 1972; this trend has continued to the present day. The swimming pool at Katesgrove School was built because of the efforts of Katesgrove Residents Association working in conjunction with the school children’s parents. The major visible results have been the building of the Waterloo Meadows Children’s Centre , which was opened in 1989, and the all-weather sports pitch near to it, which was opened in 2000. We have always maintained a close working relationship with the management of the Children’s Centre and are represented on its Management Advisory Committee.
Since 1995 we have held May Parties on the first May Bank Holiday each year at Waterloo Meadows although that in 1999 had to be cancelled due to an arson attack on the Children’s Centre the previous December requiring major repairs to the building. We delayed it to the autumn on this occasion. Each year we try to obtain a major attraction as the centrepiece of the events for the day. The Mayor always attends and has planted a tree in the Meadows each year.
KRA has always been concerned about the levels of crime in the area and has been a member of the South Reading Safer Community Forum since its inception in 1997. For some years we were the only representatives of Katesgrove on this forum, but Katesgrove Globe and Waterloo Meadows Children’s Centre joined in 2000. We were instrumental in the forum setting up a sub-group to reduce crime in Katesgrove, where Southampton Street, Katesgrove Lane and Elgar Road were shown by police statistics to be among the worst-hit streets in the entire Thames Valley Police Authority area. Since 2000 we are also represented on the Consultative Committees for the Reading with Wokingham policing area and the whole Thames Valley Police Authority region.
In 1999 we were invited to join the South Reading Council Consultative Committee and the Berkshire Joint Councils Consultative Committee
As you can see, you can make your voice heard!
More recently, in 2014 the association members voted to change its name to Katesgrove Community Association, to reflect the association’s wider aims.
Over the last few years we have run some successful events – the Autumn Fayre and ‘Spring into Katesgrove’ events which had local raffles, tombolas, poetry readings from the Rising Sun Arts Centre, cake baking competitions, crafts from the MERL, location crime prevention and waste stream advice, and loads more for local residents to do! 2020 and 2021 will be focused on ensuring the KCA are still here for our neighbours even during the periods of lockdown and will be running some virtual events and competitions, until we can meet you in person again!