Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Amenity group in danger of closure after 57 years

A GROUP set up in the Sixties to preserve Goring’s rural character could be disbanded.

The Goring and Streatley Amenity Association has suspended its activities after members voted at its annual meeting to stop accepting subscriptions and leave just two people to run its bank account as caretakers.

The association, of which about 200 village households are members, has struggled to attract new committee members in recent years.

It hopes to continue if more people come forward but if this doesn’t happen within the next three or so years, an extraordinary meeting will be called to wind it up for good and decide how any remaining funds should be used. The association was founded in 1962 to promote sustainable development in Goring and Streatley while preserving their identities.

During its first decade it successfully lobbied for the M4 to be built further away from the area and it later helped fight a bid to erect electricity pylons on Streatley Hill.

The association helped to produce the Goring village design statement in 2011 and gathered residents’ comments on large-scale schemes like the proposed hydro-electric power plant at Goring weir and the possible relocation of the primary school.

Chairman Alan Jones said it was becoming harder to get people involved because they often joined single-issue campaign groups on Facebook instead.

However, the association might be needed if the Goring neighbourhood plan passed a referendum over the summer as it could campaign to ensure the policies on housing numbers, locations and type are enforced.

Mr Jones said: “There seems to have been a decline in interest in both villages. We’ve been left behind a little by social media and modern communication generally — perhaps we’ve failed to keep up to date but it seems we’re being superseded. You get all these groups springing up and then disappearing and whatever you want to say about that, it seems to be the way things are done nowadays. It does seem to have a bit of a divisive effect.

“We’ve spent a lot of time and effort revamping our website and things like that, although it hasn’t generated much of a response.

“I suppose one advantage of bringing the situation to a head like this is that it might attract a bit more interest and bring someone forward to reinvigorate it.”

Other groups’ campaigns have included Stop Tesco in Goring, which was set up in 2014 in a bid to block the supermarket chain from opening an Express store at the former Queen’s Arms pub in Reading Road but failed.

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