Soft play centres: Reading businesses appeal for help to survive impact of coronavirus
CHILDREN’s soft play centres in Reading are fearing for their futures and have appealed to the government for help.
As yet, they have had no word about when they can reopen and feel they have been left in limbo.
One such centre has been Krazy Playdays Reading’s larget softplay and party center.
A statement on the company’s Facebook page said: “It is with a very sad and heavy heart I must let you know Krazy Playdays will be closing permanently.”
“Unfortunately we have had no luck with our business interruption insurance, rent assistance or grant.”
“Over the last 10 years the team and I have been blessed to be able to meet amazing customers, lovely children and had the privilege to work with fab team members.”
“We will miss you all and feel very grateful for all your support we have had!”
Following the government announcement, over 25 play centres across the UK have already closed their doors for good this week.
In response the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions (BALPPA) has launched a petition calling on the government to save the sector, warning that as many as 64% of indoor play sites could close by October.
BALPPA chief executive Paul Kelly said: “Last week the indoor play industry was dealt the latest devastating blow in the COVID-19 crisis when they were once again totally overlooked in the government’s re-opening plans.”
“Without goverment support, the very future of this entire sector is at risk.”
Sign the petition at: https://www.change.org/p/boris-johnson-rescue-the-indoor-play-industry-from-closure
The nine-car British Rail Class 345 train removed from Crossrail
The nine-car British Rail Class 345 is a type of electric multiple unit passenger train built by Bombardier Transportation for use on Crossrail & currently used between Reading to London Paddington have been removed from traffic due to a software problem, therefore all TfL Rail ‘345s’ in traffic are currently running as seven-car sets.
Bombardier built the trains at Derby Litchurch Lane. Spokesman Will Tanner told RAIL: “A defect has been discovered that affects the signalling system on some of our Class 345s operating TfL Rail services to and from London Paddington. As a precaution, the nine-car units have been temporarily withdrawn from passenger service while we work to resolve the problem.
“All other Class 345s operating TfL Rail services to and from London Paddington and London Liverpool Street continue to operate as normal. I can’t give you a date when we will be able to return to nine-car operation but will do as soon as I can.”
No date has been given for the return to traffic of nine-car Class 345s on TfL Rail trains between London Paddington and Reading.
Resident’s anger over state of Dee Park streets
Reading west were invited by a Dee Park housing estate resident to visit the current state of the area.
The photos below were shot on Sunday 22 July 2020 in & around the kids playground & basketball court next to Glemore Place, Dee park Estate, Reading, and shows shopping trollies inside and down an alley, black bin bags, empty washing, face mask, discarded food containers etc.
The resident, who did not wish to be named said: “Every alley in the area is a mess.
“The streets that are really bad are the alleyways nearby Glemore Place leading to the basketball & playground and around Deveron Dr, Thurso Cl, Strathy Cl”
As we were walking along the streets, we spotted dog poo, dirty nappies, all type of household waste, more shopping trollies from the nearby Morrison store and black bin bags, just to mention a few.
He also said the bin men do not take the “contaminated” bags left out by householders which makes the problems even worse.
“They need cameras putting up. People come from different streets and just dump their rubbish in other people’s alleys.”
“There is an area in Strathy Close that every month fly-tippers dump their rubbish.”
Other resident we came across told us that “the littering has been happening for years”.
In September 2007 Reading Borough council vowed to regenerate the area, It is obvious for us that for many of the residents that announcement means nothing.
The council must take this matter seriously and understand that visible signs of crime, anti-social behaviour, and civil disorder create an urban environment that encourages further crime and disorder, including serious crimes.
We have contacted the council & Reading West MP Alok Sharma to try to solve the problem.
All littering found during this report have been reported to the council.
Crossrail delayed again as bosses blame Covid-19
Crossrail has delayed its opening again with project chiefs blaming the latest setback on Covid-19.
The troubled railway, from Reading, Berkshire to Abbey Wood, Essex via central London, was originally expected to open in December 2018 but repeated delays have pushed it back.
Crossrail confirmed on Thursday that this is now “not achievable.”
On Thursday evening, Crossrail said: “A programme of this scale and complexity was already challenging, the impact of Covid-19 has clearly made the existing pressures more acute.
“Due to a pause of physical activity on sites and significant constraints on ongoing work – time has been lost, only some of which can be recovered.”
Construction work stopped due to Covid-19 on March 24 and restarted on June 15. Train testing work restarted earlier on May 30.
The rail line was due to open in December 2018 but has been beset by a number of delays and increases to its original £14.8bn budget, which was agreed in 2010.
Crossrail chiefs have not issued a revised timetable but said “a more comprehensive update will be issued in due course.”
They added: “Work continues to refine and validate the remaining work schedule and associated costs.”
Mark Wild, Chief Executive, Crossrail Ltd, said: “We have a comprehensive plan to complete the railway but existing schedule pressure along with Covid-19 has impacted the programme and time has been lost.
“Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, good progress continues to be made with completing the remaining construction works, with much of this work coming to an end along with software testing for the signalling and train systems.
“The focus is completing the outstanding works across the tunnels, shafts and portals so that intensive operational testing can begin and the Elizabeth line can be delivered at the earliest opportunity.”
Andy Byford, London’s new transport commissioner, said: “The news that coronavirus and other factors mean the railway cannot now open next summer is hugely disappointing.”
Last month was announced that Crossrail and the Costain Skanska joint venture building the project’s problem Bond Street project have parted ways. Crossrail will oversee completion of the remaining works in-house.