North of the River Branch
Demography and history
The North of the River Branch comprises the four Reading wards located north of the River Thames – Caversham, Peppard, Thames and Mapledurham. In 2016 the population of the four wards totalled just over thirty-two thousand – approximately 20% of the population of Reading. The electorate at the last General Election numbered about 25,000.
For much of its existence, the area was in Oxfordshire but a large part was transferred to
Reading in 1911 with the remainder (commonly known as Caversham Park Village) transferred in 1977. The ward of Mapledurham was created in 2005 – this, along with other boundary changes, meant that the three larger wards had roughly equal electorates represented by three councillors and an electorate in Mapledurham of approximately one-third of their size and represented by just one councillor.
The area is generally thought to be one of affluence but there are significant areas of deprivation – especially in Caversham ward, e.g. higher percentage of children in danger of living in poverty and eligible for free school meals than the average for Reading.
The North of the River Labour Party
Up until 2010 the wards operated as separate entities but the decision was then made to amalgamate them into the North of the River branch so as to give a more cohesive approach to campaigning and winning for Labour.
The elected officers of the branch are:
|Vice-Chair (Caversham)||Richard Daviesfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Vice-Chair (Peppard)||Mandy Championemail@example.com|
|Vice-Chair (Thames & Mapledurham)||Adele Barnett-Wardfirstname.lastname@example.org|
Meetings are usually held on the second Thursday of every month and our regular meeting place is the upstairs meeting room at the Griffin public house on Church Road, Caversham starting at 8pm. The aim of the meetings is for members to be kept abreast of, and get involved in, local issues and campaigning and for discussions to take place about national and international issues.
The meeting dates for the rest of this year are:
- 21st September (new date)
- 12th October
- 9th November
- December - To be confirmed
The venue for all will be the Griffin and meetings will commence at 8pm.
Peppard Ward has a population of just over 9,500, an electorate of around 7,500 and 4,000 dwellings (most commonly semi-detached). It is currently represented by three Conservative councillors though in the past it has had Liberal Democrat representation. With the collapse in Liberal Democrat support it is a ward that with a strong campaign could be a Labour target seat.
Peppard is the Reading ward most significantly affected by the possible closure of Chiltern Edge secondary school in adjoining South Oxfordshire and this is a strong campaigning issue for our newly elected MP Matt Rodda , our Caversham councillors and the local party.
Thames Ward has a population of around 9,750, an electorate of around 7,300 and about 3,800 dwellings (most commonly detached). It has always been represented by Conservative councillors apart from a brief period with two Independent Conservatives. There are however a significant number of Labour voters in the ward and these are an important factor in General Elections.
The ward is mostly residential, but also contains Highdown School and Sixth Form Centre as well as the green spaces of Albert Road Park, Balmore Walk and Bugs Bottom.
Mapledurham Ward was created relatively recently and is unique in Reading in only having one councillor (who has always been Conservative). It has a population of just over 3,000, an electorate of around 2,300 and just over 1,200 dwellings (most commonly larger detached). As with Thames Ward though it is unlikely that the ward will ever return anything other than a Conservative councillor there is significant support for the Labour Party.
The ward includes Mapledurham Playing Fields, a small part of which is the planned location of The Heights Free School. This planned development is strongly opposed by a relatively small group of local residents and is consensually supported by the North of the River Labour Party.
Reading Borough Council is currently running a consultation on this and comments can be made online through their planning portal - the application number is 171023 and the address is Mapledurham Playing Fields, Upper Woodcote Road.
Meet the Councillors
Please click on the photo of the councillor to view contact details.
Peppard, Thames and Mapledurham do not have any Labour Councillors at this time.