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Local News Jan 4-11 2018

Including funding consultations deadlines, local New Year’s Honours’ recipients, Citizens Advice in need of help, Tull Way completed,  Swindon’s house prices, Marlborough’s parking charges, Shefford’s youth club, Wantage’s charity champion, good causes celebrated, police and roadwork updates, Bookstar, Drivestart, green bin rage, CATs, zimmer frames, an aquatic mayor, mulching trees, ghosts, crystal balls and the Caroline Islands

Click on any highlighted and underlined text for more information on the subject. Some will link to other pages on this site, others to pages elsewhere.

Roadworks updates. Click on the links for news regarding West Berkshire, the Wantage area, Wiltshire, Hampshire and Swindon. Please click here to visit Traffic England’s site for information on motorways and major strategic roads (which include at A34 and the A419). The ‘Map Layers’ toggle can be used to display different levels of information.

Neighbourhood policing updates. For the Thames Valley Police’s ‘Your Local Area’ page generally, click here. For specific areas, click here for Hungerford and Lambourn; click here for Newbury Town Centre; click here for Newbury Outer; click here for Bucklebury and Downlands; click here for Thatcham, Aldermaston and Brimpton; click here for Wantage and Grove; click here for Wiltshire East (including Marlborough); click here for Swindon and other parts of Wiltshire; click here for Hampshire.

• Please click here for more about the tri-service station in Hungerford and policing in the area generally.

• A number of community minibus and car schemes provide transport services for – but not exclusively for – older and disabled people. You can click here to find more about the range of services (and volunteering opportunities) in West Berkshire. Click here for services in Wiltshire and Swindon.

District, town or parish council contacts. To view the contacts page for Hungerford TC, click here; for Newbury, click here; for Thatcham, click here. If you live in the Vale of White Horse area, click here (and here for Wantage); if you live in Wiltshire, click here (and here for Marlborough). For Swindon, click here.

• I’ve just responded to the consultation concerning the proposed cuts by West Berkshire Council to Citizens Advice West Berkshire. The consultation on this, one other cost saving (not sending planning application notices to neighbours) and one revenue-raising measure (charging for green-bin collections), closes on Wednesday 10 January.

• Another organisation that is consulting is the Thames Valley Police. Over half of the extra £450m for policing in the UK recently announced by the government is contingent upon the local forces being able to raise extra funds through increases in Council Tax. You can click here to read a letter from the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner and to take part in the consultation (which closes at noon on Thursday 11 January).

• The electrification work on the main railway line between Maidenhead and Didcot has been completed and the first new Electrostar trains entered service this week.

• Congratulations to all those in West Berkshire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire and Swindon who were recongnised in the recent New Year’s Honours List.

• The letters pages of the Newbury Weekly News this week includes further criticisms of West Berkshire’s proposed green-bin charge; some reflections on the ugliness on Newbury’s bridges; an encouragement to oppose the funding cuts for Citizens Advice West Berkshire; some tales of festive good deeds; and the suggestion that councils should be able to charge more realistic fees for planning applications (a point made in Penny Post in December 2015).

• West Berkshire Council is seeking to address the problem of dog fouling. Click here to report any cases and to see a map of the area with known problem areas marked.

• Congratulations to Safer Roads Berkshire (which works with West Berkshire Council to provide the DriveStart programme) for winning the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award.

• West Berkshire Council’s libraries have launched their 2018 Bookstar reading challenge for primary-school children. Jonathan Kelly, one of the children to have completed the previous challenge, reading over 500 books in the process, has this wonderfully succinct summary of the benefits of a library: “Choose any book and start reading, you might find a new author that you like. If you don’t like it, just take it back to the library and try something else.”

• Please click here for the latest news from Hungerford Town Council.

• A reminder that there will be an important meeting at 7pm on Monday 22 January in the Corn Exchange to discuss Hungerford’s proposed Neighbourhood Plan. You can find out more by clicking here (you’ll need then to scroll down a bit).

• Another, more immediate, meeting in Hungerford is the meeting of the Full Council at 7pm on Monday 8 January in the Corn Exchange. The agenda can be seen here.

• Nominations are now open for Hungerford Town Council’s 2018 Freedom of the Town award.

• The above-mentioned consultation on the funding for Citizens Advice West Berkshire may result in the recently-established outreach service in the Hungerford Library being closed: all the more reason if you live in or near the town to make your views known about the proposed cuts. The service is available on the first and the third Wednesday morning of each month: call 01635 516605 to make an appointment.

• Congratulations to Gill Hall and Dave Crook who have taken over the Great Shefford Youth Club from founder John Warr, who has left the area. The club is for children aged nine to 16 and is not restricted to people living in Shefford. Meetyings take place every other Wednesday  from 7pm to 8.30pm with a wide range of activities on- and off-site. For more information, please contact Gill and Dave on gill_hall@yahoo.com

• Please click here for the latest news from Newbury Town Council: and here to see NTC’s archive of monthly newsletters.

• This week’s Newbury Weekly News reports on two further proposed CATs (Community Asset Transfers), one involving half of the Waterside Centre in Newbury and the other three play areas in Thatcham: see pages 3 and 21 respectively.

• West Berkshire Council appears to have abandoned its plans to build a new primary school in Theale, citing as one of the reasons the parish council’s inability to agree to a land-swap deal. You can read more here.

• Please click here for the latest news from Marlborough Town Council.

Car-parking charges in Wiltshire will be rising by an average of nearly 12% from 1 February: click here for more details.

• Some crystal-ball gazing here from business experts in the Swindon and Wiltshire area as to what 2018 might have in store for the area’s economy.

• You can click here (and scroll down a bit) to see the 2017-22 Action Plan from Marlborough Town Council.

• Physiotherapists at the Great Western Hospital have appealed for zimmer frames and walking aids which have been borrowed but which are no longer needed to be returned to the Physio Outpatients at the Ground Floor North Entrance.

• Please click here for the latest news from Thatcham Town Council.

• Ellen Crundy, the Mayor of Thatcham, is in some senses and for charitable purposes in the English Channel about 11km from Cap Gris Nez. This article makes sense of this rather odd statement. She might (or perhaps might not) want to have a look at this article and see if the slight mental dislocation that overtakes me during long swims has also affected her.

• And sticking with the combination of Thatcham and water, the Tull Way Flood Alleviation Scheme in Thatcham is now complete  – click here for more.

• Please click here for the latest news from Wantage Town Council.

Click here for details of the winners of the 2017 Wantage Business Awards.

• Congratulations, yet again, to Ray Collins and all at his Charitable Trust for their work over the Christmas period: you can read more here.

• It seems from this article that not only are house prices in Swindon rising by nearly three times the overall UK rate but they are still below the national average.

• Twelfth Night approaches, and with it the problem of getting rid of old Christmas trees. If you have an open fire or a wood burner this is one solution, although we’ve been advised by a local sweep that the resin can cause a dangerous build up in the flue. Another option is to take advantage of the various recycling services offered by local councils and other organisations. For details of these in the Vale of the White Horse area, click here.  In Hungerford, Jim Smith of Broadmead Estate Services will be mulching trees outside the Town Hall between 10am and 1pm on Saturday 7 January and collecting donations which will be distributed to local charities.

• A number of good causes have received valuable support recently, including: Homes & Hope for Children (thanks to the carol service at Marlborough College); Great Western Hospital’s Brighter Futures Radiotherapy Appeal (thanks to numerous donors including Beard Construction); children at the Roayl Berkshire Hospital (thanks to A Plan Insurance); West Berkshire Foodbank (thanks to TSB Hungerford); Thje Rosemary Appeal (thanks to the recent Christmas charity walk at Highclere); Swings and Smiles (thanks to the Kingsclere Singers).

• And so it’s time to make a selection from YouTube’s global jukebox for the Song of the Week. Anyone around in the 80s will remember the moody, eye-catching and dramatically coiffured band Japan. They were a lot more that just pretty faces, though, as this stripped-down version of their haunting Ghosts proves. If Bowie wasn’t jealous, he should have been.

• And finally the Quiz Question of the Week winds things up. pretty much the final chance to try your hand at the Penny Post 2017 Quiz which contains a superb prize from the Queens Arms in East Garston is the suggestion this week. Here’s a topical-ish free bonus ball – What’s so special about the place formerly known as Caroline Island?

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Brian Quinn

If you would like to add your thoughts to anything in this post, please use the ‘Comments’ box at the foot of the page. Once moderated, your comment will be visible to other users.

  1. Thank you for highlighting the Hungerford Town Council meeting next Monday 8th Jan. Agenda item 14 will be of interest to those of your readers who objected to the CALA homes Salisbury Road/ Priory Road application, particularly those who contributed to the funding for Judicial Review of the inclusion of the site in West Berkshire Council’s Housing Sites Allocation DPD.

    14. Land South of Priory Road development –
     Update on availability of S106 agreement
     Decision on further action regarding planning permission
     Confirm proposed meeting with Cala Homes

    As we know from CALA’s press release to the local media, permission for this JR wasn’t granted, but as per HTC’s October minutes that is by no means the end of the road for legal challenge, and there is in my opinion a far stronger case for Judicial Review of the planning application itself. Contrary to the impression given in the press release there is still time for this to happen ( 6 weeks from issue of the planning permission {30th Nov}) I believe this timeline can be extended in certain circumstances, but it would obviously be safer to lodge for permission within the six weeks.

    This meeting has not been as well advertised as previous ones & there was a suggestion made by a member of the public ( from Froxfield) at the last E&P meeting that in fact most of Hungerford supported this development, evidenced by the fact that donations to boost the legal action fund had not been as high as the Council hoped. Some of you may have seen his letter in last week’s NWN.

    If there are objectors to this scheme still out there, please either come to the meeting or drop an email to Hungerford Town Council expressing your views. It appears the developers already have and I am assuming they have suggested that HTC should drop the legal action and move on. Their letter has not been made publicly available & obviously it would be helpful if it coulld be ASAP and certainly before the meeting.

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