These notes incorporate some but not all of the matters discussed at the Full Hungerford Town Council (HTC) Meeting on 5 March, the agenda for which can be found here. Any references below to ‘the meeting’ refer to this event unless specified otherwise. The official minutes of the meeting will in due course be found on the HTC site. See the foot of this post for more information.
For HTC updates from previous months, please visit the archives here.
It was agreed at the meeting that, for simplicity and consistency, the border of Hungerford parish (as used for electoral purposes) would be used to define the area which the Neighbourhood Plan (NP) would cover.
HTC has agreed that it will arrange a meeting with the NP experts at WBC as soon as possible to clarify the procedures, restrictions and timings (in particular with a view to WBC’s own timetable for the updating of its own Local Plan, as discussed at last month’s HTC meeting).
The intention was that a working group would be established and its first meeting taken place by the end of March. Any updates on any of these points will be provided at the Town Meeting (see paragraph above).
There has recently been much publicity about this recurring issue. As is well known, pigeons cause mess and spread disease. On 7 Feb a meeting was held involving members of HTC, the Town and Manor, the Chamber of Commerce, West Berkshire Council (WBC) and Wokingham Environmental Health at which a number of issues and possible solutions were identified and discussed.
Litter attracts pigeons, so members of the public are requested not to drop food or other rubbish on the pavement but to use the bins provided. Food outlets will be contacted to encourage them to keep their waste-bin areas tidy. Over-feeding the ducks on the canal can also encourage pigeons, particularly if food is dropped on the tow path, so duck feeders are urged to exercise restraint (the ducks probably have adequate supplies of natural food in any case). Signs will probably be put up along the canal.
It’s also necessary to reduce pigeons’ roosting sites. The main one is under the railway bridge and a letter will be written to Network Rail. Some buildings in the twon centre also have poor pigeon defences and, with specialist help, HTC will be identifying these and contacting the owners to agree what can be done. A trial of preventative measures will be carried out at the Corn Exchange with HTC and the Town and Manor contributing to the costs. Contraception is not approved by DFRA and so cannot be used but other methods, including a possible cull, will be investigated. It’s likely that no one solution on its own will reduce the problem: it’s also unlikely that anything can be done to solve it altogether.
Only one application for co-option to the Town Council was received. Councillors voted on this at the meeting and the result was a split vote with the candidate in this instance not being successful. HTC continues to seek to fill the vacancy. Please contact email@example.com.
The discussions about the handover of the Library from WBC to HTC have now reached the stage of a detailed consideration of draft legal documents. A number of issues have been identified with these (most recently at a meeting of the steering group on 5 March) which require further work: one is the current absence of a schedule of works to be accomplished by WBC before the transfer.
In addition, a separate service-level agreement (defining the terms on which WBC continues to provide the library service to HTC) needs to be agreed.
It was estimated that the remaining work might take another month or so and cost perhaps £4,000.
HTC passed a unanimous vote of thanks to Councillor David Small, whose professional legal knowledge has been made available pro bono to HTC, so saving HTC a considerable sum of money. He told the meeting that the documents were not yet in a condition where they could be offered for independent legal advice as there were still too many holes. It was stressed by Councillor Simpson that these ‘holes’ were the result of this being a new experience for both parties. There was no suggestion (at the meeting or at any other time) that either party is being unreasonable or slow. With such a long lease at stake it’s obviously vital that the formalities be done correctly.
This will take place at 6.30 for 7.00pm on Wednesday 21 March in the Hungerford Corn Exchange. A draft agenda was discussed (which will include an opportunity for members of the public to ask questions). It is expected that this will be confirmed and published on the HTC website on Friday 9 March.
The District Councillors
Councillor Paul Hewer attended the meeting: Councillor James Podger was unable to.
Councillor Hewer discussed various representations the district councillors had made on behalf of Hungerford to WBC, including concerning coach drop-off points, road maintenance, proposals for residents’ parking in Fairview Road and the best ways of managing hedges and verges.
Members’ Bid grants
Anyone involved in funding or managing organisations or societies in the town should be aware that WBC offers Member’s Bids whereby district councillors can apply for grants for organisations in their parish. Grants of up to about £10,000 are available in this way. There is no obligation for WBC to give any grants to a particular parish or organisation: each case is considered on its merits. The decision as to which projects are proposed to WBC is entirely up to the district councillors. The funds available are for capital projects only, not for overheads such as staff costs or rent. They require matched funding, with half the sum needing to be raised by the organisation involved.
Hungerford Town Council Annual Grant Scheme
Hungerford Town Council’s grants are awarded annually to any charity or organisation whose good work benefit the residents of Hungerford. The grants are administered through The Good Exchange who match fund any monies donated. Applications are now welcomed for the grant scheme for 2018/19. The grants will be allocated in June/July and the deadline for applications is 1 May 2018. Applicants should visit www.thegoodexchange.com or complete and return this application form.
Award of Freedom of the Town 2018
This will be announced at the Town Meeting (see above).
The Mayor’s Activities
In February the Mayor attended a number of meetings and events including meetings with the Chairman of West Berkshire Council, the Mayor of Thatcham and the Mayor of Newbury, as well as a number of HTC council and committee meetings.
It was reported at the meeting that various meetings had taken place. For more information on the work of these committees, please click here.
Two issues were mentioned at the meeting. The first, from Councillor David Small, suggested that the Recreation and Amenities Committee now covered too large and complex an area (far greater than when it was originally established) and that this might be divided: due to a combination of unforeseen and unavoidable personal issues the last meeting was barely quorate.
The other, from Councillor Martin Crane, confirmed, among other points, that the Hungerford Trade Showcase would take place in the autumn of 2018; and that work was progressing with creating a new ‘visit Hungerford’ brochure for the town.
As mentioned above, the minutes of these (and other) meetings are available on the HTC website now or will be soon.
All HTC committee meetings now take place in the Library. Full Council meetings will continue to be held in the the Corn Exchange complex.
It was reported at the meeting by Councillor Benneyworth that the finances were pretty much on budget. The year-to-date accounts were approved.
Please see the separate post here. This covers the report made at the meeting on the recent spate of thefts in the town, crime-prevention tips, details of the police’s regular public sessions in Hungerford and information about the local Neighbourhood Watch.
The sections above cover some of the issues with which Hungerford Town Council has recently been involved or concerned: it by no means describes all of the Council’s activities.
For more information on Hungerford Town Council, please click here.
If there’s anything that you’d like to see addressed by Hungerford Town Council, and perhaps also covered in this way in future editions of Penny Post Hungerford, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Any such suggestions should be received at least four working days before the end of the month (and preferably sooner) if they are to be included in the corresponding post for the following month. That is not, of course, to say that the Council will not in any case give the matter its attention and respond personally if appropriate.
This information has been compiled by Penny Post from information supplied by Hungerford Town Council and others. Every reasonable effort has been made to provide a clear and dispassionate summary of the points covered but these may contain expressions of opinion which may not accord with Hungerford Town Council’s official view on the particular matter. Links have been provided to other posts, on the Penny Post site or elsewhere, to provide additional information where this has been judged useful or necessary. The presence of such a link should not be taken to imply that Hungerford Town Council necessarily agrees with, endorses or supports any of the material contained therein.