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.
Various formal matters such as the designation of the area this will cover (to co-incide with the parish boundary) have been agreed and a preliminary meeting has been held to discuss the terms of reference and the exact composition, nature and name of the steering group. A further meeting will take place later this month. Once these details have been agreed work can begin in earnest.
As mentioned before, NPs require the involvement of as many people as possible in order to provide information, opinions and ideas which the committee will then synthesize into a coherent document acceptable to all the parties involved, including West Berkshire Council (WBC). Penny Post will publicise any such requests for extra help and provide any summaries of the progress that the steering group provides or which are discussed in public meetings.
Hungerford Town Meeting
This took place on 21 March at the Corn Exchange and was attended by about 40 members of the public. A wide range of topics were covered, ranging from pigeons to police statistics, from the library to litter picking and from north-west Ghana to the Great West Way. You can read a report of the event here.
Following the recent resignation of Councillor David Small, there is now a second vacancy on the council to be filled by co-option. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact [email protected]
Work continues of discussing the many aspects of the handover from WBC to HTC. The current discussions mainly concern the joint user agreement which determines what each party is responsible for dealing with and this is being examined by members of the working party before being collated, reviewed by HTC’s solicitor and returned to WBC for its comments. The schedule of works (concerning the repairs which need to be carried out by WBC) has, with the exception of a few minor items, now been agreed.
Although this has all taken longer than hoped the discussions so far have produced some unexpected issues, each of which needs to be dealt with.
This is in some ways the reverse of the library issue as these are assets which HTC wishes to hand back to WBC (which already maintains the majority of lights in the town). Just as HTC doesn’t want to take over the library until certain works have been done, so WBC does not want the street lights until they have been brought up to standard which includes converting them to low-energy bulbs (which are cheaper to run and which need to be replaced less often). There are about 100 such lamp posts in the town, some over 40 years old, and it’s estimated that each one will cost about £1,000 to upgrade. HTC estimates that this might be a 10-year programme of renovation and handover. As each light is transferred, the responsibility of paying for and maintaining it then passes to WBC. For technical and legal reasons it may not be possible to have all lights transferred to WBC without inordinate cost and effort.
Members’ bid grants
This is a scheme by which individual district councillors can make a presentation to WBC to obtain grants (generally only for capital expenditure rather than operating costs) for projects in the respective ward.
It seems that the scheme that is most likely to be proposed is a bus shelter at the stop near the library. It was suggested at the meeting that the one remaining bus which stops outside the town hall should be diverted to there (subject to agreement with WBC and the bus company), so freeing the current bus stop for use as a much-needed coach bay.
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
These were awarded to Norman Barr, Catherine Wooliston and Chris Scorey. See also the report on the Town Meeting (last section) for more.
Annual litter pick
This will take place on Sunday 8 April and volunteers are welcome. Please meet outside the Town Hall at 10am wearing suitable clothes. All materials will be provided. Normally this lasts for an hour or so and light refreshments will be provided afterwards. There will also be a litter pick organised by the Town and Manor on the Common starting at the Down gate, also at 10am.
General Data Protection Regulations
HTC, like every other body that holds data, needs to ensure its practices are compliant with these new regulations that come into force next month. One thing that needs to happen is the appointment of Data Protection Officer who can be neither a councillor nor a staff member. HTC has decided to appoint its auditors at a cost of £75pa.
The Mayor’s Activities
In March the Mayor’s activities included various council committee meetings, meeting the Mayor of Devizes regarding the Devizes to Westminster canoe race, meeting the company responsible for HTC’s website and discussing matters relating to the library and the neighbourhood plan.
It was reported at the meeting that various meetings had taken place. For more information on the work of these committees, please click here.
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.
The TVP was unable to send a representative to the recent meeting although PCSO Joanna King was able to confirm by email that ‘since PC Burleigh addressed the Council for the Annual Meeting on 21 March there has been nothing of note in the town to inform you of. We have received no further reports of vehicle crime, since the spate in February.”
She also mentioned that the two Have Your Say meetings (note that there is now a second monthly one at the garden centre on the A4) have continued to be very popular and have already provided some useful information.
Please click here for general information about policing in Hungerford. This includes details of the Have Your Say meetings as well as an explanation of the role of the tri-service station, contact details and information about the 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 [email protected]. 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.