These notes incorporate some but not all of the matters discussed at the Full Hungerford Town Council (HTC) Meeting on 4 June, 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. WBC = West Berkshire Council.
For HTC updates from previous months, please visit the archives here.
Hungerford 2036 (Neighbourhood Plan)
Please see the separate post here.
Representatives of CHAIN addressed the meeting. They thanked the volunteers and HTC for their support over the past 12 months. The most recent funding initiative was a coffee morning organised by Sue Abbott which raised over £350 and will receive matched funding from Vodafone.
Tributes were also paid to Betty Grant who has been closely involved in all aspects of CHAIN for the last 30 years and who will be retiring this year. She established a number of activities that are still part of CHAIN’s service including a weekly hydrotherapy session at Swindon and weekly shopping trips for less mobile people. Her contribution was recognised by the Freedom of the Town Award some years ago.
The number of journeys CHAIN has provided has increased over the past year: in 2016-17, for instance, there were 14 in the wheelchair vehicle and 4,686 handybus trips: these increased to 72 and 5,026 respectively the following year. The service thus remains popular and highly valued.
There were a few notes of caution. Firstly, although the accounts will show a surplus of £13,000 this doesn’t take into account the depreciation on the vehicles which will be close to £18,000. Secondly, the extra usage (though welcome) will shorten the vehicles’ working lives. Thirdly, various regulatory changes being considered by the Department of Transport may increase costs for community groups. Fourthly, WBC has said it will be reducing its financial support from next year. Finally, the problem of volunteer drivers for the minibus is likely to become more acute: licences issued before 1997 included the relevant D1 class whereas since then they have not. Passing this part of the test costs over £1,500.It is possible that training costs may become a key part of grant applications in the future.
Meetings have taken place between representatives of HTC and the developers (CALA and Wates) concerning the proposed design of the new properties at Salisbury Road and HTC will shortly be responding to these. Thereafter, the developers will be organising a public consultation which will include an exhibition of the layout and designs. This will probably take place in the Corn Exchange complex later in the summer and will be given advance publicity here and elsewhere.
The actual work on the site is currently scheduled to start in the spring of 2019 and last for two years.
The considerable work involved in the handover from WBC to HTC is now all but complete. A formal ceremony to mark the handover will take place at the Library at 10am on Friday 15 June. There will be a further event on Saturday 8 September at which the building will be formally re-opened as a community hub.
Members’ bid grants
The District Councillors were successful in their bids to raise funds for the bus shelter near the Library in Church Street.
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. From the 2018-19 grant budget, £19,700 of grants for good causes were agreed at the meeting. The successful applicants will be advised soon. A local event will be organised next month to present the grants.
Station Road Planning Application
As reported in Penny Post and elsewhere, there is currently an application to build 30 homes on the Oakes Bros site near the station. After initially recommending that the scheme be rejected it now seems that WBC is likely to approve it at the full Planning Committee meeting later this month (provisionally on 27 June). All members of HTC said they supported the application and District Councillor Paul Hewer said that his feeling was that it enjoyed support in the town as well.
Anyone who is in favour of the plan is urged to attend and make their views known as the decision is by no means certain. One issue is that the application contravenes WBC’s own policy as the site is designated for industrial use. This can, however, be changed. The question of parking is technically a non-issue as the current parking spaces were always temporary and thus form no part of any long-term parking plan by either WBC, GWR or Network Rail.
For more information on the application, click here to visit WBC’s planning pages and then enter the code18/00837/FULEXT.
The question of parking led to a discussion at the meeting as to how the shortfall resulting from any development could be addressed. Councillor Hewer suggested that putting an extra level on the WBC car park at the station and (perhaps less feasibly) next the the Library would be worth considering. It seems certain that, what with this and the Salisbury Road development, demand for parking at the station is likely to increase. Expecting people to change their travelling habits will form a part of the solution but perhaps not all of it.
Councillor Hewer also suggested that the issue might provide an opportunity for HTC to discuss with WBC the possibility of taking over more, or all, responsibility for the car parking in the town.
The Mayor’s Activities
In May the Mayor’s activities included (since being elected Mayor on 8 May) attending the JOG Colour Mile, the opening night of the Open Studios, the Freedom of the Town Awards ceremony and the Newbury Mayor-making ceremony, conducting telephone interviews with Penny Post and the Newbury Weekly News, visiting Hungerford Care Home and taking part in various HTC committee meetings.
Freedom of the Town Awards
Please see the separate post here.
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.
Hungerford Trade Showcase
Following last year’s successful event, this will take place again (in the Town Hall) on Thursday 18 October. It provides a way for Hungerford’s employer’s to demonstrate the employment and apprenticeship opportunities they can offer and for Hungerford’s potential employees – particularly recent school-leavers – to find out more about what is available on their doorsteps. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
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.