Including reflections on judicial reviews, Newbury’s market, Hungerford’s fire station, Mortimer’s referendum, Thatcham’s fun day, Marlborough’s retail health, Kintbury’s need for volunteers, Ramsbury’s parish council vacancies, Brimpton’s petition, Wantage’s bells, Swindon’s Community Fund, further planning disputes in Newbury, Armed Forces Day reports, police news, good causes celebrated, roadworks, bye-bye Paddington, Stayin’ Alive and a pair of chef’s trousers.
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• 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.
• 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.
• An Extraordinary Full Council Meeting was held in Hungerford on 19 June to determine whether or not to request a judicial review of West Berkshire Council’s Development Plan Document (DPD) which will have an impact on the decision to build 100 homes off Salisbury Road. The unanimous decision was to proceed with this course of action. You can read more about Hungerford Town Council’s response here.You can click here for an article, Why Bother with Judicial Reviews?, which looks at the issue in a wider context.
• An objection has been launched by some residents of Brimpton who have started an on-line petition against the plans for large-scale gravel extraction in the area.
• See this week’s Newbury Weekly News (page 3) for plans to revitalise Newbury’s market.
• Click here for photos and a report on last week’s Armed Forces Day in Newbury.
• Plans have been announced for the construction of around 175 homes in Hambridge Lane, traditionally an industrial and commercial area of Newbury. This has opened up a debate about what the balance between commercial and residential land use in the town should be; also whether it’s better to have these two alongside each other or zoned in their own areas. In the past, towns and cities grew up with factories, workshops and offices alongside housing. This certainly made it easier to get to work, although in those days commercial buildings must have been noisy, smelly and dirty neighbours to have. The prevailing wisdom seems to be otherwise although, like so much else in this fast-moving world, that may change.
• And a further planning dispute in Newbury, this time concerning the proposal to demolish over 50 houses in Hutton Close which are currently occupied by elderly residents and replace these with a new development containing more homes but fewer affordable ones. The matter was discussed at a public meeting of Newbury Town Council on Monday: the official minutes have yet to be approved but we’ll provide a link to them when available. In the meantime there is a report on the meeting in this week’s Newbury Weekly News. The comments made by the Town Council and others, as well as other relevant documents, can be visited at the West Berkshire Council Planning Portal: enter the reference number 17/01348 and hit ‘search’.
• Anyone who uses the Kennections bus services in the Newbury and Thatcham areas can download an app to plan journeys, buy tickets and get service updates.
• Please click here for the latest news from Newbury Town Council.
• We’ve mentioned about neighbourhood plans a few times recently. The village of Mortimer has recently voted in a referendum to decide whether to proceed with theirs. On a turnout of slightly over 50%, 89% voted in favour. Whether this will guarantee the community long-term control over, in particular, planning issues is uncertain as these specifications can, and have been over-ruled if national housing policy needs demand. Other councils in the area, including Bedwyn and Marlborough, are also proceeding with neighbourhood plans; others, including Hungerford and Newbury, are considering it.
• And still in Marlborough, yet another story here about a dispute between a municipal body (in this case the Town Council) and a property organisation (in this case Aster Homes).
• Congratulations to Healthwatch West Berkshire for its recent Thinking Together event and its inclusive work on a new Health and Wellbeing Board Mental Health Strategy to tackle the high local premature death rate for people with severe mental health issues.
• I enjoyed reading the Paddington Bear stories as a child and enjoyed reading them to my own children. My only complaint is that some members of my family (you know who you are) seem to have used his more disastrous domestic adventures as a blueprint for the state kitchens and bathrooms should be left in. It’s creator, Michael Bond, did this week. I never knew he was born in Newbury. You can read some of the many tributes here.
• Work is nearly finished on the new fire station at Hungerford – click here for a sneak preview. There will be an open day to celebrate its re-opening on Saturday 8 July.
• BBC R4’s Any Questions? will be broadcast live from the Corn Exchange in Hungerford on Friday 7 July. Click here for more information on how to attend (act fast as it’s likely to be popular).
• Final, final call for any community groups in East Garston which have until Friday 30 June to apply for grants of up to £500 from the Parish Council.
• Volunteers are needed by Kintbury Parish Council to continue the work to improve the area of the canal. The next volunteer day is Saturday 1 July from 11am to 3pm. No prior experience needed. Contact Chris Trigwell on 01488 683 170.
• There are currently three seats on Ramsbury & Axford Parish Council which need to be filled by co-option. Applicants must be over 18 and live or work in the parish. If you are interested please contact the Parish Clerk at [email protected].
• I went to the open day at the Hungerford Youth and Community Centre last weekend, partly because two of my sons are in the band that formed at the Rock School (organised by Hogan Music) that takes place there on Wednesdays and the band played a few songs. It was a blazing hot day and the place was full of people of all ages. It’s great to see that this has been revitalised, thanks to fundraising, grants from Hungerford Town Council and the Berkshire Community Foundation amongst others and, of course, the hard work put in by the organisers. I bought my raffle tickets and, as the draw neared the end, there were two prizes left: a magnum of sparkling white wine and, bizarrely, a pair of chef’s trousers (small size). The next ticket out of the hat was mine – guess which of the two prizes had my number on it? That’s right. If I lose two stone, shrink three inches and learn to cook better I might be able to use them…
• Please click here for the latest news from Wantage Town Council.
• If you’ve ever fancied having a go at ringing a church bell, Ss Peter and Paul in Wantage is the place to be between 2pm and 4pm on Saturday 8 July.
• Good news for parents of young children in the Wantage area with news that new children’s centre sessions are to be launched this summer after funding was secured from Oxfordshire County Council.
• Click here for photos and a report of last week’s Armed Forces Day in Wantage.
• And still in Wantage, this Saturday 1 July will see the Wantage Town Team at the town-centre market explaining about their activities and initiatives, including the Wantage & Grove Loyalty Scheme. There’s also the chance to win a £25 shopping voucher.
If you live in the Vale of the White Horse council area and haven’t paid your council tax then you might want to read this.
• The Crime Commissioner for Swindon and Wiltshire Angus Macpherson has launched a Community Action Fund to benefit local groups created to engender community safety or crime reduction.
• A number of good causes have received valuable support recently, including: the 1st Wash Common Scout Group (thanks those who took part in the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge); Swings and Smiles (thanks to the Henwick Worthy races); Compton Primary School (thanks to the Downlands Dash); about 20 organisations in and around Hungerford, including HADCAF, Arts for Hungerford, the Youth and Community Centre, CHAIN and the John O’Gaunt PSA (thanks to Hungerford Town Council); Macmillian Cancer Support (thanks to the golfing marathon at Deanwood Park); The Berkshire MS Threapy Centre (thanks to shoppers in Newbury); Young People and Children First (thanks to the Thatcham Rotary Club); The Jesse May Children’s Hospice (thanks to the Mayor of Swindon); The Rosemay Appeal (thanks to the Thatcham Family Fun Day); East Woodhay and Highclere Neighbourcare (thanks to the Woolton Hill village market); Brighter Futures (thanks to Cat Crowley and Abigail Lowes); Highworth Youth Nexus (thanks Highworth Town Council); the Thamesdown Hydrotherapy Pool (thanks to ‘Superman’ Stan)
• The Song of the Week is back. It had better be something from Glastonbury, I suppose. How about Barry Gibb’s version of Stayin’ Alive?
• And as usual, the Quiz Question of the Week finishes things off. Again I’ll point you to the Penny Post June Quiz – still (just) time to enter this. There’ll be another one coming along for July, this time foot-related. Well, why not?