Hungerford 2036 – Shaping our Future: November 2020 update

Click on map to enlarge.

Please find below updates from the Hungerford 2036 Project Team (H2036), which is leading the development of Hungerford’s Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP). Each update has been added to the previous one with the most recent at the top.

The map above shows the parish of Hungerford which is also the area covered by the Hungerford 2036 NDP. Click on the map to enlarge it (this will open in a new tab).

More information on NDPs generally – including some of the background to Hungerford’s decision to proceed with one – can be found by clicking here. This also includes a number of links to other articles on the subject.

If you have any questions about the NDP, please visit the Hungerford 2036 website.

HTC = Hungerford Town Council. WBC = West Berkshire Council.

Update 2 November 2020

The assessment of the three sites that were submitted after WBC’s HELAA (potential development-site allocation) was published earlier this year has now been concluded by HTC’s consultants and the results have been submitted to WBC so that it can verify that all the sites have been subject to the same level of evaluation. At the HTC meeting on 2 November, district Councillor Dennis Benneyworth agreed to press DC Hilary Cole (WBC’s portfolio holder for planning) for an early response.

The next stage will be to contact the promoters of the sites to ensure that there are no errors of fact and then – hopefully in early 2021 – to submit all the sites to a local consultation. Councillor Downe, the Chair of H2036, said that this would fit neatly with WBC’s own consultation on its local plan, the consultation on which is due to be available from mid-December.

Update 6 October 2020

The consultant acting for the H2036’s Project Team has made an initial assessment of how each of the potential sites for development published in WBC’s HELAA report match H2036’s own assessment of each site. A similar exercise is now being conducted with the three sites that were submitted after the HELAA was published (work that will need to be reviewed by WBC to ensure that  all the sites have been subject to the same level of evaluation). Feedback is also requested from some external bodies, mainly the local AONB (it was pointed out by Councillor Crane at the meeting that the ANOB is currently appointing a new Chair, which probably accounted for the delay). The next stage will be to contact the promoters of the various sites to check the assessments we have created for their own site(s). Once we have their feedback we will be in a position to consult publicly.

At around the same time (likely to be the end of November or early December) the H2036 team expects to have sight of the consultation draft WBC Local Plan which it understands will contain guidance for NDP groups on the housing growth numbers for each area. This will provide the essential backdrop for the Hungerford public consultation on potential sites. It’s expected that this consultation will happen in early 2021.

Update 7 September 2020

The H2036 team has now completed its task of applying its site criteria to the potential sites for development identified in WBC’s HELAA report and the matter has now been passed to H2036’s consultants. Once completed, a public consultation will be organised. The H2036 team is still considering how this can be both consistent with whatever social-distancing regulations are likely to be in the place and the requirement that this be as public and inclusive as possible. The final NDP will need to be assessed by an external examiner and if they feel that any part of the process was defective the whole plan could be refused. It may therefore be necessary for any consultation to be delayed.

After discussion with WBC, it was eventually accepted by the H2036 team that it would need to pay for these to have HELAA-type assessments and the consultants have been charged with this. Once completed, Councillor John Downe stressed that it would be necessary for WBC to sign these off so that they had the same force as the other sites.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding all planning matters arising from the recent publication of the government’s white paper, it was agreed that H2036’s work would continue as normal.

Update 4 August 2020

Work continues on assessing the sites identified for possible development in WBC’s HELAA report. Once completed, a public consultation will be organised. This was provisionally planned for September. The H2036 team is still considering how this can be both consistent with whatever social-distancing regulations are likely to be in the place and the requirement that this be as public and inclusive as possible. The final NDP will need to be assessed by an external examiner and if they feel that any part of the process

Update 6 July 2020

On 18 June 2020, HTC’s external planning consultant visited Hungerford with H2036’s Joint Chair to visit and familiarise himself with the sites put forward through the HELAA process plus the additional sites that have been promoted subsequently.

The project team has received his commentary on the exercise. For the H2036 team, the next task will be to agree the further data collection needed as a result.

A surprising piece of news received on 3 July was that the HELAA-type assessments of the additional sites submitted after the HELAA publication (known as HUNNDP_ A/B/C on the map below – see May 2020) would not now take place, ‘due to human- and financial-resource constraints’ until  after the new Local Plan has been issued for consultation at the end of 2020. This is despite an assurance from the WBC portfolio holder and Head of Planning on 13 February 2020 that the question was merely that of agreeing what the charge for this would be.

The H2036 Joint Chair, Councillor John Downe, said at the meeting that the lack of such as an assessment would ‘prevent there being a level playing field’ in comparing the various sites and ‘would compromise the integrity of the H2036 process.’ He called on the ward councillors urgently to seek an acceptable resolution. All agreed to do so.

Update 1 June 2020

HELAA response

Following the publication by WBC of its HELAA (see May update below for more information), the H2036 project team asked all site promoters to respond with further information. This was requested by the end of May. The promoters were asked: (1) How their site(s) will help achieve the Hungerford 2036 Neighbourhood Plan Objectives; (2) How the site(s) meet the H2036 Site Assessment Criteriaand (3) If they have an outline master plan for their site(s) including proposed access. Information has been received back from the promoters for the majority of the sites and their submissions will now be reviewed by the project team.

We have requested (and WBC has agreed) that WBC conduct HELAA-type assessments of three additional sites submitted after the HELAA publication – now known as HUNNDP_ A/B/C. We understand that the WBC portfolio holder and the Head of Planning have not yet decided what the charge to HTC for the assessments will be.

We plan to start work with the external consultant on the site assessment work with a sites visit in mid-June. Progress and conditions allowing, and following feedback to HTC, in the autumn we would hope to run public consultation events around this aspect of the NDP.

WBC Local Plan to 2036 Progress

We understand the WBC approach to local plan housing numbers are yet to be discussed with WBC members and no date is set for when we might see the outcome of that and how it affects Hungerford 2036.

Update 4 May 2020

The NDP has reached the point where any promoters of sites mentioned in the HELAA have been asked to respond with more information on three points: how their site/s will help achieve the NDP’s objectives; how their site/s meet H2036’s Site Allocation Criteria; and if they have an outline master plan for their site/s. Work had been planned to start on this is early April but has needed to be postponed.

Three sites (HUNNDP A, B and C) to the north and the east of Eddington have recently been submitted and are marked in orange on the map below. HTC has asked WBC to conduct HELAA-style assessments of these, and WBC has agreed to do so. Given Covid-19, it’s unsure by when this will happen.

Also likely to affect the final content of the NDP – and also delayed – are WBC’s review of its Local Plan and the government’s guidance of West Berkshire’s housing numbers. District Councillor Rowles agreed at the meeting to chase up the timetables for these. Given this uncertainty, it’s unlikely that Hungerford’s NDP will be completed before the end of 2021.

Note: the map below makes alarming reading if it’s (wrongly) assumed that all the sites shown will be developed. Please see this separate post which explains the HELAA process and sets out HTC’s response to the document’s publication (both of which happened on 4 February 2020).

Update 4 February 2020

See here a statement from HTC about WBC’s HELAA (published that day). This marks a key milestone in the NDP’s progress as it will enable these sites to be tested against its own criteria.

Update 3 December 2019

H2036’s housing site assessment criteria had now been finalised. This will enable Hungerford to apply these criteria to WBC’s long-delayed own list of possible sites for development (the Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment, or HELAA) and thereby have a strong influence over which of the ones in Hungerford are developed. This gives the town a voice in the local planning process which it would not otherwise have had.

The publication of the WBC’s HELAA has, however, been delayed yet again, which puts H2036’s work into a state of suspended animation. The current proposed date for this is January 2020. Until the HELAA is published, and the H2036 group has had a chance to consider these, there is little more that can be done.

A complete assessment must also await WBC’s publications of its opinion as to the number of new homes that Hungerford will be expected to provide. This will follow HELAA but by how long is equally uncertain.

Update 4 November 2019

The H2036 team has completed its work (see October below) of creating its housing site assessment criteria and this was passed unanimously at the HTC meeting on 4 November. WBC’s HELAA (Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment) has yet to be published: when it is, probably before the end of 2019, this will reveal all the sites that have been identified for potential development. Those in Hungerford will then be examined in the light of these criteria to identify the town’s preferred and, potentially, later allocated development sites within the NDP. Once complete and approved in a local referendum, the NDP will then become  part of West Berkshire’s local plan.

The details of the criteria can be seen on the Hungerford 2036 website. Comments are invited through the website form

This is obviously a very important aspect of the NDP. The fact that H2036 has completed and ratified its own criteria means that it is ready to apply these to the HELAA as soon as it appears. With this now agreed, Hungerford is well placed to respond to the HELAA report and guide the future development in the town.

The H2036 team is currently looking for additional volunteers – some knowledge of planning procedures, community engagement and general office skills would be useful but these are not essential. Please visit the Hungerford 2036 website for contact details.

Update 7 October 2019

Over the last three months, the work of the H2036 team has largely been spent on the vital, though unspectacular, business of consulting with various bodies as described below and incorporating these into the document. It’s expected that this will happen in the next few weeks and that the document will be ratified by HTC in November: this will achieve the stated aim of its being in place before West Berkshire’s HELAA (Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment) is itself finalised.

Update 1 July 2019

H2036 is currently seeking consultation input from local organisations and individuals on the NDP’s draft Aims and Objectives. During June, H2036 had a stand at the St Lawrence’s Church Fete and the event at the Youth and Community Centre. Further consultations are planned.

H2036  has started examining the draft policy suggestions from the H2036 Aims and Objectives by Plan-ET consulting, starting with Housing. This work will continue on other themes in future meetings.

H2036 is arranging a briefing in July for the three District Councillors and will  hopefully enlist their support as and when this might be needed.

H2036 will also be meeting with WBC to get its opinions on the work conducted so far and to discuss any suggested amendments.

H2036 has been informed that, in early September, WBC will publish the HELAA (Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment) which is expected to include WBC’s initial site assessments. At the same time, guidance from central government (via WBC) is expected on proposed dwellings numbers.

In order to prepare for the WBC information release, H2036 is developing a set of site-selection criteria which will be the basis for the identification of the town’s preferred and later allocated development sites in the NDP. These criteria will be informed by the H2036 research as well as previous consultations and the intention is to publish these before the HELAA release.

After the HELAA release the H2036 project team will lead the process for examining site details, gathering public consultation input and assessing sites against the Town’s criteria.

Update 7 May 2019

Tthe stage has now been reached when the aims and objectives have been established and residents have their chance to comment on these. You can click here to visit the main H2036 page on the Town Council’s website (the most recent additions are at the bottom).

The aims and objectives can be found here.

If you want to make a comment on this or any other aspect of the work, you can comment online by clicking here. There is also a general comment form for those who prefer to work offline which you can print, complete and return it to the town office. You can also email any comments to

The H2036 team will also be hosting or attending a number of events around the town over the next couple of months (dates and venues to be confirmed) which will also give people to opportunity to ask questions and make any comments, verbally or in writing.

Update 2 April 2019

Thanks to all of you who attended the Annual Town Meeting on 20 March and visited our H2036 Neighbourhood Plan team which had a display there. If you missed that there will be further opportunities soon.

If you would like to feedback online the team would be very pleased to receive your comments on its draft Aims and Objectives via its website.

Update 15 Feb 2019

The aims and objectives (see section below) have now been published and can be seen here.

Update 4 Feb 2019

The aims and objectives of the NDP have now been finalised and will be published soon. The next stage, which will take place, will be consultations with the public and a series of events in various locations around the town will take place over the next few months – details to follow. There will also be an opportunity to meet the project team at the town meeting on Wednesday 20 March.

Update 7 Jan 2019

It was reported at the Hungerford Town Council meeting that some draft aims and objectives had been agreed and would shortly be circulated to the Council for its approval. Thereafter these would be discussed with other organisations in the town.

Update 3 Dec 2018

The Hungerford 2036 Project Team has been analysing the 556 responses to the survey which took place in July. An important part of the analysis has been reviewing more than 2,400 written comments accompanying the survey questions. These comments in particular have provided invaluable insights into the current concerns and priorities of Hungerford residents. You can see the survey summary by clicking here.

Using the July survey, information gathered for the 2013 Town Plan refresh and other sources such as the data from the last census for our area, the Project Team is now creating a draft set of aims and objectives for the Hungerford Neighbourhood Plan to fulfil as well as an overall plan vision.

The Team’s next task is to consult widely in order to verify and refine the draft vision, aims and objectives. It’s expected that this will be completed during first quarter of 2019.

There is a growing email list of people who would like to kept up-to-date with Hungerford 2036. If you would like to be included, or have any questions, please email the Town Clerk or visit the Hungerford 2036 website.

Update 6 Nov 2018

Meetings were held in October to review the findings from the July survey. One of the results of this was Vision for Hungerford, which also drew on statements from the town plan. It is expected to evolve over time and in its final formwill sit at the beginning of Hungerford’s Plan to explain the objectives being aimed at and the associated planning policies and aspirations.

Vision for Hungerford

Hungerford sits at the heart of the North Wessex Downs AONB and is treasured for being an historic market town set within beautiful and accessible countryside and waterways.

The residents of Hungerford seek to work together to embrace constructive change that ensures a vibrant, robust  and sustainable economy that will enhance their prosperity and provide an affordable and nurturing environment for current and future generations.

This should be achieved whilst conserving Hungerford’s natural and man-made heritage and enhancing its strong sense of being a caring community and a fulfilling place to live.

Community engagement

Hungerford 2036 had a stall at the Trade Showcase held at John O’Gaunt School on 18 October. This engagement was informal and focussed on obtaining names for follow up meetings and ideas on how best to make further engagement successful.


It is anticipated that grant allocation will fund all future expenditure other than staff costs. Further grant funds can be applied for from April 2019.

Survey analysis

See below (September update) for the summary of responses. Based on this, eight themes have been created which are described in the table below.

Update 18 Sept 2018

Thank you to everyone who completed the initial Hungerford 2036 survey. We received a 10% response (556 surveys) which for an initial survey is good. The findings from these are summarised in the two bar charts.

If you wish to be kept informed of our progress please sign up to the Hungerford 2036 mailing list – the link for this simple process can be found at the foot of any of the pages on the Hungerford 2036 website.


In addition there were over 2,400 separate comments, all of which will be built into the evidence base that will underpin the Neighbourhood Development Plan.

The next step for the project team will be further, deeper consultation with the Hungerford Community through direct contact with community groups, businesses and educational establishments etc. This will then be followed up with public meetings to provide feedback and an opportunity for further consultation.

This stage of the Development Plan process will start in October and run through into early 2019. The final outcomes from this programme of consultations will form the foundations of the Development Plan.

Update 3 Sept 2018

Meetings Held

Project Team meetings continue to be held every three weeks or thereabouts.

A very constructive meeting with Laila Bassett (WBC liaison) was held on 31 July. Key updates from WBC were:

• West Berkshire’s Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) will be published in draft in this autumn with consultation due from 5 Nov to 17 Dec. Consultation on detailed HELAA due summer 2019.
• The Employment Land Marketing Appraisal and Capacity Assessment is due this autumn.
• WBC undertaking a new transport study which will provide much greater detail for Hungerford than previous model.

First Co-ordination and Consultation Forum with full Council have yet to be programmed.


An initial government grant application for £5,546 to cover the majority of project costs up to 31 March 2019 has been successful. There is the potential for future applications up to a total value of £17,000.

The allocation of £5,000 provided by HTC (of which circa £4,200 remains) will now be used to fund expenses excluded from government grant funding; principally staff costs.

Planet will be formally engaged as ‘guiding mind’ consultants w/c 3 Sept.


In the last two months the Project has:
• Produced, publicised and issued an Initial Survey.
• Established a risk register and a budget through to 31 March 2019.
• Reviewed consultancy market and recommended the appointment of Planet as guiding mind.
• Applied for and obtained £5,546 of government grant.
• Developed first draft community engagement proposals for review at next Project meeting on 6 Sept.
• Conducted the Survey. This produced 550 responses of which 330 were in hard copy with a lot of free text comments which have proved time-consuming to decipher and record in the system. Full results are due for review at the next Project meeting on 6 Sept.

Project Needs from HTC

• Approval to revised Terms of Reference
• Date for joint NDP training session; time and duration.
• Date for first Co-ordination and Consultation Forum.
• Being kept up to date on all Council land use initiatives to avoid duplication of effort.

Submitted by H2036 Joint Chairs – Geoff Greenland and Tony Drewer-Trump

Update July 2018

We have received a good response to our first questionnaire to gather your views for the development of the Neighbourhood Plan.

But there are still two weeks to go so if you have not sent in a questionnaire, complete it on-line at or collect an extra copy from the Hungerford Library.

This is our first consultation exercise and we will be giving you feedback and holding a series of workshops throughout the autumn

The whole point of a Neighbourhood Plan is that it is community-led and that means researched, written and voted on by the people who live in the neighbourhood – that’s you and your neighbours.

Note that, for this survey, we are also seeking the views of people who visit and work in Hungerford.

It will, at the end of the process, have significant influence on the way Hungerford changes once the plan has been sanctioned by a town referendum.

Don’t leave it to someone else – make sure your view is heard

Update June 2018

Hungerford will change – but what needs to change and what would you like to retain? From 22 June we are starting the first public consultation to help to put us on the right track. You can find the survey at

It will take the Hungerford 2036 Project Team about three years to develop the Neighbourhood Plan and go through all the stages. The whole point of a Neighbourhood Plan is that it is community-led and that means researched, written and voted on by the people who live in the neighbourhood – that’s you and your neighbours!

At the end of the process, once the plan has been approved by a town referendum, it will have significant influence on the way Hungerford changes.

Please complete the survey now – it should only take you 10-15 minutes. You may find it easier to complete it online. If you know someone who would prefer to fill in a paper questionnaire there is one in the latest Adviser issue which can then be dropped in to one of the collection point boxes which are at the Library, Tesco, the Surgery, The Tally Ho in Newtown, the Leisure Centre, John O’Gaunt School and the Football Club.

We appreciate the time you spend completing the questionnaire and your participation in this important process.

Update June 2018

Website live and survey coming soon!

The Hungerford 2036 project team is eager to establish good communications with everyone who lives in our town and anyone who works, studies or just visits here. To get this started the project team has launched a dedicated website at where you will already find information about what is and will be happening as the work progresses. There are answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs)  plus the option to pose questions of your own. All important project documents and information sources will be on the site and be accessible by all. If you wish you can request to be kept informed of news about the project.

The project team is also very keen to hear everyone’s views about the town and surrounding area as it is now and into the future. What do YOU like and value about where we live? What gives YOU cause for concern and might be improved? Later in June we will be starting an initial opinion survey in which the project team would like everyone to take part. It will be available as an on-line survey which we hope most people will find quick and easy to complete and also in a paper form which will be distributed and collected throughout the town. As we really want to hear as many people’s views as possible, the survey will be kept running for at least six weeks. We hope that in this period everyone will have the opportunity to make their opinion count.

Keep a look out here for news about when the survey will be available.

May 2018

Today, Hungerford is launching an exciting project – Hungerford 2036 – to guide the way our town and its surrounding area will evolve.

The Hungerford 2036 Project Team  aims to identify how Hungerford wishes to develop over the next 20 years and document this vision in a Neighbourhood Development Plan which will:

• Conserve and enhance the town and countryside;
• Identify and address challenges facing our area now and in the future;
• Ensure our town and its surrounding area is a thriving, attractive and welcoming place to live, work and visit.

Hungerford 2036 will demand a lot of work from us all and will keep the Project Team busy for at least the next two years. Everyone will be kept informed throughout this time and will be encouraged to contribute their ideas and opinions at various stages. Engagement and help from residents living or working in all parts of the town and its surroundings is vital to the success of the project. Contributions will be welcomed from the entire community, from all backgrounds and age groups.

Once the Plan is ready a local referendum will be held and more than half of those who vote must choose “yes” for the Plan to be finalised. If all goes well, the Plan would then become part of the planning framework for our area. This means it must be used by the local Planning Authority (West Berks) when making decisions.

The Plan will also provide a clear summary of the community’s aspirations and priorities to guide the Town Council and other organisations’ decisions.

More information can be found for now on the Town Council’s website although a dedicated Hungerford 2036 website will be set up shortly. If you would like follow and be kept informed about progress on the project please email .

The Project Team is very much looking forward to working on this project and your suggestions, comments and questions will always be welcome – as well as your offers of help!

John Downe,
Chair of Hungerford 2036 Project Team

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