These notes incorporate some but not all of the matters discussed at the Full Hungerford Town Council (HTC) Meeting on 7 January 2019, 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.
A representatives from Thames Valley Police, Sergeant Nick Emanuel, attended the meeting. He reported that anti-social behaviour, particularly among 14 to 16 year-olds, remained a concern but that the Youth Offending Teams were involved with known offenders and some improvement was expected. There has also been a small spike in non-residential thefts including from vehicles, vans being left with equipment overnight being a particular concern. The recent Rural Action Group meeting, at which residents are able to meet with TVP representatives and discuss issues and concerns, was well attended. There are also plans to introduce more foot patrols on Saturday mornings when the town is general at its busiest.
For more information on the police presence in and around the town, please click here.
To read a recent interview with Matthew Barber, the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley, please click here.
Parking outside the Three Swans
A specific issue was the inconsiderate parking outside the Three Swans and Sergeant Emanuel promised to raise this with the manager. It was hoped that this would only be a problem for the next six months or so during the building work behind the hotel.
Hungerford Nursery School
A presentation was made by the Head Teacher, Suzanne Taylor, to bring the Council up to date with the current state of the campaign. For more information on this vital issue, which could under current proposals result in the closure of this outstanding (Ofsted’s description) specialist school, please click here.
The Mayor’s activities
The Mayor’s activities in December included attending the Christmas lights switch-on, the opening of the Youth and Community Club’s new kitchen and Hungerford Town FC’s new shop and over a dozen seasonal parties, concerts and carol services in the town.
Hungerford 2036 (Neighbourhood Development Plan) update
An update on the progress of the work can be seen here.
To be kept informed please click on this link and scroll down to the foot of the page to sign up to the Hungerford 2036 mailing list.
Once again, these were a great success. The supporting wires have been added and will be used as an additional safety feature in the future.
Hungerford Town Council’s 2018-19 Budget
The final draft of this was discussed at the meeting. It was eventually agreed that the previously-proposed budget would be reduced by £2,500 to £282,652. This will result in a precept increase of about 4.7%. Last year the precept did not increase at all. The increase is likely to cost each band D household in Hungerford about £5.80pa (about 11p a week).
HTC is, along with all other councils at every level, faced with funding cuts. The work that HTC has performed, as a result of the efforts of about 15 unpaid councillors and a handful of paid staff, have been detailed in these posts over the last two years and this level of activity is set to continue . In addition, HTC also has to make a reasonable provision for services which, increasingly, are being devolved from WBC and which can result either one-off or ongoing costs if the services are to be maintained. These have recently included the ownership of the Library as well as matters such as street lights, verge clearing, grass mowing and sign cleaning. HTC is also keen to ensure that it takes a more proactive role towards the management of its tangible assets such as trees, walls and playgrounds, repairing these as matters of maintenance rather than of urgent necessity. It is also committed to supporting the large number of community and charitable organisations in and around the town: a list of the recent awards made by HTC can be found here.
HTC email addresses
As part of the general process of GDPR compliance and best practice, HTC will soon be creating HTC-suffixed email addresses for all councillors to use. When implemented this will publicised here and on HTC’s website, in particular the councillors’ contact page. Any communications with councillors on HTC-related matters should thereafter be made using these email addresses.
West Berkshire Lottery
As previously reported, WBC will be launching a lottery in 2019 – you can read more details here.
Councillor Winser reported to the meeting that the Santa’s Grotto event had been a success and well attended although there were improvements in timing and communication that could be applied to future events. The profits from the event will be used for maintaining and improving the Triangle Field facility. The exact amount will be confirmed next month.
Quotes are still awaited for the new boundary hedge. It was also suggested at the meeting that more ‘No Dogs’ signs be deployed there.
The new draft constitution, which will govern the relationship between HTC and the Hungerford Rugby Club was circulated before the meeting and agreed at it.
Lorries at One Stop in Fairview Road
As reported last month, discussions continue between WBC and HTC on the one hand and Tesco on the other to try to find a solution to the problem of large lorries making deliveries, sometimes at the start or end of the school day which creates an obvious danger. This is not a problem that either council can easily solve as no traffic regulations are being violated: nor can the Onestop manager do anything about it. A solution can only be provided by the department at Tesco that organises the delivery logistics. It seems that other small stores elsewhere in the country have similar problems.
One suggestion is people who are concerned about this should contact Tesco directly. Penny Post did this on 4 December by calling 0800 50 5555: after a short wait, I was connected to a human being: he was very polite and helpful, listened to my summary of the problem, logged the complaint and offered the email address email@example.com as another method of contacting them. You can also write to Tesco Customer Service Centre, Baird Avenue, Dundee, DD1 9NF.
Army Engagement Day
It was hoped that this information event (which will not be a recruitment event) will take place in the town on 18 Feb – further information to follow.
Co-option of a new Councillor
Three new councillors have recently been co-opted but a further vacancy remains which will be filled in the same way. For more information please contact the Town Council by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Council elections in May 2019
In May 2019, all the HTC councillors will resign their seats and may, if they wish, stand again. In most town and parish councils, the number of applicants is fewer than the number of available seats and so these are filled by co-option. It is HTC’s hope that in 2019 there will be more candidates than seats, which will result in an election. As well as attracting new people into municipal life and increasing awareness of the vital work that HTC performs, this will encourage debate about what projects the council should concentrate on and how it might change any of the ways in which it operates.
Anyone wishing to stand will need to complete a nomination form: these will soon be available from the HTC office and on the HTC website. Once completed, it must be delivered to the WBC offices in Newbury no later than 4pm on Wednesday 3 April. More information will be provided on this nearer the time.
This has now been installed in Church Street. Thanks to District Councillors James Podger and Paul Hewer for enabling this to happen as a result of their recent WBC members’ bids.
Hungerford in Bloom 2019
Councillor Sally Hawkins suggested two new categories – window boxes/tubs and volunteer gardens – for this year’s event, which was voted on and accepted. She also hoped for commercial sponsorship and even more involvements from Hungerford’s schools.
As mentioned above, the minutes of these (and other) meetings are available on the HTC website now or will be soon.
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@example.com. 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.