Local News for The Valley of the Racehorse March 2019

This information has been taken from the Local News March 7-14 2019, which covers the whole Penny Post area. A new Local News post is published every Thursday evening: please click here to visit the section of the Penny Post website where these can be found. 

• Please click here to visit the village websites or Facebook pages for Lambourn, East Garston and Great Shefford.

• The Environment Agency has confirmed that the material discovered the bed of the River Lambourn during restitution work following the unauthorised dredging work at East Garston late last year is asbestos, as was suspected at the time. It’s also been confirmed that there seems to be no contamination of the soil. Click here to read more on this issue.

As the original incident took place in late November and as the river normally returns in January (after which not only would restoration work be harder but also any disturbed material would then wash downstream, so worsening the problem) I’ve heard people ask whether the EA has jumped on this as quickly as it might. Its position is, I understand, complicated by the need to do all the necessary investigations that would be required for a prosecution. To do the restoration too quickly might have compromised the investigation, almost to the extent of destroying evidence. Clearly there are processes that need to be followed. In any event, work is now under way. Penny paid a visit to the site on Friday 8 March and talked to one of the experts working on the site – visit this page to see the video – who explained what restoration work was being done and why the ecology of this winterbourne chalk stream is so rare.

• It’s been three years since the Queens Arms in East Garston was rescued from impending oblivion by Sue and Freddie Tulloch, since when the place has been completely revitalised. Running a busy pub takes time, however, and they have many other commitments. They have therefore decided to go into partnership with The Barkby Group which specialises in the day-to-day running of pubs. Sue and Freddie would like to reassure everyone that they remain the owners and the pub has not been leased: it’s merely an arrangement with ‘a like-minded group’. There will be no changes to the staff, the menus or the range of events as a result of this (television coverage of the the forthcoming Cheltenham Festival, for instance, will as usual be available there). We wish them well with this new partnership.

• Another local organisation which is now thriving but was threatened with closure only a few years ago is the Lambourn Library. There are a large number of popular events and activities, most of which are featured on the Penny Post website calendar. Although it’s still run by West Berkshire Council’s Library Service, volunteers now play an increasingly important role. If you’d like to get involved in this way, pop into the library and pick up a leaflet or click on this link.

• There is a  campaign in Eastbury to have a 20mph zone established. Contrary to what might have been suggested elsewhere, the ‘refusal’ by West Berkshire Council is by no means final and it’s hoped that another survey will be conducted in 2019. The Thames Valley Police is also supportive of the community moving onto the next stage of a local speedwatch campaign. It’s currently being investigated how this could best be funded and operated.

• Both Thames Water and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks have Priority Schemes for those who might need extra support during water or power cuts. If you or a neighbour think this would be useful then you can get further information on eligibility and how to register from: Thames Water: 0800 009 3652; and Scottish & Southern Electricity: 0800 294 3259. (Thanks to the Eastbury Village Wardens for this information – if you’d like to subscribe to their newsletters, please contact [email protected]).

• And, from the same source, well done to the volunteers who removed some silt from under the road bridge in January. There are always tasks that need doing in and around the river: please contact the Village Wardens (see section above) in the first instance so that these can be co-ordinated and so that they can be compliant with the regulations relating to the river’s SSSI status.

• Eastbury’s village spring clean will take place from 9.30am on Sunday 24 March: meet at the church. More details can be found here.

• East Garston Amenities is organising a theatre trip to the Watermill on Thursday 20th June to see their production of The Importance of Being Earnest. Full details here.

• The newly established West Berkshire Lottery supports local good causes and gives you a chance to win £25,000. One of the good causes is East Garston Village Hall, a valuable and well-used community asset which, like village halls everywhere, is in constant need of funds for maintenance, repairs and improvements. If you nominate the Village Hall then it will receive 50% of all ticket sales. More details can be found here.

• Other local organisations which are aiming to raise funds through this new initiative include the Friends of Lambourn Library and the Lambourn Primary School PTA. A full list of all the good causes which are registered with the West Berkshire Lottery can be found here.

Volunteers are still needed to help run Great Shefford’s youth club. The organisers say that they’re ‘just about managing’ at present but that more help is certainly needed.

• The Great Shefford Annual Parish Assembly will take place on Thursday 4 April. If any local community groups would like to attend this and have a stand, please email [email protected].

• The East Garston Annual Parish Meeting will take place on Tuesday 16 April, 7.30 in the Village Hall.

• The Lambourn Parish Council Annual Assembly will take place in the Memorial Hall at 7.30 on Wednesday 24 April.

4 Legs Community Radio Station on Friday had its 47th day of broadcasting – click here for more. Two of our guests (from 11am til noon) will be Mark Brock, the local Flood Warden, who was talking about the rise (and fall) (and rise again) of the River Lambourn; and Ed James, who was talking about the forthcoming Cheltenham Festival (a conversation which started in This Week with Penny and continued into Pat Murphy’s Downland Racing Show).

Please click here to visit the Local News section of the Penny Post website where the most recent news about the Valley of the Racehorse and the wider area can be found.


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