Local News April 11-18 2019

Our round-up of local news across the area this week including Hungerford’s coffee confusion, Thatcham’s town-centre funding, Wantage’s campaigns and consultations, Swindon’s advice for DIY builders, Marlborough’s parking discussions, Newbury’s new EDC, Lambourn’s parish meeting, Shefford’s flood defence, Grazeley’s future options, Upavon’s angry geese, Grove’s imminent PO, police and travel updates, road closures, several annual parish assemblies, pothole choices, a letter to the sultan, MV4 in French, a Rotary interview, purdah or not, reservoir rage, lesbian poets, spring snaps, the last Beatles’ song and two dwarf caimans. 

Click on any highlighted and underlined text for more information on the subject. Some will link to other pages on this site, others to pages elsewhere.

Police, transport and council contacts

  • Roadworks updates. Click on the links for news regarding West Berkshire, the Wantage area, Wiltshire, Hampshire and Swindon. Please click here to visit Traffic England’s site for information on motorways and major strategic roads (which include at A34 and the A419). The ‘Map Layers’ toggle can be used to display different levels of information.
  • You can also visit Roadworks.org for similar information: this also provides the ability to toggle layers and select dates (it defaults to today’s date but you can adjust this) and other preferences. (It seems that West Berkshire at least – see link above – gets its feed from this source).
  • 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.
  • Please click here for more about the tri-service station in Hungerford and policing in the area generally.
  • For information on flood warnings and alerts, click here.
  • A number of community minibus and car schemes provide transport services for – but not exclusively for – older and disabled people. You can click here to find more about the range of services (and volunteering opportunities) in West Berkshire. Click here for services in Wiltshire and Swindon. Click here for services in Wantage.
  • 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.

Across the area (and further afield)

• The council elections get ever closer: click here for information from West Berkshire and here for Vale of White Horse on how these will be conducted. Wiltshire and Swindon will not be holding elections this year. (If you want to know which councils hold elections when – it’s not straightforward – click here.)

• Well, here we still are, at the mercy of the claims and counter-claims of Mother Theresa, Spreadsheet Phil, Mr Farage, JC, BoJo, JRM and that Ulster Unionist leader whose name, initials or nickname escape me. The PM’s ‘back me and sack me’ gambit didn’t work and instead we’re…where are we, exactly? The one clear thing that seems to have happened is that John Bercow has fulfilled his ambition of becoming a celebrity, if this clip is anything to go by. The Frenchman seeming to repeat ‘ordure, ordure’ should perhaps stand as the best comment on matters to date. I’m going to have to explain this debacle, in French, when we go over to Ligueil in June with the Hungerford Twinning Association (places on the coach still available). Already I’m anxiously trying to translate ‘meaningful vote four’, ‘Ulster backstop rage’, ‘a no-deal will liberate our souls/cause uncertainty/lead to global war’ and ‘so the noes have it, the noes have it – unlock!’. The trouble is, I don’t really understand these, or anything else, in English. Nous verrons.

• And still with politics, this week’s Newbury Weekly News has details of several of the candidates standing and also a summary of the aims and policies of the two main parties in West Berkshire.

• The question of potholes comes up fairly often so I’m happy to report that I happened to come across an article entitled Guidance Commissioned by the Department for Transport on Tackling Potholes on the Transport Network website. The aim of the article ‘is to help  struggling, underfunded local authorities’, which I think at present includes all of them. It was published on 1 April: however, neither the subject matter nor the way it was handled revealed any spoofs that I could spot, so it’s probably OK. It could, of course, be an enormous in-joke which only people who repair potholes will get: now I come to think of it, a government department offering help to local councils seems a little far-fetched. Perhaps you’d better not read it after all… 

• There’s been a lot of comment, some critical and some supportive, of the decision by students to skip school for a few hours about once a month and take part in demonstrations against climate change. Sometimes the official opinion is either plain wrong, behind the times or too muted: the latter, at least, seems to be the case here. It could also be argued that taking part in the odd demonstration is all part of a well-rounded education. I rather like the phrase ‘troublemakers change the world’ quoted by Extinction rebellion founder Roger Hallam. They do. Hitler and Pol Pot were both troublemakers; so too were Rosa Parks and Emmeline Pankhurst. It would be nice to think we could have the latter without the former but, even so, we have to take the chance.

• I’m going to a quiz night on Friday and asked our team captain today what kind of questions she was hoping for. I’d already volunteered the Fourth Crusade, The Beatles and the history of the European Cup as ones where I’d be happy to grab the pencil. She thought for a moment. ‘Probably early 20th-century suicidal lesbian poets,’ she suggested. I’ll let you know how we get on.

• I mentioned last week that West Berkshire Council had published its Economic Development Strategy 2019-36 which you can read in full here. This isn’t quite the case. It is ‘published’ in the sense that it’s been made available but not in the sense that it’s been approved. It’s a draft (although this fact wasn’t marked on the PDF, an oversight which the Council has promised me will be rectified) and was, a West Berkshire Council spokesperson told me, ‘published for the recent Executive meeting on 28 March. It is to go out to consultation later in the year.’ I understand that this will be in late May. I also understand that it was announced on 14 March but immediately placed under embargo (not to be reported on) until the executive meeting. The significance of 14 March is that  the pre-election purdah started the following day. During this time councils are forbidden from making announcements or launching initiatives which could be construed as giving political advantage to a particular party. For a number of reasons, I feel that this document does just that; but the Council disagrees. I asked whether it was felt that the content, timing and apparent ratification of the document amounted to any transgression of the pre-election purdah restrictions and was told by a spokesperson that ‘the council is satisfied that it has acted appropriately.’

• I took a few minutes off last Friday to write an email to the Sultan of Brunei, as you do: or, rather, to his High Commission in London. I’m not gay myself but I couldn’t be even if I wanted to and the reverse applies as well. I could more easily change the colour of my eyes. I said that I hoped that, were I to be one of the richest mean in the world, I’d find more positive and constructive things to do with my time than persecute people for being what they are. No reply yet, but I’ll let you know if I get one. Don’t hold your breath on this one.

• I know very little about tennis, but I do know that if you’re 0-6, 0-5 and facing match point you can expect to lose. Sometimes, though, this doesn’t happen, as is reported here

• If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021, regardless of any deal that the UK government may or may not make with the EU. Click here to see the help that’s available with the application process from West Berkshire Libraries.

Healthwatch West Berkshire is running two online consultations about the future of healthcare provision in the area. Click here for details. You have until the end of the month to make your views known. 

• Community groups and schools across West Berkshire are being invited to apply for a grant to help improve opportunities for local physical activity through the Let’s Get Active fund.

• Click here for details of the consultations by West Berkshire Council  into proposed parking review amendments, which  seek ‘to improve road safety at identified problem locations, mainly near schools in this case. The consultation closes on Thursday 18 April.

• The 2019 Royal County of Berkshire Show is set to have ‘a fresh perspective and a new layout’ according to this report.

• The animal of the week is a Cuiver dwarf caiman (in fact, two of them) that were confiscated from a pet shop and have now taken up residence at the Living Rainforest in Hampstead Norreys. It’s a mystery to me why someone would want of these – which are, let’s face it, crocodiles – as pets but it takes all sorts. An appeal has been launched to create a new home for them: click here for details.

• The letters pages of the Newbury Weekly News this week includes a criticism of the space afforded to climate-change deniers in this section; an impassioned view of the dysfunctionality of parliament; a question about Thatcham’s reed beds; and an appeal for support for the campaign for assisted dying.

• A number of good causes have received valuable support recently, including: Macmillan Cancer Support (thanks to Littlecote House Hotel); NSPCC and the Bedwyn Youth Group (thanks to the Great Bedwyn Scout Group); PALS (thanks to the recent coffee morning in Newbury); John O’Gaunt School’s PSA (thanks to the recent Colour Mile); several local groups (thanks to Tadley Town Council).

Hungerford & district

• Please click here for the latest news from Hungerford Town Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Shalbourne Parish Council.

Shalbourne’s annual parish assembly will take place at 7.30pm on Thursday 18 April in the Kingston Room.

• The best coverage of matters in and around Hungerford can be found in the latest Penny Post Hungerford which many of you will have received last week. In case you missed it, click here

• It now seems that the information I provided last week about the plans for Costa to take over the old NatWest building in the High Street may not have been correct. I’ve recently learned that the new owners of the building (it changed hand a week or so ago) happen to hold a franchise for Costa coffee elsewhere: but this doesn’t automatically mean that this is what they wish to do with this one. A planning application would also be needed for a change of use as the building’s status is currently A2 and would, for food and drink, need to be A3 or A4. To date no such application appears to have been made. It also seems that no application has been made for the adjacent retail units (now re-combined) on the opposite side of the High Street, formerly occupied by Kaleidoscope and the barber’s shop.

• After a five-match unbeaten run, Hungerford Town FC suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Slough Town last weekend which puts them back in the relegation dogfight. Hopefully a magnificent March won’t turn into an awful April. This comes in the wake of various off-field issues which have been reported in various places, including Penny Post, which includes the quest for new board members and an increase in revenue. 

• The elections to Hungerford Town Council will be uncontested as there were not more nominations than there are seats available.

• Any community groups wanting to apply for grants from Hungerford Town Council are invited to do so.Note that this year all grant applications are being handled by The Good Exchange which will mean that any sums donated by the Council will be doubled through matched funding. Click here for more information. Grants are made throughout the year by the Council but the main batch of awards are in the early summer, so if your organisation hasn’t already registered with The Good Exchange you should aim to do this before the end of April. You can also click here for a list of last year’s grants including contact details for the organisation and what the money was used for.

Shalbourne’s May Day Fair will take place from noon to 4pm on Monday 6 May on the Sports Field. Visit the Parish Council’s website for more information, including details of the dog show.

• A reminder that the Hungerford Town Council Annual Meeting took place on 20 March and followed a different exhibition-style format. Click here for a report on the event, including a video.

• Part of the road between Hungerford and Kintbury will be closed until Friday 12 April for the installation of fibre-optic cable. There will be diversions via the A4. Click here for for information.

Lambourn Valley

• Please click here for the latest news from Lambourn Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from East Garston Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Great Shefford Parish Council.

• The April edition of The Valley of the Racehorse e-newsletter was published last week: if you didn’t get it, click here. It includes news of East Garston’s new café, racing news from Pat Murphy, our guide to local activities in the Easter holidays, special offers, details of local initiatives a weight-loss support programme, Holidays at Home and Shefford Craft Group and April allotment tips.

McColl’s in Lambourn is raising money to send a sick two-year-old on holiday. Draw date 21 April. £40 for the winner and the rest will go to Sunny Days. Click here for more or pop into the shop.

Click here for details of how can volunteer at Lambourn Library.

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

• East Garston Parish Council has need of a Clerkclick here for details.

Volunteers are still needed to help run Great Shefford’s youth club. 

• The Great Shefford Annual Parish Assembly took place on Thursday 4 April. Click here to read a report of the event, which included a talk by a Environment Agency representative about the flood-defence scheme which is planned for the village.

• The Lambourn Annual Parish meeting will take place on Wednesday 24 April, 7.30pm in the Memorial Hall.

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

4 Legs Community Radio Station will on Friday have its 52nd day of broadcasting – click here for more. That’s right, 52 weeks = one year. Cake will be eaten.

Newbury & district

• Please click here for the latest news from Newbury Town Council: and here to see NTC’s archive of monthly newsletters.

• Please click here for the latest news from Chieveley Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Hamstead Marshall Parish Council.

• The Statement of Persons Nominated for the election to Newbury Town Council can be found here.

Click here for a competition to win a wonderful prize donated by the recently re-opened White Hart Inn in Hamstead Marshall.

• Congratulations to all involved in the long-running struggle to have Wash Common Library re-opened and so return West Berkshire to its full library complement. Click here for the latest news, including information of a fundraising quiz on 9 May.

Newbury in Bloom 2019 has been launched – click here for details and the entry form.

• The Newbury Youth Council has launched a Youth Employment Scheme (YES) in order to help solve the vicious circle of young people being turned down for jobs because of a lack of relevant experience. The Youth Council has taken action on this: companies in the town which display the ‘Say Yes’ window sticker will welcome applications for work experience from people aged 13 to 16 (for legal reasons, some companies may offer this only to a narrower age range). For more information, please contact Daniel Parnell, the Junior Mayor of Newbury, on danielparnell501@gmail.com or 07810 317991.

• The annual Newbury Town Meeting took place on Monday 18 March. You can see the agenda here. You’ll be able to see the notes of the meeting in due course here.

• A new economic development company, Newbury West Berkshire, has been set up, to quote the website, ‘to promote Newbury and West Berkshire as the go-to destination for organisations, businesses, families and individuals seeking the very best blend in work, heritage, culture and life’. Click here for more information.

• A major road improvement project for Newbury is expected to continue until the autumn – click here for details. It seems from this week’s NWN that some aspects have been delayed due to the usual ‘unforeseen circumstances’.

Click here for information on free English courses offered to ESOL students in Newbury (also Thatcham and Calcot) by the Berkshire School of English.

Compton & Downlands

• Please click here for the latest news from Hampstead Norreys Parish Council (where there are currently two councillor vacancies).

• Please click here for the latest news from Compton Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Ashampstead Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Chaddleworth Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Brightwalton Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from West Ilsley Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from East Ilsley Parish Council.

• The April newsletter from West Ilsley Parish Council can be found here.

• Stallholders are wanted for Brightwalton’s Fete on 5 May.

• The Hampstead Norreys annual parish meeting will take place at 7.30pm on Monday 29 April in the Village Hall. Click here to see the agenda.

• If you were looking forward to the cut and thrust of political warfare in the parish of Compton for this year’s council elections, you’re out of luck as – in common with many other parishes – the election will be uncontested as there are the same number of prospective councillors as there are seats. The councillors thus don’t need to kiss any babies over the next few weeks.

• A reminder about Hampstead Norreys Community Shop’s eco-bricks project which re-purposes your one-use plastic. You can read more about this by clicking here.

• If you want to subscribe to Chaddleworth News, please contact chaddnews@gmail.com.

• Please click here for dates and venues for the PCSO Have your Say meetings in the Thacham, Theale and Compton & Downlands areas.

Thatcham and district

• Please click here for the latest news from Thatcham Town Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Cold Ash Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Bucklebury Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Brimpton Parish Council.

• Please click here for details of Thatcham’s civic events in 2019.

• The Statement of Persons Nominated for the election to Thatcham Town Council can be found here.

• This week’s Newbury Weekly News has, on p24, an article describing how West Berkshire Council is hoping to attract funding from the Future High Streets fund to enable some of the improvements recommended by the the Thatcham Vision document to be implemented. See also this article on Kennet Radio’s site.

• And on the same page there’s a report on the Sustainable Living event which took place in Thatcham on 24 March. Several of the people in the main photo are shown hiding eco-bricks. We’ve been making them. It’s extraordinary how much soft plastic you can cram into a bottle. For more information on this activity, click here.

• Thatcham Town Council has organised a  graffiti workshop at the Dunstan Green Skatepark on on Wednesday 17 April – click here for details.

• West Berkshire Council should by now have started work on flood defences at Dunston Park and South East Thatcham.

• Cold Ash’s neighbourhood development plan is seeking volunteers to assist with the work involved. If you’re interested in helping, please contact bernard.clark@tvt.biz.

• If you want to help clear any rubbish from Bucklebury Common, the event to do just this from 2pm to 4pm on Sunday 13 April could have been made for you – click here for details.

• A one-bed flat is currently available through the Thatcham Parochial Almshouse Charity: see our Property Available post for more details.

• Please click here for dates and venues for the PCSO Have your Say meetings in the Thatcham, Theale and Compton & Downlands areas.

• The Cold Ash Annual Parish Meeting takes place at 7pm on Thursday 25 April at the Acland Hall. 

• Click here to see the latest Cold Ash Community Bulletin

Theale and district

• Please click here for the latest news from Theale Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Aldermaston Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Englefield Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Burghfield Parish Council.

• The Statement of Persons Nominated for the election to Burghfield Parish Council can be found here.

Click here for the latest from Highways England about the progress of the work to tuen the M4 from J3 to J12 into a smart motorway.

 • There will be road closures in Aldermaston due to maintenance work on the lifting bridge  until Sunday 14 April. Click here for details.

• Theale Parish Council is on the lookout for a Clerkclick here for details.

Burghfield Parish Council has developed a questionnaire to help determine ‘its vision and strategy for the future of Burghfield.’ You have until Monday 20 May to make your views known.

• The Padworth recycling centre has announced that its opening ours will be extended from April. This is for a trial period only so, if usage in the new times doesn’t take place over then following six months, the hours will revert.

• I’ve just received the e-newsletter from Councillors Graham Bridgman, Carol Jackson-Doerge and Ian Morrin covering matters in the Mortimer and Burghfield areas. They mentios the situation with regard to the proposed development at Grazeley which, not being very familiar with the subject, I’ll quote in full rather than try to summarise. ‘HMG has awarded initial funding of £750,000 for feasibility work, to be led by Wokingham BC, on the Grazeley Garden Settlement project (not to be confused with the Housing Infrastructure Bid which has been submitted). This does not mean that WBC will automatically select Grazeley as a site for development, because the site selection part of the new Local Plan (about which we have written previously) has yet to be done. However, the funding will enable some fairly complex preparatory work to look into what is and isn’t possible at Grazeley. Having said this, there seem to be many impediments to this project getting off the ground, not least the potential extension of the AWE Burghfield detailed emergency planning zone (DEPZ) possibly cutting into the land owned by WBC and also across the railway line.’

• The same newsletter also mentions reports of anti-social behaviour in Burghfield: ‘we have raised this with the Communities Team at WBC as well as Thames Valley Police.  Discussions are ongoing and a community meeting has been arranged within the next week to understand what steps can be taken.One of the key points that has come from the discussions is that it is really important that people report incidents to TVP – if an incident is in progress and there is threat of violence or danger then call 999; but if reporting after the fact call 101, or do so online.

Click here to see the latest newsletter from Theale Councillor Alan Macro. This includes information about the proposed changes to parking regulations in Theale and a list of current planning applications in the parish.

• Click here for information about Burghfield’s plans to create a community hub.

Click here for the April/May 2019 Parish Magazine from Englefield Parish Council.

• Please click here for dates and venues for the PCSO Have your Say meetings in the Thacham, Theale and Compton & Downlands areas.

Marlborough & district

• Please click here for the latest news from Marlborough Town Council (featuring a new-look website).

• Please click here for the latest news from Aldbourne Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Great Bedwyn Parish Council.

• Marlborough’s annual town meeting will take place at 7pm on Monday 15 April at the Town Hall. Click here for more information.

• Before then, Saturday, April 13 is Record Store Day and the vinyl revival is being celebrated at Sound Knowledge in Hughenden Yard just off the High Street. More here from Marlborough News.

• The same publication also has information here on the latest round of discussions at Marlborough Town Council concerning parking and access arrangements at The Green.

• The Council thanks everyone who took part in the recent litter picks

• Marlborough High Street has been ranked at number ten in the best shopping streets in the UK according to the snappily-named Harper Dennis Hobbs 2019 Vitality Index. If high streets in London were excluded, it comes third. (It’s also the second widest high street in the country.)

• There’s an interview in the Gazette with new St John’s Academy headteacher Ian Tucker, which you can read here. Unsurprisingly, much of what he has to say concerns the issue of funding.

• It seems from this week’s Gazette & Herald that resident of the village of Upavon are being terrorised by a gaggle of interloping geese, not, it seems, part of the normal goose community there. The birds seem particularly to like chasing children. It’s not quite up to the scale of the motorcycle gangs in The Wild One – yet.

• Locally based charity Action for the River Kennet (ARK) will be featured in BBC2’s Britain in Bloom on Saturday 13th April at 5.00pm (not the day before at a different time as we mentioned last week – in my defence, I think it’s the scheduling that changed). The programme will concentrate on the Stonebridge Wild River Reserve in Marlborough (Stonebridge Meadow is jointly owned by ARK and the Town Council) and will highlight the variety of community work that ARK organises throughout the year at the 15-acre reserve.

• If you’re in Great Bedwyn, keep your eye on the Village Hall Facebook page here for details of what’s going on there, including films (featuring new state-of-the-art equipment).

• I thought this story of the A4 being closed to the east of Marlborough from 7pm til midnight from 1 April to 3 May was a not very amusing April fool until I looked it up on Roadworks.org: I’m afraid it appears to be true.

• Click here for information on what’s on in and around Ramsbury.

• The Raven has some quirky things in it and one I remember mentioning about this time last year, and have just looked up again, is worth a second shout out: Wonderful Things, a short story by Josie (then aged seven). I do hope she’s still writing. If she is, could you publish some more of her stories, please?

Wantage & district

• Please click here for the latest news from Wantage Town Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Grove Parish Council. (Be prepared for a long wait for it to load.)

• Please click here for the latest news from Letcombe Regis Parish Council.

• Click here for information the Didcot, Abingdon and Wantage Talking Newspaper (DAWN) for the blind and partially sighted.

• We have an interview here with Seung Ping Riggs, first female president of the Wantage Rotary Club.

• A survey has been launched by Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group to help them gather information about the future of health provision in the Wantage and Grove area (which has been the subject of much debate recently). This has the support of the recently-formed Wantage OX12 Stakeholder Group. Click here to make your views known (you need to have completed it by 6 May 2019).  The Wantage and Grove Campaign Group has some thoughts and suggestions here which you might want to have a look at before completing the survey.

• Some of the participants have been announced for this year’s Wantage Literary Festival which runs from 26 October to 2 November.

• Congratulations to the SEND Fitzwaryn School in Wantage which has been re-awarded its previous rating of ‘outstanding,’ according to new Ofsted reports.

• The Wantage and Grove Campaign Group is drawing our attention to the latest move in the vast and controversial project of the Abingdon reservoir. Opinion differs as to whether the theme is needed now, or at all, and other or not it would be better to concentrate on many other options to solve possible supply shortages. The Group Against Reservoir Development’s (GARD’s) point of view is that the overall case is far from proven. There’s currently (another) consultation on the subject: please click here to visit it and have your say on this important subject.

• The Ray Collins Charitable Trust is already thinking ahead to 2020 and planning its calendar. For this, photographs are needed – click here for details if you have any you’d like to submit.

• If you’re not registered to vote in the Vale you have until Friday 12 April to do so – more information can be found here. Not much time left…

• As mentioned previously, good news for residents of Grove as the Post Office there, closed since December, will be reopening at the Co-op in Savile Way on Friday 12 April.

• Julie Mabberley’s regular column on p8 of the Wantage & Grove Herald considers the Oxfordshire Local Transport Plan and provides some common-sense translation of several of the grandiloquent phrases in the County Council’s comments on the Oxfordshire 2050 Plan. One thing she points out is that the journey to the nearest station at Didcot some eight miles away can take up to 45 minutes by bus which hardly encourages public-transport use. The idea of re-opening the former station at Wantage Road – a project that seems so simple and logical and yet which appears to insuperably complicated – seems as far away as ever, despite the considerable recent and planned population increase in Wantage and Grove.

• Wantage Rotary Club will, in conjunction with Sweatbox, be hosting a roller disco at The beacon on Monday 15 April. – full details here.

Click here for the latest from the Wantage and Grove Campaign Group.

• Click here for details of some forthcoming events in Wantage.

Swindon & district

• Click here for the latest news and information from Swindon Borough Council.

• A taskforce has been set up to help minimise the impacts of the closure of the Honda plant on the the town and the Honda staff. Click here for details.

• A reminder about an initiative by which difficult-to-recycle plastics can now be dropped off at Tesco supermarkets, thanks to a partnership with Swindon based Recycling Technologies.

• Swindon residents are invited to a series of free workshops with Swindon Borough Council planners and surveyors to discuss their home-building projects.

• Local health officials have urged patients not to ignore invite to free diabetes prevention course.

• Here are some images of spring snapped my members of the Swindon Camera Club.

• An exhibition charting the Great Western Railway’s drive to be the fastest railway in the world has opened at STEAM.

• Click here for information about this year’s Swindon Spring Festival which runs from 8 to 19 May.

• A free scheme has been relaunched in a bid to boost revenue in the town centre and encourage residents to shop locally.

• Click here for details of events and activities at Lydiard Park over the Easter holidays.

• The Council’s town centre car parks are now free on Sundays. Click here for more.

• Click here for details of the many volunteering opportunities at Great Western Hospital.

The song and the quiz

• The Song of the Week is inspired by an event that happened 49 years ago yesterday when Paul McCartney announced that The Beatles had broken up. In practice, this event had taken place some time before with the four of them often doing little more than acting as session musicians on each other’s songs. The last thing the band recorded (though without Lennon), and the only song they recorded in the the 1970s, was George Harrison’s I Me Mine, which appeared on Let it Be. The music alternates between a shuffling Gallic waltz and a solid 12-bar blues, while the lyrics – Harrison was described by the writer Ian McDonald as being ‘if not the most talented of The Beatles then probably the most thoughtful’ – paint a sad picture of the selfishness and greed that he saw as having overtaken The Beatles (and also many of the utopian ideals of the 1960s). As a final statement by the band, it’s thus poignantly appropriate.

• Which takes us to the Quiz Question of the Week. This week’s question is, once again, six: get ’em all correct and rearrange them a bit and you could win a generous prize at The White Hart in Hamstead Marshall. Click here for details

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Brian Quinn

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