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Hungerford Town Council Update April/May 2019

These notes incorporate some but not all of the matters discussed at the Full Hungerford Town Council (HTC) Meeting on 7 May 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. This report also includes information about HTC’s activities which were not discussed at the meeting. See the foot of this post for more information. WBC = West Berkshire Council.

For HTC updates from previous months, please visit the archives here.

Police Report

A representative of the Thames Valley Police was unable to attend the meeting but provided this report:

No one is available to attends tonight’s HTC meeting so below is a brief update as to the main incidents that have happened in the town.

Unfortunately incidents of note for the past month centre mainly on the Bulpit Lane area, in particular the skate park and cricket field

On 4 April there was a report of criminal damage to the newly replaced ramps in the skate park. This has meant the skate park was closed for the duration of the Easter holidays and is still currently closed  until the damage has been rectified. [The Mayor later confirmed that the cost of repairing just the ramps was £380 and that work had started. The damage to the fencing would be in addition to this.]  On several occasions I have been made aware that youngsters are still accessing the park via through bending back fences even though gates are padlocked and signs have been put up to inform of the closures.

About the same time, unsold  newspapers from Tesco were stolen, pushed in a trolley and littered on the Common. There is evidence to suggest they had been set alight.

On 3 May, several hundreds of pounds worth of damage was caused to the covers at the Cricket Club. The covers had been slashed, possibly with a knife, and set alight.

If anyone has any information regarding this or any of the other incidents please email joanna.king@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk.

A nasty assault occurred near Atherton Crescent on the 6 May. This investigation is currently ongoing but if anyone has any information please contact 101 and quote 43190135427

Since the beginning of April we have had four reports of break ins to vans in which tools have been taken. This is not isolated to Hungerford: vans in both Great Shefford and Lambourn have been targeted.

You might have noticed the damage to the wall near to the Estate Agents on Church Street. A drink driver was arrested following this collision.

Investigations are ongoing with all these incidents.

Anyone who sees a crime, or even something which might be or might become a crime, is urged to report it. Please click here for information on how to do this. The more information you can provide the better but do not put yourself at any risk.

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.

Hungerford Nursery School

Suzanne Taylor, the Headteacher, made a brief statement at the meeting. The most important point she made was that the announcement in February 2019 did not reverse the planned funding cuts, but only delays them until July 2020. The campaign to preserve the MNSs must be continued to ensure that supplementary funding is extended beyond this date.

You can read a summary of her other points here.

Elections of the Mayor, the Deputy and the Chair and Vice-Chair of the F&GP Committee

These roles are held for twelve months and were up for re-election at the meeting. Aside from the role of Deputy mayor which was decided by closed ballot, all the others were passed unanimously. Helen Simpson remains Mayor, Keith Knight remains Deputy Mayor, Claire Winser remains the Chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee and Keith Knight remains the Deputy Chair.

District Councillors

The Mayor told the meeting that the District Councillors James Cole, Dennis Benneyworth and Claire Rowles intended to attend HTC meetings as frequently as they could, although on this occasion it was impossible due to a conflicting municipal event at WBC.

New HTC Councillor

At the meeting, the Mayor welcomed Daniel Lewis to HTC. In a brief statement, he explained how he was actively involved in the Youth and Community Centre and was keen to put his experience at the disposal of HTC, and also to learn more about other organisations in the town in order to help find solutions to any of the issues he might encounter. The Mayor thanked him for offering himself and said she was sure he would be a valuable addition to HTC.

Co-option of HTC Councillors

Vacancies exist for at least one additional HTC councillor, which will be filled by co-option. For more information, please contact the Town Clerk, Claire Barnes, on claire.barnes@hungerford-tc.gov.uk.

The Mayor’s activities

The Mayor’s activities in April included, as well the usual HTC meetings, attending the Queen’s Awards Nomination Ceremony, the JOG Colour Mile, the Hocktide Ale Tasting and Hocktide Lunch and the Town Band Concert. In all, the Mayor has attended over 160 public events during he first year in office.

Hungerford 2036 (Neighbourhood Development Plan) update

Work continues on the Hungerford 2036 neighbourhood development plan. As mentioned before, the 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 townclerk@hungerford-tc.gov.uk.

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.

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.

At the meeting, Councillor John Downe requested that £420 be spent on previously-used external consultants in order to help draft the policies in a way that would be both relevant to the needs of the town and acceptable to WBC. He confirmed that the H2036 group was already working closely with WBC on all aspects of the project but that this drafting was a level of assistance that WBC could not provide. In any event, he said that he felt it was important that these policies be drafted by Hungerford rather than by WBC.

In answer to a question, Councillor Downe said that the publication of West Berkshire’s Housing and Land Availability Assessment (the process by which local councils are obliged ‘to maintain an up-to-date picture of the amount of land that is available for new development’) and which is expected to be published in late 2019 for the period up to 2036, would have an impact on the final version of the NDP. He felt, however, that the general principles of Hungerford’s policy were worth laying down in advance of this.

He also confirmed that considerable weight was also being placed on the demographic predictions of Hungerford’s population over the next 20 or so years, as well as on national targets for housing, as both of these would have an impact on how the project would develop.

Smarten Up Hungerford

The work of this recently-established voluntary group continues to improve many long-neglected aspects of the town. Most recently, 25 members of the local Beavers group did some litter picking in several locations. Click here for more on the work of Smarten Up Hungerford and information on how you can get involved.

Car parking and the railway station

Discussions continue between HTC and other parties about the new car-parking arrangements at the station. For more information, and the background to these issues, please see this article. More progress is expected during May as HTC is currently awaiting Network Rail’s response to the proposals (and is chasing this).

Hungerford in Bloom 2019

Hungerford Town Council (HTC) is aiming to build on the previous success of its annual Hungerford in Bloom competition and to encourage a well-supported and colourful competition in 2019. HTC is working closely with the ‘Smarten Up Hungerford’ campaign to avoid overlap and duplication and has the support of Hungerford Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s competition will include more categories for domestic entries such as a hanging basket/container, a category for volunteer gardens and, as in previous years, a commercial premises category. HTC would also like to encourage our Hungerford Schools to enter the competition and have included a ‘Schools’ category for you. Anyone who is interested in entering the competition please see the entry form for more details.  All entries, whether a hanging basket, window box or your complete garden will be very welcome and will all contribute to the attractiveness of our town as well as to a successful competition.

A printable copy of the entry can be found here. A hard copy can be obtained from the HTC office. The closing date for the competition is Monday 24 June 2019 and judging day will be Saturday 6 July 2019.

The Hungerford Allotment Holders Association (HAHA) is also taking part in the competition. For contact details for the HAHA competition, please contact Ted Angell on 07798 886 597 or tedangell.ta@gmail.com.

Recreation and Amenities

The Mayor, also the Chair of this committee, summarised several aspects of the committee’s work in the last month. These included: receiving confirmation from health and safety experts that HTC’s procedures with regard to staff, contractors and freelancers were appropriate; identifying work needed at the Croft Field Centre, including installing timers to prevent excessive utility bills if heaters were accidentally left on; initiating the work as a result of the recent vandalism at the skate park (see Police report above); considering involving the incipient Youth Council in a fund-raising drive to help cover the costs of this; installing a fresh-water tap near the council offices for the use of all; organising the forthcoming Armed Forces Day on 29 June (thanks also to Christian Alba Butchers for agreeing to sponsor the BBQ); setting plans in motion for considerably enlarging this event in 2020; and engaging in discussions with HTC’s arboreal experts to create a strategic plan for the maintenance of HTC’s many trees in the town.

Committee meetings

For more information on the work of HTC’s other committees, please click here. For a full calendar of committee meetings, please click here.

The minutes of these (and other) meetings are available on the HTC website now or will be soon.

Annual Business of the Council

It being the start of the new financial year, a number of formal matters concerning HTC’s policies and procedures needed to be confirmed. These included accounting matters, the co-option policy, insurance, financial regulations and GDPR compliance. All these were passed at the meeting.

 

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 claire.barnes@hungerford-tc.gov.uk. 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.

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