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Hungerford Town Council Update June/July 2019

These notes incorporate some but not all of the matters discussed at the Full Hungerford Town Council (HTC) Meeting on 1 July 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 attended the meeting and reported on a fairly low level of crimes in Hungerford in June, including two burglaries, two thefts from motor vehicles and six cases of domestic violence. A total of 175 incidents were attended to in the entire area although it was explained that these covered the whole of the Hungerford and Lambourn area and couldn’t be subdivided to specify the town.  One officer was leaving the local force in July but it was expected that they would eventually be replaced.

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.

Presentation from Sue Ryder

Ashleigh Embling of Sue Ryder made a brief address explaining the various work that the charity did in the local area regarding end-of-life and palliative care, through a main centre in Reading and a unit at the West Berkshire Hospital between Newbury and Thatcham. These included residential care at Reading, an out-patient service at the West berks, a befriending service and community nursing. No charges are made to users of the service and the whole operation costs £4.7m a year, about a quarter of which needs to be made up by local fundraising.

it was suggested at the meeting that HTC could contribute to any fundraising if it could be demonstrated that the work of the charity had benefitted residents of the town.

For more information on the charity generally please visit the website. To contact a local representative, email enquires.berkshirewest@sueryder.org or call 01635 273 725.

District Councillors’ Reports

District Councillors Dennis Benneyworth and James Cole attended the meeting.

Dennis Benneyworth said that he, and many others, had attended Margaret Wilson’s funeral recently and paid tribute to the help she had given him when he first joined the Council.

He reported that he and HTC Councillor Rob Chicken would soon be meeting a WBC officer in Hungerford to have a walk-through of various problems and issues affecting the town such as parking, pigeons and speeding (including on the Common).

He also reported that WBC was shortly to be installing eight low-powered car-charging points in the High Street. He explained that, as none of the parking spaces would be dedicated for electric cars only and therefore that there would be no loss of parking spaces, WBC had decided not to consult, Councillor Winser said that were HTC to have been consulted other locations might have been suggested, as the arrangement might reduce the spaces for people using the shops. It was pointed out that there were nearly 80 residents in the High Street, many of whom had permits for two cars, and it was therefore also a benefit to them.

James Cole admitted that the WBC Councillors knew very little of this decision and so he was unable to provide any additional information.

His main remarks were about the climate emergency debate at WBC on 2 July. He said that the form of the words for the redrafted motion (the first one put as a result of a petition last month was inadmissible and could not, under WBC’s constitution, be amended) had been agreed by all three parties and should therefore be passed without any problem. He stressed that the the real work would start then. The document was, as one HTC Councillor pointed out, and James Cole agreed, ambitious in its scope. This would lead to a good deal of work, much of it unprecedented, and to many changes in the district.

He also stressed that anything worth doing would cost WBC more money than its current income or reserves permitted. For any change to happen, either central government would need to contribute more or additional money would need to be raised locally.

A question was asked by HTC Councillor Martin Crane about why there were no recycling bins in the town. James Cole suggested that a proposition be made to WBC about this. He warned the meeting that this would involve Veolia, which would be likely to charge for any additional service. He added that Veolia’s 25-year contract with WBC agreed in 2008 had proved to be in some ways to be ‘horrendous’.

The Mayor’s activities

The Mayor’s activities in June included, as well the usual HTC meetings, attending the Youth and Community Centre open day, the St Lawrence’s church fete, a meeting of the Hungerford and Camburn Trust, the Freedom of the Town ceremony, the Summer Festival launch party, the re-opening of The Plume pub and several on-site meetings with contractors.

Freedom of the Town Awards

Congratulations to Ted Angell, Chris Buck and Peter Harries who were officially presented with their Freedom of the Town awards at a ceremony in the Corn Exchange on 19 June. You read the citations here.

Hungerford 2036 (Neighbourhood Development Plan) update

The H2036 Project Team (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 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.

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.

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.

Hungerford in Bloom 2019

This year’s competition will be being judged on Saturday 6 July.

Committee meetings

For more information on the work of HTC’s 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.

These are the points from some of the committees that were discussed at the meeting:

Tourism and Economy

Another successful pop-up tourist information stand in the High Street took place last week and was visited by over 40 people, many of them not residents of the town.

It’s hoped that some progress will soon be made with the future use of 16 High Street (next to the Co-op), possibly with the aid of a Heritage Grant.

The welcome signs have now been installed, 50% of the cost of which is being met by the AONB.

Highways and Transport

Discussions continue with Network Rail over HTC’s plans for additional car-parking spaces near the station (see this post for the background to this).

See the District Councillors’ reports above for more on an imminent meeting with WBC about some outstanding local issues.

Environment and Planning

Bewley Homes (which has taken over CALA’s interests in the site) sent a representative to  Hungerford Town Council’s Environment and Planning Committee meeting on 10 June (read the minutes of the meeting here). at which the considerably-changed plans for the 100-home (if that is what it is to be) development at Salisbury Road were discussed. A number of questions were posed by the Council and members of the public which Bewley has now replied to: you can see the answers here.

District Councillor James Cole said that he and his two colleagues had announced their intention to call in the application and were meeting with WBC’s planning officers later this week to discuss this further.

Also at the HTC planning meeting on 10 June, the proposal to install additional floodlights at the Tennis Club was discussed. More information can be found in the minutes. The conclusion was that the Town Council would offer no objection, subject to a review of an ecology and wildlife assessment and a full lighting impact assessment. The final decision, in these and other planning matters, will be taken by West Berkshire Council.

Recreation and Amenities

The new lease with HAHA had been signed by HTC and was awaiting the final signature from Donnington Homes.

HTC’s tree-management programme was being advanced and priorities identified.

A solicitor had been instructed to address the issue of the ambiguous ownership of the land on which the Bridge Street War memorial is sited, the intention being (as previously agreed) that HTC take ownership of this.

Various renovations and repairs to the skate park, the Triangle Field and the Croft Field building had been agreed.

Finance and General Purposes

The accounts were discussed and various variations (almost all due to phasing issues) were explained.

HTC has made grants totalling £15,380 to various local causes (this is in addition to the £10,000 reserved for the Library). This leaves a small addition fund which, as previously, will be allocated later in the year.

Information on the 2018 grants made by HTC can be found here.

 

The sections above cover the main issues with which HTC has recently been involved or concerned: it by no means describes all of HTC’s activities. Nor is this an official record of the meeting referred to above, nor any other aspect of HTC’s activities. Links to the official minutes of this and other meetings are provided in this post.

For more information on HTC, please click here.

If there’s anything that you’d like to see addressed by HTC, 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 HTC 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 HC 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 HTC’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 HTC necessarily agrees with, endorses or supports any of the material contained therein.

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