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Hungerford Town Council Update August/September 2019

These notes incorporate some but not all of the matters discussed at the Full Hungerford Town Council (HTC) Meeting on 2 September 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

Thereafter, the next Full Council Meeting will take place at 7pm on Monday 7 October 2019. The agenda will provided in this section of the HTC website in due course.

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

WBC = West Berkshire Council.

Police

No local representative of the Thames Valley Police was able to attend the meeting but the following report was provided by PCSO Joanna King:

As a team we would like to thank everyone for the condolence messages, tributes and flowers that have been received since the death of PC Andrew Harper. It has been a tough time for us all and we appreciate the support. If you would like to send a message please email pcandrewharpercondolences@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk

On 9 August PCSO Bremner and I joined Hungerford’s firefighters at Cobbs Farm for their Emergencies Day. Despite the strong winds and heavy downpours we were inundated with youngsters asking questions, getting their fingerprints made into keyrings and having a look inside both the Police van and Fire engine.

On 24August we were at the Bear Hotel supporting the Macmillan Day along with Fire and Ambulance.

Crimes of note for August: In the early hours of 1August  there was an attempt burglary to a retail premise in Bridge Street. This is with CID and the enquiries are still ongoing.

There have been seven reported shopliftings in the town. In one incident the offender has been dealt with and in another the offender was apprehended by staff and the goods recovered. The majority of the others are awaiting return of paperwork from the retailer to progress with the investigation.

We are pleased to report that there have been very few reports of anti-social behaviour in the town during the summer holidays, however our hotspot areas are still being regularly patrolled.

It was recently reported that 122 crimes were reported in the Hungerford and Lambourn area in June and that no one has been prosecuted. Whilst I haven’t had the time to check the figures, there can be various reasons for this. For example, a single domestic incident could also involve an assault and a criminal damage so, figures-wise, this is three crimes for one incident. Other reasons include such things as the victim will not make a statement and there is not enough evidence to charge.

Salisbury Road

As previously reported, the matter of the Reserved Matters Application (RMA) put forward by Bewley Homes (at a higher density of 30 homes per hectare rather than 17, as in the outline planning permission and as approved by WBC) was discussed at an extraordinary meeting of the Environment and Planning Committee on Monday 23 July which was attended by about 30 members of the public, a representative from Bewley Homes and (for part of the meeting only) District Councillor James Cole. Apart from some formal business discussion of this issue occupied the whole of the hour-long meeting.

You can read the minutes here. Penny Post also recorded a video of the event, which you can see here.

Two motions were passed, one in respect of the reserved matters application and one in respect of some of the conditions. Both were objected to by the Committee on the various grounds.

The matter has now been called in, meaning that it will be decided by Councillors at the next Western Area Planning Committee (WAPC) later in September. If the WAPC follows the advice of WBC’s officers (which doesn’t always happen), the RMA will be refused. This does not mean that the whole scheme will be dead, merely that the developers will need to come up with another proposal which bears a closer relationship to the Outline Planning Approval which has already been granted, particularly with regard to the density and the use of the entire site. If the WAPC approves the RMA then an appeal is possible by requesting that the matter be called in by the Secretary of State. In answer to a question from the floor, the Mayor and Councillor Gaines said that such a step might be taken but that it was pointless to consider this before the WAPC had reached its decision.

Car parking at the station

Please click here to see an update on the situation. In summary, it now seems that a feasibility study is the best next step and HTC is investigating grant funding to cover the cost of this.

Hungerford 2036 (Neighbourhood Development Plan) update

The H2036 Project Team (H2036) continues its consultation with local organisations and individuals on the NDP’s draft Aims and Objectives.

H2036 has been informed that WBC will publish the HELAA (Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment) some time in October (later than planned). This will identify all the sites which WBC believes can be used for future development. Guidance from central government (via WBC) on proposed dwellings numbers will be provided though this is not expected until the end of the year.

In order to prepare for the WBC information release, H2036 has developed 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. The activity will be supported by a planning professional through Plan-et consultancy.

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.

The Mayor’s activities

The Mayor’s activities in August included, as well various HTC meetings, interviewing candidates for a staff vacancy, presenting the prizes at Hungerford in Bloom, meeting the WBC Chief Executive with the District Councillors, attending the opening of Costa Coffee, meeting members of the Town Team and attending the Berkshire Vision AGM.

Hanging baskets

In addition to its usual floral displays, HTC has this year funded the hanging baskets on the canal bridge. At the meeting, the Mayor said that she had received a number of positive comments about these.

Pigeons

This continuing problem has now been, with the help of District Councillor James Cole, elevated to the local Public Protection Partnership (PPP) for  its consideration. On 2 September, Councillor Cole met a PPP representative in Hungerford and looked at various places in the High Street where measures had previously been taken to dissuade the birds from roosting. A number of proposals were suggested and the PPP representative agreed to look at measures taken in other towns covered by his department, including Newbury, Wokingham and Bracknell, and advise further. Councillor Cole said that the only realistic outcome was dissuading them from settling in the  High Street where they are a particular pest to shoppers, residents and visitors.

The Hungerford Hub

The Hub celebrates its first anniversary on Saturday 7 September. Further information on the progress that has been made in the last 12 months can be found in the separate post here.

District Councillors’ reports

All three Councillors were present at the meeting. Councillor Cole reported on the pigeon issues (see section above) and also on the progress of two specific issues which had also involved the PPP. The Councillors also reported on a recent visit to Hungerford by WBC’s Chief Executive Nick Carter which took in, amongst other matters and places, the above-mentioned pigeons, the Hub, the possible coach-parking bay in the High Street, the new bus shelter and the various issues surrounding the railway station (see section above).

Councillor Cole also reported that, following a meeting with the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner, it was hoped that local police attendance at the meetings of HTC and other parish councils would be more regular.

Great West Way funding

A decision was taken at the meeting to reverse the earlier decision to cancel the town’s membership of the GWW initiative, the Mayor pointing out that at the time the full implications of this had not been known. It was resolved to restore the payment of £1,250 which would ensure Hungerford’s participation in the project until 31 March 2020. Thereafter, it was hoped that the wider benefits of the scheme would be clearer and alternative or additional ways would be found of funding this.

HTC Councillor Martin Crane said that a meeting was held last week involving various groups which had an interest in helping to promote the town’s tourism and that further discussions would be held to establish a way in which these could work together to this common purpose.

High Street seating

It was reported at the meeting that, following action taken by WBC, an enforcement notice had been issued by WBC to Costa Coffee in the High Street demanding that the pavement seating be removed pending a decision by the appropriate officers at WBC.

Committee meetings

Some aspects of the work of some of the committees were discussed at the meeting, including:

Environment & Planning. Three meetings were held in July and August and some the matters arising are mentioned elsewhere in this report.

Recreation & Amenities. A wide range of maintenance and repair work has been carried out over the summer including at the Croft Field building, the Triangle Field, Bulpit Lane and the skate park.

Tourism & Economy. The recent meeting to discuss Hungerford’s tourism promotion is covered here under the Great West Way. Planning is also well underway for the 2019 Hungerford Trade Showcase which will take place at John O’Gaunt school on Tuesday 22 October, co-inciding with a parents’ evening. Anyone running a local business who would like to find out more should contact cllr.martin.crane@hungerford-tc.gov.uk. The emotive question of the memorial flowers left on the Kennet bridge was also discussed. It was confirmed that the family had agreed that WBC would remove the remaining flowers and cards sometime after 2 September, this having given the family enough time to remove those it wanted to keep; and that the family had sent a message on social media to say that no further memorials should now be left there. Nick Lumley, the Constable of the Town and Manor, said that he understood that the family was hoping to provide a memorial bench on the Common.

Finance & General Purposes. Councillor Winser summarised some of the main variations in expenditure and revenue over the last month: most of these were due to phasing issues. She also reported that £2,090 remained available for grants from HTC to local good causes for the rest of the year 2019-20

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

Hungerford Town Council opening hours

Due to an unplanned and unavoidable period of staff absence, HTChas taken the decision to close the council office on Mondays and Thursdays for the foreseeable future. It will be open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 10am and 2pm. Theyhave deliberately chosen to close on the same days as the library, when footfall tends to be lower.

If you need to contact HTC urgently on Mondays or Thursdays, please telephone the office on 01488 686 195 to speak with a member of staff. You can also email admin@hungerford-tc.gov.uk at any time. In addition, the office will be closed altogether between Friday 13 and Thursday 19 September.

 

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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