Local News Oct 31 to Nov 7 2019

Our round-up of local news across the area (and a bit beyond) this week including Hungerford’s 100 homes, Elton’s progress, Marlborough’s consultation, Wantage’s ship, Charlton’s boat, Thatcham’s library, Shefford Woodlands’ blackspot, Grove’s litter, Inkpen’s refusal, Newbury’s trees, East Garston’s events, Lambourn’s Napoleon, Letcombe’s brook, Swindon’s Honda help, Burghfield and Mortimer’s nag, Wokefield’s road, Wroughton’s grants, Compton’s homes, Longworth’s pigs, police and travel updates, good causes celebrated, funding the councils, stolen goods, the ugliest building, heritage assets, stuck in Market Street, a seasonal slasher, bye-bye to Mr Benyon, refreshing a logo, AWE’s naughty step, disruptive behaviour, double landlocked, 500 goats and a bit of Misty.

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

Information on police, transport (including roadworks) and district councils can now be found on a separate page here.

Links to the websites for town and parish councils can still be found in the appropriate sections below.

Across the area (and further afield)

• The West Berkshire Climate Conference took place this week and you can read our report on the event here. Please see the note at the foot of the post if you have any comment to make on the highly complex matter. The matter is also given coverage in this week’s Newbury Weekly News.  

• Local MP Richard Benyon is interviewed on p2 of this week’s Newbury Weekly News. His comments can be divided into two: those concerning the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal and election plans, of which he is supportive; and those concerning the PM’s own conduct in the Affair of the Withdrawn Whips and the way he sees the party has having ‘narrowed’, where he is decidedly more prickly. His successor has yet to be selected. 

• It shows what a mess parliament is in when the only way out is to have an election in December. I don’t think there’s been one in that month before. I don’t what the season will do the turnout or people’s voting intentions. It’s certainly not a time of year I’d want to be going around high streets handing out leaflets and kissing babies.

• The problem of how to fund local councils continues: that is to say, the problem gets worse and no immediate solution seems to be being offered. There are a wealth of figures to support the specific problems. The Independent said in October 2018 that spending on vulnerable children – that most idiotic and damaging of economies – had fallen by over 25% between 2013 and 2018. The amount spent on adult social care fell in real terms between 2010-11 and 2016-17 while the inflation-adjusted figures show this to be a decline from £306 to £276 per person in this period. There is also ample evidence to suggest that poorer areas are suffering more than rich ones. Earlier this year, the then local government Minister James Brokenshire – it’s hard to think of a surname more suitable to the situation over which he presided – announced in a parliamentary debate that the ‘core spending power’ of councils would increase by 2,8% in the forthcoming financial year. This appears to involve the councils sweating the maximum amount from council tax, business rates and rents. 

There is a generation of people which now needs help and support and which dutifully paid its taxes and NI  on the understanding that, when they needed it most, they would be looked after. The time has now arrived but in the meantime the government has passed the obligation on to local councils and then reduced the funding, so leaving the councils as the ones to blame. The government has promised a green paper on a reword of the whole system. This was due to have been published in June 2107.  

• As a result of these privations and uncertainties, local councils are being forced to operate outside their area of expertise or even competence in order to raise money. Investment in property has become an obvious solution. Easy-access and low-interest loans from the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB), coupled with the perception that bricks and mortar will always rise in value, appear to have led councils into a spending glut. This article from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism says that one council, Spelthorne in Surrey, has borrowed £1bn despite having an annual income of £22m – which seems like the kind of behaviour that led to the banking crisis – and that it is as a result ‘heavily dependant’ on the income to fund its basic services. It’s as if your dentist could only provide you with an anesthetic if they’d had a good day at the races. 

In 2016, the then chairman of the Commons’ Public Accounts Committee, Meg Hillier said, that “government wants local authorities to become largely self-financing and against this backdrop councils are exploring new ways to raise cash. Our committee has previously highlighted gaps in the commercial skill of the civil service as a factor in the failure of some projects and we have similar concerns about local government.”  

The question remains as to whether local councils are qualified to manage such large portfolios. The above-mentioned Spelthorne paid £3.4m to property consultants in 2017-18 which suggests a lack of internal skills. I don’t recall any councillors at the last election saying ‘you should vote for me because I’m a property expert.’ 

• Two recent examples from West Berkshire were highlighted in the Reading Chronicle following a meeting of the Scrutiny Management Commission on 29 October. The first concerned the Council’s decision to invest in property, a £100m loan having recently been agreed last year with PWLB. It was suggested that the return on investment could be improved by switching the investment into solar panels (an estimated 5% for these rather than 2% for property), and the Council’s adherence to its own climate emergency declaration, strengthened, by investing in solar panels instead. CEO Nick Carter admitted that ‘potential opportunities’ other than property were being investigated. 

• At the same meeting, the point was raised that the Council had developed apps – at a cost of up to £60,000, it was suggested – many of which were at best under-utilised. I was surprised by the statement from Nick Carter that he hadn’t even heard of one of them, Get Your Coat (surely someone would have told him?) and his remark that ‘it might not have’ a business case.’ He then admitted that this was probably ‘not the place we should have got into.’

Fair enough, Nick. It looks like there were a couple of errors. You’ve admitted as much. Stuff happens. Let’s move on. The bigger picture, though, is that we should be aware that our local councils are being forced into activities which are both inherently risky and quite separate from the roles that the members have been elected or appointed to fulfil. I don’t really blame West Berkshire or any other council. To a large extent they are trying to cope with a situation not of their own making and which is, given the country’s wealth, avoidable.

• In his recent newsletter, Councillor Graham Bridgman, also the Adult Social Care portfolio-holder, makes some comments about West Berkshire’s financial prospects for 2020-21. He mentions some ‘favourable announcements’ from the government on some specific funding aspects including the new homes bonus and educational needs. The council will not be a business-rate pilot authority in 2020-21, meaning it will lose about £1.5m of revenue. He also confirms that the Council’s savings programme will require up to another £7m being shaved off the budget. The exact amount will depend on ‘how the government decided to respond to the financial challenges in social care.’ He includes by saying that ‘our position is currently looking more positive than it has often appeared at this time in earlier years.’ 

• West Berkshire is carrying out a survey of its leisure centre users to find out how theses are performing and to identify areas for potential improvement.

• As mentioned last week, GWR is set to introduce fare rises of around 100% on some services from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury (and perhaps further west) also to Paddington come December. 

• Click here for details of the volunteering projects being undertaken by the West Berkshire Countryside Society, which include a range of woodland, riverside and heathland management tasks.

• If you’re involved in running or managing a community building then this conference in Reading on Thursday 7 November will be of interest.

• Voluntary and community organisations have been awarded £106,733 from the Police Property Act Fund. The Fund, jointly managed by the PCC and the Thames Valley Chief Constable, is created from money recovered by the police and the proceeds from the sale of items that cannot be returned to identified owners, including seizures from criminals.

• Click here to visit West Berkshire’s consultation on possible future additions to the Local List of Heritage Assets. This closes on 5 December 2019.

• A letter in this week’s NWN criticises XR, and specifically local Green councillor Steve Masters, for causing disruption in London during a recent demonstration. Whether or not the tactic is the best way of attracting support is open to debate – it clearly hasn’t worked for the correspondent – but as any suffragette would point out, direct action is sometimes needed. His closing remark was that they should not ’cause people to have their everyday lives disrupted’ by such events. XR might claim that their disruption is as nothing compared to what climate change would cause.

• The animal of the week is a herd of goats in California. Earlier this year, with uncanny prescience, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library hired them to eat down the scrub around the building as a preventative measure. This almost certainly saved it from being destroyed in the recent wildfires. 

• The letters section of the Newbury Weekly News this week includes, as well as those mentioned elsewhere, a comment about the London Road Industrial estate ‘scandal’; an appeal for Sainsbury’s petrol stations to stop issuing plastic gloves to fuel users; and an appeal for more funds to be spent on youth mental health. 

• A number of good causes have received valuable support recently, including many local groups (thanks to Haydon Wick Parish Council); the Make a Wish Foundation (thanks to the Wash Common scarecrows); Marie Curie (thanks to the fire walkers at Newbury Rugby Club); Interakt (thanks to the recent bingo night); numerous local charities (thanks to green ham Trust); Education East Africa (thanks to Sandi Smithers).

Hungerford & district

Latest news from Hungerford Town Council, Shalbourne Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

• There are currently three vacancies on Hungerford Town Councilsee here for the official notice

• The controversial Salisbury Road development is back in the news. In June, Bewley Homes submitted plans which proposed a higher density than in the original reserved matters application and which left part of the site empty (for now). The matter was promptly called in by the district councillors (it would have been anyway as sufficient objections were received). Recently Bewley has written to local residents and objectors – which, slight bizarrely, included CALA Homes, whose interest in the site Bewley had acquired – saying that it has submitted revised plans which bear a closer relation to the outline permission. The letter also offers a rather unconvincing reason for why the previous plans only used part of the site and which is in contradiction to Bewley’s grudging admission at Hungerford Town Council’s planning meeting in the late summer that in due course the rest of the area would probably be developed. (The plans at that time had two roads to nowhere that could only have been with an extension in mind.) As this will be a revision to the existing application the call in will still take place and the matter will come before the Western Area Planning Committee in due course. Hungerford Town Council is still considering its response to the new proposal.

• This week’s NWN reports that permission for a proposed house in Inkpen – which the paper said had caused ‘uproar’ in the village – has been refused by West Berkshire Council

• Hungerford’s Christmas lights will be turned on on Sunday 1 December: the celebrity switch-thrower will be announced soon.

• One of the events which helps show off the lights, and the High Street, to best advantage is the Christmas Extravaganza which this takes place on Friday 13 December. As before, the Chamber of Commerce is busy raising funds to help towards the cost of this. The best way of donating is via The Good Exchange as the sum you give will be doubled by match funding.

• And, still at the memorial, the Remembrance Day event in Hungerford will take place on Sunday 10 November.

• Remember, remember that the November Penny Post Hungerford will be published on Tuesday 5 November. If there’s anything you want to contribute, email brian@pennypost.org.uk.  Click here to see October’s. (This is always published the day after the first working Monday of the month so as to cover the events in the monthly Full Council meeting.)

• The weekly Wednesday market has been extended onto the Town Hall steps and into the building itself. For more information, including how you can procure a stall, please click here

Lambourn Valley

Latest news from Lambourn Parish CouncilEast Garston Parish CouncilWelford Parish Council and Great Shefford Parish Council.

• We were driving back home from the Climate Conference on Monday when we saw NWN’s photographer taking photos at the junction of the A338 and the B4000 in Shefford Woodlands. The results of his work can be seen on the front page of the Hungerford edition of this week’s paper illustrating a report on this ‘accident blackspot‘. Vehicles seem to be attracted, like moths to a lamp, to one of the two large roadsigns at the junction which, as the article points out and as local residents are aware, don’t seem to last more than a couple of months before they’re once again pranged or destroyed. Perhaps a roundabout might be the answer. There are also several other parts of the Valley where speeding is an issue and accidents are common. These include the junction of the B4000 and the B4001, Eastbury (where there’s a campaign for a 20mph limit) , East Garston, the road between East Garston and Shefford and Upper Lambourn, where local councillor Howard Wollaston said that residents were ‘up in arms’ about the issue. I hope that’s just a form of words.

• The latest East Garston News has information on a range of forthcoming events – the Halloween party. bonfire night, the Remembrance Day event, the quiz and the next Valley Film Society showing. Click here to read the newsletter if you didn’t get it.

• Abel Gance’s silent masterpiece Napoléon will be being screened in Lambourn on Sunday 24 November – more information here.

• I understand that new plans have been developed regarding the sewage digesters which have been proposed for a development in Elton but which, as with a similar scheme in nearby Weston in 2015, have attracted local opposition. Discussions have started with local residents, prior to a new application being submitted to West Berkshire Council. If this application were successful it would remove the question of using the digesters so, hopefully, solving the problem.  

• A reminder that residents of Lambourn may shortly expect to receive questionnaires about the ongoing neighbourhood development plan.

• A reminder also that the Friends of Lambourn Library has three vacancies on its committee and welcomes hearing from anyone, of any age, who would be happy to join what is by all measures and estimations a successful organisation. Please contact suecocker@hotmail.com

• If you didn’t get the most recent East Garston News, you can click here to read it.

• The Lambourn Bonfire party will take place at the Sports Club on Saturday 2 November.

• The East Garston Quiz this year takes place on Friday 22 November. Contact Ed James to book your slot for this event which is usually a sell out: further details here.

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

4 Legs Community Radio Station will on Friday have its 76th day of broadcasting – click here for more.

Newbury & district

Latest news from Newbury Town Council, Chieveley Parish Council and Hamstead Marshall Parish Council.

• As there was last week, there’s a letter in this week’s NWN regarding the Library Service. This one is from the Leaders of Thatcham and Newbury Councils, both of which have recently withheld their town’s share of the voluntary contribution to the Library Service which has been operational for the last three years. This is not because they want to stop making these but because the payments have always been conditional on the supply of information from the library service which, for this quarter, has for whatever reason been delayed. Last week’s NWN had a letter accusing Newbury Town Council of ‘playing politics’ with the issue which, as I pointed out, was unfair. Bother councils are obliged to ensure that any grants they make produce the stated benefits for the residents of the town.

• Newbury Town Council is currently undertaking an in-depth inspection of the trees that it owns and manages within the Parish. The purpose of the programme is to identify trees that are in poor health or a danger to the public and to replace them with healthier and more suitable ones.

• If the Town Council were to offer a competition for the ugliest building in Newbury there could really only be one winner: the BT tower on the Sainsbury’s roundabout. Built at a time when concrete was the building material of choice and when bodies such as BT didn’t need planning permission, it is now a stained and sinister edifice that makes me think of an establishing shot for a Cold-war thriller. The Council has made several attempts to get BT to do something to improve the appearance and has recently announced that the telecoms giant ‘will be considering the matter at an infrastructure review meeting.’ I understand that it contains vast amounts of equipment, so demolition is probably not an option. It’s not easy to think of any way of making the building look like anything other than what it is. In time, stealth-style technology might be deployed to make it appear invisible. Any other ideas?

• The Town Council has agreed its draft strategy for the next four years. The consultation on this was expected to be online in early November although this (and so much else) may be delayed by the general election in December. 

• The Council has also set out its plans for making to two carbon neutral by 2030: see p8 of this week’s NWN for more.

• Market Street will be closed until 29 November, 2019. My youngest son, who’s recently passed his test, called me up two days ago and said, “I’m just calling to have a moan – we were stuck in traffic near Market Street for half an hour and we’ve missed the film we were going to see.” “Welcome to Newbury,” I told him.

Chieveley Parish Council is updating its emergency plan – click here to get involved.

• Please click here for Hamstead Marshall.net, which provides an excellent round-up of what’s going on in and around the village. It also publishes the Hamstead Hornet – if you’d like subscribe, contact Penny Stokes at admin@hamsteadmarshall.net.

• Click here for the latest news from the development of the University Centre at Newbury College.

• Click here for the latest NTC News from Newbury Council.

• Click here for the latest information from Growing Newbury Green.

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

Latest news from Hampstead Norreys Parish Council, Compton parish Council, Ashampstead Parish Council, Chaddleworth Parish Council, Brightwalton Parish Council, West Ilsley Parish Council and East Ilsley Parish Council.

• Some advice here from the East Isley Parish Council website about bonfires (equally applicable to other parishes) It’s that time of the year right now.

• The October issue of Chaddleworth’s News has been published and, if you don’t receive it, can be viewed online on the Parish Council’s website. If you want to contribute or subscribe, email chaddnews@gmail.com. As usual, there’s a round up of local events, past and future and news from local clubs and societies.

Chaddleworth’s Village Hall needs the support of anyone who has ever used it, or might use it, for the wide range of events which it hosts. Click here for further details

• Residents of Compton are being urged to make their views known about a proposed 250-home development on the site of the former Pirbright Institute. A public event on this matter will take place at The Wilkins Centre from 12.30pm to 8pm on Thursday 7 November.

• The October issue of West Ilsley Parish News can be found here.

• 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

Latest news from Thatcham Town Council, Cold Ash Parish Council, Bucklebury Parish Council, Brimpton Parish Council and Woolhampton Parish Council.

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

• As Newbury did a few weeks ago, Thatcham Town Council has deferred the payments that it makes to support the Library Service pending the receipt of further information about how this is being spent. I’ve not been able to establish why this hasn’t been provided but in Newbury’s case this seemed to be down to a confusion about meeting dates. On this occasion the meeting did take place but the Council didn’t feel it had the necessary data. As a letter in this week’s NWN points out, there doesn’t seem to be anything sinister at work, merely two councils (both with new administrations) needing to understand how the money for the largest single grant each one makes is being spent. These delays have, inevitably, re-opened the debate about whether parish councils should be contributing to the service and what the consequences for the Library Service might be should these, the two largest contributors to the voluntary scheme, decide to pull the plug. No decision has been taken by either council whether the payments will be continued in 2020-21.

• The NWN also reports (on p22) some encouraging figures for the usage of Thatcham Library: these echo those from elsewhere in West Berkshire.

• West Berkshire Council says that two schemes to help prevent flooding in Thatcham are ‘well under way.’

• The Nature Discovery Centre is looking for volunteers to work with the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust to provide a series on nature therapy sessions at the Centre. Click here for more information.

• Cold Ash’s neighbourhood development plan is seeking volunteers to assist with the work involved and is also requesting comments from residents. For more information, visit the NDP section of the parish council’s website.

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

• Click here to see the latest Cold Ash Community Bulletin. This includes an invitation to watch the the Rugby World Cup final at the Acland Hall.

Theale and district

Latest news from Theale Parish Council, Aldermaston Parish Council, Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish Council and Burghfield Parish Council.

• Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council welcomes suggestions as to what it might do with its old phone box: click here and scroll down a bit. 

• Congratulations to the Willink School in Burghfield which has been selected as a Maths Hub Lead school for the South West of England following a successful bid to the Department for Education. There are currently 37 of these nationwide.

• Kier is issuing roughly monthly updates about the building progress at the new primary school is Thealehere’s August’s. Still no sign of September’s (or October’s). Surely they haven’t just stopped work?

• Click here for details of forthcoming events in Burghfield.

Click here and here for the latest updates from Highways England about the progress of the work to turn the M4 from J3 to J12 into a smart motorway. (The whole concept of these is currently under review.)

• There was a well-attended meeting of the Burghfield and Mortimer NAG (Neighbourhood Action Group) on 16 October and actions are underway with a view to create two community conversations – one for The Willink and one for Mortimer. For more in formation, click here.

• This week’s NWN reports on p14 that the Atomic Weapons Establishments at Aldermaston and Burghfield will remain ‘under the regulator’s scrutiny’ – sounds like a dose of the naughty step to me – until 2021 after long-running concerns about the condition of the sites and the standards of safety. This is of more than immediate local interest because, as the article reminds us, they manufacture ‘a large portion of the UK’s nuclear arsenal.’

• Residents of Wokefield who are concerned by the condition of James Lane will be reassured by the announcement from Councillor Graham Bridgman that work on the surface dressing should start in the new year.

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

Burghfield’s Christmas Market will take place on Saturday 7 December. If you want a stall the deadline for applications is Saturday 3 November.

Click here for the October/November 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

Latest news from Marlborough Town CouncilAldbourne Parish Council and Great Bedwyn Parish Council.

• The ever-vigilant Marlborough News reports that Wiltshire Council has ‘refreshed’ its logo. The new version has dropped the slogan ‘where everybody matters’. The Council hasn’t specified whether this is for reasons of space, part of the refreshment or a loss of interest in this aspect of its work.

• Two more logos we’ll be seeing a lot more of in the next six weeks are those of the Labour and the Conservative parties. The same source reports that about has chosen its candidate for the Devizes seat while the Conservatives are still mulling over a short-list of six.

• The Marlborough Area Neighbourhood Plan Consultation results have been released – click here for details.

• See the Across the Area section above for information in the considerable rise in some rail fares from Bedwyn that are likely to be a consequence of the December’s new timetable changes. The same issue is covered in the Gazette.

• A reminder that Great Bedwyn Pre-school is looking for toys and equipment for a new toddler group.

• 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).

• And in the same village, click here to keep up to date with what’s going on at the Youth Club.

Wantage & district

Latest news from Wantage Town Council, Grove Parish Council and Letcombe Regis Parish Council.

• The crew of the British navy’s flagship will parade through the streets of Wantage next year. HMS Queen Elizabeth was given the freedom of Wantage following a ceremony to commemorate 80 years since the sinking of the Royal Oak, in which 835 people died, including two residents of the town. We understand that the 280-metre-long ship itself will not be attending the event.

• Wantage Town Council has added its voice to the growing environmental debate by declaring a climate emergency and establishing a new sub-committee to help the town act on this.

• The Letcombe Brook Project has launched a new website to give insight into the rare chalk stream, the animals which live there and maintenance work by volunteers.

• This week’s Wantage & Grove Herald confirms that £2m has been set aside to build a relief road to the east of Wantage linking the A338 with the A417. part of the funding is coming from the developers of Crab Hill.

• Residents and South Oxon and the Vale will have extra green-waste collections in November.

• Click here for details of the surgeries held by local District Councillors Jenny Hannaby and Jane Hanna until late November.

• Oxfordshire’s communities are being asked by the Oxfordshire Growth Board to give their views to help ensure growth is managed in the best way in the county, an aspiration which many in the area feel is not happening as well as it might. You can find out more, and participate in the survey, here (closes on 26 November).

You can click here to read the speech given to the Oxfordshire County Council Cabinet by South Oxfordshire Councillor Robin Bennett on 15 October 2019 following the Secretary of State’s decision to prevent South Oxfordshire continuing to discuss its local plan, which is was minded to withdraw and re-consider.

• A scheme to give vulnerable people a place to go for help in the Vale of the White Horse has been launched.

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

• Organisers of community events in the Vale are invited to apply for some of the £10,000 worth of festival and events grants on offer from Vale of White Horse District Council. 

• The Vale & Downland Museum is looking for a new trustee: more details here.

• The Grove Volunteer Litter-picking Group meets at Old Mill Hall in School Lane at 9am on the second Friday of every month. Equipment is supplied by Grove Parish Council. More details here.

Click here for information on this year’s Wantage Literary Festival which runs until Saturday 2 November. 

• Click here for information the Didcot, Abingdon and Wantage Talking Newspaper (DAWN) for the blind and partially sighted. The organisers are currently appealing for help to keep the service going – click here for details.

• Click here for information on the location of defibrillators in and around Wantage.

• Julie Mabberley’s regular column on p8 of the Wantage & Grove Herald considers a BOAT – byway open to all traffic – in Charlton and looks at whether, as it goes across the Brab Hill development, it should be downgraded to a bridleway (meaning it cannot be used by anything mechanically propelled).

• Fire crews averted what might have been the world’s largest hog roast when they saved over 1,000 pigs from a hay-bale blaze at a farm near Longworth.

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

Swindon & district

Latest news from Swindon Borough Council.

• The Mayor of Swindon, Kevin Parry, is hosting the song and dance for charities close to his heart on Saturday 23 November.

• Swindon Council’s Volunteer Rangers have won an award for their work in Swindon’s country parks.

• A council’s office is perhaps not the most obvious place you’d imagine as the venue for an art exhibition: however, this report in Swindon Link shows that art can be found in unlikely places.

• The same source has this advice from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue about staying safe during Halloween and Bonfire night.

• Action to help Honda-associated companies provide a programme of welfare support for their Swindon workforce is being coordinated by a group of partners from across the public and private sector.

• Community groups and schools in Wroughton can apply for grants of up to £20,000 thanks to the Wiltshire Community Foundation.

• Swindon Council will launch its online community lottery to support local good causes in November.

• If you live, work or travel around Swindon, you’ll remember the successful Beat the Street from last year. The physical activity challenge is set to return to Swindon for 2019 until early November. It’s recently been announced that the scheme is about to ‘go wild’ – read more here.

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

The song and the quiz

• The Song of the Week this week is another piece of top-notch Iberian jazz – Misty, the Errol Garner song, beautifully played by Elia Bastida and others.  

• Which brings us to the Quiz Question of the Week. Today is Halloween (if you’re reading this on Thursday) so we need a question about that. Here it is: In what year was John Carpenter’s famous slasher film of this name released? Last week’s question was: Apart from being slightly tricky to spell, what odd circumstance is shared by Liechtenstein and Uzbekistan and no other countries? The answer is that they’re the only two countries in the world which are double landlocked: landlocked themselves and completely surrounded by countries that are themselves landlocked. If you fancy a beach holiday or somewhere to add to your collection of lighthouse photos, you can therefore cross these two right off your list.

Brian Quinn

For more news follow Penny Post on Facebook and Twitter

If you would like to add your thoughts to anything in this post, please use the ‘Comments’ box at the foot of the page. Once moderated, your comment will be visible to other users.

If you would prefer to contact me directly and privately about anything which was, or you think should have been, in this post, please email brian@pennypost.org.uk.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Sign up to the free weekly

Penny Post


For: local positive news, events, jobs, recipes, special offers, recommendations & more.

Covering: Newbury, Thatcham, Hungerford, Marlborough, Wantage, Lambourn, Compton, Swindon & Theale