Lambourn Ward update from District Councillor Howard Woollaston, January/February 2021

I am the ward member (district councillor) for Lambourn and the representative on West Berkshire Council. (The Lambourn Ward has the same borders as the parish of Lambourn.) These reports give a monthly summary of the work that I’ve been involved with in the ward. If matters take more than a month to resolve – which sadly is often the case – then expect to see them referred to more than once. You’ll see my contact details at the end of each section below if you need to get in touch about any of these, or anything else.

Just as some MPs also have executive responsibilities, so do some district councillors at local level. It might be useful to give you a quick overview of what mine are:

  • I have a seat on the nine-member Executive (WBC’s main decision-making body).
  • I am the Portfolio Holder for Public Health & Community Wellbeing, Leisure and Culture – as you might imagine this is a particularly demanding post at the best of times and particularly so currently.
  • I am also leading on the Leisure Centre and Football strategies which is, to put it mildly, another testing role.
  • I chair the Local Outbreak Engagement Board which now meets fortnightly, in public, every Monday at 6pm (next one 15 February). I would really welcome your watching as it gives everyone a close insight as to where we are in the pandemic locally. Click here for more information.
  • I am a member of the Western Area Planning Committee which considers planning issues which either relevant the ward member/s or a sufficient number of residents feel need to be looked at more closely before a decision is made.

My colleague Clive Hooker is the ward member for Downlands, which includes the parishes of East Garston and Great Shefford, so please contact him if your enquiry relates to that area.

Notes: The reports were provided at the end of the first-named month below. Any links in the text have been added by Penny Post which will take you to articles on the Penny Post website or elsewhere

January/February 2021

January has got me back to my usual busy schedule. From my Executive Portfolio-holder side, Covid, the Newbury Football Ground proposals and both the Culture & Heritage and the Leisure Consultations have been extraordinarily time-consuming: nor have things been quiet on the Lambourn Ward home front…

Lambourn Valley Flood Forum

I chaired the Lambourn Valley Flood Forum on Monday 25 January A good turnout and mostly very positive. There remain some administrative issues with flood prevention further down the valley but, from a Lambourn/Eastbury perspective, Thames Water seem to be on top of things. The groundwater levels are rising rapidly now and you will have seen the river flowing quite fast. Let us all hope that there will be no repetition of 2020.

A groundwater warning was issued for the Lambourn Valley catchment on 4 February: this post has links to sources of up-to-date information.

West Berkshire Council’s local plan consultation

The consultation process is now closed. I submitted a 105-person petition on behalf of the Woodlanders Action Group, and I was one of many objecting individually to the proposed extension of the Membury Industrial Estate Designated Employment Area with the implications of increased HGV traffic on the B4000, not to mention environmental effects.

Green-bin interruptions

I am sorry for the one-off green-bin cancellation last month. This was caused by the perfect storm of ill or self-isolating operatives and increased green bin usage beyond previous years. Hopefully all back to normal now.

Lambourn Junction

This excellent organisation was highly commended in the Community Champions Award 2020 for West Berkshire – a great effort and wonderful to see your hard work for the community recognised.

Lambourn Parish Council meeting in February

Unfortunately I was unable to attend this as it clashed with West Berkshire Council’s Western Area Planning Committee meeting. You can read Penny Post’s report of LPC’s meeting here.

North Wessex Downs AONB

Along with some Lambourn Parish Councillors, I attended the annual presentation by North Wessex Downs AONB. A large part of this related to chalk streams and I will be trying to get the Lambourn included in the overall approach to improve water quality.

Potholes

Lambourn.org received a very appreciative email from a resident who wanted to make it public that West Berkshire Council has done a great job at repairing the potholes after he notified them of their existence. The Highways team was delighted to have good feedback. If you need to report a pothole problem, this is the page to visit.

Eastbury

As part of the Lambourn Neighbourhood Development Plan process, I am trying to get a group together to create an Eastbury Design Guide. James Potter has already made an excellent start but any willing volunteers welcome.

Covid

Sadly, we cannot avoid the virus. The vaccine rollout at Newbury Racecourse has really picked up speed after arguably a slow start and we should be up to if not ahead of the other Berkshire Unitary Authorities by the end of next week. Nearly all over 80’s are now vaccinated and it is hoped that the over 70’s will not be far behind with over 65’s like me baring an arm by the end of the month. Thankfully, West Berkshire is at the lowest end of Berkshire infections and all the indicators are moving in the right direction, so there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel for a gradual return to normality – keep everything crossed.

West Berkshire Council’s website has a wide range of information about the pandemic and the various local responses to it. You may also be interested in this map on the Gov.uk website which, when you zoom in, enables to drill down almost to parish level.

…and back to work

Finally, a whole raft of planning issues along with a blocked drain in Lambourn – the joys of being your District Councillor!

Get in touch

If there’s anything you want me to look into, get in touch on 07836 718100 or Howard.woollaston1@westberks.gov.uk – lockdown or not, I’ll do my best to help.

December 2020/January 2021

I had not intended, as last year, to provide a local commentary this time as effectively it was only a two-week month but we are in unusual times so I thought that I should.

Covid in Lambourn

Things change so rapidly. It was only just over a month ago that West Berkshire had an infection rate of 51 in 100,000. That has now risen to over 400 but the good news is that our district has the lowest rate in the whole of Berkshire and Lambourn is the lowest in the whole of West Berkshire, both by some way. We must be doing something right so please keep it up.

The reality of the virus was, quite literally, brought home to me just before Christmas when my stepson tested positive and was promptly banished to his room. As a result, my wife and I both went for testing at Newbury Showground – a very quick and efficient experience (we both tested negative, by the way).

Lambourn  Flood Forum

I am chairing the next Lambourn Valley Flood Forum meeting on 25 January and will update you further next month. Thames Water has continued to do work on resolving the long-term issues and whilst groundwater levels continue to rise my fingers are firmly crossed that we will not see a repetition of 2020. We can all do our bit as well – please see this post (apologies for the rather unpleasant header image but it does reflect a reality with which residents will be all too familiar) with advice from Thames Water about what we should not put down our toilets.

Speed limit in Membury

West Berkshire Council has agreed that the speed limit in Membury Road will be reduced to 40mph.

Lambourn Neighbourhood Development Plan

The Lambourn NDP will be out for consultation shortly, after the working party has had a final Zoom meeting with West Berkshire Council. Please see the LNDP website for more information. Please make sure you have your say when asked – this is an important process which will determine the extent and nature of development in the parish over the next decade or so.

West Berkshire’s Local Plan

West Berkshire’s Local Plan, which runs up to 2037, is out for consultation and I would urge you to look at it. The key two issues for us here in Lambourn are a proposed extension of the Membury Industrial Estate of about 300,000 sq ft and confirmation of the Lynch Wood housing allocation for just over 60 units of which 40% are designated affordable. (Note that the Lambourn NDP and West Berkshire’s Local Plan, are separate but related projects: it just so happens that, in Lambourn, the two consultations are coming up at more or less the same time. I recommend that you respond to both.)

Get in touch

If there’s anything you want me to look into, please get in touch on 07836 718100 or Howard.woollaston1@westberks.gov.uk – lockdown or not, I’ll do my best to help.

November/December 2020

Quite a lot to talk about this month. Let’s start with one which has been a regular and unwelcome feature of life in the upper Valley for some time – and one on which I’m glad to say that there are now some real signs of progress.

Sewers and groundwater

I spent the morning of Saturday 28 November with our MP Laura Farris and Rachel Carden in Upper Lambourn and by the Fire Station, looking at progress. I have since been briefed by Thames Water (TW) and West Berkshire Council (WBC) on what has been done so far and likely outcomes for this winter.

In Upper Lambourn a pipe has been put in by TW to speed up the flow of surface water out of the appropriately-named Drain Lane and into the river, which should reduce pressure from groundwater into the sewer pipes. They are ready to start pumping as soon as necessary and they are liaising with Will Riggall at Jockey Club Estates to minimise impact on the horses. Jamie Osbourne has kindly agreed to the use of part of his land to allow further pumping of groundwater into the Lambourn to further ease the situation.

TW is continuing the process of sealing manholes, checking pipes, and lining where necessary in particular at Foxbury and Tubbs Farm Close. They think they have solved the problem at the fire station but there will need to be a temporary road closure by the Nippy Chippy, hopefully only for a day to get into the pipes under the road.

In Eastbury, the manhole has been sealed so fingers crossed. We seem to have an engineer who cares about his job and is getting things done. As he said to me “I wouldn’t want it outside my house “. The key is that they are onto it this year before the problem rears its ugly head.

I will be chairing the Lambourn Valley Flood Forum in January and will give feedback on that in my January report.

Further information from Thames Water on this matter can found in this post. See also Laura Farris’ FB page (30 November) and the discussion, to which Rachel Carden has been contributing, on the Lambourn Community FB Group.

The Neighbourhood Development Plan

The working party, excellently chaired by Sue Cocker, is close to going out to consultation and I would urge you to look at it when it is released and make your views clear. We even had a meeting in the Memorial Hall – socially-distance of course – which made a novel and welcome change from staring at faces on a screen.

The two most controversial sites are the land adjacent to the Employment Area in Membury (where the current application is due to be heard in January) and the residential proposal off Lynch Lane which is allocated for 61 houses and flats of which 40% have to be affordable.

This consultation will be followed by West Berkshire Council’s Local Plan Review covering the period up to 2036. This will be out for consultation in the Early Spring and Mike Billinge-Jones, Chairman of the Parish Council, and I are attending an initial briefing session about this on Monday 7 January.

Click here for more information on Lambourn’s NDP.

The Parish Council

I attended the Parish Council meeting on 2 December (you can read Lambourn.org’s summary of the event here) and I was able to provide some clarification on various points.

Eastbury

The so-called Eastbury Pole (which was put up for some form of remote metering on the eastern side of the village but never used) is due to be removed in January by WBC, even though it is not their property.

The traffic calming measures in the village are scheduled for February Half Term. Once we see how effective they are Moz Bulbeck-Reynolds and I will arrange to meet up with the Council’s Traffic Engineer to see if we can roll out something similar in Lambourn.

Remembrance Sunday

This went well in both villages with some large, laminated poppies on many houses, organised by Nina Rees-Howe-Davies with donations to the British Legion. A great effort in this challenging year.

Lambourn Junction

This continues to perform brilliantly from its new central location and if you can let them have food or even a donation, I know it would be hugely appreciated.

Covid

I do have to touch on the Covid situation. As with everyone, I found that the return to lockdown was painful. West Berkshire has the lowest infection rate in the whole of Berkshire (53 in 100,000 on 4 December) and it continues to move in the right direction. Lambourn, in turn, has one of the lowest rates in the district – another reason why we are so fortunate to be living in such a wonderful rural area. I am hopeful that West Berkshire will move to Tier one in two weeks’ time.

And there’s more…

Being a ward member is full of variety. Here are just four examples of some of the other things which November has brought me…

  • Arranging for a dumped car to be removed.
  • Getting the Council’s contractors to get Eastbury Shute cleaned after flints washed off the fields in heavy rain.
  • Again, in Eastbury Shute, getting fly-tipping removed promptly – the culprits were spotted, and the registration number taken. I have contacted the Superintendent in Newbury asking her to prosecute. As ever, James Potter was on the case as well.
  • Making a submission to reduce the speed limit in Ramsbury Road by the Industrial Area.

Get in touch

Do let me know if there is, as your Ward Councillor, anything I can do to help you. You can reach me on Howard.woollaston1@westberks.gov.uk or 07836 718100. Although these will lessen a bit over the next month, my WBC responsibilities sometimes involve my spending eight or more hours in Zoom meetings so there may be times when I’m unavailable or can’t get back to you at once.

I am going to skip the December Report as little is likely to happen in the lead up to the festive period (I hope). However, just because I might have a communications holiday, that’s not to say that my municipal activity will cease. After all, a lot of the work Thames Water has recently done (see above) has been largely invisible. I hope my next report will also be able to say that it has been effective.

It only remains for me to wish you all as happy a Christmas as we can have and a healthy, prosperous and hopefully virus free New Year.

October/November 2020

Lambourn Junction

I am delighted that Lambourn Junction has a new home in Baydon House in the High Street. I went to visit Julie Blogg and her team shortly after it opened. Thanks again to Sovereign Housing for allowing its use – a perfect location and likely to be even more in need over the next few weeks.

Lambourn Parish Council

I attended the October Parish Council meeting but unfortunately not November’s as it clashed with the Western Area Planning Committee (see above). You can see Penny Post’s report of the meeting by clicking here.

Sewage and flooding

I am aware that this recurring matter was discussed at the above-mentioned Parish Council meeting. I have had further discussions with the Environment Agency and Thames Water about potential flooding and we continue to make progress – fingers firmly crossed.

Lambourn’s NDP

The Lambourn Neighbourhood Development Plan continues to make steady progress with the draft pre-consultation version with West Berkshire’s Planning Team so that they can understand areas of concern and our potential direction of travel. Again, this was discussed at the Parish Council meeting (see link above).

Flu jabs

I’m not great with needles and injections but I rose above this last week and went to have my flu jab. I have to say that the organisation at the Sports Club in Lambourn was unbeatable: as for the jab itself, I didn’t feel a thing. Well done to all those involved.

Most of the over-65s have now had their jabs but, if you haven’t, get in touch with Lambourn Surgery to make an appointment (you may get a prompt from them in any case). If you are under 65 and in eligible group, the Surgery will contact you. If you are registered with a different surgery then other arrangements might apply. See here for the NNS page on flu jabs generally.

And finally…

Finally, the lockdown. None of us want it and to a degree it is a little unfair on us here in Lambourn as we are currently one of the least affected areas in the country. West Berkshire is relatively low and Lambourn and Hungerford have the lowest infection rate in the district. However, I think it is important that we all follow the rules. It should only be for four weeks after which we can hopefully get something close to a normal-ish Christmas if we all pull together to beat this thing…

Get in touch

If there’s anything you want me to look into, get in touch on 07836 718100 or Howard.woollaston1@westberks.gov.uk – lockdown or not, I’ll do my best to help.

September/October 2020

John O’Gaunt School

I recently had a meeting with Richard Hawthorne, the Head of John O’Gaunt School in Hungerford, and some of the Trustees of Excalibur Trust (which runs the academy of which JOG is a part) to discuss home-to-school transport issues from Lambourn.

(Richard only took over his new role in June. As you might imagine, he has had his time fully occupied with keeping up with an implementing the ever-changing guidance and regulations. He’s been keeping a diary of his interesting experiences over the last few months which you can see here.)

Sewage and flooding issues

I chair the Lambourn Valley Flood Forum, which comprises representatives of all of the villages in the valley, Thames Water, the Environment Agency and West Berkshire District Council. Few will need reminding that flooding – mainly into the sewer pipes – is a problem in the area and one I’m working hard to resolve. The is is complex and multi-faceted and there is not a quick fix (however, I remain confident that there is a fix). I’m glad to report that for the first time since I took on the role, I came away feeling that there was a real determination to resolve our issues. • See all the previous monthly sections below for more on this.

Lambourn’s NDP

I am a member of the Lambourn Neighbourhood Development Plan Steering Group, excellently chaired by Sue Cocker. We had a productive meeting with the consultancy firms and the document should be out for consultation to the wider community shortly. Your input will be highly valued: indeed is vital, as an NDP can only succeed if it is a genuine community enterprise. • See the July/August section below for more on NDPs in general and Lambourn’s in particular.

I had a useful update meeting with Will Riggall of Jockey Club Estates looking at the various planning issues in Upper Lambourn and how they impact the racing community. This will also feed into the NDP discussions (see above).

Broadband in Upper Lambourn

Superfast broadband in Upper Lambourn continues to be a bugbear. A friend of mine, Jarvis Woolger, has been in touch with a few of you to explore whether there might be a 4G solution at least in the short term. Like the problem of the sewage (though for very different reasons) this is not simple to fix. • See the August/September section below for more on this.

Lambourn Junction

This is a truly marvellous initiative which is still very much needed. Finding a suitable and long-term location has been a problem in recent months and I have been helping Julie Blogg arrange matters with Sovereign Housing to locate Lambourn Junction in Baydon House on the High Street. This has now all been signed and Lambourn Junction has moved. Many thanks to Sovereign Housing for the help and support on this one.

Eastbury

In Eastbury I have followed up James Potter’s excellent idea of new signs at the top and bottom of Straight Lane and Eastbury Shute to try and deter lorries and vans going down this small rural roads. I have also asked for the road lines to be repainted at the bottom of Straight Lane after a recent near accident and have finally got confirmation that the unused metal street pole at the eastern end of the village will be removed. Finally four rumble strips – two in the village itself and one on each of the approaches on the valley road – will be being installed. This has been held up a bit but officers at West Berkshire Council have assured me recently that these will be installed by the end of March, and hopefully sooner.

And finally

On top of that, there are the continuing issues, throughout the parish, of speeding, parking and potentially unsafe trees.

Meanwhile, in the Council in September…

As mentioned at the had of the post, I chair the Local Outbreak Engagement Board which proposes action in the event of a localised Covid-19 outbreak. Until recently it met monthly in public but, in view of the increasing number of cases, now meets weekly, alternating between public and private sessions. The public ones can be watched on Youtube. As Executive Policy Holder for Public Health & Community Wellbeing , Leisure and Culture, you will not be surprised to hear that the workload is currently high. Even in these times of rising cases, West Berkshire remains one of the safer places to live which hopefully will continue.

See also this leaflet on West Berkshire Council’s Local Outbreak Control Plan.

Covid-19 casts its shadow over everything but as a council we need to keep a large number of other wheels turning and this includes getting your feedback on some decisions that we need to make. There are several active consultations at present, some of which close quite soon. More details can be found here.

Our libraries are now open again (though with different arrangements in place, as you would imagine). More information can be found here.

I need to finish where I started. With life now moving indoors and Covid cases on the rise, it’s more important than ever that we all do what we can to minimise the spread and follow the government guidelines.

As ever, please get in touch if I can help at all – 07836 718100 or Howard.woollaston1@westberks.gov.uk.

Get in touch

If there’s anything you want me to look into, let me know on 07836 718100 or Howard.woollaston1@westberks.gov.uk – it’s what I’m here for…

August/September 2020

Broadband in Upper Lambourn

Several residents of Upper Lambourn will not need telling that they have an appallingly slow broadband service. As mentioned before, I have been trying to help resolve this long-standing and complicated issue (many different agencies and companies have been or involved). I was also very recently made aware of a consultation from Superfast Berkshire on this matter which ends on 26 September. You can see it here. It’s not very easy to follow but I shall contact SFB next week and try to get a plain-language explanation of what action people need to take which I shall pass on to the relevant residents.

Planning issues

There have been a large number of planning applications, particularly in Upper Lambourn, and I had a very productive meeting with Will Riggall of Jockey Club Estates so that I have a better understanding of the issues from a racehorse training perspective. The big future application is Lynch Lane. The site is allocated for 60 residential units in the local plan and, as it is greenfield, WBC expects 40% of these to be affordable: much needed in Lambourn. I have had a meeting with the developer who is seeking to increase the density and a meeting with the Parish Council is being arranged. Once the application has been put in everyone will have a chance to view and comment.

Sewage (again)

One of the problems that will come up will, of course, be any further impact on our sewerage system (indeed, this is likely to re-appear even if no new homes are built). I recently had a useful meeting with representatives of Thames Water and West Berkshire Council in Upper Lambourn with Jack Brown and Rachel Carden to try again to find a solution – we certainly do not want a repetition of winter 2019-20. The key problem, as ever, is high groundwater levels infiltrating the sewers through cracks in the pipes. Thames Water has invested in some high-tech kit to try and spot these but it can only be used when the ground-water levels are high enough to spot the water coming in but not so high that the pipes start to fill. They have to hit the sweet spot (although on reflection I am not sure that is the happiest phrase to use when talking about sewage). I am chairing the Lambourn Valley Flood Forum in mid-September so will know more after that.

Lambourn’s NDP

I am also actively involved with the Neighbourhood Development Plan which will soon come out for consultation. The team, led by Sue Cocker, has put an enormous amount of energy into its development for which they must be congratulated and thanked.

Other matters

The work of a district councillor also includes helping people or organisations resolve problems. These can be many and various and, in a single-member ward like Lambourn I get to see them all. Some of the private matters I have recently got involved with include trying to resolve a parking issue, hopefully securing a solution to the new location for Lambourn Junction, working on behalf of a resident to sort out a community infrastructure levy dispute and helping to address the recurring concerns about speeding in the area.

If there’s anything you feel I can help you with, please get in touch with me on 07836 718100 or Howard.woollaston1@westberks.gov.uk. If I can’t help (and some matters may be beyond my or WBC’s ability to influence) I’ll do my best to direct you to someone who can.

July/August 2020

Broadband in Upper Lambourn

To repeat the points I made last month, many of you will be aware that this is in places absurdly slow and has obviously been a particular problem during lockdown. Although West Berkshire is one of the best served areas for superfast broadband in the UK, this is of no comfort people whose speeds are still virtually at 1990s dial-up levels. Rest assured that I’m continuing to do my best to get this improved.

Lambourn Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) working party

I am delighted to be a member of this. As many of you will be aware, NDPs provide a way by which parishes can directly influence planning decisions, effectively by agreeing certain matters in advance with the planning authority. Each needs to pass through several stages as prescribed by law. These include public consultations, an external examination and, finally, a public referendum. If it passes all these tests, the NDP then becomes as much part of the districts’s local plan as if the planning authority had written it itself. The process can take several years (Lambourn’s began in October 2018). As in the past, the NDP group will periodically be inviting the views or residents – you’re urged to respond to these as your input will be influential. There’s more information about NDPs here.

Planning issues

I have been involved in various planning applications including Walkers at Membury, Trabbs Farm which was given consent and Fognam Farm. I have met with the developers of the proposed residential scheme on the land adjacent to Lynch Lane in Lambourn. This is an allocated site, but their proposals are for over 100 houses and I will be having a further meeting with them and the Parish Council to try to reduce their aspirations. I think it is well known that I support the need for more affordable housing in Lambourn, but this seems to me to be more than a step too far.

Speed limits

I have have been lobbying for reduce speed limits on the approach to Membury Industrial Estate and continuing discussions with the Highways Department as to how to reduce speeding on the five main approaches to Lambourn.

Thames Water

The discussions with Thames Water continue about how to avoid a repetition of the flooding and sewage events that we saw this winter in the future. We have to find a solution! This article provides a background to to the problem

Lambourn Junction

I have offered my support to Julie Blogg who has kindly agreed to take over the running of Lambourn Junction.

The Leisure Centre

I visited the Lambourn Centre in July and am delighted that this and the other such centres in the area are starting to re-open.

Interviews

I’m aware that those of you who don’t know me may (perhaps) be interested in finding out more about who your local ward member is. As well as the interview with Penny Post which I mentioned last month, I was also delighted to have been interviewed by Suzi Cairns for 4 LEGS Radio on 24 July.

Get in touch

Please contact me if I can help on 07836 718100 or Howard.woollaston1@westberks.gov.uk.

June/July 2020

Sewage

First, I must shine a light on the (waterlogged) elephant in the room. As Chairman of the Lambourn Valley Flood Forum, on 22 June we recently had a further (virtual) meeting attended by Thames Water, the Environment Agency and representatives from West Berkshire Council, the parish councils in the upper Lambourn Valley and other interested parties. This article provides a background to to the problem as well as a report on the discussion at this event of the local sewage issues.

There is no doubt that Thames Water has done a great job at the quick fix of tankers, at significant cost to them, but we have stressed yet again the need for a permanent solution. The sheer scale of the problem is extraordinary but I will continue along with our MP Laura Farris to press for a way to resolve this.

Eastbury and Lambourn traffic-calming measures

I’m aware that this has been an issue in the village for some time. Moz Bulbeck-Reynolds, one of the Parish Councillors, and I met with WBC Highways in Eastbury to agree traffic-calming measures. This will involve a rubberised surface in four areas of the village which will look like cobblestones and not be visually too intrusive and should help slow traffic. which should be put in place over the October half term. If they prove successful we will look to see if it can be rolled out on the five access roads to Lambourn. We are also looking at improving the entrance gates to Lambourn which will hopefully have a further effect on curtailing speeding, as they appear to have done elsewhere. Finally, I have raised again the proposed 20mph speed limit in Eastbury.

Volunteering in Lambourn

Lambourn Junction has been a revelation to me and I would like to see if we can build on the preparedness of people to volunteer and help to improve the appearance and feel of Lambourn as a community. I am going to try to get a working party Zoom meeting arranged to discuss possible ideas whilst people remain so focussed and enthused. Helen and Christian Noll have already kindly agreed to be involved. If you have any suggestions or would like to participate in these discussions, please let me know (see below). More on this to follow.

Planning issues

There have been a number of local planning applications which I am keeping a close eye on to protect this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty whilst recognising that there is a need for more housing, particularly that which is affordable.

Broadband

I am also trying to resolve the issue of superfast broadband (or lack of) in Upper Lambourn. This is one of a handful of problems in West Berkshire. As a district, we are one of the best connected anywhere in the UK apart from the major cities but I appreciate that that is of zero consolation to those who continue to have connectivity problems, particularly in these times when a fast and reliable internet service is professionally and socially vital. I’m aware that this is a long-running issue which long pre-dates my election as your Ward Member in May 2019 but rest assured that I’m doing what I can to ensure that this is addressed. If anyone in the ward feels that they have a broadband issue that I might not be aware of, please get in touch (see below).

Who am I?

I’ve been your Ward Member since May 2019 but, particularly due to the circumstances of the last few months, I have not had the opportunity to meet as many of you I would have liked at the various public events in the area that normally take place. For those of you who don’t know me, or who would like to know what my choice of music, reading material and luxury object would be were I to be invited on Desert Island Discs (which hasn’t so far happened), here’s an interview I recently did with Penny Post.

Whether you agree with my choices or not, I’m here to represent you. If you have anything you’d like to raise with me, on the above matters or anything else, please get in touch with me at Howard.woollaston1@westberks.gov.uk  or 07836 718 100.

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