Hungerford Town Council Update July/August 2020

Note: due to Coronavirus, there have been several changes to the way in which Hungerford Town Council’s (HTC’s) business is being conducted. These are variously referred to in the sections below.

Full Council Meetings take place generally at 7.00pm on the first working Monday of every month except August (when there is no meeting). The agenda for the next one (Monday 7 September 2020) will be provided in this section of the HTC website in due course. For the foreseeable future, these meetings will be conducted online. Please see the Virtual Council Meetings section below for more on this, including how you can continue to participate in or contribute to these meetings.

HTC = Hungerford Town Council; WBC = West Berkshire Council; WAPC = WBC’s Western Area Planning Committee.

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

Police report

No report was provided this month as there was no HTC meeting.

General information

You can report online at https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk, but if it is urgent please continue to call on 101 (non-emergency) and 999 in an emergency.

• People are encouraged to sign up for Thames Valley Alerts. As well as local crime information, you can receive details of the latest scams.
• Thames Valley Police now has a Facebook page.
• The local policing team also wants to draw attention to the ‘what 3 words’ app which is used to help with the prevention of rural crime by locating people. The app provides a three-word code for each grid which is mapped over the world. By ringing 999 and quoting it the police can locate you.
• You can report incidents online but if it is urgent please continue to call on 101 (non-emergency) and 999 in an emergency.
• The team’s email address is hungerfordanddownlandsnhpt@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk. This is not monitored 24/7 and should not be used to report a crime.
• The Herbert Protocol. The local police team is keen to promote the Herbert Protocol initiative which helps us all to try to keep vulnerable members of our community safe.
• Please report incidents via 101 or 999. “We sometimes find that news travels fast round a community,” a TVP representative said at a recent meeting,  “but if no one tells us, we don’t know about it.”

Members’ Bids

The local District Councillors, or Ward Members (currently Dennis Benneyworth, James Cole and Claire Rowles for Hungerford and Kintbury) can each put in up to two bids each year to WBC for projects in their area. These are for up to £5,000 each and must be match funded.

All three of the recent bids were successful. James Cole’s was for £2,240 towards the renovations of the Bridge Street War Memorial Gardens and Dennis Benneyworth’s was for £1,710 towards the play apparatus at Hungerford Nursery School. (Claire Rowles’ was for £5,000 towards playground equipment in Boxford.) The work must be completed within 12 months (by 20th July 2021 in this case).

Hungerford Town Council’s 2020 grant awards

Please click here to see a fill list of the recipients, including the amount each was awarded, the purpose of the grant and contact details.

Hungerford in Bloom

Despite initial worries that our annual Hungerford in Bloom competition would not take place this year due to the Coronavirus epidemic, we are absolutely delighted that it did go ahead and we would like to say thank you to all those who entered by submitting photos of their beautiful gardens.

All qualifying photos were scored by each of the four judges for colour, variety of planting, maintenance and originality and the winning photos were determined by their total score. The Margaret Wilson Memorial Trophy was awarded to the entrant who gained the highest score across all residential categories entered. Winners were awarded a certificate and garden centre vouchers.

The judges certainly had an extremely difficult task due to the high standard of the photos but the eventual winners are as follows:

Residential Categories

Garden Bed.  First: Marion Ford. Second: Mary Caldwell. Third: Jan Huckin.
Container(s): First: Brian Talmage. Second: Jane Buckle. Third: Nicola Wood.
Garden Feature: First: Mary Caldwell. Second: Jenny Alford. Third: Janet Summersby.
Children’s Miniature Garden CompetitionWinner: Meredith Binns.

Commercial Categories

Public House: Winner: John O’Gaunt.
Other Commercial:  First: Hungerford Nursery. Second: Hungerford Arcade.

Margaret Wilson Memorial Trophy  

Brian Talmage (awarded to the residential entrant with highest scores over all categories entered).

WBC’s Environment Strategy

Councillor John Downe asked at the HTC meeting in July what progress had been made with this, the consultation period having ended some time ago. The District Councillors assured him that the matter was progressing through WBC’s processes. The revised strategy has now been published and you can see it here.

Data about local Covid-19 infection rates

Councillor John Downe asked at the HTC meeting in July whether WBC’s figures on this could be made more specific in order for better information about the risk could be more widely available. The District Councillors agreed to ensure that this was made clear and these figures are now available on WBC’s website.

Hungerford 2036 (neighbourhood development plan)

Work continues on assessing the sites identified for possible development in WBC’s HELAA report. Once completed, a public consultation will be organised. This was provisionally planned for September. The H2036 team is still considering how this can be both consistent with whatever social-distancing regulations are likely to be in the place and the requirement that this be as public and inclusive as possible. The final NDP will need to be assessed by an external examiner and if they feel that any part of the process was defective the whole plan could be refused. It may therefore be necessary for any consultation to be delayed.

For more information, see the Hungerford 2036 post here.

HTC’s committees

Environment and Planning. The most recent meeting took place on 13 July 2020 and you can read the minutes here. The meeting considered 10 planning applications. Nine received no objection (sometimes with conditions). The tenth was the house at Riverbend in Eddington which has since been decided by the WAPC.

Finance and General Purposes. The most recent meeting took place on 14 July 2020 and you can read the draft minutes here. Matters discussed included grant awards, the VAT situation regarding the Triangle Field and possible changes to the HRC website.

Recreation, Amenities and War Memorials. The most recent meeting took place on 21 July 2020 and you can read the draft minutes here. Matters discussed included proposed work at the Croft Field Activity Centre, an update on the tree programme and the possibility of installing additional CCTV cameras.

Highways and Transport. The most recent meeting took place on 27 July 2020 and you can read the draft minutes here. Matters discussed included the possibility of a suggesting to WBC that a 20mph speed limit be introduced, reported issues with some of the ramps in the High Street and the possible re-locating of the bus stop by the Town Hall. Pigeons, Smarten Up Hungerford and the Christmas lights were also on the agenda and each has its own section below.

For further details on HTC’s committees, including membership, agendas and minutes, please click here (and go to the ‘Town Council’ tab).

Hungerford’s pigeons

Members of HTC’s working group have investigated the deterrent measures in place on the High Street. Number 15, the Royal Mail sorting office and the railway bridge are three places where the current arrangements don’t seem to be suitable. HTC is still waiting to hear when GWR are able to replace the netting under the railway bridge over the High Street as this is one of the prime nesting places.

Smarten Up Hungerford

A report of the group’s recent activities was provided to the Highways and Transport committee. This, as well as background and contact information for SUH, can be found in the separate post here.

Christmas lights

It was agreed at July’s Highways and Transport committee that the lights would be installed as usual. However, social-distancing regulations will prevent the normal public switch-on event with entertainment so something much more low-key and possibly largely virtual will need to be arranged.

Hungerford’s playgrounds

These have now re-opened, in line with government guidelines, and seem to be being well used. HTC paidtribute to Roger Ballard (one of the recipients of the 2020 Freedom of the Town awards) who had worked so hard during lockdown in maintaining, cleaning and in places re-painting the equipment.

Virtual council meetings

HTC has been as active as possible in supporting the community through these challenging times. Many tasks and activities cannot currently take place but HTC’s councillors and officers are still active online. The most important recent development has been the resumption of HTC’s full council and committee meetings.

Following government legislation and guidance from professional bodies, council meetings now take place virtually. The link for each meeting is on the agenda which is published on the HTC website a few days before each meeting. For anyone unable or unwilling to attend meetings in this way, questions can be sent by email to townclerk@hungerford-tc.gov.uk or by post to The Town Clerk, Hungerford Town Council, The Library, Church Street, Hungerford RG17 0JG. These need to arrive by 2pm on the day of the meeting. You can also phone 01488 686 195 and leave your question on HTC’s answerphone (this is not always checked every day so please leave your message three days before the meeting).

The HTC office at The Hub is currently closed but emails and phone messages are being monitored.  Call 01488 686 195 to leave a message or (preferably) email admin@hungerford-tc.gov.uk.

Contacting WBC in an emergency

You can also contact West Berkshire Council out of office hours for emergencies. These are considered to include:

  • Major incidents such as major accidents or significant flooding.
  • Fallen trees and other debris blocking or restricting roads or causing potential danger to road users.
  • Traffic lights not working (West Berkshire Council only manages fixed traffic lights, not temporary ones).
  • Emergency repairs to council-owned temporary accommodation (tenants of properties should contact their housing association, landlord or agent).

 

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 any meeting nor of 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 HTC 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 matter. Links have been provided to other posts, on the Penny Post site or elsewhere, to give 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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Covering: Hungerford, Marlborough, Wantage,   Lambourn, Newbury, Thatcham & Theale