Town & Manor of Hungerford News: October/November 2020

Hungerford Town & Manor

With the changeover of Constables and CEOs (see last month’s report) and the imminent lockdown, the work of the Town and Manor may seem less visible than normal. Work does, of course, continue, often behind the scenes. The cycle of nature is of course unrelenting, virus nor no virus. As many of our activities are concerned with the management of the land and the waterways in the town, this has gone on as usual. So too have the other tasks necessary to the running of this unique charity to ensure that it continues to provide not only valuable amenity space but also equally valuable funding for organisations and charities in Hungerford. See the section at the foot of the post for more on the Town and Manor’s work and responsibilities.

The Wednesday markets have also continued and will carry on throughout November, though with some changes introduced from this week in line with new government regulations. We’d like once again to thank all the traders who have kept this going and are delighted that this regular event remains as popular as ever.

Two other changes to note, both of them seasonal ones – the cows have gone and the Christmas tree has arrived. Finally, we have recently welcomed a new member of staff. More on all of these points can be found below. 

Farewell to the cows (for now)

The last of the cattle, which belong to several different farmers, were taken off Hungerford Common on Sunday 1 November. 

It has been commented that the cattle looked very well fed and healthy – we always do our best to look after them and are glad they seem to have benefitted from their seasonal stay with us. We look forward to welcoming our grazing farmers back next spring.

The Wednesday market continues (outdoors)

We would like to thank all the customers who have supported the market during lockdown and since its gradual relaxation and hope that you will continue to do now regulations have been re-imposed. All research suggests that transmission of viruses is a lot less likely to happen outdoors rather than in, so you should be able to continue to shop here with confidence. A huge thank you also to the stall holders who have kept it going.

(The photograph below shows former Constable Nick Lumley on marshalling duty during the spring lockdown. If further similar measures need to be re-introduced in the light of experience or government advice then they will be.)

Sadly, the indoor markets in the Corn Exchange will be closed until further notice. Outdoors, readers selling non-essential goods will not be allowed to attend. That still leaves plenty of choice, however, including fruit, vegetables, bread, cakes, cheese, eggs, cooking oil, meat and (before 11.30am) fish.

The market takes place every Wednesday from 8am until about 2pm. Please see below for important information about parking arrangements from midnight on Tuesday.

Parking on in the High Street

Please observe the ‘No Parking after midnight’ signs put up on Tuesday afternoons in some bays on the Town Hall side of the High Street.

Some traders set up very early in the morning but can’t do this if vehicles are parked there. 

Events at the Town Hall complex

Before the latest lockdown announcement, we were managing to get some indoor events back on in The Town Hall. That has obviously now been paused for the moment. 

When these are again allowed to take place, your first point of contact will be Tara Adamson. Tara has recently joined the team at the Town and Manor. You may contact her via email at events@townandmanor.co.uk.

Christmas trees

With Christmas around the corner, we have seen the first of the Christmas trees erected this week. The very large tree outside the Corn Exchange is already in place – the Town and Manor finances this tree every year. As well as paying for the large tree, the Town and Manor supports Hungerford Town Council financially to ensure that we have one of the best displays of Christmas lights in the south (some say in the whole country).

The responsibilities of the Town and Manor

The Town and Manor of Hungerford is a unique institution, the only such body in England to have survived (in other places, the functions and assets of these organisations have been assumed by local councils). Some reflections on its past, and its present, role can be found here.

Many aspects of the Town and Manor, including its ownership of the Town Hall, make it look like another tier of local government (which it is not) and as a result many people are unsure of what aspects of local life it is responsible for. These are some of the main things that the Town and Manor does, all at no cost to the local residents:

• Hungerford Common (including maintenance, the cows,  the paths, the trees and event licences).
• Freeman’s Marsh (including maintenance, the cows, the paths and the trees).
• The trees in the High Street from the Canal Bridge to junction of Atherton Road (maintenance).
• The Croft (including grass cutting, trees, posts and event licences).
• The Town Hall (including bookings and maintenance).
• River Kennet and River Dun (including weed cutting, debris clearance and bank maintenance).
• Hocktide (all aspects of the festival).

For any problems, issues or enquiries relating to any of these matters, please email admin@townandmanor.co.uk or call 01488 686555.

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