Town & Manor of Hungerford News: November/December 2020

Hungerford Town & Manor

The main things to report this month relate to Covid, to Christmas and to the environment. Let’s get Covid out of the way first (if only we could…)

The main impact that the changeover from Lockdown 2 to Tier 2 has had for the Town and Manor has been the re-opening of the indoor market in the Town Hall on Wednesdays. See the section lower down for more on this.

Now for Christmas. The Town and Manor is proud to continue its support of the Hungerford Town Council with its amazing show of Christmas tree lights. Sadly, due to Covid we couldn’t host the annual switching on ceremony on the Town Hall steps this year (undeterred, the Town Council commissioned this virtual switch-on video from Stuart March and Penny Post which you can see here).

On a more positive note, we are delighted to welcome the Revd. Mike Saunders, and other distinguished guests on the 13 December, 6pm for the annual Mayor’s Carol service. It’s great to hear that traditions have been adapted to overcome the issues posed by 2020 – the show must go on!

And thirdly, the environment. The Town and Manor has been working with a number of volunteers to plant about 800 trees and shrubs on Freeman’s March. See the section below for more information.

Work also continues on our day-to-day and season-to-season activities, which never really stop. Everything from the finances to the fishery and from the committees to the Common require their own particular attention at various times. This we continue to do so as to ensure that the buildings and amenity space for which we’re responsible are there to be enjoyed by all – and at no cost to local residents.

Finally, may I wish all Penny Post subscribers as merry a Christmas as circumstances permit and a happy and hopefully increasingly virus-free new year. 

Putting down roots

As part of the country’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund, the government is committed to planting 30,000 hectares of trees a year by 2025. Naturally, we were keen to do our bit – it all adds up…

The Town and Manor has been working with volunteers from HEAT and St. Lawrence’s to co-ordinate the planting of about 800 trees and shrubs on Freeman’s Marsh. The whips have been kindly provided by The Woodland Trust.

The planting session took place on 5 December and you can see a video of the event here

This is one of many projects the Town and Manor is involved with to improve local habitat and contribute towards nature-based solutions to climate change. We are working closely with government bodies to ensure we have a cleaner, greener more resilient countryside for future generations.

The Wednesday market continues – outside…

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.

…and now in

The Town and Manor is delighted to welcome back the indoor market. With the easing of Lockdown 2, this enabled non-essential items shops and markets to start trading again.

We have followed government guidelines regarding regulations relating to Covid. This includes removing the benches to ensure social distancing recommendations are adhered to. The T&M kindly ask all those who come into the Corn Exchange to sanitise their hands, wear a mask, keep 2 metres apart and scan the official NHS QR code upon entering the building.

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

The Corn Exchange is available for hire throughout the year – government Covid regulations permitting – and we welcome members of the community and local groups and organisations to use the building for their events, parties, weddings and celebrations. For a small fee, we also hire out the veranda which is an ideal spot for a festive stall or as a pitch for a charity fundraiser.

Please call 01488 686555 or email for more information

Christmas trees

As you will all have doubtless noticed, the town’s large tree – which the Town and Manor finances every year – is in its traditional place outside the Corn Exchange. The Town and Manor also financially supports Hungerford Town Council to ensure that Hungerford’s famous Christmas display takes place every year.

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 or call 01488 686555.


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