Town & Manor of Hungerford News: January/February 2021

Hungerford Town & Manor

Few new years have been rung in with as much hope as was 2021. There was obviously no magical transformation in our circumstances but there do seem to be grounds for optimism.

All the more reason to continue to be prudent: which is why we continue to do our best to ensure that the outdoor Wednesday market remains safe and well organised. 

Still outdoors, there have been an increasingly number of reports of rubbish of all kinds on the Common – clearing this up is a chore we could do without and diverts resources from the charitable donations the Town and Manor makes and the ongoing work on managing its land and property.

We’d also like to congratulate Penny Post on reaching the milestone of publishing its 50th (and consecutive) monthly Penny Post Hungerford. We hope that these equally regular communiqués from the Town and Manor have helped explain what this unique organisation does for the benefit of this wonderful town.

More information on these topics can be found below.

The Wednesday market

The Town and Manor continues to run and support the weekly Wednesday market. We would like to thank the volunteers who give up their time every week to ensure that visitors to the market are reminded of the regulations during lockdown to maintain the safety and well-being of all shoppers.

We are working with Hungerford Town Council, West Berkshire Council and the Public Protection Partnership’s Safety Advisory Group to ensure the market can continue safely, for the benefit of the community and those who come to visit from the villages for their weekly shop.

“We have received many positive comments from visitors to the market and we have been told that for some it is their only time they leave their homes,” said Ellie Dickins, the Town and Manor’s CEO. “Whilst it is tempting to stand and chat, we urge shoppers to return home once they have completed their shopping to reduce the risk of contamination and prevent bottlenecks within the one-way system in place. Please do not use the market as a social meeting point.”

All stall holders now wear face masks when serving customers: shoppers are requested to do the same when at the market unless they have a medical reason for not doing so.

The stall holders and shoppers are grateful to those who live on and off the High Street for their patience in the implementation of increased measures taken to abide by the Government’s guidance on Covid regulations. There is plentiful evidence to suggest 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. 

Sadly, the indoor market is officially closed for the time being. Its eventual re-opening will depend on the prevailing government regulations. 

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

Hungerford's wednesday market continues during the january lockdown - with a few changes (12th january up to date)

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. 

A load of rubbish

We continue to find vast amounts of rubbish on the Common. Whilst we all appreciate the value to our physical and mental health through being outdoors, it is not conducive to our wellbeing to see rubbish, along with poo bags, adorning the hedgerows and grassland.

The Common is a designated SSSI (Site of Specific Scientific Interest). This means that this is an area of land that is considered to best represent our natural heritage in terms of its flora and fauna. Whilst the town is fortunate to have this fantastic asset, it is sad to see that not everyone respects this site and takes their rubbish home. Most dog walkers are responsible and pick up after their pets; however, please then be sure to finish the job and dispose of it in an appropriate bin or take it home and do so there. Hedgerows adorned with hanging green bags are neither attractive nor good for the environment and wildlife.

There are plenty of poo-bins situated around the common which are emptied regularly by WBC. Should you find them full, please notify West Berkshire Council or the Town and Manor on admin@townandmanor.co.uk and we will put in a request to WBC to empty them.

The same goes for disposable coffee cups, drinks cans and bottles, food wrappings, plastic bags and all the other detritus we find on the Common depressingly often – please use the bins provided or take your rubbish home and deal with it there. As with the for poo, if the bins are full, let us or West Berkshire Council know and this will be attended to.

As mentioned above, every second and every penny we need to spend on clearing up after visitors is less time and less money for charitable causes and for the repairs and renovations that the land and property that the Town and Manor maintains regularly requires.  

Congratulations…

The Town and Manor would like to congratulate Penny Post on its 50th consecutive edition of Penny Post Hungerford which celebrates and promotes so many aspects of life in the town.

So much as happened at the Town and Manor since its first publication in January 2017. In that time the Town and Manor has seen three Constables, the appointment of its first ever CEO and a Trustee election. The T&M has donated over £40,000 to local charities, all to benefit the community of Hungerford. The Town Hall (believed to be the only privately-owned one in the country) has had extensive refurbishment, including renovation of the steps, the roof, repairs to the bell and the weather vane and structure, costing over £55,000. Unlike other town halls the upkeep is financed by the Town and Manor charity through hosting meetings and events and also provides a central location for local groups and organisations to meet.

The Town and Manor is constantly working with Natural England, the Environment Agency and other organisations to improve the environment. Through generating income from grants, licences grazing and fishing, the Town and Manor supplies so many benefits with no cost to the rate payer. We have noticed the increase in usage of the common which is wonderful to see. More people have come to Hungerford to appreciate the beautiful countryside which we’re fortunate to live around, enjoy the fresh air, and appreciate the splendour that Hungerford has to offer.

Long may that, and Penny Post, continue.

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 the 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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Covering: Hungerford, Marlborough, Wantage,   Lambourn, Newbury, Thatcham & Theale