Hungerford Area Weekly News sections – 2021 archive

To see more recent Hungerford & Surrounding Area Weekly News columns, please click here.

To see the current Hungerford & Surrounding Area Weekly News column, please click here.

Please note that this section is presented as an archive of past columns and is not updated (except by the addition of the previous post every week). Some web links may no longer be active (usually indicated by a score-through), for instance when draft parish council minutes are replaced by adopted ones or when a consultation has closed.

Thursday 23 December 2021

A look back at 2021

We’ve covered a lot of stories in this area in 2021, several on more than one occasion as things have changed or new facts come to light. We’ve listed and summarised a handful of these below. More information can be found by searching for the respective phrases in this post (and any for coverage of this area for earlier periods, which will be linked to at the foot of the post). 

• Lancaster Park. As with all developments, this has not had a completely smooth run since construction started. In July, problems were reported with the new roundabout on the A338 which led to temporary traffic lights for several months: the problem was only resolved in November and it’s still not certain whether WBC or Bewley Homes will be responsible for footing the eventual bill. In October, reports surfaced that Bewley had suggested to new residents that they might get a frosty reception in the town due to the controversy surrounding the development, a matter which has since been smoothed over. There was also a revised application submitted by Bewley in June 2020 which asked that the 28 social-rent homes specified as part of the development be converted to joint-ownership. After discussions with WBC and a consultants’ report (commissioned by WBC but paid for by Bewley), in May 2021 WBC rejected the application, a decision which Bewley has accepted. Work continues on the development but the diggers and the lorries will be with us for a while yet. Some people have already moved in. We wish them and the others who eventually join them there a happy time in  this excellent town.

• Chestnut Walk. In October, plans were submitted by West Berkshire Council and Sovereign for eight new dwellings on the site of the old care home. This attracted opposition from Hungerford Town Council and ward member James Cole: not because of whether the site needed redevelopment or whether affordable homes were wanted in the town (both of which are widely accepted) but because it was felt that the scheme was unambitious in its ambitions  and objectives for sustainability in the light of the climate emergency. Further discussions involving the various parties continued over the next two months. The most recent major development was that the matter was raised as a motion by Councillor James Cole at the WBC Executive meeting in December. The portfolio holder Hilary Cole said that it would be referred to the Housing Board, which will hopefully lead to the desired result of the specifications of the development being improved.

• Hungerford 2036. Hungerford’s neighbourhood development plan – a time-consuming and technical process run over several years by a group of volunteers since May 2018 to enable the town to have a greater say in planning policies which affect the community – has been progressing well during 2021. You can click here to see summary of what has been achieved.

Pigeons. These avian rats appear to find the varied bridges and roof-scapes of the town endlessly appealing and have so far defeated all attempts to discourage them or reduce their numbers. August saw a cull organised by the Town Council. This didn’t meet with universal approval but was in response to repeated demands from a majority of residents and retailers. At around this time, and as if to prove that action was required, it became clear the a build-up of pigeon droppings in the gutters had caused a major leak in the Corn Exchange: it was fortunate even more serious damage didn’t result. The matter briefly hit the national press in May when it was suggested that the birds be trapped and then released in, of all places, Whitby, where they would be fighting for scraps with the town’s considerable gull population. This solution was not eventually tried, though it’s about the only one that hasn’t been.

• Speeding. This is a problem in many communities but has been particularly highlighted in Hungerford because of speeding on the Common which has resulted in a number of accidents involving the cows which graze there between April and November. The Town and Manor of Hungerford long been campaigning for the speed limit there to be reduced. Thanks to its continued efforts, supported by Hungerford Town Council and the three District Councillors, WBC agreed that a 30mph limit should be imposed there and the signs were put up in early December. The question is now if people will obey them. The Town Council is also aware that there are other areas in the town where this is a problem and measures are being put in place to combat this.

• Penny Post Hungerford. This has been published at the start of each month (the day after the meeting of Hungerford Town Council) in an unbroken succession that dates back to issue #1 in January 2017 (60 issues, and counting). It covers every major aspect of life in the town from the council to voluntary groups, from cows on the Common to concerts at the Croft and from a headmaster’s diary to a wine merchant’s selection. If you want to receive this and currently don’t subscribe to Penny Post, visit the subscribe page (and make sure you tick the “Hungerford” box). If you’re already a Penny Post subscriber and don’t currently get Penny Post Hungerford, email brian@pennypost.org.uk and we’ll arrange for this to happen.

This week’s news

• Green bin (garden and food waste) collection service has been temporarily suspended by West Berkshire Council between 28 December till 8 January, with resumption of the services starting again from Monday 10 January. The council explained the reasoning behind the suspension as needing to “free up more drivers and operatives to ensure your rubbish (black bin) and recycling (green boxes and bag) service continues as scheduled throughout the busy Christmas period and into the New Year.”

• Hungerford Town FC announced its support for #NoHomeKit campaign being run by homelessness charity Shelter, which is asking all football teams playing fixtures on Boxing Day “ditch their home shirt, and instead wear an away or third kit, in a powerful act of support and solidarity for people without a home.” Shelter are aiming to raise £250,000 which will help contribute to “helping find safe and secure homes for people whose lives are on the line.” If you wish to donate, you can do so via Shelter’s JustGiving page.

• Staying with the Crusaders, Keith Pennicott-Bowen (Hungerford Town FC’s first team Coach) was a recent guest on the Football in Berkshire ‘In conversation with…’ podcast. Keith spoke about his coaching experiences with Hungerford, as well as various other clubs throughout Berkshire.

• Congratulations to Inkpen Food & Craft Market who raised £200 for “Inkpen Charity pot” at their Christmas Charity Raffle and Market on 19 December.

• Less fortunate news from Arts for Hungerford as two of their January 2022 events, Film Night: Ammonite (7 January) and Kyla Brox Band (8 January), have been postponed to a later date.

• See here for an update from Hungerford Surgery about staffing issues, waiting times and how they are being addressed. The surgery has announced it is not offering vaccinations due to staff shortages. Its focus instead will be on offering patient care and catching up on the backlog of appointments from lockdown.

• Stuck for gift ideas? Nothing’s better than a book. Fortunately we have some experts in town who can help you find the perfect title for grumpy uncle George, flighty grand-daughter Fiona and everyone in between. Click here for details of what the award-winning Hungerford Bookshop can offer; and here for a range of page-turning suggestions.

• OK, I get it: there are other gifts. How about a really good bottle of something worth drinking? We’ve got that covered as well. Just across from the Bookshop is The Naked Grape which has also been providing us with regular recommendations about the best stuff you can find, in this case from below the corkscrew. Click here to see Simon’s recommendations.

• To help provide outdoor play equipment for the children at the school, Hungerford Primary School invites you to join in with the fun of their Christmas Virtual Balloon Race, which will start on Christmas Day. Balloons cost just £3 and the equipment will help to encourage teamwork, imagination and inclusion for break times.

• Jim Smith from Broadmead Estate Services will be offering Christmas tree chipping on Sunday 9 January in aid of local charities. Bring your tree to the High Street between 10am and 1pm and make a donation to have it chipped for mulching.

• Mike Gilbert is hoping that the date for the next Hungerford Repair Café will be on Saturday 29 January in The Croft Hall. This is Covid-permitting and will be confirmed nearer the time.

• West Berkshire Council is introducing a new online registration scheme for access to Household Waste Recycling Centres. This will be replacing the current paper permits with a digital system. All paper permits including green car permits will expire by 28 February 2022. See here for the FAQ section of the WBC website.

• West Berkshire Museum’s Focus on Hungerford exhibition has opened. The exhibition runs until 4 September 2022. See here for museum opening times. No booking is required.

• Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

• Last chance to cast your token for Inkpen & Kintbury Scouts in Tesco Hungerford in December for funding for vital storage at its scout hut. If you don’t get given a token at the check-out, please ask the cashier for one.

• Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above. Penny Post’s summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work in November and projects for December can be seen here. As this reports, the most recent meeting took place on 6 December.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 November and you can download the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 15 November and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Church Lane survey results; the need for a new parish councillor; a blocked drain; the jubilee; the 2022-23 budget; rights of way; defibrillators; financial matters; speeding; and street lighting. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 November and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 September and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent (extraordinary) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 23 June and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

Thursday 16 December 2021

This week’s news

• Hungerford Chamber of Commerce thanks everyone who helped make the Victorian Extravaganza last Friday such a success. “It was lovely to see so many members of the public dressed in Victorian costume,” said Hungerford Chamber of Commerce Chair Karen Salmon. The Best Dressed Victorian member of the public competition was won by Michele and Adam Lomas from Avebury and Stephanie Wiltshire from Cerney Wick. Best dressed High Street business owner was Sylvi Giuliani of The Borough Arms, the best dressed charity stallholders were The Community Of Hungerford Theatre Company and the best Christmas shop window was The Clockmaker Ltd. Click here for a fuller report.

• PP reader and former Mayor Anthony Buckwell commented earlier this week that the new road signs at the junction of the main east-west route going through the Common and the road going to the Inkpen gate seemed to be incorrect (the advisory triangle indicates that the Hungerford-Kintbury major road ahead is not the major road and that you may have precedence depending on which way you are turning). We drew this to the attention of District Councillor James Cole who confirmed that the priority warning sign here had been incorrectly placed and that WBC’s contractors have been told to get this corrected. Fast work by all concerned so far: but the best guess from WBC’s Traffic and Road Safety team is that the remedial work may not happen before the end of January. Let’s hope there’s not an accident there before then that’s attributable to this. Now that WBC has admitted its mistake, any insurance company would surely ask WBC to settle a claim. You can see the full exchange at the foot of the most recent update on the Town and Manor of Hungerford’s activities. In the meantime please take care at that junction.

• And still in our car and still on the Commonthis article from Newbury Today reports that some drivers are still ignoring the new 30mph speed limit. Vehicles have been reported going as fast as 60mph and members of the public are concerned whether it could be a pedestrian, rather than a cow, next. It was agreed by Hungerford Town Council that a working party will arrange the use of speed indication devices (SIDs) to collect evidence in support of traffic calming measures. This has also been a regular concern for the Town and Manor, which owns the Common. Speeding is also a concern in other parts of the town and the Town Council is aware of these concerns.

• See here for an update from Hungerford Surgery about staffing issues, waiting times and how they are being addressed. The surgery has announced it is not offering vaccinations due to staff shortages. Its focus instead will be on offering patient care and catching up on the backlog of appointments from lockdown.

• Stuck for gift ideas? Nothing’s better than a book. Fortunately we have some experts in town who can help you find the perfect title for grumpy uncle George, flighty grand-daughter Fiona and everyone in between. Click here for details of what the award-winning Hungerford Bookshop can offer; and here for a range of page-turning suggestions.

• OK, I get it: there are other gifts. How about a really good bottle of something worth drinking? We’ve got that covered as well. Just across from the Bookshop is The Naked Grape which has also been providing us with regular recommendations about the best stuff you can find, in this case from below the corkscrew. Click here to see Simon’s recommendations.

• To help provide outdoor play equipment for the children at the school, Hungerford Primary School invites you to join in with the fun of their Christmas Virtual Balloon Race, which will start on Christmas Day. Balloons cost just £3 and the equipment will help to encourage teamwork, imagination and inclusion for break times.

• Jim Smith from Broadmead Estates will be offering Christmas tree chipping on Sunday 9 January in aid of local charities. Bring your tree to the High Street between 10am and 1pm and make a donation to have it chipped for mulching.

• Hungerford Rotary’s Santa returns this year after a 15-year sabbatical. Listen out as Friday 17 December is the last opportunity to see him. See Santa’s seasonal schedule here.

• In case you missed the reintroduction of Santa in his sleigh over the last week, Facebook has many great photos of him. See here for some great photos.

• Mike Gilbert is hoping that the date for the next Hungerford Repair Café will be on Saturday 29 January in The Croft Hall. This is Covid-permitting and will be confirmed nearer the time.

• West Berkshire Council is introducing a new online registration scheme for access to Household Waste Recycling Centres. This will be replacing the current paper permits with a digital system. All paper permits including green car permits will expire by 28 February 2022. See here for the FAQ section of the WBC website.

• The Curve at Hungerford Hub and Library is open on Wednesdays and Fridays between 10am and 4pm. It offers a selection of art, crafts and gifts by local artisans, with 15% of the profits from the shop’s sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library.

• West Berkshire Museum’s Focus on Hungerford exhibition has opened. The exhibition runs until 4 September 2022. See here for museum opening times. No booking is required.•

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

• Inkpen & Kintbury Scouts asks for your vote in Tesco Hungerford in December for funding for vital storage at its scout hut. If you don’t get given a token at the check-out, please ask the cashier for one.

• Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

Chestnut Walk

District Councillor James Cole has posed two questions for the meeting of WBC’s Executive on 16 December. (See previous sections below for previous coverage of this multi-faceted issue.)

The first was: “In light of the recent introduction of our Social Value policy would the Portfolio Holder for Housing please review at the next Housing Board the possibility of installing ground source heating at the Chestnut Walk redevelopment, recognising the Council’s commitments on both Climate Change and Social Value, and thereby taking the opportunity of turning this into a showpiece project that sets a real example to developers?”

The second (supplementary) question was: “Another aspect of the implications of our new “Social Value Policy” was raised as part of Hungerford Town Council’s presentation on the Planning aspects of the Chestnut Walk development last night, when Councillor Downe asked if we would also look at minimising the cost of living for residents of new social or affordable housing by covering such issues as powering charge points for electric cars from house power rather than expensive commercially provided public power where possible? Would you be happy to include that element?”

A recording of the event is available and you can listen to the questions and the answers provided here (the last item, from 1 hour 35 minutes 35 seconds). In summary, the portfolio holder Hilary Cole said that the matters would be referred to the Housing Board, which will hopefully lead to the desired result of the specifications of the development being improved.

Hungerford’s pop up clinic at Hungerford Cricket Club

As has been widely publicised, this has proved successful beyond all expectations – perhaps too successful on Sunday and Monday with people travelling from all across southern England and having to queue for several hours. Matters now seem to have stabilised, partly due to other centres having opened up. Bookings can no longer be made here but all existing ones will be honoured. If you haven’t booked, you can turn up – be prepared for a wait, though this shouldn’t be as lengthy as a few days ago.: Newbury Today reports that queue times are down to only 30 minutes. That can change, of course. Fortunately the weather forecast isn’t too bad.

The opening dates have also been extended. The clinic will be open every day until Wednesday 22 December from 9.30am to 6.30pm with the exception of Saturday 18 (due to a football match at Bulpit Lane). I’m told that even if the match is postponed it’s unlikely that the clinic will open on this day as the staff will be needed elsewhere and there’s also work to be done on setting the clinic up for its re-opening with a slightly different configuration.

As of the end of Wednesday 15 December the team of clinicians had administered 3,408 booster vaccinations. A West Berkshire Council spokesperson said that “the team including all the volunteers, has provided a fantastic service to everyone who has come forward.”

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above. Penny Post’s summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work in November and projects for December can be seen here. As this reports, the most recent meeting took place on 6 December.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 15 November and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Church Lane survey results; the need for a new parish councillor; a blocked drain; the jubilee; the 2022-23 budget; rights of way; defibrillators; financial matters; speeding; and street lighting. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 November and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 23 September and you can download the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 September and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent (extraordinary) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 23 June and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

Thursday 9 December 2021

This week’s news

• Our December Hungerford newsletter includes latest news from Hungerford Town Council, The Town & Manor of Hungerford, Arts for Hungerford, HEAT (Hungerford Environmental Action Team), Hungerford High Street and more.

• Penny Post’s December news from Hungerford’s independent shops and businesses can be found here.

• See here for the latest update from Hungerford Surgery about staffing issues, waiting times and how they are being addressed.

• Following the speeding issues in and around Hungerford over the last few weeks, Hungerford Town Council’s Highways and Transport Committee voted to spend money on purchasing at least one speed indicator device and contributing to the cost of at least one EV charge point in the town.

• And as we’re mentioning highways: the new 30mph signs have been installed on Hungerford Common.

• To help provide outdoor play equipment for the children at the school, Hungerford Primary School invites you to join in with the fun of their Christmas Virtual Balloon Race, which will start on Christmas Day. Balloons cost just £3 and the equipment will help to encourage teamwork, imagination and inclusion for break times.

• Jim Smith from Broadmead Estates will be offering Christmas tree chipping on Sunday 9 January in aid of local charities. Bring your tree to the High Street between 10am and 1pm and make a donation to have it chipped for mulching.

• Hungerford Rotary’s Santa returns this year after a 15 year sabbatical. Listen out for his sleigh as he tours the streets of Hungerford between 13 and 17 December. See Santa’s seasonal schedule here. Santa will also be in the Extravaganza parade on Friday so watch out for him.

• Preparations are full steam ahead for the Victorian Extravaganza this Friday 10 December. Please visit hungerfordextravaganza.com for information about Covid regulations, the road closures and categories for Best Dressed Victorians on the night. All these are organised by Hungerford Chamber of Commerce.

• There are still copies of the 2022 Hungerford calendar available for £10 with a percentage of proceeds going to charity from Hungerford Printing Co’s office down the alley between Eliane’s and the Bookshop: or contact them on 01488 684337 or hungerfordprinting@gmail.com

• Mike Gilbert is hoping that the date for the next Hungerford Repair Café will be on Saturday 29 January in The Croft Hall. This is Covid-permitting and will be confirmed nearer the time.

• West Berkshire Council is introducing a new online registration scheme for access to Household Waste Recycling Centres. This will be replacing the current paper permits with a digital system. All paper permits including green car permits will expire by 28 February 2022. See here for the FAQ section of the WBC website.

• As mentioned last week, Disney star Hayley Mills will be giving a talk in Kintbury on Friday 10 December about her experience growing up in Hollywood. For more information, see below in the events section.

• The Curve at Hungerford Hub and Library is open on Wednesdays and Fridays between 10am and 4pm. It offers a selection of art, crafts and gifts by local artisans, with 15% of the profits from the shop’s sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library.

• West Berkshire Museum’s Focus on Hungerford exhibition has opened. The exhibition runs until 4 September 2022. See here for museum opening times. No booking is required.

• Help is being sought by Kintbury St Mary’s Primary School for local residents and businesses to fund new books for their new school library, to help raise the literacy standards of our community’s next generation. Please see here for details.

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

• Inkpen & Kintbury Scouts asks for your vote in Tesco Hungerford between October and December for funding for vital storage at its scout hut. If you don’t get given a token at the check-out, please ask the cashier for one.

• Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

• Covid boosters will be available from a Health on the Move van at the Coronation Hall in Kintbury on Tuesday 14 and Wednesday 15 December. Unlike the ones in Hungerford (see below) these need to be booked through the NHS website. Those aged 18 to 39 will also be eligible for a booster when the NHS calls them forward.

• The pop-up jab centre at the Hungerford Cricket Club is open from 10am to 6.30pm until Friday 17 December (with the exception of Saturday 11 December) Some walk-in appointments will be available but people are encouraged to book in advance via West Berkshire Council’s website. Note that, for reasons that have nothing to do with WBC, this option will not be made available through the NHS website on which bookings at other centres can be made.

• The planning application at Chestnut Walk in Hungerford has been referred to several times (see below). The matter was to have been raised in a motion at the recent WBC Full Council but the meeting ran out of time. It’s a complicated and important issue which has conflated several separate matters including WBC’s planning procedures, its responsibilities as a landowner, the role of planning committees and the climate emergency. The application is now set to come before the Western Area Planning Committee on 15 December.

Penny Post Hungerford

Our monthly e-newsletter for the town is generally published the day after the first working Monday of the month (because that’s when Hungerford Town Council meets). In December 2021 this fell on Tuesday 7 and you can read it here – our 60th Hungerford newsletter in an unbroken sequence stretching back to January 2017. We like to think each one is a bumper issue, as the town deserves, and this one’s no exception.

As usual, it’s got the latest from the Town Council (including matters arising from its meeting the day before), from the Town and Manor and from the High Street’s retailers. There’s also information from the local rail passengers’ group, the regular diary from John O’Gaunt School’s Head Teacher, news from HEAT, CHAIN and Arts for Hungerford and details of forthcoming events ranging from the Extravaganza to an author talk and from indoor markets to a repair café. There’s the book of the month (actually 11 books), the wine of the month (actually a liqueur) and a short story (set in December 1999). It also has jobs, property, some appeals for help needed by local community groups, local fitness classes, Santa’s seasonal schedule, a recipe for chocolate truffles, local Christmas cards and some wise words from Maya Angelou. Something, we hope, for everyone.

The January 2022 issue will be published on Wednesday 5 January (as in that month the Town Council meeting is taking place on the Tuesday, not the usual Monday). If there’s anything you’d like to see included in this please email penny@pennypost.org.uk by 9am on Monday 3 January.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above. Penny Post’s summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work in October and projects for November can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 15 November and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Church Lane survey results; the need for a new parish councillor; a blocked drain; the jubilee; the 2022-23 budget; rights of way; defibrillators; financial matters; speeding; and street lighting. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 November and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: councillor vacancies; a report by District Councillor James Cole; planning applications; the co-option of a new councillor; financial matters; locks on the toilets; the greening campaign; and the playground benches. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 23 September and you can download the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 September and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent (planning) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 16 August and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

Thursday 2 December 2021

This week’s news

• The next meeting of Hungerford Town Council will take place in the Corn exchange complex at 7pm on Monday 6 December and you can see the agenda here. Members of the public are, as always, welcome to attend. There will report on all of HTC’s activities, including this meeting, in the December issue of the Penny Post Hungerford e-newsletter which will be published the following day, Tuesday 7 December. If you have anything you’d like to contribute to this issue, please email penny@pennypost.org.uk as soon as possible.

• Hungerford Town Council’s Highways and Transport committee has voted to spend money on purchasing at least one speed indicator device (see previous references to speeding issues in the town in previous weeks) and contributing to the cost of at least one EV charge point in the town.

• And sticking with highways: finally, it’s official – the new 30mph signs will be installed on Hungerford Common on 10 December.

• Preparations are full steam ahead for the Victorian Extravaganza next Friday 10 December. Please visit hungerfordextravaganza.com for information about Covid regulations the road closures and categories for Best Dressed Victorians on the night.  The last lantern-making workshop will be from 4 to 6pm on Friday 3 December at The Croft Field Centre. All these are organised by Hungerford Chamber of Commerce.

• If you missed the festivities of the Christmas Lights Switch-On last Sunday organised by Hungerford Town Council, here are some videos from the night from Kennet Radio of traditional songs, young people choir and Santa on the Town Hall Steps.

• Hungerford Primary School invites you to join in with the fun of their Christmas Virtual Balloon Race, which will start on Christmas Day. Balloons costs just £3 and funds will provide outdoor play equipment at the school so very much needed to encourage teamwork, imagination and inclusion for break times.

• There are still copies of the 2022 Hungerford calendar available for £10 with a percentage of proceeds going to charity from Hungerford Printing Co’s office down the alley between Eliane’s and Hungerford Bookshop or contact them on 01488 684337 or hungerfordprinting@gmail.com

• West Berkshire Council is introducing a new online registration scheme for access to Household Waste Recycling Centres. This will be replacing the current paper permits with a digital system. All paper permits including green car permits will expire by 28 February 2022. See here for the FAQ section of the WBC website.

• Disney star Hayley Mills will be giving a talk in Kintbury on Friday 10 December about her experience growing up in Hollywood. For more information, see below in the events section.

• The Curve at Hungerford Hub and Library is open on Wednesdays and Fridays between 10am and 4pm. It offers a selection of art, crafts and gifts by local artisans, with 15% of the profits from the shop’s sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library.

• An arts and crafts pop up shop is being hosted in The Courtyard offering affordable and unique Christmas gifts for those who enjoy early gift shopping. See below in the events section for more details.

• Penny Post’s November news from Hungerford’s independent shops and businesses can be found here.

• West Berkshire Museum’s Focus on Hungerford exhibition has opened. The exhibition runs until 4 September 2022. See here for museum opening times. No booking is required.

• Hungerford Town FC is hosting a Christmas party after their Oxford City game on Saturday 4 December, promising live music and other entertainment. For more information, view the events section below.

• Help is being sought by Kintbury St Mary’s Primary School for local residents and businesses to fund new books for their new school library, to help raise the literacy standards of our community’s next generation. Please see here for details.

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

• Inkpen & Kintbury Scouts asks for your vote in Tesco Hungerford between October and December for funding for vital storage at its scout hut. If you don’t get given a token at the check-out, please ask the cashier for one.

• Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

• Covid boosters will be available from a Health on the Move van at the Coronation Hall in Kintbury on Tuesday 14 and Wednesday 15 December. Unlike the ones in Hungerford (see below) these need to be booked through the NHS website. Those aged 18 to 39 will also be eligible for a booster when the NHS calls them forward.

Covid boosters come to town

West Berkshire Council has announced that there will a pop-up jab centre at the Hungerford Cricket Club from 10am to 6.30pm between Wednesday 8 and Friday 17 December, with the exception of Saturday 11 December. These are for people over 40 (though this may change in the light of government regulations) who haven’t yet had a booster jab.

Some walk-in appointments will be available but people are encouraged to book in advance. For more information on this service, please see this page on WBC’s website. Note that, for reasons that have nothing to do with WBC, this option will not be made available through the NHS website on which bookings at other centres can be made.

Chestnut Walk

As mentioned previously (see 11 November 2021 section below) this development has been the subject of some opposition, not because of the provision of affordable homes but because the environmental standards were felt by some (including Hungerford Town Council and ward member James Cole) not to be sufficiently ambitious. As a result, Councillor Cole called the application in to be discussed at planning committee. Discussions also took place involving WBC, Sovereign and others to see if aspects of the proposals could be improved.

The matter will be raised at the meeting of the WBC Full Council on 2 December. The full motion reads: “The Council has a clear commitment to delivering the objectives set out in its Environment Strategy. This commitment is reflected in its ambitions to ensure the Chestnut Walk development, being progressed through a joint venture with Sovereign Housing to deliver eight affordable homes within Hungerford, achieves the highest possible environmental standards. The Council commits to achieving the highest possible environmental standards of this development balancing it against the best value of the disposal of its land.”

The motion will not be debated at that meeting (although Councillor Cole may make some supporting remarks) but will go to the Housing Board and thence to the Executive. Further news on this will be reported as soon as we have it. The main point is that this provides an opportunity for WBC to be involved with an exemplar development which not only leads by example but also provides sustainable heating systems for the residents.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above. Penny Post’s summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work in October and projects for November can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 15 November and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Church Lane survey results; the need for a new parish councillor; a blocked drain; the jubilee; the 2022-23 budget; rights of way; defibrillators; financial matters; speeding; and street lighting. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 November and you can read the minutes here. items covered included: councillor vacancies; a report by District Councillor James Cole; planning applications; the co-option of a new councillor; financial matters; locks on the toilets; the greening campaign; and the playground benches. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 23 September and you can download the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 September and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent (planning) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 16 August and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

Thursday 25 November 2021

This week’s news

•To help you prepare for the Victorian Extravaganza on Friday 10 December there will be a prep day this Saturday 27 November. Visit hungerfordextravaganza.com for information on how you can hire a costume from Hungerford Theatre Company or make your own in a free workshop (there will be prizes for best-dressed members of the public on the night). There is also a lantern-making workshop the same day in The Croft Field Centre 10am – 4pm for the magical lantern section of the parade. All organised by Hugerford Chamber of Commerce.

• Hungerford Printing Co were delighted by the photograph entries they received for their lovely 2022 Hungerford calendar. The winning photographers were Andrew Powell, Anna Ball, Emma Woodroof, Gareth Shepherd, Jim Lindsay, Lance Quartermain, Matthew Bates, Peter Hussey, Shelley Cross, Susan Oates, Tim Dawson and Tony Bartlett. The calendar is now available for £10 with a percentage of proceeds going to charity from HPC’s office down the alley between Eliane’s and Hungerford Bookshop or contact them on 01488 684337 or hungerfordprinting@gmail.com

Hungerford Town Council is mindful of rising Covid cases and ask residents attending the Christmas Switch-On this Sunday 28 November to please think about others, particularly those more vulnerable. Consider taking a Lateral Flow Test beforehand, do not attend if you feel unwell, maintain social distancing as much as possible and follow marshalls’ directions when given.

• Congratulations to Hungerford Nursery School for its fifth consecutive “Outstanding’ rating by Ofsted. Daniel Lambert, Her Majesty’s Inspector, told the staff that he had not been to a happier school. He commented, “at this Nursery, laughter, imagination and joy abound and children feel safe, secure and valued.”

This accolade, however, must be set against the continued funding threat that this and all the other maintained nursery schools (MNSs) in the country have been facing since 2018 (see this separate post). The resulting uncertainty makes budgeting and planning a far more time-consuming and fraught process than it need be and means that the school is regularly accepting pupils without being able to guarantee that funding will be available for the whole of their time there. No other part of the education system is obliged to operate under such stress. The government should either make a long-term settlement or close them down: the current situation is intolerable. Perhaps these schools have, in Whitehall’s eyes, committed a secret sin that no one has had the courage to point out to them. Whatever this is, it can’t be anything to do with their Ofsted ratings: MNSs are three times more likely to receive an “outstanding” ranking than other schools in the state system.

• The Newbury Weekly News this week reports on p23 of a planning application for 11 flats at St John’s Hall on Station Road (however, the application, which you can see here, seems to specify only ten flats, two of which will be affordable). The article refers to a previous application – there have been several here – which the then developers didn’t proceed with as the requirement that one of them be affordable would, they claimed, have made it non-viable. It goes on to suggest that raising the number to 11 (or even ten) would “circumvent” this. I suspect the point is rather that, with more private flats to sell, the development becomes viable to an extent that it may not have seemed before.

• The same paper reports on p22 that an extension is planned at the Hungerford Leisure Centre to provide an area for exercise classes. These can’t currently take place during the day except in the quite small annexe to the reception area as the centre shares the gym with John O’Gaunt School. To anyone familiar with the Centre, this would in-fill the courtyard at the rear of the building. I spoke to Rose Metali, the Centre’s manager, about this. “Ever since 2014 when I started working there it’s been something that we’ve wanted to do,” she told me. “We’re really glad that this might finally happen. At the moment it’s just a dead outside space. It would enable us to offer a far wider range of classes during the day which would be of particular benefit to retired people.” If the plans are approved, it’s hoped that the extension would be ready for use by next summer.

• Tina Hill, who organised a toy donation recently for Berkshire Women’s Aid thanks everyone for their amazing generosity. The toys and books were very gratefully received and quickly distributed to BWA’s refuges so their resident families could enjoy them. Thanks also to Peter Stirland’s for taking care of the transport of the donations and to Ricky for delivering them in a van – there were too many bags and boxes to fit into a car.

• The Curve at Hungerford Hub and Library is open on Wednesdays and Fridays between 10am and 4pm. It offers a selection of art, crafts and gifts by local artisans, with 15% of the profits from the shop’s sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library.

• An arts and crafts pop up shop is being hosted in The Courtyard offering affordable and unique Christmas gifts for those who enjoy early gift shopping. See below in the events section for more details.

• Penny Post’s November news from Hungerford’s independent shops and businesses can be found here.

Click here for October to November 2021 update from Hungerford Town Council.

Click here for the Town and Manor of Hungerford update for October to November 2021.

• West Berkshire Museum’s Focus on Hungerford exhibition has opened. The exhibition runs until 4 September 2022. See here for museum opening times. No booking is required.

• Hungerford Town FC is hosting a Christmas party after their Oxford City game on Saturday 4 December, promising live music and other entertainment. For more information, view the events section below.

• There is much anticipation about new Italian restaurant coming to town. Amore plans to open soon and the proprietors already run a popular Italian restaurant in Shipton on Stour so it is looking good for Hungerford..

• If you are involved in local groups and fundraising it is worth hearing a senior spokesperson from Greenham Trust making a short presentation at the start of the Kintbury PC meeting on 2 December, which parishioners are as ever welcome to attend. This will provide information about Greenham Trust’s 25th anniversary in 2022, its events and campaigns and, in particular, how its grant funding can help support local charities and voluntary groups.

• Help is being sought by Kintbury St Mary’s Primary School for local residents and businesses to fund new books for their new school library, to help raise the literacy standards of our community’s next generation. Please see here for details.

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Crofton Beam Engines invites you to take a look behind the scenes to see its volunteers carrying out engineering winter maintenance on their Winter Works Open Day from 10.30am – 2.00pm this Saturday 27 November. Free entry but donations welcome and don’t forget to wrap up warm. To help keep Crofton steaming in 2022 and beyond please support the Crofton Boiler Appeal to raise £30,000 for essential boiler repairs. Once this is completed, no further major work on the boiler is expected to be required for the next ten years.

Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

• Inkpen & Kintbury Scouts asks for your vote in Tesco Hungerford between October and December for funding for vital storage at its scout hut. If you don’t get given a token at the check-out, please ask the cashier for one.

• Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

Dangerous road problem shock horror

• What a strange article on Get Reading or Berkshire Live or whatever it’s called. “Hungerford road named one of the most ‘dangerous’ in the county,” screams the headline, “but people don’t see the problem.” The road referred to is the High Street and the article quotes by name several traders as making earth-shattering remarks such as “it’s a busy road so you have to be careful” and “as long as people obey the speed limits and laws, and people actually use the crossings, it should be fine.” These are perfectly sensible observations but hardly news. This is contrasted with one, un-named, local trader who has called on West Berkshire Council to lower the speed limit but then rather undermines his point by saying that “he’s grateful for the bustling road as it attracts people to his store.” Well, make your mind up. What’s the story here? Should we shun the High Street or not?

The article also has a number of links but none to the Road Safety Foundation’s interactive map on which this story is predicated. I had a quick look for it. It might be this one but I can’t be sure as the author didn’t tell us. If so, it seems useless as it suggests that the rural part of the A338 north and south of the town – which can be quite scary – have an identical risk to the High Street where traffic is typically pretty slow. I’ve probably driven up or down it a dozen times a week for over twenty years and never seen anything that spooks me as much as trying to turn off or onto the B4000 a few miles north. The article also says that the speed limit changes from 60mph (should that be 50?) to 30mph as you approach Hungerford. So what? The same happens outside thousands of other towns.

This I can say about speeding in Hungerford, all of which have previously and regularly been reported in Penny Post. First, Hungerford Town Council (HTC) is aware of complaints and issues in various parts of the town and is taking these seriously (although it has very little power to effect changes itself). Second, the Town and Manor of Hungerford is particularly concerned about speeding on the Common and has, with the help of HTC and the district councillors, managed to have the speed limit there reduced to 30mph. Third, District Councillor James Cole has, as reported last week (see below) produced a detailed paper on the various options for combatting speeding open to HTC (and other parishes in the ward that he and two other councillors represent) which were considered at a recent meeting of HTC’s Highways and Transport Committee. All of these developments pre-dated the article and yet none were referred to in it. Of course, there may be an awful accident there tomorrow but nothing in this piece suggests why this might happen. So, if you use Hungerford High Street (or any other high street), be aware but don’t – as this article seems to suggest you should be – be terrified.

News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above. Penny Post’s summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work in October and projects for November can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 November and you can read the minutes here. items covered included: councillor vacancies; a report by District Councillor James Cole; planning applications; the co-option of a new councillor; financial matters; locks on the toilets; the greening campaign; and the playground benches. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 27 September and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 23 September and you can download the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 September and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent (planning) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 16 August and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

Thursday 9 September 2021

• The September Penny Post Hungerford was published earlier this week, offering the best overview of what’s going on in the town. Click here to read it if you didn’t receive it. As usual, we have the latest from the Town Council, the Town and Manor and the retailers. There’s the regular diary from John O’Gaunt’s Head, the book of the month from the Bookshop and the wine of the month from The Naked Grape. The 2021-22 Arts for Hungerford season, the latest news from HEAT and the Rugby Club and the recent return of the Greenham women are covered as well. We’ve also got a Lord’s final, a sunflower, a re-named pavilion, property for sale, a pangolin, situations vacant, a history month, a heritage market, several events and wise words from Al Stewart. Have a click on the link above and see if there’s anything I’ve missed.

• Local MP Laura Farris will be holding a surgery at the Jubilee Centre in Kintbury on the afternoon of Friday 17 September. Please call 01635 551 070 or email laura.farris.mp@parliament.uk to make an appointment.

• A vaccine bus should be visiting Hungerford soon: full details will be announced once these are confirmed. This will probably be a drop-in service with no need to book appointments.

• Hungerford bookkeeper Jon Shatford asks for support for his Castaway Five-day Survival Challenge in aid of the British Legion.

• This week’s NWN has on p18 a long and useful letter from a Hungerford resident who has gathered together comments about speeding from residents form a number of locations in and around the town. This would seem to be one for the police, perhaps aided by the town’s new CCTV cameras (see the most recent Hungerford Town Council report).

• A further reminder that the Hungerford Health and Wellbeing Event is taking place on Saturday 11 September 2021 at the Rugby Club. The event starts at 11.30am and is a great community group to help talk and listen to local experts. More information can be found on the Hungerford Health and Wellbeing Event’s Facebook page.

• A reminder that you can follow the career of Hungerford-born professional cricketer Lauren Bell on this post. A Lord’s final – what an achievement.

• The Hungerford Heritage Food & Artisan Market is taking place on Sunday 12 September 2021 at The Croft Field. More information can be found on their site.

The Hungerford Antique and Flea market has events planned for the rest 2021, with the next ones taking place on Sunday 12 September 2021 and Sunday 26 September 2021. More information can be found here.

• A reminder that Network Rail has advised about closures of the road bridge at Lower Denford on 12 to 13 September, 19 to 20 September and 3 to 4 October 2021. Further information on the closure can be found on the one.network site.

• The start of work to fix the problems at the roundabout by Lancaster Park which was due to start by 31 August finally started on 6 September and so should be finished by 15 October.

• Former Mayor Martin Crane’s campaign to persuade the Co-op to repair the 18th-century building at 15/15a Hungerford High Street continues. We mentioned this two weeks ago (see below) and it was also covered in last week’s Newbury Weekly News. He wrote to the Co-op HQ again on 8 September asking if he could “receive the courtesy of a response to (his) several e-mails ” on the matter. He adds that the matter has been drawn to the attention of Laura Farris. In this week’s NWN, one local resident has suggested the the Co-op be boycotted until something is done. Who’ll blink first?

This week’s NWN reports on p42 that Channel 4 is calling Hungerford shed owners as part of their television show Find it, Fix it, Flog it. If you’re interested, more information can be found here otherwise, email info@hcaentertainment.com.

• Hungerford’s Craft and Gift Market is taking place on Saturday 25 September from 10am to 4pm at Hungerford Corn Exchange.

Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire (note that the Hungerford centre has now closed).

Click here for details of the Sparking Streams project which will be benefitting locations and rivers in the Hungerford and Shalbourne areas over the coming months.

• The wind and rain did nothing to spoil the fun at Froxfield’s recent Beer Festival. A bumper turnout, great music and beers were enjoyed by all. Congratulations to the organising committee.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 5 August and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the need for a new councillor; the greening campaign; 10 planning applications and seven planning decisions; CIL grants; the pre-school; Covid memorial trees; financial matters; ash trees and the Rec; the handrail at the churchyard; wildflowers; village maintenance matters; dog bins; speeding; and a sinkhole at the Laylands Green/Dunn Crescent junction. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 26 July and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent (August) Froxfield Parish Council News has been published and can be be downloaded here. Items covered include: the Froxfield Festival (4 and 5 September – click here for more details); the need for hedging volunteers (see para below); and the need for a new parish councillor.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 22 July and you can download the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 13 July and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 23 June and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Click here for the September 2021 edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 2 September 2021

• Hungerford Town Council is aware that some residents are unhappy about its recent cull of some of the town’s pigeons (this took place in early August and there are no immediate plans to repeat it). This statement issued on 3 August explains the reasons for HTC’s decision and lists some of the other options that have been tried in the past, and may be in the future. The Council is aware that this is an ongoing problem which requires careful handling and I understand that it will shortly be issuing a statement describing what further measures may be necessary.

• One of the reasons why the pigeon problem needs to be managed is because of the damage that the birds do to property, a fact that many local residents have been pointing out for some time. The Corn Exchange complex has not escaped this and major repair works, involving internal scaffolding, are currently under way as a result of leaks caused by a build-up of pigeon droppings in the gutters. One result of this will reducing the number of people who can safely attend the next meeting of Hungerford Town Council on Monday 6 September, the agenda for which you can see here. If you’re planning to attend this meeting, please therefore contact townclerk@hungerford-tc.gov.uk by noon on that day so that appropriate arrangements can be made. As ever, a report of this event and HTC’s other activities will appear in the September issue of Penny Post Hungerford which will be published the following day. To see the dates and agendas for future Town Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Hungerford bookkeeper Jon Shatford asks for support for his Castaway 5 Day Survival Challenge in aid of the British Legion.

• Jade Bailey of Jade Bailey Interiors on the High Street is hosting a Makers Market gift fair in Hungerford Town Hall this Saturday 4 September. It’s a great opportunity to meet and support local businesses and maybe do a bit of (very) early Christmas shopping.

• As we mentioned last week, one of West Berkshire’s animal wardens was in Hungerford last week where she spent what she described to Penny Post as being a “pleasant, informative and productive day.” Matters on their radar include stray dogs; dog identification (microchips and collars and tags with the owner’s name and address are required by law); dog-fouling issues (in conjugation with WBC’s waste disposal officers); animal noise such as barking; and dog-on-dog fights (as soon as a human is involved it becomes a police matter). If you want to find out more or report a problem, visit the Public Protection Partnership website or call 01635 519 171.

• The animal warden also praised something she saw in Kintbury: hand-made dog-poo-bag dispensers in a couple of locations. This was, she said, not something she’d encountered before. Well done to the clever and resourceful person or persons responsible.

• The Hungerford Health and Wellbeing Event that is taking place on Saturday 11 September 2021 at the Rugby Club. The event starts at 11.30am and is a great community group to help talk and listen to local experts. More information can be found on the Hungerford Health and Wellbeing Event’s Facebook page.

• A reminder that you can follow the career of Hungerford-born professional cricketer Lauren Bell on this post.

• Fancy some practical volunteering? Action for the River Kennet needs help with habitat improvement in Hungerford in September. See details here.

• Network Rail has advised about closures of the road bridge at Lower Denford on 12 to 13 September, 19 to 20 September and 3 to 4 October 2021. Further information on the closure can be found on the one.network site.

• The start of work to fix the problems at the roundabout by Lancaster Park which was due to start by 31 August has been delayed for a week “due to unforeseen problems.” Once it finally begins, the work will run for about six weeks so we’re looking at a mid to late October completion date. I appreciate that being half-way barricaded in their estate isn’t a great way for Lancaster Park residents to start their life in the town but I can assure them that this is nothing personal.

• As mentioned last week, plans have finally been submitted for eight new affordable homes on the site of the old Chestnut Walk care home in Hungerford in a joint venture between Sovereign Housing and West Berkshire Council.

• Former Mayor Martin Crane’s crusade, if one’s allowed to use that word these days, to persuade the Co-op to repair the 18th-century building at 15/15a Hungerford High Street continues. We mentioned this last week (see below) and there’s more on p22 of this week’s Newbury Weekly News.

• The next Penny Post Hungerford will be published on Tuesday 7 September. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk by Sunday 5 September if there’s anything you’d like to see included in this.

Hungerford’s Craft and Gift Market is taking place on Saturday 25 September from 10am to 4pm at Hungerford Corn Exchange.

Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire (note that the Hungerford centre has now closed).

Click here for details of the Sparking Streams project which will be benefitting locations and rivers in the Hungerford and Shalbourne areas over the coming months.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 5 August and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the need for a new councillor; the greening campaign; 10 planning applications and seven planning decisions; CIL grants; the pre-school; Covid memorial trees; financial matters; ash trees and the Rec; the handrail at the churchyard; wildflowers; village maintenance matters; dog bins; speeding; and a sinkhole at the Laylands Green/Dunn Crescent junction. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 26 July and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent (August) Froxfield Parish Council News has been published and can be be downloaded here. Items covered include: the Froxfield Festival (4 and 5 September – click here for more details); the need for hedging volunteers (see para below); and the need for a new parish councillor.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 22 July and you can download the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 13 July and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 23 June and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Click here for the August 2021 edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 26 August 2021

• I made my usual visit to the Wednesday market in Hungerford this week and was noticed that the CEO of the Town and Manor Ellie Dickens, the Leader of West Berkshire Council Lynne Doherty, Hungerford District Councillor James Cole and MP Laura Farris had turned up as well. Not, I hasten to add, to meet me (though I had a chat with all of them) but in order to experience an outdoor a market town in full flow. The sun was shining, the punters were out and I staggered back to the car with my usual bags full of scurvy-beating ingredients. We all agreed how much the continuation of Hungerford’s weekly open-air markets had boosted the spirits (and seemingly done nothing to boost Covid infection rates, despite gloomy social-media comments to the contrary) over the last 18 months. See you there next week.

• The Town Hall in Hungerford has recently had some flooding problems. These were, I understand, caused by blocked gutters as a result of – yes, you guessed it – pigeons. We’ve referred to a statement from the Town Council about the recent cull which you can read here. This news would seem to add extra weight to the need to find some kind of solution to this problem, the demand for which is a regular aspect of the Town Council’s in-tray.

• An animal warden from the Public Protection Partnership will be in Inkpen and Kintbury on the morning on Friday 27 August and will aim to be in Hungerford from about lunchtime. Please call Kira on 01635 503671 if you have any concerns, which might include dog-fouling or possibly dangerous animals (the pigeon issue is already fully on the radar of the PPP and other bodies). If she’s not able to attend to this during this visit then future ones may be arranged. All this is not to say that the PPP has any specific concerns about any Hound of Hungerford, Inkpen Iguana or Killer Kitten of Kintbury that might be on the loose – it just seems to be part of a general cycle of awareness that such matters need a bit of attention. My own regular study of parish council minutes in the area suggests that dog-fouling and the emptying of dog bins are regular problems so this is your chance to have your say.

• Hungerford bookkeeper Jon Shatford asks for support for his Castaway 5 Day Survival Challenge in aid of the British Legion.

• Enjoy free advice about your health and wellbeing, a chance to try taster classes, check for food allergies and listen to talks at the first Hungerford Health & Wellbeing Event at the Rugby Club on Saturday 11 September.

• We’ve been following Lauren Bell’s cricketing career for some time (she was at Hungerford Primary School with our sons) and 2021 has been a breakthrough year for her: so far (and the season isn’t over yet) it’s provided her with a Lord’s final and a place in the Women’s Hundred team of the competition as voted by BBC readers. You can click here to read more.

• Fancy some practical volunteering? Action for the River Kennet needs help with habitat improvement in Hungerford in September. See details here.

• It still seems that the “temporary” traffic lights at the new roundabout by Lancaster Park will be in place until mid-October: the works on the roundabout are scheduled to start next week and will run for about six weeks.

• This week’s NWN reports on p28 that plans have finally been submitted for eight new affordable homes on the site of the old Chestnut Walk care home in Hungerford in a joint venture between Sovreign Housing and West Berkshire Council. I seem to remember that these were first mooted years ago.

• Former Mayor Martin Crane is continuing his long-running campaign to persuade the Co-op to take responsibility for the building it owns next to its shop in Hungerford High Street. His latest letter, sent on 11 August, suggested that it could “renovate and develop it into a Business Service Centre. This could provide opportunities for start-up and emerging companies to grow within a community environment where professional expertise could be shared to the benefit of all. This would seem to fit very well within the Co-op ethics.” He admits that the cost would be “considerable” but that delay will store up even more costs later on as the building will otherwise “slide into dereliction.”

• The next Penny Post Hungerford will be published on Tuesday 7 September. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk by Sunday 5 September if there’s anything you’d like to see included in this.

• Get ready to fill your tankards for the Beer Festival at the Hungerford Club over the August bank holiday weekend, full details of which can be found here.

• It seems that the new 30mph speed limit on Hungerford Common will be active soon. The regulation has been passed but it’s now just a question of when a van can turn up with the revised signs. Hats off from the cows and all other users of the Common to the Town and Manor, Hungerford Town Council and the District Councillors who have campaigned long and hard for this change.

Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

Click here for details of the Sparking Streams project which will be benefitting locations and rivers in the Hungerford and Shalbourne areas over the coming months.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 26 July and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent (August) Froxfield Parish Council News has been published and can be be downloaded here. Items covered include: the community speed watch, the Beer and Music Festival (21 August); the Froxfield Festival (4 and 5 September – click here for more details); the need for hedging volunteers (see para below); and the need fort a new parish councillor.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 22 July and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 13 July and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 1 July and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 23 June and you can read the minutes here.

• Click here for the August 2021 edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 19 August 2021

• Last week I wrote an article about what planning ills might befall Hungerford, or any other community, if there is insufficient engagement with the processes which can help control them.  This article – which has been described as “pathetic, unacceptable and unnecessary” and “a crass piece of reporting” – paints a briefly depressing and over-stated (though perhaps not that over-stated) picture of what might transpire if no such restraints exist; and ends with the request that you reply to the current consultation on the current crucial stage of the town’s neighbourhood development plan, links to which are in the above-mentioned post.

• There’s a letter in this week’s NWN asking why the toilets in Hungerford have bot been repaired. Having checked with the Mayor I can confirm that this is not due to indifference or incompetence but because Hungerford Town Council has decided that it would be wise to do a proper makeover rather a quick fix and this will obviously take more time. The project has also suffered from the all-too-familiar supply-chain problems which means that the parts are taking longer to arrive. The writer ends by saying that the Council should sort this out as this is “what (they) are paid for.” The town councillors are not paid. They could take a small allowance but Hungerford’s, in common with most other similar councils, have chosen not to do so. They do it for the love of fixing things like toilets…

• Regarding the “temporary” traffic lights at the new roundabout by Lancaster Park – which has been wrongly built as a result of what seems to be a misunderstanding about the plans the details of which will doubtless be clear in due course, as long as someone asks often enough – it still seems that work will start on 30 August and last for about six weeks.

• No news section covering Hungerford would be complete without a mention of the town’s pigeons. We’ve referred to a statement from the Town Council about the recent cull which you can read here. There’s also an article on the subject on p24 of this week’s NWN.

• The August Penny Post Hungerford was published on earlier this month and as ever provides the best guide to life in the town. Click here to read it if you didn’t get it. The next one will be in your inbox on Tuesday 7 September.

• Please charge your glasses for the Beer Festival at the Hungerford Club over the August bank holiday weekend, full details of which can be found here.

• It seems that the new 30mph speed limit on Hungerford Common will be active from Thursday 19 August. So, that’s basically from now. Remember also that the cows have right of way on the roads there. The cows are dark coloured and – I can exclusively reveal – are large and have done no road-safety courses. It’s the way things are. Foot off the gas is my advice.

Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

Click here for details of the Sparking Streams project which will be benefitting locations and rivers in the Hungerford and Shalbourne areas over the coming months.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 26 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: damage to the Village Green caused by car parking; the siting of the SSE Electricity transformer, Green Farm Rise; the removal or replacement of the damaged benches on the Village Green;  traffic calming; the need for an additional councillor; the annual play-equipment inspection; a grant to the church; verge maintenance; nine planning applications; financial matters; the water-meadow project (see also above); a possible wildflower area; and the defibrillator at the Memorial Hall.

• The most recent (August) Froxfield Parish Council News has been published and will shortly be available for download here. Items covered include: the community speed watch, the Beer and Music Festival (21 August); the Froxfield festival (4 and 5 September); the need for hedging volunteers (see para below); and the need fort a new parish councillor.

• Volunteers are needed for managing Froxfield’s wildlife hedge. This has been planted over the last couple of years and is growing strongly but also is easily overgrown by the vigorous weeds.  James King, who is Project Manager at ARK, has agreed to come to the village on the morning of  21 August to help lead a Community Hedge Care volunteering morning. For more information, email james@riverkennet.org.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 22 July and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: news for the district councillor; wild verges; the winery at Carvers Hill Farm; speeding and traffic; the parish’s ash trees; planning matters; surface water on roads; hare coursing; a series of “drunken thefts”; the Classic Car Show (29 August); financial matters; and repairs to the parish’s benches.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 13 July and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 1 July and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 23 June and you can read the minutes here.

• Click here for the August 2021 edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 12 August 2021

• As mentioned last week, Hungerford Town Council issued this statement on 3 August about the latest measure it’s taken to combat the problem of pigeons in the town. I’m aware that not everyone agrees with the cull – which needs to be supported by other measures if it’s to work – and I get it that there are humanitarian arguments against any cull of anything. However, the job of any council is to balance a number of sometimes incompatible demands. There have been numerous complaints about the excessive number of pigeons in the town from local residents and retailers. As have been mentioned on numerous occasions in the regular reports on HTC’s work which we provide, no one solution has presented itself. In a perfect world, their numbers would be reduced by natural predation, the lack of good roosting positions and no easy pickings from discarded food. However, we live in an imperfect one and compromises are needed.

Not many stories have been written about pigeons. In fact, I can only think of one, called There’s an Owl in my Room by the American humorist James Thurber. You can read this here, along with several others. (The one that precedes it, The Departure of Emma Inch, is both one of the funniest and one of the saddest stories I have ever read.)

• It couldn’t happen in Hungerford, could it? “It’s outrageous – what, there are going to be how many houses where? And “they” are going to close the…and chop down…and build a new road to…? No – that’s impossible…it’s insane…” The trouble is that any unwelcome planning decision does indeed seem both insane and impossible until it happens. This article – which has been described as “pathetic, unacceptable and unnecessary” on Facebook – offers a brief excursion into a parallel universe in which all the work done by the H2036 neighbourhood development plan team had not taken place. It ends with the request that you reply to the current consultation on this crucial stage of the plan, links to which are in the above-mentioned post.

• The August Penny Post Hungerford was published on Tuesday 3 August and what a bumper issue it was, once again offering the best guide to life in the town. Click here to read it if you didn’t get it.

• Hats off to all those (including Penny) who organised the Hungerford Food & Artisan Market last weekend: or, rather, hats on as the weather was not brilliant. The next one – complete with street food – will be on Sunday 12 September.

• Another event which will be taking place in the town before then is the Beer Festival at the Hungerford Club, full details of which can be found here. Twisted Spire, Ringneck, Otter Premium and Sunquake – which could be, and perhaps also are, indie bands – will be among the kinds of beer on offer.

• Regarding the “temporary” traffic lights at the new roundabout by Lancaster Park – which has been wrongly built as a result of what seems to be a misunderstanding about the plans – a statement was provided by WBC on 12 August. “ow have an anticipated start date of 30 August. We have tried to bring this forward but a combination of coronavirus and summer holidays have prevented this. If things change and we can bring it forward we will let you know.” (Things changing could, of course, also result in the date being moved back). Once begun, the work will take about six weeks to complete though that too could be influenced by unforeseen issues.

• More certain is the news that Southern Brave will compete in the final of the new Women’s Hundred at Lords later this month. Congratulations to Hungerford’s Lauren “the Shard” Bell who has been one of the outstanding bowlers in the competition for there Braves. You can click here to read our article about Lauren Bell, whose career we’ve been following for some time. Playing in a final at Lords was one of my childhood ambitions. If I practise as much as she has done, maybe when I grow up I can achieve it. Oh, hang on…

• It seems that the new 30mph speed limit on Hungerford Common will be active from Thursday 19 August.

Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

Inkpen Primary School still needs to raise funds for urgent repairs on its building. For more information and to contribute to the funding appeal on The Good Exchange, please click here.

Click here for details of the Sparking Streams project which will be benefitting locations and rivers in the Hungerford and Shalbourne areas over the coming months.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 26 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: damage to the Village Green caused by car parking; the siting of the SSE Electricity transformer, Green Farm Rise; the removal or replacement of the damaged benches on the Village Green;  traffic calming; the need for an additional councillor; the annual play-equipment inspection; a grant to the church; verge maintenance; nine planning applications; financial matters; the water-meadow project (see also above); a possible wildflower area; and the defibrillator at the memorial Hall.

• The new Froxfield Water Meadow Nature Reserve has been growing rapidly and the Parish Council hopes that local residents and visitors are enjoying the new boardwalk built largely by volunteers and spotting birds, insects and wildlife taking up residence.  It is now looking at starting a series of volunteer-led maintenance and enhancement of the area.

• One of the immediate tasks is to keep the wildlife hedge thriving. This has been planted over the last couple of years and is growing strongly but also is easily overgrown by the vigorous weeds.  James King, who is Project Manager at ARK, has agreed to come to the village on the morning of  21 August to help lead a Community Hedge Care volunteering morning.  For more information, email james@riverkennet.org.

• This is the same day as the Froxfield Beer and Music Festival, but there’s no reason why one can’t take in both events with an hour or two’s work and then a well-earned beer and relaxing afternoon.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 13 July and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 1 July and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 23 June and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 8 June and you can download the minutes here.

• Click here for the August 2021 edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 5 August 2021

Hungerford’s pigeons – let’s get them out of the way first. Hungerford Town Council issued this statement on 3 August about the latest measure it’s taken. I’m a Londoner by birth and upbringing and so have no affection for these winged rats. People have rightly been complaining for years about the various problems they cause. Several solutions have been tried. None have worked, The latest cull may not have worked either – time will tell. None the less, inaction in the face of constant public pressure was not an option.

• The August Penny Post Hungerford was published on Tuesday 3 August and what a bumper issue it was, once again offering the best guide to life in the town, Click here to read it if you didn’t get it. As ever, we have the latest news from the Town Council, the Town and Manor and the local retailers. We also have a feature on Hungerford’s cricketer Lauren Bell (currently the second best bowler in the Woman’s Hundred), an appeal for historical artefacts and John O’Gaunt head teacher Richard Hawthorne’s diary, bringing an end to an unprecedented academic year. We have a breathy book, a subtle wine, a report on the recent repair café and bookings for Santa trips. Gardening tips, racing news, allotment inspiration, butterfly counts, community champions, football recruitment, fitness classes, events, music, jobs, property, the BookEnds Book Club, speciality bread and an exclusive (sort of) preview of the next Line of Duty series – yup, it’s all here.

• As mentioned last week, the “temporary” traffic lights at the new roundabout by Lancaster Park may be with us for some time yet. a WBC spokesperson told Penny Post on 2 August that both parties (WBC and Bewley Homes) were keen to start the remedial work as soon as possible. Once begun, this will take about six weeks to complete.

• There are hopes that that the 30mph speed limit on Hungerford Common will soon become a reality. More news on that when it’s official.

Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

Inkpen Primary School still needs to raise funds for urgent repairs on its building. For more information and to contribute to the funding appeal on The Good Exchange, please click here.

Click here for details of the Sparking Streams project which will be benefitting locations and rivers in the Hungerford and Shalbourne areas over the coming months.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 13 July and you can read the minutes here. items covered included: planning issues; the new recreation ground; HGV traffic at the Membury Industrial Estate; the Parish Steward; speed limits at the western edge of the village; potholes and debris at the B4192/Stag Hill junction; financial matters; village maintenance issues; and correspondence with councillors.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 1 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; flood-risk management; speeding issues; a grant to Parenting Special Children; financial matters; the long-running matter of the handrail at the churchyard steps; the greening campaign; the Cemetery extension; works at the Lawrence Field; verge cutting; speeding cyclists; and overgrown road signs.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 29 June and you can read the minutes here. This was a formal meeting, lasting all of ten minutes, to agree various governance issues.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 8 June and you can download the minutes here. I

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here. There was also an extraordinary meeting on 23 June and you can read the minutes here. This concerned only internal governance issues and the confirmation of a grant to the Inkpen Cricket Club of £900 for the purchase of a lawn mower.

• Click here for the August 2021 edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 29 July 2021

• The August Penny Post Hungerford will be published on Tuesday 3 August. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk by Monday 2 August if there’s anything you’d like to have included in this.

• As mentioned last week, the “temporary”  traffic lights at the new roundabout by Lancaster Park may be with us for some time yet. Questions of obligation, responsibility and financial contribution may yet need to be resolved in court. It’s to hoped that, despite these obstacles, work will start soon (it will take six weeks to complete) but a WBC spokesperson was, on 29 July, unable to offer a firm date (or even a loose one). 

• The repair café in Hungerford last week was a huge success. Penny took along a wind-damaged gazebo that was beyond anyone’s power to fix: but eavesdropping on the online meeting of the HEAT committee (of which Penny is a member) whilst preparing dinner on Wednesday let me overhear tales of hedge-trimmers, food blenders and many other things on which the good repairers were able to lay their hands on with positive results. Further similar events are planned, in Hungerford and elsewhere.

• We were delighted and humbled to have been one of the dozen or so organisations and individuals to have been nominated in Hungerford Town Council’s Covid Community Champions awards. We just carried on doing what we do – trying in our stumbling way to explain what was going on and pointing out things that were going wrong, or right, with the world and what people could do to have their say – but many others got out of their normal box or comfort zone and really made a difference during the dark days that we’ve all been through in the last 18 months. Hats off to all of them and, in particular, to Hungerford Town Council itself for having not only conceived but also also executed (two very different things) such an event; and, indeed, many of the responses during the pandemic. You can read a report of the event here.

• There are hopes that that the 30mph speed limit on Hungerford Common will soon become a reality. More news on that when it’s official. In the mean time, it’s a good idea to act as if this were the case as there are cows there which have their own ideas about cars.

• Hungerford cricketer Lauren Bell seems finally to have broken into the big time this season with her performances in the first two Hundreds matches for Southern Brave, in which she’s taken four wickets and a catch but hasn’t yet been called upon to show her proficiency with the bat. Penny Post has been following her career (we first remember her aged about six at Hungerford Primary School (she’s 11 days younger than our son Adam). See here for more.

Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

• A reminder that Inkpen Primary School needs to do urgent works on its building and has found that this will prove more costly than it had expected due to its listed status. For more information and to contribute to the funding appeal on The Good Exchange, please click here.

• I don’t know what it is about Inkpen and I’ve mentioned this before but every time I go there someone seems to have switched half the roads around so they all point in different directions from before. I mentioned this recently to someone who agreed with me: and he’s lived a few miles away in West Woodhay for decades. A couple of years ago, he told me, he was driving in broad daylight through Inkpen and suddenly realised he’d never been down that road in his life before and had no clear idea where he was. Does anyone else have this problem?

Click here for details of the Sparking Streams project which will be benefitting locations and rivers in the Hungerford and Shalbourne areas over the coming months.

Froxfield has formed a community speedwatch group to help monitor traffic speeds on the A4 through the village. For more information or to volunteer contact Sarah Whatley on sarahjowens19@yahoo.co.uk or 07756 157444.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 13 July and you can read the minutes here. items covered included: planning issues; the new recreation ground; HGV traffic at the Membury Industrial Estate; the Parish Steward; speed limits at the western edge of the village; potholes and debris at the B4192/Stag Hill junction; financial matters; village maintenance issues; and correspondence with councillors.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 1 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; flood-risk management; speeding issues; a grant to Parenting Special Children; financial matters; the long-running matter of the handrail at the churchyard steps; the greening campaign; the Cemetery extension; works at the Lawrence Field; verge cutting; speeding cyclists; and overgrown road signs.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 29 June and you can read the minutes here. This was a formal meeting, lasting all of ten minutes, to agree various governance issues.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 8 June and you can download the minutes here. I

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here. There was also an extraordinary meeting on 23 June and you can read the minutes here. This concerned only internal governance issues and the confirmation of a grant to the Inkpen Cricket Club of £900 for the purchase of a lawn mower.

• Click here for the July edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 22 July 2021

• The July Penny Post Hungerford was published on 6 July and, as ever, provides the best round-up of life in the town – click here to read it if you didn’t get it.

• The matter of the traffic lights which been in place at the new roundabout by Lancaster Park may take slightly longer to resolve than the six or so weeks initially suggested. It appears that the matter is, as Sherlock Holmes might have said, in deeper waters than first appeared is remains the subject of discussion between WBC and Bewley Homes.

• A reminder that District Councillor Claire Rowles is doing an MS Marathon to raise funds for MS-UK’s Counselling Service. This horrible disease claimed the life of her sister (and Penny’s mother) so I’m really happy to be able to draw your attention to her JustGiving page here.

• And another reminder of a shout-out for a fundraiser: We know the Flanagan family and were saddened by Lisa’s death from a brain tumour earlier this year. Her husband, Simon, and one of her sons, Aidan, have decided to kayak from Hungerford to Bristol and back up the Kennet & Avon (193km in all) to raise money for Brain Tumour Research. They’ve reached their target but you can still add to this on the JustGiving page here. Their journey will start on 24 July and is expected to take a week.

• If your scythe is blunt, your textiles torn, your toaster ungovernable, your bicycle unrideable or your toys unplayable, with help is at hand: the Hungerford Environmental Action team has organised a repair café on Sunday 25 July from 10am-12:30pm at the Croft Community Field Centre. More details here.

• Hungerford Town Council has, in place of its usual Freedom of the Town award, decided this year to ask residents to nominate their Covid Community Champions. Nominations have now closed and the recipients will be presented with their awards at an event at the Croft Field Centre on Saturday 24 July. This event is, due to the numbers involved, by invitation only. Please click here for more: this post will be updated after the event with details of the nominees.

• Click here for the latest news from the Hungerford Leisure Centre in its latest newsletter here.

Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

• A reminder that Inkpen Primary School needs to do urgent works on its building and has found that this will prove more costly than it had expected due to its listed status. For more information and to contribute to the funding appeal on The Good Exchange, please click here.

Froxfield has formed a community speedwatch group to help monitor traffic speeds on the A4 through the village. For more information or to volunteer contact Sarah Whatley on sarahjowens19@yahoo.co.uk or 07756 157444.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 3 June and you can read the minutes here.

• And sticking with Kintbury for a moment, a planning application for the conversion of the Methodist Chapel to housing came before WBC’s Western Area Planning Committee on 21 July. Officers had recommended refusal but it was called in by Councillor James Cole and was eventually approved by a handsome majority. Among the issues that weighed with the committee was the fact that regular occupation would be better for the building (which otherwise might fall into disrepair) and that traffic movements would probably overall be less and certainly more predictable than the occasional jam-inducing surges caused when it’s used for public events. I don’t know how often a planning committee goes against officers’ recommendations but suspect it’s the less common outcome. This seems to be exactly the way in which the call-in powers should be used.

Click here for details of the Sparking Streams project which be benefitting locations and rives in the Hungerford and Shalbourne areas over the coming months.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 13 July and you can read the minutes here. items covered included: planning issues; the new excretion ground; HGV traffic at the Membury Industrial Estate; the Parish Steward; speed limits at the western edge of the village; potholes and debris at the B4192/Stag Hill junction; financial matters; village maintenance issues; and correspondence with councillors.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 8 June and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: the co-option of a new member; one planning application; and the purchase of a new playground swing.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here. There was also an extraordinary meeting on 23 June and you can read the minutes here. This concerned only internal governance issues and the confirmation of a grant to the Inkpen Cricket Club of £900 for the purchase of a lawn mower.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 17 May and you can read the minutes here.

• Click here for the July edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 15 July 2021

• The July Penny Post Hungerford was published on 6 July and, as ever, provides the best round-up of life in the town – click here to read it if you didn’t get it.

• One of the items covered at the meeting of Hungerford Town Council earlier this week concerned the traffic lights which have recently appeared at the new roundabout by the Lancaster Park development. As mentioned last week (see below) information on this has been given out in small chunks and only when asked for. A statement from WBC received on 14 July said that “Issues with the roundabout were first identified by our Highways team at the end of last year and raised with the developer at the time. Concerns focused on one of the approaches being too narrow for HGVs to navigate and parts of the surfacing needing to be re-done to ensure rainwater runs off properly. The developer will be completing the work, and we are awaiting a start date from them. We expect them to start soon, however, and it will take around five to six weeks to complete. In the meantime, in the interests of safety, traffic lights have been put in place and will remain until the work is complete.”

This leaves open several questions. First, the “issues” are clearly dangerous as otherwise there wouldn’t now be the traffic control. If these were identified last year, why did it take six months to get the lights installed? Second, was the problem due to the the wrong design being approved or the right design being done wrongly? Third, who will be paying for the work, WBC or Bewley? Finally, why was HTC not informed about this automatically? I have asked WBC about all these points and will let you know the replies when I have them.

District Councillor Claire Rowles is doing an MS Marathon to raise funds for MS-UK’s Counselling Service. This horrible disease claimed the life of her sister (and Penny’s mother) so I’m really happy to be able to draw your attention to her JustGiving page here.

• And another shout-out for a fundraiser: We know the Flanagan family and were saddened by Lisa’s death from a brain tumour earlier this year. Her husband, Simon, and one of her sons, Aidan, have decided to kayak from Hungerford to Bristol and back up the Kennet & Avon (193km in all) to raise money for Brain Tumour Research. They’ve reached their target but you can still add to this on the JustGiving page here. Their journey will start on 24 July and is expected to take a week.

• Hungerford Town Council has, in place of its usual Freedom of the Town award, decided this year by asking residents to nominate their Covid Community Champions. A number of nominations have been received and the recipients will be presented with their awards at an event at the Croft Field Centre on Saturday 24 July. This event is, due to the numbers involved, by invitation only. Please click here for more: this post will be updated after the event with details of the nominees.

• The thing I most missed during lockdown was not being able to swim (yes, I know I could have gone wild swimming I’m a bit of a wuss) so the two re-openings of the Hungerford Leisure Centre last year and this were particularly delightful. Apart from walking up and down the stairs in our house about 25 times a day, chasing the chickens away from the fruit bushes and uncorking bottles of wine, it’s the only exercise I get. From 19 July, a number of aspects of life there will be returning to normal – no booking needed for the gym, all changing cubicles open and more swimming sessions, for instance. Some pandemic measures will stay, such as needing to book sessions for swimming (despite grumbling about this at first, I now find this quite convenient as (a) I can choose sessions that are less crowded and (b) having booked a slot I invariably turn up. You can read all about the new arrangements in the Leisure Centre’s latest newsletter here. This also notes that “enhanced cleaning of high contact points will continue.” It’s probably the cleanest place I visit, certainly a lot more so than our home, and I’ve always felt completely Covid-safe there. As for the pool water, it will probably kill anything much smaller than a mouse (not that I’ve ever seen a mouse in the pool). A few weeks ago, I calculated that I’d been there about 3,000 times over the 20 or so years I’ve been living in these parts. Why am I saying this? Showing off? No – if it had been dirty, disorganised and unwelcoming, the figure wouldn’t be nearly this high. A great place with great staff.

Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

Inkpen Primary School needs to do some urgent works on its building and has found that this will prove more costly than it had expected due to its listed status. For more information and to contribute to the funding appeal on The Good Exchange, please click here.

• As mentioned last week, the Froxfield Water Meadow boardwalk is now complete. The PC would like to set up a Friends of Froxfield Nature Reserve: please email v.body@froxfield.org for more information.

• The same parish has recently formed a community speedwatch group to help monitor traffic speeds on the A4 through the village. For more information or to volunteer contact Sarah Whatley on sarahjowens19@yahoo.co.uk or 07756 157444.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 3 June and you can read the minutes here.

Click here for details of the Sparking Streams project which be benefitting locations and rives in the Hungerford and Shalbourne areas over the coming months.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 18 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 21 May and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council (and the annual parish meeting) took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here. There was also an extraordinary meeting on 23 June and you can read the minutes here. This concerned only internal governance issues and the confirmation of a grant to the Inkpen Cricket Club of £900 for the purchase of a lawn mower.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 17 May and you can read the minutes here.

• Click here for the July edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 8 July 2021

• The July Penny Post Hungerford was published on 6 July and, as ever, provides the best round-up of life in the town – click here to read it if you didn’t get it. As well as the usual sections with news from the Town Council, the Town and Manor and Hungerford’s retailers, it’s got news of a wildflower photography competition, BBC Radio Berkshire’s recent visit to the town, an interview with local author Iris Lloyd, an appeal for local artefacts from the West Berkshire Museum, the winners of the 2021 Hungerford in Bloom and travel advice from Veronica at Fare Wise Travel. There’s also our regular book of the month, wine of the month and the latest diary from JoG Head Richard Hawthorne as well as a seasonal recipe, tips on keeping active, property, jobs and local events. There are also guest appearances by Doctor Who and Jeeves and Wooster. The next one will be published in early August: please email penny@pennypost.org.uk if there’s anything you’d like to see included in this.

• One of the items covered at the meeting of Hungerford Town Council earlier this week concerned the traffic lights which have recently appeared at the new roundabout by the Lancaster Park development. These cause tailbacks which, if not of the standards of London on a Friday night, are irksome, all the more so for being initially unexplained. HTC finally established that this was due to an error in either the design or the construction of the roundabout and that remedial work is expected to start in about a month and last for perhaps six weeks (so, until mid-September). The temporary lights must remain for the duration as the roundabout is currently dangerous. I understand that two of the problems are that it’s too narrow for HGVs and that there’s an issue with surface water (ie it’s too small and slopes the wrong way). The History Faculty at Cambridge was reputed to have built at 180º to its intended position as the plans got transposed when being copied, the east-facing result being that it got very hot and very draughty, sometimes at the same time. Something similar might have happened here: or perhaps it’s just our old friends inches and centimetres getting mixed up again.

• Another item that was touched on at the meeting was the fact that the parking bays with EV charge points on the High Street are sometimes being used by non-EV cars. I raised this with the Environment portfolio holder Steve Ardagh-Walter who described this as “a transitory and emotive issue.” This seems a fair summary. Ten years ago there were no EV charge points so the matter didn’t arise; in ten years time they might be getting towards being in a majority so different arrangements may need to be made. It’s a catch 22, as a council may feel it won’t make special arrangements until there are enough EVs but people won’t buy EVs without special arrangements to ensure they can get the juice. Perhaps the time is coming when EVs need designated bays, like disabled vehicles. Will public pressure be enough to make people follow these or will enforcement be needed? Do we want more traffic wardens in Hungerford? Can WBC afford to pay for them? I don’t know the answer to any of these questions.

• A reminder that the Hungerford Summer Festival runs from until 11 July with a wide range of events, many off which are sold out or selling out fast – click here for details.

• The three ward members, Claire Rowles, Dennis Benneyworth and James Cole, have managed to secure a grant for Hungerford in the latest round of members’ bids – £949 for the renovation of the area between the A4 and the sub-station (near the Co-op filling station).

Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

Inspots pre-school in Inkpen is inviting visits and applications for children who are currently three or will have turned three by the start of September. More information, call 01488 668 219 or email inkspots@inkpen.w-berks.sch.uk.

• And in the same village, Inkpen Primary School needs to do some urgent works on its building and has found that this will prove more costly than it had expected due to its listed status. For more information and to contribute to the funding appeal on The Good Exchange, please click here.

• As mentioned last week, the Froxfield Water Meadow boardwalk is now complete. The PC would like to set up a Friends of Froxfield Nature Reserve: please email v.body@froxfield.org for more information.

• The same parish has recently formed a community speedwatch group to help monitor traffic speeds on the A4 through the village. For more information or to volunteer contact Sarah Whatley on sarahjowens19@yahoo.co.uk or 07756 157444.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 3 June and you can read the minutes here.

• The three ward members, Claire Rowles, Dennis Benneyworth and James Cole, have managed to secure two separate grants for Kintbury in the latest round of members’ bids – £825 for footpath enhancement and £2,818 for the refurbishment of the Gladstone Recreation Ground entrance.

Click here for details of the Sparking Streams project which be benefitting locations and rives in the Hungerford and Shalbourne areas over the coming months.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 18 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 21 May and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council (and the annual parish meeting) took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The above-mentioned ward members also secured members’ bid for funding in Inkpen: £4,982 for playground equipment.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 17 May and you can read the minutes here.

• Click here for the July edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 1 July 2021

• The Hungerford neighbourhood development plan working group (Hungerford 2036) has announced that there will be a public consultation in the Corn Exchange from 10.30am to 1pm on Sunday 4 July. The H2036 team encourages residents to attend to view the exhibition. See here for more information. If you can’t make it in person then you can respond online.

• A visit to this event can also take in the monthly Hungerford Market at the Croft Hall Field from 10.30am to 2,30pm on Sunday 4 July which will include the usual range of stalls plus street food and live music. More details here.

• The day before, the Electric Vehicle Show will take place at the Croft Hall Field from 11am to 3pm.

• On Monday 5 July you may hear or see any of the following in Hungerford: (i) a two-minute silence and a rendition of The Last Post at 11am; (ii) the Mayor and the Constable leading a toast to NHS, social-care and frontline workers on the Town Hall steps at 1pm; (iii) a clap for our heroes and the ringing of the church bells 73 times (one for each year the NHS has been in existence). This is part of Hungerford participation in the national NHS, Social-care and Frontline Workers’ Day, more information on which can be found here. Similar events will be taking places throughout the country.

• A reminder that the Hungerford Summer Festival runs from 3 to 11 July with a wide range of events – click here for details.

• The next meeting of Hungerford Town Council, the first since May, will take place at 7pm on Monday 5 July at the Corn Exchange Complex and you can see the agenda here.

• The July Penny Post Hungerford will be published on Tuesday 6 July and will, as ever, include a summary of Hungerford Town Council’s current activities including those discussed at the above meeting. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk as soon as possible if there’s anything you’d like to see included in this.

• The three ward members, Claire Rowles, Dennis Benneyworth and James Cole, have managed to secure a grant for Hungerford in the latest round of members’ bids – £949 for the renovation of the area between the A4 and the sub-station (near the Co-op filling station).

• Thames Water tells me that the water-pressure problems in Hungerford Newtown have been solved – let me (or, better still, Thames Water) know if you disagree.

• If you regularly drive through Hungerford, as I do, you’ll notice that there have been two temporary traffic lights in place, one at the top of the High Street and the other at the roundabout by the entrance to the Lancaster Park development. These are unrelated. The first was due to a problem with a fire hydrant which needed to be fixed urgently. A statement from West Berkshire Council on 1 July said that the works had now been completed.

• The second set of lights near Lancaster Park, however, will be with us for some time yet. It appears, also from a statement by WBC, that there is a problem with either the design or construction of the roundabout and that the temporary lights have been put up for health and safety reasons. It’s unclear when the remedial work will start. If the problem is with the design, this may need to be re-submitted and approved – as to how long this could take, think of a period of time and double it. Once it’s clear what needs to happen, the works are expected to take at least six or seven weeks.

Hungerford Mayor Helen Simpson told Penny Post that she has recently received numerous questions from residents why these lights are there and how long they’ll be in place for. I don’t know how much time she, other councillors, the Town Clerk and the ward members have spent trying to find out about this until it was finally cleared up on 1 July. One email could have avoided all this. I’d say that Hungerford has a particularly proactive council: this cuts both ways, as residents see it, quite reasonably, as an immediate source of information even on matters (such as these) that are none of its concern. If such bodies are told about these things in advance it saves so much time.

Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

Inspots pre-school in Inkpen is inviting visits and applications for children who are currently three or will have turned three by the start of September. More information, call 01488 668 219 or email inkspots@inkpen.w-berks.sch.uk.

• There are about 400,000 listed buildings in the UK. This offers varying levels of protection which many agree is important to preserve our architectural heritage. This can, however, be a double-edged sword as any repairs can as a result be more difficult or expensive to undertake. Just such a situation faces Inkpen Primary School which needs to do work on the building, some of it very urgent, and has found that this will prove more costly than it had expected. For more information and to contribute to the funding appeal on The Good Exchange, please click here.

• As mentioned last week, the Froxfield Water Meadow boardwalk is now complete. The PC would like to set up a Friends of Froxfield Nature Reserve: please email v.body@froxfield.org for more information.

• The same parish has recently formed a community speedwatch group to help monitor traffic speeds on the A4 through the village. For more information or to volunteer contact Sarah Whatley on sarahjowens19@yahoo.co.uk or 07756 157444.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 3 June and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a vacancy for a councillor; six planning applications; grant requests by the Kintbury Bowling Club, the Pre-school and the Stay and Play proposal; wildflower verges; speeding; the annual newsletter; financial matters; and reports from the PC’s committees.

• The three ward members, Claire Rowles, Dennis Benneyworth and James Cole, have managed to secure two separate grants for Kintbury in the latest round of members’ bids – £825 for footpath enhancement and £2,818 for the refurbishment of the Gladstone Recreation Ground entrance.

Click here for details of the Sparking Streams project which be benefitting locations and rives in the Hungerford and Shalbourne areas over the coming months.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 18 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 21 May and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council (and the annual parish meeting) took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The above-mentioned ward members also secured members’ bid for funding in Inkpen: £4,982 for playground equipment.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 21 April and you can read the minutes here.

• Click here for the July edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 24 June 2021

• The Hungerford neighbourhood development plan working group (Hungerford 2036) has announced that there will be two public consultations in the Corn Exchange from 7pm to 9pm on Wednesday 30 June and 10.30am to 1pm on Sunday 4 July. The H2036 team encourages residents to attend to view the exhibition (which will be the same on both dates). There will also be an online consultation, further details of which will be announced soon on the H2036 website and elsewhere – see here for more.

• A reminder that the Hungerford Summer Festival runs from 3 to 11 July with a wide range of events, including an Electric Vehicle Show on Sat 3 July – click here for details.

• Former Mayor Martin Crane is still waiting for a suitable opportunity to put up the plaque created for the 40th anniversary of the Hungerford Twinning Association in 2020, which is to find a place in the Town Hall. He is wondering if this might be a good opportunity to commemorate other organisations and individuals connected with the town in the same way. If you have any suggestions, contact Hungerford Town Council.

• In place of the usual Freedom of the Town Award, Hungerford Town Council is looking for nominations for Covid Community Champions, “local residents who have gone out of their way to help the community of Hungerford since the start of the pandemic.” More information can be found here. Nominations need to be in by the end of June. HTC will announce the winner/s at and event in late July: details to follow.

• Thames Water tells me that the water-pressure problems in Hungerford Newtown have been solved – let me (or, better still, Thames Water) know if you disagree. This turned out to be simpler problem than had been feared: at one time it was thought that there was a burst pipe under the M4.

Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

• As mentioned last week, the Froxfield Water Meadow boardwalk is now complete. The PC would like to set up a Friends of Froxfield Nature Reserve: please email v.body@froxfield.org for more information.

• The same parish has recently formed a community speedwatch group to help monitor traffic speeds on the A4 through the village. For more information or to volunteer contact Sarah Whatley on sarahjowens19@yahoo.co.uk or 07756 157444.

Click here for details of the Sparking Streams project which be benefitting locations and rives in the Hungerford and Shalbourne areas over the coming months.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 18 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 21 May and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 6 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council (and the annual parish meeting) took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 21 April and you can read the minutes here.

• Click here for the June edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 17 June 2021

• The latest edition of Penny Post Hungerford was published on 1 June and provides, as ever, the best and most comprehensive round up of life in the town. You can click here to read it if you didn’t receive it. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk by the end of June if there’s anything you’d like to see included in the July edition.

• Hungerford High Street is in general a pretty elegant place with a pleasing diversity of buildings (though the diversity of the roofs have caused problems for pigeon control) most of which are occupied and well-maintained. There are a couple of exceptions, however, one of which is the building to the left of (and owned by) the Co-0p. I could refer to it by number but that would be confusing – it’s variously known as 15 or 15a but is in fact 16. It has at various times been used as a store-room which resulted in an internal staircase being removed some time ago. There’s also a home behind it with a tenant. A number of Mayors past and present, including Anthony Buckwell (who started this ball rolling), Dennis Benneyworth, Martin Crane (who has recently contact the Co-op again) and the incumbent Helen Simpson have over the years been involved in trying to ensure that the building is renovated and, hopefully, returned to regular use. These efforts continue and there’s hope that a new person responsible for such projects at the Co-op may provide some fresh impetus. Ultimately, it’s the Co-op’s decision unless they choose to, or perhaps are compelled to, sell it before (as some fear) it crumbles away. (All this has made me wonder what the collective noun for Mayors is. A chain? A worship?)

• Work continues on the Hungerford neighbourhood development plan (known as Hungerford 2036) and plans have been announced for public consultations in the Corn Exchange from 7pm to 9pm on Wednesday 30 June and 10.30am to 1pm on Sunday 4 July. The H2036 team encourages residents to attend to view the exhibition (which will be the same on both dates). There will also be an online consultation, further details of which will be announced soon on the H2036 website and elsewhere – see here for more.

• There is still time to enter Hungerford in Bloom which this year has categories for school, businesses and voluntary groups as well as front and back gardens and courtyards. Find out how to enter here. The looming, blooming deadline is 21 June 2021.

• In place of the usual Freedom of the Town Award, Hungerford Town Council is looking for nominations for Covid Community Champions, “local residents who have gone out of their way to help the community of Hungerford since the start of the pandemic.” More information can be found here. Nominations need to be in by the end of June.

• This year’s funding applications for educational grants for young people are now open from the Hungerford and Camburn Educational Trust (deadline 18 June, so time is pretty much up).

• Thames Water (TW) continues to investigate mains leak under the M4 which is affecting the water supply to Hungerford Newtown and a repair plan is being put in place (see last week’s section below). This will be a complex job because the pipe crosses the motorway and is buried deep underground.

• Covid lateral flow tests, previously available in the Hungerford Rugby Club, are now operating from a mobile unit in the car park next to the Hungerford Library and Hub. More details here.

• Another reminder about Wiltshire County Council’s Parish Stewards who deal with local problems such as clearing blocked gullies, cutting back branches and hedges overhanging footpaths, clearing storm debris, treating and cutting weeds, cleaning and straightening small road signs, removing ragwort and pushing overgrown vegetation back from footways and carriage ways, abandoned vehicles, fly tipping, dog mess and graffiti. The next dates in Froxfield are 1 July, 29 July and 26 August. If you see any jobs that require their attention, you can report them to clerk@froxfield.org (two weeks prior to visit date please) or online.

• The Froxfield Water Meadow boardwalk is now complete – “huge thanks” from the parish council to the teams of volunteers who turned out in the awful weather to help ARK’s Martin Gibson and his team. The project is, the PC says, “moving into a new phase where we seek to enhance the space with planting and ‘light touch’ management, continuing to work closely with Action for River Kennet (ARK) whose team has been so supportive throughout the proccess.” The PC would like to set up a Friends of Froxfield Nature Reserve for those who wish to support the new Froxfield Nature Reserve as a community project and to be told about volunteer opportunities. Please email v.body@froxfield.org for more information.

Click here for details of the Sparking Streams project which be benefitting locations and rives in the Hungerford and Shalbourne areas over the coming months.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 18 May and you can read the minutes here. Items discussed included: the election of the Chairman and Vice-chairman; the need for a new councillor; Orchard Green; financial matters; planning applications; the new recreation ground; HGV signs on Stag Hill; weight restrictions on Soley Lane; speeding; the village website; and the asset register.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 21 May and you can download the minutes here. Matters discussed included: formal year-end business; HGVs in the village; planning matters; clearing the Winterbourne; financial matters; there visit of the Parish Steward; and councillor responsibilities.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 6 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council (and the annual parish meeting) took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 21 April and you can read the minutes here.

• Click here for the June edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 10 June 2021

• The latest edition of Penny Post Hungerford was published on 1 June and provides, as ever, the best and most comprehensive round up of life in the town. You can click here to read it if you didn’t receive it. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk by the end of June if there’s anything you’d like to see included in the July edition.

• There is still time to enter Hungerford in Bloom which this year has categories for school, businesses and voluntary groups as well as front and back gardens and courtyards. Find out how to enter here. Deadline is 21 June 2021.

• This week’s Newbury Weekly News reports on p22 that WBC has turned down a street-trader licence for a proposed pizza van in the High Street following objections from the local landowner, the Town and Manor, which had expressed concerns about littering and the use of a disabled parking bay (I would have thought that the latter issue could be dealt with by moving it to one of the many non-disabled bays). Town Mayor Helen Simpson admitted she was “disappointed” by the decision. All may not be lost, however, as another site might be found, perhaps at the skate park. I understand that the Town and Manor was not consulted by WBC when, several years ago, a licence was applied for by the kebab van, also in the High Street.

• In place of the usual Freedom of the Town Award, Hungerford Town Council is looking for nominations for Covid Community Champions, “local residents who have gone out of their way to help the community of Hungerford since the start of the pandemic.” More information can be found here. Nominations need to be in by the end of June.

• This year’s funding applications for educational grants for young people are now open from the Hungerford and Camburn Educational Trust(deadline 18 June).

• Thames Water (TW) has found a mains leak under the M4 which is affecting the water supply to Hungerford Newtown and a repair plan is being put in place. TW wrote to residents on 4 June and has assured Laura Farris MP there will be two tankers supplying water on site 24/7 and all priority and vulnerable customers will have their supply of bottled water topped up. See this page on TW’s site: if you feel you need to take the matter further, contact laura.farris.mp@parliament.uk or 01635 551070.

A TW spokesperson told Penny Post on 7 June that the repair “is likely to be a complex job because the pipe is buried deep below the ground which makes it difficult to access. We’re currently assessing the best way to fix it. In the meantime we’ve shut off the pipe and are using tankers to pump water into the network to keep customers in supply.” A local resident confirmed this: “we had very low pressure for a day or so early last week but, since the tankers have been pumping water in it’s been more or less normal apart from some brief pauses when they’re changing from one tanker to the next.”

• Covid lateral flow tests, previously available in the Hungerford Rugby Club, are now operating from a mobile unit in the car park next to the Hungerford Library and Hub. More details here.

• I think the trans-border cows (see last week’s section below) have now been returned to the Marsh in Hungerford after their unplanned holiday in Wiltshire.

• This week’s NWN reports on p22 of the trial of the thief who stole lead from the roof of Hungerford Primary School which resulted in about £10,000-worth of damage.

• A reminder about Wiltshire Country Council employs Parish Stewards who deal with local problems such as clearing blocked gullies, cutting back branches and hedges overhanging footpaths, clearing storm debris, treating and cutting weeds, cleaning and straightening small road signs, removing ragwort and pushing overgrown vegetation back from footways and carriage ways, abandoned vehicles, fly tipping, dog mess and graffiti. The next dates in Froxfield are 1 July, 29 July and 26 August. If you see any jobs that require their attention, you can report them to clerk@froxfield.org (two weeks prior to visit date please) or online.

Click here for details of the Sparking Streams project which be benefitting locations and rives in the Hungerford and Shalbourne areas over the coming months.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 18 May and you can read the minutes here. Items discussed included: the election of the Chairman and Vice-chairman; the need for a new councillor; Orchard green; financial matters; planning applications; the new recreation ground; HGV signs on Stag Hill; weight restrictions on Soley Lane; speeding; the village website; and the asset register.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 21 May and you can download the minutes here. Matters discussed included: formal year-end business; HGVs in the village; planning matters; clearing the Winterbourne; financial matters; there visit of the Parish Steward; and councillor responsibilities.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 6 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: formal year-end business; planning applications; footpaths; the Bowling Club; financial matters; the handrail at the churchyard steps; the newsletter; members’ bids; the village’s defibrillators; and a request for an apology.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council (and the annual parish meeting) took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 21 April and you can read the minutes here.

• The May 2021 Froxfield Parish Council Newsletter has recently been published and you can read it here. If you would like to receive these, please email froxfieldPCnews@mail.com.

• Click here for the May edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 3 June 2021

• The latest edition of Penny Post Hungerford was published on 1 June and what a bumper issue it proved to be. You can click here to read it if you didn’t receive it. It has the latest news from the Town Council, the Town and Manor, the retailers, the leisure centres and local groups including CHAIN and HEAT. There’s also a video about the lockdown wood’s opening ceremony, the latest diary entry from Richard Hawthorne from John O’Gaunt School, the book of the month and no fewer than 11 wines to choose from. There’s information about grants, train services, Hungerford in Bloom, the Summer Festival, July’s EV show and Kennet Radio’s imminent coverage of the town. There are water-saving tips, a guide to the night sky, help with keeping active, a short story about Jeeves and Wooster’s visit to West Berkshire, property, jobs and some wise words from Ernest Hemingway. There’s even a photo of two swans and one, two, three, four – five cygnets. Everything, in short, you’d expect from such a newsletter. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk by the end of June if there’s anything you’d like to see included in the July edition.

• In place of the usual Freedom of the Town Award, Hungerford Town Council is looking for nominations for “those local residents who have gone out of their way to help the community of Hungerford since the start of the pandemic.” More information can be found here. Nominations need to be in by the end of June.

• Thames Water (TW) has found a mains leak under the M4 which is affecting the water supply to Hungerford Newtown and a repair plan is being put in place. TW write to residents on 4 June and has assured Laura Farris MP there will be two tankers on site 24/7 and all priority and vulnerable customers will have their supply of bottled water topped up. See this page on TW’s site: if you feel you need to take the matter further, contact laura.farris.mp@parliament.uk or 01635 551070.

A TW spokesperson told Penny Post on 7 June that the repair “is likely to be a complex job because the pipe is buried deep below the ground which makes it difficult to access. We’re currently assessing the best way to fix it. In the meantime we’ve shut off the pipe and are using tankers to pump water into the network to keep customers in supply.” A local resident confirmed this: “we had very low pressure for a day or so early last week but, since the tankers have been pumping water in it’s been more or less normal apart from some brief pauses when they’re changing from one tanker to the next.”

• Covid lateral flow tests, previously available in the Hungerford Rugby Club, are now operating from a mobile unit in the car park next to the Hungerford Library and Hub. More details here.

• The Great British Spring Clean takes place between 28 May and 13 June and many events will be organised by local councils. Click on the relevant link below to see how you can get involved with what’s happening in your town or village.

• This year’s funding applications are now open from the Hungerford and Camburn Educational Trust (deadline 18 June).

• Breaking news on the trans-border cows which escaped from Hungerford and decided to emigrate to Wiltshire a couple of weeks back (see below). The Chair of Froxfield Parish Council told Penny Post on 2 June that “the cows are now calming down well and should be able to be moved soon. Thankfully people are observing the common sense advice to stay out of the woods with their dogs and to stick to the public’s footpaths which is helping keep the cows from being further spooked.” On 3 June, it seems that all but a handful of the “Cake Wood cows” had been rounded up. I mean, “all but one or two”. You can’t have “a handful of cows”, can you? At least, I can’t.

• And still in Froxfield, the PC has announced that the boardwalk has been completed (see last week’s entry below).

• And we’re still in Froxfield. Wiltshire Country Council employs Parish Stewards (which West Berkshire Council doesn’t, though it might think about doing so) to deal with local problems such as clearing blocked gullies, cutting back branches and hedges overhanging footpaths, clearing storm debris, treating and cutting weeds, cleaning and straightening small road signs, removing ragwort and pushing overgrown vegetation back from footways and carriage ways, abandoned vehicles, fly tipping, dog mess and graffiti. In Froxfield (and perhaps also in Wiltshire’s 250-odd other parishes) these people turn up about once a month. The next dates in Froxfield are 1 July, 29 July and 26 August. If you see any jobs that require his attention, you can report them to clerk@froxfield.org (two weeks prior to visit date please) or online.

Click here for details of the Sparking Streams project which be benefitting locations and rives in the Hungerford and Shalbourne areas over the coming months.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 18 May and you can read the minutes here. Items discussed included: the election of the Chairman and Vice-chairman; the need for a new councillor; Orchard green; financial matters; planning applications; the new recreation ground; HGV signs on Stag Hill; weight restrictions on Soley Lane; speeding; the village website; and the asset register.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council (and the annual parish meeting) took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered in the PC meeting included: the re-election of the Chairman and Vice-chairman of the PC and its planning committee; the Lower Green triangle; a grantor the Cricket Club; the PC’s notice board; one planning matter; rights of way; and financial matters.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 1 April and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 21 April and you can read the minutes here.

• The May 2021 Froxfield Parish Council Newsletter has recently been published and you can read it here. If you would like to receive these, please email froxfieldPCnews@mail.com.

• Click here for the May 2021 edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 27 May 2021

• The June edition of Penny Post Hungerford will be published on 1 June. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk if there’s anything you’d like to see included in this.

• Due the problems of combining social-distancing regulations with the demand that councils revert to face-to-face meetings, there’ll be no meeting of Hungerford Town Council in June. The next one will be on 5 July.

• In place of the usual Freedom of the Town Award, Hungerford Town Council is looking for nominations for “those local residents who have gone out of their way to help the community of Hungerford since the start of the pandemic.” More information can be found here. Nominations need to be in by the end of June.

• Covid lateral flow tests, previously available in the Hungerford Rugby Club, are now operating from a mobile unit in the car park next to the Hungerford Library and Hub. More details here.

• Hungerford Town Council has recently issued a statement about West Berkshire Council’s decision to insist that Bewley Homes build socially-rented houses as part of the Lancaster Park development, something the developer had been seeking to have set aside.

• As mentioned last week, Bewley has extended its sponsorship of Hungerford Town FC for a further year (to the end of the 2022-23 season). You can read more about this on Bewley’s website here.

• Click here for the latest with Hungerford’s neighbourhood development plan (Hungerford 2036).

• The Great British Spring Clean takes place between 28 May and 13 June and many events will be organised by local councils. Click on the relevant link below to see how you can get involved with what’s happening in your town or village.

• If you fancy indoor cycling, aqufit classes, circuit training, yoga, pilates and things known as body attack and body pump (which are probably not as alarming as they appear) then these are now back on the menu at the Hungerford Leisure Centreclick here for details. The Centre has also just sent out a brief online survey which you can complete here.

• This year’s funding applications are now open from the Hungerford and Camburn Educational Trust (deadline 18 June).

• I mentioned last week (see below) about 18 cows which escaped through the fencing on Hungerford Marsh and have crossed the state line to Cake Wood. There they split into three groups and are concealed in the woodland. The herdsman and staff from Ramsbury Estate know where they are: the cows, who are young and excitable and would never have had an adventure like this before, need to left on their own to calm down before they can be led back to the Marsh. Froxfield PC told Penny Post that some people are indulging in a bit of cow hunting, sometimes with their dogs. This spooks the cows (as it would me) and sets the whole process back: it can also result in their getting onto the roads. Please do not leave public rights of way to go cow hunting. It’s hoped that they will be back on the Marsh within the next week or so.

• And still in Froxfield, the PC has announced that the boardwalk has been completed.  This creates a nature reserve out of the overgrown waste land water meadow and has taken about five years to bring to fruition, working with the Action for the River Kennet. “Martin Gibson (ARK Treasurer and Axford farmer) and his team led the build,” Froxfield PC Chair Vanya Body told Penny Post, “supported by a group of dedicated locals braving the foul weather to attach 700-odd planks to the boardwalk framework. It is about 100m long and snakes through the area, past the new ponds which have been dug. There is also a viewing and dipping platform. The idea is to work with ARK and other conservation groups to enhance the flora and fauna in the area and create a more dynamic and educational environmental asset to the local community. The nature reserve now spans the acre or so of land between the chalk stream and A4.  It also takes in a newly-planted wildlife-friendly hedge.”

• On a similar theme, click here for details of the Sparking Streams project which be benefitting locations and rives in the Hungerford and Shalbourne areas over the coming months.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council (and the annual parish meeting) took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered in the PC meeting included: the re-election of the Chairman and Vice-chairman of the PC and its planning committee; the Lower Green triangle; a grantor the Cricket Club; the PC’s notice board; one planning matter; rights of way; and financial matters.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 1 April and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 8 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The May 2021 Froxfield Parish Council Newsletter has recently been published and you can read it here. If you would like to receive these, please email froxfieldPCnews@mail.com.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 9 March and you can read the minutes here.

• Click here for the May edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 20 May 2021

• The May edition of Penny Post Hungerford e-newsletter was published earlier this month. Click here to read it if you didn’t get it. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk if there’s anything you’d like to see included in Penny Post Hungerford in the future. The next one will be published on 1 June.

• Covid lateral flow tests, previously available in the Hungerford Rugby Club, are now operating from a mobile unit in the car park next to the Hungerford Library and Hub. More details here.

• The timetables for the West Berkshire Council’s mobile community collect service for lateral-flow tests is changing from Monday 24 May – details can be found here.

Click here for information the Bedwyn Train Passengers Group about changes to rail services between Bedwyn and Newbury as a result of cracks having been discovered in the IET trains.

• As mentioned last week, West Berkshire Council recently turned down Bewley Homes’ revised application which would have removed the need for the 100-home development at Lancaster Park to have contained any social rented homes. The Town Council has recently issued a statement on the matter. Bewley Homes has six months in which to appeal this decision. Penny Post contacted Bewley on 20 May to ask if it had yet decided whether it would but a spokesperson said that the company had no comment on the matter.

• Meanwhile, Bewley has extended its sponsorship of Hungerford Town FC for a further year (to the end of the 2022-23 season). You can read more about this on Bewley’s website here.

• Also as mentioned before, the matter of the names of the new streets in the development seems to have been sorted out: see this statement from the Town Council.

• Click here for an update of the state of play with Hungerford neighbourhood development plan (Hungerford 2036).

• Apart from walking up and down a flight of stairs about 30 times a day, virtually the only form of exercise I take is swimming so I was delighted when the Hungerford Leisure Centre re-opened last month. The Centre has just sent out a brief online survey which you can complete here.

• This year’s funding applications are now open from the Hungerford and Camburn Educational Trust (deadline 18 June).

• News from Froxfield Parish Council about 18 cows which, in what given the number seems like a carefully orchestrated break out, escaped through the fencing on Hungerford marsh and have crossed the state line to Cake Wood. There they split into three groups – another classic sign of pre-meditation – and are concealed in the woodland. The herdsman and staff from Ramsbury Estate know exactly where they are at various places between Hungerford at Ramsbury. The stand-off continues at the time of writing. You’re advised not to go looking for them, approach them or to do anything that might spook them. They’re young and excitable and will need to be monitored for a few days while they calm down before they can be led back to the Marsh.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council (and the annual parish meeting) took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here. items covered in the PC meeting included: the re-election of the Chairman and Vice-chairman of the PC and its planning committee; the Lower Green triangle; a grantor the Cricket Club; the PC’s notice board; one planning matter; rights of way; and financial matters.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 1 April and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 8 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The May 2021 Froxfield Parish Council Newsletter has recently been published and you can read it here. If you would like to receive these, please email froxfieldPCnews@mail.com.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 9 March and you can read the minutes here.

• Click here for the May edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 13 May 2021

• The May edition of Penny Post Hungerford e-newsletter was published last week. Click here to read it if you didn’t get it. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk if there’s anything you’d like to see included in Penny Post Hungerford in the future. The next one will be published on 1 June.

• Covid lateral flow tests, previously available in the Hungerford Rugby Club, are now operating from a mobile unit in the car park next to the Hungerford Library and Hub. More details here.

• Back in June 2020, Hungerford and Kintbury’s three ward members decided that a revised planning application by Bewley Homes should be called in (meaning that it would be looked an in committee, rather than just by officers). This application requested that West Berkshire Council set aside the requirement (specified in the final planning permission) that Bewley provide 28 social-rent houses at its 100-home development to the south of the town, since named Lancaster Park (more on that aspect below). Opposition to the proposal was widespread and vehement. What followed was 11 months of discussion, meetings, emails, reports and then more of the same in which the developers sought to convince West Berkshire Council that this condition, which had seemed acceptable when the permission was granted, now suddenly made the project non-viable. On 12 May, WBC’s officers decided to turn this application down. Bewley has six months in which to appeal.

If Bewley decides not to do so – which would be a far higher-risk and higher-cost strategy than was the revised application – or if does and loses, there are a number of victories in this. Most importantly, it’s victory for 28 families from the district (not necessarily Hungerford) who badly need such homes: as The Guardian pointed out in December 2020, recent construction levels have been well below what’s required. It’s a victory for Hungerford, in being able to insist that it has some say in what’s built in the town. (The Town Council and three ward members deserve particular credit, as do all the people who kept the issue alive.) It’s a victory for West Berkshire Council’s planning experts who looked carefully at all the representations and made their decision based on the Council’s policy. Finally, it’s a victory for the power of legal agreements willingly entered into. It’s not, of course, a victory for Bewley or its partner Wates; but it’s hard to see how either will lose money on the deal. Property prices in places like Hungerford have risen sharply in the last 12 months and the majority of the homes will still be for sale for between £565,000 and £760,000. Hopefully they’ll see this as a win-win-win-win-sort-of-win situation, sell up and move on.

Hungerford Mayor Helen Simpson professed herself “delighted” by WBC’s verdict. “It took a long time,” she added, “but the officers made the right decision in the end. These socially-rented homes are badly needed and Bewley and Wates did, after all, agree to provide them.” The Town Council has recently issued a statement on the matter. How much of this local scrutiny will still be in place if the government’s Planning Bill as currently envisaged becomes law is another matter.

• Moving on from the tenure of the homes, another problem has also been sorted out this week. This concerns the names of the new streets in the development. In past times, the situation with this was very simple: new streets were named after the (usually male) councillors, their wives or their mistresses. Other, more inclusive and sensitive methods are now employed. The names, which celebrate people and places from Hungerford’s past, have now been agreed: see this statement from the Town Council.

• Two letters in this week’s NWN refer to Hungerford Town Council’s never-ending battle with the town’s pigeons and a recent suggestion that be be relocated. One letter refers to the efforts made by the Provencal town of La Napoule to lure the birds to an out-of-town pigeon ghetto; another points out the health hazards after the writer’s daughter was hospitalised for five months after picking up an infection from them. As a born and bred Londoner, I regard these animals as being on a par with rats and fleas. Our cats take a similar view.

• A reminder that a joint venture between Hungerford Town Council and West Berkshire Council has led to five new recycling bins for recycling metal cans and plastic drink bottles being installed at Canal Walk, Bulpit Lane Play Park, One Stop Shop in Fairview Road, WH Smiths and outside the Town Hall. (These are in addition to the plastic recycling container recently installed by West Berkshire Council in the Station Road car park). If you have any views on this, including whether this is something you would like to see more of in the town, please contact HTC at admin@hungerford-tc.gov.uk or 01488 686195.
• See here for details of the Covid lateral flow tests that are now available in Hungerford (note that this will now take place in the Hub, not at the Rugby Club).

• Click here for an update of the state of play with Hungerford neighbourhood development plan (Hungerford 2036).

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 1 April and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 8 March and you can read the minutes here.

Froxfield PC will host its annual parish meeting and its annual PC meeting, one after the other starting at 7pm on Monday 17 May. Click here to see the agendas. Items for discussion include the problem of parking along the Green; next steps towards road calming; planning issues around the siting of the new electricity transformer to the north of the village; the Best Kept Village competition; and the need for a new councillor. There will be some Covid-safety restrictions and numbers attending must be capped due to social-distancing rules.  If you wish to attend, please contact the Clerk, Esther Cope, on clerk@froxfield.org so you name can be placed on the attendees list.  Information about these necessary precautions is also on the website.

• The May 2021 Froxfield Parish Council Newsletter has recently been published and you can read it here. If you would like to receive these, please email froxfieldPCnews@mail.com.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 9 March and you can read the minutes here.

• Click here for the May edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 6 May 2021

• The May edition of Penny Post Hungerford e-newsletter was published earlier this week. Click here to read it if you didn’t get it. As well as the usual updates from the Town Council (HTC), the Town and Manor and the local retailers, we have news of the re-launch of the Rose of Hungerford, lateral flow tests (see also below), local bluebell woods, the local schools, the Smarten Up team, the Theatre Company, The Tennis Club and HEAT. There’s a sponsorship opportunity at the Cricket Club, the latest diary instalment from Richard Hawthorne of John O’Gaunt School, an elegant and rounded rosé and a book that shows how gardening can boost mental health. There’s also news of the 2021 Hungerford in Bloom, this weekend’s Food and Artisan Market (see below), a look up at the stars, a look back at the National, advice about buying royal memorabilia and an election-time short story.  Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk if there’s anything you’d like to see included in Penny Post Hungerford in the future. The next one will be published on 1 June.

• As mentioned above, the next Hungerford Food and Artisan Market will take place this Sunday 9 May from 10am to 1pm in the Croft Field. More details here.

• Covid lateral flow tests, previously available in the Hungerford Rugby Club, are now operating from a mobile unit in the car park next to the Hungerford Library and Hub. More details here.

• As mentioned above, the next Penny Post Hungerford e-newsletter will be published on 1 June. This will not include a summary of that month’s full council meeting as HTC has to decided to cancel it. When in its wisdom the government decided to insist that all council meetings must be held in person, rather than online, or as councils decided,, from 7 May, it didn’t seem to take into account that social-distancing measures will still be required until at least 21 June. Many parishes were thus faced with the choice between holding meetings virtually after 7 May (and breaking the law) or doing so in buildings that were often too small or unsuitable (and breaking the law). It’s true that Hungerford’s Corn Exchange is large enough to hold a meeting legally (if not always audibly) but it was pointed out at the recent HTC meeting that the work in getting this usable before 21 June would be irksome for the staff, all of whom are busy enough as it is. After a discussion which looked at almost every permutation of dates for June and July’s meeting, it was decided to do away with June’s altogether. The next one will be on Monday 5 July. HTC’s work on the matter is not yet done: for another extraordinary council meeting is also required on 6 May to discuss how arrangements can be made to host in-person meetings safely until the Covid threat has receded and what extra use might be made of the Council’s delegated powers to make decisions.

The cancellation of June’s meeting does not create a massive democratic deficit as many councils (particularly small ones, or larger ones that delegate many matters to committees, of which Hungerford has several) don’t meet every month normally. However, it’s not ideal to have these decisions thrust upon them all for the sheer want of any trust by Whitehall that they can arrange these matters for themselves.

• I mentioned last week that HTC had been asked by BT if it wants to adopt the phone box on the High Street. Although the asking price is only £1, HTC would then assume responsibility for it which might include needing to move it if, as some claim, its obstruction of the line of sight to the zebra causes an accident. It’s already been established that moving it would cost a four-figure sum. The question of visibility in that part of the High Street also came up at the above-mentioned meeting after HTC’s Highways and Transport committee had earlier unanimously agreed to as West Berkshire Council (WBC) to convert the parking bays just up from the zebra to pavement: this is effectively what’s been the case for the last year as these the parking bays have been cordoned off to encourage social distancing on the pavement. After some discussion following objections to this plan by a member of the public, it was agreed to proceed with the request to WBC. Whether WBC will agree to do something that will cost money, potentially reduce its revenue and embroil it in a local controversy is another matter.

• A joint venture between Hungerford Town Council and West Berkshire Council has led to five new recycling bins for recycling metal cans and plastic drink bottles being installed at Canal Walk, Bulpit Lane Play Park, One Stop Shop in Fairview Road, WH Smiths and outside the Town Hall. (These are in addition to the plastic recycling container recently installed by West Berkshire Council in the Station Road car park). If you have any views on this, including whether this is something you would like to see more of in the town, lease contact HTC at admin@hungerford-tc.gov.uk or 01488 686195.
• See here for details of the Covid lateral flow tests that are now available in Hungerford (note that this will now take place in the Hub, not at the Rugby Club).

• Click here for an update of the state of play with Hungerford neighbourhood development plan (Hungerford 2036).

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 1 April and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: dog fouling; the co-option of a new councillor; two planning applications; financial matters; the settlement boundary review; the handrail at the churchyard steps (which seems to be a fairly regular item on the agendas); and the annual parish newsletter.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 8 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The May 2021 Froxfield Parish Council Newsletter has recently been published and you can read it here. If you would like to receive these, please email froxfieldPCnews@mail.com. This issues covers the need for a new parish councillor; the appointment of Esther Cope as the new Parish Clerk, taking over from Sarah Whatley; work to begin on 10 May on the traffic-calming measures on the eastern approach of the A4; Froxfield’s entry in the CPRE’s 2021 Best0kept Village competition; the Wiltshire Parish Steward; and a reminder about the What 3Words system for referencing a location down to a few square metres. (I’ve just looked mine up and where I’m sitting now is “delighted waiters handbags”, which I rather like: makes me feel like the answer to a particularly ingenious crossword clue.)

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 9 March and you can read the minutes here.

• Click here for the May edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 29 April 2021

• The next meeting of Hungerford Town Council will take place virtually at 7pm on Tuesday 4 May and you can view the agenda here (including the Zoom link).

• The April edition of Penny Post Hungerford e-newsletter was published earlier this month. Click here to read it if you didn’t get it. The May issue will be published on Wednesday 5 May and will, as ever, include a report on the previous evening’s meeting (see paragraph above). Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk if there’s anything you’d like to see included in Penny Post Hungerford.

• This week’s NWN reports on an issue that’s come up before and has been considered by Hungerford Town Council: whether or not to adopt the red phone box in the High Street, BT being prepared to let this and mayn others in the country go for £1. The problem is what would then happen to it. To demolish it is impossible, as its lists. To move it would cost several thousands of pounds. To leave it where it is is seen by some as dangerous as it blocks the sight-line to the zebra crossing. Then there’s the question of what it would be used for. A defibrillator? A book exchange? A tourist information point? A fish tank? Given the safety concerns, perhaps the most useful thing would be to pack it full of first-aid equipment so that if there were an accident on the zebra crossing (possibly caused by the phone box blocking the view) it could then help remedy the situation. Whether it was wise to put a zebra in this exact spot is a question that’s too late to ask now.

• A joint venture between Hungerford Town Council and West Berkshire Council has led to five new recycling bins for recycling metal cans and plastic drink bottles being installed at Canal Walk, Bulpit Lane Play Park, One Stop Shop in Fairview Road, WH Smiths and outside the Town Hall. (These are in addition to the plastic recycling container recently installed by West Berkshire Council in the Station Road car park). If you have any views on this, including whether this is something you would like to see more of in the town, lease contact HTC at admin@hungerford-tc.gov.uk or 01488 686195.
• See here for details of the Covid lateral flow tests that are now available in Hungerford (note that this will now take place in the Hub, not at the Rugby Club).

• The next Food and Artisan Market in Hungerford will be on Sunday 9 May. Click here for more information.

• Click here for an update of the state of play with Hungerford neighbourhood development plan (Hungerford 2036).

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for took place on 1 April and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: dog fouling; thew co-option of a new councillor; two planning applications; financial matters; the settlement boundary review; the handrail at the churchyard steps (which seems to be a fairly regular item on the agendas); and the annual parish newsletter.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 8 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The May 2021 Froxfield Parish Council Newsletter has recently been published: if you would like to receive these, please email froxfieldPCnews@mail.com. This issues covers the need for a new parish councillor; the appointment of Esther Cop as thew new Prish Clerk, taking over from Sarah Whatley; work to begin on 10 May on the traffic-calming measures on the eastern approach of the A4; Froxfield’s entry in the CPRE’s 2021 Best0kept Village competition; the Wiltshire Parish Steward; and a reminder about the What 3Words system for referencing a location down to a few square metres. (I’ve just looked mine up and where I’m sitting now is “delighted waiters handbags”, which I rather like: makes me feel like the answer to a particularly ingenious crossword clue.)

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 9 March and you can read the minutes here.

• Click here for the April edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 22 April 2021

• See here for details of the Covid lateral flow tests that are now available in Hungerford.

A joint venture between Hungerford Town Council and West Berkshire Council has led to five new recycling bins for recycling metal cans and plastic drink bottles being installed at Canal Walk, Bulpit Lane Play Park, One Stop Shop in Fairview Road, WH Smiths and outside the Town Hall. (These are in addition to the plastic recycling container recently installed by West Berkshire Council in the Station Road car park). Mayor of Hungerford Helen Simpson, said that  “The placing of these bins is a start in the council’s commitment to helping create best environmental practice and reducing the council’s and the town’s carbon footprint. Depending on the success of this initiative, we hope to implement further recycling facilities in the town.” West Berkshire Council’s Executive Member for the Environment, Councillor Steve Ardagh-Walter said “WBC was pleased to work with Hungerford on this initiative. I commend Hungerford Town Council for its commitment to providing their residents with more opportunities to recycle.” If you have any views on this, including whether this is something you would like to see more of in the town, please contact HTC at admin@hungerford-tc.gov.uk or 01488 686195.

• The April edition of Penny Post Hungerford was published earlier this month. Click here to read it if you didn’t get it.

• See p12 if this week’s NWN for a report on the excellent Food and Artisan Market in Hungerford last Sunday. The next one will be on Sunday 9 May. Click here for more information.

• On 13 April I was delighted to have been invited to the Hocktide Court and Court Leet of the Hungerford Town and Manor. Click here for an article I wrote about it which puts the occasion in its historical context.

• Click here for an update of the state of play with Hungerford neighbourhood development plan (Hungerford 2036).

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 25 January and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 8 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 9 March and you can read the minutes here.

• Click here for the April edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 15 April 2021

• See here for details of the Covid lateral flow tests that are now available in Hungerford.

• The April edition of Penny Post Hungerford was published last week. Click here to read it if you didn’t get it. As usual, it provides the best and most comprehensive round up of what’s going on in the town.

• On 13 April I was delighted to have been invited to the Hocktide Court and Court Leet of the Hungerford Town and Manor. The event is not easy to describe in a word – click here for an article I wrote about it which puts the occasion in its historical context.

• Click here for an update of the state of play with Hungerford neighbourhood development plan (Hungerford 2036).

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 25 January and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 8 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 9 March and you can read the minutes here.

• Click here for the March edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 8 April 2021

• See here for details of the Covid lateral flow tests that are now available in Hungerford.

• This being the start of the month, Penny Post Hungerford has once again arrived to give you the best and most comprehensive round-up of life in the town. Click here to read it if you didn’t get it. As usual, we have the news from the Town Council, the Town and Manor and the local retailers. We have the latest diary from the Head of JoG, an summary from the Head of the Nursery School and an appeal for volunteers from Smarten Up Hungerford. We’ve got news about the various re-openings and advice about making travel plans. We’ve got special offers, a fragrant red wine, a weather-decoding book, a prize winner, a look back at Cheltenham, a spot of star-gazing and a short story. We’ve got property, jobs, events, advice on keeping active and, to round it off, some wise words from Katherine Hepburn. In short, just the range and depth you’ve come to expect.

• Geordie Taylor of the Hungerford Self-isolation Network hasprovided a brief summary of the excellent work which the group has done over the last 12 months and also confirmed that the money left over from the various donations he’s received will be being split between a number of local charities and community groups. Click here to read the full text.

• It’s to be hoped that some definite news on the proposal by Bewley Homes to set aside the condition that the Lancaster Park development contain 28 social-rent homes will be announced by the end of year (which will be nearly a year on from the revised application).

• Click here for an update of the state of play with Hungerford neighbourhood development plan (Hungerford 2036).

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 25 January and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 8 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 9 March and you can read the minutes here.

• Click here for the March edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 1 April 2021

• See here for details of the Covid lateral flow tests that are now available in Hungerford.

• Geordie Taylor of the Hungerford Self-isolation Network hasprovided a brief summary of the excellent work which the group has done over the last 12 months and also confirmed that the money left over from the various donations he’s received will be being split between a number of local charities and community groups. Click here to read the full text.

• This month’s meeting of Hungerford Town Council will be not on a Monday but a Tuesday (6 April), due to Easter and you can see the agenda here. (Note that Laura Farris will not now be able to attend but hopes to be able to do so at a future meeting.) As ever, a report on this will appear in the April Penny Post Hungerford the following day.

• One of the items that may be covered at that is the proposal to widen the pavement on the east side of the High Street. This was discussed at the recent meeting of the Highways and Transport Committee, the minutes of which you can read here.

• The recurring matter of the town’s troublesome pigeon population was also discussed at there above meeting.

• One of the items that will doubtless be asked – though possibly not answered – is where we are with the proposal by Bewley Homes to set aside the condition that the Lancaster Park development contain 28 social-rent homes. The matter has been called in by one of the ward members so if there is no successful conclusion to the seemingly interminable discussions between Bewley and West Berkshire Council, the matter will be discussed in committee at some point in the future.

• Click here for an update of the state of play with Hungerford neighbourhood development plan (Hungerford 2036).

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 March and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: new playground equipment; tidying the small green in Oxenwood; various planning applications; the Shalbourne Club; the hope that events such as the Classic Car Show can result in 2021; dog fouling; and the need to establish the ownership of land on the southern side of the Bourne to proceed with Action for the River Kennet’s plan to clear the bourn and the footpaths.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 25 January and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a vacancy for a councillor to be filled by co-option; dog fouling; several planning applications; a possible grant to Citizens Advice West Berkshire; financial matters; the handrail at the churchyard steps; and the Coronation Hall.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 8 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Water meadow Boardwalk; the emergency plan; the problems caused by parking on the Green; and financial matters.

The Froxfield Community Speedwatch Group has finally been given the green light to start operating from three locations in the village from 29 March. If you would like to join the group and help tackle the speeding issues, contact Sarah Whatley on Froxfieldclerk@yahoo.com.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 9 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; the asset register; four planning applications; the Recreation Ground; blocked gullies; speeding issues; weight restrictions on Soley Lane; flooding at Orchard Green allegedly caused by “work arranged by BT”; Playground inspection; and tree planting.

• Click here for the March edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin. If you want to subscribe or contribute, contact gloriakeene@hotmail.com.

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