Hungerford Area Weekly News sections – archive 1

To see the current Hungerford Area Weekly News section, 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 12 May 2022

This week’s news

Click here for information from the Town and Manor of Hungerford about forthcoming elections “for the purpose of electing five Trustees for a term of six years, to work alongside five current Trustees who will be in office until 2025.”

Hungerford & Camburn Educational Trust has just announced the launch of their 2022 grant applications for 16 to 25 year olds. The trust was set up by a legacy from Caleb Camburn, the first Headmaster of Hungerford School, to give financial support to students of Hungerford for further education or apprenticeship expenses. Please see here how to apply by 17 June.

• This Saturday 14 May sees the long-awaited Hungerford Rotary Club annual plant sale, a charity fundraiser for various local and national good causes. The annual event typically manages to raise over £1000, and this year the Club are hoping to smash that target. The plant sale will be held from 10am to 2pm at Tumblings, 16 The Croft (opposite the gates of St Lawrence Church). Please drop off plant donations( fully-labelled please) between 4pm and 5pm on Friday 13 May.

• The Crown & Anchor in Ham reports that its charity walk for Ukraine on May Bank Holiday Monday was a stunning success, raising £17,500 for Save the Children Ukraine. They would like to thank everyone involved.

• This weekend, Froxfield Parish Council is organising a team of volunteers to help with a tidy-up of the village to prepare for The Wiltshire Best Kept Village Competition. If you would like to volunteer then please contact Vanya Body to register at v.body@froxfield.org and meet at the Village Green on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 May, from 10am until about noon.

• This Sunday will see the return of the Kintbury 5 race, 2022. This five-mile run through quiet roads and beautiful countryside, will be starting from the Jubilee Centre, Kintbury. There are also fun childrens races of 350m (age 6 and under), 1km (age 6-9), 2 miles (age 10 and over)and main 5 mile race starting at 10.30am. All proceeds go to Kintbury St Mary’s Primary School. Event takes place on Sunday 15 May, for more information, visit their website or Facebook page.

• Honesty at Herongate is launching fortnightly live entertainment on Thursday nights from 26 May, kicking off with Café Zazxous, a swing gypsy jazz quartet in the hot club style of the Paris café musette. See here for more details.

• Hungerford Hub & Library, in partnership with Hungerford Bookshop, has launched its new Well Read Mind series of inspiring talks and workshops for mental health and wellbeing, which runs until 12 July. Thanks to grant funding, each event costs only £3. Please see here for full schedule (which includes a nature mandala workshop with Penny on Sunday 22 May).

Hungerford Repair Café is back in on Saturday 21 May at the Croft Hall, 10am to 12:30pm. Bring anything from broken electrical goods to old toys, tools that need sharpening, clothes that need mending and even simple bike maintenance – and have a chat, cake and coffee while you wait. Hungerford Repair Café aims to reduce waste sent to landfill, encourage us to develop the skills and confidence to repair what we own and save us money by not having to replace our much loved items. If you would like more information, please visit their website.

• Tickets for the Hungerford Summer Festival 2022 are now on sale. Running from 1 to 10 July there will be an exciting line-up of events to participate in, from live music to drama plays, pantos, and a whole heap of different workshops. Spaces for some events are limited, so book sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment. Check out the website to see the full line-up of events.

• Hungerford Rotary Club and Arts for Hungerford are teaming up to invite you to a celebratory Jubilee Opera and Picnic on Saturday 25 June. They have invited Kennet Opera to perform a ‘Glyndebourne style’ concert on the lovely Croft green so you can enjoy the musical celebration with a picnic. Tickets are £25 and can be purchased here.

• Hungerford local, Paula Darch, will be running the London Marathon this October to raise funds for the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity (based in Farnham). Paula’s husband and daughter are both dyslexic, and the charity has been a huge help to the family. As well as to raise money, Paula is also undertaking the challenge to show her daughter that anyone can do anything if they put their mind to it. Please support Paula here to help families that might not be able to afford dyslexia assessments. Our son is dyslexic so we know how important assessments are and we wish Paula the best of luck in her marathon training.

• Click here for the latest newsletter from the Hungerford Arcade.

Click here for the latest news from the Bedwyn Train Passenger Group about the continuing threat to direct rail services from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to London.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Pigeons and pavements

There are four jobs of renovation work going on in Hungerford at present. All will, when completed, make the town a better place. Until then, there’ll be some disruption and, in one case, uncertainty.

Two of the jobs are in the town centre: the re-surfacing of Church Street near the Library; and the very welcome move to do the same to the parking bays on which the Wednesday market sets up. The bays have long been pitted with potholes that act as very effective traps for both traders and shoppers. Two broken bones – ankle and arm – have so far resulted from these bits of the ground that aren’t there. Hopefully that will be the end of that. This patch of road gets very heavy usage. (Both these have now been completed.)

Further down the street, as reported in previous editions of this column (see below), work continues on the rather larger project of restoring the Queen Anne building to the left of the Co-op store. This is all currently behind tarpaulin so it’s impossible to judge how well things are going. The builders I spoke to the other day said all was going well but that there was a lot to do. Attention is also being paid to the slightly odd building to the right of the store. What’s odd about it is that it has no access from ground level (the staircase having been removed years back to make room for the tills) so a cherry-picker is needed to get in and out. This is hardly likely to be a long-term solution but how this omission will be fixed and what use it might then be put to remains unclear. For this reason very few people would have set foot in it recently but it seems that a large number of pigeons have. This could, perhaps, be their Hungerford HQ from where all their various raids on the town are planned. If so, sorting this building will have more than just an architectural improvement.

The fourth matter, and the one that’s uncertain, concerns the pavements at Clark’s Gardens near One Stop. As mentioned previously (see below) and elsewhere, it was impossible for anyone to pretend that the work was done to anything near an acceptable standard and West Berkshire agreed that remedial work (at no cost to the council) would be done by the contractor, although some doubts were expressed locally as to how effective the early stages of this seemed likely to be. This is set to be completed by the end of this week and I understand that WBC officers, the contractors and Hungerford Mayor Helen Simpson will be meeting on-site on 18 May. The Mayor has already spoken to several local residents and passed their views to the contractors. It would seem best to wait until the results of the site meeting. Anyone who knows Helen Simpson even slightly will also know that if the work hasn’t been done properly, then more will be heard about this. Let’s wait until then before passing judgment.

Community notices

• Hungerford’s Platinum Jubilee Make and Bake Competition on the Sun 5 June, at the Jubilee tent on the Croft field, with categories including: puddings, scones (sweet or savoury), flower posy arrangement and a picture that illustrates the Queen’s life. The whole family can get involved because there are categories for under 11s and 12-17 year olds too. So start practicing your puddings!

• Donations of unwanted gardening tools are requested for a new well-being allotment group. If you can help please contact Tina Hill on harkangel@live.com or 07572 944395.

• Enter Hungerford in Bloom 2022 by submitting this application form by Monday 20 June. Judging will take place on Saturday 2 July.  For more information see here.

Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs and summer reading challenges. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

• Hungerford Environmental Action Team (HEAT) has some fun and practical volunteering opportunities over the next couple of months. If you would like to get involved please contact HEAT_Hungerford@yahoo.com

• Hungerford PPG (Patient Participation Group) strongly encourages elderly residents to make a doctor appointment if they are not feeling 100%.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk. The charity is looking for more volunteer walkers across the area.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

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

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

• Sat 14 & Sun 15 May Froxfield Town Tidy-Up, meet at the Village Green entrance to Memorial Hall, 10am.

Sat 14 May Hungerford Charity Plant Sale, at ‘The Tumblings’ opposite St Lawrence Church, 10am to 12pm.

• Sun 15 May Kintbury 5 Mile Race 2022, Kintbury Recreation Ground, Inkpen Road.

Sat 21 May Hungerford Repair Cafe, The Croft Hall.

Fri 27 May Hungerford Comedy Club Show, The Croft Hall.

Sun 5 June Hungerford Platinum Jubilee Picnic, The Croft Field.

Sat 25 Jun Jubilee Picnic & Opera Evening, The Croft Hall, 5pm to 10:15pm.

• Regular Events

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more details can be found here.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes and bric-a-brac.

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft. Please see here for more.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page.

The Curve Gift Shop at Hungerford Hub sells art and craft by local artisans with 15% of sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Open 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and 10am – 12noon Saturdays.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Love Lotte Barre Fitness classes for the best workout: £45/month (plus free taster).

Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome.

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 most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 4 April) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 14 April and you can download the minutes here.  This mainly conducted some formal business. The annual Parish assembly took place on 21 April and you can download the minutes here. This included reports of the year’s activities from the Parish Council and various community groups. 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 7 April and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a report from ward members James Cole and Dennis Benneyworth; speeding; Elcot Park’s licence applications; planning matters; financial matters; committee reports; grass cutting; and the jubilee. 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 14 March 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 Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 8 March 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 (extraordinary) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 23 June 2021 and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

 

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Thursday 5 May 2022

This week’s news

• Many congratulations to The Hungerford Club, who have been awarded the title of West Berkshire Campaign for Real Ale’s Club of the Year 2022. The award is judged by a panel of volunteers throughout the year, and make judgments based on the atmosphere, surrounding and – of course – the quality of ale. The Hungerford Club clearly maintains a consistent track-record as the this is not the first time the club has been awarded this title. Pints all round, I think…

• The Wiltshire Best Kept Village Competition has been running annually since 1959. Froxfield, a previous winner of ‘Best Newcomer’ has entered this year’s competition and is hoping for a podium position. The Parish Council is organising a team of volunteers to help with a pre-event tidy. If you would like to volunteer then please contact Vanya Body to register at v.body@froxfield.org Amongst the jobs to be completed are: painting planters, litter picking, weeding and general maintenance of the green and water meadow. This will take place on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 May, from 10am until about noon.
Meet at the Village Green at the entrance to the Memorial Hall. All offers of help, large or small, are welcome.

Elcot Park Hotel‘s application for extension of its premise licence to include outdoor film screenings and music and events for the public was, unsurpsrisingly, objected to by neighbouring landowners and farmers concerned about disruption to their breeding beef herds. However, as a result of mediation encouraged by the Licensing Authority, agreement has been reached on additional conditions to address the concerns raised and the public hearing has been cancelled. For more details please visit the Public Protection Partnership’s website here.

•  Last weekend the town enjoyed what might just be the first of many Classic Vehicle Shows. Organised by the Hungerford Rotary Club, the event was a tremendous success with over 500 visitors admiring the array of 150 different vintage cars and automobiles. The show reportedly raised over £2,200 which will go towards Rotary Charities. Attendees enjoyed it so much, that the Rotary Club has expressed it may become a regular instalment in the annual fundraising calendar. We look forward to seeing more classic vehicles swinging by Hungerford again, in the not too distant future.

• Well done to the students of John O’Gaunt School, who have been putting on all kinds of events and activities to raise money for the Red Cross in Ukraine. You can read more about all the fantastic work they’ve been doing here.

• We are looking forward to seeing everyone at the Hungerford Food & Artisan Market this Sunday 8 May 10am to 1pm at The Croft Field Centre with cooking demonstrations of wild greens and trout smoking. A small team of volunteers run the markets and cooking workshops in the community. If you would like to get involved with cooking workshops, market set-up, admin, social media, website maintenance or video production please email hungerfordfoodcommunity@gmail.com. Training will be provided.  For more details, please visit hungerfordfoodcommunity.org.

• Donations of unwanted gardening tools are requested for a new well-being allotment group. Please bring donations to the market on Sunday or contact Tina Hill on harkangel@live.com or 07572 944395.

• Also this weekend, Kintbury Tennis Club invites you to its free Open Day on Sunday 8 May.

• Hungerford Hub & Library, in partnership with Hungerford Bookshop, is pleased to announce the launch of their new Well Read Mind series of inspiring talks and workshops for mental health and wellbeing which runs from 5 May to 12 July. Thanks to grant funding, each event costs only £3. Please see here for full schedule (which includes a nature mandala workshop with Penny on Sunday 22 May).

• Click here for the latest newsletter from the Hungerford Arcade.

• It’s that time of year where beautiful bluebells are lining our woodland trails. Take to opportunity to get outside and appreciate our wonderful natural world, before the flowering season ends. You can read our article here to find out where your nearest bluebell walk is.

• Get your running shoes on, because the Kintbury 5 race is back for 2022. This 5-mile run through quiet roads and beautiful countryside, will be taking place on Sunday 15 May, starting from the Jubilee Centre, Kintbury. There are also fun childrens races of 350m (age 6 and under), 1km (age 6-9), 2 miles (age 10 and over)and main 5 mile race starting at 10.30am. All proceeds go to Kintbury St Mary’s Primary School. To find out how to get involved or for more information, visit their website or Facebook page.

• Quick reminder that West Berkshire Council will be re-surfacing the parking bays and filling in potholes where the Wednesday market sets up on Thursday and Friday 12 and 13 May (9.30am to 3.30pm).

• Four Ghurka nurses from Nepal are now living in Hungerford, providing live-in and drop-in care to elderly people in the area. For more about their services with Poseidon Care see here.

Click here for the latest news from the Bedwyn Train Passenger Group about the continuing threat to direct rail services from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to London.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Tickets for the Hungerford Summer Festival 2022 are now on sale. Running from 1 to 10 July there will be an exciting line-up of events to participate in, from live music to drama plays, pantos, and a whole heap of different workshops. Spaces for some events are limited, so book sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment. Check out the website to see the full line-up of events.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Hungerford’s 65th

We were very pleased to have published our 65th consecutive monthly Penny Post Hungerford earlier this week. This may not be as significant as some anniversaries which are about to be celebrated but it’s an important one for us: and, we hope, for the town. What we try to do each month (and each week in the newsletter for the wider area) is to provide topical, accurate, relevant, varied and engaging information about Hungerford. This is only possible if you know a place pretty well. We don’t live there but our sons went to Hungerford Nursery and Primary School and John O’Gaunt and we are in town most days of the week. Penny started off and runs the Food Festival (which has morphed into the Sunday markets), was a governor at John O’Gaunt and ran the PTA, was a cub leader, volunteers at the youth club and is involved with HEAT, the Chamber of Commerce and the jubilee celebration plans, amongst other things. I concentrate on the work of the Town Council which, in Hungerford, is far more actively and effectively involved in local life than is the case in many other places. We do most of our shopping there (particularly at the Wednesday market), swim in the Leisure Centre’s pool, walk on the Common and (though the services are now less than they might be) take the trains from the station.

If we did not have this level of involvement in, knowledge of and commitment to the town it would be impossible for us to do even a half-decent newsletter every month and certainly not one to the standard which many people have been kind enough to tell us we achieve. The number of subscribers has been growing steadily too. All in all, we feel happy with the way we’re covering Hungerford and shall keep on doing so. We’re always trying to make the newsletter better, of course: so, if you have any suggestions as to how we could further improve it or if there’s something you’d like to see included, please email penny@pennypost.org.uk. We generally publish on the day after the first working Monday so please get any requests for inclusion to us by the end of the previous month.

As well as news, we’ve also covered a number of longer-running issues and campaigns which span several months or even years. Some are technical and complex, involving planning procedures, government policy and consultations with national organisations. We’ve done our best to explain the main issues clearly, point out how these might affect the town and indicated ways you can make your views known or otherwise take action to help address the problem. This we shall continue to do. Virtually every one of these also involves the work of Hungerford Town Council: as mentioned above, we work closely with them, the three WBC district councillors and other organisations in the town to ensure that our coverage is balanced, informed and takes into account as many views as possible. If you like what we do, you can support us by encouraging anyone you know who isn’t signed up to our newsletters to do so. This can be done very quickly (and for free) by clicking here.

Almost forgot – if you didn’t get the May Penny Post Hungerford, you can click here to read it.

Community notices

• Hungerford’s Platinum Jubilee Make and Bake Competition on the Sun 5 June, at the Jubilee tent on the Croft field, with categories including: puddings, scones (sweet or savoury), flower posy arrangement and a picture that illustrates the Queen’s life. The whole family can get involved because there will include categories for under 11s and 12-17 year old too. So start practicing your puddings!

• Enter Hungerford in Bloom 2022 by submitting this application form by Monday 20 June. Judging will take place on Saturday 2 July.  For more information see here.

Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs, summer reading challenges, Duke of Edinburgh, IT support, story time reader and much more. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

• Hungerford Environmental Action Team (HEAT) has some fun and practical volunteering opportunities over the next couple of months. If you would like to get involved please contact HEAT_Hungerford@yahoo.com

• Local gardeners are asked to donate to Hungerford Rotary Club’s annual plant sale on Saturday 14 May. Please make a note in your diary to drop plants (labelled please) at Tumblings, 16 The Croft (opposite the gates of St Lawrence Church) between 4pm and 5pm on Friday 13 May.

• Hungerford PPG (Patient Participation Group) strongly encourages elderly residents to make a doctor appointment if they are not feeling 100%.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk. The charity is looking for more volunteer walkers across the area.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

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

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

• Sun 8 May Hungerford Food & Artisan Market, The Croft Field Centre.

• Sun 8 May Kintbury Tennis Club Free Open Day, behind Jubilee Centre, 10:30am.

• Sun 15 May Kintbury 5 Mile Race 2022, Kintbury Recreation Ground, Inkpen Road.

Sat 21 May Hungerford Repair Cafe, The Croft Hall.

Fri 27 May Hungerford Comedy Club Show, The Croft Hall.

Sun 5 June Hungerford Platinum Jubilee Picnic, The Croft Field.

• Regular Events

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more information plus contact details can be found here.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes and bric-a-brac.

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft. Please see here for more.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page.

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

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Love Lotte Barre Fitness classes for the best workout: £45/month (plus free taster).

Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome.

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 most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 4 April) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 7 April and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a report from ward members James Cole and Dennis Benneyworth; speeding; Elcot Park’s licence applications; planning matters; financial matters; committee reports; grass cutting; and the jubilee. 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 24 March 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 Froxfield Parish Council took place on 14 March 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 Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 8 March 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 (extraordinary) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 23 June 2021 and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

Thursday 28 April 2022

This week’s news

• If you missed Tutti Day on Tuesday there is a double page spread of photos on pp12-13 in this week’s Newbury Weekly News. Tutti ‘Men’ this year were Sylvi Giuliana (from The Borough Arms) and Nina Hathaway. The final event of Hocktide will be the Constable’s Parade will be this Sunday 1 May. Please gather at 10:45am outside the Corn Exchange.  The parade starts at 11am and will be led by the Town Band.  The service at St. Lawrence’s Church starts at 11:15am to welcome the new Constable of The Town and Manor of Hungerford.

• Anyone who visits the Wednesday market in Hungerford will perhaps have noticed the ever-deepening pot holes in the parking bays where the market stalls set up. These are not only dangerous for motorists on the road but also for people moving at far slower speeds. Last year, Karen from the fruit and veg stall slipped in a pot hole and badly twisted her ankle; more recently, a customer did the same and broke their arm. I’m therefore very pleased to confirm that West Berkshire Council will be re-surfacing this area on Thursday and Friday 12 and 13 May (9.30am to 3.30pm). The results should be, in the parlance of our time, an even safer and more pleasant outdoor shopping experience.

•  A highlight of this Bank Holiday weekend is the Classic Car Show on Sunday 1 May hosted by the Hungerford Rotary Club. The event will be fundraising for Rotary Charities and adult tickets are £5 and under 14s go free. The event will be taking place on Hungerford Rugby Club Triangle Field, between 11am to 4pm. If you have any questions, please email ClassicCars@amtecs.co.uk

• In the mood for a biopic? Arts for Hungerford is will be showing the film Spencer (2021), a dramatisation based on the struggles of Princess Diana, starring Kristen Stuart, on Friday 6 May. See here for tickets.

•  Get your running shoes on, because the ‘Kintbury 5’ race is back for 2022. This 5-mile run through quiet roads and beautiful countryside, will be taking place on Sunday 15 May, starting from the Jubilee Centre, Kintbury. There are also fun childrens races of 350m (age 6 and under), 1km (age 6-9), 2 miles (age 10 and over)and main 5 mile race starting at 10.30am. All proceeds go to Kintbury St Mary’s Primary School. To find out how to get involved or for more information, visit their website or Facebook page.

• Last chance to take advantage of The Naked Grape‘s April two for one offer on Bodega Volcanes de Chile Reserva Sauvignon Blanc and/or Merlot. We can vouch that both these wines, which are normally £14.99 each, are extremely quaffable. The Naked Grape is open 10am to 6pm Thursday to Saturday (and 10am to 5pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays).

• Four Ghurka nurses from Nepal are now living in Hungerford, providing live-in and drop-in care to elderly people in the area. For more about their services with Poseidon Care see here.

• Shalbourne & District GC will be holding a Plant Sale at the Shalbourne Mayday Fair on Bank Holiday Monday 2 May and they appreciate your support as it is their onlyu fundraiser of the year which allows them to keep subscriptions minimal to ensure that the club is available to all in the community. The fair runs from 12 – 4pm and offers live music, BBQ, crepe van, bar, fun Dog Show, craft stalls, raffle, fun fair, ice creams and more.

• The next Hungerford Food & Artisan Market will be on Sunday 8 May. Following the success of the April market which attracted nearly 800 visitors, there will be more cooking demonstrations, this time of wild greens and trout smoking at home. The market runs from 10am to 1pm at The Croft Field Centre, Hungerford RG17 0HY. Entry is free and dogs are welcome on leads. A small team of volunteers run the markets and cooking workshops in the community. If you would like to get involved with cooking workshops, market set-up, admin, social media, website maintenance and video production please email hungerfordfoodcommunity@gmail.com. Training will be provided.  For more details please visit hungerfordfoodcommunity.org.

Kintbury Tennis Club invites you to its free Open Day on Sunday 8 May.

Click here for the latest news from the Bedwyn Train Passenger Group about the continuing threat to direct rail services from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to London.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Tickets for the Hungerford Summer Festival 2022 are now on sale. Running from 1 to 10 July there will be an exciting line-up of events to participate in, from live music to drama plays, pantos, and a whole heap of different workshops. Spaces for some events are limited, so book sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment. Check out the website to see the full line-up of events.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Spreading the word

As has been mentioned many times before, social media is both good and bad. It’s an excellent way of communicating information or getting answers to questions quickly. It can also be a good way of opinion sharing, ranging from careful comment to merely letting off steam. Particularly in the pandemic, it provided invaluable local connectivity. It’s free and fairly easy to use. On the other hand, it’s often unmoderated and can spread inaccurate information or polarising comments.  There are about 49m people in the UK who use Facebook: another way of looking at it is that there are about 21m people who do not. It’s also hopeless for any kind of nuanced discussion, mainly because posts are viewed chronologically. Unless you get in quick, the thread will vanish off the bottom of your screen to be replaced by something newer. Like any communication method, it’s not perfect. These days, there are quite a few to choose from.

This creates a problem for parish and town councils (PCs). They are legally obliged to communicate several things (like agendas and minutes) and also wish to provide information about events, consultations, initiatives and a whole host of matters ranging from fundraisers to road closures. Many will be uncontroversial: a few will be anything but. Merely publicising these in all the ways people variously expect – in print, by email, on the website and on social media – is a job in itself. For reasons of speed and cost, “digital by default” is the current municipal motto, whether officially stated or not. Whatever the media used, matters need to be carefully phrased and made consistent across all of them. That done, there are then two further hurdles to cross.

The first is whether people will pay attention. This will be linked to how many people are reached. Most PCs probably don’t email their residents but, if they did, it’s unlikely they’d have everyone’s addresses. All who are online can visit the PC’s website but the reality is that very few will regularly do so. Much the same can be said for public attendance at meetings (which tend only to swell when there’s a contentious planning decision in the air). Door-to-door leafleting is time-consuming and expensive. Communications through local media groups will be limited by their schedules, space and policy and the information may not be published as provided. Word of mouth has a role play but we’re all familiar with the distorting effects of Chinese whispers. Social media is the latest weapon in this armoury and, as mentioned above, has advantages and drawbacks (as do they all). Even if all these methods are used they still probably won’t reach everyone, or will do so in different times and in different ways.

This leads to the second issue: how people react or respond. Forty years ago, the most common method was to write, which could spread any discussion over several weeks (and keep it confidential). Subsequent methods have tended both towards a more immediate and a more public interaction, culminating in where we are now: on social media a response can (and sometimes is) made in seconds and could in theory be seen by billions of people. Managing outward communications and dealing with the unpredictable number of inward ones is time-consuming for any organisation, particularly PCs where the level of debate may be out of all proportion to the time the council has available. This requires not only a good knowledge of media communications but also a council policy which will govern how, or even if, matters will be responded to.

All PCs should have such a social-media policy. I spoke to two PCs – Burghfield and Hungerford, both about the same size – about this on 26 April. Their policies can be seen, respectively, here and here. (Burghfield’s you’ll need to download from the policy page: Hungerford’s is a pop-up.) Few people are going to study these before posting a comment of their own but they might be worth looking at if you’ve posted something and are wondering if the PC will respond. As a general rule, most will use social media to communicate factual information about, for instance, consultations or events. If comments are added which contain information the PC feels it needs to correct then it may do so. Most, however, do not get involved in replying to individual comments or expressing opinions. Aside from other limitations, they don’t have the time. The lack of any comment from the PC does not, therefore, mean it’s indifferent to, ignorant of or in agreement with the opinion expressed. The same generally applies to comments made about the PC on other local social-media groups. These will probably be monitored but the PC may not engage. Individual councillors may do so on their own accounts but that’s a separate matter and their opinions should be not be taken to represent the view of the PC unless expressly stated otherwise.

Another point to bear in mind is that most PCs will not regard a social-media post as an official response to or comment on any matter. Other organisations take the same view. You can’t report a crime in this way to the police, for instance, nor register an objection to a planning application. All in all, it’s as well to regard social-media comments as if they were verbal – that’s certainly the way many of them are written – and to recall Sam Goldwyn’s characteristically garbled but memorable observation that “a verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.” Most PCs will accept – indeed welcome – three ways of communication: by phone; in writing (email or letter); or by attendance at the relevant meeting. (Consultations will increasingly also offer a web-based response.) Details of all of these will be on their website.

As recent events, in Burghfield and elsewhere have shown, visiting the website is often a useful first step before venting your views on Facebook or Twitter. Social media may be the newest method of communicating but it isn’t always the best and may not even be recognised as a valid method at all. PCs are increasingly trying to diversify the way in which they interact with their residents and in the ways that the residents expect. For their part, residents need also to understand that PCs have their own preferred channels of expression. For both parties not to be aware of these risks creating dissent or misunderstanding where none need exist.

No more Notrees?

A recent statement from West Berkshire Council confirms that it has launched a consultation on its proposal to close Notrees Care Home in Kintbury by December this year. This is principally due to the changing shape of demand for adult social care in recent years, in part, due to the impact of the pandemic on the needs of older people. WBC currently manages three care homes in West Berkshire: Birchwood, Willows Edge, and Notrees. When fully occupied they can provide nursing and residential care for 115 people over the age of 65, who have been assessed as requiring 24 hour care. The homes employ approximately 140 permanent staff, with a heavy reliance on agency and casual staff, to ensure that safe staffing levels are achieved.

“In recent years,” the statement continues, “there has been an increased demand for complex dementia care with care home residents becoming more dependent and having more complex needs. The need for ‘ordinary’ residential care is growing more slowly than other needs and there is significant market capacity in West Berkshire and nearby homes. Currently only 40% of care home beds in West Berkshire are for dementia needs and these are at over 90% capacity. While general residential places, which make up 30% of available places, are operating at only 78% capacity. At Notrees, there is space to accommodate 18 residents and currently 10 residents are being cared for. The closure is being proposed due to a reduced need for the type of care provided, the challenges presented by the rural location, particularly with staff recruitment and retention, and the size and condition of the building. Notrees residents and their families would be supported to relocate to one of our other care homes, or an alternative private service, as appropriate. Wherever possible, existing staff would be redeployed to one of our remaining two care homes, reablement service or similar.”

“West Berkshire Council is committed to continuing to run care homes for older people,” portfolio holder Joanne Stewart commented. “We plan to invest in creating a new specialist provision in a central location, which we aim to open in the next five years. We are currently commissioning a feasibility study, to explore whether it would be better to build new or to purchase an established facility. This will also help to scope the ideal configuration of the proposed new home to best meet the anticipated needs of residents, now and in the future.”

The council invites feedback from local residents who can comment by completing this short survey by Wednesday 8 June 2022. More information about the proposals can also be found at this link. An information pack and hard copy of the survey is also available on request by calling West Berkshire Council on 01635 551111. All feedback will be considered and a recommendation submitted to the Council’s Executive Meeting on Thursday 22 September 2022.

Hungerford’s meeting

The next meeting of Hungerford Town Council will take place at 7pm on Tuesday 3 May in the Library (normally they’re held on a Monday but it’s a bank holiday). This is also the annual meeting at which the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor and the Chair and the Deputy Chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee will be elected (or re-elected). As with all of HTC’s meetings, these are open to the public (except for the Part 2 at the end during which any confidential business is discussed).

You can click here to see the agenda. As usual, we’ll be on hand to cover the meeting and a report of this, and of the other work with which HTC has been involved in April and has planned for May, will appear in the May edition of Penny Post Hungerford which will be published on Wednesday 4 May. If there’s anything you’d like to see included in this, please email penny@pennypost.org.uk as soon as possible.

Community notices

• Hungerford’s Platinum Jubilee Make and Bake Competition on the Sun 5 June, at the Jubilee tent on the Croft field, with categories including: puddings, scones (sweet or savoury), flower posy arrangement and a picture that illustrates the Queen’s life. The whole family can get involved because there will include categories for under 11s and 12-17 year old too. So start practicing your puddings!

• Enter Hungerford in Bloom 2022 by submitting this application form by Monday 20 June. Judging will take place on Saturday 2 July.  For more information see here.

Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs, summer reading challenges, Duke of Edinburgh, IT support, story time reader and much more. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

• Hungerford Environmental Action Team (HEAT) has some fun and practical volunteering opportunities over the next couple of months. If you would like to get involved please contact HEAT_Hungerford@yahoo.com

• Local gardeners are asked to donate to Hungerford Rotary Club’s annual plant sale on Saturday 14 May. Please make a note in your diary to drop plants (labelled please) at Tumblings, 16 The Croft (opposite the gates of St Lawrence Church) between 4pm and 5pm on Friday 13 May.

• Hungerford PPG (Patient Participation Group) strongly encourages elderly residents to make a doctor appointment if they are not feeling 100%.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk. The charity is looking for more volunteer walkers across the area.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

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

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

• Sun 1 May Hungerford Rotary Classic Vehicle Show, Triangle Field, from 11am

• Sun 1 May Constable’s Parade & Service

• Fri 6 May Spencer (2021), Arts for Hungerford at The Croft Hall, 7.30pm.

• Sun 8 May Hungerford Food & Artisan Market, The Croft Field Centre.

• Sun 8 May Kintsbury Tennis Club Free Open Day, behind Jubilee Centre, 10:30am.

• Sun 15 May Kintsbury 5 Mile Race 2022, Kintbury Recreation Ground, Inkpen Road.

Sat 21 May Hungerford Repair Cafe, The Croft Hall.

Fri 27 May Hungerford Comedy Club Show, The Croft Hall.

Sun 5 June Hungerford Platinum Jubilee Picnic, The Croft Field.

• Regular Events

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more information plus contact details can be found here.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes and bric-a-brac.

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft. Please see here for more.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page.

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

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Love Lotte Barre Fitness classes for the best workout: £45/month (plus free taster).

Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome.

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 most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 4 April) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 24 March 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 Froxfield Parish Council took place on 14 March 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 Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 8 March 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 Kintbury Parish Council took place on 3 March 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 (extraordinary) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 23 June 2021 and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 21 April 2022

This week’s news

Click here for the latest news from the Bedwyn Train Passenger Group about the continuing threat to direct rail services from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to London. As mentioned before, my strong recommendation is that you sign up to the BTPG’s newsletters and follow any action these recommend in the way of contacting people. This is a superb local pressure group which is already making some progress with this appalling reduction in the train services on this part of the line.

• If you fancy welcoming in the weekend with a musical, Arts for Hungerford is showcasing Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story film this Friday 22 April. See here for tickets.

•  Oxford Street in Eddington will be reopening after 22 April. The closure between the junction with Charnham Street and the junction with Wantage Road, has been due to the installation of a fibre network. For more details please see here or contact Avonline Networks on 07703 823 781.

• This Saturday 23 April don’t miss the Stand with Ukraine Charity Gig featuring local band Broken Dolls at Hungerford Football Club, Bulpit Lane. It is £5 per entry and all money raised will go towards the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Appeal. The band play an eclectic mix of 80s, 90s and noughties contemporary cover songs.

• There is a meeting for anyone interested in hosting Ukrainian refugees at Hungerford Hub and Library at 7pm on Wednesday 27 April.  Sean Murphy from West Berks Ukraine Support Hub will say a few words about the West Berks support and Steve Freeman, a Newbury host will talk briefly about his experience hosting to date. Following that there will be an opportunity to ask questions. If you would like to join the informal the group of Hungerford area hosts, please contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.ukor 07887 531376.

•  The National College of General Practitioners hhasave accredited Hungerford Surgery with ‘veteran friendly’ status. This means that the surgery staff have undertaken dedicated training; attend armed forces healthcare meetings; have a designated lead for veterans issues; flag veterans on their computer systems; as well as other features which means the facility well-suited to understanding and responding to the specific needs of those who have served. It is recommended by veterans charities that veterans notify clinics such as Hungerford Surgery, in order to ensure they can get care from experts, who have knowledge of military related health conditions and veteran specific health services.

Kintbury Tennis Club invites you to its free Open Day on Sunday 8 May.

• Tickets for the Hungerford Summer Festival 2022 are now on sale. This will be the festivals’ 30th anniversary, running from 1 to 10 July. There is a huge line-up of exciting events to participate in, from live music to drama plays, pantos, and a whole heap of different workshops. Spaces for some events are limited, so if an activity appeals to you, book sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment. Check out the website to see the full line-up of events.

• Save the date for Hungerford Rotary‘s Classic Vehicle Show at the Triangle Field (Hungerford Rugby Club) on Sunday 1 May. Entry £5 and it is in aid of Rotary charities.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Queen Anne’s facelift

As mentioned last week, years of pressing by Hungerford Town Council and it former Mayor Martin Crane and, more recently, by local resident Geordie Taylor have finally resulted in the Co-op starting much-needed restoration work on the elegant Queen Anne building in the High Street. This was promised to kick off on 19 April and it duly did, the scaffolding going up that morning. One good bit of news is that it appears that the works proposed by WBC’s Conservation team and by the Co-op itself seem broadly to agree. I imagine this doesn’t always happen. WBC’s list can be seen here.

I had a brief chat with one of the workers on the site who confirmed that the interior was, as all had suspected, in a bit of a mess. I took the opportunity to point out the number of pigeons that town unwillingly hosts and that the Town Hall up the road had over £50,000-worth of flood damage caused last year by their droppings blocking up the gutters. A few were flapping around as I was saying this and I helpfully pointed one out. He nodded, with the air of a man who has already heard the word “pigeons” mentioned to him more times in the previous few days than he normally does in a year. He clearly knew what a pigeon looked like. He’ll be seeing plenty more of them over the coming weeks.

The big problem, he told me, was the windows, many if not all of which would need to be re-built or replaced due to the ravages of time. This being a listed building, one can’t just put plastic ones up instead. I think there are 12 of these, all quite large and with several panes. Good luck with that. The results when the work is finished by the end of next month should be spectacular and certainly a vast improvement on the sad deterioration of the last decade or so. Well done to all involved in getting this going.

He added that work was being done on the building on the other side of the store, which the Co-op also owns. This presents a unique challenge as there’s no access to it save via the roof and a window, the staircase having been removed many years ago to make room for the tills in the shop. One can only imagine what condition that is in: and even harder to think of how it can be commercially used with such an awkward route in and out. If you see a planning application for an exterior spiral staircase or fireman’s pole in Hungerford High Street, this could be why.

Tutti Day

Tuesday 26 April is Tutti Day in Hungerford, the most visible celebration of the ancient rights and privileges of the Town and Manor, the only organisation of its kind which survives in the country. Collectively these events, which take place each year in the weeks following Easter, are known as Hocktide. For more information on this year’s event (including a video of 2019’s Tutti Day, see this separate post. For an article on what the Town and Manor is (and is not) and what it can fairly be compared to (and what it can’t) and why remembering and celebrating its history is important, please click here.

If you follow, are involved with or get caught up in the various events, these are some of the people and terms you’ll encounter: commoners; jury selection; macaroni; ale-tasting; Tuttimen; the bellman; Tithing Men; Tutti Poles; the Orangeman (all of whom can be male or female); Tutti girls (whom I think can’t); Commoners’ rights; shoeing the colts; the Blacksmith; anchovies on toast; the Court Leet; Constable’s Sunday; and cries of “oyez, oyez.”. The above-mentioned posts will help explain a bit more about these and their significance. It happens once a year; and it only happens here.

Community notices

• Hungerford’s Platinum Jubilee Make and Bake Competition on the Sun 5 June, at the Jubilee tent on the Croft field, with categories including: puddings, scones (sweet or savoury), flower posy arrangement and a picture that illustrates the Queen’s life. The whole family can get involved because there will include categories for under 11s and 12-17 year old too. So start practicing your puddings!

• Enter Hungerford in Bloom 2022 by submitting this application form by Monday 20 June. Judging will take place on Saturday 2 July.  For more information see here.

Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs, summer reading challenges, Duke of Edinburgh, IT support, story time reader and much more. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

• Hungerford Environmental Action Team (HEAT) has some fun and practical volunteering opportunities over the next couple of months. If you would like to get involved please contact HEAT_Hungerford@yahoo.com

• Local gardeners are asked to donate to Hungerford Rotary Club’s annual plant sale on Saturday 14 May. Please make a note in your diary to drop plants (labelled please) at Tumblings, 16 The Croft (opposite the gates of St Lawrence Church) between 4pm and 5pm on Friday 13 May.

• Hungerford PPG (Patient Participation Group) strongly encourages elderly residents to make a doctor appointment if they are not feeling 100%.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk. The charity is looking for more volunteer walkers across the area.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

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

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Fri 22 Apr Arts for Hungerford Film Night: Westside Story, The Croft Hall.

Sat 23 Apr Stand with Ukraine Charity Gig, Hungerford Football Club, Bulpit Lane.

Wed 27 Apr Meeting for those Hosting Ukrainian Refugees, Hungerford Hub and Library, 7pm.

• Sun 1 May Hungerford Rotary Classic Vehicle Show, Triangle Field

• Sun 8 May Hungerford Food & Artisan Market, The Croft Field Centre

Sat 21 May Hungerford Repair Cafe, The Croft Hall.

Fri 27 May Hungerford Comedy Club Show, The Croft Hall.

Sun 5 June Hungerford Platinum Jubilee Picnic, The Croft Field.

• Regular Events

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more information plus contact details can be found here.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes and bric-a-brac.

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements their chat with a bit of craft. Please see here for more.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page.

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

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Love Lotte Barre Fitness classes for the best workout: £45/month (plus free taster).

Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome.

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 most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 4 April) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 24 March 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 Froxfield Parish Council took place on 14 March 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 Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 8 March 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 Kintbury Parish Council took place on 3 March 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 (extraordinary) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 23 June 2021 and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 14 April 2022

This week’s news

Click here for the latest news from the Bedwyn Train Passenger Group about the continuing threat to direct rail services from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to London.

Covid vaccines are available at the Croft Field Centre (white building to the left of Hungerford Nursery School) for all age groups over 12 years on Tuesdays and Fridays. Paediatric doses are available on Saturdays for 5 – 11 year old children with no underlying health conditions (vaccines for this age group aren’t being given at schools or GP surgeries). You need to book on the NHS website or call 119. We have heard anecdotal reports that walk-ins are possible at the end of the day if they still have a supply of vaccine.

• We have heard that anyone vulnerable over age of 12 and all over 75 can also get a booster at The Croft Field Centre in Hungerford on Tuesdays and Fridays. Walk-ins are accepted. In fact, not many people seem to know about it.

• There is a meeting for anyone interested in hosting Ukrainian refugees at Hungerford Hub and Library at 7pm on Wednesday 27 April.  Sean Murphy from West Berks Ukraine Support Hub will say a few words about the West Berks support and Steve Freeman, a Newbury host will talk briefly about his experience hosting to date. Following that there will be an opportunity to ask questions. If you would like to join the informal the group of Hungerford area hosts, please contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.ukor 07887 531376.

• What a relief that the pool at Hungerford Leisure Centre is re-opening Friday 15 April, having been closed for the past few weeks while essential repairs took place. My back seizes up if I can’t swim three or four times a week…

• Speaking of which, if you fancy taking part in the 2022 Swimathon (6 to 8 May), you can get 35% off your entry fee with this offer from Hungerford Leisure Centre.

• As mentioned previously, Cobbs Farm Shop reopened its Play Barn at the beginning of this month, following a two-year closure due to lockdown. Until the 18 April, families can enjoy the free Easter I-Spy Trail by picking up a map from Cobbs Play Barn, head up to the farm, and follow the I-spy trail.

• Tickets will be available for the much anticipated Hungerford Summer Festival 2022, from 19 April. This will be the festivals’ 30th anniversary, running from 1 to 10 July. There is a huge line-up of exciting events to participate in, from live music to drama plays, pantos, and a whole heap of different workshops. Spaces for some events are limited, so if an activity appeals to you, book sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment. Keep an eye on the festivals’ website for the latest updates.

•  Oxford Street in Eddington has recently closed and will remain so until the 22 April. The closure will be between its junction with Charnham Street and its junction with Wantage Road, for the purpose of installing a fibre network. There is an alternative route you can use via Charnham Street, Wantage Road, and vice versa. Residential access will be maintained throughout and the diversion will be signed on site and blue light access will also be permitted. For more details please see here or contact Avonline Networks on 07703 823 781.

• If you fancy a musical in the next coming weeks, Arts for Hungerford is showcasing the fantastic Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story film on Friday 22 April. See here for tickets.

• The Stand with Ukraine Charity Gig, featuring local band Broken Dolls, will be on Saturday 23 April. It is £5 per entry and all money raised will go towards the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Appeal. The band play an eclectic mix of 80s, 90s and noughties contemporary cover songs. For what is sure to be a fun night out, in aid of a good cause, come along to the Hungerford Football Club, Bulpit Lane.

• Aspiring bakers and crafters listen up, because as part of Hungerford’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations there will be a fun Make and Bake Competition. Entry to the competition will take place on the Sat 5 June, at the Jubilee tent on the Croft field, with categories including: puddings, scones (sweet or savoury), flower posy arrangement and a picture that illustrates the Queen’s life. The whole family can get involved because there will include categories for under 11s and 12-17 year old too. So start practicing your puddings!

• Entries for the much anticipated Hungerford in Bloom 2022 are now open. Residents, businesses, groups and schools are invited to participate. To apply, fill-in and submit the application form by Monday 20 June. Judging will take place on Saturday 2 July.  For more information regarding the rules and regulations, categories and prizes, you can read more in our article here.

Ukrainian refugees are starting to arrive in our area. If you live in the Hungerford area and would like to host a family or help provide support for them here, please visit Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact co-ordinator Rachel at rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Save the date for Hungerford Rotary‘s Classic Vehicle Show at the Triangle Field (Hungerford Rugby Club) on Sunday 1 May. Entry £5 and it is in aid of great Rotary charities.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Queen Anne’s makeover

As mentioned last week (see below) progress has recently been made in the long-running attempts for Hungerford councillors and others to get the elegant building next to the Co-op in Hungerford High Street back into a slightly more presentable condition. For several years now it looks as if it’s been sleeping under a hedge.

Earlier this week, I was passed the proposed works which WBC’s conservation officer feels needs to be done. You can read these here. In an earlier version of this, since corrected, I wrongly said that this was the work that the Co-op has agreed to do. It may be yet: but at the time of writing this hasn’t been confirmed. What has been confirmed is that the work will start on 19 April and will be finished by the end of May.

Hungerford Town Council has also drawn the Co-op’s attention to the town’s pigeon problem, as have I. This may not be a normal consideration for such projects but it needs to be in Hungerford. The reason why these winged rats love the town has proved as elusive as any way of getting them to change their tiny minds about this. The Co-op would be wise to bear this in mind. In August 2021 the Town Hall (owned by the Town and Manor) suffered a major flood as a result of pigeon droppings blocking the gutters, resulting in £50,000-worth of repairs and the partial closure of the building for over six months. If the Co-op has plans to rent the building – as one assumes it might – a problem like this a year or so down the line would be unwelcome. Getting this roof protected would also be doing the town as a whole a favour.

Inkpen’s ribbon

I went to Inkpen earlier the week to witness the formal opening of the new pavilion at the playing fields. It’s a pleasant and airy building with excellent changing rooms and a fully glazed rear section that looks over the pitches. Work has also been done on expanding and improving the adjacent playground. In addition, a storage building was added and new playing services laid down. In April 2018, things were very different. The playground had just had a poor RoSPA report while the pavilion itself was in a condition maybe a couple of notches above imminent collapse. Such work requires money; which requires public engagement; which requires someone prepared to lead the charge and make everything happen. Although a number of people were involved in getting things sorted, everyone seems to agree that Claire Jones was the prime mover in this: so hats off to her and to all the others who put time and effort (and money) into the project.

All in all, the best part of £500,000 was raised from a variety of sources including West Berkshire Council, Greenham Trust, Sport England, the National Lottery, various grant foundations and a number of local residents. All of this, and the work that followed, was also done pretty quickly. The first approaches to the residents was made in the autumn of 2018 and the work completed in May 2021. Due to Covid it was not possible to organise a formal opening then. That was done on 12 April this year, with two of the ward members (James Cole and Denis Benneyworth) holding the ends of the ribbon – one reason why having more than one councillor representing your area is a good idea – and WBC Chair Clive Hooker doing the honours with the scissors.

The village should be very proud of its new facility. The moral of the story is that if you need something, even on this quite large scale, the local funding is often available, though you have to work to get it and also work to convince local residents to support the scheme (which is often a pre-condition of any serious grants). You also need someone who’s prepared to act as chief sheepdog and tub-thumper, which might require a few years’ dedication. Having a local architect (Edge Architecture in this case) to do the designs for free is useful as well.

The only problem from my point of view is that whenever I go to Inkpen I get hopelessly lost, indeed get the impression that someone’s moved everything around since my last visit. I may therefore never find my way to the pavilion again. Still, I’m sure the locals know where it is, which is the main thing. Hopefully they will get many years of use out of it.

Community notices

Used ink jet cartridges can be dropped off for recycling at St Lawrence’s Church and Hungerford Printing Company down the alley between Eliane’s and Hungerford Bookshop. Proceeds raised will go to HEAT (Hungerford Environmental Action Team).

Inkpen and Kintbury Scout Group are seeking volunteers to keep the Group running smoothly. Parents are always welcome to get involved. For more information please visit kintburyscouts.co.uk/voluntee

• Would you be interested in helping at Hungerford Library? There are various different roles such as helping run clubs, summer reading challenges, Duke of Edinburgh, IT support, story time reader and much more. To find out how you can get involved email cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533. You can also find other similar voluntary roles on the West Berkshire Council website.

• Hungerford Environmental Action Team (HEAT) has some fun and practical volunteering opportunities over the next couple of months. If you would like to get involved please contact HEAT_Hungerford@yahoo.com

• Local gardeners are asked to donate to Hungerford Rotary Club’s annual plant sale on Saturday 14 May. Please make a note in your diary to drop plants (labelled please) at Tumblings, 16 The Croft (opposite the gates of St Lawrence Church) between 4pm and 5pm on Friday 13 May.

• Hungerford PPG (Patient Participation Group) strongly encourages elderly residents to make a doctor appointment if they are not feeling 100%.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Volunteer crew member vacancies on the Rose of Hungerford. Flexible hours. Training offered. A fun way to support the Kennet & Avon Canal.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk. The charity is looking for more volunteer walkers across the area.

• The new timetable at Herongate Club sees the return of one-hour fitness and yoga classes.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

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

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Fri 22 Apr Arts for Hungerford Film Night: Westside Story, The Croft Hall.

Sat 23 Apr Stand with Ukraine Charity Gig, Hungerford Football Club, Bulpit Lane.

• Sun 1 May Hungerford Rotary Classic Vehicle Show, Triangle Field

Sat 21 May Hungerford Repair Cafe, The Croft Hall.

Fri 27 May Hungerford Comedy Club Show, The Croft Hall.

Sun 5 June Hungerford Platinum Jubilee Picnic, The Croft Field.

• Regular Events

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more information plus contact details can be found here.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes and bric-a-brac.

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This is a very sociable group that like to supplement their chat with a bit of craft. Please see here for more.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page.

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

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Love Lotte Barre Fitness classes for the best workout: £45/month (plus free taster).

Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome.

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 most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 4 April) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 24 March and you can download the minutes here.  Items covered included: the village’s HGV survey (which revealed, amongst other findings, that 68% of the traffic was exceeding the speed limit); trees on the Green; the jubilee; reports from the committees; and financial matters. To 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 14 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the co-option of a new member; the blocked drain in Church Lane; the jubilee; parking; an update of the review of Wiltshire Council’s Community Environmental Toolkit, Draft Climate Strategy; requirements for the use of Parish Council-owned land for public events; financial matters; and tree planting on the water meadow. 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 8 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the electrical transformer; planning issues; the parish steward; community transport; signage; a proposed environmental management plan; financial matters; the jubilee; fibre broadband; and grass cutting. 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 3 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: Lawrence Field; speeding; planning matters; the churchyard; the Scouts; licensing issues at Elcot park; maintenance and repairs; financial matters; trees; the annual newsletter; and the jubilee. 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 (extraordinary) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 23 June 2021 and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 7 April 2022

This week’s news

Click here for the latest news from the Bedwyn Train Passenger Group about the continuing threat to direct rail services from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to London.

• Hungerford is lucky to have so many independent shops and visitors often remark on how attractive the High Street is due to the variety of different retailers, unlike so many towns that have chains these days. See here the latest news, tips and offers from shops and businesses.

Hungerford Bookshop invites you to meet the award-winning writer Jon McGregor on Thursday 14 April as he talks about his exciting latest novel, Lean, Stand, Fall, described by Jarvis Cocker as “the most gripping piece of writing I have read in a long time.” Book your tickets here for this author event which starts at 7pm in the bookshop.

The Naked Grape independent wine merchant not only has a free Easter wine tasting this Saturday 9 April between 1pm and 6pm but they are also offering a two for one deal during April on Bodega Volcanes de Chile Reserva Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc.

• Gardeners get your trowels ready, because entries for the much anticipated Hungerford in Bloom 2022 are now open. Applicants can be both residential or commercial, and even schools can show off their green-fingers. The competition is aimed to be a fun creative event which they whole community can get involved with, to fill the town with floral beauty. To apply, fill-in and submit the application form by Monday 20 June. Judging will take place on Saturday 2 July.  For more information regarding the rules and regulations, categories and prizes, you can read more in our article here.

• So far, over 50 households from West Berkshire have offered to share their homes with refugees fleeing Ukraine. If you live in the Hungerford or Marlborough area and would like to host a family or help provide support for them here, please visit Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact co-ordinator Rachel at rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

•  Congratulations to John O’Gaunt student Scarlett Slatter, and her team who are on their way to the finals of a national public speaking competition, hosted by the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Club (NFYC). The local fourteen-year-old entered the competition with her support team of fellow students Alice Philips from Compton and Aine Stanley from Oxfordshire. Having won a county competition, they went on to represent Berkshire against other south-east county winners. The finals will be held in July at the Staffordshire County Showground, where they will be representing the south-east against winners from other UK regions. More information about the NFYC can be found here and more on Scarletts’ story can be read here. We wish Scarlett and her team the best of luck in the finals.

• Save the date for Hungerford Rotary‘s Classic Vehicle Show at the Triangle Field (Hungerford Rugby Club) on Sunday 1 May. Entry £5 and it is in aid of great Rotary charities.

• A reminder that the pool at Hungerford Leisure Centre will be closed until Thursday 14 April for essential repairs. All others aspects of the facilities remain open as normal.

Cobbs Farm Shop reopened their Play Barn on Monday 4 April after two-year closure due to lockdown. From 4 to 18 April families can enjoy the free Easter I-Spy Trail by picking up a map from Cobbs Play Barn, head up to the farm, and follow the I-spy trail.

• If you fancy a musical in the next coming weeks, Arts for Hungerford is showcasing the fantastic West Side Story film on Friday 22 April. See here for tickets.

Please click here for information about a petition which a Kintbury resident has launched after falling foul of WBC’s Community Infrastructure Levy scheme to the tune of about £20,000.

• Planning is well underway on Hungerford’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations for a picnic and entertainment from 2pm to 7pm on Sunday 5 June at the Croft. If you would like to contribute to the festivities in any way please contact jubileehungerford@gmail.com.

The Curve gift shop at Hungerford Hub & Library has lovely gifts made by local crafters. 15% of profits go to the library so it’s an easy way to show your love to the library.

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

• The Hungerford Environmental Action Team (HEAT) will be hosting numerous events this year culminating in a large expo about reducing home energy costs in the Town Hall on the 24 September. For more information please see here.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

TLC for Queen Anne

• After several years of pushing by several Hungerford Mayors including Martin Crane, the current and the former MP, West Berkshire Council, Hungerford Town Council and doubtless many others, it appears that the Co-op is about to start work on renovating the elegant building (known variously as Queen Anne House, 15 High Street, 15a High Street and 16 High Street) next to its Hungerford shop. The final impetus was provided by Geordie Taylor, whom many will know as the founder of the Hungerford Self-isolation group in 2020. A spokesperson for the Co-op confirmed to Penny Post on 5 April 2020 that “we are pleased to confirm works are to be undertaken to improve the appearance and structure of Queen Anne House.  Works are set to include renovations, repair and re-decoration, including: roof survey and repairs, timber repairs and, decoration to sash windows, facia, soffits and the entrance door. In addition, new signage will be installed on the Co-op store and overgrown foliage cleared from the rear of the property. The programme of works is expected to start on 19 April and conclude before the town’s Jubilee celebrations.”

To what use the building will thereafter be put is not yet known and the spokesperson was not able to say anything about that. It may be that, this work having now been scheduled, that a tenant or purchaser has already been lined up. However, this is a matter for the Co-op to decide. Having it in a decent state is, however, a vital pre-requisite for any future use. One thing that might also be agreed as part of the project is what the building is called and what its street number is. Well done to all, particularly Martin and Geordie, for getting this increasingly dilapidated eyesore improved in what is, with a few other notable exceptions, an elegant row of buildings in an elegant High Street: further proof that, if you want something done, you’ve got to ask – and keep asking.

In February 2021, Geordie Taylor was also instrumental in getting GWR to alter its timetables to allow more trains to stop at Newbury Racecourse station when the vaccination centre was operating there. There’s currently a rather larger battle being fought with GWR about the draconian changes to direct services to London which are planned for next month. So, Geordie, if you’ve got a moment…

Chasing pavements

Many people in Hungerford and elsewhere will doubtless be looking more carefully at the pavements – not things that generally get much attention – after the widespread reports, in Penny Post and elsewhere, about poor work (a polite term) done at three sites in the town. I spoke to one of the senior highways officers at WBC on 7 April about this. He confirmed that, as mentioned in the article on pages 1 and 7 of this week’s NWN, the remedial work will start soon at no cost WBC. Volker, the council’s main contractor, has held its hands up on this. What it has said to its sub-contractor about the debacle has not been revealed but it’s possible to guess the tone of the conversation.

The resurfacing process involves, WBC told me, “a slurry seal dressing which is a commonly used cost-effective treatment to fill surface defects whilst significantly extending the life of pavements.  By reducing the amount of material removed and imported to the site it minimises the carbon impact of the surfacing work.” This has been around for some time and is not a new process. It’s unclear why Volker’s quality control didn’t spot the problem, nor why the sub-contractors reckoned this would pass without comment. I imagine both parties will be a lot more careful now.

The work in Hungerford was part of a £300,000 programme at 24 sites across the district. It seems that these kind of problems have been identified at half a dozen, in Hungerford, Newbury and Beech Hill, all of which were done at the end of the project and all of which are being fixed. As a rough guide, if you see some resurfacing of this kind being done on pavements you can assume it’s costing perhaps £10 per square metre: the bill for Clark’s Gardens in Hungerford, for instance, was about £6,500. So, if something that looks sub-standard, in a street a couple of hundred yards long, that’s the kind of money involved (about £250 per property is another way of looking at it). The best way to let WBC know is to use this web page. or call 01635 551 111. You could also contact your town or parish council or your district councillor (some areas have more than one): they – or at least their roles – exist in order to help address issues like this. Also, unlike highways contractors, their services are free.

Hungerford’s newsletter

Another month, another Penny Post Hungerford, providing the best guide to life in the town. You can read this here if you didn’t get it. Here’s a quick summary of what it contains…

  • The usual monthly updates from the Town Council, the Town and Manor, HEAT, Arts for Hungerford, the leisure centres, The Rose of Hungerford, Barrs Yard and the High Street retailers.
  • News about Hungerford in Bloom, rugby, a play barn, nappies and the continuing problems with the local train services.
  • A range of activities for the Easter holidays.
  • A reminder that the Food and Artisan Market returns to The Croft Field on Sunday 10 April.
  • Appeals regarding Ukraine, the Youth Club, dog walking, the Hub and various volunteer roles.
  • John O’Gaunt Head teacher Richard Hawthorne’s monthly diary.
  • Features such as the wine of the month, the book of the month, recycling, duck feeding and travel tips.
  • Jobs, property, events and some wise words about the dangers of political allegiance.

Community notices

Used ink jet cartridges can be dropped off for recycling at St Lawrence’s Church and Hungerford Printing Company down the alley between Eliane’s and Hungerford Bookshop. Proceeds raised will go to HEAT (Hungerford Environmental Action Team).

Inkpen and Kintbury Scout Group are seeking volunteers to keep the Group running smoothly. Parents are always welcome to get involved. For more information please visit kintburyscouts.co.uk/voluntee

• Would you be interested in helping at Hungerford Library? There are various different roles such as helping run clubs, summer reading challenges, Duke of Edinburgh, IT support, story time reader and much more. To find out how you can get involved email cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533. You can also find other similar voluntary roles on the West Berkshire Council website.

• Hungerford Environmental Action Team (HEAT) has some fun and practical volunteering opportunities over the next couple of months. If you would like to get involved please contact HEAT_Hungerford@yahoo.com

• Local gardeners are asked to donate to Hungerford Rotary Club’s annual plant sale on Saturday 14 May. Please make a note in your diary to drop plants (labelled please) at Tumblings, 16 The Croft (opposite the gates of St Lawrence Church) between 4pm and 5pm on Friday 13 May.

• Hungerford PPG (Patient Participation Group) strongly encourages elderly residents to make a doctor appointment if they are not feeling 100%.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Volunteer crew member vacancies on the Rose of Hungerford. Flexible hours. Training offered. A fun way to support the Kennet & Avon Canal.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk. The charity is looking for more volunteer walkers across the area.

• The new timetable at Herongate Club sees the return of one-hour fitness and yoga classes.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

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

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Sat 9 Apr Easter Wine Tasting at The Naked Grape.

Sun 10 Apr Hungerford Food & Artisan Market, The Croft, Field Centre.

Thu 14 Apr Author Talk: Lean, Fall, Stand by John McGregor, Hungerford Bookshop

Fri 22 Apr Arts for Hungerford Film Night: Westside Story, The Croft Hall.

• Sun 1 May Hungerford Rotary Classic Vehicle Show, Triangle Field

Sat 21 May Hungerford Repair Cafe, The Croft Hall.

• Regular Events

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more information plus contact details can be found here.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes and bric-a-brac.

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This is a very sociable group that like to supplement their chat with a bit of craft. Please see here for more.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page.

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

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Love Lotte Barre Fitness classes for the best workout: £45/month (plus free taster).

Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome.

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 most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 4 April) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 24 March and you can download the minutes here.  Items covered included: the village’s HGV survey (which revealed, amongst other findings, that 68% of the traffic was exceeding the speed limit); trees on the Green; the jubilee; reports from the committees; and financial matters. To 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 14 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the co-option of a new member; the blocked drain in Church Lane; the jubilee; parking; an update of the review of Wiltshire Council’s Community Environmental Toolkit, Draft Climate Strategy; requirements for the use of Parish Council-owned land for public events; financial matters; and tree planting on the water meadow. 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 8 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the electrical transformer; planning issues; the parish steward; community transport; signage; a proposed environmental management plan; financial matters; the jubilee; fibre broadband; and grass cutting. 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 3 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: Lawrence Field; speeding; planning matters; the churchyard; the Scouts; licensing issues at Elcot park; maintenance and repairs; financial matters; trees; the annual newsletter; and the jubilee. 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 (extraordinary) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 23 June 2021 and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Hungerford areaMarlborough areaNewbury areaThatcham areaCompton and DownlandsTheale areaWantage areaSwindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 31 March 2022

This week’s news

• After several years of pushing by several Hungerford Mayors including Martin Crane, the current and the former MP, West Berkshire Council, Hungerford Town Council and doubtless many others, it appears that the Co-op is about to start work on renovating the elegant building (known variously as Queen Anne House, 15 High Street, 15a High Street and 16 High Street) next to its Hungerford shop. The final impetus was provided by Geordie Taylor, whom many will know as the founder of the Hungerford Self-isolation group in 2020. A spokesperson for the Co-op confirmed to Penny Post on 5 April 2020 that “we are pleased to confirm works are to be undertaken to improve the appearance and structure of Queen Anne House.  Works are set to include renovations, repair and re-decoration, including: roof survey and repairs, timber repairs and, decoration to sash windows, facia, soffits and the entrance door. In addition, new signage will be installed on the Co-op store and overgrown foliage cleared from the rear of the property. The programme of works is expected to start on 19 April and conclude before the town’s Jubilee celebrations.”

He was not able to confirm what was planned for the building thereafter. Having it in a decent state is, however, a vital pre-requisite for any future use. One thing that might also be agreed as part of the project is what the building is called and what its number is. Well done to all, particularly Martin and Geordie, for getting this sorted: further proof that, if you want something done, you’ve got to ask – and keep asking.

In February 2021, Geordie Taylor was also instrumental in getting GWR to alter its timetables to allow more trains to stop at the Racecourse station when the vaccination centre was operating there. There’s currently a rather larger battle being fought with GWR about the draconian changes to direct services to London which are planned for next month. So, Geordie, if you’ve got a moment…

• Good news that Hungerford Environmental Action Team has been awarded a large Lottery Community Fund “Together for our Planet” grant for a year-long project to help residents combat rising energy prices and reduce climate-damaging emissions. HEAT will be hosting numerous events culminating in a large expo in the Town Hall on the 24 September. For more information please see here.

• Due to the recent rail service cut proposals that will affect travel between Bedwyn and London, with 19 trains per day cut to just 9, Helen Simpson The Mayor of Hungerford has been campaigning to mobilise the public to address the cut in services that GWR says are due to the pandemic. The Mayor urges residents to contact Laura Farris MP via email at laura.farris.mp@parliament.uk to hopefully make a change happen.

Cobbs Farm Shop is delighted to announce that their Play Barn is re-opening on Monday 4 April after two-year closure due to lockdown. From 4 to 18 April families can enjoy the free Easter I-Spy Trail by picking up a map from Cobbs Play Barn, head up to the farm, and follow the I-spy trail.

• Reminder that the pool at Hungerford Leisure Centre will be closed from next Monday 4 to Thursday 14 April for essential repairs. All others aspects of the facilities remain open as normal.

Hungerford Food & Artisan Market is pleased to be re-starting on Sunday 10 April at The Croft Field Centre between 10am and 1pm. There will be over 30 local stalls plus a wild garlic cookery demonstration, seed and seedling swap table and foil collection for recycing (please scrape the food off, scrunch it into balls and stack trays). Please see here for more details.

• If you fancy a musical in the next coming weeks, Arts for Hungerford is showcasing the fantastic Westside Story film on Friday 22 April. See here for tickets.

• The Hungerford and Downlands Neighbourhood Policing Team has been continuing to crack down on antisocial behaviour in Hungerford, notably including the unlawful use of e-scooters. This is another reminder that privately-owned e-scooters are not legal to use on public roads or pavements.

Healthwatch West Berkshire is appealing for local survey responses regarding your thoughts on on covid-19 testing and vaccination. The survey can be found here.

Please click here for information about a petition which a Kintbury resident has launched after falling foul of WBC’s Community Infrastructure Levy scheme to the tune of about £20,000.

• Planning is well underway on Hungerford’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations for a picnic and entertainment from 2pm to 7pm on Sunday 5 June at the Croft. If you would like to contribute to the festivities in any way please contact jubileehungerford@gmail.com.

The Curve gift shop at Hungerford Hub & Library has lovely gifts made by local crafters. 15% of profits go to the library so it’s an easy way to show your love to the library.

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

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Hungerford’s meeting

On 30 March Hungerford Town Council held its annual meeting. This was not, as some are, a series of speeches and Powerpoint presentations but an exhibition-type event in the Croft Hall with about 20 organisations represented and at least 100 people walking round and chatting to whichever of the tables grabbed their attention. The organisations present included:

HEAT (Hungerford Environmental Action Team), Youth & Community Centre, Skate Park working group, Football Club, Hungerford Primary School, Bedwyn Train Passenger Group, John O Gaunt School, Hungerford Nursery, Police, Community Markets, Chamber of Commerce, Hungerford Hub, Arts for Hungerford, Smarten Up Hungerford, Hungerford Surgery, Hungerford Allotment Holders Association, Defibrillators and RBFRS.

There was also a good deputation from West Berkshire Council including several senior officers and two of the town’s three district councillors (the third one has Covid). It was a very well organised, friendly and informative event. Towns planning their own meetings might want to consider adopting this format.

“We were really pleased with how this went,” Mayor Helen Simpson told Penny Post the following day. “This exhibition-style format is definitely the one that works best for us as it lets people find out more about whatever groups or organisations they’re interested in. The meeting didn’t happen in 2020 or 2021 because of Covid so it was particularly lovely to see everyone in person again, rather than on a screen, networking and sharing news. The number of groups, and the number of people, who attended shows once again what a wonderful community Hungerford is. There was a real buzz about the event and I’ve already some lovely comments about it.”

Hungerford’s pavements

West Berkshire Council has recently done some re-surfacing work on the pavements in Clark’s Gardens just off Fairview Road. I’d heard several reports from the Town Council and residents that the work was not quite up to standard so, on my way to the pool the other day, I stopped off to have a look for myself. (There were also similar reports from work done in Coldharbour Road and Bulpit Lane). A reporter from the Newbury Weekly News clearly had the same idea and you can read their report on p23 of this week’s paper.

I wouldn’t pretend I’m much of an expert on pavements – we don’t really have any in East Garston – but even to my untrained eye this looked like a pretty ropey job. As the NWN reporter observed, it looks as if the pavement wasn’t cleared beforehand with the tarmac being poured over whatever was lying there including twigs and rubbish. Nor is it that flat, some of the bumps being almost the size of a small cat: indeed, perhaps they actually are small cats which couldn’t get out of the way quickly enough. The edging work looks like what would result if you drunk half a bottle of scotch and then decided to paint a black cornice in your otherwise white living room with your non-dominant hand. There are also dips, particularly at the kerb edge, in which rainwater was already starting to collect. These would in winter a completely invisible piece of ice. I spoke to one resident who said that it was “slightly better” than the awful condition the pavement was in before but “not much.” As bits of the tarmac seem also be breaking up, it seemed that a return to its previous condition would not be long delayed.

This doesn’t seem to likely to happen, though, as after rapid pressure from residents, the Town Council and the district councillors, WBC has confirmed that the defective work will be re-done at no extra cost to the council. How these jobs were able to be signed off at all is something that WBC will doubtless be looking at. Perhaps the issue is, once again, the lack of enforcement officers. If so, residents will have to fill the gap. If you’re aware that WBC or its contractors has done work that seems sub-standard, mention this to WBC and tell the town or parish council that you’ve done so. The sooner this happens the more quickly it can be fixed and the less chance there is of it happening somewhere else.

Badly-repaired pavements clearly aren’t that high on the scale of human unhappiness right now but there are only so many things we can influence. Converting any poor piece of work into its cost is a good way of seeing how worthwhile it is to make a fuss. I’m afraid to say, though, that I have no idea at all how much this tarmac work might have cost but have asked WBC to give me a rough idea and will let you know when I hear. Hungerford Town Council has recently received some ear-marked funds to fix some of the payments on the A338 and the A4: when I tell you that £200,000 has been set aside for this (which may not cover everything) you’ll see that pavements don’t come cheap, even though they sometimes look that way.

Community notices

Used ink jet cartridges can be dropped off for recycling at St Lawrence’s Church and Hungerford Printing Company down the alley between Eliane’s and Hungerford Bookshop. Proceeds raised will go to HEAT (Hungerford Environmental Action Team).

Inkpen and Kintbury Scout Group are seeking volunteers to keep the Group running smoothly. Parents are always welcome to get involved. For more information please visit kintburyscouts.co.uk/voluntee

• Would you be interested in helping at Hungerford Library? There are various different roles such as helping run clubs, summer reading challenges, Duke of Edinburgh, IT support, story time reader and much more. To find out how you can get involved email cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533. You can also find other similar voluntary roles on the West Berkshire Council website.

• Hungerford Environmental Action Team (HEAT) has some fun and practical volunteering opportunities over the next couple of months. If you would like to get involved please contact HEAT_Hungerford@yahoo.com

• Local gardeners are asked to donate to Hungerford Rotary Club’s annual plant sale on Saturday 14 May. Please make a note in your diary to drop plants (labelled please) at Tumblings, 16 The Croft (opposite the gates of St Lawrence Church) between 4pm and 5pm on Friday 13 May.

• Hungerford PPG (Patient Participation Group) strongly encourages elderly residents to make a doctor appointment if they are not feeling 100%.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Volunteer crew member vacancies on the Rose of Hungerford. Flexible hours. Training offered. A fun way to support the Kennet & Avon Canal.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk. The charity is looking for more volunteer walkers across the area.

• The new timetable at Herongate Club sees the return of one-hour fitness and yoga classes.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

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

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Tue 1 Mar to Tue 5 Apr Creative Arts Club for over 55s at the Hungerford Hub.

Sat 9 Apr Easter Wine Tasting at The Naked Grape.

Sun 10 Apr Hungerford Food & Artisan Market, The Croft Field Centre

Sat 21 May Hungerford Repair Cafe, The Croft Hall.

• Regular Events

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more information plus contact details can be found here.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes and bric-a-brac.

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This is a very sociable group that like to supplement their chat with a bit of craft. Please see here for more.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page.

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

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Love Lotte Barre Fitness classes for the best workout: £45/month (plus free taster).

Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome.

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 most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 7 March)  can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 14 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the co-option of a new member; the blocked drain in Church Lane; the jubilee; parking; an update of the review of Wiltshire Council’s Community Environmental Toolkit, Draft Climate Strategy; requirements for the use of Parish Council-owned land for public events; financial matters; and tree planting on the water meadow. 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 8 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the electrical transformer; planning issues; the parish steward; community transport; signage; a proposed environmental management plan; financial matters; the jubilee; fibre broadband; and grass cutting. 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 3 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: Lawrence Field; speeding; planning matters; the churchyard; the Scouts; licensing issues at Elcot park; maintenance and repairs; financial matters; trees; the annual newsletter; and the jubilee. 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 10 February 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 (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.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Hungerford areaMarlborough areaNewbury areaThatcham areaCompton and DownlandsTheale areaWantage areaSwindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

 

Thursday 24 March 2022

This week’s news

•  This is your last chance to have your say regarding plans to improve the skatepark at Bulpit Lane. Hungerford Town Council wants to create an exciting purpose-built skatepark, designed for families, children and people of all ages and abilities. The survey can be accessed at this Skatepark Questionnaire – but make sure you get in there quickly, as it closes at midnight this Friday 25 March. More information about the project can also be found on their website.

Hungerford Jazz Forum is pleased to be back in full swing in its 20th year of hosting live music at Hungerford British Legion and encouraging musicians of all ages and abilities to get up and play in a friendly atmosphere. On the last Friday of every month (excluding August and December) they set up a stage with drums, lights, microphones and they ask musicians to contribute £3 to costs. The open numbers this Friday 25 March are Doxy, The Girl From Ipanema and Perdido. HJF is organised by George Wicks and Andy Richardson and warmly welcomes new audiences and volunteers to help set up the kit. For more details please see their website here or email grw2013-pp@yahoo.co.uk 

• A reminder that this weekend, Christian Alba Butcher on the High Street is holding a Charity BBQ and Raffle in aid of Ukraine this Saturday 26 March.

• Volunteers are requested this Saturday 26 March by Hungerford Environmental Action Team (HEAT) to help clear undergrowth from the Lockdown Wood on the far side of the railway line from the Marsh. Please meet at 9am at Marsh Lane Gate and bring strong gloves. Loppers will be provided if you don’t have your own.

• In the mood for some live classical music this Saturday 26 March? Arts for Hungerford is hosting clarinettist Anthony Bailev and pianist Daniel King Smith at the Croft Hall at 7.30pm. For more information and how to book ticket see here.

• Congratulations to Emerald Hill-Sawyer from Hungerford Primary School who ran in the West Berkshire & North Hants Primary Schools 2022 Cross Country Championships this week. Emerald was really pleased to finish 8th out of 314.

• Hungerford’s annual Town Council meeting resumes after a two-year pandemic hiatus on Wednesday 30 March in Croft Hall at 7pm (doors open for refreshments at 6.30pm). Local groups will have display tables so this is a great opportunity to find out what is going on in town and how you can get involved.

Hungerford Town Council has just launched its fundraising campaign to raise £612,275 to install a brand new, all-weather football pitch at the John O’Gaunt School: an artificial grass ‘3G pitch’ which would be one of the first of its kind in West Berkshire. This is a joint venture between the Town Council, the school and Hungerford Football Club, and aims to bring huge benefits to the town, attracing investment and players from across the local community. Currently, Hungerford Football Academy do not have a local pitch, with their training being based at Newbury College. Greenham Trust will match every £1 donated, up to the total of £75,000, which means that the local community needs to raise 30-40% of the total needed. If you would like to see this fantastic new community asset become a reality, please make a donation here.  For more details about the project, please read the Council’s press release.

• The Hungerford Repair Café had another successful morning last Saturday 19 March in the Croft Hall helping about 40 visitors to fix a variety of broken items including a broken toy boat, a torn winter coat and a blocked soda stream. The volunteers also advised the owners about how to fix things themselves or obtain spare parts. In this way, about 50 kg of what would have been waste going into landfill or other recycling facilities, was instead saved and able to be used again. The next Repair Café will be held on Saturday 21 May in the Croft Hall in Hungerford.

• Congratulations to the children of Hungerford Primary School, who have been busy working on their Sunflower Crusade charity campaign in aid of Ukraine. The sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine so pupils have been making sunflowers-themed creations; decorating plant pots; planting seeds and selling these at the Wednesday market on the High Street. Proceeds from the initiative will go towards supporting the efforts of the valiant efforts of the Red Cross in Ukraine. You can read a bit more about what Deputy Head Teacher Jane Butler had to say about it here.

• Would you be interested in helping at Hungerford Library? There are various different roles such as helping run clubs, summer reading challenges, Duke of Edinburgh, IT support, story time reader and much more. To find out how you can get involved email cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533. You can also find other similar voluntary roles on the West Berkshire Council website.

• The Hungerford and Downlands Neighbourhood Policing Team has been continuing to crack down on antisocial behaviour in Hungerford, notably including the unlawful use of e-scooters. This is a reminder that privately owned e-scooters are not legal to use on public roads or pavements.

• Although news regarding Covid-19 has taken a backburner in the last few weeks, it is still very much among us. Since the lifting of restrictions, cases have begun to rise again in many areas, particularly in West Berkshire. Some local schools including John O’Gaunt have returned to online lessons due to staff shortages.  More details on Newbury Today here.

• On that note, Healthwatch West Berkshire is appealing for local survey responses, regarding your thoughts on on covid-19 testing and vaccination. The survey can be found here.

Please click here for information about a petition which a Kintbury resident has launched after falling foul of WBC’s Community Infrastructure Levy scheme to the tune of about £20,000.

The Town and Manor is now flying the Ukrainian flag on the Town Hall and are offering the building free for a day to organisations who need a donation collection point. See here for details.

• Planning is well underway on Hungerford’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations for a picnic and entertainment from 2pm to 7pm on Sunday 5 June at the Croft. If you would like to contribute to the festivities in any way please contact jubileehungerford@gmail.com.

• Reminder that the pool at Hungerford Leisure Centre will be closed from 4 to 14 April for essential repairs. All others aspects of the facilities remain open as normal.

The Curve gift shop at Hungerford Hub & Library has lovely gifts made by local crafters. 15% of profits go to the library so it’s an easy way to show your love to the library.

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

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

Local Homes for Ukraine

Local councils have now received their instructions from the Home Office to provide a wrap-around support service for Ukrainian refugees. It appears that mostt are responding to this with the same alacrity as they did to the various new tasks demanded of them during the pandemic (indeed, many are adapting the systems they developed for that to cope with this latest emergency). That’s one problem solved: other challenges, however, remain.

One is how the refugees are actually going to get here in an organised and legal way. Bureaucratic hurdles need to be crossed as refugees need to complete a long visa application form including host details. If the refugees don’t have their own family members to stay with they need to be paired with a voluntary host. These hosts will also need to be vetted by the local authority such as West Berkshire Council.

Then there is the question of transport. In one local case this seems set to be solved in eye-catching fashion. Tim Williams from Hungerford is organising bringing 400 Ukrainian refugees to the UK thanks to the services of a 186-seat Boeing 737 that has been pledged by Jet2. Tim will arrange for the refugees to take a bus from the refugee camp to Krakow Airpot then fly to Stansted where host families will meet them. These people will be found homes across the country, not just in West Berkshire. The intention is to settle families in clusters to reduce the risk of isolation.

If you would like to host Ukrainian refugees in the local area please contact us at penny@pennypost.org.uk and we will put you in touch with Tim.

Every local council should now have published details of the support it can provide and the regulations and formalities that apply: this is West Berkshire Council’s, for instance. Anyone who is involved in helping refugees come to the UK is strongly advised to contact their local council in advance so that the whole business can proceed in a joined-up way.

“This is a compassionate initiative,” WBC’s leader Lynne Doherty told Penny Post, “and shows once again how wonderful the people of West Berkshire are. Tim has been in touch with us and our team is ready to work with him to fulfil the Council’s obligations in terms of the support we are able to offer. We look forward to welcoming these Ukrainian citizens and others coming in by different routes as they find hosts across the district.”

It’s important to note that councils such as WBC can provide support, advice and guidance to those who come forward as hosts but are, currently at least, not responsible for finding accommodation themselves.

Hungerford’s mum

As anyone who knows Hungerford’s Helen Simpson will testify, she often appears to be in several places at once: whether its chairing meetings or conducting site visits, talking to residents or inspecting playgrounds, Helen is actively involved in most aspects of the town’s life. She is also a mother, which makes its own demands on her time.

Feolla Chastanet managed to catch up with her amidst the whirl of activity to ask her a few questions about how Covid has impacted on her life and that of the town and its council. She kicked off by wondering, with Mothering Sunday in mind, if Helen felt that her role in Hungerford was perhaps more than just that of being its Mayor…Click here to read the interview.

Back to remote learning

Anyone with kids at John O’Gaunt will know that the school is suffering from a bit of Covid related absence of late and that, as of 22 March, years 7 to 10 are closed. We received the following statement on 22 March from Head Teacher Richard Hawthorne:

“Over the past week, John O’Gaunt has seen a sharp rise in staff absence, largely due to staff testing positive for Covid-19. Those staff have been following government self-isolation guidance, which means that they cannot return to work for up to 10 days. Many are continuing to test positive beyond days five and six, which is the earliest the guidance allows them to end their isolation.

“Despite our best efforts to mitigate the shortages, such as attempting to source agency staff and using internal staff for cover, the unprecedented operational difficulties we have been facing have forced our hand. This has led to asking some year groups to learn at home, attending live sessions where we can offer them and completing work set by their teachers. The school is working hard to minimise disruption and keeping families updated daily.  Clearly, this is not the situation we would wish to find ourselves in, but we are duty-bound to ensure that we can offer safe and effective provision in school.  We will return to full onsite teaching as soon as we can.”

This isn’t, of course, the first time that the school has been faced with this problem. Richard Hawthorne took over the top job there in June 2020 and his monthly diary, which you can read here, charts the ups and downs of being a head teacher during a pandemic.

Community notices

Hungerford Printing Company is collecting any type of used ink jet cartridge for recycling. Drop them off at their studio which is down the alley between Eliane’s and Hungerford Bookshop. Proceeds raised will go to HEAT (Hungerford Environmental Action Team).

• Local gardeners are asked to donate to Hungerford Rotary Club’s annual plant sale on Saturday 14 May. Please make a note in your diary to drop plants (labelled please) at Tumblings, 16 The Croft (opposite the gates of St Lawrence Church) between 4pm and 5pm on Friday 13 May.

• 1st Inkpen and Kintbury Scout Group need to raise £1,500 to extend their scout hut so they can store all their equipment and add solar panels to the building. Please support their campaign here.

• Hungerford Environmental Action Team (HEAT) has some fun and practical volunteering opportunities over the next couple of months. If you would like to get involved please contact HEAT_Hungerford@yahoo.com

• Hungerford PPG (Patient Participation Group) strongly encourages elderly residents to make a doctor appointment if they are not feeling 100%.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Volunteer crew member vacancies on the Rose of Hungerford. Flexible hours. Training offered. A fun way to support the Kennet & Avon Canal.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk. The charity is looking for more volunteer walkers across the area.

• The new timetable at Herongate Club sees the return of one-hour fitness and yoga classes.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

Cobbs Farm Shop is delighted to announce that their Play Barn is re-opening on Monday 4 April after two-year closure due to lockdown. After the Easter holidays you can enjoy a free Easter I-Spy Trail by picking up a map from Cobbs Play Barn, head up to the farm, and follow our I-spy trail.

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

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Regular Events

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more information plus contact details can be found here.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes and bric-a-brac.

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Sundays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre (7-8pm on Wednesdays from Weds 2 March). For more details contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This is a very sociable group that like to supplement their chat with a bit of craft. Please see here for more.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page.

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

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Love Lotte Barre Fitness classes for the best workout: £45/month (plus free taster).

Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome.

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 January and projects for February can be seen here. This includes a summary of the February 2022 meeting.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 3 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: Lawrence Field; speeding; planning matters; the churchyard; the Scouts; licensing issues at Elcot park; maintenance and repairs; financial matters; trees; the annual newsletter; and the jubilee. 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 10 February 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 11 January 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 Froxfield Parish Council took place on 10 January 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 (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.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Hungerford area; Marlborough area; Newbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and Downlands; Theale area; Wantage area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 17 March 2022

This week’s news

• Simon Howe from Hungerford has made great progress driving the heart monitor and essential medical supplies to Krakow from where Ukrainian volunteers will take them to Kiev. See here for more details and how to support their fundraising appeal to cover medical supplies and travel costs. Simon posts regular updates on his facebook page. Also here is our summary of other local and national appeals for Ukraine.

• Fancy a movie night this Friday? Arts for Hungerford is screening Dune at the Croft Hall at 7.30pm. For more information have a look here to book tickets.

• If you have a young one in the family, the wonderful Hungerford Nursery School, with 20 years of Outstanding OFSTED ratings, is holding an Open Day this Saturday 19 March for parents considering nursery schools for their 2-4 year old this coming September. There is no need to pre-book the Open Day. Please note that from September the Nursery School’s hours are extending and there will be more holiday clubs.

• Next door this Saturday 19 March is also the Hungerford Repair Cafe in the Croft Hall with clever volunteers who can fix your broken appliances, wobbly bikes or holey jumpers. These events are organised by Hungerford Rotary and HEAT. For more details see here.

• The annual Town Council meeting resumes after a two-year pandemic hiatus on Wednesday 30 March in Croft Hall at 7pm. Local groups will have display tables so this is a great opportunity to find out what is going on in town and how you can get involved.

• Speaking of which, there is currently a vacancy for a councillor at the Town Council of Hungerford due to the resignation of Rupert Mills. For more information visit the council website here, or contact them on 01488 686195.

• Hungerford Environmental Action Team (HEAT) is delighted to announce that it has been awarded a substantial Lottery Community Fund “Together for our Planet” grant. “This grant gives us a fantastic opportunity to assist households in Hungerford and the surrounding areas to work out tailored home-energy plans”  said John Downe of HEAT. “Their individual roadmaps will have the dual goals of heating and running their home with lowered energy consumption and costs and, at the same time, making their homes much more environmentally friendly. HEAT will be organising events in the coming months in the lead-up to the all-day main show taking place in Hungerford Town Hall on 24th September.”

If you have identified issues with your house or already had success with your own household energy reduction and climate friendly actions, HEAT would love to hear from you on heat_hungerford@yahoo.com HEAT would also like to hear from companies and organisations with relevant offerings or advice which are keen to participate in this initiative.

Hungerford Rotary would like to thank everyone who contributed to their whopping £4,000 street collection for Ukraine on Saturday. The funds are going promptly to Rotary healthcare professionals on the front line. Anyone who would like to add to the fund, please contact President of Hungerford Rotary Club Bruce Mayhew on bruce@brucemayhew.co.uk

The Town and Manor is now flying the Ukrainian flag on the Town Hall and are offering the building free for a day to organisations who need a donation collection point. See here for details.

• A reminder that next week, Christian Alba Butcher on the High Street is holding a Charity BBQ and Raffle in aid of Ukraine on Saturday 26 March.

• Planning is well underway on Hungerford’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations for a picnic and entertainment from 2pm to 7pm on Sunday 5 June at the Croft. If you would like to contribute to the festivities in any way please contact jubileehungerford@gmail.com.

• Reminder that the pool at Hungerford Leisure Centre will be closed from 4 to 14 April for essential repairs. All others aspects of the facilities remain open as normal.

Kintbury Parish Council has set up a Community Speedwatch Group under the guidance of Thames Valley Police (TVP) and is looking for volunteers to help monitor the 30 and 20mph zones using speed gun equipment provided by TVP. Anyone interested in being involved please contact clerk@kintburyparishcouncil.org

• The Curve gift shop at Hungerford Hub & Library has lovely gifts made by local crafters. 15% of profits go to the library so it’s an easy way to show your love to the library.

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

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

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

A perfect storm?

There’s an article on p21 of this week’s NWN which refers to three challenges that Hungerford faces, all of which have recently been exposed as issues and have been widely covered in Penny Post. These are the dwindling pupil numbers at the Primary and Secondary schools, the staffing problems at the surgery and the unwelcome news from GWR that the town is to lose most of its direct services from May. This was described as “a perfect storm” by a councillor at the most recent Hungerford Town Council (HTC) meeting. If all these matters are allowed to run on unchecked this is certainly a possibility. It’s therefore worth having a quick look at these and seeing what can be done about them.

The first two are the result of national trends. The population is aging and towns like Hungerford do appear to suffering a disproportionate decline in people in the 25 to 45 age from which most parents of school-children are drawn. (The extent to which Hungerford’s trends are different from those of other towns of its size is something I’ll be looking at more closely when I’ve digested the vast amount of data I’ve been supplied by the ONS). There is also a shortage of GPs and other clinical staff, nationally and in the district. The irony at present, therefore, is that whereas the schools have fewer pupils than they would like, the surgery is in danger of having more patients than it can safely handle.

Neither of these issues are yet at crisis proportions. The schools are doing their best to be attractive to parents, in Hungerford and beyond, while the surgery is exploring every avenue to recruit the staff it needs. I suspect that if you go to any other small town anywhere in the country you’ll see something similar going on.

The situation with the trains, though, is a separate matter. Hungerford is the envy of many other places in the area including Wantage and Marlborough in that it has a rail station on the main line to London. “Main line” is, however, a bit of an illusion, however, as for practical purposes the section between Newbury and Bedwyn is treated like a branch line. This situation has recently been made worse by the recent announcement from GWR that from May most train services going east will terminate at Newbury. The reasons for, and likely consequences of, this are covered in this separate article (which is regularly updated).

The first two issues are not easy to solve locally. With the train services, however, there is something you can do – complain. The above-mentioned post suggests some of the people you could contact, including your MP. You can also write to your local councillors and the Department for Transport.

If you only have the time to take one course of action, I’d recommend that you sign up to receive the newsletters from the Bedwyn Train Passenger Group (click here for details). This has proved to be a highly effective lobbying group which has the ear and the respect of GWR’s management. It has wrung concessions and improvements out of GWR before and hopes to do so again. The more subscribers it gets, the more clout it has and the more letters and emails will be received by the people who can influence these decisions that the BTPG advises its readers contact. At times of service disruption, the BTPG’s newsletters also provide clear, timely and accurate information which is often a lot easier to understand than that provided by GWR.

In general, things only happen (or are prevented from happening) if enough people make a fuss about them. Hungerford has a good record on this. There’s no law that says that a town of its size must have a library or a Post Office and a few years ago Hungerford came perilously close to losing both these facilities. The reason it didn’t was because the Town Council spearheaded vigorous and effective campaigns to preserve them and to have them run in a different way. Hungerford has a host of advantages (including good leisure and sports facilities, a thriving and elegant High Street, a river, a canal, a common, beautiful countryside within easy walking distance and a wide range of community and charitable groups).

However, perhaps its main advantage in terms of getting things done is that it has a highly functional and efficient Town Council and three excellent district councillors who are effective advocates of the town’s interests. If you feel something needs to be done, let them know and they’ll either raise the matter or point you to where the enquiry should be directed. HTC and the district councillors are aware of the train-service problems are are making their representations. As with the BTPG, the more comments they get the louder their voices will be.

Community notices

Hungerford Printing Company is collecting any type of used ink jet cartridge for recycling. Drop them off at their studio which is down the alley between Eliane’s and Hungerford Bookshop. Proceeds raised will go to HEAT (Hungerford Environmental Action Team).

• Local gardeners are asked to donate to Hungerford Rotary Club’s annual plant sale on Saturday 14 May. Please make a note in your diary to drop plants (labelled please) at Tumblings, 16 The Croft (opposite the gates of St Lawrence Church) between 4pm and 5pm on Friday 13 May.• There is still time to have your say about the future of the skatepark in Bulpit Lane. Click here to take part in Hungerford Town Council’s survey by 25 March 2022.

• 1st Inkpen and Kintbury Scout Group need to raise £1,500 to extend their scout hut so they can store all their equipment and add solar panels to the building. Please support their campaign here.

• Hungerford Environmental Action Team (HEAT) has some fun and practical volunteering opportunities over the next couple of months. If you would like to get involved please contact HEAT_Hungerford@yahoo.com

• Hungerford PPG (Patient Participation Group) strongly encourages elderly residents to make a doctor appointment if they are not feeling 100%.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Volunteer crew member vacancies on the Rose of Hungerford. Flexible hours. Training offered. A fun way to support the Kennet & Avon Canal.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk. The charity is looking for more volunteer walkers across the area.

• The new timetable at Herongate Club sees the return of one-hour fitness and yoga classes.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

Cobbs Farm Shop is delighted to announce that their Play Barn is re-opening on Monday 4 April after two-year closure due to lockdown. After the Easter holidays you can enjoy a free Easter I-Spy Trail by picking up a map from Cobbs Play Barn, head up to the farm, and follow our I-spy trail.

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

 

• Regular Events

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more information plus contact details can be found here.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes and bric-a-brac.

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Sundays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre (7-8pm on Wednesdays from Weds 2 March). For more details contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This is a very sociable group that like to supplement their chat with a bit of craft. Please see here for more.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page.

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

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Love Lotte Barre Fitness classes for the best workout: £45/month (plus free taster).

Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome.

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 January and projects for February can be seen here. This includes a summary of the February 2022 meeting.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 10 February and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: the survey of the trees on the Village Green; and one planning application. 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 3 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: tree works at Lawrence Field; speeding; dog fouling; planning matters; the emergency plan; financial matters; tree planting at the Cemetery; and the jubilee. 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 Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 January 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 Froxfield Parish Council took place on 10 January 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 (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.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Hungerford area; Marlborough area; Newbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and Downlands; Theale area; Wantage area; Swindon area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

 

Thursday 10 March 2022

This week’s news

• A small team from Hungerford has just responded to a cry for help transporting a heart monitor to Krakow from where it will be taken on to Kiev by Ukrainian volunteers. Simon Howe and Blake Morgan are hiring a van and hope to leave next week and in preparation are appealing for financial support to cover the purchase of more medical supplies and travel costs. For more information and how to donate please click here.

Christian Alba Butcher on the High Street is holding a Charity BBQ and Raffle in aid of Ukraine on Saturday 26 March.

March news from Hungerford’s independent shops and businesses includes special offers from Belle Chic Health & Beauty, sustainable travel news from Fare Wise Travel, extended opening times at Howard’s Pet Care, Mother’s Day and Easter gifts at Inklings, fascinating glimpse of watch repairs at The Clockmaker, new financial partner at Hungerford Legal & Financial Centre, ink cartridge recycling at Hungerford Printing Company and Brunch & Board Games at Herongate’s Honesty Cafe.

• The wonderful Hungerford Nursery School, which is currently celebrating 20 years of Outstanding OFSTED ratings, is holding an Open Day on Saturday 19 March for parents considering nursery schools for their 2-4 year old this coming September. There is no need to pre-book the Open Day. Note that that from September the Nursery School’s hours are extending and there will be more holiday clubs.

• Planning is well underway on Hungerford’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations for a picnic and entertainment from 2pm to 7pm on Sunday 5 June at the Croft. If you would like to contribute to the festivities in any way please contact jubileehungerford@gmail.com.

Arts for Hungerford has a great line-up of films and live music scheduled for coming weeks, including The Dunwells indie folk, Americana rock band on Saturday 12 March.

• Reminder that the pool at Hungerford Leisure Centre will be closed from 4 to 14 April for essential repairs. All others aspects of the facilities remain open as normal.

Kintbury Parish Council has set up a Community Speedwatch Group under the guidance of Thames Valley Police (TVP) and is looking for volunteers to help monitor the 30 and 20mph zones using speed gun equipment provided by TVP. Anyone interested in being involved please contact clerk@kintburyparishcouncil.org

• Local gardeners are asked to add a few extra seeds to their planting and also take some extra cuttings and split plants in the spring to donate to Hungerford Rotary Club’s annual plant sale on Saturday 14 May. Please make a note in your diary to drop plants (labelled please) at Tumblings, 16 The Croft (opposite the gates of St Lawrence Church) between 4pm and 5pm on Friday 13 May. The sale normally raises around £1,000 for local and national good causes, so all support is much appreciated.

Hungerford Printing Company are collecting any type of used ink jet cartridge for recycling. Drop them off at their studio which is down the alley between Eliane’s and Hungerford Bookshop. Proceeds raised will go to HEAT (Hungerford Environmental Action Team).

• The next Hungerford Repair Cafe is on Saturday 19 March in the Croft Hall with clever volunteers who can fix your broken appliances, wobbly bikes or holey jumpers. These events are organised by Hungerford Rotary and HEAT. For more details see here.

• If you fancy trying some new grape varieties for this spring and summer, The Naked Grape’s Easter Wine Tasting from 1pm to 6pm on Saturday 9 April. You can book your place with Simon Evans on 01488 684684 or simon@tngwine.co.uk.

• The Curve gift shop at Hungerford Hub & Library has lovely gifts made by local crafters. 15% of profits go to the library so it’s an easy way to show your love to the library.

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

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

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

Hungerford’s newsletter

As usual at the start of each month, Penny Post Hungerford is published, providing the best guide to life in the town. You can read this here if you didn’t get it. Here’s a quick summary of what it contains…

  • Regular news updates from the Town Council, the Town and Manor, HEAT, Arts for Hungerford, the leisure centres, The Rose of Hungerford, Barrs Yard and the High Street retailers.
  • Articles about the greenling of St Lawrence’s, bad news for rail commuters, Mother’s Day, Ukranian appeal scams and links to three obituaries.
  • Appeals regarding Ukraine, the Youth Club, dog walking, the Hub and various volunteer roles.
  • Activities including boardgames, Easter activity clubs, walking rugby and writing classes.
  • Features such as the wine of the month, the book of the month, recycling, duck feeding and travel tips.
  • Jobs, property, events and some wise words about the use of force.
  • A statement from Hungerford Surgery, which you can see in the section below.

Due to an error on our part, the regular diary from John O’Gaunt’s Head Teacher Richard Hawthorne was missed out of the newsletter. Richard took over the job on 1 June 2020, just as Covid really started to bite. The monthly updates since then provide a fascinating insight into not only the problems of running a secondary school during a pandemic and trying to follow ever-changing government guidance but also many of the positive things that he, his colleagues and his students were able to accomplish despite this. Sorry for missing you out, Richard: won’t happen again…

Hungerford Surgery

Two representatives of Hungerford Surgery, Practice Manager Mike Hall and Senior Partner Dr Niti Sodhi, made a presentation to Hungerford Town Council’s meeting on 7 March. This was in response to concerns which had been raised about the staffing levels there in recent months (which had been prompted by a statement by the Surgery itself in December 2021). The issue can be summarised as an acute problem (the resignation of two GPs for unrelated reasons, one of which will come into effect at the end of May) and a chronic one of a shortage of GPs and other clinicians across the BOB (Bucks, Oxon and Berks) area and, indeed the country as a whole.

Various statistics were used to explain the situation. There are many ways a surgery’s goals and performance can be measured. These include the number of GP sessions ( a period of four and a quarter hours) per week; the number of appointments each GP has a day; and the number of patients on each GP’s list. Given the staffing situation at Hungerford, one would expect to see the first one falling and the other two rising: this is exactly what the figures revealed. The optimum number of sessions which Hungerford Surgery, given its patient list size, should provide is 32: since September 2021 this was 27 and will from June 2022 (if nothing is done to address this – see below) fall to 21. The GPs that remain are also over-worked. 32 appointments per day from an individual roster of 1,500 patients was the norm in February 2021: a year on and the GPs are seeing 38 patents a day out of 2,000 patients allocated to them. If unaddressed, this will rise to unsustainable levels by mid-summer.

The measures being taken to address this include a hunt for two new GPs, a continuing use of locum cover, the aspiration to become a training practice (which will provide greater access to trainee GPs) and further work on the development of and training of the nursing team. Perhaps the clearest sign that the situation was reaching serious proportions was the application to close the practice to new patients. This could run for between three and 12 months and is contingent on the local health board being satisfied the neighbouring practices can absorb these. No final decision on this has yet been made. As Mike Hall stressed, successful recruitment could well change this.

He also pointed to the recent recruitment of a range of new clinicians including a first-contact physio, a mental health practitioner and a clinical pharmacist, all of which will be in place by April. This will certainly help: but the main gap is with the GPs who remain the first point of contact for most patients. Pulse reported in August 2021 that one in seven GP vacancies were unfilled. In the BOB area, Mike Hall said there were close to 50 – and that’s just based on a survey of active job posts. This is a reality which is not confined to Hungerford.

Mike Hall was also candid about the implications were the situation to remain unchecked. These included unmanageable demand and workload, increased wait times and higher risk of staff burn-out and decline in morale. The worse the problem became, the harder it would be to recruit new staff and to retain existing ones. The implications of this are not encouraging but at least it seems clear that to a greater or lesser extent these are shared by GP practices everywhere. (It was, however, agreed that Hungerford Surgery was perhaps suffering worse than many for reasons beyond its control as house prices are high (and rising) here).

The problem has its origins in what many see as a decade of under-investment during the period of austerity that followed the financial crash of 2008. A long origin does not suggest a quick fix, in Hungerford or anywhere else.

At least parliament seems to be trying to take some steps, its Health and Social Care Committee starting to hear evidence for its recruitment and retention inquiry. During the first session on 1 March, one GP from Leicester is reported is quoted in Healthcare Leader as likening life as a a GP to being “pelted with rocks”, adding that GPs are “‘left carrying all the risk of system failures, including patients being inappropriately discharged into GP care.” Management Practice suggested that the “ever-increasing demand” on GPs was only being kept at bay at all by their preparing to “go above and beyond” for their patients.

Dr Niti Sodhi gave some examples of how this was happening in Hungerford, while stressing that patient safety was not being compromised. Aside from the possible temporary closure of the practice to new patients (see above) the most immediate result of this would likely be longer wait times for those with non-urgent conditions. “Please be patient,” she asked. “We are doing absolutely all we can to address this.” Both have promised to supply Penny Post with updates as the situation develops and these will be reported without delay. You can also keep your eye on the the News section on the left-hand panel of the Surgery’s website.

Community notices

• There is still time to have your say about the future of the skatepark in Bulpit Lane. Click here to take part in Hungerford Town Council’s survey by 25 March 2022.

• 1st Inkpen and Kintbury Scout Group need to raise £1,500 to extend their scout hut so they can store all their equipment and add solar panels to the building. Please support their campaign here.

• Hungerford Environmental Action Team (HEAT) has some fun and practical volunteering opportunities over the next couple of months. If you would like to get involved please contact HEAT_Hungerford@yahoo.com

• Hungerford PPG (Patient Participation Group) strongly encourages elderly residents to make a doctor appointment if they are not feeling 100%.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Volunteer crew member vacancies on theRose of Hungerford. Flexible hours. Training offered. A fun way to support the Kennet & Avon Canal.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• If you know anyone elderly or seriously ill who needs help walking their dog, the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk  will connect you with a volunteer dog walker in Hungerford. The charity is also looking for more volunteer walkers across the area.

• The new timetable at Herongate Club sees the return of one-hour fitness and yoga classes.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

Cobbs Farm Shop is delighted to announce that their Play Barn is re-opening on Monday 4 April after two year closure due to lockdown. After the Easter holidays you can enjoy a free Easter I-Spy Trail by picking up a map from Cobbs Play Barn, head up to the farm, and follow our I-spy trail.

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

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Fri 11 Mar Film Night: Ammonite, The Croft Hall

• Sat 12 Mar Arts for Hungerford presents The Dunwells live music at The Croft Hall

• Sat 19 Mar Hungerford Repair Café at The Croft Hall

• Sat 26 Mar Arts for Hungerford presents Clarinet and Piano Recital, The Croft Hall

• Wed 30 Mar Brunch & Board Games, Herongate’s Honesty Cafe

• Regular Events

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more information plus contact details can be found here.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes and bric-a-brac.

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Sundays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre (7-8pm on Wednesdays from Weds 2 March). For more details contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This is a very sociable group that like to supplement their chat with a bit of craft. Please see here for more.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page.

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

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• Friendly French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Love Lotte Barre Fitness classes for the best workout: £45/month (plus free taster).

• Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome.

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 January and projects for February can be seen here. This includes a summary of the February 2022 meeting.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 10 February and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: the survey of the trees on the Village Green; and one planning application. 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 3 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: tree works at Lawrence Field; speeding; dog fouling; planning matters; the emergency plan; financial matters; tree planting at the Cemetery; and the jubilee. 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 Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 January 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 Froxfield Parish Council took place on 10 January 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 (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.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

 

Thursday 3 March 2022

This week’s news

• Sad news that Ron Tarry died this morning after a short illness. Ron served as Town Mayor twice (including at the time of the Hungerford Tragedy in 1987) and helped run Hungerford Football Club for over 70 years. Please see Mike Hall’s tribute to Ron here. Our thoughts are with Ron’s family and friends.

• There has been a considerable outpouring of support for Ukraine. Here is our summary of local and national appeals to support.

• The next meeting of Hungerford Town Council will take place on Monday 7pm in the Library and you can see the agenda here. Members of the public are, as always, welcome to attend.

• The main points covered in this, and other matters with which HTC has been involved, will be covered in our monthly HTC Update. This will as usual be promoted in our Penny Post Hungerford e-newsletter, the March issue of which will be published on Tuesday 8 March. If there’s anything you’d like to see included in this, please email penny@pennypost.org.uk asap.

• The pool at Hungerford Leisure Centre will be closed from 4 to 14 April for essential repairs. All others aspects of the facilities remain open as normal. (I learned recently that swimming pools are only stable because of the water in them: when emptied, the pressure from the outside can become too great and they are at risk of collapse. I’m sure I’m not telling Hungerford Leisure Centre’s staff and contractors anything they don’t know already.) My more serious concern is where I shall go swimming for these ten days. In the River Lambourn that runs past our garden? The water temperature is about 6º so I don’t think so.

• Better pool news, though, from Herongate Club which has just reported theirs is back up to temperature. And congratulations to everyone at the club who stepped to support Brain Tumour Research raising a fantastic £525 and Sue Chapman who won the three month Premier club membership.

• There will be ongoing planning meetings for Hungerford’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations on Sunday 5 June. If you would like to contribute to the festivities in any way please contact jubileehungerford@gmail.com.

• On Tuesday an out-of-town guest at The Three Swans unwittingly parked in the Wednesday market’s flower stall pitch causing a lot of stress to Darren the trader the next morning: and to the guest themselves because they risked not being able to extracate their car in time to catch a flight. Apparently the guest arrived before the market signs were in place but it would be so easy for the hotel to inform their guests where not to park on Tuesdays. Mayor Helen Simpson commented on Facebook that “I would hope that a common sense approach could prevail. We need to encourage people to the town and make them feel welcome. Both businesses need to discuss a best way forward approach for the future. There’s room for both to live harmoniously and for Hungerford to look after its visitors.”

• There with be free defibrillator training at The Hungerford Club on The Croft at 12.30pm this Sunday 6 March. While there you can stay for a delicious Sunday lunch (veggie option available). Pre-booking required on 01488 682357.

• Get your glad rags on for a charity photoshoot at the Hungerford Printing Company this weekend. Pop in to the studio between 10am and 3pm for a mini shoot with photographer Michael Harden. All he asks is a donation to the Priors Court autism charity. Dogs welcome too…

Arts for Hungerford has a great line-up of films and live music scheduled for coming weeks, including The Dunwells indie folk, Americana rock band on Saturday 12 March.

• Fashionistas who have been missing Luna Boutiques, which closed on Bridge Street last year, can get their fix at Luna’s Massive Clothing Sale at The Bear Hotel from 10am to 5pm this Saturday and Sunday. 10% of proceeds will go to The Ukraine Relief Fund.

Kintbury Parish Council has set up a Community Speedwatch Group under the guidance of Thames Valley Police (TVP) and is looking for volunteers to help monitor the 30 and 20mph zones using speed gun equipment provided by TVP. Anyone interested in being involved please contact clerk@kintburyparishcouncil.org

• Local gardeners are asked to add a few extra seeds to their planting and also take some extra cuttings and split plants in the spring to donate to Hungerford Rotary Club’s annual plant sale on Saturday 14 May. Please make a note in your diary to drop plants (labelled please) at Tumblings, 16 The Croft (opposite the gates of St Lawrence Church) between 4pm and 5pm on Friday 13 May. The sale normally raises around £1,000 for local and national good causes, so all support is much appreciated.

• Congratulations to The Crusadersvictory over Concord last Saturday at Bulpit Lane which makes an NLS record of five straight league wins for Hungerford at home. With attendance of over 350 fans on Saturday, it must have been a great game to watch. This remarkable team continues to punch well above its weight.

Hungerford Printing Company are collecting any type of used ink jet cartridge can now be dropped off for recycling at their studio which is down the alley between Eliane’s and Hungerford Bookshop. Proceeds raised will go to HEAT (Hungerford Environmental Action Team).

• The next Hungerford Repair Cafe is on Saturday 19 March in the Croft Hall with clever volunteers who can fix your broken appliances, wobbly bikes or holey jumpers. These events are organised by Hungerford Rotary and HEAT. For more details see here.

• The Curve gift shop at Hungerford Hub & Library has lovely gifts made by local crafters. 15% of profits go to the library so it’s an easy way to show your love to the library.

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

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

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

The strain on the train

As well as now being a good deal more expensive to go up to town on the train, from May it will also be a good deal more inconvenient.

Despite the stations between Bedwyn and Hungerford being on the main line, it will soon be impossible to get a direct service from Bedwyn to London after 8.03am or a direct one back before 6.08pm (a few extra trains will serve Hungerford during the day). This is because the DfT has told GWR to cut costs: to do this, as the local pressure organisation the Bedwyn Train Passengers Group has recently announced, “GWR has decided to retire older diesel trains in the West Country and replace them with the three IET trains that serve Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury.” This is despite the fact that these bi-mode trains will be used on non-electrified lines – that’s £200m of rolling stock designed for electric traction but unable to make use of it. By comparison with this, the £1m spent on extending the siding at Bedwyn to accommodate them (which now won’t be needed) seems like small change.

You can read the full statement from the BTPG here. “This will leave us on the worst timetable since June 1992 (when the pre-Turbo fleet was retired),” the report gloomily concedes. BTPG stresses that it will continue to work to have this service restored and lists some ways you can help.

So – welcome to the new post-Covid normal world of higher fares and a worse service. Climate emergency or not, this will do little to encourage people to ditch their cars. Those that do take the train may now be tempted to drive to Newbury: if, of course you can find somewhere to park. Or just go back to using Zoom. That’s free and you don’t need to climb out of the train at Newbury and go over a footbridge for a connecting service that may or may not be waiting for you.

Hungerford Town Council was quick to react to this news. “We are hugely disappointed by this,” the town’s Mayor Helen Simpson told Penny Post on 3 March. “We will campaign against these changes and ensure that the diesel shuttle from Newbury will connect effectively with the services to Paddington. We will also write to our MP and contact GWR and the Department of Transport directly.” Anyone else likely to be affected by this service downgrade is advised to do likewise.

A CIL petition

We and others have mentioned several times before about problems which have attended at least two instances of Community Infrastructure Levies in West Berkshire (and, it’s becoming increasingly clear, elsewhere). These concern both how applicants are communicated with during the application process and how the collection of any sums are handled. The matter was, indirectly, debated at WBC’s full council on 18 January and you can read our report on that here.

Once case in Upper Lambourn, involving about £70,000, remains hanging with the charge being neither cancelled nor enforced through the courts. This uncertainty doesn’t seem to serve anyone’s interests and leaves open the question of how strong WBC feels its case actually is. The other, in Kintbury, for about £20,000, was settled. However the applicant has now decided that the matter should not be allowed to rest there. She has therefore started a petition which calls upon WBC to “ensure that it charges the correct amounts of money due to it for any and all services for which it levies charges and will reimburse any resident or service user who has been charged in error or has been charged where no charge should have been levied.”

The petition was launched on 1 March and needs to get to 1,500 to be debated by WBC’s full council. Please click here for more on this and for a link to the petition. Feel free to pass this link on to anyone who might be interested.

Community notices

• There is still time to have your say about the future of the skatepark in Bulpit Lane. Click here to take part in Hungerford Town Council’s survey by 25 March 2022.

• 1st Inkpen and Kintbury Scout Group need to raise £1,500 to extend their scout hut so they can store all their equipment and add solar panels to the building. Please support their campaign here.

• Hungerford Environmental Action Team (HEAT) has some fun and practical volunteering opportunities over the next couple of months. If you would like to get involved please contact HEAT_Hungerford@yahoo.com

Hungerford PPG (Patient Participation Group) strongly encourages elderly residents to make a doctor appointment if they are not feeling 100%.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Volunteer crew member vacancies on theRose of Hungerford. Flexible hours. Training offered. A fun way to support the Kennet & Avon Canal.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• If you know anyone elderly or seriously ill who needs help walking their dog, the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk  will connect you with a volunteer dog walker in Hungerford. The charity is also looking for more volunteer walkers across the area.

• The new timetable at Herongate Club sees the return of one-hour fitness and yoga classes.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

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

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Dates for the diary

Fri 4 Mar Hungerford Club’s quiz night from 7.30pm.

Fri 11 Mar Film Night: Ammonite, The Croft Hall

• Sat 12 Mar Arts for Hungerford presents The Dunwells live music at The Croft Hall

• Sat 19 Mar Hungerford Repair Café at The Croft Hall

• Sat 26 Mar Arts for Hungerford presents Clarinet and Piano Recital, The Croft Hall

• Regular Events

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more information plus contact details can be found here.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes and bric-a-brac.

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Sundays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre (7-8pm on Wednesdays from Weds 2 March). For more details contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This is a very sociable group that like to supplement their chat with a bit of craft. Please see here for more.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page.

•  The Curve at Hungerford Hub and Library is open on Tuesdays, 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. Click here for details.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• Friendly French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association take place at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee, whether you are a beginner or an advanced French speaker.

• Love Lotte Barre Fitness classes for the best workout: £45/month (plus free taster).

• Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome.

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 January and projects for February can be seen here. This includes a summary of the February 2022 meeting.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 10 February and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: the survey of the trees on the Village Green; and one planning application. 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 3 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: tree works at Lawrence Field; speeding; dog fouling; planning matters; the emergency plan; financial matters; tree planting at the Cemetery; and the jubilee. 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 Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 January 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 Froxfield Parish Council took place on 10 January 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 (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.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

You might also be interested in…

Thursday 24 February 2022

This week’s news

• There was a good turn-out this week for the initial planning meeting for Hungerford’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations on Sunday 5 June. If you would like to contribute to the festivities in any way please contact jubileehungerford@gmail.com.

• The proposals for the re-development of the St John’s Hall site near the railway station have (if planning officers are minded to approve them) been called in by the district councillors to decided at committee. I spoke to the Chair of Hungerford’s Planning Committee who told me that a recent meeting with the developers and their architects had resulted in HTC suggesting a number of changes which the applicants had promised to consider. These included ensuring that the plans met WBC’s own policy on parking provision for residents and visitors (which currently appears to rely on using the station car park), improving the refuse and recycling bin area and re-positioning the EV charge points so as to accommodate more vehicles. In an echo of the similar objections to the WBC/Sovereign application at Chestnut Walk, HTC also drew attention to the lack of ambition in the environmental features such PV panels and ground-source heat pumps. Time will tell what adjustments will be made and how impressed HTC and, more importantly, the Western Area Planning Committee will be with them.

On the plus side, the development does seem set to create two “affordable” and one social-rent homes in the town, in line with WBC’s policy of 30% of brownfield developments of more than 10 dwellings needing to be of this kind. Developers have, however, been known to have these obligations set aside by claiming that to build them will make the project unviable. HTC’s councillors and three ward members will doubtless be keeping a close eye on this as well.

Arts for Hungerford has a great line-up of films and live music scheduled for coming weeks, starting with their film night Promising Young Woman this Friday 25 February at The Croft Hall.

• The Hungerford Hub will be hosting novelist and screenwriter Natasha Solomons as she talks about her new book, I, Mona Lisa on 1 March. The talk is organised as part of Hungerford Bookshops events and will be followed by a Q&A book signing. See more here.

• Well done to Hungerford Rugby Club for donating 100 kilos of kit and boots last Sunday to the SOS Kit Aid charity which distributes it to disadvantaged young people around the world. It’s a great way to keep it out of landfill as well.

Hungerford Rugby seniors sported an interesting look of men in mud last Sunday after a soggy match against Chipping Norton which they won 7-0. We’re glad our son doesn’t play any more as our washing machine couldn’t have coped with that kit.

• Celebrations are in order for Combe Manor Barn as it has won Hitched’s Best Wedding Venue Award 2022. This multi-award-winning barn is also where the parents of one of our correspondents tied the knot and they personally vouch that this historic venue south of Inkpen is ever deserving of the award and praise.

Hungerford Town FC were victorious against Dartford by a close 2-1 victory last weekend. This win extended the unbeaten home game streak in 2022 with the current run being four games without tasting defeat. For the full match breakdown, visit Hungerford Town FC’s facebook page here.

• The relaunched post-Covid Hungerford Youth Club has proved very successful with an overwhelming amount of young people signing up. So the club have announced that they will be splitting the youth club groups into Year 5 and Year 6 on alternating weeks from Wednesday 2 March. See more here.

• The funeral of David Clayton, who ran The Community of Hungerford Theatre Company for over 30 years, will be at 4pm on Monday 28 February at West Berkshire Crematorium. All friends welcome. He will be sorely missed in the town.

• There will be a book and jigsaw sale at Shalbourne Village Hall in aid of Village Hall funds this Saturday 26 February from 10am to 3pm. The sale will see a lot of children’s books so see about bringing the family along.

• Hungerford Club’s Friday 26 March quiz has been pushed back to 4 March due to the quiz master falling ill. A reminder that it is also to start at 7.30pm.

• February news from HEAT (Hungerford Environmental Action Team) includes exciting plans for 2022 include a Home Energy event (similar to the successful Electric Vehicle expo last year). All are welcome to join the next monthly zoom meeting on Wed 28 Feb. Please contact heat_hungerford@yahoo.com for the link.

• The Curve gift shop at Hungerford Hub & Library has lovely gifts made by local crafters. 15% of profits go to the library so it’s an easy way to show your love to the library. You can also buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub, a not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library.

• A reminder for those who want to get boosters in or near Hungerford, the two options are (i) Visit the NHS booking website to book an appointment: you will be offered nearby sites that have appointments available. If none are suitable the first time you check, try again in a while as availability changes all the time. (ii) Visit the NHS walk-in centre website for information on drop-in centres near Hungerford.

• 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.

• February news from Barrs Yard includes a range of gifts from flowers and fizz to fashion and fine art.

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

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

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

A funding boost

Development in communities can be divisive and is always disruptive: but it does, of course, produce homes for people to live in (whether of the kind the community needs is another matter) as well as money through developer contributions to help mitigate the impact of these. Most of this stays with the district council but 15% (or 25% if a neighbourhood development plan is in place) goes to the town or parish. Hungerford Town Council has, in respect of the Lancaster Park development, received the second of two tranches totalling about £235,000, quite a bit more than its annual precept. It obviously then needs to decide where this money goes.

There are constraints on this as the sums must be spent “on the provision, improvement, replacement, operation or maintenance of infrastructure, or anything else that is concerned with addressing demands that development places on an area.” (This is taken from West Lancashire Council’s regulations but the phrase crops up in other places too). Gold-plating all the playground equipment, laying on vintage wine for council meetings or buying a Jag for the Mayor are therefore right out. That still leaves plenty of possibilities. A responsible town or parish council will have developed projects which will benefit from this funding and been careful to ensure that the expenditure matches all the criteria. This must be spent within five years of receipt or else it has to be handed back.

In Hungerford’s case, there are three existing projects which will benefit from these payments: the development of the Croft Field Activity Centre; the renovation of the skate park; and (a slightly more recent one) the provision of an all-weather pitch on the land near John O’Gaunt School. The Town Council has recently discussed how the funds will be split between these three principal schemes and further details will be announced soon.

Hungerford Surgery

As mentioned on 10 February (see below) there has been some concern about the staffing problems at the Surgery which could mean that the workload generated by 7,500 patients would be unsustainable were the situation were to remain the same (the Surgery has, however, stressed that “operating safely within our resources remains paramount in all that we do.”) This challenge was admitted by the Surgery in early December (see the statement here). I spoke to the Practice Manager Mike Hall on 10 February and he told me that “while we are short of GPs we’re doing everything we can to sustain the practice through this difficult period” and that it hopes “to be in a much better position by the summer.”

On 23 February, I contacted the Surgery for an update and was referred to a further statement issued on 11 February. This reads as follows:

“We’ve been made aware of some concerns regarding Hungerford Surgery becoming “untenable” as it was operating at two thirds capacity. We would like to reassure our patients that while we are short of GPs, we are doing everything we can to sustain the practice through this difficult period. Further to our Surgery Update released in December 2021, and available to view on our website [see link above], we are very pleased that the two new additional roles, First Contact Physiotherapist and Mental Health Practitioner, have embedded very well into the surgery team and are hugely helping with the clinical workload. Our administrative team is undergoing various changes to enable managing the rising demand and this is alongside our continuing efforts to recruit. We are also working alongside the Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Public Health at West Berkshire Council and our Patient Participation Group (PPG) who are all supporting us with these changes.” It ended with the same assurance that “with all these measures, we hope to be in a much better position by the summer.”

I spoke to Mike Hall again on 24 February and he said that if any patients wished for re-assurance on any of these points they were free to get in touch with him. Click here to visit the Surgery’s website which includes contact details.

As he pointed out earlier this month, this issue is not restricted to Hungerford. There is a shortage of GPs throughout the country (over 50 in the Bucks, Berks and Oxon CCG area alone) and I’ve today been made aware of similar challenges faced by practices elsewhere in West Berkshire. Whatever money the government spends on the NHS, there is no lever that can be pulled which will overnight produce more GPs. The Hungerford Surgery has promised to keep Penny Post updates if the situation changes, for better or worse, and we’ll pass any information on as soon as possible. Any announcements will also be made on the News section of the practice’s website.

Community notices

• There is still time to have your say about the future of the skatepark in Bulpit Lane (see also A funding boost above). Click here to take part in Hungerford Town Council’s survey by 25 March 2022.

• West Berkshire Libraries is working with All Yours to tackle period poverty locally. Unopened feminine sanitary products are being asked for at the Hungerford Library. And if you need support, you can ask the staff for an All Yours box.

• Hungerford Environmental Action Team (HEAT) has some fun and practival volunteering opportunities over the next couple of months. If you would like to get involved please contact HEAT_Hungerford@yahoo.com

• Hungerford Rugby Club requests kit donation for disadvantaged kids around the world by 20 February.

Hungerford PPG (Patient Participation Group) is concerned that elderly residents aren’t making doctors appointments when they really need to. Please see this message from Nick Lumley reassuring people that the surgery wants to hear from them if they are not feeling 100%.

• Would you like to help at Hungerford Youth Club? It’s lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub & Library.

• Volunteer crew member vacancies on the Rose of Hungerford. Flexible hours. Training offered. A fun way to support the Kennet & Avon Canal.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• If you know anyone elderly or seriously ill who needs help walking their dog, please contact the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk and they will connect you with a volunteer dog walker in Hungerford. The charity is also looking for more volunteer walkers across the area.

• February membership offer at Hungerford Leisure Centre: drop in or call 01488 683 303 for details..

• The new timetable at Herongate Club sees the return of one-hour fitness and yoga classes.

• Town and Manor of Hungerford is asking for volunteers to help river keeper Rob Starr on Thursday 17 February to plant the margins of the historic river channel which has been restored above Eddington Mill as part of the Sparkling Steams project. If you can help, please contact Mike Saunders on vicar@stlawrenceshungerford.org.uk. Volunteers need to meet at 9am at St Lawrence’s Church armed with a spade.

• The next Hungerford Repair Café is scheduled for 19 March at The Croft Hall so do start thinking about anything you have that needs fixing.

• Hungerford’s Rock Choir is always seeking new faces for rehearsals on Thursday evenings. Free taster sessions are available and more information can be found here.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

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

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Regular Events

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more information plus contact details can be found here.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes and bric-a-brac.

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Sundays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre (7-8pm on Wednesdays from Weds 2 March). For more details contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This is a very sociable group that like to supplement their chat with a bit of craft. Please see here for more.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page.

•  The Curve at Hungerford Hub and Library is open on Tuesdays, 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. Click here for details.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• Friendly French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association take place at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee, whether you are a beginner or an advanced French speaker.

• Love Lotte Barre Fitness classes for the best workout: £45/month (plus free taster).

• Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome.

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 January and projects for February can be seen here. This includes a summary of the February 2022 meeting.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 10 February and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: the survey of the trees on the Village Green; and one planning application. 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 3 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: tree works at Lawrence Field; speeding; dog fouling; planning matters; the emergency plan; financial matters; tree planting at the Cemetery; and the jubilee. 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 Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 January 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 Froxfield Parish Council took place on 10 January 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 (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.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 17 February 2022

This week’s news

• Hungerford Town Council invites the community to lead on the planning of the platinum jubilee event, or series of events, in June. A preliminary meeting will be held in Hungerford Town Hall (upstairs) at 7pm on Monday 21 February to discuss the possible ideas. Please contact claire.barnes@hungerford-tc.gov.uk in advance if you wish to attend.

Due to the storm forecast, Arts for Hungerford have postponed their film night Promising Young Woman by a week to Friday 25 February at The Croft Hall.

• Have your say about the future of the skatepark in Bulpit Lane. “We would love to see the existing site remodelled to create a new, modern facility which will be more in line with the those available in both Kintbury and Newbury,” Hungerford’s Mayor Helen Simpson said. “We are also considering installing a bike pump track and would encourage as many people as possible to fill in our survey.  We want to ensure we are making the best use of this space and to get the best equipment possible, within our budget.” Click here to take part in Hungerford Town Council’s survey by 25 March 2022.

• Anyone using the Hungerford High Street will have noticed that there’s a contraflow system in place while Gigaclear lays fibre cables which is causing delays. This is set to continue until the end of next week. because of the canal, the river and the railway there’s not much in the way of an alternative north-south route so the best thing is to adopt a Zen-like calm and, if you live in the town, spend the wait reflecting on how much faster your broadband service will be as a result.

• A recent (3.20pm on 17 February) announcement from GWR says that the red warning concerning storm Eunice will lead to “significant changes to rail services” from 4am on Friday. This is expected to last throughout the day and will result in some cancelled services. Passengers are advised to consult Journey Check before setting out. GWR is also accepting rail tickets booked for Friday 18 February for travel over the weekend or on Monday and will issue full refunds to anyone choosing not to travel at all. GWR will also need to check for any damage before re-opening so there could therefore be further delays and changes to services over the weekend.

• For various reasons, dog poo bins on the canal tow path in Hungerford are missing and dog owners are hanging bags of poo where the bins should be. There is much debate on facebook as to whether dog owners should take the bags home or leave them in protest of the council’s inaction. According to Newbury Today, it is council staff shortages that are causing the stink.

• Thanks to an incredible amount of funding from the school community and support from the Hungerford Bookshop, Kintbury’s St Mary Primary School library has been officially opened by award-winning children’s author Jenny Pearson. Old library books in good condition have been sorted by parents and donated to Books2Africa.

Hungerford Food Community (formally Hungerford Food Festival) runs monthly markets from April to October at The Croft Field Project and also cookery workshops in the community. Their first project of 2022 was at Hungerford Primary School this week. “After funding three electric ovens for the primary school to use in the classroom,” explains HFC chair Penny Locke, “we were delighted when the Fink Street Food team from Newbury agreed to come in and run a Haloumi & Tzatziki Pita Bread workshop with Year 6 at Hungerford Primary School to tie in with their topic of Ancient Greece. The young chefs really enjoyed it and we look forward to doing more with them in the future.”

• The veterans rugby match between Hungerford and the Reading Rhinos on 4 February was the first in six years for Hungerford and they came out winners, leading 33-19. See here for a full match overview on the Newbury Today page.

• February news from HEAT (Hungerford Environmental Action Team) includes exciting plans for 2022 include a Home Energy event (similar to the successful Electric Vehicle expo last year). All are welcome to join the next monthly zoom meeting on Wed 28 Feb. Please contact heat_hungerford@yahoo.com for the link.

• Congratulations to Hungerford Bookshop for becoming regional finalists in the 2022 Independent Bookshop of the Year Award. It is well-deserved recognition for the cultural contribution they make to the community. Who knows, they may yet win…

• Hungerford Town FC has seats available on a supporters coach to Braintree on Sat 19 Feb for just £5 with free entry to the match.

• Kennet Radio is still hunting for a location for its mast in Hungerford, objections recently having been raised to two sites in the south of the town. If anyone knows of a suitable site on an elevated location (ie not down by the canal or the river) please contact julian@kennetradio.com.

• The Curve gift shop at Hungerford Hub & Library has lovely gifts made by local crafters. 15% of profits go to the library so it’s an easy way to show your love to the library. You can also buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to upport the Hungerford Hub, a not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library.

• A reminder for those who want to get boosters in or near Hungerford, the two options are (i) Visit the NHS booking website to book an appointment: you will be offered nearby sites that have appointments available. If none are suitable the first time you check, try again in a while as availability changes all the time. (ii) Visit the NHS walk-in centre website for information on drop-in centres near Hungerford.

• 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.

• February news from Barrs Yard includes a range of gifts from flowers and fizz to fashion and fine art.

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

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

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

Why the leak?

Sewage spills in the Kennet catchment are often blamed on high groundwater but this winter has been very dry (in January the UK had half the normal amount of rainfall and this follows several months of below average rain). What, then, was the cause of the sewage leak spotted this week by Eastridge River Keeper Jack Uridge from the sewage pumping station between Chilton Foliat and Ramsbury?

We put this question to Charlotte Hitchmough from Action for the River Kennet. “Ground water and river levels are significantly lower than average so the leak must be due to some sort of blockage or equipment failure,” she explained. “Sewage pollution is high in nutrients and can reduce the available oxygen in the river, which could damage the fragile trout eggs that are incubating at the moment. Unscreened sewage like this often also contains plastic from sanitary products.” One of the problems with these localised, relatively small incidents is that because they don’t immediately kill thousands of fish they can go unnoticed and unreported, but our rivers are suffering, as she put it, “a death by a thousand cuts. Every incident is contributing to steady degradation of river health we see the worst impact from sewage pollution and nutrient laden farm runoff in the spring, when combined with sunlight they trigger algal growth that smothers healthy green oxygenating plants starting a cycle of decline.”

She suggested that there are four ways everyone can help:

  1. If you spot river pollution please report it to Thames Water on 0800 3169800 and the Environment Agency on 0800 80706.
  2. Both Laura Farris MP and Danny Kruger MP have expressed their concern for the health of our chalkstreams and the poor performance of water companies. Keep writing to them to make sure they don’t forget that we need proper investment to make our sewer networks better, and that the Environment Agency needs to be funded to investigate every pollution incident – not just the big ones that kill lots of fish.
  3. Don’t flush stuff down the loo – all wetwipes (even ones labelled flushable) and cooking oil block pipes that already struggle to cope with the sewage that’s in them; sanitary towels, plastic tampon applicators and condoms end up in our rivers and ultimately the sea if a sewage spill occurs. Put them in the bin instead. Cooking oil can be collected in bottles and taken to the dump.
  4. Please be careful with water use.  To fill the aquifer (the underground chalk sponge which supplies the spring water that fills our streams) the rain needs to be able to get down to it. But first of all the rainwater fills all the gaps in the soil and before percolating down to the aquifer. After about mid-March so many plants are growing and absorbing water that the rain rarely gets past the soil layer, and doesn’t have a chance to recharge the aquifer.
  5. When laying patio or driveways please consider permeable materials to allow rain to soak into the ground rather than evaporate.

Community notices

• West Berkshire Libraries is working with All Yours to tackle period poverty locally. Unopened feminine sanitary products are being asked for at the Hungerford Library. And if you need support, you can ask the staff for an All Yours box.

Hungerford Environmental Action Team (HEAT) has some fun and practival volunteering opportunities over the next couple of months. If you would like to get involved please contact HEAT_Hungerford@yahoo.com

• Hungerford Rugby Club requests kit donation for disadvantaged kids around the world by 20 February.

Hungerford PPG (Patient Participation Group) is concerned that elderly residents aren’t making doctors appointments when they really need to. Please see this message from Nick Lumley reassuring people that the surgery wants to hear from them if they are not feeling 100%.

• Would you like to help at Hungerford Youth Club? It’s lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub & Library.

• Volunteer crew member vacancies on the Rose of Hungerford. Flexible hours. Training offered. A fun way to support the Kennet & Avon Canal.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• If you know anyone elderly or seriously ill who needs help walking their dog, please contact the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk and they will connect you with a volunteer dog walker in Hungerford. The charity is also looking for more volunteer walkers across the area.

• February membership offer at Hungerford Leisure Centre: drop in or call 01488 683 303 for details..

• The new timetable at Herongate Club sees the return of one-hour fitness and yoga classes.

• Town and Manor of Hungerford is asking for volunteers to help river keeper Rob Starr on Thursday 17 February to plant the margins of the historic river channel which has been restored above Eddington Mill as part of the Sparkling Steams project. If you can help, please contact Mike Saunders on vicar@stlawrenceshungerford.org.uk. Volunteers need to meet at 9am at St Lawrence’s Church armed with a spade.

• The next Hungerford Repair Café is scheduled for 19 March at The Croft Hall so do start thinking about anything you have that needs fixing.

• Hungerford’s Rock Choir is seeking new faces for rehearsals on Thursday evenings. Free taster sessions are available and more information can be found here.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

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

Local events and activities

For more information on events and activities across the Penny Post area, see the website calendar.

• Regular Events

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more information plus contact details can be found here.

• Hungerford market every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes and bric-a-brac.

• Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Sundays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre (7-8pm on Wednesdays from Weds 2 March). For more details contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This is a very sociable group that like to supplement their chat with a bit of craft. Please see here for more.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page.

•  The Curve at Hungerford Hub and Library is open on Tuesdays, 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. Click here for details.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

• Friendly French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association take place at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee, whether you are a beginner or an advanced French speaker.

• Love Lotte Barre Fitness classes for the best workout: £45/month (plus free taster).

• Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome.

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 January and projects for February can be seen here. This includes a summary of the February 2022 meeting.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 3 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: tree works at Lawrence Field; speeding; dog fouling; planning matters; the emergency plan; financial matters; tree planting at the Cemetery; and the jubilee. 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 Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; Popham Close; the electricity transformer; the Recreation Ground; the Parish Stewards; the Community Area Transport Group; the telegraph post at Skeats Corner; a proposed CFPC environmental policy; a proposed memorial plaque; financial matters, including the 2022-23 budget, the precept being set at £7,540, an increase of 3%; grass cutting; and the jubilee. To 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 10 January 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 6 January 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 (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.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 10 February 2022

This week’s news

• The February Penny Post Hungerford newsletter was published earlier this week includes latest news from Hungerford Town Council, Town and Manor, the town’s retailers, the schools, HEAT and Arts for Hungerford. There are appeals for volunteers and donations, articles on local poets, spawning trout and seasonal snowdrops. We’ve also got a special fizz, the voice of Mona Lisa, the night sky, an interview with a CEO, classes, events, activities, properties, jobs and some wise words from George Harrison. Click here to read it if you didn’t get it.

• This week’s Newbury Weekly News has, on p21, an article relating to the problem of declining pupil numbers faced by the schools in the town, an issue caused by demographic shifts rather than any problems with the schools themselves. This emerged at the presentations given by the Heads of the Primary and the Nursery Schools at this week’s meeting of Hungerford Town Council. The remarks attributed to them in the NWN article were indeed said (along with a good many others), both speakers talking with, as the NWN rightly says, “passion and pride” about their many recent achievements.

You can read my summary of the two addresses here as part of our regular monthly update on HTC’s activities. The demographic change is clearly a complex issue and there will be a number of factors involved in this, including current and projected housing stock and prices, transport links, employment opportunities, health provision and, of course, education. I’ll try to do a little digging and try to establish why Hungerford appears to suffer particularly badly from this and, more importantly, what might be done about it.

• A decision has yet to be taken on the changes to the environmental standards for the development at Chestnut Walk which were demanded by, amongst others, HTC and ward member James Cole. I understand that the matter is being looked at within WBC. If any inspiration is needed, perhaps those responsible could cast their eyes a few miles west across the county line to Marlborough where four St John’s students have, as Marlborough News reports, “triumphed in a national competition organised by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), after completing a challenging digital game and pitching their ideas for local affordable eco-homes.” That sounds just the ticket – an award-winning scheme, addressing exactly the issues involved and right on the doorstep. What’s not to like here?

• The pupils at Hungerford Primary School are delighted by the new outdoor gym equipment. Head teacher, David Mayer, is also very pleased with this new facility. “This equipment and fitness area will provide another opportunity for children (and teachers?) to get fit and stay fit. All the children, from Reception to Year 6, already take part in a daily run around our all-weather track to keep fit and the gym provides another, different, way of tackling this issue.”

• Hungerford Town Council invites the community to lead on the planning of the platinum jubilee event, or series of events, in June.  A preliminary meeting will be held in Hungerford Town Hall (upstairs) at 7pm on Monday 21 February to discuss the possible ideas. Please contact claire.barnes@hungerford-tc.gov.uk in advance if you wish to attend.

• Hungerford Town Council is considering improvements to the skatepark in Bulpit Lane and is seeking the views of the community. “We would love to see the existing site remodelled to create a new, modern facility which will be more in line with the those available in both Kintbury and Newbury,” Hungerford’s Mayor Helen Simpson said. “We are also considering installing a bike pump track and would encourage as many people as possible to fill in our survey.  We want to ensure we are making the best use of this space and to get the best equipment possible, within our budget.” You can click here to take part in the survey: please get your response in by 25 March 2022.

• Very sad news about the death this week of David Clayton who ran the Community of Hungerford Theatre Company for decades and, prior to that, the Edinburgh Gang Show. His daughter pays this tribute to him on Facebook: “I know Dad touched the lives of many through his involvement and passion for theatre and provided joy and inspiration to hundreds who wished to tread the stage, some of whom have gone on to excel in theatre, television and radio.”

• Congratulations to Year 11 English students at John O’Gaunt School for having their poetry published in the Young Writers’ Anthology Empowered. Their teacher, Mrs Jay Morgan, Assistant Vice Principal and Excalibur Academy Trust’s English and Literacy Secondary Lead, said: ‘We’re so proud of these students, as well as our growing reputation for nurturing and producing academics, writers and poets. That all our entries were accepted into the anthology is testament to the ‘empowerment’ of our students. This is a fantastic achievement.’

• The Rose of Hungerford prepares for its new season of canal cruises which will start on Mother’s Day Sunday 27 March.

• February news from HEAT (Hungerford Environmental Action Team) includes exciting plans for 2022 include a Home Energy event (similar to the successful Electric Vehicle expo last year). All are welcome to join the next monthly zoom meeting on Wed 28 Feb. Please contact heat_hungerford@yahoo.com for the link.

• Hungerford Town FC has seats available on a supporters coach to Braintree on Sat 19 Feb for just £5 with free entry to the match.

• Kennet Radio is still hunting for a location for its mast in Hungerford, objections recently having been raised to two sites in the south of the town. If anyone knows of a suitable site on an elevated location (ie not down by the canal or the river) please contact julain@kennetradio.com.

Hungerford PPG (Patient participation Group) is concerned that elderly residents aren’t making doctors appointments when they really need to. Please see this message from Nick Lumley reassuring people that the surgery wants to hear from them if they are not feeling 100%.

The Curve gift shop at Hungerford Hub & Library has some lovely Valentine gifts made by local crafters. 15% of profits go to the library so it’s an easy way to show your love to the library. You can also buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to upport the Hungerford Hub, a not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library.

• There is also a yummy Valentine’s Offer at the Honesty Café upstairs at Herongate Club in Charnham – any hot drink and a lush Valentine’s Shortbread for £3.50 on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7 – 17 Feb. You don’t have to be a member of the club to go to the café.

• A reminder for those who want to get boosters in or near Hungerford, the two options are (i) Visit the NHS booking website to book an appointment: you will be offered nearby sites that have appointments available. If none are suitable the first time you check, try again in a while as availability changes all the time. (ii) Visit the NHS walk-in centre website for information on drop-in centres near Hungerford.

• 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.

February news from Barrs Yard includes a range of gifts from flowers and fizz to fashion and fine art.

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

Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

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

Surgery issues

This week’s NWN reports on p21 about a comment made at the recent meeting of Hungerford Town Council about problems at the Hungerford Surgery which threatened, or so it was alleged, to make the practice “clinically unsafe.” I was present at the meeting but didn’t report this in my HTC Update the following day, partly because it wasn’t an agenda item and partly because I didn’t have enough time to contact the surgery to get its version of events.

I have since done this, as had the Newbury Weekly News. The NWN article quotes the Practice Manager Mike Hall as saying that “while we are short of GPs we’re doing everything we can to sustain the practice through this difficult period” and that it hopes “to be in a much better position by the summer.” I spoke to Mike on 10 February who added that the shortage of GPs was a national problem: merely in the Berks, Bucks and Oxon area, for instance, there were over 50 unfilled vacancies. In Hungerford’s case, the issue was caused by the departures of two GPs, one late last year and one recently announced which will happen in June. The claim made at the meeting that the surgery was running at two-thirds capacity would, he said, only be true once the second departure had happened and if no replacement had been found and no other steps taken to fill the gaps with locums.

He also pointed that that links forged with CCG partner surgeries at Lambourn and Kintbury had enabled support to be obtained for some services and that the practice was applying to become a training practice which would assist with recruitment.

He also stressed that the remark at the meeting referred to a statement on the matter the practice had issued shortly before Christmas which admitted that circumstances were currently “very difficult.”

The conclusion appears to be that patients can continue to use the surgery with confidence even though appointments may not always be able to be made as soon as you might like. The practice management is doing all it can to address the situation and will issue further statements when the situation changes: as, indeed, it did on this occasion. When we get any updates we’ll share them here.

Community notices

Hungerford Rugby Club requests kit donation for disadvantaged kids around the world.

• Would you like to help at Hungerford Youth Club? It’s lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub & Library.

• Volunteer crew member vacancies on the Rose of Hungerford. Flexible hours. Training offered. A fun way to support the Kennet & Avon Canal.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• If you know anyone elderly or seriously ill who needs help walking their dog, please contact the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk and they will connect you with a volunteer dog walker in Hungerford. The charity is also looking for more volunteer walkers across the area.

February membership offer at Hungerford Leisure Centre: drop in or call 01488 683 303 for details..

• The new timetable at Herongate Club sees the return of one-hour fitness and yoga classes.

• Town and Manor of Hungerford is asking for volunteers to help river keeper Rob Starr on Thursday 17 February to plant the margins of the historic river channel which has been restored above Eddington Mill as part of the Sparkling Steams project. If you can help, please contact Mike Saunders on vicar@stlawrenceshungerford.org.uk. Volunteers need to meet at 9am at St Lawrence’s Church armed with a spade.

• The next Hungerford Repair Café is scheduled for 19 March at The Croft Hall so do start thinking about anything you have that needs fixing.

Hungerford’s Rock Choir is seeking new faces for rehearsals on Thursday evenings. Free taster sessions are available and more information can be found here.

Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

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

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 January and projects for February can be seen here. This includes a summary of the February 2022 meeting.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; Popham Close; the electricity transformer; the Recreation Ground; the Parish Stewards; the Community Area Transport Group; the telegraph post at Skeats Corner; a proposed CFPC environmental policy; a proposed memorial plaque; financial matters, including the 2022-23 budget, the precept being set at £7,540, an increase of 3%; grass cutting; and the jubilee. To 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 10 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a blocked drain by the church; parking on the Green; the jubilee; speeding; planning matters; financial matters, including the 2022-23 budget, the precept being set at £11,000, an increase of 22%; the need for a new councillor; and a fall at the boardwalk. 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 6 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: reports from ward members Dennis Benneyworth and James Cole; Community Speedwatch; planning matters; an unemptied dog bin; financial matters including the 2022-23 budget, the precept being kept unchanged at £63,000; tree planting; the annual review; and the Conservation Area. 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 6 January and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: HGV survey; grass cutting; highways and surface water, specifically the installing of grips on the A338 (“This situation has been going on for over seven years, ” the minutes witheringly report, “with Wiltshire Council undertaking to act but doing nothing. More recently, after a site visit in July, specific undertakings had been given to cut new grips on the A338 and to modify the drains to the west of the Mill House. The person who gave these undertakings had left the Council and there had been no system to follow up his work.”); the slide in the playground; tractor storage; and financial matters. To 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.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 3 February 2022

Scroll down for local events and activities and news from your local councils.

This week’s news

• The next meeting of Hungerford Town Council will take place in the Library at 7pm on Monday 7 February and you can read the agenda here. Members of the public are welcome to attend. As always, there will be a report on the main points from that, and other aspects of HTC’s work, in the February Penny Post Hungerford which will be published the following afternoon. If you have anything you’d like to contribute to this, please email penny@pennypost.org.uk as soon as possible.

• If you know anyone elderly or seriously ill who needs help walking their dog, please contact the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk and they will connect you with a volunteer dog walker in Hungerford. The charity is also looking for more volunteer walkers across the area.

The Tally Ho in Hungerford Newtown is hosting a quiz on Sunday 13 February in aid of the James Ballantyne Memorial Fund. James lived in Hungerford Newtown and was tragically killed in a car accident in 2015. His parents Catherine and Warren, set up the fund to support other young engineers.

The Curve gift shop at Hungerford Hub & Library has some lovely Valentine gifts made by local crafters. 15% of profits go to the library so it’s an easy way to show your love to the library. You can also buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to upport the Hungerford Hub, a not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library.

• There is also a yummy Valentine’s Offer at the Honesty Café at Herongate Club in Charnham – any hot drink and a lush Valentine’s Shortbread for £3.50 on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7 – 17 Feb.

• The pupils at Hungerford Primary School are delighted by the new outdoor gym equipment. Head teacher, David Mayer, is also very pleased with this new facility. “This equipment and fitness area will provide another opportunity for children (and teachers?) to get fit and stay fit. All the children, from Reception to Year 6, already take part in a daily run around our all-weather track to keep fit and the gym provides another, different, way of tackling this issue.”

• Bin collection days are changing from next week commencing Monday 7 February and this means that at least some parts of Hungerford (we have checked two postcodes at either end of town) will be changing from Wednesday to Tuesday collections. Visit West Berkshire Council’s website here to check for your street. To prevent you waiting too long between collections you will have an additional recycling collection on Saturday 12 February. 

• As mentioned last week, the Town and Manor of Hungerford is asking for volunteers to help river keeper Rob Starr on Thursday 17 February to plant the margins of the historic river channel which has been restored above Eddington Mill as part of the Sparkling Steams project. If you can help, please contact Mike Saunders on vicar@stlawrenceshungerford.org.uk. Volunteers need to meet at 9am at St Lawrence’s Church armed with a spade.

• In the most recent attempt to tackle rural crime from Thames Valley Police, The Hungerford and Downlands Neighbourhood Team have been taking place in and around the countryside. On top of that, the same team have been tackling fraud operations at service stations in and around Hungerford. See here for photos on the report.

• Hungerford Twinning Association has been keeping in touch with their French friends in Ligueil during the lockdown. Anyone interested in joining the group with a view to future visits to France is very welcome to contact Penny Brookman on pab3udc@gmail.com

• M4 Junctions 15 to 14 eastbound will be closed overnight Friday 4 February from 9pm to 6am for work required to reconnect communication sensors under the carriageway at Liddington. The diversion will be via A346, A4 and A338. For more information please contact us on 0300 123 5000 or email info@highwaysengland.co.uk.

• Kennet Radio is still hunting for a location for its mast in Hungerford, objections recently having been raised to two sites in the south of the town. If anyone knows of a suitable site on an elevated location (ie not down by the canal or the river) please contact julain@kennetradio.com.

• The next Hungerford Repair Café is scheduled for 19 March at The Croft Hall so do start thinking about anything you have that needs fixing.

Hungerford’s Rock Choir is seeking new faces for rehearsals on Thursday evenings. Free taster sessions are available and more information can be found here.

Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

February news from Natura Spa at Inglewood just outside Kintbury includes romantic spa days for two and appropriately chocolate-themed pampers. Who knew chocotherapy was a thing?

• So lovely to be in snowdrop season now and St Lawrence’s Churchyard is a great place to find them in Hungerford. Did you know that snowdrops can often be found in graveyards because monks first brought them to this country from Europe in the late 16th century and planted them in monastery gardens? It took them about 200 years to become a wild plant and our common wild snowdrop is called Galanthus nivalis. Victorians also planted them extensively on graves as a symbol of eternal life. And snowdrops planted in ‘holy ground’ or graveyards have been undisturbed and able to flourish ever since. Please send photos and locations of your favourite snowdrop spots to penny@pennypost.org.uk to add to our local snowdrop guide here.

• A reminder for those who want to get boosters in or near Hungerford, the two options are (i) Visit the NHS booking website to book an appointment: you will be offered nearby sites that have appointments available. If none are suitable the first time you check, try again in a while as availability changes all the time. (ii) Visit the NHS walk-in centre website for information on drop-in centres near Hungerford.

• 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.

• Click here for the latest news from Barrs Yard.

• West Berkshire Museum’s Focus on Hungerford 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.

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

Mind the gap

This week’s NWN reported on p21 of another occasion of a lorry becoming stuck under the railway bridge in Hungerford High Street, clearly not an ideal thing to be happening with a main line and an A road. Network Rail batted the matter back to West Berkshire Council saying that the issue is one of signage, not something it can deal with. The height limit is 4.7m. I have no idea what the normal height of a lorry is so did a bit of searching online.

One thing that surprised me is that, according to this article published by Heriot Watt university, the UK has no legal height limit on lorries (unlike most EU countries, which specify 4m) and that “most bridges” (but not this bridge) can accommodate lorries of up to 4.9m. The Health and Safety Executive says that “road vehicles in the UK are usually less than 4.5 m tall” and that “road vehicles including any load they are carrying should not exceed 5.03m (which is the normal minimum clearance under highway bridges in the UK).” All of this must leave quite a margin for error. All in all, I’m surprised this kind of mishap doesn’t happen more often than it does.

If the Hungerford bridge is 4.7m and lorries can be up to 5.03m, another 33cm needs to be found somewhere. Raising the bridge might be tricky so the obvious alternative is to lower this bit of the road. Fortunately, there’s some local experience to be drawn on as the roundabout at the Lancaster Park development needed to be re-built after it was discovered that it was the wrong size. Yes, it will cause disruption and, yes, it’s probably utterly impossible for a hundred reasons but it seems to have common sense on its side. It seems it’s either that or else continued indents like this. The next time the lorry may be taller, heavier and travelling more quickly. If the bridge needs to be rebuilt and the High Street closed, you’ll certainly see some disruption then.

Football’s coming home

Hungerford Town Council (HTC) has recently announced its involvement in an exciting new project at John O Gaunt School in collaboration with Excalibur Academies Trust and Hungerford Football Club. The successful outcome would result in a third-generation (3G) all-weather pitch being built within the grounds of the school and would be one of the first in West Berkshire.

This project, identified as a strategic priority by the Berks and Bucks Football Association and the Football Foundation, would be a huge asset to Hungerford bringing significant investment into the town. This community facility would be available to all regardless of age or ability, providing opportunities for social interaction and recreational sports as well as competitive sports and professional training.

“We are hugely excited to be working in partnership with our Trust, Hungerford Town Council and Hungerford Football Club on this project, ” Richard Hawthorne, Head of School at John O’Gaunt said.  “As a school at the heart of our community, knowing that we can achieve something that benefits our students, and the local area fits perfectly with our ethos.”

Currently Hungerford Football Academy is based at Newbury College and this would enable them to return to Hungerford. The current pitch used by Hungerford Juniors is not fit for purpose.  ‘We have been unable to grow the club due to lack of facilities and training,” Patrick Chambers, Chair of Hungerford Football Club commented. “This would allow us to develop a ladies’ section, grow the academy and run tournaments. We would be able to make better use of the Club for events and presentations.”

HTC is in negotiations with West Berkshire Council to obtain a lease on land that will enable ample space for the 3G pitch and additional grass pitches. SLPC Consulting is supporting with the applications to the Football Foundation and other grant funding organisations. A contractor has been appointed and a planning application will made in the coming months.

“Hungerford Town Council is thrilled to be involved with this project,” The Mayor Councillor Helen Simpson said. “Collaborative working with key partners will offer our community a showstopper facility which will enhance JOG school, the football club/academy, as well as serving our community with a facility to enhance the health and well-being of residents.’

A bid is being made to the Football Foundation for a significant proportion of the funding, making this build possible. The target would be reached with further support from local organisations and the community.

 

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 December and projects for January can be seen here. This includes a summary of the January 2022 meeting.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; Popham Close; the electricity transformer; the Recreation Ground; the Parish Stewards; the Community Area Transport Group; the telegraph post at Skeats Corner; a proposed CFPC environmental policy; a proposed memorial plaque; financial matters, including the 2022-23 budget, the precept being set at £7,540, an increase of 3%; grass cutting; and the jubilee. To 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 10 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a blocked drain by the church; parking on the Green; the jubilee; speeding; planning matters; financial matters, including the 2022-23 budget, the precept being set at £11,000, an increase of 22%; the need for a new councillor; and a fall at the boardwalk. 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 6 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: reports from ward members Dennis Benneyworth and James Cole; Community Speedwatch; planning matters; an unemptied dog bin; financial matters including the 2022-23 budget, the precept being kept unchanged at £63,000; tree planting; the annual review; and the Conservation Area. 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 6 January and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: HGV survey; grass cutting; highways and surface water, specifically the installing of grips on the A338 (“This situation has been going on for over seven years, ” the minutes witheringly report, “with Wiltshire Council undertaking to act but doing nothing. More recently, after a site visit in July, specific undertakings had been given to cut new grips on the A338 and to modify the drains to the west of the Mill House. The person who gave these undertakings had left the Council and there had been no system to follow up his work.”); the slide in the playground; tractor storage; and financial matters. To 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.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 27 January 2022

Scroll down for local events and activities and news from your local councils.

• The local Neighbourhood Policing Team is offering crime prevention advice and free Tool Marking this Saturday 29 January 10am – 1pm at Tool Station Car Park, Charnham Park Industrial Estate, RG17 0YT.

Bin collection days are changing from week commencing Monday 7 February and this means that at least some parts of Hungerford (we have checked two postcodes at either end of town) will be changing from Wednesday to Tuesday collections. Visit West Berkshire Council’s website here to check for your street. To prevent you waiting too long between collections you will have an additional recycling collection on Saturday 12 February. 

• The Town and Manor of Hungerford is asking for volunteers to help river keeper Rob Starr on Thursday 17 February to plant the margins of the historic river channel which has been restored above Eddington Mill as part of the Sparkling Steams project. If you can help, please contact Mike Saunders on vicar@stlawrenceshungerford.org.uk. Volunteers need to meet at 9am at St Lawrence’s Church armed with a spade.

• The January sale at The Curve Gift Shop (which is next to and supports Hungerford Library) finishes this Friday 28 January 10am – 4pm so do pop in to grab a bargain on a lovely local crafty gift. They are especially feel-good purchases as 15% of the profits from the shop’s sales go to the upkeep of Hungerford Library.

• Huge congratulations to Hungerford’s Lauren Bell, who has been selected in the upcoming England Women’s squad for the Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes Test match. Lauren was at Hungerford Primary School with our eldest son and we have been following her fast bowling career here. We all have our fingers crossed that Lauren and the rest of our Women’s team can provide more competition to the Aussies than our Men’s team did recently…

• Friendly French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association restart at Hungerford Library this Saturday 10.30am-12pm and then take place every last Saturday of the month. All welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee, whether you are a beginner or an advanced French speaker.

Hungerford Twinning Association has been keeping in touch with their French friends in Ligueil during lockdown. Anyone interested in joining the group with a view to future visits to France is very welcome to contact Penny Brookman on pab3udc@gmail.com

• The last call to grab a deal on a lovely local meal out with 25% off Sunday roast at Blandy’s at Inglewood until end of January.  And The Crown & Garter in Inkpen is offering 20% off food on Wednesdays until end February and half price on selected wines.

• M4 Junctions 15 to 14 eastbound will be closed overnight Friday 4 February from 9pm to 6am for work required to reconnect communication sensors under the carriageway at Liddington. The diversion will be via A346, A4 and A338. For more information please contact us on 0300 123 5000 or email info@highwaysengland.co.uk.

Kennet Radio is still hunting for a location for its mast in Hungerford, objections recency having been raised to two sites in the south of the town. If anyone knows of a suitable site on an elevated location (ie not down by the canal or the river) please contact julain@kennetradio.com.

• The Repair Café originally planned for this weekend is now rescheduled for 19 March at The Croft Hall so do start thinking about anything you have that needs fixing.

• Congratulations to Trevor Goodall for winning West Berkshire’s Lifetime Achievement Award 2021. Trevor was originally from Kintbury and has been supported by many people from the Hungerford area in his fundraising. The judging panel found Trevor to be a very worthy winner who has raised more than £1,000,000 and used a personal tragedy to make a difference for the benefit of a great many people. Following the death of his prematurely born twin boys (Joshua and Samuel) in 1995, Trevor has worked tirelessly for his charity “New Life” to provide specialist equipment for the three major hospitals (Reading, Swindon & Oxford) where the majority of West Berkshire mums-to-be will give birth. More details about the Community Champions 2021 winners can be seen here.

• Award-winning Unsettled Ground author Claire Fuller in conversation with Kintbury writer, Gill Hornby on Tuesday 8 February is sold out. If you would like to go on the waiting list please contact Hungerford Bookshop.

• If you missed Hungerford Town’s 2-1 win over Chelmsford in the National League South last Saturday, here are the video highlights. Debutant youngster in goal Matty Crowther was commended for his performance.

• A reminder for those who want to get boosters in or near Hungerford, the two options are (i) Visit the NHS booking website to book an appointment: you will be offered nearby sites that have appointments available. If none are suitable the first time you check, try again in a while as availability changes all the time. (ii) Visit the NHS walk-in centre website for information on drop-in centres near Hungerford.

• There is still time to drop your plastic sweet and biscuit tubs at The Bear Hotel for recycling. The Greene King chain is participating in the Tub2Pub scheme to raise cash for Macmillan Cancer Support.  Clean and empty tubs can be dropped at The Bear reception desk until Monday 31 January.

• 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.

• Click here for the latest news from Barrs Yard.

• West Berkshire Museum’s Focus on Hungerford 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.

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

Chestnut Walk

Nothing in particular to report on this but it seems to be a sufficiently important matter to make it worth stressing that discussions are continuing and it is hoped that revised plans will soon be resubmitted.

To briefly re-cap, West Berkshire Council and Sovereign Housing have entered into a joint venture to redevelop the former nursing home on Chestnut Walk near the football ground. In September 2021, Hungerford Town Council’s consideration of the plans concluded there was a disappointing lack of detail about the sustainable aspects of the development. HTC felt the plans had “significant discrepancies” compared to WBC’s own environmental policies, whereas it “should be an exemplar development.” The WBC portfolio holder Steve Ardagh-Walter addressed HTC on this matter on 4 October (you can read a report here) at which the objections were repeated, with ward member James Cole strongly supporting HTC’s stance.

Councillor James Cole raised the matter at WBC’s Executive meeting in December and argued that Chestnut Walk be “a showpiece project that sets a real example to developers.” The upshot was that the portfolio holder Hilary Cole (no relation) 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. There matters now rest. I’m sure that HTC and Hungerford’s residents can continue to rely on James Cole to ensure that the matter gets considered and decided at the earliest opportunity. The site has been derelict for some time and all parties agree on the need for more affordable homes in the town. In the light of the climate emergency, it’s also rightly seen as important that these be built to the best possible standards: this will benefit not only the residents and the wider environment but also help demonstrate that WBC’s own exhortations to the public are backed up with action of its own.

L

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 December and projects for January can be seen here. This includes a summary of the January 2022 meeting.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; Popham Close; the electricity transformer; the Recreation Ground; the Parish Stewards; the Community Area Transport Group; the telegraph post at Skeats Corner; a proposed CFPC environmental policy; a proposed memorial plaque; financial matters, including the 2022-23 budget, the precept being set at £7,540, an increase of 3%; grass cutting; and the jubilee. To 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 10 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a blocked drain by the church; parking on the Green; the jubilee; speeding; planning matters; financial matters, including the 2022-23 budget, the precept being set at £11,000, an increase of 22%; the need for a new councillor; and a fall at the boardwalk. 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 6 January and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: HGV survey; grass cutting; highways and surface water, specifically the installing of grips on the A338 (“This situation has been going on for over seven years, ” the minutes witheringly report, “with Wiltshire Council undertaking to act but doing nothing. More recently, after a site visit in July, specific undertakings had been given to cut new grips on the A338 and to modify the drains to the west of the Mill House. The person who gave these undertakings had left the Council and there had been no system to follow up his work.”); the slide in the playground; tractor storage; and financial matters. 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 (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.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 20 January 2022

This week’s news

• If you have noticed that the Town Hall clock has stopped temporarily chiming, rest assured that Town and Manor is awaiting the engineers to come to service and repair it but are not sure how quickly that will be: apologies from the T&M for any inconvenience. (Hungerford’s Town Hall is unique in that it is owned not by the local council but by the Town and Manor, the only place in the country where such a situation prevails).

• Contractors are repairing the canal bridge parapet at Lower Denford following a vehicle collision so the road is closed until 23 January. The diversion is via A4 Bath Rd, Station Rd, High St, Hungerford Rd, and vice versa.

• Congratulations to Inkpen nature writer (and John O’Gaunt School Librarian) Nicola Chester for her book, On Gallows Down, being shortlisted for the Richard Jeffries Award, which is worth £1,000.

• Claire Fuller will be at The Croft Hall in conversation with Kintbury writer, Gill Hornby on Tuesday 8 February. Her novel Unsettled Ground, which is set in the local landscape, was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and recently won the 2021 Novel category at the Costa Book awards. Tickets from Hungerford Bookshop are available here.

• Hungerford residents George and Tori Hanbury are tandem cycling from Yorkshire back to Hungerford in April to raise money for the COSMIC charity which gives babies the chance to survive by funding research, medical equipment and specialist paediatric training. The charity helps fund St Mary’s hospital which saved their 18 day old daughter’s life. Due to the incredible support from the emergency services and Swindon Hospital their daughter Tiggy is now doing well at home and they can’t do enough to thank the NHS. Please help them raise £5,000 here.

A reminder for those who want to get boosters in or near Hungerford, the two options are (i) Visit the NHS booking website to book an appointment: you will be offered nearby sites that have appointments available. If none are suitable the first time you check, try again in a while as availability changes all the time. (ii) Visit the NHS walk-in centre website for information on drop-in centres near Hungerford.

• Hungerford Youth and Community Centre is appealing for volunteers to help run the youth sessions. If you are interested, contact HTCC’s new Youth Worker Dion at: youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• There is still time to drop your plastic sweet and biscuit tubs at The Bear Hotel for recycling. The Greene King chain is participating in the Tub2Pub scheme to raise cash for Macmillan Cancer Support.  Clean and empty tubs can be dropped at The Bear reception desk until Monday 31 January.

• 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.

• Anyone employed in (or retired from) the racing and thoroughbred breeding industry who is currently living on or below the Minimum Income Standard. can apply to Racing Welfare for the new Winter Fuel Grant, a one-off payment of £300 to help cover winter fuel costs.

• Still time to grab a deal on a lovely local meal out with 25% off Sunday roast at Blandy’s at Inglewood until end of January.  And The Crown & Garter in Inkpen is offering 20% off food on Wednesdays until end February and half price on selected wines.

• Click here for the latest news from Barrs Yard.

• West Berkshire Museum’s Focus on Hungerford 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.

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

Kintbury’s radical past

This month sees the anniversary of the execution of William Winterbourne from Kintbury for his part in the Swing Riots in 1830 (you can read more about these here in Dave Knight’s article in Penny Post). The riots spread across West Berkshire from Lambourn to Thatcham and were the farm labourers’ desperate response to destitution and food shortages caused by bad harvests and the introduction of machinery by local farmers and landowners, the latter being seen as the main agents of their problems.

The violence was directed at property, not people, but the punishment was harsh. Most of the men were sentenced to hard labour or deportation and never returned to their families. Winterbourne was regarded as the most temperate of the three Kintbury leaders, but was nevertheless chosen to be the ultimate example for the rest of Berkshire.

Every year people gather to pay their respects at his grave in the churchyard of St Mary’s in Kintbury, including a representative from Reading Trade Union Council. They meet at the exact time of his execution in Reading Gaol ,just before noon on 11 January. Reverend Fowle from Kintbury had tried but failed to plead for William’s life. However the clergyman did manage to save Wiliam’s body from the communal grave for executed men at the gaol and bring it back to St Mary’s. To minimise the scandal the headstone was ingraved with William’s mother’s maiden name, Smith.

Local author Nicola Chester writes movingly about the rioters in her book On Gallows Down. “Of the 45 men sentenced to transportation in Berkshire, 24 were married with 78 children between them and several wives pregnant at the time. They were left to exist on the now-minimal parish relief of a ‘pauper’s dole’, were separated from their children in the workhouse or assisted by the parish to move away. The villages had lost many of their best farming men, their families plungerd into greater poverty. Even now, as it was when I was at school in Newbury in the 1980s, several West Berkshire school students in receipt of free school meals, share family names with Swing Rioters and ‘ag labs’. How many generations will it take for those families to recover?”

 

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 December and projects for January can be seen here. This includes a summary of the January 2022 meeting.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 6 January and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: HGV survey; grass cutting; highways and surface water, specifically the installing of grips on the A338 (“This situation has been going on for over seven years, ” the minutes witheringly report, “with Wiltshire Council undertaking to act but doing nothing. More recently, after a site visit in July, specific undertakings had been given to cut new grips on the A338 and to modify the drains to the west of the Mill House. The person who gave these undertakings had left the Council and there had been no system to follow up his work.”); the slide in the playground; tractor storage; and financial matters. To 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 hereTo 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.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 13 January 2022

This week’s news

Hungerford Environmental Action Team was pleased with the turn-out to its 2022 planning meeting on Tuesday. If you missed the meeting but would like to be involved with projects to help Hungerford become a greener town and residents reduce their carbon footprint and save money, or simply go on their newsletter mailing list, please email heat_hungerford@yahoo.com

Claire Fuller will be at The Croft Hall in conversation with Kintbury writer, Gill Hornby on Tuesday 8 February. Her novel Unsettled Ground, which is set in the local landscape, was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and recently won the 2021 Novel category at the Costa Book awards. Tickets from Hungerford Bookshop are available here.

• Reminder for those who want to get boosters in or near Hungerford, the two options are (i) Visit the NHS booking website to book an appointment: you will be offered nearby sites that have appointments available. If none are suitable the first time you check, try again in a while as availability changes all the time. (ii) Visit the NHS walk-in centre website for information on drop-in centres near Hungerford.

• On the topic of boosters, Hungerford Cricket Club want to thank the NHS staff who administered the 7,549 booster jabs in December, all of the volunteers along the way who helped keep everyone safe and the Chairman of the club, Andrew Burbidge who also helped make the centre possible. See here for more details.

The Blue Ball in Kintbury is pleased to announce the opening of “Keeley Mondays”. The pub is now open seven days a week for food and drink which started this week. See more here for updates.

• Hungerford Youth and Community Centre are appealing for volunteers to help run the youth sessions. If you are interested in volunteering, contact their new Youth Worker Dion at: youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

Arts for Hungerford‘s popular Music of Kate Bush tribute night at The Croft Hall Thursday 3 February has sold out online but if you want to go on the waiting list please email Tony at contact@artsforhungerford.com

• There is still time to drop your plastic sweet and biscuit tubs at The Bear Hotel for recycling. The Greene King chain is participating in the Tub2Pub scheme to raise cash for Macmillan Cancer Support.  Clean and empty tubs can be dropped at The Bear reception desk until Monday 31 January.

• 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.

• Click here for the latest news from Barrs Yard.

• West Berkshire Museum’s Focus on Hungerford 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.

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

Work from home if you can

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the government’s refusal to permit a return to virtual meetings is regressive, patronising, non-inclusive, undemocratic and medically dangerous. In our most recent update on Hungerford Town Council’s activities, and in Newbury Today, Hungerford Mayor Helen Simpson has repeated her demand that meetings be conducted virtually if the council in question decides. She knows more than do many of the people at the Local Government Ministry about this as she (i) has recently had a very nasty dose of Covid and doesn’t want to catch it again; (ii) needs to attend several HTC meetings each month; and (iii) has identified no particular problems when meetings were handled remotely in 2020-21. Her current choice thus seems to be either to risk catching Covid again or to fail to discharge her responsibilities.

HTC could, as some councils have done, delegate decision-making to the Clerk but this is not how the system is meant to work. In any event, annual events like setting a precept and appointing a Chair cannot be handled in this manner). In the same way, WBC could also delegate its greater powers to its CEO, but Leader Lynne Doherty has again assured Penny Post that this she feels this would be anti-democratic. Both organisations (and many others) also lack a building in which all the councillors, officers, reporters and members of the public who might wish to attend can safely be accommodated. They are just one divisive planning application or one budget discussion (it’s the time of year for those) away from being dysfunctional. One parish council, East Ilsley, recently resorted to holding a meeting in a car park. What happens if the weather turns nasty? Are they all going to stay in their vehicles and shout at each other through megaphones or communicate in morse code by flashing their headlights?

I don’t think either Helen Simpson or Lynne Doherty aspire to the level of fame achieved by Jackie Weaver, but the Handforth municipal sensation has also added her voice to the campaign. As reported here in The Guardian, Ms Weaver said it was “completely unreasonable that we are having to cancel council meetings or hold them only in emergencies.” The article also refers to a petition on Change.org which you can see and sign here. Sense will prevail if enough of us do something about it.

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 December and projects for January can be seen here. This includes a summary of the January 2022 meeting.

• 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 hereTo 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.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 6 January 2022

This week’s news

• See our Penny Post Hungerford January Newsletter for latest news from Town Council, the Town & Manor, local shops, community groups and much more.

Arts for Hungerford is postponing its January events and look forward to a great programme in early February of Cloudbusting: The Music of Kate Bush on Thursday 3 February and the recent Bond film No Time to Die on Friday 4 February.

• 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.

• For those who want to get boosters in or near the town, there are currently two options. (i) Visit the NHS booking website to book an appointment: you will be offered nearby sites that have appointments available. If none are suitable, the situation is changing fast so try again in a while. (ii) Visit the NHS walk-in centre website for information of drop-in centres near Hungerford.

Information here from the invaluable Bedwyn Train Passenger Group about changes to rail services between Bedwyn and Newbury, mainly as a result of Covid-related staff shortages.

HEAT (Hungerford Environmental Action Team) invites everyone to its 2022 planning meeting on Tuesday 11 January in the Library. Meet like-minded people and get involved with constructive local projects. For more please see HEAT (Hungerford Environmental Action Team) January news.

• Thames Valley Police has released a statement regarding the future of the wildlife in and around rural areas of Hungerford: the Hungerford and Downlands Neighbourhood Team have been hard at work trying to stop hare coursing as part of Operation Galileo.

• The Bear Hotel is participating in a scheme where leftover plastic sweet and biscuit tubs from Christmas are being turned into cash for Macmillan Cancer Support. The Tub2Pub scheme is being led by the Greene King pub chain in conjunction with recycling specialist Co-cre8 and DCW Polymers. Tubs can be dropped at The Bear reception desk until Monday 31 January.

• 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.

• 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.

Click here for the latest news from Barrs Yard.

• West Berkshire Museum’s Focus on Hungerford 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.

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

Penny Post Hungerford

The most recent edition was published on Wednesday 5 Jan and you can click here to read it if you didn’t get it. The main things covered were:

  • Hungerford Town Council: the latest from HTC including the 2022-23 precept, the Police report, speeding, Chestnut Walk, vaccinations, planning applications, the pigeons’ possible new HQ and the return of the Mayor after a bad bout of Covid.
  • Hungerford Town and Manor: a look back at the T&M’s various projects, tasks and challenges in 2021 which ranged from coppicing to cows, from grant donations to green initiatives and from monthly meetings to sparkling streams.
  • Hungerford High Street: latest news from Inklings, Hungerford Printing Co, Fare Wise Travel, M&P Hardware, Hungerford Legal & Financial Centre, Hungerford Bookshop, Coin & Stamp Centre, Belle Chic and The Naked Grape.
  • Other: the wine of the month, the book of the month, news from the schools, lateral-0flow tests, vaccination clinics, help needed by local groups, an award-winning 10-year-old local artist, our monthly racing column, a short story, local health-club offers, news from Arts for Hungerford, property, jobs and events.

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. 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 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.

 

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

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