Lambourn Valley Weekly News sections – archive 1

To see the current Lambourn Valley Weekly News column, please click here.

Please note that this section is presented as an archive of past columns and is not updated. 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 5 May 2022

This week’s news

• Due to the resignation of Michael Billinge-Jones, Lambourn Parish Council currently has a vacancy for a councillor. Unless ten local residents call for an election, a new member can be co-opted onto the council.

Great Shefford’s Annual Parish Assembly took place on 5 May and you can click here to read the text of the address by GSPC’s Chair Steve Ackrill and to see the link to where the formal minutes of the event will eventually appear.

• One of the matters which was discussed the the meeting was the village’s flood defence scheme. Residents won’t need reminding that the parish’s £80,000 contribution for this was raised in less than two years, the target being hit in late 2019. It has taken rather longer for the EA to keep its side of the bargain. Thanks to the efforts of Steve Ackrill and others involved in the Great Shefford Flood Alleviation Association (GSFAA), the EA has recently agreed that this will definitely go ahead. One bureaucratic obstacle (the the internal funding would be time-limited and so might vanish if the project experienced any further delays) has been solved. Work can only take place at certain times of the year due to groundwater levels and it’s hoped that this will have begun by this time next year. If it hasn’t, I’m sure the GSFAA will be straight back on the phone again.

• Anyone passing the Great Shefford pub in the village may have noticed that a kiosk has been set up next to the pub. I make no comment on how much this is welcomed not the quality of the coffee and the pastries being sold but am merely pointing out that this would appear to have some planning hurdles yet to cross. (This has nothing to do with the quite separate application for the farm shop which was approved by committee in March). An application for a certificate of lawfulness (essentially, a claim that development or a change of use can happen without needing to go through the normal planning-approval system) was made in February 2021 and refused in April. What happens next is down to WBC’s planning enforcement team. One of the conditions of the approval of the farm shop was that no further development on the site would take place. This approval has yet to be formally validated, I believe because documentation about traffic and parking is still awaited from the applicant. The refusal notice in April 2021 cited, amongst other reasons, the fact that the kiosk would “result in an intensification of the use of the site.” This would include a likely increase in traffic movements around the pub and the demand for its car-parking spaces.

• The Friends of Lambourn Library are running an art and craft competition to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee on the theme of “All the Queen’s Horses”. There are many ways to take part, and prizes to be won.  Please see more details here and set your imagination free. Entry forms are in the library and the entry deadline is Friday 27 May.

Crowle Road in Lambourn will be closed on 9 May 2022, noon and 7pm from its junctions with High Street and Baydon Road. This closure is to enable Volker Highways to carry out carriageway machine patching on behalf of West Berkshire Council.

• If you would like to support Ukraine appeals from Eliska Vyskocova in Lambourn for the grass roots Staryi Sambir Ukraine Support Group that she supports (as it is run by an old university friends of hers), please see details here of the new charity bank account they have set up to accept financial as well as humanitarian donations.

• There will be a Village Flower Show in Baydon on Saturday 14 May between 2pm and 4pm in aid of the church building fund.

• See the centre spread of this week’s NWN for a look back at the recent Lambourn Vintage Machinery Show.

• Lambourn British Legion is hosting a Lambourn Carnival and Festival meeting on Thursday 19 May. Plans for the carnival are coming along but more help is needed so please muck in if you can.

• Nicola Morley reports that Lambourn’s Jubilee celebrations will be on Friday 3 June  with a picnic at the Lambourn Sports club from noon with a BBQ, music, bouncy castle, buck and bronco. There will also be a best gazebo / picnic blanket competition and some displays by some local organisations Everyone welcome.

• For local wildlife updates join the Great Shefford Nature Watch Facebook group which includes John Fletcher’s fascinating sparrow nest-cam.

• If you have been admiring the wild garlic growing in local woods but don’t know what to do with it, Ruth Jordan from Priscilla’s Kitchen in East Garston did a lovely wild garlic recipe demonstration at the last Hungerford Food & Artisan market. See the video of her  wild garlic and cheese scones here and more recipes and foraging tips here.

• The new East Garston Environmental Group welcomes new members to discuss recycling, re-wilding and emission reduction projects. To be added to the group please email pennylocke64@gmail.com

• The new organic market garden at Sheepdrove called Nutwood Organics has fresh veg boxes for delivery in the valley. We have tried one and were very impressed by the quality. Please visit their facebook page here or contact them on nutwoodorganics@gmail.com for details.

• A fun way to support Lambourn Riding for the Disabled is by adopting one of their ponies for just £15 a year. See their website here for the choice of ponies and what you receive in exchange for your donation.

• On Sunday 8 May, you can take part in a lovely bluebell walk in the woodland that surrounds East Garston which will raise funds for Thames Valley Air Ambulance. The walk is open between 11am and 4pm and for adults entry is £10 but children are free. There will be a bar, food vans and a teddy bear hunt for the children. For more information, please see the Bluebell Walk East Garston website here.

• The Lambourn Junction is currently asking for donations of tinned meat & pasta, veg and macaroni cheese, jelly, salad cream and mayonnaise. They are open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 11am to 1pm in the blue cabin in the car park behind Goodies Cafe. For further details please follow them on facebook or call Julie on 07840 780345.

Lambourn CofE Primary School invites all prospective parents to their Open Day on Friday 13 May 9am to 12noon. Please call the school office on 0188 71479 to make an appointment. For more details please visit the school website here.

• And ditto to see the Chaddleworth St. Andrew and Shefford CE Federated Primary Schools April 2022 Newsletter.

Click here to see Lambourn.org’s list of live planning applications in the parish. As usual, there are quite a few.

The Lambourn NDP roadshow

We thought it worth repeating the section we had on this point last week so that you can be sure you’ve got the dates in your diary. The NDP process is of great importance to Lambourn parish (ie Lambourn, Upper Lambourn, Eastbury, Lambourn Woodlands and Woodlands St Mary) and represents pretty much a once-in-a-generation chance for local residents to influence the nature of future development.

A Neighbourhood Development Plan cannot be made without public input and support: the external examiners can reject a plan if they feel that consultation has been inadequate. These projects take several years to complete and there are times when, like a train in a tunnel, it disappears from view to the extent that those not involved in the project may think that the project has died. Nothing can be further from the truth. The works goes on, albeit invisibly. The NDP team also may not have control over some aspects of the timetable as they may need to wait for the parent authority to supply information or produce its own reports.

The Lambourn NDP is now about to burst out of its tunnel, so starting a stage of the process when engagement with parishioners is particularly important. Informal public update and feedback sessions are planned for May, at which details of potential policies and design codes will be on display for comment. These will take place as follows:

  • Eastbury Church: Sat 7 May (11am to 1pm*);
  • Woodlands St. Mary Village Hall: Thu 19 May (7pm to 9pm*);
  • Upper Lambourn Jockey Club Estate offices: Wed 25 May (5pm to 7pm*);
  • Lambourn Memorial Hall: Fri 27 May (9am to 11am and 5pm to 7pm*)
  • Lambourn Memorial Hall: Sat 28 May (10am to noon*)

(Ones marked * will also have an opportunity for parishioners to talk to District Councillor Howard Woollaston.)

Eight policy areas have been identified, based on public consultations, the Residents’ Questionnaire and other surveys. Examples of policies under consideration include: ways to provide a balanced housing supply; promoting and maintaining public rights of way; encouraging infrastructure for electric cars; addressing allflooding issues; and providing support for businesses offering apprenticeships and other training schemes.

A Steering Group spokesperson told Penny Post that “we hope these displays will give everyone an opportunity to attend, gain an understanding of what is possible and contribute ideas, especially your views on what and where development could be suggested. Members of the Steering Group will be available to answer questions. We look forward to seeing you at one of the sessions.”

Community notices

Priscilla’s Coffee Shop is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for tea, coffee and light lunches. They also sell organic bread and almond croissants from Aston’s Bakery in Inkpen and free-range Beechwood Eggs.

Used foil, inkjet cartridge and pens/writing materials can now be dropped off for recycling with us at Hillsprings in East Garston (RG17 7HW) in the metal box next to our wheelie bin. Please scrape food off the foil and scrunch it tightly.

On-call firefighters are needed in the area. If you live or work near Lambourn Fire Station and like a challenge do consider applying for this paid role. For more details please see oncallfire.uk or pop down to the fire station any Monday evening for a chat. Employers, please consider giving your staff permission to enrol.

The Lambourn Growers facebook group has information about how to swap plants (flowers, fruit, veg, indoor and outdoor) and seeds, boots, tools, pots, gadgets are also welcome. If you have nothing to swap then donations are requested.

• Lambourn Parish Council has added a FAQ section to its website for any queries local residents may have.

 Lambourn Volunteer Group is looking for more volunteer drivers, especially in East Garston and Great Shefford, and for help with manning the phones on a rota basis. If you can help please see here for details.

• Lambourn Junction supports over 50 residents on low income along the valley. Its unit behind Goodie’s Café is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 11am to 1pm. To donate or receive food outside these hours, please call Julie on 07840 780 345 or contact the group via its Facebook page.

For sharing pictures and stories about local wildlife we recommend the Great Shefford Nature Watch Facebook group.

Village Views provides further information (in printed format) about events in the Valley, including reports from community groups, and is available monthly from local retailers.

4LEGS Radio broadcasts on Fridays and Saturday: click here for more information and how to get involved.

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 Bluebell Walk, East Garston.

Sat 14 May Village Flower Show at Baydon Church.

Fri 3 June Lambourn Jubliee Picnic at Lambourn Sports Club

• Regular events

 Lambourn Library hosts RhymeTime, Fridays 11.30am; English Conversation, Fridays 2pm to 3pm; Art Group, Wednesdays 10am to 11.45am; Book Group, third Tuesday of the month, 4.30pm to 5.30pm; Knit and Natter, Tuesdays 2pm to 4pm. Call 01488 71350 or visit the West Berkshire Libraries FB page for more information.

 Lambourn Market every Friday from 8am in Lambourn Market Square. For future events please click here.

Lamblers Walking Group welcomes all to join local walks. Please see the The Lambler’s Walking Group Facebook page for walk dates.

• Fun pottery classes with Elé van Schoor Ceramics in Great Shefford.

Teacup Tuesdays on the second Tuesday of the month from 1.30-3.30pm at Oaksey House, Oxford Street, Lambourn. A great opportunity to meet up with or make new friends. Contact Sharon Mooney on 72176 for more details.

• East Garston Tennis Table Club every Wednesday 6.30pm to 8pm in East Garston Village Hall. The first two sessions are free and then the cost is just £1 per session.  Bats are provided and all abilities are welcome.

 Lambourn Camera Club at Memorial Hall, Lambourn. Please click here for details or contact 07752 175909 or lambourncameraclub@outlook.com.

 Lambourn Playgroup every Monday in term time in St Michael’s Church from 10am to 11.45am. Snacks are provided and a chance for the oldies to make new friends as well as the children.

 East Garston Coffee Club (or O60CC) on the last Friday of the month. Small charge for refreshments. Contact Jackie on 01488 648851.

Shefford Baby and Toddler Group every Monday 9.30am to 11.30am at Great Shefford Village Hall. For more details see Great Shefford Under Fives Facebook page.

East Garston Village Hall activities, clubs and groups throughout the week.

Lambourn Growers Facebook group hosts seed and plant swaps in Bockhampton Road.

Lambourn Royal British Legion follow them on Facebook for latest 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.

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 5 January and you can read a report from Lambourn.org (not the official minutes) here. The most recent meeting for which official minutes are available was the one on 1 December. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council took place on 7 April and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; financial matters; an access gate at Spring meadows; the jubilee; repairs at the Recreation Ground; the flood alleviation scheme (no further news); and the proposed Lambourn Valley Trail cycle path from Lambourn to Great Shefford. 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 East Garston Parish Council took place on 3 March and the minutes can be downloaded here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 2 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.

• Lambourn Valley area council contacts

Parishes: Lambourn Parish CouncilEast Garston Parish CouncilWelford Parish Council and Great Shefford Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Hungerford area; Newbury area; Thatchamarea; 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

• After a long closure due to the Covid pandemic. the Lambourn Parish Council office in the Memorial Hall is returning to the former opening hours of 9 am to noon, Monday to Thursday. During these times, members of the public are welcome to pop in if they need assistance from the clerk. For more details please see here.

• The Lambourn Vintage Machinery Show is returning this Sunday 1 May – see their facebook page here for details.

• All welcome to the Valley Film Society‘s screening of Dream Horse in East Garston Village Hall next Tuesday 3 May with a raffle in aid of Lambourn Riding for the Disabled. The film stars Toni Collette and Damian Lewis and tells the true story of Dream Alliance, an unlikely race horse bred by small town Welsh bartender Jan Vokes. With very little money and no experience, Jan convinces her neighbours to chip in their meager earnings to help raise Dream in the hopes he can compete with the racing elites. Doors and bar open at 7pm and entry costs £6. Food can be ordered on the door for the interval. Card payments cannot taken on the night so please bring cash. To reserve your seat please contact James on 07791 991658 or james@pryer.com.

St Mary’s Church in Great Shefford is asking for volunteers this Saturday 30 April to join their Churchyard Working Party. The Churchyard always needs a little TLC and the plan is to gather up twigs and branches from the avenue and churchyard and have a general tidy-up. All welcome from 10am to noon.

• Lambourn British Legion is hosting a Lambourn Carnival and Festival meeting on Thursday 19 May. Plans for the carnival are coming along but more help is needed so please muck in if you can.

• It’s duckling season and there are cute photos on the Great Shefford Nature Watch Facebook group and a glimpse of a gang of ducklings on our stretch of the river who luckily have quick reactions when one of our cats gets too close to the bank.

Lambourn Riding for the Disabled currently has a paid vacancy for an experienced Saturday groom to look after its seven RDA horses and ponies on Saturday mornings and evenings. Please see here for details and note that the yard is actually in Chilton Foliat.

Lambourn Surgery’s April 2022 Newsletter includes Covid booster notices, testing and treatments, travel assistance and a reminder that it might be more beneficial to call 111 rather than attending the surgery to save time and resources.

• On Sunday 8 May, you can take part in a lovely bluebell walk in the woodland that surrounds East Garston which will raise funds for Thames Valley Air Ambulance. The walk is open between 11am and 4pm and for adults entry is £10 but children are free. There will be a bar, food vans and a teddy bear hunt for the children. For more information, please see the Bluebell Walk East Garston website here.

Click here for the latest (March/April) update from Lambourn’s district councillor Howard Woollaston. 

• The Lambourn Junction is currently asking for donations of tinned meat, veg and macaroni cheese and jars of pasta sauce and sandwich paste. They are open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 11am to 1pm in the blue cabin in the car park behind Goodies Cafe. For further details please follow them on facebook or call Julie on 07840 780345.

Click here to read the April 2022 Newsletter from Lambourn CofE Primary School.

• And ditto to see the Chaddleworth St. Andrew and Shefford CE Federated Primary Schools April 2022 Newsletter.

Click here to see Lambourn.org’s list of live planning applications in the parish. As usual, there are quite a few.

A youth club for the Valley

Organising a new community venture can take a long time, particularly when you need to align the interests and policies of local councils, specialist organisations and grant donors. While all this is going on you need to keep local momentum up, ensure that the likely users of and volunteers for the service are recruited and kept involved, all the while solving a number of challenges ranging from finding a venue to insurance policies and from setting up a bank account to deciding what its going to be called and getting a logo done. This has to take place alongside the rest of your day-to-day life. For all this effort you will, certainly at this stage and probably forever thereafter, be unpaid. Such projects are their own reward, and the community is very lucky to have someone who is prepared to invest the time to get these things off the ground.

All of this fairly well describes the progress towards setting up a youth club in Lambourn, about which I spoke to the project’s leader, Anna Field, on 27 April. This was following a recent article in Lambourn.org which described where matters had got to and what still remains to be done. The main thing that Anna’s currently wanting is for people to get in touch – those who might want to use the club (or their parents or carers) and those who want to volunteer to help with it. She’s also particularly keen to stress that, for a young person, involvement with running the club could be a very good career step. Anyone contemplating a Level 2 or 3 qualification in youth work would need to have some practical experience as part of the course: this can be provided by involvement with the project. Anna Field is herself a qualified youth worker and so can ensure that their participation ticked all the necessary boxes.

She also told me that it’s too early to answer questions like where or when it will meet. She was, however, able to confirm that it would be open to young people not just from Lambourn but from a wider area, the upper Lambourn valley being the possible catchment. This too will be confirmed in due course. It’s long been known that the provision of youth facilities in the area is slightly patchy. Hopefully, when established, this will change. The aim is, as she told Lambourn.org, that “this is something we will nurture, grow and adapt according to the needs of the community.” Lambourn’s ward member Howard Woollaston echoed these sentiments. “I’m fully supportive of this scheme,” he told Penny Post on 28 April. “The lack of youth provision is a significant issue in and around Lambourn.”

We offer our support as well and we’ll providing more news as it’s available. In the mean time, to find out more or to offer your services, please contact Anna Field at anna@lambournjunction.uk.

Lambourn’s NDP – engagement time again

A Neighbourhood Development Plan cannot be made without public input and support: the external examiners will consider this aspect carefully and can reject the plan if they feel that this has been defective. These projects take several years to complete and there are times when, like a train in a tunnel, it disappears from view to the extent that those not involved in the project may think that the project has died. Nothing can be further from the truth. The works goes on, albeit invisibly. The NDP team also may not have control over some aspects of the timetable as they may need to wait for the parent authority to supply information or produce its own reports.

The Lambourn NDP is now about to burst out of its tunnel, so starting a stage of the process when engagement with parishioners is particularly important. Informal public update and feedback sessions are planned for May, at which details of potential policies and design codes will be on display for comment. These will take place as follows:

Eastbury Church: 7 May (Sat. 11am to 1pm*); Woodlands St. Mary Village Hall: 19 May (Thurs. 7pm to 9pm*); Upper Lambourn Jockey Club Estate offices: 25 May (Weds. 5pm to 7pm*); Lambourn Memorial Hall: 27 May (Fri. 9am to 11am and 5pm to 7pm*) and 28 May (Sat. 10am to Noon*)
(Ones marked * will also have an opportunity for parishioners to talk to District Councillor Howard Woollaston.)

Eight policy areas have been identified, based on public consultations, the Residents’ Questionnaire and other surveys. Examples of policies under consideration include: ways to provide a balanced housing supply; promoting and maintaining public rights of way; encouraging infrastructure for electric cars; addressing all flooding issues; and providing support for businesses offering apprenticeships and other training schemes.

A Steering Group spokesperson told Penny Post that “we hope these displays will give everyone an opportunity to attend, gain an understanding of what is possible and contribute ideas, especially your views on what and where development could be suggested. Members of the Steering Group will be available to answer questions. We look forward to seeing you at one of the sessions.”

Community notices

Priscilla’s Coffee Shop is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for tea, coffee and light lunches. They also sell organic bread and almond croissants from Aston’s Bakery in Inkpen and free-range Beechwood Eggs.

Used foil, inkjet cartridge and pens/writing materials can now be dropped off for recycling with us at Hillsprings in East Garston (RG17 7HW) in the metal box next to our wheelie bin. Please scrape food off the foil and scrunch it tightly.

On-call firefighters are needed in the area. If you live or work near Lambourn Fire Station and like a challenge do consider applying for this paid role. For more details please see oncallfire.uk or pop down to the fire station any Monday evening for a chat. Employers, please consider giving your staff permission to enrol.

The Lambourn Growers facebook group has information about how to swap plants (flowers, fruit, veg, indoor and outdoor) and seeds, boots, tools, pots, gadgets are also welcome. If you have nothing to swap then donations are requested.

• Lambourn Parish Council has added a FAQ section to its website for any queries local residents may have.

 Lambourn Volunteer Group is looking for more volunteer drivers, especially in East Garston and Great Shefford, and for help with manning the phones on a rota basis. If you can help please see here for details.

• Lambourn Junction supports over 50 residents on low income along the valley. Its unit behind Goodie’s Café is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 11am to 1pm. To donate or receive food outside these hours, please call Julie on 07840 780 345 or contact the group via its Facebook page.

For sharing pictures and stories about local wildlife we recommend the Great Shefford Nature Watch Facebook group.

Village Views provides further information (in printed format) about events in the Valley, including reports from community groups, and is available monthly from local retailers.

4LEGS Radio broadcasts on Fridays and Saturday: click here for more information and how to get involved.

Local events and activities

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

• Dates for the diary

• Thu 28 Apr Great Shefford Annual Parish Meeting.

• Tue 3 May Film Night: Dream Horse, East Garston.

• Sun 8 May Bluebell Walk, East Garston.

• Regular events

 Lambourn Library hosts RhymeTime, Fridays 11.30am; English Conversation, Fridays 2pm to 3pm; Art Group, Wednesdays 10am to 11.45am; Book Group, third Tuesday of the month, 4.30pm to 5.30pm; Knit and Natter, Tuesdays 2pm to 4pm. Call 01488 71350 or visit the West Berkshire Libraries FB page for more information.

 Lambourn Market every Friday from 8am in Lambourn Market Square. For future events please click here.

Lamblers Walking Group welcomes all to join local walks. Please see the The Lambler’s Walking Group Facebook page for walk dates.

• Fun pottery classes with Elé van Schoor Ceramics in Great Shefford.

Teacup Tuesdays on the second Tuesday of the month from 1.30-3.30pm at Oaksey House, Oxford Street, Lambourn. A great opportunity to meet up with or make new friends. Contact Sharon Mooney on 72176 for more details.

• East Garston Tennis Table Club every Wednesday 6.30pm to 8pm in East Garston Village Hall. The first two sessions are free and then the cost is just £1 per session.  Bats are provided and all abilities are welcome.

 Lambourn Camera Club at Memorial Hall, Lambourn. Please click here for details or contact 07752 175909 or lambourncameraclub@outlook.com.

 Lambourn Playgroup every Monday in term time in St Michael’s Church from 10am to 11.45am. Snacks are provided and a chance for the oldies to make new friends as well as the children.

 East Garston Coffee Club (or O60CC) on the last Friday of the month. Small charge for refreshments. Contact Jackie on 01488 648851.

Shefford Baby and Toddler Group every Monday 9.30am to 11.30am at Great Shefford Village Hall. For more details see Great Shefford Under Fives Facebook page.

East Garston Village Hall activities, clubs and groups throughout the week.

Lambourn Growers Facebook group hosts seed and plant swaps in Bockhampton Road.

Lambourn Royal British Legion follow them on Facebook for latest 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.

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 5 January and you can read a report from Lambourn.org (not the official minutes) here. The most recent meeting for which official minutes are available was the one on 1 December. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford 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 meeting of East Garston Parish Council took place on 3 March and the minutes can be downloaded here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 2 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.

• Lambourn Valley area council contacts

Parishes: Lambourn Parish CouncilEast Garston Parish CouncilWelford Parish Council and Great Shefford Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Hungerford area; Newbury 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 21 April

This week’s news

• What a success the Lambourn Open Day was last Friday. We have never seen it so busy and the weather was so kind. Lambourn Open Day photos of both the stables and afternoon entertainment are requested for the Lambourn archives to remind us all of a great day. Please post them on facebook here or WhatsApp pictures to 0776 735 2508 or email them. to editor@lambourn.org

Great Shefford’s Easter Duck Derby was also a great success, raising over £1,900 for the historic parish churches. The organisers thank everyone who helped and supported the event and whoever booked the weather. Congratulations to the winning duck owners, especially of duck 514 whose prize money was a generous £200. If you missed the fun you can see some lovely photos here.

• High Street in Upper Lambourn will be closed this Friday from 12pm to 2pm between the B4000 and Kings Farm. to allow Volker Highways to repair the carriageway. For a plan of the closure, click here.

• The popular plant sale is returning to East Garston Village Hall this Saturday 23 April from 10am to noon. Pick up veg and flower plants to support the East Garston Bell Fund.

• It’s heartwarming to see the horses that have been treated and rescued by the Racing To Help Ukraine convoy (that has now returned to Lambourn). Click here to see the updates on their facebook page.

Lambourn Riding for the Disabled currently have a paid vacancy for an experienced Saturday groom to look after its seven RDA horses and ponies on Saturday mornings and evenings. Please see here for details and note that the yard is actually in Chilton Foliat.

Lambourn Surgery’s April 2022 Newsletter includes Covid booster notices, testing and treatments, travel assistance and a reminder that it might be more beneficial to call 111 rather than attending the surgery to save time and resources.

• West Berkshire Lottery is having a special prize draw on Saturday 23 April with a prize of a £1,000 B&Q gift card and you can ensure that your lottery ticket purchase (for this or future draws) benefits the Friends of Lambourn Library (FoLL). Click here for more information on this draw, FOLL’s aims and how to buy your ticket.

Click here for the latest (March/April) update from Lambourn’s district councillor Howard Woollaston. 

• The Lambourn Junction is currently asking for donations of tinned meat, veg and macaroni cheese and jars of pasta sauce and sandwich paste. They are open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 11am to 1pm in the blue cabin in the car park behind Goodies Cafe. For further details please follow them on facebook or call Julie on 07840 780345.

• On Sunday 8 May, you can take part in a lovely bluebell walk in the woodland that surrounds East Garston which will raise funds for Thames Valley Air Ambulance. The walk is open between 11am t andpm and for adults entry is £10 but children are free. There will be a bar, food vans and a teddy bear hunt for the children. For more information, please see the Bluebell Walk East Garston website here.

Click here to read the April 2022 Newsletter from Lambourn CofE Primary School.

• And ditto to see the Chaddleworth St. Andrew and Shefford CE Federated Primary Schools April 2022 Newsletter.

Click here to see Lambourn.org’s list of live planning applications in the parish. As usual, there are quite a few. She below (Nutrients and the NDP) to see why some of these might take longer than usual to get through the system.

Annual parish meetings

This is the season when parish councils hold public meetings (all of all their meetings – except in some cases the Part Twos at the end where confidential matters are discussed – are public although they are not designed as public-facing events) to apprise residents of what they have been up to in the past 12 months, what they plan to do in the next 12, where the money has been spent and what help they might need (such as volunteers or additional councillors). Most annual meetings will also have guest speakers from local organisations and will provide an opportunity for local groups to showcase their work. They are often preceded by the Annual Parish Council meeting at which various necessary formal business such as the election of the Chair is conducted.

In the Valley, East Garston held its one earlier this month and a report on this will be added to the PC’s website in due course. Welford will be holding its one on 25 May (further details to follow). Two others are coming up in the next week.

Lambourn’s will be on Wednesday 27 April at there Memorial Hall starting at 7.30pm. More information can be found on this post on Lambourn.org.

Great Shefford’s will be on Thursday 28 April at Great Shefford Village Hall starting at 7.30pm. There will be lots of community information including Great Shefford School, Pre-School, Parish Council and the Queen’s Jubilee event. In due course, the agenda will be uploaded at greatshefford.org.uk/parish-council. For more details please contact greatsheffordpc@hotmail.com.

Community notices

Priscilla’s Coffee Shop is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for tea, coffee and light lunches. They also sell organic bread and almond croissants from Aston’s Bakery in Inkpen and free-range Beechwood Eggs.

Used foil, inkjet cartridge and pens/writing materials can now be dropped off for recycling with us at Hillsprings in East Garston (RG17 7HW) in the metal box next to our wheelie bin. Please scrape food off the foil and scrunch it tightly.

More feedback is needed on the youth survey to assess what facilities are missing or need improving for young people in the Lambourn Valley.

• Lambourn Neighbourhood Development Plan is looking for a Volunteer Minute Secretary to record and publish minutes from their monthly meetings. Please contact Sue Cocker via Lambourn.ndp@gmail.com if you would be interested in providing voluntary support for the group.

On-call firefighters are needed in the area. If you live or work near Lambourn Fire Station and like a challenge do consider applying for this paid role. For more details please see oncallfire.uk or pop down to the fire station any Monday evening for a chat. Employers, please consider giving your staff permission to enrol.

• The Lambourn Growers facebook group has information about how to swap plants (flowers, fruit, veg, indoor and outdoor) and seeds, boots, tools, pots, gadgets are also welcome. If you have nothing to swap then donations are requested.

• Lambourn Parish Council has added a FAQ section to its website for any queries local residents may have.

The National Animal Welfare Trust welcomes donations of hampers and gifts towards its upcoming Easter Auction.

 Lambourn Volunteer Group is looking for more volunteer drivers, especially in East Garston and Great Shefford, and for help with manning the phones on a rota basis. If you can help please see here for details.

• Lambourn Junction supports over 50 residents on low income along the valley. Its unit behind Goodie’s Café is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 11am to 1pm. To donate or receive food outside these hours, please call Julie on 07840 780 345 or contact the group via its Facebook page.

For sharing pictures and stories about local wildlife we recommend the Great Shefford Nature Watch Facebook group.

Village Views provides further information (in printed format) about events in the Valley, including reports from community groups, and is available monthly from local retailers.

4LEGS Radio broadcasts on Fridays and Saturday: click here for more information and how to get involved.

Lateral flow tests: click here for information about these in West Berkshire.

Local events and activities

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

• Dates for the diary

• Web 27 Apr Lambourn Annual Parish Meeting.

• Thu 28 Apr Great Shefford Annual Parish Meeting.

• Tue 3 May Film Night: Dream Horse, East Garston.

• Sun 8 May Bluebell Walk, East Garston.

• Regular events

 Lambourn Library hosts RhymeTime, Fridays 11.30am; English Conversation, Fridays 2pm to 3pm; Art Group, Wednesdays 10am to 11.45am; Book Group, third Tuesday of the month, 4.30pm to 5.30pm; Knit and Natter, Tuesdays 2pm to 4pm. Call 01488 71350 or visit the West Berkshire Libraries FB page for more information.

 Lambourn Market every Friday from 8am in Lambourn Market Square. For future events please click here.

Lamblers Walking Group welcomes all to join local walks. Please see the The Lambler’s Walking Group Facebook page for walk dates.

• Fun pottery classes with Elé van Schoor Ceramics in Great Shefford.

Teacup Tuesdays on the second Tuesday of the month from 1.30-3.30pm at Oaksey House, Oxford Street, Lambourn. A great opportunity to meet up with or make new friends. Contact Sharon Mooney on 72176 for more details.

• East Garston Tennis Table Club every Wednesday 6.30pm to 8pm in East Garston Village Hall. The first two sessions are free and then the cost is just £1 per session.  Bats are provided and all abilities are welcome.

 Lambourn Camera Club at Memorial Hall, Lambourn. Please click here for details or contact 07752 175909 or lambourncameraclub@outlook.com.

 Lambourn Playgroup every Monday in term time in St Michael’s Church from 10am to 11.45am. Snacks are provided and a chance for the oldies to make new friends as well as the children.

 East Garston Coffee Club (or O60CC) on the last Friday of the month. Small charge for refreshments. Contact Jackie on 01488 648851.

Shefford Baby and Toddler Group every Monday 9.30am to 11.30am at Great Shefford Village Hall. For more details see Great Shefford Under Fives Facebook page.

East Garston Village Hall activities, clubs and groups throughout the week.

Lambourn Growers Facebook group hosts seed and plant swaps in Bockhampton Road.

Lambourn Royal British Legion follow them on Facebook for latest 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.

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 5 January and you can read a report from Lambourn.org (not the official minutes) here. The most recent meeting for which official minutes are available was the one on 1 December. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford 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 meeting of East Garston Parish Council took place on 3 March and the minutes can be downloaded here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 2 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.

• Lambourn Valley area council contacts

Parishes: Lambourn Parish CouncilEast Garston Parish CouncilWelford Parish Council and Great Shefford Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 14 April

This week’s news

Click here to read the April Valley of the Racehorse newsletter.

Lambourn Post Office has released its opening times for the Easter weekend; Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday the Post Office will be closed however, on Saturday it will open between 9am and 12.30pm.

• We are looking forward to the Peter O’Sullevan 2022 Lambourn Open Day this Good Friday 15 April. The Open Day is a fantastic opportunity to visit the racing yards and have a face-to-face with the horses and trainers. Yards will be open from 8.30am to 1pm. Tickets can be found here and more information here.

• Lambourn Riding for the Disabled will have a stand on the field from 1pm. Homemade cakes and plants will be on sale and there will be a children’s lucky dip and a raffle for a wheelbarrow full of bottles (wheelbarrow included). You can find more information on the organisation here. (The LRDA is also currently looking for a part-time groom.)

• The Great Shefford Duck Derby is returning for the 30th year running at 3pm this Easter Saturday 16 April at East Shefford Farm. For more information on how you can sponsor a duck and potentially back a winner, see here. There will also be refreshments in the village hall.

Lambourn Surgery has released its April 2022 Newsletter which you can read here. This issue includes Covid booster notices, testing and treatments, travel assistance and a reminder that it might be more beneficial to call 111 rather than attending the surgery to save time and resources.

• West Berkshire Lottery is having a special prize draw on Saturday 23 April with a prize of a £1,000 B&Q gift card and you can ensure that your lottery ticket purchase (for this or future draws) benefits the Friends of Lambourn Library (FoLL). Click here for more information on this draw, FOLL’s aims and how to buy your ticket.

• For an update on the fantastic work done by everyone involved in The Racing to Help Ukraine appeal, see progress reports on their facebook page. The convoy of 11 horseboxes left Lambourn last weekend and they are hoping to make it back home in time for Lambourn Open Day.

Click here for the last update from Lambourn’s district councillor Howard Woollaston. Planning applications (from the Hunt Kennels to Sheepdrove Organic Farm), pothole repairs on the B4000, the Lambourn Centre and Lambourn Youth, the Lambourn NDP, Lambourn Junction and Lambourn’s phone box . There are also some congratulations and appreciations.

• All welcome at Great Shefford’s Annual Parish Meeting on Thursday 28 April at Great Shefford Village Hall starting at 7.30pm. There will be lots of community information including Great Shefford School, Pre-School, Parish Council and the Queen’s Jubilee event. In due course, the agenda will be uploaded at greatshefford.org.uk/parish-council. For more details please contact greatsheffordpc@hotmail.com.

• The Lambourn Junction is currently asking for donations of tinned macaroni cheese, meatballs, potatoes, peas, spaghetti and jars of pasta sauce and sandwich paste. They are open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 11am to 1pm in the blue cabin in the car park behind Goodies Cafe. For further details please follow them on facebook or call Julie on 07840 780345.

Click here to read the April 2022 Newsletter from Lambourn CofE Primary School.

• And ditto to see the Chaddleworth St. Andrew and Shefford CE Federated Primary Schools April 2022 Newsletter.

Click here to see Lambourn.org’s list of live planning applications in the parish. As usual, there are quite a few. She below (Nutrients and the NDP) to see why some of these might take longer than usual to get through the system.

Pergola no-go

The planning application for a pergola at the Wheelwright’s Arms in Lambourn was refused on 8 April, as reported by the Newbury Weekly News this week on p25. The article suggests that the main reason for this was because of the danger of pollution into the River Lambourn: while it’s true that the guidelines on this have recently changed, two other reasons (parking and drainage) were mentioned in the refusal notice. It’s likely that these two, or perhaps just one of them, would have been enough to get the thumbs-down. Also – and this is subjective – if I’m listing reasons for something, I put what I think is the most important one either first or last. The pollution threat was the second. This proves nothing: there is perhaps a way that planning officers order their paragraphs to which the rest of us will never be privy.

Even so, the new regulations will have an important bearing on current and future developments in the River Lambourn’s catchment area. In summary, these are designed to reduce increased levels of nutrients (especially nitrogen and phosphorus) which can speed up the growth of certain plants, impacting wildlife. The new guidance issued by DeFRA and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) in conjunction with Natural England was confirmed in a letter from the DLUHC’s Minister of State on 16 March to all planning authorities affected by nutrient pollution (of which WBC, because of the River Lambourn, is one). This assured them that “we want you to feel supported to continue taking planning decisions, and so we are writing to you to set out our approach, building on the policy paper we have published today.” One practical result of this support is a grant of £100,000 in each affected catchment “for an officer to support the management of strategic mitigation projects across a whole catchment area.” (If WBC has appointed such an officer, they might well have drafted the second paragraph of the refusal notice.)

As this summary guide from Natural England points out, the new regulations will have implications for planning authorities and developers (and also doubtless for farmers). Any planning application which is pending may take longer to determine than usual while the officers get their heads around all the implications, while permissions that have already been granted may be given additional conditions. The new guidelines will also need to find their way into WBC’s new local plan and thus into Lambourn’s ongoing neighbourhood development plan as well.

More on this can be found in the 24 March 2022 edition of this column (see below).

Community notices

Priscilla’s Coffee Shop is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for tea, coffee and light lunches. They also sell organic bread and almond croissants from Aston’s Bakery in Inkpen and free-range Beechwood Eggs.

Used foil, inkjet cartridge and pens/writing materials can now be dropped off for recycling with us at Hillsprings in East Garston (RG17 7HW) in the metal box next to our wheelie bin. Please scrape food off the foil and scrunch it tightly.

More feedback is needed on the youth survey to assess what facilities are missing or need improving for young people in the Lambourn Valley.

• Lambourn Neighbourhood Development Plan is looking for a Volunteer Minute Secretary to record and publish minutes from their monthly meetings. Please contact Sue Cocker via Lambourn.ndp@gmail.com if you would be interested in providing voluntary support for the group.

On-call firefighters are needed in the area. If you live or work near Lambourn Fire Station and like a challenge do consider applying for this paid role. For more details please see oncallfire.uk or pop down to the fire station any Monday evening for a chat. Employers, please consider giving your staff permission to enrol.

• The Lambourn Growers facebook group has information about how to swap plants (flowers, fruit, veg, indoor and outdoor) and seeds, boots, tools, pots, gadgets are also welcome. If you have nothing to swap then donations are requested.

• Lambourn Parish Council has added a FAQ section to its website for any queries local residents may have.

The National Animal Welfare Trust welcomes donations of hampers and gifts towards its upcoming Easter Auction.

 Lambourn Volunteer Group is looking for more volunteer drivers, especially in East Garston and Great Shefford, and for help with manning the phones on a rota basis. If you can help please see here for details.

• Lambourn Junction supports over 50 residents on low income along the valley. Its unit behind Goodie’s Café is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 11am to 1pm. To donate or receive food outside these hours, please call Julie on 07840 780 345 or contact the group via its Facebook page.

For sharing pictures and stories about local wildlife we recommend the Great Shefford Nature Watch Facebook group.

Village Views provides further information (in printed format) about events in the Valley, including reports from community groups, and is available monthly from local retailers.

4LEGS Radio broadcasts on Fridays and Saturday: click here for more information and how to get involved.

Lateral flow tests: click here for information about these in West Berkshire.

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 15 Apr Peter O’Sullevan Lambourn Open Day

Sat 16 Apr 3pm, Great Shefford Duck Derby.

• Thu 28 Apr Great Shefford Annual Meeting.

• Tue 3 May Film Night: Dream Horse, East Garston

• Regular events

 Lambourn Library hosts RhymeTime, Fridays 11.30am; English Conversation, Fridays 2pm to 3pm; Art Group, Wednesdays 10am to 11.45am; Book Group, third Tuesday of the month, 4.30pm to 5.30pm; Knit and Natter, Tuesdays 2pm to 4pm. Call 01488 71350 or visit the West Berkshire Libraries FB page for more information.

 Lambourn Market every Friday from 8am in Lambourn Market Square. For future events please click here.

Lamblers Walking Group welcomes all to join local walks. Please see the The Lambler’s Walking Group Facebook page for walk dates.

• Fun pottery classes with Elé van Schoor Ceramics in Great Shefford.

Teacup Tuesdays on the second Tuesday of the month from 1.30-3.30pm at Oaksey House, Oxford Street, Lambourn. A great opportunity to meet up with or make new friends. Contact Sharon Mooney on 72176 for more details.

• East Garston Tennis Table Club every Wednesday 6.30pm to 8pm in East Garston Village Hall. The first two sessions are free and then the cost is just £1 per session.  Bats are provided and all abilities are welcome.

 Lambourn Camera Club at Memorial Hall, Lambourn. Please click here for details or contact 07752 175909 or lambourncameraclub@outlook.com.

 Lambourn Playgroup every Monday in term time in St Michael’s Church from 10am to 11.45am. Snacks are provided and a chance for the oldies to make new friends as well as the children.

 East Garston Coffee Club (or O60CC) on the last Friday of the month. Small charge for refreshments. Contact Jackie on 01488 648851.

Shefford Baby and Toddler Group every Monday 9.30am to 11.30am at Great Shefford Village Hall. For more details see Great Shefford Under Fives Facebook page.

East Garston Village Hall activities, clubs and groups throughout the week.

Lambourn Growers Facebook group hosts seed and plant swaps in Bockhampton Road.

Lambourn Royal British Legion follow them on Facebook for latest 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.

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 5 January and you can read a report from Lambourn.org (not the official minutes) here. The most recent meeting for which official minutes are available was the one on 1 December. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council took place on 3 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: speeding; planning matters; support for the community woodland area; the jubilee; the parish newsletter; financial matters; tress at the Recreation Field; the flood alleviation scheme (see separate section above); the annual parish meeting (28 April); the planning application at The Great Shefford; and painting the gates. 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 East Garston Parish Council took place on 3 March and the minutes can be downloaded here. Items covered included: a charity car wash in April; the cricket wicket; tree heights; the War memorial; planning matters; financial matters; village maintenance; and speeding. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 2 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: Marsh Common; two councillor vacancies; the parish’s emergency plan; hedge planting; a bat-box; the annual parish assembly (25 May); and financial matters. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• Lambourn Valley area council contacts

Parishes: Lambourn Parish CouncilEast Garston Parish CouncilWelford Parish Council and Great Shefford Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Hungerford area; Newbury 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 7 April

This week’s news

Click here to red the April Valley of the Racehorse newsletter.

• West Berkshire Lottery is having a special prize draw on Saturday 23 April with a prize of a £1,000 B&Q gift card and you can ensure that your lottery ticket purchase (for this or future draws) benefits the Friends of Lambourn Library (FoLL). Click here for more information on this draw, the the FOLL’s aims and how to buy your ticket.

Click here for the last update from Lambourn’s district councillor Howard Woollaston. Planning applications (from the Hunt Kennels to Sheepdrove Organic Farm), pothole repairs on the B4000, the Lambourn Centre and Lambourn Youth, the Lambourn NDP, Lambourn Junction and Lambourn’s phone box (on which more below). There are also some congratulations and appreciations.

• Thanks to everyone who has donated supplies to the Racing to Help Ukraine appeal this week. The convoy of horseboxes (some driven by famous jockeys and trainers) are taking supplies and veterinary services to the Polish/Ukrainian border. They will be leaving on Sunday 10 April, the day after the Grand National. Please see here for more details.

• Following successful applications to the West Berkshire Additional Restrictions Grant Challenge fund, four Lambourn businesses, Amanda Denton Hats, Fitness in the Village, Presentation Angels and Trenchard Signs, are receiving funding to expand their businesses. Congratulations to those involved and good luck for the future. See lambourn.org for more details.

• Feeling nostalgic? Have a look here at East Garston’s Train Station in 1959. Thanks to Jim Bradshaw.

• The Peter O’Sullevan 2022 Lambourn Open Day is taking place this Good Friday, April 15. The Open Day is a fantastic opportunity to visit the racing yards and have a face to face with the horses and trainers. Yards will be open from 8.30am to 1pm. Tickets can be found here and more information here.

• All welcome at Great Shefford’s Annual Parish Meeting on Thursday 28 April at Great Shefford Village Hall starting at 7.30pm. There will be lots of community information including Great Shefford School, Pre-School, Parish Council and the Queen’s Jubilee event. In due course the agenda will be uploaded at greatshefford.org.uk/parish-council. For more details please contact greatsheffordpc@hotmail.com.

National Animal Welfare Trust‘s Easter Auction is now live and bids are being accepted until 10am Tuesday 12 April. All proceeds from each lot will go directly to caring for their elderly animals so do see what bargains you can snap up in aid of for this good cause.

• The Lambourn Junction is currently asking for donations of tinned macaroni cheese, meatballs, potatoes, peas, spaghetti and jars of pasta sauce and sandwich paste. They are open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 11am to 1pm in the blue cabin in the car park behind Goodies Cafe. For further details please follow them on facebook or call Julie on 07840 780345.

Click here to see Lambourn.org’s list of live planning applications in the parish. As usual, there are quite a few. She below (Nutrients and the NDP) to see why some of these might take longer than usual to get through the system.

The last mile

The last mile is the hardest: ask any marathon runner. In IT terms, it also describes the final connection to the home, the often elderly copper cable leading to a rapid and increasing signal degradation, particularly for data, the further it runs from the local exchange or junction box. As some residents of Upper Lambourn have recently discovered, it can also refer to yet another unwelcome obstacle in getting a broadband service installed at all.

Some good friends of ours live in the furthest reaches of Upper Lambourn – indeed almost in last house in West Berkshire – and have been trying to get properly online for about the last 15 years. I’ve written before about the succession of false dawns, dashed hopes and broken promises that have attended this quest. Back when it all started, broadband was, if not a luxury, certainly not the vital service it is now. Wind forward to lockdown, though, and imagine trying to run two businesses and home-educate three sons with connectivity no better than dial-up speed. Most of us had moved on – in May 2021 it was announced that 98% of West Berkshire properties have, or could have, super fast broadband – but not this part of Upper Lambourn. As far as connectivity to the rest of the world was concerned they might have been on the dark side of the moon, hopefully bouncing signals off passing space debris and paying the same as the rest of us for the privilege.

Long story short: earlier this year it seemed that a scheme had finally been found to solve the problem, with full connection promised by about now. All seemed to be going well until, on 24 March, it was announced that a problem had cropped up in the Upper Lambourn Road/Rowdown Road area. An Openreach spokesman informed the “outliers” that this would “need a road closure due to the width of the road. I have been told,” he added, “that this could be a lead time of six to eight weeks…”

Enquiries by Mark Christopher, the resident who has been spearheading the long-running campaign, to ward member Howard Woollaston and then on to WBC’s Highways team, revealed that this couldn’t be cut short. Due notice and process of road closures was a legal requirement. On 6 April, I received the slightly more encouraging news from Openreach that “we are still trying to get through the blockage with rods, at least to push it off the main road so it won’t require a road closure.” I didn’t ask what exactly the blockage was – the sentence could, in isolation, have been describing a tricky sewage problem – and decided not to ask. A minute answering my question would, after all be a minute less spent with the rods pushing this nameless digital obstacle out of the way. When solved, this may or may not be the last challenge the connection will face. Perhaps Openreach will run out of cable ten yards from the houses or discover that these all have some unforeseen metric/imperial problem which will set the whole scheme back to zero. Based on past experience, I doubt the residents are ruling any problem out.

The moral of the story? There are three. The first is to keep good records of all communications with large organisations as these may need to be used as evidence years later. The second is to work with and invoke the help of your local councillors and media organisations. The third is not to assume that the state, the council, private companies or anyone else will provide what you need unless you demand it, and keep demanding it if you don’t get it. This goes for a lot of things, ranging from train services to social care and education provision. A pre-requisite of most forms of constructive complaining these days – and I draw a distinction between this and just grousing about something on social media – is, of course, a decent internet connection. So, if that’s what you’re trying to get resolved then your struggle is all the more difficult. The end seems to be in sight here, however (though I’ve said that before). Any other non-connected communities out there can therefore take heart. You should get eventually what you need, but perhaps only if you’re prepared to fight for it.

The last box

Since Lambourn.org discovered in late March that the last remaining Lambourn payphone was about to be decommissioned, there was a flurry of emails and phone calls involving Lambourn.org, Penny Post, Lambourn Parish Council, ward member Howard Woollaston and BT. Several of these concerned a consultation that BT conducted in July 2020, as a result of which Lambourn PC “strongly objected” to removal of the payphone, a message was relayed to BT by WBC. The point Lambourn.org and we were trying to establish was if or when there would be a new consultation, whom it would be sent and how residents could participate.

On 4 April, however, it was revealed that much of this work, including the 2020 consultation, had been a waste of time. “It has since come to light,” a BT spokesperson told Lambourn.org on 4 April, “that the box is on private land, meaning that there is no requirement to consult for its removal.” This means that BT can remove it without having to ask anyone, something it proposes to do “in the coming months.” I don’t know which I find the more odd, the fact that BT seemingly doesn’t know where its assets are located; that it doesn’t what land it owns (the “private land” referred to is in fact its own); or that the ownership of the land on which one is standing when making a call has the slightest bearing on the merits or not of retaining the service. As this recently-published article in Lambourn.org points out, “Ofcom is proposing clearer, stronger rules to safeguard a phone box against removal.” It also refers to a petition launched in 2020 and which is still open. Neither of these are likely to save this box, however.

When I wrote about this last week (see below) I referred to the number of calls to 999 and support groups which were still made from public phone boxes and quoted Ofcom’s point about the fact that these could be life-or-death matters. It’s impossible to know how many calls made from Lambourn’s box fitted into this category, nor how many would have done in the future. Unless something dramatic happens, it will soon be gone for good. Many will hardly miss it but those that do will miss it very much indeed. For many others it will also be yet another sign of the increasing drift towards the “digital by default” methods of communication which the pandemic speeded up. Those who for whatever reason cannot or choose not to embrace the digital world are finding themselves increasingly isolated and disconnected: much as, it seems, this phone soon will be…

Community notices

Priscilla’s Coffee Shop is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for tea, coffee and light lunches. They also sell organic bread and almond croissants from Aston’s Bakery in Inkpen and free-range Beechwood Eggs.

Used foil, inkjet cartridge and pens/writing materials can now be dropped off for recycling with us at Hillsprings in East Garston (RG17 7HW) in the metal box next to our wheelie bin. Please scrape food off the foil and scrunch it tightly.

More feedback is needed on the youth survey to assess what facilities are missing or need improving for young people in the Lambourn Valley.

Teacup Tuesdays on the second Tuesday of the month from 1.30-3.30pm at Oaksey House, Oxford Street, Lambourn. A great opportunity to meet up with or make new friends. Contact Sharon Mooney on 72176 for more details.

• Lambourn Neighbourhood Development Plan is looking for a Volunteer Minute Secretary to record and publish minutes from their monthly meetings. Please contact Sue Cocker via Lambourn.ndp@gmail.com if you would be interested in providing voluntary support for the group.

On-call firefighters are needed in the area. If you live or work near Lambourn Fire Station and like a challenge do consider applying for this paid role. For more details please see oncallfire.uk or pop down to the fire station any Monday evening for a chat. Employers, please consider giving your staff permission to enrol.

• The Lambourn Growers facebook group has information about how to swap plants (flowers, fruit, veg, indoor and outdoor) and seeds, boots, tools, pots, gadgets are also welcome. If you have nothing to swap then donations are requested.

• Lambourn Parish Council has added a FAQ section to its website for any queries local residents may have.

The National Animal Welfare Trust welcomes donations of hampers and gifts towards its upcoming Easter Auction.

 Lambourn Volunteer Group is looking for more volunteer drivers, especially in East Garston and Great Shefford, and for help with manning the phones on a rota basis. If you can help please see here for details.

• Lambourn Junction supports over 50 residents on low income along the valley. Its unit behind Goodie’s Café is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 11am to 1pm. To donate or receive food outside these hours, please call Julie on 07840 780 345 or contact the group via its Facebook page.

For sharing pictures and stories about local wildlife we recommend the Great Shefford Nature Watch Facebook group.

Village Views provides further information (in printed format) about events in the Valley, including reports from community groups, and is available monthly from local retailers.

4LEGS Radio broadcasts on Fridays and Saturday: click here for more information and how to get involved.

Lateral flow tests: click here for information about these in West Berkshire.

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 15 Apr Peter O’Sullevan Lambourn Open Day

• Thu 28 Apr Great Shefford Annual Meeting.

• Regular events

 Lambourn Library hosts RhymeTime, Fridays 11.30am; English Conversation, Fridays 2pm to 3pm; Art Group, Wednesdays 10am to 11.45am; Book Group, third Tuesday of the month, 4.30pm to 5.30pm; Knit and Natter, Tuesdays 2pm to 4pm. Call 01488 71350 or visit the West Berkshire Libraries FB page for more information.

 Lambourn Market every Friday from 8am in Lambourn Market Square. For future events please click here.

Lamblers Walking Group welcomes all to join local walks. Please see the The Lambler’s Walking Group Facebook page for walk dates.

• Fun pottery classes with Elé van Schoor Ceramics in Great Shefford.

• East Garston Tennis Table Club every Wednesday 6.30pm to 8pm in East Garston Village Hall. The first two sessions are free and then the cost is just £1 per session.  Bats are provided and all abilities are welcome.

 Lambourn Camera Club at Memorial Hall, Lambourn. Please click here for details or contact 07752 175909 or lambourncameraclub@outlook.com.

 Lambourn Playgroup every Monday in term time in St Michael’s Church from 10am to 11.45am. Snacks are provided and a chance for the oldies to make new friends as well as the children.

 East Garston Coffee Club (or O60CC) mornings 10.30am to noon on the last Friday of the month in East Garston Village Hall. Small charge for refreshments. Donations of raffle prizes always welcome. Contact Jackie on 01488 648851.

Shefford Baby and Toddler Group every Monday 9.30am to 11.30am at Great Shefford Village Hall. For more details see Great Shefford Under Fives Facebook page.

East Garston Village Hall activities, clubs and groups throughout the week.

Lambourn Growers Facebook group hosts seed and plant swaps in Bockhampton Road.

Lambourn Royal British Legion follow them on Facebook for latest 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.

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 5 January and you can read a report from Lambourn.org (not the official minutes) here. The most recent meeting for which official minutes are available was the one on 1 December. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council took place on 3 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: speeding; planning matters; support for the community woodland area; the jubilee; the parish newsletter; financial matters; tress at the Recreation Field; the flood alleviation scheme (see separate section above); the annual parish meeting (28 April); the planning application at The Great Shefford; and painting the gates. 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 East Garston Parish Council took place on 3 March and the minutes can be downloaded here. Items covered included: a charity car wash in April; the cricket wicket; tree heights; the War memorial; planning matters; financial matters; village maintenance; and speeding. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 2 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: Marsh Common; two councillor vacancies; the parish’s emergency plan; hedge planting; a bat-box; the annual parish assembly (25 May); and financial matters. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• Lambourn Valley area council contacts

Parishes: Lambourn Parish CouncilEast Garston Parish CouncilWelford Parish Council and Great Shefford Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

 

Thursday 31 March

Lambourn’s phone box

There are still around 21,000 phone boxes in the UK: one of these is in Lambourn. An enquiry by Lambourn.org recently revealed that this one is threatened with closure. Lambourn PC was warned about this in July 2021 and, as before “objected strongly on the grounds that it was still in use.” On a previous occasion a petition with over 230 signatures was presented in favour of retaining it. I’m unsure, but have asked, what measures Lambourn PC has taken since the last notification last year to asses current public feeling.

It appears that though it’s “in use,” only 18 calls were made in the last 12 months. This may seem like a ridiculously small number – I’ve made more calls than that today – but, as this article from November 2021 in Travel and Leisure points out, these could all be very important ones. The article quotes Ofcom’s Director of Connectivity as saying that “if one of those calls is from a distressed child, an accident victim, or someone contemplating suicide, that public phone line can be a lifeline at a time of great need.” The article goes on to say that between May 2019 and May 2020 150,000 calls were made from payphone to emergency services and another 45,000 to other helplines such as the Samaritans. One group of people particularly at risk are those who have coercive or controlling partners who monitor and control their phone calls. For them, a public phone box may literally be their only safe link to the outside world and, moreover, one where their call can’t be overheard.

I’m not sure what the next step will be. If you feel that this facility should be retained then I suggest you click here to add your name to Lambourn.org’s petition.

As to what might happen to the box if it is closed, the problem is complicated by the fact that it’s on private land and so if Lambourn PC wanted to adopt it for another use (such as a defibrillator) it would need to be moved: and they’re not light. The first issue, though, is to see whether the service can be saved. If you’ve used it, even once, or can see a situation when you might then let LPC know. Like so many things, once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.

Other news

• Congratulations to Lambourn Transport and all the racing industry who are behind the planned convoy of horseboxes (some driven by famous jockeys and trainers) who are taking supplies and veterinary services to the Polish/Ukrainian border. They will be leaving on Sunday 10 April, the day after the Grand National. Please see the Racing to Help Ukraine website or follow their facebook page for how to donate.

• There will be roadworks in Foxbury, Lambourn this Friday all day between 7am and 7pm for essential carriageway resurfacing between Newbury Street and the end of the cul de sac. The road will be entirely closed and there is no alternative diversion route, so residents are to expect delays in their commute. See more information here.

• I thought I was imagining things when I spotted a bird that looked like a cockatoo when I was driving to Shefford earlier this week. But it might have been this character who is reported missing from Brightwalton. If you spot it please call 07747 388959.

• Talking of birds please take extra care driving in Shefford at the moment due to the number of ducks fraternising on the road.

• And sticking with animals, I’ve never seen that clear about the difference between hares and rabbits. My defence for this ignorance is that I grew up in Earls Court in London where there weren’t too many of either. However, this month’s Village Views has a three-page article on hares which has taught me a few things I didn’t know. Unlike rabbits they’re solitary and don’t live in burrows. They can also conceive while pregnant, which must make for some exhausting parenting. They have attracted a wide range of superstitious associations over the centuries including with good luck, with bad luck, with the moon, with fertility (unsurprisingly given their reproductive abilities), with lust (ditto), with wealth and abundance and with shapeshifting. That’s quite a lot of responsibilities.

The two most famous hares are probably the gold one, the location of which was the subject of Kit William’s cryptic picture-puzzle book Masquerade; and the March Hare from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The article also refers to a couple of other books in which they’re featured. If, despite all this, you still don’t care for hares then you’re suffering from leporiphobia (a word that I confess I had to look up).

• All welcome at Great Shefford’s Annual Parish Meeting on Thursday 28 April at Great Shefford Village Hall starting at 7.30pm. There will be lots of community information including Great Shefford School, Pre-School, Parish Council and the Queen’s Jubilee event. In due course the agenda will be uploaded at greatshefford.org.uk/parish-council. For more details please contact greatsheffordpc@hotmail.com.

National Animal Welfare Trust‘s Easter Auction is now live and bids are being accepted until 10am Tuesday 12 April. All proceeds from each lot will go directly to caring for their elderly animals so do see what bargains you can snap up in aid of for this good cause.

The last Lent Lunch at Great Shefford Village Hall is on Friday 1 April. Enjoy homemade soup and fresh bread in the Village Hall to raise money for the Ukrainian Humanitarian Fund. For details see here.

• Congratulations to Julie Blogg for receiving a 2022 High Sheriff of Berkshire Award from Willie Hartley Russell, in recognition of the work she does for The Lambourn Junction which helps families who struggle to make ends meet (see the 24 March section below for more on LJ’s work). Seven charities received an award at Ascot Racecourse last week and Julie was the only one from West Berkshire. More information can be found at lambourn.org.

• It’s clear to see from recent endeavours by Welford Parish Council and volunteers that Marsh Common in Welford is now a safe haven for numerous wildlife. The teams have been improving the habitat to encourage more wildlife on the common, including bat and bird boxes, dormouse houses and even a delux bug hotel which will help keep the circle of life on the Common blooming.

• Welford & Wickham Primary School invites you to the Wickham Walk this Saturday 2 April raising money for the school. Throw on the trainers, round up family and friends, pop the lead on the dog and enjoy a choice of three walk lengths. There are clues to find and refreshments along the way. See more details here.

• The Lambourn Junction is currently asking for donations of tinned macaroni cheese, meatballs, potatoes, peas, spaghetti and jars of pasta sauce and sandwich paste. They are open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 11am to 1pm in the blue portable building in the car park behind Goodies Cafe. For further details please follow them on facebook or call Julie on 07840 780345.

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

Click here to see Lambourn.org’s list of live planning applications in the parish. As usual, there are quite a few. She below (Nutrients and the NDP) to see why some of these might take longer than usual to get through the system.

Nutrients and the NDP

I mentioned last week about new regulations which have recently been introduced by Defra to combat this problem (see below). I was made aware that this has already caused at least one planning approval to be paused until new drainage conditions are agreed and so wondered what effect this might be having on Lambourn’s neighbourhood development plan. I therefore contacted the LNDP’s Suc Cocker to find out.

It seems that “some changes might be needed” but that it’s not yet clear what these might be. She told me that officers at WBC, and the Lambourn NDP team, are studying the new regulations to assess what the impact will be. WBC has also advised there might be a delay in any applications in the Lambourn Valley as these will now need to be considered in the light of the changes. As these are aimed to minimise the phosphates in the river, anyone planning to apply for permission to install a sewage digester (as as happened a couple of times in recent years in this area) might want to think again as these do not do much to eliminate the phosphates, particularly if they’ve been poorly maintained.

Sue Cocker also told me that a series of public meetings would be taking place around the parish, probably in late May, in order to give residents the opportunity to see how matters were going and to offer any opinions. “We certainly do want feedback,” she told me. NDPs need to be community-driven exercises and, when it comes to independent examination, evidence needs to be provided that sufficiently wide public engagement has taken place at the appropriate times. Residents will recall that there was a similar roadshow in the earlier days of the project: something like this is probably intended. Dates, times and venues will be available here and elsewhere as soon as they’re confirmed.

Community notices

Priscilla’s Coffee Shop is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for tea, coffee and light lunches. They also sell organic bread and almond croissants from Aston’s Bakery in Inkpen and free-range Beechwood Eggs.

Used foil, inkjet cartridge and pens/writing materials can now be dropped off for recycling with us at Hillsprings in East Garston (RG17 7HW) in the metal box next to our wheelie bin. Please scrape food off the foil and scrunch it tightly.

More feedback is needed on the youth survey to assess what facilities are missing or need improving for young people in the Lambourn Valley.

Teacup Tuesdays on the second Thursday of the month from 1.30-3.30pm at Oaksey House, Oxford Street, Lambourn. A great opportunity to meet up with or make new friends. Contact Sharon Mooney on 72176 for more details.

• Lambourn Neighbourhood Development Plan is looking for a Volunteer Minute Secretary to record and publish minutes from their monthly meetings. Please contact Sue Cocker via Lambourn.ndp@gmail.com if you would be interested in providing voluntary support for the group.

On-call firefighters are needed in the area. If you live or work near Lambourn Fire Station and like a challenge do consider applying for this paid role. For more details please see oncallfire.uk or pop down to the fire station any Monday evening for a chat. Employers, please consider giving your staff permission to enrol.

• The Lambourn Growers facebook group has information about how to swap plants (flowers, fruit, veg, indoor and outdoor) and seeds, boots, tools, pots, gadgets are also welcome. If you have nothing to swap then donations are requested.

• Lambourn Parish Council has added a FAQ section to its website for any queries local residents may have.

The National Animal Welfare Trust welcomes donations of hampers and gifts towards its upcoming Easter Auction.

 Lambourn Volunteer Group is looking for more volunteer drivers, especially in East Garston and Great Shefford, and for help with manning the phones on a rota basis. If you can help please see here for details.

• Lambourn Junction supports over 50 residents on low income along the valley. Its unit behind Goodie’s Café is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 11am to 1pm. To donate or receive food outside these hours, please call Julie on 07840 780 345 or contact the group via its Facebook page.

For sharing pictures and stories about local wildlife we recommend the Great Shefford Nature Watch Facebook group.

Village Views provides further information (in printed format) about events in the Valley, including reports from community groups, and is available monthly from local retailers.

4LEGS Radio broadcasts on Fridays and Saturday: click here for more information and how to get involved.

Lateral flow tests: click here for information about these in West Berkshire.

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 1 Apr Lambourn Market at Market Square.

• Sun 3 Apr Family Easter Bingo, Great Shefford Village Hall.

• Tue 5 Apr East Garston film night: Another Round.

• Thur 7 Apr East Garston Annual Parish Council Meeting

• Fri 15 Apr Peter O’Sullevan Lambourn Open Day

• Regular events

 Lambourn Library hosts RhymeTime, Fridays 11.30am; English Conversation, Fridays 2pm to 3pm; Art Group, Wednesdays 10am to 11.45am; Book Group, third Tuesday of the month, 4.30pm to 5.30pm; Knit and Natter, Tuesdays 2pm to 4pm. Call 01488 71350 or visit the West Berkshire Libraries FB page for more information.

 Lambourn Market every Friday from 8am in Lambourn Market Square. For future events please click here.

Lamblers Walking Group welcomes all to join local walks. Please see the The Lambler’s Walking Group Facebook page for walk dates.

• Fun pottery classes with Elé van Schoor Ceramics in Great Shefford.

• East Garston Tennis Table Club every Wednesday 6.30pm to 8pm in East Garston Village Hall. The first two sessions are free and then the cost is just £1 per session.  Bats are provided and all abilities are welcome.

 Lambourn Camera Club at Memorial Hall, Lambourn. Please click here for details or contact 07752 175909 or lambourncameraclub@outlook.com.

 Lambourn Playgroup every Monday in term time in St Michael’s Church from 10am to 11.45am. Snacks are provided and a chance for the oldies to make new friends as well as the children.

 East Garston Coffee Club (or O60CC) mornings 10.30am to noon on the last Friday of the month in East Garston Village Hall. Small charge for refreshments. Donations of raffle prizes always welcome. Contact Jackie on 01488 648851.

Shefford Baby and Toddler Group every Monday 9.30am to 11.30am at Great Shefford Village Hall. For more details see Great Shefford Under Fives Facebook page.

East Garston Village Hall activities, clubs and groups throughout the week.

Lambourn Growers Facebook group hosts seed and plant swaps in Bockhampton Road.

Lambourn Royal British Legion follow them on Facebook for latest 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.

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 5 January and you can read a report from Lambourn.org (not the official minutes) here. The most recent meeting for which official minutes are available was the one on 1 December. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council took place on 3 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: speeding; planning matters; support for the community woodland area; the jubilee; the parish newsletter; financial matters; tress at the Recreation Field; the flood alleviation scheme (see separate section above); the annual parish meeting (28 April); the planning application at The Great Shefford; and painting the gates. 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 East Garston Parish Council took place on 3 March and the minutes can be downloaded here. Items covered included: a charity car wash in April; the cricket wicket; tree heights; the War memorial; planning matters; financial matters; village maintenance; and speeding. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 2 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: Marsh Common; two councillor vacancies; the parish’s emergency plan; hedge planting; a bat-box; the annual parish assembly (25 May); and financial matters. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• Lambourn Valley area council contacts

Parishes: Lambourn Parish CouncilEast Garston Parish CouncilWelford Parish Council and Great Shefford Parish Council.

West Berkshire 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

• Lambourn’s St Michael and All Angels church is celebrating Mothering Sunday at a special service at 10:30am this Sunday 27 March. Children are very welcome.

• There is a vacancy on Lambourn Parish Council. If you would like to nominate yourself for election please visit lambourn.org to find out about the application process. The deadline is 4pm on Wednesday 30 March.

• Luckily no one was hurt in the domestic fire in Lambourn this week but is a reminder about how important it is to have on-call firefighters in the village. This is a paid role and you need to live or work near Lambourn Fire Station. For more details please see oncallfire.uk or pop down to the fire station any Monday evening for a chat. Employers please consider giving your staff permission to enrol.

• The next East Garston Repair Café is this Saturday 26 March from 10.30am to 3pm in the Village Hall. Bring your broken items for the talented seamstress, bike repairer, electrical repairers and woodworker to fix. There will be a tool sharpener as well and the lovely Priscilla’s Kitchen will be open next door. See here or contact Ed at edjames@sportingagenda.co.uk for details.

• A reminder that the National Animal Welfare Trust is hosting its first online auction for the year at 11am on Tuesday 29 March. For more information and a list of the items that will be available, click here to be redirected to the Trindledown Facebook page.

• Great Shefford Allotment Society will have three plots of approx 58 sq metres available from April for residents of Great Shefford and Shefford Woodlands. For more details please email Helen at mh.brown@btinternet.com.

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.

• We mentionned last week two local planning applications which have passed at Western Area Planning Committee. One was for turning the old Berks and Bucks Drag Hunt hound’s kennels into a furniture storage unit. It has caused some controversy among locals, due to fear of ‘industrial creep’, as rural companies are replaced. More on this on Newbury Today here.

• As mentioned previously, Lambourn local Eliska Vyskocova and the Reading Ukrainian Community Centre has made great progress supplying a heart monitor and essential medical supplies to Ukraine. They have now met their fundraising goal of £10,000 thanks to the huge outpouring of support by the community. However, you can still donate, as there is no limit to the amount of money which can help in this ongoing crisis.  See here for more details and how to support its fundraising appeal to cover medical supplies and travel costs. Also here is our summary of more local and national appeals for Ukraine.

Lambourn Junction

Lambourn Junction was established in April 2020 and, run by volunteers, has since acted as a food hub for local residents. The original impetus was the pandemic which led to many people and families finding themselves themselves unexpectedly in need. Not only did it help with providing food but also with other issues including housing and utilities. A key aspect of it was, and remains, that no means testing is required. “No one is judged and no one is made to produce evidence,” LJ’s Julie Blogg stressed to Penny Post. “We recognise that people’s circumstances can change, sometimes at short notice, and Lambourn Junction was set up to support them.”

The pandemic may not be over, though it seems that its worst financial effects probably are. This has, however, been replaced by a new problem in the shape of inflation and, in particular, steeply rising fuel prices. The concern is this double squeeze – more people needing the service and fewer people being able to donate to it – might result in the Junction not being able to cope. “We’re not seeing this so far,” Julie said, “but we’re not complacent. The full effects of the flu increases in particular probably won’t be felt for some months. I’d like to reassure and remind people that the Junction remains open to help local people whatever the reason for their need. At present, what we receive in donations is keeping pace with demand.” This may change, though – so do get in touch (see below) if you’d like to help in any way. “We are purely run on donations from the local community,” Julie added, “and we try to provide a balanced bag of food including fruit and vegetables. Whatever we receive stays in Lambourn and along the valley. And, I want to stress again – if you’re in need then we can support you, and without the need for any referrals or formalities.”

Lambourn Junction (located in the blue container in the car park behind Goodies Café) is open between 11am and 1pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Home deliveries can also be arranged and, in emergencies, it can be opened outside these hours. Anyone wanting to find out more on these points, or wishing to donate goods or money or volunteer in any way, should contact Julie Blogg on 07840 780345 or julieblogg@hotmail.co.uk. You can also keep up to date with the Lambourn Junction’s work on its Facebook page.

Nutrient Neutrality

As many will know, the River Lambourn is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation, the highest levels of protection any part of the environment can receive. There’s been much publicity recently about sewage discharges into the river and the steps that have been taken, or have been promised, to address this. There are, however, other more insidious and invisible enemies that such waterways can face from human activity. One of these is the problem of nutrient neutrality (or nutrient pollution).

The Local Government Association describes this as “a big environmental issue for many of our most important places for nature in England. In freshwater habitats and estuaries, increased levels of nutrients (especially nitrogen and phosphorus) can speed up the growth of certain plants, impacting wildlife. This is called ‘eutrophication’ and it is damaging protected sites. As such, some sites are classified as being in ‘unfavourable condition’.” I understand that phosphates are the particular problem with the Lambourn.

“The sources of nutrients,” the report continues, “include sewage treatment works, septic tanks, livestock, arable farming and industrial processes. Where sites are already in unfavourable (poor) condition, extra wastewater from new housing developments can make matters worse.”

Recent new guidance issued by DeFRA and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) in conjunction with Natural England was confirmed in a letter from the DLUHC’s Minister of State on 16 March to all planning authorities affected by nutrient pollution (of which WBC, because of the River Lambourn, is one). This assured them that “we want you to feel supported to continue taking planning decisions, and so we are writing to you to set out our approach, building on the policy paper we have published today.” One practical result of this support is a grant of £100,000 in each affected catchment “for an officer to support the management of strategic mitigation projects across a whole catchment area.”

As this summary guide from Natural England points out, the new regulations will have implications for planning authorities and developers (and also doubtless for farmers). It will also have implications for Lambourn’s neighbourhood development plan. I would imagine that WBC will in due course be issuing a statement to confirm what action it will be taking, or expecting others to take, in this matter. For those who cherish this almost unique watercourse, this is likely to be welcome. I have asked Action for the River Kennet for its views on the proposals and will let you know when they’ve had had a chance to study the plans and their implications.

“This is obviously good news for the River Lambourn” Lambourn’s district councillor Howard Woollaston told Penny Post on 24 March. “However, it will cause some delays and uncertainties in the planning system, probably for the next few months. It’s obviously important that the officers understand the implication of the new regulations and what affect these may have on applications.” Indeed, it seems that this has already started to happen: one development in Upper Lambourn (which has been approved but not started) will need to have a condition relating to drainage substantially revised before work can begin.

Certainly this will give WBC’s planning officers something to think about. Their lives are already dominated by the delayed (though not by them) refresh of the local plan, the guiding document for planning policy decisions. They may therefore have read this observation in the LGA’s summary with foreboding: “What to do with live planning applications? How many are affected? What about pre-application advice – do you need to revisit? What proportion of work is going to be affected? What does this mean for your spatial strategy? Your sites? Your local plan?” The questions come like bullets. Dealing with such bullets is, of course, all part of the job. If you have a rare beast like the River Lambourn in your district you need to look after it. Hopefully Thames Water will also be doing its bit.

Community notices

Priscilla’s Coffee Shop is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for tea, coffee and light lunches. They also sell organic bread and almond croissants from Aston’s Bakery in Inkpen and free-range Beechwood Eggs.

Used foil, inkjet cartridge and pens/writing materials can now be dropped off for recycling with us at Hillsprings in East Garston (RG17 7HW) in the metal box next to our wheelie bin. Please scrape food off the foil and scrunch it tightly.

More feedback is needed on the youth survey to assess what facilities are missing or need improving for young people in the Lambourn Valley.

Teacup Tuesdays on the second Thursday of the month from 1.30-3.30pm at Oaksey House, Oxford Street, Lambourn. A great opportunity to meet up with or make new friends. Contact Sharon Mooney on 72176 for more details.

• Lambourn Neighbourhood Development Plan is looking for a Volunteer Minute Secretary to record and publish minutes from their monthly meetings. Please contact Sue Cocker via Lambourn.ndp@gmail.com if you would be interested in providing voluntary support for the group.

• The Lambourn Growers facebook group has information about how to swap plants (flowers, fruit, veg, indoor and outdoor) and seeds, boots, tools, pots, gadgets are also welcome. If you have nothing to swap then donations are requested.

• Lambourn Parish Council has added a FAQ section to its website for any queries local residents may have.

The National Animal Welfare Trust welcomes donations of hampers and gifts towards its upcoming Easter Auction.

 Lambourn Volunteer Group is looking for more volunteer drivers, especially in East Garston and Great Shefford, and for help with manning the phones on a rota basis. If you can help please see here for details.

• Lambourn Junction supports over 50 residents on low income along the valley. Its unit behind Goodie’s Café is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 11am to 1pm. To donate or receive food outside these hours, please call Julie on 07840 780 345 or contact the group via its Facebook page.

For sharing pictures and stories about local wildlife we recommend the Great Shefford Nature Watch Facebook group.

Village Views: as ever, further information (in printed format) about events in the Valley, including reports from community groups, can be found in Village Views (available from local retailers for just 40p).

Lateral flow tests: click here for information about these in West Berkshire.

Local events and activities

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

 

• Regular events

 Lambourn Library hosts RhymeTime, Fridays 11.30am; English Conversation, Fridays 2pm to 3pm; Art Group, Wednesdays 10am to 11.45am; Book Group, third Tuesday of the month, 4.30pm to 5.30pm; Knit and Natter, Tuesdays 2pm to 4pm. Call 01488 71350 or visit the West Berkshire Libraries FB page for more information.

 Lambourn Market every Friday from 8am in Lambourn Market Square. For future events please click here.

Lamblers Walking Group welcomes all to join local walks. Please see the The Lambler’s Walking Group Facebook page for walk dates.

• Fun pottery classes with Elé van Schoor Ceramics in Great Shefford.

• East Garston Tennis Table Club every Wednesday 6.30pm to 8pm in East Garston Village Hall. The first two sessions are free and then the cost is just £1 per session.  Bats are provided and all abilities are welcome.

 Lambourn Camera Club at Memorial Hall, Lambourn. Please click here for details or contact 07752 175909 or lambourncameraclub@outlook.com.

 Lambourn Playgroup every Monday in term time in St Michael’s Church from 10am to 11.45am. Snacks are provided and a chance for the oldies to make new friends as well as the children.

 East Garston Coffee Club (or O60CC) mornings 10.30am to noon on the last Friday of the month in East Garston Village Hall. Small charge for refreshments. Donations of raffle prizes always welcome. Contact Jackie on 01488 648851.

Shefford Baby and Toddler Group every Monday 9.30am to 11.30am at Great Shefford Village Hall. For more details see Great Shefford Under Fives Facebook page.

East Garston Village Hall activities, clubs and groups throughout the week.

Lambourn Growers Facebook group hosts seed and plant swaps in Bockhampton Road.

Lambourn Royal British Legion follow them on Facebook for latest 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.

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 5 January and you can read a report from Lambourn.org (not the official minutes) here. The most recent meeting for which official minutes are available was the one on 1 December. January meeting included: vaccinations; the broken public toilet; inclusivity, transparency and accountability; planning matters; the precept (rising by 7%, following no increase in 2021-22); and the neighbourhood development plan. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council took place on 3 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: speeding; planning matters; support for the community woodland area; the jubilee; the parish newsletter; financial matters; tress at the Recreation Field; the flood alleviation scheme (see separate section above); the annual parish meeting (28 April); the planning application at The Great Shefford; and painting the gates. 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 East Garston Parish Council took place on 3 March and the minutes can be downloaded here. Items covered included: a charity car wash in April; the cricket wicket; tree heights; the War memorial; planning matters; financial matters; village maintenance; and speeding. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 5 January 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.

Welford Parish Council is urgently looking for a Clerk – click here for details.

• Lambourn Valley area council contacts

Parishes: Lambourn Parish CouncilEast Garston Parish CouncilWelford Parish Council and Great Shefford Parish Council.

West Berkshire 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 17 March 2022

This week’s news

• As well as a decision being reached on The Great Shefford pub’s farm-shop application (see separate section below), the Western Area Planning Committee on 16 March also passed judgement on the Hunts Farm Kennels application. After robust representations from Lambourn PC and objectors, this was passed 5:4 but with strongest possible personal consent conditions including its specific use for storage of garden furniture. The ward Member Howard Woollaston voted against as he was concerned that it sets a precedent outside the Protected Employment Area. You can see a video of the committee meeting here.

• The small team from Hungerford coordinating with Eliska Vyskoc from Lambourn and the Reading Ukrainian Community Centre 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 its fundraising appeal to cover medical supplies and travel costs. Also here is our summary of more local and national appeals for Ukraine.

• March news from Chaddleworth St Andrew’s and Shefford Primary Schools reports that students are enjoying living life in all its fullness.

• On the topic of primary schools, the Year 5 group from Lambourn School spent Tuesday morning planting saplings on the Sheepdrove field in conjunction with Lambourn Environmental Group.

• The National Animal Welfare Trust Berkshire is hosting its first online auction for the year at 11am on Tuesday 29 March. For more information and a list of the items that will be available, click here to be redirected to the Trindledown Facebook page.

• We are looking forward to the next East Garston Repair Café from 10.30am to 3pm on Saturday 26 March in the Village Hall. Bring your broken items for the talented seamstress, bike repairer, electrical repairers and woodworker to fix. There might be a tool sharpener as well. See here or contact Ed at edjames@sportingagenda.co.uk for details.

National Animal Welfare Trust at Trindledown in Great Shefford is appealing for veg donations for their animals. Their pigs would particularly enjoy apples and potatoes.

• The Lambourn Growers’ Swap Station has opened for the 2022 growing season. Please join their facebook group if you want to find out how to swap plants (flowers, fruit, veg, indoor and outdoor) and seeds, boots, tools, pots, gadgets are also welcome. If you have nothing to swap then donations are requested.

The Great Shefford farm shop

This application by the pub in the village was passed at WBC’s Western Area Planning Committee meeting on 16 March with two members abstaining and the others voting in favour. This was in accordance with the planning officers’ recommendation of approval but, in the process, a number of interesting points emerged. The main issues concerned parking (would there be a risk of dangerous overflow parking on the A338?) and competition with the existing shop. Other issues, such as the height and appearance of the proposed structure, the sustainability aspects and flooding risks were touched on but were not major considerations. You can see a video of the committee meeting here.

The highways officer argued that past evidence suggested the shop was likely to be most used by people who were passing anyway rather than making a special trip. As regards the parking, he pointed to the results of a survey which suggested that at various days and times between 13 February and 12 March the existing car park had never been full suggested that this wasn’t a problem. Only four of the 15 visits had been at the busy lunchtime period (and one was on a Monday). My own evidence – I drive past there twice most lunchtimes – is rather different, the car park often being full. I also suggest that February to March wasn’t a representative period given the weather and it seems odd that a survey hadn’t also been done during a non-lockdown summer or Christmas period. The application having been validated in October 2020, there was ample time.

As regard the competition with the existing shop, WBC does have a policy about this but it’s very vague. I can see (and welcome) that the planners should not micro-manage what a shop sells. However, in a small community the difference between a farm shop selling, as this one claims it will, local meat and produce and a convenience store selling bakes beans and wine, and with a Post Office, is quite significant. There could, perhaps, be a distinction between “general shop” and “farm shop” in the policy  categorisations which would prevent the overlap which can (and did in Eastbury some years back) lead to two shops competing with each other and neither surviving.

Some other interesting points emerged from the discussion. The first, proposed by Tony Vickers (LD) was that there should be some policy about whether, particularly, in rural areas, there should be a link between the number of potential covers in the restaurant and the number of parking spaces. At present there isn’t.

Another, raised by Andy Moore (LD), was that the photographic evidence of a building at the same orientation on the site in about 1910 (which caused the heritage officers to withdraw their objections) was fairly meaningless on its own. A long-demolished building of no particular merit and which might have been only extant for a few years should not of itself be a sufficient reason for approving a new build in a different location over a century later. Again, there seemed to be no policy on this. I’m a history graduate and yet find it rather depressing that the past should be invoked as an unimpeachable witness for our plans for the future.

A number of conditions were appended. These included that the shop should not open after 6pm on weekdays or noon at weekends or public holidays – which the applicants’ agent accepted – and that there should be at least 26 parking spaces, three of which are disabled, and a bike parking area; which might be a bit more of a problem.

There being no planning reason why the application should be refused, it was passed.

We wish The Great Shefford every success with its new venture and trust that the assurances given that there will be no overlap between what it sells and what is offered at the excellent, friendly and necessary convenience store a couple of hundred yards away will be retained. I also hope that if more than 26 groups of people decide to go there at any one time that the rest will have walked, or cycled, or been teleported; but in any case not be parking on the A338 outside the pub which can already be quite a hazardous junction. The highways officer said there had been no serious accidents there since 2005. That may be true: however, for 12 years between the flood of 2007 and the takeover by the current team in 2019, the pub was a shadow of its former and current self.

To a certain extent, the opposition to the latest scheme showed the current pub being a victim of its own success. As several members of the committee pointed out, this is to be praised. A planning committee can’t decide how or if a development is going to compete with existing businesses nor impose unrealistic or unenforceable conditions. That is for the local market to decide.

Community notices

Priscilla’s Coffee Shop is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for tea, coffee and light lunches. They also sell organic bread and almond croissants from Aston’s Bakery in Inkpen and free-range Beechwood Eggs.

Used foil, inkjet cartridge and pens/writing materials can now be dropped off for recycling with us at Hillsprings in East Garston (RG17 7HW) in the metal box next to our wheelie bin. Please scrape food off the foil and scrunch it tightly.

More feedback is needed on the youth survey to assess what facilities are missing or need improving for young people in the Lambourn Valley.

Teacup Tuesdays on the second Thursday of the month from 1.30-3.30pm at Oaksey House, Oxford Street, Lambourn. A great opportunity to meet up with or make new friends. Contact Sharon Mooney on 72176 for more details.

• Lambourn Neighbourhood Development Plan is looking for a Volunteer Minute Secretary to record and publish minutes from their monthly meetings. Please contact Sue Cocker via Lambourn.ndp@gmail.com if you would be interested in providing voluntary support for the group.

• Lambourn Parish Council has added a FAQ section to its website for any queries local residents may have.

The National Animal Welfare Trust welcomes donations of hampers and gifts towards its upcoming Easter Auction.

 Lambourn Volunteer Group is looking for more volunteer drivers, especially in East Garston and Great Shefford, and for help with manning the phones on a rota basis. If you can help please see here for details.

A repair café will take place in East Garston Village Hall on 26 March and is looking for volunteer repairers. More information here.

• Great Shefford Allotment Society will have three plots of approx 58 sq metres available from April for residents of Great Shefford and Shefford Woodlands. Email Helen at mh.brown@btinternet.com.

• Lambourn Junction supports over 50 residents on low income along the valley. Its unit behind Goodie’s Café is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 11am to 1pm. To donate or receive food outside these hours, please call Julie on 07840 780 345 or contact the group via its Facebook page.

For sharing pictures and stories about local wildlife we recommend the Great Shefford Nature Watch Facebook group.

Village Views: as ever, further information (in printed format) about events in the Valley, including reports from community groups, can be found in Village Views (available from local retailers for just 40p).

Lateral flow tests: click here for information about these in West Berkshire.

Local events and activities

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

 

• Regular events

 Lambourn Library hosts RhymeTime, Fridays 11.30am; English Conversation, Fridays 2pm to 3pm; Art Group, Wednesdays 10am to 11.45am; Book Group, third Tuesday of the month, 4.30pm to 5.30pm; Knit and Natter, Tuesdays 2pm to 4pm. Call 01488 71350 or visit the West Berkshire Libraries FB page for more information.

 Lambourn Market every Friday from 8am in Lambourn Market Square. For future events please click here.

Lamblers Walking Group welcomes all to join local walks. Please see the The Lambler’s Walking Group Facebook page for walk dates.

• Fun pottery classes with Elé van Schoor Ceramics in Great Shefford.

• East Garston Tennis Table Club every Wednesday 6.30pm to 8pm in East Garston Village Hall. The first two sessions are free and then the cost is just £1 per session.  Bats are provided and all abilities are welcome.

 Lambourn Camera Club at Memorial Hall, Lambourn. Please click here for details or contact 07752 175909 or lambourncameraclub@outlook.com.

 Lambourn Playgroup every Monday in term time in St Michael’s Church from 10am to 11.45am. Snacks are provided and a chance for the oldies to make new friends as well as the children.

 East Garston Coffee Club (or O60CC) mornings 10.30am to noon on the last Friday of the month in East Garston Village Hall. Small charge for refreshments. Donations of raffle prizes always welcome. Contact Jackie on 01488 648851.

Shefford Baby and Toddler Group every Monday 9.30am to 11.30am at Great Shefford Village Hall. For more details see Great Shefford Under Fives Facebook page.

East Garston Village Hall activities, clubs and groups throughout the week.

Lambourn Growers Facebook group hosts seed and plant swaps in Bockhampton Road.

Lambourn Royal British Legion follow them on Facebook for latest 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.

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 5 January and you can read a report from Lambourn.org (not the official minutes) here. The most recent meeting for which official minutes are available was the one on 1 December. January meeting included: vaccinations; the broken public toilet; inclusivity, transparency and accountability; planning matters; the precept (rising by 7%, following no increase in 2021-22); and the neighbourhood development plan. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council took place on 3 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: speeding; planning matters; support for the community woodland area; the jubilee; the parish newsletter; financial matters; tress at the Recreation Field; the flood alleviation scheme (see separate section above); the annual parish meeting (28 April); the planning application at The Great Shefford; and painting the gates. 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 East Garston Parish Council took place on 6 January and the minutes can be downloaded here.To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 5 January 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.

Welford Parish Council is urgently looking for a Clerk – click here for details.

• Lambourn Valley area council contacts

Parishes: Lambourn Parish CouncilEast Garston Parish CouncilWelford Parish Council and Great Shefford Parish Council.

West Berkshire 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

• Eliska Vyskoc from Lambourn and the Reading Ukrainian Community Centre are coordinating the transportation of a heart monitor and essential medical supplies to Krakow by a small team from Hungerford. From Krakow the supplies will be taken by Ukrainian volunteers to Kiev. See here for more details and how to support their fundraising appeal to cover medical supplies and travel costs. Here is our summary of more local and national appeals for Ukraine.

• There are a few tickets still available for the popular Cheltenham Preview Night in East Garston Village Hall this Friday 11 March. The £10 ticket might well be a good investment if you fancy a flutter. See here for how to book.

• Speaking of which, one of the pundits on the top table will be Pat Murphy and you can click here to read his latest monthly racing column (which looks forward to the festival).

• It’s been three years since the river dredging incident in East Garston and we regularly contact the Environment Agency for updates. Here’s the latest response; and a warning for anyone tempted to do any dredging themselves…

• March news from Chaddleworth St Andrew’s and Shefford Primary Schools reports that students are enjoying living life in all its fullness.

• We are looking forward to the next East Garston Repair Café from 10.30am to 3pm on Saturday 26 March in the Village Hall. Bring your broken items for the talented seamstress, bike repairer, electrical repairers and woodworker to fix. There might be a tool sharpener as well. See here or contact Ed at edjames@sportingagenda.co.uk for details.

Priscilla’s Coffee Shop next door will be open for tea, coffee and light lunches. They also sell organic bread and almond croissants from Aston’s Bakery in Inkpen and free range Beechwood Eggs.

• Good news that progress is being made on Great Shefford’s Flood Alleviation scheme. Realistically, it will still be slow going but residents’ donations to the project are safe and will be deployed to make it happen. Looks more like next year than this, though.

Malt Shovel Lane in Upper Lambourn will be closed from 7 to 18 March for Thames Water repairs to sewer and drainage network. For more details please call RJ Lampard & Co on 07768 201370.

National Animal Welfare Trust at Trindledown in Great Shefford are appealing for veg donations for their animals. Their pigs would particularly enjoy apples and potatoes.

• The Lambourn Growers’ Swap Station has opened for the 2022 growing season. Please join their facebook group if you want to find out how to swap plants (flowers, fruit, veg, indoor and outdoor), seeds, boots, tools, pots, gadgets you didn’t get in with are welcome. If you have nothing to swap then donations are requested.

Lambourn’s in-tray

Each month, Lambourn district councillor Howard Woollaston provides an update on the ward issues that have been occupying his apolitical in-tray (as opposed to those that are in his political in-tray in his role as executive member and portfolio holder). Keeping these distinct is important for any councillor: and, indeed, for any MP. He’s not our ward member (we’re in the next-door Downlands one) but we cover Lambourn in some detail and I’d say he does a good job at separating them. It is, after all, the residents who elect councillors and MPs, not their respective party machines.

A peculiarity of Lambourn is that it is the only ward in the district which is exactly co-extensive with a single parish. This in many ways makes it easier for the ward member to do their job. In most cases this neatness isn’t possible due to the way the population was spread. It also wasn’t the case in Lambourn before the 2019 election when the old two-member ward was larger and included several other parishes to the east.

A glance at Howard Woollaston’s latest report, coupled with a scroll down to the previous ones which date back to June 2020, reveal just how many projects a ward member can sometimes get involved with and how long some of these can take to resolve. The B4000, for instance, is mentioned 21 times and Membury 29. Other topics which are regularly returned to include the Neighbourhood Development Plan or NDP (48), Thames Water (24), Covid (23), sewage  and parking (both 14) and speed limit (10). Streaking ahead of all of these, however, is planning which crops up no fewer than 65 times. This seems to provide a reasonable guide to the respective importance placed by residents on these issues.

I asked him to imagine he had a magic wand which would enable him to resolve one of these issues – which would he wave it over? His vote was for the Membury/B4000 problem. The industrial estate is growing and traffic along the B4000, particularly the lorries, is increasing. There is no magic wand for this, however. It’s a complex issue which ranges across a number of different areas including planning policy, planning enforcement, economic development, road safety and the AONB. Unfortunately, the Membury Industrial Estate – or, to look at it another way, junction 14 – is in the wrong place.

Encouragingly, his phone number and email address would also find a place on this list (20) as he mentions these at the end of every monthly report. So, if you live in Lambourn ward/parish and think there’s an issue he could help with, get in touch. He is, after all, a servant of the people: even if, unlike Volodymyr Zelensky, this has not yet been immortalised in a 50-episode TV series.

Community notices

Used foil, ink jet cartridge and pens/writing materials can now be dropped off for recycling with us at Hillsprings in East Garston (RG17 7HW) in the metal box next to our wheelie bin. Please scrape food off the foil and scrunch it tightly.

• More feedback is needed on the youth survey to assess what facilities are missing or need improving for young people in the Lambourn Valley.

• Good news that Teacup Tuesdays have restarted on the second Thursday of the month. The next one is 8 March, from 1.30-3.30pm at Oaksey House, Oxford Street, Lambourn. A great opportunity to meet up with or make new friends. Contact Sharon Mooney on 72176 for more details.

• Lambourn Neighbourhood Development Plan is looking for a Volunteer Minute Secretary to record and publish minutes from their monthly meetings. Please contact Sue Cocker via Lambourn.ndp@gmail.com if you would be interested in providing voluntary support for the group.

• The next draw in the East Garston Bell Fund lottery will be held on Friday 11 March at 8pm in the Social Club. See here how to get involved.

• Lambourn Parish Council has added a FAQ section to its website for any queries local residents may have.

• Locals can still support the National Animal Welfare Trust by donating hampers and gifts towards their upcoming Easter Auction.

 Lambourn Volunteer Group is looking for more volunteer drivers, especially in East Garston and Great Shefford, and for help with manning the phones on a rota basis. If you can help please see here for details.

• East Garston Village Hall will be holding a repair café on 26 March and is looking for volunteer repairers. More information here.

• Great Shefford Allotment Society will have three plots of approx 58 sq metres available from April for residents of Great Shefford and Shefford Woodlands. Email Helen at mh.brown@btinternet.com.

• Lambourn Junction supports over 50 residents on low income along the valley. Its unit behind Goodie’s Café is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 11am to 1pm. To donate or receive food outside these hours, please call Julie on 07840 780 345 or contact the group via its Facebook page.

• If you like sharing pictures and stories about local wildlife we recommend the Great Shefford Nature Watch Facebook group.

• If you see any yellow grit bins that need topping up please contact Lambourn Parish Council which will arrange to have them refilled.

• As ever, further information (in printed format) about events in the Valley, including reports from community groups, can be found in Village Views (available from local retailers for just 40p).

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

Local events and activities

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

• Dates for the diary

• Until 16 Mar Great Shefford Sports & Social Club will be showing all Six Nations rugby matches.

Fri 11 Mar East Garston Cheltenham Preview Night

• Wed 16 Mar Charity Pamper Night 7.30pm to 9.30pm Great Shefford Village Hall.

• Sat 19 Mar The Fabulous Miss Bridy & the 2 Notes 8pm Lambourn Royal British Legion.

Sat 26 Mar East Garston Repair Café, 10.30am to 3pm, East Garston Village Hall.

• Sun 3 Apr Family Easter Bingo, Great Shefford Village Hall.

• Tue 5 Apr East Garston film night: Another Round.

• Fri 15 Apr Peter O’Sullevan Lambourn Open Day

• Regular events

 Lambourn Library hosts RhymeTime, Fridays 11.30am; English Conversation, Fridays 2pm to 3pm; Art Group, Wednesdays 10am to 11.45am; Book Group, third Tuesday of the month, 4.30pm to 5.30pm; Knit and Natter, Tuesdays 2pm to 4pm. Call 01488 71350 or visit the West Berkshire Libraries FB page for more information.

 Lambourn Market every Friday from 8am in Lambourn Market Square. For future events please click here.

Lamblers Walking Group welcomes all to join local walks. Please see the The Lambler’s Walking Group Facebook page for walk dates.

• Fun pottery classes with Elé van Schoor Ceramics in Great Shefford.

• East Garston Tennis Table Club every Wednesday 6.30pm to 8pm in East Garston Village Hall. The first two sessions are free and then the cost is just £1 per session.  Bats are provided and all abilities are welcome.

 Lambourn Camera Club at Memorial Hall, Lambourn. Please click here for details or contact 07752 175909 or lambourncameraclub@outlook.com.

 Lambourn Playgroup every Monday in term time in St Michael’s Church from 10am to 11.45am. Snacks are provided and a chance for the oldies to make new friends as well as the children.

 East Garston Coffee Club (or O60CC) mornings 10.30am to noon on the last Friday of the month in East Garston Village Hall. Small charge for refreshments. Donations of raffle prizes always welcome. Contact Jackie on 01488 648851.

Shefford Baby and Toddler Group every Monday 9.30am to 11.30am at Great Shefford Village Hall. For more details see Great Shefford Under Fives Facebook page.

East Garston Village Hall activities, clubs and groups throughout the week.

Lambourn Growers Facebook group hosts seed and plant swaps in Bockhampton Road.

Lambourn Royal British Legion follow them on Facebook for latest 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.

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 5 January and you can read a report from Lambourn.org (not the official minutes) here. The most recent meeting for which official minutes are available was the one on 1 December. January meeting included: vaccinations; the broken public toilet; inclusivity, transparency and accountability; planning matters; the precept (rising by 7%, following no increase in 2021-22); and the neighbourhood development plan. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council took place on 3 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: speeding; planning matters; support for the community woodland area; the jubilee; the parish newsletter; financial matters; tress at the Recreation Field; the flood alleviation scheme (see separate section above); the annual parish meeting (28 April); the planning application at The Great Shefford; and painting the gates. 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 East Garston Parish Council took place on 6 January and the minutes can be downloaded here.To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 5 January 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.

Welford Parish Council is urgently looking for a Clerk – click here for details.

• Lambourn Valley area council contacts

Parishes: Lambourn Parish CouncilEast Garston Parish CouncilWelford Parish Council and Great Shefford Parish Council.

West Berkshire 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 3 March 2022

This week’s news

• There has been a considerable outpouring of local support for Ukraine including appeals posted on local facebook groups. Here is our summary of more local and national appeals. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk if you would like to add more to the list.

• Third time lucky, perhaps, for the determination of the planning application for the farm shop at The Great Shefford pub by WBC’s Western Area Planning Committee. This has been on the agenda twice before but on each case was pulled as new information was submitted at the last minute which officers needed time to consider. It’s now booked to be discussed at the meeting on 16 March. The agenda will be published here a few days before the meeting and this will include a Zoom link.

• Lambourn district councillor Howard Woollaston has been much involved with WBC business this past week and shares his latest news here.

• Don’t be surprised if you hear unexpected chimes in Lambourn. It’s not your watch that is wrong. The church clock is doing its own thing at the moment and will be fixed as soon as possible.

• Lambourn Carnival & Festival committee desperately need more volunteers to keep the carnival going. If you can help please attend their Start-Up Meeting at 7.30pm on Thursday 10 March at Lambourn British Legion.

• The application for Greengates in East Garston has yet to be determined but enough objections have been received to ensure that it will be decided by committee if the officers are minded to approve it. You can see more on the application here. The documents also include the submission by East Garston PC which, as reported on 10 February, was (after a new site visit and reviewing the plans) changed from a non-unanimous “no objection” to a unanimous “objection.”

Malt Shovel Lane in Upper Lambourn will be closed from 7 to 18 March for Thames Water repairs to sewer and drainage network. For more details please call RJ Lampard & Co on 07768 201370.

National Animal Welfare Trust at Trindledown in Great Shefford are appealing for veg donations for their animals. Their pigs would particularly enjoy apples and potatoes.

East Garston’s riverbank planting went well last Friday thanks to sunny weather and willing volunteers from ARK (Action from the River Kennet). Hopefully the resulting blooms of flag iris, purple loosestrife and marsh marigold will be admired in June.

• The Lambourn Growers’ Swap Station has opened for the 2022 growing season. Please join their facebook group if you want to find out how to swap plants (flowers, fruit, veg, indoor and outdoor), seeds, boots, tools, pots, gadgets you didn’t get in with are welcome. If you have nothing to swap then donations are requested.

32 plans

Lambourn.org has updated its list of live planning applications in the parish. There are currently 32 up there: what the applications lack in fine prose or page-turning tension they more than make up in their importance, particularly if one of these is taking place near you. Some are minor but others are not, WBC no longer send letters to neighbours advising of applications so if you want to know what’s planned and, if necessary, have your say, the only way is either to look out for the orange notices (which may not always be displayed as prominently or as promptly as they should be) or to keep your eye on the information from WBC’s website with Lambourn.org helpfully compiles each month.

Just to give you a flavour of what’s out there, the current crop includes several changes of use and proposed variations of conditions (both of which can have significant implications), a pergola, a manège, extensions, alterations, demolitions, fellings and new builds. Happy reading.

The valley of the hedgehog

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society’s latest report The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2022 found that urban populations have stabilised and that gardens, green spaces and local action are important for hedgehogs’ continuing future. In contrast, rural populations – which one would have thought would have been OK – remain low. Indeed, over the last 20 years they have actually declined drastically by a third to three quarters in different parts of the United Kingdom. The sharpest decline has been in the east of England.

Hedgehog Street has produced the Big Hedgehog Map, where the public can record their hedgehog sightings. It now has over 130,000 records and 16,000 Hedgehog Highways have been created which allow hedgehogs to roam freely between gardens through holes in boundary fences – a great start. Mr and Mrs Tiggywinkle should have come out of hibernation by now and will be much more active. So come on Lambourn Valley, if you see one of our cute snuffly, prickly friends record it using this link.

The Lambourn Environmental Group would also like to create a local map so please send your postcode to trees@lambourn.org as well when you see a hedgehog. We can then show you how much of our area is hedgehog friendly. This post gives information on how you can made your gardens more welcoming for these beneficial creatures.

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 will be in court. The other case, 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

Used foil and ink jet cartridge can now be dropped off for recycling with us at Hillsprings in East Garston (RG17 7HW) in the metal box next to our wheelie bin. Please scrape food off the foil and scrunch it tightly.

• More feedback is needed on the youth survey to assess what facilities are missing or need improving for young people in the Lambourn Valley.

• Good news that Teacup Tuesdays have restarted on the second Thursday of the month. The next one is 8 March, from 1.30-3.30pm at Oaksey House, Oxford Street, Lambourn. A great opportunity to meet up with or make new friends. Contact Sharon Mooney on 72176 for more details.

• Lambourn Neighbourhood Development Plan is looking for a Volunteer Minute Secretary to record and publish minutes from their monthly meetings. Please contact Sue Cocker via Lambourn.ndp@gmail.com if you would be interested in providing voluntary support for the group.

• The next draw in the East Garston Bell Fund lottery will be held on Friday 11 March at 8pm in the Social Club. See here how to get involved.

• Lambourn Parish Council has added a FAQ section to its website for any queries local residents may have.

• Locals can still support the National Animal Welfare Trust by donating hampers and gifts towards their upcoming Easter Auction.

 Lambourn Volunteer Group is looking for more volunteer drivers, especially in East Garston and Great Shefford, and for help with manning the phones on a rota basis. If you can help please see here for details.

• East Garston Village Hall will be holding a repair café on 26 March and is looking for volunteer repairers. More information here.

• Great Shefford Allotment Society will have three plots of approx 58 sq metres available from April for residents of Great Shefford and Shefford Woodlands. Email Helen at mh.brown@btinternet.com.

• Lambourn Junction supports over 50 residents on low income along the valley. Its unit behind Goodie’s Café is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 11am to 1pm. To donate or receive food outside these hours, please call Julie on 07840 780 345 or contact the group via its Facebook page.

• If you like sharing pictures and stories about local wildlife we recommend the Great Shefford Nature Watch Facebook group.

• If you see any yellow grit bins that need topping up please contact Lambourn Parish Council which will arrange to have them refilled.

• As ever, further information (in printed format) about events in the Valley, including reports from community groups, can be found in Village Views (available from local retailers for just 40p).

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

Local events and activities

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

• Dates for the diary

• Until 16 Mar Great Shefford Sports & Social Club will be showing all Six Nations rugby matches.

Sat 26 Feb Free Craft Activities 10.30am to noon Lambourn Library.

• Sat 26 Feb Team Quiz Night 8pm Lambourn Royal British Region.

• Tue 8 Mar Teacup Tuesdays 1.30pm to 3.30pm Oaksey House, Oxford Street, Lambourn.

• Wed 9 Mar Mental Health Support Team Parent Coffee Morning 9.15am to 10.15am Lambourn Primary School.

Fri 11 Mar East Garston Cheltenham Preview Night

• Wed 16 Mar Charity Pamper Night 7.30pm to 9.30pm Great Shefford Village Hall.

• Sat 19 Mar The Fabulous Miss Bridy & the 2 Notes 8pm Lambourn Royal British Legion.

Sat 26 Mar East Garston Repair Café, 10.30am to 3pm, East Garston Village Hall.

• Fri 15 Apr Peter O’Sullevan Lambourn Open Day

• Regular events

 Lambourn Library hosts RhymeTime, Fridays 11.30am; English Conversation, Fridays 2pm to 3pm; Art Group, Wednesdays 10am to 11.45am; Book Group, third Tuesday of the month, 4.30pm to 5.30pm; Knit and Natter, Tuesdays 2pm to 4pm. Call 01488 71350 or visit the West Berkshire Libraries FB page for more information.

 Lambourn Market every Friday from 8am in Lambourn Market Square. For future events please click here.

Lamblers Walking Group welcomes all to join local walks. Please see the The Lambler’s Walking Group Facebook page for walk dates.

• Fun pottery classes with Elé van Schoor Ceramics in Great Shefford.

• East Garston Tennis Table Club every Wednesday 6.30pm to 8pm in East Garston Village Hall. The first two sessions are free and then the cost is just £1 per session.  Bats are provided and all abilities are welcome.

 Lambourn Camera Club at Memorial Hall, Lambourn. Please click here for details or contact 07752 175909 or lambourncameraclub@outlook.com.

 Lambourn Playgroup every Monday in term time in St Michael’s Church from 10am to 11.45am. Snacks are provided and a chance for the oldies to make new friends as well as the children.

 East Garston Coffee Club (or O60CC) mornings 10.30am to noon on the last Friday of the month in East Garston Village Hall. Small charge for refreshments. Donations of raffle prizes always welcome. Contact Jackie on 01488 648851.

Shefford Baby and Toddler Group every Monday 9.30am to 11.30am at Great Shefford Village Hall. For more details see Great Shefford Under Fives Facebook page.

East Garston Village Hall activities, clubs and groups throughout the week.

Lambourn Growers Facebook group hosts seed and plant swaps in Bockhampton Road.

Lambourn Royal British Legion follow them on Facebook for latest 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.

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 5 January and you can read a report from Lambourn.org (not the official minutes) here. The most recent meeting for which official minutes are available was the one on 1 December. January meeting included: vaccinations; the broken public toilet; inclusivity, transparency and accountability; planning matters; the precept (rising by 7%, following no increase in 2021-22); and the neighbourhood development plan. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council took place on 3 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: speeding; planning matters; support for the community woodland area; the jubilee; the parish newsletter; financial matters; tress at the Recreation Field; the flood alleviation scheme (see separate section above); the annual parish meeting (28 April); the planning application at The Great Shefford; and painting the gates. 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 East Garston Parish Council took place on 6 January and the minutes can be downloaded here.To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 5 January 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.

• Lambourn Valley area council contacts

Parishes: Lambourn Parish CouncilEast Garston Parish CouncilWelford Parish Council and Great Shefford Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 24 February 2022

This week’s news

• Congratulations to Rachel Cullen for raising £341 for Lambourn Royal British Legion. The money was collected during their fundraising efforts, which left Rachel with much less hair than she entered the building with.

4LEGS Radio broadcasting was disrupted last Friday due to power cuts during Storm Eunice. Normal service should resume this week. And don’t forget you can listen again anytime to programmes here. For instance here is the latest Gardening Show with Linda and Jane which covers snowdrops, bird boxes, Blossom into Spring, helibores and why we should put the secateurs away.

• This week’s NWN reports that Malt Shovel Lane in Upper Lambourn will be closed from 7 to 18 March for Thames Water repairs to sewer and drainage network. For more details please call RJ Lampard & Co on 07768 201370.

• After a stormy and wind-swept week, National Animal Welfare Trust Berkshire (based near Great Shefford) has published a helpful guide for dog owners explaining how to keep their dogs safe during this windy weather.

East Garston Bell Fund  has so far raised over £32,500 which is enough for the work to commence. The bells and their fittings should be removed in May for the necessary repair work to be carried out and hopefully returned in time to ring for Christmas. A final £15,000 still needs to be raised so please see how you can help here. The next next draw in the bell raffle will be held on Friday 11th March at 8pm in the Social Club.

• More feedback is needed on the youth survey to assess what facilities are missing or need improving for young people in the Lambourn Valley.

• Click here to read the latest monthly report from Lambourn District Councillor Howard Woollaston, updated on 4 February. Matters in his regional in-box recently have included the NDP, traffic calming in Eastbury, planning enforcement, youth provision, broadband, pollution and parking.

• Click here for Lambourn.org’s list of live planning applications in Lambourn which cover the usual wide range of major or minor changes to local properties.

• Lambourn Surgery Patient Participation Group newsletter for February 2022 is now available to read via lambourn.org.

• Please send photos and locations of your favourite snowdrop spots to penny@pennypost.org.uk to add to our local snowdrop guide here.

Charity begins at home

The history of the two almshouse charities in Lambourn date back a long way: The John Isbury one was founded in 1502 during the reign of Henry VII; Jacob Harder’s is even older, the first confirmed record being in 1469, in Edward IV’s time. They have remained active ever since and, because of their shared location and aims, have become increasingly closely associated with each other. Currently the Isbury Almshouses are adjacent to St Michael’s and All Angels Church in Three Post Lane with the Hardretts Almshouses being in Chapel Lane. Between these two sites is the redundant Methodist Chapel.

It’s hoped that the amount of  almshouse accommodation in the parish will double, for the Isbury’s Trustees have recently acquired the former Methodist Chapel and School Rooms with the intention of developing the site to provide further almshouse accommodation for Lambourn. It’s also proposed that the relationship between the trusts be taken to its logical conclusion with the two charities merging to provide a single entity to manage both sets of almshouses and the new development. Outline planning application for the scheme has already been secured and the trustees are now working through the details required for the reserved matters application. As the scheme has so far attracted virtually nothing in the way of opposition (indeed, received considerable support) it’s expected that this will be granted, probably later this year. The final approval will include conditions that will be of interest to neighbours, including permitted hours of work and details of tree felling and/or planting. In expectation of this green light, the trustees have already invited builders to tender for the work.

This is significant because, although there is a well-demonstrated need for affordable housing in the village (and, indeed, almost everywhere else) it is rather harder to get it built. The fact that developers need to be compelled to provide a certain number of “affordable” or social rent homes (40% on greenfield sites and 30% on brownfield ones) speaks volumes for how reluctant they are to construct any at all. The harsh reality is that the government’s homebuilding programme has been almost completely outsourced to the private sector. This exists to make profits, not to implement Whitehall’s policy. Moreover, this compunction only applies to developments of more than ten homes, below which most projects in a small community like Lambourn would fall. Finally, even if the affordable-housing quota does apply, developers have proved adept at managing to have these set aside. All in all, in the current system there’s an inverse relationship between the need for this kind of housing and the ease with which it can be provided.

This is where charities like these are so beneficial. As well as getting these homes built at all, the key point is that they are in the parish not merely in the district. A proposed development of 2,500 homes to the north east of Thatcham would, if realised, eventually provide up to 1,000 “affordable” or social rent homes: however, a lot of people wouldn’t want to uproot themselves from their community to take advantage of them. These would also take perhaps decades to appear: Lambourn’s proposed ones may well be available next year. When the charities were set up 500 years ago, the journey to Thatcham would have been an arduous one. Given the state of the local bus services, it wouldn’t exactly be easy today. These kind of homes are just what’s needed and hopefully the work of getting them built will proceed smoothly. Hats off to all those (unpaid) trustees who are making this happen.

Hang on – doesn’t residence in an almshouse involve some obligations? They certainly used to. As recently as the 1950s, residents had to attend Chapel twice a day where the chantry priest would read prayers and doubtless on occasions remind them of how lucky they were to have a roof over their heads at all. I have, however, been assured by one of the current trustees that nothing of this kind is planned as part of the tenancy agreements for the the new developments.

Community notices

• Lambourn C of E Primary School F2 pupils are looking after chicken eggs that will soon hatch and they are looking for people to adopt the baby chicks. If you can help please contact the school office on 01488 71479 or admin@lambourn-excalibur.org.uk

• If you would like to help plant riverbank plants in East Garston on Friday 25 February please contact Action for the River Kennet volunteer co-ordinator Anna Forbes on anna@riverkennet.org.

• Lambourn Neighbourhood Development Plan is looking for a Volunteer Minute Secretary to record and publish minutes from their monthly meetings. Please contact Sue Cocker via Lambourn.ndp@gmail.com if you would be interested in providing voluntary support for the group.

• Did you go to Shefford Primary School in the 1980s? This year Shefford Primary School is celebrating its 40th anniversary on the current site wants to hear from you.

• Lambourn Parish Council has added a FAQ section to its website for any queries local residents may have.

• Locals can still support the National Animal Welfare Trust by donating hampers and gifts towards their upcoming Easter Auction.

 Lambourn Volunteer Group is looking for more volunteer drivers, especially in East Garston and Great Shefford, and for help with manning the phones on a rota basis. If you can help please see here for details.

• East Garston Village Hall will be holding a repair café on 26 March and is looking for volunteer repairers. More information here.

• Great Shefford Allotment Society will have three plots of approx 58 sq metres available from April for residents of Great Shefford and Shefford Woodlands. Email Helen at mh.brown@btinternet.com.

• Lambourn Junction supports over 50 families and individuals on low income along the valley. Its unit behind Goodie’s Café is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 11am to 1pm. To donate or receive food outside these hours, please call Julie on 07840 780 345 or contact the group via its Facebook page.

• If you like sharing pictures and stories about local wildlife we recommend the Great Shefford Nature Watch Facebook group.

• If you see any yellow grit bins that need topping up please contact Lambourn Parish Council which will arrange to have them refilled.

• As ever, further information (in printed format) about events in the Valley, including reports from community groups, can be found in Village Views (available from local retailers for just 40p).

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

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 26 Feb Free Craft Activities 10.30am to noon Lambourn Library.

• Sat 26 Feb Team Quiz Night 8pm Lambourn Royal British Region.

• Tue 8 Mar Teacup Tuesdays 1.30pm to 3.30pm Oaksey House, Oxford Street, Lambourn.

• Wed 9 Mar Mental Health Support Team Parent Coffee Morning 9.15am to 10.15am Lambourn Primary School.

• Until 16 Mar Great Shefford Sports & Social Club will be showing all Six Nations rugby matches.

• Sat 19 Mar The Fabulous Miss Bridy & the 2 Notes 8pm Lambourn Royal British Legion.

• Fri 15 Apr Peter O’Sullevan Lambourn Open Day

• Regular events

 Lambourn Library hosts free events that don’t require booking. Under eights must be accompanied by an adult. Call 01488 71350 or visit the West Berkshire Libraries FB page for more information. RhymeTime, Fridays 11.30am; English Conversation, Fridays 2pm to 3pm; Art Group, Wednesdays 10am to 11.45am; Book Group, third Tuesday of the month, 4.30pm to 5.30pm; Knit and Natter, Tuesdays 2pm to 4pm.

 Lambourn Market every Friday from 8am in Lambourn Market Square. For future events please click here.

Lamblers Walking Group welcomes all to join local walks. Please see the The Lambler’s Walking Group Facebook page for walk dates.

• Fun pottery classes with Elé van Schoor Ceramics in Great Shefford.

• East Garston Tennis Table Club every Wednesday 6.30pm to 8pm in East Garston Village Hall. The first two sessions are free and then the cost is just £1 per session.  Bats are provided and all abilities are welcome.

 Lambourn Camera Club at Memorial Hall, Lambourn. Please click here for details or contact 07752 175909 or lambourncameraclub@outlook.com.

 Lambourn Playgroup every Monday in term time in St Michael’s Church from 10am to 11.45am. Snacks are provided and a chance for the oldies to make new friends as well as the children.

 East Garston Coffee Club (or O60CC) mornings 10.30am to noon on the last Friday of the month in East Garston Village Hall. Small charge for refreshments and donations of raffle prizes always welcome. Contact Jackie on 01488 648851 for more information.

Shefford Baby and Toddler Group every Monday 9.30am to 11.30am at Great Shefford Village Hall. For more details see Great Shefford Under Fives Facebook page.

East Garston Village Hall activities, clubs and groups throughout the week.

Lambourn Growers Facebook group hosts seed and plant swaps in Bockhampton Road.

Lambourn Royal British Legion follow them on Facebook for latest 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.

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 5 January and you can read a report from Lambourn.org (not the official minutes) here. The most recent meeting for which official minutes are available was the one on 1 December. January meeting included: vaccinations; the broken public toilet; inclusivity, transparency and accountability; planning matters; the precept (rising by 7%, following no increase in 2021-22); and the neighbourhood development plan. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council took place on 3 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: speeding; planning matters; support for the community woodland area; the jubilee; the parish newsletter; financial matters; tress at the Recreation Field; the flood alleviation scheme (see separate section above); the annual parish meeting (28 April); the planning application at The Great Shefford; and painting the gates. 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 East Garston Parish Council took place on 6 January and the minutes can be downloaded here. Items covered included: planning applications (including one contentious one: see the News section for last week); cricket nets; jubilee mugs; financial matters including the 2022-23 budget, the precept being unchanged at £9,000; the Jubilee Meadow; dog bins; speeding; tree planting; and the annual parish meeting, on Thursday 7 April. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 5 January 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.

• Lambourn Valley area council contacts

Parishes: Lambourn Parish CouncilEast Garston Parish CouncilWelford Parish Council and Great Shefford Parish Council.

West Berkshire 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 17 February 2022

This week’s news

• Penny was pleased to join the Lambourn Environmental Group‘s volunteer planting team who braved the cold winds last Saturday 12 February to plant 30 large saplings provided by West Berkshire Council as part of the Queens Green Canopy Project. Over 500 saplings have now been planted on Sheepdrove Field by kind permission of the Kindersleys.

• Unfortunately as some trees are planted, others will fall. Lambourn Parish Council updated residents that Baydon Road will be closed 9am to 4.30pm from 14 to 18 February for trees to be felled that have been affected by Ash dieback disease.

• Good news that the Peter O’Sullevan Lambourn Open Day will be going ahead on Good Friday 15 April, opening its doors to the public for the first time since 2019. This event offers racing fans a unique opportunity to tour Lambourn yards and meet the trainers, staff and their favourite four-legged heroes.

• Our thoughts are will the family of long time East Garston resident Ken Tarbox who sadly died on 2 February 2022. Ken was well known in the village as a postie, local photographer and webmaster. He has left a lasting legacy of photographs and videos of village life when he managed the website www.eastgarston.com between 2006 and 2012.

St Mary’s in Great Shefford invites all to their informal, family-focussed relaxed Café Church service at 10am next Sunday 20 February followed by refreshments and a chance to chat. The theme will be The Garden of Eden, celebrating all the wonderful things around us, and how we can care for them.

• Congratulations to 4LEGS Community Radio Valentine Request-a-thon last Sunday which raised over £1,000 to be split between the radio station and The Lambourn Junction, who are a community-led initiative that relies on donations, supporting those in need along the valley with food, household items and essential supplies.

• Another Valentine’s Day charity event was held by National Animal Welfare Trust Berkshire (Trindledown Farm), who raised £795 for their homeless-pet support centre near Great Shefford by asking the public to sponsor a pet for 14 February. Congratulations to all those involved, we’re glad the farm’s many different animal friends received some much needed love and attention on Valentine’s Day.

• As mentioned last week, the Lambourn Wellbeing Centre is an exciting new venture to create a much-needed community facility in the currently disused building next to Lambourn Sports Club. To find out more about the project and how you can help, please listen to Penny’s interview with Jon Atkinson at 11am this Friday on 4LEGS radio.

• More feedback is needed on the youth survey to assess what facilities are missing or need improving for young people in the Lambourn Valley.

• Click here to read the latest monthly report from Lambourn District Councillor Howard Woollaston, updated on 4 February. Matters in his regional in-box recently have included the NDP, traffic calming in Eastbury, planning enforcement, youth provision, broadband, pollution and parking.

• Click here for Lambourn.org’s list of live planning applications in Lambourn which cover the usual wide range of major or minor changes to local properties.

Lambourn Surgery Patient Participation Group newsletter for February 2022 is now available to read via lambourn.org.

• Please send photos and locations of your favourite snowdrop spots to penny@pennypost.org.uk to add to our local snowdrop guide here.

Community notices

• If you would like to help plant riverbank plants in East Garston on  Friday 25 February please contact  Action for the River Kennet volunteer coordinator Anna Forbes on anna@riverkennet.org

Lambourn Neighbourhood Development Plan is looking for a Volunteer Minute Secretary to record and publish minutes from their monthly meetings. Please contact Sue Cocker via Lambourn.ndp@gmail.com if you would be interested in providing voluntary support for the group.

• Did you go to Shefford Primary School in the 1980s? This year Shefford Primary School is celebrating its 40th anniversary on the current site wants to hear from you.

Lambourn Parish Council has added a FAQ section to its website for any queries local residents may have.

• There is still time to buy raffle tickets to support the National Animal Welfare Trust’s 2022 Raffle on Monday 21 February, as well as donating hampers and gifts towards their Easter Auction.

 Lambourn Volunteer Group is looking for more volunteer drivers, especially in East Garston and Great Shefford, and for help with manning the phones on a rota basis. If you can help please see here for details.

• East Garston Village Hall will be holding a repair café on 26 March and is looking for volunteer repairers. More information here.

• Great Shefford Allotment Society will have three plots of approx 58 sq metres available from April for residents of Great Shefford and Shefford Woodlands. Email Helen at mh.brown@btinternet.com.

• Lambourn Junction supports over 50 families and individuals on low income along the valley. Its unit in the car park behind Goodie’s Café is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 11am to 1pm. If you would like to donate or receive food outside these hours, please call Julie on 07840 780 345 or contact the group via its Facebook page.

• If you like sharing pictures and stories about local wildlife we recommend the Great Shefford Nature Watch Facebook group.

• If you see any yellow grit bins that need topping up please contact Lambourn Parish Council which will arrange to have them refilled.

• As ever, further information (in printed format) about events in the Valley, including reports from community groups, can be found in Village Views (available from local retailers for just 40p).

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

Local events and activities

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

• Regular events

 Lambourn Library has a number of regular free events (see list below) that don’t require booking. Under eights must be accompanied by an adult. Call 01488 71350 or visit the West Berkshire Libraries FB page for more information. RhymeTime, Fridays 11.30am; English Conversation, Fridays 2pm to 3pm; Art Group, Wednesdays 10am to 11.45am; Book Group, third Tuesday of the month, 4.30pm to 5.30pm; Knit and Natter, Tuesdays 2pm to 4pm; Code Club for kids, details to follow.

 Lambourn Market every Friday from 8am in Lambourn Market Square. If you wish to stay up to date on future market events, please click here.

The Lamblers Walking Group trek through various countryside routes in Lambourn and the surrounding areas to take in the beautiful Berkshire scenery, as well as getting exercise with new friends. Please see the group’s Facebook page for dates and locations of future walks.

Fun pottery classes with Elé van Schoor Ceramics in Great Shefford.

• East Garston Tennis Table Club every Wednesday 6.30pm to 8pm in East Garston Village Hall. The first two sessions are free and then the cost is just £1 per session.  Bats are provided and all abilities are welcome.

 Lambourn Camera Club at Memorial Hall, Lambourn. Please click here for details or contact the group at 07752 175909 or lambourncameraclub@outlook.com.

 Lambourn Playgroup every Monday in term time in St Michael’s Church from 10am to 11.45am. Snacks are provided and a chance for the oldies to make new friends as well as the children.

 East Garston Coffee Club (or O60CC) mornings 10.30am to noon on the last Friday of the month in East Garston Village Hall. There is a nominal charge for refreshments and donations of raffle prizes are always welcome. Contact Jackie on 01488 648851 for more information.

 Baby and Toddler Group every Monday 9.30am to 11.30am at Great Shefford Village Hall. For more details please click here to visit Great Shefford Under Fives Facebook page.

• To stay updated on all the activities, clubs and groups throughout the week at East Garston Village Hallclick here.

• See Lambourn Growers Facebook group for info on a seed and plant swap in Bockhampton Road.

• For the latest events at Lambourn Royal British Legion follow them on Facebook.

Shefford’s flood scheme inches closer

At the February meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council (see also below), the Chairman Steve Ackrill reported all residents should have received a letter from MP Laura Farris to confirm that the preliminary work is on its way and that construction should start this year. She also thanked Steve Ackrill for all his hard work in helping to achieve this. (This is no less that the truth: the project began in 2017 but was stuck in a dark place for the last couple of years – see this post for more).

Councillor Ackrill confirmed that a project management team had been formulated, that a risk assessment register is being completed and that discussions with the contractors are being held. The £80,000 funding raised by Great Shefford community is still  “work in progress” concerning how this can be passed to the Environment Agency. Further updates will be provided when there is some progress.

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.

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 5 January and you can read a report from Lambourn.org (not the official minutes) here. The most recent meeting for which official minutes are available was the one on 1 December. Items covered in the January meeting included: vaccinations; the broken public toilet; inclusivity, transparency and accountability; planning matters; the precept (rising by 7%, following no increase in 2021-22); and the neighbourhood development plan. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council took place on 3 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: speeding; planning matters; support for the community woodland area; the jubilee; the parish newsletter; financial matters; tress at the Recreation Field; the flood alleviation scheme (see separate section above); the annual parish meeting (28 April); the planning application at The Great Shefford; and painting the gates. 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 East Garston Parish Council took place on 6 January and the minutes can be downloaded here. Items covered included: planning applications (including one contentious one: see the News section for last week); cricket nets; jubilee mugs; financial matters including the 2022-23 budget, the precept being unchanged at £9,000; the Jubilee Meadow; dog bins; speeding; tree planting; and the annual parish meeting, on Thursday 7 April. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 5 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a council vacancy; a report from ward member James Cole; historical archives; the defibrillators; damage caused by waster lorries; planning matters; the 2022 annual assembly; the recruitment of a new Clerk; grants to local organisations; financial matters; a new noticeboard; Marsh Common; hedge planting; speeding; and rights of way. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• Lambourn Valley area council contacts

Parishes: Lambourn Parish CouncilEast Garston Parish CouncilWelford Parish Council and Great Shefford Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 10 February 2022

This week’s news

• Our February Valley of the Racehorse newsletter was published last weekend and is, as ever, packed to to the brim with all manner of news, features, events, activities, offers and jobs. Highlights include 500 trees, a Valentine’s request-a-thon, four in a bed, Howard’s monthly homework, Pat’s racing column, flowers by the river, clay, walks, ducks and memories of a toxic by-election. Click here to read it if you didn’t get it.

• The most recent meeting of East Garston Parish Council (see also below) discussed several planning applications, including for Greengates on Front Street, the full details of which you can see here. After some discussion, the PC resolved to state “no objections”. This was, the minutes continue, “not a unanimous decision” and the PC requested that a number of factors be taken into account. These included the scale, the fact that it would overlook two nearby properties, the lack of any improvement to the sight lines on that stretch of road and the lack of a suitable drainage system to deal with flood water.

Since then, however, EGPC, having looked at the matter again and made another site visit, has resubmitted its response, citing “objection.” (It’s important to stress that parish councils do not make the final decision about a planning applications but are merely one of several consultees in the process. The planning authority – West Berkshire Council in this case – makes the call on these.) The application has already attracted over 20 objections and so, if the officers are minded to approve it, it will go to the Western Area Planning Committee for determination.

• 4LEGS Community Radio is hosting a Valentine request-a-thon on Sunday 13 February between 11am and 7pm in aid of Lambourn Junction. Click here to make your track request and a donation of your choice by lunchtime this Saturday 12 February. The Lambourn Junction is a community-led initiative that relies on donations, supporting those in need along the valley with food, household items and essential supplies. Half the proceeds of the request-a-thon will go to Lambourn Junction with the other half going to keep the radio station running.

• The February edition of Village Views contains the observation from an Eastbury resident that there seem to be a lot of residents of the Valley getting letters published in The Daily Telegraph. He stops short of calling it an epidemic but the word might serve. He lists some of the correspondents he’s spotted and suggests that this is “quite a coterie from such a small area.” He then wonders why this might be. He asks if the Telegraph might be biased in favour of the Valley’s residents: I think it more likely that a sufficiency of residents are biased in favour of, or at least read, the Telegraph. There are certainly worse national papers to be caught writing letters to (including one, which I never name). Perhaps VV could obtain the necessary permissions and re-publish some of these so those of us who don’t take the paper can judge the sentiments for themselves?

• The Lambourn Wellbeing Centre is an exciting new venture to create a much-needed community facility in the currently disused building next to Lambourn Sports Club.  One of the first steps on the journey to making the Wellbeing Centre a reality is to clear out the building of unwanted material and rubbish and they are looking to form a team of volunteers to help collect and recycle anything to help lower the environmental impact as much as possible. If you can help please contact the group here or follow their facebook page.

• Help needed please as a bit more feedback is needed on the youth survey to assess what facilities are missing or need improving for young people in the Lambourn Valley.

• Click here to read the latest monthly report from Lambourn District Councillor Howard Woollaston, updated on 4 February. Matters in his regional in-box recently have included the NDP, traffic calming in Eastbury, planning enforcement, youth provision, broadband, pollution and parking.

Fancy having fun with clay? Why not treat yourself to a three-hour pottery taster sessions or a 6 week course with Elé van Schoor Ceramics in Great Shefford.

 Upper Lambourn is, finally, about to get a proper broadband service. Can’t believe how long they have waited to join the 21st century.

 February news from Great Shefford Primary School includes exciting news about its running track.

This year Shefford Primary School is celebrating its 40th anniversary on the current site wants to hear stories from pupils who attended the school in the 1980s.

 February news from Lambourn Primary School includes a fascinating study of stone age artefacts.

• Click here for Lambourn.org’s list of live planning applications in Lambourn which cover the usual wide range of major or minor changes to local properties.

• Please send photos and locations of your favourite snowdrop spots to penny@pennypost.org.uk to add to our local snowdrop guide here.

Galloping ahead

An article on p20 of the Newbury Weekly News refers to the planning application for a two-furlong round canter, a one-furlong schooling oval and an outdoor arena on Mandown Gallops in Upper Lambourn. You can see details of the application here: this was lodged in early December but has only recently been validated. So far no objections have been received, the District Councillor is not minded to call it in to committee, it satisfies WBC’s CS12 policy with regard to the equine industry and it has been supported by Lambourn PC. All in all, there seems no reason to suppose it will not be passed by officers, probably within the next few months.

I spoke to Will Riggall from the Jockey Club Estates in Lambourn about this. He stressed how important the facility would be “to try to restore Lambourn’s status as a jumping powerhouse,” a position it enjoyed in the later part of the 20th century. The area has some unique natural advantages with, for example, rather more in the way of hills than does the flat terrain around Newmarket. Will said it is hoped that, with the addition of facilities like this to complement the existing array of grass and artificial gallops, the area “can continue to attract the next generation of National Hunt trainers to the Lambourn Valley.”

The success of the racing industry is also vital to the economy of the whole area with a large number of jobs depending on it, directly or indirectly. It’s also easy to forget that Lambourn’s main rival, Newmarket, is over 20 times more populous. In terms of economic contribution, however, the Jockey Club Estates estimates that racing contributes about £240m to Newmarket’s economy and about £23m to Lambourn’s: in other words, the Valley is doing about twice as well out of the sport (though that also makes it twice as vulnerable). Lambourn is clearly punching above its weight. This development, Will Riggall assured me, will ensure that it continues to be able to do so.

Community notices

Lambourn Environmental Group needs some more volunteers for the next tree planting day on Sheepdrove Field to help plant 30 bigger trees from West Berkshire Council as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy Project on Saturdaay 12 February at 10am. Please bring your spades, mallets and sturdy footwear.

• Lambourn Parish Council has added a FAQ section to its website for any queries local residents may have.

• The National Animal Welfare Trust now has many different ways of supporting the trust: it will host its 2022 Raffle on Monday 21 February (with tickets available to purchase until Friday 18 February), you can also sponsor an animal for Valentine’s Day 2022, as well as donating hampers and gifts towards their Easter Auction.

 Lambourn Volunteer Group is looking for more volunteer drivers, especially in East Garston and Great Shefford, and for help with manning the phones on a rota basis. If you can help please see here for details.

• East Garston Village Hall will be holding a repair café on 26 March and is looking for volunteer repairers. More information here.

 Great Shefford Allotment Society will have three plots of approx 58 sq metres available from April for residents of Great Shefford and Shefford Woodlands. Email Helen at mh.brown@btinternet.com.

• Lambourn Junction supports over 50 families and individuals on low income along the valley. Its unit in the car park behind Goodie’s Café is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 11am to 1pm. If you would like to donate or receive food outside these hours, please call Julie on 07840 780 345 or contact the group via its Facebook page.

• If you like sharing pictures and stories about local wildlife we recommend the Great Shefford Nature Watch Facebook group.

• If you see any yellow grit bins that need topping up please contact Lambourn Parish Council which will arrange to have them refilled.

• As ever, further information (in printed format) about events in the Valley, including reports from community groups, can be found in Village Views (available from local retailers for just 40p).

• 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.

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 5 January and you can read a report from Lambourn.org (not the official minutes) here. The most recent meeting for which official minutes are available was the one on 1 December. Items covered in the January meeting included: vaccinations; the broken public toilet; inclusivity, transparency and accountability; planning matters; the precept (rising by 7%, following no increase in 2021-22); and the neighbourhood development plan. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of East Garston Parish Council took place on 6 January and the minutes can be downloaded here. Items covered included: planning applications (including one contentious one: see the News section above); cricket nets; jubilee mugs; financial matters including the 2022-23 budget, the precept being unchanged at £9,000; the Jubilee Meadow; dog bins; speeding; tree planting; and the annual parish meeting, on Thursday 7 April. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council took place on 6 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Community Woodland Area; speeding; planning matters (including GSPC’s response to the revised planning application at The Great Shefford: see also the news section above); financial matters (including setting the 2022-23 precept at £18,000; the parish newsletter; the jubilee; and a new name for the Old Rectory. 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 Welford Parish Council took place on 5 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a council vacancy; a report from ward member James Cole; historical archives; the defibrillators; damage caused by waster lorries; planning matters; the 2022 annual assembly; the recruitment of a new Clerk; grants to local organisations; financial matters; a new noticeboard; Marsh Common; hedge planting; speeding; and rights of way. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• Lambourn Valley area council contacts

Parishes: Lambourn Parish CouncilEast Garston Parish CouncilWelford Parish Council and Great Shefford Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 3 February 2022

This week’s news

• The Lambourn Wellbeing Centre is an exciting new venture to create a much-needed community facility in the currently disused building next to Lambourn Sports Club.  One of the first steps on the journey to making the Wellbeing Centre a reality is to clear out the building of unwanted material and rubbish and they are looking to form a team of volunteers to help collect and recycle anything to help lower the environmental impact as much as possible. If you can help please contact the group here or follow their facebook page.

• Click here to read the latest monthly report from Lambourn District Councillor Howard Woollaston, updated on 4 February. Matters in his regional in-box recently have included the NDP, traffic calming in Eastbury, planning enforcement, youth provision, broadband, pollution and parking.

• The planning application for the farm shop at The Great Shefford pub was to have come before the Western Area Planning Committee on 2 February but, at the last moment it was pulled and, this being the only matter to consider, the meeting was cancelled. It seems this was due to late documents: whether this was because of the officers not being able to get the paperwork together or – as happened last time this was due to be considered – new material being provided at the last moment, I’m not certain.

I spoke to one WBC councillor who has attended many planning committee meetings and they expressed themselves frustrated by this. When something is deferred, all the work involved in understanding the issue largely needs to be re-done when the matter comes up again, either because new material needs to be assimilated or because there’s only so many planning details that a normal councillor can hold in their head before it gets over-written with more recent data. This long-running matter will now come before WAPC at some later date. Third time lucky, perhaps.

Click here for Lambourn.org’s list of live planning applications in Lambourn which cover the usual wide range of major or minor changes to local properties.

• The new series of Channel 4’s Four in a Bed started on 31 January includes our very own local, The Queens Arms in East Garston. The show involves hospitality owners taking turns to stay with one another and pay what they consider fair for their stay after giving feedback. The episodes are available to watch on All 4, with the Queen’s pair Freddie Tulloch and Ben Nelson hosting in Episode 3.

• New changes to the Highway Code, which have been made to further protect horse-riders using our roads, have been highlighted by Lambourn.org. These new measures will be a must-read for local residents, due to the high-concentration of horse-riders using public roads throughout Lambourn area.

• A steady flow of the stream has started appearing in Great Shefford as our River Lambourn awakes from its winter nap and will hopefully kick-start us into spring. The water springs in the upper reaches have started to flow whilst the lower ones in Lambourn’s Lynch Wood have yet to start. Photos can be found on Lambourn.org and daily river level updates can be followed on Twitter.

• Welford Parish Council showed-off its newly refurbished red phone box, which will now be used as a Community Book Exchange. The parish council are asking for book donations to be made towards the mini-library, which can be made by contacting Councillor Paul Stanley at wwpcpaulstanley@gmail.com to arrange a drop-off time.

• 4LEGS Community Radio is hosting a Valentine Request-a-thon on Sunday 13 February between 11am and 7pm in aid of Lambourn Junction. Click here to make your track request and a donation of your choice. The Lambourn Junction is a community-led initiative that relies on donations, supporting those in need along the valley with food, household items and essential supplies. Half the proceeds of the Request-a-thon will go to Lambourn Junction with the other half going to keep the radio station running.

• So lovely to be in snowdrop season now and local churchyards and the railway path are great places to find them in the valley. 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. You can also, of course, pay to see the wonderful snowdrop display at Welford Park until 6 March.

• Lambourn Environmental Group held its tree planting day on Sheepdrove Field, on 29 January with kind permission of the Kindersleys. You can watch the group in action, and listen to many of the group volunteer’s interviews with Penny, via our YouTube video documenting the event.

• Lambourn Parish Council has added a Frequently Asked Questions section to its website for any queries local residents may have.

• The National Animal Welfare Trust now has many different ways of supporting the trust: it will host its 2022 Raffle on Monday 21 February (with tickets available to purchase until Friday 18 February), you can also sponsor an animal for Valentine’s Day 2022, as well as donating hampers and gifts towards their Easter Auction.

• Please note that due to staff shortages Trindledown Farm is still currently running an appointment-based only homing service and will be closed to walk-in visitors. Please see the trust’s Facebook page for updates.

 Lambourn Volunteer Group is looking for more volunteer drivers, especially in East Garston and Great Shefford, and for help with manning the phones on a rota basis. If you can help please see here for details.

• East Garston Village Hall will be holding a repair café on 26 March and is looking for volunteer repairers. More information here.

• Lambourn Junction supports over 50 families and individuals on low income along the valley. Its unit in the car park behind Goodie’s Café is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 11am to 1pm. If you would like to donate or receive food outside these hours, please call Julie on 07840 780 345 or contact the group via its Facebook page.

• Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service is asking for opinions and survey responses from Berkshire residents, as they wish to learn more about how they can respond to Automatic Fire Alarms alerts to help reduce the burden of false alarms on the service. Please respond to their online survey and see an informational video regarding the consultation.

• If you like sharing pictures and stories about local wildlife we recommend the Great Shefford Nature Watch Facebook group.

• If you see any yellow grit bins that need topping up please contact Lambourn Parish Council which will arrange to have them refilled.

• As ever, further information (in printed format) about events in the Valley, including reports from community groups, can be found in Village Views (available from local retailers for just 40p).

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

Jumping the gun

This week’s Newbury Weekly News reports on p20 about an unauthorised development in Lambourn Woodlands on land west of Four Acres Yard just off the B4000. WBC spokesperson Martin Dunscombe was quoted in the article, and repeated to me, that “the Council takes an alleged breach of planning legislation very seriously.  The matter has been passed to the Planning Enforcement Team which will investigate the matter.  The nature, type and speed of response in this case will depend on the outcome of that investigation.” That may well be the policy but it doesn’t seem to have been applied in this case.

The application was lodged in late July 2021 and work started within the month, despite its not having been approved. WBC was made aware of this on or shortly after the August bank holiday. Officers did visit the site more than once but clearly the visits didn’t produce the desired results. As one resident told the NWN, the matter “appeared to slip through the net.” Penny Post spoke to other local residents on 3 February who confirmed this sequence of events. With many fewer enforcement officers than it needs, WBC’s net in this case has quite a few holes. Where unauthorised development is taking place, every day matters.

At the same time, a similar sequence of events was being played out in Lawrence’s Lane in Thatcham. WBC was all over that, the measures taken ranging from strongly worded press statements and site visits by district and town councillors to a judge being hauled out of bed to grant an injunction. Aside from the fact that this was larger and in a more populous (and central) part of the district, it’s hard to see any difference between the two cases.

If there are regulations and processes then they need to be followed. To be followed they need to be enforced. Not to do so is to waste the sometimes hundreds of hours spent by members and officers in deciding an issue and thus to undermine their efforts. If the system is wrong or defective, then change it. At present, it seems all too easy to work around it.

The matter has been complicated by the fact that the site is now being occupied by travellers, one of whom is pregnant. I’m sure WBC fully recognises its legal obligations to provide suitable facilities for travellers: the problem is that this delay has risked turning a simple matter of planning enforcement into something verging on a human-rights issue. The two matters are quite separate but, by allowing them to become conflated, WBC has made the situation far more tangled and emotive. The fact that the application has been refused now means that further action will need to be taken. Lambourn’s Parish Councillors and its ward member Howard Woollaston are doubtless bracing themselves for what the fall-out from this might be.

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.

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 5 January and you can read a report from Lambourn.org (not the official minutes) here. The most recent meeting for which official minutes are available was the one on 1 December. Items covered in the January meeting included: vaccinations; the broken public toilet; inclusivity, transparency and accountability; planning matters; the precept (rising by 7%, following no increase in 2021-22); and the neighbourhood development plan. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council took place on 6 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Community Woodland Area; speeding; planning matters (including GSPC’s response to the revised planning application at The Great Shefford: see also the news section above); financial matters (including setting the 2022-23 precept at £18,000; the parish newsletter; the jubilee; and a new name for the Old Rectory. 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 Welford Parish Council took place on 5 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a council vacancy; a report from ward member James Cole; historical archives; the defibrillators; damage caused by waster lorries; planning matters; the 2022 annual assembly; the recruitment of a new Clerk; grants to local organisations; financial matters; a new noticeboard; Marsh Common; hedge planting; speeding; and rights of way. 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 East Garston Parish Council took place on 4 November and the minutes can be downloaded hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Lambourn Valley area council contacts

Parishes: Lambourn Parish CouncilEast Garston Parish CouncilWelford Parish Council and Great Shefford Parish Council.

West Berkshire 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 27 January 2022

This week’s news

• Some bin collection days are changing from week commencing Monday 7 February to accommodate for the impacts of both the nationwide HGV driver shortage and Covid-19. Visit West Berkshire Council’s website here to check how your street is affected.

• Congratulations to everyone who helped at Lambourn Environmental Group’s tree planting day last Saturday 29 January, on Sheepdrove Field, with kind permission of the Kindersleys. Thanks to forty willing helpers and a surprisingly sunny morning, 500 saplings were planted in record time. Please see our video of the event here.

• The new series of Four in a Bed starting this Monday 31 January will include some familiar faces as one of the pubs in this season is our very own local,  The Queens Arms in East Garston. The show involves hospitality owners taking turns to stay with one another and pay what they consider fair for their stay after giving feedback. Can’t wait…

St Mary’s Church in Great Shefford has just set up a facebook page and invites everyone to follow them.

• 4LEGS Community Radio is holding a Valentine Request-a-thon on Sunday 13 February between 11am and 7pm in aid of the Lambourn Junction. Click here to make your track request and a donation of your choice. The Lambourn Junction is a community-led initiative that relies on donations, supporting those in need along the valley with food, household items and essential supplies. Half the proceeds of the Request-a-thon will go to Lambourn Junction with the other half going to keep the radio station running.

• Those involved in Lambourn’s local racing industry can now apply for a one-off payment of £300 with Racing Welfare’s Winter Fuel Grant. A post on the excellent lambourn.org provides further information, including eligibility criteria for those wishing to apply for a grant.

• Rugby fans rejoice – Great Shefford Sports & Social Club will be showing all the 6 Nations Rugby matches on their plasma TV from Saturday 5 February. They are also running a 6 Nations Sweepstake.

• As reported last week, there is now a 22kW electric vehicle fast charger (capable of charging two vehicles at once) at Lambourn High Street Public Car Park (behind Universal Stores). For more details please see West Berkshire Council’s website. Please note, users will be required to pay for their parking space whilst charging their vehicle.

• Drama workshops and new music resources will be coming the way of Lambourn CoE Primary School students, as told in the school’s 21 January newsletter. Luke and Kelly Lawson kindly nominated the school for a prize-winning competition, which will provide the school with £1,000 of funding. The Lambourn school will use the additional funds to develop and engage their pupils with further music and arts resources.

• Staying with Lambourn CoE Primary School, they are still hoping to offer pupils a February half-term and Easter camp, with children who receive free school meals able to attend for free. Any interests and further questions can be sent to School Principal Mrs Perkins at admin@lambourn.excalibur.org.uk or by calling 01488 71479.

• Lambourn Parish Council has added a Frequently Asked Questions section to its website for any queries local residents may have.

• The National Animal Welfare Trust are as busy as always: it will host its 2022 Raffle on Monday 21 February (with tickets available to purchase until Friday 18 February). They are also asking for any donations towards towards their Trindledown Farm Easter Auction, which both aim to raise as much possible to help fund their care and support for homeless pets.

• Berkshire couple Alison and Tim are also fundraising for the homeless pet charity, by competing in February’s Wokingham Half Marathon. Alison Heisig comments on her admiration for Trindledown Farm by saying “As an animal lover, Trindledown is one of my favourite places to visit. A much loved family member of mine was able to spend time there, helping out and getting involved. And she agrees with me how wonderful the place is and that animals are the best therapy.” To make any donations, please see their JustGiving page.

• Please note that due to staff shortages Trindledown Farm is still currently running an appointment-based only homing service and will be closed to walk-in visitors. Please see the trust’s Facebook page for updates.

• Lambourn Surgery would like to let you know that it is administering Covid boosters. Details of the clinics and available appointments can be found on the NHS website. Please do not call the surgery to book your appointment.

• Also regarding anyone wishing to get a Covid jab at Lambourn Pharmacy, the NHS website should still be your first port of call, but at some forthcoming clinics it will also possible to book directly with the Pharmacy or even just drop in on the off chance that there’ll be someone free to see you. Waiting times there are currently reported as being very short but this could change.

• West Berkshire Council Community Champions 2021 winners were announced last week. Please see the council’s website post for further details of the various 2021 award winners throughout our district.

 Lambourn Volunteer Group is looking for more volunteer drivers, especially in East Garston and Great Shefford, and for help with manning the phones on a rota basis. If you can help please see here for details.

• East Garston Village Hall will be holding a repair café on 26 March and is looking for volunteer repairers. More information here.

• Lambourn Junction supports over 50 families and individuals on low income along the valley. Its unit in the car park behind Goodie’s Café is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 11am to 1pm. If you would like to donate or receive food outside these hours, please call Julie on 07840 780 345 or contact the group via its Facebook page.

• This week will be your final chance to provide any thoughts and opinions to Royal Berkshire Fire Authority regarding its funding from council tax for the next financial year. You can respond by completing this online survey before 5pm on Tuesday 1 February or ask for more information by emailing precepting@rbfrs.co.uk. Further details can be found via the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service website and Facebook page.

• Another chance to voice any opinions towards Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, as they wish to learn more about how they can respond to Automatic Fire Alarms alerts to help reduce the burden of false alarms on the service. Please respond to the online survey and see an informational video regarding the consultation.

• If you like sharing pictures and stories about local wildlife we recommend the Great Shefford Nature Watch Facebook group.

• Click here to read the latest monthly report from Lambourn District Councillor Howard Woollaston. (This dates from early December and he doesn’t do a report in early January: the next update will be at the end of this month.)

• As previously mentioned, the planning application for the farm shop at The Great Shefford pub is due to come before the Western Area Planning Committee on Wednesday 2 February.

• If you see any yellow grit bins that need topping up please contact Lambourn Parish Council which will arrange to have them refilled.

• As ever, further information (in printed format) about events in the Valley, including reports from community groups, can be found in Village Views (available from local retailers for just 40p). The January edition has recently been published.

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

Almost connected at last

There are a number of services most of us take for granted and, increasingly, require in order to function and survive. Electricity, water and telephone have long been the three main ones but in the last 20 years broadband has added itself to the list. Almost all the country is enabled to some extent or another but a few non-con pockets remain. Many of these are in wild, remote parts of the country, in moors or mountains: others are not. One of these was – and currently still is, though that’s finally about to change – in parts of Upper Lambourn in affluent West Berkshire. This is a dozen miles from Swindon and a bit more from Newbury, both regularly cited as hotspots of digital innovation. For Upper Lambourn’s residents, these hotspots might as well have been on the dark side of the moon.

Several efforts were made by local residents over the last 15 years, alternately led by Mark Christopher (who runs Christopher Rushbrooke which installs AV systems) and Jane Marsh at Park Farm to get this sorted out. Lobbying, emails, grant applications and all the rest led to several promises from several different suppliers; all were broken. Many must have resigned themselves to the fact that connectivity just wasn’t going to happen. Until early 2020 this would have been of mainly social and domestic inconvenience. Lockdown put paid to that. Like everyone else, residents of Upper Lambourn now had to work from home. Some were running business there already – how, in these circumstances, I can’t imagine – but everyone now had to be online pretty much 24/7, often fighting for bandwidth with home-educating children. Something needed to be done.

While writing about this in September 2020, my eye was caught by news of consultation that seemed to be relevant to local residents. On checking with Mark Christopher, it transpired that none were aware of it. Further research with Superfast Berkshire (SfB) – now known as West Berkshire Digital Infrastructure Group – and others revealed to us that this was aimed at potential suppliers, not customers. I had several conversations with Lynne Wilson from SfB who explained to me the various schemes, procedures and protocols which were involved in enabling a particular area. These were of a complexity I was completely unprepared for but I summarised these as best I could in this post and passed this on to Mark. I also got in touch with the Lambourn ward member Howard Woollaston. Since then he too has been pushing for a result: his regular ward updates, which we’ve been publishing since June 2020, contain no fewer than 15 references to “broadband” in this part of the parish.

This time the efforts seem to have been rewarded. On 20 January 2022, Mark Christopher was able to tell the other residents that most of the necessary work had been done or was in progress and that people should be able order their fibre contracts by mid February. “Fibre”, note – none of this last-mile copper stuff. When connected, the speeds compared to what has gone before will be supersonic, as if a Tiger Moth had suddenly turned itself into Concorde.

“To describe this as a long, frustrating and complicated process would be a huge understatement,” Mark Christopher told me. “We would push really hard for a year or so only to find that the supplier had let us down and we had to start all over again, often with a different set of government schemes. And, guess what – information about these is all online. Thanks to Penny Post, to Lynne and to Howard, Richard Benyon, Laura Farris, Jane and the Lambourn Outliers collective for help with getting this over the line. At long last, we’re about to become part of the 21st century!”

The moral of this is that if you want to get something sorted you can’t always rely on the state or its agencies or private firms. Broadband was once a luxury but is now a necessity. Getting government or municipal information, completing a tax return, submitting all farm paperwork to DEFRA, teaching/learning from home and meeting physically distant colleagues are just some examples of the things which are now organised on the basis that you have a fast two-way modern service and increasingly little tolerance is being given to those who don’t. There are governmental ambitions to have the whole country connected but, so far as I’m aware, no legislation to compel telecom providers to supply this in cases where it’s uneconomic for them to do so. One good result of Covid may have been to make it clear just how important this is. Some people still aren’t online for other reasons: but at least in Upper Lambourn anyone who wants broadband will very soon be able to get it – and at speeds many of us will envy. 

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.

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 5 January and you can read a report from Lambourn.org (not the official minutes) here. The most recent meeting for which official minutes are available was the one on 1 December. Items covered in the January meeting included: vaccinations; the broken public toilet; inclusivity, transparency and accountability; planning matters; the precept (rising by 7%, following no increase in 2021-22); and the neighbourhood development plan. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council took place on 6 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Community Woodland Area; speeding; planning matters (including GSPC’s response to the revised planning application at The Great Shefford: see also the news section above); financial matters (including setting the 2022-23 precept at £18,000; the parish newsletter; the jubilee; and a new name for the Old Rectory. 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 East Garston Parish Council took place on 4 November and the minutes can be downloaded hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 3 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.

• Lambourn Valley area council contacts

Parishes: Lambourn Parish CouncilEast Garston Parish CouncilWelford Parish Council and Great Shefford Parish Council.

West Berkshire 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 20 January 2022

This week’s news

• On 17 January, Action for the River Kennet (ARK) posted photos showing water pollution from Newbury Business Park feeding into our River Lambourn (which runs through Newbury before joining the River Kennet south of the Nature Discovery Centre in Thatcham). As we know all too well, the river is listed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and local fauna and flora of national importance could be harmed. The pollution was spotted and reported by a concerned local resident. ARK asks locals that “if you see pollution here, please call the Environmental Agency (EA) on 0800 807060 and stress that the channel enters a SSSI and SAC.” The same would apply if you see pollution here in the valley. You can also read more about the pollution problem for rivers across England and Wales in this BBC News article published on 19 January.

• Anna Forbes from the same organisation gave a zoom talk to the Friends of Lambourn Library on 19 January. In this she drew attention to the Environment Agency’s Draft Flood Risk Management Plan consultation which closes on 21 January (so very soon). She also mentioned Thames Water’s Drainage and Wastewater Management Plan and Thames Water’s Drainage Strategy. More or less the first section in this is entitled “who will resolve sewer flooding?” a question which many have been asking for some time. “There are several stakeholders who, like us, have important drainage responsibilities,” runs the answer. “They play an essential role in easing sewer flooding in our region. We’re seeking to work with all stakeholders to ensure that we implement and maintain the most effective, environmentally responsible and sustainable drainage strategies.” These stakeholders presumably include the Environment Agency and Ofwat, both of which have recently gone on record as promising tougher action against water companies which pollute the waterways.

• Meanwhile, one waterway is returning to life. The upper reaches of the River Lambourn – which should be, and long was, one of the cleanest rivers in the country and is certainly one of the coldest – is slowly waking up from its underwater hibernation here in East Garston, which normally runs from about August to January. First in puddles, then in pools and finally in uninterrupted flow of water, the river is returning to life as the springs kick into action. This is good news for the waterfowl; bad news, perhaps, for the sewers if Thames Waters’ repairs over the summer haven’t worked as planned. Fingers crossed here.

• Lambourn Environmental Group is excited to announce that their tree planting day is set for Saturday 29 January from 9.30am on Sheepdrove Field, with kind permission of the Kindersleys. The group needs lots of willing volunteers to plant 400 saplings that have been donated by the Woodland Trust. Please see more information and directions to the site here and note that cars must not be parked at North Farm Close. This is a family-friendly activity so please spread the word.

• Those involved in Lambourn’s local racing industry can now apply for a one-off payment of £300 with Racing Welfare’s Winter Fuel Grant. A post on the excellent lambourn.org provides further information, including eligibility criteria for those wishing to apply for a grant.

• Six new electric vehicle charge points are now live across West Berkshire public car parks including one 22kW fast charger (capable of charging two vehicles at once) at Lambourn High Street Public Car Park (behind Universal Stores). For more details please see West Berkshire Council’s website. Please note, users will be required to pay for their parking space whilst charging their vehicle.

Lambourn CoE Primary School is hoping to offer its pupils a February half-term and Easter camp, with children who receive free school meals able to attend for free. Any interests and further questions can be sent to School Principal Mrs Perkins at admin@lambourn.excalibur.org.uk or by calling 01488 71479.

• Further school news: Chaddleworth St Andrew’s and Shefford CE Primary School is currently having a running track installed around the school’s Great Shefford site. The schools 14 January newsletter cautions pupils and parents to “please look-out for temporary changes to how you enter/exit the site as the building work is carried out.”

• The National Animal Welfare Trust is holding a raffle on Monday 21 February to raise funds for its trust centres across the UK, including Trindledown Farm in Great Shefford. A short Facebook video explains that raffle tickets can now be purchased and will be available until Friday 18 February. They are also still asking for donations of unwanted Christmas presents for an upcoming auction. These can be dropped off outside the reception building.

• However, please note that due to staff shortages Trindledown Farm is still running an appointment-based only homing service and will be closed to walk-in visitors. Please see the trust’s Facebook page for updates.

• Lambourn Surgery would like to let you know that it is administering Covid boosters. Details of the clinics and available appointments can be found on the NHS website. Please do not call the surgery to book your appointment.

• See the separate section below (“Dr Jab-Jab in Lambourn”) for details of new Covid vaccination arrangements at Lambourn Pharmacy.

• Unfortunately Lambourn’s Tea Cup Tuesday meetings have been indefinitely cancelled, with the organisers explaining that “to keep everyone safe, Tea Cup Tuesday will be cancelled until further notice.”

 Lambourn Volunteer Group is looking for more volunteer drivers, especially in East Garston and Great Shefford, and for help with manning the phones on a rota basis. If you can help please see here for details.

• East Garston Village Hall will be holding a repair café on 26 March and is looking for volunteer repairers. More information here.

• Lambourn Junction supports over 50 families and individuals on low income along the valley. Its unit in the car park behind Goodie’s Café is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 11am to 1pm. If you would like to donate or receive food outside these hours, please call Julie on 07840 780 345 or contact the group via its Facebook page.

Royal Berkshire Fire Authority is asking for Berkshire’s thoughts and opinions on its funding from council tax for the next financial year. You can respond by completing this online survey before 5pm on Tuesday 1 February or ask for more information by emailing precepting@rbfrs.co.uk. Further details can be found via the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service website and Facebook page.

• If you like sharing pictures and stories about local wildlife we recommend the Great Shefford Nature Watch Facebook group.

• Click here to read the latest monthly report from Lambourn District Councillor Howard Woollaston. (This dates from early December and he doesn’t do a report in early January: the next update will be at the end of this month.)

• The planning application for the farm shop at The Great Shefford pub is due to come befog the Western Area Planning Committee on Wednesday 2 February. The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council on 6 January, having reviewed the amended plans, commented that “the majority of councillors object to the amended plans and drawings. It was agreed nothing had changed from the Parish Council’s previous representation sent on 6 November 2021, apart from a Flood Risk Assessment which was submitted on 16 December. There are still great concerns of traffic issues, with the parking around the village that the busy pub already generates. The end result still shows that a minimum of four car park spaces from the pub’s car park will be lost due to the farm shop building itself, regardless of the opening times of the proposed shop. This is not acceptable and adds more problems to the current traffic issues.”

• If you see any yellow grit bins that need topping up please contact Lambourn Parish Council which will arrange to have them refilled.

• As ever, further information (in printed format) about events in the Valley, including reports from community groups, can be found in Village Views (available from local retailers for just 40p). The January edition has recently been published.

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

Dr Jab-Jab in Lambourn

If you want to get a Covid jab – first, second, third (if eligible) or booster – there’s now a new way that you can book sessions at Lambourn Pharmacy. The NHS website should still be your first port of call (this will offer a range of other centres in the area as well) but at some forthcoming clinics it will also possible to book directly with the Pharmacy or even just drop in on the off chance that there’ll be someone free to see you. Waiting times there are currently reported as being very short but this could change.

These sessions are on the following days and times: Thursday 20 January, 6pm to 8pm; Friday 21 January, 6pm to 8pm; Saturday 22 January, 2pm to 5pm; and Sunday 23 January, 10am to 12.30pm, and 2pm to 5pm. If you want to book, call 01488 71464 during these times.

Thereafter, subject to demand, vaccine availability and government regulations, the intention is that these clinics will continue thereafter on the same days with the addition of Monday clinics from 6pm to 8pm. It isn’t planned that there will be clinics on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. If arrangements change, these will be given wide local publicity.

Other vaccination centres in the area may be experimenting with similar arrangements and these will also be promoted locally. Remember that any details can change at short notice. Also, many pharmacies have very limited waiting areas so for this reason, and to make sure you’ll be seen promptly, you’re advised to book in advance.

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.

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 5 January and you can read a report from Lambourn.org (not the official minutes) here. The most recent meeting for which official minutes are available was the one on 1 December. Items covered in the January meeting included: vaccinations; the broken public toilet; inclusivity, transparency and accountability; planning matters; the precept (rising by 7%, following no increase in 2021-22); and the neighbourhood development plan. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council took place on 6 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Community Woodland Area; speeding; planning matters (including GSPC’s response to the revised planning application at The Great Shefford: see also the news section above); financial matters (including setting the 2022-23 precept at £18,000; the parish newsletter; the jubilee; and a new name for the Old Rectory. 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 East Garston Parish Council took place on 4 November and the minutes can be downloaded hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 3 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.

• Lambourn Valley area council contacts

Parishes: Lambourn Parish CouncilEast Garston Parish CouncilWelford Parish Council and Great Shefford Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 13 January 2022

This week’s news

• Six new electric vehicle charge points are now live across West Berkshire public car parks including one 22kW fast charger (capable of charging two vehicles at once) at Lambourn High Street Public Car Park (behind Universal Stores). For more details please see West Berkshire Council’s website. Please note, users will be required to pay for their parking space whilst charging their vehicle.

• Lambourn Surgery would like to wish you all a happy New Year and let you know that they are now administering the Covid booster vaccination at the surgery. Details of the clinics and available appointments can be found on the NHS website Book or manage a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination – NHS (www.nhs.uk)  Please do not call the surgery to book your appointment.

• Over £60,000 was raised by two fundraising events last year in aid of Great Shefford’s Trindledown Farm (National Animal Welfare Trust Berkshire). A Christmas Appeal by Pets at Home Newbury and Winnersh amassed £5481.72 for the centre, which is incredible in itself. Then added onto that, supporters of the farm’s Double Donations Week in 2021 total amount of money raised was matched by NAWT Pledgers and Champion Funder Petplan UK Charitable Trust to raise over £58,000. Trindledown Farm described the effect fundraising has on the centre as helping towards “developing an initiative that will allow us to support elderly and vulnerable pet owners in our local communities, ensuring fewer animals find themselves in rescue through no fault of their own.”

• Due to staff shortages, National Animal Welfare Trust Berkshire (Trindledown Farm) is still running an appointment-based only homing service and will be closed to walk-in visitors. Please see their Facebook page for updates. They are however, asking for donations of unwanted Christmas presents for an upcoming auction. These can be dropped off outside the reception building.

• If you have placed a Christmas decoration on the tree at Upper Lambourn Cemetery there is a request to please take it down by this Saturday 15 January. The decoration removal was due to occur last weekend, however, bad weather caused the event to be postponed. Any decorations not collected will be stored for Christmas 2022 .

• Somehow still speaking of Christmas (in the middle of January, Lambourn Christmas Tree Farm shared some helpful tips and tricks to help re-use your Christmas trees to ensure they don’t go to waste. A DIY Pine Needle Body Oil reciperecycled Christmas tree decorations, and wildlife hotels are just some of the ideas shared on the farm’s Facebook page.

• Unfortunately Lambourn’s Tea Cup Tuesday meetings have been indefinitely cancelled, with the organisers explaining that “to keep everyone safe, Tea Cup Tuesday will be cancelled until further notice.”

 Lambourn Volunteer Group is looking for more volunteer drivers, especially in East Garston and Great Shefford, and for help with manning the phones on a rota basis. If you can help please see here for details.

• East Garston Village Hall will be holding a repair café on 26 March and is looking for volunteer repairers. More information here.

• Lambourn Junction supports over 50 families and individuals on low income along the valley. Its unit in the car park behind Goodie’s Café is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 11am to 1pm. If you would like to donate or receive food outside these hours, please call Julie on 07840 780 345 or contact the group via its Facebook page.

Thames Valley Police and Crimes Commissioner, Matthew Barber, is asking residents across the Thames Valley area for their opinions for the 2022/23 Police Budget. An online survey can be responded to before the deadline of 5pm on Tuesday 18 January.

• Also, Royal Berkshire Fire Authority is asking for Berkshire’s thoughts and opinions on its funding from council tax for the next financial year. You can respond by completing this online survey before 5pm on Tuesday 1 February or ask for more information by emailing precepting@rbfrs.co.uk. Further details can be found via the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service website and Facebook page.

• If you like sharing pictures and stories about local wildlife we recommend the Great Shefford Nature Watch Facebook group.

• Click here to read the latest monthly report from Lambourn District Councillor Howard Woollaston. (This dates from early December and he doesn’t do a report in early January: the next update will be at the end of this month.)

• If you see any yellow grit bins that need topping up please contact Lambourn Parish Council which will arrange to have them refilled.

• As ever, further information (in printed format) about events in the Valley, including reports from community groups, can be found in Village Views (available from local retailers for just 40p). The January edition has recently been published.

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

The Valley of the Racehorse

Last weekend saw the publication of the January Valley of the Racehorse e-newsletter providing the best and widest coverage of life in the upper sections of the mighty (though currently dormant) River Lambourn. You can click here to read it if you didn’t get it.

Items covered included Pat Murphy’s racing column, news of a repair café in East Garston in March, booster information from Lambourn Surgery, thanks from Lambourn Junction, dates from the Shefford Under-fives and planning applications from Lambourn.org. We’ve also got a carefully selected wine, an equally carefully selected book, a seasonal recipe, news and offers from local businesses, forthcoming events, gardening tips and my suggestions for five small changes of direction in my life which are the best I can do by way of resolutions (and even these are proving tougher than I’d thought). And, as they say, much, much more.

This published on either the first or second Saturday of the month. If there’s anything you’d like to see included in future editions please email penny@pennypost.org.uk by the end of the previous month.

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.

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 5 January and you can read a report from Lambourn.org (not the official minutes) here. The most recent meeting for which official minutes are available was the one on 1 December. Items covered in the January meeting included: vaccinations; the broken public toilet; inclusivity, transparency and accountability; planning matters; the precept (rising by 7%, following no increase in 2021-22); and the neighbourhood development plan. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council took place on 2 December and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning applications; the proposed community woodland area at Hawthorn Way; financial matters; the 2022-23 budget; the parish newsletter; the flood alleviation project; playground inspections; and speeding. 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 East Garston Parish Council took place on 4 November and the minutes can be downloaded hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 3 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.

• Lambourn Valley area council contacts

Parishes: Lambourn Parish CouncilEast Garston Parish CouncilWelford Parish Council and Great Shefford Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 6 January 2022

This week’s news

• If you have placed a Christmas decoration on the tree at Upper Lambourn Cemetery there is a request to please take it down by this Saturday 8 January.

Lambourn Surgery would like to wish you all a Happy New Year and let you know that they are now administering the covid booster vaccination at the surgery. Details of the clinics and available appointments can be found on the NHS website Book or manage a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination – NHS (www.nhs.uk)  Please do not call the surgery to book your appointment. Thank you.

• Green bin (garden and food waste) collection service, temporarily suspended by West Berkshire Council will resume again from Monday 10 January.

• Speaking of green waste, Lambourn Christmas Tree Farm shared some helpful tips and tricks to help re-use your Christmas trees to ensure they don’t go to waste. A DIY Pine Needle Body Oil recipe, recycled Christmas tree decorations, and wildlife hotels are just some of the ideas shared on the farm’s Facebook page.

• Due to staff shortages, National Animal Welfare Trust Berkshire (Trindledown Farm) is running an appointment-based only homing service and will be closed to walk-in visitors. Please see their facebook page for updates. They are however, asking for donations of unwanted Christmas presents for an upcoming auction. These can be dropped off outside the reception building.

• Staying with Trindledown Farm, through 2021 the welfare trust’s centre in Great Shefford rehomed 94 dogs and 44 cats to new, loving families. Their ‘Class of 2021‘ highlights all the new animals that arrived at the centre last year.

 Lambourn Volunteer Group is looking for more volunteer drivers, especially in East Garston and Great Shefford, and for help with manning the phones on a rota basis. If you can help please see here for details.

• East Garston Village Hall will be holding a repair cafe on 26 March and is looking for volunteer repairers. More information here.

• Lambourn Junction supports over 50 families and individuals on low income along the valley. They wish everyone very happy and healthy new year and thank the community for their continued support. Their unit in the car park behind Goodie’s Café is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 11am to 1pm. If you would like to donate outside these hours, please call Julie on 07840 780 345 or contact them via their Facebook page.

• If you like sharing pictures and stories about local wildlife we recommend the Great Shefford Nature Watch facebook group.

• If you have children who wish to learn about computer programming and coding, then they can sign up for a free 12 week online course with West Berkshire Libraries. Applications to attend the course must be sent before Monday 10 January.

• Click here to read the latest monthly report from Lambourn District Councillor Howard Woollaston. (This dates from early December and he doesn’t do a report in early January: the next update will be at the end of this month.)

• If you see any yellow grit bins that needs topping up please contact Lambourn Parish Council and they will arrange to have them refilled.

• As ever, further information (in printed format) about events in the Valley, including reports from community groups, can be found in Village Views (available from local retailers for just 40p). The January edition has recently been published.

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

Plans in Lambourn

• The indefatigable Lambourn.org produces each month a list of all the live planning applications, which you can see here. With over 4,000 inhabitants, Lambourn is one of the largest settlements in the district: at 2.4 people per household, that would give it about 1,650 homes (if anyone has an exact figure, let me know). At any one time some of these are about to be changed in some way, or new ones built. These may be near where you live in which case you have a legitimate interest in what’s proposed. West Berkshire Council no longer sends letters to neighbours when there’s a planning application so, if you happen to miss the orange notices on the relevant site, checking online is the only reliable way to discover what is proposed before it’s too later to try to do anything about it.

Currently there are 37 live applications which include the usual wide range of issues. Some concern the proposed removal or amendment of conditions for existing applications (which can be significant), concerning for example landscaping or tree works. There are also several changes of use, garages to be demolished and others to be built, conservatories going up, bungalows coming down, a mobile home arriving, new homes being built. Many of these are minor and not the kind of things you’d ever notice or care about: however, anything that happens next door or across the road can have an immediate and lasting consequence. You may not want to try to change the application, or even be able to do so, but at least a resource like this means that you can’t say you didn’t know 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.

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council  took place on 5 January and you can read a report from Lambourn.org (not the official minutes) here. The most recent meeting for which official minutes are available was the one on 1 December. Items covered in the January meeting included: vaccinations; the broken public toilet; inclusivity, transparency and accountability; planning matters; the precept (rising by 7%, following no increase the in 2021-22); and the neighbourhood development plan. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council took place on 2 December and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning applications; the proposed community woodland area at Hawthorn Way; financial matters; the 2022-23 budget; the parish newsletter; the flood alleviation project; playground inspections; and speeding. 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 East Garston Parish Council took place on 4 November and the minutes can be downloaded hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 3 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.

• Lambourn Valley area council contacts

Parishes: Lambourn Parish CouncilEast Garston Parish CouncilWelford Parish Council and Great Shefford Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

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 this one). 

• Sewage. This is a depressingly regular feature of life in the valley, particularly during times of groundwater (generally between January and May, though this can vary) which floods into the myriad cracks in the sewerage system and overwhelms it. Thames Water has performed a number of repairs in the area but it’s too soon to tell how effective these have been. Like all water companies, TW has previously been able to pump untreated sewage into the watercourses – the SSSI-protected River Lambourn in our case – with little complaint from or, it seems, a great deal of interest by, Ofwat or the Environment Agency. Recent announcements from both bodies have, however, suggested a tougher attitude about this. Fixing the cracks in the pipes is expensive for the water companies but that’s what they signed up for. Time will tell if the new directives will make them do more. Well done to all the pressure groups, including Action for the River Kennet, the Lambourn Flood Forum and the East Garston Flood Forum, for continuing to highlight this issue.

• Lambourn Junction. This excellent initiative was started in the early days of the pandemic as a community-led initiative to support those in need with food and essential supplies. It is supported by the community with volunteers and donations and offers offering food, household items and toiletries. No means tests, referrals or formalities are required. We’ve been glad to support this initiative though its various chances of location and wish it every success in the future.

• Lambourn’s neighbourhood development plan. For more information, please click here. Like all NDPs, this is a time-consuming and technical process run over several years by a group of volunteers. Lambourn’s is progressing well. There are times when public engagement is required and these are widely publicised.

• Great Shefford’s flood defence scheme. For some years it seems that this project had sunk without trace in the mire of the Environment Agency’s bureaucracy. However, that’s to the unrelenting efforts of Parish Council Chairman Steve Ackrill, it was announced in September that the project had finally been give the green light and that work should start within 18 months.

• CIL payments. Community Infrastructure Levies are charged on many, though not all, developments but it seems that, in West Berkshire at least, one slip when completing the forms can result in eye-watering, life-changing invoices even if the development is in fact exempted from the charge. This is a district-wide issue but the most high profile, and long-running, case involves a project in Upper Lambourn.

• Membury and the B4000. The related questions of the increased use of the B4000 by heavy vehicles and the continued development – some would say over-development – at the Membury Industrial Estate have been on several people’s radar this year, not least District Councillor Howard Woollaston’s. The more applications that are approved there, the worse this problem is likely to become. One thing that can be done is to ensure that all planning conditions relating to hours of operation are adhered to and this is something that Councillor Woollaston is pressing WBC to do. You can read all his monthly updates about his work in the ward by clicking here.

This week’s news

• See our latest Penny Post Lambourn Valley newsletter.

• With poor public transport and few facilities, there are limited options for young people in the Lambourn Valley. Now, a new community group, working in partnership with local councillors, volunteers and existing groups, is aiming to find a solution to this issue with the help of an online survey. It’s very important that as many people as possible respond to this as, without this evidence of need, there’s a risk that funding won’t be secured. Lambourn Junction Community Interest Company (CIC) was recently established to support local groups. It  invited Berkshire Youth and West Berkshire Community Engagement team to come to the Lambourn Marketplace on 19 November to hear the views of local residents about youth provision. The CIC wants to know what young people would like, how it might be offered and who would like to volunteer.

Those who attended were invited to take part in a brief survey. The organisers described the take up as “very good” but they urgently need more young people and families to get involved and make their views known. You can visit the survey online here. Note that you can also participate even if you don’t live in Lambourn – its open to anyone who lives in any part of the Valley, right down to Newbury. The team is very keen to hear from people throughout this area. You have until 31 December 2021 to respond (so not long now).

• 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.”

• The offices of Lambourn Parish Council within the Memorial Hall have closed for a Christmas break and will re-open on Tuesday 4 January at 9am.

• Another closure announcement, this time from National Animal Welfare Trust Berkshire (Trindledown Farm) as it shared via Facebook that “due to the continuing staff capacity issue, our centres are currently running an appointment based only homing service and will be closed to walk-in visitors.”

• The George, Lambourn hosted its charity firewalk event, raising vital funds for Lambourn RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association), on 18 December and posted a video of those brave enough to take the walk of pain…

• Lambourn Junction (see also above) supports over 50 families and individuals on low income along the valley. They are running short of rice, pasta and hot dogs. Their unit in the carpark behind Goodie’s Café is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 11am to 1pm. If you would like to donate outside these hours, please call Julie on 07840 780 345 or contact them via their Facebook page.

• Visit Lambourn.org’s website to see a list of all the live planning applications in the parish (last updated 29 November). As usual there are quite a few of them, including proposed demolitions, conversions, extensions, changes of use and tree works.

• Click here to read the latest report from Lambourn District Councillor Howard Woollaston.

• Great Shefford Churches want to raise a bit of fun and cheer in the community by raffling some fabulous hampers full of festive treats. It’s been another challenging year so simply donate whatever you can here and you will be allocated one ticket. That way everyone has an equal chance of winning. Hampers will be delivered to winners within a 10 mile radius of Great Shefford.

• For an unusual festive experience, why not book a Christmas Carriage Ride with Horse Drawn Occasions in South Fawley. See here for details. To find out more about them, Penny popped over to chat with owner Ness all about their Suffolk Punch horses and the carriages and tack. Listen here (from 31 minutes).

• Lambourn Primary School pupils are now being offered solo, duo and group music lessons on acoustic/electric/bass guitar, ukulele, drum kit or keyboard (depending on their year group). Visit hoganmusic.co.uk/lambourn-school.irs to find out more.

• Lambourn to Swindon 47 bus timetable from over the holiday period.

• If you see any yellow grit bins that needs topping up please contact Lambourn Parish Council and they will arrange to have them refilled.

• As ever, further information (in printed format) about events in the Valley, including reports from community groups, can be found in Village Views (available from local retailers for just 40p). The January edition has recently been published.

• 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.

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council  took place on 3 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 Great Shefford Parish Council took place on 2 December and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning applications; the proposed community woodland area at Hawthorn Way; financial matters; the 2022-23 budget; the parish newsletter; the flood alleviation project; playground inspections; and speeding. 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 East Garston Parish Council took place on 4 November and the minutes can be downloaded hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 3 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.

• Lambourn Valley area council contacts

Parishes: Lambourn Parish CouncilEast Garston Parish CouncilWelford Parish Council and Great Shefford Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

 

To see earlier Lambourn Valley Weekly News columns, please click here.

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