Theale Area Weekly News sections – archive 1

To see the current Theale & Surrounding Area Weekly News section, 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 12 May 2022

This week’s  news

Deadmans Lane will be closed to motor vehicles from June 2022 for 18 months. Once the restrictions are in force a six-month public consultation will begin and, once the 18-month period is ended, it will be decided whether to drop, amend or make the restriction permanent.There will be some reflective bollards in place that will allow pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians to pass easily. You can find a map of the planned restriction here, and more information on this matter here.

We asked Theale ward member Alan Macro what he knew about the scheme. “When the council called for active travel schemes during the pandemic, I put forward the idea of closing of this narrow country lane to traffic,” he told us on 12 May. “The major part of the lane serves no housing, only accesses to Theale Green School playing fields. It is single track, with no passing places. It is heavily used by walkers but carries very little vehicular traffic.”

• Last chance to sign the above-mentioned Alan Macro’s petition for a pedestrian crossing at the eastern end of Theale High Street to enable residents to cross more safely to and from the pharmacy, convenience store and bus stops. Click here for the petition which Alan is going to submit this Friday.

• West Berkshire Council has closed the footpath between Graham Court and Station road due to a fence panel in a dangerous position. Updates can be found on the Theale Community Facebook page.

• The Englefield Parish Magazine April to May 2022 issue is available for you to read here.

• Ditto here with the Padworth Village May 2022 Newsletter.

• Theale Green School is campaigning to raise £2,500 to build a well-being school garden with initial intentions for it to be used by students and staff, and now hopes to extend the use to the community. More information can be found here and pledges can be made here.

• Holy Trinity Church has posted an updated list of necessities for the Foodbank which you can view here. Your donations are greatly appreciated.

Click here for details of the jubilee festivities which will be taking place in Mortimer.

Burghfield and Mortimer district councillor Graham Bridgman’s  most recent (5 May) e-newsletter can be read here.

Click here for a report on Burghfield’s annual parish meeting on 12 May (many thanks to David Gregory of Burghfield Community FB Group and Cally Morris of Burghfield Parish Council for providing the main part of this.)

• For the latest news from theBenefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton which covers updates and events across Theale area please visit their website and click on Letters, Notices & Magazine.

• Latest news from Aldermaston Parish Council can also be found on their website aldermaston.co.uk and this month includes the celebration of a new florist and children’s nursery in the village.

Burghfield’s costs

Last week, I wrote about the costs of the Village Hall in Burghfield and also about the estimated costs for the new café in the village which has caused so much dissent. I’m aware that there has been some comment on these costs which were prompted by posting last week’s column (see below) on various FB groups in the area.

As regards the Village Hall costs, the figures I quoted were provided by Burghfield Parish Council. If you want to see more detail on these, ask the council.

As regards the café cost, there seems to be a lot of debate about what exactly this would be. I suggested £50,000 last week, based on a conversation with a councillor. I’ve seen other figures including £40,000, £49,000, £80,000 and “anything from £1 to £100,000”. I think £50,000 might be a reasonable guess. And it is a guess. Why?

Firstly, because the planning permission hasn’t been granted yet. If it is, the Eastern Area Planning Committee (EAPC) may well impose conditions which could require that the building be cladded in antique oak or that a new access road be built or any number of other possibly expensive things. Whether the applicant (Burghfield PC) will see these as acceptable and how much they will cost – factors that are likely to be closely related – remains to be seen. I’m sure that BPC will make a suitable announcement on the cost implications of any decision and will announce this fact. You can be sure that I shall be chasing them for this information and will report the results in this column.

The second is that, although estimates for the work will have been received, costs of any building work are changing all the time. A firm spec can’t be provided until it’s known what’s to be built (see above). Perhaps it might be wise to wait until the EAPC has made its decision and BPC has come up with more precise figures – which, to repeat my earlier point, I shall be pressing them for, as I’m sure will concerned local residents – before arriving at at a judgment.

Two other points. First, even the highest café cost compares favourably with the original proposal of a £2m+ spend on a new community hub. For reasons I’ve tried to explain in previous posts (see below), the justifications for this have since evaporated and BPC has downwardly adjusted its budgeted costs accordingly. The café seems to be the only part of this project that now remains, the other ambitions the hub was intended to satisfy having been dealt with by other means. A café is what the community said it wanted and what BPC is providing. As it’s portable, it can also be sold off if it doesn’t work. As risks go, the proposed solution seems to test pretty low.

Also, I mentioned £50,000. Other figures exist. However, whatever the costs are, only part of them will be funded from BPC’s reserves. With the Village Hall, a good percentage of the funds came from grants, donations, and loans from the PWLB. I understand that the latter is not contemplated for the café and that BPC is confident it can realise a good chunk of the costs from the first two sources. I’m sure BPC would welcome suggestions from local residents as to any such funding avenues which it might have overlooked.

I don’t have anything to add to these observations at this stage, except to say that if you want to contact BPC (the applicant in this planning matter and a statutory consultee in all of them in the parish) then you can do so by emailing enquiries@burghfieldparishcouncil.gov.uk or calling 0118 983 1748. If you feel that there is some aspect of this issue that I’ve missed then please email me on brian@pennypost.org.uk.

Windmill Court

There has been a certain amount of controversy caused by Sovereign Housing’s recent decision to close this 35-place sheltered housing development, find alternative homes for the tenants and re-develop the site. The questions I have about this fall into the traditional three areas: what led to the decision to close this facility; how the re-location of the tenants has been handled; and what are the proposals for the future of the site.

I’ve had several conversations with people about this and have also asked Sovereign a number of questions a couple of days ago. As they haven’t yet had time to get back to me and as it seems fair to wait to hear what they have to say, I’ll hold this over until they’ve responded. I did receive an apologetic email from Sovereign on 12 May apologising for not having got back to me (which I was expecting as I had sprung the questions on them quite late: it was good of them to bother to reply, however) and so will aim to have more on this next week. In the meantime, if you or anyone you know has been affected by this announcement and has any comment to make, please contact me at brian@pennypost.org.uk.

Community notices

Deadmans Lane will be closed to Motor Vehicles to encourage active travel within the community whilst works are carried out until June. There will be some reflective bollards in place that will allow pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians to pass easily. You can find a map of the planned restriction here, and more information on this matter here. Once the restrictions are in force the 6 month public consultation will begin. We will then have a further 12 months to decide whether to drop, amend or make the restriction permanent.

• Theale will be hosting a Village Fete on Sunday 5 June between noon and 4.30pm on Theale Recreational Ground to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. With promises of traditional games, an arena display and funfair rides. Stall-holders who are interested should contact the Parish Council for further information.

• West Berkshire Library Service is appealing for local volunteers at Mortimer and Burghfield Common libraries. Please see this post on Facebook, call 01635 519533 or email volunteerinyourlibrary@westberks.gov.uk for further information.

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 15 May Reading Lightweight Ride from Theale Village Hall.

Sun 5 June Theale Village Fete. Stall-holders who are interested should contact the Parish Council for further information.

Fri 22 Jul Heritage Live at Englefield House

• Regular events

• Holy Trinity Church is seeking donations for the Foodbank that is open on Sundays and Wednesdays from 9am to 6pm. With another rise in people’s need for foodbank support, you can find out what has been requested each week by clicking here.

 Theale Library hosts in-person events for people of all ages. To find out more information on future clubs and events click here to visit the West Berkshire Library Facebook page or email Theale Library at thealelibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

Mortimer Library also host regular events, such as their Rhymetime group who meet every Tuesday (during school term time) at 2.30pm.

Walking for Health meet every Tuesday at the community centre car park opposite the Horse & Groom, Mortimer. There are three walk lengths to chose from As mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

 Holy Trinity Church, Theale is open for West Berks Food Bank donations on Sundays and Wednesdays from 10.30am to 6pm. Please see the church’s website for regularly updated lists of what is most needed at the food bank.

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 16).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the cafe at Rosebourne, Aldermaston between 10am to 11.30am on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Further details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 8)

 Aldermaston & Wasing Ladies Group meets on the second Thursday of each month from 2pm at Aldermaston Parish Hall, please see Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (p 3, February 2022 ) for further information.

Padworth and Aldermaston WI meets at Padworth Village Hall on the third Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm. Further information on the group can be found in Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 155 February 2022 Edition p 3).

Holy Trinity Church, Theale free choir group rehearses on Thursdays between 7pm to 8pm and performs at Sunday services from 10.30am. All are welcome to join. Send enquiries to office@holytrinitytheale.org.uk.

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 Aldermaston Parish Council took place on 10 May and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: formal business including the election of a Chair and Deputy; planning matters; a report from the skateboard ramp working group (four tenders have been received and one successful bidder has been chosen: the PC “will now enter contract negotiations with them, followed by a planning application and grant requests.”); a “positive” RoSPA inspection on the play equipment; insurance quotes; the sales of Strawberry Farm and of Padworth Sawmills; and the jubilee. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Theale Parish Council took place on 9 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: formal business including the election of a Chair and Deputy; dog bins; a report from District Councillor Alan Macro; planning matters; Councillor Macro’s draft members’ bid application (for a grant towards 50% of the cost of the path between the churchyard and tarmac path, as part of the play-area build); 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.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council took place on 14 April and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included; the annual parish meeting (26 April – click here to read the minutes of that); Windmill Court; the men’s shed; a councillor vacancy; review of policies; parish maintenance; committee and working-party reports; the neighbourhood development plan; the jubilee (see also this separate post); the next round of members’ bids; Ukranian refugees; financial matters; planning matters; and parish communications. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. See this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council took place on 7 April and you can read the minutes here.Items covered included: the Village Hall; a report from ward member Graham Bridgman; committee reports; the proposed café (see also separate section above); the May Fair; financial matters; and the annual parish meeting (7pm on 12 May). To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council took place on 5 April 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 for 2021 and here for 2022.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council took place on 4 April and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here for 2021 and here for 2022.  Click here for details of Beenham’s Community Plan.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council took place on 14 March 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 Englefield Parish Council took place on 7 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.

• Theale area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council and Burghfield 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; Lambourn ValleyNewburyarea; Thatcham area; Compton & DownlandsWantage area; Marlborougharea; Swindon area.

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

 

Thursday 5 May 2022

This week’s  news

• Theale Parish Council has posted an update to the December 2020 planning permission for the development happening on the Englefield Estate. The text reads: ”

In December 2020, West Berkshire Council granted outline planning permission (planning reference 19/01172/OUTMAJ) for the construction of new homes. Over the coming weeks you may see a number of surveys taking place. This is not the start of the development, but it is part of the process of checking ground conditions, the precise location of services, etc as a precursor to the next stage in the planning process. We are currently in discussions to find the right development partner to deliver high quality new homes in keeping with the Design Code that accompanied the planning application.

“In due course, we expect the selected housebuilder to submit a further planning application to West Berkshire Council setting out the detailed design of the new homes and associated landscaping, etc. The process will be subject to a full public consultation, so there will be an opportunity for you to comment further. This will likely take place late 2022. We do not expect to see development starting until 2023.”

• The results of the election for a new Theale Parish Councillor have been posted here with Micky Church receiving the most votes. John Seto was the gracious runner-up.

• Holy Trinity Church has posted an updated list of necessities for the Foodbank which you can view here. Your donations are greatly appreciated.

• The next Padworth Village Jumble Sale is being held this Saturday 7 May, in aid of the Village Hall. After a sale on Saturday 5 March which raised £520 for UNICEF who donated where possible to the Ukrainian Emergency, and the sale on 26 March which raised a further £384 for St John the Baptist, any donations containing unwanted items are gratefully received and can be brought to the village hall between 10am and 11.30am. For more information, have a look here on the Village website.

Theale district councillor Alan Macro’s most recent (10 April) e-newsletter can be read here.

Burghfield and Mortimer district councillor Graham Bridgman’s  most recent (5 May) e-newsletter can be read here.

• Click here to read the April 2022 edition of Padworth Newsletter which, as ever, also has information from neighbouring parishes.

• For the latest news from theBenefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton which covers updates and events across Theale area please visit their website and click on Letters, Notices & Magazine.

• Latest news from Aldermaston Parish Council can also be found on their website aldermaston.co.uk and this month includes the celebration of a new florist and children’s nursery in the village.

Costing the Village Hall

Two weeks ago (see here) I wrote something about the local debate surrounding the proposed café in Burghfield. In some documents I read, this issue had got conflated with the quite separate matter of the refurbishment of the Village Hall. It therefore seemed worth having a look at this including what it cost and where the money came from, which was the main reason for its being mentioned.

Over the last few years, various plans were considered for creating a community hub for Burghfield but, over time, these were amended and reduced in scale. This was partly because of the likely costs and partly because some of the needs that this was intended to address, such as a possible new home for the library, were solved by other means. The idea of a separate hub now seems to have been dropped: all that survives is the café proposal, which I looked at in some detail earlier. I also explained, last week, a bit about the process by which this will be decided by WBC when the time comes.

The decision to deal with the several problems with the Village Hall were to some extent forced by the pandemic. In March 2020 the government issued guidelines stipulating the conditions on which such buildings could eventually re-open when infection rates permitted. Burghfield was probably not the only community which was, as a result, forced to accept that its hall could not meet these conditions without serious work. The pandemic may well, therefore, have done them all a favour. After discussion, a number of improvements were identified. These included improved access and lobby space, increasing the energy efficiency, adding a toilet and increasing the security. These works started on 7 January 2021 and lasted for about 20 weeks. The hall re-opened on 1 September.

Where did the money come from? The reassuring news, for local residents, is that the Parish Council did not need to pay for it all from its piggy bank. The total cost was close to £261,000. Of this, £111,000 (42%) came from BPC’s reserves, £100,000 (38%) from the Public Works Loan Board (which enables councils to obtain low-interest and long-repayment loan funding) and the balance from grants. The loan repayments are about £6,000 a year. A statement from BPC has pointed out that “prudent budgeting, coupled with an increase in revenue from the hire of the village hall has resulted in no increase being applied to the precept for financial year 2022-23.”

Other buildings in the area have raised similar, indeed, larger sums. In the west of the district, Inkpen’s Pavilion was recently officially re-opened (click here for more and see the 14 April 2002 column) after a re-build which cost about £500,000 which was funded from a similar mix of sources; while on 9 May 2022 the Vale of White Horse Council approved a grant of £597,000 towards the estimated £635,000 cost of rebuilding the pavilion in Kingston Bagpuize.

The income from Burghfield’s new Village Hall has so far been £18,000 for seven months of trading: if this continues, that will equate to about £31,000pa. There are obviously overheads to come out of this in addition to the loan repayment but it seems that the building is at the very least breaking even and, moreover, is unlikely to require any significant capital expenditure for some time. Many other parishes could not say the same of their halls.

Why, some might ask, was the café not added as part of these improvements? I understand that this was considered. The hall would have needed to become larger for this to have happened. There were two directions in which this enlargement could go: out or up. Increasing the footprint was apparently not an option as it would have reduced the number of car parking spaces, which may well on its own have triggered a refusal from WBC. Adding a storey would have risked objections from neighbours and certainly increased the costs significantly (not least because of needing to remove and then re-fit all the solar panels) without any certainty that the building would as a result be more profitable. The café was thus regarded as a quite separate project and this is how it should be regarded.

As I mentioned in my previous article about this, the proposed construction also allows for it to be sold and removed if it doesn’t succeed. As for the funding (assuming this is approved and goes ahead) this is likely to be met from BPC’s reserves, grants and donation. The café project is expected to cost around £50,000 though I’ve seen other figures mentioned. This won’t be able to be confirmed until the planning approval is granted, if it is, as conditions may be imposed which will increase this.

It is of course possible that future events will prove that BPC has taken some wrong decisions on the matter. I hold no brief for the Council nor any other group in the area and am merely pointing what these decisions were, how much they cost and how they were paid for. Other parish and town councils, and local residents, may take comfort from these – the sums for restoring such buildings can be significant but they don’t all have to be paid for by the parish: or, in the case of a PLWB loan, don’t all have to be paid up-front and out of reserves.

If anyone needs any further information on either of these projects, contact Burghfield Parish Council and ask. (If you wish to be involved in any new plans it may develop from the inception, you could always put yourself forward to become a councillor.) Any such plans will also involve a number of meetings which will usually be open the public. And, of course, we’ll be doing our best to keep an eye on them here in Penny Post. Please get in touch (email brian@pennypost.org.uk) if you feel there’s anything you’d like to see us cover or look into.

Up in smoke

In September 2020, an application was lodged for “the development of an Energy Recovery Centre and adjacent Data Centre and associated infrastructure” to the north east of Burghfield (RG30 3XD), just to the north of the M4 . You can view the application details on West Berkshire’s website here. The application was called in by ward member Graham Bridgman (though the number of objections would have made it come to committee in any case) and the matter has been grinding its way through the planning system ever since. The intention is that the matter be decided at the meeting of the Eastern Area Planning Committee on 1 June 2022. See last week’s section for more on how this body (and its Western Area sibling) conducts its business.

Inevitably, such applications cause not only a good deal of local interest but also a torrent of reports and data. One of the many letters about this is from an organisation called Reading Against the Incinerator: I’ll leave it to you to guess where its sentiments in the matter lies. This cites 14 problems with the application as it stands. I won’t try to summarise these but you can find this, and other opinions, on the above-mentioned link. Clearly the waste we create has to be dealt with somehow: whether this is the best solution or the best location is a matter that EAPC will need to decide. You can comment on the matter right up to the determination date of 1 June but, given the technical nature of the application, you might want to make this sooner rather than later. Reading and digesting all the documents would be a mammoth task but you may want to glance at some of the consultation responses and letters of support or objection to help set the scene.

Community notices

• Theale Parish Council has announced that Deadmans Lane is going to have a No Motor Vehicles restriction to encourage active travel within the community whilst works are carried out until June. The council has also stated that signs alone will most likely not deter motorists therefore, there will be some reflective bollards in place that will allow pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians to pass easily. You can find a map of the planned restriction here, and more information on this matter here.

• Theale will be hosting a Village Fete on Sunday 5 June between noon and 4.30pm on Theale Recreational Ground to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. With promises of traditional games, an arena display and funfair rides. Stall-holders who are interested should contact the Parish Council for further information.

• West Berkshire Library Service is appealing for local volunteers at Mortimer and Burghfield Common libraries. Please see this post on Facebook, call 01635 519533 or email volunteerinyourlibrary@westberks.gov.uk for further information.

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 30 and Sun 1 May Bluebell Walk at Rushall Farm.

Fri 6 to Sun 8 May Pangbourne Art Exhibition at Rotary Club of Pangbourne.

Sun 8 May Burghfield May Fayre 2022

Sun 5 June Theale Village Fete. Stall-holders who are interested should contact the Parish Council for further information.

• Regular events

• Holy Trinity Church is seeking donations for the Foodbank that is open on Sundays and Wednesdays from 9am to 6pm. With another rise in people’s need for foodbank support, please consider donating even one item a week so they can support those who are really struggling. You can find out what has been requested each week by clicking here.

 Theale Library hosts in-person events for people of all ages. To find out more information on future clubs and events click here to visit the West Berkshire Library Facebook page or email Theale Library at thealelibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

Mortimer Library also host regular events, such as their Rhymetime group who meet every Tuesday (during school term time) at 2.30pm.

Walking for Health meet every Tuesday at the community centre car park opposite the Horse & Groom, Mortimer. There are three walk lengths to chose from As mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

 Holy Trinity Church, Theale is open for West Berks Food Bank donations on Sundays and Wednesdays from 10.30am to 6pm. Please see the church’s website for regularly updated lists of what is most needed at the food bank.

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 16).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the cafe at Rosebourne, Aldermaston between 10am to 11.30am on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Further details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 8)

 Aldermaston & Wasing Ladies Group meets on the second Thursday of each month from 2pm at Aldermaston Parish Hall, please see Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (p 3, February 2022 ) for further information.

Padworth and Aldermaston WI meets at Padworth Village Hall on the third Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm. Further information on the group can be found in Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 155 February 2022 Edition p 3).

Holy Trinity Church, Theale free choir group rehearses on Thursdays between 7pm to 8pm and performs at Sunday services from 10.30am. All are welcome to join. Send enquiries to office@holytrinitytheale.org.uk.

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 Aldermaston Parish Council took place on 12 April and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: a brief report on the annual parish meeting which preceded it (which included a presentation from Greenham Trust, from District Councillor Dominic Boeck and local groups); four planning applications; the jubilee; and report on the progress of finding companies to tender for the new skate ramp (four have come forward). 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 Burghfield Parish Council took place on 7 April and you can read the minutes here.Items covered included: the Village Hall; a report from ward member Graham Bridgman; committee reports; the proposed café (see also separate section above); the May Fair; financial matters; and the annual parish meeting (7pm on 12 May). To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council took place on 5 April and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Village Hall (a discussion about the project plan for which has been going on for some time); planning matters; enforcement issues by WBC; the Community Day event (2 May); speeding; a sunken manhole; highway problems; the jubilee; defibrillators; tree preservation orders; the Restless Development charity event at Bradfield College (22 May); financial matters; and the reassuring news that “all four of the Spring into Blossom cherry trees are very much alive.” To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here for 2021 and here for 2022.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council took place on 4 April and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a councillor vacancy; planning matters; a request for a statement from WBC about its recommendation of an energy supplier which has since failed; parking at the Victory Hall; financial matters; the jubilee; speeding; the Community Room and School Hall; rodents; the Recreation Ground; and fencing at the school. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here for 2021 and here for 2022.  Click here for details of Beenham’s Community Plan.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council took place on 14 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; the Village Hall; planning matters; the annual parish meeting (7pm on 16 May); and a fallen tree leaning across power lines which the landowner “had not yet dealt with” (seems like an urgent matter to me). To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council took place on 10 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included the annual parish meeting (26 April); planning matters, including the lack of orange site notices (this is not the only parish where this has been mentioned recently); the greening campaign; village communications; the Burghfield to Mortimer cycleway; drainage and manholes; the NDP; the jubilee; the persistent complainants policy (which suggests that there is at least persistent complainer in the parish, whether with good reason tor not I’m not competent to judge); financial matters; District Councillor Bridgman’s report; mean’s sheds; and car parking. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. See this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Theale Parish Council took place on 7 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 Englefield Parish Council took place on 7 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.

• Theale area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council and Burghfield 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; Lambourn ValleyNewburyarea; Thatcham area; Compton & DownlandsWantage area; Marlborougharea; 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

• Theale Parish Council has posted a survey from West Berkshire Council about Digital Signposting in and around West Berkshire and is asking for your thoughts and experience with digital signposting by 11 May. See here for more.

• See last week’s column (below) for some thoughts about the proposed café in Burghfield. See also the two separate sections below for a closer look at how this and other matters are communicated about and decided.

• The Rotary Club of Pangbourne is hosting an art exhibition showcasing local talent between 6 and 8 May in Pangbourne Village Hall with the nominated charity being New Beginnings Reading. There are still opportunities for artists to book places. Art lovers make a note of the dates. It is a great opportunity to showcase local talent and to buy good quality artwork at reasonable prices. Please contact Clive Williams on 01491 671631 or clivewilliams@gmx.co.uk or visit the facebook page for more details.

• The theme for the Burghfield Scarecrow Trail this May Half Term is ‘Let’s Celebrate’. If you fancy making a scarecrow, pick up a form from Wellers Fruit Shop, the Post Office or email michelle@zboltons.co.uk by 30 April if you would like to take part. Entry is £10 and all money raised will support local Girl Guides. See more information here.

• Fancy a bluebell walk this Saturday 30 April and Sunday 1 May? In sponsorship of MS Society, Rushall Farm in Bradfield is hosting a Bluebell walk that will feature family fun in the barn, hot and cold food, homemade cakes and a free treasure hunt. For adults, it is £5 and for children, £3. For more information, click here or here for the Facebook post here.

• The next Padworth Village Jumble Sale is being held on Saturday 7 May, in aid of the Village Hall. After a sale on Saturday 5 March which raised £520 for UNICEF who donated where possible to the Ukrainian Emergency, and the Sale on 26 March which raised a further £384 for St John the Baptist, any donations containing unwanted items are gratefully received and can be brought to the village hall between 10am and 11.30am. For more information, have a look here on the Village website.

Theale district councillor Alan Macro most recent (10 April) e-newsletter can be read here.

Burghfield and Mortimer district councillor Graham Bridgman’s  most recent (7 April) e-newsletter can be read here.

• This week’s NWN reports on p24 that a recently retired local teacher in Mortimer, Mike Gomm, is hoping to set up a “men’s shed“, described as “a community grouper retired and working men to socialise, learn craft and DIY skills and teach what they know to others.” These seem like the breeding ground for the experts at a repair café, organisations which are becoming more and more common, and welcome. The article doesn’t say how you can contact him but the Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council seems to be involved so you can doubtless reach him through that.

• Click here to read the April 2022 edition of Padworth Newsletter which, as ever, also has information from neighbouring parishes.

• For the latest news from theBenefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton which covers updates and events across Theale area please visit their website and click on Letters, Notices & Magazine.

• Latest news from Aldermaston Parish Council can also be found on their website aldermaston.co.uk and this month includes the celebration of a new florist and children’s nursery in the village.

Planning Committees (the East and the West)

As mentioned last week (see below), the next step on the journey for the application of proposed café in Burghfield is West Berkshire Council’s (WBC) Eastern Area Planning Committee (EAPC). This provides an opportunity to explain what this – and its twin sibling the Western Area Planning Committee(WAPC) – does.

The vast majority of planning applications are uncontentious and are decided by planning officers. Policy, process and precedent are the key factors they consider. Matters such as the commercial viability of the proposed new structure or general sentiments such as “the place won’t be the same” play no part in their decisions. Most applications pass completely under the public radar and the changes they approve may be un-noticed even by next-door neighbours.

A very small percentage, however, are for one reason or another contentious. These are decided by one of the two regional planning committees mentioned above (there is also a District Planning Committee (DPC), to which decisions of these two can be sent, either if another view is required, perhaps as insurance policy against an appeal, or if the application has district-wide implications).

There are three reasons why an application goes to committee:

  • If the ward member (district councillor) decides to call it in. This they can do (a) if the officers are minded to accept it; (b) if the officers are minded to refuse it; or (c) in any event. An example of the third is the solar farm application in Enborne, where the ward members felt that the issues surrounding this fairly recent new of development should be explored in public. The Burghfield café application was also called in by the ward member in any case, as it was felt that the circumstances demanded scrutiny. (This is prudent where, as in this case, the parish council is the applicant, as it demonstrates that the matter is being properly looked at.)
  • If an officer decides to call it in. This is far less common but can happen. The Pincents application in Tilehurst was called in to the DPC by officers after it had been refused by EAPC as they were worried about the possibility of an expensive appeal by the developers. (The DPC confirmed the EAPC’s view – see last week’s column below).
  • If the application has received 10 or more objections and if the officers are minded to accept it. Note that objection to or support for the application must be sent to WBC in the way specified on the planning portal: a social-media post doesn’t cut it.

The composition of the EAPC and WAPC can be seen by looking at the respective links above. There are nine members, all from that part of the district. The composition is cross-party but in proportion to the seats held there. The Chair (Graham Pask for the EAPC) is from the ruling party and the Vice Chair (Alan Macro) from the major opposition party. (The Greens have no representation on the EAPC, though they do on WAPC, as all their members are in the west.) There are also substitutes from the various parties, called on if members are unavailable or (more rarely) compromised by having an interest in the application. Meetings take place every three weeks, on a Wednesday.

The agendas are published eight days before the meeting. The first order of business, on the Wednesday before the meeting, are site meetings for the application/s being considered. Both the Chairs I spoke to say that they prefer to go to these without any pre-knowledge and encourage their colleagues to do likewise. The attendees are briefed by officers and can ask questions. Members of the public may attend these but the Chair will restrict their contributions to pointing out matters of fact (such as what part of an existing property is likely to be overlooked by a new one) rather than engaging in debates about opinions. These are fact-finding exercises. They can be over quite quickly but in complex cases can last several hours.

The documents will be on the WBC and these will then be studied by the members. There can be hundreds of them, ranging from three-line letters of support or objection to 40-page technical reports from experts involving charts, tables, maps and the lord knows what else. None of these will be written in a racy, page-turning style. A long evening’s work can sometimes be required.

The meeting itself can also be a marathon. Currently these are hybrid, with the members and officers generally present in the Chamber but others dialling in from outside. (Opinions differ as to whether the pandemic-inspired remote-access working was a good or a bad thing. This is a separate argument.) Wherever and however it takes place, there’s a lot to fit in and the role of the Chair is very important. First, the officers will make their statement about the main issues and make their recommendations. There then follows an opportunity for up to six separate groups to speak for or against the application. Each will generally be given five minutes. If more than one person is speaking from the same interest group then the time will be divided between: two opponents, say, wishing to speak will thus get two and a half minutes each. The six groups are (not all may be relevant to the application and some may not choose to attend):

  • Opponents
  • Supporters
  • The applicant
  • The ward member/s
  • The parish council
  • Any closely neighbouring parish council/s

The committee members can ask questions of the speakers but only on matters which the speakers have raised: a new topic cannot be introduced. Then the officers are questioned by the members. After all this, there is a debate in which the members all get their chance to state their views, including recommending any conditions that be attached to the development if it’s approved. Finally, there is a vote, the Chair having the final say in the case of a dead-heat arising from abstentions. Soon afterwards the planning officers will (unless, as in Pincents Lane, they wish to call it in to the DPC), issue a Decision Notice. This can only be overturned by the Planning Inspector or the Secretary of State. Particularly complex decisions can take three hours or more, though others – where there is only one point to decide and fewer external participants – can be got through more quickly.

If you live near a proposed development which you feel will be unwelcome, or if you are the sponsor of a plan for half a dozen homes in which you’ve invested your life savings, then the decisions of the committee are, if not life-changing in the medical sense of the term, then certainly very important. The stakes being high, accusations are sometimes made about undue influence.

There may be cases of members receiving bribes to vote a particular way (and old trope) but I’m unaware of any around here. Moreover, this doesn’t form any part of any serious accusation I’ve heard about these committees’ decisions. Far more common is the charge that the voting follows party lines. There are cases where this happens but others where it doesn’t; and some, such as in the most recent Walkers Logistics application in Membury, where it did but in the opposite way to which many predicted. The main challenge for the committee members seems to a hard slog through the three Ps of policy, precedent and procedure on which the planning system rests.

The Burghfield café application will be considered by this process by EAPC, probably in the next couple of months. The decision will be taken by nine councillors, but taking into account the views of many others who will be attending the meeting in one of the above-mentioned capacities; and many more – perhaps hundreds  – who have expressed their opinion. Unless there is an appeal, that will be the final word on the matter (though there’s nothing to stop a separate application being lodged if this one is refused). In some cases, the committee’s decision may not prove to be right – whatever “right” is – but it will certainly have been carefully considered. In any case, that’s the system we have and, until someone comes up with a better one, the one we’re stuck with. Burghfield’s café will get no special treatment just because it’s been proposed by the parish council: indeed, as it’s going to committee, rather the reverse. Everyone will have a chance to have their say then. Anything said before then, if not made as a formal response, might prove to be a waste of time.

Spreading the word

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Community notices

• Theale Parish Council has announced that Deadmans Lane is going to have a No Motor Vehicles restriction to encourage active travel within the community whilst works are carried out until June. The council has also stated that signs alone will most likely not deter motorists therefore, there will be some reflective bollards in place that will allow pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians to pass easily. You can find a map of the planned restriction here, and more information on this matter here.

• Theale will be hosting a Village Fete on Sunday 5 June between noon and 4.30pm on Theale Recreational Ground to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. With promises of traditional games, an arena display and funfair rides. Stall-holders who are interested should contact the Parish Council for further information.

• West Berkshire Library Service is appealing for local volunteers at Mortimer and Burghfield Common libraries. Please see this post on Facebook, call 01635 519533 or email volunteerinyourlibrary@westberks.gov.uk for further information.

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 30 and Sun 1 May Bluebell Walk at Rushall Farm.

Sun 8 May Burghfield May Fayre 2022

Sun 5 June Theale Village Fete. Stall-holders who are interested should contact the Parish Council for further information.

• Regular events

• Holy Trinity Church is seeking donations for the Foodbank that is open on Sundays and Wednesdays from 9am to 6pm. With another rise in people’s need for foodbank support, please consider donating even one item a week so they can support those who are really struggling. You can find out what has been requested each week by clicking here.

 Theale Library hosts in-person events for people of all ages. To find out more information on future clubs and events click here to visit the West Berkshire Library Facebook page or email Theale Library at thealelibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

Mortimer Library also host regular events, such as their Rhymetime group who meet every Tuesday (during school term time) at 2.30pm.

Walking for Health meet every Tuesday at the community centre car park opposite the Horse & Groom, Mortimer. There are three walk lengths to chose from As mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

 Holy Trinity Church, Theale is open for West Berks Food Bank donations on Sundays and Wednesdays from 10.30am to 6pm. Please see the church’s website for regularly updated lists of what is most needed at the food bank.

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 16).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the cafe at Rosebourne, Aldermaston between 10am to 11.30am on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Further details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 8)

 Aldermaston & Wasing Ladies Group meets on the second Thursday of each month from 2pm at Aldermaston Parish Hall, please see Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (p 3, February 2022 ) for further information.

Padworth and Aldermaston WI meets at Padworth Village Hall on the third Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm. Further information on the group can be found in Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 155 February 2022 Edition p 3).

Holy Trinity Church, Theale free choir group rehearses on Thursdays between 7pm to 8pm and performs at Sunday services from 10.30am. All are welcome to join. Send enquiries to office@holytrinitytheale.org.uk.

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 Aldermaston Parish Council took place on 12 April and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: a brief report on the annual parish meeting which preceded it (which included a presentation from Greenham Trust, from District Councillor Dominic Boeck and local groups); four planning applications; the jubilee; and report on the progress of finding companies to tender for the new skate ramp (four have come forward). 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 Burghfield Parish Council took place on 7 April and you can read the minutes here.Items covered included: the Village Hall; a report from ward member Graham Bridgman; committee reports; the proposed café (see also separate section above); the May Fair; financial matters; and the annual parish meeting (7pm on 12 May). To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council took place on 5 April and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Village Hall (a discussion about the project plan for which has been going on for some time); planning matters; enforcement issues by WBC; the Community Day event (2 May); speeding; a sunken manhole; highway problems; the jubilee; defibrillators; tree preservation orders; the Restless Development charity event at Bradfield College (22 May); financial matters; and the reassuring news that “all four of the Spring into Blossom cherry trees are very much alive.” To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here for 2021 and here for 2022.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council took place on 14 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; the Village Hall; planning matters; the annual parish meeting (7pm on 16 May); and a fallen tree leaning across power lines which the landowner “had not yet dealt with” (seems like an urgent matter to me). To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council took place on 10 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included the annual parish meeting (26 April); planning matters, including the lack of orange site notices (this is not the only parish where this has been mentioned recently); the greening campaign; village communications; the Burghfield to Mortimer cycleway; drainage and manholes; the NDP; the jubilee; the persistent complainants policy (which suggests that there is at least persistent complainer in the parish, whether with good reason tr not I’m not competent to judge); financial matters; District Councillor Bridgman’s report; mean’s sheds; and car parking. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. See this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council took place on 7 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a councillor vacancy; planning matters; the waiting time for a quorum; fencing at the school; the Stocks Cottages roundabout; the jubilee; various community projects; financial matters; and speeding. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here for 2021 and here for 2022.  Click here for details of Beenham’s Community Plan.

• The most recent meeting of Theale Parish Council took place on 7 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: spoof email purporting to come from the Chairman; dog bins; the Clerk’s update; a report from District Councillor Alan Macro; planning matters; a motion about moving to bi-monthly meetings (not carried); and the distribution of the funds from the 2021 Christmas event. 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 Englefield Parish Council took place on 7 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters (including the 2022-23 budget); planning matters; the jubilee; and a review of the risks and asset registers. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• Theale area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council and Burghfield 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; Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton & DownlandsWantage area; Marlborougharea; Swindon area.

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

Thursday 21 April 2022

This week’s news

• A final reminder that the Englefield Estate’ Easter Woodland Trail run until this Sunday 24 April which allows the public to explore around Mortimer West End and Mortimer and Burghfield Common. The 15 activity boards along the way are sure to keep you interactive with the environment. For more details, click here.

• According to the Newbury Weekly News, paediatric doses of the covid vaccine for five to 11-year-olds with no underlying health conditions are currently available at Theale Village Hall. A second does will be offered at least 12 weeks apart. These vaccines aren’t being given at schools or GP surgeries. You can  book on the NHS booking website or by calling 119.

• As mentioned last week, Theale Parish Council has announced that Deadmans Lane is going to have a No Motor Vehicles restriction to encourage active travel within the community whilst works are carried out until June. The council has also stated that signs alone will most likely not deter motorists therefore, there will be some reflective bollards in place that will allow pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians to pass easily. You can find a map of the planned restriction here, and more information on this matter here.

• A notice from Theale Parish council as the poll for the election of one parish councillor will be held on Thursday 28 April. This will occur between 7am and 10pm. You can view the official notice here which will help understand the details of the nominees.

• Fancy a bluebell walk this weekend? For the next two weekends, in sponsorship of MS Society, Rushall Farm in Bradfield is hosting a Bluebell walk that will feature family fun in the barn, hot and cold food, homemade cakes and a free treasure hunt. For adults it is £5 and for children, £3. For more information, click here or here for the Facebook post here.

• Another bluebell walk in Sulham Woods is taking place this Sunday at 2.15pm. Tickets are £5 with all proceeds going towards Purley’s historic 18th Century Barn.  For more information, please see here.

• The next Padworth Village Jumble Sale is being held on Saturday 7 May, in aid of the Village Hall. After an incredible Sale on Saturday 5 March which raised £520 for UNICEF who donated where possible to the Ukrainian Emergency, and the Sale on 26 March which raised a further £384.37 for St John the Baptist, any donations containing unwanted items are gratefully received and can be brought to the village hall between 10am and 11.30am. For more information, have a look here on the Village website.

• Theale district councillor Alan Macro has recently (10 April) published his latest e-newsletter, which you can read here. Items covered include: local planning applications; the parish council by-election; the pedestrian crossing petition; and Theale Green School.

Burghfield and Mortimer district councillor Graham Bridgman has recently (7 April) published his latest e-newsletter, which you can read here.

• Click here to read the April 2022 edition of Padworth Newsletter which, as ever, also has information from neighbouring parishes.

• For the latest news from theBenefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton which covers updates and events across Theale area please visit their website and click on Letters, Notices & Magazine.

• Latest news from Aldermaston Parish Council can also be found on their website aldermaston.co.uk and this month includes the celebration of a new florist and children’s nursery in the village.

Pincents Lane, bridge bidding and the Bazalgette Principle

Although slightly outside our area, this proposed 165-home development in Tilehurst has recently come to public attention and for reasons which may have district-wide significance.

The project was rejected by the Eastern Area Planning Committee. However, the officers requested that he be reviewed by the District Planning Committee. This was considered on 13 April, when the plans were rejected again. I’ve spoken to some of the committee members and also seen the article on p21 of this week’s NWN. This cited a range of traffic and access concerns, as well as the fact that it wasn’t in the local plan, as the main reasons for refusal. The officers were concerned that the developers might appeal and this request for a fresh look offered, perhaps, a double protection against an expensive risk: if the DPC approved the application then clearly no appeal would be required; if they refused them then at least it could be demonstrated that the matter had been given every possible consideration. I’m unclear why this site is particularly vulnerable to an appeal considering that the district has more than seven years of land supply and the manifest problems with the development, particularly its access.

As to why the access is so problematic, it’s because it would in effect pass through the car park of the retail area to the south which contains a supermarket, an Ikea and the HQ of the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Services. This would be less of a problem were a foot-bridge to have built, as per the original permission. This was, however, allowed to be dropped under a Section 73 agreement (by which a developer can vary specific conditions or aspects of an agreement) about ten years ago. Somehow, this was allowed to get through. No developer wants to build something that’s going to cost money if they can avoid it. This left the area less one useful piece of infrastructure which, years later, has come back to haunt it. This is far from being the only case of a condition being set aside. The planning system is a bit like a game of bridge: your initial bid is not what you want to do but what you think you can get away with. Once planning approval is obtained, the serious work starts on whittling the details down to the thing you’re actually prepared to build.

One dissenting voice at the DPC was that of Tony Vickers who voted to approve the scheme. This was not because he felt it was perfect as it stood – he admitted that his views were “finely balanced” – but because the local MP, Alok Sharma, had already said that if the application was approved he would call it in for the Secretary of State to decide. The point here is that, regardless how the decision went, WBC would not have to bear any costs. As matters stand, a successful appeal by the developers against WBC could cost the council a six-figure sum. This could also be seen as a kind of bridge bidding. Other DPC members were keener to stress to the principles of the issue: “We’re proud to be a policy-led authority,” Graham Bridgman said, “and this is against policy.”

The NWN article also refers to members of the DPC criticising the traffic data and, by implication, the fact that additional growth needs to be assumed: the exceptionally busy days of today could become the norm in a decade’s time. This calls to mind a story of which I’m particularly fond (please indulge me if you’ve heard in before) which examples what I call the Bazalgette Principle. The engineer Joseph Bazalgette was in the 1850s tasked with the problem of building a sewer system for London, the effluent problem having reached repulsive proportions. He came back with his plans: he had assumed, he told the government, the largest sized pipes that the city currently needed. He had then doubled his dimensions, shrewdly realising that London was only going to get bigger. The system is still operational today. It doesn’t seem that the Bazalgette Principle was applied to the Section 73 agreement about the footbridge and nor, perhaps, to the traffic projections for the recent application. Perhaps photos of these wonderfully whiskered Victorian engineers should by law be placed in in every council office as a reminder of the need for future-proofing any decisions in so far as one can. West Berkshire Council is currently grappling with a 30-year vision for aspects of its local plan: Bazalgette’s vision has so far lasted for around 170 years.

Burghfield’s café

My attention has recently been drawn to the controversy surrounding Burghfield Parish Council’s (BPC) application for the erection of “a temporary pre-fabricated café on Burghfield Common between the sports pavilion and the playground”. You can see the application (22/00535/FUL) by clicking here. There have so far between about 80 letters of opposition and about 50 of support, indicating the reality, or the perception, of concern. I’m also aware of a leaflet which has been dropped through letterboxes in the town (headed “Save our Village Green”) which contains a number of allegations about the shortcomings of the project. Burghfield PC has several documents relating to the matter on its website but this is, unfortunately, going through a site migration as I write so any links may not work (I’ll add these in when available or supply them next week).

I knew next to nothing about this until Wednesday, although I’ve seen similar disputes elsewhere. So, I made a few calls to try to find out what the issues were.

The nine points in the leaflet – which are echoed by several of the objection letters I’ve seen – could perhaps have been divided into four groups. Some (such as concerning traffic and parking) are planning matters. Others (such as the cost and the viability) are commercial ones. There is also a suggestion that the proposal would increase anti-social behaviour, which I assume would be more likely if alcohol were served: if so, this would be a licensing matter. Finally, there are suggestions that the consultation was inadequate, which is really an engagement matter between BPC and its residents (and vice versa).

Only the first of these, the planning matters, will be of importance when the application is decided at the Eastern Area Planning Committee (EAPC) some time after the determination deadline of 29 April. (Ward Member Graham Bridgman told me he had called it in regardless of whether officers were minded to accept it though it would have gone to committee anyway because of the number of objections.) Anyone writing a letter or email of support or objection is free to mention any aspect of the matter that comes to mind: however, only ones which bear on planning policy or procedure will be considered by the officers or, in this case, the committee. They may impose conditions about opening hours or delivery times or a hundred other things but will not concern themselves with the commercial viability of the project nor how this is funded.

So: is the project viable? Burghfield PC’s view, as expressed to me, was that it has, over the last five years, been scaled down from a £2m+ community-hub plan to one that comprises merely a café. I’m not sure of the exact proposed costs but they would appear to be in the mid-five-figure area. Moreover, you’ll have noted the use of the term “temporary pre-fabricated” to describe the project. The plan as I understand it is to give the project two years, after which it could be (i) retained as is, (ii) expanded into a different and (perhaps) larger site or (iii) sold and shipped away. Option (iii) isn’t normally open to building projects: but if this one didn’t work out, the whole thing could be loaded onto the back of a trailer and, still with espresso machine in place, moved somewhere else. (BPC has suggested to me that the description of the structure as a “shipping container” in the leaflet is a tad brutal: “a modular unit” was the phrase I was offered, which could be cladded with wood or something else. EAPC may insist on this.)

The immediate aim, if approval is granted, is to find a local person or people (not a national chain) to run it, within whatever hours of operation (i) are permitted by the approval and (ii) suit them. The 7am to 7pm seven days a week hours are, I was told, designed to give the greatest flexibility to whoever takes it on. The question of any alcohol licence – and thus, possibly, concerns about anti-social behaviour – will be the subject of a separate application to a separate committee and so don’t seem very important at this stage.

As regards how it’s funded, there are three main options: (i) from BPC’s own reserves; (ii) from a low-interest loan from the PWLB; or (iii) from external grants or donations. Burghfield’s recent Village Hall re-furb raised about two-thirdsof its costs from the last two sources and there’s no reason to suppose this will be any different. There will of course also be rental income from whoever’s running it.

Turning to the consultation, it was suggested to me that the only public engagement was at an earlier stage when a larger project was being conceived. It would indeed appear that the only two formal consultations took place, in 2017 and 2019. It’s also true that the plans changed several times (being scaled down because of a number of factors including cost, the re-furb of the Village Hall and another solution being found for the library) but BPC points out that “a number of articles were also included within the quarterly parish newsletter to update parishioners of progress alongside regular posts on the parish council website.”

Here we enter a subjective area. These days, consultations need to be on- and off-line and publicised in a variety of places including the PC’s website, local news groups (printed or digital) and social media. Some people may have missed some of these, or the PC could have failed to make some of these sufficiently clear. It could also be that fewer people keep their eye on the BPC website than BPC likes to assume. “Consultation” could be taken to include general news sharing with invitations to comment, though some might see it only as a more formal process with a deadline for responses and clear actions thereafter. These are expensive and time-consuming to do. Perhaps BPC could have done more: perhaps the residents could have logged on to the BPC website more often. Perhaps some of the objections have nothing to do with this application but hark back to some unconnected unfinished local business. I don’t know the place or the case well enough to judge, though I know all these issues have cropped in various combinations cropped up elsewhere.

The 2019 consultation recorded that 74% of people wanted a café in a proposed community hub. It could be argued that this is no longer a community hub and thus that the question is void. However, I don’t see that any secret was made of the fact that a café was being planned and I understand that there have been over 30 meetings, all of them open to the public, at which the matter was discussed. Certainly, the plans were changed several times, which must in part have been due to public feedback. Finally, the level of consultation isn’t so far as I’m aware a planning consideration anyway.

For most planning issues of any size, there’ll be several sources of often conflicting information and opinions. The applicant, the parish council (the same in this case), the ward member/s, local media groups (such as Penny Post), social media platforms and local objectors will have their views. It’s rare that anyone has a monopoly of the truth so be sure to check the sources against each other and ask if you see gaps or inconsistencies. Most Burghfield residents will have seen the leaflet and you’ve read my thoughts, for what they’re worth. For Burghfield PC’s views, as mentioned above the website currently has the scaffolding up – until that’s remedied, email enquiries@burghfieldparishcouncil.gov.uk if you have any questions.

It also may be that applications which are initiated by a parish council – and which, if passed, involve expenditure – risk being particularly contentious. There may be the perceptions (which I don’t share) that PCs have a secret short-cut through the planning system or that the main aim is the personal enrichment or advantage of the councillors concerned. Public money obviously needs to be carefully watched but there don’t seem to be any extravagances in this case. If anyone feels differently, raise it with BPC.

The next step is the meeting of EAPC to make a decision. (I’d add in passing that I think it would be a good idea if all applications for which any local council were the applicant should be called into committee automatically, if only to demonstrate that these get the maximum level of scrutiny.) All parties will be able to have their say at that. Ideally this will be sooner rather than later as there are still be several hoops to jump through before the idea reaches fruition. Hopefully it will then be a success. If it isn’t and if, a few years from now, you see a “modular unit”, perhaps cladded, leaving Burghfield on the back of a lorry exuding a faint aroma of coffee and bacon sandwiches, then it’s been sold and is en route to its new home. The only way to find out whether it works or not is to try it…

Community notices

• Theale will be hosting a Village Fete on Sunday 5 June between noon and 4.30pm on Theale Recreational Ground to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. With promises of traditional games, an arena display and funfair rides. Stall-holders who are interested should contact the Parish Council for further information.

• West Berkshire Library Service is appealing for local volunteers at Mortimer and Burghfield Common libraries. Please see this post on Facebook, call 01635 519533 or email volunteerinyourlibrary@westberks.gov.uk for further information.

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 Burghfield May Fayre 2022

Sun 5 June Theale Village Fete. Stall-holders who are interested should contact the Parish Council for further information.

• Regular events

• Holy Trinity Church is seeking donations for the Foodbank that is open on Sundays and Wednesdays from 9am to 6pm. With another rise in people’s need for foodbank support, please consider donating even one item a week so they can support those who are really struggling. You can find out what has been requested each week by clicking here.

 Theale Library hosts in-person events for people of all ages. To find out more information on future clubs and events click here to visit the West Berkshire Library Facebook page, and click “see more” to find Theale events such as Wellbeing Sessions and Play Bridge Sessions. Otherwise you can email Theale Library at thealelibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

Mortimer Library also host regular events, such as their Rhymetime group who meet every Tuesday (during school term time) at 2.30pm.

Walking for Health meet every Tuesday at the community centre car park opposite the Horse & Groom, Mortimer. There are three walk lengths to chose from As mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

 Holy Trinity Church, Theale is open for West Berks Food Bank donations on Sundays and Wednesdays from 10.30am to 6pm. Please see the church’s website for regularly updated lists of what is most needed at the food bank.

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 9.45am to 12.15pm in the Victory Hall, Beenham.  All abilities are welcome. Any interested persons should contact Sunny Still on 9712255.

 Aldermaston & Wasing Ladies Group meets on the second Thursday of each month from 2pm until 5pm at Aldermaston Parish Hall, please see their calendar here for dates and here for further information.

Padworth and Aldermaston WI meets at Padworth Village Hall, RG7 4HS, on the third Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm.

Holy Trinity Church, Theale free choir group rehearses on Thursdays between 7pm to 8pm and performs at Sunday services from 10.30am. All are welcome to join. Send enquiries to office@holytrinitytheale.org.uk.

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 Aldermaston Parish Council took place on 12 April and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: a brief report on the annual parish meeting which preceded it (which included a presentation from Greenham Trust, from District Councillor Dominic Boeck and local groups); four planning applications; the jubilee; and report on the progress of finding companies to tender for the new skate ramp (four have come forward). 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 Burghfield Parish Council took place on 7 April and you can read the minutes here.Items covered included: the Village Hall; a report from ward member Graham Bridgman; committee reports; the proposed café (see also separate section above); the May Fair; financial matters; and the annual parish meeting (7pm on 12 May). To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council took place on 14 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; the Village Hall; planning matters; the annual parish meeting (7pm on 16 May); and a fallen tree leaning across power lines which the landowner “had not yet dealt with” (seems like an urgent matter to me). To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council took place on 10 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included the annual parish meeting (26 April); planning matters, including the lack of orange site notices (this is not the only parish where this has been mentioned recently); the greening campaign; village communications; the Burghfield to Mortimer cycleway; drainage and manholes; the NDP; the jubilee; the persistent complainants policy (which suggests that there is at least persistent complainer in the parish, whether with good reason tr not I’m not competent to judge); financial matters; District Councillor Bridgman’s report; mean’s sheds; and car parking. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. See this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council took place on 7 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a councillor vacancy; planning matters; the waiting time for a quorum; fencing at the school; the Stocks Cottages roundabout; the jubilee; various community projects; financial matters; and speeding. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here for 2021 and here for 2022.  Click here for details of Beenham’s Community Plan.

• The most recent meeting of Theale Parish Council took place on 7 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: spoof email purporting to come from the Chairman; dog bins; the Clerk’s update; a report from District Councillor Alan Macro; planning matters; a motion about moving to bi-monthly meetings (not carried); and the distribution of the funds from the 2021 Christmas event. 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 Englefield Parish Council took place on 7 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters (including the 2022-23 budget); planning matters; the jubilee; and a review of the risks and asset registers. 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 Bradfield Parish Council took place on 1 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 for 2021 and here for 2022.

• Theale area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council and Burghfield 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; Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton & DownlandsWantage 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 14 April 2022

This week’s news

• According to this week’s Newbury Weekly News, paediatric doses of the covid vaccine for five to 11-year-olds with no underlying health conditions are currently available at Theale Village Hall. A second does will be offered at least 12 weeks apart. These vaccines aren’t being given at schools or GP surgeries. Apparently you are meant to be able to book on the NHS booking website or by calling 119.

• Theale Parish Council has announced that Deadmans Lane is going to have a No Motor Vehicles restriction to encourage active travel within the community whilst works are carried out until June. The council has also stated that signs alone will most likely not deter motorists therefore, there will be some reflective bollards in place that will allow pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians to pass easily. You can find a map of the planned restriction here, and more information on this matter here.

• The Englefield Estate is hosting an Easter Woodland Trail that is running until 24 April which will allow the public to explore around Mortimer West End and Mortimer and Burghfield Common. The 15 activity boards along the way are sure to keep you interactive with the environment. For more details, click here.

•A final reminder that, if you fancy a great day with the family and all for a good cause, The Falcon Pub in the High Street is hosting a Family Fun Day on April 15 including an evening karaoke as well as children’s competitions. All proceeds are going towards Breast Cancer Research and The Air Ambulance. For more information click here to be redirected to their Facebook page.

• The next Padworth Village Jumble Sale is being held on Saturday 7 May, in aid of the Village Hall. After an incredible Sale on Saturday 5 March which raised £520 for UNICEF who donated where possible to the Ukrainian Emergency, and the Sale on 26 March which raised a further £384.37 for St John the Baptist, any donations containing unwanted items are gratefully received and can be brought to the village hall between 10am and 11.30am. For more information, have a look here on the Village website.

• Theale district councillor Alan Macro has recently (10 April) published his latest e-newsletter, which you can read here. Items covered include: local planning applications; the parish council by election; the pedestrian crossing petition; and Theale Green School.

Burghfield and Mortimer district councillor Graham Bridgman has recently (7 April) published his latest e-newsletter, which you can read here.

• He also refers to the problems of the new pavements in Beech Hill. The same thing happened in Hungerford for the same reason, so most of the comments in the Chasing Pavements section in the Hungerford Area Weekly News column for 7 April 2022 apply here.

• His report also covers a couple of issues in Burghfield: the Parish Council’s planning application for the pavilion and concerns about the Sovereign tenancy on Recreation Road.

• Click here to read the April 2022 edition of Padworth Newsletter which, as ever, also has information from neighbouring parishes.

• For the latest news from theBenefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton which covers updates and events across Theale area please visit their website and click on Letters, Notices & Magazine.

• Latest news from Aldermaston Parish Council can also be found on their website aldermaston.co.uk and this month includes the celebration of a new florist and children’s nursery in the village.

Community notices

• Theale will be hosting a Village Fete on Sunday 5 June between noon and 4.30pm on Theale Recreational Ground to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. With promises of traditional games, an arena display and funfair rides. Stall-holders who are interested should contact the Parish Council for further information.

• West Berkshire Library Service is appealing for local volunteers at Mortimer and Burghfield Common libraries. Please see this post on Facebook, call 01635 519533 or email volunteerinyourlibrary@westberks.gov.uk for further information.

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 Family Fun Day at The Falcon Pub.

Sun 8 May Burghfield May Fayre 2022

Sun 5 June Theale Village Fete. Stall-holders who are interested should contact the Parish Council for further information.

• Regular events

• Holy Trinity Church is seeking donations for the Foodbank that is open on Sundays and Wednesdays from 9am to 6pm. With another rise in people’s need for foodbank support, please consider donating even one item a week so they can support those who are really struggling. You can find out what has been requested each week by clicking here.

 Theale Library hosts in-person events for people of all ages. To find out more information on future clubs and events click here to visit the West Berkshire Library Facebook page or email Theale Library at thealelibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

Mortimer Library also host regular events, such as their Rhymetime group who meet every Tuesday (during school term time) at 2.30pm.

Walking for Health meet every Tuesday at the community centre car park opposite the Horse & Groom, Mortimer. There are three walk lengths to chose from As mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

 Holy Trinity Church, Theale is open for West Berks Food Bank donations on Sundays and Wednesdays from 10.30am to 6pm. Please see the church’s website for regularly updated lists of what is most needed at the food bank.

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 16).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the cafe at Rosebourne, Aldermaston between 10am to 11.30am on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Further details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 8)

 Aldermaston & Wasing Ladies Group meets on the second Thursday of each month from 2pm at Aldermaston Parish Hall, please see Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (p 3, February 2022 ) for further information.

Padworth and Aldermaston WI meets at Padworth Village Hall on the third Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm. Further information on the group can be found in Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 155 February 2022 Edition p 3).

Holy Trinity Church, Theale free choir group rehearses on Thursdays between 7pm to 8pm and performs at Sunday services from 10.30am. All are welcome to join. Send enquiries to office@holytrinitytheale.org.uk.

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 Aldermaston Parish Council took place on 12 April and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: a brief report on the annual parish meeting which preceded it (which included a presentation from Greenham Trust, from District Councillor Dominic Boeck and local groups); four planning applications; the jubilee; and report on the progress of finding companies to tender for the new skate ramp (four have come forward). 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 Padworth Parish Council took place on 14 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; the Village Hall; planning matters; the annual parish meeting (7pm on 16 May); and a fallen tree leaning across power lines which the landowner “had not yet dealt with” (seems like an urgent matter to me). To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council took place on 10 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included the annual parish meeting (26 April); planning matters, including the lack of orange site notices (this is not the only parish where this has been mentioned recently); the greening campaign; village communications; the Burghfield to Mortimer cycleway; drainage and manholes; the NDP; the jubilee; the persistent complainants policy (which suggests that there is at least persistent complainer in the parish, whether with good reason tr not I’m not competent to judge); financial matters; District Councillor Bridgman’s report; mean’s sheds; and car parking. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. See this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council took place on 7 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a councillor vacancy; planning matters; the waiting time for a quorum; fencing at the school; the Stocks Cottages roundabout; the jubilee; various community projects; financial matters; and speeding. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here for 2021 and here for 2022.  Click here for details of Beenham’s Community Plan.

• The most recent meeting of Theale Parish Council took place on 7 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: spoof email purporting to come from the Chairman; dog bins; the Clerk’s update; a report from District Councillor Alan Macro; planning matters; a motion about moving to bi-monthly meetings (not carried); and the distribution of the funds from the 2021 Christmas event. 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 Englefield Parish Council took place on 7 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters (including the 2022-23 budget); planning matters; the jubilee; and a review of the risks and asset registers. 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 Burghfield Parish Council took place on 3 March and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council took place on 1 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 for 2021 and here for 2022.

• Theale area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council and Burghfield 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 7 April 2022

This week’s news

• Ever wondered what it was like teaching in the 70s? Former art teacher Raymond Gray who taught from the age of 21 at Theale Green school shares some insight into teaching and Theale Green’s History in the Reading Chronicle. Have a look here if you’re interested.

• Fancy a pub quiz next week? The Falcon Pub is hosting their first quiz on Tuesday 12 April where there will be teams of 4 and for only £1 a person, it is a great night out for a few friends or the family. For more information, have a look here.

• Speaking of which, if you fancy a great day with the family and all for a good cause, The Falcon Pub in the High Street is hosting a Family Fun Day on April 15 including an evening karaoke as well as children’s competitions. All proceeds are going towards Breast Cancer Research and The Air Ambulance. For more information click here to be redirected to their Facebook page.

• The next Padworth Village Jumble Sale is being held on Saturday 7 May, in aid of the Village Hall. After an incredible Sale on Saturday 5 March which raised £520 for UNICEF who donated where possible to the Ukrainian Emergency, and the Sale on 26 March which raised a further £384.37 for St John the Baptist, any donations containing unwanted items are gratefully received and can be brought to the village hall between 10am and 11.30am. For more information, have a look here on the Village website.

Burghfield and Mortimer district councillor Graham Bridgman has recently (7 April) published his latest e-newsletter, which you can read here. One of the matters he looks at is covered below (Windmill Court).

• He also refers to the problems of the new pavements in Beech Hill. The same thing happened in Hungerford for the same reason, so most of the comments in the Chasing Pavements section in the Hungerford Area Weekly News column for 7 April 2022 apply here.

• His report also covers a couple of issues in Burghfield: the Parish Council’s planning application for the pavilion and concerns about the Sovereign tenancy on Recreation Road.

• Click here to read the April 2022 edition of Padworth Newsletter which, as ever, also has information from neighbouring parishes.

• For the latest news from theBenefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton which covers updates and events across Theale area please visit their website and click on Letters, Notices & Magazine.

• Latest news from Aldermaston Parish Council can also be found on their website aldermaston.co.uk and this month includes the celebration of a new florist and children’s nursery in the village.

• Theale district councillor Alan Macro has recently published his latest e-newsletter, which you can read here.

Windmill Court

Burghfield and Mortimer ward member Graham Bridgman had this to say in his latest newsletter: “Having become aware of concerns raised about Sovereign Housing’s plans for redeveloping Windmill Court, I have been (and am continuing to be) in discussions with Sovereign, WBD and Windmill Court residents.  I know that residents who have contacted me were due to meet with Sovereign and I await the outcome of those meetings.  I also know that, as well as attending the next Parish Council meeting, Sovereign will be undertaking some community engagement, so I await developments (and the planning application).”

Not being familiar with this story, I asked him for a bit of background. It seems that Sovereign stood accused in some quarters of leaving the residents to solve matters themselves, claims that may not be entirely fair. Sovereign is now assuring everyone that it will be doing all it can to support and help the residents in relocating. I’m sure that the Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council – and Councillor Bridgman – will ensure that this is no mere PR exercise.

Community notices

Healthwatch Berkshire invites you to have your say on Covid testing. This survey will show how many people are still relying on and using Covid testing equipment in daily life and whether or not it is as important as it has been in the past. You can find the survey here.

• Theale will be hosting a Village Fete on Sunday 5 June between noon and 4.30pm on Theale Recreational Ground to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. With promises of traditional games, an arena display and funfair rides. Stall-holders who are interested should contact the Parish Council for further information.

• West Berkshire Library Service is appealing for local volunteers at Mortimer and Burghfield Common libraries. Please see this post on Facebook, call 01635 519533 or email volunteerinyourlibrary@westberks.gov.uk for further information.

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 Family Fun Day at The Falcon Pub.

Sun 8 May Burghfield May Fayre 2022

Sun 5 June Theale Village Fete. Stall-holders who are interested should contact the Parish Council for further information.

• Regular events

• Holy Trinity Church is seeking donations for the Foodbank that is open on Sundays and Wednesdays from 9am to 6pm. With another rise in people’s need for foodbank support, please consider donating even one item a week so they can support those who are really struggling. You can find out what has been requested each week by clicking here.

 Theale Library hosts in-person events for people of all ages. To find out more information on future clubs and events click here to visit the West Berkshire Library Facebook page or email Theale Library at thealelibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

Mortimer Library also host regular events, such as their Rhymetime group who meet every Tuesday (during school term time) at 2.30pm.

Walking for Health meet every Tuesday at the community centre car park opposite the Horse & Groom, Mortimer. There are three walk lengths to chose from As mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

 Holy Trinity Church, Theale is open for West Berks Food Bank donations on Sundays and Wednesdays from 10.30am to 6pm. Please see the church’s website for regularly updated lists of what is most needed at the food bank.

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 16).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the cafe at Rosebourne, Aldermaston between 10am to 11.30am on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Further details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 8)

 Aldermaston & Wasing Ladies Group meets on the second Thursday of each month from 2pm at Aldermaston Parish Hall, please see Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (p 3, February 2022 ) for further information.

Padworth and Aldermaston WI meets at Padworth Village Hall on the third Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm. Further information on the group can be found in Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 155 February 2022 Edition p 3).

Holy Trinity Church, Theale free choir group rehearses on Thursdays between 7pm to 8pm and performs at Sunday services from 10.30am. All are welcome to join. Send enquiries to office@holytrinitytheale.org.uk.

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 Padworth Parish Council took place on 14 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; the Village Hall; planning matters; the annual parish meeting (7pm on 16 May); and a fallen tree leaning across power lines which the landowner “had not yet dealt with” (seems like an urgent matter to me). To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council took place on 10 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included the annual parish meeting (26 April); planning matters, including the lack of orange site notices (this is not the only parish where this has been mentioned recently); the greening campaign; village communications; the Burghfield to Mortimer cycleway; drainage and manholes; the NDP; the jubilee; the persistent complainants policy (which suggests that there is at least persistent complainer in the parish, whether with good reason tr not I’m not competent to judge); financial matters; District Councillor Bridgman’s report; mean’s sheds; and car parking. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. See this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Aldermaston Parish Council took place on 8 March and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: plans for the jubilee; planning matters; speeding in the parish; the over-use of the A340; an inspection at the Manor House; and parking at the Rugby Club. 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 Theale Parish Council took place on 7 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: spoof email purporting to come from the Chairman; dog bins; the Clerk’s update; a report from District Councillor Alan Macro; planning matters; a motion about moving to bi-monthly meetings (not carried); and the distribution of the funds from the 2021 Christmas event. 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 Englefield Parish Council took place on 7 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters (including the 2022-23 budget); planning matters; the jubilee; and a review of the risks and asset registers. 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 Burghfield Parish Council took place on 3 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: committee reports; the report from ward member Graham Bridgman; the Community Hub; the May Fayre; and financial matters. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council took place on 1 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 for 2021 and here for 2022.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here for 2021 and here for 2022.  Click here for details of Beenham’s Community Plan.

• Theale area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council and Burghfield Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 31 March 2022

This week’s news

• The April Chaddleworth News has just been published and you can read it here. Items covered include history, the jubilee, cricket, the Lent much fundraiser and news and event details from the village’s organisations. Please contact chaddnews@gmail.com if you want to be added to the circulation list for the digital edition. You can see the March issue here.

• Compton Preschool is hosting an Easter Eggstravaganza which will host a disco, Easter crafts and a chance to meet the Easter Bunny on 1 April between 4 and 6pm. Entry is £2 per child and includes an Easter Egg. For more information, visit the website here or call them on 01635 579 171 and email them at info@comptonpreschool.co.uk.

• Details for Hampstead Norreys local celebrations from 2 to 5 June for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee are available to view online and include community lunches, parties, choirs, parades and a barn dance. Please keep an eye on the Hampstead Norreys village website and Hampstead Norreys Community Facebook page for future event details.

• The March 2022 issue of the Brickleton Newsletter has been released and contains information about Easter celebrations, Parish Council updates and Parish Council minutes from the Meeting held on 14 March. Read the newsletter here.

• The Upstream Spring 2022 Newsletter is out now and can be viewed here. Items covered include Volunteer Dates, Local farmer updates, The Annual Green Meeting of the West Berkshire Countryside Society, The History of the Holies, and some walking routes.

West Ilsley’s March Newsletter has been released and you can read that here. Items covered include deadhead flower collections, the Queen’s Jubilee plans, The preloved Boutique, Ilsley Evergreens, The Autumn Group and an Easter Family Bingo.

Speeding and potholes in Westridge Green

I’m not directly familiar with this issue which was raised most recently at the meeting of Aldworth Parish Council on 16 March. I am, however, aware that many other parishes across the Penny Post area are experiencing various problems with speeding and related matters and some feel that they are not getting the support or reaction the situation merits from their parent authority. The item was addressed in the above-mentioned minutes and has been used here verbatim.

“After what was thought to be a successful meeting with Chris Vidler from West Berkshire Council (Senior Highways Engineer) about improving road safety on the B4009 through Westridge Green, we were all disappointed to receive an email stating that a speed limit review would not be entertained.

“Concerns were raised that other promises had not been fulfilled, such as the speed monitoring devices and the review of signage from Aldworth to Westridge Green. It was agreed to write to Chris Vidler, Councillor. Alan Law and the Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Barber, with evidence of the recent accidents, the promises made and the lack of support we have received. The clerk will prepare a draft letter and circulate via email for amendments to be made before final submission.”

Aldworth PC’s displeasure with WBC’s highways team did not end there. Later in the meeting, this further observation was recorded:

“Potholes continue to be a problem, particularly along the B4009, near the Four Points (trenches at the edge of the road) and between Westridge Green and Aldworth. It was agreed that we are continuously being ignored and all potholes will be re-logged on the WBC portal.”

If anyone from WBC’s Highways Department is reading this, they might want to get in touch with Aldworth Parish council before it declares UDI.

Community notices

• See Compton Parish Council’s website for a list of current scams going around in the area that you should be aware of.

• Recovery in Mind and The Downland Practice host a free one hour introduction session for local adults wishing to further their knowledge on wellbeing and mental health. Please contact pm.downland@nhs.net to book your place.

• Yattendon Classic Vehicle Day is looking for volunteer first aiders for their 2022 event on 26 June. Please contact Lyn on 07774 257539 or email yattendonclassicvehicle@outlook.com.

• Compton Karate based at Aldworth Village Hall is a small and friendly dojo that welcomes new members.

• Aldworth Parish Council would still like to hear from any residents who may have ideas or wishes for what the parish can do to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. An online survey can be answered.

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 30 Apr, 7pm, Pre-Fete pop up party at the Brightwalton playing field.

Sunday 1 May Brightwalton Fete at the Village Hall.

• Regular events and groups

Brickleton Babes Baby and Toddler Group in Brightwalton Village Hall. Join their facebook group for details.

Autumn Group regular meetings include the Hobbies Club at the Wilkins Centre, Compton. Visit their facebook page for details. Anyone from surrounding villages very welcome.

• Aldworth Art/Painting Group at the Aldworth Village Hall on first and third Tuesday of every month from 9.30am to noon. Details on the East Ilsley Communicator (issue 105, p 21) here.

 Aldworth Craft Group meet at Aldworth Village Hall on the second and fourth Monday of every month (within the school term time) from 10am to noon. More details in the East Ilsley Communicator (issue 105, p 16), which you can download here.

• Hampstead Norreys Village Hall club and event information is on Hampstead Norreys Community website.

• Ilsley Under Fives meet every Wednesday between 10am to 11.30am at various locations throughout the Ilsley villages. Please join their Facebook group  or a see details here.

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 Aldworth Parish Council took place on 16 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: potential measures to make the B4009 through Westridge Green safer (see also separate section above); potholes (ditto); planning matters; the playground inspection; the Pangbourne Neighbourhood Action Group; the jubilee; financial matters; and the risk assessment. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of West Ilsley Parish Council took place on 14 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the SID; the wildflower meadow; planning matters; financial matters; the closure of the WIPC Trust; the Village Hall; and a reminder of riparian responsibilities. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Brightwalton Parish Council took place on 14 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the ASPIRE project; the Village Hall; superfast broadband; the cricket nets; wildflowers; the jubilee; the playing field; planning matters; and financial matters. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of East Ilsley Parish Council took place on 8 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; the playground inspection; the Friends of the Ridgeway charity; the jubilee; the risk assessment; financial matters; the East Ilsley Communicator; the BT phone cable at Broad Street; trimming the hornbeam trees; and chipping a fallen ash tree. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meetings of Ashampstead Parish Council took place on 7 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: nothing to report from the police; footpaths and byways; speeding; road maintenance; planning matters; the open spaces review; financial matters; the jubilee; and the annual parish meeting (16 May 2022). To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Compton Parish Council took place on 7 March and you can read the minutes here. (Note: this still links to the agenda, despite the weblink saying it’ll take you to the minutes the minutes, a glitch that will doubtless soon be fixed). Items covered included: reports from working parties; planning matters; financial matters; trees; CCTVs; a proposed greening campaign; a proposed 20mph speed limit; vandalism and ASB. There was also a two-minute Zoom meeting on 28 March to conduct some formal business, the minutes of which you can see here. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. Please click here for the latest on Compton’s neighbourhood development plan (which has now been ratified).

• The most recent meeting of Chaddleworth Parish Council took place on 1 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Baker’s Trust; planning matters; financial matters; the continuing saga of Norris Lane; verges and drainage; the jubilee; the defibrillator; the annual parish meeting (3 May); various maintenance tasks; colour in the newsletter; the jubilee beacon; and the co-option of a new member. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

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

• The most recent meeting of Beedon Parish Council took place on 13 January and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. Please click here for details of the planning applications currently active in the parish.

• The most recent meeting of Peasemore Parish Council (an extraordinary one) took place on 29 September and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here

• Compton & Downlands area council contacts

Parishes: Hampstead Norreys Parish Council, Compton Parish CouncilAshampstead Parish CouncilBeedon Parish CouncilChaddleworth Parish CouncilBrightwalton Parish CouncilPeasemore Parish Council, Aldworth Parish CouncilWest Ilsley Parish Council and East Ilsley Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Archive

Thursday 24 March 2022

This week’s news

Theale district councillor Alan Macro is currently petitioning West Berkshire Council for a pedestrian crossing at the eastern end of Theale High Street. This aims to make crossing safer for all, but will be particularly beneficial to older people who need to access facilities such as the shop and pharmacy. If you would like to sign the petition you can do so here.

• Aldermaston Parish Council has been asked by Berkshire Digital Infrastructure Group to help advertise its Digital Survey. The Berkshire Digital Infrastructure Group represents all six Berkshire Local Authorities, working to delivery its digital strategy to help better connect Berkshire. They want as many residents as possible to complete the anonymous survey, which can be found here. You have until 8 April to have your say.

Burghfield and Mortimer district councillor Graham Bridgman has recently published his latest e-newsletter, which you can read here.

• Holy Trinity Church is seeking donations for the Foodbank that is open on Sundays and Wednesdays from 9am to 6pm. With another rise in people’s need for foodbank support, please consider donating even one item a week so they can support those who are really struggling. You can find out what has been requested each week by clicking here.

• Theale will be hosting a Village Fete on Sunday 5 June between noon and 4.30pm on Theale Recreational Ground to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. With promises of traditional games, an arena display and funfair rides. Stall-holders who are interested should contact the Parish Council for further information.

Healthwatch Berkshire invites you to have your say on Covid testing. This survey will show how many people are still relying on and using Covid testing equipment in daily life and whether or not it is as important as it has been in the past. You can find the survey here.

• Theale Parish Council is appealing for volunteers for the charity Read Easy which help adults who cannot read to a functional level. In West Berkshire alone there are estimated to be 5,000 people in this situation. For more information please contact Mark Ingvorsen on 07748 276959 or at swbpioneer@readeasy.org.uk.

• Click here to read March 2022 edition of Padworth Newsletter which, as ever, also has information from neighbouring parishes.

• For the latest news from the Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton which covers updates and events across Theale area please visit their website and click on Letters, Notices & Magazine.

• Latest news from Aldermaston Parish Council can also be found on their website aldermaston.co.uk and this month includes the celebration of a new florist and children’s nursery in the village.

• Theale district councillor Alan Macro has recently published his latest e-newsletter, which you can read here.

Community notices

Mortimer Village Partnership (MVP) hosts its Annual Affiliates Social meeting on Saturday 19 March between 5pm to 7pm at Mortimer Community Centre for locals to meet those who work on the village website, plus offer any feedback to MVP on how they can better represent the comings and goings within the village and surrounding areas.

• Please support Bag2School collections to raise funds for the PTAs of St John’s School, Mary’s School  and The Willink School. Home collections are occurring on Monday 21 March and school collection on 22 March. All items such as clothes, shoes, accessories, bedding, curtains, towels, cuddly toys can be donated.

• West Berkshire Library Service is appealing for local volunteers at Mortimer and Burghfield Common libraries. Please see this post on Facebook, call 01635 519533 or email volunteerinyourlibrary@westberks.gov.uk for further information.

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 25 Mar to Sat 2 Apr Aldermaston Players.

Sat 26 Mar Skip Johnson Memorial Hike.

Sat 26 Mar Toy Library 10am to 11am Mortimer Methodist Church.

Sat 2 Apr Jumble Sale at Padworth Village Hall.

Sun 8 May Burghfield May Fayre 2022

Sun 5 June Theale Village Fete. Stall-holders who are interested should contact the Parish Council for further information.

• Regular events

 Theale Library hosts in-person events for people of all ages. To find out more information on future clubs and events click here to visit the West Berkshire Library Facebook page or email Theale Library at thealelibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

Mortimer Library also host regular events, such as their Rhymetime group who meet every Tuesday (during school term time) at 2.30pm.

Walking for Health meet every Tuesday at the community centre car park opposite the Horse & Groom, Mortimer. There are three walk lengths to chose from As mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

 Holy Trinity Church, Theale is open for West Berks Food Bank donations on Sundays and Wednesdays from 10.30am to 6pm. Please see the church’s website for regularly updated lists of what is most needed at the food bank.

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 16).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the cafe at Rosebourne, Aldermaston between 10am to 11.30am on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Further details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 8)

 Aldermaston & Wasing Ladies Group meets on the second Thursday of each month from 2pm at Aldermaston Parish Hall, please see Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (p 3, February 2022 ) for further information.

Padworth and Aldermaston WI meets at Padworth Village Hall on the third Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm. Further information on the group can be found in Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 155 February 2022 Edition p 3).

Holy Trinity Church, Theale free choir group rehearses on Thursdays between 7pm to 8pm and performs at Sunday services from 10.30am. All are welcome to join. Send enquiries to office@holytrinitytheale.org.uk.

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 Padworth Parish Council took place on 14 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; the Village Hall; planning matters; the annual parish meeting (7pm on 16 May); and a fallen tree leaning across power lines which the landowner “had not yet dealt with” (seems like an urgent matter to me). To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Aldermaston Parish Council took place on 8 March and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: plans for the jubilee; planning matters; speeding in the parish; the over-use of the A340; an inspection at the Manor House; and parking at the Rugby Club. 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 Theale Parish Council took place on 7 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: spoof email purporting to come from the Chairman; dog bins; the Clerk’s update; a report from District Councillor Alan Macro; planning matters; a motion about moving to bi-monthly meetings (not carried); and the distribution of the funds from the 2021 Christmas event. 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 Englefield Parish Council took place on 7 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters (including the 2022-23 budget); planning matters; the jubilee; and a review of the risks and asset registers. 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 Burghfield Parish Council took place on 3 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: committee reports; the report from ward member Graham Bridgman; the Community Hub; the May Fayre; and financial matters. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council took place on 1 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; continued discussion about the “impasse” surrounding the management of the Village Hall; the so-called “Village Hall roof incident” involving asbestos removal; a report from the ward member; varying opinions on the quality of the mobile coverage in the parish; the auubal parish assembly (Friday 22 April); dog bins; highways; the jubilee; the emergency plan; litter picking; financial matters; and the youth shelter. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here for 2021 and here for 2022.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council took place on 10 February and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. See this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here for 2021 and here for 2022.  Click here for details of Beenham’s Community Plan.

• Theale area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council and Burghfield Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 17 March 2022

This week’s news

• The Annual Spring Clean of Mortimer is this Saturday 19 March from 1pm till 4pm.  Volunteers are requested to sign in at the Fairground opposite the Horse & Groom pub. All current Covid guidelines will be followed during the event. Please bring your own hand sanitiser and gloves if required, however, litter-pickers and bags will be provided on the day. Please visit mortimervillage.org.uk for further information.

Theale district councillor Alan Macro is currently petitioning West Berkshire Council for a pedestrian crossing at the eastern end of Theale High Street. This aims to make crossing safer for all, but will be particularly beneficial to older people who need to access facilities such as the shop and pharmacy. If you would like to sign the petition you can do so here.

• Aldermaston Parish Council has been asked by Berkshire Digital Infrastructure Group to help advertise their Digital Survey. The Berkshire Digital Infrastructure Group represents all six Berkshire Local Authorities, working to delivery its digital strategy to help better connect Berkshire. They want as many residents as possible to complete the anonymous survey, which can be found here. You have until 8 April to have your say.

• Theale district councillor Alan Macro has recently published his latest e-newsletter, which you can read here.

Burghfield and Mortimer district councillor Graham Bridgman has recently published his latest e-newsletter, which you can read here.

• As mentioned previously, due to complaints about rogue golf balls ending up in the neighbours’ backyards, new nets are to be fitted at Theale Golf Club‘s 10th hole. Supposedly to stand at 8 metres tall, the netting is proposed to be screened by new planting. See full story on Newbury Today.

• Theale will be hosting a Village Fete on Sunday 5 June between noon and 4.30pm on Theale Recreational Ground to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. With promises of traditional games, an arena display and funfair rides. Stall-holders who are interested should contact the Parish Council for further information.

• Theale Parish Council is appealing for volunteers for the charity Read Easy who help adults who cannot read to a functional level. In West Berkshire alone there are estimated to be 5,000 people in this situation. For more information please contact Mark Ingvorsen on 07748 276959 or at swbpioneer@readeasy.org.uk.

• Click here to read March 2022 edition of Padworth Newsletter which, as ever, also has information from neighbouring parishes.

• For the latest news from the Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton which covers updates and events across Theale area please visit their website and click on Letters, Notices & Magazine.

• Latest news from Aldermaston Parish Council can also be found on their website aldermaston.co.uk and this month includes the celebration of a new florist and children’s nursery in the village.

Arboreal rights

This week’s NWN reports on p14 of the tale of a pine tree in Mortimer which has become the centre of a local storm. Not Storm Eunice or any other recent one, which it survived: but a storm of protest by nearby residents who thought that it was ugly, lopsided, potentially dangerous and that infringed their human rights. The idea of a tree doing this was new to me although the an abuse of arboreal rights by people takes place on a daily basis in the Amazon rainforest. This tree, however, had powerful friends in the form of a Tree Preservation Order and WBC’s Tree Officer Jon Thomas. After a long period of emails to and fro, surveys and reports, the matter was recently elevated to the supreme court that is WBC’s Eastern Area Planning Committee which decided that the TPO, and the tree, should stay put.

I must declare a kind of interest in this. For about seven years we conducted delicate negotiations with our neighbours, with whom we got on very well, about some birch trees on their bank of the river. In summer these blocked out a lot of our light and, in autumn, deposited leaves all over the garden. One of them did look a bit dangerous where some pollarding years before had produced a possible weak spot about thirty feet (roughly half-way) up, which I mentioned. This fear was given extra force a year or so ago when part of the willow tree in the meadow about fifty yards away snapped off in a high wind at about midnight, causing a noise that pushed by heart rate into the low hundreds. The two birch trees have now  gone, the plan being to replace them with lower vegetation that will also provide more privacy. We hadn’t thought of using the human-rights argument, though. I’ll save that for next time.

This article in Newbury Today, reporting on an earlier stage in the conflict, refers to the risk of a tree falling and injuring someone. It offers the reassuring news that “the probability of being killed by a falling tree (or part of one) is extremely low – at one in 10 million per annum.” I’m a bit unclear what this means: do you need to walk under a tree 10 million times before you’re likely to get hit, or is one in every 10 million deaths related to falling trees? About 55 people a year are admitted to A&E as a result of full or partial arboreal failure. The article goes on to say that this compares to “2.9 million “leisure-related” admissions, including 260,000 related to footballs, 10,900 involving children’s swings and 2,200 involving wheelie bins, according to the National Tree Safety Group.” Given these statistics, I’d have thought that anyone working for the Tree Safety Group would hardly be rushed off their feet.

Other comparisons also exist. This website reveals that 16 people a day are killed in the USA due to texting while driving and about 450 people a year are killed by falling out of bed. Other hazards include icicles (100 people a year in Russia), dogs (34 people a year in the USA – I would have thought it would be a lot more) and, oddest of all, vending machines, responsible for 13 deaths a year (whether in the USA, somewhere else or worldwide the article doesn’t specify). Is there, however, a Bed or a Vending Machine Safety Group? If they exist, now would be the time for them to make their activities more widely known.

Community notices

Mortimer Village Partnership (MVP) hosts its Annual Affiliates Social meeting on Saturday 19 March between 5pm to 7pm at Mortimer Community Centre for locals to meet those who work on the village website, plus offer any feedback to MVP on how they can better represent the comings and goings within the village and surrounding areas.

• Please support Bag2School collections to raise funds for the PTAs of St John’s School, Mary’s School  and The Willink School. Home collections are occurring on Monday 21 March and school collection on 22 March. All items such as clothes, shoes, accessories, bedding, curtains, towels, cuddly toys can be donated.

• West Berkshire Library Service is appealing for local volunteers at Mortimer and Burghfield Common libraries. Please see this post on Facebook, call 01635 519533 or email volunteerinyourlibrary@westberks.gov.uk for further information.

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 19 Mar Annual Village Spring Clean 1pm to 4pm Meet near The Horse & Groom, Mortimer.

• Sat 19 Mar MVP Affiliates Social 5pm to 7pm Mortimer Community Centre.

• Sun 20 Mar Mortimer Emporium Market 11am to 3pm St John’s Village Hall, Mortimer Common.

Mon 21 Mar Mobile Library at Jubilee Day Nursery. (p11 on pdf)

Fri 25 Mar to Sat 2 Apr Aldermaston Players.

Sat 26 Mar Skip Johnson Memorial Hike.

Sat 26 Mar Toy Library 10am to 11am Mortimer Methodist Church.

Sat 2 Apr Jumble Sale at Padworth Village Hall.

Sun 8 May Burghfield May Fayre 2022

Sun 5 June Theale Village Fete. Stall-holders who are interested should contact the Parish Council for further information.

• Regular events

 Theale Library hosts in-person events for people of all ages. To find out more information on future clubs and events click here to visit the West Berkshire Library Facebook page or email Theale Library at thealelibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

Mortimer Library also host regular events, such as their Rhymetime group who meet every Tuesday (during school term time) at 2.30pm.

Walking for Health meet every Tuesday at the community centre car park opposite the Horse & Groom, Mortimer. There are three walk lengths to chose from As mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

 Holy Trinity Church, Theale is open for West Berks Food Bank donations on Sundays and Wednesdays from 10.30am to 6pm. Please see the church’s website for regularly updated lists of what is most needed at the food bank.

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 16).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the cafe at Rosebourne, Aldermaston between 10am to 11.30am on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Further details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 8)

 Aldermaston & Wasing Ladies Group meets on the second Thursday of each month from 2pm at Aldermaston Parish Hall, please see Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (p 3, February 2022 ) for further information.

Padworth and Aldermaston WI meets at Padworth Village Hall on the third Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm. Further information on the group can be found in Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 155 February 2022 Edition p 3).

Holy Trinity Church, Theale free choir group rehearses on Thursdays between 7pm to 8pm and performs at Sunday services from 10.30am. All are welcome to join. Send enquiries to office@holytrinitytheale.org.uk.

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 Padworth Parish Council took place on 14 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; the Village Hall; planning matters; the annual parish meeting (7pm on 16 May); and a fallen tree leaning across power lines which the landowner “had not yet dealt with” (seems like an urgent matter to me). To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Aldermaston Parish Council took place on 8 March and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: plans for the jubilee; planning matters; speeding in the parish; the over-use of the A340; an inspection at the Manor House; and parking at the Rugby Club. 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 Theale Parish Council took place on 7 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: spoof email purporting to come from the Chairman; dog bins; the Clerk’s update; a report from District Councillor Alan Macro; planning matters; a motion about moving to bi-monthly meetings (not carried); and the distribution of the funds from the 2021 Christmas event. 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 Englefield Parish Council took place on 7 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters (including the 2022-23 budget); planning matters; the jubilee; and a review of the risks and asset registers. 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 Bradfield Parish Council took place on 1 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; continued discussion about the “impasse” surrounding the management of the Village Hall; the so-called “Village Hall roof incident” involving asbestos removal; a report from the ward member; varying opinions on the quality of the mobile coverage in the parish; the auubal parish assembly (Friday 22 April); dog bins; highways; the jubilee; the emergency plan; litter picking; financial matters; and the youth shelter. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here for 2021 and here for 2022.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council took place on 10 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Mortimer to Burghfield Cycleway and Footpath; Speedwatch; the WBC Library Review; a complaint about SMPC’s maintenance of its historical records; planning matters (including the current lack of orange planning notices); the Greening campaign; the jubilee; reports from working parties and committees; the neighbourhood development plan; the annual parish meeting (Monday 25 April); a reply from Thames Water; fitness equipment; grant awards; planning and licensing matters; financial matters; crime statistics; and health and safety issues. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. See this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council took place on 3 February 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 Beenham Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here for 2021 and here for 2022.  Click here for details of Beenham’s Community Plan.

• Theale area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council and Burghfield Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 10 March 2022

This week’s news

• Theale district councillor Alan Macro has recently published his latest e-newsletter, which you can read here.

Burghfield and Mortimer district councillor Graham Bridgman has recently published his latest e-newsletter, which you can read here.

• Due to complaints about rogue golf balls ending up in the neighbours’ backyards, new nets are to be fitted at Theale Golf Club‘s 10th hole. Supposedly to stand at 8 metres tall, the netting is proposed to be screened by new planting. See full story on Newbury Today.

• A wonky pine tree is unsettling Mortimer residents on The Bevers as they fear it might fall down at any given moment. However a council tree officer has claimed that the risk of the 100-year-old pine tree falling is extremely low and the chance of anyone coming to harm is one in 10 million. The fate of the tree will be decided at the next planning meeting.

• Theale Parish Council has set out an appeal for volunteers for the charity Read Easy as they try to help adults who cannot read to a functional level. In West Berkshire alone there are estimated to be 5,000 people in this situation. For more information please contact Mark Ingvorsen on 07748 276959 or at swbpioneer@readeasy.org.uk.

• Quick reminder the Annual Spring Clean of Mortimer is on Saturday 19 March from 1pm till 4pm.  Volunteers are requested to sign in at the Fairground opposite the Horse & Groom pub. All current Covid guidelines will be followed during the event. Please bring your own hand sanitiser and gloves if required, however, litter-pickers and bags will be provided on the day. Please visit mortimervillage.org.uk for further information.

• The Burghfield May Fayre 2022 will be held on Sunday 8 May, as announced on the burghfieldresidents.org website. Applications for fayre stalls allocation can now be made via the website, with the Funfair, Dog Show, Arena Displays, Craft Stalls, Café, Food Stalls and The Bar all returning for this year’s event. Further details and updates will be released shortly.

• Theale will also be hosting a Village Fete on Sunday 5 June between noon and 4.30pm on Theale Recreational Ground to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. With promises of traditional games, an arena display and funfair rides. Stall-holders who are interested should contact the Parish Council for further information.

• Click here to read March 2022 edition of Padworth Newsletter which, as ever, also has information from neighbouring parishes.

• For the latest news from the Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton which covers updates and events across Theale area please visit their website and click on Letters, Notices & Magazine.

• Latest news from Aldermaston Parish Council can also be found on their website aldermaston.co.uk and this month includes the celebration of a new florist and children’s nursery in the village.

Theale Green’s award

Theale Green School has picked up a prestigious national award at the Youth Sport Trust’s 2022 Conference for helping its students to improve their wellbeing and achievement through focusing on physical and mental health. The School was presented with the national children’s charity’s Outstanding Secondary Practice Award during the YST Annual Conference in Coventry earlier this month and accepted by Headteacher Joanna Halliday, Tony Blinco, Director of Sport and PE and Maxine Smiles Cooke, School Games Organiser..

A West Berkshire Council statement explains that “the award recognises a school which has harnessed the power of physical activity, PE and sport to transform the lives of young people and put wellbeing at its heart. Theale Green School pledged to join the Well Schools Movement over a year ago, which is a national community of professionals and stakeholders who believe that wellbeing should be at the heart of education. It has used its Well School framework to tackle existing societal issues through their Respectful Behaviours Manifesto and complemented the Well School ethos with investment in staff to drive the work forward.

“Over the last year, Theale Green has changed the way it kept young people active, using PE to re-engage students in the summer term and running a whole school community sports day to help achieve this. It also gave students a say in shaping an extra-curricular programme that would increase participation for disadvantaged students. In addition, a group of students have been receiving mentoring from athlete mentors to develop life skills and increase their confidence, self-belief and motivation.”

Congratulations from us to all those involved in this achievement. You can read WBC’s statement in full here.

Community notices

• Volunteers requested for St Mary’s Church, Burghfield’s Community Work Party on Saturday 12 March. Please see a Facebook post from St Mary’s Church which further explains the importance of the work party.

• Please support Bag2School collections to raise funds for the PTAs of St John’s School, Mary’s School  and The Willink School. Home collections are occurring on Monday 21 March and school collection on 22 March. All items such as clothes, shoes, accessories, bedding, curtains, towels, cuddly toys can be donated.

• West Berkshire Library Service is appealing for local volunteers at Mortimer and Burghfield Common libraries. Please see this post on Facebook, call 01635 519533 or email volunteerinyourlibrary@westberks.gov.uk for further information.

• Thatcham historian Nick Young is giving an online talk, hosted by West Berkshire Museum, entitled Last Orders about the history of pubs in Thatcham including long gone hostelries such as the Bell, the Bull and the Shah. Book your tickets here for this convivial event at 7pm on Wednesday 16 March.

Mortimer Village Partnership (MVP) host their Annual Affiliates Social meeting on Saturday 19 March between 5pm to 7pm at Mortimer Community Centre for locals to meet those who work on the village website, plus offer any feedback to MVP on how they can better represent the comings and goings within the village and surrounding areas.

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 12 Mar Beenham Market.

• Sat 12 Mar Churchyard Community Work Party 10am St Mary’s Church, Burghfield.

Wed 16 Mar Mobile Library at Wharfside Car Park. (p11 on pdf)

Wed 16 Mar The History of Thatcham’s pubs, online talk (see section above).

• Sat 19 Mar Annual Village Spring Clean 1pm to 4pm Meet near The Horse & Groom, Mortimer.

• Sat 19 Mar MVP Affiliates Social 5pm to 7pm Mortimer Community Centre.

• Sun 20 Mar Mortimer Emporium Market 11am to 3pm St John’s Village Hall, Mortimer Common.

Mon 21 Mar Mobile Library at Jubilee Day Nursery. (p11 on pdf)

Fri 25 Mar to Sat 2 Apr Aldermaston Players.

Sat 26 Mar Skip Johnson Memorial Hike.

Sat 26 Mar Toy Library 10am to 11am Mortimer Methodist Church.

Sat 2 Apr Jumble Sale at Padworth Village Hall.

Sun 10 Jul Padworth & Aldermaston Wharf Craft & Produce Show.

• Regular events

 Theale Library hosts in-person events for people of all ages. To find out more information on future clubs and events click here to visit the West Berkshire Library Facebook page or email Theale Library at thealelibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

Mortimer Library also host regular events, such as their Rhymetime group who meet every Tuesday (during school term time) at 2.30pm.

Walking for Health meet every Tuesday at the community centre car park opposite the Horse & Groom, Mortimer. There are three walk lengths to chose from As mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

 Holy Trinity Church, Theale is open for West Berks Food Bank donations on Sundays and Wednesdays from 10.30am to 6pm. Please see the church’s website for regularly updated lists of what is most needed at the food bank.

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 16).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the cafe at Rosebourne, Aldermaston between 10am to 11.30am on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Further details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 8)

 Aldermaston & Wasing Ladies Group meets on the second Thursday of each month from 2pm at Aldermaston Parish Hall, please see Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (p 3, February 2022 ) for further information.

• Padworth Village Hall hosts Padworth and Aldermaston WI on the third Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm. Further information on the group can be found in Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 155 February 2022 Edition p 3).

Holy Trinity Church, Theale free choir group rehearses on Thursdays between 7pm to 8pm and performs at Sunday services from 10.30am. All are welcome to join. Send enquiries to office@holytrinitytheale.org.uk.

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 Theale Parish Council took place on 7 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: spoof email purporting to come from the Chairman; dog bins; the Clerk’s update; a report from District Councillor Alan Macro; planning matters; a motion about moving to bi-monthly meetings (not carried); and the distribution of the funds from the 2021 Christmas event. 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 Aldermaston Parish Council took place on 8 March and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: plans for the jubilee; planning matters; speeding in the parish; the over-use of the A340; an inspection at the Manor House; and parking at the Rugby Club. 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 Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council took place on 10 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Mortimer to Burghfield Cycleway and Footpath; Speedwatch; the WBC Library Review; a complaint about SMPC’s maintenance of its historical records; planning matters (including the current lack of orange planning notices); the Greening campaign; the jubilee; reports from working parties and committees; the neighbourhood development plan; the annual parish meeting (Monday 25 April); a reply from Thames Water; fitness equipment; grant awards; planning and licensing matters; financial matters; crime statistics; and health and safety issues. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• See this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council took place on 10 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.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here for 2021 and here for 2022.

• Click here for details of Beenham’s Community Plan.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council took place on 6 January 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 Bradfield Parish Council took place on 4 January 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 for 2021 and here for 2022.

• Theale area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council and Burghfield Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 3 March 2022

This week’s news

Theale Medical Centre recently released a notice of Dr Penny Brooke’s retirement announcement after a whopping 29 years at the Centre. We at Penny Post wish her a happy retirement and thanks for the hard work put in over the years.

Burghfield and Mortimer ward member Graham Bridgman has recently published his latest e-newsletter, which you can read here. This includes, in the parish news section at the foot, an update on the Energy Recovery Centre in Burghfield and two sets of congratulations – to the Mortimer Lunch Club for b3eing a winner of a WBC Community Champions Award; and to Mortimer St Mary’s Junior School for achieving a “good” Ofsted rating.

• Padworth Jumble Sale will be returning to Padworth Village Hall this Saturday 5 March. Please see this month’s Padworth Newsletter (page 2) for more details. Bring a coat just in case the weather doesn’t hold out.

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

• Quick reminder the Annual Spring Clean of Mortimer is on Saturday 19 March from 1pm till 4pm.  Volunteers are requested to sign in at the Fairground opposite the Horse & Groom pub. All current Covid guidelines will be followed during the event. Please bring your own hand sanitiser and gloves if required, however litter-pickers and bags will be provided on the day. Please visit mortimervillage.org.uk for further information.

• Another cleaning work party will be held for any helpful volunteers to lend a hand in keeping our local area looking spick and span. St Mary’s Church, Burghfield have organised a Churchyard Community Work Party on Saturday 12 March, who will initially meet at the church from 10am. Please see a Facebook post from St Mary’s Church which further explains the importance of the work party.

• The Burghfield May Fayre 2022 will be held on Sunday 8 May, as announced on the burghfieldresidents.org website. Applications for fayre stalls allocation can now be made via the website, with the Funfair, Dog Show, Arena Displays, Craft Stalls, Café, Food Stalls and The Bar all returning for this year’s event. Further details and updates will be released shortly.

• Theale will also be hosting a Village Fete on Sunday 5 June between noon and 4.30pm on Theale Recreational Ground to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. With promises of traditional games, an arena display and funfair rides. Stall-holders who are interested should contact the Parish Council for further information.

• Click here to read March 2022 edition of Padworth Newsletter which, as ever, also has information from neighbouring parishes.

• The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton also published its February 2022 newsletter, which covers updates and events across Theale area.

• Another newsletter for February 2022, this time from Aldermaston Parish Council. This month’s edition includes; Cedar Lodge planning application, an update on Aldermaston’s skate ramp, the repair of the Lock-Up, plus many more updates from across Aldermaston and its neighbouring areas.

Community notices

• The Mrs Williams Pre-School at Burghfield Common is facing potential closure due to rising costs and low pupil numbers, caused largely by the pandemic. Donations can be made via their GoFundMe page.

Bag2School collections will be taking place in March, which aims to raise funds for the PTAs of St John’s School, Mary’s School  and The Willink School. Home collections are occurring on Monday 21 March and school collection on 22 March. All items such as clothes, shoes, accessories, bedding, curtains, towels, cuddly toys can be donated.

• West Berkshire Library Service is appealing for local volunteers at Mortimer and Burghfield Common libraries. Please see this post on Facebook, call 01635 519533 or email volunteerinyourlibrary@westberks.gov.uk for further information.

Mortimer Village Partnership (MVP) host their Annual Affiliates Social meeting on Saturday 19 March between 5pm to 7pm at Mortimer Community Centre for locals to meet those who work on the village website, plus offer any feedback to MVP on how they can better represent the comings and goings within the village and surrounding areas.

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 5 Mar Jumble Sale at Padworth Village Hall.

• Tue 8 Mar Charity Pub Quiz 8pm The Six Bells, Beenham.

•  Sat 12 Mar Beenham Market.

• Sat 12 Mar Churchyard Community Work Party 10am St Mary’s Church, Burghfield.

Wed 16 Mar Mobile Library at Wharfside Car Park. (p11 on pdf)

• Sat 19 Mar Annual Village Spring Clean 1pm to 4pm Meet near The Horse & Groom, Mortimer.

• Sat 19 Mar MVP Affiliates Social 5pm to 7pm Mortimer Community Centre.

• Sun 20 Mar Mortimer Emporium Market 11am to 3pm St John’s Village Hall, Mortimer Common.

Mon 21 Mar Mobile Library at Jubilee Day Nursery. (p11 on pdf)

Fri 25 Mar to Sat 2 Apr Aldermaston Players.

Sat 26 Mar Skip Johnson Memorial Hike.

Sat 26 Mar Toy Library 10am to 11am Mortimer Methodist Church.

Sat 2 Apr Jumble Sale at Padworth Village Hall.

Sun 10 Jul Padworth & Aldermaston Wharf Craft & Produce Show.

• Regular events

 Theale Library hosts in-person events for people of all ages. To find out more information on future clubs and events click here to visit the West Berkshire Library Facebook page or email Theale Library at thealelibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

Mortimer Library also host regular events, such as their Rhymetime group who meet every Tuesday (during school term time) at 2.30pm.

Walking for Health meet every Tuesday at the community centre car park opposite the Horse & Groom, Mortimer. There are three walk lengths to chose from As mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

 Holy Trinity Church, Theale is open for West Berks Food Bank donations on Sundays and Wednesdays from 10.30am to 6pm. Please see the church’s website for regularly updated lists of what is most needed at the food bank.

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 16).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the cafe at Rosebourne, Aldermaston between 10am to 11.30am on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Further details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 8)

 Aldermaston & Wasing Ladies Group meets on the second Thursday of each month from 2pm at Aldermaston Parish Hall, please see Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (p 3, February 2022 ) for further information.

• Padworth Village Hall hosts Padworth and Aldermaston WI on the third Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm. Further information on the group can be found in Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 155 February 2022 Edition p 3).

Holy Trinity Church, Theale free choir group rehearses on Thursdays between 7pm to 8pm and then performs at Sunday services from 10.30am. All are welcome to join. Send enquiries to office@holytrinitytheale.org.uk.

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 Theale Parish Council took place on 7 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a presentation by WBC’s new CEO, Nigel Lynn; a report by ward member Alan Macro; planning matters; TPC’s CCTV policy; and a grant application by the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre. 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 Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council took place on 10 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Mortimer to Burghfield Cycleway and Footpath; Speedwatch; the WBC Library Review; a complaint about SMPC’s maintenance of its historical records; planning matters (including the current lack of orange planning notices); the Greening campaign; the jubilee; reports from working parties and committees; the neighbourhood development plan; the annual parish meeting (Monday 25 April); a reply from Thames Water; fitness equipment; grant awards; planning and licensing matters; financial matters; crime statistics; and health and safety issues. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• See this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Aldermaston Parish Council took place on 8 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: an update on the skate ramp; planning applications; traffic and speeding (including the news that the police have refused WBC’s request for a permanent speed camera on the A340 at Aldermaston Wharf); a stuck lorry; overgrown hedges; equine posters; a report from ward member Dominic Boeck; financial matters; a grant to the Parochial Church Council; the Wasing Estate; and the jubilee. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council took place on 10 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.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here for 2021 and here for 2022.

• Click here for details of Beenham’s Community Plan.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council took place on 6 January 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 Bradfield Parish Council took place on 4 January 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 for 2021 and here for 2022.

• Theale area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council and Burghfield Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 24 February 2022

This week’s news

• Our congratulations go to The Six Bells in Burghfield, who (along with Audiotonic) raised a whopping £1,000 at their fundraising event on 18 February in aid of The Mrs Williams Pre-school, bringing total money raised (as of 22 February) to just over £7,500. As mentioned in previous weeks, the pre-school needs £10,000 to save itself from closure.  Please see our ‘Community notices’ section below for further details of how to donate.

• Spring is almost in the air and with that comes the Annual Spring Clean of Mortimer. 2022 cleaning will be held on Saturday 19 March, starting at 1pm till 4pm. The event is supported by West Berkshire Council, with volunteers invited to help. On the day please sign in at the Fairground opposite the Horse & Groom pub. All current Covid guidelines will be followed during the event. Please bring your own hand sanitiser and gloves if required, however litter-pickers and bags will be provided on the day. Please visit mortimervillage.org.uk for further information.

• Another cleaning work party will be held for any helpful volunteers to lend a hand in keeping our local area looking spick and span. St Mary’s Church, Burghfield have organised a Churchyard Community Work Party on Saturday 12 March, who will initially meet at the church from 10am. Please see a Facebook post from St Mary’s Church which further explains the importance of the work party.

• As reported last week, a vacancy has opened for the role of councillor at Theale Parish Council and consequently will result in a by-election if ten or more electors of the parish give notice in writing claiming such an election to the Returning Officer at West Berkshire Council by Monday 28 February. If this wasn’t to happen, Theale Parish Council will fill the vacancy by co-option.

• Padworth Jumble Sale will hopefully be returning to Padworth Village Hall on Saturday 5 March. Please see this month’s Padworth Newsletter (page 2) for more details.

• The Burghfield May Fayre 2022 will be held on Sunday 8 May, as announced on the burghfieldresidents.org website. Applications for fayre stalls allocation can now be made via the website, with the Funfair, Dog Show, Arena Displays, Craft Stalls, Café, Food Stalls and The Bar all returning for this year’s event. Further details and updates will be released shortly.

• Theale will also be hosting a Village Fete on Sunday 5 June between noon and 4.30pm on Theale Recreational Ground to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. With promises of traditional games, an arena display and funfair rides. Stall-holders who are interested should contact the Parish Council for further information.

• Village Stores in Burghfield remain to be shut, due to health and safety issues surrounding its current on-site construction work, until Monday 28 February.

• Click here to read February 2022 edition of Padworth Newsletter which, as ever, also has information from neighbouring parishes.

• The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton also published its February 2022 newsletter, which covers updates and events across Theale area.

• Another newsletter for February 2022, this time from Aldermaston Parish Council. This month’s edition includes; Cedar Lodge planning application, an update on Aldermaston’s skate ramp, the repair of the Lock-Up, plus many more updates from across Aldermaston and its neighbouring areas.

Community notices

• The Mrs Williams Pre-School at Burghfield Common is facing potential closure due to rising costs and low pupil numbers, caused largely by the pandemic. Donations are being asked to help keep the school afloat. They can be made via a GoFundMe page and further information regarding the school’s potential closure can be read via a Reading Chronicle article.

Bag2School collections will be taking place in March, which aims to raise funds for the PTAs of St John’s School, Mary’s School  and The Willink School. Home collections are occurring on Monday 21 March and school collection on 22 March. All items such as clothes, shoes, accessories, bedding, curtains, towels, cuddly toys can be donated.

• West Berkshire Library Service is appealing for local volunteers at Mortimer and Burghfield Common libraries. Please see this post on Facebook, call 01635 519533 or email volunteerinyourlibrary@westberks.gov.uk for further information.

Mortimer Village Partnership (MVP) host their Annual Affiliates Social meeting on Saturday 19 March between 5pm to 7pm down at Mortimer Community Centre. The meeting will provide locals an opportunity to meet those who work on the village website, plus offer any feedback to MVP on how they can better represent the comings and goings within the village and surrounding areas.

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 Toy Library 10am to 11am Mortimer Methodist Church.

• Sat 26 Feb Live Solo Vocalist 8.30pm The Horse & Groom, Mortimer.

• Tue 8 Mar Charity Pub Quiz 8pm The Six Bells, Beenham.

Sat 12 Mar Churchyard Community Work Party 10am St Mary’s Church, Burghfield.

• Sat 19 Mar Annual Village Spring Clean 1pm to 4pm Meet near The Horse & Groom, Mortimer.

Sat 19 Mar MVP Affiliates Social 5pm to 7pm Mortimer Community Centre.

Sun 20 Mar Mortimer Emporium Market 11am to 3pm St John’s Village Hall, Mortimer Common.

Sat 26 Mar Skip Johnson Memorial Hike.

Sat 26 Mar Toy Library 10am to 11am Mortimer Methodist Church.

• Regular events

 Theale Library hosts in-person events for people of all ages. To find out more information on future clubs and events click here to visit the West Berkshire Library Facebook page or email Theale Library at thealelibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

Mortimer Library also host regular events, such as their Rhymetime group who meet every Tuesday (during school term time) at 2.30pm.

Walking for Health meet every Tuesday at the community centre car park opposite the Horse & Groom, Mortimer. There are three walk lengths to chose from As mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

 Holy Trinity Church, Theale is open for food donations to be made to West Berks Food Bank and can be dropped off at the church on Sundays and Wednesdays between 10.30am to 6pm. Please see the church’s website for regularly updated lists of what is most needed at the food bank.

• Beenham Art Group meets every Tuesday between 10am till noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. Contact details and information can be found in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 16).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the cafe at Rosebourne, Aldermaston between 10am to 11.30am on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Further details can be found in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 8)

 Aldermaston & Wasing Ladies Group meets on the second Thursday of each month from 2pm at Aldermaston Parish Hall, please see Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 155 February 2022 Edition p 3) for further information on the group.

• Padworth Village Hall hosts Padworth and Aldermaston WI on the third Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm. Further information on the group can be found in Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 155 February 2022 Edition p 3).

Holy Trinity Church, Theale free choir group rehearses on Thursdays between 7pm to 8pm and then performs at Sunday services from 10.30am. All are welcome to join. Send enquiries to office@holytrinitytheale.org.uk.

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 Theale Parish Council took place on 7 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a presentation by WBC’s new CEO, Nigel Lynn; a report by ward member Alan Macro; planning matters; TPC’s CCTV policy; and a grant application by the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre. 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 Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council took place on 10 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Mortimer to Burghfield Cycleway and Footpath; Speedwatch; the WBC Library Review; a complaint about SMPC’s maintenance of its historical records; planning matters (including the current lack of orange planning notices); the Greening campaign; the jubilee; reports from working parties and committees; the neighbourhood development plan; the annual parish meeting (Monday 25 April); a reply from Thames Water; fitness equipment; grant awards; planning and licensing matters; financial matters; crime statistics; and health and safety issues. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• See this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Aldermaston Parish Council took place on 8 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: an update on the skate ramp; planning applications; traffic and speeding (including the news that the police have refused WBC’s request for a permanent speed camera on the A340 at Aldermaston Wharf); a stuck lorry; overgrown hedges; equine posters; a report from ward member Dominic Boeck; financial matters; a grant to the Parochial Church Council; the Wasing Estate; and the jubilee. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes here.  Items covered included: the bus shelter; financial matters; planning matters; Thames Water; footpaths; and heritage sites. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: accident statistics; traffic calming; supporting the stores; financial matters; financial matters including the 2022-23 budget, the precept being fixed at 4,500; a donation to the West Berkshire Library Service; planning matters; and the jubilee. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a councillor vacancy; planning matters; financial matters including the 2022-23 budget, the precept remaining unchanged at £18,300; a grant received for the play area refurbishment; a grant made to the WI; the jubilee; a lost key code (which was later found); speeding; and tree maintenance. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here for 2021 and here for 2022.

• Click here for details of Beenham’s Community Plan.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council took place on 6 January 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 Bradfield Parish Council took place on 4 January 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 for 2021 and here for 2022.

• Theale area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council and Burghfield Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 17 February 2022

This week’s news

• A vacancy has opened for the role of councillor at Theale Parish Council and consequently will result in a by-election if ten or more electors of the parish give notice in writing claiming such an election to the Returning Officer at West Berkshire Council by Monday 28 February. If this wasn’t to happen, Theale Parish Council will fill the vacancy by co-option.

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

• Through 2021, donations to West Berks Food Bank dropped-off at Theale’s Holy Trinity Church weighed in at 3971.8 kg (which is the same weight of a typical adult White Rhino). Statistics published on Holy Trinity Church Facebook page show that local generosity provided over 8,000 meals to those that most needed food during these tough times. To continue to support your local food bank, please see the church’s website for regularly updated lists of what is most needed at West Berks Food Bank.

• The streets of Burghfield were filled with locals cheering on Olympic gold medallist Tom Daley, who cycled through the village this week as he was completing his Red Nose Day 2022 charity challenge to row, cycle, swim and run his way from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford to his hometown of Plymouth, Devon. Various videos from supporters of Tom were posted to social media including his cycle over the historic Burghfield Bridge and through the village itself. To learn more about Tom’s ‘Hell of a Homecoming’ challenge, and how to donate, please see comicrelief.com.

• Local grassroots club Theale Tigers were treated to a fun football session on 12 February at Reading FC indoor dome training facilities prior to the Royal’s 150th anniversary celebrations. The coaching sessions were led by coaches from Reading FC Community Trust, with plenty of skills on-show in a video highlighting the event. The Tigers were rewarded with the high-level training practice because they had purchased the most tickets for Saturday’s match against Coventry City using a ‘grassroots ticketing initiative’, which hoped to fill every seat within the Select Car Leasing Stadium (formerly known as The Madejski Stadium). After their training, all involved made the short journey over to the stadium to support the Royal’s 150th anniversary event included in Saturday’s league fixture. Sadly, Reading were defeated 2-3 by the Sky Blues but at least the match had plenty of ‘entertainment’ for all.

• More sports news: sadly Burghfield FC’s run in the FA Sunday Cup came to an end on 13 February. Their Last-16 away tie against Highgate Albion FC ended in a 2-0 victory for the home side. Despite the result, the club announced their delight at their Sunday Men’s team achievements to reach this stage of a national competition and will look to better the result next season.

• Another local football team who are reaching new heights in cup competitions are Mortimer U11s, who will have a cup final to look forward to on Saturday 14 May after their success in last Saturday’s semi-final. Good luck from all of us at Penny Post.

Padworth Jumble Sale will hopefully be returning to Padworth Village Hall on Saturday 5 March. Please see this month’s Padworth Newsletter (page 2) for more details.

• The Burghfield May Fayre 2022 will be held on Sunday 8 May, as announced on the burghfieldresidents.org website. Applications for fayre stalls allocation can now be made via the website, with the Funfair, Dog Show, Arena Displays, Craft Stalls, Café, Food Stalls and The Bar all returning for this year’s event. Further details and updates will be released shortly.

• Theale will also be hosting a Village Fete on Sunday 5 June between noon and 4.30pm on Theale Recreational Ground to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. With promises of traditional games, an arena display and funfair rides. Stall-holders who are interested should contact the Parish Council for further information.

Village Stores in Burghfield remain to be shut, due to health and safety issues surrounding its current on-site construction work, until Monday 28 February.

• Click here to read February 2022 edition of Padworth Newsletter which, as ever, also has information from neighbouring parishes.

• The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton also published its February 2022 newsletter, which covers updates and events across Theale area.

• Another newsletter for February 2022, this time from Aldermaston Parish Council. This month’s edition includes; Cedar Lodge planning application, an update on Aldermaston’s skate ramp, the repair of the Lock-Up, plus many more updates from across Aldermaston and its neighbouring areas.

Community notices

• The Mrs Williams Pre-School at Burghfield Common is facing potential closure due to rising costs and low pupil numbers, caused largely by the pandemic. Donations are being asked to help keep the school afloat. They can be made via a GoFundMe page and further information regarding the school’s potential closure can be read via a Reading Chronicle article.

• West Berkshire Library Service is appealing for local volunteers at Mortimer and Burghfield Common libraries. Please see this post on Facebook, call 01635 519533 or email volunteerinyourlibrary@westberks.gov.uk for further information.

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 18 Feb The Mrs Williams Pre-School Fundraiser 7pm till late The Six Bells, Burghfield.

• Tue 22 Feb Historic Tours of Ufton Court 10am Ufton Court, Ufton Nervet, RG7 4HD.

Tue 22 Feb Beenham Tea Party 2pm to 3.30pm The Victory Hall, Beenham.

• Sat 26 Feb Toy Library 10am to 11am Mortimer Methodist Church.

Sat 26 Feb Live Solo Vocalist 8.30pm The Horse & Groom, Mortimer.

Tue 8 Mar Charity Pub Quiz 8pm The Six Bells, Beenham.

Sat 19 Mar Annual Village Spring Clean 1pm to 4pm Meet near The Horse & Groom, Mortimer.

• Regular events

 Theale Library hosts in-person events for people of all ages. To find out more information on future clubs and events click here to visit the West Berkshire Library Facebook page or email Theale Library at thealelibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

 Holy Trinity Church, Theale is asking for food donations to be made to West Berks Food Bank which can be dropped off at the church on Sundays and Wednesdays between 10.30am to 6pm.

• Beenham Art Group meets every Tuesday between 10am till noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. Contact details and information can be found in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 16).

Aldermaston Coffee Club is open for any and all attendees who wish to relax and chat with friends, old and new, over a hot beverage. The coffee club meet at Rosebourne, Aldermaston (conservatory area of the café) between 10am to 11.30am on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Further details can be found in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 8)

 Aldermaston & Wasing Ladies Group meets on the second Thursday of each month from 2pm at Aldermaston Parish Hall, please see Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 155 February 2022 Edition p 3) for further information on the group.

• Padworth Village Hall hosts Padworth and Aldermaston WI on the third Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm. Further information on the group can be found in Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 155 February 2022 Edition p 3).

• Anyone interested in joining a singing group can join Holy Trinity Church, Theale free choir group, who meet for rehearsals on Thursdays between 7pm to 8pm and then perform at Sunday services starting from 10.30am. All are welcome to join, with further details found on Facebook or by sending an email to office@holytrinitytheale.org.uk.

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 Theale Parish Council took place on 7 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a presentation by WBC’s new CEO, Nigel Lynn; a report by ward member Alan Macro; planning matters; TPC’s CCTV policy; and a grant application by the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre. 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 Aldermaston Parish Council took place on 8 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: an update on the skate ramp; planning applications; traffic and speeding (including the news that the police have refused WBC’s request for a permanent speed camera on the A340 at Aldermaston Wharf); a stuck lorry; overgrown hedges; equine posters; a report from ward member Dominic Boeck; financial matters; a grant to the Parochial Church Council; the Wasing Estate; and the jubilee. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council took place on 13 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered include: lime trees on the Fairground; speeding; the station car park; financial matters (including the the 2022-23 budget, the precept being set at £149,319); committee and working party reports; the neighbourhood development plan; delegated authority and general powers of competence; the jubilee; the Burghfield to Mortimer footpath; planning matters; correspondence; and the games club at the Library. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• See this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes here.  Items covered included: the bus shelter; financial matters; planning matters; Thames Water; footpaths; and heritage sites. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: accident statistics; traffic calming; supporting the stores; financial matters; financial matters including the 2022-23 budget, the precept being fixed at 4,500; a donation to the West Berkshire Library Service; planning matters; and the jubilee. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a councillor vacancy; planning matters; financial matters including the 2022-23 budget, the precept remaining unchanged at £18,300; a grant received for the play area refurbishment; a grant made to the WI; the jubilee; a lost key code (which was later found); speeding; and tree maintenance. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here for 2021 and here for 2022.

• Click here for details of Beenham’s Community Plan.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council took place on 6 January 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 Bradfield Parish Council took place on 4 January 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 for 2021 and here for 2022.

• Theale area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council and Burghfield 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 10 February 2022

This week’s news

• Click here to read the newly published February 2022 edition of Padworth Newsletter which, as ever, also has information from neighbouring parishes.

• The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton also published its February 2022 newsletter, which covers updates and events across Theale area.

• Theale will be hosting a Village Jubilee Fete on Sunday 5 June between 12 and 4.30pm on the Theale Recreational Ground to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. With promises of traditional games, an arena display and funfair rides. Stallholders who are interested should contact the Parish Council here.

• Another newsletter for February 2022, this time from Aldermaston Parish Council. This month’s edition includes; Cedar Lodge planning application, an update on Aldermaston’s skate ramp, the repair of the Lock-Up, plus many more updates from across Aldermaston and its neighbouring areas.

• There are temporary traffic signals due to water main work on Langley Hill around the Water Tower Pub. Works are expected to finish this week.

• As we mentioned last week, Padworth Jumble Sale will hopefully be returning to Padworth Village Hall on Saturday 5 March. Please see this month’s Padworth Newsletter (page 2) for more details.

• As mentioned by BerkshireLive, Aldermaston’s century-old school The Cedars School is likely to see a slight change from a school to a nursery. The village’s new nursery has been bought by Complete Childcare who wish to “give the nursery an authentic and traditional feel that will match the quintessentially British rural village.”

• The Burghfield May Fayre 2022 will be held on Sunday 8 May, as announced on the burghfieldresidents.org website. Applications for fayre stalls allocation can now be made via the website, with the Funfair, Dog Show, Arena Displays, Craft Stalls, Café, Food Stalls and The Bar all returning for this year’s event. Further details and updates will be released shortly.

• Until Monday 28 February, the Village Stores in Burghfield will be shut due to health and safety issues surrounding its current on-site construction work.

• Aldermaston Parish Council’s updated Conservation Area Appraisal Report, is available to access online. Any thoughts and comments from locals, especially those living inside the CA, need to be sent to the Parish Clerk at parishclerk@aldermaston.co.uk by Monday 14 February.

• Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service are 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.

Community notices

The Mrs Williams Pre-School at Burghfield Common is facing potential closure due to rising costs and low pupil numbers, caused largely by the pandemic. Donations are being asked to help keep the school afloat. They can be made via a GoFundMe page and further information regarding the school’s potential closure can be read via a Reading Chronicle article.

The Six Bells in Beenham wants to say a huge thank you to Nigel Toon and Claire for hosting last month’s quiz. A total of £194 was raised for local groups including St Mary’s Church, Beenham WI, The Victory Hall and Reading Refugee Support. The next quiz is Thursday 10th February starting at 8pm.

• Burghfield FC have seats available for a team and supporter’s bus, which will transport everyone involved in Sunday 13 February’s FA Sunday Cup Last 16 tie against Highgate Albion. The match will be located at Sun Postal Sports & Social Club in Watford, with a 2pm kick-off.

• West Berkshire Library Service is appealing for local volunteers at Mortimer and Burghfield Common libraries. Please see this post on Facebook, call 01635 519533 or email volunteerinyourlibrary@westberks.gov.uk for further information.

Local events and activities

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

• Dates for the diary

• Fri 11 Feb Craft and Colouring club for adults at Theale Library.

• Fri 11 Feb Encanto Film Showing and Pizza Evening for Burghfield Youth, 6.30pm St Mary’s Church, Burghfield.

• Sat 12 Feb Inflatable Fun Day 10am to 3pm Theale Green School.

• Sat 12 Feb Market Day 2pm to 3.30pm Victory Hall, Beenham RG7 5NT.

• 15, 16 & 17 Feb School Cinderella Performance 7pm School Hall, Theale Green School.

• Tue 22 Feb Historic Tours of Ufton Court 10am Ufton Court, Ufton Nervet, RG7 4HD.

• Sat 26 Feb Toy Library 10am to 11am Mortimer Methodist Church.

• Regular events

 Theale Library hosts in-person events for people of all ages. To find out more information on future clubs and events click here to visit the West Berkshire Library Facebook page or email Theale Library at thealelibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

 Holy Trinity Church, Theale is asking for food donations to be made to West Berks Food Bank which can be dropped off at the church on Sundays and Wednesdays between 10.30am to 6pm.

• Beenham Art Group meets every Tuesday between 10am till noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. Contact details and information can be found in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 16).

 Aldermaston & Wasing Ladies Group meets on the second Thursday of each month from 2pm at Aldermaston Parish Hall, please see Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 154 December 2021/January 2022 Edition p 5) for further information on the group.

• Padworth Village Hall hosts Padworth and Aldermaston WI on the third Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm. Further information on the group can be found in Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 154 December 2021/January 2022 Edition p 6).

• Anyone interested in joining a singing group can join Holy Trinity Church, Theale free choir group, who meet for rehearsals on Thursdays between 7pm to 8pm and then perform at Sunday services starting from 10.30am. All are welcome to join, with further details found on Facebook or by sending an email to office@holytrinitytheale.org.uk.

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 Theale Parish Council took place on 7 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a presentation by WBC’s new CEO, Nigel Lynn; a report by ward member Alan Macro; planning matters; TPC’s CCTV policy; and a grant application by the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre. 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 Aldermaston Parish Council took place on 8 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: an update on the skate ramp; planning applications; traffic and speeding (including the news that the police have refused WBC’s request for a permanent speed camera on the A340 at Aldermaston Wharf); a stuck lorry; overgrown hedges; equine posters; a report from ward member Dominic Boeck; financial matters; a grant to the Parochial Church Council; the Wasing Estate; and the jubilee. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council took place on 13 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered include: lime trees on the Fairground; speeding; the station car park; financial matters (including the the 2022-23 budget, the precept being set at £149,319); committee and working party reports; the neighbourhood development plan; delegated authority and general powers of competence; the jubilee; the Burghfield to Mortimer footpath; planning matters; correspondence; and the games club at the Library. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• See this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes here.  Items covered included: the bus shelter; financial matters; planning matters; Thames Water; footpaths; and heritage sites. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: accident statistics; traffic calming; supporting the stores; financial matters; financial matters including the 2022-23 budget, the precept being fixed at 4,500; a donation to the West Berkshire Library Service; planning matters; and the jubilee. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a councillor vacancy; planning matters; financial matters including the 2022-23 budget, the precept remaining unchanged at £18,300; a grant received for the play area refurbishment; a grant made to the WI; the jubilee; a lost key code (which was later found); speeding; and tree maintenance. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Click here for details of Beenham’s Community Plan.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council took place on 6 January and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council took place on 4 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.

• Theale area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council and Burghfield 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 February 2022

This week’s news

• This Sunday will be your last chance to contribute towards the final consultation on a proposal to develop a specialist education centre for young people with complex social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH) in Theale. The public consultation is still live and will remain open until midnight on 6 February.

• Click here to read the newly published February 2022 edition of Padworth Newsletter which, as ever, also has information from neighbouring parishes.

• The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton also published its February 2022 newsletter, which covers updates and events across Theale area.

• Another newsletter for February 2022, this time from Aldermaston Parish Council. This month’s edition includes; Cedar Lodge planning application, an update on Aldermaston’s skate ramp, the repair of the Lock-Up, plus many more updates from across Aldermaston and its neighbouring areas.

• Mentioned within this month’s Padworth Newsletter and Aldermaston Parish Council newsletter (both on page 3) is the sad announcement of Aldermaston & Wasing Ladies Group closure. The group started under the name ‘Young Wives Group’ in the late-1950s but both time and the Covid pandemic have taken its toll on the group. January’s AGM saw 11 attendees and the future of the group was openly discussed. Group member Daphne says that the group has “run its course and done what it set out to do”. The Ladies group will have their final meeting on 14 April, when they can look back on many fond memories with a warm cup of tea to hand.

Padworth Jumble Sale will hopefully be returning to Padworth Village Hall on Saturday 5 March, after a two month hiatus because of (guess what…) Covid-19. Please see this month’s Padworth Newsletter (page 2) for more details.

• Those who donated toys, books, clothes, shoe and much more to Jayne Barry’s collection for children in the Gambia will be delighted to see an album of photos which shows how their donations have been put to good use. A gentle reminder that much of what we no longer want is better being in someone else’s hands, than thrown away for landfill.

• Bradfield College held its ‘Stanley House Dinner‘ which raised £1297 for Together As One, who are a charity that provide hot meals and company for people suffering from loneliness caused by isolation away from local communities. Great work for a fantastic cause, congratulations all from everyone at Penny Post.

• More updates from Bradfield College, as they have been busy planting trees in their Leaver’s Wood to show their commitment towards the school’s Sustainable Bradfield project.

• As mentioned by BerkshireLive, Aldermaston’s century-old school The Cedars School is likely to see a slight change from a school to a nursery. The village’s new nursery has been bought by Complete Childcare who wish to “give the nursery an authentic and traditional feel that will match the quintessentially British rural village.”

• As we reported last week, Burghfield Common’s The Mrs Williams Pre-School is facing potential closure due to rising costs and low pupil numbers, caused largely by the pandemic. Burghfield Spices took up fundraising efforts by donating 100% of its profits from all food orders on 26 January, which achieved £765 of funds. Buddy from the Burghfield pub then raised the sum to £2000, meaning that the school has almost hit its target of £10,000. Donations can still be made via a GoFundMe page and further information regarding the school’s potential closure can be read via a Reading Chronicle article.

Burghfield FC have seats available for a team and supporter’s bus, which will transport everyone involved in Sunday 13 February FA Sunday Cup Last 16 tie against Highgate Albion. The match will be located at Sun Postal Sports & Social Club in Watford, with a 2pm kick-off.

• Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service are 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.

• As mentioned last week, bin collection days are changing next 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.

• Aldermaston Parish Council’s updated Conservation Area Appraisal Report, is available to access online. Any thoughts and comments from locals, especially those living inside the CA, need to be sent to the Parish Clerk at parishclerk@aldermaston.co.uk by Monday 14 February.

• The Burghfield May Fayre 2022 will be held on Sunday 8 May, as announced on the burghfieldresidents.org website. Applications for fayre stalls allocation can now be made via the website, with the Funfair, Dog Show, Arena Displays, Craft Stalls, Café, Food Stalls and The Bar all returning for this year’s event. Further details and updates will be released shortly.

• West Berkshire Library Service is appealing for local volunteers at Mortimer and Burghfield Common libraries. Please see this post on Facebook, call 01635 519533 or email volunteerinyourlibrary@westberks.gov.uk for further information.

• Until Monday 28 February, the Village Stores in Burghfield will be shut due to health and safety issues surrounding its current on-site construction work.

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 5 Feb Charity Race Night 7.30pm Beenham Club.

• Sun 6 Feb Free Wedding Fair 11am to 3pm Wokefield Mansion House, Mortimer Common, RG7 3AE.

• Sun 6 Feb Live – Rag & Moan Men 3pm Beenham Club.

• Mon 7 Feb Monday Book Group 2pm to 3pm Mortimer Library.

• Thu 10 Feb Thatcham Refillable Mobile Shop Monthly 11.30am to 1.30pm 9 Clayhill Road, Burghfield Common RG73HB.

• Thu 10 Feb Open Mic Night 8pm The Crown & Garden, Theale.

Fri 11 Feb Encanto Film Showing and Pizza Evening 6.30pm St Mary’s Church, Burghfield.

• Sat 12 Feb Inflatable Fun Day 10am to 3pm Theale Green School.

• Sat 12 Feb Market Day 2pm to 3.30pm Victory Hall, Beenham RG7 5NT.

• 15, 16 & 17 Feb School Cinderella Performance 7pm School Hall, Theale Green School.

• Tue 22 Feb Historic Tours of Ufton Court 10am Ufton Court, Ufton Nervet, RG7 4HD.

• Sat 26 Feb Toy Library 10am to 11am Mortimer Methodist Church.

• Regular events

 Theale Library hosts in-person events for people of all ages. To find out more information on future clubs and events click here to visit the West Berkshire Library Facebook page or email Theale Library at thealelibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

 Holy Trinity Church, Theale is asking for food donations to be made to West Berks Food Bank which can be dropped off at the church on Sundays and Wednesdays between 10.30am to 6pm.

• Beenham Art Group meets every Tuesday between 10am till noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. Contact details and information can be found in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 16).

 Aldermaston & Wasing Ladies Group meets on the second Thursday of each month from 2pm at Aldermaston Parish Hall, please see Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 154 December 2021/January 2022 Edition p 5) for further information on the group.

• Padworth Village Hall hosts Padworth and Aldermaston WI on the third Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm. Further information on the group can be found in Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 154 December 2021/January 2022 Edition p 6).

• Anyone interested in joining a singing group can join Holy Trinity Church, Theale free choir group, who meet for rehearsals on Thursdays between 7pm to 8pm and then perform at Sunday services starting from 10.30am. All are welcome to join, with further details found on Facebook or by sending an email to office@holytrinitytheale.org.uk.

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 Theale Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a report from District Councillor Alan Macro; reports from committees and working groups; the jubilee fête on Sunday 5 June; planning and licensing matters; and financial matters, including the 2022-23 budget (the precept requested being £139,000). 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 Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council took place on 13 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered include: lime trees on the Fairground; speeding; the station car park; financial matters (including the the 2022-23 budget, the precept being set at £149,319); committee and working party reports; the neighbourhood development plan; delegated authority and general powers of competence; the jubilee; the Burghfield to Mortimer footpath; planning matters; correspondence; and the games club at the Library. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• See this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Aldermaston Parish Council took place on 11 January and you can read the minutes here in due course. Items covered included: presentations from both sides of the planning application for Cedars Lodge, Soke Road (various conditions were requested); a request from Lidl to extend delivery hours at their recently approved new store at the Tadley border (“we are not confident of success, but decided to object on the grounds of noise and disturbance, particularly to residents of older properties in the Conservation Area”); the skateboard ramp See also above); the “disappointing” WBC reaction  to our proposals for horse awareness signage in the Raghill area; a clarification about potassium iodide tablets (which are, contrary to what was recently reported in the Newbury Weekly News, not available for local residents in the event of a nuclear incident at AWE; and the “final pass” at the 2022-23 budget, remaining unchanged at £13,500 – the PC “would like to remind parishioners that this is considerably lower than other parishes of similar size.” 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 Padworth Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes here.  Items covered included: the bus shelter; financial matters; planning matters; Thames Water; footpaths; and heritage sites. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: accident statistics; traffic calming; supporting the stores; financial matters; financial matters including the 2022-23 budget, the precept being fixed at 4,500; a donation to the West Berkshire Library Service; planning matters; and the jubilee. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a councillor vacancy; planning matters; financial matters including the 2022-23 budget, the precept remaining unchanged at £18,300; a grant received for the play area refurbishment; a grant made to the WI; the jubilee; a lost key code (which was later found); speeding; and tree maintenance. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Click here for details of Beenham’s Community Plan.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council took place on 6 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a councillor vacancy; freedom of information (see also separate section above); committee reports; financial matters (including the the 2022-23 budget, the precept being set at £281,470); and delegated authority. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council took place on 4 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the perpetual shield award; tree preservation orders; skid warnings; planning matters; the May Fare; the 2022-23 budget, the precept being set at £19,500; other financial matters; delegated powers; the jubilee; and three cherry trees. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• Theale area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council and Burghfield Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 27 January 2022

This week’s news

• Burghfield Common’s The Mrs Williams Pre-School is facing closure because of rising costs and low pupil numbers, caused largely by the pandemic. A GoFundMe page has been set up and aims to raise £10,000 to help cover cost to save the school. Other fundraising events are also happening across the district such as a Coffee Morning to be held at the pre-school on Saturday 29 January. Burghfield Spices has also taken up fundraising efforts by donating 100% of its profits from all food orders on 26 January. You can read further information regarding the school’s potential closure via a Reading Chronicle article.

• Click here for there latest e-newsletter from ward member Alan Macro which includes a list of live planning applications in the parish.

He also refers to the fact that planning application 21/03256/RESMAJ has been submitted for approval of reserved matters (appearance, landscaping, layout and scale) following outline planning permission 15/02842/OUTMAJ that was approved on appeal. 

“The proposal is for 296 homes, made up of houses, flats, and a 70-unit extra-care sheltered housing block. Some of the blocks of flats in the proposal would be four stories high. The seven houses already approved for the part of the site at the end of St Ives Close needs to be added to the 296. The developers have already tried to increase that to eleven houses.  The plans and other documents can be accessed by clicking here.

“Another application (21/03255/MDOPO2) was submitted at the same time to change the proportion of affordable homes. This was originally to be 12.5%, which could be increased depending on the profitability of the development. This application is a request to change this to a flat 30%.”

• A reminder from Theale Parish Council that the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch starts this weekend. The council has asked for any volunteer’s help to build four starling nest boxes, to help local bio-diversity and put a stop to the falling starling numbers in the UK (which has been evident since the 1970s). Please see the town council’s Facebook post for further information and how to get involved.

• It’s another step up the ladder for ex-Bradfield College student Lauren Bell, as she has earned her place in the upcoming England Women’s squad for the Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes Test match. Lauren grew up in Hungerford and was at primary school with our eldest son and we have been following her career here. We all have our fingers crossed that Lauren and the rest of our Women’s team can provide more competition to the Aussies than our Men’s team did recently…

• 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.

• 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. Mortimer’s Lunch Club sadly can’t currently meet due to the club’s postponement until 24 February, but that didn’t stop them from winning the Community Group of the Year award. Congratulations from all of us here at Penny Post.

• More news from West Berkshire Council, as they have notified local residents that (as of Monday 7 February) bin collection dates will be changing in order to accommodate for the impacts of both the nationwide HGV driver shortage and Covid-19. Again, further information and FAQs regarding the changes can be read on the council’s website including a new bin-day finder page which was added on 25 January.

• A quick reminder that the final consultation on a proposal to develop a specialist education centre for young people with complex social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH) in Theale is now live and will remain open until midnight on 6 February.

• As previously mentioned, Aldermaston Parish Council’s updated Conservation Area Appraisal Report, is now available. Thoughts and comments from locals, especially those living inside the CA, can be sent to the Parish Clerk at parishclerk@aldermaston.co.uk by Monday 14 February.

• Anyone interested in joining a singing group can join Holy Trinity Church, Theale free choir group, who meet for rehearsals on Thursdays between 7pm to 8pm and then perform at Sunday services starting from 10.30am. All are welcome to join, with further details found on Facebook or by sending an email to office@holytrinitytheale.org.uk.

• Click here to read the January 2022 Padworth Newsletter which, as ever, also has information from neighbouring parishes.

• Also a January 2022 issue of the Aldermaston Parish Council newsletter has just been released which covers various topics such as reviews of the recent skate ramp survey and other planning permissions, as well as a response to feedback regarding electric vehicle charging points.

• The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton published its final Parish Magazine for 2021, which also covers local events in January 2022.

• The Burghfield May Fayre 2022 will be held on Sunday 8 May, as announced on the burghfieldresidents.org website. Applications for fayre stalls allocation can now be made via the website, with the Funfair, Dog Show, Arena Displays, Craft Stalls, Café, Food Stalls and The Bar all returning for this year’s event. Further details and updates will be released shortly.

• West Berkshire Library Service is appealing for local volunteers at Mortimer and Burghfield Common libraries. Please see this post on Facebook, call 01635 519533 or email volunteerinyourlibrary@westberks.gov.uk for further information.

• Until Monday 28 February, the Village Stores in Burghfield will be shut due to health and safety issues surrounding its current on-site construction work.

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 28 Jan Board Games Group 3.45pm to 5.45pm Mortimer Library.

• Fri 28 Jan Winter Party 7pm till late The Six Bells, Beenham.

Sat 29 Jan Fundraiser Coffee Morning 10am to 3pm Mrs Williams Pre-School, Burghfield Common, RG7 3HP.

• Sat 29 Jan Crafty Church (Winter Fun) 10.30am to noon St Mary’s Church, Burghfield.

• Sat 5 Feb Charity Race Night 7.30pm Beenham Club.

• Sun 6 Feb Live – Rag & Moan Men 3pm Beenham Club.

Mon 7 Feb Monday Book Group 2pm to 3pm Mortimer Library.

• Thu 10 Feb Thatcham Refillable Mobile Shop Monthly 11.30am to 1.30pm 9 Clayhill Road, Burghfield Common RG73HB.

Thu 10 Feb Open Mic Night 8pm The Crown & Garden, Theale.

Sat 12 Feb Inflatable Fun Day 10am to 3pm Theale Green School.

15, 16 & 17 Feb School Cinderella Performance 7pm School Hall, Theale Green School.

Tue 22 Feb Historic Tours of Ufton Court 10am Ufton Court, Ufton Nervet, RG7 4HD.

Sat 26 Feb Toy Library 10am to 11am Mortimer Methodist Church.

• Regular events

 Theale Library hosts in-person events for people of all ages. To find out more information on future clubs and events click here to visit the West Berkshire Library Facebook page or email Theale Library at thealelibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

 Holy Trinity Church, Theale is asking for food donations to be made to West Berks Food Bank which can be dropped off at the church on Sundays and Wednesdays between 10.30am to 6pm.

• Other locations for collection points across the Theale area for West Berks Food Bank can be found in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (21 12 edition, p 7).

• Beenham Art Group meets every Tuesday between 10am till noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. Contact details and information can be found in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (21 12 edition, p 18).

 Aldermaston & Wasing Ladies Group meets on the second Thursday of each month from 2pm at Aldermaston Parish Hall, please see Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 154 December 2021/January 2022 Edition p 5) for further information on the group.

• Padworth Village Hall hosts Padworth and Aldermaston WI on the third Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm. Further information on the group can be found in Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 154 December 2021/January 2022 Edition p 6).

• Beenham WI updates and contact details can be found in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (21 12 edition, p 14).

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 Theale Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a report from District Councillor Alan Macro; reports from committees and working groups; the jubilee fête on Sunday 5 June; planning and licensing matters; and financial matters, including the 2022-23 budget (the precept requested being £139,000). 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 Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council took place on 13 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered include: lime trees on the Fairground; speeding; the station car park; financial matters (including the the 2022-23 budget, the precept being set at £149,319); committee and working party reports; the neighbourhood development plan; delegated authority and general powers of competence; the jubilee; the Burghfield to Mortimer footpath; planning matters; correspondence; and the games club at the Library. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• See this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes here.  Items covered included: the bus shelter; financial matters; planning matters; Thames Water; footpaths; and heritage sites. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Aldermaston Parish Council took place on 11 January and you can read the minutes here in due course. Items covered included: presentations from both sides of the planning application for Cedars Lodge, Soke Road (various conditions were requested); a request from Lidl to extend delivery hours at their recently approved new store at the Tadley border (“we are not confident of success, but decided to object on the grounds of noise and disturbance, particularly to residents of older properties in the Conservation Area”); the skateboard ramp See also above); the “disappointing” WBC reaction  to our proposals for horse awareness signage in the Raghill area; a clarification about potassium iodide tablets (which are, contrary to what was recently reported in the Newbury Weekly News, not available for local residents in the event of a nuclear incident at AWE; and the “final pass” at the 2022-23 budget, remaining unchanged at £13,500 – the PC “would like to remind parishioners that this is considerably lower than other parishes of similar size.” 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 Burghfield Parish Council took place on 6 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a councillor vacancy; freedom of information (see also separate section above); committee reports; financial matters (including the the 2022-23 budget, the precept being set at £281,470); and delegated authority. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council took place on 7 December and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council took place on 6 December and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Click here for details of Beenham’s Community Plan.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council took place on 29 September (even though it says 29 June at the top) 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.

• Theale area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council and Burghfield 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 20 January 2022

This week’s news

• A final consultation on a proposal to develop a specialist education centre for young people with complex social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs in Theale is now live and will remain open until midnight on 6 February.

• Aldermaston Parish Council’s updated Conservation Area Appraisal Report, is now available. The update explains that the council believes “a long overdue appraisal of the Aldermaston Conservation Area (CA), which covers most of the central part of our Village,  would be a good opportunity help preserve the special features of our Conservation Area generally, and to address the issue of heavy traffic on the A340 more specifically”. Thoughts and comments from locals, especially those living inside the CA, can be sent to the Parish Clerk at parishclerk@aldermaston.co.uk by Monday 14 February.

• Bradfield College has recently created a Sustainable Bradfield newsletter. The January 2022 edition covers how the local community can help with reducing energy use and carbon emissions, biodiversity, recycling and waste reduction, plus eco-catering.

• Anyone interested in joining a singing group can join Holy Trinity Church, Theale free choir group, who meet for rehearsals on Thursdays between 7pm to 8pm and then perform at Sunday services starting from 10.30am. All are welcome to join, with further details found on Facebook or by sending an email to office@holytrinitytheale.org.uk.

• Theale District Councillor Alan Macro has recently published his latest residents’ newsletter, which you can read here. As well as listing local planning applications (see also below) he also refers to a planned cycle and footpath link between the proposed Lakeside housing site and Station Road.

• Click here to read the January 2022 Padworth Newsletter which, as ever, also has information from neighbouring parishes.

• With Reading FC struggling for form and fighting off potential relegation, Berkshire football fans may have their heads turned by the recent success of Burghfield FC in the FA Sunday Cup. The Men’s Sunday team of Burghfield progressed through to the Last 16 of the nationwide competition, with a 4-1 win against Banstead Rovers. They are now set to face an away trip to Highgate Albion, to battle for a place in the quarter finals. You can read match reports from FootballinBerkshire and rdg.today to follow the events of Burghfield’s impressive win.

• Also a January 2022 issue of the Aldermaston Parish Council newsletter has just been released which covers various topics such as reviews of the recent skate ramp survey and other planning permissions, as well as a response to feedback regarding electric vehicle charging points.

• The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton published its final Parish Magazine for 2021, which also covers local events in January 2022.

• The Burghfield May Fayre 2022 will be held on Sunday 8 May, as announced on the burghfieldresidents.org website. Applications for fayre stalls allocation can now be made via the website, with the Funfair, Dog Show, Arena Displays, Craft Stalls, Café, Food Stalls and The Bar all returning for this year’s event. Further details and updates will be released shortly.

• As mentioned last week, four of Burghfield FC‘s Ladies team players are fundraising for UK-wide charity Action Medical Research. As mentioned on the group’s JustGiving page, they will be competing in July’s Race The Sun: Dawn to Dusk Triple Challenge which is a triathlon-style adventure challenge set around the Brecon Beacons.

• Sulhamstead’s Thames Valley Police Museum are hosting open mornings throughout January. Please see our ‘dates for the diary’ newsletter section below for links and further details.

Royal Berkshire Fire Authority is asking for Berkshire’s thoughts and opinions on their funding coming through 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.

• West Berkshire Library Service is appealing for local volunteers at Mortimer and Burghfield Common libraries. Please see this post on Facebook, call 01635 519533 or email volunteerinyourlibrary@westberks.gov.uk for further information.

• A mortimervillage.org.uk article has announced that the Lunch Club has been postponed until 24 February because of concerns regarding the recent spread of the Covid Omicron variant.

• Another closure in the Theale area, as until Monday 28 February the Village Stores in Burghfield will be shut due to health and safety issues surrounding its current on-site construction work.

Freedom of information

The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council on 6 January discussed the fact that 11 requests for information (eight of them FoIs) had been submitted in November and December . A full list of the topics covered – which seem mainly to be concerned with grants, assets and procedural matters – can be seen in the PC minutes here. A question to the Chairman from one of the members wondered “if there’s anything that can be done to reduce this administrative burden of these requests on the Parish Council.” 

I don’t know exactly what lies behind these requests, nor how many people made them, but it seems to me that a number of the matters asked about including the grant donations, the cookies policy, information about the NDP and the audit reports going hack to 2016 should probably be on the PC website anyway. Others, like details of the assets owned by the PC, should be easily available and perhaps should be on the website as well. There may be something else at work here which the minutes don’t reveal but I’m just taking the requests at their face value. Irksome as they often are to deal with, many such requests are made simply because it’s felt that the information isn’t available.

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 22 Jan Toy Library 10am Mortimer Methodist Church Hall.

• Wed 26 Jan Museum Open Morning 10am to noon Thames Valley Police Training Centre, Sulhamstead.

• Fri 28 Jan Winter Party 7pm till late The Six Bells, Beenham.

Sat 29 Jan Crafty Church (Winter Fun) 10.30am to noon St Mary’s Church, Burghfield.

Sat 5 Feb Charity Race Night 7.30pm Beenham Club.

Sun 6 Feb Live – Rag & Moan Men 3pm Beenham Club.

Thu 10 Feb Thatcham Refillable Mobile Shop Monthly 11.30am to 1.30pm 9 Clayhill Road, Burghfield Common RG73HB.

• Regular events

 Theale Library hosts in-person events for people of all ages. To find out more information on future clubs and events click here to visit the West Berkshire Library Facebook page or email Theale Library at thealelibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

 Holy Trinity Church, Theale is asking for food donations to be made to West Berks Food Bank which can be dropped off at the church on Sundays and Wednesdays between 10.30am to 6pm.

• Other locations for collection points across the Theale area for West Berks Food Bank can be found in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (21 12 edition, p 7).

• Beenham Art Group meets every Tuesday between 10am till noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. Contact details and information can be found in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (21 12 edition, p 18).

 Aldermaston & Wasing Ladies Group meets on the second Thursday of each month from 2pm at Aldermaston Parish Hall, please see Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 154 December 2021/January 2022 Edition p 5) for further information on the group.

• Padworth Village Hall hosts Padworth and Aldermaston WI on the third Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm. Further information on the group can be found in Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 154 December 2021/January 2022 Edition p 6).

• Beenham WI updates and contact details can be found in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (21 12 edition, p 14).

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 Theale Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a report from District Councillor Alan Macro; reports from committees and working groups; the jubilee fête on Sunday 5 June; planning and licensing matters; and financial matters, including the 2022-23 budget (the precept requested being £139,000). 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 Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council took place on 13 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered include: lime trees on the Fairground; speeding; the station car park; financial matters (including the the 2022-23 budget, the precept being set at £149,319); committee and working party reports; the neighbourhood development plan; delegated authority and general powers of competence; the jubilee; the Burghfield to Mortimer footpath; planning matters; correspondence; and the games club at the Library. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• See this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes here.  Items covered included: the bus shelter; financial matters; planning matters; Thames Water; footpaths; and heritage sites. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Aldermaston Parish Council took place on 11 January and you can read the minutes here in due course. Items covered included: presentations from both sides of the planning application for Cedars Lodge, Soke Road (various conditions were requested); a request from Lidl to extend delivery hours at their recently approved new store at the Tadley border (“we are not confident of success, but decided to object on the grounds of noise and disturbance, particularly to residents of older properties in the Conservation Area”); the skateboard ramp See also above); the “disappointing” WBC reaction  to our proposals for horse awareness signage in the Raghill area; a clarification about potassium iodide tablets (which are, contrary to what was recently reported in the Newbury Weekly News, not available for local residents in the event of a nuclear incident at AWE; and the “final pass” at the 2022-23 budget, remaining unchanged at £13,500 – the PC “would like to remind parishioners that this is considerably lower than other parishes of similar size.” 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 Burghfield Parish Council took place on 6 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a councillor vacancy; freedom of information (see also separate section above); committee reports; financial matters (including the the 2022-23 budget, the precept being set at £281,470); and delegated authority. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council took place on 7 December and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council took place on 6 December and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Click here for details of Beenham’s Community Plan.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council took place on 29 September (even though it says 29 June at the top) 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.

• Theale area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council and Burghfield Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 13 January 2022

This week’s news

• A final consultation on a proposal to develop a specialist education centre for young people with complex social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs in Theale is now live and will remain open until 6 February..

• Theale District Councillor Alan Macro has recently published his latest residents’ newsletter, which you can read here. As well as listing local planning applications (see also below) he also refers to a planned cycle and footpath link between the proposed Lakeside housing site and Station Road.

• Click here to read the January 2022 Padworth Newsletter which, as ever, also has information from neighbouring parishes.

• Also a January 2022 issue of the Aldermaston Parish Council newsletter has just been released which covers various topics such as; reviews of the recent skate ramp survey and other planning permissions, as well as a response to feedback regarding electric vehicle charging points.

• The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton published its final Parish Magazine for 2021, which also covers local events in January 2022.

• As mentioned last week, BBC News reported Bradfield College’s plans to change Church of St Andrew, Bradfield into a study centre for pupils was approved by West Berkshire Council. The plans would see the Grade II* listed 14th Century church adapted to include “a library, seminar rooms, presentation space and refreshment area” plus would see the “addition of fans which will be hung from existing rafters and beams in the main part of the church to recirculate warm air back down to the ground level to offset the leak-prone nature of the building”. However, the plans do also include “removing some grave headstones” in the church’s graveyard.

• Further religious news, West Berkshire Council has rejected the Plymouth Brethren’s application to build a new church barn and burial ground in Sulhamstead. As reported by NewburyToday, the council stated its reasoning behind the rejection as “the proposed new church hall lies on a greenfield site between Hollybush Lane and Shortheath Lane” plus that the facility would increase local traffic, visually harm the area and would be only useful for a “very small percentage of the local population for which no exceptional need was demonstrated”.

Burghfield May Fayre 2022 will be held on Sunday 8 May, as announced on the burghfieldresidents.org website. Applications for fayre stalls allocation can now be made via the website, with the Funfair, Dog Show, Arena Displays, Craft Stalls, Café, Food Stalls and The Bar all returning for this year’s event. Further details and updates will be released shortly.

Theale Green School was given a surprise donation from tech giant Amazon, although as the donation came via four tail-lift trucks it might’ve been hard to miss their arrival… The delivery handed the school vital equipment for its pupils, which is especially useful in the current economic climate for our local schools.

• Plenty of news coming from Burghfield FC recently, as four of their Ladies team players are fundraising for UK-wide charity Action Medical Research. As mentioned on the group JustGiving page, they will be competing in July’s Race The Sun: Dawn to Dusk Triple Challenge which is a triathlon-style adventure challenge set around the Brecon Beacons.

• Staying with the football club, Burghfield’s Sunday Men’s team is playing their Second Round fixture in the FA Sunday Cup on Sunday 16 January. They face Banstead Rovers for a 1pm kick-off at Burnham FC’s 1878 Stadium. Sunday Men’s team manager Liam Gillis and team captain Bradley Kerr both spoke to cup Twitter promoters (not associated with the FA) in two separate interviews, in which they reflect on their thrilling first round victory and what the competition means to the club.

• Sulhamstead’s Thames Valley Police Museum are hosting open mornings throughout January. Please see our ‘dates for the diary’ newsletter section below for links and further details.

• 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. Matthew Barber has stated the importance of any responses by saying “giving us your feedback, you can help shape decisions about police funding and how Thames Valley Police can continue to work to keep us all safe.”

• Also, Royal Berkshire Fire Authority is asking for Berkshire’s thoughts and opinions on their funding coming through 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.

• West Berkshire Library Service is appealing for local volunteers at Mortimer and Burghfield Common libraries. Please see this post on Facebook, call 01635 519533 or email volunteerinyourlibrary@westberks.gov.uk for further information.

• A mortimervillage.org.uk article has announced that the Lunch Club has been postponed until 24 February because of concerns regarding the recent spread of the Covid Omicron variant.

• Another closure in the Theale area, as from 10 January to 28 February the Village Stores in Burghfield will be shut due to health and safety issues surrounding its current on-site construction work.

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 15 Jan Live Music – Jamie Trick 8pm The Six Bells, Burghfield.

• Mon 17 Jan Mobile Library 9.30am to 10.45am Jubilee Day Nursey, Padworth.

• Wed 19 Jan Museum Open Morning 10am to noon Thames Valley Police Training Centre, Sulhamstead.

• Wed 19 Jan History Talk on Roman Silchester 7.30pm The Hinds Head, Aldermaston.

Thu 20 Jan Burghfield Camera Club 7.30pm to 10pm St Oswald’s Church, Burghfield Common.

• Sat 22 Jan Toy Library 10am Mortimer Methodist Church Hall.

Wed 26 Jan Museum Open Morning 10am to noon Thames Valley Police Training Centre, Sulhamstead.

Fri 28 Jan Winter Party 7pm till late The Six Bells, Beenham.

• Regular events

 Theale Library hosts in-person events for people of all ages. To find out more information on future clubs and events click here to visit the West Berkshire Library Facebook page or email Theale Library at thealelibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

 Holy Trinity Church, Theale is asking for food donations to be made to West Berks Food Bank which can be dropped off at the church on Sundays and Wednesdays between 10.30am to 6pm.

• Other locations for collection points across the Theale area for West Berks Food Bank can be found in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (21 12 edition, p 7).

• Beenham Art Group meets every Tuesday between 10am till noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. Contact details and information can be found in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (21 12 edition, p 18).

 Aldermaston & Wasing Ladies Group meets on the second Thursday of each month from 2pm at Aldermaston Parish Hall, please see Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 154 December 2021/January 2022 Edition p 5) for further information on the group.

• Padworth Village Hall hosts Padworth and Aldermaston WI on the third Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm. Further information on the group can be found in Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 154 December 2021/January 2022 Edition p 6).

• Beenham WI updates and contact details can be found in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (21 12 edition, p 14).

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 Theale Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a report from District Councillor Alan Macro; reports from committees and working groups; the jubilee fête on Sunday 5 June; planning and licensing matters; and financial matters, including the 2022-23 budget (the precept requested being £139,000). 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 Aldermaston Parish Council took place on 11 January and you can read the minutes here in due course. Items covered included: presentations from both sides of the planning application for Cedars Lodge, Soke Road (various conditions were requested); a request from Lidl to extend delivery hours at their recently approved new store at the Tadley border (“we are not confident of success, but decided to object on the grounds of noise and disturbance, particularly to residents of older properties in the Conservation Area”); the skateboard ramp See also above); the “disappointing” WBC reaction  to our proposals for horse awareness signage in the Raghill area; a clarification about potassium iodide tablets (which are, contrary to what was recently reported in the Newbury Weekly News, not available for local residents in the event of a nuclear incident at AWE; and the “final pass” at the 2022-23 budget, remaining unchanged at £13,500 – the PC “would like to remind parishioners that this is considerably lower than other parishes of similar size.” 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 Bradfield Parish Council took place on 7 December 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 Beenham Parish Council took place on 6 December and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Click here for details of Beenham’s Community Plan.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes here.  Items covered included: the bus shelter; financial matters; planning matters; Thames Water; footpaths; and heritage sites. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

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

• See this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council took place on 7 October and you can read the draft minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council took place on 29 September (even though they say 29 June at the top) 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.

• Theale area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council and Burghfield Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 6 January 2022

This week’s news

Theale District Councillor Alan Macro has recently published his latest residents’ newsletter, which you can read here. As well as listing local planning applications (see also below) he also refers to a planned cycle and footpath link between the proposed Lakeside housing site and Station Road.

• Click here to read the January 2022 Padworth Newsletter which, as ever, also has information from neighbouring parishes.

• Also a January 2022 issue of the Aldermaston Parish Council newsletter has just been released which covers various topics such as; reviews of the recent skate ramp survey and other planning permissions, as well as a response to feedback regarding electric vehicle charging points.

• The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton published its final Parish Magazine for 2021, which also covers local events in January 2022.

• As reported by BBC News, Bradfield College’s plans to change Church of St Andrew, Bradfield into a study centre for pupils was approved by West Berkshire Council. The plans would see the Grade II* listed 14th Century church adapted to include “a library, seminar rooms, presentation space and refreshment area” plus would see the “addition of fans which will be hung from existing rafters and beams in the main part of the church to recirculate warm air back down to ground level to offset the leak-prone nature of the building”. However, the plans do also include “removing some grave headstones” in the church’s graveyard.

Englefield Estate became the first private landowner in England to provide funding for places on the Prince’s Countryside Fund’s Farm Resilience Programme to support 14 of the estate’s tenant farmers. Further information on the Prince’s programme, and how it can benefit UK farmers who have taken actions to “generate environmental benefits and reduce carbon emissions” can be found in a FarmingUK article.

• Green bin (garden and food waste) collection service has been “temporarily suspend” by West Berkshire Council until 8 January, with resumption of the services starting again from Monday 10 January.

• Local non-league football side Burghfield FC announced a newly-designed badge, with club chairman Luke Bishop explaining on the club’s website “we wanted a badge that represented the village, and choosing the Burghfield Bell – with it’s history going back many years -–we feel this does just that”. Further descriptions and meaning behind the change to the club’s crest have also been explained via the website post, which followed the logo reveal on Twitter at 6pm on 5 January.

• A mortimervillage.org.uk article has announced that the Lunch Club has been postponed until 24 February because of concerns regarding the recent spread of the Covid Omicron variant.

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. Matthew Barber has stated the importance of any responses by saying “giving us your feedback, you can help shape decisions about police funding and how Thames Valley Police can continue to work to keep us all safe.”

• If any of our readers 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.

• Mortimer-based artist Peter Driver is using his artistic skills to fundraise for Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice and Reading Refugee Support Group, all in memory of his daughter Alice who sadly passed away aged 28 due to complications involving a brain tumour. As reported by InYourArea, “Peter’s charity prints are made in his studio in Sulhamstead using the oldest form of printmaking, woodcut, in which a design is carved into the surface of a wooden block.” Donations can be made by purchasing Peter’s artwork, with further details and updates on his website.

• Burghfield Parish Council (along with ‘Skate Park Working Party’) would like to learn the opinions of locals towards the Burghfield Skate Park Refurbishment Project. They’ve asked anyone interested in the project to respond to an online survey before Sunday 9 January.

Plans in Theale

• The above-mentioned Alan Macro’s most recent newsletter, which you can read here, includes (at the end) a list of all the live planning applications in Theale. 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 12 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 proposed demolitions, extensions, new builds and access roads. 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 Theale Parish Council took place on 8 November and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: support for the parish magazine; repairs around the parish; the environmental working party; Theale in Bloom 2022; one planning application and two decisions; financial matters; and revisions to the council’s policies. 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 Aldermaston Parish Council took place on 14 December and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a presentation from the MoD Police on its SCAN (scan, check and notify) initiative; the results of the recent consultation on replacing the skateboard ramp (“overwhelming support (over 80%) for such a feature provided: (i) it is funded by grants rather than our own revenues (ii) it is of simple design and (iii) it is located on the far side of the Recreation ground (well away from the pub)  we note this strong support, but wish to investigate maintenance and end-of-life costs before giving the project our final blessing.”; three planning decisions; EV charging points opposed by residents of Ravenswing; and the 2022-23 budget (“proposed expenditure closely matches income, so it is unlikely that we will seek an increase to our current precept of £13,500, though a final decision will be made at our January meeting.”) 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 Bradfield Parish Council took place on 7 December and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Village Hall; hedge cutting; planning matters; a possible enforcement issue near The Beacon; Travellers Rest Farm; parking in Southend Road; the 2022-23 budget; the jubilee; highways; flooding; dog bins; one new bench; two new defibrillators; three new cherry trees; the Christmas lights; and public footpaths. 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 Beenham Parish Council took place on 6 December and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the proposed development at The Clock Tower; a councillor vacancy; planning matters; rats in the pre-school play area; a proposed safeguarding policy; replacement fire doors at the school; the greening campaign; footpath repairs; speeding; maintenance and repair works around the parish; financial matters; and a late payer. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Click here for details of Beenham’s Community Plan.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council took place on 15 November and you can read the minutes here.  To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

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

• See this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council took place on 7 October and you can read the draft minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council took place on 29 September (even though they say 29 June at the top) 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.

To see earlier Theale & Surrounding Area Weekly News columns, please click here.

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