Hungerford Town Council Update May/June 2022

These notes incorporate some but not all of the matters discussed at the Full HTC meeting on 6 June 2022, the agenda for which can be found here. The official minutes of the meeting will in due course be found on the HTC site. Any references below to ‘the meeting’ refer to this event unless specified otherwise. Any such issues are not necessarily covered here in the order in which they were discussed.  This report may also include information about HTC’s activities which were not discussed at the meeting. See the foot of this post for more information.

Full Council Meetings take place generally at 7.00pm in the Library on the first working Monday of every month except August (when there is no meeting), although this may take place on the Tuesday if the first Monday is a bank holiday. The agenda for the next one (as well as for the Council’s various committee meetings) can be found in this section of the HTC website

See the foot of this post for more information.

HTC = Hungerford Town Council; WBC = West Berkshire Council; WAPC = WBC’s Western Area Planning Committee. NDP = Neighbourhood Development Plan. H2036 = Hungerford’s NDP. DC = District Councillor.

For HTC updates from previous months, please visit the archives here.

Police

No report was provided for the meeting.

The local police team

The majority of the team has now re-located back to Newbury Police Station leaving only two PCSOs based at Hungerford TRI Station. The whole team will eventually be back at Newbury as the move was only temporary during the pandemic.

The current set-up of the team is one Inspector, one Sergeant, three Police Constables and five PCSOs to cover the Hungerford and Downlands area. Please see below for how to contact them.

Local events

If you have any community events for which you would like representation from your local NHPT, please contact them via the email address below. While local TVP representatives cannot guarantee always to be able to attend, they will make every effort to do so. 

General information (including contacts)

  • Please report all incidents to the Police or otherwise they will not be officially recorded – news travels fast round a community but if no one tells reports incidents the police may not know about it. Mentioning an incident on social media does not count as reporting the crime.
  • People are encouraged to sign up for Thames Valley Alerts. As well as local crime information, you can receive details of the latest scams.
  • Thames Valley Police has a Facebook page.
  • The local policing team also wants to draw attention to the ‘what three words’ app which is used to help with the prevention of rural crime by locating people. The app provides a three-word code for each grid which is mapped over the world. By ringing 999 and quoting it the police can locate you.
  • You can report incidents online but if it is urgent please continue to call on 101 (non-emergency) and 999 in an emergency.
  • If you would like to report anonymously you can do so via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online.
  • The team’s email address is HungerfordandDownlandsNHPT@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk  This is not monitored 24/7 and should not be used to report a crime.
  • The local police team is keen to promote the Herbert Protocol initiative which helps us all to try to keep vulnerable members of our community safe.

WBC’s Environmental strategy and delivery plan

Two officers from WBC’s Environmental team were present at the meeting and gave a presentation on a number of issues in which they’d been working following the declaration of the climate emergency in July 2019, the climate conference in October 2019 and the environment strategy which was approved in July 2020.  These areas included:

  • Addressing fuel poverty.
  • Natural solutions to carbon sequestration.
  • The eco-schools programme.
  • Supporting and promoting business which are environmentally friendly.
  • The greening campaign.
  • The West Berkshire Parish climate forum.
  • WBC’s monthly environmental e-newsletter.

More details can be found in this section of WBC’s website.

An invitation from the Town and Manor

The Constable of the Town and Manor, Peter Joseph, invited all the HTC Councillors and officers to a social event involving the trustees and the officers of the Town and Manor. The aim was to increase co-operation between the two bodies which work in and for the same town and whose activities often overlapped. Late July was suggested: details to be agreed.

District Councillors reports

All three DCs were present at the meeting. Items raised by them included:

  • Congratulations to HTC and all involved for the success of the jubilee events.
  • Congratulations to Councillor Alastair Fyfe, whose work on the deficiencies of some of the pavements along the A338 and A4 is being acted on by WBC (it was suggested by DC Cole that similarly well-evidenced work on similar issues in other locations is thus well worth doing and submitting).
  • The members’ bid for wildflowers has been made.
  • The conservation area appraisals have not proceeded as quickly as had been hoped. The period for the consultancy funding has now expired but it’s hoped that, once WBC has appointed conservation officers, the project may be able to be run in-house.
  • DC Claire Rowles was lobbying WBC for traffic-calming measures following yet abutter accident at the junction of Lower Denford Road and the A4 (which many agreed was very dangerous)
  • DC Rowles was also looking at the lighting, or the lack of it, in some of the alleyways in the town which made them alarming for many people to use.
  • Although this was not in the parish, DC Cole gave an update on the travellers’ site in Enborne Road which, although owned by the people now living on it, has very recently been developed to an extent that bears no relation to the planning consent. WBC is, he said, “on the case.”
  • After intervention by DC Benneyworth, WBC’s refuse team agreed to collect the rubbish which was left over from the jubilee event on Sunday (which had been neatly sorted by the Smarten Up Hungerford team).

Notrees care home

A representative from the care home attended the meeting and made some points about the proposed closure of this facility in Kintbury (click here to visit the consultation, which closes on Wednesday 8 June). HTC said that it had not had the time to look into matter as fully as it would have wished and so couldn’t make a response by the above deadline: the Mayor pointed out that there was nothing to prevent councillors from replying individually if they wished.

Mayor’s report

Constable’s Parade

I was delighted to attend the Constables parade on Sunday 1 May. The parade was well attended, it’s always a delight to march behind Hungerford Town Band. Huge congratulations to Peter Joseph who was elected as Constable for a second term. Peter, I know we will have lots of joint adventures throughout the civic year. Congratulations!

John O’Gaunt artificial pitch

Discussions are on-going, HTC was present at a meeting with all parties recently. There is so much support for this project within WBC and HTC. I’m extremely optimistic this project will be delivered on time.

Police meeting

Cllr Fyfe and I attended a meeting with the local police team and residents to discuss a local concern relating to drugs and antisocial behaviour. The residents were supported with positive actions they can do to report the incidents of concern.

Band concert

Hungerford Town Band held a concert in the Corn Exchange for the community, the afternoon performance was well attended and I think the band played the best I’ve heard them play. It was great to listen to the junior band who were absolutely brilliant. Thank you to all those involved.

 WBC site meeting regarding pavements

Over 20 people were present at this meeting including WBC, Volker Highways, Rejuvo District, and Town Councillors to discuss the recent pavement improvements in Hungerford. Thank you to Jon Winstanley for allowing Hungerford residents to speak directly with officers and also to contractors, who explained the process and apologised for poor workmanship on this occasion. It has been agreed any remedial works will be done and the surface monitored over the coming months.

Newbury Spring Festival

I was delighted to be invited as a guest of Doves Farm to the Hungerford venue of the Newbury Spring Festival. I had a wonderful evening listening to the Oculi Ensemble string quartet. Congratulations to the Newbury spring festival team on another successful festival.

Hungerford Theatre Company

I was thrilled to be asked to the theatre company’s production of Two. There were moments when I laughed so hard and others where I had a tear in my eye. Superb performance, David Clayton would have been so proud of you all.

Twinning Association sundial

As president of the Twinning Association I was so pleased to be present at the unveiling of the new sun dial placed on the library building. Thank you to RBFRS for funding the project and to local stone mason Barry Humphries for such a beautiful replacement, following only pictures as a guide. Ted, your vegetarian rolls at the reception following were outstanding!

Twinning 40-year anniversary commemorative plaque

A couple of years later than planned due to the pandemic, we were finally able to unveil a fabulous anniversary plaque on the town hall. The plaque commemorates 40 years of our twinning with French town Ligueil. The success of the twinning association is down to the hard -working committee and following years of friendship. I very much hope it continues to go from strength to strength in the future. Realisation fantastique, Tres Bon!

Beacon Lighting

The beacon lighting was so well attended, although some hoped our beacon was a little more impressive in size, I believe everyone had a lovely evening. Thank you to HRFC for supporting the event and thanks to Roger Ballard, Derek & Di Loft and HTC office for putting together such a lovely event for the town.

Platinum Jubilee Picnic

Wow! What an incredible event. I couldn’t be more pleased with how this event went. And, my goodness – weren’t we lucky with the weather!

The community really supported this event, I will do lots more in the way of thanks to all those who supported the event within the press. For now,  I’d like to thank our dedicated committee for pulling off (in three months) something which took other towns a year to plan – a hugely successful Platinum Jubilee celebration. Hungerford, you make me so proud to serve as your Mayor.

The pavements in Clarks Gardens and Coldharbour Road

The Mayor reported that on 18 May a site meeting had took place at Clarks Gardens involving the following:

  • The Mayor of Hungerford.
  • The Chair of the HTC Highways and Planning Committee.
  • WBC’s Environment Service Director.
  • WBC’s Highways Assets Manager.
  • All three of WBC’s district councillors for the Hungerford and Kintbury ward.
  • The Managing Director of Rejuvo.
  • Three representatives from Volker Highways.
  • About 15 members of the public.

The upshot of this meeting was as follows:

  • The material and process used has a number of environmental and finial benefits and has been used successfully elsewhere for many years.
  • It does, however, take about six months to bed down – for the harsh black colour to mellow and for the surface to solidify completely.
  • On reflection, it was conceded that given the number of driveways (which will inhibit this and cause degradation before the material has settled), another approach might have been worth considering here.
  • It was also accepted that the work was not done as well as it could have been, particularly with regard to the preparation of the original surface.
  • That all parties would monitor the results over the next few months ands that the sub-contractors would do whatever remedial work was require.

Thames Water

Thames Water will be attending WBC’s Oversight and Scrutiny Commission in September and DC James Cole is inviting anyone with any questions or concerns about matters such as water abstraction, mains supply, sewerage systems and wastewater treatment to contact him on James.Cole@westberks.gov.uk.

The platinum jubilee celebrations

The Mayor’s summary was that the events “could hardly have gone better”, particularly considering the gloomy weather forecast. She said that HTC would soon be issuing a statement thanking everyone who had got involved.

The Croft Field improvement project

The tender document for the builders was discussed at the meeting. Subject to some clarifications and amendments concerning insulation, LED lighting and heating this was agreed.

Hungerford 2036 (neighbourhood development plan)

After extensive analysis, public consultations, professional consultant input and project team debate, the potential housing sites for inclusion in the Hungerford Neighbourhood plan are now very well understood. West Berkshire Council set a requirement that the plan needs to identify and allocate site(s) that will provide at least 55 new homes in the parish within the next 15 years.

As identified early in the H2036 project which began in 2018, the parish has some demographic challenges including an ageing population and a shortage of homes which are affordable for many of the next local generation.

A proposal was made at the June 2022 Full Council meeting to proceed with our Neighbourhood Plan promoting development of site HUN14 (East of Salisbury Road) which will provide approximately 60 houses.

For more information, see the Hungerford 2036 post here.

Direct train services between Hungerford and Paddington

HTC remains concerned about the cuts to the services and supports the efforts of the Bedwyn Train Passenger Group to try to reverse these. More information (including contact details) can be found on this separate post.

Car parking at the station.

As this separate post shows, trying to effect the various improvements that HTC wishes to implement is a slow job, work on this having started in 2018. Several different organisations – including Network Rail (soon to be replaced by a separate body), WBC and GWR – are involved and further uncertainty and delays have been caused by Covid’s disruption to life in general and travel patterns in particular; and GWR’s recent timetable changes (see section above). At the meeting it was decided that the project would be re-set to where it had got to in late 2019, with HTC deciding to apply for grant funding for a feasibility study.

Grants by HTC

HTC traditionally makes grants to a number of local organisations and 2022 will be no exception. At the meeting, a list of of over 30 recipients was agreed. A separate post will follow with the full details of these; also of the ceremony which HTC organises for the presentation.

HTC’s committees

The following committee meetings have recently taken place:

  • Highways and Transport. (Last meeting 23 May – click here to read the minutes.) Items covered included: the election of the Chair; recycling bins; jubilee arrangements; CCTV; EV chargers; Hungerford in Bloom; pavement re-surfacing; improvements to the station (see also above); dog bins; the zebra crossing at Charnham Street. (There was also an extraordinary meeting on 23 May to consider one application, the minutes of which can be read here.)
  • Recreation, Amenities and War Memorials. (Last meeting 17 May – click here to read the minutes.) Items covered included: the election of the Chair; Marsh Lane allotments; repairs and maintenance work around the town; the Croft Field Activity Centre; the artificial pitch at JoG School; the Triangle Field; tree planting; Hungerford Youth working party; the Bridge Street war memorial; and the cemetery.
  • Environment and Planning. (Last meeting 9 May – click here to see the minutes.) Items covered included: the election of the Chair; updates on previous actions; five new applications; case officers’ reports.
  • Finance & General Purposes. (Last meeting 5 May – click here to read the minutes which will be uploaded in due course.)

Note: if the links above don’t work, this may be because they were linked to unadopted (draft) minutes which have since been replaced by adopted ones. If so, please visit this page of HTC’s website for the most up-to-date information on meetings past and the agendas of those yet to come.

For details on HTC’s committees, including membership, agendas and minutes, please click here (and go to the “Town Council” tab).

Contacting HTC

HTC can be contacted in the following ways:

  • By email to townclerk@hungerford-tc.gov.uk
  • By post to The Town Clerk, Hungerford Town Council, The Library, Church Street, Hungerford RG17 0JG.
  • In person at the above address between 10am and 2pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
  • By phone on 01488 686 195.

Any questions for an HTC meeting need to arrive by 2pm on the day (please allow more time if you have left this on the ansafone).

Members of the public are also welcome to attend any meetings.

Contacting WBC in an emergency

You can also contact West Berkshire Council out of office hours for emergencies. These are considered to include:

  • Major incidents such as major accidents or significant flooding.
  • Fallen trees and other debris blocking or restricting roads or causing potential danger to road users.
  • Traffic lights not working (West Berkshire Council only manages fixed traffic lights, not temporary ones).
  • Emergency repairs to council-owned temporary accommodation (tenants of properties should contact their housing association, landlord or agent).

 

The sections above cover the main issues with which HTC has recently been involved or concerned: it by no means describes all of HTC’s activities. Nor is this an official record of any meeting nor of any other aspect of HTC’s activities. Links to the official minutes of this and other meetings are provided in this post. For more information on HTC, please click here.

If there’s anything that you’d like to see addressed by HTC, and perhaps also covered in this way in future editions of Penny Post Hungerford, please email claire.barnes@hungerford-tc.gov.uk. Any such suggestions should be received at least four working days before the end of the month (and preferably sooner) if they are to be included in the corresponding post for the following month. That is not, of course, to say that HTC will not in any case give the matter its attention and respond personally if appropriate.

This information has been compiled by Penny Post from information supplied by HTC and others. Every reasonable effort has been made to provide a clear and dispassionate summary of the points covered but these may contain expressions of opinion which may not accord with HTC’s official view on the matter. Links have been provided to other posts, on the Penny Post site or elsewhere, to give additional information where this has been judged useful or necessary. The presence of such a link should not be taken to imply that HTC necessarily agrees with, endorses or supports any of the material contained therein.

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