Hungerford Town Council Update June/July 2022

These notes incorporate some but not all of the matters discussed at the Full HTC meeting on 4 July 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

June report

A report was provided for the meeting:

“The Hungerford and Downlands Neighbourhood team, along with other colleagues, has conducted a warrant at an address in Hungerford following reports of anti-social behaviour and other matters. There is an ongoing investigation, so we are currently unable to comment further on the matter. The team continues to investigate the issues reported and is working hard to provide a resolution.

“Aside from this, there have been no other reports to indicate any persistent anti-social behaviour in the Hungerford area. In terms of crimes reported in the Hungerford area, they appear to have been isolated incidents and do not suggest any current trends. However, if there are any ongoing problems we’re not currently aware of, or if you have any concerns, please ensure these are reported to the police so we can review and act on those reports accordingly.”

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, one Police Constable 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.

Hungerford’s Heritage Trail

Two representatives of the Hungerford Chamber of Commerce (HCC), Karen Salmon and Penny Locke, addressed the meeting about this initiative. Its aim is to increase footfall on the High Street by launching a Heritage Trail with information about places of interest in the town. It was pointed out that, due to delays caused by securing permission for plaques to be added to building, a funding stream had been missed. Since then, however, a different solution had presented itself.

This was an app-based product by TrailTale which already covers 120 areas in the UK with 2,500 points of interest. The up-front costs were around £2,300 but the annual costs thereafter less than £200. A good deal of work had already been done on the content, mainly by Hugh Pihlens, for 20 identified points of interest in the town (others can easily be added later). Some funding for the project is already in place (including £500 from HTC) and other sources could be explored. A Good Exchange application will be made. TrailTale would provide marketing for the app outside Hungerford, which is what is most required, and a link to this could be used for other external marketing initiatives from organisations such as the Great West Way and WBC. Under this arrangement with this company, HTC/HCC would retain the rights to the content.

HTC agreed that an app was the best way forward but Councillor Schlanker was concerned that TrailTale’s prices were too low, indicating that they might not be able to deliver sufficient marketing and downloading of the app. He suggested that at least one other app company that provided similar services should be asked to quote and demonstrate marketing success and benefits to HTC/HCC. It was also suggested that it should be agreed which of these two organisations owned the rights to the content. These points were agreed by the HCC representatives.

It was agreed that HTC’s commitment to and support for the project remained unaltered and that it looked forward to learning what other options might be available.

District Councillors reports

Only DC Benneyworth was present at the meeting as the two other DCs were attending two other parish meetings in the ward. Items raised included:

  • The possibility of an improved footway in Croft Way is being looked into although this might result in the loss of some car-parking spaces.
  • He congratulated the Hungerford Nursery School on a successful and well-attended 80th birthday celebration in June, at which he was present.
  • The member’s bid for the wildflower matting was successful. The funds need to be spent within 12 months.

Hedges

The matter of overgrown hedges in certain parts of the town, particularly Atherton Road, was an issue, and that this was ultimately a matter for property owners: if the council has received complaints about these then either the owners are expecyted to cut them back or the council will do this and charge them. It was pointed out that the issue affects not only pedestrians but also motorists: at one location an important road sign had been discovered that was completely covered by vegetation.

Mayor’s report

This is a shorter than usual report but the Jubilee occupied most of the first week of the month and the Mayor was on holiday from 20 June.

Jubilee beacon lighting

This event was the first of HTC’s celebrations, initially this started fairly slow, crowds then built as we drew nearer to the lighting and we ended up with a large crowd. HRFC did a great job of the bar and we managed to clear out the Sin Bin (the food outlet).

Jubilee party in the Croft

What a fantastic event, so well attended. Everyone seemed to have a great time and the feedback received has been really positive.

Site meeting with Bewley Homes

Together with Councillor Fyfe and DC James Cole, I attended a site meeting with Bewley Homes at Lancaster Park on 9 June to discuss a number of issues, including landscaping and dog waste. The meeting was positive, constructive and worthwhile and we shall be arranging further ones to see the progress on these matters and to raise any others which may need discussion in the future.

Harey 8 Race

I was delighted to be asked back to support the race and hand out the medals on 12 June. The event was extremely well supported. Congratulations to all those who took part and also to the category winners.

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 development plan (NDP) are now very well understood. West Berkshire Councils set a requirement that the NDP 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 NDP promoting development of site HUN14 (East of Salisbury Road) which will provide approximately 60 houses.

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, as reported last month, 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. This reads as follows:

“The journey to make this event happen started for the town three months ago based on an idea that required people to contribute purely on a voluntary basis. Of course, to reach this point in time, our wonderful monarch has been proudly serving our country for 70 years. However, as we are all fully aware events in recent years have conspired against large social gatherings and even six months ago this would not have been possible. Thank you to Hungerford’s wonderful community for supporting the towns Platinum Jubilee celebrations 2022. Importantly I would like to recognise all those who, behind the scenes make Hungerford and the surrounding area such a wonderful place to live and work.

“The organising committee: made up from our outstanding town volunteers: Jerry Keates, Neale Marney, Helen Simpson, Claire Barnes, Derek Loft, Gareth Burgess, Peter Harries, Denise Gaines, Simon Hobden, Penny Locke, Fiona Hobson, Steve Mills, Chris Ticehust, Paul Ivinson, Nicola Wood and their partners.

“The acts: Hungerford Town Band, Showtime with the Hungerford Theatre Company, Abbie Lou Cleary, Maddison Pettifer, Kat Jayne, Her Majesty Tess Brown, Blake Morgan and our impresario Gareth Burgess.

“Local organisations and businesses: The included the Hub, The Hungerford Club, Royal British Legion, Smarten up Hungerford, Town and Manor, the Town Council and Council staff including Roger and Lorraine Ballard, The Hungerford Rugby Club, The Hungerford Theatre Company, Tesco’s, W H Smiths, The Surgery, WBC and its Chairman Rick Jones, The emergency services, The Borough Arms, The Fortnightly Adviser, Ridgeway Press, The Croft Hall, Chain/Handy Bus, Ted Angel, Penny Post, the Artisan Market, Sara Fricker, Rachel Barker, Tony Grewal, Liz Barnett, Clive Cooper, David and Carrie Whiteley, St Lawrence’s Church, residents of The Croft and surrounding area, Barnaby Newton and his wonderful steam engine and Stuart March Photography.”

The Croft Field improvement project

The tender document for the builders was discussed at the meeting but was deferred until the next Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting to ratify this (power being given to it to do so) as there was some doubt as to whether the plans submitted were the final ones.

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.

HTC’s environmental aims and objectives

These were discussed at the meeting and it was agreed that HTC should provide leadership, example-setting and active dialogue with other organisations including WBC in order to do its bit towards the climate emergency. A report would be prepared by Councillor Downe and others on this subject and presented to the September HTC meeting.

Attention was also drawn to the home-energy initiative organised by HEAT in the Corn Exchange complex on 24 September.

Swimming Pool House

There had recently been a successful installation of a ground-source heating system into this HTC-owned property.

Proposed community solar-farm project

HTC has recently been approached by, and met, a local landowner who is proposing that some part of a 28-acre site on the edge of Hungerford be used for this purpose. It was agreed that this interesting suggestion be passed on to WBC.

EV charge points at the Station Road car park

This long-running issue was raised again by Councillor Downe. The delay appears to turn on the wayleave agreements (by which landowners permit utilities to pass below their land) which, in this case, involve the electric cables. Councillor Downe said at the meeting that he had recently provided some relevant information about land ownership in this case to WBC and that he hoped that progress would soon be made.

The Youth Council

Councillor Alford told the meeting that this organisation, involving pupils in their first two years at John O’Gaunt school, had had three meetings since May. The aim of the Youth Council was to give young people in Hungerford an greater say in, and responsibility for, aspects of life in the town. Suggestions so far received included tree- and wildflower-planting, animal protection, improved sports facilities, more involvement in local working groups, better rubbish and dog-mess bins, doodle walls (temporary graffiti) and nature trails.

It had been agreed that the next step was to put the members in touch with the various organisations in the town which covered these areas, to see how the Youth Council’s activities could help support these and then to look at what was not currently being addressed.

HTC and DC Benneyworth confirmed their support for the initiative and welcomed further updates on the progress.

If anyone would like to get involved in the Youth Council’s work, please contact Councillor Derek Alford on cllr.derek.alford@hungerford-tc.gov.uk or Councillor Daniel Lewis on cllr.daniel.lewis@hungerford-tc.gov.uk.

HTC’s emergency plan

Councillor Fyfe suggested that Hungerford needed to have a more robust and specific emergency plan than that which currently existed. He pointed out that the town was at the junction of two A roads, near a motorway, on a main-line rail route and several waterways and traversed by several flight paths. It’s location in a rural location and on the very edge of the district, made it also vulnerable to the problem of isolation in the event of a major incident.

It was agreed that he and three other councillors would work with the Clerk on producing a plan which could, when it was more defined, be presented to and discussed with WBC.

HTC’s committees

The following committee meetings have recently taken place:

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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