Hungerford Town Council Update July/August 2022

These notes incorporate some but not all of the matters discussed at the extraordinary HTC meeting on 8 August 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 an extraordinary one may take place to conduct necessary or formal business). Sometimes meetings 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

There was no report 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, 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 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.

Improved cycle parking in the town

The 25 July meeting of the Highways and Transport Committee followed up on a request from WBC to look for potential locations along the High Street.

The committee meeting was told that there are some bicycle racks under the railway bridge and it was suggested more could go on the east side under the bridge and in the Overland Road leading towards Tesco. Another location mentioned was in Canal Walk (the north side of the canal bridge) or outside the Town Hall (instead of a parking space). Better signage would be needed pointing to the various locations.

It was felt important that there be some covered racks for both long stay and short stays. Security for more expensive bikes was also discussed (such as lockers which Councillor Chicken had tried to get installed at the station). It was noted that when large cycle groups visit Hungerford, they usually stack their bikes along by the Tutti pole whilst they get refreshments.

Councillors Hudson and Knight will conduct an audit of the current bicycle racks and consider potential locations for new ones.

Speed indicator devices (SIDs)

The 25 July meeting of the Highways and Transport Committee provided an update on the town’s SIDs.

Councillor Hudson advised three SIDs have been set up: two are HTC’s while the one on the Common belongs to the Town &Manor.

He has fully charged the batteries to see how long they last (one or two weeks). Not all SIDs are in the best location yet and he is waiting for approval for a site near the garden centre. Once received he will move the SID from Charnham Street to Bath Road. Each sign will need a charger and a battery. The SID on the Common is a bit close to the cattlegrid but has been installed where there is a post.

A demonstration on 26 July showed that data is captured as drivers approaches the sign and also afterwards to see how they have reacted. Ideally sites should be switched around every three weeks. The Town & Manor will be responsible for switching its SID , for which two sites have been approved on the Common. It was noted the SID on the A338 is already being very effective slowing vehicles down.

It was agreed that a rota of trained volunteers would be set up to change and charge the batteries.

HTC projects and contracts

At the meeting, the following matters were confirmed:

  • The appointment of Maverick Industries Ltd to build a new skate park in the town. Further consultation will take place to reach a final design.
  • The appointment of Vitaplay replace six safety surfaces at Bulpit Play Park. A new seesaw has also been ordered for this play area..
  • The appointment of Jadecliff and of Elveden to provide Christmas trees this year. The main tree will be 30′ tall.
  • The appointment of Naturally Trees to carry out the work required at St Saviour’s. There are several trees with ash dieback that sadly need felling, most of which border the road. A re-planting plan is being considered to replace lost trees.

New playing pitch at John O’Gaunt School

On 26 July, WBC announced that it is putting £75,000 towards a joint funding bid from John O’ Gaunt Secondary School, Hungerford Town Council and Hungerford Town Football Club for a new 3G sports pitch on its site in Hungerford. The existing artificial grass pitch “is at the end of its life. If the bid is successful, the playing area will be increased to a full size football pitch, and changed to a 3G surface enabling matchplay to take place on it.” The whole project is likely to cost £600,000 and WBC is hopeful that the project will be completed by mid-2023. Planning permission is already in place.

“We’ve been working on this project for a long time,” said Hungerford’s Mayor Helen Simpson, “and are delighted that West Berkshire Council has seen the potential of the site and decided to support it. HTC has always been keen to develop initiatives that help young people in the town and so this will help make Hungerford an even better place than it is already. It will be huge asset to the school, the Football Club and, indeed, the whole community. I can’t wait to see the first match on it, hopefully some time next year.”

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.

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.

The Youth Council

Work continues on this project, including finalising the terms of reference and dealing with the various compliance issues that are required.

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 , Councillor Jon Shatford on cllr.jon.shatford@hungerford-tc.gov.uk or Councillor Daniel Lewis on cllr.daniel.lewis@hungerford-tc.gov.uk.

HTC’s environmental aims and objectives

AIt was agreed at the July meeting 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.

HTC’s emergency plan

As mentioned at the July meeting, 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 position 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 (“last meeting” refers to the last meeting for which minutes were available on the day this post was published):

  • Highways and Transport. (Last meeting 25 July 2022 – click here to read the minutes.) Items covered included: Feedback from WBC on availability of combined recycling/litter bins; the noticeboards under the bridge; CCTV at the Triangle Field; cycle parking in the town; speed indicator device training; footways, signage and parking issues, including at The Croft and Parsonage Lane; streetlights; outside seating at hospitality venues; and dog bins and Lancaster Park.
  • Recreation, Amenities and War Memorials. (Last meeting 19 July 2022 – click here to read the minutes.) Items covered included: an update on actions from the previous meeting; maintenance work; the RoSPA report; the Youth Council; Swimming Pool House; the play parks; the Croft Field Activity Centre; the skate park; and trees. 
  • Finance & General Purposes. (Last meeting 13 July 2022 – click here to read the minutes.) Items covered included: updates on actions from the previous meeting; financial and formal matters matters; the passing of a resolution “supporting the aspiration of the Hub to fit an air-source heat pump. Review their fundraising progress at a later date and consider any shortfall then.”
  • Environment and Planning. (Last meeting 11 July 2022 – click here to see the minutes.) Items covered included: updates on actions from the previous meeting; and six planning applications (one was objected to and the other five received no objections).

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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