Penny Post: from 500 newsletters to 750

Penny Post has written about a lot of things since its 500th issue in September 2017. Here’s our summary of the general principles we’ve followed and some of the local stories and issues we’ve covered. Rest assured that we shall do our best to do more of the same in the future.

So, how has Penny Post tried to accomplish its goals over that last five years? (In the second section, we have tried to include one link (“read more”) which provides more information on the issue. Where this refers to the regional weekly news columns this will refer to the current one, although the story in question may be covered in the archive (a link to which can be found at the foot of the column). Where no link has been give that’s either because the post is now no longer current or because the coverage of the topic was dispersed across numerous different articles.

In general by…

  • Providing informative, relevant, topical, constructive and engaging news and comment about local life at no charge.
  • Offering suggestions as to what action can be taken to help solve problems.
  • Telling the stories that local people have about their challenges, goals, dreams and achievements.
  • Explaining the work of local organisations, including our local councils, without any political preconceptions.
  • Criticising or praising these, as each circumstance demands.
  • Criticising or praising coverage provided by other media sources, as each circumstance demands.
  • Reporting on the work done by parish and town councils, including linking to and summarising their meeting minutes.
  • Promoting voluntary and community groups of all kinds, even those which have no money to spend on promotion.
  • Looking at and reporting on each issue on its merits.
  • Avoiding sensational headlines and click-catching copy.
  • Checking facts and referring to sources.
  • Providing an opportunity for people of all political persuasions to comment on local issues.
  • Adding in-line comment and opinion in a responsible way.

Specifically by…

  • Writing a weekly column which looks at national and international issues, often with a local perspective.
  • Providing weekly news coverage of eight local areas which include coverage of events, community groups, news and local-council activities. Read more.
  • Covering the cost-of-living crisis and the help and support that people can receive locally. Read more.
  • Assessing the effectiveness (generally good) of local councils in dealing with Covid, once they were given the powers and funding to do so.
  • Promoting what these measures were and how people could access help and support.
  • Providing a guide to volunteer support groups and take-away food services during the pandemic. Read more.
  • Explaining and commenting on the important work done by planning committees. Read more.
  • Providing information about the environmental policies of our local councils and the solutions that they are offering.
  • Questioning if it is fair to charge small developers life-changing sums of money through CIL payments as a result of procedural errors. Read more.
  • Following the problems the community-transport service Readibus is having in maintaining its services in West Berkshire and talking to the people who rely on this. Read more.
  • Reporting on the sewage problems in the area, particularly in the Lambourn valley, and how Thames Water is responding to this. Read more.
  • Following the connected and divisive sagas of the London Road Industrial Estate and the football grounds in Newbury. Read more.
  • Supporting local campaigns on matters ranging from speeding to planning applications.
  • Covering speeding-related problems, including in West Ilsley. Read more.
  • Following pub-saving campaigns across the area.
  • Considering the wisdom or otherwise of building 2,500 homes in NE Thatcham and what other alternatives exist. Read more.
  • Explaining the significance of WBC’s emerging local plan with regard to local development issues.
  • Supporting and promoting the initiatives from local libraries.
  • Reflecting on how local councils communicate and how this can be improved.
  • Explaining the often misunderstood work and tole of the Town and Manor of Hungerford. Read more.
  • Reflecting on the infrastructure deficits that exist in the Wantage and Grove area and how these can be addressed. Read more.
  • Following the progress of neighbourhood development plans including in Hungerford, Cold Ash, Lambourn and Marlborough.
  • Considering the problems posed by the development approval for the contaminated site in Compton. Read more.
  • Investigating the continuing saga of the problems at the Shaw Valley development in Newbury. Read more.
  • Examining the differing views in Burghfield about the costs (and other aspects) of the Village Hall refurbishment and the new café. Read more.
  • Investigating the reasons behind the threatened closure of Windmill Court in Mortimer. Read more.
  • Looking at the different plans for pedestrianisation in Newbury, Marlborough and Wantage.
  • Explaining the various changes that West Berkshire Council has made to its recycling arrangements.
  • Promoting the consultation for, and commenting on the results of, WBC’s masterplan for Newbury. Read more.
  • Covering the many issues concerning the Lancaster Park development in Hungerford. Read more.
  • Asking whether local councillors should have access to information from WBC in order to exercise their democratic responsibilities. Read more.
  • Providing information about the proposed re-development of the Kennet Centre from both supporters and opponents of the scheme. Read more.
  • Reporting on a number of local solar farm applications including the one near Mortimer (Read more) and in Enborne (Read more).

More to come in the next 250 issues…

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