Burghfield & Theale Area Weekly News – 2023 Archive

To see the current Burghfield & Theale Area Weekly News section, please click here.

Please note that this section is presented as an archive of past columns and is not updated (except by the addition of the previous post every week). 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.

Click here for the 2024 archive

Click here for the 2022 archive

Thursday 4 January 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes: Santas, re-charging, repairs, cleaning, bus changes and a bridge repair.  See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include: Repair Cafe and Sound Immersion therapy. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

This week’s news

• Local legends the Burghfield Santas reflected on 2023 in a Facebook post, in which they summarise they raise a total of £41,654 from The Bulging Sack pop-up Pub and from Burghfest – which was donated to the Thames Valley Air Ambulance. As well as an additional £2,036.74 from the Burchfield Santa Cruise. This year will be the group’s 20th anniversary, so look out for more exciting events planned for 2024.

• Got something broken and not sure how to fix it? Bring your broken electrical items, garden equipment or anything else that’s not working down to the Spencer Wood Village Hall where the Repair Cafe’s expert repair volunteers will try to fix them or give advice. The next one is this weekend on Sunday 7 January. Click here for more information.

• Do you fancy re-charging your batteries for the New Year? Join Roz Sylvester for Sound Immersion – Release & Manifest, at the Luci Trendle Yoga Studio in Burghfield on Friday 12 January. Being immersed in the vibrations of this magical Tibetan bowl sound healing experience, you drift off into a meditative state which heals, restores, and leaves you feeling completely rested and reconnected to self.

• Our local hospitals are under extra pressure during the Junior Doctor strike until Tuesday 9 January. For latest updates and advice please follow Great Western Hospital’s facebook page and Reading’s Royal Berkshire Hospital’s facebook page here.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products at the Thatcham Refillable mobile shop outside Love Heartwood, 9 Clayhill Road, Burghfield Common, RG7 3HB on Thursday 11 January, 12.45pm to 2pm. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details. They are also collecting plastic sweet and cracker tubs until 30 January.

• If you’re a regular bus-user, Reading Buses has made a few changes to some of its routes, which just came into effect as of Tuesday 2 January. To find out if the changes affect you, click here.

West Berkshire Libraries are offering new online support for students: secondary students can sign up to a fun, interactive way of learning via Brillder, an exciting online resource, and a free 12 week Library Code Club starts from Monday 8 January for 9 to 11 years to learn to code at home with Scratch.

Theale Councillor Alan Macro has released his latest newsletter which discusses West Berkshire Council’s consultation regarding budgeting plans  and “Car Meets”.

• Theale Parish Council is fundraising to start a new local Youth Club/Youth Café to help support young people in the area. This is in response to a series of anti-social behaviour incidents which occurred earlier in the year. The Council have approached Berkshire Youth to help deliver this project and the Greenham Trust have already made a donation of £750 to get the ball rolling. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here to see Burghfield and Mortimer ward member Nick Carter’s latest newsletter.

• Fixing the bridge

Work on the refurbishment of the Aldermaston Wharf lifting bridge will be starting on 8 January 2024 until 15 March 2024. West Berkshire Council says that this is “to ensure the bridge continues to function reliably and effectively for many years to come. The refurbishment works require the removal of the entire moving bascule part of the bridge to a steel fabrication yard for structural repairs and repainting.” This will result in the closure of the A340 from 8 January until it is reinstalled and made operational again on (it is expected) 15 March.

The Aldermaston Wharf Lifting Bridge carries the A340 over the Kennet and Avon Canal. It was constructed in the early 1980s and many of the structural, mechanical, electrical and hydraulic systems essential for the bridge’s operation have become worn or are now outdated, with spare parts becoming increasingly harder to source.

The canal will also be closed from 8 January until 14 January to allow the removal of the bascule and then again from 26 February until 15 March to allow the bascule to be reinstalled.

Alternative routes have been identified and will be clearly signposted to facilitate the movement of vehicles and pedestrians during the closure period.

For more information, click here.

• Have your say

Parish and town councils also run consultations from time to time: see the appropriate website/s below under Council contacts.

Latest local newsletters

Englefield Parish Magazine.
Padworth Village Newsletter.
Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton


Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield Toy Library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Are you interested in becoming an on-call firefighter? The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue are looking for on-call firefighters particularly in the Mortimer area. To find out more and register your interest get in touch at recruitment@rbfrs.co.uk or click here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church is the drop-0ff point in Theale for West Berkshire Foodbank. See request list here.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814.

Advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

Volunteer drivers needed by Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau. Click here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church in Theale is seeking donations for the Foodbank that is open on Sundays and Wednesdays from 9am to 6pm. Find out what is requested each week by clicking here.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.


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 7 Jan Repair Café, Spencer’s Wood Village Hall.

• Fri 12 Jan Sound Immersion – Release & Manifest: Setting intentions for the New Year, Burghfield

• Regular events

• Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

• Are you over 55 and would like the opportunity to get creative? The Corn Exchange Newbury is running arts and crafts, painting, drawing, sketch and stroll, and poetry workshops in the Burghfield area. See here for dates, locations and how to book.

• The Corn Exchange is also running a Home Artist scheme where you collect monthly creative project packs from Mortimer Library to enjoy in the comfort of your own home or get them delivered to your home address.

• Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

 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.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

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

• All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

• 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 was on 12 December and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: the lifting bridge repairs and gully clearances (both of which will cause delays and disruptions on local roads); two planning applications (on objection and one no objection); the appeal by Youngs Estate against the refusal for expansion of their industrial estate; “disappointment” that WBC have not updated APC on Corbyn, Soke Road, that appears now to have become an office development; the budget for 2024-25; and a possible new councillor. (Note that some other matters arising from this meeting are covered in separate sections above.)
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 5 December and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: an enforcement matter regarding the fence near the Stores; planning matters; a possible neighbourhood development plan; a report from the ward member; the Clerk’s report; litter and dog bins; the Village Hall; financial matters; the defibrillator; repairs and maintenance; and parking problems.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, pleasehere for 2022 or here for 2023. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 4 December and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the neighbourhood plan; reports from councillors and the ward member; planning matters; financial matters; open spaces; potholes; and staffing matters.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 9 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. To see the minutes, please click hereSee this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 8 November and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 6 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. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 17 October 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 and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 12 October and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 2 October and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.  Click here for details of Beenham’s Community Plan.

• Burghfield area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council, Basildon 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 December 2023

Our usual round-up of  local news includes: windows, Christingle, coffee, buses and a youth club – plus a look back at some of the main things we’ve covered in this column in 2023.  See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Thatcham area events include: Charity Lorry Run and Carol Service. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

This week’s news

• Burghfield’s St Mary’s Church will be hosting their annual Christingle Service on Christmas Eve – the much loved tradition of wrapping oranges in red tape, decorated with dried fruit or sweets and topped with a candle. The event is popular so they have two sessions at 2pm and 4pm. To secure a place book ahead on eventbrite.

• Burghfield Parish Council have uploaded some lovely photos on their Facebook Page from the Burghfield on Ice event. They would love to hear your feedback on the event, so if you’d like to make any comments or suggestions please get in touch with them at comms@burghfieldparishcouncil.gov.uk with your thoughts to incorporate into Burghfield on Ice 2024.

• Congratulations to Theale’s Christmas Window Competition Winners 2023: Beautique Hair & Beauty. This year’s other entries included Studio 12 Designs, Parkers, La Baguetterie and Frame Direct who also had lovely window displays, so you haven’t already had a walk down the High Street check them out and enjoy some festive cheer.

• Quick reminder about free bus travel this Saturday 23 December. If you start your journey in West Berkshire, the free travel even extends to our neighbouring areas such as Reading, Basingstoke, and Swindon. Your return journey is also free. To learn more click here.

• Our local hospitals are under extra pressure during the Junior Doctor strike 20 to 22 December and 3 to 8 January.  Statement from Great Western Hospital in Swindon: While we will continue to provide urgent and emergency care, hospital may not be the best place to be seen for your treatment needs. If you have an appointment with us, you should continue to come to the hospital. Anyone whose appointment is cancelled or postponed will be contacted directly. For latest updates follow GWH’s facebook page. – likewise Reading’s Royal Berkshire Hospital’s facebook page here.

• While Christmas can be a time of enormous joy for many, heightened emotions can also magnify loneliness and grief. If you find Christmas stressful or depressing, you are not alone. See here for advice and help that is available.

• At this time of year when all normal routines take a buffeting and emotions can be stretched, a little levity and lightheartedness doesn’t go amiss. With this in mind, we folk at Penny Post are challenging each other to come up with the best Christmas cracker joke – or should we saw the worst because there is a good psychological reason why cracker jokes are so bad. Perhaps you and yours could do the same? Here is one to get you started – What do frogs wear on their feet ? Open-toad sandals…

• Are you spending Christmas Day alone? Or maybe money is a bit tight this year? Harry’s Coffee Shop on Reading Road will be open on Christmas Day between 12pm and 1:30pm and providing free drinks and hot food for those that need it or would appreciate the company.

• If you’re a regular bus-user, Reading Buses has made a few changes to some of its routes, which will come into effect as of Tuesday 2 January. To find out if the changes affect you, click here.

Theale Councillor Alan Macro has released his latest newsletter which discusses West Berkshire Council’s consultation regarding budgeting plans, Christmas bus travel and “Car Meets”.

• Theale Parish Council are fundraising to start a new local Youth Club/Youth Café to help support young people in the area. This is in response to a series of anti-social behaviour incidents which occurred earlier in the year. The Council have approached Berkshire Youth to help deliver this project and the Greenham Trust have already made a donation of £750 to get the ball rolling. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here latest newsletter, to see Burghfield and Mortimer ward member Nick Carter’s latest newsletter.

• A look back at 2023

Each week in 2023, with a couple of exceptions, we’ve provided an overview of what’s been going on in the area. The more important ones have merited their own sections. Some of these have been referred to time and time again as there are very few issues of any significance that can get resolved within seven days. 

All the previous versions of this column are archived: follow the links at the foot of this post and then thereafter to locate them. You can use search (command + F on a Mac, control + F on a PC) to find a particular subject. Many of these appear very frequently. Here I’ve picked out a few stories in this area we’ve covered this year.

• Probably the most important single event was the local election in May which ended 16 years of Conservative rule in West Berkshire. Of course, new councils rarely produce immediate results (and no council can change as much as it would like to) so the full effects of the election on this area will take some time to be felt. One matter which has already become clear is that WBC needs to make some serious savings. This has led to a number of consultations which close on 11 January preparatory to the final budget being set in February.

• A number of parish councils have faced financial problems when embarking on projects that involve construction. Burghfield’s is no exception and earlier this year had to cancel its planned temporary café on the Rec, which seemed to me to be an excellent idea. Several months on and I’m still trying to establish what the reasons were for this and how much money was involved.

• Sovereign’s threatened closure of Windmill Court in Mortimer in 2022 was a PR disaster and caught the Parish Council (which had no prior warning of the plan) completely buy surprise when worried residents started getting in touch. Wtrsatfield Mortimer PC and the ward members, particularly former District Councillor Graham Bridgman, seem to have helped resolve the situation, although some questions still remain about aspects of the new scheme. We’ll be keeping an eye on this.

Aldermaston Parish Council has also had some issues to contend with this year, the principal one being some major unauthorised works at the Easy Concrete site. This exposed a number of issues about planning control, planning enforcement and public engagement in such matters which we’ve done our best to cover and explain. As with so many other issues, this is in the “unfinished business” tray as there are still matters to be resolved regarding the restitution of the damage that’s beeb done by the excavations.

Other matters that we’ve covered included planning applications and the disputes that sometimes attend these; the controversies surrounding a wedding venue in Beenham; Burghfest; the Four Houses Corner consultation and the spat (now hopefully resolved) between WBC and Readibus which provides community transport services in the area. We also provide a link to the most recent town and parish council minutes and, for the first few weeks after they’re published, provide a summary of these.

• Have your say

Parish and town councils also run consultations from time to time: see the appropriate website/s below under Council contacts.

Latest local newsletters

Englefield Parish Magazine.
Padworth Village Newsletter.
Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton


Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield Toy Library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Are you interested in becoming an on-call firefighter? The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue are looking for on-call firefighters particularly in the Mortimer area. To find out more and register your interest get in touch at recruitment@rbfrs.co.uk or click here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church is the drop-0ff point in Theale for West Berkshire Foodbank. See request list here.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814.

Advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

Volunteer drivers needed by Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau. Click here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church in Theale is seeking donations for the Foodbank that is open on Sundays and Wednesdays from 9am to 6pm. Find out what is requested each week by clicking here.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.


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 24 Dec Christingle Service, St Mary’s Church, Burghfield.

• Regular events

• Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

• Are you over 55 and would like the opportunity to get creative? The Corn Exchange Newbury is running arts and crafts, painting, drawing, sketch and stroll, and poetry workshops in the Burghfield area. See here for dates, locations and how to book.

• The Corn Exchange is also running a Home Artist scheme where you collect monthly creative project packs from Mortimer Library to enjoy in the comfort of your own home or get them delivered to your home address.

• Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

 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.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

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

• All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

• 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 was on 12 December and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: the lifting bridge repairs and gully clearances (both of which will cause delays and disruptions on local roads); two planning applications (on objection and one no objection); the appeal by Youngs Estate against the refusal for expansion of their industrial estate; “disappointment” that WBC have not updated APC on Corbyn, Soke Road, that appears now to have become an office development; the budget for 2024-25; and a possible new councillor. (Note that some other matters arising from this meeting are covered in separate sections above.)
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 4 December and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the neighbourhood plan; reports from councillors and the ward member; planning matters; financial matters; open spaces; potholes; and staffing matters.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 9 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. To see the minutes, please click hereSee this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 8 November and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 November 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 here for 2022 or here for 2023. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 6 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. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 17 October 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 and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 12 October and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 2 October and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.  Click here for details of Beenham’s Community Plan.

• Burghfield area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council, Basildon 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 14 December 2023

Our usual round-up of  local news includes: lorries, a choir, trees, a youth club, Alan’s newsletter and new routes – plus objective decisions at Four Houses Corner, Aldermaston’s bridge and bins and why you should complain. See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Thatcham area events include: Charity Lorry Run and Carol Service. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

This week’s news

• This Saturday 16 December its the Christmas Charity Lorry Run. Starting at 3:30pm, a convoy of decorated lorries will be making their way around the greater Reading area, passing through Burghfield, Mortimer and various neighbouring towns on its way from Reading West to Basingstoke. The Burghfield Community Facebook Page has a detailed break-down of the route.

• Quick reminder about free bus travel this Saturdays 16 and 23 December. If you start your journey in West Berkshire, the free travel even extends to our neighbouring areas such as Reading, Basingstoke, and Swindon. Your return journey is also free. To learn more click here.

• If you missed St Mary’s Church’s annual Christmas Tree Festival you can view it on their facebook page here.

• St Mary’s are running a turn-up and sing choir for anyone who would like to help lead the singing at their service of lessons, carols & candlelight this Sunday 17 December at 6pm. They will meet in church at 3.30pm to have a run through, learn some new carols and have a break for a drink and cake before the service. All ages and abilities are welcome, but children must be with a responsible adult. Contact them on facebook if you have any questions.

• Are you spending Christmas Day alone? Or maybe money is a bit tight this year? Harry’s Coffee Shop on Reading Road will be open on Christmas Day between 12pm and 1:30pm and providing free drinks and hot food for those that need it or would appreciate the company.

• If you’re a regular bus-user, Reading Buses has made a few changes to some of its routes, which will come into effect as of Tuesday 2 January. To find out if the changes affect you, click here.

Theale Councillor Alan Macro has released his latest newsletter which discusses West Berkshire Council’s consultation regarding budgeting plans, Christmas bus travel and “Car Meets”.

• Theale Parish Council are fundraising to start a new local Youth Club/Youth Café to help support young people in the area. This is in response to a series of anti-social behaviour incidents which occurred earlier in the year. The Council have approached Berkshire Youth to help deliver this project and the Greenham Trust have already made a donation of £750 to get the ball rolling. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

Burghfield and Mortimer Foodbank are organising a Reverse Advent Calendar, where participants donate a box of festive treats which will go to members of the community who are going through a tough time to help make their Christmas special. To get involved, email bmadfb@hotmail.com to register. Upon registration you will receive a full list of instructions. Drop-off deadline is Friday 15 December.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here latest newsletter, to see Burghfield and Mortimer ward member Nick Carter’s latest newsletter.

• Four Houses Corner

In November, WBC launched a consultation on this. “West Berkshire Council is committed to re-establishing Four Houses Corner, a recognised Traveller site near Ufton Nervet, and we need your views on the proposals,” the preamble begins. “The site, which has been in operation since 1982, was cleared and fully demolished between 2020 and 2022 to pave the way for a comprehensive renewal.”

Any matters regarding Traveller sites are always controversial. At their most basic level, they expose a millennia-old distrust among the vast majority of people who have a fixed address for those who do not. As soon as humans began to farm and settle down in one place, people of a more itinerant disposition were distrusted and feared. Their lives were organised according to patterns and rules which the rest of us can never understand. There’s also the suspicion that they are setting themselves outside all of society’s norms. From there it’s a short step to believing they also no respect for the law, so much of which in this country relates to property and ownership. Any stand-offs are characterised by mutual distrust which does nothing to improve matters for the future.

I’m not saying that all people think this way, nor that all Travellers fulfil all these suspicions. However, this long-standing difference is always there and often becomes very obvious at times of conflict. In this case, the feelings are running far higher than usual as the people who murdered Andrew Harper in 2019 had a connection with this site. This was issue therefore never going to pass under the radar. In her comments on the consultation, portfolio holder Denise Gaines recognised this fact, saying that “we are aware this application will attract the public’s attention.”

Judging by the public meeting at Mortimer, this proved to me a considerable understatement. I wasn’t there but, having spoken to someone who was, it seemed the WBC officer attending was unprepared for the number of questions and comments and the vehemence with which these were expressed. Aside from a number of remarks about local discontent, criminal behaviour and residents’ rights to security, there were also criticisms of aspects of the site’s management. These included breaches of tenancy agreements not having been followed up and why £18,000 a month has been spent on security when basic physical obstacles could have done the job better. There were also suggestions that another site should be found.

All in all, a lot for WBC’s officers to digest. The council wanted opinions and it certainly got them (the online consultation runs until 5pm on Friday 15 December so there may yet me more).

I have sympathy for the officers. Whatever they decide will almost certainly not be to the linking of many residents. However, it’s important to remember that – as with all such matters – they can only consider the planning merits or otherwise of the case. Matters that rely more on personal opinion or emotion, however deeply felt and valid, cannot play a role unless they are enshrined in planning policy.

A moderately similar issue was seen a couple of years ago when WBC granted planning permission to the Newbury Community Football Group to re-develop the Faraday Road ground. At that time, the pitch was closed and it was no part of the then council’s policy that would ever be re-opened as a football facility. WBC, not the NCFG, owned the land and the two organisations were conducting a war of words over the issue which verged on the toxic. For WBC (as the planning authority) to grant planning permission, as it did, may have seemed perverse. However, it did so because there were no valid planning grounds on which it could be refused.

Planning decisions may at times seem bizarre but they are, or should be, based on policy and decided for objective reasons. There’s precious little objectivity surrounding Four Houses Corner but the officers will have to find some and apply it to their conclusions. Some local residents may feel that these won’t address their concerns. Don’t blame the officers for that.

• Aldermaston’s bins

I wrote last week about the fact that parish councils are setting their precepts (the amount they request from their parent authority) against a backdrop of uncertainty. This is caused by the fact that WBC is proposing to cut a number of services, some of which parishes might want to take on. WBC is currently running several consultations, which close on 11 January, However, it won’t be announcing its final budget until its meeting on 29 February, by which time parishes will need to have set their precepts. This may leave some without enough money to pay for services that previously had been provided by West Berkshire.

Rubbish bins (both for dog waste and general use) are one example of this. These two charts show, parish by parish and bin by bin, home many litter bins and dog-waste bins WBC currently has and how many it’s proposing it will not retain. This winnowing, if carried out as per this list, would mean that the majority of bins of both kinds would either have to be adopted by the parish or taken out of service. Aldermaston, for instance, will lose (or have to adopt) seven litter bins and one dog-waste one. Three of the litter bins and the dog-waste one are in Paices Wood Country Park and it’s to be assumed that the management will want to retain these given that the place attracts visitors including paying fishermen.

This leaves the parish council with four general waste bins. Based on figures from other councils, these might cost about £180 a year each, or about £720 a year in all. That’s not a massive amount but it’s a measurable chunk of the parish’s £13,500pa budget. Nearby Burghfield will have a larger gap to plug, with ten dog bins and 13 litter ones potentially coming onto its payroll.

Aldermaston considered its budget at its meeting this week. “WBC has tough choices to make,” APC Chair Sophie Crawford told Penny Post on 13 December, “but of course we won’t know those choices until after we’ve set our 2024/25 precept. Fortunately for APC, we feel we can shoulder any additional costs for at least the first year, so we are likely to keep our precept unchanged for the upcoming year and raise our precept if necessary in 2025/26 when we can better forecast our expenses.” Other parish councils are being faced with a similar uncertainty. Some may, unlike Aldermaston, elect to raise their precept to cover unexpected costs.

• The need to complain

Another issue also came up at Aldermaston PC’s recent meeting. This was as a result of concern about progress on a couple of enforcement cases at the Woodstock site. The situation, as summarised by APC’s Chair Sophie Crawford, is that WBC “will not actively pursue these cases in the same way as it has the Easy Concrete site because ‘no one is complaining of any harmful impacts’. In other words, just because WBC is aware of an unauthorised use of land , itdoesn’t mean it will stop it.

The moral of the story – everywhere in the district, not just in Aldermaston – is that each of us must complain to WBC if we feel that the inappropriate or possibly unauthorised use of land is having a harmful impact on the enjoyment of the land, property or wider environment. The parish council should be notified as well, in case it’s not aware of the matter. A wider point, Sophie Crawford explains, is that unauthorised commercial use becomes lawful after if is allowed to continue for a sufficient amount of time. Inaction thus confers legitimacy.

• The lifting bridge

An one more from Aldermaston. WBC reminds residents that it’ll be starting major refurbishment works on Aldermaston Wharf Lifting Bridge, from 8 January to 15 March 2024, which means that the A340 will be closed while the work is being done. The canal will be closed from 8 to 14 January 2024 to allow the removal of the bascule and then again, from 26 February to 15 March 2024 to allow the bascule to be reinstalled.

Alternative routes have been identified and will be clearly signposted to facilitate the movement of vehicles and pedestrians during the closure period. You can find more information on the closure online.

• Have your say

Parish and town councils also run consultations from time to time: see the appropriate website/s below under Council contacts.

Latest local newsletters

Englefield Parish Magazine.
Padworth Village Newsletter.
Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton


Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield Toy Library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Are you interested in becoming an on-call firefighter? The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue are looking for on-call firefighters particularly in the Mortimer area. To find out more and register your interest get in touch at recruitment@rbfrs.co.uk or click here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church is the drop-0ff point in Theale for West Berkshire Foodbank. See request list here.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814.

Advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

Volunteer drivers needed by Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau. Click here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church in Theale is seeking donations for the Foodbank that is open on Sundays and Wednesdays from 9am to 6pm. Find out what is requested each week by clicking here.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.


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 16 Dec Christmas Charity Lorry Run, route around Burghfield and Mortimer area.

Sun 17 Dec Carol Service, 6pm St Mary’s Church, Burghfield.

Sun 24 Dec Christingle Service, St Mary’s Church, Burghfield.

• Regular events

• Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

• Are you over 55 and would like the opportunity to get creative? The Corn Exchange Newbury is running arts and crafts, painting, drawing, sketch and stroll, and poetry workshops in the Burghfield area. See here for dates, locations and how to book.

• The Corn Exchange is also running a Home Artist scheme where you collect monthly creative project packs from Mortimer Library to enjoy in the comfort of your own home or get them delivered to your home address.

• Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

 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.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

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

• All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

• 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 was on 12 December and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: the lifting bridge repairs and gully clearances (both of which will cause delays and disruptions on local roads); two planning applications (on objection and one no objection); the appeal by Youngs Estate against the refusal for expansion of their industrial estate; “disappointment” that WBC have not updated APC on Corbyn, Soke Road, that appears now to have become an office development; the budget for 2024-25; and a possible new councillor. (Note that some other matters arising from this meeting are covered in separate sections above.)
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 4 December and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the neighbourhood plan; reports from councillors and the ward member; planning matters; financial matters; open spaces; potholes; and staffing matters.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 9 November and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Clerk’s report; committee and working party reports; Garth Hall; Thames Water; the neighbourhood development plan; financial matters; and planning matters.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click hereSee this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 November 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 here for 2022 or here for 2023. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 6 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. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 17 October 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 and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 12 October and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 11 October and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 2 October and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.  Click here for details of Beenham’s Community Plan.

• Burghfield area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council, Basildon 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 7 December 2023

Our usual round-up of  local news includes: trees, a councillor’s newsletter, a mystery, reverse advent and a nativity – plus hopes that Garth Hall in Mortimer might soon be returning to public use. See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Thatcham area events include: York Nativity Play, Christmas Tree Festival and more. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

This week’s news

• This weekend St Mary’s Church is holding their annual Christmas Tree Festival. There will be 24 decorated Christmas trees to admire, as well as some stalls and children’s activities to enjoy. There will also be some local choir performances and Café will be serving soup and rolls. Come along this Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 December between 12pm and 4pm. Details can be found on their Facebook event.

Theale Councillor Alan Macro has released his latest letter which discusses West Berkshire Council’s consultation regarding budgeting plans, Christmas bus travel and “Car Meets”.

• The York Nativity Play at St Mary the Virgin’s church in Aldermaston is in its 67th year and well worth the experience. The performance of this traditional medieval version of the nativity runs from Thurday 7 to Sunday 10 December. Tickets are free but must be pre-booked. See details here.

• The Kennet branch of Save the Children invite you to their fundraising murder mystery evening at Englefield House this Saturday 9 December. Boundary Players present Murder In The Theatre by Stephen Schollar at 7pm for 7.30 start in the Long Gallery. Tickets £25 available online here or email kennetbranchscf@gmail.com or text 07456 188057.

• There is still time to nominate local residents or volunteers who have gone above and beyond to help the community for West Berkshire’s Community Champion Awards. Fill in the online nomination form by Monday 11 December.

• Quick reminder about free bus travel on Saturdays 16 and 23 December. The free travel even extends to our neighbouring areas such as Reading, Basingstoke, and Swindon. If you start your journey in West Berkshire, your return journey is also free. To learn more click here.

• Theale Parish Council are fundraising to start a new local Youth Club/Youth Café to help support young people in the area. This is in response to a series of anti-social behaviour incidents which occurred earlier in the year. The Council have approached Berkshire Youth to help deliver this project and the Greenham Trust have already made a donation of £750 to get the ball rolling. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

Burghfield and Mortimer Foodbank are organising a Reverse Advent Calendar, where participants donate a box of festive treats which will go to members of the community who are going through a tough time to help make their Christmas special. To get involved, email bmadfb@hotmail.com to register. Upon registration you will receive a full list of instructions. Drop-off deadline is Friday 15 December.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here latest newsletter, to see Burghfield and Mortimer ward member Nick Carter’s latest newsletter.

• Garth Club’s proposals

We’ve covered in the past the slightly tangled story of the Garth Club Hall in Mortimer, the upshot being the Royal British Legion’s announcement earlier this year that it was prepared to listen to offers from community groups as to how the building could be used. A statement from Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council in its Autumn 2023 newsletter put the situation as follows:

“Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council members met representatives from the Royal British Legion in July and September to discuss the future of the property known as Garth Club (aka Garth Hall), Mortimer which is currently held by the Royal British Legion on trusts declared in 1942.

“A number of issues were discussed, principally the transfer of the trusteeship of the trust to new trustees. The next step will be for a public notice to be placed in the local press and on the property seeking expressions of interest from local community groups, or any other third parties, interested in taking on the trusteeship of the trust (and thus taking on the premises). The notice will also cater for the property to be sold in the event that new trustees cannot be found.

“A period of six weeks will be given for interested parties to come forward and further details will be found on the public notice once it is published, which is likely to be on Thursday 19 October 2023 – anyone interested in taking on the trusteeship will be able to get more information from the Royal British Legion’s agents, whose details will be in the notice.”

The six-week period has now expired and, as Mortimer Life reports, two groups have come forward. Parish (and District) Councillor Nick Carter is quoted as saying that consultations in 2022 “established that not only did the community want the place saved, but there were people prepared to save it.”

It now appears that Men’s Shed and Royal Berkshire Boxing have expressed an interest in using the building. “I am delighted that after over twelve years we see signs of reaching a positive outcome,” Nick Carter added. Hopefully these hopes will prove justified and the building will return to community use sometime in 2024.

Parish and town councils also run consultations from time to time: see the appropriate website/s below under Council contacts.

Latest local newsletters

Englefield Parish Magazine.
Padworth Village Newsletter.
Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton


Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield Toy Library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Are you interested in becoming an on-call firefighter? The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue are looking for on-call firefighters particularly in the Mortimer area. To find out more and register your interest get in touch at recruitment@rbfrs.co.uk or click here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church is the drop-0ff point in Theale for West Berkshire Foodbank. See request list here.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814.

Advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

Volunteer drivers needed by Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau. Click here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church in Theale is seeking donations for the Foodbank that is open on Sundays and Wednesdays from 9am to 6pm. Find out what is requested each week by clicking here.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.


Local events and activities

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

• Dates for the diary

Thu 7 to Sun 10 Dec York Nativity Play, Aldermaston.

Sat 9 to Sun 10 Dec Christmas Tree Festival, St May’s Church, Burghfield.

Wed 13 Dec Vivace Voices Christmas Concert, St May’s Church, Burghfield.

Sun 24 Dec Christingle Service, St May’s Church, Burghfield.

• Regular events

• Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

• Are you over 55 and would like the opportunity to get creative? The Corn Exchange Newbury is running arts and crafts, painting, drawing, sketch and stroll, and poetry workshops in the Burghfield area. See here for dates, locations and how to book.

• The Corn Exchange is also running a Home Artist scheme where you collect monthly creative project packs from Mortimer Library to enjoy in the comfort of your own home or get them delivered to your home address.

• Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

 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.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

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

• All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

• 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 was on 14 November and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: the skateboard project (APC said it was “pleased to note the level of support for the project” and that two people have stepped forward to replace the now departed main mover of the project); the two months’ closure of the Lifting Bridge (The Chair advised that WBC had “heeded our comments, and mitigation measures were planned, although the Parish Council had not been consulted about HGVs, some of which would use the Lane, rather than the long diversion route via Burghfield); two planning applications (Hilliers Garden Centre and an out-of-area application in Tadley), with of which were objected to; clearing the ditch along Fisherman’s Lane; and the continuing need for a new Councillor.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 9 November and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Clerk’s report; committee and working party reports; Garth Hall; Thames Water; the neighbourhood development plan; financial matters; and planning matters.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click hereSee 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 for which minutes are available was on 6 November and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: Four Houses Corner (see separate section above); reports from the ward member and the Clerk; financial matters; the Village Hall; rural policing; dog bins; repairs and maintenance; and repairs at Aldermaston Bridge.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 17 October 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 and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 12 October and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 11 October and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 October 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 here for 2022 or here for 2023. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 2 October and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes 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 Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 August 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 and minutes, please click here.

• Burghfield area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council, Basildon 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 30 November 2023

Our usual round-up of  local news includes: ice, Santa, neighbours, a York nativity play, planning and a new café – plus a trial of 20mph zones in Theale and an open session about Four Houses Corner. See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Thatcham area events include: Burghfield on Ice, Christmas Markets & York Nativity Play. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

This week’s news

• This Friday kicks off the much-anticipated Burghfield on Ice with a Disco Night. The Council have even added an extra session for the event and  as of right now, there are still a few tickets left – if you act fast! Other Christmassy events taking place this weekend include the Theale Christmas Market on Saturday (we hear Santa might be making an appearance there too…) and Garland Junior School’s Christmas Bazaar on Sunday.

• Pssst… Rumour has it that Santa Claus himself will be passing through Burghfield this Monday 4 December. By the sounds of things, the Newbury Lions Club will be showing him around the town before he jets off back to North Pole. If you stand by a window, you might get to sneak a peak!

• Do you know any local residents or volunteers who have gone above and beyond to help the community? Quick reminder that there is still time to nominate them for West Berkshire’s Community Champion Awards. Fill in the online nomination form by 11 December.

• The York Nativity Play at St Mary the Virgin’s church in Aldermaston is in its 67th year and well worth the experience. The performance of this traditional medieval version of the nativity runs from Thurday 7 to Sunday 10 December. Tickets are free but must be pre-booked. See details here.

• Quick reminder about free bus travel on Saturdays 16 and 23 December. The free travel even extends to our neighbouring areas such as Reading, Basingstoke, and Swindon. If you start your journey in West Berkshire, your return journey is also free. To learn more click here.

• Theale Parish Council are fundraising to start a new local Youth Club/Youth Café to help support young people in the area. This is in response to a series of anti-social behaviour incidents which occurred earlier in the year. The Council have approached Berkshire Youth to help deliver this project and the Greenham Trust have already made a donation of £750 to get the ball rolling. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

• Burghfield Parish Council invites you to ‘Nominate a Neighbour and Say Thank You!‘ at the Burghfield on Ice event on Friday 1 December, f you know a local person who has gone an extra mile or who always puts a smile on your face. Click here for details.

• All welcome at Burghfield Residents Association’s annual meeting on Tuesday 5 December at 7pm in the West Wing at Burghfield Village Hall. Please come along if you’re interested to hear what  events they have planned for the next year, if you’d like to volunteer or join the committee. For more details please visit their website.

• St Mary the Virgin’s Church in Aldermaston invites you to their 67th Aldermaston York nativity play from 7 to 10 December. An enthralling performance of the story of the first Christmas, the medieval text from the York Mystery Cycle plays is combined with medieval costumes and sung music of the period. All set inside the 12th century decorated church. This is a beautiful and traditional way to start the festive season, away from hustle and bustle of everyday life. Tickets are free. Please see more details on their website here.

Burghfield and Mortimer Foodbank are organising a Reverse Advent Calendar, where participants donate a box of festive treats which will go to members of the community who are going through a tough time to help make their Christmas special. To get involved, email bmadfb@hotmail.com to register. Upon registration you will receive a full list of instructions. Drop-off deadline is Friday 15 December.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here latest newsletter, to see Burghfield and Mortimer ward member Nick Carter’s latest newsletter.

• Four Houses Corner

West Berkshire Council has said in a recent statement that it is “committed to re-developing Four Houses Corner, a recognised Traveller site near Ufton Nervet, and we need your views on the proposals. “The consultation has been open online for a few weeks now, but to assist those who would like to talk to us face-to-face about the plans, we are holding an open public presentation with a Q&A session on Monday, 11 December from 6pm to 8pm. This will take place at St. John’s Village Hall, West End Rd, Mortimer Common, RG7 3TF. No need to book, just drop in. For more information and to have your say on the consultation, please visit our website and submit your views by 5pm on 15 December.”

• Theale’s speeds

In early November, the Council’s Executive discussed a motion, proposed by Cllr Adrian Abbs back in March 2023, to change the way in which requests from residents for 20mph speed limits are dealt with by the Council.

“Requests for new or amended speed limits,” a statement from WBC says, “including 20mph zones and 20mph speed limits, are considered by the Speed Limit Review Task Group, which consists of Council officers, Members, and the Police, with Parish and Town Councils being invited to attend its meetings as appropriate. When assessing requests, the Task Group considers current setting local speed limitsguidance from the Department for Transport, traffic survey results, the number of recorded injury accidents, and the local road environment. The recommendations are then presented for approval with various other groups and finally at Executive for an individual executive member decision.

“A 20mph pilot scheme or 20mph zone in Theale was approved at Executive in early November.  New criteria will be agreed with members by the end of this financial year and once the pilot scheme in Theale has been completed, estimated costs and assessments will be detailed for consideration with a view to implementing 20mph speed limits on roads which meet the new criteria over the next thereto four years.

“The pilot is subject to a consultation process which will allow residents and businesses to respond to in due course. You can read more about the decision here.”

Other communities in the district, including Eastbury and Lambourn, will be watching with interest how this experiment develops.

• Christmas generosity requested for local families

At this time of year, there are plenty of stories of seasonal festivities. Unfortunately, there are also plenty about the problems that the winter season can bring. One of the organisations that finds itself particularly busy at this time of year is West Berkshire Foodbank. On 30 November we caught up the Foodbank’s Fran Chamings about its needs in the run up to Christmas.

“We had a successful Harvest Festival appeal so our supply of tinned food is good,” explains Fran. “But it’s cash donations that we need now to support families who can’t afford their electricity bills for heat and cooking, and food pouches for families placed in hotel accomodation with no access to kitchen facilities.

“We also have families with children with allergies who need foodbank support now because the price of ‘free from’ food (non-dairy, non-gluten etc) has sky-rocketed. We are even called by schools and charities to provide headlice lotion because it’s no longer on prescription and many parents can’t afford it. And these are working parents. One couple’s mortgage hike meant they couldn’t afford to order a birth certificate for their baby to qualify for child allowance.

“So now, more than ever before we need cash to support our clients. The cost of living crisis isn’t going away any time soon. If Penny Post readers can help at all, we would be so grateful for donations via our website westberks.foodbank.org.uk.”

Foodbank is also grateful for donations of electrical items such as slow cookers, air fryers, heated blankets or room heaters which can be dropped off at the Community Furniture Project on Bone Lane, in Newbury (which itself has needed a grant from the Berkshire Community Foundation to cover a whopping 169% increase in electricity bills).

Parish and town councils also run consultations from time to time: see the appropriate website/s below under Council contacts.

Latest local newsletters

Englefield Parish Magazine.
Padworth Village Newsletter.
Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton


Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield Toy Library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Are you interested in becoming an on-call firefighter? The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue are looking for on-call firefighters particularly in the Mortimer area. To find out more and register your interest get in touch at recruitment@rbfrs.co.uk or click here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church is the drop-0ff point in Theale for West Berkshire Foodbank. See request list here.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814.

Advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

Volunteer drivers needed by Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau. Click here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church in Theale is seeking donations for the Foodbank that is open on Sundays and Wednesdays from 9am to 6pm. Find out what is requested each week by clicking here.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.


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 1 Dec Burghfield on Ice: Disco Night, Burghfield Village Hall.

Sat 2 Dec Burghfield on Ice, Burghfield Village Hall.

Sat 2 Dec Theale Christmas Market, Theale.

Sun 3 Dec Christmas Bazaar, Garland Junior School, Clayhill Road.

Mon 4 Dec Santa Claus is coming to town, Burghfield.

Thu 7 to Sun 10 Dec York Nativity Play, Aldermaston.

Sat 9 to Sun 10 Dec Christmas Tree Festival, St May’s Church, Burghfield.

• Regular events

• Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

• Are you over 55 and would like the opportunity to get creative? The Corn Exchange Newbury is running arts and crafts, painting, drawing, sketch and stroll, and poetry workshops in the Burghfield area. See here for dates, locations and how to book.

• The Corn Exchange is also running a Home Artist scheme where you collect monthly creative project packs from Mortimer Library to enjoy in the comfort of your own home or get them delivered to your home address.

• Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

 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.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

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

• All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

• 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 was on 14 November and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: the skateboard project (APC said it was “pleased to note the level of support for the project” and that two people have stepped forward to replace the now departed main mover of the project); the two months’ closure of the Lifting Bridge (The Chair advised that WBC had “heeded our comments, and mitigation measures were planned, although the Parish Council had not been consulted about HGVs, some of which would use the Lane, rather than the long diversion route via Burghfield); two planning applications (Hilliers Garden Centre and an out-of-area application in Tadley), with of which were objected to; clearing the ditch along Fisherman’s Lane; and the continuing need for a new Councillor.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 9 November and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Clerk’s report; committee and working party reports; Garth Hall; Thames Water; the neighbourhood development plan; financial matters; and planning matters.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click hereSee 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 for which minutes are available was on 6 November and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: Four Houses Corner (see separate section above); reports from the ward member and the Clerk; financial matters; the Village Hall; rural policing; dog bins; repairs and maintenance; and repairs at Aldermaston Bridge.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 17 October and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; planning matters; traffic and parking; the tennis courts; and the phone box.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 12 October and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 11 October and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 October 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 here for 2022 or here for 2023. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 2 October and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes 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 Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 August 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 and minutes, please click here.

• Burghfield area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council, Basildon 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 23 November 2023

Our usual round-up of  local news includes: bus travel, a thank-you, residents, a special nativity play, planning, reverse advent and as new block at Willink. See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Thatcham area events include: Burghfield on Ice, Christmas Markets & Nativity Play. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

This week’s news

• West Berkshire Council is pleased to announce that there will once again be free bus travel this festive season on Saturday 16 and Saturday 23 December. On these days, you can travel all day, any time, completely free (do check the timetables) within West Berkshire. The free travel even extends beyond West Berkshire to our neighbouring areas such as Reading, Basingstoke, and Swindon. If you start your journey in West Berkshire, your return journey is also free. To learn more click here.

• Theale Parish Council are fundraising to start a new local Youth Club/Youth Café to help support young people in the area. This is in response to a series of anti-social behaviour incidents which occurred earlier in the year. The Council have approached Berkshire Youth to help deliver this project and the Greenham Trust have already made a donation of £750 to get the ball rolling. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

• Burghfield Parish Council invites you to ‘Nominate a Neighbour and Say Thank You!‘ at the Burghfield on Ice event on Friday 1 December, f you know a local person who has gone an extra mile or who always puts a smile on your face. Click here for details.

• All welcome at Burghfield Residents Association’s annual meeting on Tuesday 5 December at 7pm in the West Wing at Burghfield Village Hall. Please come along if you’re interested to hear what  events they have planned for the next year, if you’d like to volunteer or join the committee. For more details please visit their website.

• St Mary the Virgin’s Church in Aldermaston invites you to their 67th AldermastonYork Nativity Play from 7 to 10 December. An enthralling performance of the story of the first Christmas, the medieval text from the York Mystery Cycle plays is combined with medieval costumes and sung music of the period. All set inside the 12th century decorated church. This is a beautiful and traditional way to start the festive season, away from hustle and bustle of everyday life. Tickets are free. Please see more details on their website here.

Burghfield and Mortimer Foodbank are organising a Reverse Advent Calendar, where participants donate a box of festive treats which will go to members of the community who are going through a tough time to help make their Christmas special. To get involved, email bmadfb@hotmail.com to register. Upon registration you will receive a full list of instructions. Drop-off deadline is Friday 15 December.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here latest newsletter, to see Burghfield and Mortimer ward member Nick Carter’s latest newsletter.

• A new block at Willink

A two-storey building at the Willink School in Burghfield has been officially opened by Jeremy Cottam, Chairman of West Berkshire Council.

A statement from WBC says that “The building, which is known as ‘B Block’ by staff and pupils, was constructed by the Council at a cost of almost £3 million and was completed in 2022 to meet the increased capacity requirements of 75 more pupils from a nearby new housing development. The project was paid for with council funds, a ‘basic need’ Government grant and S106 money (developers’ contributions).

“B Block houses seven new classrooms, a humanities office, a history seminar room, central store, WC’s and an English office. In addition, three science classrooms, enlarged changing rooms and 2 social science classrooms have been remodelled and refurbished. There is also expanded accommodation to enhance provision for students with Special Educational Needs. Twenty extra car parking spaces have also been added to the school site.”

• Have your say

Have your say on current consultations being run by West Berkshire Council:

Parish and town councils also run consultations from time to time: see the appropriate website/s below under Council contacts.

Latest local newsletters

Englefield Parish Magazine.
Padworth Village Newsletter.
Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton


Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield Toy Library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Are you interested in becoming an on-call firefighter? The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue are looking for on-call firefighters particularly in the Mortimer area. To find out more and register your interest get in touch at recruitment@rbfrs.co.uk or click here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church is the drop-0ff point in Theale for West Berkshire Foodbank. See request list here.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814.

Advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

Volunteer drivers needed by Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau. Click here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church in Theale is seeking donations for the Foodbank that is open on Sundays and Wednesdays from 9am to 6pm. Find out what is requested each week by clicking here.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.


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 1 Dec Burghfield on Ice: Disco Night, Burghfield Village Hall.

Sat 2 Dec Burghfield on Ice, Burghfield Village Hall.

Sat 2 Dec Theale Christmas Market, Theale.

Sun 3 Dec Christmas Bazaar, Garland Junior School, Clayhill Road.

•Thu 7 to Sun 10 Dec York Nativity Play, Aldermaston.

Sat 9 to Sun 10 Dec Christmas Tree Festival, St May’s Church, Burghfield.

• Regular events

• Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

• Are you over 55 and would like the opportunity to get creative? The Corn Exchange Newbury is running arts and crafts, painting, drawing, sketch and stroll, and poetry workshops in the Burghfield area. See here for dates, locations and how to book.

• The Corn Exchange is also running a Home Artist scheme where you collect monthly creative project packs from Mortimer Library to enjoy in the comfort of your own home or get them delivered to your home address.

• Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

 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.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

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

• All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

• 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 was on 14 November and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: the skateboard project (APC said it was “pleased to note the level of support for the project” and that two people have stepped forward to replace the now departed main mover of the project); the two months’ closure of the Lifting Bridge (The Chair advised that WBC had “heeded our comments, and mitigation measures were planned, although the Parish Council had not been consulted about HGVs, some of which would use the Lane, rather than the long diversion route via Burghfield); two planning applications (Hilliers Garden Centre and an out-of-area application in Tadley), with of which were objected to; clearing the ditch along Fisherman’s Lane; and the continuing need for a new Councillor.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 6 November and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: Four Houses Corner (see separate section above); reports from the ward member and the Clerk; financial matters; the Village Hall; rural policing; dog bins; repairs and maintenance; and repairs at Aldermaston Bridge.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 17 October and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; planning matters; traffic and parking; the tennis courts; and the phone box.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 12 October and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click hereSee 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 for which minutes are available was on 12 October and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 11 October and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 October 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 here for 2022 or here for 2023. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 2 October and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes 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 Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 August 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 and minutes, please click here.

• Burghfield area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council, Basildon 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 16 November 2023

Our usual round-up of  local news includes: remembrance, advent, a piper, markets, ice and volunteers –  plus Padworth PC’s look at the issue of Four Houses Corner.  See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Thatcham area events include: Burghtoberfest, scarecrow trail, pumpkin and Halloween fun. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

This week’s news

• Theale Parish Council thanks everyone who turned out for Sunday’s Remembrance Parade. “It was wonderful to see the community come together in commemoration.”

• There was also a good turn out at Burghfield’s Remembrance Parade but if you missed it here is a video of the piper at the church on the Burghfield Community facebook page.

• Thanks to the popular appeal of Burghfield on Ice, the Council have announced they are adding an extra event: Disco Night on Friday 1 December. Tickets for Saturday’s event may have already sold out, but there will be a chance to bag a spot on Friday, as tickets will be released this Friday 17 November, at 10am. Click here to find out more and book a slot.

• Burghfield Spices are holding a ‘Help Out to Eat Out’ initiative this November, to reward the unsung heros of our community. If you know someone who deserves a big ‘thank you’ – whether they be litter pickers, charity workers or something else – nominate them, and once a week the Burghfield Spice will treat them to a meal for two at their restaurant. Message them via their Facebook page to nominate a worthy community member.

Burghfield and Mortimer Foodbank are organising a Reverse Advent Calendar, where participants donate a box of festive treats which will go to members of the community who are going through a tough time to help make their Christmas special. To get involved, email bmadfb@hotmail.com to register. Upon registration you will receive a full list of instructions. Drop-off deadline is Friday 15 December.

• If you want a stall at Theale Christmas Market on Saturday 2 December contact enquiries@thealeparishcouncil.gov.uk. Follow their community events Facebook Page to keep up to date with the latest information.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here latest newsletter, to see Burghfield and Mortimer ward member Nick Carter’s latest newsletter.

• Four Houses Corner

Before the 6 November meeting of Padworth Parish Council there was an open forum at which two residents spoke on the subject of Four Houses Corner travellers’ site. The text below is taken from the minutes of the meeting.

“Two Padworth residents, Eric Howell and Michael Jewell attended the meeting to discuss the parish council’s stance on the Four Houses Corner Travellers Site planning application. Padworth PC had not been informed of this application previously so councillors were keen to learn some background from the two residents.

“Mr Howell explained that the site had been home to the convicted killer of PC Harper; residents of the site had been evicted in 2021 and rehoused in Mortimer and Beenham. There has been unrest in the community due to previous spates of crime originating from the site, so there is resistance to the planning application. Ufton Nervet Parish Council have worked hard to ensure a public consultation takes place; this closes on 15 December 2023.

“It was resolved that Padworth Parish Council would consult with neighbouring parishes to send a joint response to the application. The Clerk agreed to circulate the web link to the public consultation so residents may make submissions as they wish, to contact the District Councillor, and to contact Ufton Nervet and Mortimer Parish Councils to ascertain their views.”

• Have your say

Have your say on current consultations being run by West Berkshire Council:

Parish and town councils also run consultations from time to time: see the appropriate website/s below under Council contacts.

Latest local newsletters

Englefield Parish Magazine.
Padworth Village Newsletter.
Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton


Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield Toy Library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Are you interested in becoming an on-call firefighter? The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue are looking for on-call firefighters particularly in the Mortimer area. To find out more and register your interest get in touch at recruitment@rbfrs.co.uk or click here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church is the drop-0ff point in Theale for West Berkshire Foodbank. See request list here.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814.

Advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

Volunteer drivers needed by Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau. Click here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church in Theale is seeking donations for the Foodbank that is open on Sundays and Wednesdays from 9am to 6pm. Find out what is requested each week by clicking here.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.


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 1 Dec Burghfield on Ice: Disco Night, Burghfield Village Hall.

Sat 2 Dec Burghfield on Ice, Burghfield Village Hall.

Sat 2 Dec Theale Christmas Market, Theale.

Sun 3 Dec Christmas Bazaar, Garland Junior School, Clayhill Road.

Sat 9 to Sun 10 Dec Christmas Tree Festival, St May’s Church, Burghfield.

• Regular events

• Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

• Are you over 55 and would like the opportunity to get creative? The Corn Exchange Newbury is running arts and crafts, painting, drawing, sketch and stroll, and poetry workshops in the Burghfield area. See here for dates, locations and how to book.

• The Corn Exchange is also running a Home Artist scheme where you collect monthly creative project packs from Mortimer Library to enjoy in the comfort of your own home or get them delivered to your home address.

• Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

 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.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

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

• All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

• 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 was on 14 November and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: the skateboard project (APC said it was “pleased to note the level of support for the project” and that two people have stepped forward to replace the now departed main mover of the project); the two months’ closure of the Lifting Bridge (The Chair advised that WBC had “heeded our comments, and mitigation measures were planned, although the Parish Council had not been consulted about HGVs, some of which would use the Lane, rather than the long diversion route via Burghfield); two planning applications (Hilliers Garden Centre and an out-of-area application in Tadley), with of which were objected to; clearing the ditch along Fisherman’s Lane; and the continuing need for a new Councillor.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 6 November and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: Four Houses Corner (see separate section above); reports from the ward member and the Clerk; financial matters; the Village Hall; rural policing; dog bins; repairs and maintenance; and repairs at Aldermaston Bridge.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 17 October and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; planning matters; traffic and parking; the tennis courts; and the phone box.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 12 October and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Clerk’s report; committee and working party reports; a councillor vacancy; the NDP; the Victoria Road footway; financial matters; correspondence; planning matters; and the Neighbourhood Action Group.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click hereSee 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 for which minutes are available was on 12 October and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a message from the Santas; reports from the committees; members’ bids; and financial matters.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 11 October and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 October 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. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 2 October and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes 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 Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 August 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 and minutes, please click here.

• Burghfield area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council, Basildon 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 9 November 2023

Our usual round-up of  local news includes: remembrance, advent, markets, ice and volunteers –  plus a message from the Santas, a closer look at Windmill Court in the company of one of the ward members and a consultation on a travellers’ site near Ufton Nervet.  See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Thatcham area events include: Burghtoberfest, scarecrow trail, pumpkin and Halloween fun. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

This week’s news

• This Sunday is of course Remembrance Day, and with various parade going on there will be some temporary road closures, so make sure to plan your journey ahead if you intend to travel around those times.

• The Theale Remembrance Parade will start at 10am at the end of the High Street (Woodfield Way end), leading up to Church Street. The Church Service will start at 10.30am in the church yard, and keep your eye on the sky’s around 11.10am for a chinook fly-over. Details can be found here.

Burghfield’s Remembrance Parade will depart around 10.15am from the intersection between Sulhamstead Road and Reading Road, where it will follow the Reading Road and Church Lane to St Mary’s Church, where the service will start around 10:30. The chinook fly-over will be at around 11:40am. Click here for a more detailed breakdown of events.

• Next Wednesday 15 November West Berkshire Museum is hosting a talk from 1pm to 2pm on Archeology of the Eastern Parishes of Burghfield (‘open land by the hill’) and Wokefield (‘Wocca’s field’) and Beech Hill (‘hill with beech trees’). Tickets are free but must be booked online by 4pm on Tuesday 14 November.

• Burghfield Residence Association is holding their presentation event ‘BRA-Vo at the Bar’ on Friday 10 November at Burghfield Village Hall to celebrate the funds they donated in 2023 and hear from some of the local recipient groups. Burghfield Santas are providing the bar for the event, there will also be food, a DJ and a band performing live music. The event is free and everyone is welcome to attend.

• Burghfield Spices are holding a ‘Help Out to Eat Out’ initiative this November, to reward the unsung hero’s of our community. If you know someone who deserves a big ‘thank you’ – whether they be litter pickers, charity workers or something else – nominate them, and once a week the Burghfield Spice will treat them to a meal for two at their restaurant. Message them via their Facebook page to nominate a worthy community member.

Burghfield and Mortimer Foodbank are organising a Reverse Advent Calendar, where participants donate a box of festive treats which will go to members of the community who are going through a tough time to help make their Christmas special. To get involved, email bmadfb@hotmail.com to register. Upon registration you will receive a full list of instructions. Drop-off deadline is Friday 15 December.

• If you want a stall at Theale Christmas Market on Saturday 2 December contact enquiries@thealeparishcouncil.gov.uk. Follow their community events Facebook Page to keep up to date with the latest information.

• If you want a stall at Burghfield on Ice, also on Saturday 2 December contact enquires@burghfieldparishcouncil.go.uk.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

• Windmill Court

Much of this section is taken from Burghfield and Mortimer ward member Nick Carter’s latest newsletter, to which I referred last month.

We’ve covered this story several times since March 2022 when Sovereign Housing announced that it would be re-developing the facility. This was a decision which caught many of the residents and Stratfield Mortimer PC completely by surprise.  I spoke many times to then housing portfolio holder Howard Woollaston and the then ward member (and Deputy Leader of WBC) Graham Bridgman, as well as members of Stratfield Mortimer PC, about this over the following year and a half and regularly reported on the progress. Matters improved since this initial PR gaffe and by August 2023 it seemed that a more equitable solution seems to have been agreed.

Councillor Nick Carter has taken over the baton from Graham Bridgman following the May election and has also taken over bringing the matter to a resolution. Some issues still remain. These he summarised in his above-mentioned newsletter and I’ve taken the liberty of copying his points. Should you wish to know more on this slightly tangled affair, please contact him directly. (I also advise residents of the ward to sign up to receive his newsletters which are details and informative. You can find the details of how to do this, and his contact details, on p8 of the current edition.)

“Last year’s petition called on the council not to allow restrictions that prevent the site to be demolished to be lifted unless/until suitable alternative accommodation has been
identified. As mentioned in Issue 2 [of Nick Carter’s newsletter], plans for the site’s redevelopment have been submitted to West Berkhire Council.

“Significant discussions went on between the housing association and the parish council to get the association to rethink the original plan. Whilst the new proposal aligns with calls made in the 2017 Neighbourhood Plan for more affordable accommodation for local people, there are some concerns to note:

  • the plan’s shift towards families/under 55s, removes the over-55 specific nature of the site. Over 55s who live there in future would be in the minority and may just not find the place suitable
  • there is no community room, which was said to be an important element by current/former residents
  • existing residents who elect to sit out the redevelopment and move back when its finished, expect the housing association to pay their moving out/back costs (the latter including carpets).

“When the association asks the council Executive to agree to lift the restrictions to allow redevelopment to go ahead, as a petition organiser I expect to be asked to comment on whether the plan should be approved. If you signed the petition, I’d be keen to hear your views on the latest plans – you can also make your views known directly on the WBC Planning web site if you prefer. Details on how to do so anonymously please follow the steps described here.”

• Traveller’s consultation

West Berkshire Council has said that it is “committed to re-establishing Four Houses Corner, a recognised Traveller site near Ufton Nervet” and it needs your views on the proposals.

“The site, which has been in operation since 1982, was cleared and fully demolished between 2020 and 2022 to pave the way for a comprehensive renewal,” the statement continues. “Current plans, as detailed in planning application No: 23/01552/REG3, retain the initial layout proposed in 2018, with minor changes including a substitution of a small community block for an individual pitch and amenity block. These designs adhere to national standards for static Traveller sites and incorporate feedback from emergency services.

“Originally permitted for 21 Traveller pitches in 1981, only 18 pitches were provided at that time. The new proposal aims for 17 pitches with individual dayroom accommodation, with each pitch designed to take either one static caravan or two tourer caravans. The dayroom accommodation consists of 30 square metres of internal space and with residents sleeping in caravan accommodation.

“The refurbishment aligns with Council statutory obligations regarding Gypsy and Traveller site accommodation and offer improved facilities while upholding existing legal agreements and rights to live on site. Additionally, the revamped site may offer the Council further flexibility in meeting wider housing obligations, depending on future occupancy numbers.”

For more information and details of how to take part in the consultation (which closes at 5pm on 15 December), please click here.

• A message from the Santas

The minutes of Burghfield Parish Council’s meeting on 12 October contained the following note:

A Burghfield Santa attended to update members of the event held in September [Burghfest]. A total of £24,000 was raised, 760 hours of volunteer time and 9,000 plastic glasses saved from going to landfill. Thanks were expressed to the parish council for the allocation of grant funding previously approved for £1,500.

Due to the success of the event, the Santas presented a request for the monies to be utilised elsewhere, with the suggestion of the funds being transferred to the provision of an ice rink at Burghfield on Ice in December. Thanks were expressed by members of the council present.

Latest local newsletters

Englefield Parish Magazine.
Padworth Village Newsletter.
Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton


Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield Toy Library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Are you interested in becoming an on-call firefighter? The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue are looking for on-call firefighters particularly in the Mortimer area. To find out more and register your interest get in touch at recruitment@rbfrs.co.uk or click here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church is the drop-0ff point in Theale for West Berkshire Foodbank. See request list here.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814.

Advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

Volunteer drivers needed by Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau. Click here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church in Theale is seeking donations for the Foodbank that is open on Sundays and Wednesdays from 9am to 6pm. Find out what is requested each week by clicking here.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.


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 10 Nov Bravo at the Bar, Burghfield Village Hall.

Sat 2 Dec Burghfield on Ice, Burghfield Village Hall.

Sat 2 Dec Theale Christmas Market, Theale.

Sun 3 Dec Christmas Bazaar, Garland Junior School, Clayhill Road.

• Regular events

• Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

• Are you over 55 and would like the opportunity to get creative? The Corn Exchange Newbury is running arts and crafts, painting, drawing, sketch and stroll, and poetry workshops in the Burghfield area. See here for dates, locations and how to book.

• The Corn Exchange is also running a Home Artist scheme where you collect monthly creative project packs from Mortimer Library to enjoy in the comfort of your own home or get them delivered to your home address.

• Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

 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.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

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

• All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

• 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 Englefield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 17 October and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; planning matters; traffic and parking; the tennis courts; and the phone box.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 12 October and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Clerk’s report; committee and working party reports; a councillor vacancy; the NDP; the Victoria Road footway; financial matters; correspondence; planning matters; and the Neighbourhood Action Group.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click hereSee 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 for which minutes are available was on 12 October and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a message from the Santas; reports from the committees; members’ bids; and financial matters.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Aldermaston Parish Council was on 10 October and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: An appeal for a new councillor (preferably from the south of the parish); a proposed new dog bin; five planning applications (three no objections; one gone to appeal; and one objection on the grounds of “a planned six-fold increase in capacity at Aldermaston Recycling, Paices Hill, as we were worried about increased traffic on the A340 through our Conservation Area and misleading description of the location in the application.”); discussions about the seemingly necessary evil of using Frouds Lane as a diversion route during the closure of the Lifting Bridge at the Wharf; and a letter being prepared for WBC “regarding resource impact on Planning Enforcement and Conservation, both of which have major impact on our work.”
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 October and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: flooding; accidents in Southend Road; speeding; parking; co-option of a new member; planning matters; the ward members’ report; the Clerk’s report; highways; defibrillators; rights Way; Sovereign Housing; the Village Hall; the Flood forum; financial matters; and Christmas lights.
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. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 2 October and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: footpath use; matters arising; planning matters; assets and projects; the telephone box; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes 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 for which minutes are available was on 4 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a councillor co-option; financial matters; the Village Hall; repairs and maintenance; planning matters; and councillors’ reports.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 13 September and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 August 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 and minutes, please click here.

• Burghfield area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council, Basildon 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 2 November 2023

Our usual round-up of  local news includes: reverse advent, eating out, treasures, markets and ice –  plus updates from one of Burghfield and Mortimer’s ward members and news of a possible rail freight terminal in Theale. See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Thatcham area events include: Burghtoberfest, scarecrow trail, pumpkin and Halloween fun. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

This week’s news

• This Saturday 4 November, St Mary’s Church is holding a Community Churchyard Work party, from 10am to 1pm. If you can spare an hour or more please come along with your gardening gloves (and any tools you might have) to help tidy up the Churchyard in preparation of the Remembrance Day Memorial service, which is taking place on Sunday 12 November.

• Burghfield Spices are holding a ‘Help Out to Eat Out’ initiative this November, to reward the unsung hero’s of our community. If you know someone who deserves a big ‘thank you’ – whether they be litter pickers, charity workers or something else – nominate them, and once a week the Burghfield Spice will treat them to a meal for two at their restaurant. Message them via their Facebook page to nominate a worthy community member.

Burghfield and Mortimer Foodbank are organising a Reverse Advent Calendar, where participants donate a box of festive treats which will go to members of the community who are going through a tough time to help make their Christmas special. To get involved, email bmadfb@hotmail.com to register. Upon registration you will receive a full list of instructions. Drop-off deadline is Friday 15 December.

• Why not take your hidden treasure to be valued at a special Dawson’s Hidden Treasures fundraising event this Saturday 4 November, 11am to 4pm at Renegade Brewery in Yattendon.  All proceeds go to Educafe, bringing together diverse communities in West Berkshire. Book your ticket on Educafe’s crowdfunding page here. Find out more here.

• Burghfield Residence Association is holding their presentation event ‘BRA-Vo at the Bar’, to celebrate the funds they donated in 2023 and hear from some of the local recipient groups. Burghfield Santas are providing the bar for the event, there will also be food, a DJ and a band performing live music. The event is free and everyone is welcome to attend. That’s on Friday 10 November at Burghfield Village Hall.

• If you want a stall at Theale Christmas Market on Saturday 2 December contact enquiries@thealeparishcouncil.gov.uk. Follow their community events Facebook Page to keep up to date with the latest information.

• If you want a stall at Burghfield on Ice, also on Saturday 2 December contact enquires@burghfieldparishcouncil.go.uk.

• Theale Council are seeking volunteer marshals for the Theale Remembrance Parade on Sunday 12 November. If you can help please email enquiries@thealeparishcouncil.gov.uk or pop into the Parish Office on the Englefield Road.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

• For those wondering what to do with their pumpkins after Halloween, here are some creative suggestions. Just please don’t leave them on the ground in your garden or in woodland, as they are dangerous to hedgehogs and attract rats – see more in this request by the Woodland Trust

• Nick’s news

Few ward members produce such detailed and informative newsletters as does Burghfield and Mortimer’s Nick Carter. His latest one, which is no exception too this high standard, has just arrived and you can read it here. Items covered include the following:

  • Members’ bids: three projects have been identified (contributions to playground equipment in Beech Hill, a skate park in Burghfield and a re-instated pavement in Mortimer) and will be put to WBC’s review panel later this month.
  • A visit to Reading Buses, including a spin in a prototype electric double-decker.
  • A look at the performance of local GP surgeries.
  • Information about the current waiting time for blood tests.
  • Recycling news.
  • The latest on the travellers’ site at Four Houses Corner.
  • Post-installation tidying up needing to be done by Gigaclear.
  • An update on Windmill Court (which regular readers will know we’ve covered ever since the issue first reared its head).
  • The Garth Club Hall (which we have also covered several times).
  • A suggestion as to the best first course of action regarding overgrown hedges.
  • Details of the local councillors’ surgeries.

• Theale’s freight

I understand that plans are afoot to build a freight terminal near Theale station. Not planning application has yet been lodged but this is believed to be a single siding of a sufficient length to cater for the longest freight trains on the network (so, at least 775 metres and probably more) with all the associated cranes, hard standing and access roads (which will probably be onto the A4).

I spoke to the ward member for Theale Alan Macro about this proposal. He pointed out that, currently, there was no formal proposal: also that, if realised, part of the planned siding might be in the neighbouring ward of Bradfield. He added that he welcomed in principle the idea of more freight being moved about on the trains rather than the roads but there would inevitably be some local traffic, noise and access issues which would be of concern to local residents. However, until any plans are published (the discussions are currently at pre-app stage) it was impossible to comment further.

For the same reason, he couldn’t comment on the timing. However, if the site is clear and if the planning permission goes through quickly (quite a big “if’, that one) and if the funding is in place (ditto, I suspect), there wouldn’t seem to be too many obstacles. Actually, I don’t know why I’ve said that: there are always obstacles. Let’s put it down as a possible media-term project, then…

Latest local newsletters

Englefield Parish Magazine.
Padworth Village Newsletter.
Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton


Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield Toy Library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Are you interested in becoming an on-call firefighter? The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue are looking for on-call firefighters particularly in the Mortimer area. To find out more and register your interest get in touch at recruitment@rbfrs.co.uk or click here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church is the drop-0ff point in Theale for West Berkshire Foodbank. See request list here.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814.

Advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

Volunteer drivers needed by Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau. Click here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church in Theale is seeking donations for the Foodbank that is open on Sundays and Wednesdays from 9am to 6pm. Find out what is requested each week by clicking here.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.


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 10 Nov Bravo at the Bar, Burghfield Village Hall.

Sat 2 Dec Burghfield on Ice, Burghfield Village Hall.

Sat 2 Dec Theale Christmas Market, Theale.

Sun 3 Dec Christmas Bazaar, Garland Junior School, Clayhill Road.

• Regular events

• Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

• Are you over 55 and would like the opportunity to get creative? The Corn Exchange Newbury is running arts and crafts, painting, drawing, sketch and stroll, and poetry workshops in the Burghfield area. See here for dates, locations and how to book.

• The Corn Exchange is also running a Home Artist scheme where you collect monthly creative project packs from Mortimer Library to enjoy in the comfort of your own home or get them delivered to your home address.

• Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

 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.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

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

• All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

• 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 Englefield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 17 October and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; planning matters; traffic and parking; the tennis courts; and the phone box.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 12 October and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Clerk’s report; committee and working party reports; a councillor vacancy; the NDP; the Victoria Road footway; financial matters; correspondence; planning matters; and the Neighbourhood Action Group.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click hereSee 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 was on 10 October and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: An appeal for a new councillor (preferably from the south of the parish); a proposed new dog bin; five planning applications (three no objections; one gone to appeal; and one objection on the grounds of “a planned six-fold increase in capacity at Aldermaston Recycling, Paices Hill, as we were worried about increased traffic on the A340 through our Conservation Area and misleading description of the location in the application.”); discussions about the seemingly necessary evil of using Frouds Lane as a diversion route during the closure of the Lifting Bridge at the Wharf; and a letter being prepared for WBC “regarding resource impact on Planning Enforcement and Conservation, both of which have major impact on our work.”
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 September and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 5 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; a possible NDP; the Clerk’s report; highways; dog bins; the Village Hall; 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 for 2021 and here for 2022. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 4 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a councillor co-option; financial matters; the Village Hall; repairs and maintenance; planning matters; and councillors’ reports.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 13 September and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 August and you can read the minutes here. .
To see the dates, agendas and minutes 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 Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 August 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 and minutes, please click here.

• Burghfield area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council, Basildon 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 26 October 2023

Our usual round-up of  local news includes: a road closure, fund-raising, a parade, a Christmas market and pumpkins –  plus a reminder about how you can influence the future of the Garth Club Hall in Mortimer and an interview with West Berkshire’s first Labour councillor. See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Thatcham area events include: Burghtoberfest, scarecrow trail, pumpkin and Halloween fun. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

This week’s news

• Quick reminder to put your clocks back this Saturday and enjoy an extra hour in bed…
There is a road closure in Burghfield on Theale Road until this Sunday 29 October between its junction with Folly Lane and its junction with Sulhamstead Road  for Thames Water to install a new service connection. Residential access will be maintained throughout, and the diversion will be signed on site. Details can be found here.

• Burghfield Toddler Group’s Fundraising Halloween Party this Friday 27 October at Burghfield Village Hall is in aid of family group member Hannah who has been diagnosed with cancer. There will be spooky treats and creepy crafts for sale, as well as the opportunity to dress up (nothing to scary!). Entry is £2.50 per family and siblings are welcome. Click here to learn more and you can also visit Hannah’s JustGiving page is you would like to make a direct donation.

• Is there a hidden gem waiting to be discovered in your home? Experts will value your treasure and share the story behind the find at a special Dawson’s Hidden Treasures fundraising event on Saturday 4 November, 11am to 4pm at Renegade Brewery in Yattendon. Book your ticket on Educafe’s crowdfunding page here. All proceeds go to Educafe, a Community Interest Company bringing together diverse communities in West Berkshire. Find out more here.

• Burghfield Residence Association is holding their presentation event ‘BRA-Vo at the Bar’, to celebrate the funds they donated in 2023 and hear from some of the local recipient groups. Burghfield Santas are providing the bar for the event, there will also be food, a DJ and a band performing live music. The event is free and everyone is welcome to attend. That’s on Friday 10 November at Burghfield Village Hall.

Theale Parish Council have announced that the Theale Christmas Market will be back again this year, so make sure you mark Saturday 2 December in your diaries. There are also looking for potential stall holders, so get in contact at enquiries@thealeparishcouncil.gov.uk if that is something of interest. Follow their community events Facebook Page to keep up to date with the latest information.

• Quick reminder about The Fruit Shop’s Pumpkin Competition for a chance to win a prize. Draw into to carve your pumpkin, then take a picture of the finished piece and email to wellersfruit@gmail.com or hand into to shop. This year for every pumpkin sale, they will donate £1 to The Royal British Legion charity. So please support a good cause and shop local for your pumpkins this year. Click here for more information plus the terms and conditions.

• Theale Council are seeking volunteer marshals for the Theale Remembrance Parade on Sunday 12 November. If you can help please email enquiries@thealeparishcouncil.gov.uk or pop into the Parish Office on the Englefield Road.

• Burghfield Parish Council are calling for inside and outside stall holders for this Christmas’s Burghfield on Ice. If you or someone you know would be interested, please register your interest with enquires@burghfieldparishcouncil.go.uk.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

• Works to carry out repairs to replace the worn-out Tile Mill Swing Bridge deck in Stratfield Mortimer have been scheduled from Monday 6 to Friday 17 November 2023.  This will be carried out under a full canal and road closure with a signed diversion route via Padworth Lane, Rectory Road, Reading Road, Camp Road, Sulhamstead Road, Sulhamstead Hill.

• Garth Club Hall

A reminder of what we mentioned last week about this (scroll down to see it): Mortimer Life has announced that the Royal British legion has decided that it wants to de-involve itself from the Hall  and “invites individuals or groups interested in taking over the Garth Club land and building in St John’s Road, Mortimer to come forward.” The article, which you can read here, provides information about the options the RBL has identified and how people can get in touch with expressions of interest.

In a private capacity, Mortimer Life Editor and Stratfield Mortimer and West Berkshire Councillor Nick Carter is hosting a Zoom meeting on 2 November to provide more information and discuss the opportunity: details of how to join can be found here.

• WBC’s first Labour councillor

A number of things changed as a result of the 2023 local elections. One was was, as we know, that a new administration was voted in. The other was that WBC could no longer say that it had never had a Labour member. With the election of Clive Taylor in Tilehurst Birch Copse, that has changed too. It was a close-run event as he defeated one of the two incumbents, Tony Linden, by just a solitary vote. A win is a win, however.

We caught up with Clive and asked him some questions about his background, his council experience, his hopes and concerns for the area and for how he’s like to be remembered when his term of office ends. No Penny Post interview would be complete, of course, without borrowing an idea from Desert Island Discs and asking him to choose his must-have record, his favourite book and his luxury item. Possibly these choices tell you more about the person and an hour of probing questions. The continued success of Roy Plomley’s brainchild certainly supports this theory. You can read the full interview with Clive Taylor here.

Latest local newsletters

Englefield Parish Magazine.
Padworth Village Newsletter.
Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton


Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield Toy Library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Are you interested in becoming an on-call firefighter? The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue are looking for on-call firefighters particularly in the Mortimer area. To find out more and register your interest get in touch at recruitment@rbfrs.co.uk or click here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church is the drop-0ff point in Theale for West Berkshire Foodbank. See request list here.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814.

Advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

Volunteer drivers needed by Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau. Click here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church in Theale is seeking donations for the Foodbank that is open on Sundays and Wednesdays from 9am to 6pm. Find out what is requested each week by clicking here.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.


Local events and activities

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

• Dates for the diary

Now until 29 Oct Wasing Pumpkin Event, Wasing Estate.

Now until 29 Oct Silchester Scarecrow Trail, Silchester Town centre.

Fri 27 Oct Toddler Group Halloween Party, Burghfield Village Hall.

Fri 10 Nov Bravo at the Bar, Burghfield Village Hall.

Sat 2 Dec Burghfield on Ice, Burghfield Village Hall.

Sat 2 Dec Theale Christmas Market, Theale.

Sun 3 Dec Christmas Bazaar, Garland Junior School, Clayhill Road.

• Regular events

• Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

• Are you over 55 and would like the opportunity to get creative? The Corn Exchange Newbury is running arts and crafts, painting, drawing, sketch and stroll, and poetry workshops in the Burghfield area. See here for dates, locations and how to book.

• The Corn Exchange is also running a Home Artist scheme where you collect monthly creative project packs from Mortimer Library to enjoy in the comfort of your own home or get them delivered to your home address.

• Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

 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.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

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

• All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

• 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 Englefield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 17 October and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; planning matters; traffic and parking; the tennis courts; and the phone box.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 12 October and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Clerk’s report; committee and working party reports; a councillor vacancy; the NDP; the Victoria Road footway; financial matters; correspondence; planning matters; and the Neighbourhood Action Group.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click hereSee 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 was on 10 October and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: An appeal for a new councillor (preferably from the south of the parish); a proposed new dog bin; five planning applications (three no objections; one gone to appeal; and one objection on the grounds of “a planned six-fold increase in capacity at Aldermaston Recycling, Paices Hill, as we were worried about increased traffic on the A340 through our Conservation Area and misleading description of the location in the application.”); discussions about the seemingly necessary evil of using Frouds Lane as a diversion route during the closure of the Lifting Bridge at the Wharf; and a letter being prepared for WBC “regarding resource impact on Planning Enforcement and Conservation, both of which have major impact on our work.”
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 September and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 5 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; a possible NDP; the Clerk’s report; highways; dog bins; the Village Hall; 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 for 2021 and here for 2022. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 4 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a councillor co-option; financial matters; the Village Hall; repairs and maintenance; planning matters; and councillors’ reports.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 9 August and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 August and you can read the minutes here. .
To see the dates, agendas and minutes 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 Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 August 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 and minutes, please click here.

• Burghfield 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 19 October 2023

Our usual round-up of  local news includes: ice, pumpkins, a parade and a closure  – plus a look at the latest on the Garth Club Hall in Mortimer. See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Thatcham area events include: Burghtoberfest, scarecrow trail, pumpkin and Halloween fun. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

This week’s news

• The much awaited Burghtoberfest is happening this 20 October Friday at the Burghfield Community Village Hall. See details here. Some spooky events also start this weekend with the Silchester Scarecrow Trail and Wasing Pumpkin Event to name a few.

• The Fruit Shop in Burghfield will be holding a Pumpkin Competition for a chance to win a prize. Draw into to carve your pumpkin, then take a picture of the finished piece and email to wellersfruit@gmail.com or hand into to shop. This year for every pumpkin sale, they will donate £1 to The Royal British Legion charity. So please support a good cause and shop local for your pumpkins this year. Click here for more information plus the terms and conditions.

• Theale Council are seeking volunteer marshals for the Theale Remembrance Parade on Sunday 12 November. If you can help please email enquiries@thealeparishcouncil.gov.uk or pop into the Parish Office on the Englefield Road.

• Burghfield Parish Council are calling for inside and outside stall holders for this Christmas’s Burghfield on Ice. If you or someone you know would be interested, please register your interest with enquires@burghfieldparishcouncil.go.uk.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

• Works to carry out repairs to replace the worn-out Tile Mill Swing Bridge deck in Stratfield Mortimer have been programmed to be carried out from Monday, 6 November 2023 to Friday, 17 November 2023.  This will be carried out under a full canal and road closure with a signed diversion route via Padworth Lane, Rectory Road, Reading Road, Camp Road, Sulhamstead Road, Sulhamstead Hill.

• Garth Club Hall

In February 2023, my attention was drawn to this article on the excellent Mortimer Life website about the past and, indeed, the future of this building in St John’s Road. The current dispute dates back to 2012 and involved what be termed a number of differences of opinion between the Royal British Legion, the trustee, and Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council. As the article explains, proposed sales and asset transfers, poor repair work and conversations with the Charities Commission have all featured.

As the article concludes, “In November 2022, the British Legion informed the parish council of its intent to dispose of the property, giving the proceeds, after deducting unspecified costs, to the YMCA. The Legion claims that its proposal aligns with the Garth Club Trust intent and so does not require Charity Commission approval. The parish council has sought legal advice on the Legion’s proposal and at the full council meeting on 12th January 2023 agreed that its solicitors would respond to the British Legion disagreeing with its  proposal.”

A few things confused me about this. The first is whether it’s normal for a trustee to register a property that it is only the steward of in its own name, then seek to sell it and pass the proceeds to someone else. The second is why, the seemingly botched repair works having happened in 2011-12, the Parish Council did not immediately seek to have the work done properly (I appreciate that this seems like an obvious course of action in hindsight but might have been more problematic at the time given that the hall was not the PC’s responsibility). The third is how the RBL (which must have extensive experience of managing such buildings) could have commissioned and allowed such work to be done to such a low standard.

There then followed a pause while I tried to get answer from the RBL on the first and third points. After several weeks of chasing, the organisation told me that it will not be able to comment at this time.

This week, Mortimer Life has announced that matters have moved on and reports that “The Royal British Legion invites individuals or groups interested in taking over the Garth Club land and building in St John’s Road, Mortimer to come forward.” The article, which you can read here, provides information about the options the RBL has identified and how people can get in touch with expressions of interest. In a private capacity, Mortimer Life Editor and Stratfield Mortimer and West Berkshire Councillor Nick Carter is hosting a Zoom meeting on 2 November to provide more information and discuss the opportunity: details of how to join can be found here.

Latest local newsletters

Englefield Parish Magazine.
Padworth Village Newsletter.
Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton


Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield Toy Library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Are you interested in becoming an on-call firefighter? The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue are looking for on-call firefighters particularly in the Mortimer area. To find out more and register your interest get in touch at recruitment@rbfrs.co.uk or click here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church is the drop-0ff point in Theale for West Berkshire Foodbank. See request list here.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814.

Advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

Volunteer drivers needed by Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau. Click here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church in Theale is seeking donations for the Foodbank that is open on Sundays and Wednesdays from 9am to 6pm. Find out what is requested each week by clicking here.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.


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 20 Oct Burghtoberfest, Burghfield Community Village Hall.

 Fri 20 Oct to 29 Oct Wasing Pumpkin Event, Wasing Estate.

Sat 21 Oct to 29 Oct Silchester Scarecrow Trail, Silchester Town centre.

Fri 27 Oct Toddler Group Halloween Party, Burghfield Village Hall.

 Fri 30 Oct Mamma Mia Sing-a-Long Film Night, St Mary’s Church, Burghfield.

Sat 2 Dec Burghfield on Ice, Burghfield Village Hall.

Sun 3 Dec Christmas Bazaar, Garland Junior School, Clayhill Road.

• Regular events

• Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

• Are you over 55 and would like the opportunity to get creative? The Corn Exchange Newbury is running arts and crafts, painting, drawing, sketch and stroll, and poetry workshops in the Burghfield area. See here for dates, locations and how to book.

• The Corn Exchange is also running a Home Artist scheme where you collect monthly creative project packs from Mortimer Library to enjoy in the comfort of your own home or get them delivered to your home address.

• Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

 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.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

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

• All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

• 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 Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 15 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Clerk’s report; the 80th D-Day commemoration; reports from committees and working groups; the NDP; members’ bids; the Library; financial matters; and planning matters.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click hereSee 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 was on 10 October and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: An appeal for a new councillor (preferably from the south of the parish); a proposed new dog bin; five planning applications (three no objections; one gone to appeal; and one objection on the grounds of “a planned six-fold increase in capacity at Aldermaston Recycling, Paices Hill, as we were worried about increased traffic on the A340 through our Conservation Area and misleading description of the location in the application.”); discussions about the seemingly necessary evil of using Frouds Lane as a diversion route during the closure of the Lifting Bridge at the Wharf; and a letter being prepared for WBC “regarding resource impact on Planning Enforcement and Conservation, both of which have major impact on our work.”
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 5 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; a possible NDP; the Clerk’s report; highways; dog bins; the Village Hall; 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 for 2021 and here for 2022. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 4 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a councillor co-option; financial matters; the Village Hall; repairs and maintenance; planning matters; and councillors’ reports.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 9 August and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 August and you can read the minutes here. .
To see the dates, agendas and minutes 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 Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 August 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 and minutes, please click here.

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

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 27 June 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 and minutes, please click here.

• Burghfield 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 12 October 2023

Our usual round-up of  local news includes: football, café help, creative projects and a remembrance parade – plus a look back at the main stats from Burghfest. See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Thatcham area events include: Burghtoberfest, Mama Mia, scarecrow, pumpkin and Halloween fun. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

This week’s news

• Have you had a positive experience with Cafe-B? Manager Alex is asking for testimonials from the community help secure potential funding from a new grant scheme. The deadline is Monday 15 October, so if you would be happy to give a testimonial, please get in touch at cafeb@togetherinmission.org.uk as soon as possible.

Burghfield Football Club are looking for new players to join their U14 Blues team (Year 9). Training is on Wednesday evenings and matches are played on Saturday mornings. To learn more and get in contact, visit their website.

• Theale Council are seeking volunteer marshalls for the Theale Remembrance Parade on Sunday 12 November. If you can help please email enquiries@thealeparishcouncil.gov.uk or pop into the Parish Office on the Englefield Road.

• Are you over 55 and would like the opportunity to get creative? The Corn Exchange Newbury is running arts and crafts, painting, drawing, sketch and stroll, and poetry workshops in the Burghfield area. See here for dates, locations and how to book.

• The Corn Exchange is also running a Home Artist scheme where you collect monthly creative project packs from Mortimer Library to enjoy in the comfort of your own home or get them delivered to your home address.

• Burghfield Parish Council are calling for inside and outside stall holders for this Christmas’s Burghfield on Ice. If you or someone you know would be interested, please register your interest with enquires@burghfieldparishcouncil.go.uk.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

• Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

• Holy Trinity Church is the drop-0ff point in Theale for West Berkshire Foodbank. See request list here.

• The stats on Burghfest 2023

This year’s Burghfest on 22 and 23 September was a stonking success and the organisers, Burghfield Santas, have now published their full event report. Here are some highlights:

  • Nearly 2,500 adults attended with 92% of online tickets sold to people from Burghfield and Mortimer; 4% from Tilehurst and 3% from Reading
  • 125 local volunteers completed 190 shifts
  • 50 cask and craft ales from 20 local breweries were on offer, along with 12 local ciders – with over 6,000 pints served in total
  • Overall event costs increased by 20% from last year, largely due to insurance, fencing and security.
  • Around £25,000 will be given to Thames Valley Air Ambulance and local causes chosen by volunteers (including the local schools of Burghfield St Marys, SUN and Garlands, Tadley RFC, the Toy Library and Scout and Guides groups).

Well done to the organisers for a successful event, a comprehensive report and the planning already underway for 2024…

Latest local newsletters

Englefield Parish Magazine.
Padworth Village Newsletter.
Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton


Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield Toy Library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Are you interested in becoming an on-call firefighter? The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue are looking for on-call firefighters particularly in the Mortimer area. To find out more and register your interest get in touch at recruitment@rbfrs.co.uk or click here for more information.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814. If you would like to help your community please consider joining BMVB’s team of volunteer drivers. For more details please ring the same numner of email bureauvolunteer@gmail.com

Advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

• The Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau is looking for more volunteer driversClick here for more information.

• Holy Trinity Church in Theale is seeking donations for the Foodbank that is open on Sundays and Wednesdays from 9am to 6pm. Find out what is requested each week by clicking here.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.


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 20 Oct Burghtoberfest, Burghfield Community Village Hall.

 Fri 20 Oct to 29 Oct Wasing Pumpkin Event, Wasing Estate.

Sat 21 Oct to 29 Oct Silchester Scarecrow Trail, Silchester Town centre.

Fri 27 Oct Toddler Group Halloween Party, Burghfield Village Hall.

 Fri 30 Oct Mamma Mia Sing-a-Long Film Night, St Mary’s Church, Burghfield.

Sat 2 Dec Burghfield on Ice, Burghfield Village Hall.

Sun 3 Dec Christmas Bazaar, Garland Junior School, Clayhill Road.

• Regular events

• Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

 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.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

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

• All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

• 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 Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 15 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Clerk’s report; the 80th D-Day commemoration; reports from committees and working groups; the NDP; members’ bids; the Library; financial matters; and planning matters.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click hereSee 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 was on 10 October and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: An appeal for a new councillor (preferably from the south of the parish); a proposed new dog bin; five planning applications (three no objections; one gone to appeal; and one objection on the grounds of “a planned six-fold increase in capacity at Aldermaston Recycling, Paices Hill, as we were worried about increased traffic on the A340 through our Conservation Area and misleading description of the location in the application.”); discussions about the seemingly necessary evil of using Frouds Lane as a diversion route during the closure of the Lifting Bridge at the Wharf; and a letter being prepared for WBC “regarding resource impact on Planning Enforcement and Conservation, both of which have major impact on our work.”
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 5 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; a possible NDP; the Clerk’s report; highways; dog bins; the Village Hall; 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 for 2021 and here for 2022. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 4 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a councillor co-option; financial matters; the Village Hall; repairs and maintenance; planning matters; and councillors’ reports.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 9 August and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 August and you can read the minutes here. .
To see the dates, agendas and minutes 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 Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 August 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 and minutes, please click here.

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

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 18 May 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 and minutes, please click here.

• Burghfield 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 5 October 2023

This week we cover Burghfest, creativity,  firefighting, food banks and a coffee morning– plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

This week’s news

• Upcoming events in Burfield include: Burghtoberfest, Mama Mia, scarecrow, pumpkin and Halloween fun.  See events section below for details, plus on-going regular community events and clubs.

• Tickets for Burghfield on Ice on Saturday 2 December go on sale this Friday 6 October, at 10am. The event offers a wonderland at Burghfield Village Hall for a festive family afternoon to kick off the festive season. Book a slot on the synthetic ice rink, enjoy their Christmas market, giant snow globe selfie zone, pop-up café, burgers and hot dogs, mulled wine and local brew, Christmas carols and more! Get your £2 skate tickets from Eventbrite this Friday.

Burghfest 2023 announced via their Facebook page that the event raised a staggering £24,000, much of which will go towards the Thames Valley Air Ambulance. They said they will publish a full event report in the coming days, but other impressive stats from the post include: 3,800 adult guests, 760 hours given by volunteers and 6,391 pints of larger, cinder ale and craft beers sold. What an amazing result – congratulations to the organisers.

• Last week’s Macmillan Coffee Morning managed to raise £51.36 for MacMillan Cancer Support. Well done to everyone who took part and donated yummy cakes.

• Are you over 55 and would like the opportunity to get creative? The Corn Exchange Newbury is launching a range of classes in the Burghfield area as part of their Ageing Creatively programme funded by the National Lottery. Classes (many of which are free but need booking) include arts and crafts, painting, drawing, sketch and stroll and poetry workshops. See here for dates, locations and how to book. They are also running a Home Artist scheme where you collect monthly creative project packs from Mortimer Library to enjoy in the comfort of your own home. You can also request that the packs are delivered to your home address. You will also be invited to quarterly ‘Meet the Artists’ coffee mornings held at Mortimer Library.

• Are you interested in becoming an on-call firefighter? The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue are looking for on-call firefighters particularly in the Mortimer area. To find out more and register your interest get in touch at recruitment@rbfrs.co.uk or click here for more information.

• The Trussell Trust’s Step Up September Challenge is in aid of preventing the need for FoodbanksPlease click here if you would like to sponsor Penny doing the challenge.

• Burghfield Parish Council are calling for inside and outside stall holders for this Christmas’s Burghfield on Ice. If you or someone you know would be interested, please register your interest with enquires@burghfieldparishcouncil.go.uk.

• Theale Parish Council‘s free community coffee mornings will continue every Wednesday during the school holidays. Everyone is welcome including children and well behaved dogs.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814. If you would like to help your community please consider joining BMVB’s team of volunteer drivers. For more details please ring the same numner of email bureauvolunteer@gmail.com

• Quick reminder about Citizens Advice West Berkshire and the Public Protection Partnership’s advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

• The Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau is looking for more volunteer driversClick here for more information.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

• Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

• The latest edition of the Englefield Parish Magazine is available to read here.

• Ditto here with the latest Padworth Village Newsletter.

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

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

Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield toy library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

• Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• 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.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.

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 20 Oct Burghtoberfest, Burghfield Community Village Hall.

 Fri 20 Oct to 29 Oct Wasing Pumpkin Event, Wasing Estate.

Sat 21 Oct to 29 Oct Silchester Scarecrow Trail, Silchester Town centre.

Fri 27 Oct Toddler Group Halloween Party, Burghfield Village Hall.

 Fri 30 Oct Mamma Mia Sing-a-Long Film Night, St Mary’s Church, Burghfield.

Sun 3 Dec Christmas Bazaar, Garland Junior School, Clayhill Road.

• Regular events

• Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

 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, between April and October. There are three walk lengths to chose from as mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

• All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

• 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 Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 15 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Clerk’s report; the 80th D-Day commemoration; reports from committees and working groups; the NDP; members’ bids; the Library; financial matters; and planning matters.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click hereSee 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 was on 12 September and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: local fireworks; a report from Easing Estate on the recent Medicine Festival (with some local traffic problems reported); planning matters; Easy Concrete (see separate section above); 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. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 5 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; a possible NDP; the Clerk’s report; highways; dog bins; the Village Hall; 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 for 2021 and here for 2022. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 4 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a councillor co-option; financial matters; the Village Hall; repairs and maintenance; planning matters; and councillors’ reports.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 9 August and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 August and you can read the minutes here. .
To see the dates, agendas and minutes 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 Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 August 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 and minutes, please click here.

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

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 18 May 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 and minutes, please click here.

• Burghfield 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 September 2023

This week we cover soil, creativity, toys, ice, guide dogs and volunteering – plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

Scroll down below “This weeks news” for another chance to see the latest newsletter from ward member Nick Carter, an appeal for volunteers at this weekend’s Burghfest (some tickets also still available) and the latest news on Burghfield’s skate ramp.

We’re taking a bit of time off so this post will next be updated on Thursday 5 October.

This week’s news

• Upcoming events in Burfield include:  the long awaited Burghfest, two Macmillan Coffee Mornings, a Circus and a Guide Dog Fun Day.  See events section below for details, plus on-going regular community events and clubs.

• This weekend there will be a soil conditioner give-away event at the Padworth Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF), on Padworth Lane. To collect your free soil conditioner, come along on Saturday 23 or Sunday 24 September between 10am and 4pm, with ID that proves you are a resident of West Berkshire, as well as your own bags/boxes to put the conditioner into. For more information click here.

• Are you over 55 and would like the opportunity to get creative? The Corn Exchange Newbury is launching a range of classes in the Burghfield area as part of their Ageing Creatively programme funded by the National Lottery. Classes (many of which are free but need booking) include arts and crafts, painting, drawing, sketch and stroll and poetry workshops. See here for dates, locations and how to book. They are also running a Home Artist scheme where you collect monthly creative project packs from Mortimer Library to enjoy in the comfort of your own home. You can also request that the packs are delivered to your home address. You will also be invited to quarterly ‘Meet the Artists’ coffee mornings held at Mortimer Library.

• The Mortimer and Burghfield Toy Library is back this Saturday 23 September after having a summer break. They’ll be at Mortimer Methodist Library, if you would like borrow or return a toy for your little one.

• On Saturday 30 September there will be a Guide Dog Family Fun Day at the Guide Dog for the Blind Reading Hub in Burghfield, from 12 to 4pm. Entry is free and there will be lots of fun activities including guide dog displays, a dog show, children’s games & activities, face painting, stalls, food, a licensed bar and lots more. For more updates and details see here.

• Are you interested in becoming an on-call firefighter? The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue are looking for on-call firefighters particularly in the Mortimer area. To find out more and register your interest get in touch at recruitment@rbfrs.co.uk or click here for more information.

• Did you know that you can collect one free roll of compostable food caddy liners from any West Berkshire Library or from the West Berkshire Council Office reception in Newbury? They’ll be available until Saturday 30 September.

• The Trussell Trust’s Step Up September Challenge is in aid of preventing the need for FoodbanksPlease click here if you would like to sponsor Penny doing the challenge.

• Burghfield Parish Council are calling for inside and outside stall holders for this Christmas’s Burghfield on Ice. If you or someone you know would be interested, please register your interest with enquires@burghfieldparishcouncil.go.uk.

• Theale Parish Council‘s free community coffee mornings will continue every Wednesday during the school holidays. Everyone is welcome including children and well behaved dogs.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814. If you would like to help your community please consider joining BMVB’s team of volunteer drivers. For more details please ring the same numner of email bureauvolunteer@gmail.com

• Quick reminder about Citizens Advice West Berkshire and the Public Protection Partnership’s advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

• The Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau is looking for more volunteer driversClick here for more information.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

• Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

• The latest edition of the Englefield Parish Magazine is available to read here.

• Ditto here with the latest Padworth Village Newsletter.

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

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

Burghfest 2023

• A few tickets are still available for the much anticipated Burghfest 2023 is coming soon on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 September and the Burghfield Santas are looking for volunteers who can help including bar staff, helping to set-up and take-down, man the ticket desk, co-ordinators and ambassadors. Click here to easily sign up for a shift, at a time convenient to you. Tickets for Burghfest 2023 are available here.

Skating in Burghfield

Burghfield is currently developing a skate park replacement project (SKRP) for the parish and we’re pleased to pass on the following information about the project.

“It was great to see so many people taking time to give us feedback and support for the skate park project at the May Fayre,” a spokesperson told Penny Post on 20 September. “Many of you cast your vote for which style of park you liked best and since then we have been quietly beavering away behind the scenes with Burghfield Parish Council to make the skate park replacement project a reality.”

The public invitation for companies to tender to become a partner closed on 17 September and the organisers are now evaluating the bids so they can select the best partner for the project.

“Once the partner is selected, we will collaborate with them to complete the final design and specification of the skate park,” the SKRP spokesperson added. “This will ultimately allow us confirm all of the costs and how long it’s all going to take. We have made great progress so far but we continue to hunt for funding to enable us to complete the project. We were recently approved on the GoodExchange websitewhich now allows us to take crowdfunding donations from anyone who would like to contribute.

“If your kids use the skate park, if you think they might use it or if you just value the community having fantastic facilities on its doorstep, please support the project by hitting the donate button here.”

The organisers would also like to hear from you if you are a local company and want to make a larger donation – you can get in touch via clerk@burghfieldparishcouncil.gov.uk

The Town Council at Hungerford – a place of about the same size as Burghfield, on the western edge of the district – has recently opened a similar skate-park improvement which has been very popular. We trust that Burghfield’s will, when completed, prove to be equally successful.

Nick’s news

A reminder that you can click here to see the September newsletter from Burghfield and Mortimer Councillor Nick Carter. Topics covered include the recurring and district-wide problem of overflowing dog bins, drainage problems, members’ bids, food-waste labels, garden-waste charges, Padworth’s recycling centre, Mortimer’s NDP, catapult attacks, highways issues, planning matters, the foot-, cycle- and bridleway between Burghfield and Mortimer, speeding and EV changing.

All this is proof if proof be needed that district councillors can get involved in a lot of different matters. Some of these can be fixed quite quickly: others take years or perhaps cannot be solved at at all. You  can click here to see full contact details of all WBC’s councillors. These can be sorted alphabetically (though, oddly, it does this by the first name, so not much use), by party and by ward. Some wards have one member, some two and a few (including Burghfield and Mortimer) three.

Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield toy library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

• Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• 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.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.

Local events and activities

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

• Dates for the diary

Weds 20 to Sun 24 Sept Circus Ginette, Burghfield Recreation Ground.

 Fri 22 Sept Burghfest, Burghfield Common.

 Fri 22 Sept Macmillan Coffee Morning, Burghfield Village Hall.

 Sat 23 Sept Burghfest, Burghfield Common.

 Sat 30 Sept Guide Dog Fun Day Event, Burghfield Common.

 Sat 30 Sept Macmillan Coffee Morning, Burghfield Common Methodist Church Hall.

 Fri 20 Oct Burghtoberfest, Burghfield Community Village Hall.

 Fri 20 Oct to 29 Oct Wasing Pumpkin Event, Wasing Estate.

 Fri 30 Oct Mamma Mia Sing-a-Long Film Night, St Mary’s Church, Burghfield.

• Regular events

• Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

 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, between April and October. There are three walk lengths to chose from as mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

• All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

• 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 was on 12 September and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: local fireworks; a report from Easing Estate on the recent Medicine Festival (with some local traffic problems reported); planning matters; Easy Concrete (see separate section above); 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. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 4 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a councillor co-option; financial matters; the Village Hall; repairs and maintenance; planning matters; and councillors’ reports.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 9 August and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 August and you can read the minutes here. .
To see the dates, agendas and minutes 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 Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 August 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 and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 1 August 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. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 13 July and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click hereSee 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 for which minutes are available was on 6 July and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 18 May 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 and minutes, please click here.

• Burghfield 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 14 September 2023

This week we cover darts, going online, going digital, a charity sale, footbanks and compost liners – plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

Scroll down below “This weeks news” for the latest newsletter from ward member Nick Carter, a chance to ask some questions of local water companies and the latest in the continuing saga of Aldermaston’s concrete works.

This week’s news

•  Burghfield Community Sports Association invites all to their Exhibition Dart Charity Night with professional Darts Champion Bob Anderson, this Saturday 16 September. Standard tickets cost £10, and there will also be a raffle for the chance to go head-to-head against Bob. All proceeds will go towards aisle local charity Newbury Cancer Care and Sue Ryder. They aim to raise at least £1,000, so if you would like to donate you can do so via their GoFundMe page. For more details, see here.

• There’ll be a Charity Dress Sale at the Six Bells on Reading Road, Burghfield. There will be over 120+ dresses, in a range of sizes, all £10 each. Proceeds will  go towards local charity Bucket List Wishes who grant wishes for terminally ill adults around Berkshire. Click here for details.

• Burghfield Parish Council are seeking cake donations for their Macmillan Coffee Morning being hosted on Friday 22 September, from 10am to 12.30pm at Burghfield Village Hall. Donations are being accepted from Thursday 21st September. Please send them a message or email enquiries@burghfieldparishcouncil.gov.uk if you would like to donate. All contributions are greatly appreciated!

• Are you interested in becoming an on-call firefighter? The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue are looking for on-call firefighters particularly in the Mortimer area. To find out more and register your interest get in touch at recruitment@rbfrs.co.uk or click here for more information.

• This Friday 15 September, St Mary’s Church in Burghfield will be screening Puss in Boots the Last Wish. Tickets are free, although they ask you to book tickets on eventbright, so they have an idea of numbers. Hotdogs and refreshments will also be served.

• Did you know that you can collect one free roll of compostable food caddy liners from any West Berkshire Library or from the West Berkshire Council Office reception in Newbury? They’ll be available until Saturday 30 September.

• The Trussell Trust’s Step Up September Challenge is in aid of preventing the need for FoodbanksPlease click here if you would like to sponsor Penny doing the challenge.

• The much anticipated Burghfest 2023 is coming soon on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 September and the Burghfield Santas are looking for volunteers who can help including bar staff, helping to set-up and take-down, man the ticket desk, co-ordinators and ambassadors. Click here to easily sign up for a shift, at a time convenient to you. Tickets for Burghfest 2023 are available here.

• Our family, like many, has very sadly lost friends to suicide, including young adults in Newbury. Here in West Berkshire we have a Suicide Prevention Action Group that provides training and awareness materials. Do have a read Chairman Garry Poulson’s article here for Suicide Prevention Week 10 to 16 September and you can also sign up for their next Suicide Prevention First-Aid Course on Thursday 19 October.

• Burghfield Parish Council are calling for inside and outside stall holders for this Christmas’s Burghfield on Ice. If you or someone you know would be interested, please register your interest with enquires@burghfieldparishcouncil.go.uk.

• Quick reminder to have your say here on the future of the Burghfield Parish Newsletter. As well as asking about format and content, the parish council is particularly looking into ways to make the newsletter more sustainable and cost-effective and possibly looking to make it a digital publication.

• Theale Parish Council‘s free community coffee mornings will continue every Wednesday during the school holidays. Everyone is welcome including children and well behaved dogs.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814. If you would like to help your community please consider joining BMVB’s team of volunteer drivers. For more details please ring the same numner of email bureauvolunteer@gmail.com

• Quick reminder about Citizens Advice West Berkshire and the Public Protection Partnership’s advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

• The Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau is looking for more volunteer driversClick here for more information.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

• Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

• The latest edition of the Englefield Parish Magazine is available to read here.

• Ditto here with the latest Padworth Village Newsletter.

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

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

Scrutinising the water

Do you have concerns about the activities of Thames Water and the Environment Agency? If so, you can submit questions to a special public West Berkshire Council Oversight and Scrutiny Committee meeting being held at 6.30pm on Wednesday 11 October. At this event, the members of the committee will be reviewing the recent performance of TW and the EA in the district and will be questioning representatives of both organisations who will be attending the meeting.

If you have any questions you’d like ask or concerns you’d like to raise, please email these to Executivecycle@westberks.gov.uk by 18 September. The meeting will be streamed live on the Council’s YouTube channel for residents wanting to follow the meeting as it happens or at their convenience later. Click here for more details.

Nick’s news

Click here to see the September newsletter from Burghfield and Mortimer Councillor Nick Carter (which arrived just too late for last week’s PP). Topics covered include the recurring and district-wide problem of overflowing dog bins, drainage problems, members’ bids, food-waste labels, garden-waste charges, Padworth’s recycling centre, Mortimer’s NDP, catapult attacks, highways issues, planning matters, the foot-, cycle- and bridleway between Burghfield and Mortimer, speeding and EV changing.

All this is proof if proof be needed that district councillors can get involved in a lot of different matters. Some of these can be fixed quite quickly: others take years or perhaps cannot be solved at at all. You can click here to see full contact details of all WBC’s councillors. These can be sorted alphabetically (though, oddly, it does this by the first name, so not much use), by party and by ward. Some wards have one member, some two and a few (including Burghfield and Mortimer) three.

Concrete news

We’ve reported several times before about the Easy Concrete development in Aldermaston, a story which shows just how far a developer or landowner can push (or ignore) the planning system when they really try.

Aldermaston PC discussed this matter in response to a parishioner’s question at its meeting on 12 September. “Following recent inquires to WBC,” APC Chair Sophie Crawford told the meeting “we know that a new planning application is imminent although its nature is still unknown. WBC Enforcement is keeping an eye on developments on the site but does not appear inclined to issue any notices to require the owner to clean it up at this stage. We are worried that the mounds of earth on the field to the north might become unstable in the wetter winter months and could pose a danger to the nearby road users. We have already raised with WBC and will push for reassurance on the matter.”

In other words, the matter is – once again – not just a dry matter of planning procedure but a potentially serious one that might involve issues of health and safety and of highway access.

The matter of the shortage of conservation and enforcement officers was also raised in the light of the current shortage of both and WBC’s well-publicised financial pinch. Employing enforcement officers is not a statutory obligation but, as Sophie Crawford pointed out to me on 14 September, “when unlawful development goes unchecked and becomes so widespread it undermines the Councils reputation and its ability to deliver on its statutory planning obligations in line with various planning acts, the NPPF and its own local Plan. I don’t know if Aldermaston is exceptional, but unauthorised development here is commonplace and shockingly brazen.”

Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield toy library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

• Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• 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.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.

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 Sept Puss in Boots the Last Wish Film Night, St Mary’s Church, Burghfield.

 Sat 16 Sept Exhibition Dart Charity Night, Burghfield CSA, James Lane, Burghfield.

Sun 17 & Mon 18 Sept Charity Dress Sale, The Six Bells, Reading Road, Burghfield.

 Fri 22 Sept Burghfest, Burghfield Common.

 Fri 22 Sept Macmillan Coffee Morning, Burghfield Village Hall.

 Sat 23 Sept Burghfest, Burghfield Common.

 Sat 30 Sept Guide Dog Fun Day Event, Burghfield Common.

 Sat 30 Sept Macmillan Coffee Morning, Burghfield Common Methodist Church Hall.

 Fri 20 Oct Burghtoberfest, Burghfield Community Village Hall.

 Fri 20 Oct to 29 Oct Wasing Pumpkin Event, Wasing Estate.

 Fri 30 Oct Mamma Mia Sing-a-Long Film Night, St Mary’s Church, Burghfield.

• Regular events

• Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

 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, between April and October. There are three walk lengths to chose from as mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

• All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

• 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 was on 12 September and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: local fireworks; a report from Easing Estate on the recent Medicine Festival (with some local traffic problems reported); planning matters; Easy Concrete (see separate section above); 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. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 4 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a councillor co-option; financial matters; the Village Hall; repairs and maintenance; planning matters; and councillors’ reports.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 August and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: public forum; matters arising; councillor co-options; planning matters (in particular the 5 July EAPC meeting about Awberry Farm); repairs and maintenance; highways; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes 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 Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 August and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: reported from the Clerk and the ward member; planning matters; financial matters; the fête, some of the profit from which will be donated to Theale Green School; the North Street Playing Fields; and autumn planting.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 1 August and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: matters arising; planning applications; a report from the ward member; the Clerk’s report; signage; dog bins; the Village Hall; 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 for 2021 and here for 2022. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 13 July and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click hereSee this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 12 July and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 18 May 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 and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 1 June and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• Burghfield 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.

Friday 8 September 2023

This week we cover riding, Puss in Boots, open days, Burghfest, ice and the new WBC administration’s first hundred days under the microscope – plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

Apologies that this is a day late. As many of you will know, we were recently beset by IT problems severe enough to make us wonder if we’d ever get this out at all. Apologies on behalf of the gremlin or gremlins responsible.

This week’s news

• The Mortimer Riding Club will be holding its Annual Show this Sunday 10 September from 10am to 2:30pm at the Mortimer Fairground, Hammonds Heath Rd. All are welcome to come along and watch the various equestrian presentations and there will be food and refreshments available on site. Click here for more information.

• Next Friday 15 September, St Mary’s Church in Burghfield will be screening Puss in Boots the Last Wish. Tickets are free, although they ask you to book tickets on eventbright, so they have an idea of numbers. Hotdogs and refreshments will also be served.

• Last chance to complete West Berkshire Council’s Bus Survey by Sunday 10 September. Buses sustain town centres, allow young people and the elderly to access education and work, and help reduce carbon emissions from car travel.

• The Trussell Trust’s Step Up September Challenge is in aid of preventing the need for FoodbanksPlease click here if you would like to sponsor Penny doing the challenge.

• The much anticipated Burghfest 2023 is coming soon on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 September and the Burghfield Santas are looking for volunteers who can help including bar staff, helping to set-up and take-down, man the ticket desk, co-ordinators and ambassadors. Click here to easily sign up for a shift, at a time convenient to you. Tickets for Burghfest 2023 are available here.

• Do you have plans for crime prevention projects in your community? Applications for the latest round of Thames Valley Police’s Community Fund are now open, with £200,000 of grant funding available for community group projects to help prevent crime across Thames Valley. Application deadline is 12pm on Monday 11 September.

• Our family, like many, has very sadly lost friends to suicide, including young adults in Newbury. Here in West Berkshire we have a Suicide Prevention Action Group that provides training and awareness materials. Do have a read Chairman Garry Poulson’s article here for Suicide Prevention Week 10 to 16 September and you can also sign up for their next Suicide Prevention First-Aid Course on Thursday 19 October.

• Burghfield Parish Council are calling for inside and outside stall holders for this Christmas’s Burghfield on Ice. If you or someone you know would be interested, please register your interest with enquires@burghfieldparishcouncil.go.uk.

• Sunday 10 September sees a couple of Heritage Open Days in Aldermaston with the opening of St Mary’s Church and an Exhibition in the Hinds Head Pub. See more details here.

• Quick reminder to have your say here on the future of the Burghfield Parish Newsletter. As well as asking about format and content, the parish council is particularly looking into ways to make the newsletter more sustainable and cost-effective and possibly looking to make it a digital publication.

• Theale Parish Council‘s free community coffee mornings will continue every Wednesday during the school holidays. Everyone is welcome including children and well behaved dogs.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814. If you would like to help your community please consider joining BMVB’s team of volunteer drivers. For more details please ring the same numner of email bureauvolunteer@gmail.com

• Quick reminder about Citizens Advice West Berkshire and the Public Protection Partnership’s advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

• The Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau is looking for more volunteer driversClick here for more information.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

• Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

• The latest edition of the Englefield Parish Magazine is available to read here.

• Ditto here with the latest Padworth Village Newsletter.

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

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

The first hundred days

The new Lib Dem administration was sworn in or whatever the ceremony involved at WBC on 25 May, so they’ve had just over a hundred days with their hands on the levers. This seemed like a good moment to reflect on what has and has not been accomplished.

Ross Mackinnon, leader of WBC’s Conservatives had the same idea and sent round a press statement on 13 August which provided his party’s take on how things were going. Green leader David Marsh added some thoughts of his own. So did I. Read more in this separate post.  

Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield toy library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

• Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• 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.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.

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 10 Sept Mortimer Riding Club Annual Show, Mortimer Fairground.

 Fri 15 Sept Puss in Boots the Last Wish Film Night, St Mary’s Church, Burghfield.

 Sat 16 Sept Exhibition Dart Charity Night, Burghfield CSA, James Lane, Burfield.

 Fri 22 Sept Burghfest, Burghfield Common.

 Fri 22 Sept Macmillan Coffee Morning, Burghfield Village Hall.

 Sat 23 Sept Burghfest, Burghfield Common.

 Sat 30 Sept Guide Dog Fun Day Event, Burghfield Common.

 Sat 30 Sept Macmillan Coffee Morning, Burghfield Common Methodist Church Hall.

 Fri 20 Oct Burghtoberfest, Burghfield Community Village Hall.

 Fri 20 Oct to 29 Oct Wasing Pumpkin Event, Wasing Estate.

 Fri 30 Oct Mamma Mia Sing-a-Long Film Night, St Mary’s Church, Burghfield.

• Regular events

• Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

 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, between April and October. There are three walk lengths to chose from as mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

• All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

• 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 was on 8 August and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: the skateboard project; a discussion about the implications of a property being in a conservation area; planning matters (including ‘disappointment with the apparent lack of progress by WBC on the change of use at Corbyn, Soke Road”); WBC’s completion of repairs to the southern bridge on the cyclepath; overgrown vegetation; traffic issues outside Hilliers Garden Centre; and the Fountain on The Loosey.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 August and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: public forum; matters arising; councillor co-options; planning matters (in particular the 5 July EAPC meeting about Awberry Farm); repairs and maintenance; highways; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes 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 Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 August and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: reported from the Clerk and the ward member; planning matters; financial matters; the fête, some of the profit from which will be donated to Theale Green School; the North Street Playing Fields; and autumn planting.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 1 August and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: matters arising; planning applications; a report from the ward member; the Clerk’s report; signage; dog bins; the Village Hall; 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 for 2021 and here for 2022. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 13 July and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click hereSee this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 12 July and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 July and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 18 May 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 and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 1 June and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• Burghfield 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 31 August 2023

This week we cover produce, a triathlon, walking, Burghfest, a Police open day and community coffee – plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

This week’s news

• This Sunday 3 September is the Aldermaston & Wasing Produce Show at the Old Mill in Aldermaston. Gates open at 1:30pm and as well as stalls and food, there will also be a live music, a children’s entertainer, ferret racing, vintage cars, a dog show, lots of classic fairground games. There will also be the Duck DerbyClick here to read the full brochure.

• This Sunday is also the Reading Triathlon and to facilitate the event, some roads will be closed between 6am and 3pm including Berrys Lane, Kirtons Farm Road, Kybes Lane (between Pingewood Road South and Kirtons Farm Road). Might be a good idea to check your route if your travelling in the the area between those times. Good luck to anyone taking part!

• The Trussell Trust’s Step Up September Challenge is an inspiration to walk 30 minutes each day of the month to raise funds to help build a future where nobody needs to use a food bank. If you would like to join our Penny Post Team, please search for ‘Penny’ when it asks you to find a team (thanks to Leo Sumner for setting this up). Or if you prefer to sponsor Penny, please do so here.

• The much anticipated Burghfest 2023 on Friday 22 & Saturday 23 September and the Burghfield Santas are looking for volunteers who can help including bar staff, helping to set-up and take-down, man the ticket desk, co-ordinators and ambassadors. Click here to easily sign up for a shift, at a time convenient to you. Tickets for Burghfest 2023 are available here.

Thames Valley Police’s Open Day at their Sulhamstead training centre is this Saturday 2 September for the opportunity to find out what it takes to police one of the biggest non-metropolitan policing areas in the country. For more details click here.

• Do you have plans for crime prevention projects in your community? Applications for the latest round of Thames Valley Police’s Community Fund are now open, with £200,000 of grant funding available for community group projects to help prevent crime across Thames Valley. Application deadline is 12pm on Monday 11 September.

• Burghfield Parish Council are calling for inside and outside stall holders for this Christmas’s Burghfield on Ice. If you or someone you know would be interested, please register your interest with enquires@burghfieldparishcouncil.go.uk.

Sunday 10 September sees a couple of Heritage Open Days in Aldermaston with the opening of St Mary’s Church and an Exhibition in the Hinds Head Pub. See more details here.

• Quick reminder to have your say here on the future of the Burghfield Parish Newsletter. As well as asking about format and content, the parish council is particularly looking into ways to make the newsletter more sustainable and cost-effective and possibly looking to make it a digital publication.

Theale Parish Council‘s free community coffee mornings will continue every Wednesday during the school holidays. Everyone is welcome including children and well behaved dogs.

West Berkshire Foodbank is struggling to cope with current demand and their food stocks are low. With the summer holidays now here, the demand for food parcels for children at home is on the rise. There are three ways to donate:
– drop food at collection points (eg supermarkets) or at the Foodbank warehouse at 80 Greenham Business Park RG19 6HW. which is open weekday mornings until 1pm.
– do an online shop to be delivered directly to Foodbank at the address above.  The contact number is 07836 500610.
– or make a cash donation here.

• West Berkshire Council is asking local residents to complete its West Berkshire Bus Survey 2023. If you’d like to share your views and suggestions for improvements, complete the survey by 10 September 2023. For more information about the survey and how it will be used, please click here.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814. If you would like to help your community please consider joining BMVB’s team of volunteer drivers. For more details please ring the same numner of email bureauvolunteer@gmail.com

• Quick reminder about Citizens Advice West Berkshire and the Public Protection Partnership’s advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

• The Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau is looking for more volunteer drivers. Click here for more information.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

• The latest edition of the Englefield Parish Magazine is available to read here.

• Ditto here with the latest Padworth Village Newsletter.

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

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

Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield toy library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

• Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• 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.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.

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 2 Sept Thames Valley Police Open Day, Sulhamstead Training Centre.

Sun 3 Sept Aldermaston & Wasing Produce Show, the Old Mill, Aldermaston.

Sun 3 Sept Duck Derby, the Old Mill, Aldermaston.

Sat 16 Sept Exhibition Dart Charity Night, Burghfield CSA, James Lane, Burfield.

Fri 22 Sept Burghfest, Burghfield Common.

Fri 22 Sept Macmillan Coffee Morning, Burghfield Village Hall.

Sat 23 Sept Burghfest, Burghfield Common.

Sat 30 Sept Guide Dog Fun Day Event, Burghfield Common.

Sat 30 Sept Macmillan Coffee Morning, Burghfield Common Methodist Church Hall.

• Regular events

Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

 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, between April and October. There are three walk lengths to chose from as mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

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 was on 8 August and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: the skateboard project; a discussion about the implications of a property being in a conservation area; planning matters (including ‘disappointment with the apparent lack of progress by WBC on the change of use at Corbyn, Soke Road”); WBC’s completion of repairs to the southern bridge on the cyclepath; overgrown vegetation; traffic issues outside Hilliers Garden Centre; and the Fountain on The Loosey.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 7 August and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: reported from the Clerk and the ward member; planning matters; financial matters; the fête, some of the profit from which will be donated to Theale Green School; the North Street Playing Fields; and autumn planting.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 13 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: Friends of Mortimer Library; the Clerk’s report; committee and working group reports; the NDP; the Mortimer to Burghfield Cycleway and Footpath; CCTV; repairs and maintenance; Mortimer Bistro Ltd; Garth Hall; the station car park; and financial matters.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, 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 Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 12 July and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 4 July 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. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 July and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 July and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes 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 for which minutes are available was on 18 May 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 and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 1 June and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• Burghfield 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 24 August 2023

This week we cover a demential day, closures, open days,  ice, coffee and a food bank – plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

Scroll down below “This weeks news” for the details of Burghfield’s Beerfest in September.

This week’s news

• This Saturday 26 August the Gravelley Bridge Shooting Association at Gravelley Bridge Farm will be holding a fundraiser Dementia Charity Day to raise money. Entry and parking is free and there will be a bouncy castle, a raffle, axe and knife throwing and you can also have a go at clay pigeon shooting and air riffle shooting. Click here for information.

• With the Reading Festival on this weekend expect heavy traffic around the local area and make sure to plan any journeys ahead of time. The busiest days are expected to be Friday and also Bank Holiday Monday.

• There will be a road closure on Theale Road from Tuesday 29 to Thursday 31 August from its junction with Folly Lane to Sulhamstead Road for Thames Water to install a new service connection. Residential access will be maintained throughout, and the diversion will be signed. Click here for more information.

• There is still time to enter a class (by Wednesday 30 August) in this year’s Aldermaston and Wasing Annual Produce Show on Sunday 3 September. This will be the event’s 80th year and is suitable for all ages. You can also pre-buy individual tickets for the Duck Derby online here.

Thames Valley Police’s Open Day at their Sulhamstead training centre on Saturday 2 September is an opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at what it takes to police one of the biggest non-metropolitan policing areas in the country. For more details click here.

• Do you have plans for crime prevention projects in your community? Applications for the latest round of Thames Valley Police’s Community Fund are now open, with £200,000 of grant funding available for community group projects to help prevent crime across Thames Valley. Application deadline is 12pm on Monday 11 September.

• Burghfield Parish Council are calling for inside and outside stall holders for this Christmas’s Burghfield on Ice. If you or someone you know would be interested, get in contact to register your interest at enquires@burghfieldparishcouncil.go.uk.

Sunday 10 September sees a couple of Heritage Open Days in Aldermaston with the opening of St Mary’s Church and an Exhibition in the Hinds Head Pub. See more details here.

• Tickets for Burghfest 2023 on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 September are available here. Enjoy over 40 of the best local real ales, craft lagers and wine, as well as a fairground, children’s entertainment and live music from local bands.

• Quick reminder to have your say here on the future of the Burghfield Parish Newsletter. As well as asking about format and content, the parish council is particularly looking into ways to make the newsletter more sustainable and cost-effective and possibly looking to make it a digital publication.

Theale Parish Council‘s free community coffee mornings will continue every Wednesday during the school holidays. Everyone is welcome including children and well behaved dogs.

West Berkshire Foodbank is struggling to cope with current demand and their food stocks are low. With the summer holidays now here, the demand for food parcels for children at home is on the rise. There are three ways to donate:
– drop food at collection points (eg supermarkets) or at the Foodbank warehouse at 80 Greenham Business Park RG19 6HW. which is open weekday mornings until 1pm.
– do an online shop to be delivered directly to Foodbank at the address above.  The contact number is 07836 500610.
– or make a cash donation here.

• Our Summer Holiday Guide includes lots to do with your kids this summer including West Berks Summer HAF (Holiday Activities & Food) Programme at various locations with free spaces for children and young people eligible for free school meals.

• West Berkshire Council is asking local residents to complete its West Berkshire Bus Survey 2023. If you’d like to share your views and suggestions for improvements, complete the survey by 10 September 2023. For more information about the survey and how it will be used, please click here.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814. If you would like to help your community please consider joining BMVB’s team of volunteer drivers. For more details please ring the same numner of email bureauvolunteer@gmail.com

• Quick reminder about Citizens Advice West Berkshire and the Public Protection Partnership’s advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

• The Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau is looking for more volunteer drivers. Click here for more information.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

• The latest edition of the Englefield Parish Magazine is available to read here.

• Ditto here with the latest Padworth Village Newsletter.

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

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

Burghfield’s beer

RG7 sees the return of the Burghfest Beer & Music festival on 22 and 23 September 2023 showcasing local cask ale and craft beer, ciders, gins, food vendors and bands in a family-friendly environment.

“Throughout the summer we’ve been testing new beers and food vendors so we can showcase the best the local area has to offer,” one of the organisers told Penny Post. “This year we’ll have the widest variety of beers ever, with around forty casks ales, ten craft keg lines, local ciders and a gin and prosecco bar.

“We get well over two thousand people of all ages each day and there will be plenty to keep families entertained with the music stage and fairground. From noon until 2pm on Saturday we’ve some of the brewers coming down for a chat – so if you want to find out more about what you’re drinking, don’t miss that.”

For more information, see this separate post.

Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield toy library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

• Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• 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.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.

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 Aug Dementia Charity Day, Gravelley Bridge Farm, Grazeley.

Sat 2 Sept Thames Valley Police Open Day, Sulhamstead Training Centre.

Sun 3 Sept Aldermaston & Wasing Produce Show, the Old Mill, Aldermaston.

Sun 3 Sept Duck Derby, the Old Mill, Aldermaston.

Fri 22 Sept Burghfest, Burghfield Common.

Fri 22 Sept Macmillan Coffee Morning, Burghfield Village Hall.

Sat 23 Sept Burghfest, Burghfield Common.

Sat 30 Sept Guide Dog Fun Day Event, Burghfield Common.

Sat 30 Sept Macmillan Coffee Morning, Burghfield Common Methodist Church Hall.

• Regular events

Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

 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, between April and October. There are three walk lengths to chose from as mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

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 was on 8 August July and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: the skateboard project; a discussion about the implications of a property being in a conservation area; planning matters (including ‘disappointment with the apparent lack of progress by WBC on the change of use at Corbyn, Soke Road”); WBC’s completion of repairs to the southern bridge on the cyclepath; overgrown vegetation; traffic issues outside Hilliers Garden Centre; and the Fountain on The Loosey.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 13 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: Friends of Mortimer Library; the Clerk’s report; committee and working group reports; the NDP; the Mortimer to Burghfield Cycleway and Footpath; CCTV; repairs and maintenance; Mortimer Bistro Ltd; Garth Hall; the station car park; and financial matters.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, 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 Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 12 July and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: Emery Down Wood; planning matters; grass cutting; footpaths and highways; street lighting; financial matters; and a report from the ward member.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 4 July 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. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 July and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 July and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes 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 for which minutes are available was on 18 May 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 and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 1 June and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 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 and minutes, please click here.

• Burghfield 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 17 August 2023

This week we cover an open day, a road closure, food banks, bus services, ice, costs and a produce show – plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

Scroll down below “This weeks news” for some questions about Burghfield’s stalled café project, an invitation to tender and the latest on Windmill Court in Mortimer.

This week’s news

• There will be a road closure on Theale Road from Tuesday 29 to Thursday 31 August from its junction with Folly Lane to Sulhamstead Road for Thames Water to install a new service connection. Residential access will be maintained throughout, and the diversion will be signed. Click here for more information.

• Stratfield Mortimer PC appears to have accepted that, after a further report from its appointed firm (which supported earlier comments from a concerned and informed member of the public), the cost of the footpath is likely to be more than predicted. More information will be available after the PC meeting on 17 August, the agenda and papers for which you can see here.

Thames Valley Police’s Open Day at their Sulhamstead training centre on Saturday 2 September is an opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at what it takes to police one of the biggest non-metropolitan policing areas in the country. For more details click here.

• There is still time to enter a class (by Wednesday 30 August) in this year’s Aldermaston and Wasing Annual Produce Show on Sunday 3 September. This will be the event’s 80th year and is suitable for all ages. You can also pre-buy individual tickets for the Duck Derby online here.

• Burghfield Parish Council are calling for inside and outside stall holders for this Christmas’s Burghfield on Ice. If you or someone you know would be interested, get in contact to register your interest at enquires@burghfieldparishcouncil.go.uk.

Sunday 10 September sees a couple of Heritage Open Days in Aldermaston with the opening of St Mary’s Church and an Exhibition in the Hinds Head Pub. See more details here.

• Tickets for Burghfest 2023 on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 September are available  here. Enjoy over 40 of the best local real ales, craft lagers and wine, as well as a fairground, children’s entertainment and live music from local bands.

• Quick reminder to have your say here on the future of the Burghfield Parish Newsletter. As well as asking about format and content, the parish council is particularly looking into ways to make the newsletter more sustainable and cost-effective and possibly looking to make it a digital publication.

Theale Parish Council‘s free community coffee mornings will continue every Wednesday during the school holidays. Everyone is welcome including children and well behaved dogs.

West Berkshire Foodbank is struggling to cope with current demand and their food stocks are low. With the summer holidays now here, the demand for food parcels for children at home is on the rise. There are three ways to donate:
– drop food at collection points (eg supermarkets) or at the Foodbank warehouse at 80 Greenham Business Park RG19 6HW. which is open weekday mornings until 1pm.
– do an online shop to be delivered directly to Foodbank at the address above.  The contact number is 07836 500610.
– or make a cash donation here.

• Our Summer Holiday Guide includes lots to do with your kids this summer including West Berks Summer HAF (Holiday Activities & Food) Programme at various locations with free spaces for children and young people eligible for free school meals.

• West Berkshire Council is asking local residents to complete its West Berkshire Bus Survey 2023. If you’d like to share your views and suggestions for improvements, complete the survey by 10 September 2023. For more information about the survey and how it will be used, please click here.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814. If you would like to help your community please consider joining BMVB’s team of volunteer drivers. For more details please ring the same numner of email bureauvolunteer@gmail.com

• Quick reminder about Citizens Advice West Berkshire and the Public Protection Partnership’s advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

• The Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau is looking for more volunteer drivers. Click here for more information.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

• The latest edition of the Englefield Parish Magazine is available to read here.

• Ditto here with the latest Padworth Village Newsletter.

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

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

Burghfield’s café

In this column on 13 and 20 July 2023 (click here to see the archive section), we reported that Burghfield Parish Council’s plans for a temporary café on the recreation Grounds had been abandoned. BPC cited “prolonged delays, and the vast number of conditions applied by the planning department at West Berkshire Council” as the main reason for this.

The approval for the project had been given exactly a year before, on 13 July 2022, at a meeting of the Eastern Area Planning Committee (see “Not quite the last word” in the 14 July 2022 section of the 2022 archive post). There was much discussion about the cladding that was to be used and, although this word wasn’t used in the decision notice, BPC can have been under no illusions that something of this kind would be required. Condition 4 specified that work should not begin “until a schedule of the materials to be used in the construction of the external surfaces of the development hereby permitted, has been submitted to and approved in writing” by WBC. 

The BPC statement talks of the “vast number of conditions” imposed by WBC. However, there were only 14, many of them very standard. Applications often have far more. These were all known when this was issued on 19 August 2022. The planning authority cannot subsequently add to these.

I’m not quite sure in what order the key parts of the project – costing it, applying for approval, understanding the conditions that were imposed, re-examining the costs in the light of this and of inflation and starting to spend money – actually happened. Even in times of unforgiving inflation, for a scheme to go from being very viable to completely unviable in a year suggests that the first stage hadn’t been done properly (the original budget was £50,000). The cladding would certainly have added to the costs but not to an extent that would have surprised anyone who’d followed the EAPC meeting and read the decision notice. There’s also the question of what has so far been bought, whether it can be used or returned and what the net cost of this will be to the PC.

The proposal seemed to me to be imaginative, flexible and pragmatic and would have provided the community with an amenity that it currently largely lacks. Hopefully a means can be found to rekindle the project in the future. For now, some questions remain. I asked Burghfield PC if they had any comments on these points a month ago and have been chasing for a reply since then. If or when I receive anything, I’ll let you know.

Burghfield’s tender

Still with Burghfield Parish Council (BPC), the Council has said that it  intends to upgrade its existing skateboard park in Hollybush Lane to a concrete-based facility from its present metal-based model. The current budget assumption is about £250,000. External funding of £140,000, as of May 2023, has been secured with the remainder to be sought. A working group has already been established and a local consultation conducted.

BPC is inviting interested companies to tender for the construction work. The tendering companies will be expected to meet and discuss any proposals with the intended users. Tenders must have been received by midnight on Sunday 17 September 2023. The intention is that the possibility of work will start in late 2023.

For more information, please see this separate post on BPC’s website.

Windmill Court

We’ve covered this story several times since in March 2022 Sovereign Housing announced that it would be re-developing the facility, a decision which caught many of the residents and Stratfield Mortimer PC completely by surprise. Matters have improved since this PR gaffe and a more equitable solution seems to have been agreed. The Summer 2023 edition of the Stratfield Mortimer PC Newsletter has this to say:

“Several parish councillors have carried on talking with Sovereign Housing since the petition last autumn. It is very pleasing to be able to say that Sovereign has responded positively and amended their plans significantly (and then amended them again following further conversations).

“The new plan includes the following: provides 24 new affordable homes – 13 for social rent and 11 for shared ownership (the original proposals were for a mixture of market and affordable properties); retains Stafford House (previously threatened with demolition); proposes six new one-bedroomed maisonettes suitable for older residents; and promises a lettings policy for those maisonettes that gives priority to returning residents, then locals.

“At the time of writing, the plans had not been submitted to West Berkshire Council for planning approval, and letting details will need to be agreed with the West Berkshire Council Housing Enabling Team. Sovereign Housing has, however, stated it will be proposing a local lettings plan for the one-bed maisonettes to West Berkshire Council as follows that prioritises (i) returning Windmill Residents; (ii) older persons from Mortimer or with a connection to Mortimer; (iii) general-needs housing to anyone on the housing register in West Berkshire.

“Sovereign goes on to say that “with regards to the other rented properties on site only, we are willing to enter into a Local Lettings agreement to give first priority to local people with a connection to Mortimer, with the second and final cascade – General Needs Housing – to anyone on the register in West Berkshire.”

“We would image that there would be sufficient demand to let all of the homes during the first and second cascade. These plans mean that two of the covenants which it was thought would need to be removed (Stafford House and the provision of all affordable housing) can remain as the new plans do not contravene them. The remaining covenant related to extra care sheltered housing, but the needs survey undertaken by Sovereign last year did not demonstrate any local demand for that type of housing (so Sovereign will still be asking West Berkshire Council for that covenant to be removed).

“The most recent information available about Windmill Court residents is that eight remain in situ. Four of these have been found new properties and will move after renovations etc. Suitable properties are still being sought for the other four. Plenty of time is being given to finding them the right homes with no deadlines of when they have to leave.”

Hopefully, matters will move forward more quickly than has a similar project involving Sovereign in Hungerford. The Chestnut Walk care home was closed in 2016 and the plan was to re-develop this with new social-rent homes. There was a long pause while the Town Council pushed back on the highly unambitious sustainable features in the original plan. That has now been resolved and work was scheduled to start in the autumn of this year. Time will tell if this happens. Mortimer’s residents will hope that a bit more pace is shown at Windmill Court.

Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield toy library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

• Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• 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.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.

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 Aug Dementia Charity Day, Gravelley Bridge Farm, Grazeley.

Sat 2 Sept Thames Valley Police Open Day, Sulhamstead Training Centre.

Sun 3 Sept Aldermaston & Wasing Produce Show, the Old Mill, Aldermaston.

Sun 3 Sept Duck Derby, the Old Mill, Aldermaston.

Fri 22 Sept Burghfest, Burghfield Common.

Fri 22 Sept Macmillan Coffee Morning, Burghfield Village Hall.

Sat 23 Sept Burghfest, Burghfield Common.

Sat 30 Sept Guide Dog Fun Day Event, Burghfield Common.

Sat 30 Sept Macmillan Coffee Morning, Burghfield Common Methodist Church Hall.

• Regular events

Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

 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, between April and October. There are three walk lengths to chose from as mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

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 was on 8 August July and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: the skateboard project; a discussion about the implications of a property being in a conservation area; planning matters (including ‘disappointment with the apparent lack of progress by WBC on the change of use at Corbyn, Soke Road”); WBC’s completion of repairs to the southern bridge on the cyclepath; overgrown vegetation; traffic issues outside Hilliers Garden Centre; and the Fountain on The Loosey.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 13 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: Friends of Mortimer Library; the Clerk’s report; committee and working group reports; the NDP; the Mortimer to Burghfield Cycleway and Footpath; CCTV; repairs and maintenance; Mortimer Bistro Ltd; Garth Hall; the station car park; and financial matters.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, 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 Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 4 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: signage at Cock Lane; planning matters; a report from the ward member; highways; repairs and maintenance; Sovereign Housing; the Clerk’s report; 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 for 2021 and here for 2022. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; the Village Hall; planning matters; speeding; and updates from councillors and the Clerk.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: footpath issues; Victory Hall; planning matters; highways; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes 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 Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 14 June and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 18 May 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 and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 1 June and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 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 and minutes, please click here.

• Burghfield 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 10 August 2023

This week we cover muffins, Burghfest, ice, fundraising and an offer for artisans – plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

Scroll down below “This weeks news” for news of a planning application in Burghfield that has, despite the DEPZ, succeeded on appeal.

This week’s news

• This week is ‘Muffin Mayhem Week‘ down at Cafe B Burghfield Common’s Community Cafe at Burghfield Methodist Church Hall. Enjoy any tea and muffin for £2.75 or a regular cappuccino, latte or hot chocolate, plus a muffin for £3.23.  That’s on all this week.

• The local Burghfield Santas have been nominated for an award from Pride of Reading 2023 in their Fundraiser of the Year category. The Santas have been recognised for their ongoing work supporting the Air Ambulance.  The short list will be announced in September. Read here for more details.

• Christmas may seem miles off, but plans for Burghfield on Ice are already underway. Burghfield Parish Council are calling for stall holders, both inside and outside stalls are available. If you or someone you know would be interested, get in contact to register your interest at enquires@burghfieldparishcouncil.go.uk.

• Tickets for Burghfest 2023 are now available. This year’s event will take place on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 September. This is a family-friendly event and all are welcome, although all over-18s will need their own ticket, which are £10 each. Enjoy over 40 of the best local real ales, craft lagers and wine, as well as a fairground, children’s entertainment and live music from local bands. Click here to get your tickets.

•  West Berkshire Council has increased the number of appointments at its Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) across the district in order to provide more flexibility and capacity during the most popular time slots for residents. Additionally, the Newtown Road HWRC has extended its operating hours on Thursdays to close at 8pm until September. Click here for more information.

Newbury Show on 16 and 17 September is offering a special price of £300 (normally £500) on a 3m x 3m stall for local artists, artisans and craftspeople based within 15 miles of the showground. For how to apply please click here.

• The free school uniform TUXchange shop in Newbury posts its opening times each week on Facebook. You don’t have to swap – you can take items for free or make a small donation.

• The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley is urging residents to complete its ongoing local crime survey. The survey is an opportunity for Berkshire residents to share their experiences and have a say in how local policing services are shaped. Have your say here.

• This week, Housing Secretary Michael Gove is urging social housing tenants to complain about substandard housing. Residents are being encouraged to make their voices heard by complaining to their landlord in the first instance and then escalating to the Housing Ombudsman if they are unhappy with the landlord’s final response. For more information click here.

• This year’s Aldermaston and Wasing Annual Produce Show will be taking place on Sunday 3 September, at the grounds of Old Mill in Aldermaston. This will be the event’s 80th year and is suitable for all ages. There’s will be various competitions, including for vegetables, flowers, handmade crafts and homecrafts, photography, flowerpots and much more. Click here to see the full list of competitions and rules. To enter you must return the application form by Wednesday 30 August.

• The Produce Show will also include the Duck Derby where each race consists of 100 uniquely numbered ducks and the ticket holder of the winning ducks will win £20. You can buy individual tickets at the show on Sunday 3 September, or you can buy a book of 5 or a book of 10 tickets (or multiples of) online here.

• Quick reminder to have your say here on the future of the Burghfield Parish Newsletter. As well as asking about format and content, the parish council is particularly looking into ways to make the newsletter more sustainable and cost-effective and possibly looking to make it a digital publication.

• West Berkshire Council has created a new welcome webpage for anyone new to West Berkshire so can know where and how to access the council’s services.

• Are you a local community or voluntary sports or physical activity club that would like to meet with other groups across West Berkshire. Then register here for the Sports Forum, run by the West Berkshire Volunteer Centre.

Theale Parish Council‘s free community coffee mornings will continue every Wednesday during the school holidays. Everyone is welcome including children and well behaved dogs.

West Berkshire Foodbank is struggling to cope with current demand and their food stocks are low. With the summer holidays now here, the demand for food parcels for children at home is on the rise. There are three ways to donate:
– drop food at collection points (eg supermarkets) or at the Foodbank warehouse at 80 Greenham Business Park RG19 6HW. which is open weekday mornings until 1pm.
– do an online shop to be delivered directly to Foodbank at the address above.  The contact number is 07836 500610.
– or make a cash donation here.

• Our Summer Holiday Guide includes lots to do with your kids this summer including West Berks Summer HAF (Holiday Activities & Food) Programme at various locations with free spaces for children and young people eligible for free school meals.

• West Berkshire Council is asking local residents to complete its West Berkshire Bus Survey 2023. If you’d like to share your views and suggestions for improvements, complete the survey by 10 September 2023. For more information about the survey and how it will be used, please click here.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814. If you would like to help your community please consider joining BMVB’s team of volunteer drivers. For more details please ring the same numner of email bureauvolunteer@gmail.com

Reading Buses has announced that it is extending its £2 single fares until Tuesday 31 October. So whether you’re going to Newbury, Bracknell, Reading, or even as far as Slough or London or  anywhere else on its network, you’ll pay no more than £2 for a single journey. Click here for further details.

• Quick reminder about Citizens Advice West Berkshire and the Public Protection Partnership’s advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

• The Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau is looking for more volunteer drivers. Click here for more information.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

• The latest edition of the Englefield Parish Magazine is available to read here.

• Ditto here with the latest Padworth Village Newsletter.

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

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

A successful appeal

The appeal by TA Fisher against the earlier refusal of planning permission for 32 dwellings behind The Hollies nursing home has succeeded. The original application 22/00244/FULEXT was refused by WBC on 1 June 2022 on three grounds: the lack of affordable housing; its presence within the the emergency DEPZ zone relating to the Burghfield AWE; and the loss of trees.

The applicant appealed and, on 8 August, it was announced that this had been successful. The inspector noted that it “would provide 13 affordable homes with two or three bedrooms” with a mix oft ensures, which seems to be what WBC wanted. He regarded the loss of four oak trees as regrettable but mitigated by other factors and that the development would only result in “limited, l localised harm to the character and appearance of the area.”.

As for the DEPZ, this occupied the largest number of his 62 paragraphs. He offsets the risks posed by a nuclear accident against other benefits including economic, housing and societal ones. The DEPZ seems, like the AONB, to exist as a default reason to refuse permission for anything but can be punched through if the applicant is prepared to tough it out. If it were to be enforced as a ban on all new applications, the logical conclusion would be to insist that having anyone living in it at all was simply too dangerous. Everyone in Aldermaston, Burghfield and all the other places in the zones should be permanently evacuated and the towns sealed off, as happened to Imber on Salisbury Plain. This doesn’t seem likely. Anywhere, where would they be moved to? A new 2,500-home development to the north east of Thatcham, perhaps?

The decision came with a fairly sturdy list of 26 conditions: 26 more things for WBC’s planning department to ensure are enforced.

Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield toy library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

• Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• 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.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.

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 3 Sept Aldermaston & Wasing Produce Show, the Old Mill, Aldermaston.

Sun 3 Sept Duck Derby, the Old Mill, Aldermaston.

Fri 22 Sept Burghfest, Burghfield Common.

Fri 22 Sept Macmillan Coffee Morning, Burghfield Village Hall.

Sat 23 Sept Burghfest, Burghfield Common.

Sat 30 Sept Guide Dog Fun Day Event, Burghfield Common.

Sat 30 Sept Macmillan Coffee Morning, Burghfield Common Methodist Church Hall.

• Regular events

Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

 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, between April and October. There are three walk lengths to chose from as mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

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 was on 8 August July and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: the skateboard project; a discussion about the implications of a property being in a conservation area; planning matters (including ‘disappointment with the apparent lack of progress by WBC on the change of use at Corbyn, Soke Road”); WBC’s completion of repairs to the southern bridge on the cyclepath; overgrown vegetation; traffic issues outside Hilliers Garden Centre; and the Fountain on The Loosey.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 13 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: Friends of Mortimer Library; the Clerk’s report; committee and working group reports; the NDP; the Mortimer to Burghfield Cycleway and Footpath; CCTV; repairs and maintenance; Mortimer Bistro Ltd; Garth Hall; the station car park; and financial matters.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, 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 Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 4 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: signage at Cock Lane; planning matters; a report from the ward member; highways; repairs and maintenance; Sovereign Housing; the Clerk’s report; 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 for 2021 and here for 2022. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; the Village Hall; planning matters; speeding; and updates from councillors and the Clerk.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: footpath issues; Victory Hall; planning matters; highways; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes 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 Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 14 June and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 18 May 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 and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 1 June and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 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 and minutes, please click here.

• Burghfield 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 3 August 2023

This week we cover Burghfest, produce, ducks, reading skills, volunteers, newsletters and an artisan offer – plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

This week’s news

• Tickets for Burghfest 2023 are now available. This year’s event will take place on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 September. This is a family-friendly event and all are welcome, although all over-18s will need their own ticket, which are £10 each. Enjoy over 40 of the best local real ales, craft lagers and wine, as well as a fairground, children’s entertainment and live music from local bands. Click here to get your tickets.

• This year’s Aldermaston and Wasing Annual Produce Show will be taking place on Sunday 3 September, at the grounds of Old Mill in Aldermaston. This will be the event’s 80th year and is suitable for all ages. There’s will be various competitions, including for vegetables, flowers, handmade crafts and homecrafts, photography, flowerpots and much more. Click here to see the full list of competitions and rules. To enter you must return the application form by Wednesday 30 August.

• The Produce Show will also include the Duck Derby where each race consists of 100 uniquely numbered ducks and the ticket holder of the winning ducks will win £20. You can buy individual tickets at the Show on Sun 3rd Sept 2023, or you can buy a book of 5 or a book of 10 tickets (or multiples of) online here.

• Quick reminder to have your say here on the future of the Burghfield Parish Newsletter. As well as asking about format and content, the parish council is particularly looking into ways to make the newsletter more sustainable and cost-effective and possibly looking to make it a digital publication.

• West Berkshire Council has created a new welcome webpage for anyone new to West Berkshire so can know where and how to access the council’s services.

• Are you a local community or voluntary sports or physical activity club that would like to meet with other groups across West Berkshire. Then register here for the Sports Forum, run by the West Berkshire Volunteer Centre.

Theale Parish Council‘s free community coffee mornings will continue every Wednesday during the school holidays. Everyone is welcome including children and well behaved dogs.

West Berkshire Foodbank is struggling to cope with current demand and their food stocks are low. With the summer holidays now here, the demand for food parcels for children at home is on the rise. There are three ways to donate:
– drop food at collection points (eg supermarkets) or at the Foodbank warehouse at 80 Greenham Business Park RG19 6HW. which is open weekday mornings until 1pm.
– do an online shop to be delivered directly to Foodbank at the address above.  The contact number is 07836 500610.
– or make a cash donation here.

Read Easy West Berkshire harnesses the initiative, energy, skills and experience of volunteers, and equips them to provide confidential one-to-one reading coaching for adults who want to improve their reading. Please see more details here if you could volunteer or need help.

Click here for the 2022-23 annual report from the excellent Citizens Advice West Berkshire which has recently been published.

• Our Summer Holiday Guide includes lots to do with your kids this summer including West Berks Summer HAF (Holiday Activities & Food) Programme at various locations with free spaces for children and young people eligible for free school meals.

• West Berkshire Council is asking local residents to complete its West Berkshire Bus Survey 2023. If you’d like to share your views and suggestions for improvements, complete the survey by 10 September 2023. For more information about the survey and how it will be used, please click here.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814. If you would like to help your community please consider joining BMVB’s team of volunteer drivers. For more details please ring the same numner of email bureauvolunteer@gmail.com

Reading Buses has announced that it is extending its £2 single fares until Tuesday 31 October. So whether you’re going to Newbury, Bracknell, Reading, or even as far as Slough or London or  anywhere else on its network, you’ll pay no more than £2 for a single journey. Click here for further details.

• Quick reminder about Citizens Advice West Berkshire and the Public Protection Partnership’s advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

• The Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau is looking for more volunteer drivers. Click here for more information.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

• The latest edition of the Englefield Parish Magazine is available to read here.

• Ditto here with the latest Padworth Village Newsletter.

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

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

An offer from the Show

After a three-year pause – two due to Covid and the third to a change of management – the Newbury Show is back on 16 and 17 September. The organisers have recently announced a special offer for any local artists, artisans and craftspeople who want to take a stall. A 3m x 3m stand will cost only £300 for anyone within 15 miles of the Showground, rather than the usual £500. The Show is expected to attract 50,000 people over the weekend, so one way of looking at this is having about one third of the population of West Berkshire coming to see your wares.

For more information on this offer, and the Show generally, click here.

Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield toy library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

• Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• 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.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.

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 3 Sept Aldermaston & Wasing Produce Show, the Old Mill, Aldermaston.

Sun 3 Sept Duck Derby, the Old Mill, Aldermaston.

Fri 22 Sept Burghfest, Burghfield Common. To Sat 23 Sept.

Fri 22 Sept Macmillan Coffee Morning, Burghfield Village Hall.

Sat 30 Sept Guide Dog Fun Day Event, Burghfield Common.

Sat 30 Sept Macmillan Coffee Morning, Burghfield Common Methodist Church Hall.

• Regular events

Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

 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, between April and October. There are three walk lengths to chose from as mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

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 Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 13 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: Friends of Mortimer Library; the Clerk’s report; committee and working group reports; the NDP; the Mortimer to Burghfield Cycleway and Footpath; CCTV; repairs and maintenance; Mortimer Bistro Ltd; Garth Hall; the station car park; and financial matters.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, 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 was on 11 July and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: the extended licence for the Wasing medicine weekend; tidying-up work needed on the a340; planning matters (including what seems to be an oversight by WBC’s Conservation Department); praise for WBC for dealing with an over-growth complaint; the tragic death of a Balfour Beatty contractor at AWE; and problems with a possible candidate for inclusion on the capital budget.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 4 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: signage at Cock Lane; planning matters; a report from the ward member; highways; repairs and maintenance; Sovereign Housing; the Clerk’s report; 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 for 2021 and here for 2022. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; the Village Hall; planning matters; speeding; and updates from councillors and the Clerk.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: footpath issues; Victory Hall; planning matters; highways; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes 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 Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 14 June and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 18 May 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 and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 1 June and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 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 and minutes, please click here.

• Burghfield 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 27 July 2023

This week we cover no café news, coffee in Theale, kids, buses, applications, volunteers and hedgehogs – plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

This week’s news

• Last week (see below) I wrote about the decision to end (or at least pause) the café project at Burghfield. I mentioned that I had some other questions about this and that I’d sent them to the Parish Council. Not yet having heard back, I can’t share any answers with you.

• Burghfield Parish Council is holding a consultation regarding the future of the Parish Newsletter and are inviting local residents to have their say. As well as asking about format and content, they are particularly looking into ways to make the newsletter more sustainable and cost-effective and possibly looking to move to make it a digital publication. Please have your say here.

Theale Parish Council‘s free community coffee mornings will continue every Wednesday during the school holidays. Everyone is welcome including children and well behaved dogs.

• For ladies concerned about the cost of HRT, a new Prescription Pre-payment Certificate (PPC) is now available, where you can make a much lower one-off payment. Visit gov.uk for details. One lady paid just £19.40 for the year (yes a year), and that covers her for every HRT prescription she now gets – a saving to her of around £76. This scheme only came out in April this year, so please spread the word.

Read Easy West Berkshire harnesses the initiative, energy, skills and experience of volunteers, and equips them to provide confidential one-to-one reading coaching for adults who want to improve their reading. Please see more details here if you could volunteer or need help.

Click here for the 2022-23 annual report from the excellent Citizens Advice West Berkshire which has recently been published.

• Our Summer Holiday Guide includes lots to do with your kids this summer including West Berks Summer HAF (Holiday Activities & Food) Programme at various locations with free spaces for children and young people eligible for free school meals.

• West Berkshire Council is asking local residents to complete its West Berkshire Bus Survey 2023. If you’d like to share your views and suggestions for improvements, complete the survey by 10 September 2023. For more information about the survey and how it will be used, please click here.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814. If you would like to help your community please consider joining BMVB’s team of volunteer drivers. For more details please ring the same numner of email bureauvolunteer@gmail.com

Reading Buses has announced that it is extending its £2 single fares until Tuesday 31 October. So whether you’re going to Newbury, Bracknell, Reading, or even as far as Slough or London or  anywhere else on its network, you’ll pay no more than £2 for a single journey. Click here for further details.

• Quick reminder about Citizens Advice West Berkshire and the Public Protection Partnership’s advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

• The Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau is looking for more volunteer drivers. Click here for more information.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

• The latest edition of the Englefield Parish Magazine is available to read here.

• Ditto here with the latest Padworth Village Newsletter.

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

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

Hedgehogs and swifts

Last week’s Full Council meeting at West Berkshire Council considered a petition to create “hedgehog highways”. These are gaps in fences on housing developments through which these important and much-loved mammals, which are unable to climb or fly, can use to travel in order to feed and to mate. In that respect, they’re not that different from us, then.

The petition did not succeed. However, I don’t think that this reflects as badly on WBC as this bald statement might imply. Indeed, the fact that this particular protection for this animals cannot now be provided by the Council, at least not through the planning system, may be good newest it dispels any illusions that regulations and laws can on their own create what we need, the more so if there’s any doubt as to whether they can be enforced. Britain’s swifts had a similar date with destiny in the Commons last week which met with a similar response. For the same reason, this may not be bad news for them, either.

You can read more on this in this separate post.

Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield toy library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

• Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• 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.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.

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 22 Sept Burghfest, Burghfield Common. To Sat 23 Sept.

Fri 22 Sept Macmillan Coffee Morning, Burghfield Village Hall.

Sat 30 Sept Guide Dog Fun Day Event, Burghfield Common.

Sat 30 Sept Macmillan Coffee Morning, Burghfield Common Methodist Church Hall.

• Regular events

Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

 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, between April and October. There are three walk lengths to chose from as mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

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 Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 13 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: Friends of Mortimer Library; the Clerk’s report; committee and working group reports; the NDP; the Mortimer to Burghfield Cycleway and Footpath; CCTV; repairs and maintenance; Mortimer Bistro Ltd; Garth Hall; the station car park; and financial matters.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, 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 was on 11 July and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: the extended licence for the Wasing medicine weekend; tidying-up work needed on the a340; planning matters (including what seems to be an oversight by WBC’s Conservation Department); praise for WBC for dealing with an over-growth complaint; the tragic death of a Balfour Beatty contractor at AWE; and problems with a possible candidate for inclusion on the capital budget.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 4 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: signage at Cock Lane; planning matters; a report from the ward member; highways; repairs and maintenance; Sovereign Housing; the Clerk’s report; 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 for 2021 and here for 2022. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; the Village Hall; planning matters; speeding; and updates from councillors and the Clerk.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: footpath issues; Victory Hall; planning matters; highways; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes 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 Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 14 June and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 18 May 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 and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 1 June and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 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 and minutes, please click here.

• Burghfield 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 20 July 2023

This week we cover the age of steam, a toy library, volunteering, planning applications and magazines – plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

Scroll down below “This weeks news” for a statement from Burghfield Parish Council about the cancellation of its café project.

This week’s news

• For any train lovers this week, the LMS Jubilee Class 4-6-0 no. 45596 Bahamas steam locomotive, will be passing through Theale this Saturday 22 July. Onlookers can expect to see the train at around 8:05am and then returning about 7.3opm. See more details here about the train’s route which includes Newbury and Hungerford.

• Want to get your little ones some new toys to keep them entertained over the summer? The Burghfield and Mortimer Toy Library’s next session is this Saturday 22 July at the Mortimer Methodist Church, from 9:30am to 11am. The library typically operates on the 4th Saturday of the mouth, however they take a break in August, so after this week the  next will be towards the end of September. They offer both annual subscription or monthly pay-as-you-go options. To keep up to date with details click here.

• Our Summer Holiday Guide includes lots to do with your kids this summer including West Berks Summer HAF (Holiday Activities & Food) Programme at various locations with free spaces for children and young people eligible for free school meals.

• West Berkshire Council is asking local residents to complete its West Berkshire Bus Survey 2023. If you’d like to share your views and suggestions for improvements, complete the survey by 10 September 2023. For more information about the survey and how it will be used, please click here.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814. If you would like to help your community please consider joining BMVB’s team of volunteer drivers. For more details please ring the same numner of email bureauvolunteer@gmail.com

Reading Buses has announced that it is extending its £2 single fares until Tuesday 31 October. So whether you’re going to Newbury, Bracknell, Reading, or even as far as Slough or London or  anywhere else on its network, you’ll pay no more than £2 for a single journey. Click here for further details.

• Quick reminder about Citizens Advice West Berkshire and the Public Protection Partnership’s advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

• The Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau is looking for more volunteer drivers. Click here for more information.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

• The latest edition of the Englefield Parish Magazine is available to read here.

• Ditto here with the latest Padworth Village Newsletter.

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

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

No coffee in Burghfield

Last week (see below) we referred to a statement by Burghfield Parish Council concerning the cancellation of its plans to build a café on the Recreation Ground. I covered this story in some detail since I was first made aware of the plans in April 2022. The idea was to create something temporary which could at the end of its life be sold on and moved, to be replaced (if successful) with something more permanent. The project seemed to me imaginative, innovative and do-able, the more so as Burghfield has oner one café, and that part-time: Hungerford, with roughly the same population, has about ten. I was therefore both surprised and disappointed to learn that it seemed to have hit the buffers. I hope that some solution can be found.

Following the FB message, BPC has issued a more detailed statement which will be being delivered to residents round about now. I’m happy to publish it here verbatim.

“Due to the prolonged delays, and the vast number of conditions applied by the planning department at West Berkshire Council, members of Burghfield Parish Council undertook an assessment of the feasibility of delivering a café on the Common Recreation Ground at their full council meeting on 6th July 2023.

“The provision of a Community Hub was first discussed by the parish council in 2017 following the threat of the closure of Burghfield library. A community hub committee was established, and architects engaged to assess the options available. Following confirmation, the library was to remain at its existing location, the hub committee reassessed the requirements. Revised designs and costings were obtained for the existing pavilion to be remodelled and extended to house a café. A business consultant was engaged to assess the viability, suggesting an external unit to reduce the initial financial outlay whilst presenting an opportunity to test the market.

“A full planning application was submitted in March 2022, which subsequently was called in and heard at WBC Planning committee in August 2022. The hearing resulted in the application being approved but with a number of conditions. Amongst the conditions imposed was for the building to be clad in a suitable material at an estimated cost of £10,000, an environmental report at £1,000 to determine whether there was any environmental impact on the grass, the cafe opening hours being restricted considerably and lastly, a restriction for the building to be “temporary” and in-situ for a maximum period of five years only.

“In trying to discharge the planning conditions imposed, further delays to the project were incurred which ultimately resulted in costs spiralling out of control. Building materials, labour and construction costs had increased by 400% in certain areas. This led to the parish council reassessing the feasibility of the project overall.

“It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that Burghfield Parish Council confirms the installation of a temporary café unit on the Common Recreation Ground is no longer viable. The parish council will reassess the requirements by consulting with parishioners to determine how they can deliver a more cost-effective solution that is fully supported by parishioners.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who have shown support for the project and hope that you will take the time to respond when we consult again later in the year. Thank you for your understanding.”

A few minot points strike me The decision notice (19 August 2022) which you can see here had 14 conditions, many of which are quite standard. This doesn’t seem “vast”. Condition 3 does indeed limit the use to “five years”: then again, the application was after all for a “temporary” café. Finally, the Eastern Area Planning Committee meeting that decided this was in July (13), not August.

There are also a few questions I have arising from this but it seems both prudent and polite to give BPC a chance to respond to these first.

Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield toy library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

• Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• 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.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.

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 Sept Burghfest, Burghfield Common.

Sat 30 Sept Guide Dog Fun Day Event, Burghfield Common.

• Regular events

Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

 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, between April and October. There are three walk lengths to chose from as mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

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 was on 11 July and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: the extended licence for the Wasing medicine weekend; tidying-up work needed on the a340; planning matters (including what seems to be an oversight by WBC’s Conservation Department); praise for WBC for dealing with an over-growth complaint; the tragic death of a Balfour Beatty contractor at AWE; and problems with a possible candidate for inclusion on the capital budget.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; the Village Hall; planning matters; speeding; and updates from councillors and the Clerk.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Basildon Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 14 June and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: vehicles using local paths and tracks; planning matters; financial matters; speeding; footpaths and highways; and plans for a monthly surgery by the ward member.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 8 June and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the minutes, 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 Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 6 June 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. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 5 June and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes 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 for which minutes are available was on 18 May 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 and minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 13 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. To see the minutes, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 3 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 and minutes, please click here.

• Burghfield 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 13 July 2023

This week we cover open gardens, volunteers, sports, food banks and re-cycling and food-bank necessities – plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

Scroll down below “This weeks news” for some bad news for Burghfield’s proposed café and some better news for a local community transport charity.

This week’s news

• Next Wednesday 19 July, Thrive will be holding an Open Gardens Event, at their Beech Hill Road location, from 2pm to 4pm. Explore the lovely gardens, learn more about what Thrive do and there will also be the opportunity to purchase plants and cakes. Thrive are an organisation who help those with disabilities or who required support for mental health support find comfort in gardening. To learn more about the work there do, click here.

• Our Summer Holiday Guide includes lots to do with your kids this summer including West Berks Summer HAF (Holiday Activities & Food) Programme at various locations with free spaces for children and young people eligible for free school meals.

• West Berkshire Council is asking local residents to complete its West Berkshire Bus Survey 2023. If you’d like to share your views and suggestions for improvements, complete the survey by 10 September 2023. For more information about the survey and how it will be used, please click here.

• St Mary’s Church are holding a Summer Craft Evening on Tuesday 18 July. The event is family-friendly and children are welcome to join in. Tickets are available on Eventbrite, and the £15 will cover the cost of craft materials, prosecco and nibbles. There will also be a prize raffle and all the funds raised will go towards church funds. Come along to have a go at making bird houses, jam jar vases, fabric bowls and more.

• If you need help getting to medical, dentist or optician appointments do contact Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau between 9.30am and 11.30am Monday to Friday on 01189 831814. If you would like to help your community please consider joining BMVB’s team of volunteer drivers. For more details please ring the same numner of email bureauvolunteer@gmail.com

Reading Buses has announced that it is extending its £2 single fares until Tuesday 31 October. So whether you’re going to Newbury, Bracknell, Reading, or even as far as Slough or London or  anywhere else on its network, you’ll pay no more than £2 for a single journey. Click here for further details.

• Quick reminder about Citizens Advice West Berkshire and the Public Protection Partnership’s advice about scams and how to protect yourself and what to do if you get caught. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers and you must seek help and warn others.

• The Burghfield and Mortimer Volunteer Bureau is looking for more volunteer drivers. Click here for more information.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

• The latest edition of the Englefield Parish Magazine is available to read here.

• Ditto here with the latest Padworth Village Newsletter.

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

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

Burghfield’s café 

In the 21 April 2022 edition of this column, and in the weeks and months that followed, I covered the proposals to build a temporary café on the Common. The application itself seemed quite straightforward: what was noe, and which took a bit of time to unpick, was the amount of opposition that the application attracted. Opinions were expressed, both in public and to me personally, in terms that could be described as intemperate. There was clearly something more at work here than a cup of coffee. What interested me, though, was not any personal disputes but trying to establish all the facts and offer balanced and informative summary of the issues and the background. This I think I managed to do. Certainly a very large number of people read the columns at that time and I received a number of favourable comments.

After a brief period of further uncertainty caused by the intervention of the Emergency Planning team at WBC (Burghfield is the the DEPZ zone), the application was passed. This seemed like a sound decision and I think the vast majority of local residents were delighted.

Now, however, it appears that the whole project has collapsed.

Following its meeting last week, Burghfield PC announced on its FB page that “it was decided, with regret, that the proposed café development on the recreation ground can no longer proceed. Spiralling costs due to the increased cost of living and the massive delays caused by West Berks planning department has made the project no longer viable.

“The Parish Council is very disappointed in having to make this decision and a fuller statement will be released in the coming weeks detailing the reasons behind this decision. We are also greatly saddened by this decision, but we have to do what is best for the community and their money.”

I’ll hope to have more on this next week.

Ready the buses

I’ve been writing about the debacle of Readibus’s relationship with West Berkshire Council for several years. I’ve never understood what the point of principle was, as WBC’s Green Party Leader David Marsh said at the most recent meeting of WBC’s Executive, that caused the previous administration to “die in the ditch for.”

A “gagging clause” was proposed by WBC in the discussions with Readibus. In a press release in April 2021 and in public statements made by prominent councillors, it was claimed that the Council only required notification of any publicity. The written clause to which the Council was requiring ReadiBus Trustees to consent, however, stated very clearly that Readibus “shall not make any press announcement except with prior written consent of the Council.”

The two statements are in stark contradiction. Having seen the contract I can only agree with Readibus’ interpretation. I remain baffled as to why the alternative view continued to be believed for so long by the previous administration. Indeed, it still is. At the Executive meeting, Councillor Boeck said that “my understanding is” that the “clause safeguards both parties.” It doesn’t. There is no reciprocal condition.

In our 9 December 2021 Newbury & area Weekly News column, we pointed out that such gagging clauses were contrary to best practice:

Third Sector has recently reported on a campaign dating back seven years to do away with these “gagging clauses.” It quotes the Chief Executive of Children England as saying that that “these contracts aim to shut us up and belittle the work we do”, adding that criticism (if merited) should be welcomed: in any case, few charities would go public on a grievance unless they’d first discussed resolving it in private. Chloe Hardy, director of policy and communications at the Sheila McKechnie Foundation adds that “if you want charities to deliver services you have to accept that you are commissioning independent organisations.” The Director of the think tank Rogare, Ian MacQuillin, agrees: “on a point of principle, charities ought to reject donations that compromise how they could discuss or frame the cause they serve.” The article’s author suggests that “the idea of donors using their gifts to buy reputational capital and silence potential criticism from charities seems deeply retrograde.” A high-profile example of this recently occurred when the Science Museum signed a gagging clause with Shell in return for funding. This was slightly different in that it specified certain things that the Museum couldn’t do or say but the net result is the same: as well as providing a service, the recipient is in effect acting an adjunct of the donor’s PR department.”

The irony is that, by insisting on this clause, the previous administration managed to inflict upon itself exactly the kind of repetitional damage which the gag had been designed to prevent. Readibus had worked harmoniously with WBC for decades. This statement in February 2023 is worth a look to see how matters had since declined.

We now move on. The new administration has said that it will remove these gagging clauses from these and other contracts. A statement from Readibus on 11 July said that “we commend the moves by West Berkshire Council to rectify the wrongs of recent years in its treatment of ReadiBus and the elderly and disabled West Berkshire residents for whom this service has been so valued for nearly 40 years. The decision by the Council to remove the requirement for ReadiBus to sign a ‘gagging clause’ in order to receive future approved grant funding from the council is a welcome first step.”

Community notices

• 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 and Burghfield toy library is run by volunteers providing toys to local families on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

• Theale Parish Council’s free community coffee morning, every Wednesday from 8.45am to 11.15am is at the Peter Gooch Room on Englefield Road. Everyone is welcome including young children and well behaved dogs. Click here for details.

• Theale Parish Council is often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events. Please check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• 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.

• The mini re-cycling centre at the end of Theale High Street has banks for plastic pots, tubs, trays cans, small electricals, cardboard and paper.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.

Local events and activities

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

• Dates for the diary

Tue 18 July Summer Craft Evening, St Marys Church.

Wed 19 July Thrive Open Gardens, Thrive, Beech Hill.

Sat 30 Sept Guide Dog Fun Day Event, Burghfield Common.

• Regular events

Burghfield WI (The Woman’s Institute) meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

 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, between April and October. There are three walk lengths to chose from as mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

All cyclists are welcome to join the On Your Bike Burghfield facebook group“which doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (September edition, p 17).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café 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 (September edition, p 11).

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 was on 11 July and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: the extended licence for the Wasing medicine weekend; tidying-up work needed on the a340; planning matters (including what seems to be an oversight by WBC’s Conservation Department); praise for WBC for dealing with an over-growth complaint; the tragic death of a Balfour Beatty contractor at AWE; and problems with a possible candidate for inclusion on the capital budget.
To see the dates of