Compton & Downlands Weekly News, Thursday 9 February 2023

Compton & Downland Weekly News header

Thursday 9 February 2023

This week we cover pampering, free tea, start-ups, karate and a council survey. We also look back on a slightly chaotic piece of road-closure administration – plus our round-up of local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

Compton Road in the Parish of East Ilsley is currently closed and will reopen on 10th February 2023.  The closure is from outside property known as Le Mans.This emergency closure is to enable Thames Water to repair a leak. Residential access will be maintained throughout.Please follow the diversion route set out on site.A plan of the closure can be found here. Blue-light access will not be maintained. All enquiries should be directed to Thames Water on 0800 316 9800. See also “No through road in East Ilsley” below.

• Dates for your diary at Compton Village Hall include Valentines Bingo  on Saturday 11 February at 7pm, Village hall AGM on Monday 20 Feb 7.30 and a Table-top sale on Saturday 11 March  from 9am to 12 noon at a cost of £10 per table.

Compton Parish Council is asking residents to complete a survey to help create a picture of the experience of rural communities. If you know someone that is unable to get online that may want to fill in a paper copy, please download the form here.

West Berkshire Council‘s Economic Development Team is sponsoring a business start-up course with the other Berkshire authorities to help residents who are looking to start their own business. The course is run by the Berkshire Growth Hub and is in a hybrid format of online and offline sessions. This would be a great chance for anyone looking to start a business full time or turn a hobby into an income stream. Further information and steps to sign up can be found here. The closing date for registration is the 14 February with the course starting on the 28 February.

The Blewbury Players are holding auditions for Shakespeare in Love will take place on 11-12 February for  a cast of up to 23 individuals, as actors, singers and musicians. People who would like to sing can audition to act as well as sing or just to sing. Please note that some of the roles originally written for men may be played by women. They also plan to have a small young company in the cast aged from Year 7 upwards. Please contact blewburyplayers@gmail.com or call Sheila on 07795675146 if you would like to know more or book an audition.

• All are welcome for free tea, coffee, cake and biscuits at The Wilkins Centre in Compton from 9.30 am to 11 am every Monday.

• Quick reminder there will be no trains between Reading and Westbury from 18 February to 2 March inclusive due to extensive planned engineering works at various locations. Buses will be replacing trains from stations including Kintbury, Hungerford, Newbury, Thatcham conveying customers to either Theale or (after 8pm each day) into Reading for onward rail connections. See more details at gwr.com/travel-information

• Who is striking and when? Find out about the strikes this month and how they will affect you with the UK Strike Action Calendar which lists all currently planned regional and country-wide strikes.

 Compton Parish Council Project Groundwater is seeking residents of the Pang Valley to complete their survey so they can find out the best way to support the community. Please complete the survey here.

West Berkshire Council has published the draft of its Council Strategy 2023-27 and want feedback from members of the community. The document sets out what the Council intends to prioritise and improve, as well as how it will deliver core services over the next four years. Click here to read the draft council strategy and click here to give your feedback via the survey. The deadline to have your say on our draft proposals by Sunday 26 February. You can read my thoughts about the document in this separate post.

  The Autumn Group incorporating the Hobbies Group meets weekly in the Wilkins Centre, Compton to provide entertainment and interest and  their schedule for January and February is here. For further information contact Patricia on 07786 856440, Joan on 07818 292 322, Valerie on 07711 398 818 or Sharon on 07733 258 819.

  The Downs School has begun planning for a Pamper Evening on the evening of Thursday 16 March… just in time for Mother’s Day. If you are interested in being a stallholder, or offering treatments at this event, please email here.

The cost of living support hub on West Berkshire Council website explains the different types of support available if you are struggling with rising living costs and are concerned about paying your household bills. You can also click here to read this article about the Hub and what help and support you can expect from it.

• Quick reminder about support available to get you through the cost of living crisis, including tips on how to reduce your home energy bills. And please watch out for any scams that ask you to click to apply for energy rebates – they all happen automatically.

• For the latest West Ilsley newsletter please see here.

• For the latest Chaddleworth newsletter please see here.

No through road in East Ilsley

It seems that at about 7.30am on Tuesday 7 February, a sub-contractor of Thames Water rocked up in East Ilsley and put up some bollards to close the road that runs through the village. Nothing unusual in that, you might say – we’ve all been growling and snarling at the water companies to fix all their leaking pipes and over-flowing sewage systems so why complain when they turn up in a problem area with their diggers, hi-vis jackets and unfeasible complicated looking pieces of kit?

The problem here was that Thames Water had, it seems, forgotten to tell West Berkshire Council so there was no warning given to anyone else. Those who were confused and irritated by their turn events included the Veoilia staff doing the recycling collections, parents on their way to school, the school bus itself, the local public bus – everyone, in fact. It seems that what followed was a rather chaotic few hours during which some people took the bollards away (Thames Water didn’t turn up to do the work til later in the day) and the sub-contractor then put them back. Viewed from above, it might have looked like a group of increasingly irate people playing a game of chess. “Everyone’s giving me a hard time”, the sub-contractor complained. It wasn’t his fault: he was on hand and on time to do what he’d been asked to do. I think life has now calmed down there but I suppose they could all be at it still.

So, if you’re reading this and works for TW or any other organisation that might need to dig up a road, do let the council know about it. If you are a victim of this kind of disjointed thinking, it’s probably not the fault of the person who’s putting the signs up. Perhaps in the light of this all sub-contractors might want to check that all the works they’ve been given to do have actually been publicised and, if they haven’t, to give their contracting company a nudge.

See also the first paragraph in “This week’s news” above.

Community notices

• See Compton Parish Council’s website for a list of current scams going around in the area that you should be aware of.

• Recovery in Mind and The Downland Practice host a free one hour introduction session for local adults wishing to further their knowledge on wellbeing and mental health. Please contact pm.downland@nhs.net to book your place.

• Downe House School in Cold Ash is offering term time swimming lessons on Mondays & Thursdays from 4pm and on Saturday from 9am. Non-swimmers and improvers from 3 1/2 years are invited to enjoy the 25 metre pool to hone this valuable life skill. Call 07788 427227 asap. There will only be 6 children per class so places are limited .

• Compton Karate based at Aldworth Village Hall is a small and friendly dojo that welcomes new members.

• More local hosts are needed for people escaping the war in Ukraine. If you could consider hosting a Ukrainian refugee or family, please get in contact with the local support group or visit westberks.gov.uk/homesforukraine.

• 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 16 Feb Thatcham Refillable’s mobile shop at Compton Village Hall

• Regular events and groups

• Stay, Play and Learn at Compton Village Hall on Thursday mornings during term for children 0-4 years to socialise with others, exploring a variety of play activities and crafts. Book online with West Berkshire Council here.

• The Gents Breakfast Club created by The Downland Practice – Social Prescribing is proving popular. If you would like more information please contact nicky.ager@nhs.net.

• Quiz night at The Crown and Horns in East Ilsley every Thursday from 7pm with prizes to be won. You can reserve a table by calling 01635281545 and see more information here.

• Brickleton Babes Baby and Toddler Group in Brightwalton Village Hall. Join their facebook group for details.

• Autumn Group regular meetings include the Hobbies Club at the Wilkins Centre, Compton. Visit their facebook page for details. Anyone from surrounding villages very welcome.

• Aldworth Art/Painting Group at the Aldworth Village Hall on first and third Tuesday of every month from 9.30am to noon. Details on the East Ilsley Communicator (issue 105, p 21) here.

 Aldworth Craft Group meet at Aldworth Village Hall on the second and fourth Monday of every month (within the school term time) from 10am to noon. More details in the East Ilsley Communicator (issue 105, p 16), which you can download here.

• Hampstead Norreys Village Hall club and event information is on Hampstead Norreys Community website.

• Ilsley Under Fives meet every Wednesday between 10am to 11.30am at various locations throughout the Ilsley villages. Please join their Facebook group  or a see details here.

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 Hampstead Norreys Council for which minutes are available  took place on 19 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: parking at The Downs School; planning matters; financial matters; maintenance and repairs; speeding; the 2023-24 precept (set at £26,167, an increase of 1%); football goals; thanks to the West Berkshire Countryside Society; and the Pang Valley Flood Forum.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Brightwalton Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; the 2023 fete; the Village Hall; the playing field; first-aid training; highways; financial matters; the 2023-24 precept (a 4% increase to £7,753); and repairs and maintenance work.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here

• The most recent meeting of Beedon Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 11 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a council resignation; warm welcomes; planning matters; the  coronation; repairs and maintenance; speeding; financial matters; and a new bench.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click hereTo see minutes from past meetings please click here. Please click here for details of the planning applications currently active in the parish.

• The most recent meeting of Compton Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 9 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: an update for ward member Carolyne Culver; reports from the working parties; planning matters; financial matters; a grant to the Village Hall; the 2023-24 precept (£57,000); and repairs and maintenance.
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 click herePlease click here for the latest on Compton’s neighbourhood development plan (which has now been ratified).

• The most recent meetings of Ashampstead Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 9 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a report from the police; footpaths and byways; highways; planning matters; the open spaces review; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of West Ilsley Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 14 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 minutes from past meetings please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Aldworth Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 9 November and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and mintues for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of East Ilsley Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 8 November 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.

• The most recent meeting of Chaddleworth Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 1 November 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.

• The most recent meeting of Peasemore Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 19 January 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

• Compton & Downlands area council contacts

Parishes: Hampstead Norreys Parish Council, Compton Parish CouncilAshampstead Parish CouncilBeedon Parish CouncilChaddleworth Parish CouncilBrightwalton Parish CouncilPeasemore Parish Council, Aldworth Parish CouncilWest Ilsley Parish Council and East Ilsley 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; Burghfield area; Wantage area; Marlborough area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

Archives

To see earlier Compton & Downlands & Surrounding Area Weekly News columns, please click here.

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