Compton & Downlands Weekly News, Thursday 4 May 2023

Compton & Downland Weekly News header

Thursday 4 May 2023

This week we cover an orchard, mowing, cricket, fundraising and volunteering. We also look out for some swifts and take a look at what happens next with the local elections – plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

This week’s news

• On Monday 8 May, Hampstead Norreys Community Shop  invites you to help out at the Shop Orchard. Pop along from 10am to 12 noon, and if you have them bring your shovels, trowels, wheelbarrows and gardening gloves, to weed, feed and mulch the trees. Help to grow local.

• We’ve lost nearly 97% of flower rich meadows since the 1970s and with them gone are vital food needed by pollinators, like bees and butterflies. A healthy lawn with some long grass and wildflowers benefits wildlife, tackles pollution and can even lock away carbon below ground – and best of all, to reap these benefits all you have to do is not mow your lawn in May. For more information on No Mow May, click here.

Mash will be playing live at The Swan on Saturday 6 May from 7pm with hits from the 80s and 90s.

• The entries for the Cake Competition for the King’s Coronation picnic on Sunday 7 May must be delivered to the Wilkins Centre by 10am on the same day.  The two categories are, Best Decorated & Tastiest Cake and there is an adult and children (aged 14 or under) section. There are some great prizes, so get mixing.

• It’s only  a few days before the cricket season starts and Marcham Cricket Club welcomes new cricket players and officials. They are a friendly, fun, social and inclusive club that runs a First and Second XI, and caters for all levels of experience and skills. They have fabulous facilities, with a bar and patio terrace to enjoy watching the game in the sun, and  practice nets at the ground.

• There are various competitions to celebrate the upcoming Coronation in Compton.The cake competition is themed around the subject ‘A Royal Coronation’ and will take into account decoration and taste with categories for adults and children. The flowering arrangement competition is themed, ‘The Jewel in the Crown’ and is seeking  a bowl centrepiece decoration with a maximum bowl size of 25cm/10 inches. All entries to be delivered to the Wilkins Centre by 10am on Sunday 7 May.

• The lastest West Berks Council Environment News includes boiler upgrade scheme, reducing waste at Coronation events, reusable nappies, flood risk management schemes, funding for nature projects for schools and young people, using the bus and sharing car journeys. See details here.

• The brilliant weekly Aldworth Saturday market is going strong but won’t be on Saturday 6 May due to Coronation events. See here for details of the market.

The Autumn Group, incorporating the Hobbies Club will be celebrating the Coronation on Tuesday 9 May, at The Wilkins Centre as usual from 1.30pm to 4.30pm.

Hampstead Norreys Shop currently has a display for the Coronation of King Charles III. If you are coming to The Big Coronation Lunch on Sunday 7 May please fill in the form on the display table where the Broadsheet, with all relevant details will also be on the view shortly

• On the topic of the Coronation, West Berkshire Libraries are holding a prize draw to win a coronation teddy bear. Open to all West Berkshire library members, all you have to do is pop into a library with your membership card to enter. A winner will be picked in each library on Saturday 6 May.

The Downs School Trust’s fundraiser to create an engaging environment to provide sixth form students with much needed space to engage with their peers, socialise and relax has now raised £10,855 of £18,000 required. If you can help them reach their target, the fundraiser closes on 23 May 2023.

• There is currently a vacancy on Compton Parish Council caused by a resignation. As it is within six months of the next election, which takes place on 4 May 2023, the council is able to co-opt to fill the vacancy. If you would like to apply or for more information, please use the contact form on their website here.

• A quick reminder that all are welcome to enjoy Tea and a Chat on Mondays from 9.30 to 11am at the Wilkins Centre in Compton.

• Newbury Lane, Compton, will be closed for road works until 22 May. This closure is expected to be carried out in 3 phases to ensure residential access throughout. The signed diverstion route will be via Ilsley Road, unnamed road from Ilsley Road to Newbury Hill, and vice versa. The purpose of this closure is for Thames Water to carry out works to upgrade and maintain the water supply network. Blue light access will be via the diversion route.

• On Sunday 7 May there will be a fantastic Coronation Picnic on the Compton Rec to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III. Picnic on the Rec from 11am will include circus entertainers, dance bands, a bring and share cake table and flower arranging competition. All activities are free and you can book a gazebo by contacting shelleybowdery@btinternet.com.

Compton Parish Council are pleased to announce that works have started this week on the installation of some commemorative benches in the Recreation Ground. This is part of a project to commemorate the Jubilee and the Coronation and as a memorial to Queen Elizabeth II.

• There is a Drop Off/Drop In Coffee Morning every Wednesday during term time at Brightwalton Church from 8.45 to 10am.

• For the latest Chaddleworth newsletter please see here.

Swift watch

Swifts are the last migrant birds to arrive in the UK and these amazing birds need our help as their traditional nesting places in building nooks and crannies are disappearing as is their food source of insects. Swifts are black boomerangs, scything and flickering through the air, often in squadrons of ‘screaming parties’.  These small birds spend the first 3 or 4 years of their life totally on the wing, only landing when they are ready to breed, and they are the fastest birds in level flight. Here is a guide to distinguish them from swallows and house martins.

Swifts mate for life and meet their mates at the same nest every year. If you can identify where swifts are nesting or even see them flying low please log them on the RSPB’s Swift Mapper or let us know so that new swift boxes might be able to be installed close to where the birds might see them (see RSPB advice on how to attract swifts to new boxes).

Out for the count

The polls for the local elections close at 10pm on 4 May and, in West Berkshire at least, the count begins the following morning at 9am. The first stage, which could take several hours, is verifying all the ballot boxes. Totalling up the votes will probably start at about lunchtime with the results expected from late afternoon. It’s the Returning Officer’s hope that all the results will be declared on Friday. If not, due to the bank holiday, the process will be resumed on Tuesday. The process in West Berkshire takes place at Newbury Racecourse but is not open to the public.

You can click here to read an interview we did last month with WBC’s Returning Officer (and CEO), Nigel Lynn.

You can click here to see details of the whole voting procedure. Once the results of the district election have been decalred, the composition of the new council will be updated on this page. The full results will be summarised on WBC’s website as soon as possible after the declarations. I’ll be visiting the count during the afternoon and will have a report on this and the overall figures in next week’s Penny Post.

As well as the elections for the 43 WBC members, there are also four town and parish elections taking place. The first two, for Newbury and Thatcham, are no surprise as these are traditionally political and have contested elections (where there are more candidates than there are are seats). Two parishes, East Ilsley and Stanford Dingley, are also having contested elections because more candidates were nominated than there are seats available. In the other parishes, the elections are uncontested as the number of candidates was equal to or less than the number of seats available. These candidates will be described as having been elected unopposed.

(This is different from the way by which council may later be topped up by co-opting new members. All councillors –whether elected opposed, elected unopposed or co-opted – have exactly the same status. The only difference is if the council has General Powers of Competence which give it greater discretion in how it may act. There are two pre-conditions for this: the council must have a fully qualified Clerk; and it must have at least two-thirds of its members elected (opposed or unopposed), rather than co-opted. If either of these conditions ceases to apply, the council loses its GPC status until these are remedied.)

It’s also worth noting that no parish or town council meetings can happen until after 15 May. This is because the official swap-over day (when the old council is replaced by the new) is on 9 May. Even if the new members are already known, they aren’t formally councillors until after this date. In the case of contested elections, the composition of the council clearly will not be known until the results have been declared. In either case, there then needs to follow a notice period of at least five clear days before the new council can meet.

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.

St Mary & St Nicholas, Compton has a drop-in café from 2.30pm to 4pm on the last Wednesday of every month at the Village Hall in Compton on the last Wednesday of every month. Tea, coffee, cakes and biscuits are on offer and the chance for a friendly chit-chat. Open to anyone.

• 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.

• Free tea, coffee, cake and biscuits at The Wilkins Centre in Compton from 9.30 am to 11 am every Monday.

• 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

Sun 7 May Coronation Picnic at Compton Rec

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

• 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 Handybus service to Wantage picks up Chaddleworth and Leckhamstead residents from their homes on the second and fourth Tuesday morning. The round trip will cost £4. See here for more details and how to book.

• The Aldworth Saturday Market at Aldworth Village Hall, RG8 9SE from 10.30am to midday sells fresh fruit and vegetables, groceries, stamps and cards; and also offers freshly-brewed tea or coffee and biscuits to customers for only 50p. For further details please contact Kathy on 01635 578090 or e-mail kathyneville@outlook.com

• 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.

Compton Tots on the first and third Thursday of every month at Compton Village Hall from 9.30am to 11am. Providing a safe, fun and educational space, in partnership will Compton Pre-school for 0-5 years and costs £2 per family (cash only).

• 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 23 March 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 Compton Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 21 March 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. 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 meeting of Aldworth Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 15 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the playground inspection; the defibrillator; a report from the Clerk; the ownership of the Village Hall; grit bins; and potholes.
To see the dates, agendas and mintues 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 14 March 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 East Ilsley Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 14 March 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 West Ilsley Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 13 March 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 Brightwalton Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 13 March 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 meetings of Ashampstead Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 6 March 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 Beedon Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 8 March and you can read the minutes here.
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 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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