Compton & Downlands Weekly News, Thursday 11 May 2023

Compton & Downland Weekly News header

Thursday 11 May 2023

This week we cover am-dram, benches, flower meadows, toddlers, cafés and ten pages of objections from Compton PC about revised applications at the former Institute for Animal Health – plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

This week’s news

The Compton Players are looking for new recruits to join their fun and friendly local dramatic group. No experience required. They do two productions a year, rehearsing for about 12 weeks before each on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Compton Village Hall. Email chair@comptonplayers.co.uk for more information.

Open Studios West Berkshire and North Hampshire 2023 runs until May 29 with local artists opening their studios and exhibitions free of charge. They make entering any art space a comfortable experience, to encourage and promote accessibility to art and artists. See their website for details. Work by all participating artists is also exhibited at the wonderful INSIGHT exhibition at The Base, Greenham until 29 May 2023.

• Did you know that you can get an HRT prescription prepayment certificate (HRT PPC) from the NHS if you’ve been prescribed an eligible hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medicine from your local surgery? For full details go to the government website here.

• 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.

• The brilliant weekly Aldworth Saturday market is back on Saturday 13 May. See here for details of the market.

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.

• A quick reminder that all are welcome to enjoy Tea and a Chat on Mondays from 9.30am 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.

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.

Compton’s objections

The meeting of Compton Parish Council on 17 April was largely concerned with considering five applications relating to the former Institute for Animal Health in the parish. The agenda items (which provided a summary of the applications) ran to nearly three pages on their own, while CPC’s response runs to ten.

Compton Parish Council has sought professional advice from Thrings LLP in order to formulate the below response to the above listed applications,” the PC’s response starts. “Compton Parish Council objects to all five applications listed above. Compton Parish Council does not consider this to be a full and open consultation due to the points below.” Many of the comments refer to information which appears to be missing on WBC’s planning portal.

Given the scale of the development and the uncertainty surrounding the exact level of contamination, this was always likely to be a contentious issue. I recall covering this after the matter had been discussed at Planning Committee last year: I wondered then – and wonder still – why the work had not been divided into two separate stages, the first to decontaminate the site and the second, only when this had been accomplished, to build the new properties. Bundling them into one overarching application risks blurring the distinction between these two stages. Even a brief survey of CPC’s objections suggests that the blurring might already have begun.

Reflecting on the election

The local elections are over and the results confirmed, indeed exceeded, the worst fears of the Conservatives. In West Berkshire, which we covered particularly closely, the Lib Dems took control of the council with a large majority. Both the leader and the Deputy Leader, as well as two other members of the Executive lost their seats. As for the other parties, the Green’s performance was surprisingly disappointing, being reduced from three members to two. Labour won its first ever place on the Council, Clive Taylor taking the second berth in Tilehurst Birch Copse by just one vote.

This leaves the overall results as 29 Lib Dems, 11 Conservatives, two Greens and one Labour. The administration therefore has more than twice as many seats as do the other parties combined. It remains to be seen if this will enable adequate scrutiny to take place. Here are a few thoughts on what happened and why

Reflecting on the coronation

On 10 May, Penny visited Educafé in Newbury, as she usually dies, on this occasion with Newbury College student Max Taucher who’s been doing some work experience with us this week. They started chatting to people about the recent coronation and they soon realised that the many and varied comment merited a separate article – so here it is

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

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.

Marcham Cricket Club welcomes new cricket players and officials.

• 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 Compton Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 17 April and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a report from the ward member; planning matters; financial matters; rights of way; and congratulations;ations to Compton FC. Note that the most of the meeting was concerned with considering five planning applications relating to the former Institute for Animal Health. See the separate section 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 click herePlease click here for the latest on Compton’s neighbourhood development plan (which has now been ratified).

• 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. You can also click here to see the minutes of the annual parish meeting held on 27 April.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• 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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