Hungerford Town Council Update July/August 2023

These notes incorporate some but not all of the matters discussed at the HTC meeting on 7 August 2023, the agenda for which can be found here. The official minutes of the meeting will in due course be found on the HTC site. Any references below to “the meeting” refer to this event unless specified otherwise. Any such issues are not necessarily covered here in the order in which they were discussed.  This report may also include information about HTC’s activities which were not discussed at the meeting. 

Full Council Meetings take place generally at 7.00pm in the Library on the first working Monday of every month except August (when there is either no meeting or, as in 2023, a short one to conduct necessary or formal business). Meetings generally take place on the first Tuesday if the first Monday is a bank holiday. 

The agenda for the future meetings (as well as for the Council’s various committee meetings) can be found in this section of the HTC website

See the foot of this post for more information.

HTC = Hungerford Town Council; WBC = West Berkshire Council; WAPC = WBC’s WBC’s Western Area Planning Committee. NDP = Neighbourhood Development Plan. H2036 = Hungerford’s NDP. DC = District Councillor; TVP = Thames Valley Police.

For HTC updates from previous months, please visit the archives here.

Police report

The following report was provided for the meeting by the local TVP team:

“July is always a busy time of year for us with various school fetes across the Hungerford and Downlands area. We also joined in with Hungerford’s Carnival, getting soaking wet like everyone else who took part and held a Have Your Say at Dobbies Garden Centre.

“Jo joined the Mayor at the Tri Station on the morning of 28 July to wave off the cyclists in the UK Police Unity Tour, a long-distance cycle ride undertaken by Police officers from across the UK to raise awareness of those who have died in the line of duty. We also supported Operation Aident, a nationally-co-ordinated campaign focusing on modern slavery and human trafficking.

“For the month of July there were:

  • Three reports of anti-social behaviour
  • One report of criminal damage
  • Three reports of shoplifting
  • One theft.

“Whilst there continues to be no reports of burglary in Hungerford town ,there have been seven reported outbuilding burglaries in the surrounding areas, namely Kintbury, Inkpen and Eastbury. There was also an incident that occurred on Fairview Road Hungerford at around 4pm on 20 July. This is currently under investigation.

“As we near the end of harvest, we tend to see an increase in rural offences, particularly hare-coursing followed by rural outbuilding burglaries. The team work with our local estates and landowners at this time of year over the coming weeks to combat and reduce these offences.”

The local police team

The current set-up of the team is one Inspector, one Sergeant, two Police Constables and five PCSOs to cover the Hungerford and Downlands area. Please see below for how to contact them.

Local events

If you have any community events for which you would like representation from your local NHPT, please contact them via the email address below. While local TVP representatives cannot guarantee always to be able to attend, they will make every effort to do so. 

General information (including contacts)

  • Please report all incidents to the Police or otherwise they will not be officially recorded – news travels fast round a community but if no one reports incidents the police may not know about it. Mentioning an incident on social media does not count as reporting the crime.
  • People are encouraged to sign up for Thames Valley Alerts. As well as local crime information, you can receive details of the latest scams.
  • Thames Valley Police has a Facebook page.
  • The local policing team also wants to draw attention to the ‘what three words’ app which is used to help with the prevention of rural crime by locating people. The app provides a three-word code for each grid which is mapped over the world. By ringing 999 and quoting it, the police can locate you.
  • You can report incidents online but if it is urgent please continue to call on 101 (non-emergency) and 999 in an emergency.
  • If you would like to report anonymously you can do so via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online.
  • The team’s email address is [email protected]  This is not monitored 24/7 and should not be used to report a crime.
  • The local police team is keen to promote the Herbert Protocol initiative which helps us all to try to keep vulnerable members of our community safe.

Councillor co-option

Stella Coulthurst was co-opted onto HTC at the meeting. This means that HTC now has its full complement of councillors.

Stella had previously introduced herself at the July 2023 meeting where she gave a brief summary of her career. This included twenty years as a merger and acquisitions investment banker in the City, COO of a hospitality IT company and landlady of the White Hart Pub. She is also a volunteer for Test Valley Citizens advice and Christmas Homeless Crisis. She is interested in a more sustainable Hungerford.

The Skatepark 

Work on this continues and the project remains on schedule with the work expected to be completed by October. Click here to see some recent drone photos of the work.

The Croft Field Centre

The work on HTC’s other main project is now almost completed and it’s to be hoped that this will have happened within the next week or so. HTC will announce when this has happened.

Hungerford’s grant awards

HTC has made over £11,000-worth of grant donations to local groups for 2023-24 with more expected to be confirmed. Please see this separate post for details of all the grants and information about how you can make applications. There will be a presentation ceremony in early September to which all the recipients will be invited.

Boots the Chemist

The Mayor told the meeting there is no update on the list of Boots stores that are closing and whether this will affect Hungerford. Boots is now aware of the planning application on the site and their lease is up for renewal next year so we will need to wait and see. The Mayor is in contact with the Boots area manager so should receive any update.

There was a concern over somebody being given someone else’s medication which has triggered an internal inquiry. Boots now has a new store manager and new staff members are being employed; one started last week. The store is improving but still has a way to go.

District Councillors’ reports

DC Gaines and Benneyworth were present at the meeting.

  • Dog binsDC Gaines and Benneyworth both reported on this matter. Missed collection has been an issue for some months, both in the ward and across the district. West Berkshire has been split into three sectors (W, C and E) for this purpose with additional resources: although waste collection dates may alter, the fewer number of bins on each round will, hopefully, see a better service. There are currently over 350 bins and 800 collections each week. WBC is issuing stickers on each bin with a unique code so that in future the location of each bin is known – this has been part of the problem recently. The matter of overflowing dog waste bins has now been added to the WBC Report A Problem page. Please respond to this useful tool if you notice a dog-waste issue.
  • AI comes to WBC’s highways with a 12-month trial of an app which can read various faults in the road surface including unclear lining and rough surfaces and can check conditions of traffic signage.
  • Fly tipping at the station carpark. DC Gaines had a report of furniture being left at the station road car park. On investigation I found a foldup table and a sofa bed in two parts together with several black bags just dumped next to the recycling units. We are lucky in Hungerford that we have a number of recycling contains. From small electrical goods and Clothing to glass and cardboard we should look after this facility and not abuse it.
  • Marking of bus clearways in two locations in Hungerford in September. This is to ensure that Buses are able to stop outside bus stops in Bulpit Lane and Priory Avenue preventing other vehicles parking in those spots.
  • New public right of way signs have been requested by HRC to replace broken, poor and unclear ones that are currently in situ. DC Gaines is chasing up progress with WBC.

The neighbourhood development plan (H2036)

Progress continues that in summary includes:

  • The HELAA site assessments and site evaluation have been completed by Navigus Planning.
  • The Plan text is progressing well and is almost there. The team is working on a final draft and adding photos.
  • The updated programme estimates that,  when the draft plan is done, hopefully consultation will take place in October and November. The end date is still expected in October 2024, or at least by the end of 2024.
  • Key next actions are: setting out site options for consultation; completing the draft of the NDP for consultation; preparing for consultation in the autumn.

For more information on the H2036 project, see this separate post.

Click here for the agenda and (to follow) the minutes of the last meeting of the H2036 committee on 21 June.

HTC’s committees 

The following committee meetings have recently taken place (“last meeting” refers to the last meeting for which minutes were available on the day this post was published). Note also that most committees do not meet in August. Environment & Planning generally meets once a month and the others every other month. See the separate section above for the H2036 (NDP) committee.

  • Highways and Transport. (Last meeting 24 July 2023 – click here to read the minutes.) Items covered included: update on actions from previous meetings; safety on the High Street; EV charge points; dog bins; CCTV on the Triangle Field; an unlit footpath; parking on pavements and verges; litter bins; the continued contraflow at the top of the High Street; and footpath signage.
  • Recreation, Amenities and War Memorials. (Last meeting 17 July 2023 – click here to read the minutes.) Items covered included: update on actions from previous meetings; the Triangle Field; RoSPA; repairs and maintenance; the War Memorials and Tragedy Gardens; the playparks; the tree programme; the Croft Field Activity Centre; and the Skatepark.
  • Finance and General Purposes. (Last meeting 12 July 2023 – click here to read the minutes.) Items covered included: updates on actions from the previous meeting; the tennis courts’ lease; the Christmas lights; the freehold of the Bridge Street War Memorial; and the Croft Field Activity Centre.
  • Environment and Planning. (Last meeting 10 July 2023 – click here to see the minutes.) Items covered included: outcome of actions;  five planning applications (three no-objections, one objection and one support); and WBC case officers’ reports.

Note: if the links above don’t work, this may be because they were linked to unadopted (draft) minutes which have since been replaced by adopted ones. If so, please visit this page of HTC’s website for the most up-to-date information on meetings past and the agendas of those yet to come.

For details on HTC’s committees, including membership, agendas and minutes, please click here (and go to the “Town Council” tab).

Contacting HTC

HTC can be contacted in the following ways:

  • By email to [email protected]
  • By post to The Town Clerk, Hungerford Town Council, The Library, Church Street, Hungerford RG17 0JG.
  • In person at the above address between 10am and 2pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
  • By phone on 01488 686 195.

Any questions for an HTC meeting need to arrive by 2pm on the day (please allow more time if you have left this on the ansafone).

Members of the public are also welcome to attend any meetings.

Contacting WBC in an emergency

You can also contact West Berkshire Council out of office hours for emergencies. These are considered to include:

  • Major incidents such as major accidents or significant flooding.
  • Fallen trees and other debris blocking or restricting roads or causing potential danger to road users.
  • Traffic lights not working (West Berkshire Council only manages fixed traffic lights, not temporary ones).
  • Emergency repairs to council-owned temporary accommodation (tenants of properties should contact their housing association, landlord or agent).

 

The sections above cover the main issues with which HTC has recently been involved or concerned: it by no means describes all of HTC’s activities. Nor is this an official record of any meeting nor of any other aspect of HTC’s activities. Links to the official minutes of this and other meetings are provided in this post. For more information on HTC, please click here.

If there’s anything that you’d like to see addressed by HTC, and perhaps also covered in this way in future editions of Penny Post Hungerford, please email [email protected]. Any such suggestions should be received at least four working days before the end of the month (and preferably sooner) if they are to be included in the corresponding post for the following month. That is not, of course, to say that HTC will not in any case give the matter its attention and respond personally if appropriate.

This information has been compiled by Penny Post from information supplied by HTC and others. Every reasonable effort has been made to provide a clear and dispassionate summary of the points covered but these may contain expressions of opinion which may not accord with HTC’s official view on the matter. Links have been provided to other posts, on the Penny Post site or elsewhere, to give additional information where this has been judged useful or necessary. The presence of such a link should not be taken to imply that HTC necessarily agrees with, endorses or supports any of the material contained therein.

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