Compton & Downlands Weekly News, Thursday 26 October 2023

Compton & Downland Weekly News header

Thursday 26 October 2023

Our usual round-up of  local news includes: Halloween, a candlelit market, scarecrows, painting and a school to view – plus a local riparian group crosses swords with Thames Water over claims made at the recent Scrutiny Commission meeting (and emerges victorious). See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Compton area events include: Halloween quiz night and a Christmas market. 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…

• We all know the benefits of shopping local these days and Hampstead Norreys Community Shop provides the perfect opportunity at their Candlelit Market on Saturday 18 November from 3pm to 6pm. Enjoy live music by local artistes,  sip mulled apple juice from villagers’ trees, feast on freshly-cooked delights from their chefs, take part in  free Christmas craft activities and, of course, stock up on presents for your loved ones from over 40 artisan stallholders showcasing goods that you can’t buy on the high street.

• There are only a few more days to enjoy the Compton Scarecrow Trail which will stop this Sunday 29 Oct. Take a moment to hunt down all the creative offerings that villagers have made by purchasing a map for just £2 from The Swan or the village shop and get a free sweet. Return your vote for the best scarecrow to either of the above location and lets see who will be the winner of a £30 Amazon voucher. See details here.

• On Sunday 19 November, The Downs School invites you to take part in a Pottery Painting Afternoon from 1pm to 3pm at a cost of £15 per person. Book your tickets now by emailing bluebeetleceramicscafe@gmail.com

• An opportunity for craft stall holders at the Christmas Market at The Swan at Compton on Sunday 3 December. Please contact Patricia on 07786 856440.

• Calling all Year 7 and Year 8 girls who enjoy rugby. The Downs School has an external rugby coach coming on Wednesday 11 and 18 October from 3.30 to 4.30. Bring your normal P.E. kit, boots and mouthguard and meet by the sheds at 3.20pm. Any questions ask Mrs Miller-Cook.

• A reminder that The Wee libraries/book exchanges in Compton are still full of great books. The one in Newbury Lane has lots of Clive Cussler at the moment and some vintage Isaac Asimov. Feel free to borrow books and put in good quality books.

• FC Cougars currently have spaces for footballers U6s, U7s and Under 16s. If you are interested contact graham on graham@fccougars.com

• For road closures and other news visit Hampstead Norreys Parish Council‘s facebook page.

Thames Water wrong about the Pang pong 

We written several times about the recent WBC Scrutiny Commission meeting at which representatives of Thames Water and the Environment Agency attended in order to defend their water-management record.  You can see our report by clicking here and scrolling down to “Water scrutiny”.

A number of questions were asked of the two organisations but not all the attendees were completely satisfied with the answers. Peter Devery, the Secretary of the Tidmarsh Fly Fishing Syndicate, took particular issue with what appeared to be some insouciant remarks about the health of the River Pang.  He told Penny Post on 24 October that “given that the River Pang is a Thames Water flagship chalk stream restoration project, it was very disappointing to hear the company’s Director of Sustainability state that “to talk about an ecological disaster on the Pang… is wrong”. He added that the Pang has seen a rapid decline in EA ecological status, from a rating of “Good” in 2014 to 2016 to “Moderate” in 2019, to the latest status of “Poor” in August 2023. The decline in ecological status is based on multiple tests over the nine-year period.

“Thames Water’s apology to the committee for presenting misleading data regarding the photograph of the Pang on 21 September is welcome. However, it highlights the company’s attempts once again to minimise their mismanagement unless challenged. This pattern was further evidenced elsewhere in its presentation when the committee was told that “There were no discharges of untreated sewage from Hampstead Norreys, Pangbourne and Compton sites in 2022. Thames Water failed to mention that in 2022 there were 130 sewage leaks totalling over 1,600 hours into the Pang watercourse via WWTW’s at Beenham , Chapel Row and Bucklebury.”

“With a projected spend of £18.7bn in the period 2025 to 2030,” he concludes, “it’s truly shocking that Thames Water admit pollution incidents will only be reduced by 30% and combined storm overflows reduced by an even lower 28%. By these estimates the Pang would still see up to 144 untreated sewage leaks by 2025 and still over 100 leaks per year by 2030 from the river’s six WWTW’s. If Thames Water is allowed to continue these levels of sewage pollution for another seven years, West Berkshire’s precious chalk streams and rivers face an unarguable ecological calamity. This ongoing sewage pollution must be resolved urgently and requires far more ambition, commitment and action from Thames Water.”

You can also read this article, also by Pete Devery, which looks at the matter in more detail.

As I mentioned in my above-mentioned report of the SC meeting, it’s both heartening and depressing that there are so many charities, pressure groups and campaigners who are measuring, monitoring and scrutinising what’s going on with our waterways: heartening because it’s good that people care and are looking into the matter carefully; depressing because their work wouldn’t be necessary if the water companies and the regulators were doing theirs. It’s probably true that the more campaign groups there are in a particular sector, the less well the official organisations are doing. There are a lot of groups campaigning about water quality at present. Hopefully in the future there will need to be fewer.

Latest local newsletters

Community notices

Have your say on current consulations by West Berkshire Council. Parish and town councils also run consultations from time to time: see the appropriate website/s below under Council contacts.

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

Drop-in café at St Mary & St Nicholas, Compton on the last Wednesday afternoon of the month at Compton Village Hall. Refreshments and friendly chit-chat. Open to anyone.

• Compton Parish Council is keen to remind residents to please take rubbish home with them if litter bins are full.

• 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. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers (Penny has) and you must seek help and warn others.


Local events and activities

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

• Dates for the diary

Tues 23 – Sun 29 Oct Compton Scarecrow Trail

 Sun 29 Oct Halloween Quiz, The Swan, Compton

• Sat 18 Nov Candlelit Market, Hampstead Norreys Community Shop

• Sun 19 Nov Pottery Painting Afternoon The Downs School

• 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.

• All are welcome to enjoy Tea and a Chat on Mondays from 9.30am to 11am at the Wilkins Centre in Compton.

Wellbeing and mental health free one hour introduction session with Recovery in Mind and The Downland Practice. Please contact pm.downland@nhs.net to book your place.

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

Free coffee and cake morning at The Wilkins Centre in Compton from 9.30 am to 11 am every Monday.

• The Aldworth Saturday Market at Aldworth Village Hall, RG8 9SE from 10.30am to midday sells fresh fruit and vegetables, groceries, stamps and cards; tea and coffee. Contact Kathy on 01635 578090 or e-mail kathyneville@outlook.com

Brightwalton footballers on the field next to Brightwalton Village Hall on Wednesday evenings. Kick off at 7pm for all players over 15 years old.

• 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 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 2 October and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: reports from the working parties; planning matters; financial matters; grants; lamp-post poppies; anti-social behaviour; a bin dispute with WBC; and bramble clearance.
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 Chaddleworth Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 12 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; financial matters; repairs and maintenance; highways; local flooding; and reports from councillors and the Clerk.
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 11 September and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: an introduction to the recently elected ward member, Laura Coyle; potholes; ward surgeries; matters arising; the future use of the Shoulder of Mutton; rights of way; speeding; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and mintues 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 11 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: community c0-ordinator update; the Village Hall; the Village Working Party; local housing; rights of way; road signs; financial matters; member’s bids; and a possible parish NDP.
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 6 September 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 West Ilsley Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 5 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 minutes from past meetings please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Hampstead Norreys Council for which minutes are available  took place on 27 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.

• The most recent meeting of East Ilsley Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 11 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.

• The most recent meeting of Peasemore Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 11 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

• The most recent meetings of Ashampstead Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 22 May 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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