Burghfield & Theale Area Weekly News Archive (January to June 2024)

To see the current Burghfield & Theale Area Weekly News section, please click here.

Please note that this section is presented as an archive of past columns and is not updated (except by the addition of the previous post every week). Some web links may no longer be active (usually indicated by a score-through), for instance when draft parish council minutes are replaced by adopted ones or when a consultation has closed.

Click here for the 2022 archive.

Thursday 27 June 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes a fete, fun, a cabaret, jumble and transport – plus fifteen questions for the local candidates and a new skate park planned in Burghfield. See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include jumble sale & musicals night. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• Skating news

Suddenly, they’re all it. Hungerford did it last year and Aldermaston earlier this. Lambourn has just announced that it’s going to do it. And now Burghfield has says that it is too.

The “it” is not declare independence from West Berkshire Council, elect a leader for life or announce that all municipal functions will now be performed by AI, but upgrade their skateparks. These things need constant maintenance: and the time comes, as it has in these four cases, when total replacement is the only option.

The summary of Burghfield’s proposal is “Concrete skate park with associated drainage via soak-aways. Access to remain as existing. Pathway to skating area from boundary to be reconfigured.” The supporting statement goes on to say that “The proposed works will see the demolition, removal and replacement of Burghfield Skatepark on Hollybush Lane, Burghfield Common, Reading, RG7 3JU. Once constructed, the facility will retain its use class as a free to use recreational facility for the local community.” You can see the full details, including this document, by clicking here

Such projects are not cheap and funding the whole thing is usually way beyond the precept or reserves of a town or parish council. grants are available and I understand that a substantial chunk of the sums needed have already been raised. I trust this will fare better than the village’s ill-fated temporary café project of a year or so ago which, for reasons that I was never able to establish despite frequent questions, was abandoned after several costs were incurred. A shred council will seek advice from others who have recently done a similar exercise. Hungerford’s example seems particularly worth following. This involved a wide consultation involving likely users of the project and the constructors which resulted in a project that was completed on time, on budget and seemingly to the satisfaction of all concerned.

We wish Burghfield PC all the best with the initiative. If you want to make any comments, these can be made using the above-mentioned link to WBC’s planning portal.

• Fifteen questions

If you haven’t decided who to vote for yet, here’s a quick reminder of the fifteen questions we asked local candidates about their background and topics including climate change, pandemic preparedness, the water companies and disinformation, the changes they’d most like to see to the political system and the most difficult question they’ve been asked as a politician, before rounding off with the all-important matters of their Desert Island Discs’ choices of music, book, film and luxury item.

Click on the appropriate link below for candidates’ answers in your constituency:

• Other news

• Congratulations to the organisers of last weekend’s whopping Transport through the Ages event in Mortimer. Visit their facebook page here to see photos of the day and thanks to everyone who helped made it happen. If you know of any upcoming events that you’d like us to mention, please email penny@pennypost.org.uk.

• This Saturday 29 June there’s a Jumble Sale in aid of the Save the Children charity at the Mortimer Methodist Hall. The entry fee is 50p and all items are 40p each or 3 items for £1. The sale starts at10:30am and donations to the sale are welcome from 9:30am. Click here for details.

• The Belle Canto Trio are performing a Cabaret show of solos, duets and trios from musicals at St Mary’s Church in Beenham this Sunday 30 June at 6pm and tickets are £12 and include a glass of sparkling wine and canapes. To find out how to book tickets, click here.

• Bright Hope Church will be holding a Family Fun Day on Saturday 6 July at the Grazeley Village Hall. Enjoy a free day out with free admission and activities, including a bouncy castle, giant slide, crafts and games, face painting and glitter tattoos, and even free hotdogs, tea/coffee and cakes. Details can be found here.

Latest news from Greenham Trust includes how to apply for free trees and hedging plants to be planted in November. Plus the application deadlines for the autumn Escalator and Mini-Escalator which gives a local group the opportunity to raise £30,000 and the Greenham Trust Charity Awards on Thursday 7 November.

• Christmas may be the furthest thing from your mind, but Burghfield Parish Council have already started planning the annual Burghfield on Ice event. Looking to make the event event bigger and better they are looking for stallholders, with both indoor and outdoor stalls available. If you would like to hold a stall email comms@burghfieldparishcouncil.gov.uk.

• Burghfield Parish Council are requesting donations for their Macmillan Coffee Morning on Friday 27 September. They would appreciate the support through cash or card donations, also donations of cake/s, allotment produce, or raffle prize, as well a spreading the word. For more information click here.

• Not long now until the Theale Village Fete on Sunday 7 July. Some volunteer roles needed include: event set-up/event de-rig, traffic marshalling, selling raffle tickets, community games stalls and event marshalling. If you can spare an hour or so to help, please sign up here.

Berkshire Youth have started a new Youth Café for Theale every other Monday at the Pavilion’s Peter Gooch Room, for young people aged 11 to 16 years. There will be free hot chocolate and squash with team games, indoor and outdoors activities, arts and crafts and games like Uno, battleships and dominos. The next one will be Monday 1 July. Details can be found here.

• The Burghfield Residents Association has opened applications for funding of up to £500. Anyone, whether an individual, a family or organisation, can apply for anything where it contributes to the “good”. In the past it has helped individuals get to sporting events or complete educational needs and get medical equipment. The deadline for application is 5:00pm on Thursday 12 September. Click here to find out more and apply.

Click here for the May/June 2023 newsletter from Burghfield and Mortimer Councillor Nick Carter.

• Burghfield community Café B is looking for volunteers who can help out on Mondays or Wednesday between 9:30am and 1:30pm. Roles include barista, waiter/waitress, cook or till operator and full training will be given. To learn more get in contact Alex at cafeb@togetherinmission.org.uk.

Home Artists Mortimer is a free monthly creative project for over 55s that can be collected from Mortimer Library or delivered to your home address on the first Tuesday of the month until September. There will also be quarterly ‘Meet the Artists’ Coffee Mornings held at Mortimer Library. Book here on cornexchangenew.com or call the box office on 01635 522733.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here to see the latest newsletter from Theale’s ward member Alan Macro.

Bucket List Wishes, a charity that works with terminally ill adults, is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help with their dress sales and personalised appointments in Burghfield. For more information, click here.

• Would you like to volunteer your business expertise to help Education Business Partnership prepare our local young people? Please see here for more details.

• The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details.

Calleva Stickdressers promote and encourage the traditional craft of stick making (walking sticks, shepherd crooks & thumbsticks etc). They hold monthly work days on the third Saturday of the month in Victory Hall, Beenham, RG7 5NN. They always welcome new members and encourage anyone interested to attend a work day to find out more about this historic craft. The next upcoming date is Saturday 20 July.

• Have your say

Have your say on current consultations being run by West Berkshire Council.

Parish and town councils also run consultations from time to time: see the appropriate website/s below under Council contacts.

• Latest local newsletters

• Englefield Parish Magazine.
• Padworth Village Newsletter.
Stratfield Mortimer newsletter.
• Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton

News from other areas

• Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Hungerford area; Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton & DownlandsWantage area; Marlborougharea; Swindon area.
• News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

Thursday 20 June 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes a youth café, funding, a bucket list, football and fetes – plus questions to the local candidates and a family bike event in Burghfield. See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include Family Bike Ride & Midsummer Music. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• On your bike

This Saturday 23 June sees the Burghfield Family Bike Ride return to the streets of West Berkshire with an Olympic theme.

The event has been running for many years to make sure the families in the area get to have a fun and safe ride around the lovely roads and countryside surrounding Burghfield.

The plan is for everyone to assemble at The Rec in Burghfield at 10:30am. There will be an ice cream van to provide pre-ride sugar-highs, a mini obstacle course where younger Olympians can put their skills to the test. Matt from The Bicycle Works will be on hand to help out with any last minute adjustments to make sure your bike is running smoothly and is roadworthy. 

 The route is signposted with direction arrows and marshals stationed at strategic places to help people head in the right direction and to ensure safety.

As in previous years, Burghfield Family Bike Riders have the option of taking a short off-road section through the Englefield Estate around Oval Pond. This is a real privilege, because bikes aren’t allowed on those routes for the rest of the year. Thanks to the Englefield Estate for allowing us to use their land for our community activity.

With the theme for 2024 being the Olympics it’s encouraged, but not required, to dress yourself, and/or your bike up accordingly. Whether you dress up in vintage sports gear, attach a laurel wreath to your helmet or make your bike look like a Dressage horse, make sure you maintain roadworthiness and that no parts of your costume could get caught in a sprocket.

For more details visit Burghfield Family Bike Ride’s facebook page

• Fifteen questions

Shortly after the election was announced, we sat down and came up with fifteen questions to ask of all the candidates in four constituencies we cover. These considered their background, topics including climate change, pandemic preparedness, the water companies and disinformation, the changes they’d most like to see to the political system and the most difficult question they’ve been asked as a politician, before rounding off with the all-important matters of their Desert Island Discs’ choices of music, book, film and luxury item.

The constituencies covered are as follows:

Click on the link above to visit the appropriate section to see their responses.

• Other news

Berkshire Youth have started a new Youth Café for Theale every other Monday at the Pavilion’s Peter Gooch Room, for young people aged 11 to 16 years. There will be free hot chocolate and squash with team games, indoor and outdoors activities, arts and crafts and games like Uno, battleships and dominos. The next one will be Monday 1 July. Details can be found here.

• The Burghfield Residents Association has opened applications for funding of up to £500. Anyone, whether an individual, a family or organisation, can apply for anything where it contributes to the “good”. In the past it has helped individuals get to sporting events or complete educational needs and get medical equipment. The deadline for application is 5:00pm on Thursday 12 September. Click here to find out more and apply.

• You can help grant terminally ill adults in and around Berkshire their dying wishes by participating in Dresses for Bucket List Wishes. This month’s Charity Dress Sale is 12pm to 4pm Sunday 23 June at St Mary’s Church Burghfield and full of Summer, Day, Short party, Mother of the Bride/Groom Dresses sizes 6-22 all at a cost of just £10 each. They also have two rails of long Prom & Evening Dresses for £20 each. All funds raised will help with wishes in July.

Theale Village Fete is taking place on Sunday 7 July and to make sure the fete runs smoothly they are seeking volunteers. Some of the roles needed include: event set-up/event de-rig, traffic marshalling, selling raffle tickets, community games stalls and event marshalling. If you can spare an hour or so to help, please sign up here. There are also opportunities for stall holders at the event and to learn more contact enquiries@thealeparishcouncil.gov.uk.

• As mentioned previously Burghfield Football Club are looking for players across all age groups for their 2024/25 season, but particularly for players to join their U15s (school year 10 in September) and U18s (school year 13 in September) groups. To learn more get in touch at info@burghfieldfootballclub.com.

Click here for the May/June 2023 newsletter from Burghfield and Mortimer Councillor Nick Carter.

• Burghfield community Café B is looking for volunteers who can help out on Mondays or Wednesday between 9:30am and 1:30pm. Roles include barista, waiter/waitress, cook or till operator and full training will be given. To learn more get in contact Alex at cafeb@togetherinmission.org.uk.

• Theale Parish Council is now taking stall bookings for the Village Summer Fete on Sunday 7 July. If you would be interested in booking a stall, find out more by contacting the Parish Office enquiries@thealeparishcouncil.gov.uk or click here.

Home Artists Mortimer is a free monthly creative project for over 55s that can be collected from Mortimer Library or delivered to your home address on the first Tuesday of the month until September. There will also be quarterly ‘Meet the Artists’ Coffee Mornings held at Mortimer Library. Book here on cornexchangenew.com or call the box office on 01635 522733.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here to see the latest newsletter from Theale’s ward member Alan Macro.

Bucket List Wishes, a charity that works with terminally ill adults, is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help with their dress sales and personalised appointments in Burghfield. For more information, click here.

• Would you like to volunteer your business expertise to help Education Business Partnership prepare our local young people? Please see here for more details.

• The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details.

Calleva Stickdressers promote and encourage the traditional craft of stick making (walking sticks, shepherd crooks & thumbsticks etc). They hold monthly work days on the third Saturday of the month in Victory Hall, Beenham, RG7 5NN. They always welcome new members and encourage anyone interested to attend a work day to find out more about this historic craft. The next upcoming date is Saturday 20 July.

• Have your say

Have your say on current consultations being run by West Berkshire Council.

Parish and town councils also run consultations from time to time: see the appropriate website/s below under Council contacts.

• Latest local newsletters

• Englefield Parish Magazine.
• Padworth Village Newsletter.
Stratfield Mortimer newsletter.
• Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton

News from other areas

• Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Hungerford area; Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton & DownlandsWantage area; Marlborougharea; Swindon area.
• News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

Thursday 13 June 2024

We’ve taken a week off so there’ll be no update until Thursday 20 June. Much of the information below will still be relevant until then.

For information about the local candidates in the general election, please see our Q&A section with those in the Reading West and Mid Berkshire constituency.

Thursday 6 June 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes fetes, football, blooms, a café, a film and a working party. See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include churchyard work party and family film night. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• This week’s news

Theale Village Fete is taking place on Sunday 7 July and to make sure the fete runs smoothly they are seeking volunteers. Some of the roles needed include: event set-up/event de-rig, traffic marshalling, selling raffle tickets, community games stalls and event marshalling. If you can spare an hour or so to help, please sign up here. There are also opportunities for stall holders at the event and to learn more contact enquiries@thealeparishcouncil.gov.uk.

• As part of Oxfordshire’s Great Big Green Week, the HED Larder are having a free pumpkin plants giveaway. Join them on Sunday 9 June at the East Hendred Open Gardens allotments and see the patch their team of volunteers have been working on. They will be there from 11am to 3pm (or until all the pumpkins are gone)! Details can be found here.

• As mentioned previously Burghfield Football Club are looking for players across all age groups for their 2024/25 season, but particularly for players to join their U15s (school year 10 in September) and U18s (school year 13 in September) groups. To learn more get in touch at info@burghfieldfootballclub.com.

• Next Saturday 8 June St Mary’s Church is holding a Community Churchyard Work Party. If you can spare an hour or two between 9:30am to 12:30pm to help them maintain the churchyard, they would hugely appreciate your help. There will be cake and refreshments to help keep everyone’s energy up. More information can be found here.

The next free Family Film Night at St Mary’s Church will be showing Pets United, St Marys Church, Burghfield. It’ll be on Friday 21 June from 6:30pm to 8:45pm. Tickets can be secured here.

• Don’t forget there’s still time to enter Theale in Bloom. The categories will be: Best Front Garden and Best window box/Hanging basket/Container. Judges will be looking for inventiveness as well as diversity and quality but also very importantly, benefits to wildlife. Submit the entry form by Sunday 16 June. Judging will take place on the 22 to 23 June.

Click here for the May/June 2023 newsletter from Burghfield and Mortimer Councillor Nick Carter.

• A reminder for those of you with felines in the family, that from Monday 10 June, your cat must be microchipped. This new law cites that if you do not microchip and register your cat on a database by the time they are twenty weeks old, you can be fined up to £500. See full details here.

• Burghfield community Café B is looking for volunteers who can help out on Mondays or Wednesday between 9:30am and 1:30pm. Roles include barista, waiter/waitress, cook or till operator and full training will be given. To learn more get in contact Alex at cafeb@togetherinmission.org.uk.

Calleva Stickdressers promote and encourage the traditional craft of stick making (walking sticks, shepherd crooks & thumbsticks etc). They hold monthly work days on the third Saturday of the month in Victory Hall, Beenham, RG7 5NN. They always welcome new members and encourage anyone interested to attend a work day to find out more about this historic craft. The next upcoming date is Saturday 15 June.

• Theale Parish Council is now taking stall bookings for the Village Summer Fete on Sunday 7 July. If you would be interested in booking a stall, find out more by contacting the Parish Office enquiries@thealeparishcouncil.gov.uk or click here.

Home Artists Mortimer is a free monthly creative project for over 55s that can be collected from Mortimer Library or delivered to your home address on the first Tuesday of the month until September. There will also be quarterly ‘Meet the Artists’ Coffee Mornings held at Mortimer Library. Book here on cornexchangenew.com or call the box office on 01635 522733.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here to see the latest newsletter from Theale’s ward member Alan Macro.

Bucket List Wishes, a charity that works with terminally ill adults, is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help with their dress sales and personalised appointments in Burghfield. For more information, click here.

• Would you like to volunteer your business expertise to help Education Business Partnership prepare our local young people? Please see here for more details.

• The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details.

Thursday 30 May 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes scarecrows, a work party, a film, football and hustings – plus how to get involved in a planning appeal in Burghfield Common. See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include Nature & Climate Hustings. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• An appeal at The Hollies

The following is taken from the June issue of the newsletter produced by Councillor Nick Carter, one of the three ward members for Burghfield and Mortimer:

Following a High Court decision the appeal against refusal of Planning permission for 32 homes on “land to the rear of The Hollies, Burghfield Common RG7 3BH”, including affordable housing, parking and landscaping, will be now be considered by a new/different Inspector.

Groups or organisations wishing to take part in the Inquiry may apply for what’s known as Rule 6 status. This allows them to present evidence formally and cross-examine the evidence of others. Although unusual, there is also the possibility of interested individuals taking part too.

More details can be found here. All representations must be made by 28 June. A more detailed version of this announcement can be found here.

• Other news

The Burghfield Common Scarecrow Trail runs until Saturday 1 June. You can hunt down all the 19 scarecrows themed around Favourite Children’s Book Characters.  Scarecrow trail maps can be purchased for £1 (cash) at The Fruit Shop on behalf of Girl Guides.

• Next Saturday 8 June St Mary’s Church is holding a Community Churchyard Work Party. If you can spare an hour or two between 9:30am to 12:30pm to help them maintain the churchyard, they would hugely appreciate your help. There will be cake and refreshments to help keep everyone’s energy up. More information can be found here.

Burghfield Football Club are looking for new players to join in the 2024/2025 season. They are looking for players across all age groups, but are particularly looking for players to join their U15s (school year 10 in September) and U18s (school year 13 in September). There are opportunities for all ability levels, whether an experienced master or a complete newbie. To learn more get in touch at info@burghfieldfootballclub.com.

The next free Family Film Night at St Mary’s Church will be showing Pets United, St Marys Church, Burghfield. It’ll be on Friday 21 June from 6:30pm to 8:45pm. Tickets can be secured here.

• Our local wildlife trust, BBOWT is hosting a Nature & Climate Hustings for prospective parliamentary candidates in the new Reading West and Mid-Berkshire constituency in Burghfield Village Hall on Thursday 6 June. This event is for residents of the constituency only – see details here.

West Berkshire Council’s new WhatsApp channel shares important announcements, service updates and other useful information such as advice during extreme weather. To find out how to follow their channel click here.

• Still time to have your say on the proposed speed limit on roads in Theale, as a pilot scheme to potentially be implemented in other villages across West Berkshire. To share your thoughts, fill out the comment form by Thursday 6 June. You can find out more by clicking here. If you have any questions about the consultation, please contact the Transport and Road Traffic team.

• Don’t forget there’s still time to enter Theale in Bloom. The categories will be: Best Front Garden and Best window box/Hanging basket/Container. Judges will be looking for inventiveness as well as diversity and quality but also very importantly, benefits to wildlife. Submit the entry form by Sunday 16 June. Judging will take place on the 22 to 23 June.

Click here for the May/June 2023 newsletter from Burghfield and Mortimer Councillor Nick Carter.

Your West Berkshire is a new magazine bringing you news and events from West Berkshire Council. It’s a good opportunity to find out more about some of things they are doing for the community. They will be sharing news, events and stories about their work and the services which they provide. You can read it online here.

• A reminder for those of you with felines in the family, that from Monday 10 June, your cat must be microchipped. This new law cites that if you do not microchip and register your cat on a database by the time they are twenty weeks old, you can be fined up to £500. See full details here.

• Burghfield community Café B is looking for volunteers who can help out on Mondays or Wednesday between 9:30am and 1:30pm. Roles include barista, waiter/waitress, cook or till operator and full training will be given. To learn more get in contact Alex at cafeb@togetherinmission.org.uk.

Calleva Stickdressers promote and encourage the traditional craft of stick making (walking sticks, shepherd crooks & thumbsticks etc). They hold monthly work days on the third Saturday of the month in Victory Hall, Beenham, RG7 5NN. They always welcome new members and encourage anyone interested to attend a work day to find out more about this historic craft. The next upcoming date is Saturday 15 June.

• Theale Parish Council is now taking stall bookings for the Village Summer Fete on Sunday 7 July. If you would be interested in booking a stall, find out more by contacting the Parish Office enquiries@thealeparishcouncil.gov.uk or click here.

Home Artists Mortimer is a free monthly creative project for over 55s that can be collected from Mortimer Library or delivered to your home address on the first Tuesday of the month until September. There will also be quarterly ‘Meet the Artists’ Coffee Mornings held at Mortimer Library. Book here on cornexchangenew.com or call the box office on 01635 522733.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here to see the latest (15 May) newsletter from There’s ward member Alan Macro.

Bucket List Wishes, a charity that works with terminally ill adults, is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help with their dress sales and personalised appointments in Burghfield. For more information, click here.

• Would you like to volunteer your business expertise to help Education Business Partnership prepare our local young people? Please see here for more details.

• The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details.

Thursday 23 May 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes scarecrows, hustings, cats, bowls, blooms and a café. See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include disco nights and wine festival. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• This week’s news

• Only four days to go until The Burghfield Common Scarecrow Trail is back. From this Saturday 25 May until Saturday 1 June, this years theme is Favourite Children’s Book Characters.  Scarecrow trail maps can be purchased for £1 (cash) at The Fruit Shop on behalf of Girl Guides and there are 19 scarecrows for you to find.

• Our local wildlife trust, BBOWT is hosting a Nature & Climate Hustings for prospective parliamentary candidates in the new Reading West and Mid-Berkshire constituency in Burghfield Village Hall on Thursday 6 June. This event is for residents of the constituency only – see details here.

• Another year, another successful Burghfield May Fayre. The Burghfield Residents Association announced that the raffle raised an amazing £1,684. Well done to the organisers, the stall holders and volunteers, as well as those who attended. The 2024 May Fayre Donation Requests will open later this summer and the donation form will be downloadable here.

• A reminder that West Berkshire Council wants your views on the proposal to reduce the speed limit on roads in Theale. It’s been stated that the process undertaken in Theale will be treated as a pilot scheme to potentially be implemented in other villages across West Berkshire. To share your thoughts, fill out the comment form by Thursday 6 June. You can find out more by clicking here. If you have any questions about the consultation, please contact the Transport and Road Traffic team.

• Don’t forget there’s still time to enter Theale in Bloom. The categories will be: Best Front Garden and Best window box/Hanging basket/Container. Judges will be looking for inventiveness as well as diversity and quality but also very importantly, benefits to wildlife. Submit the entry form by Sunday 16 June. Judging will take place on the 22 to 23 June.

• A reminder that West Berkshire Libraries services will be temporarily suspended next week while they make improvements to their library management system. From Sunday 26 May to Saturday 1 June the library catalogue will unavailable, you will not be able to reserve books or other items, the app will be unavailable as well as some other digital services. If you need to photocopy or print anything please bring cash. No items will be due for return and no fines will be charged during this period. This will affect all WB libraries including Theale, Burghfield Common, Mortimer, Lambourn, Pangbourne, Thatcham, Newbury, and Hungerford. Click here for the latest updates.

Click here for the May/June 2023 newsletter from Burghfield and Mortimer Councillor Nick Carter.

Your West Berkshire is a new magazine bringing you news and events from West Berkshire Council. It’s a good opportunity to find out more about some of things they are doing for the community. They will be sharing news, events and stories about their work and the services which they provide. You can read it online here.

• A reminder for those of you with felines in the family, that from Monday 10 June, your cat must be microchipped. This new law cites that if you do not microchip and register your cat on a database by the time they are twenty weeks old, you can be fined up to £500. See full details here.

• What do you think about a 20mph limit in residential areas of Theale? The proposal’s details can be found on West Berkshire Council’s Consultation Hub where you can let us know what you think by filling out the comment form by Thursday 6 June. If you have any questions about the consultation, please contact our Traffic and Road Safety Team.

• Burghfield community Café B is looking for volunteers who can help out on Mondays or Wednesday between 9:30am and 1:30pm. Roles include barista, waiter/waitress, cook or till operator and full training will be given. To learn more get in contact Alex at cafeb@togetherinmission.org.uk.

• Ever wanted to try your hand at bowls? The Burghfield Bowls Club will be holding their next open day with free taster sessions Monday 27 May. To find out more, visit their website.

Calleva Stickdressers promote and encourage the traditional craft of stick making (walking sticks, shepherd crooks & thumbsticks etc). They hold monthly work days on the third Saturday of the month in Victory Hall, Beenham, RG7 5NN. They always welcome new members and encourage anyone interested to attend a work day to find out more about this historic craft. Upcoming dates are Saturday 18 May and 15 June.

• Theale Parish Council is now taking stall bookings for the Village Summer Fete on Sunday 7 July. If you would be interested in booking a stall, find out more by contacting the Parish Office enquiries@thealeparishcouncil.gov.uk or click here.

Home Artists Mortimer is a free monthly creative project for over 55s that can be collected from Mortimer Library or delivered to your home address on the first Tuesday of the month until September. There will also be quarterly ‘Meet the Artists’ Coffee Mornings held at Mortimer Library. Book here on cornexchangenew.com or call the box office on 01635 522733.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here to see the latest (15 May) newsletter from There’s ward member Alan Macro.

Bucket List Wishes, a charity that works with terminally ill adults, is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help with their dress sales and personalised appointments in Burghfield. For more information, click here.

• Would you like to volunteer your business expertise to help Education Business Partnership prepare our local young people? Please see here for more details.

• The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details.

Thursday 16 May 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes a fayre, blooms, concerts, bowls and a barn dance – plus a look at a ward member’s newsletter and the latest victory in a long-running campaign in Aldermaston. See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include disco nights and wine festival. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• One battle won in a long war

The “part retrospective” application for “reduction in levels and the demolition of 1 no. storage unit – permission is also sought for the erection of 1 no. storage unit and a retaining wall” at Woodstock, Paices Hill Aldermaston has recently been refused by West Berkshire Council. The application garnered about forty letters of objection and was the subject consistent opposition by Aldermaston Parish Council. You can see the relevant documents here.

The decision notice (which is available on the above link) listed six reasons for refusal which ranged from “a significant detrimental change in the character and appearance of the site” to its proximity to AWE Aldermaston and from its position outside the settlement boundary to environmental damage.

“The decision notices confirms what the Parish Council has been saying since Easy Concrete bought the site in early 2022,” Aldermaston Parish Council’s Chair told Penny Post on 16 May. “In October 2022 we invited the new owners to a PC meeting to introduce themselves and tell us their plans for the site. They were very open at our meeting and explained how they intended to relocate their Hayes concrete supply operation to Paices Hill. In turn, we pointed out that the site was unsuited to the proposed use not least because past planning consents restricted use to forestry-related business only.”

She then describes what turned out, from APC’s point of view, to be a rather unsatisfactory series of engagements not only with Easy Concrete when the work started without permission but also with WBC’s Planning Enforcement team which appeared reluctant to get involved. By the time it did so, Sophie Crawford added, “the site was decimated and the damage irreparable.”

“We always knew that getting the applications refused was just the first step,” she continued. “I’ve no idea how or whether Easy Concrete is going to be obliged to tidy up the site. I expect the WBC will say it’s not its responsibility. Ditto for the Environment agency. This will be our next battle…” APC has proved itself to be a consistent and effective opponent in the past so expect more of the same until the situation is resolved. Other communities facing similar challenges can take heart from this example.

• Nick’s newsletter

Click here to read the May/June newsletter form Nick Carter, one of the three ward members for Burghfield and Mortimer.

The first item he looks at is, topically enough, flooding. “The council’s Highways team has been in regular dialogue with Burghfield residents whose homes have suffered flooding over recent months,” he writes. “On 9 April I met two officers on site to look at and discuss both the specific case and flooding generally.

“As I understand it, the root cause of flooding in the particular area is the high ground water level coupled with the properties being built on low ground relative to the floodplain. I understand the Highways team don’t think surface water to be the root cause. That said, where they identify a need for additional gullies and/or correction of road level to drain surface water, they do and have carried out remedial work. They hope to increase proactive checking and maintenance of underground road surface water drainage systems, with the aim to reduce the level of reactive work.

“Proactive maintenance has been limited over the last few years through funding. shortage. Whilst council funding is expected to remain very constrained over the next year or two, the team plans to survey an area in Burghfield, as has been done previously in Mortimer, to establish the remedial work needed. Unfortunately, the council can’t yet confirm if the latter will be possible during this financial year’s owing to the need to balance many such similar issues across the district.”

He also looks at Sewage in Foundry Brook in Mortimer; two possible new uses for the Garth Club Hall, also in Mortimer; a possible mini recycling centre; Burghfield’s heritage assets; thenLittle Village Pharmacy; local defrillators; school drop-off and collections in Burghfield Common; annual parish meetings; and EV charge points.

• Other news

• Another year, another successful Burghfield May Fayre. The Burghfield Residents Association announced that the raffle raised an amazing £1,684. Well done to the organisers, the stall holders and volunteers, as well as those who attended. The 2024 May Fayre Donation Requests will open later this summer and the donation form will be downloadable here.

• A reminder that West Berkshire Council wants your views on the proposal to reduce the speed limit on roads in Theale. It’s been stated that the process undertaken in Theale will be treated as a pilot scheme to potentially be implemented in other villages across West Berkshire. To share your thoughts, fill out the comment form by Thursday 6 June. You can find out more by clicking here. If you have any questions about the consultation, please contact the Transport and Road Traffic team.

• Don’t forget there’s still time to enter Theale in Bloom. The categories will be: Best Front Garden and Best window box/Hanging basket/Container. Judges will be looking for inventiveness as well as diversity and quality but also very importantly, benefits to wildlife. Submit the entry form by Sunday 16 June. Judging will take place on the 22 to 23 June.

• This weekend there will be two Summer Music Concerts at St Mary’s, Aldermaston to raise funds to keep the beautiful Grade 1 Listed Building available for use by the local community. On Friday 17 May, join Kate Rittson-Thomas and the Aldermaston C0f E School Choir, while on Saturday 18 May it will be with the Kingsclere Performing Arts College. See here for details and how to book tickets. Children under 12 get free entry but please book their free tickets.

• Please note some West Berkshire Libraries services will be temporarily suspended for one week while they make improvements to their library management system. From Sunday 26 May to Saturday 1 June the library catalogue will unavailable, you will not be able to reserve books or other items, the app will be unavailable as well as some other digital services. If you need to photocopy or print anything please bring cash. No items will be due for return and no fines will be charged during this period. This will affect all WB libraries including Theale, Burghfield Common, Mortimer, Lambourn, Pangbourne, Thatcham, Newbury, and Hungerford. Click here for the latest updates.

Click here for the May/June 2023 newsletter from Burghfield and Mortimer Councillor Nick Carter.

Your West Berkshire is a new magazine bringing you news and events from West Berkshire Council. It’s a good opportunity to find out more about some of things they are doing for the community. They will be sharing news, events and stories about their work and the services which they provide. You can read it online here.

• A reminder for those of you with felines in the family, that from Monday 10 June, your cat must be microchipped. This new law cites that if you do not microchip and register your cat on a database by the time they are twenty weeks old, you can be fined up to £500. See full details here.

• This Sunday 19 May it’s Community Sports Day over at Theale Recreation Ground. Starting from 1pm, there will be a variety of traditional sports day races and games, as well as a tug-of-war. A great time to get some friends and family together for a picnic! Details can be found here.

• What do you think about a 20mph limit in residential areas of Theale? The proposal’s details can be found on West Berkshire Council’s Consultation Hub where you can let us know what you think by filling out the comment form by Thursday 6 June. If you have any questions about the consultation, please contact our Traffic and Road Safety Team.

• St Mary’s Church, Burghfield will be holding a Barn Dance on Friday 17 May. There will be a baked potato supper and drinks available at the bar. Tickets cost £20 and if you would like to book a place, contact Anne at bannepocock@aol.com.

• Burghfield community Café B is looking for volunteers who can help out on Mondays or Wednesday between 9:30am and 1:30pm. Roles include barista, waiter/waitress, cook or till operator and full training will be given. To learn more get in contact Alex at cafeb@togetherinmission.org.uk.

• Ever wanted to try your hand at bowls? The Burghfield Bowls Club will be holding their next open day with free taster sessions Monday 27 May. To find out more, visit their website.

Calleva Stickdressers promote and encourage the traditional craft of stick making (walking sticks, shepherd crooks & thumbsticks etc). They hold monthly work days on the third Saturday of the month in Victory Hall, Beenham, RG7 5NN. They always welcome new members and encourage anyone interested to attend a work day to find out more about this historic craft. Upcoming dates are Saturday 18 May and 15 June.

• Theale Parish Council is now taking stall bookings for the Village Summer Fete on Sunday 7 July. If you would be interested in booking a stall, find out more by contacting the Parish Office enquiries@thealeparishcouncil.gov.uk or click here.

Home Artists Mortimer is a free monthly creative project for over 55s that can be collected from Mortimer Library or delivered to your home address on the first Tuesday of the month until September. There will also be quarterly ‘Meet the Artists’ Coffee Mornings held at Mortimer Library. Book here on cornexchangenew.com or call the box office on 01635 522733.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here to see the latest (15 May) newsletter from There’s ward member Alan Macro.

Bucket List Wishes, a charity that works with terminally ill adults, is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help with their dress sales and personalised appointments in Burghfield. For more information, click here.

• Would you like to volunteer your business expertise to help Education Business Partnership prepare our local young people? Please see here for more details.

• The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details.

Thursday 9 May 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes music, dancing, a fayre, bowls, sports, Nick’s news and a speed consultation. See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include disco nights and wine festival. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• Theale’s speed limit

A reminder that WBC wants your views on the proposal to reduce the speed limit on roads in Theale. A statement explains that “This consultation originated from three separate requests for speed limit changes in Theale (Meadow Way, Crown Lane and The Green) which were approved at the Speed Limit Review in July 2021. Since then, Theale has been identified as an ideal candidate to assess the speed limit through a whole village/area rather than just individual roads.

“The process undertaken in Theale will be treated as a pilot scheme to potentially be implemented in other suitable villages/areas across West Berkshire over the coming years.”

Let us know what you think by filling out the comment form by Thursday 6 June. You can find out more by clicking here. If you have any questions about the consultation, please contact our Transport and Road Traffic team.

• Other news

Click here for the May/June 2023 newsletter from Burghfield and Mortimer Councillor Nick Carter.

Concerts at St Mary’s, Aldermaston raise valuable funds to keep the beautiful Grade 1 Listed Building available for use by the local community as a church and community building. Their next Summer Music events are Friday 17 May with Kate Rittson-Thomas and Aldermaston C0f E School Choir and on Satuday 18 May with Kingsclere Performing Arts College. See here for details and how to book tickets. Children under 12 get free entry but please book their free tickets.

• Next Sunday 19 May it’s Community Sports Day over at Theale Recreation Ground. Starting from 1pm, there will be a variety of traditional sports day races and games, as well as a tug-of-war. A great time to get some friends and family together for a picnic! Details can be found here.

• The Burghfield May Fayre is almost upon and they are still in need volunteers for a number of roles on Saturday 11 May and Sunday 12 May. Some of the roles still needed include car park and event marshals, as well as staffing the entry gates (greeting visitors and selling raffle tickets). If you can spare an hour or two you can signup for a role here.

• The Burghfield May Fayre kicks off on this Friday 10 May with a Family Disco, then on Saturday there’s a ‘Skool Disco‘, followed by a fayre on Sunday with activities including a funfair, a dog show, arena displays, craft stalls, a prince and princess competition, a ladies tug-of-war, a café, food stalls and the Bar will all be returning this year. There will also be free parking with a shuttle bus service. Click here to learn more.

• What do you think about a 20mph limit in residential areas of Theale? The proposal’s details can be found on West Berkshire Council’s Consultation Hub where you can let us know what you think by filling out the comment form by Thursday 6 June. If you have any questions about the consultation, please contact our Traffic and Road Safety Team.

• St Mary’s Church, Burghfield will be holding a Barn Dance on Friday 17 May. There will be a baked potato supper and drinks available at the bar. Tickets cost £20 and if you would like to book a place, contact Anne at bannepocock@aol.com.

• Burghfield community Café B is looking for volunteers who can help out on Mondays or Wednesday between 9:30am and 1:30pm. Roles include barista, waiter/waitress, cook or till operator and full training will be given. To learn more get in contact Alex at cafeb@togetherinmission.org.uk.

• Ever wanted to try your hand at bowls? The Burghfield Bowls Club will be holding their next open day with free taster sessions Monday 27 May. To find out more, visit their website.

Calleva Stickdressers promote and encourage the traditional craft of stick making (walking sticks, shepherd crooks & thumbsticks etc ). They hold monthly work days on the third Saturday of the month in Victory Hall, Beenham, RG7 5NN. They always welcome new members and encourage anyone interested to attend a work day to find out more about this historic craft. Upcoming dates are Saturday 18 May and 15 June.

• Theale Parish Council is now taking stall bookings for the Village Summer Fete on Sunday 7 July. If you would be interested in booking a stall, find out more by contacting the Parish Office enquiries@thealeparishcouncil.gov.uk or click here.

Home Artists Mortimer is a free monthly creative project for over 55s that can be collected from Mortimer Library or delivered to your home address on the first Tuesday of the month until September. There will also be quarterly ‘Meet the Artists’ Coffee Mornings held at Mortimer Library. Book here on cornexchangenew.com or call the box office on 01635 522733.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Bucket List Wishes, a charity that works with terminally ill adults, is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help with their dress sales and personalised appointments in Burghfield. For more information, click here.

• The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service is holding a consultation regarding changes to the way it responds to automatic fire alarm notifications. The public consultation on the plans from now until . To complete their survey click here or get in contact at consultations@rbfrs.co.uk. before the 13 May 2024 deadline.

• Would you like to volunteer your business expertise to help Education Business Partnership prepare our local young people? Please see here for more details.

• The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details.

Thursday 2 May 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes two fayres, a dance, volunteers, a café, artists and a speed-limit consultationSee also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include mayfayre and disco nights. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• Theale’s speed limit

WBC wants your views on the proposal to reduce the speed limit on roads in Theale. A statement explains that “This consultation originated from three separate requests for speed limit changes in Theale (Meadow Way, Crown Lane and The Green) which were approved at the Speed Limit Review in July 2021. Since then, Theale has been identified as an ideal candidate to assess the speed limit through a whole village/area rather than just individual roads.

“The process undertaken in Theale will be treated as a pilot scheme to potentially be implemented in other suitable villages/areas across West Berkshire over the coming years.”

Let us know what you think by filling out the comment form by Thursday 6 June. You can find out more by clicking here. If you have any questions about the consultation, please contact our Transport and Road Traffic team.

• Other news

• The popular Bradfield Mayfayre this Bank Holiday Monday 6 May starts at 12.30pm at Bradfield Southend Village Hall Playing field, RG7 6EY – with Morris Dancing, sheep shearing demo and lots more it’s lovely country day out. See all the details on their website here.

• The Burghfield May Fayre is right around the corner, kicking off on Friday 10 May with a Family Disco, then on Saturday 11 there’s a ‘Skool Disco‘, followed by a fayre on Sunday with activities including a funfair, a dog show, arena displays, craft stalls, a prince and princess competition, a ladies tug-of-war, a café, food stalls and the Bar will all be returning this year. There will also be free parking with a shuttle bus service. Click here to learn more.

• Our rivers are in trouble and ARK (Action for the River Kennet) is asking for your help by joining the The Rivers Trust #BigRiverWatch this Bank Holiday weekend between Friday 3 and Monday 6 May. By reporting what you see in your local river, you’ll be contributing to the citizen science survey and help paint a big picture of the health of our rivers in the UK and Ireland. The more that we know about them, the better we can restore our vital waterways and demand action for rivers. Search for ‘Big River Watch’ in your app store or click here, to download and get started.

• Speaking of which, can you spare a couple of hours to help at the Burghfield May Fayre? They need volunteers for a number of roles on Saturday 11 May and Sunday 12 May to help run the events and raise money for local causes. If you can spare an hour or two you can signup for a role here.

• St Mary’s Church, Burghfield will be holding a Barn Dance on Friday 17 May. There will be a baked potato supper and drinks available at the bar. Tickets cost £20 and if you would like to book a place, contact Anne at bannepocock@aol.com.

• Burghfield community Café B is looking for volunteers who can help out on Mondays or Wednesday between 9:30am and 1:30pm. Roles include barista, waiter/waitress, cook or till operator and full training will be given. To learn more get in contact Alex at cafeb@togetherinmission.org.uk.

• Ever wanted to try your hand at bowls? The Burghfield Bowls Club will be holding their next open day with free taster sessions Monday 27 May. To find out more, visit their website.

Calleva Stickdressers promote and encourage the traditional craft of stick making (walking sticks, shepherd crooks & thumbsticks etc ). They hold monthly work days on the third Saturday of the month in Victory Hall, Beenham, RG7 5NN. They always welcome new members and encourage anyone interested to attend a work day to find out more about this historic craft. Upcoming dates are Saturday 18 May and 15 June.

• Theale Parish Council is now taking stall bookings for the Village Summer Fete on Sunday 7 July. If you would be interested in booking a stall, find out more by contacting the Parish Office enquiries@thealeparishcouncil.gov.uk or click here.

Home Artists Mortimer is a free new monthly creative project for over 55s that can be collected from Mortimer Library or delivered to your home address on the first Tuesday of the month until September. There will also be quarterly ‘Meet the Artists’ Coffee Mornings held at Mortimer Library. Book here on cornexchangenew.com or call the box office on 01635 522733.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Bucket List Wishes, a charity that works with terminally ill adults, is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help with our dress sales and personalised appointments in Burghfield. For more information, click here.

• The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service is holding a consultation regarding changes to the way it responds to automatic fire alarm notifications. The public consultation on the plans from now until . To complete their survey click here or get in contact at consultations@rbfrs.co.uk. before the 13 May 2024 deadline.

• Tickets are now available for the Burghfield Residents Association’s ‘School Disco‘ on Saturday 11 May, as part of the Burghfield May Fayre 2024. Doors open at 6:30pm and there will be a bar and food, as well as music from Skool Rulz Ok! and Audiotonic. Tickets cost £15 each, click here to learn more.

• The Burghfield May Fayre weekend will take place from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 May 2024. If you would be interested in holding a stall complete this form to register your interest.

• Theale Parish Council is still fundraising to start a new local youth club/youth café to help support young people in the area. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

• Would you like to volunteer your business expertise to help Education Business Partnership prepare our local young people? Please see here for more details.

• The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details.

Thursday 25 April 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes café help, fayre help, a bowls taster, a charity prom, an annual meeting and a request for informationSee also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include craft sale and charity wedding fair. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• What’s going on?

Theale Parish Council would like to know how you find out what is going on in Theale, and if or how it can improve our communication with you. It asks that you complete this short questionnaire by Monday 29 April 2024.

I’d be quite interested to know the results of this myself. We try to provide as much information as we can on news, petitions, consultations and the various one-off or repeating events that are taking place across the eight areas that we cover but, for each parish or district, this involves looking at numerous different sources and doubtless missing others. This is a time-consuming and error- or omission-prone activity: moreover, because the arrow of time moves relentlessly on one direction, it never ends. So, if you find Penny Post useful for learning more about what’s going on in and around Theale, please mention this on the questionnaire.

• Other news

• Can you spare a couple of hours to help at the Burghfield May Fayre? They need volunteers for a number of roles on Saturday 11 May and Sunday 12 May to help run the events and raise money for local causes. If you can spare an hour or two you can signup for a role here.

• Burghfield community Café B is looking for volunteers who can help out on Mondays or Wednesday between 9:30am and 1:30pm. Roles include barista, waiter/waitress, cook or till operator and full training will be given. To learn more get in contact Alex at cafeb@togetherinmission.org.uk.

• Local resident Richard Garvie has created an online public meeting at 7pm this Friday 26 April for concerned residents to discuss the issue of sewage in West Berkshire, and to discuss what action could and should be taken to protect public health and put pressure on Thames Water, West Berkshire Council and the Government.

• This Sunday 28 April there will be a Charity Prom and Wedding Dress Sale at St Mary’s Church, Burghfield. Prom dresses will be just £20 each and wedding dresses will vary from £75 to £150 each and the funds raised will go to ‘Bucket List Wishes’ to grant wishes for terminally ill adults. Click here for further details.

• Ever wanted to try your hand at bowls? The Burghfield Bowls Club will be holding their next open day with free taster sessions Monday 27 May. To find out more, visit their website.

Calleva Stickdressers promote and encourage the traditional craft of stick making (walking sticks, shepherd crooks & thumbsticks etc ). They hold monthly work days on the third Saturday of the month in Victory Hall, Beenham, RG7 5NN. They always welcome new members and encourage anyone interested to attend a work day to find out more about this historic craft. Upcoming dates are Saturday 18 May and 15 June.

• The local WI will be holding a Craft Stash Sale on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 April. As well as crafty good, cake and refreshments will also be available. That’s from 10am to 2pm at the WI House in Mortimer. Details can be found here.

• This year’s Theale Annual Parish Meeting is at 6.45pm on Monday 29 April and all electors from the community are welcome to come along. It is an opportunity for electors to speak on any topic of local interest, as well as talk to representatives of local organisations. This year there will be stall for members of the parish to chat to representatives and collect information and there will be presentations given at 7.45pm. To learn more and see the list of organisations attending, click here.

• Fancy a bargain on fabric and yarn? Marion Scott-Baker, awarded Singer Sewing hero for 2023 for her work in bringing stitching to local communities, is running a Wool and Fabric Bargain Sale in Newbury’s Kennet Centre on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 April 10am to 4pm. The big fabric shows offer good prices but they are expensive to get to and park, so Marion likes to bring the show discounts to our local community by inviting the traders to Newbury. The net proceeds of the sale will go to West Berkshire Mencap. See here for more details.

• Theale Parish Council is now taking stall bookings for the Village Summer Fete on Sunday 7 July. If you would be interested in booking a stall, find out more by contacting the Parish Office enquiries@thealeparishcouncil.gov.uk or click here.

Home Artists Mortimer is a free new monthly creative project for over 55s that can be collected from Mortimer Library or delivered to your home address on the first Tuesday of the month until September. There will also be quarterly ‘Meet the Artists’ Coffee Mornings held at Mortimer Library. Book here on cornexchangenew.com or call the box office on 01635 522733.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Bucket List Wishes, a charity that works with terminally ill adults, is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help with our dress sales and personalised appointments in Burghfield. For more information, click here.

• The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service is holding a consultation regarding changes to the way it responds to automatic fire alarm notifications. The public consultation on the plans from now until . To complete their survey click here or get in contact at consultations@rbfrs.co.uk. before the 13 May 2024 deadline.

• Tickets are now available for the Burghfield Residents Association’s ‘School Disco‘ on Saturday 11 May, as part of the Burghfield May Fayre 2024. Doors open at 6:30pm and there will be a bar and food, as well as music from Skool Rulz Ok! and Audiotonic. Tickets cost £15 each, click here to learn more.

• The Burghfield May Fayre weekend will take place from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 May 2024. If you would be interested in holding a stall complete this form to register your interest.

• Theale Parish Council is still fundraising to start a new local youth club/youth café to help support young people in the area. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

• Would you like to volunteer your business expertise to help Education Business Partnership prepare our local young people? Please see here for more details.

• The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details.

Thursday 18 April 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes a bucket list, a fête, sticks, bowls and a meeting – plus resurfacing work on the A4 and news on ev charge points in Burghfield and elsewhereSee also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include family film night and bowls taster. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• Resurfacing the A4 between Theale and Aldermaston

West Berkshire council has announced that work has started on resurfacing the A4 Bath Road from the A340 roundabout (where A4 Bath Road meets Basingstoke Road and Pips Way) all the way to Theale roundabout (where A4 Bath Road meets with A340 and The Green).

Running until Friday 26 April, we’ll need to close the road completely, but we’ve split the work into two phases to keep things moving smoothly:

  • Until Saturday 20 April: 9.30am to 3.30pm, expect road narrowing and some two-way temporary traffic signals.
  • Until Friday 26 April: 7:00pm to 5.00am, full evening road closure for resurfacing.

Signs are in place indicating road closure, no street parking, access times for properties and businesses and diversion routes. Please see visit the One Network website for any updates relating to these works.

• EV charge points

Mortimer Life has reported that “25 roadside electric vehicle chargers will be installed in Burghfield Common from next week as part of West Berkshire Council’s roll out of grant-funded street-light powered chargers. The qualifying streets are Omers Rise, Hollybush Lane and Abbots Road. The locations won’t initially at least be reserved for electric vehicles.  There’s information of how it all works here.

The news will also be of interest to residents of Hungerford, where eight chargers have been installed at various locations on the High Street. These, like the ones planned at Burghfield, did not include the bays being designated only for EVs. As a result, I understand that usage has been low.

At at a time when the majority of people still have fossil-fuel cars, designating bays just for EVs is going to be divisive. There’ll be the problem of enforcement and could result in angry neighbourly exchanges involving notes glued to windscreens. It’s impossible for WBC or anyone else to be sure that the EV bays are in every case outside a house with an EV car. The result may therefore be an expensive and under-used service that risks making the whole EV issue into even more of a polarised one than it is already.

Homeowners who have EVs but who need to rely on on-street parking have other options, even if no EV charge points are provided. A cable can be run from the house to car. Having these loose on the ground or strung up from first-floor windows dangling over tree branches are not great ideas: however, one can get weighted mats for the cables such as are used at events. These can get nicked, of course, and may in any case trigger insurance liability. That’s a risk each person will need to assess for themselves. Better still are the Kerbo-type systems which create a secure channel across the pavement, although these require approval from (and perhaps installation by) the council, probably for a fee.

Given the problems of getting on-street parking EV points provided and used, councils should perhaps be concentrating on charge points in public car parks or ones used by schools and leisure centres. Here, allocating EV-only bays would be easier and the benefits would be more widely felt. However, several communities (again including Hungerford) have reported long delays in getting these installed

I put these issues to Stuart Gourley, WBC’s portfolio holder for the Environment, on 18 April. He said the WBC was aware of the nuances and challenges involved in getting EVs for those in towns who rely on on-street parking and said that were looking at a “blended approach” to the use of the bays, perhaps with different regulations applying at different times of the day or the week. The Kerbo approach was, he added, currently being trialled. I suggested that for WBC to install these for free would produce the desired the result for those who needed it but at a fraction of the cost of an EV charge point that might only rarely get used through being in the wrong place. He didn’t commit himself to this but said that it was “a discussion to be had.”

As regards chargers in public car parks, he confirmed that WBC had recently signed an agreement with a supplier and that this should be producing results soon.

Another complicating issue is that of government funding. Whitehall is fond of giving councils money, or inviting them to bid for it, in a way which reflects its own particular policy preferences although these may not be what the authorities most need at the time. Money for EV chargers may be available, therefore, but only for providing on-street parking and perhaps only on particular kind of roads. If the money is to be used, it needs to be spent on that and nothing else. This can create the impression that the council has no clear list of policies or priorities. In fact, it’s often a case of use it or lose it.

• Other news

• This Friday 19 April, St Mary’s Church will be holding an Easter themed Family Film Night with the animated movie Hop. The film will start at 6.30pm and there will be snacks and refreshments provide. Click here to book tickets.

Calleva Stickdressers promote and encourage the traditional craft of stick making (walking sticks, shepherd crooks & thumbsticks etc ). They hold monthly work days on the third Saturday of the month in Victory Hall, Beenham, RG7 5NN. They always welcome new members and encourage anyone interested to attend a work day to find out more about this historic craft. Upcoming dates are Saturday 20 April, 18 May and 15 June.

• Ever wanted to try your hand at bowls? On Saturday 20 April the Burghfield Bowls Club is holding an open day with free taster sessions. To find out more, visit their website. If you can’t make this weekend’s session, then they will be holding another one on Monday 27 May.

• The local WI will be holding a Craft Stash Sale on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 April. As well as crafty good, cake and refreshments will also be available. That’s from 10am to 2pm at the WI House in Mortimer. Details can be found here.

• This year’s Theale Annual Parish Meeting is at 6.45pm on Monday 29 April and all electors from the community are welcome to come along. It is an opportunity for electors to speak on any topic of local interest, as well as talk to representatives of local organisations. This year there will be stall for members of the parish to chat to representatives and collect information and there will be presentations given at 7.45pm. To learn more and see the list of organisations attending, click here.

• Fancy a bargain on fabric and yarn? Marion Scott-Baker, awarded Singer Sewing hero for 2023 for her work in bringing stitching to local communities, is running a Wool and Fabric Bargain Sale in Newbury’s Kennet Centre on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 April 10am to 4pm. The big fabric shows offer good prices but they are expensive to get to and park, so Marion likes to bring the show discounts to our local community by inviting the traders to Newbury. The net proceeds of the sale will go to West Berkshire Mencap. See here for more details.

• Theale Parish Council is now taking stall bookings for the Village Summer Fete on Sunday 7 July. If you would be interested in booking a stall, find out more by contacting the Parish Office enquiries@thealeparishcouncil.gov.uk or click here.

Home Artists Mortimer is a free new monthly creative project for over 55s that can be collected from Mortimer Library or delivered to your home address on the first Tuesday of the month until September. There will also be quarterly ‘Meet the Artists’ Coffee Mornings held at Mortimer Library. Book here on cornexchangenew.com or call the box office on 01635 522733.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Bucket List Wishes, a charity that works with terminally ill adults, is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help with our dress sales and personalised appointments in Burghfield. For more information, click here.

• The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service is holding a consultation regarding changes to the way it responds to automatic fire alarm notifications. The public consultation on the plans from now until . To complete their survey click here or get in contact at consultations@rbfrs.co.uk. before the 13 May 2024 deadline.

• Tickets are now available for the Burghfield Residents Association’s ‘School Disco‘ on Saturday 11 May, as part of the Burghfield May Fayre 2024. Doors open at 6:30pm and there will be a bar and food, as well as music from Skool Rulz Ok! and Audiotonic. Tickets cost £15 each, click here to learn more.

• The Burghfield May Fayre weekend will take place from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 May 2024. If you would be interested in holding a stall complete this form to register your interest.

• Theale Parish Council is still fundraising to start a new local youth club/youth café to help support young people in the area. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

• Would you like to volunteer your business expertise to help Education Business Partnership prepare our local young people? Please see here for more details.

• The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details.

Thursday 11 April 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes sad news, art, plans, alarms and a partnership – plus Mortimer’s forthcoming annual parish meeting, the PCC elections and the latest opposition to concrete plans in AldermastonSee also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include eggs and wine. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• Mortimer’s meeting

Stratfield Mortimer will be holding its Annual Parish Meeting at 7 for 7.30pm on Monday 29 April at St John’s Hall. This is an ideal opportunity to meet your parish councillors and find out what has been happening in the community. This is also your chance to come and tell them what you are concerned about in the village. There will be a series of short talks plus plenty of time for anyone in the audience to express their views on any local topic. The evening will include (order to yet be decided):

  • SMPC chairman’s report and updates on parish council projects.
  • Presentation of the 2024 Community Award.
  • Announcement and presentation of prizes in the Children’s Art Competition.
  • Alison Porter on the current progress on Building Berkshire Together – the project to build a new hospital for Berkshire.
  • Update from the parish council on speed camera results.
  • Update on the parish council’s investigations into the discharges into Foundry Brook by Thames Water.

• Not so easy concrete

Aldermaston Parish Council met on 9 April and the notes of these tell me that “the majority of the meeting’ was occupied with just one issue.

This was for APC to “determine its position on the revised proposal for the development of Woodstock on Paice’s Hill (Easy Concrete), which we oppose unanimously.” (Application reference 24/00384/FUL. Part retrospective, for reduction in levels and the demolition of a storage unit, and permission for a new storage unit and a retaining wall.)

The report noted that so far, as well as 32 letters of objection (which shows the view of local residents and ensures the application will – if the officers are minded to approve it – be determined by the planning committee of elected members), there have been “major reservations expressed by the Office of Nuclear Regulation and the WBC Departments of Emergency Planning, Highways and Drainage.” The statement concluded by saying that “APC remains confident that the application will either be refused by the WBC Planners or have such tight conditions that make it unattractive to the applicant.”

This has been rumbling on for some time and, given the amount of work that’s been done without any permission, is as much an enforcement and a planning-policy issue. One of the 32 letters of objection refers directly to this: “It would also be appropriate,” one says, “to insist that the owners address the mud heap created by excavaons and that the site is returned to its previous state and contours.” Another says that “since Easy Concrete took the risk of levelling the site before submitting their application, they should equally be liable for normalising it should the application be rejected (again!).” These seem like reasonable requests. Whether WBC’s enforcement team will ensure they happen is another matter.

There also seems to be a fundamental confusion at the root of the application, which concerns for what use/s the site can be put. Sophie Crawford, the Chair of APC but writing in a personal capacity pointed out that “in the Planning Statement the applicant asserts that the site has B2 and B8 use. [Which it does, in clause 3.10.] This is not the case. There are two previous planning consents associated with the site (07/00232/FUL and 08/01436/FUL) both of which are designed to limit its use to forestry related business that is considered compable with the rural setting. There are condions linked to both of these consents that WBC should attach to any future planning applications in order to prevent the site being used for industrial activity that would be damaging to nearby residents and heritage assets, and the landscape character and environment.”

Aldermaston PC has submitted a very detailed comment on this application which should be on the WBC planning portal soon.

There are also a number of concerns from other consultees, as mentioned above, which suggest that either not enough has changed since the last (refused) application or that further details is required. All in all, it seems unlikely that the matter is in a position to be decided soon. None the less, that’s not to say that something else might not happen there without any approval: that is, after all, kind of what this latest “part retrospective” application is all about.

• Why it matters who the next PCC is

Police and Crime Commissioners are elected by the public to ensure the policing needs of communities are met. PCCs set police budgets, priorities and appoint the Chief Constable. The next PCC election is 2 May and the deadline to register to vote is 16 April. Registering to vote takes just five minutes at gov.uk/register-to-vote. To decide who to vote for, see our local Thames Valley candidates’ manifestos here.

Nigel Lynn, Police Area Returning Officer (PARO) and Chief Executive of West Berkshire Council, said: “This election is your opportunity to influence how your police service works. The PCC’s job is to make sure that crime in our area is tackled effectively and according to our local priorities. They’re elected by you, to be your voice and to hold the police force to account.”

• Other news

• Stratfield Mortimer PC would like to inform you that sadly its custodian Frank Stansfield recently passed away suddenly. He was a great support to the Council, having worked in the role for nearly nine years. Assisting with maintaining Council run land and property, his familiar figure on The Fairground, early in the morning come rain and shine, and about the village shall be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.

• Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council has extended the deadline for its art competition (open to anyone up to year 13) until Friday 12 April.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Bucket List Wishes, a charity that works with terminally ill adults, is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help with our dress sales and personalised appointments in Burghfield. For more information, click here.

• Earlybird tickets (offering some great savings) are now on sale for the Newbury Show on 21 and 22 September and there are also sponsorship opportunities still available. See more here.

Home Artists Mortimer is a free new monthly creative project for over 55s that can be collected from Mortimer Library or delivered to your home address on the first Tuesday of the month until September. There will also be quarterly ‘Meet the Artists’ Coffee Mornings held at Mortimer Library. Book here on cornexchangenew.com or call the box office on 01635 522733.

• The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service is holding a consultation regarding changes to the way it responds to automatic fire alarm notifications. The public consultation on the plans from now until . To complete their survey click here or get in contact at consultations@rbfrs.co.uk. before the 13 May 2024 deadline.

• Tickets are now available for the Burghfield Residents Association’s ‘School Disco‘ on Saturday 11 May, as part of the Burghfield May Fayre 2024. Doors open at 6:30pm and there will be a bar and food, as well as music from Skool Rulz Ok! and Audiotonic. Tickets cost £15 each, click here to learn more.

• The breast screening van is at The Fairground car park in Mortimer and will be remaining on site until April or May 2024. Those eligible for screening (i.e. local women aged 50 to 70) shall automatically receive an appointment. Those who are not registered, or over 71 and not had a mammogram in the last three years may self-refer by calling 0118 322 8282.

• The Burghfield May Fayre weekend will take place from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 May 2024. If you would be interested in holding a stall complete this form to register your interest.

• Theale Parish Council is still fundraising to start a new local youth club/youth café to help support young people in the area. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

• Would you like to volunteer your business expertise to help Education Business Partnership prepare our local young people? Please see here for more details.

• The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details.

Thursday 4 April 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes art wishes, fire alarms, tickets and a pavement – plus grant deadlines approach for those who’ve suffered flood damage, retrospective concrete in Aldermaston and Stratfield Mortimer’s investmentsSee also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include egg sacks and a disco. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• Retrospective concrete

We’ve covered the complex and divisive matters of the work down at Paices Hill by Easy Concrete (some of which had received planning permission and some of which had not). This has been a recurring issue for Aldermaston Parish Council (APC). The most recent development was a part-retrospective planning application (see details below). Nearly 300 people signed a petition asking WBC to reject Easy Concrete’s previous application, so APC “wanted people to be aware of the latest proposals should they wish to comment again this time .” To this end, APC distributed a leaflet to nearby residents on 23 March. Th text that follows is taken directly for that.

This is from Aldermaston Parish Council to tell local people about a new planning application from the owner of Easy Concrete for the wood yard on Paices Hill. Plans are similar to those put forward by the owner in 2022, which were refused by West Berkshire Council (WBC) following strong objections from residents and the Parish Council. We were of the opinion that it was the wrong development for this rural location.

Application Reference: 24/00384/FUL. Part retrospective, for reduction in levels and the demolition of a storage unit, and permission for a new storage unit and a retaining wall. 

Key elements of the proposal:

  • Slightly altered site layout to previous, including a new biodiversity area and tree planting.
  • Excavation (already carried out) creates a sizeable, level yard that is accessible for large vehicles which will allow for a more intensive use of the site than was possible historically.
  • 19m x 9.6 m storage warehouse at the east end of the site.
  • Intended use of the site not stated, but the application is made by owner of Easy Concrete which previously said it was for its concrete business.
  • Business activity would be predominantly outside in an open area with storage bays for aggregates, a water tank, cement silo, and telehandlers to load cement mixing vehicles.

WBCs Reasons for refusal:

The Council gave seven reasons for refusing the 2022 application and most remain valid as reasons for refusal of the current application:

  • Harm to the setting of Little Orchard and Aldermaston Court.
  • Proximity to AWE and impact on safety in DEPZ.
  • Damage to green infrastructure and landscape character.
  • Operational noise detrimental to amenity of nearby residents.
  • Introduction of mixed B2 (general industrial) and B8 (storage & distribution) incompatible with surrounding land use.
  • Inadequate access road.

We encourage residents to visit the WBC planning portal to review the application and to submit their own comments whether in Objection or Support. Comments can be submitted via the WBC website or by email quoting the application reference to planapps@westberks.gov.uk

• Stratfield Mortimer’s investments

The Spring 2024 edition of the Stratfield Mortimer PC Newsletter includes (on pp14-15)  a section entitles “how we’re investing in the community”. The information below is taken from that.

The council uses any CIL receipts and surpluses on capital investment. Excellent progress continues to be made on the Mortimer to Burghfield cycleway and footpath and now that planning permission for the project has been granted the next stage of work involves finalising the costs and design and fulfilling the conditions invoked as part of the planning permission. A specific (“earmarked”) reserve is in place to cover some of the expected costs, but the council will also be looking for grants and other sources of funding.

Other earmarked reserves have been maintained for the new Neighbourhood Plan and, following the success of the Community Grant from which several local organisations benefited, a further fund has been set aside for 2024/25.

In addition, CIL funds have been allocated for improving the infrastructure of the Fairground and continuing the extension work on the Cemetery.

Full details of the budget are available on SMPC’s website.

• Other news

• Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council has extended the deadline for its art competition (open to anyone up to year 13) until Friday 12 April.

• The Burghfield Santas will be back at Easter with their ‘Bulging (Egg) Sack‘ pop-up event on Friday 5 April from 5pm to 11pm on Burghfield Recreation Ground. Enjoy a range of real ale, craft beer, lager, cider, and a range of posh gins, top-quality wines, and prosecco. There will also be street food and a quiz. Details about this event and later events in the year, can be found here.

Bucket List Wishes, a charity that works with terminally ill adults, is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help with our dress sales and personalised appointments in Burghfield. For more information, click here.

• Earlybird tickets (offering some great savings) are now on sale for the Newbury Show on 21 and 22 September and there are also sponsorship opportunities still available. See more here.

Home Artists Mortimer is a free new monthly creative project for over 55s that can be collected from Mortimer Library or delivered to your home address on the first Tuesday of the month until September. There will also be quarterly ‘Meet the Artists’ Coffee Mornings held at Mortimer Library. Book here on cornexchangenew.com or call the box office on 01635 522733.

• Stratfield Mortimer Councillor Graham Brigman, writing in the Spring 2024 edition of the Stratfield Mortimer newsletter, has an update on the pavement outside the Mortimer café.

• The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service is holding a consultation regarding changes to the way it responds to automatic fire alarm notifications. The public consultation on the plans from now until . To complete their survey click here or get in contact at consultations@rbfrs.co.uk. before the 13 May 2024 deadline.

• Tickets are now available for the Burghfield Residents Association’s ‘School Disco‘ on Saturday 11 May, as part of the Burghfield May Fayre 2024. Doors open at 6:30pm and there will be a bar and food, as well as music from Skool Rulz Ok! and Audiotonic. Tickets cost £15 each, click here to learn more.

Theale Parish Council will be considering grant applications at its April full council meeting. If you are part of a local community group, organisation or charity who would benefit from TPC’s support, click here for more information. Closing date for applications is Thursday 11 April 2024.

• A statement about Theale Parish Council’s precept rise of 33.4% foe 2024-25 can be found on the TPC website.

• The breast screening van is at The Fairground car park in Mortimer and will be remaining on site until April or May 2024. Those eligible for screening (i.e. local women aged 50 to 70) shall automatically receive an appointment. Those who are not registered, or over 71 and not had a mammogram in the last three years may self-refer by calling 0118 322 8282.

• Click here for the latest (7 March 2024) newsletter from Burghfield & Mortimer ward member Nick Carter.

• The Burghfield May Fayre weekend will take place from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 May 2024. If you would be interested in holding a stall complete this form to register your interest.

• Theale Parish Council is still fundraising to start a new local youth club/youth café to help support young people in the area. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

• Would you like to volunteer your business expertise to help Education Business Partnership prepare our local young people? Please see here for more details.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

• The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details.

Thursday 28 March 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes sacks, artists, tickets, a pavement and alarms – plus the latest news on the refresh of Mortimer’s neighbourhood development planSee also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include Mortimer jumble sale. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• Mortimer’s NDP

Stratfield Mortimer was the first parish in West Berkshire to have a neighbourhood development plan (NDP) completed – “made” is the official term – and work is now under way on refreshing it. The following statement was taken from pp5-6 of the Spring 2024 edition of the Stratfield Mortimer newsletter, where further information on this (and many other matters) can be found. You can also visit the dedicated Stratfield Mortimer NDP website for more detailed information.

“The work on the new Neighbourhood Plan (NP) progresses apace, with recent reviews of the following key policy themes (Climate Change Resilience & Adaptation; Facilities, Services and Employment; Highways & Transport; Renewable Energy; and Natural Environment). The focus has been on how each area is dealt with by the West Berkshire Council (WBC) Local Plan Review 2022 to 39 (the LPR) and to make sure that the LPR covers the specific needs of Mortimer. In certain areas we have identified additional responses to include in our NP, to reflect the needs and wishes of our community.

“There is further work to be done with respect to Housing and Design codes, for which external support is required. Once the review of the key policy themes has been completed, these will be made available to the public for further consultation before being formally written up into the prescribed NP format.

“As a reminder, the NP will run to 2039 and deals only with planning issues. Whilst at this time Stratfield Mortimer Parish is not required to take additional housing by WBC (unlike the requirement in the 2017 NDP that led to the Tower House Farm development), the importance of this plan is to ensure that any developments that may occur, between now and 2039, strictly adhere to the wishes of the community as documented in the NP.”

• This week’s news

• The Burghfield Santas will be back at Easter with their ‘Bulging (Egg) Sack‘ pop-up event on Friday 5 April from 5pm to 11pm on Burghfield Recreation Ground. Enjoy a range of real ale, craft beer, lager, cider, and a range of posh gins, top-quality wines, and prosecco. There will also be street food and a quiz. Details about this event and later events in the year, can be found here.

• Earlybird tickets (offering some great savings) are now on sale for the Newbury Show on 21 and 22 September and there are also sponsorship opportunities still available. See more here.

Home Artists Mortimer is a free new monthly creative project for over 55s that can be collected from Mortimer Library or delivered to your home address on the first Tuesday of the month until September. There will also be quarterly ‘Meet the Artists’ Coffee Mornings held at Mortimer Library. Book here on cornexchangenew.com or call the box office on 01635 522733.

• Stratfield Mortimer Councillor Graham Brigman, writing in the Spring 2024 edition of the Stratfield Mortimer newsletter, has an update on the pavement outside the Mortimer café. “Following a successful bid under the WBC Members’ Bid Scheme for matched funding, made via Councillor Nick Carter, SMPC will be taking steps to raise the level of the footway between the bollards outside the café and the road. The intention is to have the level of the footway (which currently looks like it is a lay-by and part of the road, such that some vehicles park on it) brought up to the same as that of the rest of the pavement.”

• The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service is holding a consultation regarding changes to the way it responds to automatic fire alarm notifications. The public consultation on the plans from now until . To complete their survey click here or get in contact at consultations@rbfrs.co.uk. before the 13 May 2024 deadline.

• Tickets are now available for the Burghfield Residents Association’s ‘School Disco‘ on Saturday 11 May, as part of the Burghfield May Fayre 2024. Doors open at 6:30pm and there will be a bar and food, as well as music from Skool Rulz Ok! and Audiotonic. Tickets cost £15 each, click here to learn more.

Theale Parish Council will be considering grant applications at its April full council meeting. If you are part of a local community group, organisation or charity who would benefit from TPC’s support, click here for more information. Closing date for applications is Thursday 11 April 2024.

• A statement about Theale Parish Council’s precept rise of 33.4% foe 2024-25 can be found on the TPC website.

• The breast screening van is at The Fairground car park in Mortimer and will be remaining on site until April or May 2024. Those eligible for screening (i.e. local women aged 50 to 70) shall automatically receive an appointment. Those who are not registered, or over 71 and not had a mammogram in the last three years may self-refer by calling 0118 322 8282.

• Click here for the latest (7 March 2024) newsletter from Burghfield & Mortimer ward member Nick Carter.

• Click here for the latest (18 February 2024) newsletter from Theale ward member Alan Macro..

• The Burghfield May Fayre weekend will take place from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 May 2024. If you would be interested in holding a stall complete this form to register your interest.

• Theale Parish Council is still fundraising to start a new local youth club/youth café to help support young people in the area. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

• Would you like to volunteer your business expertise to help Education Business Partnership prepare our local young people? Please see here for more details.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

• The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details.

Thursday 21 March 2024

Gremlin update: our website migration to a dedicated server in the UK is scheduled for 11am on Monday 25 March so the website and emails might be down for a couple of hours. Hopefully after that all the problems we’ve recently had will be solved. It will double our hosting costs but should be money well spent if the website doesn’t crash any more. Huge thanks to those who’ve donated recently to help us keep the show on the road. If you are considering making a donation, please see here for the options.

Our usual round-up of  local news includes Santas, internet safety, a quiz, fire alarms, a disco and being a better bikerSee also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include Easter fun and jumble sale. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• Be a better biker

Be a Better Biker is a (pleasingly alliterative) workshop that allows fully licensed motorcyclists to take their skills to a level that helps improve safety and enjoyment.

Alongside other local councils, fire and rescue services and Thames Valley Police, West Berkshire Council is supporting Thames Vale Advanced Motorcyclists,  Buckinghamshire Advanced Riders and Drivers and Milton Keynes Advanced Motorcyclists to deliver two of these workshops in Theale on 25 May, 10am to 2pm and 22 June, 10am to 2pm.

Nigel Lynn, CEO of West Berkshire Council said: “I’ve been a biker since 16 years old and ride about 250 miles a week. However, I am still learning as every issue I come across on the road is unique.  Other drivers just don’t see us, and the power of modern motorcycles continues to increase year on year, making riding a bike a dangerous way to travel.  Courses such as this should be a staple diet to all Bikers. Whether longstanding, a ‘newbie’ or returning to the fold, ride safe.”

• This week’s news

• Sharon Webster invites you to a quiz night at St Johns Hall in Mortimer from 7.30pm to 9pm this Friday 22 March in aid of her London Marathon fundraising efforts for Diabetes UK. See details here and how to book.

• The Burghfield Santas will be back at Easter with their ‘Bulging (Egg) Sack‘ pop-up event on Friday 5 April from 5pm to 11pm on Burghfield Recreation Ground. Enjoy a range of real ale, craft beer, lager, cider, and a range of posh gins, top-quality wines, and prosecco. There will also be street food and a quiz. Details about this event and later events in the year, can be found here.

• There will be a free Internet Safety Workshop at Arlington Business Park in Theale for parents concerned about the online safety of their children. The course will cover digital wellbeing, online friendships, bullying, adult content and more, with advice that can be implemented at home. That’s taking place on Tuesday 26 March. Click here to learn more.

• This is your last chance to voice your views and experiences to Healthwatch West Berkshire regarding local health and social care services. Your feedback will help inform their ‘workplan’ for the next year, to help shape their work. The survey closes on Sunday 23 March, click here to learn more.

• The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service are holding a consultation regarding changes to the way they respond to automatic fire alarm notifications. The public consultation on the plans from now until . To complete their survey click here or get in contact at consultations@rbfrs.co.uk. before the 13 May 2024 deadline.

• Tickets are now available for the Burghfield Residents Association’s ‘School Disco‘ on Saturday 11 May, as part of the Burghfield May Fayre 2024. Doors open at 6:30pm and there will be a bar and food, as well as music from Skool Rulz Ok! and Audiotonic. Tickets cost £15 each, click here to learn more.

• The breast screening van is at The Fairground car park in Mortimer and will be remaining on site until April or May 2024. Those eligible for screening (i.e. local women aged 50 to 70) shall automatically receive an appointment. Those who are not registered, or over 71 and not had a mammogram in the last three years may self-refer by calling 0118 322 8282.

• Click here for the latest (7 March 2024) newsletter from Burghfield & Mortimer ward member Nick Carter.

• Click here for the latest (18 February 2024) newsletter from Theale ward member Alan Macro..

• Click here for details of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council’s 2024 community grants.

• The Burghfield May Fayre weekend will take place from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 May 2024. If you would be interested in holding a stall complete this form to register your interest.

• Would you like to volunteer your business expertise to help Education Business Partnership prepare our local young people? Please see here for more details.

• Theale Parish Council is fundraising to start a new local youth club/youth café to help support young people in the area. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

• The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details.

Thursday 14 March 2024

Gremlin update: we have started the process of migrating our whole website, emails and hosting to a new UK-based company – so, fingers crossed this goes smoothly next week but please bear with us if there any hiccups. Thanks again to those who have already helped cover our extra costs, including Joan from Newbury who says “I’ve learned so much from following your weekly bulletins over the years and I have at last arranged for a small monthly donation. Thank you so much for all you do.” This kind of feedback means the world to us. If you are considering making us a donation, please see here for the options.

Our usual round-up of  local news includes fire alarms, a disco, screening, weddings and a youth club – plus the latest on Garth Hall in Mortimer, payback painting in Burghfield and Aldermaston’s continuing concrete sagaSee also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include wedding fair and Easter fun. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• Mortimer’s Hall

We’ve reported several times on the slightly tangled issue of the Garth Club Hall in Mortimer. Stratfield Mortimer Parish Councillor (and, since last May, WBC Councillor) Nick Carter has been involved in the discussions to try to get the Royal British Legion to relinquish its interest in the building with the aim of “bringing the building back into community use.” You can see his summary of the current situation on the Mortimer Live website.

Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council also has a statement on the matter, which covers very similar ground: “Members of the parish council met on Thursday 29 February with representatives from the Royal British Legion to discuss progress regarding the potential transfer of the trust relating to, or the disposal of, Garth Club (aka Garth Hall).  Following the formal notice published in October last year, the Legion received four indications of interest in relation to the building, of which two potentially satisfied the initial criteria sufficiently to be discussed at the meeting.

“As a result of the discussions at the meeting it has been decided that the Legion will now invite the two organisations to meet with them (with two parish councillors as observers) to flesh out their bids in greater detail so that the Legion can consider whether their proposals  are viable and that the building can be brought back into community use – this will all take place over the next couple of months. Following this, the Legion will make a decision as to the transfer of the trust to new trustees or – if the conclusion is that neither bid meets the requirements for a transfer of the trust – a sale of the building (with the net proceeds being used for community purposes).”

Many such buildings across the district are finding themselves in a similar situation to Garth Hall. Built in the days when community facilities were, perhaps, more needed and better used, many have seen their original raison d’être vanish and and are now sad Cinderellas: many, including some village halls, have deteriorated to an extent that they’ve needed to be demolished. Many are owned by trusts which might exist to address needs that are perhaps no longer the most pressing ones the community faces. Some may have been run for a long time by a separate groups who may not – as appears to have been the case here – have maintained the building very well. Hopefully this one, and others elsewhere, will be given a new lease of life: or, if that can’t be accomplished sold and the proceeds re-invested in the community.

• Concrete news

Over the last year or so we’ve been following the issue of the Easy Concrete site in Aldermaston which seems to provide a number of examples of the weaknesses of the planning system. This article from February 2023 summarises the situation as it was then: further coverage can be found by searching (we use Ctrl F) for “concrete” (it’s not a word I think I’ve used in any other context) in earlier editions of this column, most of which will be in the archive sections.

The 12 March meeting of Aldermaston Parish Council provided an update on this issue. “Also in Open Forum,” the summary of the meeting I was sent began, “we were asked about the status of the new Planning Application by Easy Concrete for the Woodyard on Paice’s Hill.

“We were advised by our Chairman that it had been received by WBC, but they were still verifying it and had not released it for general comment.  She was concerned that the land to the immediate south on their site could be used for storage, and was disappointed with the apparent support for this proposal by WBC Planning Enforcement, who seemed not take into account the historic use of the field.”

• Payback painting

Burghfield St. Mary’s CE Primary School has started an innovative Community Payback Project offering unpaid work for offenders in the area. The school feels very passionately about reparation via unpaid work as it “provides people with a constructive means to repair harm caused by their involvement in offending and supports the strengthening of relationships within communities.”

Being a small village school its equally small school budget doesn’t stretch to a caretaker: so the site management, maintenance and upkeep is done by the Headteacher and the Deputy Headteacher who haven’t had the time or expertise to paint the classrooms and corridors. The Community Payback Project has provided the manual labour at no cost to the school. Local shops donated enough paint and equipment to get them started.

On Sunday 25 February, the school welcomed their first probation team whose painting prowess has made a big difference to the Year 3 and 4 classroom corridors. As the first weekend was such a success, the probation service has agreed to send a team to the school every fortnight, with the aim to paint all school corridors and classrooms throughout the year.

The children will be having a ‘Paint Day’ in the coming weeks where each child will donate a brush, roller, sheet of sandpaper or paint sheet. They will engage in painting activities and their donations will be used by the probation team in the months that follow.

• Other news

• The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service invite you to take part in their latest consultation regarding changes to the way they respond to automatic fire alarm notifications. The public consultation on the plans from now until 13 May 2024. To learn more are complete their online survey click here, or you can get in contact at consultations@rbfrs.co.uk.

• Healthwatch West Berkshire want to hear your views and experiences on local health and social care services. Each year, they create a ‘workplan’ based on public feedback, to help decide what projects they will work on to improve and shape their work from working on from April 2024 to March 2025. The survey closes on Sunday 23 March, click here to learn more.

Aldermaston Parish Hall invites you to their Wedding Fayre this Saturday 16 March, 11am-4pm to meet local suppliers including photographers, a florist, cake bakers, caterers, a wedding singer and a hair & makeup artist. The event is free but if you reserve your place beforehand you will be eligible for a 10% discount offered on the hall fee for your special day. Email aldermastonparishhall@gmail.com Light refreshments offered throughout the day.

• Sharon Webster invites you to a quiz night at St Johns Hall in Mortimer from 7.30pm to 9pm on Friday 22 March in aid of her London Marathon fundraising efforts for Diabetes UK. See details here and how to book.

• Tickets are now available for the Burghfield Residents Association’s ‘School Disco‘ on Saturday 11 May, as part of the Burghfield May Fayre 2024. Doors open at 6:30pm and there will be a bar and food, as well as music from Skool Rulz Ok! and Audiotonic. Tickets cost £15 each, click here to learn more.

• The breast screening van is at The Fairground car park in Mortimer and will be remaining on site until April or May 2024. Those eligible for screening (i.e. local women aged 50 to 70) shall automatically receive an appointment. Those who are not registered, or over 71 and not had a mammogram in the last three years may self-refer by calling 0118 322 8282.

• Click here for the latest (7 March 2024) newsletter from Burghfield & Mortimer ward member Nick Carter.

• Click here for the latest (18 February 2024) newsletter from Theale ward member Alan Macro.

• Everyone is welcome to Theale Parish Council’s warm community space, at the Peter Gooch Room, Englefield Road, open every Wednesday from 9am to 3pm. For free transport to the hub is available until the end of March, call 01189 306592. They are also looking for volunteers who can support the space by welcoming visitors and making drinks.

• Click here for details of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council’s 2024 community grants.

• The Burghfield May Fayre weekend will take place from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 May 2024. If you would be interested in holding a stall complete this form to register your interest.

• Theale Parish Council is fundraising to start a new local youth club/youth café to help support young people in the area. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

• Would you like to volunteer your business expertise to help Education Business Partnership prepare our local young people? Please see here for more details.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

• The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details.

Thursday 7 March 2024

Gremlin alert: some people have recently had problems loading our web pages. We believe we’re close to solving this but you may find, if you return to this page later, that it’s unavailable. Please accept our apologies and try again in a bit. The solution involves upgrading our website server which we have put off as it costs more money. But the time has come when we have no choice. So, as we’ve said before, any small monthly donation you can make towards this cost would be very much appreciated. See here for ways to donate. And thanks again to those who have already done so.

Our usual round-up of  local news includes a wharf, a disco, football, compost and workshops – plus a likely final decision on the contentious matter of Four Houses CornerSee also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include first-aid training and Easter fun. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• Four Houses Corner

As mentioned last week, the Eastern Area Planning Committee met on 6 March to decide this contentious and divisive matter. You can click here to see the EAPC’s agenda here which includes a link to all the documents and a video of the event. After a discussion, the committee passed the application with conditions, as the officers had recommended.

Because of the connection between the site and murderers of PC Andrew harper, the application generated a good deal of public interest and concern. Three points are worth making. First, WBC has a legal obligation to provide such sites. Second, planning permission for this site already exists, this application merely being to vary the details. Third, any refusal by the committee could only have been made on planning grounds: and there were none. The matter only case to committee at all because it had received more than ten objections.

The possibility remains that the Secretary of State may decide to call the decision in and I understand that representations have been made to that effect. Not being sure of how long the window of opportunity is, I checked online. The House of Commons Library says that “The Secretary of State has the power to take the decision-making power on a planning application out of the hands of the local planning authority (LPA) by calling it in for his own determination. This can be done at any time during the planning application process, up to the point at which the LPA makes the decision.”

As this has now happened, that may be that. However, the application is not formally approved until the decision notice is issued, which can take a few days. It therefore looks like a done deal. The decision was not taken lightly ; it was also taken bearing in mind the constraints that applied.

Finally, were the application to have been refused, there might have been an appeal. This would quite probably have succeeded, so leading via a longer road to the same result but with WBC being perhaps £100,000 poorer.

• Other news

• The Aldermaston Wharf work is currently underway, with the bridge itself craned into place earlier this week. Work will continue for the next two weeks, as workers reconnect all the electrical and hydraulic components. The aim is to get the road and canal reopened by Friday 15 March.

• Tickets are now available for the Burghfield Residents Association’s ‘School Disco‘ on Saturday 11 May, as part of the Burghfield May Fayre 2024. Doors open at 6:30pm and there will be a bar and food, as well as music from Skool Rulz Ok! and Audiotonic. Tickets cost £15 each, click here to learn more.

• As mentioned previously, West Berkshire Council and Veolia are teaming up to provide residents with free soil conditioner (compost). On Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 March, between 10am and 4pm, you will be able to swing by the Padworth Waste Management Facility and grab some locally produced soil conditioner. No appointment is needed, just bring along an ID card and your own bags or boxes to carry the conditioner. Click here for details.

• The breast screening van is at The Fairground car park in Mortimer and will be remaining on site until April or May 2024. Those eligible for screening (i.e. local women aged 50 to 70) shall automatically receive an appointment. Those who are not registered, or over 71 and not had a mammogram in the last three years may self-refer by calling 0118 322 8282.

• Burghfield Football Club is looking for players to join their newly formed girls U12 and U13 (school years 6, 7 and 8) teams for the 2024/25 season. Players of all abilities are welcome, so if you know a girl that would be interested, get in touch at info@burghfieldfootballclub.com.

• The Spencer’s Wood Repair Café is now offering free workshops on how to repair/build/reuse to local schools and youth groups. Click here to learn more about the kind of activities they offer, and get in touch on billie@spencerswoodrepaircafe.co.uk or call 07718 679827.

• Click here for the latest (7 March 2024) newsletter from Burghfield & Mortimer ward member Nick Carter.

• Click here for the latest (18 February 2024) newsletter from Theale ward member Alan Macro.

• Would you like to help inspire the future workforce? Education Business Partnership helps prepare our local young people for the world of work, and to do this EBP relies on the support of local businesses and professionals. If you would like to volunteer your expertise please see here for more details.

• Everyone is welcome to Theale Parish Council’s warm community space, at the Peter Gooch Room, Englefield Road, open every Wednesday from 9am to 3pm. For free transport to the hub is available until the end of March, call 01189 306592. They are also looking for volunteers who can support the space by welcoming visitors and making drinks.

• Click here for details of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council’s 2024 community grants.

• The Burghfield May Fayre weekend will take place from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 May 2024. If you would be interested in holding a stall complete this form to register your interest.

• Theale Parish Council is fundraising to start a new local youth club/youth café to help support young people in the area. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

• Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

• The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details.

Thursday 29 February 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes soil, screening, ghosts, workshops and a community space – plus the next moves with the solar farm near Grazeley and an imminent decision on Four House Corner. See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include first aid and a craft evening. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• Going solar

The imminent (29 February) meeting about West Berkshire’s budget makes one think of the immediate needs in areas such as social care, education and roads. There’s also capital expenditure. I found myself remembering covering the meeting of the Eastern Area Planning Committee in 2022 which looked at, and approved, WBC’s proposed solar farm near Grazeley. I don’t remember hearing much about this recently: where were we with this?

The first call was to Environment portfolio holder Stuart Gourley. “It’s on track,” he told me. “There’s the business case to be finalised and the procurement documents to be issued. Planning permission has been granted.” (This happened the the Eastern Area Planning Committee (EAPC) meeting on 24 August 2022: see the archive of this post).

I asked about the costs. .”£17.2m has been allocated in the capital budget for there next four years, he said, “but this is for all our solar projects. This is the largest but by no means the only one.” If so, this seems less than the up to £20m just for this project which I suggested  month or so after the meeting.

Stuart Gourley added that it was expected that the project would be operational by mid-2025. If so, it’s to be expected that WBC will make a statement soon about the likely construction costs, the supplier and the timetable. As for the yields, these were predicted at the EAPC as being about £4m. If so, and with a £20m investment cost, it represents better value for money than does WBC’s current £60m investment in commercial property which produces a return of £1.5m. Energy prices, like property yields, can do does as well as up. Let’s see what the final costs are before making a final judgment on the merits of this scheme.

• Four Houses Corner

One of the items the Eastern Area Planning Committee will consider at its meeting on 6 March is to discuss and, unless it’s passed up to the District Planning Committee, to agree this long-running and contentious matter. Feelings have run very high on the issue. WBC’s has a legal responsibility to provide such sites and, if it refuses to grant permission, can only do so for sound planning reasons.

The official summary of the applications is: “It is proposed to replace the existing permanent 18 pitch Gypsy caravan site with a new 17 permanent pitch Gypsy caravan site. Each pitch is to consist of a hard standing area large enough for two twin axle caravans, car parking for two vehicles and a 30 sq m amenity building consisting of a kitchen/dayroom, bathroom, separate WC and utility area. In addition to the amenity buildings a recycle storage facility, children play area and sewerage treatment plant are to be located within the site.”

The officers’ recommendation is for approval subject to conditions. Let’s see if the members come to the same conclusion. You can see all the documents here.

• Other news

• West Berkshire Council and Veolia are teaming up to once again provide residents with free soil conditioner. On Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 March, between 10:00am and 4:00pm, you will be able to swing by the Padworth Waste Management Facility (Padworth Lane, RG7 4JF) and grab some locally produced soil conditioner. No appointment is needed, just bring along an ID card and your own bags or boxes to carry the conditioner. Click here for more information.

• The breast screening van is at The Fairground car park in Mortimer and will be remaining on site until April or May 2024. Those eligible for screening (i.e. local women aged 50 to 70) shall automatically receive an appointment. Those who are not registered, or over 71 and not had a mammogram in the last three years may self-refer by calling 0118 322 8282.

• It’s your last chance to catch the Aldermaston Players’ exciting comedy. The Ghost Train at Aldermaston Parish Hall will have its last two shows on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 March. Book your tickets here.

Burfield Football Club is looking for players to join their newly formed girls U12 and U13 (school years 6, 7 and 8) teams for the 2024/25 season. Players of all abilities are welcome, so if you know a girl that would be interested, get in touch at info@burfieldfootballclub.com.

• The Spencer’s Wood Repair Café is now offering free workshops on how to repair/build/reuse to local schools and youth groups. Click here to learn more about the kind of activities they offer, and get in touch on billie@spencerswoodrepaircafe.co.uk or call 07718 679827.

Click here for the latest (20 February 2024) newsletter from Burghfield & Mortimer ward member Nick Carter.

Click here for the latest (18 February 2024) newsletter from Theale ward member Alan Macro.

• Would you like to help inspire the future workforce? Education Business Partnership helps prepare our local young people for the world of work, and to do this EBP relies on the support of local businesses and professionals. If you would like to volunteer your expertise please see here for more details.

• Award-winning Tutts Clump Cider thanks everyone who has responded to their crowd funding appeal to keep their business going. They were badly hit by lockdown and are in financial trouble.

• Everyone is welcome to Theale Parish Council’s warm community space, at the Peter Gooch Room, Englefield Road, open every Wednesday from 9am to 3pm. For free transport to the hub is available until the end of March, call 01189 306592. They are also looking for volunteers who can support the space by welcoming visitors and making drinks.

Click here for details of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council’s 2024 community grants.

• The Burghfield May Fayre weekend will take place from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 May 2024. If you would be interested in holding a stall complete this form to register your interest.

• Theale Parish Council is fundraising to start a new local youth club/youth café to help support young people in the area. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details.

Thursday 22 February 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes Alan and Nick’s newsletters, a boot sale, a dress sale, workshops and a youth club – plus the long-running saga of Windmill Court inches towards a conclusion, a late objection and an unenforceable planning condition. See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include first aid and a craft evening.  See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• Keeping the phone on

The latest newsletter from Burghfield & Mortimer ward member Nick Carter includes mention of a slightly odd objection to a planning decision that’s already been taken. This concerns 100 new homes in Clayhill Road, Burghfield Common for which outline planning permission was granted in 2018, “before,” as he stresses, “the AWE Detailed Emergency Planning Zone (DEPZ) was extended, in 2019.” He adds that “It seems AWE and the Environment Agency have recently objected to housing on the site.” He suggests that this seems rather late in the day considering that permission has been obtained and houses are being built there. Let’s hope AWE and the EA are a little faster off the mark when it comes to dealing with a radiation leak or a pollution spill.

He also draws attention to a strange condition in the decision notice dated 29 July 2022 that “No dwelling shall be occupied until a telephone land line has been fixed in each house. This land line must be maintained in perpetuity in the dwelling in question in a working order.” The reason given is that “the application site lies in the DEPZ of AWE [Burghfield] and accordingly in the event of an emergency telecommunications must be maintained where possible.” I suppose it may be the case that land lines are more impervious to radioactive interference than are mobiles.

None the less, this has the look of a condition that is utterly meaningless. It could perhaps be enforced and discharged prior to occupation (though many such conditions are not). However, if the real intention is to safeguard the residents than I’m at a loss to see how WBC can ensure that they all keep their landlines connected thereafter. Maybe an officer could ring them up once a week and then, to save time and explanation, hang up as soon as the call was answered and move on to the next one on the list. Or maybe not.

• Windmill Court

This saga, which has been rumbling along for about two years, is grinding towards a conclusion. In 2022 Sovereign Housing announced its intention to close the site, which contained sheltered housing, and re-develop it. Its communications on the matter fell a long way short of what the situation demanded, as did the plans for re-developmet it then submitted. Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council (SMPC) was completely blindsided by the announcement but was instrumental in ensuring a more equitable solution. That this now seems to be imminent (with, for instance, all the dwellings now being affordable) is largely down to SMPC’s efforts.

WBC Nick Carter recently said that “the council Executive will soon be asked to lift restrictions that exist on Windmill Court site, to allow it to be demolished and redeveloped.” This refers to various covenants which need to be adjusted to reflect the new use. he adds a note of caution, however: “I understand that five residents remain and still seek suitable temporary accommodation locally. I also understand they have been told they must leave soon, and must consider living outside Mortimer, to allow the building work to start. As petition organiser (and councillor) I’m raising this with the housing association, before deciding if I, on behalf of the petition signatories, should support demolition.” It’s not quite a done deal yet, then.

On 22 February I spoke to Graham Bridgman, the Deputy Chair of SMPC and who was, when this first blew up, also the Deputy leader of WBC. I had many conversations with him over the following months as efforts were made to resolve the impasse. He told me that some “minor revisions” would be discussed at the meeting of SMPC’s planning committee that evening but that these didn’t seem to be deal breakers. He added that he was glad that the new project now included all affordable homes, as he and SMPC had long argued. As for the restrictions, “they always had to be lifted before the work can start.” It appears that his successor, Nick Carter, is not yet completely convinced that Sovereign has done all it might to address the needs of the remaining residents.

On a separate note, if development does start this year, this would be a vastly quicker turnaround than another project in which Sovereign has an interest (as part of a joint venture with WBC), that at Chestnut Walk in Hungerford. There, nearly seven years has elapsed and nothing has happened. What could be the reason for this? Surely it couldn’t be because in Mortimer Sovereign owns the land whereas in Hungerford it doesn’t?

• Other news

On Saturday 24 February there will be an indoor car boot sale, at the Burghfield Community Spots Association. For visitors it is £1 entry and doors open from 8am. Click here to learn more.

• In need of a formal dress? St Mary’s Church, Burfield, will be hosting a wedding and prom dress sale, with local charity Bucket List Wishes. Prices for wedding dresses will range between £75 – £150, while prom dresses will be £20 each. All proceeds will be used to help grant wishes for local terminally ill adults. Click here for more information.

Burfield Football Club is looking for players to join their newly formed girls U12 and U13 (school years 6, 7 and 8) teams for the 2024/25 season. Players of all abilities are welcome, so if you know a girl that would be interested, get in touch at info@burfieldfootballclub.com.

• The Spencer’s Wood Repair Café is now offering free workshops on how to repair/build/reuse to local schools and youth groups. Click here to learn more about the kind of activities they offer, and get in touch on billie@spencerswoodrepaircafe.co.uk or call 07718 679827.

• The breast screening van has returned to The Fairground car park in Mortimer on and will be remaining on site for eight to twelve weeks. All those eligible for screening (i.e. women aged 50 to 70 and registered locally) shall automatically receive an appointment. Others age 71 and over, and those who are not registered, and have not had a mammogram in the last three years may self-refer by calling 0118 322 8282.

Click here for the latest (20 February 2024) newsletter from Burghfield & Mortimer ward member Nick Carter.

Click here for the latest (18 February 2024) newsletter from Theale ward member Alan Macro.

• The Canal & River Trust’s Let’s Activity campaign is running free guided walks around our local waterways. On Saturday 24 February, they’ll be walking a circular route along the river Kennet starting from the Tea Rooms near Aldermaston Lock. There is a time slot at 1:45pm, and another at 11am which is also wheelchair/pushchair friendly.

• Would you like to help inspire the future workforce? Education Business Partnership helps prepare our local young people for the world of work, and to do this EBP relies on the support of local businesses and professionals. If you would like to volunteer your expertise please see here for more details.

Aldermaston Players are back with an exciting comedy–thriller that will have you on the edge of your seats! Don’t miss The Ghost Train at Aldermaston Parish Hall along with a sit down three-course meal on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 February and Friday 1 and Saturday 2 March. On Thursday 29 February there is a performance only (no meal). Book your tickets here.

• Award-winning Tutts Clump Cider thanks everyone who has responded to their crowd funding appeal to keep their business going. They were badly hit by lockdown and are in financial trouble.

• Everyone is welcome to Theale Parish Council’s warm community space, at the Peter Gooch Room, Englefield Road, open every Wednesday from 9am to 3pm. For free transport to the hub is available until the end of March, call 01189 306592. They are also looking for volunteers who can support the space by welcoming visitors and making drinks.

Click here for details of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council’s 2024 community grants.

• The Burghfield May Fayre weekend will take place from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 May 2024. The Burghfield Residents Association are now accepting applications for stall holders for the Sunday. If you would be interested in holding a stall complete this form to register your interest.

• Theale Parish Council is fundraising to start a new local youth club/youth café to help support young people in the area. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details.

Thursday 15 February 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes workshops, walks, screening, a ghost train and cider – plus an apparent nuclear lottery exposed by Aldermaston PC’s response to Basingstoke and Deane’s local plan.  See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include a boot sale. and a canal walk.  See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• A nuclear lottery

The most recent meeting of Aldermaston Parish Council (see the Councils section below for summary) discussed amongst other things its response to Basingstoke and Deane’s (B&D) latest local plan consultation. This is not, I should stress, because the parish has been annexed but due to its being on the frontier between B&D and West Berkshire. Arguably the most important thing in Aldermaston is the AWE facility. Its location means it is consulted on the polices that both councils need to have in place, not only for dealing with incidents but also on matters like planning constraints which could be relevant if there were a disaster.

The APC meeting exposed something that surprised me: the two authorities seem to have very different views on these matters. In its response to the consultation, APC said that “We note that this policy is not as closely aligned as one might expect to the equivalent policy in West Berkshire Council’s (WBC) Local Plan Review (2022-39).”

This could almost be described as an understatement. “B&D’s Policy SPS8 states,” the response continues, “that development ‘will only be permitted where the Off-Site Emergency Plan can accommodate the needs of the population in the event of an emergency’, whereas WBC’s Policy SP4 states that any new development located in the Detailed Emergency Planning Zone of AWE Aldermaston is ‘likely to be refused planning permission by the council’.”

APC’s letter goes on to say that “B&D only focuses on public safety and says that the ONRs decision whether to advise against a particular development will be based on the extent to which the Off Site Emergency Plan can accommodate the additional population. By contrast WBC, in its Policy and Supporting Text, also acknowledges that new development in the DEPZ needs to be limited because it may impede the current and future operations of AWE Aldermaston itself.”

I’m surprised that neighbouring councils don’t in these circumstances talk to each other about agreeing policies which concern a common threat. One reading of the two policies is that WBC fears that the whole thing could blow up at any time whereas B&D thinks that everything will probably all be fine. They can’t both be right. It would be interesting to see how a planning application which straddled the border between the two districts, in Aldermaston or elsewhere, would be handled. Given that councils are normally fairly risk-averse, B&D’s comparative insouciance seems more surprising than WBC’s caution. After all, the AWE is about as close to Newbury as it is to Basingstoke.

We believe,” APC’s comments conclude, “that B&D’s Policy SPS8 needs to be more comprehensive so that developers are aware that planning applications in the DEPZ will not only be scrutinised by AWE and the ONR for impact on the Off Site Emergency Plan and that all development is likely to be refused planning permission.” Let’s see what B&D’s planning boffins think about that.

• Other news

• In addition to its usual services, the Spencer’s Wood Repair Café is now offering free workshops on how to repair/build/reuse to local schools and youth groups. They can facilitate workshops for groups of up to 30 children, between ages 11 to 13. Click here to learn more about the kind of activities they offer, and get in touch on billie@spencerswoodrepaircafe.co.uk or call 07718 679827.

• The Canal & River Trust’s Let’s Activity campaign is running free guided walks around our local waterways. On Saturday 24 February, they’ll be walking a circular route along the river Kennet starting from the Tea Rooms near Aldermaston Lock. There is a time slot at 1:45pm, and another at 11am which is also wheelchair/pushchair friendly.

• As of this week, the breast screening has returned to The Fairground car park in Mortimer on and will be remaining on site for eight to twelve weeks. All those eligible for screening (i.e. women aged 50 to 70 and registered locally) shall automatically receive an appointment. Others age 71 and over, and those who are not registered, and have not had a mammogram in the last three years may self-refer by calling 0118 322 8282.

• This Sunday there is an opportunity for members of the parish meet their Neighbourhood Policing Team and have their say about local issues. The team will be at Burghfield Village Hall from 2pm to 3pm, so pop along to share your views.

• Would you like to help inspire the future workforce? Education Business Partnership helps prepare our local young people for the world of work, and to do this EBP relies on the support of local businesses and professionals. If you would like to volunteer your expertise please see here for more details.

Aldermaston Players are back with an exciting comedy–thriller that will have you on the edge of your seats! Don’t miss The Ghost Train at Aldermaston Parish Hall along with a sit down three-course meal on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 February and Friday 1 and Saturday 2 March. On Thursday 29 February there is a performance only (no meal). Book your tickets here.

• Award-winning Tutts Clump Cider thanks everyone who has responded to their crowd funding appeal to keep their business going. They were badly hit by lockdown and are in financial trouble.

• Everyone is welcome to Theale Parish Council’s warm community space, at the Peter Gooch Room, Englefield Road, open every Wednesday from 9am to 3pm. For free transport to the hub is available until the end of March, call 01189 306592. They are also looking for volunteers who can support the space by welcoming visitors and making drinks.

Click here for details of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council’s 2024 community grants.

• The Burghfield May Fayre weekend will take place from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 May 2024. The Burghfield Residents Association are now accepting applications for stall holders for the Sunday. If you would be interested in holding a stall complete this form to register your interest.

• Theale Parish Council is fundraising to start a new local Youth Club/Youth Café to help support young people in the area. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details.

Thursday 8 February 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes: guided walks, an action group, breast screening, a youth club and a new ramp.  See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include: meet the local police team and a boot sale. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• Aldermaston’s ramp

Any mention of “Aldermaston” and “concrete” in the same sentence here usually refers to the Parish Council’s protracted battle with Easy Concrete about the unauthorised works and the hoped-for restitution of the damage that was caused. Not on this occasion, however. This is a happier story, though one which at times generated a reasonable amount of controversy.

Aldermaston Parish Council has recently lodged a planning application for “construction of a mini concrete skate ramp within Aldermaston Village recreation ground. (The use remains F2 – local community use).” You can see the detail of the application here. The determination date is Friday 22 March so any comments should be made by then: they will, however, be accepted after this date if the matter hasn’t been decided by then.

This will replace the old one which had declined into an unstable condition and was closed in 2021. There was some local debate about whether it should be repaired or replace (or, perhaps, closed permanently). Following a public meeting in late 2022 it was decided to proceed with a new one. This was exactly the decision taken a year or so ago by Hungerford Town Council, whose skate ramp had become similarly decrepit. The new facility, opened last year, has proved very popular. I hope the same will be able to said of Aldermaston’s.

• Other news

• The Canal & River Trust’s Let’s Activity campaign is running free guided walks around our local waterways. On Saturday 24 February, they’ll be walking a circular route from the Tea Rooms near Aldermaston Lock, winding it’s way through along the river Kennet and the canal. These sessions are designed for adults and children (aged 7+ accompanied by an adult) as an introduction to walking, to learn a bit of history, make new friends and see some awesome wildlife. They have two time slots too book on, one at 1:45pm, and another at 11am – which is also wheelchair/pushchair friendly.

• This Sunday there is an opportunity for members of the parish meet their Neighbourhood Policing Team and have their say about local issues. The team will be at Burghfield Village Hall from 2pm to 3pm, so pop along to share your views.

Aldermaston Players are back with an exciting comedy–thriller that will have you on the edge of your seats! Don’t miss The Ghost Train at Aldermaston Parish Hall along with a sit down three-course meal on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 February and Friday 1 and Saturday 2 March. On Thursday 29 February there is a performance only (no meal). Book your tickets here.

• Award-winning Tutts Clump Cider thanks everyone who has responded to their crowd funding appeal to keep their business going. They were badly hit by lockdown and are in financial trouble.

• There will be a meeting of the Burghfield & Mortimer Neighbourhood Action Group at the Community Centre, Mortimer, at 7.30pm on Wednesday 14 February 2024.  The agenda is here. This meeting is open to the public.

• Everyone is welcome to Theale Parish Council’s warm community space, at the Peter Gooch Room, Englefield Road, open every Wednesday from 9am to 3pm. For free transport to the hub is available until the end of March, call 01189 306592. They are also looking for volunteers who can support the space by welcoming visitors and making drinks.

• The breast screening van will be returning to The Fairground car park in Mortimer on Monday 12 February and will be remaining on site for eight to twelve weeks. All those eligible for screening ie those women aged 50 to 70 and registered locally, shall automatically receive an appointment. Others who are 71 and over, and those who are not registered, and have not had a mammogram in the last three years may self-refer by calling 0118 322 8282. Please note part of the car park will be cordoned off on Sunday the 11 February to allow for the arrival of the van on the morning of Monday 12 February.

Click here for details of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council’s 2024 community grants.

• The Burghfield May Fayre weekend will take place from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 May 2024. The Burghfield Residents Association are now accepting applications for stall holders for the Sunday. If you would be interested in holding a stall complete this form to register your interest.

• Theale Parish Council is fundraising to start a new local Youth Club/Youth Café to help support young people in the area. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details.

Thursday 1 February 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes: councillor surgeries, community space, a youth club, applications and a fayre.  See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include: a YMCA drop-in and a boot sale. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

This week’s news

On the first Saturday of the month your local West Berkshire District Councillor holds a Resident Surgery between 10am and 11.30am at Burghfield Library. Just drop in and they will listen to your issues and discuss options. The next one will be on Saturday 3 February with Councillor Vickey Poole.

• Everyone is welcome to Theale Parish Council’s new warm community space, at the Peter Gooch Room, Englefield Road (near the Village Hall & Social Club) which is open every Wednesday from 9am to 3pm for friendly chat and a free hot drink or cuppa soup. Free transport to the hub is available until the end of March. Please call 01189 306592 for more information. They are also looking for volunteers who might be able to support the space by welcoming visitors and making the drinks/soup.

• West Berkshire Council has announced the winners of the Community Champion Awards: Gillian Hornzee (Volunteer of the Year), Susan Cocker (Lifetime Achievement Award), Speen Community Café (Community Group of the Year) and Thrishathi Srinivasan (The Pat Eastop MBE Junior Citizen of the Year Award). Many congratulations to all the winners who will receive their awards at a ceremony at Shaw House on 5 February, and thank you for all your hard work in the community.

The Green Hub on West Berkshire Council’s website is focused on helping people make more sustainable choices collectively along our journey to Net Zero, whether you live, work or learn in West Berkshire or are a business owner or visitor. The information covers energy efficiencytaking climate actioncommunity work and sustainable business.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details.

• The Burghfield May Fayre weekend will take place from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 May 2024. The Burghfield Residents Association are now accepting applications for stall holders for the Sunday. If you would be interested in holding a stall complete this form to register your interest.

• Theale Parish Council is fundraising to start a new local Youth Club/Youth Café to help support young people in the area. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Thursday 25 January 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes: wishes, libraries, volunteers, wind, a fayre, a community space and diversions in Aldermaston.  See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include:charity dress sale and indoor boot sale. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

This week’s news

This Sunday 28 January there will be a Charity Dress Sale, 12pm to 4pm at St Mary’s Church (in the upper room), Burghfield. There will be dresses from sizes 6 to 22 and all will be £10. Among them there will be prom dresses, evening gowns and party dresses. Proceeds will go to local charity Bucket List Wishes which grants wishes for terminally ill adults.  See here for more details.

• Last week it was St Mary’s Church in need of a few mugs, of which it is now reported that it has received enough. However, if you still have some old mugs you’re itching to get rid of, now Theale Parish Council is looking for more mugs in good condition to be used in their new warm community space. Donations can be dropped off at the Theale Parish Council Office.

• On a somewhat related note, Theale Parish Council is looking for volunteers to help on Wednesdays with their new community warm space project, to offer people a warm welcome, help make hot drinks or a cuppa soup and help visitors if they need support. Training will be given and staff will be on site to offer support. If you are available or know anyone who may be willing, pop into the Parish Office or call 01189 306592 to learn more.

• Did you know that if someone is unable to get to one of West Berkshire Library’s Branches, their friendly At Home service delivers books in person on a three-weekly basis, free of charge? Whether it be because of personal circumstances, age, disability or for some other reason, please ring the At Home service on 01635 519827 or email library@westberks.gov.uk.

Theale Parish Council has a new warm community space, at the Peter Gooch Room, Englefield Road (near the Village Hall & Social Club) which is open every Wednesday from 9am to 3pm. It is a warm, welcoming space to socialise, make new friends and enjoy a free hot drink or cuppa soup. Everyone is welcome including children and well-behaved dogs on leads. They are also offering free transport to the hub for those who need it until the end of March, call 01189 306592 for more information.

• Quick reminder about coping with winter weather – advice about flooding and how to stay safe in icy conditions and how to thaw frozen condensate pipe from your boiler.

• The Burghfield May Fayre weekend will take place from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 May 2024. The Burghfield Residents Association are now accepting applications for stall holders for the Sunday. If you would be interested in holding a stall complete this form to register your interest.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details. They are also collecting plastic sweet and cracker tubs until 30 January.

• Theale Parish Council is fundraising to start a new local Youth Club/Youth Café to help support young people in the area. This is in response to a series of anti-social behaviour incidents which occurred earlier in the year. The Council have approached Berkshire Youth to help deliver this project and the Greenham Trust have already made a donation of £750 to get the ball rolling. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

• Aldermaston’s diversion

West Berkshire Council has said it’s received “numerous reports of HGV vehicles illegally using Frouds Lane, Aldermaston” which is being used as a diversionary route while the lifting bridge is being repaired. A WBC statement says that “there is a signed diversion route from Aldermaston Wharf Bridge for HGVs, placed at the A4/A340/ The Green roundabout in Theale, The A340 /B3051/Heath End Road roundabout in Tadley and the Youngs Industrial Estate Roundabout on Paices Hill. However, some lorry drivers are choosing to ignore the signs and are flouting the weight restriction.” There have also been some reports that diversionary signs have been removed.

 West Berkshire Council Public Protection team says that it will be “doubling its efforts in carrying out enforcement of the weight restriction” and will seek to prosecute any lorry drivers who are using Frouds Lane illegally (in other words that are not delivering to premises in Frouds Lane.

“These problems are all completely predictable,” Aldermaston Parish Council Chair Sophie Crawford told Penny Post. “We pointed out all this stuff to WBC and, to be fair, they did quite a lot of preparation.However, closing a freight route was always going to cause problems on the local road network.” As ever, the problem seems to be enforcement, something WBC doesn’t have the resources to do compared to to the numbers of things that need to be enforced. WBC has asked that anyone spotting any offending vehicles should report it on the Council’s website.

Thursday 18 January 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes: a forum, mugs, winter, refills, a community space and further problems on the trains.  See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include: cheese and wine and a charity dress sale. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

This week’s news

• The Pang Valley Flood Forum, in collaboration with West Berkshire Council, Project Groundwater, and local Parish Councils, cordially invites you to the Pang Valley Flood Protection Exhibition on Saturday 20 January, from 1pm to 6pm at the Hampstead Norreys Village Hall, RG18 0TR. Get advice from organisations dedicated to tackling flood-related concerns in the Pang Valley area. It’s absolutely FREE to attend, and no booking is required.

St Mary’s Church, Burghfield is in need of a few mugs. If you have any you don’t need or want anymore, that are in good condition (i.e. not chipped or cracked) then you can leave them by the office door.

Theale Parish Council has a new warm community space, at the Peter Gooch Room, Englefield Road (near the Village Hall & Social Club) which is open every Wednesday from 9am to 3pm. It is a warm, welcoming space to socialise, make new friends and enjoy a free hot drink or cuppa soup. Everyone is welcome including children and well-behaved dogs on leads. They are also offering free transport to the hub for those who need it until the end of March, call 01189 306592 for more information.

• Quick reminder about coping with winter weather – advice about flooding and how to stay safe in icy conditions and how to thaw frozen condensate pipe from your boiler.

• The Burghfield May Fayre weekend will take place from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 May 2024. The Burghfield Residents Association are now accepting applications for stall holders for the Sunday. If you would be interested in holding a stall complete this form to register your interest.

• St Mary’s Church will be holding a Games, Wine and Cheese Evening at 7pm on Friday 19 January. There will be cheese, pate, biscuits and a glass of wine, as well as a fun interactive quiz, bingo and a beetle drive. There will also be a bar, selling wine and soft drinks, and a raffle. Tickets are £15 and must be booked in advance by contacting Anne at bannepocock@aol.com.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details. They are also collecting plastic sweet and cracker tubs until 30 January.

• Theale Parish Council is fundraising to start a new local Youth Club/Youth Café to help support young people in the area. This is in response to a series of anti-social behaviour incidents which occurred earlier in the year. The Council have approached Berkshire Youth to help deliver this project and the Greenham Trust have already made a donation of £750 to get the ball rolling. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

• More pain on the trains

The indefatigable Bedwyn Train Passenger Group sent out its latest newsletter this week and you can read the main points of this in this separate post.

Two of the issues that are covered are all too familiar: the next wave of strikes; and the indifferent service levels on the Bedwyn to Newbury stretch of line. In fairness to GWR, there’s some good news as well. There’s also some encouraging news about the appointment of a travel co-ordinator at Newbury to help at times of disruption and replacement buses and news of a new return service from west of Bedwyn. The BTPG also passes on a request for passengers to treat GWR staff with respect, something that didn’t happen in one incident at Newbury shortly before Christmas.

The Bedwyn Train Passenger Group has been campaigning for improved rail services from Bedwyn, Hungerford, Kintbury and Newbury since 2006. If you use these stations, we recommend subscribing to the BTPG newsletters by emailing info@bedwyntrains.org.uk.

Thursday 11 January 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes: a fayre, an exhibition, cheese and wine, a youth club and newsletters – plus the latest on Aldermaston’s concrete saga and flood support information.  See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include: Repair Cafe and Sound Immersion therapy. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

This week’s news

• The Pang Valley Flood Forum, in collaboration with West Berkshire Council, Project Groundwater, and local Parish Councils, cordially invites you to the Pang Valley Flood Protection Exhibition on Saturday 20 January, from 1pm to 6pm at the Hampstead Norreys Village Hall, RG18 0TR. Get advice from organisations dedicated to tackling flood-related concerns in the Pang Valley area. It’s absolutely FREE to attend, and no booking is required.

• For more support and information around the flooding situaton (see below). The Met Office also has tips on staying safe in icy conditions.

• The Burghfield May Fayre weekend will take place from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 May 2024. The Burghfield Residents Association are now accepting applications for stall holders for the Sunday. If you would be interested in holding a stall complete this form to register your interest.

• St Mary’s Church will be holding a Games, Wine and Cheese Evening at 7pm on Friday 19 January. There will be cheese, pate, biscuits and a glass of wine, as well as a fun interactive quiz, bingo and a beetle drive. There will also be a bar, selling wine and soft drinks, and a raffle. Tickets are £15 and must be booked in advance by contacting Anne at bannepocock@aol.com.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details. They are also collecting plastic sweet and cracker tubs until 30 January.

Theale Councillor Alan Macro has released his latest newsletter which discusses West Berkshire Council’s consultation regarding budgeting plans  and “Car Meets”.

• Theale Parish Council is fundraising to start a new local Youth Club/Youth Café to help support young people in the area. This is in response to a series of anti-social behaviour incidents which occurred earlier in the year. The Council have approached Berkshire Youth to help deliver this project and the Greenham Trust have already made a donation of £750 to get the ball rolling. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here to see Burghfield and Mortimer ward member Nick Carter’s latest newsletter.

• Aldermaston’s concrete

The matter of the proposed Easy Concrete plant in Aldermaston – which has racked up something approaching a full house of planning issues including a contentious change of use, unauthorised works, damage, retrospective applications and enforcement issues – has probably been the main recurring item for the Parish Council over the last year or so. It hasn’t gone away yet, either…

At its meeting on 9 January, Aldermaston Parish Council provided an update on Easy Concrete’s activities at The Woodyard, Paices Hill.  The chairman explained that a revised planning application  is expected – this was promised by the end of last year but there has been little progress during the past month. A member of the public stated that he had complained to WBC about the site – this is something APC encourages regarding any planning issues, as it would appear that the more complaints the greater the issue becomes visible and the more chance of action there is.

We covered this story several times in 2023: see the archive post for this column and use the search function or scroll down to 14 Sept, 15 June, 1 June, 16 March, 23 Feb, 16 Feb, 9 Feb and 12 Jan. See also the 2022 archive and the entries for 17 and 10 Nov. We’ll continue covering this until the story sets.

• Flood support

The flooding situation is probably going to last for a few weeks. As the ground is already saturated with water it will take a while for surface water to drain away. Here is a video statement about the West Berkshire Council’s response to flooding by Stuart Gourley, Executive Portfolio Holder for Climate Action, Recycling & Biodiversity. This short video from the Environment Agency explains what groundwater flooding is. Please see here a range of support and advice for affected communities:

Thursday 4 January 2024

Our usual round-up of  local news includes: Santas, re-charging, repairs, cleaning, bus changes and a bridge repair.  See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Burghfield area events include: Repair Cafe and Sound Immersion therapy. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

This week’s news

• Local legends the Burghfield Santas reflected on 2023 in a Facebook post, in which they summarise they raise a total of £41,654 from The Bulging Sack pop-up Pub and from Burghfest – which was donated to the Thames Valley Air Ambulance. As well as an additional £2,036.74 from the Burchfield Santa Cruise. This year will be the group’s 20th anniversary, so look out for more exciting events planned for 2024.

• Got something broken and not sure how to fix it? Bring your broken electrical items, garden equipment or anything else that’s not working down to the Spencer Wood Village Hall where the Repair Cafe’s expert repair volunteers will try to fix them or give advice. The next one is this weekend on Sunday 7 January. Click here for more information.

• Do you fancy re-charging your batteries for the New Year? Join Roz Sylvester for Sound Immersion – Release & Manifest, at the Luci Trendle Yoga Studio in Burghfield on Friday 12 January. Being immersed in the vibrations of this magical Tibetan bowl sound healing experience, you drift off into a meditative state which heals, restores, and leaves you feeling completely rested and reconnected to self.

• Our local hospitals are under extra pressure during the Junior Doctor strike until Tuesday 9 January. For latest updates and advice please follow Great Western Hospital’s facebook page and Reading’s Royal Berkshire Hospital’s facebook page here.

• If you want to reduce your consumption of single use plastics, you can refill your household and personal cleaning products at the Thatcham Refillable mobile shop outside Love Heartwood, 9 Clayhill Road, Burghfield Common, RG7 3HB on Thursday 11 January, 12.45pm to 2pm. Deliveries can also be arranged. Contact Jenny and Tom at Thatcham Refillable for details. They are also collecting plastic sweet and cracker tubs until 30 January.

• If you’re a regular bus-user, Reading Buses has made a few changes to some of its routes, which just came into effect as of Tuesday 2 January. To find out if the changes affect you, click here.

West Berkshire Libraries are offering new online support for students: secondary students can sign up to a fun, interactive way of learning via Brillder, an exciting online resource, and a free 12 week Library Code Club starts from Monday 8 January for 9 to 11 years to learn to code at home with Scratch.

Theale Councillor Alan Macro has released his latest newsletter which discusses West Berkshire Council’s consultation regarding budgeting plans  and “Car Meets”.

• Theale Parish Council is fundraising to start a new local Youth Club/Youth Café to help support young people in the area. This is in response to a series of anti-social behaviour incidents which occurred earlier in the year. The Council have approached Berkshire Youth to help deliver this project and the Greenham Trust have already made a donation of £750 to get the ball rolling. If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please see here.

Click here to see a list of all active planning applications in Theale (check the date at the top of the post for latest update).

Click here to see Burghfield and Mortimer ward member Nick Carter’s latest newsletter.

• Fixing the bridge

Work on the refurbishment of the Aldermaston Wharf lifting bridge will be starting on 8 January 2024 until 15 March 2024. West Berkshire Council says that this is “to ensure the bridge continues to function reliably and effectively for many years to come. The refurbishment works require the removal of the entire moving bascule part of the bridge to a steel fabrication yard for structural repairs and repainting.” This will result in the closure of the A340 from 8 January until it is reinstalled and made operational again on (it is expected) 15 March.

The Aldermaston Wharf Lifting Bridge carries the A340 over the Kennet and Avon Canal. It was constructed in the early 1980s and many of the structural, mechanical, electrical and hydraulic systems essential for the bridge’s operation have become worn or are now outdated, with spare parts becoming increasingly harder to source.

The canal will also be closed from 8 January until 14 January to allow the removal of the bascule and then again from 26 February until 15 March to allow the bascule to be reinstalled.

Alternative routes have been identified and will be clearly signposted to facilitate the movement of vehicles and pedestrians during the closure period.

For more information, click here.

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Covering: Newbury, Thatcham, Hungerford, Marlborough, Wantage, Lambourn, Compton, Swindon & Theale