Compton & Downlands Weekly News, Thursday 7 March 2024

Compton & Downland Weekly News header

Thursday 7 March 2024 

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Our usual round-up of  local news includes Easter, education, a rainforest, breakfast and recycling – plus a local ward member plants trees, keeps her eye on the Compton de-contamination and considers some speeding restrictions. See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Compton area events include live music and family bingo. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities

• Compton’s ward member’s update

The following is taken from the most recent issue of Carolyne Culver’s Compilations, which is hand-delivered to all properties in Compton: since the start of this calendar year, copies are also left in the pubs in East Ilsley.

  • On 17 February I helped plant saplings at the top of Newbury Lane, and next to the allotments. I attended Compton parish council meeting on 4 March and will speak at the annual meeting on 19 March.
  • I’m still waiting for officers to update me about what is happening with the renovation of the sports hall at Downs School. It received planning permission last year.
  • I have only received two complaints about the works at the Institute: Cognition Ltd, which are overseeing the demolition, responded immediately and dealt with them. So, unless residents have had issues with the works, and not told me about them, it looks like things are going pretty smoothly there.
  • The owner of the site, Homes England, has outline planning permission to build up to 160 homes, but a second planning application will be needed to get full permission. This second planning application will include details of exactly how many houses the developer wishes to build, and of what size and type. Residents are understandably concerned about the impact on flooding and sewage. When the site got outline planning permission in February 2022, I secured a planning condition that no homes can be occupied on the new site until the fresh and foul water infrastructure is upgraded to take the extra pressure of up to 160 new homes.
  • Compton and East Ilsley Parish Councils have purchased a speed indicator device to measure speeding. They will collect data and submit it to WBC. If you have questions about this device, please direct them to the parish Clerks (see links in “Your local council” below). I’m pleased that WBC’s speed review panel has, at long last, met for the first time since last May’s election. There were four recommendations for reducing speed limits in places around the district and they were all approved by the councillors on the panel. There will now be further consultation in those areas.
  • Part of the challenge with the speeding issue is that councillors can ask for extra limits – such as making a 40mph a 30mph, or a 30mph a 20mph – but council officers argue that police won’t have the capacity to enforce it and that, unless it is enforced, drivers will disregard it and it will erode respect for speed limits. I receive a lot of complaints about speeding but it has been incredibly difficult to get any changes to speed limits over the past five years that I’ve been on the council. Hopefully, new limits will deter some drivers from speeding, and by one driver observing the speed limit in 20mph zones it does make all the vehicles behind slow down, but if the limits are not enforced by the police and drivers continue to speed, there is nothing more us councillors can do about it because the council doesn’t manage the police. Anyway, now that the speed review panel is up and running again, hopefully we might see some progress.

A couple of points strike me from this. Regarding the Police’s enforcement (or not) of speed limits, the claim that non-enforcement leads to a breakdown of trust in the system seems specious to me. Firstly, very few speed limits are enforced, certainly to extent many would like, but that’s not an argument for pulling all the signs up. Secondly, most people do want to be at least within touching distance of a speed limit and recognise that they exist for a reason. In Wales, the urban speed limit reduction to 20mph has resulted in a decline of average speeds by about 4mph. This may not seem like much but anyone who’s been hit by a car at, say, 22mph and at 26mph will be quick tell you which they preferred.

The other point refers to the former Pirbright Institute work. Compton Parish Council and Carolyne Culver have been carefully looking at all the applications to discharge conditions (ie to regard them as having been successfully done) and have not hesitated to call in to committee applications which appear to have any holes in them. Given the significance of the de-contamination work that’s being done there, this is an important role.

• Other news

• Hampstead Norreys Community Shop is offering free Easter activities for children on Thursday 28 March from 3pm to 4.40pm. Have some Easter fun with the little ones decorating some cupcakes.

Compton Parish Council is keen to remind residents about The Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) which is a Government fund for small rural businesses. Businesses can apply for between £10k to £40k to invest in a project that will help stimulate growth, diversification and employment in our rural communities. The scheme is open for a year, and the Council will be allocating funding on a competitive, rolling-programme basis, to the best applications every couple of months.To read more about the scheme and apply click here.

Downland Practice – Social Prescribing reminds patients that Hillier’s Garden Centre is delighted to be able to host the Ladies Breakfast Club. If you have never been before, do join in. Going forward the club will continue to meet on the second Wednesday of every month, so the next meeting will be on Wednesday 13 March.

• The Downs School is excited to report, that in their pursuit of sustainability, the school is now fully equipped with new recycling bins.

• 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.

• Quick reminder that The Living Rainforest in Hampstead Norreys is appealing for donations to help with the rocketing cost of energy. They report that they are struggling to cover electricity and heating costs for the animals and plants that live there. No support is available from government sources so they reply on public support to help. Click here to learn more or donate.

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.

• The Rural Business Grant Scheme is now open for applications and it’s aimed at providing funding to micro and small businesses located in rural areas across West Berkshire to help facilitate growth, diversify, and support the rural economy. See details here and how to apply.

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

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

Latest local newsletters

Community notices

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

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

• Downland Volunteer Group has a new electric HandeBus. For those wishing to use the HandeBus or volunteer to help the DVG’s work, contact 07713 813 523; dvg.handebus@btinternet.com; or at www.downlandvolgroup.org. More information can also be found here.

U6, U7 and U16 footballers are welcome at FC Cougars. Please contact graham on graham@fccougars.com.

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

• Compton Karate based at Aldworth Village Hall is a small and friendly dojo that welcomes new members.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice. There is no shame if you do get caught out by scammers (Penny has) and you must seek help and warn others.


Local events and activities

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

• Dates for the diary

• Sat 9 Mar Live Music with Fubar The Swan East Ilsley.

• Sat 30 Mar Easter Family Bingo Compton Village Hall

• Regular events and groups 

• Stay, Play and Learn at Compton Village Hall on Thursday mornings during term for children 0-4 years to socialise with others, exploring a variety of play activities and crafts. Book online with West Berkshire Council here.

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

• Marcham Cricket Club welcomes new cricket players and officials.

Tea and a Chat on Mondays from 9.30am to 11am at the Wilkins Centre in Compton: all welcome

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

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

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

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

• The Gents Breakfast Club created by The Downland Practice – Social Prescribing is proving popular. If you would like more information please contact nicky.ager@nhs.net.

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

• Quiz night at The Crown and Horns in East Ilsley every Thursday from 7pm with prizes to be won. You can reserve a table by calling 01635 281545 and see more information here.

• Brickleton Babes Baby and Toddler Group in Brightwalton Village Hall. Join their facebook group for details.

• Autumn Group regular meetings include the Hobbies Club at the Wilkins Centre, Compton. Visit their facebook page for details. Anyone from surrounding villages very welcome.

• Aldworth Art/Painting Group at the Aldworth Village Hall on first and third Tuesday of every month from 9.30am to noon. Details on the East Ilsley Communicator (issue 105, p 21) here.

 Aldworth Craft Group meet at Aldworth Village Hall on the second and fourth Monday of every month (within the school term time) from 10am to noon. More details in the East Ilsley Communicator (issue 105, p 16), which you can download here.

• Hampstead Norreys Village Hall club and event information is on Hampstead Norreys Community website.

• Ilsley Under Fives meet every Wednesday between 10am to 11.30am at various locations throughout the Ilsley villages. Please join their Facebook group or see details here.


News from your local council

Note: “the most recent meeting” refers to the most recent one for which minutes (in some cases draft) or some other summary is available. Other meetings may have taken place since. Some councils publish minutes more promptly than do others. If the link is scored through this may be because draft minutes have been replaced by approved ones and the drafts file deleted. If so, please follow the links provided to the council’s website.

.• The most recent meeting of West Ilsley Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 20 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; financial matters; the Village Hall; the closure of the West Ilsley PC Trust; and flooding.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees) please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Compton Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 5 February and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; financial matters; reports from the working parties; and repairs and maintenance.
To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here. To see the minutes click herePlease click here for the latest on Compton’s neighbourhood development plan (which has now been ratified).

• The most recent meeting of Hampstead Norreys Council for which minutes are available  took place on 25 January and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Peasemore Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 24 January and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here

• The most recent meeting of Brightwalton Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 15 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: Community co-ordinator; the Church; a new clerk needed; planning matters; financial matters; and the Millennium Green Trust.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here

• The most recent meeting of Chaddleworth Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 9 January and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beedon Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 4 January and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click hereTo see minutes from past meetings please click here. Please click here for details of the planning applications currently active in the parish.

• The most recent meeting of East Ilsley Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 14 November and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Aldworth Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 13 November and you can download the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and mintues for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meetings of Ashampstead Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 22 May and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.


News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Hungerford area; Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Burghfield area; Wantage area; Marlborough area.

News and views from across the area and beyond: please see the most recent Weekly News with Brian column.

Archives

To see earlier Compton & Downlands & Surrounding Area Weekly News columns, please click here.

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