Compton & Downlands Weekly News, Thursday 11 April 2024

Compton & Downland Weekly News header

Thursday 11 April 2024 

Our usual round-up of  local news includes road closures, darts, cakes and a plant sale – plus a look at Compton’s de-contamination and the PCC elections. See also below for community notices and news from your local council.

Upcoming Compton area events include St George’s Day celebration and a litter-pick. See below for details, plus regular events and group activities.

• Compton’s hardcore

There are a number of clean-ups taking place in the area at present as a result of the floods and the associated sewage leaks and it’s expected that there’ll be many more. One that has been taking place for about 18 months, and will continue until the end of the year, is at the Pirbright Site in Compton, the former Institute for Animal Health, as a pre-condition for up to 160 homes to be built there. The planning permission provides for this decontamination to happen before the full planning application for the homes is granted.

Compton Parish Council, the ward member Carolyne Culver and others are keeping a very close watch on the progress and are ensuring that any application to discharge the various conditions as they’re accomplished are given a proper scrutiny. One issue that was recently drawn to my attention concerned the seeming use of some of the broken hardcore off-site. So on 11 April, I thought I’d write to Cognition, the company responsible:

“I’ve recently been told that, in the course of the decontamination and demolition work that you’re doing at the above site, some hardcore has been provided to local landowners for use in patching up potholes and byways. It seems that this still has bits of cable and other detritus in it, which has led to concerns that the hardcore may still contain some contamination from whatever lurks beneath the surface there and which you’re cleaning up.

“Are you able to confirm that all the necessary checks were done on any of the material that was disposed of in this way; and that you can tell residents with absolute confidence that this hardcore contains nothing which will cause any health or environmental concerns, or risk breaching any of the planning conditions?”

Within a few hours, I’d received the following reply from Cognition’s Technical Director, which I reproduce here verbatim. This seems to address all the concerns (apart from what the bits of electrical cable were doing there).

“Cognition Land and Water is carrying out demolition, remediation and enabling works at the Former Pirbright Institute in Compton on behalf of our client, Homes England.

“We can confirm that we have been providing demolition-derived aggregates to the local farmers and landowners for use in farm track maintenance. The aggregates we are supplying are produced in accordance with the Environment Agency Quality Protocol for the production of “Aggregates from inert waste”. They are regularly sampled and tested to a site-specific Method of Production.  The materials we are producing are not a ‘waste’ and have not been ‘disposed’; they are a ‘product’ created from the demolition works for reuse as aggregate. Only material (mainly brick and concrete) from building demolition is used in the aggregate we are producing and not soils excavated as part of our works.

“The testing we carry out ensures that the materials are inert, do not contain harmful chemicals or substances (such as asbestos), and fit within tight composition, size and grading limits. The Protocol allows for limited inclusions of extraneous material such as wood, plastic, metal, etc. but the quantity and nature of these materials are carefully controlled. Reuse of demolition-derived aggregate products in this way is common practice in the construction sector and makes good sense in terms of sustainable practice and circular economy principles.

“Clearly, we cannot comment on the use of the aggregates by the end users as this is down to them but we can assure you and the local community that the materials are fully compliant with UK guidance and regulation on aggregate production, do not constitute a health or environmental risk, and are being used in a sustainable way in accordance with the development proposals and planning consent for the site redevelopment.

“At Cognition Land and Water, we have an open policy of proactive engagement with the local community and have liaised with many local residents and community groups to date. We welcome any enquiries through our dedicated project email (compton@cognitionltd.com), but also to our main office number (03333 494 400) or our dedicated social media forums.  We are also happy to meet with any interested parties to provide comfort and clarification on any of the works we are carrying out.”

• 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

Compton Parish Council informs residents that Aldworth Road in the Parishes of Compton and Aldworth, will be closed between 9.15am and 3.15pm each day from Mon 22 to Fri 26 April for Thames Water to install a new service connection. The closure will be between its junction with Coombe Road and its junction with Unnamed Road from Aldworth Road to Uplands. Residential access will be maintained throughout, and the diversion will be signed on site. All enquiries should be directed to: Network Plus on or 01787 237 509 Thames Water on 0800 316 9800. A plan of the closure can be found online here.

• Don’t forget to check out the FOCPC  plant sale at the Casey Field Farm Shop on Saturday 4 May and support your local Primary School. Alternatively, please consider donating a plant, store bought or home grown, for them to sell. Email contact.focps@gmail.com for any further information.

The Swan at Compton is starting a darts team, playing on a Wednesday evening and needs two or three women to complete the team. The first match is on Wednesday 17 April. If you would like to join  give the pub a call on 01635 885700.

The Compton Players are excited to be performing Wind in the Willows at Compton Village Hall from Thursday 25 April to Saturday 27 April at 7.30pm with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Book online at comptonplayers.co.uk or call 07554  842207.

• On Saturday 18 May Hampstead Norreys WI will be holding their Annual Plant, Cake and Book Sale from 10am to 12 noon in the grounds of St. Mary’s Church. Donations of plants, shrubs or nearly new paperbacks would be gratefully received beforehand. Call 07393 299948

• Quick reminder that new safer flooring is needed for the Compton Sports Pavilion which currently just has a painted concrete floor. Compton Parish Council is requesting donations for the project which Greenham Trust will match-fund through their project on The Good Exchange .

• West Ilsley Willows ladies cricket team is inviting newcomers to join them for this Summer. All abilities welcome, and no previous cricket experience is necessary.  Please contact Danni on 07825 819355 for further info.

• 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.

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 funds 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

Sun 14 Apr Litter-pick, Ashampstead

• Sat 20 Apr St Georges Day Celebration Yattendon Social Club.

• Sat 27 Apr The Monkeyfists The Swan, East Ilsley.

• Sat 4 May Quiz Night Compton Village Hall.

• Sat 18 May Hampstead Norreys WI Annual Plant, Cake and Book Sale  St. Mary’s Church.

• Sat 18 May Wind in the Willows – Compton Players  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.

Downland Practice – Social Prescribing reminds patients that Hillier’s Garden Centre is delighted to be able to host the Ladies Breakfast Club on the second Wednesday of every month.

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 Brightwalton Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 11 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Community Co-ordinator; the Village Hall; matters arising; financial matters; the annual meeting (13 May); and replacement cherry trees.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here

• The most recent meeting of Aldworth Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 11 March and you can download the minutes here. items covered included: actions from the previous meeting; the defibrillator; repairs and maintenance; speeding; D-Day; litter-collection costs; and financial matters.
To see the dates, agendas and mintues for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chaddleworth Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 5 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; the neighbourhood plan; repairs and maintenance; and reports from councillors and the Clerk.
To see the dates, agendas and minutes for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meetings of Ashampstead Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 4 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a report from the ward member; footpaths and byways; highways; planning matters; speeding; financial matters; and repairs and maintenance.
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 4 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a report from the ward member; hedgerow works; the allotments; reports from the committees and working parties; planning matters; financial matters; and a new working group for the Institute site.
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 West Ilsley Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 20 February 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 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 Beedon Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 7 March and you can read the minutes here.
To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click hereTo see minutes from past meetings please click here. Please click here for details of the planning applications currently active in the parish.

• The most recent meeting of 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.


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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