Compton & Downlands Weekly News, Thursday 18 April 2024

Compton & Downland Weekly News header

Thursday 18 April 2024 

Our usual round-up of  local news includes free services, a driveway sale, a closure, flooring and sustainable choices – plus reassuring news from Compton’s clean-up; but less reassuring news from a recent flood and sewage meeting in Hampstead Norreys. 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 clean-up

Last week, I referred to the fears that existed locally about what might be in the ground at the so-called Purbright site in Compton, which is currently being cleaned up prior to an application to build up to 160 homes there. This interest re-surfaced after concerns by some residents that spoil from the site was being used as hardcore on local byways. I contacted the company responsible, Cognition, and received a statement which, I think addressed these concerns.

They also took issue with the way I had perhaps too casually referred to the presence of things such as asbestos and anthrax on the site as if these were matters of fact, rather than supposition. I’m therefore happy to publish Cognition’s statement in full on these points.

The site, buildings, and soils have been tested extensively for anthrax during several investigations and throughout the remediation works.  Following several hundred tests, anthrax has never been found in any samples from the site.  Put simply, anthrax is not present at the Pirbright site.

“Contamination in the ground is extremely limited and isolated to only a few very specific locations that are being actively targeted and remediated as part of our works.

“Asbestos is not present in the soils beneath the site and is only present within the former buildings as was commonplace prior to the full asbestos ban in the UK in 1999.  All asbestos is being painstakingly removed from buildings prior to demolition.  Buildings are only demolished once they are certified asbestos-free.  All materials arising from the demolition are tested again for asbestos (and other potential contaminants) prior to reuse or removal from site.”

On the matter of radioactivity, Cognition was able to confirm that their use was originally controlled under an Environmental Permit and that this is still in place for this site. regular inspections have confirmed that this remains the case. I was assured that “following the completion of Cognition’s works, all radiological materials will have been removed from the site. “Extreme measures are being carried out to ensure that this is the case with numerous stages of investigation, remediation, validation, verification investigations – it really is ‘belt and braces’!”

• Water, water

The following is extracted from the most recent newsletter from Ridgeway ward member Carolyne Culver.

“On Wednesday 10 April we had Pang Valley Flood Forum, attended by Thames Water and WBC representatives. On Thursday 11 April we had a public meeting in Hampstead Norreys organised by the flood warden Stephen Davis and the parish council. This was well attended and informative, but also depressing to hear that some residents have had to seek medical attention after falling ill because of sewage inside and in the vicinity of their property.

“My thanks to fellow flood wardens in the Pang Valley who brought generators to East Ilsley when we had a power cut a fortnight ago and cellar pumps stopped working. The Flood Forum is an invaluable source of data, advice, and support.

“I am disappointed but not surprised by the buck-passing between the various authorities. I get told different things by different people, so I keep asking questions in the hope that the more information I obtain the closer to the truth I will get! Earlier in the year WBC commissioned a company called WPS to write a section 19 report out the flooding. I have had a lot of correspondence with WBC officers about this because of my concerns about its scope. Ultimately that report will come to the Scrutiny Commission to be examined.

“This problem is not going to go away. Rising temperatures is causing greater rainfall and the chalk aquifer we live on is saturated. If we get a relatively wet summer, we might find ourselves living with the impact of high groundwater for months to come. So, we all need to work together. Nothing should go down the toilet apart from pee, poo, and paper. No wet wipes. No tampons or sanitary towels. WBC and riparian owners need to ensure ditches and drains are clear. There need to be robust sustainable drainage and foul/fresh water connection planning conditions on new housing. Rules about not building on flood plains need to be respected. The list goes on. We all need to do what we can to alleviate the pressure on the system.”

She also referred to another example of Thames Water’s shockingly bad customer-service response; also to some statements made by both Thames Water and WBC about how residents should deal with flood water in their homes. The information provided by both organisations at the meetings didn’t seem particularly useful so I’ll be looking into this a bit more and will write further than I have some clearer advice.

• Other news

Compton Parish Council are keen to remind residents that if you have a neighbour, friend or family members who would struggle if the power is off, by registering for SSEN’s free Priority Services, a dedicated team will contact you, or your nominated contact if they need to switch off your power to carry out essential maintenance. Click here to register.

• Due to the success of the Compton Village garden/driveway sale last September, Sarah Li Rouse has been asked to organise another one on Sunday 26 May from 9.30am to 2pm. If you are interested in participating, please direct message  her on Facebook with your address and a brief description of the items for sale or activities on offer. Spread the word and share with all your family & friends.

• Local resident Richard Garvie has created an online meeting to discuss the issue of sewage in West Berkshire, and to discuss what action could and should be taken by the Council to protect public health and put pressure on Thames Water, West Berkshire Council and the Government.

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 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.

• 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. Some of the Newbury Stitch Fair favourites are returning for this two-day event, including Stitch Fabrics, Geoff Rosenberg’s fabulous range of dress-making fabrics, Brian’s Best Wools from Yorkshire and Village Fabrics range of attractive patchwork fabrics and over 60 styes of Tessuti patterns of tops, bottoms, dresses and coats. The net proceeds of the sale will go to West Berkshire Mencap. See here for more details.

• 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 to arrange.

• 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

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

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

• Fri 26 Apr Stop The Sewage Action Meeting Online

• Sat 27 Apr Chieveley Chase Chieveley Village Hall.

• 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. There was also a short meeting on 2 April to consider one planning application.
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.
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.
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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