Thursday 4 August 2022

This week we listen to a mix from a local music producer, provide a heads-up on a local show and highlight some local newsletters. We also look at the latest on the recurring issues of Burghfield’s café application and the next steps at Windmill Court in Mortimer – plus our usual round-up of other local news, local events and activities and local councils’ information

This week’s news

Click here for the latest newsletter from Burghfield and Mortimer District Councillor Graham Bridgman.

Click here for the latest newsletter from Theale District Councillor Alan Macro.

• The Mortimer West End and District Annual Show will be taking place on Saturday 27 August. Come along to enjoy a variety of stalls from local businesses, as well as there will be lots of different craft activities for children to try. There are also various competitions with you can enter to show off your talents and for a chance of winning first place. There will be categories for fruit, vegetables and flower, as well as artistic crafts such as flower arranging, photography, art work or handicrafts. To find out how to enter and keep up-to-date with the details, follow their Facebook page for more info.

• Burghfield Library is holding regular free craft sessions, every Thursday throughout the summer holidays, for children aged 3 to 10 years old. The next session is on Thursday 11 August, just drop in between 10.30am and noon. For more information please contact the library at burghfieldlibrary@westberks.gov.uk, or visit their Facebook page. For more holiday activities, please see our Guide to Summer Fun.

• Burghfield Football Club are looking for three Welfare Officer Assistants to work alongside their Child Welfare Officer.  For a more details and how to apply please see here. Alongside these roles they are always keen to hear from anybody who is interested in helping make a difference to the local community, and would like to help them continue to grow as a club.

• Congratulations to self taught DJ and producer James Carter – Mortimer born and bred – has amassed more than 150 million streams and over 4m Spotify followers. He continues to release original material and unique remixes, including for the likes of Rihanna, James Arthur, Ava Max and David Guetta. His 2018 single Hands In The Fire went viral on TikTok, with more than 150 million views on the short-video platform. His latest collaboration Bad Memories with Italian Grammy-nominated Meduza and featuring US singer Elly Duhé and Berlin duo Fastboy is described as “a mesmerising, addictive and atmospheric creation.” It featured highly in Spotify’s New Music Friday in 45 countries at launch on July 22 and was given BBC Radio 1’s prestigious Hottest Record accolade that weekend.  It marks Meduza’s first single release since the viral Tell It To My Heart featuring Hozier, a track currently sitting at 112 million Spotify streams.

• Have you heard about the Mortimer and Burghfield toy library? It’s a service run by volunteers providing toys to local families. It runs on the fourth Saturday of the month at Mortimer Methodist church 9.30am to 11am. Toys can be hired through a yearly membership or individually for a months hire and toys can be renewed on payment of another months hire. The next one will be Saturday 27 August. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

• Did you know Theale Parish Council are often looking for volunteers to help run fun community events, as well as activities to keep our local environment nice? Whether it’s manning stalls and summer or Christmas fete’s, planting trees or picking up litter, the council rely on member of the community to help make these things possible. If you would like to find out more about local volunteer opportunities, check out their website to find out more and register your  interest.

• Theale Parish Council has urged residents to take part in the Patient Participation Group which aims to support and improve the way services are delivered by your GP Practice. See more here on the goals and how to join.

• Theale Parish Council has released a list of projects currently being funded by the Greenham Trust. Click here to see the work being done.

Click here for information about the range of activities organised by the Burghfield Community Sports Association.

• The latest edition of the Englefield Parish Magazine is available to read here.

• Ditto here with the latest Padworth Village Newsletter.

• Holy Trinity Church has posted an updated list of necessities for the Foodbank which you can view here.

• For the latest news from the Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton which covers updates and events across Theale area please visit its website and click on Letters, Notices & Magazine.

• Latest news from Aldermaston Parish Council can also be found on the website aldermaston.co.uk and this month includes the celebration of a new florist and children’s nursery in the village.

The atomic café

As mentioned in this column on 14 July (click here and scroll down a bit) the matter of Burghfield’s café was discussed, and approved, by the Eastern Area Planning Committee the previous day. This wasn’t, however, the absolutely final word on the matter. As Burghfield is in the DEPZ (the emergency area that surrounds the AWE sites there and at Aldermaston), the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has a say in this as well. The DEPZ was extended a few years ago as a result of which it then included the site of the café and most of the rest of Burghfield. Whether this extension was due to an excess of caution or in response to a genuine fear that one of the AWE sites was about to go wrong I have no idea. It certainly put paid to the proposed massive housing project at Grazeley, which also came under the new DEPZ. The fall-out from this is being felt as far away as Thatcham where the plan for 2,500 homes as a partial replacement for this scheme was announced in 2020. But I digress.

For Burghfield, the DEPZ has created another level of planning uncertainty, as if there weren’t enough already. Not only does every application need to be looked at through the prism of regulations that refer to a possible catastrophic event which most people in West Berkshire cannot imagine and – unless they come from Chernobyl – have never experienced: but also, the Secretary of State can call in any planning consent to be scrutinised by the ONR’s atomic boffins. As my report on the meeting explain, this was the only planning issue on the application which concerned the officers; and it concerned them so much that they recommend refusal. The EAPC took a different – some might say a more common-sense – view and unanimously voted to approve it. The ONR had 21 days to decide what it wanted to do, a deadline which has now been extended slightly to 21 August.

As I mentioned, if the café is refused on these grounds it seems reasonable to ask if people should be allowed to live in Burghfield at all. Perhaps the whole place should be rebuilt brick by brick just outside the DEPZ. Now that would be a planning application worth seeing…

An eviction notice

Particularly in these digital days, many people are apt to blame anything which goes wrong or don’t work out in exactly the way they’d like on a conspiracy of some kind, often at quite a deep level. In extreme cases, finding no evidence of it almost amounts to positive proof – it just shows how good the conspirators have been at covering their tracks and how devilishly dangerous they therefore are. In my view, however, most things that go wrong or have seemed to have gone wrong have done so because of one of two things: incompetence or poor communication.

The second of these would seem to describe the way that the proposed closure of Windmill Court in Mortimer was first handled by Sovereign. There has been quite a lot of discussion involving Sovereign, WBC, the residents and Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council since then, not least because the plan of finding appropriate new homes for all the current tenants has not preceded as quickly as Sovereign might have hoped. One result of the discussions has been the creation of a petition by residents. This says that:

“Sovereign Housing Association’s proposal to evict the residents of Windmill Court from their homes, without suitable alternative accommodation being available within the village that would allow them to retain family and/or personal ties, is not reasonable All current restrictive covenant(s) or other restrictions, the existence of which currently prevent the Association’s plans that may lead to eviction from Windmill Court, should remain in place.” Click here for more and for a link to the petition (you can also sign it on paper at the Baobab). You have until 5 September 2022 to have your say.

Another result of these conversations may be the issuing of a statement in the next week or so which will confirm how the issue will be resolved. In the meantime, please do sign the petition if you support its aims as the more people who do so the more likely it is that action will be taken that helps bring these about.

Community notices

• West Berkshire Library Service is appealing for local volunteers at Mortimer and Burghfield Common libraries. Please see this post on Facebook, call 01635 519533 or email volunteerinyourlibrary@westberks.gov.uk for further information.

• More local hosts are needed for people escaping the war in Ukraine. If you could consider hosting a Ukrainian refugee or family, please get in contact with the local support group or visit westberks.gov.uk/homesforukraine.

• For how to avoid scams and what to do if you unluckily get caught, please see important advice here from Citizen’s Advice.

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 27 Art Mortimer West End & District Annual Show, Mortimer.

Sat 10 Sep Jubilee Afternoon Tea To Support MS, Sindlesham Court.

Sun 11 Sep Hampshire and IOW Air Ambulance Horse Show, Farley Hill.

• Fri 16 Sep Flushed Away Film Night, St Mary’s Church Burghfield.

• Fri 23 to Sat 24 Sep BurghFest 2022, Burghfield Common Recreation Ground.

• Regular events

Burghfield WI meets at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at Burghfield Village Hall. See their facebook page for details.

• Holy Trinity Church is seeking donations for the Foodbank that is open on Sundays and Wednesdays from 9am to 6pm. With another rise in people’s need for foodbank support, you can find out what has been requested each week by clicking here.

 Theale Library hosts in-person events for people of all ages. To find out more information on future clubs and events click here to visit the West Berkshire Library Facebook page or email Theale Library at thealelibrary@westberks.gov.uk.

Mortimer Library also host regular events, such as their Rhymetime group who meet every Tuesday (during school term time) at 2.30pm.

Walking for Health meet every Tuesday at the community centre car park opposite the Horse & Groom, Mortimer. There are three walk lengths to chose from As mentioned on mortimervillage.org.uk,

 Holy Trinity Church, Theale is open for West Berks Food Bank donations on Sundays and Wednesdays from 10.30am to 6pm. Please see the church’s website for regularly updated lists of what is most needed at the food bank.

• Beenham Art Group every Tuesday from 10am to noon at Victory Hall, Beenham. More details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 16).

• Aldermaston Coffee Club meet at the café at Rosebourne, Aldermaston between 10am to 11.30am on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Further details in The Benefice of Aldermaston and Woolhampton Magazine (February edition, p 8)

 Aldermaston & Wasing Ladies Group meets on the second Thursday of each month from 2pm at Aldermaston Parish Hall, please see Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (p 3, February 2022 ) for further information.

Padworth and Aldermaston WI meets at Padworth Village Hall on the third Tuesday of every month at 7.30pm. Further information on the group can be found in Padworth Parish Council Newsletter (No 155 February 2022 Edition p 3).

Holy Trinity Church, Theale free choir group rehearses on Thursdays between 7pm to 8pm and performs at Sunday services from 10.30am. All are welcome to join. Send enquiries to office@holytrinitytheale.org.uk.

News from your local council

• The most recent meeting of Padworth Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 18 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a report on the Village Show; the co-option of a new councillor; another councillor vacancy; a grant to Swings and Smiles; financial matters; the Village Hall; planning matters; and a possible future development at the Padworth Sawmills site. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 14 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: Windmill Court (see separate section above); reports from committees and working parties; the NDP; jubilee VAT issues; formal matters; financial matters; correspondence; and village repairs and maintenance. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. See this page on Stratfield Mortimer PC’s website for more information on the refresh of its neighbourhood development plan.

• The most recent meeting of Aldermaston Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 12 July and the minutes will be available here in due course. Items covered included: the Wasing Medicine Festival (18 to 21 August); Padworth Sawmills; HGV movements; no planning applications (unusually); speeding; repair works at The Loosey; and a £300 grant for Citizens Advice in Tadley. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Bradfield Parish Council for which minutes are available,was on 5 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the continuing saga of the Village Hall; hedges and trees; planning matters; a report from ward member Ross Mackinnon; speeding; dog fouling; highways; speeding; the Jubilee Shield; correspondence; financial matters; and potholes. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here for 2021 and here for 2022.

• The most recent meeting of Theale Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 4 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the lack of street traders (see this Week’s news above); a report from ward member Alan Macro; reports from committees and working parties; planning and licensing matters; GreenFest; and a possible fête in 2023. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Beenham Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 4 July and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: mobile-phone coverage; a councillor vacancy; planning matters; Beenham Primary’s security assessment; speeding; rights of way; financial matters; and repairs and maintenance issues. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here for 2021 and here for 2022.  Click here for details of Beenham’s Community Plan.

• The most recent meeting of Englefield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 21 June and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; donations to Citizens Advice West Berkshire and the Standby Volunteer Group; a councillor vacancy; and planning matters. To see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Burghfield Parish Council for which minutes are available was on 9 June and you can read the minutes here. You can also click here to see a report on the annual parish meeting on 12 May.  To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Burghfield area council contacts

Parishes: Theale Parish CouncilAldermaston Parish CouncilPadworth Parish CouncilStratfield Mortimer Parish Council, Englefield Parish CouncilBeenham Parish CouncilBradfield Parish Council and Burghfield Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

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

Archives

For earlier Theale Area Weekly News columns (which cover exactly the same area), please click here.

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