Thursday 27 January 2022

Scroll down for local events and activities and news from your local councils.

• The local Neighbourhood Policing Team is offering crime prevention advice and free Tool Marking this Saturday 29 January 10am – 1pm at Tool Station Car Park, Charnham Park Industrial Estate, RG17 0YT.

Bin collection days are changing from week commencing Monday 7 February and this means that at least some parts of Hungerford (we have checked two postcodes at either end of town) will be changing from Wednesday to Tuesday collections. Visit West Berkshire Council’s website here to check for your street. To prevent you waiting too long between collections you will have an additional recycling collection on Saturday 12 February. 

• The Town and Manor of Hungerford is asking for volunteers to help river keeper Rob Starr on Thursday 17 February to plant the margins of the historic river channel which has been restored above Eddington Mill as part of the Sparkling Steams project. If you can help, please contact Mike Saunders on vicar@stlawrenceshungerford.org.uk. Volunteers need to meet at 9am at St Lawrence’s Church armed with a spade.

• The January sale at The Curve Gift Shop (which is next to and supports Hungerford Library) finishes this Friday 28 January 10am – 4pm so do pop in to grab a bargain on a lovely local crafty gift. They are especially feel-good purchases as 15% of the profits from the shop’s sales go to the upkeep of Hungerford Library.

• Huge congratulations to Hungerford’s Lauren Bell, who has been selected in the upcoming England Women’s squad for the Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes Test match. Lauren was at Hungerford Primary School with our eldest son and we have been following her fast bowling career here. We all have our fingers crossed that Lauren and the rest of our Women’s team can provide more competition to the Aussies than our Men’s team did recently…

• Friendly French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association restart at Hungerford Library this Saturday 10.30am-12pm and then take place every last Saturday of the month. All welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee, whether you are a beginner or an advanced French speaker.

Hungerford Twinning Association has been keeping in touch with their French friends in Ligueil during lockdown. Anyone interested in joining the group with a view to future visits to France is very welcome to contact Penny Brookman on pab3udc@gmail.com

• The last call to grab a deal on a lovely local meal out with 25% off Sunday roast at Blandy’s at Inglewood until end of January.  And The Crown & Garter in Inkpen is offering 20% off food on Wednesdays until end February and half price on selected wines.

• M4 Junctions 15 to 14 eastbound will be closed overnight Friday 4 February from 9pm to 6am for work required to reconnect communication sensors under the carriageway at Liddington. The diversion will be via A346, A4 and A338. For more information please contact us on 0300 123 5000 or email info@highwaysengland.co.uk.

Kennet Radio is still hunting for a location for its mast in Hungerford, objections recency having been raised to two sites in the south of the town. If anyone knows of a suitable site on an elevated location (ie not down by the canal or the river) please contact julain@kennetradio.com.

• The Repair Café originally planned for this weekend is now rescheduled for 19 March at The Croft Hall so do start thinking about anything you have that needs fixing.

• Congratulations to Trevor Goodall for winning West Berkshire’s Lifetime Achievement Award 2021. Trevor was originally from Kintbury and has been supported by many people from the Hungerford area in his fundraising. The judging panel found Trevor to be a very worthy winner who has raised more than £1,000,000 and used a personal tragedy to make a difference for the benefit of a great many people. Following the death of his prematurely born twin boys (Joshua and Samuel) in 1995, Trevor has worked tirelessly for his charity “New Life” to provide specialist equipment for the three major hospitals (Reading, Swindon & Oxford) where the majority of West Berkshire mums-to-be will give birth. More details about the Community Champions 2021 winners can be seen here.

• Award-winning Unsettled Ground author Claire Fuller in conversation with Kintbury writer, Gill Hornby on Tuesday 8 February is sold out. If you would like to go on the waiting list please contact Hungerford Bookshop.

• If you missed Hungerford Town’s 2-1 win over Chelmsford in the National League South last Saturday, here are the video highlights. Debutant youngster in goal Matty Crowther was commended for his performance.

• A reminder for those who want to get boosters in or near Hungerford, the two options are (i) Visit the NHS booking website to book an appointment: you will be offered nearby sites that have appointments available. If none are suitable the first time you check, try again in a while as availability changes all the time. (ii) Visit the NHS walk-in centre website for information on drop-in centres near Hungerford.

• There is still time to drop your plastic sweet and biscuit tubs at The Bear Hotel for recycling. The Greene King chain is participating in the Tub2Pub scheme to raise cash for Macmillan Cancer Support.  Clean and empty tubs can be dropped at The Bear reception desk until Monday 31 January.

• West Berkshire Council is introducing a new online registration scheme for access to Household Waste Recycling Centres. This will be replacing the current paper permits with a digital system. All paper permits including green car permits will expire by 28 February 2022. See here for the FAQ section of the WBC website.

• Click here for the latest news from Barrs Yard.

• West Berkshire Museum’s Focus on Hungerford exhibition runs until 4 September 2022. See here for museum opening times. No booking is required.

• Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

• Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

Chestnut Walk

Nothing in particular to report on this but it seems to be a sufficiently important matter to make it worth stressing that discussions are continuing and it is hoped that revised plans will soon be resubmitted.

To briefly re-cap, West Berkshire Council and Sovereign Housing have entered into a joint venture to redevelop the former nursing home on Chestnut Walk near the football ground. In September 2021, Hungerford Town Council’s consideration of the plans concluded there was a disappointing lack of detail about the sustainable aspects of the development. HTC felt the plans had “significant discrepancies” compared to WBC’s own environmental policies, whereas it “should be an exemplar development.” The WBC portfolio holder Steve Ardagh-Walter addressed HTC on this matter on 4 October (you can read a report here) at which the objections were repeated, with ward member James Cole strongly supporting HTC’s stance.

Councillor James Cole raised the matter at WBC’s Executive meeting in December and argued that Chestnut Walk be “a showpiece project that sets a real example to developers.” The upshot was that the portfolio holder Hilary Cole (no relation) said that the matters would be referred to the Housing Board, which will hopefully lead to the desired result of the specifications of the development being improved. There matters now rest. I’m sure that HTC and Hungerford’s residents can continue to rely on James Cole to ensure that the matter gets considered and decided at the earliest opportunity. The site has been derelict for some time and all parties agree on the need for more affordable homes in the town. In the light of the climate emergency, it’s also rightly seen as important that these be built to the best possible standards: this will benefit not only the residents and the wider environment but also help demonstrate that WBC’s own exhortations to the public are backed up with action of its own.

Local events and activities

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

• Dates for the diary

 Fri 28 Jan Hungerford Comedy Club

Tue 1 Feb Borough Arms Quiz Night.

• Thu 3 Feb Arts for Hungerford presents Cloudbusting the Music of Kate Bush at The Croft Hall.

• Fri 4 Feb Arts for Hungerford presents Bond film No Time to Die at The Croft Hall.

• Sat 19 Feb 50s & 60s Disco at Royal British Legion.

• Regular Events

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group has reopened and is meeting at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group also meets at Hungerford Hub every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more information plus contact details can be found here.

• Hungerford market is held every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes and bric-a-brac.

Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Sundays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre (7-8pm on Wednesdays from Weds 2 March). For more details contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls group meet every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This is a very sociable group that like to supplement their chat with a bit of craft. Please see here for more.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page.

•  The Curve at Hungerford Hub and Library is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 10am and 4pm. It offers a selection of art, crafts and gifts by local artisans, with 15% of the profits from the shop’s sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Click here for details.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

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.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above. Penny Post’s summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work in December and projects for January can be seen here. This includes a summary of the January 2022 meeting.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning matters; Popham Close; the electricity transformer; the Recreation Ground; the Parish Stewards; the Community Area Transport Group; the telegraph post at Skeats Corner; a proposed CFPC environmental policy; a proposed memorial plaque; financial matters, including the 2022-23 budget, the precept being set at £7,540, an increase of 3%; grass cutting; and the jubilee. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 10 January and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a blocked drain by the church; parking on the Green; the jubilee; speeding; planning matters; financial matters, including the 2022-23 budget, the precept being set at £11,000, an increase of 22%; the need for a new councillor; and a fall at the boardwalk. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 6 January and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: HGV survey; grass cutting; highways and surface water, specifically the installing of grips on the A338 (“This situation has been going on for over seven years, ” the minutes witheringly report, “with Wiltshire Council undertaking to act but doing nothing. More recently, after a site visit in July, specific undertakings had been given to cut new grips on the A338 and to modify the drains to the west of the Mill House. The person who gave these undertakings had left the Council and there had been no system to follow up his work.”); the slide in the playground; tractor storage; and financial matters. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 November and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent (extraordinary) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 23 June and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Hungerford area; Marlborough area; Newbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and Downlands; Theale area; Wantage area; Swindon area.

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

 

See below for previous columns

 

Thursday 20 January 2022

This week’s news

• If you have noticed that the Town Hall clock has stopped temporarily chiming, rest assured that Town and Manor is awaiting the engineers to come to service and repair it but are not sure how quickly that will be: apologies from the T&M for any inconvenience. (Hungerford’s Town Hall is unique in that it is owned not by the local council but by the Town and Manor, the only place in the country where such a situation prevails).

• Contractors are repairing the canal bridge parapet at Lower Denford following a vehicle collision so the road is closed until 23 January. The diversion is via A4 Bath Rd, Station Rd, High St, Hungerford Rd, and vice versa.

• Congratulations to Inkpen nature writer (and John O’Gaunt School Librarian) Nicola Chester for her book, On Gallows Down, being shortlisted for the Richard Jeffries Award, which is worth £1,000.

• Claire Fuller will be at The Croft Hall in conversation with Kintbury writer, Gill Hornby on Tuesday 8 February. Her novel Unsettled Ground, which is set in the local landscape, was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and recently won the 2021 Novel category at the Costa Book awards. Tickets from Hungerford Bookshop are available here.

• Hungerford residents George and Tori Hanbury are tandem cycling from Yorkshire back to Hungerford in April to raise money for the COSMIC charity which gives babies the chance to survive by funding research, medical equipment and specialist paediatric training. The charity helps fund St Mary’s hospital which saved their 18 day old daughter’s life. Due to the incredible support from the emergency services and Swindon Hospital their daughter Tiggy is now doing well at home and they can’t do enough to thank the NHS. Please help them raise £5,000 here.

A reminder for those who want to get boosters in or near Hungerford, the two options are (i) Visit the NHS booking website to book an appointment: you will be offered nearby sites that have appointments available. If none are suitable the first time you check, try again in a while as availability changes all the time. (ii) Visit the NHS walk-in centre website for information on drop-in centres near Hungerford.

• Hungerford Youth and Community Centre is appealing for volunteers to help run the youth sessions. If you are interested, contact HTCC’s new Youth Worker Dion at: youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• There is still time to drop your plastic sweet and biscuit tubs at The Bear Hotel for recycling. The Greene King chain is participating in the Tub2Pub scheme to raise cash for Macmillan Cancer Support.  Clean and empty tubs can be dropped at The Bear reception desk until Monday 31 January.

• West Berkshire Council is introducing a new online registration scheme for access to Household Waste Recycling Centres. This will be replacing the current paper permits with a digital system. All paper permits including green car permits will expire by 28 February 2022. See here for the FAQ section of the WBC website.

• Anyone employed in (or retired from) the racing and thoroughbred breeding industry who is currently living on or below the Minimum Income Standard. can apply to Racing Welfare for the new Winter Fuel Grant, a one-off payment of £300 to help cover winter fuel costs.

• Still time to grab a deal on a lovely local meal out with 25% off Sunday roast at Blandy’s at Inglewood until end of January.  And The Crown & Garter in Inkpen is offering 20% off food on Wednesdays until end February and half price on selected wines.

• Click here for the latest news from Barrs Yard.

• West Berkshire Museum’s Focus on Hungerford exhibition runs until 4 September 2022. See here for museum opening times. No booking is required.

• Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

• Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

Kintbury’s radical past

This month sees the anniversary of the execution of William Winterbourne from Kintbury for his part in the Swing Riots in 1830 (you can read more about these here in Dave Knight’s article in Penny Post). The riots spread across West Berkshire from Lambourn to Thatcham and were the farm labourers’ desperate response to destitution and food shortages caused by bad harvests and the introduction of machinery by local farmers and landowners, the latter being seen as the main agents of their problems.

The violence was directed at property, not people, but the punishment was harsh. Most of the men were sentenced to hard labour or deportation and never returned to their families. Winterbourne was regarded as the most temperate of the three Kintbury leaders, but was nevertheless chosen to be the ultimate example for the rest of Berkshire.

Every year people gather to pay their respects at his grave in the churchyard of St Mary’s in Kintbury, including a representative from Reading Trade Union Council. They meet at the exact time of his execution in Reading Gaol ,just before noon on 11 January. Reverend Fowle from Kintbury had tried but failed to plead for William’s life. However the clergyman did manage to save Wiliam’s body from the communal grave for executed men at the gaol and bring it back to St Mary’s. To minimise the scandal the headstone was ingraved with William’s mother’s maiden name, Smith.

Local author Nicola Chester writes movingly about the rioters in her book On Gallows Down. “Of the 45 men sentenced to transportation in Berkshire, 24 were married with 78 children between them and several wives pregnant at the time. They were left to exist on the now-minimal parish relief of a ‘pauper’s dole’, were separated from their children in the workhouse or assisted by the parish to move away. The villages had lost many of their best farming men, their families plungerd into greater poverty. Even now, as it was when I was at school in Newbury in the 1980s, several West Berkshire school students in receipt of free school meals, share family names with Swing Rioters and ‘ag labs’. How many generations will it take for those families to recover?”

Local events and activities

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

• Dates for the diary

Thu 27 Jan Hungerford Town FC Quiz Night.

 Fri 28 Jan Hungerford Comedy Club

Tue 1 Feb Borough Arms Quiz Night.

• Thu 3 Feb Arts for Hungerford presents Cloudbusting the Music of Kate Bush at The Croft Hall.

• Fri 4 Feb Arts for Hungerford presents Bond film No Time to Die at The Croft Hall.

• Sat 19 Feb 50s & 60s Disco at Royal British Legion.

• Regular Events

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group has reopened and is meeting at Hungerford Hub and Library on the fourth Monday of each month generally from 10am to noon. See here for more information.

• Hungerford Cancer Support Group also meets at Hungerford Hub every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more information plus contact details can be found here.

• Hungerford market is held every Wednesday on the High Street from 8am to about 2pm: fruit, veg, meat, cheese, bread, fish, honey, olives, plants, cakes and bric-a-brac.

Kintbury Netball Club for adults of all abilities 7-8pm Sundays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre (7-8pm on Wednesdays from Weds 2 March). For more details contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls group meet every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This is a very sociable group that like to supplement their chat with a bit of craft. Please see here for more.

 Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. See further details on the West Berkshire Library Facebook page.

•  The Curve at Hungerford Hub and Library is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 10am and 4pm. It offers a selection of art, crafts and gifts by local artisans, with 15% of the profits from the shop’s sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Click here for details.

• Hungerford Nursery School Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunch-times for families with one to three-year-olds. Please see here for details.

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.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above. Penny Post’s summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work in December and projects for January can be seen here. This includes a summary of the January 2022 meeting.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 6 January and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: HGV survey; grass cutting; highways and surface water, specifically the installing of grips on the A338 (“This situation has been going on for over seven years, ” the minutes witheringly report, “with Wiltshire Council undertaking to act but doing nothing. More recently, after a site visit in July, specific undertakings had been given to cut new grips on the A338 and to modify the drains to the west of the Mill House. The person who gave these undertakings had left the Council and there had been no system to follow up his work.”); the slide in the playground; tractor storage; and financial matters. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 15 November and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 November and you can read the minutes hereTo 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 Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 September and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent (extraordinary) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 23 June and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 13 January 2022

This week’s news

Hungerford Environmental Action Team was pleased with the turn-out to its 2022 planning meeting on Tuesday. If you missed the meeting but would like to be involved with projects to help Hungerford become a greener town and residents reduce their carbon footprint and save money, or simply go on their newsletter mailing list, please email heat_hungerford@yahoo.com

Claire Fuller will be at The Croft Hall in conversation with Kintbury writer, Gill Hornby on Tuesday 8 February. Her novel Unsettled Ground, which is set in the local landscape, was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and recently won the 2021 Novel category at the Costa Book awards. Tickets from Hungerford Bookshop are available here.

• Reminder for those who want to get boosters in or near Hungerford, the two options are (i) Visit the NHS booking website to book an appointment: you will be offered nearby sites that have appointments available. If none are suitable the first time you check, try again in a while as availability changes all the time. (ii) Visit the NHS walk-in centre website for information on drop-in centres near Hungerford.

• On the topic of boosters, Hungerford Cricket Club want to thank the NHS staff who administered the 7,549 booster jabs in December, all of the volunteers along the way who helped keep everyone safe and the Chairman of the club, Andrew Burbidge who also helped make the centre possible. See here for more details.

The Blue Ball in Kintbury is pleased to announce the opening of “Keeley Mondays”. The pub is now open seven days a week for food and drink which started this week. See more here for updates.

• Hungerford Youth and Community Centre are appealing for volunteers to help run the youth sessions. If you are interested in volunteering, contact their new Youth Worker Dion at: youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

Arts for Hungerford‘s popular Music of Kate Bush tribute night at The Croft Hall Thursday 3 February has sold out online but if you want to go on the waiting list please email Tony at contact@artsforhungerford.com

• There is still time to drop your plastic sweet and biscuit tubs at The Bear Hotel for recycling. The Greene King chain is participating in the Tub2Pub scheme to raise cash for Macmillan Cancer Support.  Clean and empty tubs can be dropped at The Bear reception desk until Monday 31 January.

• West Berkshire Council is introducing a new online registration scheme for access to Household Waste Recycling Centres. This will be replacing the current paper permits with a digital system. All paper permits including green car permits will expire by 28 February 2022. See here for the FAQ section of the WBC website.

• Click here for the latest news from Barrs Yard.

• West Berkshire Museum’s Focus on Hungerford exhibition runs until 4 September 2022. See here for museum opening times. No booking is required.

• Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

• Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

Work from home if you can

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the government’s refusal to permit a return to virtual meetings is regressive, patronising, non-inclusive, undemocratic and medically dangerous. In our most recent update on Hungerford Town Council’s activities, and in Newbury Today, Hungerford Mayor Helen Simpson has repeated her demand that meetings be conducted virtually if the council in question decides. She knows more than do many of the people at the Local Government Ministry about this as she (i) has recently had a very nasty dose of Covid and doesn’t want to catch it again; (ii) needs to attend several HTC meetings each month; and (iii) has identified no particular problems when meetings were handled remotely in 2020-21. Her current choice thus seems to be either to risk catching Covid again or to fail to discharge her responsibilities.

HTC could, as some councils have done, delegate decision-making to the Clerk but this is not how the system is meant to work. In any event, annual events like setting a precept and appointing a Chair cannot be handled in this manner). In the same way, WBC could also delegate its greater powers to its CEO, but Leader Lynne Doherty has again assured Penny Post that this she feels this would be anti-democratic. Both organisations (and many others) also lack a building in which all the councillors, officers, reporters and members of the public who might wish to attend can safely be accommodated. They are just one divisive planning application or one budget discussion (it’s the time of year for those) away from being dysfunctional. One parish council, East Ilsley, recently resorted to holding a meeting in a car park. What happens if the weather turns nasty? Are they all going to stay in their vehicles and shout at each other through megaphones or communicate in morse code by flashing their headlights?

I don’t think either Helen Simpson or Lynne Doherty aspire to the level of fame achieved by Jackie Weaver, but the Handforth municipal sensation has also added her voice to the campaign. As reported here in The Guardian, Ms Weaver said it was “completely unreasonable that we are having to cancel council meetings or hold them only in emergencies.” The article also refers to a petition on Change.org which you can see and sign here. Sense will prevail if enough of us do something about it.

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.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above. Penny Post’s summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work in December and projects for January can be seen here. This includes a summary of the January 2022 meeting.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 November and you can download the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 15 November and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 November and you can read the minutes hereTo 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 Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 September and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent (extraordinary) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 23 June and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Hungerford area council contacts

Parishes: Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish CouncilHam Parish Council,  Chilton Foliat Parish CouncilFroxfield Parish Council and Inkpen Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

Thursday 6 January 2022

This week’s news

• See our Penny Post Hungerford January Newsletter for latest news from Town Council, the Town & Manor, local shops, community groups and much more.

Arts for Hungerford is postponing its January events and look forward to a great programme in early February of Cloudbusting: The Music of Kate Bush on Thursday 3 February and the recent Bond film No Time to Die on Friday 4 February.

• Jim Smith from Broadmead Estate Services will be offering Christmas tree chipping on Sunday 9 January in aid of local charities. Bring your tree to the High Street between 10am and 1pm and make a donation to have it chipped for mulching.

• For those who want to get boosters in or near the town, there are currently two options. (i) Visit the NHS booking website to book an appointment: you will be offered nearby sites that have appointments available. If none are suitable, the situation is changing fast so try again in a while. (ii) Visit the NHS walk-in centre website for information of drop-in centres near Hungerford.

Information here from the invaluable Bedwyn Train Passenger Group about changes to rail services between Bedwyn and Newbury, mainly as a result of Covid-related staff shortages.

HEAT (Hungerford Environmental Action Team) invites everyone to its 2022 planning meeting on Tuesday 11 January in the Library. Meet like-minded people and get involved with constructive local projects. For more please see HEAT (Hungerford Environmental Action Team) January news.

• Thames Valley Police has released a statement regarding the future of the wildlife in and around rural areas of Hungerford: the Hungerford and Downlands Neighbourhood Team have been hard at work trying to stop hare coursing as part of Operation Galileo.

• The Bear Hotel is participating in a scheme where leftover plastic sweet and biscuit tubs from Christmas are being turned into cash for Macmillan Cancer Support. The Tub2Pub scheme is being led by the Greene King pub chain in conjunction with recycling specialist Co-cre8 and DCW Polymers. Tubs can be dropped at The Bear reception desk until Monday 31 January.

• See here for an update from Hungerford Surgery about staffing issues, waiting times and how they are being addressed. The surgery has announced it is not offering vaccinations due to staff shortages. Its focus instead will be on offering patient care and catching up on the backlog of appointments from lockdown.

• Mike Gilbert is hoping that the date for the next Hungerford Repair Café will be on Saturday 29 January in The Croft Hall. This is Covid-permitting and will be confirmed nearer the time.

• West Berkshire Council is introducing a new online registration scheme for access to Household Waste Recycling Centres. This will be replacing the current paper permits with a digital system. All paper permits including green car permits will expire by 28 February 2022. See here for the FAQ section of the WBC website.

Click here for the latest news from Barrs Yard.

• West Berkshire Museum’s Focus on Hungerford exhibition runs until 4 September 2022. See here for museum opening times. No booking is required.

• Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

• Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

Penny Post Hungerford

The most recent edition was published on Wednesday 5 Jan and you can click here to read it if you didn’t get it. The main things covered were:

  • Hungerford Town Council: the latest from HTC including the 2022-23 precept, the Police report, speeding, Chestnut Walk, vaccinations, planning applications, the pigeons’ possible new HQ and the return of the Mayor after a bad bout of Covid.
  • Hungerford Town and Manor: a look back at the T&M’s various projects, tasks and challenges in 2021 which ranged from coppicing to cows, from grant donations to green initiatives and from monthly meetings to sparkling streams.
  • Hungerford High Street: latest news from Inklings, Hungerford Printing Co, Fare Wise Travel, M&P Hardware, Hungerford Legal & Financial Centre, Hungerford Bookshop, Coin & Stamp Centre, Belle Chic and The Naked Grape.
  • Other: the wine of the month, the book of the month, news from the schools, lateral-0flow tests, vaccination clinics, help needed by local groups, an award-winning 10-year-old local artist, our monthly racing column, a short story, local health-club offers, news from Arts for Hungerford, property, jobs and events.

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.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above. Penny Post’s summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work in November and projects for December can be seen here. As this reports, the most recent meeting took place on 6 December.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 November and you can download the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 15 November and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 November and you can read the minutes hereTo 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 Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 September and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent (extraordinary) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 23 June and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

Thursday 23 December 2021

A look back at 2021

We’ve covered a lot of stories in this area in 2021, several on more than one occasion as things have changed or new facts come to light. We’ve listed and summarised a handful of these below. More information can be found by searching for the respective phrases in this post (and any for coverage of this area for earlier periods, which will be linked to at the foot of the post). 

• Lancaster Park. As with all developments, this has not had a completely smooth run since construction started. In July, problems were reported with the new roundabout on the A338 which led to temporary traffic lights for several months: the problem was only resolved in November and it’s still not certain whether WBC or Bewley Homes will be responsible for footing the eventual bill. In October, reports surfaced that Bewley had suggested to new residents that they might get a frosty reception in the town due to the controversy surrounding the development, a matter which has since been smoothed over. There was also a revised application submitted by Bewley in June 2020 which asked that the 28 social-rent homes specified as part of the development be converted to joint-ownership. After discussions with WBC and a consultants’ report (commissioned by WBC but paid for by Bewley), in May 2021 WBC rejected the application, a decision which Bewley has accepted. Work continues on the development but the diggers and the lorries will be with us for a while yet. Some people have already moved in. We wish them and the others who eventually join them there a happy time in  this excellent town.

• Chestnut Walk. In October, plans were submitted by West Berkshire Council and Sovereign for eight new dwellings on the site of the old care home. This attracted opposition from Hungerford Town Council and ward member James Cole: not because of whether the site needed redevelopment or whether affordable homes were wanted in the town (both of which are widely accepted) but because it was felt that the scheme was unambitious in its ambitions  and objectives for sustainability in the light of the climate emergency. Further discussions involving the various parties continued over the next two months. The most recent major development was that the matter was raised as a motion by Councillor James Cole at the WBC Executive meeting in December. The portfolio holder Hilary Cole said that it would be referred to the Housing Board, which will hopefully lead to the desired result of the specifications of the development being improved.

• Hungerford 2036. Hungerford’s neighbourhood development plan – a time-consuming and technical process run over several years by a group of volunteers since May 2018 to enable the town to have a greater say in planning policies which affect the community – has been progressing well during 2021. You can click here to see summary of what has been achieved.

Pigeons. These avian rats appear to find the varied bridges and roof-scapes of the town endlessly appealing and have so far defeated all attempts to discourage them or reduce their numbers. August saw a cull organised by the Town Council. This didn’t meet with universal approval but was in response to repeated demands from a majority of residents and retailers. At around this time, and as if to prove that action was required, it became clear the a build-up of pigeon droppings in the gutters had caused a major leak in the Corn Exchange: it was fortunate even more serious damage didn’t result. The matter briefly hit the national press in May when it was suggested that the birds be trapped and then released in, of all places, Whitby, where they would be fighting for scraps with the town’s considerable gull population. This solution was not eventually tried, though it’s about the only one that hasn’t been.

• Speeding. This is a problem in many communities but has been particularly highlighted in Hungerford because of speeding on the Common which has resulted in a number of accidents involving the cows which graze there between April and November. The Town and Manor of Hungerford long been campaigning for the speed limit there to be reduced. Thanks to its continued efforts, supported by Hungerford Town Council and the three District Councillors, WBC agreed that a 30mph limit should be imposed there and the signs were put up in early December. The question is now if people will obey them. The Town Council is also aware that there are other areas in the town where this is a problem and measures are being put in place to combat this.

• Penny Post Hungerford. This has been published at the start of each month (the day after the meeting of Hungerford Town Council) in an unbroken succession that dates back to issue #1 in January 2017 (60 issues, and counting). It covers every major aspect of life in the town from the council to voluntary groups, from cows on the Common to concerts at the Croft and from a headmaster’s diary to a wine merchant’s selection. If you want to receive this and currently don’t subscribe to Penny Post, visit the subscribe page (and make sure you tick the “Hungerford” box). If you’re already a Penny Post subscriber and don’t currently get Penny Post Hungerford, email brian@pennypost.org.uk and we’ll arrange for this to happen.

This week’s news

• Green bin (garden and food waste) collection service has been temporarily suspended by West Berkshire Council between 28 December till 8 January, with resumption of the services starting again from Monday 10 January. The council explained the reasoning behind the suspension as needing to “free up more drivers and operatives to ensure your rubbish (black bin) and recycling (green boxes and bag) service continues as scheduled throughout the busy Christmas period and into the New Year.”

• Hungerford Town FC announced its support for #NoHomeKit campaign being run by homelessness charity Shelter, which is asking all football teams playing fixtures on Boxing Day “ditch their home shirt, and instead wear an away or third kit, in a powerful act of support and solidarity for people without a home.” Shelter are aiming to raise £250,000 which will help contribute to “helping find safe and secure homes for people whose lives are on the line.” If you wish to donate, you can do so via Shelter’s JustGiving page.

• Staying with the Crusaders, Keith Pennicott-Bowen (Hungerford Town FC’s first team Coach) was a recent guest on the Football in Berkshire ‘In conversation with…’ podcast. Keith spoke about his coaching experiences with Hungerford, as well as various other clubs throughout Berkshire.

• Congratulations to Inkpen Food & Craft Market who raised £200 for “Inkpen Charity pot” at their Christmas Charity Raffle and Market on 19 December.

• Less fortunate news from Arts for Hungerford as two of their January 2022 events, Film Night: Ammonite (7 January) and Kyla Brox Band (8 January), have been postponed to a later date.

• See here for an update from Hungerford Surgery about staffing issues, waiting times and how they are being addressed. The surgery has announced it is not offering vaccinations due to staff shortages. Its focus instead will be on offering patient care and catching up on the backlog of appointments from lockdown.

• Stuck for gift ideas? Nothing’s better than a book. Fortunately we have some experts in town who can help you find the perfect title for grumpy uncle George, flighty grand-daughter Fiona and everyone in between. Click here for details of what the award-winning Hungerford Bookshop can offer; and here for a range of page-turning suggestions.

• OK, I get it: there are other gifts. How about a really good bottle of something worth drinking? We’ve got that covered as well. Just across from the Bookshop is The Naked Grape which has also been providing us with regular recommendations about the best stuff you can find, in this case from below the corkscrew. Click here to see Simon’s recommendations.

• To help provide outdoor play equipment for the children at the school, Hungerford Primary School invites you to join in with the fun of their Christmas Virtual Balloon Race, which will start on Christmas Day. Balloons cost just £3 and the equipment will help to encourage teamwork, imagination and inclusion for break times.

• Jim Smith from Broadmead Estate Services will be offering Christmas tree chipping on Sunday 9 January in aid of local charities. Bring your tree to the High Street between 10am and 1pm and make a donation to have it chipped for mulching.

• Mike Gilbert is hoping that the date for the next Hungerford Repair Café will be on Saturday 29 January in The Croft Hall. This is Covid-permitting and will be confirmed nearer the time.

• West Berkshire Council is introducing a new online registration scheme for access to Household Waste Recycling Centres. This will be replacing the current paper permits with a digital system. All paper permits including green car permits will expire by 28 February 2022. See here for the FAQ section of the WBC website.

• West Berkshire Museum’s Focus on Hungerford exhibition has opened. The exhibition runs until 4 September 2022. See here for museum opening times. No booking is required.

• Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

• Last chance to cast your token for Inkpen & Kintbury Scouts in Tesco Hungerford in December for funding for vital storage at its scout hut. If you don’t get given a token at the check-out, please ask the cashier for one.

• Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

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.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above. Penny Post’s summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work in November and projects for December can be seen here. As this reports, the most recent meeting took place on 6 December.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 November and you can download the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 15 November and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Church Lane survey results; the need for a new parish councillor; a blocked drain; the jubilee; the 2022-23 budget; rights of way; defibrillators; financial matters; speeding; and street lighting. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 November and you can read the minutes hereTo 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 Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 September and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent (extraordinary) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 23 June and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

Thursday 16 December 2021

This week’s news

• Hungerford Chamber of Commerce thanks everyone who helped make the Victorian Extravaganza last Friday such a success. “It was lovely to see so many members of the public dressed in Victorian costume,” said Hungerford Chamber of Commerce Chair Karen Salmon. The Best Dressed Victorian member of the public competition was won by Michele and Adam Lomas from Avebury and Stephanie Wiltshire from Cerney Wick. Best dressed High Street business owner was Sylvi Giuliani of The Borough Arms, the best dressed charity stallholders were The Community Of Hungerford Theatre Company and the best Christmas shop window was The Clockmaker Ltd. Click here for a fuller report.

• PP reader and former Mayor Anthony Buckwell commented earlier this week that the new road signs at the junction of the main east-west route going through the Common and the road going to the Inkpen gate seemed to be incorrect (the advisory triangle indicates that the Hungerford-Kintbury major road ahead is not the major road and that you may have precedence depending on which way you are turning). We drew this to the attention of District Councillor James Cole who confirmed that the priority warning sign here had been incorrectly placed and that WBC’s contractors have been told to get this corrected. Fast work by all concerned so far: but the best guess from WBC’s Traffic and Road Safety team is that the remedial work may not happen before the end of January. Let’s hope there’s not an accident there before then that’s attributable to this. Now that WBC has admitted its mistake, any insurance company would surely ask WBC to settle a claim. You can see the full exchange at the foot of the most recent update on the Town and Manor of Hungerford’s activities. In the meantime please take care at that junction.

• And still in our car and still on the Commonthis article from Newbury Today reports that some drivers are still ignoring the new 30mph speed limit. Vehicles have been reported going as fast as 60mph and members of the public are concerned whether it could be a pedestrian, rather than a cow, next. It was agreed by Hungerford Town Council that a working party will arrange the use of speed indication devices (SIDs) to collect evidence in support of traffic calming measures. This has also been a regular concern for the Town and Manor, which owns the Common. Speeding is also a concern in other parts of the town and the Town Council is aware of these concerns.

• See here for an update from Hungerford Surgery about staffing issues, waiting times and how they are being addressed. The surgery has announced it is not offering vaccinations due to staff shortages. Its focus instead will be on offering patient care and catching up on the backlog of appointments from lockdown.

• Stuck for gift ideas? Nothing’s better than a book. Fortunately we have some experts in town who can help you find the perfect title for grumpy uncle George, flighty grand-daughter Fiona and everyone in between. Click here for details of what the award-winning Hungerford Bookshop can offer; and here for a range of page-turning suggestions.

• OK, I get it: there are other gifts. How about a really good bottle of something worth drinking? We’ve got that covered as well. Just across from the Bookshop is The Naked Grape which has also been providing us with regular recommendations about the best stuff you can find, in this case from below the corkscrew. Click here to see Simon’s recommendations.

• To help provide outdoor play equipment for the children at the school, Hungerford Primary School invites you to join in with the fun of their Christmas Virtual Balloon Race, which will start on Christmas Day. Balloons cost just £3 and the equipment will help to encourage teamwork, imagination and inclusion for break times.

• Jim Smith from Broadmead Estates will be offering Christmas tree chipping on Sunday 9 January in aid of local charities. Bring your tree to the High Street between 10am and 1pm and make a donation to have it chipped for mulching.

• Hungerford Rotary’s Santa returns this year after a 15-year sabbatical. Listen out as Friday 17 December is the last opportunity to see him. See Santa’s seasonal schedule here.

• In case you missed the reintroduction of Santa in his sleigh over the last week, Facebook has many great photos of him. See here for some great photos.

• Mike Gilbert is hoping that the date for the next Hungerford Repair Café will be on Saturday 29 January in The Croft Hall. This is Covid-permitting and will be confirmed nearer the time.

• West Berkshire Council is introducing a new online registration scheme for access to Household Waste Recycling Centres. This will be replacing the current paper permits with a digital system. All paper permits including green car permits will expire by 28 February 2022. See here for the FAQ section of the WBC website.

• The Curve at Hungerford Hub and Library is open on Wednesdays and Fridays between 10am and 4pm. It offers a selection of art, crafts and gifts by local artisans, with 15% of the profits from the shop’s sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library.

• West Berkshire Museum’s Focus on Hungerford exhibition has opened. The exhibition runs until 4 September 2022. See here for museum opening times. No booking is required.•

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

• Inkpen & Kintbury Scouts asks for your vote in Tesco Hungerford in December for funding for vital storage at its scout hut. If you don’t get given a token at the check-out, please ask the cashier for one.

• Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

Chestnut Walk

District Councillor James Cole has posed two questions for the meeting of WBC’s Executive on 16 December. (See previous sections below for previous coverage of this multi-faceted issue.)

The first was: “In light of the recent introduction of our Social Value policy would the Portfolio Holder for Housing please review at the next Housing Board the possibility of installing ground source heating at the Chestnut Walk redevelopment, recognising the Council’s commitments on both Climate Change and Social Value, and thereby taking the opportunity of turning this into a showpiece project that sets a real example to developers?”

The second (supplementary) question was: “Another aspect of the implications of our new “Social Value Policy” was raised as part of Hungerford Town Council’s presentation on the Planning aspects of the Chestnut Walk development last night, when Councillor Downe asked if we would also look at minimising the cost of living for residents of new social or affordable housing by covering such issues as powering charge points for electric cars from house power rather than expensive commercially provided public power where possible? Would you be happy to include that element?”

A recording of the event is available and you can listen to the questions and the answers provided here (the last item, from 1 hour 35 minutes 35 seconds). In summary, the portfolio holder Hilary Cole said that the matters would be referred to the Housing Board, which will hopefully lead to the desired result of the specifications of the development being improved.

Hungerford’s pop up clinic at Hungerford Cricket Club

As has been widely publicised, this has proved successful beyond all expectations – perhaps too successful on Sunday and Monday with people travelling from all across southern England and having to queue for several hours. Matters now seem to have stabilised, partly due to other centres having opened up. Bookings can no longer be made here but all existing ones will be honoured. If you haven’t booked, you can turn up – be prepared for a wait, though this shouldn’t be as lengthy as a few days ago.: Newbury Today reports that queue times are down to only 30 minutes. That can change, of course. Fortunately the weather forecast isn’t too bad.

The opening dates have also been extended. The clinic will be open every day until Wednesday 22 December from 9.30am to 6.30pm with the exception of Saturday 18 (due to a football match at Bulpit Lane). I’m told that even if the match is postponed it’s unlikely that the clinic will open on this day as the staff will be needed elsewhere and there’s also work to be done on setting the clinic up for its re-opening with a slightly different configuration.

As of the end of Wednesday 15 December the team of clinicians had administered 3,408 booster vaccinations. A West Berkshire Council spokesperson said that “the team including all the volunteers, has provided a fantastic service to everyone who has come forward.”

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.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above. Penny Post’s summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work in November and projects for December can be seen here. As this reports, the most recent meeting took place on 6 December.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 15 November and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Church Lane survey results; the need for a new parish councillor; a blocked drain; the jubilee; the 2022-23 budget; rights of way; defibrillators; financial matters; speeding; and street lighting. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 November 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.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 23 September and you can download the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 September and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent (extraordinary) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 23 June and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

Thursday 9 December 2021

This week’s news

• Our December Hungerford newsletter includes latest news from Hungerford Town Council, The Town & Manor of Hungerford, Arts for Hungerford, HEAT (Hungerford Environmental Action Team), Hungerford High Street and more.

• Penny Post’s December news from Hungerford’s independent shops and businesses can be found here.

• See here for the latest update from Hungerford Surgery about staffing issues, waiting times and how they are being addressed.

• Following the speeding issues in and around Hungerford over the last few weeks, Hungerford Town Council’s Highways and Transport Committee voted to spend money on purchasing at least one speed indicator device and contributing to the cost of at least one EV charge point in the town.

• And as we’re mentioning highways: the new 30mph signs have been installed on Hungerford Common.

• To help provide outdoor play equipment for the children at the school, Hungerford Primary School invites you to join in with the fun of their Christmas Virtual Balloon Race, which will start on Christmas Day. Balloons cost just £3 and the equipment will help to encourage teamwork, imagination and inclusion for break times.

• Jim Smith from Broadmead Estates will be offering Christmas tree chipping on Sunday 9 January in aid of local charities. Bring your tree to the High Street between 10am and 1pm and make a donation to have it chipped for mulching.

• Hungerford Rotary’s Santa returns this year after a 15 year sabbatical. Listen out for his sleigh as he tours the streets of Hungerford between 13 and 17 December. See Santa’s seasonal schedule here. Santa will also be in the Extravaganza parade on Friday so watch out for him.

• Preparations are full steam ahead for the Victorian Extravaganza this Friday 10 December. Please visit hungerfordextravaganza.com for information about Covid regulations, the road closures and categories for Best Dressed Victorians on the night. All these are organised by Hungerford Chamber of Commerce.

• There are still copies of the 2022 Hungerford calendar available for £10 with a percentage of proceeds going to charity from Hungerford Printing Co’s office down the alley between Eliane’s and the Bookshop: or contact them on 01488 684337 or hungerfordprinting@gmail.com

• Mike Gilbert is hoping that the date for the next Hungerford Repair Café will be on Saturday 29 January in The Croft Hall. This is Covid-permitting and will be confirmed nearer the time.

• West Berkshire Council is introducing a new online registration scheme for access to Household Waste Recycling Centres. This will be replacing the current paper permits with a digital system. All paper permits including green car permits will expire by 28 February 2022. See here for the FAQ section of the WBC website.

• As mentioned last week, Disney star Hayley Mills will be giving a talk in Kintbury on Friday 10 December about her experience growing up in Hollywood. For more information, see below in the events section.

• The Curve at Hungerford Hub and Library is open on Wednesdays and Fridays between 10am and 4pm. It offers a selection of art, crafts and gifts by local artisans, with 15% of the profits from the shop’s sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library.

• West Berkshire Museum’s Focus on Hungerford exhibition has opened. The exhibition runs until 4 September 2022. See here for museum opening times. No booking is required.

• Help is being sought by Kintbury St Mary’s Primary School for local residents and businesses to fund new books for their new school library, to help raise the literacy standards of our community’s next generation. Please see here for details.

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

• Inkpen & Kintbury Scouts asks for your vote in Tesco Hungerford between October and December for funding for vital storage at its scout hut. If you don’t get given a token at the check-out, please ask the cashier for one.

• Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

• Covid boosters will be available from a Health on the Move van at the Coronation Hall in Kintbury on Tuesday 14 and Wednesday 15 December. Unlike the ones in Hungerford (see below) these need to be booked through the NHS website. Those aged 18 to 39 will also be eligible for a booster when the NHS calls them forward.

• The pop-up jab centre at the Hungerford Cricket Club is open from 10am to 6.30pm until Friday 17 December (with the exception of Saturday 11 December) Some walk-in appointments will be available but people are encouraged to book in advance via West Berkshire Council’s website. Note that, for reasons that have nothing to do with WBC, this option will not be made available through the NHS website on which bookings at other centres can be made.

• The planning application at Chestnut Walk in Hungerford has been referred to several times (see below). The matter was to have been raised in a motion at the recent WBC Full Council but the meeting ran out of time. It’s a complicated and important issue which has conflated several separate matters including WBC’s planning procedures, its responsibilities as a landowner, the role of planning committees and the climate emergency. The application is now set to come before the Western Area Planning Committee on 15 December.

Penny Post Hungerford

Our monthly e-newsletter for the town is generally published the day after the first working Monday of the month (because that’s when Hungerford Town Council meets). In December 2021 this fell on Tuesday 7 and you can read it here – our 60th Hungerford newsletter in an unbroken sequence stretching back to January 2017. We like to think each one is a bumper issue, as the town deserves, and this one’s no exception.

As usual, it’s got the latest from the Town Council (including matters arising from its meeting the day before), from the Town and Manor and from the High Street’s retailers. There’s also information from the local rail passengers’ group, the regular diary from John O’Gaunt School’s Head Teacher, news from HEAT, CHAIN and Arts for Hungerford and details of forthcoming events ranging from the Extravaganza to an author talk and from indoor markets to a repair café. There’s the book of the month (actually 11 books), the wine of the month (actually a liqueur) and a short story (set in December 1999). It also has jobs, property, some appeals for help needed by local community groups, local fitness classes, Santa’s seasonal schedule, a recipe for chocolate truffles, local Christmas cards and some wise words from Maya Angelou. Something, we hope, for everyone.

The January 2022 issue will be published on Wednesday 5 January (as in that month the Town Council meeting is taking place on the Tuesday, not the usual Monday). If there’s anything you’d like to see included in this please email penny@pennypost.org.uk by 9am on Monday 3 January.

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.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above. Penny Post’s summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work in October and projects for November can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 15 November and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Church Lane survey results; the need for a new parish councillor; a blocked drain; the jubilee; the 2022-23 budget; rights of way; defibrillators; financial matters; speeding; and street lighting. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 November and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: councillor vacancies; a report by District Councillor James Cole; planning applications; the co-option of a new councillor; financial matters; locks on the toilets; the greening campaign; and the playground benches. 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 Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 23 September and you can download the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 September and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent (planning) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 16 August and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

Thursday 2 December 2021

This week’s news

• The next meeting of Hungerford Town Council will take place in the Corn exchange complex at 7pm on Monday 6 December and you can see the agenda here. Members of the public are, as always, welcome to attend. There will report on all of HTC’s activities, including this meeting, in the December issue of the Penny Post Hungerford e-newsletter which will be published the following day, Tuesday 7 December. If you have anything you’d like to contribute to this issue, please email penny@pennypost.org.uk as soon as possible.

• Hungerford Town Council’s Highways and Transport committee has voted to spend money on purchasing at least one speed indicator device (see previous references to speeding issues in the town in previous weeks) and contributing to the cost of at least one EV charge point in the town.

• And sticking with highways: finally, it’s official – the new 30mph signs will be installed on Hungerford Common on 10 December.

• Preparations are full steam ahead for the Victorian Extravaganza next Friday 10 December. Please visit hungerfordextravaganza.com for information about Covid regulations the road closures and categories for Best Dressed Victorians on the night.  The last lantern-making workshop will be from 4 to 6pm on Friday 3 December at The Croft Field Centre. All these are organised by Hungerford Chamber of Commerce.

• If you missed the festivities of the Christmas Lights Switch-On last Sunday organised by Hungerford Town Council, here are some videos from the night from Kennet Radio of traditional songs, young people choir and Santa on the Town Hall Steps.

• Hungerford Primary School invites you to join in with the fun of their Christmas Virtual Balloon Race, which will start on Christmas Day. Balloons costs just £3 and funds will provide outdoor play equipment at the school so very much needed to encourage teamwork, imagination and inclusion for break times.

• There are still copies of the 2022 Hungerford calendar available for £10 with a percentage of proceeds going to charity from Hungerford Printing Co’s office down the alley between Eliane’s and Hungerford Bookshop or contact them on 01488 684337 or hungerfordprinting@gmail.com

• West Berkshire Council is introducing a new online registration scheme for access to Household Waste Recycling Centres. This will be replacing the current paper permits with a digital system. All paper permits including green car permits will expire by 28 February 2022. See here for the FAQ section of the WBC website.

• Disney star Hayley Mills will be giving a talk in Kintbury on Friday 10 December about her experience growing up in Hollywood. For more information, see below in the events section.

• The Curve at Hungerford Hub and Library is open on Wednesdays and Fridays between 10am and 4pm. It offers a selection of art, crafts and gifts by local artisans, with 15% of the profits from the shop’s sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library.

• An arts and crafts pop up shop is being hosted in The Courtyard offering affordable and unique Christmas gifts for those who enjoy early gift shopping. See below in the events section for more details.

• Penny Post’s November news from Hungerford’s independent shops and businesses can be found here.

• West Berkshire Museum’s Focus on Hungerford exhibition has opened. The exhibition runs until 4 September 2022. See here for museum opening times. No booking is required.

• Hungerford Town FC is hosting a Christmas party after their Oxford City game on Saturday 4 December, promising live music and other entertainment. For more information, view the events section below.

• Help is being sought by Kintbury St Mary’s Primary School for local residents and businesses to fund new books for their new school library, to help raise the literacy standards of our community’s next generation. Please see here for details.

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

• Inkpen & Kintbury Scouts asks for your vote in Tesco Hungerford between October and December for funding for vital storage at its scout hut. If you don’t get given a token at the check-out, please ask the cashier for one.

• Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

• Covid boosters will be available from a Health on the Move van at the Coronation Hall in Kintbury on Tuesday 14 and Wednesday 15 December. Unlike the ones in Hungerford (see below) these need to be booked through the NHS website. Those aged 18 to 39 will also be eligible for a booster when the NHS calls them forward.

Covid boosters come to town

West Berkshire Council has announced that there will a pop-up jab centre at the Hungerford Cricket Club from 10am to 6.30pm between Wednesday 8 and Friday 17 December, with the exception of Saturday 11 December. These are for people over 40 (though this may change in the light of government regulations) who haven’t yet had a booster jab.

Some walk-in appointments will be available but people are encouraged to book in advance. For more information on this service, please see this page on WBC’s website. Note that, for reasons that have nothing to do with WBC, this option will not be made available through the NHS website on which bookings at other centres can be made.

Chestnut Walk

As mentioned previously (see 11 November 2021 section below) this development has been the subject of some opposition, not because of the provision of affordable homes but because the environmental standards were felt by some (including Hungerford Town Council and ward member James Cole) not to be sufficiently ambitious. As a result, Councillor Cole called the application in to be discussed at planning committee. Discussions also took place involving WBC, Sovereign and others to see if aspects of the proposals could be improved.

The matter will be raised at the meeting of the WBC Full Council on 2 December. The full motion reads: “The Council has a clear commitment to delivering the objectives set out in its Environment Strategy. This commitment is reflected in its ambitions to ensure the Chestnut Walk development, being progressed through a joint venture with Sovereign Housing to deliver eight affordable homes within Hungerford, achieves the highest possible environmental standards. The Council commits to achieving the highest possible environmental standards of this development balancing it against the best value of the disposal of its land.”

The motion will not be debated at that meeting (although Councillor Cole may make some supporting remarks) but will go to the Housing Board and thence to the Executive. Further news on this will be reported as soon as we have it. The main point is that this provides an opportunity for WBC to be involved with an exemplar development which not only leads by example but also provides sustainable heating systems for the residents.

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.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above. Penny Post’s summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work in October and projects for November can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 15 November and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Church Lane survey results; the need for a new parish councillor; a blocked drain; the jubilee; the 2022-23 budget; rights of way; defibrillators; financial matters; speeding; and street lighting. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 November and you can read the minutes here. items covered included: councillor vacancies; a report by District Councillor James Cole; planning applications; the co-option of a new councillor; financial matters; locks on the toilets; the greening campaign; and the playground benches. 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 Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 23 September and you can download the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 September and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent (planning) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 16 August and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

Thursday 25 November 2021

This week’s news

•To help you prepare for the Victorian Extravaganza on Friday 10 December there will be a prep day this Saturday 27 November. Visit hungerfordextravaganza.com for information on how you can hire a costume from Hungerford Theatre Company or make your own in a free workshop (there will be prizes for best-dressed members of the public on the night). There is also a lantern-making workshop the same day in The Croft Field Centre 10am – 4pm for the magical lantern section of the parade. All organised by Hugerford Chamber of Commerce.

• Hungerford Printing Co were delighted by the photograph entries they received for their lovely 2022 Hungerford calendar. The winning photographers were Andrew Powell, Anna Ball, Emma Woodroof, Gareth Shepherd, Jim Lindsay, Lance Quartermain, Matthew Bates, Peter Hussey, Shelley Cross, Susan Oates, Tim Dawson and Tony Bartlett. The calendar is now available for £10 with a percentage of proceeds going to charity from HPC’s office down the alley between Eliane’s and Hungerford Bookshop or contact them on 01488 684337 or hungerfordprinting@gmail.com

Hungerford Town Council is mindful of rising Covid cases and ask residents attending the Christmas Switch-On this Sunday 28 November to please think about others, particularly those more vulnerable. Consider taking a Lateral Flow Test beforehand, do not attend if you feel unwell, maintain social distancing as much as possible and follow marshalls’ directions when given.

• Congratulations to Hungerford Nursery School for its fifth consecutive “Outstanding’ rating by Ofsted. Daniel Lambert, Her Majesty’s Inspector, told the staff that he had not been to a happier school. He commented, “at this Nursery, laughter, imagination and joy abound and children feel safe, secure and valued.”

This accolade, however, must be set against the continued funding threat that this and all the other maintained nursery schools (MNSs) in the country have been facing since 2018 (see this separate post). The resulting uncertainty makes budgeting and planning a far more time-consuming and fraught process than it need be and means that the school is regularly accepting pupils without being able to guarantee that funding will be available for the whole of their time there. No other part of the education system is obliged to operate under such stress. The government should either make a long-term settlement or close them down: the current situation is intolerable. Perhaps these schools have, in Whitehall’s eyes, committed a secret sin that no one has had the courage to point out to them. Whatever this is, it can’t be anything to do with their Ofsted ratings: MNSs are three times more likely to receive an “outstanding” ranking than other schools in the state system.

• The Newbury Weekly News this week reports on p23 of a planning application for 11 flats at St John’s Hall on Station Road (however, the application, which you can see here, seems to specify only ten flats, two of which will be affordable). The article refers to a previous application – there have been several here – which the then developers didn’t proceed with as the requirement that one of them be affordable would, they claimed, have made it non-viable. It goes on to suggest that raising the number to 11 (or even ten) would “circumvent” this. I suspect the point is rather that, with more private flats to sell, the development becomes viable to an extent that it may not have seemed before.

• The same paper reports on p22 that an extension is planned at the Hungerford Leisure Centre to provide an area for exercise classes. These can’t currently take place during the day except in the quite small annexe to the reception area as the centre shares the gym with John O’Gaunt School. To anyone familiar with the Centre, this would in-fill the courtyard at the rear of the building. I spoke to Rose Metali, the Centre’s manager, about this. “Ever since 2014 when I started working there it’s been something that we’ve wanted to do,” she told me. “We’re really glad that this might finally happen. At the moment it’s just a dead outside space. It would enable us to offer a far wider range of classes during the day which would be of particular benefit to retired people.” If the plans are approved, it’s hoped that the extension would be ready for use by next summer.

• Tina Hill, who organised a toy donation recently for Berkshire Women’s Aid thanks everyone for their amazing generosity. The toys and books were very gratefully received and quickly distributed to BWA’s refuges so their resident families could enjoy them. Thanks also to Peter Stirland’s for taking care of the transport of the donations and to Ricky for delivering them in a van – there were too many bags and boxes to fit into a car.

• The Curve at Hungerford Hub and Library is open on Wednesdays and Fridays between 10am and 4pm. It offers a selection of art, crafts and gifts by local artisans, with 15% of the profits from the shop’s sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library.

• An arts and crafts pop up shop is being hosted in The Courtyard offering affordable and unique Christmas gifts for those who enjoy early gift shopping. See below in the events section for more details.

• Penny Post’s November news from Hungerford’s independent shops and businesses can be found here.

Click here for October to November 2021 update from Hungerford Town Council.

Click here for the Town and Manor of Hungerford update for October to November 2021.

• West Berkshire Museum’s Focus on Hungerford exhibition has opened. The exhibition runs until 4 September 2022. See here for museum opening times. No booking is required.

• Hungerford Town FC is hosting a Christmas party after their Oxford City game on Saturday 4 December, promising live music and other entertainment. For more information, view the events section below.

• There is much anticipation about new Italian restaurant coming to town. Amore plans to open soon and the proprietors already run a popular Italian restaurant in Shipton on Stour so it is looking good for Hungerford..

• If you are involved in local groups and fundraising it is worth hearing a senior spokesperson from Greenham Trust making a short presentation at the start of the Kintbury PC meeting on 2 December, which parishioners are as ever welcome to attend. This will provide information about Greenham Trust’s 25th anniversary in 2022, its events and campaigns and, in particular, how its grant funding can help support local charities and voluntary groups.

• Help is being sought by Kintbury St Mary’s Primary School for local residents and businesses to fund new books for their new school library, to help raise the literacy standards of our community’s next generation. Please see here for details.

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Crofton Beam Engines invites you to take a look behind the scenes to see its volunteers carrying out engineering winter maintenance on their Winter Works Open Day from 10.30am – 2.00pm this Saturday 27 November. Free entry but donations welcome and don’t forget to wrap up warm. To help keep Crofton steaming in 2022 and beyond please support the Crofton Boiler Appeal to raise £30,000 for essential boiler repairs. Once this is completed, no further major work on the boiler is expected to be required for the next ten years.

Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

• Inkpen & Kintbury Scouts asks for your vote in Tesco Hungerford between October and December for funding for vital storage at its scout hut. If you don’t get given a token at the check-out, please ask the cashier for one.

• Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

Dangerous road problem shock horror

• What a strange article on Get Reading or Berkshire Live or whatever it’s called. “Hungerford road named one of the most ‘dangerous’ in the county,” screams the headline, “but people don’t see the problem.” The road referred to is the High Street and the article quotes by name several traders as making earth-shattering remarks such as “it’s a busy road so you have to be careful” and “as long as people obey the speed limits and laws, and people actually use the crossings, it should be fine.” These are perfectly sensible observations but hardly news. This is contrasted with one, un-named, local trader who has called on West Berkshire Council to lower the speed limit but then rather undermines his point by saying that “he’s grateful for the bustling road as it attracts people to his store.” Well, make your mind up. What’s the story here? Should we shun the High Street or not?

The article also has a number of links but none to the Road Safety Foundation’s interactive map on which this story is predicated. I had a quick look for it. It might be this one but I can’t be sure as the author didn’t tell us. If so, it seems useless as it suggests that the rural part of the A338 north and south of the town – which can be quite scary – have an identical risk to the High Street where traffic is typically pretty slow. I’ve probably driven up or down it a dozen times a week for over twenty years and never seen anything that spooks me as much as trying to turn off or onto the B4000 a few miles north. The article also says that the speed limit changes from 60mph (should that be 50?) to 30mph as you approach Hungerford. So what? The same happens outside thousands of other towns.

This I can say about speeding in Hungerford, all of which have previously and regularly been reported in Penny Post. First, Hungerford Town Council (HTC) is aware of complaints and issues in various parts of the town and is taking these seriously (although it has very little power to effect changes itself). Second, the Town and Manor of Hungerford is particularly concerned about speeding on the Common and has, with the help of HTC and the district councillors, managed to have the speed limit there reduced to 30mph. Third, District Councillor James Cole has, as reported last week (see below) produced a detailed paper on the various options for combatting speeding open to HTC (and other parishes in the ward that he and two other councillors represent) which were considered at a recent meeting of HTC’s Highways and Transport Committee. All of these developments pre-dated the article and yet none were referred to in it. Of course, there may be an awful accident there tomorrow but nothing in this piece suggests why this might happen. So, if you use Hungerford High Street (or any other high street), be aware but don’t – as this article seems to suggest you should be – be terrified.

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.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above. Penny Post’s summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work in October and projects for November can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 November and you can read the minutes here. items covered included: councillor vacancies; a report by District Councillor James Cole; planning applications; the co-option of a new councillor; financial matters; locks on the toilets; the greening campaign; and the playground benches. 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 Froxfield Parish Council took place on 27 September and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 23 September and you can download the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 September and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent (planning) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 16 August and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

Thursday 18 November 2021

This week’s news

• The next weekend of great events hosted by Arts for Hungerford is Another Round starring Mad Mikkelsen on Friday 19 November and award-winning Spanish guitar duo De Fuego on Saturday 19 November. Under 18s get free tickets to all of Arts for Hungerford’s live performances.

• If you missed the Remembrance Day Service at the War Memorial on Sunday you can watch the video here on St Lawrence’s youtube channel and enjoy this poignant gallery of photographs from Oxygen Photography.

• The traffic delays around Hungerford over the weekend were caused by a sinkhole (looked more like a black hole to me) that was discovered on the M4 between J14 and J15 at the weekend and required specialist contractors,

• The Curve at Hungerford Hub and Library is open on Wednesdays and Fridays between 10am and 4pm. It offers a selection of art, crafts and gifts by local artisans, with 15% of the profits from the shop’s sales going to the upkeep of the Hungerford Library.

• Penny Post’s November news from Hungerford’s independent shops and businesses can be found here.

Click here for October to November 2021 update from Hungerford Town Council.

Click here for the Town and Manor of Hungerford update for October to November 2021.

• A new pop-up vintage store has opened for this week only in Hungerford Printing Company’s office in the courtyard near Hungerford Bookshop. It will be open 10am to 5pm Friday and Saturday and 10.30am to 4.30pm on Sunday.

• The Dogs Trust will be at the Hungerford Hub an Library on Tuesday 23 November to talk about everything dogs. You can find further information below in the events section.

• West Berkshire Museum’s Focus on Hungerford exhibition is now open, the latest in the museum’s series of exhibitions looking at the history of West Berkshire’s parishes. The exhibition runs until 4 September 2022. See here for museum opening times. No booking is required.

Hungerford Victorian Extravaganza on Friday 10 December will have prizes for best-dressed stallholders, shopkeepers and members of the public. To help you prepare there will be a free Victorian costume-making workshop on Saturday 27 November in Hungerford Hub. There is also a lantern-making workshop the same day in The Croft Field Centre. For more details please visit hungerfordextravaganza.com

• Hungerford Town FC is hosting a Christmas party after their Oxford City game on 4 December, promising live music and other entertainment. For more information, view the events section below.

• If you are involved in local groups and fundraising it is worth hearing a senior spokesperson from Greenham Trust making a short presentation at the start of the Kintbury PC meeting on 2 December, which parishioners are as ever welcome to attend. This will provide information about Greenham Trust’s 25th anniversary in 2022, its events and campaigns and, in particular, how its grant funding can help support local charities and voluntary groups.

• Help is being sought by Kintbury St Mary’s Primary School for local residents and businesses to fund new books for their new school library, to help raise the literacy standards of our community’s next generation. Please see here for details.

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

• Inkpen & Kintbury Scouts asks for your vote in Tesco Hungerford between October and December for funding for vital storage at its scout hut. If you don’t get given a token at the check-out, please ask the cashier for one.

• Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

Speeding

This is – along with dog-waste bins and planning applications – an issue that crops up at virtually every town and parish council meeting in the area. Each community has its own hot spots and particular areas of concern. The one that has attracted most publicity in Hungerford is on the Common (particularly when this involves the cows) but this is by no means the only part of the town where this is a problem. In a fairly low populated and predominantly rural district like West Berkshire the problem of enforcement is acute. The police officers dedicated to this can’t be everywhere at once and the force as a whole has many other pressing calls on its resources. Speed cameras aren’t always activated or located in the places residents feel they should be. Sometimes people take matters into their own hands. A few years back, an enterprising resident of Great Shefford built a replica speed camera and put it, on private land, by the A338 near the filling station. This may well have deterred many people but I doubt that such schemes are officially encouraged or form part of the Thames Valley Police’s speeding strategy. Perhaps they ought to be.

Sticking with what is officially available, District Councillor James Cole (who along with Dennis Benneyworth and Claire Rowles represents the Hungerford and Kintbury ward which includes several smaller parishes) has responded to these concerns by the councils and produced a five-page document which lays out some of the options available. These include the need to gather evidence if any traffic-calming measures or changes in the speed limit are proposed, details about the various Speed Indicator Devices (SIDs) which can be used and information about Thames Valley Police’s Community Speedwatch programme. This will be considered by the various councils and will help them decide what’s best for their area.

Unlike the traffic that these measures are trying to slow down, nothing is likely to happen fast. It’s a difficult issue which affects different areas in different ways. Rest assured, however, that your town or parish council will certainly have this on its radar. Volunteers may be needed for traffic monitoring using SID devices – if you’d like to get involved, please get in touch with the council directly. Details can be found at the Council Contacts section below. This advice also equally applies to anyone who lives in other wards.

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.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above. Penny Post’s summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work in October and projects for November can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 7 October and you can read the minutes hereTo 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 Froxfield Parish Council took place on 27 September and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 23 September and you can download the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 September and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent (planning) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 16 August and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

Thursday 11 November 2021

This week’s news

• The new 30mph speed-limit signs should be being installed on Hungerford Common in the next few weeks. Please behave as if they were there until then.

• District Councillor James Cole has been discussing speeding issues in and around the town (not just on the Common) with officers at WBC and will be providing his summary to be considered at the next meeting of HTC’s Highways and Transport Committee.

• The next weekend of great events hosted by Arts for Hungerford is Another Round starring Mad Mikkelsen on Friday 19 November and award-winning Spanish guitar duo De Fuego on Saturday 19 November. Under 18s get free tickets to all of Arts for Hungerford’s live performances.

• Hungerford Mayor Helen Simpson recently opened the newly refurbished Curve shop at the Hungerford Hub and Library. Now open on Wednesdays and Fridays between 10am and 4pm, the Curve offers a selection of art, crafts and gifts by local artisans, with 15% of the profits from the shop’s sales goes to the upkeep of the Hungerford Library.

• Penny Post’s November news from Hungerford’s independent shops and businesses can be found here.

Click here for October to November 2021 update from Hungerford Town Council.

Click here for the Town and Manor of Hungerford update for October to November 2021.

• More and more schools have created quiet and tranquil spaces where pupils can switch off and reflect on things without the constant background noise that is with us most of the time. Hungerford Primary School opened its Mindful Garden last month; now John O’Gaunt has one too. Congratulations to the PSA for raising the funds from the Town Council and other bodies, which were then match funded by Greenham Trust.

• The most recent Finance & Legal show (listen from 2′ 10″) is presented by the team at Hungerford Legal & Financial Centre and covers Forensic Accounting plus what’s new in the world of law and finance.

Hungerford Victorian Extravaganza on Friday 10 December will have prizes for best dressed stallholders, shopkeepers and members of the public. To help you prepare there will be a free Victorian costume-making workshop on Saturday 27 November in Hungerford Hub. There is also a lantern-making workshop the same day in The Croft Field Centre.

• Unfortunately the Royal British Legion has had to cancel its live music night and open mic night Friday 12 November due to illness.

• A senior spokesperson from Greenham Trust will be making a short presentation at the start of the Kintbury PC meeting on 2 December, which parishioners are as ever welcome to attend. This will provide information about Greenham Trust’s 25th anniversary in 2022, its events and campaigns and, in particular, how its grant funding can help support local charities and voluntary groups.

• Help is being sought by Kintbury St Mary’s Primary School for local residents and businesses to fund new books for their new school library, to help raise the literacy standards of our community’s next generation. Please see here for details.

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes a wide range of activities on offer.

Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

• Inkpen & Kintbury Scouts asks for your vote in Tesco Hungerford between October and December for funding for vital storage at its scout hut. If you don’t get given a token at the check-out, please ask the cashier for one.

• Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

Chestnut Walk

As mentioned last week (see below), discussions are continuing to try to find a more acceptable solution to this re-development. I understand that a motion will be put to the next WBC Full Council meeting by Councillor James Cole. The matter can then be considered and help define what WBC’s policy on such matters should be. This will need to be referred to the Executive so there will be no discussion about it at Full Council. Any final resolution might therefore take some time.

This isn’t just a planning, a political or an environmental matter. One of the obligations of a district council is to provide the best value for its residents. By one crude definition this would mean building something as cheaply as it can and selling it for as much as it can get. Clearly, councils can and do build social homes (though not as often as many would wish, but that’s a separate issue). These are by their nature less profitable – which is why private developers don’t like building them – and these don’t offend this stipulation. Financial profit clearly isn’t the only interpretation of “best value.” WBC is concerned, however, that to add sustainable features which are not demanded by law might cause problems down the line when its performance is audited. This is despite that fact that building homes to the best possible standards would be beneficial environmentally to the district and, by reducing their fuel bill,  inancially to its tenants.

This requirement was not drafted with a climate emergency in mind. Councillor Cole is thus in effect seeking to have it re-interpreted to take current needs and policies into account. If this happens, it will help establish a precedent. This will be of interest to any council anywhere in the country which is thinking of building homes itself and wishes to make them sustainable, even if at the expense of maximising profit.

For a district council to be an applicant to itself is fairly rare so this requirement probably isn’t tested that often. A spokesperson for WBC suggested that there had maybe been ten in the last five years. I spoke to a District Councillor in Swindon and another in the Vale, both of who sat on their planning committees to see if this had cropped up in their manors. Both agreed this this wasn’t a regular occurrence although, as it happened, in each district there were similar proposals being considered, both of which would involve affordable homes. Neither was aware of whether this legal issue had been addressed. I also spoke to a District Councillor in Wiltshire who said that recent discussions about Wiltshire CC’s own application for an SEN school near Devizes had taken account both the future energy costs and the likely environmental standards that would be in force by the time this was finished. More weight was also given, despite their costs, to the benefit of factors such as EV charge points that wouldn’t have been entertained five or ten years ago. I’m not sure if these cases are comparable as Wiltshire’s school would probably stay on its books whereas Chestnut Walk would be an asset that would be transferred and so attract scrutiny about value for money. However, it does seem that the idea of value can and should be interpreted as more than just a figure on a balance sheet: and that, in these times, is surely a step forward.

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.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above. Penny Post’s summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work in October and projects for November can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 7 October and you can read the minutes hereTo 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 Froxfield Parish Council took place on 27 September and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 23 September and you can download the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 September and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent (planning) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 16 August and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

Thursday 4 November 2021

This week’s news

• Penny Post’s November news from Hungerford’s independent shops and businesses can be found here.

Click here for October to November 2021 update from Hungerford Town Council.

Click here for the Town and Manor of Hungerford update for October to November 2021.

• It’s recently been confirmed that that the final surfacing works on the new A338 roundabout at Lancaster Park will take place over three nights next week from Monday 8 to Wednesday 10 November. This will be undertaken under a road closure that had already been coordinated for other, separate works, and three-way temporary traffic lights will also be installed to ensure access for residents. This will hopefully mark the end of a long saga that he run for the last few months after it was discovered that there were problems with either the design or the execution of the roundabout. It’s still not certain how the costs of the work will be apportioned between the developers, Bewley Homes, and WBC.

• For those that love local libraries, Kintbury St Mary’s Primary School is seeking help from local residents and businesses to fund new books for their new school library, to help raise the literacy standards of our community’s next generation. Please see here for details.

Autumn news from Hungerford Hub includes five reasons to hire their lovely space.

• This Saturday 6 November 2021 Arts for Hungerford hosts the popular  Classical Young Musicians’ Concert featuring members of The National Youth Orchestra, National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain and Berkshire Young Musician finalists. For more information and tickets, click here.

• On that note, you can find the 2021 to 2022 update for Arts for Hungerford here.

• Historian Andrew Lownie will unfortunately be postponing his Hungerford Bookshop talk about his bestselling book ‘Traitor King’ because he has tested positive for Covid (we’re all hoping he recovers well and swiftly). The new date is Friday 17 December, and you can see more information here.

• Another cancellation, unfortunately, this time of the next Hungerford Repair Café event which was scheduled to take place on 13 November 2021. It has been cancelled due to the high number of Covid cases in the area but, is being reviewed to continue at the end of this year or start of 2022.

• Hungerford Chamber of Commerce has announced that the Extravaganza on Friday 10 December will return to the Victorian theme. There will be Lantern-making and Victorian costume-making workshops on Sat 27 Nov to help everyone get in the mood. And there will be prizes for best dressed stallholders, shopkeepers and attendees. See here for more details.

• A senior spokesperson from Greenham Trust will be making a short presentation at the start of the Kintbury PC meeting on 2 December, which parishioners are as ever welcome to attend. This will provide information about Greenham Trust’s 25th anniversary in 2022, its events and campaigns and, in particular, how its grant funding can help support local charities and voluntary groups.

Penny Post recently had the opportunity to interview celebrated Hungerford-based jockey Hollie Doyle, which you can read here.

• For tips on loans (and how they affect your business finances), wills, trusts and inheritance tax listen to the latest Finance & Legal Show from The Hungerford Legal & Financial Centre.

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes wide range of activities on offer.

Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe bulletin.

• Inkpen & Kintbury Scouts asks for your vote in Tesco Hungerford between October and December for funding for vital storage at their scout hut. If you don’t get given a token at the check-out, please ask the cashier for one.

• The Wiltshire Gazette & Herald reports that a resident of Shalbourne has had his request to fell seven apple trees in his front garden turned down by Wiltshire Council. The refusal listed several reasons for this decision: these did not include the irony (which perhaps didn’t strike the planners) that the applicant’s home was called Orchard House.

• Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

Penny Post Hungerford

As ever, the start of the month sees the publication of our Penny Post Hungerford newsletter, offering the best and most up to date round up of life in the town. This one is the 59th in an unbroken series that stretches back to January 2017. Read the November 2021 edition here if you didn’t get it.

As well as updates from the Town Council, the Town and Manor and the High Street’s retailers, we’ve got the details of the Remembrance Day parade, the Extravaganza and Arts for Hungerford’s November programme. Volunteers are needed by, amongst others, Smarten Up Hungerford and CHAIN. We’ve got special offers from local shops, news from HEAT, the Rose of Hungerford and the Arcade, an invite from Barr’s Yard, details of exercise classes and information on local markets (including at The Curve). We also feature possibly the best Rioja in the world, a book of poems for every occasion, a new look at an Orwell classic, the monthly diary for the Head of John O’Gaunt and peer up into the November night sky. Events, jobs and property are also included: and the whole thing is bookended by, at the start, a glorious photo of autumnal foliage and, at the end, some wise words from Victoria Wood. You can click here to read it if you didn’t get it. Have I said that already?

Chestnut Walk

See last week’s entry below for the background to this. The latest development is that discussions involving Sovereign Housing (the co-applicant with WBC) have recently taken place and were described as “useful, friendly and co-operative.” I understand that progress has been made towards making the application more sustainable but that more work needs to be done. A promising start.

Although the matter has been ‘called in’ to be decided by the Western Area Planning Committee, it isn’t really a planning issue. As it accords with the rather unambitious standards currently demanded, the application as it stands would probably be passed. If it were refused, and if WBC were minded to appeal against itself, an appeal would probably succeed. This is instead a political, environmental and moral question. A district council has many obligations, one of which is to act as a planning authority in a legal and impartial way. That’s not the issue here: what’s under scrutiny is WBC’s role as the (co-) applicant. With this hat on, one of WBC’s main aims is to maximise the value of its assets for the benefit of its residents. “Maximise” could be taken to mean financially, by making the most possible profit from land it develops. Other definitions exist and are increasingly relevant. One interpretation of this duty would be to build the best homes to the best standards for the benefit of the residents who needed them. This would include low heating costs, despite the higher initial outlay, and would make a small but positive contribution to fulfilling WBC’s stated objectives under the climate emergency. On a political level, WBC would set an example of its own best practice, so easing its task of encouraging residents to do their bit as well.

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.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above. Penny Post’s summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work in October and projects for November can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 7 October and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning applications; a contribution to the WBC Library Service; tree works at Lawrence Field; trees from Greenham Trust; financial matters; a further break-in at the toilets; and Christmas lights. 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 Froxfield Parish Council took place on 27 September and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 23 September and you can download the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 September and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent (planning) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 16 August and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

Thursday 28 October 2021

This week’s news

• We mentioned last week about the joint statement issued by Hungerford Town Council and Bewley Homes in the wake of some issues and friction which had been reported as a result of the 100-home development at Lancaster Park on the southern edge of the town. You can read the statement in full here.

• As mentioned last week, two more cows were recently hit by cars on the Common. The new 30mph speed limit will be introduced as soon as the signs are ready to install but the problem thereafter remains one of enforcement. Other physical deterrents including chicanes and speed bumps have been suggested but these will only be installed after an evidence-based assessment. District Councillor James Cole has offered to work with the Town and Manor and Hungerford Town Council to gather the necessary information. If you’d like to help with this – and those with experience at using SIDs are welcomes – please get in touch with him directly.

• Kintbury St Mary’s Primary School is still asking for help from local residents and businesses to fund new books for their new library, to help raise the literacy standards of our community’s next generation. Please see here for details.

• With Halloween drawing closer why not pick-up a plastic-free basket at Hungerford Hub as preparation for trick or treating, made by one of our local artisans? Or a handmade pumpkin to pop in your window? Each purchase helps support the Hungerford Hub. For opening hours please see here.

• The Hungerford Hub has also reported that, unfortunately due to an illness, the Dogs Trust talk has been postponed. To keep up to date of new dates you can visit their Twitter page here.

• You can find the latest update from Hungerford Hub here via the autumn newsletter.

Herongate Club at Charnham Park has stressed that its Covid-secure procedures include 100% fresh-air circulation in addition to the normal air conditioning system.

• Calling all eco-conscious local businesses, West Berkshire Council is creating an online magazine to promote local eco businesses this Christmas. The deadline to apply for this is 31 October 2021 at midnight. You can find more information on how to apply here.

• In case you missed the interview last week, Penny Post recently had the opportunity to talk to jockey Hollie Doyle. You can see that interview here.

• For tips on loans (and how they affect your business finances), wills, trusts and inheritance tax listen to the latest Finance & Legal Show from The Hungerford Legal & Financial Centre.

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes wide range of activities on offer.

• Inkpen & Kintbury Scouts asks for your vote in Tesco Hungerford between October and December for funding for vital storage at their scout hut. If you don’t get given a token at the check-out, please ask the cashier for one.

• Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

Chestnut Walk

As mentioned before, plans have been submitted by West Berkshire Council and Sovereign for eight new dwellings on the site of the old care home. This attracted opposition from Hungerford Town Council not because of whether the site needed redevelopment whether affordable homes were wanted in the town (both of which are widely accepted) but the fact that the scheme was unambitious in its ambitions  and objectives for sustainability. You can read more in our regular monthly update of HTC’s activities, which includes a report on the meeting at which the matter was discussed.

It’s certainly true that a planning application doesn’t need to demonstrate all the intended features. As Steve Ardagh-Walter (WBC’s Environment portfolio holder who addressed the HTC meeting) pointed out, “it is up to the Sovereign/WBC joint venture to demonstrate the project’s environmental credentials when houses are built, which I trust we and Sovereign will do.” This leaves a lot of wriggle room with the final decision being influenced by commercial considerations. The opportunity existed for WBC and Sovereign to lead by example on this issue; and, incidentally, submit an application which did what it said on the tin from the outset with a candid and unambiguous statement of intent that WBC’s planners probably wished they saw more often.

As the planning authority, WBC needs to be even-handed in its decision-making. No one has suggested that it would not be so. The issue here is that WBC is the applicant, or one of them. It can therefore specify anything its chooses which are in excess of the standards in its local plan or national legislation; and be seen to be doing so. Another matter is whether WBC should be concerned with providing homes for its tenants which are efficient and cheap for them to heat. One of a council’s primary roles should surely be to look after its residents that need help, even if this comes at the expense of a profitable property development. All in all, this is, as HTC pointed out, a missed opportunity, certainly in PR terms from an organisation which is exhorting us to modify our own behaviour.

If the planning officers are minded to approve the application, the decision has been called in by District Councillor James Cole. “West Berkshire Council has declared a climate emergency,” he said in his letter requesting this. “In avoiding the subject of heating the new buildings in this application ,West Berkshire Council appears to be acting as if there is no climate emergency. Were this application to be recommended for approval without change, it would be appropriate for the committee to decide whether the climate change and sustainability measures in the application were compliant with WBC’s climate change policy, thereby ensuring what many would call ‘joined-up government’.”

I understand that discussions are continuing and it’s to be hoped that a more widely acceptable solution can be found. If not, the call in stands and the matter will be discussed at a Western Area Planning Committee meeting in the next month or so. There could even be an argument that the application, touching as it does on WBC’s application of its own climate policies, is of district-wide significance and so should be considered by the District Planning Committee.

On 20 October, an energy and sustainability assessment was added to the documents on the WBC website (you can view these all here). This is being considered by HTC’s Planning Committee and a response will be provided in due course.

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.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above. Penny Post’s summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work in September and projects for October can be seen here.

• The next meeting of Hungerford Town Council will take place on Monday 1 November and you can read the agenda here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 7 October and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning applications; a contribution to the WBC Library Service; tree works at Lawrence Field; trees from Greenham Trust; financial matters; a further break-in at the toilets; and Christmas lights. 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 Froxfield Parish Council took place on 27 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: damage to the Village Green caused by a parked car; play equipment; the need for a new councillor; drains; tree maintenance; jubilee plans; financial matters; planning applications and decisions; plants at the water meadow; speed watch report; and a pothole. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 23 September and you can download the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 September and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent (planning) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 16 August and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

Thursday 21 October 2021

This week’s news

• We mentioned last week about the joint statement issued by Hungerford Town Council and Bewley Homes in the wake of some issues and friction which had been reported as a result of the 100-home development at Lancaster Park on the southern edge of the town. You can read the statement in full here.

As mentioned before, the relations between a developer and the local community are always likely to be problematic, particularly if the scheme was opposed (as it was in Hungerford). Many difficulties can surely be avoided by having regular communication between the company and the town or parish council, the latter then encouraging residents to address any problems to it in the first instance. The primary aim of both parties might be to stop any real or perceived problems from appearing on social media where they can rage like a forest fire; and to issue joint statements periodically. The developer may feel they’ve had enough hassle from the council during the application process and the council may wish that the developers weren’t there at all: but they are, perhaps for several years, and both parties need to make the operation as quick and painless as possible.

Hungerford TC and Bewley’s recent rapprochement is thus to be applauded. We’ll let you know what practical things emerge for this. It would be also be interesting to hear from any other developers or councils about how these relationships are working in other parishes.

• More bad news for the cows on the Common: two more were hit by cars earlier this week. This is in addition to the two that were hit a couple of months ago. One of these is recovering while the other had to be put down. With the nights drawing in and the cows being black, this makes it all the more important to moderate your speed. One solution that might be worth looking into involves rather fetching reflective collars. These have been trialled on commons in Gloucestershire which have experienced similar accident rates to Hungerford – see here for details of the pilot project.

John O’ Gaunt School has released the following statement, “as a precautionary measure, we are following West Berks Council advice to reinstate the wearing of face coverings in school. This comes into effect on Tuesday 19 October.” The school will offer disposable masks where necessary and the scheme will be reviewed in the half-term period. See here for the whole statement.

• Kintbury St Mary’s Primary School is asking for help from local residents and businesses to fund new books for their new library, to help raise the literacy standards of our community’s next generation. Please see here for how you can help.

• With Halloween drawing closer why not pick-up a plastic-free basket at Hungerford Hub as preparation for trick or treating, made by one of our local artisans? Or a handmade pumpkin to pop in your window? Each purchase helps support us – fang-tastic! For opening hourse please see here.

• From Wednesday 3 November, The Curve shop at Hungerford Hub will be open selling beautiful locally made crafts and gifts 10am to 4pm on Wednesdays and Fridays running up to Christmas. See more details here.

• If you are looking for an ad hoc workspace in Hungerford, Hungerford Printing Company has a desk available in their lovely studio office on Hungerford High Street at £20 per day including WiFi, tea and coffee making facilities, fridge, microwave and loo.

Herongate Club at Charnham Park has stressed that its Covid-secure procedures include 100% fresh-air circulation in addition to the normal air conditioning system.

• Still with Hungerford Printing Company, their photography competition for photos of Hungerford that will be featured on a calendar closes Friday 22 October. Submit your landscape, high resolution images to hungerfordprinting@gmail.com.

• For tips on loans (and how they affect your business finances), wills, trusts and inheritance tax listen to the latest Finance & Legal Show from The Hungerford Legal & Financial Centre.

• If you like walking, Geordie Taylor (and Smudge) invite you to join them on a ramble in aid of Children in Need on 24 October (see details below). Geordie is well known for his work organising the volunteers during the lockdown.

Latest news from Inkpen Village Hall includes wide range of activities on offer.

• Inkpen & Kintbury Scouts ask for your vote in Tesco Hungerford between October and December for funding for vital storage at their scout hut. If you don’t get given a token at the check-out, please ask the cashier for one.

• Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

Hungerford’s neighbourhood development plan

Many communities are engaged in the process of creating a neighbourhood development plan (NDP). It takes several years to complete, requires a good deal of technical work from unpaid volunteers and at various stages requires public engagement and consultation. Like a train, from time to time it’s invisible in a tunnel caused by background work or awaiting responses from consultees or the parent authority (West Berkshire Council in Hungerford’s case). Click here to read more about NDPs.

It can’t prevent development in the town. What, you might therefore ask, is the point of it?

The answer is very simple. It involves the local plan, the document which the parent authority needs to keep updated to decide planning matters. This is, along with national law, the ultimate and final guide to what constitutes acceptable development or not. Planning matters are not the kind of thing that most of us normally think about unless we’re professionally involved in them. When a development takes place near us, however, it’s almost impossible to think about anything else. How lovely, you might think, it would therefore be if the part of the local plan that concerned my community had been written by the residents.

That’s exactly what an NDP does. Once “made” – which includes an independent examination and a referendum – it becomes as much part of the local plan as if the planning authority had written it itself. This post gives a month-by-month account of the considerable progress that’s been made. There’s currently a pause while work is done in the background: the train is in the tunnel. It will in due course emerge at which time further consultation and engagement with the local community will be needed. Further details will be provided here and elsewhere when this happens.

The work is now largely done but there are important hurdles yet to cross. This is, and must be, a community exercise, so if you’re a resident of the town your involvement will be influential at whatever time it’s requested. “It’s certainly a lot of work,” Councillor John Downe, who is leading the NDP working group, told Penny Post, “but it’s a worthwhile investment to help give residents a say in local planning matters. There will be several more occasions when we’ll require feedback and engagement from local people and these will be widely publicised.”

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.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above. Penny Post’s summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work in September and projects for October can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 27 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: damage to the Village Green caused by a parked car; play equipment; the need for a new councillor; drains; tree maintenance; jubilee plans; financial matters; planning applications and decisions; plants at the water meadow; speed watch report; and a pothole. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 23 September and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: a report from the ward member; HGVs in the village; speed limits, ash trees; planning applications; rights of way; surface water; and financial matters. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 September and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 2 September and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates of future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here. To see the agendas, please click here.

• The most recent (planning) meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 16 August and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Click here for the September 2021 edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 14 October 2021

This week’s news

• The October Penny Post Hungerford has been published and can be viewed by clicking here.

• It seems that the M4 closures are not yet over. Work has not finished on the eastern carriageway so this will closed between J14 and J13 from 9pm on Friday 15 October to 6am on Monday 18 October. See more here in Newbury Today.

Hungerford Primary School was delighted to open its Mindful Garden last Friday 8 October. The school would like to thank everyone who helped make this project happen including Greenham Trust, Hungerford Town & Manor, The Pixel Fund, The Miss Lawrence Trust, Newbury Building Society, Emma Binns, The Friends of HPS committee, DGM Landscaping, Hungerford Tree Surgery, Sadlers Woodhouse, all the planting volunteers and pupils who brought in and painted the pebbles. We were pleased to be at the opening and made this video to celebrate.

• On Saturday 16 October Hungerford Town FC have the chance to appear in the First Round Proper of the FA Cup for the first time in 42 years. They will be hosting Bromley FC, who play a step above the Crusaders in Vanarama National League. It will certainly be a tough test for Danny Robinson’s side but it could be a game to remember for any fans heading down to Bulpit Lane on 16 October. Book your tickets here.

• The Crusaders have already got reasons to cheer, as their very own Nicky Chambers has won Vanarama National League South’s Volunteer of the Month award for August/September. To read more about the awards, please click here.

• There have been reports of delays at the long-running repairs to the roundabout at the new Lancaster Park development. On 8 October, West Berkshire Council issued the following statement: “Works are progressing well. A temporary road surface is being laid today and the road will re-open to normal traffic on 9 October. A permanent surface course will be laid as soon as is possible under overnight road closures (rather than temporary traffic lights) as widening the road cannot be done safely alongside live traffic. This is currently being co-ordinated by the Council’s Streetworks team and dates will be confirmed shortly.”

Kintbury St Mary’s Primary School is asking for help from local residents and businesses to fund new books for their new library, to help raise the literacy standards of our community’s next generation. Please see here for how you can help.

Hungerford Nursery School has started a new Seedlings weekly drop-in group on Wednesday lunchtimes for families with 1 to 3 year olds. Please see here for details.

• The Hungerford Distribution Centre of West Berks Foodbank is open on Wednesdays from 1pm to 3pm at Hungerford Methodist Church, Bridge Street RG17 0EH. All are welcome to drop in for a cuppa and a chat. Signposting support will be offered to anyone with concerns about income maximisation, debt, drug addiction etc. If you need a food bank parcel please call the Crisis Foodline in advance on 01635 760560 to get a voucher number or talk to a professional agency to get a referral sent through.

• If you like walking, Geordie Taylor (and Smudge) invite you to join them on a couple of rambles in aid of Children in Need on Sunday 17 and 24 October (see details below). Geordie is well known for his work organising the volunteers during lockdown.

• Inkpen & Kintbury Scouts ask for your vote in Tesco Hungerford between October and December for funding for vital storage at their scout hut. If you don’t get given a token at the check-out, please ask the cashier for one.

• Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire.

• There is still (just) time to comment on Wiltshire Council’s draft Climate Strategy and draft Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy – ‘Our Natural Environment Plan’. Please respond using the online surveys, by 17 October. For information on how to respond, drop-in sessions, webinar recordings and Q&As about the strategies go to Climate strategy consultation – Wiltshire Council and Biodiversity, landscape and design – Wiltshire Council.

• The Hungerford Printing Company is running a photography competition for photos of Hungerford that will be featured on a calendar. All entries are to be sent to hungerfordprinting@gmail.com by 20 October. For more information, visit here.

Joint statement hopefully clears the air

• As mentioned last week, when a property developer comes to town to build 100 homes, as Bewley Homes did with its spades and trowels to build Lancaster Park, the relationship is never likely to be perfect. There will normally have been controversy in the years leading up to this. Both sides – the developers and the town or parish council, or whichever organisations or individuals oppose the scheme  – will be feeling bruised and defensive. (The town or parish, it’s worth stressing, has no direct power in deciding the application: that’s the job of the planning authority, West Berkshire Council (WBC) in this case.). How much indirect power the local council exercises depends on how organised and effective it is and how much it can mobilise local support. In Hungerford’s case, a big tick can be put against both of these things, as numerous references in Penny Post and elsewhere over the last five years have shown. On occasions, issues come up after planning approval which re-start the battle again. In this case, this was about the nature of the tenures, Bewley seeking to set aside the social-housing provision in the agreement. West Berkshire Council eventually refused this, supported by Hungerford Town Council (HTC). When work started last year, Bewley had thus won the war but had suffered some defeats. WBC had established its authority but at the cost of a good deal of officer time. HTC had failed to prevent the development but had won some important victories. Excuse the military analogies but these are the ones that spring to mind.

This is probably quite normal. Rough and tumble between participants is to be expected. A development of this size changes a place, a balance sheet and possibly municipal reputation. Each side fights its corner. The developers and the councils have their views and the planning system permits these to be expressed. Once work starts, however, all need to accept the agreement. WBC, the planning authority, can then largely withdraw from the fray except if any enforcement issue arises. The developer and the town or parish are, however, locked together for several years. Neither side can change the deal but both could do a lot to mitigate its consequences.

For most residents, all this is background: it’s when the diggers arrive that things get real. What follows is often years of disruption, mess and noise. It’s only to be expected that tensions can run high, particularly amongst those most directly affected.

The local council and the developer have a useful role to play in addressing these problems. But unfortunately both sides tend to have had enough of each other before the first brick is laid. If there’s a problem with noise or late working, if a footpath has been blocked off, if mixed messages about the reaction of the town are being received or if there’s a problem with a roundabout needing to be rebuilt – all of which have applied in this case – then the town or parish council should be the first port of call. Similarly if the council hears of such issues, or feels that the developers could organise deliveries differently or has received complaints about noise, the developers should be contacted.

The trouble is that after the battles both sides are convinced they will get a negative reception from each other, so no effective contact is made. Problems from either developer or council are often bounced back to the planning authority which has by then, understandably, rather lost interest in the matter and has other issues to deal with. There’s thus the real risk that grievances circulate within each camp or on local social media, on each occasion deepening the divisions.

The Lancaster Park development has not been free of any of these kind of problems. It was thus very gratifying to see that a joint statement has recently been agreed between Bewley and HTC which, perhaps later than would have been ideal, has re-booted this relationship. The construction of 100 homes, including 40 affordable or social-rent ones, is an important issue in the town. If anyone has any matters that they want to raise about aspects of the development, rest assured that HTC now has a functional dialogue with Bewley: any such issues should thus in the first instance be addressed to HTC. See above link for how to contact HTC.

This issue is also covered on p21 of this week’s Newbury Weekly News which refers to the press statement quoted in full above. The article says that problems raised at the HTC council meeting last week prompted HTC to create welcome packs for new residents. Although it’s true that social-media and other promotion of these was increased as a result, the need for welcome packs had been identified in the early summer and these had already been created and distributed long before October’s meeting.

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.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above. Penny Post’s summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work in September and projects for October can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 27 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: damage to the Village Green caused by a parked car; play equipment; the need for a new councillor; drains; tree maintenance; jubilee plans; financial matters; planning applications and decisions; plants at the water meadow; speed watch report; and a pothole. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 23 September and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: a report from the ward member; HGVs in the village; speed limits, ash trees; planning applications; rights of way; surface water; and financial matters. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 September and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 2 September 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.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 16 August and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Click here for the September 2021 edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 7 October 2021

This week’s news

• The October Penny Post Hungerford has been published and can be viewed by clicking here. A bumper issue as ever with the best and latest round-up of life in the town. We’d like to draw your attention to a particularly busy Town Council meeting, an update on the repair works at the Town Hall, the latest thoughts from John O’Gaunt Head Richard Hawthorne, a local book, a superb Port, a look back at the first month of Arts for Hungerford’s 2021-22 season and news from the Hub. Links to all of these articles – and many others – can be found in the newsletter.

• The theft of lead from roofs, particularly those on churches, has become something of an epidemic. This week’s NWN reported on the plight of Kintbury’s St Mary’s Church which has its lead stolen for the second time in four years. One alternative to lead that is being considered, mentioned in the paper is “terne-coated stainless steel.” Not being builders, ecclesiastical property managers or metal thieves, we’d never heard of this stuff. The article doesn’t state the longevity of this material so we decided to do a bit of research.

According to Historic England’s Guide for Church Roof Replacement, terne-coated stainless steel (terne is the French for “dull”, as in appearance rather than personality) has been installed on a number of churches over the last 25 years. It adds that “a properly detailed stainless steel roof should have a life of 80 to 100 years.” That’s not as good as lead (which the NWN says has been known to last for up to 500 years) but it’s less attractive to thieves.

• As existing residents will know, Hungerford High Street is famous for its range of independent shops and businesses (whereas many towns now look much the same). See here for latest news from Inklings, Hungerford Printing Company, Fare Wise Travel, M&P Hardware, Hungerford Bookshop, Coin & Stamp Centre, The Emporium, Belle Chic and The Naked Grape.

• The final (for now) weekend M4 closure between Junctions 13 and 14 is this weekend from 9pm Friday 8 October to 6am Monday 11 October. So prepare for heavy traffic on local roads including the A4, A34 and A338. The closures have been required for reparation of the motorway bridge at Welford.

• There have been reports of delays at the long-running repairs to the roundabout at the new Lancaster Park development. On 8 October, West Berkshire Council issues the following statement: “Works are progressing well. A temporary road surface is being laid today and the road will re-open to normal traffic on 9 October. A permanent surface course will be laid as soon as is possible under overnight road closures (rather than temporary traffic lights) as widening the road cannot be done safely alongside live traffic. This is currently being co-ordinated by the Council’s Streetworks team and dates will be confirmed shortly.”

• Pauline from M&P Hardware, her daughter Poppy and colleague Matthew have just done a skydive in aid of Lambourn Riding for the Disabled. Please donate here.

• Congratulations to the organisers of the Hungerford Jumble Trail last Sunday which raised £240 for the Youth & Community Centre.

• As mentioned in last week’s edition, some good news here from the Bedwyn Train Passengers Group about improved rail services in the area – largely as a result of its lobbying with GWR.

• The Hungerford Distribution Centre of West Berks Foodbank has re-opened on Wednesdays from 1pm to 3pm at Hungerford Methodist Church, Bridge Street RG17 0EH. It started again on Wednesday 6 October 2021. All are welcome to drop in for a cuppa and a chat. Signposting support will be offered to anyone with concerns about income maximisation, debt, drug addiction etc. If you need a food bank parcel please call the Crisis Foodline in advance on 01635 760560 to get a voucher number or talk to a professional agency to get a referral sent through.

• Inkpen & Kintbury Scouts ask for your vote in Tesco Hungerford between October and December for funding for vital storage at their scout hut. If you don’t get given a token at the check-out, please ask the cashier for one.

• Hungerford Food Festival has donated £300 from its monthly market proceeds to West Berks Foodbank.

• You can see a full list (with links) of all the recipients of the recent Hungerford grants award ceremony by clicking here. This also includes details of what the grants will be spent on. The same day also saw the ceremony to award the prizes to the winners of the 2021 Hungerford in Bloom winners – click here for details.

• Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire (note that the Hungerford centre has now closed).

• There is still time to comment on Wiltshire Council’s draft Climate Strategy and draft Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy – ‘Our Natural Environment Plan’. Please respond using the online surveys, by 17 October.  For information on how to respond, drop-in sessions, webinar recordings and Q&As about the strategies go to Climate strategy consultation – Wiltshire Council  and Biodiversity, landscape and design – Wiltshire Council.

No frosty reception

• One of the items that came up in the HTC meeting on Monday (see above)was the allegation that Bewley Homes had been suggesting to new residents of the Lancaster Park development that they’d be likely to receive a frosty reception in Hungerford. HTC has emphatically denied that this would be the case and pointed out that it had printed and distributed welcome packs for all the new owners. Penny Post contacted Bewley Homes about this and very promptly received the following statement from the firm’s MD, Andrew Brooks which we’re happy to quote in full.

“We have recently been made aware of this incident and I take this matter very seriously. This would go against the nature and the culture of the company. We have immediately started our own internal investigation. A big factor for our customers choosing our wonderful development at Lancaster Park is being so close to Hungerford town centre and everything it has to offer. Bewley Homes is an award-winning regional housebuilder, celebrating 30 years in business, which prides itself in becoming embedded into the local community everywhere we build a new development. Hungerford is no different and we are very proud of our three-year sponsorship of Hungerford Town FC and supporting future local initiatives.”

There are plenty of points of friction between homebuilders and the local community. Building work is by its nature disruptive, noisy and messy and can last for what seems like (and often is) years. In addition, few applications of any size are free of opposition. Hungerford certainly had misgivings about this project which the Town Council expressed in totally legitimate ways, including public meetings, comments during the planning system and, in this case, a judicial review. I agree with HTC’s observation that any disputes or disagreements were nothing whatsoever to do with the occupiers. I’m sure all other organisations in Hungerford would take the same view. Penny Post would like to add its voice to this by welcoming all new residents to this wonderful town, in Lancaster Park or anywhere else.

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.

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 27 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: damage to the Village Green caused by a parked car; play equipment; the need for a new councillor; drains; tree maintenance; jubilee plans; financial matters; planning applications and decisions; plants at the water meadow; speed watch report; and a pothole. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 23 September and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: a report from the ward member; HGVs in the village; speed limits, ash trees; planning applications; rights of way; surface water; and financial matters. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning applications; the Recreation Ground; the proposed relocation of the play area in Popham Close; the Parish Steward; speed limits and signage; the Village Hall; the plane tree; financial matters;  Wiltshire CC consultations; and email correspondence. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 2 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the need for a new councillor; a report from District Councillor James Cole; cycling; a CIL bid for the Recreation Ground; planning applications (including the proposed lodges at Elcot Park and one in neighbouring West Woodhay which had caused that PC some concerns); Lawrence Field; a future presentation to the PC by Greenham Trust; funding for the WBC Library Service; capped indicator devices; financial matters; damage to the toilet doors; and the recurring item of the repairs to the handrail at the churchyard steps. 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 Inkpen Parish Council took place on 16 August and you can read the minutes hereTo see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Click here for the September 2021 edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 30 September 2021

This week’s news

• The October Penny Post Hungerford will be published on Tuesday 5 October, and will as ever offer the best overview of what’s going on in the town. If there’s anything you’d like to see included, please email penny@pennypost.org.uk by Monday 4 October.

• This will include a report on Hungerford Town Council’s Full Council meeting at 7pm on Monday 4 October, the agenda for which you can see here.

• The public consolation of this phase of Hungerford’s neighbourhood development plan (NDP) closes at midnight on 30 September. For more information, please click here. Early October will then see the NDP team consider the responses and a further announcement will then be made about the next steps and what further public engagement will be required.

John O’Gaunt School is holding two open events for prospective pupils and their parents or carers: from 4.30 to 7.30 on Thursday October 14; and morning tours the following day between 9am and 1pm. We are excited to showcase what the school offers,” Head teacher Richard Hawthorne told Penny Post.”This provides the opportunity for families to visit departments and talk to staff and students about John O’Gaunt and the ‘small school care’ and ‘big school ambition’ that we strive for.”

• Another open day is taking place at the Royal British Legion in Hungerford on Wednesday 6 October between noon and 4pm. This is hosted by Littlecote House Hotel in nearby Chilton Foliat as a recruitment event. Click here for more information.

And, on the same theme, Hungerford Primary School is holding an open day on Thursday 12 October 2021. Prospective families are invited to pre-book a talk and tour. Click here for details.

• The Hungerford Distribution Centre of West Berks Foodbank is pleased to be re-opening on Wednesdays from 1pm to 3pm at Hungerford Methodist Church, Bridge Street RG17 0EH starting Wednesday 6 October 2021. All welcome to drop in for a cuppa and a chat. Signposting support will be offered to anyone with concerns about income maximisation, debt, drug addiction etc. If you need a food bank parcel please call the Crisis Foodline in advance on 01635 760560 to get a voucher number or talk to a professional agency to get a referral sent through.

Inkpen & Kintbury Scouts ask for your vote in Tesco Hungerford between October and December for funding for vital storage at their scout hut. If you don’t get given a token at the check-out, please ask the cashier for one.

• St Lawrence’s Church in Hungerford invites you to help pollard willows on Thursday 7 October 2021. Please meet at 9am at the church with gloves, shears or secateurs. To sign up email Vicar@StLawrencesHungerford.org.uk

• As mentioned in last week’s edition, some good news here from the Bedwyn Train Passengers Group about improved rail services in the area – largely as a result of its lobbying with GWR.

• The last 2021 Hungerford Heritage Food & Artisan Market takes place this Sunday 3 October. More information can be found here.

• Hungerford is also going to be home to the Hungerford Jumble Trail this Sunday (weather permitting). Trail maps will be available from the Hungerford Youth & Community Club and on Saturday, electronic copies of the trail map will be available on the Facebook page.

• HEAT (Hungerford Environmental Action Team) is looking for volunteers to pick pears at Picketts Mead Orchard this Saturday 2 October at 4pm. If you can help please contact Penny on 07768 981658.

• The recent Repair Café was a big success so another one is being planned by HEAT and Hungerford Rotary for Saturday 13 November 2021.

• If you believe you can beat the iconic Colin the Caterpillar cake, St Lawrence’s Chruch in Hungerford is holding a Caterpillar Cake Competition at 10am on Sunday 3 October as part of the Harvest Festival. There is also a Songs of Praise for Harvest at 6pm with the bible readings by members of Hungerford Churches Together and a sermon will be about climate change. For more information, visit the church website here.

• The Hungerford Antique and Flea market has events planned for the rest 2021. More information can be found here.

• You can see a full list (with links) of the all the recipients of the recent Hungerford grants award ceremony by clicking here. This also includes details of what the grants will be spent on. The recipients are all excellent causes and span a wide range of activities, from sport to mental health and from arts to children’s services. The same day also saw the ceremony to award the prizes to the winners of the 2021 Hungerford in Bloom winners – click here for details.

Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. For details on the events and to keep up to date with any future ones, please click here to visit the West Berkshire Library Facebook page.

Hungerford Carers Support Group has reopened and is meeting at Hungerford Hub and Library on the 4th Monday of each month. The next meeting will be on Monday 25 October, from 10am to 12 noon. See here for more information.

• On the same note as support groups, the ICE (Independent Confident Empowered) youth club for children with additional needs is reopening soon. Open days are being held on both Tuesday 5 October and Tuesday 12 October, for more information, see here.

• The Hungerford Distribution Centre of West Berks Foodbank will open on Wednesday 6 October 2021 from 1pm to 3pm. The team will be able to assist those requiring a food parcel every Wednesday from Hungerford Methodist Church. See here for more information.

• In case you find yourself heading towards the road bridge at Lower Denford, Network Rail has advised about closures from 3 to 4 October 2021. Further information on the closure can be found on the one.network site.

Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire (note that the Hungerford centre has now closed).

Click here for details of the Sparkling Streams project which will be benefitting locations and rivers in the Hungerford and Shalbourne areas over the coming months.

News from your local council

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning applications; the Recreation Ground; the proposed relocation of the play area in Popham Close; the Parish Steward; speed limits and signage; the Village Hall; the plane tree; financial matters;  Wiltshire CC consultations; and email correspondence. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 2 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the need for a new councillor; a report from District Councillor James Cole; cycling; a CIL bid for the Recreation Ground; planning applications (including the proposed lodges at Elcot Park and one in neighbouring West Woodhay which had caused that PC some concerns); Lawrence Field; a future presentation to the PC by Greenham Trust; funding for the WBC Library Service; capped indicator devices; financial matters; damage to the toilet doors; and the recurring item of the repairs to the handrail at the churchyard steps. 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 Froxfield Parish Council took place on 26 July and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 22 July and you can download the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 16 August and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Click here for the September 2021 edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 23 September 2021

This week’s news

• The September Penny Post Hungerford was published earlier this month, offering the best overview of what’s going on in the town. Click here to read it if you didn’t receive it.

• The public consolation sessions into this phase of Hungerford’s neighbourhood development plan (NDP) have now finished but online comments can still be made until the end of September. For more information, please click here. (For a deliberately scary story I wrote about what might (possibly) happen if there were no NDP, please click here.) Early October will then see the NDP team consider the responses and a further announcement will then be made about the next steps and what further public engagement will be required.

• See last week’s section below for a summary of Hungerford Town Council’s views on the proposed development at Chestnut Walk. The story is also covered on p23 of this week’s NWN.

• Some good news here from the Bedwyn Train Passengers Group about improved rail services in the area – largely as a result of its lobbying with GWR.

•The next Hungerford Heritage Food & Artisan Market – and the last for this year – takes place on Sunday 3 October. More information can be found here.

• The Hungerford Antique and Flea market has events planned for the rest 2021. More information can be found here.

• And another market in town – the Craft and Gift Market is taking place on Saturday 25 September from 10am to 4pm at Hungerford Corn Exchange.

• Do you like 5.50am wake-up calls? A day in the wild with no food or kit? Several days of hunting, gathering and shelter making? This is what Hungerford bookkeeper Jon Shatford recently experienced in a Castaway Five-day Survival Challenge in aid of the British Legion. I saw him at the Hungerford grants award ceremony last weekend (see next paragraph): he had acquired a beard but otherwise seemed none the worse for his adventure. He’s so far raised nearly £1,300 for RBL and donations can still be made until the end of October. For his account of five days in the wild and details of how to donate, click here.

• As mentioned above, I attended the Hungerford grants award ceremony on Saturday. You can read about all the recipients and what the money will be used for by clicking here. Two things struck me about the event. The first was, as ever, what a wide range of interests and causes they spanned, from sports to mental health and from allotments to the arts. Well done to all of them for the work they do and to HTC and other bodies that help with their funding. The second was although many of them had seen demand or membership increase as a result of the pandemic, finances (HTC’s grants do not  come close to covering all their costs) and the roster of volunteers and trustees have in most cases taken a big hit. So, if you’d like to get involved or support these groups in any way, get in touch – the above-mentioned post has contact details for each organisation. (Click here to see a post about just one excellent local organisation, CHAIN.)

• The same day also saw the ceremony to award the prizes to the winners of the 2021 Hungerford in Bloom winners – click here for details.

• It was a busy day for the Mayor Helen Simpson as she was then off to the allotments for the HuRoBL H&H Show (iawHAHA). The what? OK, I’ll give you the full name – the Hungerford Royal British Legion Horticultural and Handicraft  Show (in association with the Hungerford Allotment-holders Association). I think my abbreviation needs a bit of work, to be honest. Ted Angell from HAHA said that “despite a relatively poor growing season, there was an excellent level of entries” for the vegetable and flowers and thanked Sandra Regan from the RBL for organising the show. He added that the Mayor “with her usual joie de vivre” presented the awards for all categories at the end of the event. Then I imagine she went home, took off her chain of office and put her feet up…

• Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages. For details on the events and to keep up to date with any future ones, please click here to visit the West Berkshire Library Facebook page.

• A reminder that Network Rail has advised about closures of the road bridge at Lower Denford from 3 to 4 October 2021. Further information on the closure can be found on the one.network site.

• Various roads in Inkpen and West Woodhay will be closed between 8.30am and 1.30pm on Sunday 26 September while the annual Walbury Hill Climb takes place. Traffic will be directed around the event on the day. A plan of the closure can be found here

Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire (note that the Hungerford centre has now closed).

Click here for details of the Sparkling Streams project which will be benefitting locations and rivers in the Hungerford and Shalbourne areas over the coming months.

News from your local council

• Information on Hungerford Town Council can be found in the section above.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 11 September and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: planning applications; the Recreation Ground; the proposed relocation of the play area in Popham Close; the Parish Steward; speed limits and signage; the Village Hall; the plane tree; financial matters;  Wiltshire CC consultations; and email correspondence. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 5 August 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.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 26 July and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent (August) Froxfield Parish Council News has been published and can be be downloaded here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 22 July and you can download the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 23 June and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Click here for the September 2021 edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

Thursday 16 September 2021

This week’s news

• The September Penny Post Hungerford was published earlier this month, offering the best overview of what’s going on in the town. Click here to read it if you didn’t receive it.

• Saturday 18 September is your last chance to have your say in person on this consultation stage for Hungerford’s neighbourhood development plan (NDP). This event will take place at the Croft Hall from 10am to 1pm. For more information on Hungerford’s NDP, please click here. For a scare story I wrote about what might (possibly) happen if there were no NDP, please click here.

• Local MP Laura Farris will be holding a surgery at the Jubilee Centre in Kintbury on the afternoon of Friday 17 September. Please call 01635 551 070 or email laura.farris.mp@parliament.uk to make an appointment.

• Church Way will be closed on 17 to 21 September from the junction of Salisbury Road (A338)  to the junction of  Homefield Way. This is an emergency closure so that repairs can be made to a visible leak. Residential access will be maintained throughout and the diversion will be signed on site and blue-light access through the works will be permitted. All enquiries should be directed to: KCD on 0800 316 9800 and a plan of the closure can be found here.

• Although it welcomes the idea of the site being used for affordable homes in the town, Hungerford Town Council has opposed Sovereign Housing’s plans for the proposed development at Chestnut Walk. Aside from concerns about parking spaces, HTC felt that it had a disappointing lack of detail about its sustainable features. The plans had “significant discrepancies” compared to WBC’s own policies whereas it “should be an exemplar development.” In a letter to WBC, the Town Council said that it has asked for the decision to be called to the Western Area Planning Committee in if necessary; but suggests that a better solution would be that the application be “immediately withdrawn and redrafted in compliance with WBC’s own policies and ambitions”, particularly in the light of the declared climate emergency. The previous care home on the site closed some years ago and the current plans envisage eight houses for shared ownership and social rent.

• What a great event the Hungerford Heritage Food & Artisan Market was last Sunday. The next one – the last for this year – takes place on Sunday 3 October. More information can be found on their site.

The Hungerford Antique and Flea market has events planned for the rest 2021. More information can be found here.

• The Kintbury St.Mary’s School Summer Fête is being held on Friday 17 September 2021 from 5pm at the school site. The event was delayed earlier in the summer, and will include “fun stalls and games, a BBQ, bar and disco”. Click here to visit the school’s PTA Facebook page and here to view the promotional flag outside the school gates.

• Local Cadet George Sparkes was presented with the Brereton Award, which is named in honour of PC Roger Brereton (who was killed during the Hungerford Massacre in 1987) for his “commitment and service to TVP (Thames Valley Police) and the Community of West Berkshire”. The award was presented by PC Roger Brereton’s sons, Shaun and Paul. To view George receiving the award, click here.

• Hungerford bookkeeper Jon Shatford asks for support for his Castaway Five-day Survival Challenge in aid of the British Legion.

• It’s FA Cup day down at Bulpit Lane for Hungerford Town FC this Saturday 18 September at 3pm. They face Truro City in the second qualifying round (two rounds away from the first round proper). You can view a recent tweet about the fixture here for more information.

• Hungerford Town’s first team will be hoping to follow in their reserve side’s (Hungerford Town Swift’s) footsteps, as they beat local rivals Marlborough Town Reserves 12-0 on 11 September 2021. The Swifts tweeted after the game to commend their opponents for “(doing) the club proud today. They never gave up, never quit, they will learn from today’s game.”

• The Crusaders are also hosting a quiz night on Thursday 23 September 2021 down at their home ground, Bulpit Lane. For more information on the event, click here.

• Hungerford Library has several events for people of all ages, including a Rhymetime group for kids under four (starts on Wednesday 22 September 2021) and a ‘Bookworms Book Group’ (starts on Friday 17 September 2021) for anyone looking to join “this friendly group for informal discussion of the month’s chosen book.” For further details on the events and to keep up to date with any future events, please click here to visit the West Berkshire Library Facebook page.

• A reminder that Network Rail has advised about closures of the road bridge at Lower Denford from 19 to 20 September and 3 to 4 October 2021. Further information on the closure can be found on the one.network site.

• The work to fix the problems at the roundabout by Lancaster Park, which was due to start by 31 August, finally got under way earlier this month and should be finished by 15 October.

This week’s NWN reports on p42 that Channel 4 is calling Hungerford shed owners as part of their television show Find it, Fix it, Flog it. If you’re interested, more information can be found hereotherwise, email info@hcaentertainment.com.

• Hungerford’s Craft and Gift Market is taking place on Saturday 25 September from 10am to 4pm at Hungerford Corn Exchange.

Click here for information about lateral flow tests available in West Berkshire (note that the Hungerford centre has now closed).

Click here for details of the Sparking Streams project which will be benefitting locations and rivers in the Hungerford and Shalbourne areas over the coming months.

• Various roads in Inkpen and West Woodhay will be closed between 8.30am and 1.30pm on Sunday 26 September while the annual Walbury Hill Climb takes place. Traffic will be directed around the event on the day. A plan of the closure can be found here

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 5 August 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.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 26 July and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent (August) Froxfield Parish Council News has been published and can be be downloaded here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 22 July and you can download the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 13 July and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 23 June and you can read the minutes here. To see the dates and agendas for future Parish Council meetings (including any committees), please click here.

• Click here for the September 2021 edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin.

To see earlier Hungerford & Surrounding Area Weekly News columns (from 1 April to 9 September) please click here.

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