Thursday 26 May 2022

This week  we take a close look at two of Hungerford’s pavements: one that attracted a site visit of getting on for 30 people; and another which is rising like a pie crust in the oven because of a mains water leak. We’ve also cover the jubilee celebrations, a forthcoming comedy evening, a night of Bublé, the arrival of Educafé and a bit of baking.

Scroll down for these stories ands other local news, local events and activities and news from your local councils.

This week’s news

John O’Gaunt School‘s recent 2022 Prize Giving evening was full of fun, warmth and celebration with moving student performances and inspiring guest speaker, comedian and author Toni Kent. For more details see here.

• Fancy kicking-off your weekend with a bit of comedy? Because this Friday sees the eagerly awaited return of the Hungerford Comedy Club. This show’s acts include stand-up comedy from David Arnold, Ben Champion, Alf , Paul Kerensa and your MC Graeme Coulam. Doors open at 7:30, for a show starting at 8pm, at The Croft Hall. You can book your tickets online here.

• Next week, women from all walks of life are invited to join West Berkshire Council’s Women in Politics webinar on Wednesday 1 June, to find out how to get involved in local decision-making panels or becoming a Councillor. WBC also would like to invite any and all local residents interested in what happens behind the scenes at the Council or how decisions are made, to join them for this event. Details can be found on the council website.

• You are probably aware that there will be lots of local Jubilee celebrations taking place between 2 and 5 June. Click here for our guide to events across the area including Hungerford’s Jubilee Market, Picnic, games and entertainment at the Croft on Sunday 5 June. Prior to that of course will be the ceremonious Jubilee Beacon Lighting at the Triangle Field on Thursday 2 June. For the full schedule of Hungerford events please see here.

• The judges are looking forward to everyone’s entries for the Jubilee Make & Bake competition. Bring your Hungerford Platinum Pudding, scones, Jubilee bonnet, posy for the Queen or A4 picture to the Jubilee tent at the Hungerford Food & Artisan Market between 10am and 1pm on Sunday 5 June. For more details see here.

• Keep your eyes on the skies on Thursday 2 June for the spectacular military flyby in celebration of the Jubilee. Over 70 aircraft will be participating, including the Red Arrows, Spitfires and Hurricanes, taking off in the east of the country, flying over Buckingham Palace, London and then heading the South and West. If all goes according to plan, we should see the aircraft overhead roughly between 12:50pm and 1:30pm – so keep your eyes peeled. More information can be found here.

• Something to look forward to after the Jubilee festivities have died down, A Night of Bublé in Hungerford Town Hall on Saturday 11 June. Grab a group of friends and dance the night away to Jamie Flanagan performing as Michael Bublé. See here for how to book.

• Congratulations to Hungerford Town FC which has been nominated for the Berkshire Football Awards in the Severn Sport Best Content Creator category for their social media efforts which have increased gate takings. See full report here,

• Local charity Eight Bells are currently looking to recruit Community Navigator Volunteers in Hungerford to provide community support, with a focus on looking after mental health and reduce social isolation. They help support those in the community who might be prone to isolation and help them build support networks and make friends. Volunteers will be fully trained and by giving as little as 2 hours a week you could make a huge difference in someone’s life. To express your interest in the position complete their Volunteer Form here or email cs@eightbellsnewbury.co.uk

• On a similar note, Hungerford Youth Club is also looking for volunteers to help bring fun activities to local kids and teens. If you would be interested in volunteering yourself, or would like to know more information, contact Youth Worker Dion youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford Environmental Action Team’s first Home Energy event this week was a big success with Hungerford Library full of residents asking the insulation and draught exclusion experts how they can retain heating better in their homes and lower their energy bills. The next free talks will be on Heating Controls on Thursday 9 June and Solar Panels on Thursday 23 June. See here for details

• The popular community Educafe which meets every Wednesday in Newbury Library will be coming to Hungerford Library on Friday 17 and 24 June from 12pm to 2.30pm. They bring with them arts and crafts, games and puzzles, activities for parents with babies, IT support, a befriending service, English conversation, and lots more, tea/coffee and cake – all for free. These pop-ups are testing out how the Educafe model works in different locations across West Berkshire. They hope that one day, every village and town will have its own Educafe where local people and services can come together to share knowledge, support each other, drink tea and eat cake! See more details here.

• As mentioned previously, Rev Richard Coles is coming to the Hungerford Bookshop, to promote his new thrilling crime novel Murder Before Evensong. As well as being an author, the CoE priest is well-known as a journalist, former member of 80s pop-band The Communards, as well as a TV and radio broadcaster, frequently appearing on shows such as Question Time, QI, and Have I Got News for You. The event on Friday 17 June is free but please register in advance here.

Hungerford & Camburn Educational Trust‘s 2022 grant applications for 16 to 25 year olds are open until 17 June.  The trust was set up by a legacy from Caleb Camburn, the first Headmaster of Hungerford School, to give financial support to students of Hungerford for further education or apprenticeship expenses.

• Hungerford Rotary Club and Arts for Hungerford are teaming up to invite you to a celebratory Jubilee Opera and Picnic on Saturday 25 June. They have invited Kennet Opera to perform a ‘Glyndebourne style’ concert on the lovely Croft green so you can enjoy the musical celebration with a picnic. Tickets are £25 and can be purchased here.

• Hungerford Hub & Library, in partnership with Hungerford Bookshop, is currently hosting a new series of Well Read Mind talks and workshops for mental health and wellbeing, which is running until 12 July. Thanks to grant funding, each event costs only £3. Please see here for full schedule.

• Click here for the latest newsletter from the Hungerford Arcade.

Click here for the latest news from the Bedwyn Train Passenger Group about the continuing threat to direct rail services from Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury to London. The struggle is far from over.

• For more information on a renewable energy generation scheme involving group-buying for solar panels and battery storage, visit www.solartogether.co.uk/wiltshire or call 0800 048 8113. Many thanks to Froxfield Parish Council for pointing this out to us. Note that this is only available to residents of Wiltshire and Swindon.

• If you would are interested in hosting Ukrainian guests, please join the Hungerford Support Group for Ukraine or contact Rachel on rachel@rbarker.co.uk or 07887 531376.

• Click here for the latest Inkpen and Combe Bulletin.

• Most parish councils have a Clerk who is the council’s officer and is responsible for ensuring that all the various matters are done by the book. Shalbourne is fairly rare in that it does not. “There were no volunteers to be unpaid Parish Clerk,” the minutes of the meeting of 19 May 2022 report, “and the Council felt that paying an outside Parish Clerk would be a waste of resources when considering the size of the budget. It was agreed that all members would help administer the Council. It was proposed seconded and unanimously agreed that the Council would not have a Parish Clerk for the year 2021/22. It was noted that the situation would be kept under review and that the Chairman would be free to raise this matter again if he felt there was a need for a paid Clerk.” If you feel you can help Shalbourne PC out in this way (if, indeed, it actually needs any help) please contact the council.

• Wiltshire Council has been awarded £1.2m of Department for Transport (DfT) funding to launch an improved flexible, on-demand bus service in the Pewsey Vale area – and wants to hear from people on what the new service should look like. Flexible, on-demand bus services do not run to a set timetable like usual buses. Instead, they enable people to phone or book a bus service via an app, to take them anywhere within the service area at a time to suit them. App users will be able to book their journey, see in real-time when the vehicle will arrive and make payment. For people who cannot or do not wish to use the app, telephone booking and on bus payment will also be available.

In the case of this new service, the area it will cover takes in much of Pewsey Vale; from the eastern edge of Devizes, north to Beckhampton and Marlborough, and east to Collingbourne Ducis, Shalbourne and Froxfield, including Pewsey, Burbage, Great Bedwyn and Everleigh. This rural service would provide links to Devizes, Ludgershall and Tidworth, so people can take bus services to other towns. The survey runs from Wednesday 25 May to Friday 15 July, and people can have their say and find out more, including a map of the service area, please click here. Many thanks to the Bedwyn Train Passenger Group for bringing this to our attention.

Hungerford’s pavements

We’ve mentioned before about the pavements in Clark’s Gardens in Hungerford which were recently re-done to a standard which many felt was below acceptable. This obviously has something to do with the standard of the work itself but also, perhaps, rather more to do with the relationship between the various organisations involved in doing any work and the communities which have to live with the results.

In this case, West Berkshire Council (WBC) is responsible for pavements in the district. It has contracted this work to Volker Highways, which in turn uses sub-contractors (Rejuvo in this case). The residents of Clark’s gardens are, perhaps in the parlance of such supply chains, the “end users.” Hungerford Town Council (HTC) has no direct responsibility for any of this but is the ears, eyes and voice of its residents (and a particularly effective one). The issue showed that more scrutiny of each party’s responsibilities is a healthy way for these often complex relationships to be managed.

If anyone is in any doubt as to how effective a voice HTC has in such matters, it’s worth recording the impressive roll-call of attendance at a site meeting in Clark’s Gardens on 18 May, organised by Hungerford’s Mayor Helen Simpson:

  • The Mayor of Hungerford.
  • The Chair of the HTC Highways and Planning Committee.
  • WBC’s Environment Service Director.
  • WBC’s Highways Assets Manager.
  • All three of WBC’s district councillors for the Hungerford and Kintbury ward.
  • The Managing Director of Rejuvo.
  • Three representatives from Volker Highways.
  • About 15 members of the public.

The upshot of this meeting was as follows:

  • The material and process used has a number of environmental and finial benefits and has been used successfully elsewhere for many years.
  • It does, however, take about six months to bed down – for the harsh black colour to Mello and for the surface to solidify completely.
  • On reflection, it was conceded that given the number of driveways (which will inhibit this and cause degradation before the material has settled), another approach might have been worth considering here.
  • It was also accepted that the work was not done as well as it could have been, particularly with regard to the preparation of the original surface.
  • That all parties would monitor the results over the next few months ands that the sub-contractors would do whatever remedial work was require.

What’s really good about this is that the one organisation – HTC – that was not directly involved in any of this and which could have said to the residents “not our problem: tell WBC, or Volker the contractors” chose instead to make a fuss and help knock a few heads together. Credit is also due to all those who turned up. Useful lessons were learned as a result: not just about pavement repairs and the seven or so thousand pounds involved in this case but about how constructive complaint can help life be conducted on an equitable and civilised basis. Pending the results of, and actions arising from, further investigations, I’d conclude that everyone involved has come out of this well. It’s not often I finish such articles in this optimistic spirit.

Slightly less good news, however, on the re-surfacing of the parking bays in the High Street where the market sets up. This is a lovely looking job except for a leak (about where the old Barclays was) which is still flowing and which is leading to an increasing bulge in part of the tarmac-ed area (imagine a piecrust about four metres across that’s starting to rise). The traders told me on 25 May that it was bigger than it been the week before. What might happen if the tarmac gives way I wouldn’t like to think about, particularly if I happen to be standing on top of it at the time while paying for my fruit and veg. Hats off the WBC for getting this dangerously rutted area fixed but the irony is that, whereas some of the surface was several inches below where it ought to be, the opposite now applies. What’s really needed here is a surface that’s flat

Community notices

• Donations of unwanted gardening tools are requested for a new well-being allotment group. If you can help please contact Tina Hill on harkangel@live.com or 07572 944395.

• Enter Hungerford in Bloom 2022 by submitting this application form by Monday 20 June. Judging will take place on Saturday 2 July.  For more information see here.

Hungerford Library welcomes volunteers to help run clubs and summer reading challenges. Contact cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519533.

• Hungerford Environmental Action Team (HEAT) has some fun and practical volunteering opportunities over the next couple of months. If you would like to get involved please contact HEAT_Hungerford@yahoo.com

• Hungerford PPG (Patient Participation Group) strongly encourages elderly residents to make a doctor appointment if they are not feeling 100%.

• Volunteering with Hungerford Youth Club is lots of fun. Please contact Dion on youth@hungerfordyc.org.uk.

• Hungerford CHAIN needs volunteer Handybus drivers.

• Please buy West Berkshire Lottery tickets to support the Hungerford Hub not-for-profit community asset which houses Hungerford Library. You can also win prize money for yourself of course.

• Elderly or seriously ill residents can get help walking their dog from the Cinnamon Trust charity on 01736 757900 or volunteer@cinnamon.org.uk. The charity is looking for more volunteer walkers across the area.

• Hungerford Fire Station is seeking new recruits to become on-call firefighters. If you fancy a new career and a challenge, see here for more.

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

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 27 May Hungerford Comedy Club Show, The Croft Hall.

Sun 5 June Hungerford Platinum Jubilee Market, Picnic, Games & Live Music, The Croft.

Sat 11 June A Night of Bublé, Hungerford Town Hall

Fri 17 June Rev Richard Coles Book Signing, The Hungerford Bookshop, 1pm.

Sat 25 Jun Jubilee Picnic & Opera Evening, The Croft Hall, 5pm to 10:15pm.

Sat 14 & Sun 15 Jul Hungerford Carnival Weekend various events all around the town.

• Regular Events

• Hungerford General Carers Support Group 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 at Hungerford Hub and Library every third Thursday of the month between 2 and 4pm. New members are always welcome and more details can be found here.

• Hungerford market 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 Wednesdays at the Kintbury Jubilee Centre. Contact Caitlin on kintburynetballclub@gmail.com or join the KJC Netball facebook group.

• The Crafty Girls every first Wednesday of the month from 7pm to 9pm in the Hungerford Hub. This sociable group supplements 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 Gift Shop at Hungerford Hub sells art and craft by local artisans with 15% of sales going to the upkeep of Hungerford Library. Open 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and 10am – 12noon Saturdays.

• 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.

• French conversation sessions with Hungerford Twinning Association at Hungerford Library on the last Saturday of the month between 10.30am and 12pm. All abilities welcome to drop in for a chat and a coffee.

• Love Lotte Barre Fitness classes for the best workout: £45/month (plus free taster).

Hungerford Theatre Company’s Players group (for over 21s) at Hungerford Hub every Friday 7pm to 10pm. All welcome.

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 most recent summary of Hungerford Town Council’s work (including notes from the meeting of 3 May) can be seen here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 19 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; formal matters; cherry trees; the conservation area appraisal; the History Group; financial matters; and village communications. 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 19 May and you can download the minutes here.  Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; formal matters; committee reports; village maintenance matters; planning matters; and financial matters. The annual Parish assembly took place on 21 April and you can download the minutes here. This included reports of the year’s activities from the Parish Council and various community groups. 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 10 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the election of a Chair and Deputy; formal matters; power-supply problems; planning matters; the Recreation Ground; Popham Close; the Parish Stewards; the Community Area Transport Group; financial matters; the Environmental Management Plan; and a public forum regarding the Recreation Ground and car park. 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 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the election of the Chair and Deputy; various formal business; planning matters; reports from ward members Claire Rowles and James Cole; the proposed closure of the Notrees care home (which, following a presentation from two employees, the PC decided to oppose); speeding; planning matters; financial matters; CIL bids; and a vote of thanks to the former Chair. 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 14 March and you can read the minutes here. To 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: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

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

You might also be interested in…

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Lambourn ValleyNewbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and DownlandsTheale area; Wantage area; Marlborough area; Swindon area.

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

You might also be interested in…

Archive

To see earlier Hungerford & Area Weekly News columns, please click here.

 

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