Thursday 22 July 2021

• The July Penny Post Hungerford was published on 6 July and, as ever, provides the best round-up of life in the town – click here to read it if you didn’t get it.

• The matter of the traffic lights which been in place at the new roundabout by Lancaster Park may take slightly longer to resolve than the six or so weeks initially suggested. It appears that the matter is, as Sherlock Holmes might have said, in deeper waters than first appeared is remains the subject of discussion between WBC and Bewley Homes.

• A reminder that District Councillor Claire Rowles is doing an MS Marathon to raise funds for MS-UK’s Counselling Service. This horrible disease claimed the life of her sister (and Penny’s mother) so I’m really happy to be able to draw your attention to her JustGiving page here.

• And another reminder of a shout-out for a fundraiser: We know the Flanagan family and were saddened by Lisa’s death from a brain tumour earlier this year. Her husband, Simon, and one of her sons, Aidan, have decided to kayak from Hungerford to Bristol and back up the Kennet & Avon (193km in all) to raise money for Brain Tumour Research. They’ve reached their target but you can still add to this on the JustGiving page here. Their journey will start on 24 July and is expected to take a week.

• If your scythe is blunt, your textiles torn, your toaster ungovernable, your bicycle unrideable or your toys unplayable, with help is at hand: the Hungerford Environmental Action team has organised a repair café on Sunday 25 July from 10am-12:30pm at the Croft Community Field Centre. More details here.

• Hungerford Town Council has, in place of its usual Freedom of the Town award, decided this year to ask residents to nominate their Covid Community Champions. Nominations have now closed and the recipients will be presented with their awards at an event at the Croft Field Centre on Saturday 24 July. This event is, due to the numbers involved, by invitation only. Please click here for more: this post will be updated after the event with details of the nominees.

• Click here for the latest news from the Hungerford Leisure Centre in its latest newsletter here.

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

• A reminder that Inkpen Primary School needs to do urgent works on its building and has found that this will prove more costly than it had expected due to its listed status. For more information and to contribute to the funding appeal on The Good Exchange, please click here.

Froxfield has formed a community speedwatch group to help monitor traffic speeds on the A4 through the village. For more information or to volunteer contact Sarah Whatley on sarahjowens19@yahoo.co.uk or 07756 157444.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 3 June and you can read the minutes here.

• And sticking with Kintbury for a moment, a planning application for the conversion of the Methodist Chapel to housing came before WBC’s Western Area Planning Committee on 21 July. Officers had recommended refusal but it was called in by Councillor James Cole and was eventually approved by a handsome majority. Among the issues that weighed with the committee was the fact that regular occupation would be better for the building (which otherwise might fall into disrepair) and that traffic movements would probably overall be less and certainly more predictable than the occasional jam-inducing surges caused when it’s used for public events. I don’t know how often a planning committee goes against officers’ recommendations but suspect it’s the less common outcome. This seems to be exactly the way in which the call-in powers should be used.

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

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 13 July and you can read the minutes here. items covered included: planning issues; the new excretion ground; HGV traffic at the Membury Industrial Estate; the Parish Steward; speed limits at the western edge of the village; potholes and debris at the B4192/Stag Hill junction; financial matters; village maintenance issues; and correspondence with councillors.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 8 June and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: the co-option of a new member; one planning application; and the purchase of a new playground swing.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here. There was also an extraordinary meeting on 23 June and you can read the minutes here. This concerned only internal governance issues and the confirmation of a grant to the Inkpen Cricket Club of £900 for the purchase of a lawn mower.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 17 May and you can read the minutes here.

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

Hungerford area council news

Parishes: click here for Hungerford Town CouncilKintbury Parish CouncilShalbourne Parish Council, Ham 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 Valley; 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.

Thursday 15 July 2021

• The July Penny Post Hungerford was published on 6 July and, as ever, provides the best round-up of life in the town – click here to read it if you didn’t get it.

• One of the items covered at the meeting of Hungerford Town Council earlier this week concerned the traffic lights which have recently appeared at the new roundabout by the Lancaster Park development. As mentioned last week (see below) information on this has been given out in small chunks and only when asked for. A statement from WBC received on 14 July said that “Issues with the roundabout were first identified by our Highways team at the end of last year and raised with the developer at the time. Concerns focused on one of the approaches being too narrow for HGVs to navigate and parts of the surfacing needing to be re-done to ensure rainwater runs off properly. The developer will be completing the work, and we are awaiting a start date from them. We expect them to start soon, however, and it will take around five to six weeks to complete. In the meantime, in the interests of safety, traffic lights have been put in place and will remain until the work is complete.”

This leaves open several questions. First, the “issues” are clearly dangerous as otherwise there wouldn’t now be the traffic control. If these were identified last year, why did it take six months to get the lights installed? Second, was the problem due to the the wrong design being approved or the right design being done wrongly? Third, who will be paying for the work, WBC or Bewley? Finally, why was HTC not informed about this automatically? I have asked WBC about all these points and will let you know the replies when I have them.

District Councillor Claire Rowles is doing an MS Marathon to raise funds for MS-UK’s Counselling Service. This horrible disease claimed the life of her sister (and Penny’s mother) so I’m really happy to be able to draw your attention to her JustGiving page here.

• And another shout-out for a fundraiser: We know the Flanagan family and were saddened by Lisa’s death from a brain tumour earlier this year. Her husband, Simon, and one of her sons, Aidan, have decided to kayak from Hungerford to Bristol and back up the Kennet & Avon (193km in all) to raise money for Brain Tumour Research. They’ve reached their target but you can still add to this on the JustGiving page here. Their journey will start on 24 July and is expected to take a week.

• Hungerford Town Council has, in place of its usual Freedom of the Town award, decided this year by asking residents to nominate their Covid Community Champions. A number of nominations have been received and the recipients will be presented with their awards at an event at the Croft Field Centre on Saturday 24 July. This event is, due to the numbers involved, by invitation only. Please click here for more: this post will be updated after the event with details of the nominees.

• The thing I most missed during lockdown was not being able to swim (yes, I know I could have gone wild swimming I’m a bit of a wuss) so the two re-openings of the Hungerford Leisure Centre last year and this were particularly delightful. Apart from walking up and down the stairs in our house about 25 times a day, chasing the chickens away from the fruit bushes and uncorking bottles of wine, it’s the only exercise I get. From 19 July, a number of aspects of life there will be returning to normal – no booking needed for the gym, all changing cubicles open and more swimming sessions, for instance. Some pandemic measures will stay, such as needing to book sessions for swimming (despite grumbling about this at first, I now find this quite convenient as (a) I can choose sessions that are less crowded and (b) having booked a slot I invariably turn up. You can read all about the new arrangements in the Leisure Centre’s latest newsletter here. This also notes that “enhanced cleaning of high contact points will continue.” It’s probably the cleanest place I visit, certainly a lot more so than our home, and I’ve always felt completely Covid-safe there. As for the pool water, it will probably kill anything much smaller than a mouse (not that I’ve ever seen a mouse in the pool). A few weeks ago, I calculated that I’d been there about 3,000 times over the 20 or so years I’ve been living in these parts. Why am I saying this? Showing off? No – if it had been dirty, disorganised and unwelcoming, the figure wouldn’t be nearly this high. A great place with great staff.

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

Inkpen Primary School needs to do some urgent works on its building and has found that this will prove more costly than it had expected due to its listed status. For more information and to contribute to the funding appeal on The Good Exchange, please click here.

• As mentioned last week, the Froxfield Water Meadow boardwalk is now complete. The PC would like to set up a Friends of Froxfield Nature Reserve: please email v.body@froxfield.org for more information.

• The same parish has recently formed a community speedwatch group to help monitor traffic speeds on the A4 through the village. For more information or to volunteer contact Sarah Whatley on sarahjowens19@yahoo.co.uk or 07756 157444.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 3 June and you can read the minutes here.

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

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 18 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 21 May and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council (and the annual parish meeting) took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here. There was also an extraordinary meeting on 23 June and you can read the minutes here. This concerned only internal governance issues and the confirmation of a grant to the Inkpen Cricket Club of £900 for the purchase of a lawn mower.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 17 May and you can read the minutes here.

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

Thursday 8 July 2021

• The July Penny Post Hungerford was published on 6 July and, as ever, provides the best round-up of life in the town – click here to read it if you didn’t get it. As well as the usual sections with news from the Town Council, the Town and Manor and Hungerford’s retailers, it’s got news of a wildflower photography competition, BBC Radio Berkshire’s recent visit to the town, an interview with local author Iris Lloyd, an appeal for local artefacts from the West Berkshire Museum, the winners of the 2021 Hungerford in Bloom and travel advice from Veronica at Fare Wise Travel. There’s also our regular book of the month, wine of the month and the latest diary from JoG Head Richard Hawthorne as well as a seasonal recipe, tips on keeping active, property, jobs and local events. There are also guest appearances by Doctor Who and Jeeves and Wooster. The next one will be published in early August: please email penny@pennypost.org.uk if there’s anything you’d like to see included in this.

• One of the items covered at the meeting of Hungerford Town Council earlier this week concerned the traffic lights which have recently appeared at the new roundabout by the Lancaster Park development. These cause tailbacks which, if not of the standards of London on a Friday night, are irksome, all the more so for being initially unexplained. HTC finally established that this was due to an error in either the design or the construction of the roundabout and that remedial work is expected to start in about a month and last for perhaps six weeks (so, until mid-September). The temporary lights must remain for the duration as the roundabout is currently dangerous. I understand that two of the problems are that it’s too narrow for HGVs and that there’s an issue with surface water (ie it’s too small and slopes the wrong way). The History Faculty at Cambridge was reputed to have built at 180º to its intended position as the plans got transposed when being copied, the east-facing result being that it got very hot and very draughty, sometimes at the same time. Something similar might have happened here: or perhaps it’s just our old friends inches and centimetres getting mixed up again.

• Another item that was touched on at the meeting was the fact that the parking bays with EV charge points on the High Street are sometimes being used by non-EV cars. I raised this with the Environment portfolio holder Steve Ardagh-Walter who described this as “a transitory and emotive issue.” This seems a fair summary. Ten years ago there were no EV charge points so the matter didn’t arise; in ten years time they might be getting towards being in a majority so different arrangements may need to be made. It’s a catch 22, as a council may feel it won’t make special arrangements until there are enough EVs but people won’t buy EVs without special arrangements to ensure they can get the juice. Perhaps the time is coming when EVs need designated bays, like disabled vehicles. Will public pressure be enough to make people follow these or will enforcement be needed? Do we want more traffic wardens in Hungerford? Can WBC afford to pay for them? I don’t know the answer to any of these questions.

• A reminder that the Hungerford Summer Festival runs from until 11 July with a wide range of events, many off which are sold out or selling out fast – click here for details.

• The three ward members, Claire Rowles, Dennis Benneyworth and James Cole, have managed to secure a grant for Hungerford in the latest round of members’ bids – £949 for the renovation of the area between the A4 and the sub-station (near the Co-op filling station).

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

Inspots pre-school in Inkpen is inviting visits and applications for children who are currently three or will have turned three by the start of September. More information, call 01488 668 219 or email inkspots@inkpen.w-berks.sch.uk.

• And in the same village, Inkpen Primary School needs to do some urgent works on its building and has found that this will prove more costly than it had expected due to its listed status. For more information and to contribute to the funding appeal on The Good Exchange, please click here.

• As mentioned last week, the Froxfield Water Meadow boardwalk is now complete. The PC would like to set up a Friends of Froxfield Nature Reserve: please email v.body@froxfield.org for more information.

• The same parish has recently formed a community speedwatch group to help monitor traffic speeds on the A4 through the village. For more information or to volunteer contact Sarah Whatley on sarahjowens19@yahoo.co.uk or 07756 157444.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 3 June and you can read the minutes here.

• The three ward members, Claire Rowles, Dennis Benneyworth and James Cole, have managed to secure two separate grants for Kintbury in the latest round of members’ bids – £825 for footpath enhancement and £2,818 for the refurbishment of the Gladstone Recreation Ground entrance.

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

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 18 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 21 May and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council (and the annual parish meeting) took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The above-mentioned ward members also secured members’ bid for funding in Inkpen: £4,982 for playground equipment.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 17 May and you can read the minutes here.

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

Thursday 1 July 2021

• The Hungerford neighbourhood development plan working group (Hungerford 2036) has announced that there will be a public consultation in the Corn Exchange from 10.30am to 1pm on Sunday 4 July. The H2036 team encourages residents to attend to view the exhibition. See here for more information. If you can’t make it in person then you can respond online.

• A visit to this event can also take in the monthly Hungerford Market at the Croft Hall Field from 10.30am to 2,30pm on Sunday 4 July which will include the usual range of stalls plus street food and live music. More details here.

• The day before, the Electric Vehicle Show will take place at the Croft Hall Field from 11am to 3pm.

• On Monday 5 July you may hear or see any of the following in Hungerford: (i) a two-minute silence and a rendition of The Last Post at 11am; (ii) the Mayor and the Constable leading a toast to NHS, social-care and frontline workers on the Town Hall steps at 1pm; (iii) a clap for our heroes and the ringing of the church bells 73 times (one for each year the NHS has been in existence). This is part of Hungerford participation in the national NHS, Social-care and Frontline Workers’ Day, more information on which can be found here. Similar events will be taking places throughout the country.

• A reminder that the Hungerford Summer Festival runs from 3 to 11 July with a wide range of events – click here for details.

• The next meeting of Hungerford Town Council, the first since May, will take place at 7pm on Monday 5 July at the Corn Exchange Complex and you can see the agenda here.

• The July Penny Post Hungerford will be published on Tuesday 6 July and will, as ever, include a summary of Hungerford Town Council’s current activities including those discussed at the above meeting. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk as soon as possible if there’s anything you’d like to see included in this.

• The three ward members, Claire Rowles, Dennis Benneyworth and James Cole, have managed to secure a grant for Hungerford in the latest round of members’ bids – £949 for the renovation of the area between the A4 and the sub-station (near the Co-op filling station).

• Thames Water tells me that the water-pressure problems in Hungerford Newtown have been solved – let me (or, better still, Thames Water) know if you disagree.

• If you regularly drive through Hungerford, as I do, you’ll notice that there have been two temporary traffic lights in place, one at the top of the High Street and the other at the roundabout by the entrance to the Lancaster Park development. These are unrelated. The first was due to a problem with a fire hydrant which needed to be fixed urgently. A statement from West Berkshire Council on 1 July said that the works had now been completed.

• The second set of lights near Lancaster Park, however, will be with us for some time yet. It appears, also from a statement by WBC, that there is a problem with either the design or construction of the roundabout and that the temporary lights have been put up for health and safety reasons. It’s unclear when the remedial work will start. If the problem is with the design, this may need to be re-submitted and approved – as to how long this could take, think of a period of time and double it. Once it’s clear what needs to happen, the works are expected to take at least six or seven weeks.

Hungerford Mayor Helen Simpson told Penny Post that she has recently received numerous questions from residents why these lights are there and how long they’ll be in place for. I don’t know how much time she, other councillors, the Town Clerk and the ward members have spent trying to find out about this until it was finally cleared up on 1 July. One email could have avoided all this. I’d say that Hungerford has a particularly proactive council: this cuts both ways, as residents see it, quite reasonably, as an immediate source of information even on matters (such as these) that are none of its concern. If such bodies are told about these things in advance it saves so much time.

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

Inspots pre-school in Inkpen is inviting visits and applications for children who are currently three or will have turned three by the start of September. More information, call 01488 668 219 or email inkspots@inkpen.w-berks.sch.uk.

• There are about 400,000 listed buildings in the UK. This offers varying levels of protection which many agree is important to preserve our architectural heritage. This can, however, be a double-edged sword as any repairs can as a result be more difficult or expensive to undertake. Just such a situation faces Inkpen Primary School which needs to do work on the building, some of it very urgent, and has found that this will prove more costly than it had expected. For more information and to contribute to the funding appeal on The Good Exchange, please click here.

• As mentioned last week, the Froxfield Water Meadow boardwalk is now complete. The PC would like to set up a Friends of Froxfield Nature Reserve: please email v.body@froxfield.org for more information.

• The same parish has recently formed a community speedwatch group to help monitor traffic speeds on the A4 through the village. For more information or to volunteer contact Sarah Whatley on sarahjowens19@yahoo.co.uk or 07756 157444.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 3 June and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a vacancy for a councillor; six planning applications; grant requests by the Kintbury Bowling Club, the Pre-school and the Stay and Play proposal; wildflower verges; speeding; the annual newsletter; financial matters; and reports from the PC’s committees.

• The three ward members, Claire Rowles, Dennis Benneyworth and James Cole, have managed to secure two separate grants for Kintbury in the latest round of members’ bids – £825 for footpath enhancement and £2,818 for the refurbishment of the Gladstone Recreation Ground entrance.

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

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 18 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 21 May and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council (and the annual parish meeting) took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The above-mentioned ward members also secured members’ bid for funding in Inkpen: £4,982 for playground equipment.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 21 April and you can read the minutes here.

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

Thursday 24 June 2021

• The Hungerford neighbourhood development plan working group (Hungerford 2036) has announced that there will be two public consultations in the Corn Exchange from 7pm to 9pm on Wednesday 30 June and 10.30am to 1pm on Sunday 4 July. The H2036 team encourages residents to attend to view the exhibition (which will be the same on both dates). There will also be an online consultation, further details of which will be announced soon on the H2036 website and elsewhere – see here for more.

• A reminder that the Hungerford Summer Festival runs from 3 to 11 July with a wide range of events, including an Electric Vehicle Show on Sat 3 July – click here for details.

• Former Mayor Martin Crane is still waiting for a suitable opportunity to put up the plaque created for the 40th anniversary of the Hungerford Twinning Association in 2020, which is to find a place in the Town Hall. He is wondering if this might be a good opportunity to commemorate other organisations and individuals connected with the town in the same way. If you have any suggestions, contact Hungerford Town Council.

• In place of the usual Freedom of the Town Award, Hungerford Town Council is looking for nominations for Covid Community Champions, “local residents who have gone out of their way to help the community of Hungerford since the start of the pandemic.” More information can be found here. Nominations need to be in by the end of June. HTC will announce the winner/s at and event in late July: details to follow.

• Thames Water tells me that the water-pressure problems in Hungerford Newtown have been solved – let me (or, better still, Thames Water) know if you disagree. This turned out to be simpler problem than had been feared: at one time it was thought that there was a burst pipe under the M4.

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

• As mentioned last week, the Froxfield Water Meadow boardwalk is now complete. The PC would like to set up a Friends of Froxfield Nature Reserve: please email v.body@froxfield.org for more information.

• The same parish has recently formed a community speedwatch group to help monitor traffic speeds on the A4 through the village. For more information or to volunteer contact Sarah Whatley on sarahjowens19@yahoo.co.uk or 07756 157444.

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

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 18 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 21 May and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 6 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council (and the annual parish meeting) took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 21 April and you can read the minutes here.

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

Thursday 17 June 2021

• The latest edition of Penny Post Hungerford was published on 1 June and provides, as ever, the best and most comprehensive round up of life in the town. You can click here to read it if you didn’t receive it. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk by the end of June if there’s anything you’d like to see included in the July edition.

• Hungerford High Street is in general a pretty elegant place with a pleasing diversity of buildings (though the diversity of the roofs have caused problems for pigeon control) most of which are occupied and well-maintained. There are a couple of exceptions, however, one of which is the building to the left of (and owned by) the Co-0p. I could refer to it by number but that would be confusing – it’s variously known as 15 or 15a but is in fact 16. It has at various times been used as a store-room which resulted in an internal staircase being removed some time ago. There’s also a home behind it with a tenant. A number of Mayors past and present, including Anthony Buckwell (who started this ball rolling), Dennis Benneyworth, Martin Crane (who has recently contact the Co-op again) and the incumbent Helen Simpson have over the years been involved in trying to ensure that the building is renovated and, hopefully, returned to regular use. These efforts continue and there’s hope that a new person responsible for such projects at the Co-op may provide some fresh impetus. Ultimately, it’s the Co-op’s decision unless they choose to, or perhaps are compelled to, sell it before (as some fear) it crumbles away. (All this has made me wonder what the collective noun for Mayors is. A chain? A worship?)

• Work continues on the Hungerford neighbourhood development plan (known as Hungerford 2036) and plans have been announced for public consultations in the Corn Exchange from 7pm to 9pm on Wednesday 30 June and 10.30am to 1pm on Sunday 4 July. The H2036 team encourages residents to attend to view the exhibition (which will be the same on both dates). There will also be an online consultation, further details of which will be announced soon on the H2036 website and elsewhere – see here for more.

• There is still time to enter Hungerford in Bloom which this year has categories for school, businesses and voluntary groups as well as front and back gardens and courtyards. Find out how to enter here. The looming, blooming deadline is 21 June 2021.

• In place of the usual Freedom of the Town Award, Hungerford Town Council is looking for nominations for Covid Community Champions, “local residents who have gone out of their way to help the community of Hungerford since the start of the pandemic.” More information can be found here. Nominations need to be in by the end of June.

• This year’s funding applications for educational grants for young people are now open from the Hungerford and Camburn Educational Trust (deadline 18 June, so time is pretty much up).

• Thames Water (TW) continues to investigate mains leak under the M4 which is affecting the water supply to Hungerford Newtown and a repair plan is being put in place (see last week’s section below). This will be a complex job because the pipe crosses the motorway and is buried deep underground.

• Covid lateral flow tests, previously available in the Hungerford Rugby Club, are now operating from a mobile unit in the car park next to the Hungerford Library and Hub. More details here.

• Another reminder about Wiltshire County Council’s Parish Stewards who deal with local problems such as clearing blocked gullies, cutting back branches and hedges overhanging footpaths, clearing storm debris, treating and cutting weeds, cleaning and straightening small road signs, removing ragwort and pushing overgrown vegetation back from footways and carriage ways, abandoned vehicles, fly tipping, dog mess and graffiti. The next dates in Froxfield are 1 July, 29 July and 26 August. If you see any jobs that require their attention, you can report them to clerk@froxfield.org (two weeks prior to visit date please) or online.

• The Froxfield Water Meadow boardwalk is now complete – “huge thanks” from the parish council to the teams of volunteers who turned out in the awful weather to help ARK’s Martin Gibson and his team. The project is, the PC says, “moving into a new phase where we seek to enhance the space with planting and ‘light touch’ management, continuing to work closely with Action for River Kennet (ARK) whose team has been so supportive throughout the proccess.” The PC would like to set up a Friends of Froxfield Nature Reserve for those who wish to support the new Froxfield Nature Reserve as a community project and to be told about volunteer opportunities. Please email v.body@froxfield.org for more information.

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

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 18 May and you can read the minutes here. Items discussed included: the election of the Chairman and Vice-chairman; the need for a new councillor; Orchard Green; financial matters; planning applications; the new recreation ground; HGV signs on Stag Hill; weight restrictions on Soley Lane; speeding; the village website; and the asset register.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 21 May and you can download the minutes here. Matters discussed included: formal year-end business; HGVs in the village; planning matters; clearing the Winterbourne; financial matters; there visit of the Parish Steward; and councillor responsibilities.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 6 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council (and the annual parish meeting) took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 21 April and you can read the minutes here.

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

Thursday 10 June 2021

• The latest edition of Penny Post Hungerford was published on 1 June and provides, as ever, the best and most comprehensive round up of life in the town. You can click here to read it if you didn’t receive it. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk by the end of June if there’s anything you’d like to see included in the July edition.

• There is still time to enter Hungerford in Bloom which this year has categories for school, businesses and voluntary groups as well as front and back gardens and courtyards. Find out how to enter here. Deadline is 21 June 2021.

• This week’s Newbury Weekly News reports on p22 that WBC has turned down a street-trader licence for a proposed pizza van in the High Street following objections from the local landowner, the Town and Manor, which had expressed concerns about littering and the use of a disabled parking bay (I would have thought that the latter issue could be dealt with by moving it to one of the many non-disabled bays). Town Mayor Helen Simpson admitted she was “disappointed” by the decision. All may not be lost, however, as another site might be found, perhaps at the skate park. I understand that the Town and Manor was not consulted by WBC when, several years ago, a licence was applied for by the kebab van, also in the High Street.

• In place of the usual Freedom of the Town Award, Hungerford Town Council is looking for nominations for Covid Community Champions, “local residents who have gone out of their way to help the community of Hungerford since the start of the pandemic.” More information can be found here. Nominations need to be in by the end of June.

• This year’s funding applications for educational grants for young people are now open from the Hungerford and Camburn Educational Trust(deadline 18 June).

• Thames Water (TW) has found a mains leak under the M4 which is affecting the water supply to Hungerford Newtown and a repair plan is being put in place. TW wrote to residents on 4 June and has assured Laura Farris MP there will be two tankers supplying water on site 24/7 and all priority and vulnerable customers will have their supply of bottled water topped up. See this page on TW’s site: if you feel you need to take the matter further, contact laura.farris.mp@parliament.uk or 01635 551070.

A TW spokesperson told Penny Post on 7 June that the repair “is likely to be a complex job because the pipe is buried deep below the ground which makes it difficult to access. We’re currently assessing the best way to fix it. In the meantime we’ve shut off the pipe and are using tankers to pump water into the network to keep customers in supply.” A local resident confirmed this: “we had very low pressure for a day or so early last week but, since the tankers have been pumping water in it’s been more or less normal apart from some brief pauses when they’re changing from one tanker to the next.”

• Covid lateral flow tests, previously available in the Hungerford Rugby Club, are now operating from a mobile unit in the car park next to the Hungerford Library and Hub. More details here.

• I think the trans-border cows (see last week’s section below) have now been returned to the Marsh in Hungerford after their unplanned holiday in Wiltshire.

• This week’s NWN reports on p22 of the trial of the thief who stole lead from the roof of Hungerford Primary School which resulted in about £10,000-worth of damage.

• A reminder about Wiltshire Country Council employs Parish Stewards who deal with local problems such as clearing blocked gullies, cutting back branches and hedges overhanging footpaths, clearing storm debris, treating and cutting weeds, cleaning and straightening small road signs, removing ragwort and pushing overgrown vegetation back from footways and carriage ways, abandoned vehicles, fly tipping, dog mess and graffiti. The next dates in Froxfield are 1 July, 29 July and 26 August. If you see any jobs that require their attention, you can report them to clerk@froxfield.org (two weeks prior to visit date please) or online.

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

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 18 May and you can read the minutes here. Items discussed included: the election of the Chairman and Vice-chairman; the need for a new councillor; Orchard green; financial matters; planning applications; the new recreation ground; HGV signs on Stag Hill; weight restrictions on Soley Lane; speeding; the village website; and the asset register.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 21 May and you can download the minutes here. Matters discussed included: formal year-end business; HGVs in the village; planning matters; clearing the Winterbourne; financial matters; there visit of the Parish Steward; and councillor responsibilities.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 6 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: formal year-end business; planning applications; footpaths; the Bowling Club; financial matters; the handrail at the churchyard steps; the newsletter; members’ bids; the village’s defibrillators; and a request for an apology.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council (and the annual parish meeting) took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 21 April and you can read the minutes here.

• The May 2021 Froxfield Parish Council Newsletter has recently been published and you can read it here. If you would like to receive these, please email froxfieldPCnews@mail.com.

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

Thursday 3 June 2021

• The latest edition of Penny Post Hungerford was published on 1 June and what a bumper issue it proved to be. You can click here to read it if you didn’t receive it. It has the latest news from the Town Council, the Town and Manor, the retailers, the leisure centres and local groups including CHAIN and HEAT. There’s also a video about the lockdown wood’s opening ceremony, the latest diary entry from Richard Hawthorne from John O’Gaunt School, the book of the month and no fewer than 11 wines to choose from. There’s information about grants, train services, Hungerford in Bloom, the Summer Festival, July’s EV show and Kennet Radio’s imminent coverage of the town. There are water-saving tips, a guide to the night sky, help with keeping active, a short story about Jeeves and Wooster’s visit to West Berkshire, property, jobs and some wise words from Ernest Hemingway. There’s even a photo of two swans and one, two, three, four – five cygnets. Everything, in short, you’d expect from such a newsletter. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk by the end of June if there’s anything you’d like to see included in the July edition.

• In place of the usual Freedom of the Town Award, Hungerford Town Council is looking for nominations for “those local residents who have gone out of their way to help the community of Hungerford since the start of the pandemic.” More information can be found here. Nominations need to be in by the end of June.

• Thames Water (TW) has found a mains leak under the M4 which is affecting the water supply to Hungerford Newtown and a repair plan is being put in place. TW write to residents on 4 June and has assured Laura Farris MP there will be two tankers on site 24/7 and all priority and vulnerable customers will have their supply of bottled water topped up. See this page on TW’s site: if you feel you need to take the matter further, contact laura.farris.mp@parliament.uk or 01635 551070.

A TW spokesperson told Penny Post on 7 June that the repair “is likely to be a complex job because the pipe is buried deep below the ground which makes it difficult to access. We’re currently assessing the best way to fix it. In the meantime we’ve shut off the pipe and are using tankers to pump water into the network to keep customers in supply.” A local resident confirmed this: “we had very low pressure for a day or so early last week but, since the tankers have been pumping water in it’s been more or less normal apart from some brief pauses when they’re changing from one tanker to the next.”

• Covid lateral flow tests, previously available in the Hungerford Rugby Club, are now operating from a mobile unit in the car park next to the Hungerford Library and Hub. More details here.

• The Great British Spring Clean takes place between 28 May and 13 June and many events will be organised by local councils. Click on the relevant link below to see how you can get involved with what’s happening in your town or village.

• This year’s funding applications are now open from the Hungerford and Camburn Educational Trust (deadline 18 June).

• Breaking news on the trans-border cows which escaped from Hungerford and decided to emigrate to Wiltshire a couple of weeks back (see below). The Chair of Froxfield Parish Council told Penny Post on 2 June that “the cows are now calming down well and should be able to be moved soon. Thankfully people are observing the common sense advice to stay out of the woods with their dogs and to stick to the public’s footpaths which is helping keep the cows from being further spooked.” On 3 June, it seems that all but a handful of the “Cake Wood cows” had been rounded up. I mean, “all but one or two”. You can’t have “a handful of cows”, can you? At least, I can’t.

• And still in Froxfield, the PC has announced that the boardwalk has been completed (see last week’s entry below).

• And we’re still in Froxfield. Wiltshire Country Council employs Parish Stewards (which West Berkshire Council doesn’t, though it might think about doing so) to deal with local problems such as clearing blocked gullies, cutting back branches and hedges overhanging footpaths, clearing storm debris, treating and cutting weeds, cleaning and straightening small road signs, removing ragwort and pushing overgrown vegetation back from footways and carriage ways, abandoned vehicles, fly tipping, dog mess and graffiti. In Froxfield (and perhaps also in Wiltshire’s 250-odd other parishes) these people turn up about once a month. The next dates in Froxfield are 1 July, 29 July and 26 August. If you see any jobs that require his attention, you can report them to clerk@froxfield.org (two weeks prior to visit date please) or online.

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

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 18 May and you can read the minutes here. Items discussed included: the election of the Chairman and Vice-chairman; the need for a new councillor; Orchard green; financial matters; planning applications; the new recreation ground; HGV signs on Stag Hill; weight restrictions on Soley Lane; speeding; the village website; and the asset register.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council (and the annual parish meeting) took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered in the PC meeting included: the re-election of the Chairman and Vice-chairman of the PC and its planning committee; the Lower Green triangle; a grantor the Cricket Club; the PC’s notice board; one planning matter; rights of way; and financial matters.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 1 April and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 21 April and you can read the minutes here.

• The May 2021 Froxfield Parish Council Newsletter has recently been published and you can read it here. If you would like to receive these, please email froxfieldPCnews@mail.com.

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

Thursday 27 May 2021

• The June edition of Penny Post Hungerford will be published on 1 June. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk if there’s anything you’d like to see included in this.

• Due the problems of combining social-distancing regulations with the demand that councils revert to face-to-face meetings, there’ll be no meeting of Hungerford Town Council in June. The next one will be on 5 July.

• In place of the usual Freedom of the Town Award, Hungerford Town Council is looking for nominations for “those local residents who have gone out of their way to help the community of Hungerford since the start of the pandemic.” More information can be found here. Nominations need to be in by the end of June.

• Covid lateral flow tests, previously available in the Hungerford Rugby Club, are now operating from a mobile unit in the car park next to the Hungerford Library and Hub. More details here.

• Hungerford Town Council has recently issued a statement about West Berkshire Council’s decision to insist that Bewley Homes build socially-rented houses as part of the Lancaster Park development, something the developer had been seeking to have set aside.

• As mentioned last week, Bewley has extended its sponsorship of Hungerford Town FC for a further year (to the end of the 2022-23 season). You can read more about this on Bewley’s website here.

• Click here for the latest with Hungerford’s neighbourhood development plan (Hungerford 2036).

• The Great British Spring Clean takes place between 28 May and 13 June and many events will be organised by local councils. Click on the relevant link below to see how you can get involved with what’s happening in your town or village.

• If you fancy indoor cycling, aqufit classes, circuit training, yoga, pilates and things known as body attack and body pump (which are probably not as alarming as they appear) then these are now back on the menu at the Hungerford Leisure Centreclick here for details. The Centre has also just sent out a brief online survey which you can complete here.

• This year’s funding applications are now open from the Hungerford and Camburn Educational Trust (deadline 18 June).

• I mentioned last week (see below) about 18 cows which escaped through the fencing on Hungerford Marsh and have crossed the state line to Cake Wood. There they split into three groups and are concealed in the woodland. The herdsman and staff from Ramsbury Estate know where they are: the cows, who are young and excitable and would never have had an adventure like this before, need to left on their own to calm down before they can be led back to the Marsh. Froxfield PC told Penny Post that some people are indulging in a bit of cow hunting, sometimes with their dogs. This spooks the cows (as it would me) and sets the whole process back: it can also result in their getting onto the roads. Please do not leave public rights of way to go cow hunting. It’s hoped that they will be back on the Marsh within the next week or so.

• And still in Froxfield, the PC has announced that the boardwalk has been completed.  This creates a nature reserve out of the overgrown waste land water meadow and has taken about five years to bring to fruition, working with the Action for the River Kennet. “Martin Gibson (ARK Treasurer and Axford farmer) and his team led the build,” Froxfield PC Chair Vanya Body told Penny Post, “supported by a group of dedicated locals braving the foul weather to attach 700-odd planks to the boardwalk framework. It is about 100m long and snakes through the area, past the new ponds which have been dug. There is also a viewing and dipping platform. The idea is to work with ARK and other conservation groups to enhance the flora and fauna in the area and create a more dynamic and educational environmental asset to the local community. The nature reserve now spans the acre or so of land between the chalk stream and A4.  It also takes in a newly-planted wildlife-friendly hedge.”

• On a similar theme, click here for details of the Sparking Streams project which be benefitting locations and rives in the Hungerford and Shalbourne areas over the coming months.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council (and the annual parish meeting) took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here. Items covered in the PC meeting included: the re-election of the Chairman and Vice-chairman of the PC and its planning committee; the Lower Green triangle; a grantor the Cricket Club; the PC’s notice board; one planning matter; rights of way; and financial matters.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 1 April and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 8 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The May 2021 Froxfield Parish Council Newsletter has recently been published and you can read it here. If you would like to receive these, please email froxfieldPCnews@mail.com.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 9 March and you can read the minutes here.

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

Thursday 20 May 2021

• The May edition of Penny Post Hungerford e-newsletter was published earlier this month. Click here to read it if you didn’t get it. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk if there’s anything you’d like to see included in Penny Post Hungerford in the future. The next one will be published on 1 June.

• Covid lateral flow tests, previously available in the Hungerford Rugby Club, are now operating from a mobile unit in the car park next to the Hungerford Library and Hub. More details here.

• The timetables for the West Berkshire Council’s mobile community collect service for lateral-flow tests is changing from Monday 24 May – details can be found here.

Click here for information the Bedwyn Train Passengers Group about changes to rail services between Bedwyn and Newbury as a result of cracks having been discovered in the IET trains.

• As mentioned last week, West Berkshire Council recently turned down Bewley Homes’ revised application which would have removed the need for the 100-home development at Lancaster Park to have contained any social rented homes. The Town Council has recently issued a statement on the matter. Bewley Homes has six months in which to appeal this decision. Penny Post contacted Bewley on 20 May to ask if it had yet decided whether it would but a spokesperson said that the company had no comment on the matter.

• Meanwhile, Bewley has extended its sponsorship of Hungerford Town FC for a further year (to the end of the 2022-23 season). You can read more about this on Bewley’s website here.

• Also as mentioned before, the matter of the names of the new streets in the development seems to have been sorted out: see this statement from the Town Council.

• Click here for an update of the state of play with Hungerford neighbourhood development plan (Hungerford 2036).

• Apart from walking up and down a flight of stairs about 30 times a day, virtually the only form of exercise I take is swimming so I was delighted when the Hungerford Leisure Centre re-opened last month. The Centre has just sent out a brief online survey which you can complete here.

• This year’s funding applications are now open from the Hungerford and Camburn Educational Trust (deadline 18 June).

• News from Froxfield Parish Council about 18 cows which, in what given the number seems like a carefully orchestrated break out, escaped through the fencing on Hungerford marsh and have crossed the state line to Cake Wood. There they split into three groups – another classic sign of pre-meditation – and are concealed in the woodland. The herdsman and staff from Ramsbury Estate know exactly where they are at various places between Hungerford at Ramsbury. The stand-off continues at the time of writing. You’re advised not to go looking for them, approach them or to do anything that might spook them. They’re young and excitable and will need to be monitored for a few days while they calm down before they can be led back to the Marsh.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council (and the annual parish meeting) took place on 4 May and you can read the minutes here. items covered in the PC meeting included: the re-election of the Chairman and Vice-chairman of the PC and its planning committee; the Lower Green triangle; a grantor the Cricket Club; the PC’s notice board; one planning matter; rights of way; and financial matters.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 1 April and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 8 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The May 2021 Froxfield Parish Council Newsletter has recently been published and you can read it here. If you would like to receive these, please email froxfieldPCnews@mail.com.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 9 March and you can read the minutes here.

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

Thursday 13 May 2021

• The May edition of Penny Post Hungerford e-newsletter was published last week. Click here to read it if you didn’t get it. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk if there’s anything you’d like to see included in Penny Post Hungerford in the future. The next one will be published on 1 June.

• Covid lateral flow tests, previously available in the Hungerford Rugby Club, are now operating from a mobile unit in the car park next to the Hungerford Library and Hub. More details here.

• Back in June 2020, Hungerford and Kintbury’s three ward members decided that a revised planning application by Bewley Homes should be called in (meaning that it would be looked an in committee, rather than just by officers). This application requested that West Berkshire Council set aside the requirement (specified in the final planning permission) that Bewley provide 28 social-rent houses at its 100-home development to the south of the town, since named Lancaster Park (more on that aspect below). Opposition to the proposal was widespread and vehement. What followed was 11 months of discussion, meetings, emails, reports and then more of the same in which the developers sought to convince West Berkshire Council that this condition, which had seemed acceptable when the permission was granted, now suddenly made the project non-viable. On 12 May, WBC’s officers decided to turn this application down. Bewley has six months in which to appeal.

If Bewley decides not to do so – which would be a far higher-risk and higher-cost strategy than was the revised application – or if does and loses, there are a number of victories in this. Most importantly, it’s victory for 28 families from the district (not necessarily Hungerford) who badly need such homes: as The Guardian pointed out in December 2020, recent construction levels have been well below what’s required. It’s a victory for Hungerford, in being able to insist that it has some say in what’s built in the town. (The Town Council and three ward members deserve particular credit, as do all the people who kept the issue alive.) It’s a victory for West Berkshire Council’s planning experts who looked carefully at all the representations and made their decision based on the Council’s policy. Finally, it’s a victory for the power of legal agreements willingly entered into. It’s not, of course, a victory for Bewley or its partner Wates; but it’s hard to see how either will lose money on the deal. Property prices in places like Hungerford have risen sharply in the last 12 months and the majority of the homes will still be for sale for between £565,000 and £760,000. Hopefully they’ll see this as a win-win-win-win-sort-of-win situation, sell up and move on.

Hungerford Mayor Helen Simpson professed herself “delighted” by WBC’s verdict. “It took a long time,” she added, “but the officers made the right decision in the end. These socially-rented homes are badly needed and Bewley and Wates did, after all, agree to provide them.” The Town Council has recently issued a statement on the matter. How much of this local scrutiny will still be in place if the government’s Planning Bill as currently envisaged becomes law is another matter.

• Moving on from the tenure of the homes, another problem has also been sorted out this week. This concerns the names of the new streets in the development. In past times, the situation with this was very simple: new streets were named after the (usually male) councillors, their wives or their mistresses. Other, more inclusive and sensitive methods are now employed. The names, which celebrate people and places from Hungerford’s past, have now been agreed: see this statement from the Town Council.

• Two letters in this week’s NWN refer to Hungerford Town Council’s never-ending battle with the town’s pigeons and a recent suggestion that be be relocated. One letter refers to the efforts made by the Provencal town of La Napoule to lure the birds to an out-of-town pigeon ghetto; another points out the health hazards after the writer’s daughter was hospitalised for five months after picking up an infection from them. As a born and bred Londoner, I regard these animals as being on a par with rats and fleas. Our cats take a similar view.

• A reminder that a joint venture between Hungerford Town Council and West Berkshire Council has led to five new recycling bins for recycling metal cans and plastic drink bottles being installed at Canal Walk, Bulpit Lane Play Park, One Stop Shop in Fairview Road, WH Smiths and outside the Town Hall. (These are in addition to the plastic recycling container recently installed by West Berkshire Council in the Station Road car park). If you have any views on this, including whether this is something you would like to see more of in the town, please contact HTC at admin@hungerford-tc.gov.uk or 01488 686195.
• See here for details of the Covid lateral flow tests that are now available in Hungerford (note that this will now take place in the Hub, not at the Rugby Club).

• Click here for an update of the state of play with Hungerford neighbourhood development plan (Hungerford 2036).

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 1 April and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 8 March and you can read the minutes here.

Froxfield PC will host its annual parish meeting and its annual PC meeting, one after the other starting at 7pm on Monday 17 May. Click here to see the agendas. Items for discussion include the problem of parking along the Green; next steps towards road calming; planning issues around the siting of the new electricity transformer to the north of the village; the Best Kept Village competition; and the need for a new councillor. There will be some Covid-safety restrictions and numbers attending must be capped due to social-distancing rules.  If you wish to attend, please contact the Clerk, Esther Cope, on clerk@froxfield.org so you name can be placed on the attendees list.  Information about these necessary precautions is also on the website.

• The May 2021 Froxfield Parish Council Newsletter has recently been published and you can read it here. If you would like to receive these, please email froxfieldPCnews@mail.com.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 9 March and you can read the minutes here.

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

Thursday 6 May 2021

• The May edition of Penny Post Hungerford e-newsletter was published earlier this week. Click here to read it if you didn’t get it. As well as the usual updates from the Town Council (HTC), the Town and Manor and the local retailers, we have news of the re-launch of the Rose of Hungerford, lateral flow tests (see also below), local bluebell woods, the local schools, the Smarten Up team, the Theatre Company, The Tennis Club and HEAT. There’s a sponsorship opportunity at the Cricket Club, the latest diary instalment from Richard Hawthorne of John O’Gaunt School, an elegant and rounded rosé and a book that shows how gardening can boost mental health. There’s also news of the 2021 Hungerford in Bloom, this weekend’s Food and Artisan Market (see below), a look up at the stars, a look back at the National, advice about buying royal memorabilia and an election-time short story.  Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk if there’s anything you’d like to see included in Penny Post Hungerford in the future. The next one will be published on 1 June.

• As mentioned above, the next Hungerford Food and Artisan Market will take place this Sunday 9 May from 10am to 1pm in the Croft Field. More details here.

• Covid lateral flow tests, previously available in the Hungerford Rugby Club, are now operating from a mobile unit in the car park next to the Hungerford Library and Hub. More details here.

• As mentioned above, the next Penny Post Hungerford e-newsletter will be published on 1 June. This will not include a summary of that month’s full council meeting as HTC has to decided to cancel it. When in its wisdom the government decided to insist that all council meetings must be held in person, rather than online, or as councils decided,, from 7 May, it didn’t seem to take into account that social-distancing measures will still be required until at least 21 June. Many parishes were thus faced with the choice between holding meetings virtually after 7 May (and breaking the law) or doing so in buildings that were often too small or unsuitable (and breaking the law). It’s true that Hungerford’s Corn Exchange is large enough to hold a meeting legally (if not always audibly) but it was pointed out at the recent HTC meeting that the work in getting this usable before 21 June would be irksome for the staff, all of whom are busy enough as it is. After a discussion which looked at almost every permutation of dates for June and July’s meeting, it was decided to do away with June’s altogether. The next one will be on Monday 5 July. HTC’s work on the matter is not yet done: for another extraordinary council meeting is also required on 6 May to discuss how arrangements can be made to host in-person meetings safely until the Covid threat has receded and what extra use might be made of the Council’s delegated powers to make decisions.

The cancellation of June’s meeting does not create a massive democratic deficit as many councils (particularly small ones, or larger ones that delegate many matters to committees, of which Hungerford has several) don’t meet every month normally. However, it’s not ideal to have these decisions thrust upon them all for the sheer want of any trust by Whitehall that they can arrange these matters for themselves.

• I mentioned last week that HTC had been asked by BT if it wants to adopt the phone box on the High Street. Although the asking price is only £1, HTC would then assume responsibility for it which might include needing to move it if, as some claim, its obstruction of the line of sight to the zebra causes an accident. It’s already been established that moving it would cost a four-figure sum. The question of visibility in that part of the High Street also came up at the above-mentioned meeting after HTC’s Highways and Transport committee had earlier unanimously agreed to as West Berkshire Council (WBC) to convert the parking bays just up from the zebra to pavement: this is effectively what’s been the case for the last year as these the parking bays have been cordoned off to encourage social distancing on the pavement. After some discussion following objections to this plan by a member of the public, it was agreed to proceed with the request to WBC. Whether WBC will agree to do something that will cost money, potentially reduce its revenue and embroil it in a local controversy is another matter.

• A joint venture between Hungerford Town Council and West Berkshire Council has led to five new recycling bins for recycling metal cans and plastic drink bottles being installed at Canal Walk, Bulpit Lane Play Park, One Stop Shop in Fairview Road, WH Smiths and outside the Town Hall. (These are in addition to the plastic recycling container recently installed by West Berkshire Council in the Station Road car park). If you have any views on this, including whether this is something you would like to see more of in the town, lease contact HTC at admin@hungerford-tc.gov.uk or 01488 686195.
• See here for details of the Covid lateral flow tests that are now available in Hungerford (note that this will now take place in the Hub, not at the Rugby Club).

• Click here for an update of the state of play with Hungerford neighbourhood development plan (Hungerford 2036).

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 1 April and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: dog fouling; the co-option of a new councillor; two planning applications; financial matters; the settlement boundary review; the handrail at the churchyard steps (which seems to be a fairly regular item on the agendas); and the annual parish newsletter.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 8 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The May 2021 Froxfield Parish Council Newsletter has recently been published and you can read it here. If you would like to receive these, please email froxfieldPCnews@mail.com. This issues covers the need for a new parish councillor; the appointment of Esther Cope as the new Parish Clerk, taking over from Sarah Whatley; work to begin on 10 May on the traffic-calming measures on the eastern approach of the A4; Froxfield’s entry in the CPRE’s 2021 Best0kept Village competition; the Wiltshire Parish Steward; and a reminder about the What 3Words system for referencing a location down to a few square metres. (I’ve just looked mine up and where I’m sitting now is “delighted waiters handbags”, which I rather like: makes me feel like the answer to a particularly ingenious crossword clue.)

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 9 March and you can read the minutes here.

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

Thursday 29 April 2021

• The next meeting of Hungerford Town Council will take place virtually at 7pm on Tuesday 4 May and you can view the agenda here (including the Zoom link).

• The April edition of Penny Post Hungerford e-newsletter was published earlier this month. Click here to read it if you didn’t get it. The May issue will be published on Wednesday 5 May and will, as ever, include a report on the previous evening’s meeting (see paragraph above). Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk if there’s anything you’d like to see included in Penny Post Hungerford.

• This week’s NWN reports on an issue that’s come up before and has been considered by Hungerford Town Council: whether or not to adopt the red phone box in the High Street, BT being prepared to let this and mayn others in the country go for £1. The problem is what would then happen to it. To demolish it is impossible, as its lists. To move it would cost several thousands of pounds. To leave it where it is is seen by some as dangerous as it blocks the sight-line to the zebra crossing. Then there’s the question of what it would be used for. A defibrillator? A book exchange? A tourist information point? A fish tank? Given the safety concerns, perhaps the most useful thing would be to pack it full of first-aid equipment so that if there were an accident on the zebra crossing (possibly caused by the phone box blocking the view) it could then help remedy the situation. Whether it was wise to put a zebra in this exact spot is a question that’s too late to ask now.

• A joint venture between Hungerford Town Council and West Berkshire Council has led to five new recycling bins for recycling metal cans and plastic drink bottles being installed at Canal Walk, Bulpit Lane Play Park, One Stop Shop in Fairview Road, WH Smiths and outside the Town Hall. (These are in addition to the plastic recycling container recently installed by West Berkshire Council in the Station Road car park). If you have any views on this, including whether this is something you would like to see more of in the town, lease contact HTC at admin@hungerford-tc.gov.uk or 01488 686195.
• See here for details of the Covid lateral flow tests that are now available in Hungerford (note that this will now take place in the Hub, not at the Rugby Club).

• The next Food and Artisan Market in Hungerford will be on Sunday 9 May. Click here for more information.

• Click here for an update of the state of play with Hungerford neighbourhood development plan (Hungerford 2036).

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for took place on 1 April and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: dog fouling; thew co-option of a new councillor; two planning applications; financial matters; the settlement boundary review; the handrail at the churchyard steps (which seems to be a fairly regular item on the agendas); and the annual parish newsletter.

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 8 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The May 2021 Froxfield Parish Council Newsletter has recently been published: if you would like to receive these, please email froxfieldPCnews@mail.com. This issues covers the need for a new parish councillor; the appointment of Esther Cop as thew new Prish Clerk, taking over from Sarah Whatley; work to begin on 10 May on the traffic-calming measures on the eastern approach of the A4; Froxfield’s entry in the CPRE’s 2021 Best0kept Village competition; the Wiltshire Parish Steward; and a reminder about the What 3Words system for referencing a location down to a few square metres. (I’ve just looked mine up and where I’m sitting now is “delighted waiters handbags”, which I rather like: makes me feel like the answer to a particularly ingenious crossword clue.)

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 9 March and you can read the minutes here.

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

Thursday 22 April 2021

• See here for details of the Covid lateral flow tests that are now available in Hungerford.

A joint venture between Hungerford Town Council and West Berkshire Council has led to five new recycling bins for recycling metal cans and plastic drink bottles being installed at Canal Walk, Bulpit Lane Play Park, One Stop Shop in Fairview Road, WH Smiths and outside the Town Hall. (These are in addition to the plastic recycling container recently installed by West Berkshire Council in the Station Road car park). Mayor of Hungerford Helen Simpson, said that  “The placing of these bins is a start in the council’s commitment to helping create best environmental practice and reducing the council’s and the town’s carbon footprint. Depending on the success of this initiative, we hope to implement further recycling facilities in the town.” West Berkshire Council’s Executive Member for the Environment, Councillor Steve Ardagh-Walter said “WBC was pleased to work with Hungerford on this initiative. I commend Hungerford Town Council for its commitment to providing their residents with more opportunities to recycle.” If you have any views on this, including whether this is something you would like to see more of in the town, please contact HTC at admin@hungerford-tc.gov.uk or 01488 686195.

• The April edition of Penny Post Hungerford was published earlier this month. Click here to read it if you didn’t get it.

• See p12 if this week’s NWN for a report on the excellent Food and Artisan Market in Hungerford last Sunday. The next one will be on Sunday 9 May. Click here for more information.

• On 13 April I was delighted to have been invited to the Hocktide Court and Court Leet of the Hungerford Town and Manor. Click here for an article I wrote about it which puts the occasion in its historical context.

• Click here for an update of the state of play with Hungerford neighbourhood development plan (Hungerford 2036).

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 25 January and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 8 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 9 March and you can read the minutes here.

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

Thursday 15 April 2021

• See here for details of the Covid lateral flow tests that are now available in Hungerford.

• The April edition of Penny Post Hungerford was published last week. Click here to read it if you didn’t get it. As usual, it provides the best and most comprehensive round up of what’s going on in the town.

• On 13 April I was delighted to have been invited to the Hocktide Court and Court Leet of the Hungerford Town and Manor. The event is not easy to describe in a word – click here for an article I wrote about it which puts the occasion in its historical context.

• Click here for an update of the state of play with Hungerford neighbourhood development plan (Hungerford 2036).

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 25 January and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 8 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 9 March and you can read the minutes here.

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

Thursday 8 April 2021

• See here for details of the Covid lateral flow tests that are now available in Hungerford.

• This being the start of the month, Penny Post Hungerford has once again arrived to give you the best and most comprehensive round-up of life in the town. Click here to read it if you didn’t get it. As usual, we have the news from the Town Council, the Town and Manor and the local retailers. We have the latest diary from the Head of JoG, an summary from the Head of the Nursery School and an appeal for volunteers from Smarten Up Hungerford. We’ve got news about the various re-openings and advice about making travel plans. We’ve got special offers, a fragrant red wine, a weather-decoding book, a prize winner, a look back at Cheltenham, a spot of star-gazing and a short story. We’ve got property, jobs, events, advice on keeping active and, to round it off, some wise words from Katherine Hepburn. In short, just the range and depth you’ve come to expect.

• Geordie Taylor of the Hungerford Self-isolation Network hasprovided a brief summary of the excellent work which the group has done over the last 12 months and also confirmed that the money left over from the various donations he’s received will be being split between a number of local charities and community groups. Click here to read the full text.

• It’s to be hoped that some definite news on the proposal by Bewley Homes to set aside the condition that the Lancaster Park development contain 28 social-rent homes will be announced by the end of year (which will be nearly a year on from the revised application).

• Click here for an update of the state of play with Hungerford neighbourhood development plan (Hungerford 2036).

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 March and you can download the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 25 January and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 8 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 9 March and you can read the minutes here.

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

Thursday 1 April 2021

• See here for details of the Covid lateral flow tests that are now available in Hungerford.

• Geordie Taylor of the Hungerford Self-isolation Network hasprovided a brief summary of the excellent work which the group has done over the last 12 months and also confirmed that the money left over from the various donations he’s received will be being split between a number of local charities and community groups. Click here to read the full text.

• This month’s meeting of Hungerford Town Council will be not on a Monday but a Tuesday (6 April), due to Easter and you can see the agenda here. (Note that Laura Farris will not now be able to attend but hopes to be able to do so at a future meeting.) As ever, a report on this will appear in the April Penny Post Hungerford the following day.

• One of the items that may be covered at that is the proposal to widen the pavement on the east side of the High Street. This was discussed at the recent meeting of the Highways and Transport Committee, the minutes of which you can read here.

• The recurring matter of the town’s troublesome pigeon population was also discussed at there above meeting.

• One of the items that will doubtless be asked – though possibly not answered – is where we are with the proposal by Bewley Homes to set aside the condition that the Lancaster Park development contain 28 social-rent homes. The matter has been called in by one of the ward members so if there is no successful conclusion to the seemingly interminable discussions between Bewley and West Berkshire Council, the matter will be discussed in committee at some point in the future.

• Click here for an update of the state of play with Hungerford neighbourhood development plan (Hungerford 2036).

• The most recent meeting of Shalbourne Parish Council took place on 18 March and you can download the minutes here. Items covered included: new playground equipment; tidying the small green in Oxenwood; various planning applications; the Shalbourne Club; the hope that events such as the Classic Car Show can result in 2021; dog fouling; and the need to establish the ownership of land on the southern side of the Bourne to proceed with Action for the River Kennet’s plan to clear the bourn and the footpaths.

• The most recent meeting of Inkpen Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 25 January and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Kintbury Parish Council took place on 4 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: a vacancy for a councillor to be filled by co-option; dog fouling; several planning applications; a possible grant to Citizens Advice West Berkshire; financial matters; the handrail at the churchyard steps; and the Coronation Hall.

• The most recent meeting of Froxfield Parish Council took place on 8 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the Water meadow Boardwalk; the emergency plan; the problems caused by parking on the Green; and financial matters.

The Froxfield Community Speedwatch Group has finally been given the green light to start operating from three locations in the village from 29 March. If you would like to join the group and help tackle the speeding issues, contact Sarah Whatley on Froxfieldclerk@yahoo.com.

• The most recent meeting of Chilton Foliat Parish Council took place on 9 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: financial matters; the asset register; four planning applications; the Recreation Ground; blocked gullies; speeding issues; weight restrictions on Soley Lane; flooding at Orchard Green allegedly caused by “work arranged by BT”; Playground inspection; and tree planting.

• Click here for the March edition of the Inkpen and Coombe Bulletin. If you want to subscribe or contribute, contact gloriakeene@hotmail.com.

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