Thursday 22 July 2021

• The July Valley of the Racehorse newsletter was published last weekend, providing the best round-up of life between Membury and Shefford Woodlands and between Upper Lambourn and East Shefford. You can click here to read it if you didn’t receive it.

• The Health on the Move bus will be visiting Lambourn’s Market Square from 11am to 4pm on 4 and 5 August to provide Covid jabs for anyone over 18. They’ll be administering Pfizer vaccinations (first or second doses – if you’re going for your second your first must have been a Pfizer jab and administered at least eight weeks before). These will be drop-in sessions so there’s no need to book. Up-to-date information can also be found here.

• Plans are progressing for this year’s Lambourn Carnival. See here for a heads up on the fun activities and events you can look forward to this summer.

Click here for details of all pending planning applications in the parish of Lambourn.

Click here for information about the recently formed Lambourn Environmental Group.

Click here for the July Lambourn ward report from District Councillor Howard Woollaston.

• This year’s Garstonbury festival was given an eleventh-hour go-ahead which gave organiser Freddie Tulloch just enough time to cook up some proper summer sunshine. Around 2,000 people attended and were entertained by Queen, ABBA, The Spice Girls, Michael Jackson and Tom Jones (or, where the original artists were unavailable, tribute bands) as well as a number of more local acts. “This was a particularly nerve-wracking event to organise,” Freddie told Penny Post, “as it wasn’t certain until a couple of weeks before that it could even go ahead. We’d like to thank all the people who kept the faith and helped make this such an excellent day. See you again in 2023!”

• An item I missed wast week was local MP Laura Farris’ pledge to ensure that the flooding problems at Trindledown National Animal Welfare Trust should be “sorted.” That’s great news for them, of course: but I’m sure Ms Farris is aware that a flooding risk of far greater severity exists a couple of miles to the south in Great Shefford. As mentioned several times, most recently last week (see below), matters have been stuck for about three years. The Great Shefford Flood Alleviation Association (GSFAA) has raised £80,000 towards the cost of the scheme but the Environment Agency has so far been unable to come up with any schedule for the work, or to agree that the GSFAA take this on on its behalf (which, it’s claimed, it can do far more cheaply and quickly than can the EA). I understand that a few months ago she agreed to help set up a meeting between the GSFAA, WBC, the EA, Thames Water and herself to try to clear the log jam. This has yet to happen. When it does, perhaps Trindledown’s problems can be considered as part of this. Were that to be solved in isolation, it could make Shefford’s problems even worse.

• Lambourn.org reports that KWA Architects is seeking feedback from the community in relation to the proposed development at Linkslade Stables. Please note that any comments you leave on the site are submitted to KWA Architects and are not part of the planning application or decision process which will follow if an application is made.

• See Lambourn Growers facebook group for info on a seed and plant swap in Bockhampton Road.

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

The Hound of the Baskervilles can be found in East Garston on 10 and 11 August: this is, I should make clear, not advance warning of an escape from a local menagerie but a performance of a play based on the Conan Doyle story which will be performed in the Village Hall car park from 7pm. Tickets cost £12 and can be booked through the Watermill website. I went to see it last month in the Watermill gardens and can confirm that the show is very good, as the Watermill’s shows invariably are.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 5 May (also its annual meeting) and you can read the draft minutes here.

• Still no news about the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) saga (see below) regarding the re-development at the former Malt Shovel in Upper Lambourn. I said last week that there might be something to report this week but all I can say, once again, is that discussions continue on this difficult and emotive issue.

• The most recent meeting of East Garston Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 6 May and the minutes can be downloaded here.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council took place on 24 June and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included two planning applications, governance and financial matters, repairs to the playground equipment, parish communications, litter picking, the flood alleviation scheme (see below), footpaths, and possible tree planting at Hawthorne Way/Blakeney Fields.

• Lest it be thought that community-driven flood alleviation schemes are impossible when faced with such sturdy bureaucracy, click here for a post from February 2020 about the project a few miles upstream in Eastbury which was opened in June 2015 (and has done its job) and which was also party funded by village contributions. It can happen…

• Click here or here for the latest news from Lambourn Surgery.

• 4 Legs Community Radio Station continues broadcasting during the pandemic – click here for more.

Lambourn Valley area council news

Parishes: click here for Lambourn Parish CouncilEast Garston Parish CouncilWelford Parish Council and Great Shefford Parish Council.

West Berkshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Hungerford area; 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 Valley of the Racehorse newsletter was published last weekend, providing the best round-up of life between Membury and Shefford Woodlands ands between Upper Lambourn and East Shefford. You can click here to read it if you didn’t receive it. items covered include the wildflowers in Great Shefford, the plans for Lambourn’s Carnival, Pat Murphy’s racing column news from Shefford Pre-school and the Friends of Lambourn Library, East Garston’s Save our Bells lottery and the latest update from Lambourn ward member Howard Woollaston. There’s also the wine of the month, the book of the month, local jobs, classes and courses, local walks, news from local societies and associations, gardening tips, offered and wanted, jobs and property. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk by the end of the month if there’s anything you’d like to see included in the August edition.

Click here for information about the recently formed Lambourn Environmental Group.

• Plans are progressing for this year’s Lambourn Carnival. See here for a heads up on the fun activities and events you can look forward to this summer.

Click here for details of all pending planning applications in the parish of Lambourn.

• This year’s Garstonbury festival has been given the go-ahead by WBC’s Public Protection Partnership. If you haven’t booked tickets then you’re too late: if you have then the organisers will be in touch very soon to confirm how the arrangements will differ in the light of Mr Covid. The weather forecast looks pretty good to me…

• Lambourn.org reports that KWA Architects is seeking feedback from the community in relation to the proposed development at Linkslade Stables. Please note that any comments you leave on the site are submitted to KWA Architects and are not part of the planning application or decision process which will follow if an application is made.

• Welcome Break is finally cleaning up its act at Membury, probably due to pressure put on them by motorway service station litter campaigner Kevin Doherty who Penny recently interviewed on 4LEGS Radio Listen here (from 11′ 10″).

• See Lambourn Growers facebook group for info on a seed and plant swap in Bockhampton Road.

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

The Hound of the Baskervilles will be spending two days in East Garston on 10 and 11 August: this is, I should make clear, a performance of a play based on the Conan Doyle story which will be performed in the Village Hall car park from 7pm. Tickets cost £12 and can be booked through the Watermill website. I went to see it last month in the Watermill gardens and can confirm that the show is very good, as the Watermill’s shows invariably are. If you haven’t read the book or haven’t done so for a long time, I think that your enjoyment will be all the greater for having the story in your mind. (The book is very good as well.)

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 5 May (also its annual meeting) and you can read the draft minutes here.

• Still no news about the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) saga (see below) regarding the re-development at the former Malt Shovel in Upper Lambourn. I’m hopeful there might be something to report next week.

• The most recent meeting of East Garston Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 6 May and the minutes can be downloaded here.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council took place on 24 June and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included two planning applications, governance and financial matters, repairs to the playground equipment, parish communications, litter picking, the flood alleviation scheme (see below), footpaths, and possible tree planting at Hawthorne Way/Blakeney Fields.

• The flood alleviation scheme in the village has stalled but this is in no way due to inaction or indifference by the Great Shefford Flood Alleviation Association or the PC. The ball is in the Environment Agency’s (EA) court and it has two possible shots to play: start the work itself, armed with the £80,000 that the parish has provided as part of its agreed contribution; or permit the GSFAA to conduct the work, which it claims it can do more cheaply. the GSFAA is trying, as the PC minutes report, to arrange a meeting with the interested parties (including Laura Farris MP and West Berkshire Council as well as the EA) to resolve matters but this has not yet been possible to organise. The scheme, and any money donated towards it, is not dead, but merely stuck in a process-driven system over which the GSFAA and the PC have virtually no control.

• Lest it be thought that community-driven flood alleviation schemes are impossible when faced with such sturdy bureaucracy, click here for a post from February 2020 about the project a few miles upstream in Eastbury which was opened in June 2015 (and has done its job) and which was also party funded by village contributions. It can happen…

• Click here or here for the latest news from Lambourn Surgery.

• 4 Legs Community Radio Station continues broadcasting during the pandemic – click here for more.

Thursday 8 July 2021

Lambourn.org reports that there have been cases of bark being stripped off mature trees in the Lynch wood area of Lambourn. It appears to be a wilful act of vandalism with the result that “there is a high probability that the trees will die.” This seems like a particularly pointless thing to do but I guess if you’re off your face on something or other then it suddenly seems like a very good idea. Actually, of course, it isn’t, as the perpetrators will hopefully have realised the following day. As the trees take a long time to die, it doesn’t even provide the immediate gratification that chopping them down or setting fire to them would provide: not that I’m proposing these as alternatives.

• Britain 28, Ireland, 6 USA 1 – that’s not the number of Oxford-educated leaders each country has had nor their average temperature in April (though either or both of these might be true) but the winners’ table after last month’s Royal Ascot meeting. “Normal service resumed” local trainer Pat Murphy wryly observes in this month’s Downland Racing column: in previous months he’d been celebrating a sustained period of Irish successes.

Click here for information about the recently formed Lambourn Environmental Group.

• Plans are progressing for this year’s Lambourn Carnival. See here for a heads up on the fun activities and events you can look forward to this summer.

• This would seem to be a good moment to look back at some past Lambourn Carnivals: the time machine is ready and waiting for you in this section of the Lambourn.org site.

• The mobile breast cancer screening unit has now left the Lambourn Surgery and it seems that over 25% of those with an invitation did not take up the offer this time. The Surgery will write again to each person who is eligible and did not attend but in the meantime would like to stress the importance of attending any cancer screening you are offered. Louise Murray-Clarke, the Practice Manager, said she was “unsure why the uptake has been so low this time – in 2018, the take-up rate was over 92%. This might be due to uncertainty over Covid-safe procedures but please be assured the breast screening team are working to the same infection control protocols as the rest of the NHS. If you received an invitation and did not attend, you can still book by calling 0118 322 8282 and you will be screened in the West Berks Community Hospital. Breast cancer when diagnosed early has one of the best success rates in terms of treatment, so it really is worthwhile taking up the offer, and could just save your life.” For more information about breast cancer screening, click here.

East Garston’s Bell Appeal for All Saints Church has launched a fund-raising Ball Lottery. The first three winners in June won hundreds of pounds so it’s definitely worth being in it to win it. You can also make donations that will be match funded by Greenham Trust. See here for more details.

• The next meeting of Lambourn Parish Council will take place at 7.30pm on Monday 12 July (postponed from this week as it clashed with the football). This will be in hybrid form with the councillors meeting at the Memorial Hall and others being able to join by Zoom (please email lambournpc@btinternet.com by noon on the day for the Zoom link). Click here to see the agenda. Items up for discussion include five planning applications: 21/01275/HOUSE (The Old Farm, Road Known as Newbury Road, Eastbury); 21/01417/HOUSE (6 Sheep Fair Way, Lambourn); 21/01530/FULMAJ + 21/01531/LBC2 (8 Chapel Lane, Lambourn); 21/01627/House + 21/01628/LBC2 (Hawthorne Cottage, Road Known as High Street, Upper Lambourn); and 21/01540/FUL (Lambourn Church of England Primary School, Edwards Hill, Lambourn). Those of you who attended last month’s hybrid meeting via Zoom and were unable to hear anything should give it another go this time as I’m assured that some better equipment is about to be installed.

Click here for details of all pending planning applications in the parish of Lambourn.

• The East Garston fête will took place on 4 July and was as excellent as always. Well done to all the many people involved in organising it (and for booking the weather which, as so often happens, fortunately bore no resemblance to that forecasted).

• This year’s Garstonbury festival has been given the green light to proceed by WBC’s Public Protection Partnership. If you haven’t booked tickets then you’re too late: if you have then the organisers will be in touch very soon to confirm how the arrangements will differ in the light of Mr Covid.

• Welcome Break is finally cleaning up its act at Membury, probably due to pressure put on them by motorway service station litter campaigner Kevin Doherty who Penny recently interviewed on 4LEGS Radio Listen here (from 11′ 10″).

• See Lambourn Growers facebook group for info on a seed and plant swap in Bockhampton Road.

• Great Shefford Pre-School has places from September for children aged two years and nine months and above.

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

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 5 May (also its annual meeting) and you can read the draft minutes here.

• And we come once more to the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) saga (see below) regarding the re-development at the former Malt Shovel in Upper Lambourn. I mention this again not because there’s any news – the uncertainty still hangs over the applicant – but because the delay in resolving this seems to be turning into an abuse in itself.

• The most recent meeting of East Garston Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 6 May and the minutes can be downloaded here.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 6 May and you can read the draft minutes here.

• On the same day, Great Shefford Parish Council held its annual assembly which included a review of the year from the chairman and updates from various local groups. You can see this in full here.

• Click here or here for the latest news from Lambourn Surgery.

• 4 Legs Community Radio Station continues broadcasting during the pandemic – click here for more.

Thursday 1 July 2021

• Local MP Laura Farris’ Facebook page includes this criticism of Thames Water’s handling of the recent water problems in Woodlands St Mary’s. I wasn’t personally affected by these so am not sure how fair these are. On 7 June, a Thames Water spokesperson confirmed to Penny Post that, in respect of a similar problem in Hungerford Newtown, they were “in touch with affected customers and we’ve also delivered bottled water to the area as a precaution.” However , Laura Farris asserts that a similar problem in Woodlands the following week led to no such reaction until she intervened and which have “laid bare a number of very real concerns about Thames Water’s care of its residents.” If TW’s statement about Hungerford Newtown was true, as I believe it to be, it seems odd that the company should have acted so differently with a similar problem a few miles away and a few days later. Do any local residents have any views on how this was handled?

• Plans are progressing for this year’s Lambourn Carnival. See here for a heads up on the fun activities and events you can look forward to this summer.

• The mobile breast cancer screening unit has now left the Lambourn Surgery and it seems that over 25% of those with an invitation did not take up the offer this time. The Surgery will write again to each person who is eligible and did not attend but in the meantime would like to stress the importance of attending any cancer screening you are offered. Louise Murray-Clarke, the Practice Manager, said she was “unsure why the uptake has been so low this time – in 2018, the take-up rate was over 92%. This might be due to uncertainty over Covid-safe procedures but please be assured the breast screening team are working to the same infection control protocols as the rest of the NHS. If you received an invitation and did not attend, you can still book by calling 0118 322 8282 and you will be screened in the West Berks Community Hospital. Breast cancer when diagnosed early has one of the best success rates in terms of treatment, so it really is worthwhile taking up the offer, and could just save your life.” For more information about breast cancer screening, click here.

East Garston’s Bell Appeal for All Saints Church has launched a fund-raising Ball Lottery. The first three winners in June won hundreds of pounds so it’s definitely worth being in it to win it. You can also make donations that will be match funded by Greenham Trust. See here for more details.

• The next meeting of Lambourn Parish Council will take place at 7.30pm on Wednesday 7 July. This will be in hybrid form with the councillors meeting at the Memorial Hall and others being able to join by Zoom (please email lambournpc@btinternet.com by noon on the day for the Zoom link). Items up for discussion include five planning applications: 21/01275/HOUSE (The Old Farm, Road Known as Newbury Road, Eastbury); 21/01417/HOUSE (6 Sheep Fair Way, Lambourn); 21/01530/FULMAJ + 21/01531/LBC2 (8 Chapel Lane, Lambourn); 21/01627/House + 21/01628/LBC2 (Hawthorne Cottage, Road Known as High Street, Upper Lambourn); and 21/01540/FUL (Lambourn Church of England Primary School, Edwards Hill, Lambourn). Those of you who attended last month’s hybrid meeting via Zoom and were unable to hear anything should give it another go this time as I’m assured that some better equipment is about to be installed.

• The East Garston fête will take place on Sunday 4 July. Click here for more.

• The Lambourn Surgery is running a brief online consultation about how appointments are made. Click here to take part.

• See Lambourn Growers facebook group for info on a seed and plant swap in Bockhampton Road.

• Great Shefford Pre-School has places from September for children aged two years and nine months and above.

• The Great Shefford and Shefford Woodlands Open Gardens helps support and maintain local churches. A wide range of beautiful gardens will be open on the weekend of 3 and 4 July: at the Village Hall, where you will collect your map, there will be jams, jellies, chutneys and plants for sale.

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

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 5 May (also its annual meeting) and you can read the draft minutes here.

• No further news about the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) saga (see below) regarding the re-development at the former Malt Shovel in Upper Lambourn. It now seems that a decision will be taken by WBC by the end of the month (which is what was said last month). As mentioned before, if you feel that you have suffered from what you feel is an unfair CIL demand (which can run into five figures) or if you have had any dealings, good or bad, with West Berkshire Council about the way an exemption from a CIL charge has been handled, please let us know.

• The most recent meeting of East Garston Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 6 May and the minutes can be downloaded here.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 6 May and you can read the draft minutes here.

• On the same day, Great Shefford Parish Council held its annual assembly which included a review of the year from the chairman and updates from various local groups. You can see this in full here.

• Click here or here for the latest news from Lambourn Surgery.

• 4 Legs Community Radio Station continues broadcasting during the pandemic – click here for more.

Thursday 24 June 2021

• If you’re over 18 and yet to be vaccinated, you can take advantage of the “Health on The Move” bus that will be stationed at Oaksey House on Tuesday 29 June. Appointments will be between 10am and 4pm and must be booked in advance. This is for first vaccination doses only and will return on 8 September to offer second doses to all people given their first vaccine next week. The team at Racing Welfare is taking bookings for this service – please only call during office hours 9am to 5pm to book your first appointment on 01488 670034. There are limited spaces and are on a first-come first-served basis. 

• Plans are progressing for this year’s Lambourn Carnival. See here for a heads up on the fun activities and events you can look forward to this summer.

• Martyn Wright from the East Garston Flood Forum is trying to establish just how much foul water has been discharged into the Special Area of Conservation and SSSI-protected River Lambourn recently, and just how foul it is. The issue is twofold: specifically, what kind of discharges are made into the Lambourn at East Garston; and, more generally, whether the permit system operated by the Environment Agency was followed (there’s also the far larger question of the extent to which the conditions for granting these need to be tightened up, but that’s a governmental matter).

On the first of these, Martyn posed some specific questions to Thames Water and earlier this month received a detailed reply (which you can read in full here). One of these was “how the discharge from the East Garston pumping station is treated before it goes into the river?” The answer, which he and I found rather shocking, is none at all; indeed, the water is not even filtered. It seems there is “no requirement to screen the discharge” and so it doesn’t happen. Although the pipe into the river doesn’t seem to discharge solids, this may be because there is a settling tank into which these sink. The water pouring into the river from the pipe by the pumping station is therefore untreated sewage, which might be worth bearing in mind.

The TW spokesperson added that, as a result of this discharge, “a clean-up is required, which I know has been carried out previously.” If gravity is doing its work in the settling tank and all the discharge in liquid, what is there to clean up? What flowed out of the pipe is probably in the Kennet at Newbury within a few hours. If there has been any clean-up in the past, I’ve never heard of it and nor has Martyn. I’m not holding my breath on this (though I certainly would if I fell into the river downstream of the pumping station).

There’s then the question of whether Thames Water’s discharges are being done in accordance with the EA’s permits. At a meeting of the Lambourn Valley Flood Forum in April 2021, an Environment Agency spokesperson said that sewage pumping stations “should only discharge during an emergency and that the EA is aware that Thames Water breached the permit in Spring 2020.” It appears it has done so several times since. (The fact that, as mentioned above, there is “no requirement” to filter the discharge adds weight to the view that the permit was breached as it presumably was designed to allow the pumping away of floodwater in an emergency, in which case the requirement to filter solids wouldn’t apply.) It’s not yet clear what action has been taken, though the question has been asked. However, to repeatedly commit a breach strongly suggests that any punishment is going to be fairly minor, certainly compared with the cost of fixing the problem. The EA also tends to move at a glacial pace so any penalties might take years to be enforced. All this looks like a system which doesn’t work very well.

Residents of East Garston who wish to join the group and receive email updates should contact martynwright345@btinternet.com. You can also keep up to date by clicking here to visit the Flood Forum’s page on the East Garston PC website.

• The mobile breast cancer screening unit has now left the Lambourn Surgery and it seems that over 25% of those with an invitation did not take up the offer this time. The Surgery will write again to each person who is eligible and did not attend but in the meantime would like to stress the importance of attending any cancer screening you are offered. Louise Murray-Clarke, the Practice Manager, said she was “unsure why the uptake has been so low this time – in 2018, the take-up rate was over 92%. This might be due to uncertainty over Covid-safe procedures but please be assured the breast screening team are working to the same infection control protocols as the rest of the NHS. If you received an invitation and did not attend, you can still book by calling 0118 322 8282 and you will be screened in the West Berks Community Hospital. Breast cancer when diagnosed early has one of the best success rates in terms of treatment, so it really is worthwhile taking up the offer, and could just save your life.” For more information about breast cancer screening, click here.

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

• Still in East Garston, it’s recently been confirmed that the village fête on Sunday 4 July will definitely be going ahead after a period of Covid-related uncertainty. Click here for more.

• The Lambourn Surgery is running a brief online consultation about how appointments are made. Click here to take part.

• See Lambourn Growers facebook group for info on a seed and plant swap in Bockhampton Road.

• Great Shefford Pre-School has places from September for children aged two years and nine months and above.

• The Great Shefford and Shefford Woodlands Open Gardens helps support and maintain local churches. A wide range of beautiful gardens will be open on the weekend of 3 and 4 July: at the Village Hall, where you will collect your map, there will be jams, jellies, chutneys and plants for sale. If you would like to open your garden, please contact Linda Forrester 07720 432651.

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

Click here to read the latest report (updated on 5 June) from Lambourn’s ward member Howard Woollaston. This includes his assurance that he is working with local groups and employers to try to mitigate the likely effects of extra traffic movements on the B4000 as a result of the recent decision to grant planning permission to Walkers Logistics at Membury.

• You might also be interested in the most recent newsletter from Lambourn.org which covers a wide range of stories and issues in and around the village.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 5 May (also its annual meeting) and you can read the draft minutes here.

• I haven’t forgotten about Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) saga (see below) regarding the re-development at the former Malt Shovel in Upper Lambourn. It seems that other people may also have fallen foul of West Berkshire Council’s “gotcha” policy on this matter – not my phrase, but a remark made by former WBC Council Leader Gordon Lundie. If you feel that you have suffered from what you feel is an unfair CIL demand (which can run into five figures) or if you have had any dealings, good or bad, with West Berkshire Council about the way an exemption from a CIL charge has been handled, please let us know.

• The most recent meeting of East Garston Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 6 May and the minutes can be downloaded here.

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

• On the same day, Great Shefford Parish Council held its annual assembly which included a review of the year from the chairman and updates from various local groups. You can see this in full here.

• Click here or here for the latest news from Lambourn Surgery.

• 4 Legs Community Radio Station continues broadcasting during the pandemic – click here for more.

Thursday 17 June 2021

• The June issue of the Valley of the Racehorse newsletter can be read here. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk by the end of the month if there’s anything you want to see included in the July edition.

• Plans are progressing for this year’s Lambourn Carnival. See here for a heads up on the fun activities and events you can look forward to this summer.

• Residents of the Valley may want to follow the efforts of Martyn Wright from the East Garston Flood Forum to establish just how much foul water was discharged into the SSI-protected River Lambourn recently, and just how foul it was. See here for there latest on this. Residents of East Garston who with to join the group and receive email updates should contact martynwright345@btinternet.com.

• On which subject, local MPs Laura Farris and Danny Kruger will be hosting a public consultation via Zoom at 2pm Thursday 24 June to hear your views on the pressures and issues our chalk streams are facing.

• And still with water, and pressure, there have been reports of low pressure in some properties in Woodlands St Mary’s. Thames Water is looking into the problem and a spokesperson told Penny Post on 8 June that this “is not related to the ongoing issue in Hungerford Newtown [caused by a leaking pipe under the M4: see the Hungerford Area Weekly News section].” The latest (17 June) news is that the work is still ongoing and was slowed slightly by another burst pipe in the area, though this one has since been fixed. Water is still being delivered into the local system by tankers.

• See Lambourn Growers facebook group for info on a seed and plant swap in Bockhampton Road.

• Great Shefford Pre-School has places from September for children aged two years and 9 months and above.

• The Great Shefford and Shefford Woodlands Open Gardens helps support and maintain local churches. A wide range of beautiful gardens will be open on the weekend of 3 and 4 July: at the Village Hall, where you will collect your map, there will be jams, jellies, chutneys and plants for sale. If you would like to open your garden, please contact Linda Forrester 07720 432651.

• A reminder that the Queens Arms in East Garston now has a new, big outdoor TV, all set up for the Euros, Ascot and Wimbledon – click here for more, including a special Wimbledon offer in conjunction with East Garston-based Sporting Agenda.

• The timetables for the West Berkshire Council’s mobile community collect service for lateral-flow tests recently changed – details can be found here.

Click here to read the latest report (updated on 5 June) from Lambourn’s ward member Howard Woollaston.

• You might also be interested in the most recent newsletter from Lambourn.org which covers a wide range of stories and issues in and around the village.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 5 May (also its annual meeting) and you can read the draft minutes here.

• I haven’t forgotten about CIL saga (see below) regarding the re-development at the former Malt Shovel in Upper Lambourn. No news yet that I’ve been made aware of. What an uninspiring fiasco this is turning into. Sue or refund.

• The most recent meeting of East Garston Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 6 May and the minutes can be downloaded here.

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

• On the same day, Great Shefford Parish Council held its annual assembly which included a review of the year from the chairman and updates from various local groups. You can see this in full here.

• Click here or here for the latest news from Lambourn Surgery.

• 4 Legs Community Radio Station continues broadcasting during the pandemic – click here for more.

Thursday 10 June 2021

The June issue of the Valley of the Racehorse newsletter was published last weekend and you can click here to read it if you didn’t get it. Items covered (some of which are separately referred to below) included Lambourn’s most recent PC meeting, news from Shefford Primary School and the monthly reports from local trainer Pat Murphy, District Councillor Howard Woollaston and John O’Gaunt School Head Richard Hawthorne. There’s also a special offer from The Five Bells, the re-opening of East Garston’s Social Club, local walks, classes and societies, property, for sale and wanted, protecting your catalytic convertor, gardening tips, a short story and some wise words from Katherine Mansfield. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk by the end of the month if there’s anything you want to see included in the July edition.

• Planning matters, parking at the school, open spaces and the NDP were discussed at the Lambourn Parish Council meeting on 2 June 2021. Lambourn.org was on hand to take notes.

• Plans are progressing for this year’s Lambourn Carnival. See here for a heads up on the fun activities and events you can look forward to this summer.

• There’s a letter in this week’s NWN from Martyn Wright from the East Garston Flood Forum and an article on p23, both of which consider “permitted discharges” of sewage into the River Lambourn. There are four separate but related issues. The first is to what extent the sewage pumped into the the river at the east of East Garston  during the winter and spring of 2020-21 was untreated, albeit with the solids filtered out, as Martyn Wright asserts. The second is to what extent the sewage discharged into the river at Lambourn, four miles upstream was treated, which is what Thames Water’s comment in the article refers to. The third is, if Martin Wright is correct about the sewage, why an ATAC filtration unit was not installed in East Garston, as he requested. The fourth – a much wider question – is whether or to what extent such permitted discharges should be allowed at all, the accusation being that the Environment Agency has been too lax with its permissions so allowing water firms to use this not as an emergency measure but as increasingly normalised procedure. This was subject of a private member’s bill in January which was withdrawn as the proposer was assured that a tightening up of the regulations would be included in proposed government environmental legislation. How long this will take to become law and how well observed (and well enforced) it will be remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the water table will rise and fall as it has always down, infiltrating the sewage systems and causing the same problems.

I spoke to Charlotte Hitchmough, the Director of Action for the River Kennet. She confirmed that the data she had showed that in 2020 there had been about 214 hours of discharges at East Garston. This was, she pointed out, only a pumping station and so would do little more than basic filtration and dilution (which serves no particular purpose – you take in same amount of alcohol from drinking a double scotch neat as you do from diluting it). The ATAC system, such as was used in Lambourn, also provides some chemical treatment and so gives a better (but by no means pure) result. The ATAC was not installed in East Garston because TW claimed that tinkering it away could cope: Martyn Wright’s point is that this was not the case.

It’s to be hoped that the recent repairs in East Garston will have helped but constant such work is needed on the ageing an increasingly over-used network. There’s also no one solution – good pipes are vital but there also has to be a system for dealing with emergencies which gives more weight to the environment and less to the convenience of water firms. We have our role to play as well by not putting anything except the three Ps (pooh, pee and paper) down our toilets. We’re all in this together…

• Residents of East Garston who with to join the village Flood Forum (EGFF) and receive email updates should contact martynwright345@btinternet.com.

• On which subject, local MPs Laura Farris and Danny Kruger will be hosting a public consultation via Zoom at 2pm Thursday 24 June to hear your views on the pressures and issues our chalk streams are facing.

• And still with water, there have been reports of low pressure in some properties in Woodlands St Mary’s. Thames Water is looking into the problem and a spokesperson told Penny Post on 8 June that this “is not related to the ongoing issue in Hungerford Newtown [caused by a leaving pipe under the M4: see the Hungerford Area Weekly News section]. We are however, having to use tankers to boost the supply to Woodlands St Mary due to an ongoing repair at the local reservoir.  Our engineers have confirmed that customers are in supply but may have slightly lower pressure than normal. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this is causing.” We’ve been promised further updates as soon as possible.

• See Lambourn Growers facebook group for info on a seed and plant swap in Bockhampton Road.

• Great Shefford Pre-School has places from September for children aged two years and 9 months and above.

• The Great Shefford and Shefford Woodlands Open Gardens helps support and maintain local churches. A wide range of beautiful gardens will be open on the weekend of 3 and 4 July: at the Village Hall, where you will collect your map, there will be jams, jellies, chutneys and plants for sale. If you would like to open your garden, please contact Linda Forrester 07720 432651.

• The Queens Arms in East Garston now has a new, big outdoor TV, all set up ready for the Euros (starting this weekend), Ascot and Wimbledon – click here for more, including a special Wimbledon offer in conjunction with East Garston-based Sporting Agenda.

• I see in this week’s NWN, on p22, that a planning application has been lodged in Eastbury for a conversion on the site of a former pub, The Plume of Feathers. I never knew there was a pub of that name there – one is always leaning in this game. This is all I could find out about it. It includes the reference to the fact that in 1891 the licensee was “a publican and pork butcher,” which would have solved the problem of sourcing the Sunday roasts.

• The closure of the M4 eastbound between J15 and J14 is for 10 nights from 7 June 9pm to 6am, Monday to Friday nights only. This is for resurfacing work required along a section of the carriageway near Liddington. During the closure, a signed diversion will be in place via the A346, A4 and A338 which will result in more traffic through Baydon.

• Two by-elections were to have been held for two seats on Lambourn Parish Council on Thursday 24 June (one for Upper Lambourn, one for Lambourn). Please email lambournpc@btconnect.com to find out more about these vacancies (there are vacancies for five parish councillors in total).

• The timetables for the West Berkshire Council’s mobile community collect service for lateral-flow tests recently changed – details can be found 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.

Click here to read the latest report (updated on 5 June) from Lambourn’s ward member Howard Woollaston.

• You might also be interested in the most recent newsletter from Lambourn.org which covers a wide range of stories and issues in and around the village.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 5 May (also its annual meeting) and you can read the draft minutes here. Items covered included: the appointment of the Chair and the Vice Chair; financial matters; a clean bill of health from the auditor (who judged “the administration and procedures of the Council to be carefully planned, controlled and well documented.”); the fixed-asset register; protecting the surface of the multi-use games area; a new dog bin in Easton; local footpaths, including the proposed on on the B4000 in Wickham; the settlement boundary; clearance works on the Marsh Common; and plans for the phone box (see last week’s entry below).

• Residents of East Garston who with to join the village Flood Forum (EGFF) and receive email updates should contact martynwright345@btinternet.com.

• Still no news on the continuing CIL saga (see below) regarding the re-development at the former Malt Shovel in Upper Lambourn, although I understand that a decision was to have been taken by now. A letter from a former WBC councillor in this week’s Newbury Weekly News re-states the point that CIL should not have been charged, that the error could be adjusted and that this is “an underhand way of extracting money.” If WBC doesn’t cancel the payment, there are three possibilities. Number one: it sues and wins, which wouldn’t be a great look as the applicant will possibly be bankrupted over a payment that the development was exempted from. Number two: it sues and loses, which would unleash a number of other complaints, each of which would have a precedent to call one. Number three: it continues to leave the matter in suspension, which not only causes costs and stress for officers and applicant alike but also raises the question as to why, if the sum is fairly owed, it is not being collected and used for community infrastructure purposes, some in the parish and the rest throughout the district.

• The most recent meeting of East Garston Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 6 May and the minutes can be downloaded here. Items covered included: formal year-end matters; a new councillor; sewage and flooding (see also above); financial matters; the parish’s Covid response; planning applications; improvements at the Jubilee meadow; dog bins (an issue echoed by many other parishes); village maintenance; speeding; the nature and dates of future meetings; the village welcome pack; and the cricket nets.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 6 May and you can read the draft minutes here. Items covered included: the election of the chairman and vice chairman; two planning applications; financial matters; the village’s Team leaders; the asset register; the cost of repairs to the damaged fence at the bottom of Hungerford Hill; dog waste signage; PC communications; and the continuing impasse (a stronger term is needed) regarding the flood alleviation scheme.

• On the same day, Great Shefford Parish Council held its annual assembly which included a review of the year from the chairman and updates from various local groups. You can see this in full here.

• Click here or here for the latest news from Lambourn Surgery.

• 4 Legs Community Radio Station continues broadcasting during the pandemic – click here for more.

Thursday 3 June 2021

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 2 June and Lambourn.org was on hand to take notes. Items covered included planning matters, parking at the school, open spaces and the NDP.

• Local MPs Laura Farris and Danny Kruger will be hosting a public consultation via Zoom at 2pm Thursday 24 June to hear your views on the pressures and issues our chalk streams are facing.

• Great Shefford Pre-School has places from September for children aged two years and 9 months and above.

• The Great Shefford and Shefford Woodlands Open Gardens helps support and maintain local churches. A wide range of beautiful gardens will be open on the weekend of 3 and 4 July: at the Village Hall, where you will collect your map, there will be jams, jellies, chutneys and plants for sale. If you would like to open your garden, please contact Linda Forrester 07720 432651.

• There have been reports of low water pressure in some properties in Woodlands St Mary’s. Thames Water is looking into the problem and a spokesperson told Penny Post on 8 June that this “is not related to the ongoing issue in Hungerford Newtown [caused by a leaving pipe under the M4: see the Hungerford Area Weekly News section]. We are however, having to use tankers to boost the supply to Woodlands St Mary due to an ongoing repair at the local reservoir.  Our engineers have confirmed that customers are in supply but may have slightly lower pressure than normal. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this is causing.” We’ve been promised further updates as soon as possible.

• See Lambourn Growers facebook group for info on a seed and plant swap in Bockhampton Road.

• The Queens Arms in East Garston now has a new, big outdoor TV, all set up ready for the Euros, Ascot and Wimbledon.

• The closure of the M4 eastbound between J15 and J14 is for 10 nights from 7 June 9pm to 6am, Monday to Friday nights only. This is for resurfacing work required along a section of the carriageway near Liddington. During the closure, a signed diversion will be in place via the A346, A4 and A338 which will result in more traffic through Baydon.

• Two by-elections were to have been held for two seats on Lambourn Parish Council on Thursday 24 June (one for Upper Lambourn, one for Lambourn). Sadly, no one put themselves forward for election in either seat, so new elections will have to take place within 35 days of Thursday 24 June. The election process will keep repeating until candidates are found and the Parish Council will incur charges each time. This is required because, for the parish’s neighbourhood development plan to be completed  (“made” is the official term) at least two-thirds of the councillors have been elected, even if  unopposed, rather than co-opted. Please email lambournpc@btconnect.com to find out more about these vacancies (there are vacancies for five parish councillors in total).

• The timetables for the West Berkshire Council’s mobile community collect service for lateral-flow tests recently changed – details can be found 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.

Click here to read the latest report (updated on 5 June) from Lambourn’s ward member Howard Woollaston.

• You might also be interested in the most recent newsletter from Lambourn.org which covers a wide range of stories and issues in and around the village.

• Front Street in East Garston was closed earlier this month while Thames Water executed some work on the sewerage system. You can click here to see the video which Penny made on 18 May which explains what was going on there.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 5 May (also its annual meeting) and you can read the draft minutes here. Items covered included: the appointment of the Chair and the Vice Chair; financial matters; a clean bill of health from the auditor (who judged “the administration and procedures of the Council to be carefully planned, controlled and well documented.”); the fixed-asset register; protecting the surface of the multi-use games area; a new dog bin in Easton; local footpaths, including the proposed on on the B4000 in Wickham; the settlement boundary; clearance works on the Marsh Common; and plans for the phone box (see last week’s entry below).

• Residents of East Garston who with to join the village Flood Forum (EGFF) and receive email updates should contact martynwright345@btinternet.com.

• Still no further news on the continuing CIL saga (see below) regarding the re-development at the former Malt Shovel in Upper Lambourn, although I understand that a decision was to have been taken by now. As mentioned before, there seem to be only two options – sue or cancel the debt.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council (also the annual meeting) took place on 6 May and you can read the draft minutes here. Items covered included: the election of the chairman and vice chairman; two planning applications; financial matters; the village’s Team leaders; the asset register; the cost of repairs to the damaged fence at the bottom of Hungerford Hill; dog waste signage; PC communications; and the continuing impasse (a stronger term is needed) regarding the flood alleviation scheme.

• In the same day, Great Shefford Parish Council held its annual assembly which included a review of the year from the chairman and updates from various local groups. You can see this in full here.

• The most recent meeting of East Garston Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 4 March and the minutes can be downloaded here.

• Click here or here for the latest news from Lambourn Surgery.

• 4 Legs Community Radio Station continues broadcasting during the pandemic – click here for more.

Thursday 27 May 2021

• The June Valley of the Racehorse newsletter will be published on Saturday 5 June. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk if there’s anything you’d like to see included.

• The timetables for the West Berkshire Council’s mobile community collect service for lateral-flow tests recently changed – details can be found 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.

• The next meeting of Lambourn Parish Council will take place in hybrid form at 7.30 on Wednesday 2 June and you can see the agenda here.

Click here for Pat Murphy’s monthly racing column, looking back at the National, Irish domination, female success and the ageing process (or, in many cases, the lack of it).

Click here to read the latest report from Lambourn’s ward member Howard Woollaston.

• You might also be interested in the most recent newsletter from Lambourn.org which covers a wide range of stories and issues in and around the village.

• Two by-elections were to have been held for two seats on Lambourn Parish Council on Thursday 24 June (one for Upper Lambourn, one for Lambourn). Sadly, no one put themselves forward for election in either seat, so new elections will have to take place within 35 days of Thursday 24 June. The election process will keep repeating until candidates are found and the Parish Council will incur charges each time. This is required because, for the parish’s neighbourhood development plan to be completed  (“made” is the official term) at least two-thirds of the councillors have been elected, even if  unopposed, rather than co-opted.

• Front Street in East Garston was closed earlier this month while Thames Water executed some work on the sewerage system. You can click here to see the video which Penny made on 18 May which explains what was going on there. This is part of a larger and ongoing programme of works to deal with groundwater infiltration in the network. I recently received a statement from Thames Water about what it had accomplished in the area of the past few months, which you can read here.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 5 May (also its annual meeting) and you can read the draft minutes here. Items covered included: the appointment of the Chair and the Vice Chair; financial matters; a clean bill of health from the auditor (who judged “the administration and procedures of the Council to be carefully planned, controlled and well documented.”); the fixed-asset register; protecting the surface of the multi-use games area; a new dog bin in Easton; local footpaths, including the proposed on on the B4000 in Wickham; the settlement boundary; clearance works on the Marsh Common; and plans for the phone box (see next para).

• It was only a few decades ago that public phone boxes were an essential part of life. Even as recently as the 1980s the waiting times for getting a phone connected (certainly in London) were insanely long and I rarely used to go out without a supply of 2p and 10p coins to use in the call boxes that you found in every pub, tube station and main streets. Things have changed a bit since then, of course. In 2017, it was reported that a third of the then 40,000-odd functioning telephone kiosks were never used to make a call while the rate of calls made from the rest was declining by 20% a year. BT is encouraging local communities to adopt their boxes – on payment of £1, it can be yours. What then to do with it? Many now house defibrillators, provide tourist information or act as a book or seed exchange. Here are a few other uses to which some have been put. The parish of Welford mentioned at its above-mentioned meeting that it was still looking for ideas as to what should be done with its red kiosk. If you have any thoughts, contact the Clerk Sonia Coyle at welfordparish@yahoo.com.

• And still in Welford, the PC took over the maintenance of Marsh Common in November 2020. Since then this wet woodland habitat has undergone a “considerable transformation,” as this article on the PC’s website explains.

• Last week’s NWN reported that that Sovereign’s tenants in its “run-down” Grade II buildings in Lambourn will be re-housed (in the village if they wish to be) and the properties will then be sold, the proceeds being re-invested in “additional affordable housing in West Berkshire.”

• Residents of East Garston who with to join the recently-established village Flood Forum (EGFF) and receive email updates should contact martynwright345@btinternet.com.

• Still no further news on the continuing CIL saga (see below) regarding the re-development at the former Malt Shovel in Upper Lambourn. If the money is fairly owed then by not prosecuting him, WBC is doing a disservice to WBC’s council tax payers. If the money is not fairly owed then it is doing a disservice to the applicant. If matters carry on in this limbo then it is doing a disservice to both.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 1 April and you can read the draft minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of East Garston Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 4 March and the minutes can be downloaded here.

• Click here or here for the latest news from Lambourn Surgery.

• 4 Legs Community Radio Station continues broadcasting during the pandemic – click here for more.

Thursday 20 May 2021

• The May Valley of the Racehorse newsletter was published on 8 May and you can click here to read it if you didn’t receive it. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk if there’s anything you’d like to see included in the June issue.

• 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 Pat Murphy’s monthly racing column, looking back at the National, Irish domination, female success and the ageing process (or, in many cases, the lack of it).

Click here to read the latest report from Lambourn’s ward member Howard Woollaston.

• You might also be interested in the most recent newsletter from Lambourn.org which covers a wide range of stories and issues in and around the village.

• The Electoral Returning Officer has announced that by-elections will be held for two seats on Lambourn Parish Council on Thursday 24 June (one for Upper Lambourn, one for Lambourn). Nomination papers for candidates for these seats have to be hand-delivered (not posted – don’t ask me why) to West Berkshire Council by 4pm on Thursday 27 May. Anyone interested in being elected can download the nomination papers from the Electoral Commission or request them from Electoral Services at WBC. The Electoral Commission also has details of who is eligible to stand.

• Front Street in East Garston will be closed from 8am to 6pm on 20 and 21 May while Thames Water completes some work on the sewerage system. You can click here to see the video which Penny made on 18 May which explains what’s going on there. Click here for more information about the closures. This is part of a larger and ongoing programme of works to deal with groundwater infiltration in the network. I recently received a statement from Thankes Water about what it had accomplished in the area of the past few months, which you can read here.

Lambourn Surgery was clearly piqued by a statement that implied it had been closed for many months and only re-opened on 17 May. “We have been open throughout the pandemic,” a spokesperson said, “offering patients telephone and face-to-face appointments as appropriate. During April alone we saw 1,071 patients face-to-face while 704 patients had telephone consultations. This does not include the 910 first- and second-dose Covid jabs we have provided at the racecourse during April alone.  We are now being encouraged to offer patients a choice of remote or face-to-face consultations. We ask that patients continue to contact us online or by phone as they have been doing: please also explore options such as NHS 111 online  if you are able. We are facing unprecedented demand for our services and will need to continue to adjust how we use our clinicians’ time to best support our patients, particularly those who need us the most.”

• This week’s NWN reports on p26 that that Sovereign’s tenants in its “run-down” Grade II buildings in Lambourn will be re-housed (in the village if they wish to be) and the properties will then be sold, the proceeds being re-invested in “additional affordable housing in West Berkshire.”

• Residents of East Garston who with to join the recently-established village Flood Forum (EGFF) and receive email updates should contact martynwright345@btinternet.com.

• Still no further news on the continuing CIL saga (see below) regarding the re-development at the former Malt Shovel in Upper Lambourn.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 1 April and you can read the draft minutes here.

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

• The most recent meeting of East Garston Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 4 March and the minutes can be downloaded here.

• Click here or here for the latest news from Lambourn Surgery.

Click here for details of Covid lateral flow tests, which are available at four sites across the district (Hungerford, Newbury, Thatcham and Burghfield), and home-testing kits.

• 4 Legs Community Radio Station (which recently celebrated its third birthday – more on this in the latest Valley of the Racehorse newsletter, see above) will continue broadcasting during the pandemic – click here for more.

Thursday 13 May 2021

• The May Valley of the Racehorse newsletter was published on Saturday 8 May and you can click here to read it if you didn’t receive it. This covers the recent Lambourn PC meeting, the Lambourn Junction CIC, the lasts from Shefford Primary School, 4 LEGS Radio’s third birthday, the Carnival and the community orchard. We also have the latest update from ward member Howard Woollaston, from John O’Gaunt head Richard Hawthorne and from the Friends of the Library. There’s an appeal for East Garston’s bells and a special offer from the Five Bells in Wickham, as well as our usual range of other news, jobs, property, events and features. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk if there’s anything you’d like to see included in the June issue.

Click here for Pat Murphy’s monthly racing column, looking back at the National, Irish domination, female success and the ageing process (or, in many cases, the lack of it).

• Did you know that in the 13th century, Upper Lambourn was known as UpLambourn? Did you know that Berkshire’s oldest windmill dates from 1273? No, nor did I. Lambourn.org did, however. Read more here.

Click here to read the latest report from Lambourn’s ward member Howard Woollaston. This will be being updated by Saturday 8 May.

• You might also be interested in the most recent newsletter from Lambourn.org which covers a wide range of stories and issues in and around the village.

• Front Street in East Garston will be closed from 8am to 6pm from 17 to 21 May while Thames Water does some work on the sewerage system. Click here for more information about the closures. This is part of a larger and ongoing programme of works to deal with groundwater infiltration in the network. I recently received a statement from Thankes Water about what it had accomplished in the area of the past few months, which you can read here. We’ll be doing a brief video with representatives of Thames Water on site next week in which they’ll be explaining exactly what they’re up to with with the doubtless peculiar looking bits of equipment that will be employed. We’ll hope to have this cut and edited ready for next week’s newsletter.

• Residents of East Garston who with to join the recently-established village Flood Forum (EGFF) and receive email updates should contact martynwright345@btinternet.com.

• This week’s NWN has a long letter from a spokesman for the Woodlands Action Group which is active on behalf of planning and other issues which affect the three communities on the B4000. The main current issue is the recent approval granted to Walkers Logistics, which we covered in detail over the last couple of weeks (see below). The writer, Tony King, points to the “flawed principle” of the application, the “last-minute submissions and statements,” the fact that the site is “probably the most unsustainable in the region,” the fact that the proposed museum was a “red herring”, that the decision has “overridden” the consultation into the local plan and that the Western Area Planning Committee was “poorly briefed.” I spoke to him briefly on 13 May and we also discussed the effect of the traffic on the B4000 and the increasingly perilous nature of its junction with the A338 in Shefford Woodlands.

The real problem with Membury is that it’s already a bit of a blot on the landscape from an AONB point of view and so, the reasoning goes, a little more won’t make the problem any worse. As for the traffic, the site (and probably the service station) should have been built around J14, a few miles to the south west. There’s nothing that can be done about that now. Whether or not there’s anything that can be done about this approval and, if it goes ahead, the enforcement of any conditions, remains to be seen.

• No further news on the continuing CIL saga (see below) regarding the re-development at the former Malt Shovel in Upper Lambourn, which dates back to 2018. I’m still surprised that a matter which proved 3,600 emails is not being looked into for this reason alone; also what the delay is in deciding what the net step should be.

• A reminder about last week’s promising news from Superfast Berkshire which might see the end for the problem of non-broadband that has blighted Upper Lambourn since…well, forever. She confirms that “the final addition to the scope of the SFBB Project has been approved and that Upper Lambourn is part of it. Openreach will commence its build programme with a final delivery date of Q4 2021/2022. The build is subject to survey so we cannot guarantee 100% of properties that are currently in scope will be delivered to as there is much that is unknown until full surveys are done. However, I hope you will agree that his is very good news.” I spoke to as local resident whose “broadband” has never exceeded dial-up speed, who told me that the next hurdle would be crossed by about this time next month when Openreach’s website will (hopefully) confirm a start date for the work.

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

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

• The most recent meeting of East Garston Parish Council took place on 4 March and the minutes can be downloaded here.

• Click here or here for the latest news from Lambourn Surgery.

Click here for details of Covid lateral flow tests, which are available at four sites across the district (Hungerford, Newbury, Thatcham and Burghfield), and home-testing kits.

• 4 Legs Community Radio Station (which recently celebrated its third birthday – more on this in the latest Valley of the Racehorse newsletter, see above) will continue broadcasting during the pandemic – click here for more.

Thursday 6 May 2021

• The May Valley of the Racehorse newsletter will be published on Saturday 8 May. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk if there’s anything you’d like to see included.

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 5 May and you can read my report of the meeting here. items covered included: the election of a new Chair; the Lambourn Junction CIC (see below); committees and working groups; the problems caused by the enforced return to in-person meetings; ASB problems; and the Lambourn neighbourhood development plan.

• Christan Noll explained to the above meeting that the Lambourn Junction CIC had recently been set up to help provide the framework and the structure to support local community groups. It already is involved in running the food hub, the Covid volunteers and Lambourn.org. It doesn’t have any intention to take over any organisation it becomes involved with but but can help with matters like insurance, health and safety advice, grants and banking. It can offer this to groups, whether new or established and to those organising events, whether one-off or regular. Full details can be found on the Lambourn.org website.

Click here to read the latest report from Lambourn’s ward member Howard Woollaston. This will be being updated by Saturday 8 May.

• You might also be interested in the most recent newsletter from Lambourn.org which covers a wide range of stories and issues in and around the village.

• This week’s NWN covers on p22 the deliberations of the WBC’s Western Area Planning Committee in deciding narrowly in favour of the Walker’s Brothers application for a 12,578 square metre warehouse in Membury. As we mentioned when covering this last week, the matter really came down to deciding whether the needs of the AONB or of economic development ranked the higher, the committee narrowly deciding in favour of the latter. Local ward member Howard Woollaston admitted that the applicant was a “responsible local employer” but otherwise was unimpressed with the scale and nature of the scheme and the precedent it would set. Councillor James Cole commented that the scheme didn’t meet the “exceptional standards” test for building in an AONB (a notoriously difficult matter to establish). It also seems clear, as Councillor Adrian Abbs put it, that the horse as already bolted on this one. The trading estate, the motorway services and the motorway itself have made the area neither outstanding nor natural nor beautiful. Further applications will inevitably be made. There would seem to be benefits in trying to create some strategic plan for the whole site, if this can be done, to constrain and control further development; and, perhaps, lobby the DfT to turn the services into a motorway junction (though I think that it’s more likely that I’ll be elected Pope). That would at least help with the traffic issue on the B4000, a road that’s scary enough at the best of times and likely to become more so with every permission at Membury that’s granted.

• Residents of Lambourn may have wondered why two people in a cherry picker were examining the Market Cross a couple of weeks ago. Were they retrieving a cat? Adding a 5G mobile phone mast? Was it even an audacious attempt to steal it (one hears of metal theft: stone theft may be next). As Lambourn.org explains here, it was merely a visit from Historic England following reports that the structure may have become unsafe. The report will say that it’s structurally sound and doesn’t require any immediate work but will warn that there is some damage and that a stone conservation expert should be called in (rather like those “advisories” on your car’s MOT which you immediately forget about and then, a few months later, wish you hadn’t). I doubt that such experts work for the minimum wage so expect to see a reasonably hefty invoice on Lambourn PC’s accounts in the next year or so.

• And talking of hefty invoices, the long saga of the CIL payment arising from the re-development at the former Malt Shovel in Upper Lambourn, which dates back to 2018, continues. These developer contributions are triggered by certain kind of applications (or, as it turns out, by any kind of application if the correct paperwork isn’t done), something which the then Council Leader Gordon Lundie described as amounting to a policy of “gotcha.” (See this post for more on this.) An invoice for £60,000 was in this case the unwelcome result of an administrative oversight (of the kind that even HMRC would later be able to adjust were the error with them) and even though it was clear that the development should have been exempted from paying any CIL at all. The applicant’s latest defensive tactic was to issue a FoI request to see the relevant emails at West Berkshire Council. As the NWN reports on p23 of this week’s issue, the request has recently been rejected as being “manifestly unreasonable” as it would involve looking at “in excess of 3,600 emails” a process which would “exceed the appropriate limit (18 hours)…and place a disproportionate burden on the authority.”

If an issue stretching back three years has led to 3,600 emails then there’s clearly something that seriously needs looking into. It also shows that we’re way past the stage of worrying about “appropriate” time spent by officers as the matter has clearly soaked up hundreds of hours’ work already. What on earth could all these emails have been about? If anything, the the terms of the refusal has sharpened my curiosity. There seems, however, to be simple way out of this. WBC has long claimed it has a watertight case and that the money is fairly owed. If it still feels this, it should crack on, sue the applicant and let the courts decide. If it doesn’t, it should cancel the payment (as it has the power to do). The current situation doesn’t work for anyone.

• An email just in from Lynne Wilson at Superfast Berkshire marks, hopefully, the beginning of the end for the problem of non-broadband that has blighted Upper Lambourn since…well, forever. She confirms that “the final addition to the scope of the SFBB Project has been approved and that Upper Lambourn is part of it. Openreach will commence its build programme with a final delivery date of Q4 2021/2022. The build is subject to survey so we cannot guarantee 100% of properties that are currently in scope will be delivered to as there is much that is unknown until full surveys are done. However, I hope you will agree that his is very good news.”

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

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

• The most recent meeting of East Garston Parish Council took place on 4 March and the minutes can be downloaded here.

• Residents of East Garston who with to join the recently-established village Flood Forum (EGFF) and receive email updates should contact martynwright345@btinternet.com.

• Click here or here for the latest news from Lambourn Surgery.

Click here for details of Covid lateral flow tests, which are available at four sites across the district (Hungerford, Newbury, Thatcham and Burghfield), and home-testing kits.

• 4 Legs Community Radio Station (which recently celebrated its third birthday – more on this in this weekend’s Valley of the Racehorse newsletter) will continue broadcasting during the pandemic – click here for more.

Thursday 29 April 2021

• The April Valley of the Racehorse newsletter was published earlier this month. Click here to read it if you didn’t get it. The May issue will be published on Saturday 8 May. Please email penny@pennypost.org.uk if there’s anything you’d like to see included.

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 7 April and you can read Lambourn.org’s report of the meeting here.

• The next meeting of Lambourn Parish Council will take place on Wednesday 5 May at 7.30pm. Please click here for the agenda. If you want to receive the Zoom link, please email lambournpc@btconnect.com by noon on Wednesday 5 May.

Click here to read the latest report from Lambourn’s ward member Howard Woollaston.

• You might also be interested in the most recent newsletter from Lambourn.org which covers a wide range of stories and issues in and around the village.

• The application for a 12,578 square metre warehouse (getting on for the size of two football pitches) at the Walker Logistics site in Membury was decided by the Western Area Planning Committee (WPC) on 28 April and resulted in a narrow approval by five votes to four. The discussion really turned on whether the economic benefits outweighed compromising the AONB and the increased traffic levels. The committee decided that they did. 33 conditionals and nine informatives were attached to the approval. The conditions included matters such as hours of work, light, tree screening and – perhaps most significantly – the fact that the building be carbon neutral. I asked Hilary Cole, the portfolio holder for planning and a member of WAPC, if WBC was under its present policy able to insist on such a condition. She assured me that it could, and pointed me to policy CS15 regarding the BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method). “We were well ahead of the game with regard to carbon neutrality in our Local Plan” she told me, “but this was scuppered by central government which wanted reduced targets.  Now they are waking up to climate change new policies are being demanded by them.  So, as an authority, we are extremely disappointed that we were not allowed to pursue our policies.”

I also spoke to Charlie Walker of Walker Logistics about this. He said he was “delighted” with the decision and stressed that he looked forward to working with officers at WBC and with local residents on developing the project and addressing any concerns. Those who remain uneasy about the decision might take comfort from the difference between a developer which builds properties to sell and then moves on and one which is building something foe itself and plans to stick around. Walker Logistics is in the second category – Charlie Walker confirmed that they “weren’t going anywhere” – and is therefore likely to be much more responsive to concerns raised by a community which it is a part of. This might contrast with a developer building, say, 100 homes in, say, Hungerford which want to be in and out as soon as possible and for whom any local ill-will is fairly irrelevant.

Some of the conditions, like the tree screening, will be fairly to enforce: others, like the working hours, will require ongoing monitoring. With currently only two enforcement officers, WBC is perhaps understaffed in this area. The accusation that an office has closed ten minutes after the specified time may not qualify as the kind of major infringement to which the officers’ time would be devoted. This then also puts the onus on the local parish council and residents to gather information which may not be done objectively and which can become divisive. Every time an ongoing condition like this is agreed it gets added to the pile of all the other ones, so surely causing fewer and fewer to be monitored if the number of staff doesn’t increase. Enforcement officers are important if a planning authority’s decisions are to be taken seriously.

• This month’s Village Views has an article (with peas and photographs) on skylarks and other ground-nesting birds.

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

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

• A reminder that Lambourn will be going to the polls on Thursday 6 May with two Parish Council seats (Lambourn and Upper Lambourn) up for grabs.

• A further vacancy has arisen on Lambourn PC (making five in all). For more information, see here.

• A further reminder concerning the broadband (or lack of) in Upper Lambourn. It appears that a further government scheme, Project Gigabit, is about to be launched to help those whom the communications advances of the 21st century have forgotten. More information will be available when know: in the mean time, if any residents with awful broadband need help, please contact Lynne.Wilson1@westberks.gov.uk.

• The most recent meeting of East Garston Parish Council took place on 4 March and the draft minutes can be downloaded here.

• Residents of East Garston who with to join the recently-established village Flood Forum (EGFF) and receive email updates should contact martynwright345@btinternet.com.

• The previous minutes of Lambourn PC and other related documents now available in a more complete form on the excellent Lambourn.org site than they are on the PC’s official site.

• Click here or here for the latest news from Lambourn Surgery.

• 4 Legs Community Radio Station will on continue broadcasting during the pandemic – click here for more.

See below for previous Weekly News sections for this area.

Thursday 22 April 2021

• The April Valley of the Racehorse newsletter was published last week, giving you the low down and a heads up on life in the upper reaches of the Lambourn Valley. Click here to read it if you didn’t get it.

• You might also be interested in the most recent newsletter from Lambourn.org.

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 7 April and you can read Lambourn.org’s report of the meeting here.

Click here to read the latest report from Lambourn’s ward member Howard Woollaston.

• See here for details of the Covid lateral flow tests that are now available in Hungerford, Newbury, Thatcham and Burghfield.

• The application for a 10,000 square metre warehouse (slightly larger than a football pitch) at the Walker Logistics site in Membury will be decided by Western Area Planning Committee on 28 April: the planning officers are recommended approval but a sufficiency of objections have been received meaning that it will be looked at by councillors as well. I spoke to Charlie Walker about this today and he stressed a point, also made in an article on p21 of this week’s NWN, that efforts had been made to mitigate the downsides of this and that the project would continue to provide local jobs. I’m also aware that there a number of people feel differently. This is only to be expected for a development of this nature and on this scale.

The major concern seems to be that the scheme, if approved, would lead to “development creep” at Membury. It could be argued that this point was passed some time ago. The impact on the AONB has clearly not been positive; then again, it’s right next to a motorway and a service station, which don’t do much for it either. The big problem, and the big unknown, is the impact on traffic. The B4000 is a terrifying thing to cross or turn on to and the road between it and the industrial area is prone to flooding. It’s impossible to argue that such a facility, which the applicant claims, will create 200 more jobs and will include an aviation museum, will not increase traffic. It’s for the Western Area Planning Committee if this is acceptable given the benefits. As most of the non-local traffic presumably goes onto the M4, this would seem to be ideal moment to look again at the idea of creating a junction 14a at memory Services. The expensive part, the slip roads, are already in place. People might argue that this would attract even more development there. This might not be a bad thing as at least it wouldn’t clog up local roads.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council took place on 1 April and you can read the draft minutes here. Items covered included: the proposed farm shop at The Great Shefford pub; financial matters; the fence at the bottom of Hungerford Hill; repairs to the playground equipment; dog-waste signage; the PC’s communications; the latest developments in the four-way discussions between GSPC, WBC, the Environment Agency and Thames Water about trying to get the long-delayed flood alleviation scheme off the ground (or, rather, into the ground); the Annual Parish Meeting (on Thursday 6 May); HGVs in the village; litter on the verges of the bottom road between the village and East Garston; and the proposed community garden in the recreation area.

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

• A reminder that Lambourn will be going to the polls on Thursday 6 May with two Parish Council seats (Lambourn and Upper Lambourn) up for grabs.

• A further vacancy has arisen on Lambourn PC (making five in all). For more information, see here.

• A further reminder concerning the broadband (or lack of) in Upper Lambourn. It appears that a further government scheme, Project Gigabit, is about to be launched to help those whom the communications advances of the 21st century have forgotten. More information will be available when know: in the mean time, if any residents with awful broadband need help, please contact Lynne.Wilson1@westberks.gov.uk.

• The most recent meeting of East Garston Parish Council took place on 4 March and the draft minutes can be downloaded here.

• Residents of East Garston who with to join the recently-established village Flood Forum (EGFF) and receive email updates should contact martynwright345@btinternet.com.

• The previous minutes of Lambourn PC and other related documents now available in a more complete form on the excellent Lambourn.org site than they are on the PC’s official site.

• Click here or here for the latest news from Lambourn Surgery.

• 4 Legs Community Radio Station will on continue broadcasting during the pandemic – click here for more.

Thursday 15 April 2021

• The April Valley of the Racehorse newsletter was published last week, giving you the low down and a heads up on life in the upper reaches of the Lambourn Valley. Click here to read it if you didn’t get it. Items covered included a Lambourn.org’s report on the latest Lambourn PC meeting, an appeal from Lambourn Junction which is looking for a new home, Trindledown’s online pet show, the budding of the HS2 refutrees, District Councillor Howard Woollaston’s monthly report, an accolade for a Lambourn camera Club member, a local book of condolences for the Duke of Edinburgh, racing news, re-openings in the Valley, local courses and classes, a good book, a good bottle of red and a good short story.

• This week’s Newbury Weekly News reports, on p22, that WBC had decided that the proposal for a free-standing kiosk at The Great Shefford pub would indeed require planning permission (the applicants were seeking a certificate of lawfulness which would have enabled work to have proceeded without a formal application). You can see the details of the application on WBC’s planning portal here. The landlord, Joshua Khan, has yet to decide if an application will be made. He has long claimed that the pub needs to diversify to survive. (see also below.)

• As mentioned above, the most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 7 April and you can read Lambourn.org’s report of the meeting here.

Click here to read the latest report from Lambourn’s ward member Howard Woollaston.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council took place on 1 April and you can read the draft minutes here. Items covered included: the proposed farm shop at The Great Shefford pub (see paragraphs below); financial matters; the fence at the bottom of Hungerford Hill; repairs to the playground equipment; dog-waste signage; the PC’s communications; the latest developments in the four-way discussions between GSPC, WBC, the Environment Agency and Thames Water about trying to get the long-delayed flood alleviation scheme off the ground (or, rather, into the ground); the Annual Parish Meeting (on Thursday 6 May); HGVs in the village; litter on the verges of the bottom road between the village and East Garston; and the proposed community garden in the recreation area.

• As might be expected, there was a fair bit of discussion about application 20/02245/FUL for the proposed farm shop at The Great Shefford. The changes to the proposals have led to two parish councillors now being minded to support the application, although it was agreed that concerns remained about the impact on traffic and parking. One solution would be for WBC to insist (as has been proposed) that the shop only be open when the pub was not. I understand that this is not welcomed by the applicant. I also understand that WBC is reluctant to impose conditions which it does not have the resources to enforce. The matter will ultimately be decided by WBC’s Western Area Planning Committee, to which the PC, objectors, supporters and the applicant can all make representations.

The discussion also touched on the general question of supporting local businesses: which, as the Chairman pointed out, risked crossing the line between policy and emotion. The PC makes its comments (and WBC its decisions) on the basis of policy: and, he pointed, out, in this case there was a real obstacle to the application in that any new development needed to have sufficient on-site parking. He also mentioned WBC’s own policy with regard to farm shops which “encouraged their provision and retention…provided that they do not adversely affect the vitality of nearby village shops.” This is a matter which, whether GSPC drew attention to it or not, would surely be picked up by WBC’s own officers. The question of deciding what might constitute an “adverse effect” is, of course, debatable. No one can say for sure, as the extent of the threat depends entirely on what the two shops decide to sell and at what price. WBC’s decision – and at the risk of labouring the point, it is WBC’s call, not Great Shefford’s – will ultimately depend not only on how worried WBC is by the parking issues but also whether it chooses to give more weight to the first part of the farm-shop policy or to the second. I wish both the pub and shop well (we live in the next village) and hope that some way will be found that can satisfy both their aspirations.

• The most recent meeting of Welford Parish Council took place on 8 March and you can read the draft minutes here. Items covered included: the purchase of a new dog bin; the wording for a notice to deter skateboarders from using the MUGA; approval of a donation to Citizens Advice West Berkshire; the possibility of the parish acquiring white gates (which several villages have near the speed-limit signs and which seem to contribute to a reduction in speeding); financial matters; fly tipping; the Wickham settlement boundary (discussion on which was deferred due to the amount of documentation); work to be done at Marsh Common; the village website; and a forthcoming playground inspection.

• I note from placing at the “history” section on Weston’s village website that “Wickham chapel is famous for its papier mâché elephants in the roof of the north aisle.” I think you’ll agree this isn’t a sentence you read every day.

• A reminder that Lambourn will be going to the polls on Thursday 6 May with two Parish Council seats (Lambourn and Upper Lambourn) up for grabs. Anyone wishing to stand must complete their nomination papers and deliver these (by hand only – not by post – and by appointment) to the Returning Officer at WBC by 4pm on Thursday 8 April. More information on these inflexible procedures can be found here. Further information about putting yourself forward as a candidate can be found on the Electoral Commission website here.

• A further vacancy has arisen on Lambourn PC (making five in all). For more information, see here.

• A further reminder concerning the broadband (or lack of) in Upper Lambourn. It appears that a further government scheme, Project Gigabit, is about to be launched to help those whom the communications advances of the 21st century have forgotten. More information will be available when know: in the mean time, if any residents with awful broadband need help, please contact Lynne.Wilson1@westberks.gov.uk.

• East Garston’s Garstonbury Festival will be returning on Saturday 17 July 2021, all being well. Click here for details of the hoped-for great day.

• The most recent meeting of East Garston Parish Council took place on 4 March and the minutes will appear here in due course.

• Residents of East Garston who with to join the recently-established village Flood Forum (EGFF) and receive email updates should contact martynwright345@btinternet.com.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 4 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent Lambourn Parish Council took place on 3 March and you can read my summary of it here.

• The previous minutes of Lambourn PC and other related documents now available in a more complete form on the excellent Lambourn.org site than they are on the PC’s official site.

• Click here or here for the latest news from Lambourn Surgery.

• 4 Legs Community Radio Station will on continue broadcasting during the pandemic – click here for more.

Thursday 8 April 2021

• The most recent meeting of Lambourn Parish Council took place on 7 April and you can read Lambourn.org’s report of the meeting here. The official minutes will also appear on Lambourn.org: for some reason they do not seem to be being added to LPC’s “official” site and nor are agendas published there (for those you also need to use the regularly-updated Lambourn.org). Matters discussed at the meeting included: two planning applications; the refusal by the landowners to sell LPC the site it had identified for an extension of the cemetery (which leaves open the question, not discussed, of how long it will be before the existing one is full); a discussion about the government’s proposed plans to dictate to local councils how their meetings are to be conducted after 7 May; litter picking; speeding; the state of repair of the Market Cross; the latest news from the NDP group (including a recent drone survey of the River Lambourn); and (in closed session, discussions about the resignation of the Assistant Clerk).

Click here to read the latest report from Lambourn’s ward member Howard Woollaston.

• A reminder that Lambourn will be going to the polls on Thursday 6 May with two Parish Council seats (Lambourn and Upper Lambourn) up for grabs. Anyone wishing to stand must complete their nomination papers and deliver these (by hand only – not by post – and by appointment) to the Returning Officer at WBC by 4pm on Thursday 8 April. More information on these inflexible procedures can be found here. Further information about putting yourself forward as a candidate can be found on the Electoral Commission website here.

• A further vacancy has arisen on Lambourn PC (making five in all). For more information, see here.

• A further reminder concerning the broadband (or lack of) in Upper Lambourn. It appears that a further government scheme, Project Gigabit, is about to be launched to help those whom the communications advances of the 21st century have forgotten. More information will be available when know: in the mean time, if any residents with awful broadband need help, please contact Lynne.Wilson1@westberks.gov.uk.

• Local residents (and not just in Lambourn) have been expressing dismay that the dog bins don’t seem to be being emptied as often as they should be. Judging my comments made at other parish council meetings around the area and also in the letters’ page of this week’s NWN, this seems to be a district-wide problem. You can report problems to WBC through its website. You might also want to tell your ward member (see list here) or your local parish council (links for most of these can ben seen at the top of the relevant sections below).

• East Garston’s Garstonbury Festival will be returning on Saturday 17 July 2021, all being well. Click here for details of the hoped-for great day.

• The most recent meeting of East Garston Parish Council took place on 4 March and the minutes will appear here in due course.

• Residents of East Garston who with to join the recently-established village Flood Forum (EGFF) and receive email updates should contact martynwright345@btinternet.com.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 4 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent Lambourn Parish Council took place on 3 March and you can read my summary of it here.

• The previous minutes of Lambourn PC and other related documents now available in a more complete form on the excellent Lambourn.org site than they are on the PC’s official site.

• Click here or here for the latest news from Lambourn Surgery.

• 4 Legs Community Radio Station will on continue broadcasting during the pandemic – click here for more.

Thursday 1 April 2021

• Latest news from Lambourn Parish CouncilEast Garston Parish CouncilWelford Parish Council and Great Shefford Parish Council.

The next meeting of Lambourn Parish Council will take place on Wednesday 7 April at 7pm. If you want to participate by Zoom, please email the clerk at lambournpc@btconnect.com.

• A reminder that Lambourn will be going to the polls on Thursday 6 May with two Parish Council seats (Lambourn and Upper Lambourn) up for grabs. Anyone wishing to stand must complete their nomination papers and deliver these (by hand only – not by post – and by appointment) to the Returning Officer at WBC by 4pm on Thursday 8 April. More information on these inflexible procedures can be found here. Further information about putting yourself forward as a candidate can be found on the Electoral Commission website here.

• A further vacancy has arisen on Lambourn PC (making five in all). For more information, see here.

• A reminder concerning the broadband (or lack of) in Upper Lambourn. It appears that a further government scheme, Project Gigabit, is about to be launched to help those whom the communications advances of the 21st century have forgotten. More information will be available when know: in the mean time, if any residents with awful broadband need help, please contact Lynne.Wilson1@westberks.gov.uk.

• Local residents (and not just in Lambourn) have been expressing dismay that the dog bins don’t seem to be being emptied as often as they should be. I spoke to Lambourn Parish Council’s Clerk on 31 March who assured me that she was on the case of this with West Berkshire Council.

• East Garston’s Garstonbury Festival will be returning on Saturday 17 July 2021, all being well. Click here for details of the hoped-for great day.

• The most recent meeting of East Garston Parish Council took place on 4 March and the minutes will appear here in due course. Items covered included: the postponement of the planned Annual Parish Meeting in April, due to Covid; WBC’s Survive to Thrive fund (more information here: you can also contact the PC if you have any suggestions regarding local projects); flooding and sewage issues (please see paragraph below); the need to contact WBC to ensure the dog bins are emptied regularly; the village design statement (which will not be being pursued for the time being); and the co-option of Peter Smith as a new councillor.

• Residents of East Garston who with to join the recently-established village Flood Forum (EGFF) and receive email updates should contact martynwright345@btinternet.com.

• The most recent meeting of Great Shefford Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 4 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the flood alleviation scheme (which provoked considerable discussion – see last week’s column); speeding issues; a decision notice on one planning application (there were no new ones to consider); the fence at the bottom of Hungerford Hill; the playground inspection report; financial matters; signage at the recreation ground; and the railings at Station Road.

• The most recent Lambourn Parish Council took place on 3 March and you can read my summary of it here.

• The previous minutes of Lambourn PC and other related documents now available in a more complete form on the excellent Lambourn.org site than they are on the PC’s official site.

• Click here or here for the latest news from Lambourn Surgery.

• 4 Legs Community Radio Station will on continue broadcasting during the pandemic – click here for more.

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