Thursday 13 May 2021

• The BBC reports that there were 79 CV-19 cases in Wiltshire in the week 3-9 May, up four on the week before. This equates to 16 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 17 (16 last week). See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a much more local level to be obtained.

Marlborough News has described the recent Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner’s election as a “debacle”. The Conservative candidate, Jonathon Seed withdrew from the contest once it was clear he would be debarred from holding the place (not because he spells his first name in an odd way, but because of a driving conviction) although he won the election anyway. A re-run will now be held on 19 August and an independent investigation will be launched by Thames Valley Police. This article from the same website looks at the further implications of this…”debacle” still seems a pretty good word to me. I’m not entirely sure what PCCs do, and even less sure why they need to be political. It sounds like an apolitical job if ever I saw one.

• The Swindon Advertiser reports that Wiltshire had the lowest crime rate in the country last year as the amount of reported offences dropped by 16.5%. However, data from the Office for National Statistics reveals a sharp increase in hate crime, domestic abuse, stalking and public-order offences. That’s something for the new PCC to get stick into, I guess.

• And still with MN, the Wiltshire Air Ambulance Summer Raffle has been launched to raise funds for vital local charity. That’s another thing I don’t understand: why are air ambulance services charities? Shouldn’t they be properly funded?

• The Kennet and Avon Medical Partnership has announced future Covid vaccination clinics (by appointment only) to be held at Marlborough Leisure Centre.

Click here (yet again from MN) for the local election results (a blue wall).

• The Gazette reports on the latest news from the town’s cinema (which should open in the autumn), including the appointment of the film-picker-in-chief.

• Marlborough’s very own community fridge is coming soon and the town council needs your views.

• The Gazette writes that St John’s Marlborough is moving ahead with plans to construct a major new sports development, having been given the green light by Wiltshire Council.

• Book lovers – enter Marlborough LitFest & Bath Spa Uni’s Love Books Competition to win £300.

• The Merchant’s House Trust has launched an appeal “to ensure that this landmark building on Marlborough’s High Street is conserved for future generations.”

Details here of Marlborough’s 2021 LitFest.

• The most recent meeting of Marlborough Town Council took place on 12 April and you can read the minutes here.

Click here for the latest on Marlborough’s neighbourhood development plan.

• Due to Covid restrictions (I’m starting to get a bit bored with typing that phrase), Marlborough’s Mayor will be made virtually this year, on 17 May. Click here for details.

• The most recent meeting of Ramsbury & Axford Parish Council took place on 19 April and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: dogs on the Wittonditch Road Play Area; fly tipping; footpaths; parish council vacancies; planning matters; the internal audit; inspections at the play areas; the bus shelter at oxford; the allotments; litter; the wildflower meadows; the bollards in the High Street (which seem not to being doing the job that bollards should); various repairs around the parish; and financial matters.

Marlborough News reports here that a competition has been launched for all local aspiring and expert artists to submit designs or artwork for a new community bench which will be situated in George Lane car park.

• The Rotary Club of Marlborough & District is supporting the Gavi/Covax initiative to provide Covid 19 vaccines to countries where cost is an issue. Click here for more.

• Click here for details of forthcoming Zoom talks organised by The Merchant House in Marlborough.

• The most recent (extraordinary) meeting of Great Bedwyn Parish Council took place on 11 March and you can read the draft minutes here.

• 30 children at Ramsbury Primary School have launched a campaign to keep the village plastic-free, as the Gazette explains.

• The most recent meeting of Aldbourne Parish Council took place on 7 April and you can read the minutes here. You can also click here to see the minutes of the annual parish assembly held on 28 April.

• Click here for a list of current consultations being run by Wiltshire Council.

Marlborough area council news

Parishes: click here for Marlborough Town CouncilAldbourne Parish CouncilRamsbury & Axford Parish Council, Great Bedwyn Parish Council, Ogbourne St George Parish Council and Ogbourne St Andrew Parish Council.

Wiltshire Council: click here to visit the website.

News from other areas

Penny Post area – please see the following separate sections: Hungerford area; Lambourn Valley; 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 6 May 2021

• Official news from councils in this area is currently thin as we are in a period of pre-election purdah (see here for more) until after the polling stations close on 6 May when there restrictions on what can be announced.

• The BBC reports that there were 75 CV-19 cases in Wiltshire in the week 26 April to 2 May, down two on the week before. This equates to 15 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 16 (18 last week). See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a much more local level to be obtained.

• Marlborough News reports that the Kennet and Avon Medical Partnership has announced future Covid vaccination clinics (by appointment only) to be held at Marlborough Leisure Centre.

• The same source tells us what pupils at Kennet Valley School in Lockeridge have have been up to at a recent ARK (Action for the River Kennet) workshop.

Packaging Not Included zero waste shop in Hughenden Yard is now back to being open five days a week: see the website for details.

• Marlborough’s very own community fridge is coming soon and the town council needs your views.

• The Gazette writes that St John’s Marlborough is moving ahead with plans to construct a major new sports development, having been given the green light by Wiltshire Council.

• Book lovers – enter Marlborough LitFest & Bath Spa Uni’s Love Books Competition to win £300.

Marlborough News observes that Marlborough’s White Horse is really no longer white and is slowly fading into the grass.

• And still with MN, the Merchant’s House Trust has launched an appeal “to ensure that this landmark building on Marlborough’s High Street is conserved for future generations.”

Details here of Marlborough’s 2021 LitFest.

• The Gazette reports that what appears to be a 4,500-year-old megalithic tomb has been unearthed on a farm in East Kennett.

• The most recent meeting of Marlborough Town Council took place on 12 April and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: elections in Marlborough West ward; sewage in the River Kennet; rugby on the common (see also below); the ownership transfer of the disused railway line; sales of housing-association flats; the Mayor’s summary of the last year on what he saw as a “progressive, friendly, and non-political” council; the training pitch on The Common (see also below); a new Deputy Major (Councillor Lisa Farrell); and reports from the committees.

Marlborough News reports here that a competition has been launched for all local aspiring and expert artists to submit designs or artwork for a new community bench which will be situated in George Lane car park.

• The Rotary Club of Marlborough & District is supporting the Gavi/Covax initiative to provide Covid 19 vaccines to countries where cost is an issue. Click here for more.

• Click here for details of forthcoming Zoom talks organised by The Merchant House in Marlborough.

• The most recent (extraordinary) meeting of Great Bedwyn Parish Council took place on 11 March and you can read the draft minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Ramsbury & Axford Parish Council took place on 15 March and you can read the minutes here.

• 30 children at Ramsbury Primary School have launched a campaign to keep the village plastic-free, as the Gazette explains.

• The most recent meeting of Aldbourne Parish Council took place on 7 April and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the forthcoming elections; repairs to road surfaces in the parish; the continuing saga of the loose manhole cover on West Street; adoption of PC policies; assets of community value; flooding update; road safety; repainting the pump and the bollards; verge re-wilding; the non-approval of a grant from the Vodafone fund for the community garden; Aldbourne Band’s pond concert on 4 July 2021; keeping the pressure on Thames Water; vanishing fish from the pond; banning dogs from the Goddards play area;

• Click here for a list of current consultations being run by Wiltshire Council.

Thursday 29 April 2021

• Official news from councils in this area is currently thin as we are in a period of pre-election purdah (see here for more) until after the polling stations close on 6 May when there restrictions on what can be announced.

• The BBC reports that there were 77 CV-19 cases in Wiltshire in the week 12-18 April, down one on the week before. This equates to 15 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 18 (18 last week). See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a much more local level to be obtained.

• If you saw a masked man digging a hole in the grounds off the Savernake Care Home  on 27 April, nothing to worry about: it was just Marlborough’s Mayor Mark Cooper planting a tree with help from some of the residents.

Click here to read the latest blog from the very same Marlborough’s Mayor Mark Cooper, covering the period from December to March.

Packaging Not Included zero waste shop in Hughenden Yard is now back to being open five days a week: see there website for details.

• Marlborough’s very own community fridge is coming soon and the town council needs your views.

• Book lovers – enter Marlborough LitFest & Bath Spa Uni’s Love Books Competition to win £300.

Marlborough News observes that Marlborough’s White Horse is really no longer white and is slowly fading into the grass: as it points out, “green horse” would be a more accurate name. The articles considers proposals as to how this could be remedied.

• And still with MN, the Merchant’s House Trust has launched an appeal “to ensure that this landmark building on Marlborough’s High Street is conserved for future generations.”

Details here of Marlborough’s 2021 LitFest.

• The Gazette reports that what appears to be a 4,500-year-old megalithic tomb has been unearthed on a farm in East Kennett.

• The most recent meeting of Marlborough Town Council took place on 12 April and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: elections in Marlborough West ward; sewage in the River Kennet; rugby on the common (see also below); the ownership transfer of the disused railway line; sales of housing-association flats; the Mayor’s summary of the last year on what he saw as a “progressive, friendly, and non-political” council; the training pitch on The Common (see also below); a new Deputy Major (Councillor Lisa Farrell); and reports from the committees.

Marlborough News reports here that a competition has been launched for all local aspiring and expert artists to submit designs or artwork for a new community bench which will be situated in George Lane car park.

• The Rotary Club of Marlborough & District is supporting the Gavi/Covax initiative to provide Covid 19 vaccines to countries where cost is an issue. Click here for more.

• Marlborough News offers an update on the imminent local elections.

• Click here for details of forthcoming Zoom talks organised by The Merchant House in Marlborough.

• Click here for two excellent lists of suppliers in and around Marlborough which are offering takeaways and also those offering deliveries or click-and-collect for a wide range of products.

• The Gazette reports here that the Save the Silks campaign, which is looking to raise the best part of a quarter of a million pounds to enable a community group to purchase the pub in Ogbourne St George, has recently received a conditional funding boost from the Plunket Foundation’s More Than A Pub Programme supported by Power To Change.

• The most recent (extraordinary) meeting of Great Bedwyn Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 February and you can read the draft minutes here.

Marlborough news reports that Earth Day 2021, on Thursday April 22, was celebrated by pupils at Great Bedwyn School with a week of climate-action activities.

• The most recent meeting of Ramsbury & Axford Parish Council took place on 15 March and you can read the minutes here.

• 30 children at Ramsbury Primary School have launched a campaign to keep the village plastic-free, as the Gazette explains.

• The most recent meeting of Aldbourne Parish Council took place on 7 April and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: the forthcoming elections; repairs to road surfaces in the parish; the continuing saga of the loose manhole cover on West Street; adoption of PC policies; assets of community value; flooding update; road safety; repainting the pump and the bollards; verge re-wilding; the non-approval of a grant from the Vodafone fund for the community garden; Aldbourne Band’s pond concert on 4 July 2021; keeping the pressure on Thames Water; vanishing fish from the pond; banning dogs from the Goddards play area;

• Click here for a list of current consultations being run by Wiltshire Council.

Thursday 22 April 2021

• Official news from councils in this area is currently thin as we are in a period of pre-election purdah (see here for more) until after the polling stations close on 6 May when there restrictions on what can be announced.

• The BBC reports that there were 78 CV-19 cases in Wiltshire in the week 12-18 April, no change on the week before. This equates to 16 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 18 (20 last week). See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a much more local level to be obtained.

Marlborough News professes perplexed by the motives behind a campaign to oppose the installation of a pedestrian crossing near St Mary’s School in George Lane, perhaps on thew grounds that it would result in the loss of a lay by which, the campaign claims, is an example of “stealth planning.” You can read more here.

• The Gazette reports that what appears to be a 4,500-year-old megalithic tomb has been unearthed on a farm in East Kennett.

• The most recent meeting of Marlborough Town Council took place on 12 April and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: elections in Marlborough West ward; sewage in the River Kennet; rugby on the common (see also below); the ownership transfer of the disused railway line; sales of housing-association flats; the Mayor’s summary of the last year on what he saw as a “progressive, friendly, and non-political” council; the training pitch on The Common (see also below); a new Deputy Major (Councillor Lisa Farrell); and reports from the committees.

Marlborough News reports here that a competition has been launched for all local aspiring and expert artists to submit designs or artwork for a new community bench which will be situated in George Lane car park.

The same source reports that Marlborough TC has “overwhelmingly agreed to move forward – in principle – with the proposal to create an additional training area [on The Common] primarily for the use of Marlborough Rugby Club juniors and members of the Marlborough Youth Football Club.” (For more on this meeting, see above.)

Click here to read the latest blog from Marlborough’s Mayor Mark Cooper, covering the period from December to March.

• The Rotary Club of Marlborough & District is supporting the Gavi/Covax initiative to provide Covid 19 vaccines to countries where cost is an issue. Click here for more.

• Marlborough News offers an update on the forthcoming local elections.

• Click here for details of forthcoming Zoom talks organised by The Merchant House in Marlborough.

• Click here for two excellent lists of suppliers in and around Marlborough which are offering takeaways and also those offering deliveries or click-and-collect for a wide range of products.

• The Gazette reports here that the Save the Silks campaign, which is looking to raise the best part of a quarter of a million pounds to enable a community group to purchase the pub in Ogbourne St George, has recently received a conditional funding boost from the Plunket Foundation’s More Than A Pub Programme supported by Power To Change.

• The most recent (extraordinary) meeting of Great Bedwyn Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 February and you can read the draft minutes here.

Marlborough News has a report here on Great Bedwyn School’s Easter bonnet parade.

• The Gazette reports that “fears of overflowing sewage have prompted dozens of objections against plans to build 32 houses in Aldbourne.”

• The most recent meeting of Ramsbury & Axford Parish Council took place on 15 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Aldbourne Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 3 March and you can read the minutes here.

• Click here for a list of current consultations being run by Wiltshire Council.

Thursday 15 April 2021

• The BBC reports that there were 74 CV-19 cases in Wiltshire in the week 5-11 April, down 12 on the week before. This equates to 15 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 20 (24 last week). See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a 63 more local level to be obtained.

• The most recent meeting of Marlborough Town Council took place on 12 April and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included: elections in Marlborough West ward; sewage in the River Kennet; rugby on the common (see also below); the ownership transfer of the disused railway line; sales of housing-association flats; the Mayor’s summary of the last year on what he saw as a “progressive, friendly, and non-political” council; the training pitch on The Common (see also below); a new Deputy Major (Councillor Lisa Farrell); and reports from the committees.

Marlborough News reports here that a competition has been launched for all local aspiring and expert artists to submit designs or artwork for a new community bench which will be situated in George Lane car park.

The same source reports that Marlborough TC has “overwhelmingly agreed to move forward – in principle – with the proposal to create an additional training area [on The Common] primarily for the use of Marlborough Rugby Club juniors and members of the Marlborough Youth Football Club.” (For more on this meeting, see above.)

Click here to read the latest blog from Marlborough’s Mayor Mark Cooper, covering the period from December to March.

• The Rotary Club of Marlborough & District is supporting the Gavi/Covax initiative to provide Covid 19 vaccines to countries where cost is an issue. Click here for more.

• Work is under way on repairs to Marlborough Town Hall and are expected to last until late April.

• Marlborough News offers an update on the forthcoming local elections.

• Click here for details of forthcoming Zoom talks organised by The Merchant House in Marlborough.

• Click here for two excellent lists of suppliers in and around Marlborough which are offering takeaways and also those offering deliveries or click-and-collect for a wide range of products.

• The Gazette reports here that the Save the Silks campaign, which is looking to raise the best part of a quarter of a million pounds to enable a community group to purchase the pub in Ogbourne St George, has recently received a conditional funding boost from the Plunket Foundation’s More Than A Pub Programme supported by Power To Change.

• The most recent (extraordinary) meeting of Great Bedwyn Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 16 February and you can read the draft minutes here.

Marlborough News has a report here on Great Bedwyn School’s Easter bonnet parade.

• The Gazette reports that “fears of overflowing sewage have prompted dozens of objections against plans to build 32 houses in Aldbourne.”

• The most recent meeting of Ramsbury & Axford Parish Council took place on 15 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The most recent meeting of Aldbourne Parish Council for which minutes are available took place on 3 March and you can read the minutes here.

Marlborough News reports that St Michael’s School in Aldbourne is busy raising £5,000 to create a purpose-built forest school shelter and equipment to allow the children to spend more time in nature.

• Click here for a list of current consultations being run by Wiltshire Council.

Thursday 8 April 2021

• The BBC reports that there were 88 CV-19 cases in Wiltshire in the week 29 March to 4 April, down 48 on the week before. This equates to 18 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 24 (39 last week). See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a 63 more local level to be obtained.

Marlborough News reports here that the Constable of St Peter’s Church has chosen to follow HMG’s directive about flags being flown from government buildings (though this isn’t one). The union flag will be in evidence every day except “when no other specific flag is being flown from the tower.” The downloadable list of these includes a number of commemorated events, some of which I’d heard of, some of which were quite surprising. These include the Ordination of Thomas Wolsey (10 March), the Battle of Ethandune (7 May), the adoption of HMS Marlborough (30 May), St Crispin’s Day (25 October) and the death of Alfred the Great (26 October): all of which should keep all the local vexillologists local historians happy.

Click here to read the latest blog from Marlborough’s Mayor Mark Cooper, covering the period from December to March.

Marlborough News has this article on the town’s imminent and partial re-opening.

• The Rotary Club of Marlborough & District is supporting the Gavi/Covax initiative to provide Covid 19 vaccines to countries where cost is an issue. They are asking you to consider donating the cost of your vaccine to Gavi/Covax. Click here for more.

• We mentioned recently about he tribes paid to retiring Town Clerk Shelley Parker. MN has been able to catch up with her successor, Richard Spencer-Williams – click here to meet him.

• The most recent ordinary meeting of Marlborough Town Council took place on 1 March and you can read the minutes here.

• The next meeting of Marlborough Town Council will take place on Monday 12 April – click here for details.

• Work has started on repairs to Marlborough Town Hall and are expected to last until late April.

• Marlborough News offers an update on the forthcoming local elections.

• Click here for details of forthcoming Zoom talks organised by The Merchant House in Marlborough.

• Click here for two excellent lists of suppliers in and around Marlborough which are offering takeaways and also those offering deliveries or click-and-collect for a wide range of products.

• The most recent (extraordinary) meeting of Great Bedwyn Parish Council took place on 16 February and you can read the draft minutes here.

Marlborough News has a report here on Great Bedwyn School’s Easter bonnet parade.

• The Gazette reports that “fears of overflowing sewage have prompted dozens of objections against plans to build 32 houses in Aldbourne.”

• The most recent meeting of Ramsbury & Axford Parish Council took place on 15 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included:various items of correspondence; various planning applications; financial matters; footpath signs; a possible litter-picking day later in the year; congratulations to Chris Martin from the Ramsbury Fire Station for his recent award; a possible wildflower meadow; village maintenance tasks; progress on the best-kept village competition; and an anniversary presentation at the Post Office.

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

Marlborough News reports that St Michael’s School in Aldbourne is busy raising £5,000 to create a purpose-built forest school shelter and equipment to allow the children to spend more time in nature and has less than a month left in which to try to achieve its target.

• Click here for a list of current consultations being run by Wiltshire Council.

Thursday 1 April 2021

• The BBC reports that there were 135 CV-19 cases in Wiltshire in the week 22-28 March, down four on the week before. This equates to 27 cases per 100,000. The average area in England has 39 (49 last week). See also this map from Gov.uk which enables figures at a 63 more local level to be obtained.

Marlborough News reports here that Action for the River Kennet is calling for an end to sewage pollution in the River Kennet after the duration of time and frequency that untreated sewage was pumped into the river at Marlborough more than trebled last year. In this article in the Gazette, Thames Water disputes this as the number of hours of discharge (to which these figures relate) is measured, but not the volume. So, it could be less then three times as much as last year or more than three times as much. It would therefore appear that Thames Water doesn’t know how much foul water it discharges which would seem to make any estimate of the damage or assessment of the resulting pollution statistics totally meaningless. This seems odd: we have a water meter and they seem to have no trouble measuring how much water we take.

• The Rotary Club of Marlborough & District is supporting the Gavi/Covax initiative to provide Covid 19 vaccines to countries where cost is an issue. They are asking you to consider donating the cost of your vaccine to Gavi/Covax. Click here for more.

• We mentioned last week about he tribes paid to retiring Town Clerk Shelley Parker. MN has been able to catch up with her successor, Richard Spencer-Williams – click here to meet him.

• The most recent ordinary meeting of Marlborough Town Council took place on 1 March and you can read the minutes here.

• Work has started on repairs to Marlborough Town Hall and are expected to last until late April.

• Marlborough News offers an update on the forthcoming local elections, including on how you can stand.

• Click here for details of forthcoming Zoom talks organised by The Merchant House in Marlborough.

• Click here for two excellent lists of suppliers in and around Marlborough which are offering takeaways and also those offering deliveries or click-and-collect for a wide range of products.

Preshute Parish Council declared UDI from the Marlborough area neighbourhood plan last year as, according to the Gazette, “it was unable to reconcile “rural parish objectives and with the housing ambitions of the urban focused Marlborough Town Council.” It now appears that the PC is engaged on work which seems to look like an NDP of its own.

• The most recent (extraordinary) meeting of Great Bedwyn Parish Council took place on 16 February and you can read the draft minutes here.

Marlborough News has a report here on Great Bedwyn School’s Easter bonnet parade.

• The Gazette reports that “fears of overflowing sewage have prompted dozens of objections against plans to build 32 houses in Aldbourne.” The article suggests that Thames Water has no objections to the plan whereas any resident of the town will tell you that groundwater infiltration is a regular seasonal problem. Some remedial work, here and in the Lambourn Valley has recently been done. I believe that water companies base their views in planning matters on the assumption that the network is working to optimum capacity.

• The most recent meeting of Ramsbury & Axford Parish Council took place on 15 March and you can read the minutes here. Items covered included:various items of correspondence; various planning applications; financial matters; footpath signs; a possible litter-picking day later in the year; congratulations to Chris Martin from the Ramsbury Fire Station for his recent award; a possible wildflower meadow; village maintenance tasks; progress on the best-kept village competition; and an anniversary presentation at the Post Office.

• The above-mentioned minutes also contained a reference to neighbourhood development plans that confused me. One councillor “had circulated a section from a newsletter from Danny Kruger [the local MP] which mentioned Neighbourhood Plans: they must be updated every two years and update will only be accepted if there is an increase in housing provision. Since a Neighbourhood Plan takes 18 months to develop this leads to a Forth Bridge situation of continuous review which is unacceptable when Neighbourhood Plans are prepared by volunteers.” This is news to me. The Gov.uk website has a lot to say about NDPs, including this: “There is no requirement to review or update a neighbourhood plan. However, policies in a neighbourhood plan may become out of date, for example if they conflict with policies in a local plan covering the neighbourhood area that is adopted after the making of the neighbourhood plan.” I wasn’t able to get in touch with anyone involved in that meeting but spoke to another councillor elsewhere who runs an NDP steering group. He agreed with R&APC’s assessment of this, adding that such a proposal would be “bonkers” and effectively prevent any NDPs getting off the ground at all. They’re enough work as it is. (I don’t know whether Mr Kruger was perhaps referring to a time after the adoption of the government’s white paper, which many hope will not pass into law in anything like its current form. There was no mention of NDPs in that at all, however.)  I’ll try to find out more on this.

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

Marlborough Newsreports that St Michael’s School in Aldbourne is busy raising £5,000 to create a purpose-built forest school shelter and equipment to allow the children to spend more time in nature and has only a month left in which to try to achieve its target.

• Click here for a list of current consultations being run by Wiltshire Council.

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