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The summer newsletter from West Berkshire Countryside Society is available to download here:
Press Release Date: 20 March 2018
West Berkshire to hold largest ever volunteering event
More than 80 organisations will be coming together next week (Thursday 29th March) to raise awareness of volunteering in the largest-ever event of its kind in West Berkshire.
The event aims both to promote the value of volunteering and highlight the help and support available to residents from community and voluntary sector organisations across the district. It’s a great opportunity for:
The event has been organised by the Volunteer Centre West Berkshire in partnership with West Berkshire Council, the Health and Wellbeing Board and Awards for All. It takes place on Thursday 29th March, 2018 between 9.30am and 4.30pm at Newbury Racecourse.
The event will be formally opened by the Chairman of West Berkshire Council, Councillor Quentin Webb, at 11am.
Free return travel is available from Newbury town centre to the event, on local buses 9 and 123. Hail either these services from Cheap Street (outside the Kennet Centre) and travel to the Rondetto Avenue stop at Newbury Racecourse.
Speaking ahead of the event Gary Poulson, Director at the Volunteer Centre West Berkshire said: “In West Berkshire we have a thriving voluntary and community sector making a real difference in communities across the district. Through this event we want to raise awareness of the help and support all these groups are providing so that they can work more closely together and become an even more effective network of support for local people.
“This will be one of the largest volunteering events in the south of England in recent years with plenty of help and support on offer. I look forward to seeing everyone at the event next week.”
West Berkshire Council is among the organisations supporting the event. Chief Executive Nick Carter, from West Berkshire Council, added: “At the council we benefit directly from the energy, enthusiasm and hard work of volunteers in our libraries, supporting our countryside team and in many other different ways. We also recognise the value of the support of voluntary groups in supporting our residents so they don’t need to rely on council services. The work they do is very worthwhile and so we have been very happy to support this event and the voluntary sector in the district.”
To find out more about the Volunteer Centre West Berkshire visit www.volunteerwestberks.org.uk
Police helmets, Salisbury attack, policing for the Royal Wedding and more...
The March update from Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner, Matthew Barber can be found here:
Press Release from Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trusts
Community conservation award launched for 2018
Community groups with projects aimed to improve their local area for both people and wildlife have the chance to win cash to help them succeed with their vision.
The Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust are calling on all local community projects which are beneficial to local people and wildlife to apply for the bi-annual Dorothy Morley Conservation Award 2018. Applicants will have the chance to win the award with £1000 to go towards the winning project. One runner up will also receive £500.
The award scheme which has been running since 2000 is a tribute to the memory of the dedicated conservationist Dorothy Morley. The continuation of the award scheme has been made possible through the outstanding generosity of the Morley family.
Daniel Akam, Berkshire Community Wildlife Officer explains: “This is a great award scheme aimed at highlighting all the great work done by volunteers for the benefit of their local community and wildlife a lot of which many off us don’t even know is going on”
“We want any group involved in such projects to apply, no matter how big or small or where they are located within Berkshire, the key element is that it must be in a publicly accessible place. Over the years we have had some great winners which have had a really positive effect on their local green spaces and for the communities which use them”
2016 winners were the St Paul’s Churchyard Tree Succession Project in Wokingham: Andy Clark from the project commented “We are all absolutely delighted with this award. It has been a great pleasure to be involved in a real team effort, with everyone contributing their different interest and expertise.
“In securing the future of the trees in the churchyard we have a growing appreciation that not only was the site home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, but also that this existing biodiversity could be greatly enhanced with careful planning and action.”
Full details about the Dorothy Morley Conservation Awards are on the Wildlife Trust’s website www.bbowt.org.uk/dorothymorley Application packs are also available from the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust, Woolley Firs, Cherry Garden Lane, Maidenhead, SL6 3LJ.
Interested groups have 4 months to apply with the closing date for applications on 29th June, with the winners being announced in late August.
For more information: Daniel Akam, Community Wildlife Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org 01628 829574 Ext. 202
It is that time of year for pot holes everywhere. Please report problem pot holes directly to West Berkshire Council via the website
Follow the 'Report A Problem' link.
Thank you - Brightwalton Parish Council
News, events and articles from the West Berkshire Countryside Society - Spring Newsletter
Date: 08 March 2018
West Berkshire Council 2018/19 budget
West Berkshire Council passed its 2018/19 budget at its full council meeting on 1March.
This year’s budget sees investment in a number of areas including highways, education and infrastructure as well a Council Tax increase of 2.99% from West Berkshire Council, with a 3% Adult Social Care precept. The Council Tax increase will raise £2.7m and the precept will raise a further £2.7m, which will be ring-fenced to meet growing demand adult social care.
Graham Jones, Leader of West Berkshire Council, said: “To put this budget into context, over the past five years we have faced increasing demands on our core services, coupled with reduced funding. In 13/14 our grant from central government was almost £24m. That grant is now virtually zero. Taking inflation into account there has been a real terms reduction in our spending of £10.5m each year compared to 2013/14.
“Our budgets are particularly under strain as a result of the spiralling cost of adult social care, which represents almost 40% of the council’s budget. It is estimated that within 20 years there will be two adults of working age for every one retired. We must address this as caring for our most vulnerable is the most important thing we do as a council.”
Dear parish and town councils,
Sat 3rd March: Scout Association Winter Challenge event on Ridgeway
We will email you the Ridgeway events calendar for 2018 soon but, in the meantime, please note that there is a Scout Association event involving around a thousand youngsters taking place this Saturday – they will be walking along The Ridgeway from Foxhill to West Ilsley. This event takes place every year so you may be aware of it already.
I am informing local people of events on the Ridgeway so that people can plan any visits to the Trail accordingly. Events should not prevent others from using the Trail but those seeking peace and solitude may want to avoid locations and dates of big events.
I welcome feedback about any event on The Ridgeway so that I can work with event organisers to ensure the Trail is a great place for everyone. (In case of emergencies or accidents or safety hazards relating to the event, please contact the event organiser directly and urgently.)
Sorry that I did not inform you of this event sooner but hopefully the event organiser spread the word earlier.
The Ridgeway National Trail Project Officer
Press Release Date: 12 February 2018
Budget Proposals 2018/19
West Berkshire Council's Executive are being asked to recommend to Council their budget proposal for council services for 2018/19. The budget is due to be considered at the meeting of Full Council on 1 March.
The Revenue Budget proposes a Council Tax increase of 2.99% from West Berkshire Council this year, with a 3% Adult Social Care precept. The Council Tax increase will raise £2.7m and the precept will raise a further £2.7m ring-fenced for adult social care.
Adult Social Care makes up over a third of the Council’s net revenue budget. The precept will go towards funding the mounting pressures faced in the areas of learning disability, demographic increases and increased costs.
In order to arrive at a balanced budget for 2018/19, £5.2m of savings and income generation proposals have been recommended.
The £125m revenue budget is funded 75% from council tax, 18% from retained business rates and 7% from government grants and other funding such as the Better Care Fund. The Revenue Support Grant has been reduced by £24 million since 2013/14 and we will receive only £120 thousand in 2018/19.
The £191m five year capital programme helps deliver the key priorities for improvement in the Council Strategy 2015-2019 by proposing investment over the next five years in the following key areas.
£69.8 million for new school places and improvements to school buildings; £55.5m for maintenance and improvement of the district’s roads; £3.7m for maintenance and improvement of parks, open spaces sporting and cultural facilities and £0.5m for grants to support community projects.
A further £15.7m has been allocated for occupational health equipment, home adaptations and supported living for vulnerable adults and looked after children and to improve the supply of temporary accommodation for people at risk of becoming homeless.
£4 million has been earmarked to complete the delivery of superfast broadband across West Berkshire and £30m for investment in commercial property in order to generate revenue income to help meet the running costs of Council services.
Councillor Anthony Chadley, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Finance said: “West Berkshire is facing huge financial constraints, as are all councils. This means that unless changes are made to the way we deliver services and income generated from sources apart from the Government Grant, more services will be impacted.
"Your council is adapting during the current financial challenges to help ensure that West Berkshire continues to be a great place in which to live and work.”
View the proposals.
The Thames Valley Police – January Newsletter can be found here:
ATTENTION ALL DOG OWNERS
The grass field which belongs to Malthouse Farm and lies to its immediate south will in a few days be home to 50 sheep.
Due to our wet summer, the excessive grass growth requires grazing down. This will ensure a fresh, young, healthy sward for this year’s hay crop.
Consequently, we are intending to graze the field in blocks, bound by a temporary electric fence. This will minimise poaching of the grass and facilitate efficient sheep management.
During this rotational grazing period which will last several weeks, we ask for the co-operation of all users of the footpath which crosses this field.
Most importantly, dogs must be kept on leads at all times. The ewes are pregnant, so must not be worried by dogs. The temporary fences WILL be electrified and WILL give any errant pets / children a nasty shock!
Please look out for the signs on the footpath gate.
Thanking you in advance.
Dates for the Christmas Rubbish & Recycling collections can be found here
The West Berkshire Countryside Society Winter Newsletter can be found here:
Rural crime update from Assistant Chief Constable Nikki Ross
Reports of rural crime in the Thames Valley have increased by five percent between October 2016 and September 2017.
I would like to reassure members of our rural communities of my commitment to investigating reports of rural crime. We rely on information from our local communities and take such reports very seriously. Incidents are robustly investigated by our local policing teams who have dedicated Rural Crime and Wildlife Officers based across the Thames Valley.
Rural crime can take many different forms including burglary, robbery, theft, criminal damage, fly tipping, poaching and hare coursing. We are continuing to work with local residents, businesses and partners to raise awareness of crime prevention techniques while developing problem solving solutions to tackle rural crime.
There are often fewer witnesses to rural crimes and greater opportunities for criminals to target isolated properties and businesses. The impact of these crimes can also be greater, with people feeling more vulnerable due to their remote location.
You can reduce the risk of becoming a victim of rural crime by taking a few simple steps including:
If you become a victim of rural crime or suspect that a crime has taken place, you should always report it to police by calling the non-emergency number, 101. If an incident is in progress, or there is an immediate threat to life, you should call 999.
You can receive the latest rural crime news from Thames Valley Police and their partners directly to your phone or inbox by signing up to CountryWatch at: http://www.thamesvalleycountrywatch.co.uk/
West Berkshire Council has begun a consultation on proposals affecting some frontline services as it prepares to set its budget for 2018/19.
Next year West Berkshire Council will have around £123m to spend on services in communities across the district. However, an increasing demand for these services and a reduction in central government funding means the council will have to find savings of around £10m in order to deliver a balanced budget.
The council began preparing the budget earlier this year and has worked hard to minimise the impact on frontline services. Most of the savings will be found through the council becoming even more efficient, generating additional income and through a possible increase in Council Tax. However, around £1m will impact on services delivered in communities across the district with proposals which include:
Speaking ahead of the consultation Councillor Graham Jones, Leader of West Berkshire Council, said: "Every year our communities are asking more from the services we provide but we are receiving less money to provide those services. We have looked first at how the council can work differently by becoming more efficient and by working more closely with other local authorities and with our communities. Our priority has been to protect those services which support the most vulnerable people in our communities but it's inevitable that there will be an impact on some other services. Although we have set out our proposals for next year it's important we give communities the chance to tell us how they will be impacted and what might be done to alleviate the impact of any decisions before we decide how to proceed."
How local authority funding is changing
Over the past eight years West Berkshire Council has had to find savings worth £55m while at the same time responding to an increase in demand for its services. This is because of a reduction in funding from central government which has seen the Revenue Support Grant (worth £33.7m to the council in 2011/12) fall to just £100,000 in 2018/19.
Read our infographic to see how West Berkshire Council is funded and how money is spent.
In finding the savings for 2018/19 the council has sought to protect frontline services as far as possible. This has primarily focused on becoming an even more efficient council, which over the last twelve months has included:
RAF Welford has a tanoy system known as "Giant Voice", which is designed to get a message across the base to all personnel if an emergency situation arose.
The Giant Voice has recently been upgraded, and we are planning to test out the new system on Wednesday 1 November at 12:00 midday. The test will last anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour. Depending on the wind direction and weather during this time you may hear various tones and alerts that we are required to validate during the calibration phase of the new system install. These noises should cause no concern for alarm.
Once the new system is successfully tested, it is proposed that the National anthems of the UK and USA are played at the end of each working week. This is traditional across USAF bases, and national anthems are played at other USAF bases in the UK at the end of each working day. The weekly anthems will be played on a Thursday or Friday afternoon, at either 4:00pm or 5:00pm.
Please can you pass on this message to local residents, to prepare them both for the system testing on Wednesday and the ongoing playing of the national anthems. Thank you - RAF Welford
A summary version of the new Police & Crime plan 2017 for the Thames Valley has now been published detailing the five strategic priorities for policing and crime for the next five years. The summary can be downloaded below:
Are you interested in badgers?
Would you like to join a local badger group to learn more about and help these fascinating animals?
We are a friendly local group who arrange walks, talks and sett surveys and are looking to expand membership in the area.
If you would like to join us or want to find out more, please email us at:-email@example.com
or call us on 0709 2234377
or visit our website www.binfieldbadgers.org.uk
Binfield Badger Group
Protecting badgers in BerkshireCharity Number: 1075886
Here is the latest update from the West Berkshire countryside Society
The following has come from the Neighbourhood Watch Team appealing for more information:
Between 8pm 9/9 and 9am 10/9 offender(s) drove across fields in Winterbourne causing damage to unharvested crops.
If anyone has information about this incident please contact the 24 hour Police Enquiry Centre on 101 (Ref 43170268671 )
West Berkshire Neighbourhood Watch Meeting 19th September - Open to All
This is a reminder on behalf of Angela Money BEM, Thames Valley Neighbourhood Watch Committee Member representing West Berkshire.
A Neighbourhood Watch meeting is being held in Hungerford Town Hall on Tuesday 19 September 2017 from 7.00 pm – 9.00 pm and I will be speaking about Neighbourhood Watch and the benefits of having a scheme in your road, advise on crime prevention and how we can help the Police.
Inspector Chris Ward and Sergeant Alan Hawkett will also speak at this meeting and we will be available to answer any questions. Also attending will be the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Barber, Hungerford’s Deputy Mayor Helen Simpson and Rev Mike Saunders.
If you have any queries, Angela can be contacted via her e-mail address:
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning Newbury 40866.
Anyone is welcome to attend this meeting, so please come along and bring any neighbours or friends.
Message sent by
Tracie Stone (Police, Neighbourhood policing admin, West Berks)
The Downland Volunteer group was found in 1986 and offers community transport for doctors, hospital, dentist appointments along with visits to the shops. They always need more volunteers, if you would be interested in helping and can spare some time please contact them on 01635 578394 or via the website www.downlandvolgroup.org
ELECTORAL REVIEW OF WEST BERKSHIRE: FURTHER WARDING ARRANGEMENTS
The Commission is carrying out a review to deliver electoral equality for voters across West Berkshire Council because of a request from the Council.
We wrote to you on 24 January 2017 inviting your views on warding patterns in West Berkshire. In response to correspondence received during that stage of consultation, we have decided to re-examine the electorate forecast figures provided by West Berkshire Council. The Commission relies on 5 year forecasts so that our proposals reflect future development and not just the existing electorate. It is important that we are satisfied with these figures. The Commission has worked alongside West Berkshire Council to produce revised forecast figures for 2023. We believe that these updated figures are more likely to reflect the electorate by that time. Because these figures are, in some areas, significantly different to those we originally published in January 2017, we are now conducting an additional month-long consultation on warding patterns.
We are therefore writing to you again as well as everybody who responded to the previous consultation, offering the opportunity to submit new or amended proposals for future ward boundaries based on the new figures. When drawing up our draft recommendations we will consider all the submissions we received at the previous stage of consultation and those received in this new consultation.
What is an electoral review?
The electoral review will recommend new electoral arrangements for West Berkshire Council. It will propose:
For parishes, the review can recommend changes to the electoral arrangements of parish and town councils i.e. the number, names and boundaries of parish wards and the number of parish councillors for each parish ward. However, this is only in circumstances where the parished area is to be divided between wards. Even in these circumstances, the Commission will not normally recommend any change to the number of councillors to be elected to a parish or town council. The Commission has no power to consider changes to the external boundaries of a parish or the creation of new parishes.
13 June 2017 is the start of a four-week public consultation during which the Commission is inviting proposals for new warding arrangements based on updated electoral forecasts. The consultation will close on 10 July 2017. After considering all representations made during this consultation and those received at the previous stage, the Commission intends to publish draft recommendations in August 2017. There will then be a further period of consultation on the draft recommendations. Final recommendations are expected to be published in January 2018. The new electoral arrangements will come into effect at the local elections in 2019.
How to get involved?
This is a public consultation and we welcome views from individuals and organisations across West Berkshire on where they think new ward patterns should be drawn.
The Commission is recommending that 42 councillors should be elected to West Berkshire Council in the future. It is now inviting proposals to help it draw up a pattern of wards to accommodate 42 councillors.
In drawing up a pattern of electoral wards, the Commission must balance three criteria, which are set out in law, namely:
· To deliver electoral equality where each councillor represents roughly the same number of electors as others across West Berkshire.
· That the pattern of wards should, as far as possible, reflect the interests and identities of local communities.
· That the electoral arrangements should provide for effective and convenient local government.
We are asking local people and organisations for their views as to the best pattern of wards for West Berkshire which meet the requirements set out above.
The Commission will treat all submissions equally and will judge each case on its merits and against the statutory criteria. If you wish to put forward a view, we would also urge you to ensure that evidence supports your submission. For example, if you wish to argue that two parishes should be included in the same electoral ward, make sure you tell the Commission why they should be together, providing evidence about community facilities, ties, organisations, and amenities, rather than simply asserting that they belong together.
There is plenty more advice on our website about how you can get involved in the consultation and put your views forward. Log on to www.lgbce.org.uk to find out more. The website includes the technical guidance that explains the process and our policies as well as guidance on how to take part in each part of the process. We have set up a page on our site which is dedicated to the review of West Berkshire where you can find all the relevant information.
You can also access interactive maps of the current ward boundaries across West Berkshire on our specialist consultation portal. The portal also allows you to draw your own boundaries, mark areas of interest on the map and upload documents directly to the site. Log on to https://consultation.lgbce.org.uk to access the portal or find it via our main website.
Get in touch
We encourage as many people and organisations as possible to get involved with the consultation and we encourage local organisations and parish councils to engage their local networks and communities in the review.
View interactive maps of the West Berkshire, draw your own boundaries, and have your say at our specialist consultation portal at: https://consultation.lgbce.org.uk.
Find out more about the review at: www.lgbce.org.uk.
Email your views to: email@example.com.
Follow us on Twitter at: @lgbce.
Write to: Review Officer (West Berkshire)
Local Government Boundary Commission for England
14th Floor Millbank Tower
This phase of consultation closes on 10 July 2017. We will write to you again when we open our consultation on draft recommendations.
Please note that the interests of transparency, copies of the all representations we receive during this review will be placed on our website. We remove any personal identifying information such as signatures and private residential addresses prior to placing any submissions in the public domain.
0330 500 1525
This is written by the Parish Clerk with input from the village.
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