Welcome to Brightwalton News
If you have some news to share with us, then either
post it on Facebook, drop us an email or complete the form on the homepage.
post it on Facebook, drop us an email or complete the form on the homepage.
The August update from the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley Police, Mathew Barber can be viewed here
The update includes news on the Force Open Day, The Herbert Protocol, Rural Crime Online Reporting, and the Importance of Local Policing.
Welcome to the Ridgeway National Trail summer newsletter –
We hope that you enjoy the read – and if you’d like to contribute to the next newsletter, please contact the team at email@example.com
National Trails Team
West Berkshire Council has advised that the Waste Collections will start an hour earlier at 6am
Recycling and Rubbish collections will start at 6am from Wednesday 25 July until the end of the week.
This is due to the very hot weather and so the collection crews can avoid being out in the heat during the hottest part of the day.
Please put your bins out before 6am and let your neighbours, friends and family know that we’ll be collecting earlier.
West Berkshire Council
Address to Brightwalton Parish Council Assembly – July 2018 – Clive Hooker
Thank you for inviting me to address your Parish Assembly to report on the activities and achievements of West Berkshire Council.
The government continues to concentrate on reducing the country's debt. In order to help achieve this, Councils, the Fire Service and Police have had funding reductions. Whilst there is no doubt that there was quite a lot of room for economies, there is really little or no scope for further economies without impacting the services received.
So finance has again been a severe problem with the further reduction by the Government of the Revenue Support Grant to near zero and the cap on any increase in the Council Tax. Social services and in particular the needs of an increasing elderly population are straining resources.
Educational achievements are improving.
There have been extensions to schools and new schools planned to cope with the rising number of children.
The local plan is being rolled forward together with a transport plan to take them up to 2036.
The roads are in good shape although the recent snow and ice has caused some damage
In line with government policy the reduction in the Revenue Support Grant continued with a reduction from £34M in 2013/14 to £3.7M this year. Next year, 2018/19, it will effectively be zero. With the increasing pressure on social services caused by the increase in longevity of the population, the health services keeping us alive and the population increase, pressure on expenditure has increased. There has also been pressure from inflation and pay increases. However, new housing has increased the revenue from the Council Tax. Thus the reductions in expenditure and seeking new sources of income have continued. The changes have included staff reductions, reductions in grants to local charities and good causes, finding cheaper ways of providing services, sharing services with other councils (for example trading standards) and investing in property. The reduction in staff has led to some non-essential services being severely stretched – for example planning enforcement. A council can borrow money very cheaply, so in common with many other councils, West Berkshire is borrowing to buy commercial properties as a way of generating income. This should yield about £500K per year.
To balance the books the Council raised the Council Tax in 2017 – 18 by 4.99%.
3% of this was dedicated to social services. This year, 2018 - 19 it raised it by 5.99% again with 3% for social services. From time to time the government has come up with grants for special purposes, recently one for road maintenance.
The Council has joined a government scheme for the retention of the business rate. This in reality is the forthcoming increase in the business rate. 70% of this will go to the Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership to fund large infrastructure projects across the county and 30% will come to the Council and this is estimated to be £1.6M. This is most welcome and led to the increase of the grant to the Citizens Advice Bureau from £40K to £80K and that together with a grant from the Greenham Trust of £80k has preserved this vital service. CAB will therefore now receive a total of £160,000, which is a considerable increase from the £40,000 available following the budget review.
With the restrictions on funding the Council is concentrating on helping communities to help themselves by devolution. Much of this work has been with parish and town councils.
An example of this is the transfer of the Hungerford library building to the town council, where in addition to providing a library, it is used by the local community led by the Friends of Hungerford Library. In Thatcham the play areas are being transferred to the town council.
Incidentally all the libraries apart from Wash Common are open. In many cases the local communities have put in a lot of voluntary effort and grants from parish councils. A group has been set up to try and reopen the Wash Common Library which shows some sign of success.
The numbers of volunteers at libraries, Shaw House, Newbury Town Museum, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Program and other areas has risen from about 200 to over 500. As a by-product, many people get a lot of enjoyment and fulfilment from volunteering.
The Civil Contingencies Team now have a Vulnerable People Plan to help identify vulnerable people if there is a major incident.
Locally the ‘kitchen garden’ at Shaw House is being developed to allow and encourage local residents to enjoy healthy eating.
The Safeguarding of Children and Vulnerable Adults has been simplified with a single telephone number for help. There was an encouraging Ofsted inspection that there had been a lot of progress in working with partner organisations to improve the safeguarding of children. The priority is to ensure a quick and appropriate response.
A previous Care Quality Commission inspection had found the Willows Edge adult social care home as ‘inadequate’ a recent inspection now shows it to be ‘good’.
There has been a problem with recruiting and retaining social workers with 50% vacancies. This caused a lot of expense in employing agency staff. This has now improved to a 10% vacancy rate.
The Council’s priority is to improve educational attainment.
Currently, the schools judged by Ofsted to be at least ‘good’ has risen to 95%. The remaining four schools are improving. Some of the schools are Academies and therefore not under the Council’s control. Further capacity has been and will be needed to meet the growing population.
There has been a good improvement in attainment of learning of disadvantaged pupils and this is an area of priority for the Council.
£4.8M has been spent on school improvements. At Fir Tree Primary School additional places for Autistic children have been provided. At Speenhamland School there are 60 new places for reception children. A new primary school will be built at Highwood Copse and next year there is hope that the Theale primary school will be replaced. Also a new school is expected as part of the North Newbury development.
About £6M has been spent on the District’s roads with a further £6M next year. About 100 roads were resurfaced. The roads are in good condition although the recent snow caused quite a lot of damage that is taking time to repair.
A new road from the A339 into the London Road Estate had been built in preparation for the Estate’s redevelopment. Next year a link should be provided from the A339 into the expected Sandleford development. These were financed from the Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
17 more flood alleviation schemes have been completed with the remaining work being of a more minor nature.
95% of Berkshire now enjoys super-fast broadband with 99% still being the target.
WBC will charge an annual subscription (yet to be confirmed of £50 per household) for the collection of garden waste.
Residents will be able to opt in or out to receive the service.
Subscribers will continue to use the green bin and will receive a bin sticker to show that the service for the collection of garden waste has been paid for. The green bin can be put out with the recycling every fortnight.
Subscribers will also be able to put food waste in the green bin for recycling.
Non-subscribers will stop receiving a garden waste collection. However, household food waste may be put in the green bins for collection every fortnight.
Residents will be able to request additional bins as part of this subscription service and additional charges will apply.
There will be no service concessions.
It is estimated this proposal will create an income of up to £600,000 this year and £900,000 every year thereafter. This additional income will assist in paying for the rubbish and recycling collection service.
The Council believes in being a plan led according to the Council’s Development Plan Document. To this end, the plan takes us up to 2026 and defines where development should take place and what polices are required to control that development. Several developers have tried to claim in appeals with Her Majesty’s Inspectors that we do not have a 5 year land supply for housing but, in all but one case, the Council has won the appeal. There is a rule that 30% of dwellings on a brown field site and 40% on a greenfield site should be affordable. Regretfully government decided that if developers could claim that proving the affordable housing would make a development unviable they could omit it. There is now an industry exploiting this loop hole and therefore the provision of affordable housing is disappointing. The expected delivery was 1000 units by 2020 that now looks more like 685. As an aside, government edicts are littered with “unintended consequences” with viability being one, and the conversion of offices to housing without the need for permission another.
Disappointingly the Sandleford development still does not have planning permission following two refused planning applications due to disagreements between the two developers and the Council insisting that it should be done according to the local plan. A third planning application has recently been submitted, which will be considered by Officers shortly. Should the disagreement continue after the third application has been submitted, the Council will seriously consider a compulsory purchase of the site.
It was a pleasure to see a start being made on the Stirling Cables site. It is heavily contaminated and it will take some time to clear this prior to development.
Plans for the redevelopment of the site between Market Street and the railway station are in place and the first visible sign of this will be the move of the bus station to the Wharf later this year.
There is now a proposal for a very large development at Grazley on the West Berkshire Wokingham border. This straddles the two districts. If this goes ahead, it will take a lot of the development pressure in the future.
All the Berkshire councils are rolling forward their local plans and transport plans to 2036. The policies have just completed consultation. There has been a call for sites that has ended and the results are being analysed and will go out to consultation in a few months, after which a decision will be taken as to where development will take place. It is understood that the Christmas Tree Field and land north of Vodafone are being put forward.
During the past year my Council responsibilities have included:-
Chairman for the Western Area Planning Committee
Deputy Portfolio Holder for Planning
Member of the District Planning Committee
Member of the Planning Advisory Group
Member of the Development Industry Forum
Outside duties include:-
Trustee of the Saunders Wynn and Coventry Trust at Chaddleworth
I have attended most of the West Ilsley, East Ilsley, Beedon, Brightwalton, Chaddleworth, Leckhampstead Parish Council meetings and the Farnborough Parish assemblies.
District Councillor for Downlands Ward
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
This is written by the Parish Clerk with input from the village.
Click here to find out more about the planning process and to view all the current planning applications in Brightwalton.
Newcomers to the village
Register your email with us from the homepage so we can get in contact with you directly for any important or specific village matters.