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Community Information  

 

£8.6 million upgrade for Theale Railway Station

West Berkshire Council and Great Western Railway (GWR) are to receive funding from the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (TVB LEP) for additional investment in Theale Railway Station.

The £8.6 million upgrade is planned to start within the next two years and will see Theale Station benefit from a new pedestrian bridge and lifts, a cycle hub, electric vehicle charging points and a significant number of additional car parking spaces.

It will be funded with the recently announced £4m through the LEP’s investment of Local Growth Funds; £4m from Network Rail; £450,000 from West Berkshire Council specifically ringfenced for Theale station plus a further £20,000 from West Berkshire Council via other successful funding bids.

The plans will also see the new ticket office finally brought into use and deliver new waiting shelters for passengers. Initial plans also include taking the opportunity to generate energy through the installation of solar panels. GWR estimate 114 panels would enable the station to become carbon neutral from an electricity perspective.

Last May, the Council joined with GWR and submitted an outline proposal for additional investment at Theale Station. The LEP were going through a process of prioritising schemes to receive funding from the Local Growth Deal. The scheme scored well, but came below the line for imminent funding.

However, funding for the scheme has been reallocated to the next worthy schemes on the list because an MRT scheme Reading was promoting is not now able to be delivered in the planned timescales, therefore West Berkshire was asked to progress their ideas for Theale Station and develop a full business case.

There is confidence that the Theale Station upgrade will lead to more jobs in the area as businesses are drawn to local premises such as in Arlington Business Park due to a much improved station with smart, modern facilities. The increased capacity and creation of a quality transport hub will also help to support new homes in the area. The outline proposal states that “Good quality transport provision will be a significant factor in delivering the sustainable development of additional houses and the creation of new jobs.”

Jeanette Clifford, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for highways and Transport said: “We are delighted that this opportunity has opened up and that we are in a position to be able to take it forward. It will have a powerful effect on the station, enabling it to become a significant interchange and Park & Rail site and also the area around it. This investment will help to provide the long term benefits of more jobs and housing which are vital to grow and to future proof economic prosperity.”

Work will need to start on the Theale Station project by March 2021 as a condition of this funding.

 

Council Strategy Consultation now live

Residents are invited to give their views on a new four-year strategy for West Berkshire Council (WBC). A short survey has been launched and takes only a few minutes to complete.

The Council Strategy explains what WBC plan to prioritise and improve over a four year period. It also sets out how WBC aim to achieve these improvements, while continuing to deliver the services that residents expect them to provide, such as emptying the bins, fixing potholes, safeguarding vulnerable children, and providing care for older people.

The Strategy is produced every four years to align with the electoral cycle, and refreshed every other year. The current Strategy was adopted in 2015, so a new one is needed to cover the period 2019-2023.

Graham Jones, Leader of West Berkshire Council said: “It is only by listening to our residents and taking their views on board that we are able to develop an effective Strategy which is focused on the correct priorities. There is a short survey that we need local people to complete so that we can finalise the Strategy.”

Take part in the survey at www.westberks.gov.uk/draftcouncilstrategy by midnight on 24 March 2019.

 

Don't fall for Valentine’s Day Scams

Online romance scams in RG postcodes are increasing with 29 reported cases from January to December last year. The victims’ collective total loss was £215,546.

The Public Protection Partnership (PPP) works with Citizens Advice in communities across West Berkshire, Wokingham Borough and Bracknell Forest, to raise the awareness of scams like these. Their Trading Standards service is highlighting the following scams clues to look out for this Valentine’s Day:

Clue 1 Scammers typically create a fake online profile designed to lure their victims in. Clues for spotting a fake profile include:

  • their picture does not match their personal profile description
  • the partner they are looking for is much older than them
  • their personal messages do not reflect their profile educational achievements
  • the type of relationship they are looking for is wide and varied

Clue 2 The scammer will typically express strong emotions for the victim in a relatively short period of time and will suggest the relationship is moved away from the website to a more private channel, such as phone, email or instant messaging. The scammer will also go to great lengths to gain the victim’s interest and trust, showering them with loving words, sharing ‘personal information’ and even sending them gifts.

Clue 3 Once the scammer has gained their victim’s trust they will ask the victim for money, gifts and even their bank and credit card details. The scammer will claim that they need money for any of the following:

  • an ill relative
  • an operation for themselves
  • they have been mugged and need cash to tide them over
  • a business failure
  • to visit the victim but need help with the fare

Cllr Iain McCracken, Chairman of the Joint Public Protection Committee, explained: “Valentine’s Day is a good opportunity to raise awareness and take a stand against the crimes and predatory practices which affect thousands of people. Scammers are increasingly taking advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media, by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to persuade their victim to provide money, gifts or personal details, often at great cost, both financial and emotional, to their victims.”

The Citizens Advice encourages members of the public who have been a victim of a romance scam, or are concerned about someone you feel may be a victim of a scam, especially a vulnerable person, to contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on to 03454 04 05 06 at or the PPP Trading Standards service on 01635 519930 or at tsadvice@westberks.gov.uk.

 

Neighbourhood Alert – COURIER FRAUD

Elderly and vulnerable residents in West Berkshire Police Area have been targeted by courier fraudsters.

Courier fraudsters phone and trick victims into handing over their bank cards and associated PIN (number) to a courier that arrives at their home.

Thames Valley Police is calling on friends and family to help tackle the problem by talking to elderly or vulnerable friends and relatives.

The talk should cover:

  • Never deal with cold callers on the phone or in person, no matter how polite or friendly they are. Saying "No thank you" and shutting the door or hanging up the phone is not rude.
  • Your bank, the police or anyone legitimate will never send a courier to your home to collect your bank cards, your money and they will never ask for your PIN number. Close the door, lock it and call 101 to speak to the police.
  • Keep a mobile phone next to your landline, and if you want to make a phone call, immediately after hanging up the landline, always use the other phone.
  • If you do hand over your bank details or card, don't panic. Call your bank immediately using another phone, such as a mobile phone, explain what's happened and cancel your cards.
  • Legitimate callers will never try to rush you, scare you, or force you into anything. If you feel scared or pressured at any point, hang up or shut the door and tell someone you trust, what's happened.

There are many variations of the Courier Scam, but it usually follows this method:

  • A fraudster will cold call the victim on a landline, often claiming to be from the victim's bank, the police, or to be a fraud investigator.
  • The fraudster states their systems have spotted a fraudulent payment in the victim's account, or that they need the victim's help in investigating fraudulent activity at the bank.
  • In order to reassure the victim that they are genuine they suggest that the victim hangs up and rings the bank/ police back straight away. However, they don't Hang up at their end to disconnect the call from the landline so even when the genuine bank/ police number is dialled the victim is still talking to the fraudster.

Finally, the fraudsters will send a courier to collect the card and PIN, cash or in some cases take the victim to a bank to withdraw cash.

If you receive this type of call, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via their website. In an emergency dial 999.

 

 

GET YOUR TICKETS FOR THE NEW WEST BERKSHIRE LOTTERY!

Tickets for the new West Berkshire Lottery are now on sale! From every ticket sold 60% goes to good causes in the area – and you could win prizes up to £25,000. There are more than 35 good causes have signed up - which will you choose to support? Buy tickets and find out more at www.westberkshirelottery.co.uk


 

CANCELLED - CARRIAGEWAY RESURFACING WORKS ON THE STREET AND STATION ROAD 

Due to the adverse weather conditions predicted overnight (31st January), the roadworks due to be carried out along The Street and Station Road tonight have been cancelled.  West Berkshire Council will reschedule and advise nearer the time.  

 

WEST BERKSHIRE LIBRARY – FINE AMNESTY

West Berkshire libraries is having a fines amnesty on the 22nd and 23rd February. There will be no late fees to pay on any items returned to any West Berkshire library on these dates.

 

Carriageway resurfacing on Burghfield Road (Church Lane to Deans Copse Road), Burghfield

This work is planned to start on Monday 04 February 2019 and take up to ten (10) working days to complete.

The work will be done using a road closure and signed diversion between the hours of 9:30 am to 4:00 pm Monday to Friday.

At times the only access will be for emergency vehicles on a blue light response.

 

 

HERE4ME – Independent Visitor, Mentoring & Advocacy Scheme

Could you make a positive difference to a young person?

The Action for Children Here4me project is looking to recruit volunteer Independent Visitors and Advocates to support children in care and on the edge of care. They are looking for people who are genuinely interested in the welfare of children, who will focus on meeting their needs and who can develop a good working relationship with them. Full training is given for both roles and all volunteers will be required to undertake an enhanced DBS check.

Please note that the minimum age for a volunteer is 21.

Action for Children is a leading children’s charity which has been supporting vulnerable children and young people for over 130 years. They are based in Thatcham and provide, manage and train Independent Visitors, Mentors and Advocates throughout Berkshire and Bracknell Forest.

Information on what being an Independent Visitor, or Advocate is all about is available on the attached leaflet.

If you are interested in training to becoming an Independent Visitor, Mentor or Advocate, please complete the online application form and call them on 01635 873739 or email here4me@actionforchildren.org.uk for more information.

 

WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGE AGENTS

The Community Connectors – do you need help finding the right information and advice? Do you, or someone you know, have problems that are affecting health, well-being or an ability to remain independent?

This service is free of charge and a trained and trusted Volunteer Village Agent will call and provide face to face support. They have the time and the knowledge to be able to solve some of life’s problems and assist you to get the hard to find help.

Tel: 01635 581 001

Email: gillian@vcwb.org.uk

www.villageagentsweb.org.uk 

 

BOARD GAMES FOR CHILDREN

(Aged 8 and above)

Pop into Mortimer Library any Friday afternoon between 3.45pm and 5.45pm for this free session open to all children aged 8+.

For further details, contact the library on 0118 933 2882 or via mortimerlibrary@westberks.gov.uk

 


 

DOLLY PARTON IMAGINATION LIBRARY COMES TO WEST BERKSHIRE

West Berkshire's Family Hubs are being supported by Greenham Common Trust and Sovereign Housing to bring the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to eligible children in West Berkshire.

It's a free book gifting organisation devoted to inspiring a love of reading in the hearts of children. Each month, enrolled children (from birth to age five) receive a high quality, age appropriate book in the post, free of charge.

Book selections in the UK include popular characters such as Peppa Pig and beloved authors and illustrators including Lynley Dodd. The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) assists in the conversion of select titles to braille and audio books for children who are blind or partially sighted.

Rick Jones, West Berkshire's Executive Member for Culture and Leisure said: "We are delighted to bring this brilliant service to West Berkshire and very grateful for GCT and Sovereign for their help in making this happen. There are few things that offer so many benefits and so much enjoyment to children as reading, but finance can sometimes be a barrier to getting them started. The Imagination Library ensures that as many children as possible in West Berkshire will be given the opportunity to begin their lifelong journey of enjoying books."

Check your eligibility and apply online now!  https://imaginationlibrary.com/uk/affiliate/WBKSENEWBURY/

 


 

DON’T LET YOUR HEDGE BE A HAZARD

Overgrown hedges next to footpaths and roads pose a real hazard to people who are disabled or who are visually impaired and young children or other pedestrians who risk injury or damage to their faces or clothing from thorns and branches. If the pavement (footway) is narrow or the obstruction is excessive, they may be forced into the road. This is particularly dangerous for wheelchair users or for people pushing a pram or buggy.

On junctions and bends overgrown hedges may obstruct sight lines and the clear view of motorists. They may also obscure traffic signs or streetlights, increasing the risk of accidents.

It is an offence under the Highways Act 1980 to allow trees, hedges, shrubs and so on to obstruct the highway.

· Cut back your hedges and trees etc to within your boundary to or above the heights previously specified.

· Regularly maintain them so they do not become an obstruction.

· Seek advice if you have any doubts.

West Berkshire Council are happy to discuss any problems with you. Please telephone Customer Services on: 01635 519080

Don't let your hedge be a hazard leaflet 

 

COMMUNITY CHAMPION AWARD WINNERS

The winners of this year's Community Champion Awards have been announced and the awards were presented on Thursday, 6 December.

The four awards recognise the valuable contribution local residents make to West Berkshire.

Pat Eastop Junior Citizen Award

Winner: Kieren Nailer.

Kieren has been helping at Partners for Active Leisure Service (West Berkshire) for over a year, completing over 100 hours of service in that time.

Highly Commended: Emily Curtis for her hard work looking after her local environment.

Volunteer of the Year Award

Winner: Janet Wood.

Janet has been heavily involved with three local community groups, the Brownies, St Mary's Church Shaw and the Shaw-Cum-Donnington Village Hall.

Highly Commended: Sue Bennett who works at the front line of West Berkshire's local NHS community service.

Community Group of the Year

Joint winners: Burghfield Santas and Pangbourne Dementia Friends.

The Burghfield Santas organise numerous fund-raising events in the community and Pangbourne Dementia Friends actively facilitate social interaction for older people living in our communities.

Highly Commended: Kennet District Scout Council and the Newbury Street Pastors.

The Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner: Graham Reeves.

Graham has provided 30 years of devoted service providing transport for the elderly and disabled and has dedicated the last thirty years to the running of the Carebus.

Again, the judges were highly impressed with the nominations and gave three Highly Commended awards: Helen Relf, Mike Hart, and Graham Plank who have all contributed to the support of communities within West Berkshire.

Award winners' details will also be recorded in an exclusive book called the "Roll of Civic Award".

West Berkshire Council reported that the number and standard of nominations for 2018 were outstanding. For information on this year's criteria and winners visit www.westberks.gov.uk/communitychampion .

 

UPSTREAM - ISSUE 86

Please find the link here to the Winter issue of ‘Upstream’, the West Berkshire Countryside Society newsletter.

 

RHYMETIME FOR THE UNDER 3s

Rhymetime for under 3s takes place every Tuesday during term time at Mortimer Library from 2.30pm to 2.50pm

To see the West Berkshire Library calendar for this event – as well as Christmas events over the next three weeks - please go to http://info.westberks.gov.uk/35205

For more information call 0118 933 2882 or email mortimerlibrary@westberks.gov.uk

 

WHY NOT JOIN THE MORTIMER LIBRARY BOOK GROUP OR SET UP YOUR OWN?

Have you ever read a brilliant book and wanted to talk with others who have read it too?

Loved it or loathed it – why not get together with others and share your views.

Book groups are a great way to get to know people and make new friends and to discover new books that you’d never have thought to read. It doesn’t matter if you don’t manage to finish the book, just come along and hear what others have to say.

Join one of West Berkshire Library Book Groups or set up your own and borrow a book group set of books from West Berkshire Libraries for a small annual subscription charge from our collection of 200 titles.

For more information: check out the website www.westberks.gov.uk/bookgroups or contact the library in Mortimer ((0118) 9332882 http://info.westberks.gov.uk/article/35192


THE QUEEN'S COMMONWEALTH CANOPY

To mark Her Majesty's lifetime of service to the Commonwealth, 50,000 trees are being planted across the UK to form part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. The Canopy represents both Her Majesty’s deeply held commitment to the Commonwealth and her love of trees.

As part of this initiative, the Parish of Stratfield-Mortimer received two trees, a rowan and a silver birch. The planting ceremony took place on The Fairground at 12.30pm on Friday 23rd November with The Rt Hon Sir John Redwood MP formally planting the trees between the two ponds.

For more information about the initiative and its objectives, please go to the link: https://queenscommonwealthcanopy.org/



WEST BERKSHIRE DISTRICT COUNCIL REPORT

Please find attached the West Berkshire District Councillors’ Report for the period up to 15 November 2018. Topics covered include the Budget Proposals, West Berkshire Local Plan Review to 2036, Winter Service Plan, plastic recycling and other local matters in and around Mortimer.

 

MORTIMER LIBRARY BOOK GROUP

Did you know that book groups meet on the first Monday of every month between 2pm and 3pm, and on the first Tuesday of each month between 10am and 11am, in Mortimer Library, 27 Victoria Road?

If you are interested and would like to join the book group, please do pop along to the Library to find out more.

 

LOST YOUR LIBRARY CARD? NO WORRIES!

Between now and the end of December you can get a replacement for free!

Pick it up from Mortimer Library and at the same time see what else is going on – Rhyme Time; Craft and Chatter; children’s craft sessions; book groups; photocopying; internet access; films and magazines to borrow; newspapers to read; information galore; battery recycling; Foodbank drop off and so much more!

Mortimer Library is open at the following times:
Monday 1pm to 5pm
Tuesday 9:30am to 5pm
Friday 1pm to 6pm
Saturday 10am to 12:30pm
Excluding Bank Holidays

 

GET IN TO TENNIS

From now until the end of March, play tennis for free:

Monday, 10.00-11.00 a.m. Over 55’s

Monday, 11.00-12.00 p.m. Adults of all abilities

To find out more: info@mortimertennisclub.co.uk or just turn up on the day.

 


REMOVAL OF UNWANTED GREEN BINS

West Berkshire Council will be arranging collection of unwanted green bins over the next few months. 

Residents who do not wish to subscribe to the garden waste service or use their green bin to recycle food waste can request a collection online to have their green bin removed from their property

We would encourage residents to use their green bin to recycle food waste or to use them for something other than garden waste. Some residents have chosen to use them for extra storage, or to convert them into a water butt, wormery or composter.

Request for a green bin to be collected at www.westberks.gov.uk/unwantedgreenbin

 

BORROWBOX 

BorrowBox App allows you to borrow and read eBooks, eAudiobooks and eMagazines from West Berkshire Libraries directly from your device. 

The App is available for Android (Google Play), iOS Apple (App Store) and Kindle (Amazon).

More information on the Digital eBook services and links to the App downloads at West Berkshire libraries is here.  (http://info.westberks.gov.uk/article/35201)

 

SATURDAY MORNING CHILDREN’S CRAFTS

West Berkshire Libraries and Made in Mortimer run a Children’s Craft morning in Mortimer Library every second Saturday of the month from 10.30am-12pm

For more information call Mortimer Library on 0118 933 2882 or email mortimerlibrary@westberks.gov.uk 

 

BURGHFIELD AND MORTIMER NEIGHBOURHOOD ACTION GROUP 

The Burghfield and Mortimer Neighbourhood Action Group (BMNAG) has been in operation for many years now, looking at local policing and revised police activities in a combined effort to reduce local crime and also the fear of crime. According to its Terms of Reference, the BMNAG "is a multi-agency problem solving group, consisting of appointed representatives from the Thames Valley Police, Local Government, Educational Establishments and Government Agencies".

Representatives from local schools and other organisations, as well as interested groups or individuals within the community are welcome to attend meetings and get involved.

 

HOW TO KEEP YOUR VEHICLE SAFE AND SOUND

Due to the recent spate of theft from vehicles in our area, here is a link to a few simple steps you can take to keep your vehicle, and what’s in it, safe.

 

TENNIS ON TUESDAYS FROM 4th SEPTEMBER

Mortimer Tennis Club has arranged for adult and junior coaching sessions, run by a qualified tennis coach, to run on Tuesdays from 4th September for all who would like to take up this opportunity.

There will be three sessions each Tuesday:

4.30pm for under 8s

5.15pm 8-12 years

7.00pm Adults

Contact: tony@ctc-tennis.co.uk  

WEST BERKSHIRE LIBRARIES ANNUAL REPORT

The first Annual Libraries Annual Report has just been launched and is intended to give you an idea of what West Berkshire libraries do, who uses the libraries, the staff and volunteers, what the service costs and how much town and parishes contributed to them in the financial year April 2017 to March 2018.

West Berkshire Council have also recently launched their new web pages for the service, with information on each branch library and the mobile library service, and where you can keep up to date with what’s going on at the libraries.


PRIORITY SERVICES REGISTER

Following the power cut affecting parts of Mortimer and its surrounds on 2nd March, here are some tips provided by Scottish and Southern Electricity’s (SSE) helpdesk to help those in greatest need during such incidents. Please pass them on to friends and family who are not on social media:

1) dial 105, in a power cut, to log it and provide a contact number, ideally mobile, for them to provide you updates. If possible, check your fusebox has not tripped and that a neighbour is also affected before logging an incident.

2) Consider registering those in greatest need for the "priority service register"

The scheme is described here:
https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/consumers/household-gas-and-electricity-guide/extra-help-energy-services/priority-services-register-people-need

To register for our local provider's (SSE) scheme click here: https://sse.co.uk/help/accessibility/priority-services-register

New West Berkshire Council Wards

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England proposals for West Berkshire Council are published today (16 January), setting out the new warding arrangements for the May 2019 elections (subject to approval in Parliament). 

Locally, for Mortimer and Burghfield, the Commission has accepted the representations that we four local Conservative councillors (Graham Bridgman, West Berkshire Member for Mortimer; Keith Chopping, Member for Sulhamstead; Carol Jackson Doerge, Member for Burghfield and Ian Morrin, Member for Burghfield) made, supporting the West Berkshire Council response - agreeing the Commission’s proposal for a new three member Burghfield & Mortimer Ward, but (importantly) to exclude the southern part of Sulhamstead that the Commission originally proposed as part of the new ward.

The new ward will be comprised of the parishes of Beech Hill, Burghfield, Stratfield Mortimer and Wokefield and will have an anticipated variance from the predicted average number of electors per councillor in 2023 (3,028) of -1%.

The other local changes are that the Commission has accepted the criticism (which we joined in with) of its proposed vast new Aldermaston, Bradfield and Bucklebury ward and instead there will be three new one member wards: Aldermaston (Aldermaston, Beenham, Brimpton, Padworth and Wasing parishes; +4% variance from the predicted average number of electors per councillor in 2023), Bradfield (Bradfield, Englefield, Sulhamstead and Ufton Nervet; +2%), and Bucklebury (Bucklebury, Midgham, Stanford Dingley and Woolhampton; -1%).

For the report, maps, summary etc. visit https://www.lgbce.org.uk/current-reviews/south-east/berkshire/west-berkshire

Volunteering Opportunities in West Berkshire 

There are many opportunities for volunteering in the local area be it a Handybus Driver, a volunteer engineer or a group fundraiser. Details of all the new and current  volunteering opportunities can be found at: http://www.volunteerwestberks.org.uk/current_vacancies.htm 

Mortimer Library

Did you know that you could use the library outside opening hours for meetings of small groups such as a book club, bridge club, games evening etc. If you would like to know more about how to go about arranging this please email lisa.richardson@westberks.gov.uk