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Community Information  

 

 

Community Champion Awards 2020 - The results are in!

West Berkshire Council have announced the winners of the 2020 Community Champion Awards and details are available at: https://info.westberks.gov.uk/awardwinners

The Community Champion Award categories were:

The Pat Eastop MBE Junior Citizen of the Year

Volunteer of the Year – supported by Volunteer Centre West Berkshire

Community Group of the Year

Lifetime Achievement Award (non Covid response)

Covid Response Pat Eastop MBE Junior Citizen of the Year Award

Covid Response Volunteer of the Year

Covid Response Community Group of the Year - supported by Greenham Trust

The 'Big Thank You' Award - created to recognise those people who may not meet the criteria of one of the awards above or who would appreciate more low key recognition.

 

 

LATEST WBC COMMUNITY HUB NEWSLETTER

Here is West Berkshire Council’s first Hub Bulletin for 2021 which contains links to government updates and other information for community group leaders, volunteers and residents.

You can sign up to receive copies of relevant WBC news directly be clicking here: West Berkshire Council (govdelivery.com)

 

 

ANOTHER LEVEL 2 COLD WEATHER ALERT

A level 2 cold weather alert has been issued from 0900 on Thursday 21 Jan and 0900 on Monday 25 Jan. This means that temperatures are likely to drop to levels that increase the risk of ill health among vulnerable people, including those with long term conditions and those living in cold homes.

How to stay well in winter - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

 

WBC announces additional financial support for local businesses impacted by national restrictions

West Berkshire Council is administering a further series of grant schemes to support local businesses that have been affected by the national coronavirus restrictions.

The new Closed Business Lockdown (National Lockdown) payment came into effect on 5 January 2021. This one-off Lockdown grant will be paid to qualifying businesses in addition to the Local Restrictions Support Grant payments that eligible businesses were entitled to from 19 December 2020.

A further £11m of government support is being distributed to West Berkshire businesses, with the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) being extended to cover the new national lockdown. This means that rate-paying businesses will receive a grant for this additional period of enforced closure. This round of funding replicates the previous scheme that ran from 5 November to 2 December 2020.

Both of the new grant schemes will be paid automatically to businesses who have received them before; there is no need to reapply. Any businesses that have not applied previously should check the criteria to see if they are eligible.

Information about eligibility, and how businesses who have not received support previously can apply, can be found on: https://info.westberks.gov.uk/coronavirus-business.

 

WEST BERKSHRE COUNCIL COVID-19 NEWS – 15TH JANUARY 2021

West Berkshire Council's latest Covid-19 bulletin at 15th January 2021 is available here: Covid-19 News - 15 January 2021 (govdelivery.com)

 

WEST BERKSHRE COUNCIL’s BUSINESS NEWSLETTER GRANTS UPDATE

News on West Berkshire Council's financial support for businesses covering the Local Restrictions Support Grant, New National Lockdown Payment, Christmas Support Payment (closing 31st January) and Additional Restrictions Grant: Business newsletter grants update (govdelivery.com)

 

COLD WEATHER ALERT LEVEL 2

A level 2 cold weather alert has been issued from 0900 today, Friday 15 January, to 0900 on Monday 18 January. This means that temperatures are likely to drop to levels that increase the risk of ill health among vulnerable people, including those with long term conditions and those living in cold homes.

Keep Warm Keep Well.

We are still in seasonal Flu season so it is important for those eligible to get the flu vaccination to help people stay well during the winter period.

This leaflet outlines who should have the flu jab

 

Heritage Recovery and Resilience Loans

Heritage Recovery and Resilience Loans of £50,000 to £250,000 are designed to help fund activities and costs that will develop and restart your organisation’s income generating potential.

This funding is well suited to organisations who have already been working on resilience, and are currently operating with a mixed income model of enterprise and grant funding, who require support to meet operating costs or adjust their operating model as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

· fixed 0% interest rate

· no fees for arrangement or early repayment

· optional 12-month repayment holiday

· repayment period is up to 5 years

· applications open until 14 February 2021

Follow the link for the criteria/details: https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/funding/heritage-recovery-resilience-loans#who-can-apply

 

Garden and Food Waste Collections Temporarily Suspended

West Berkshire Council’s garden waste collection service will be suspended from Monday 18 to Friday 29 January 2021. We are asking residents whose garden waste is due for collection on or after 18 January 2021 to not put their green garden waste bin out until service can be resumed again from 1 February 2021. This change will also affect food waste collections because they are collected at the same time as garden waste.

At the close of play on Tuesday 12 January, about 5,300 recycling collections (equivalent to just under 8% of households) remained outstanding. The collection of other waste types including general refuse is being completed without any significant disruptions at this time.

If your rubbish (black bin) or recycling (boxes and bags) is not collected as expected, please continue to leave it out and WBC will collect it as soon as possible.

WBC ask residents to kindly avoid calling Customer Services colleagues, unless necessary, because they are very busy with other urgent queries at this time.

You can find out more information on the garden waste service from Council’s website. Household waste recycling centres are still open for essential visits but you need to book an appointment.

 

 

Study into the future uses of Newbury town centre

Online survey deadline extended to 31 January 2021

In December 2020, West Berkshire Council announced the appointment of a multi-disciplinary team to undertake a major new study into the future uses of Newbury Town Centre.

The study started with an online survey (details below) to engage with the local community and enable them to give their views on how Newbury town centre could be improved to make it a better place for residents, businesses and over stakeholders. Around 2,500 people have already completed the 10 minute survey and the Council is keen to hear more views of younger people, so that the town can be shaped to incorporate their needs – now and for the future.

Following the results of the survey, the study will be developed over nine months to outline a vision for Newbury’s future and a proposed masterplan of how the town centre can evolve to meet this aim. This study forms a key part of the Council's response to the pandemic and will have a role to play for businesses, residents and other stakeholders.

The Newbury town centre masterplan survey will be open until 23:59 on 31 January. The team will then review the feedback and report back and outline next steps in this process.

The Newbury town centre survey can be found at https://info.westberks.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=37751

 

 

Primary/Secondary Schools and critical workers statement

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 4 January 2021, only children of critical workers and vulnerable children and young people should attend primary/secondary school or college. All other pupils and students will receive remote education.

The demand for children to attend school during this lockdown is higher than the previous lockdown in March last year. Schools are doing their best but the level of demand is now stretching schools capacity and, due to safety reasons, some schools are having to ration places. Special schools, alternative provision and nursery schools are still expected to provide places for all children.

Last Friday evening (8 Jan 2021) the Department for Education updated the 'critical workers' section of the guidance to clarify that parents and carers who are critical workers should keep their children at home if they can, to help manage demand.

The definition of a ‘critical worker’ has been described as: Parents or carers whose work is critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and EU transition response including those who work in:

  • health and social care
  • education and childcare
  • key public services
  • local and national government
  • food and necessary goods
  • public safety and national security
  • transport and border, and
  • utilities, communications and financial services.

Further guidance and a breakdown on the above critical workers list can be found on the gov.uk website.

 

 

Resident's News Bulletin - 11 January

Latest news and updates from West Berkshire Council for residents is available at:

Resident's News Bulletin - 11 January (govdelivery.com)

Includes information on library services, support for young people and their emotional health, a new housing allocation website, current consultations on Newbury town centre and the Local Plan Review for 2020-2037.

 

Alert - Coronavirus Vaccination Scams

As of 7 January 2021, Action Fraud had received 57 reports from members of the public who have been sent text messages claiming to be from the NHS, offering them the opportunity to sign up for coronavirus vaccinations. The texts ask the recipient to click on a link which takes them to an online form where they are prompted to input personal and financial details. In some cases the online form has looked very similar to the real NHS website.

In the UK, coronavirus vaccinations will only be available via the National Health Services of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a local GP surgery or pharmacy, to receive your vaccination. Remember, the vaccinations are free of charge and you will not be asked for a payment.

The NHS will never: 

  • ask for your bank account or card details
  • ask for your PIN or banking passwords
  • arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine
  • ask for documentation to prove your identity, such as a passport or utility bills

If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to report@phishing.gov.uk. Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726, which is free of charge.

If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

 

Newbury Town Centre Masterplan survey extended to 31 January

West Berkshire Council has extended extend the closing date for the online survey until 31 January, in order to capture as many voices as possible.

Newbury Town Centre Masterplan survey extended (govdelivery.com)

 

 

WEST BERKSHRE COUNCIL COVID-19 NEWS – 8TH JANUARY 2021

West Berkshire Council latest bulletin at Friday, 8th January 2021 is available here:  Covid-19 News - 08 January 2021 (govdelivery.com) 

 

Consultation Opens on Future of Front Counter Provision

Thames Valley Police are currently seeking your views on the future of their front counter provision across Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire.

TVP have launched a public consultation to hear what you think about plans which have been developed to adapt to the different ways in which people contact the police, to meet the changing needs of the diverse communities served and make necessary savings.

The consultation seeks views on a proposed reduction in the number of front counters from 16 to 11, which would save approximately £1.4m.

Since March 2020, TVP has operated with just five of its 16 front counter sites open. Seven re-opened in October 2020.

The proposal does not affect police officer numbers nor the number of police bases so the public will not experience any difference in officer visibility in the communities.

Under the plans, the force will retain its front counters at Milton Keynes, Oxford, Reading, Slough, Aylesbury, High Wycombe, Abingdon, Banbury, Newbury, Loddon Valley and Maidenhead. The hours of their opening are also being reviewed.

TVP has 79 police bases force wide, which are not affected, nor being consulted upon.

The consultation is hosted on the digital platform Snap, and will run until 31st January. Further details and a link to the consultation are available on our website (Proposed front counter provision | Thames Valley Police)

If you would prefer to obtain a paper copy of the consultation, please call 01865 542895 to leave your address for a copy of the consultation to be sent to you.

 

 

LEVEL 3 COLD WEATHER ALERT – Friday, 8th January

A level 3 cold weather alert has been issued from 9.00am on Friday, 8 January and 9.00am on Monday, 11 January. This means that temperatures are likely to drop to levels that increase the risk of ill health among vulnerable people, including those with long term conditions and those living in cold homes.

Make sure that you stay warm. If going outside, make sure you dress appropriately. If indoors, make sure that you keep your heating to the right temperature; heating your home to at least 18°C in winter poses minimal risk to your health when you are wearing suitable clothing. If there is anyone you know who might be at special risk, for example, an older person living on their own, make sure they know what to do to stay warm and are well stocked with food and medications. If you are worried about your health or that of somebody you know, ring NHS 111

More information is available on the winter health pages at NHS Choices: www.nhs.uk

KEEP WARM KEEP WELL Leaflet

 

SUPPORT AVAILABLE THIS WINTER

Public Health and Wellbeing at West Berkshire Council have produced a leaflet (here) listing support that is available this winter i.e. grants/schemes.

 

 

 

WEST BERKSHRE COUNCIL NEWS – 5th JANUARY 2021

West Berkshire Council latest bulletin at 5th January 2021 is available here:  Covid-19 News - 05 January 2021 (govdelivery.com)


  

West Berkshire Libraries continue with a limited service during national restrictions

West Berkshire Libraries will continue to offer a limited service during the national lockdown restrictions in place from 5 January 2021.

Library buildings will be open for book collections only, and public use of computers in libraries has been suspended. Library members will still be able to reserve books via the online library catalogue.

Libraries will also continue to offer the popular Order & Collect service, whereby members who are not sure which books they would like to read can request that library staff select up to five books for them. Library members can telephone 01635 519813 or contact their local library to let staff know what sort of books they enjoy, or visit the library catalogue online to place their order: https://westberks.spydus.co.uk.

Library members are advised to please check library opening times before making a trip to collect the books they have ordered. Details of opening hours can be found on the website: www.westberks.gov.uk/libraries.

Members can return books at any time of day or night via the bookdrops/letterboxes outside each library. There is a West Berkshire Libraries fines amnesty in place until the end of January 2021, which will be regularly reviewed.

The ‘At Home’ service will still continue to deliver books and audiobooks to people who are self-isolating or unable to collect books from the library. To find out more about this service, members can call 01635 519827 or email library@westberks.gov.uk.

The easiest way to borrow titles is via the apps, BorrowBox and Libby, which can be downloaded from the Apple app store and Google Play store. Customers who have a Kindle tablet (such as Kindle Fire) can download the apps from Amazon.

Customers who are not already members of the library can join online to get free, instant access to the e-library by visiting www.westberks.gov.uk/libraries to register.

Library members can reset their library PIN on the website: https://westberks.spydus.co.uk/pin.

Residents are encouraged to check out the extensive programme of activities for children and adults, which will continue online. Just follow the library Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages for more information @WBerksLibraries.

 

 

WBC WASTE SERVICES UPDATE

Unfortunately, WBC are having some issues with rubbish and recycling collections, due to volume of waste after Christmas and a number of collection staff isolating.

If your rubbish or recycling has not been collected as expected this week, please leave your bin or containers out and they will collect as soon as possible.

We will keep our website and social media accounts updated.

Waste Management, West Berkshire Council              http://www.facebook.com/recyclewestberkshire

 

 

Severe Cold Winter Weather - Level 2 - Alert and Readiness

There is a 70% probability of severe cold weather / icy conditions between 0900 on Monday 04 January and 0900 on Friday 08 January in South East, becoming very cold later in the week. Cold, frosty nights are expected along with showers, bringing a significant risk of icy conditions. Showers are likely to be wintry at times, though mainly over high ground.

Severe cold weather can be dangerous, especially for the very young or very old or those with chronic disease. Advice on how to reduce the risk either for yourself or somebody you know can be obtained from the winter health pages at NHS Choices (www.nhs.uk) or from your local chemist. If you are worried about your health or that of somebody you know, ring NHS 111.

 

 

West Berkshire Council announces Public Consultation on Proposed Submission for Minerals and Waste Local Plan

Under Regulation 19 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning (England) Regulations 2012 (as amended)

Residents in West Berkshire are being asked for their views on proposals for a planned, sustainable framework for minerals and waste management in the district up until 2037.

In order to help guide future development across the district, West Berkshire Council sets out the policy context for assessing planning applications for minerals and waste development in accordance with the national planning policy. Known as the Minerals and Waste Local Plan (Proposed Submission), the document also proposes where minerals can be extracted within the district and considers the need for the management of domestic, commercial and construction waste.

A consultation has been launched today (Monday 4th January 2021) and is open until 11.59pm Monday 15th February 2021. To read the plan, the supporting evidence base, and take part in the consultation, residents are invited to visit https://info.westberks.gov.uk/mwlpps

The plan proposes new sites for extracting sand and gravel at Tidney Bed, near Sulhamstead, and another for sand extraction behind Chieveley Services. Given that the minerals are a finite resource, the plan also encourages the construction industry to use recycled and secondary aggregate materials as well as seeking alternative construction methods. No new waste sites are proposed under the new plans, as existing needs are met.

 

 

WEST BERKSHIRE MOVING TO TIER 4 – ‘STAY AT HOME’

️West Berkshire’s Covid Alert Level has now changed to Tier 4 ‘Stay At Home’, with new rules we must ALL follow to keep ourselves and others safe. This will be effective from Sunday 00:01 (20th December 2020).

Information on what this means here.

Latest news at 21st December:  Covid-19 News - 21 December (govdelivery.com)

 

 

West Berkshire Libraries to provide Order & Collect, At Home Service and limited computer use

The new Tier 4 restrictions for managing COVID-19 mean that West Berkshire Libraries buildings will have to close again except for allowing limited computer use by appointment only.

Although library members will not be allowed to visit a library to choose books, they will still be able to reserve books via the online library catalogue and pick them up from any West Berkshire library, including the Mobile Library.

The libraries will also continue to offer the popular Order & Collect service where members who are not sure which book they would like to read can request that library staff select up to five books for them, possibly introducing them to new authors. Customers can telephone their local library to let staff know what sort of books they enjoy or visit the library catalogue online to place their order: https://westberks.spydus.co.uk.

Library members are advised to please check library opening times before making a trip to collect the books they have ordered. Details of all current library opening hours, together with the Mobile Library timetable and closures for the Christmas / New Year period, can be found on the website: www.westberks.gov.uk/libraries.

There is also good news for customers unable to get to a library. The ‘At Home’ service delivers books and audiobooks to people who are currently self-isolating or unable to collect books from the library because of age, disability or other special circumstance. To find out more about this service, customers can email library@westberks.gov.uk.

The easiest way to borrow titles is via the apps, BorrowBox and Libby, which can be downloaded from the Apple app store and Google Play store. Customers who have a Kindle tablet (such as Kindle Fire), can download the apps from Amazon. Anyone who has these apps can then search for West Berkshire Libraries and login using their library card number and PIN. Customers who need help with this can drop an email to the library, where staff will be happy to help: library@westberks.gov.uk.

Customers who are not already members of the library can join online to get free, instant access to the e-library. For details visit www.westberks.gov.uk/libraries.

Library members can reset their library PIN online at: https://westberks.spydus.co.uk/pin.

The fines amnesty has been extended with no fines charged on items due for return up until 31st January 2021.

To keep up to date with all the latest library news, customers are invited to please follow @WBerksLibraries on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

 

 

WEST BERKSHRE COUNCIL NEWS – 16 DECEMBER

West Berkshire Council latest bulletin at 16th December 2020 is available here:  Resident's News Bulletin - 16 December 2020 (govdelivery.com)

 

Provide your views on the emerging draft Local Plan Review 2020-2037


West Berkshire Council has published an emerging draft plan for the Local Plan Review up until 2037 for you to review and provide feedback. WBC want everyone's input to help us shape this plan further before it is submitted to the government for examination in 2021.

The draft plan's vision is for well-designed and sustainable development to make West Berkshire a welcoming place for all. It includes areas proposed for sustainable development for new homes, employment and other land uses along with the associated infrastructure requirements.

There are also proposed new policies for contributing to the health and wellbeing of residents, minimising the demand for energy, and protecting the climate, including the water environment.

Please read the draft plan and provide your feedback on the Local Plan Review consultation portal by 5 February 2021.

You can also read and download a copy of draft plan here.

 

 

WESt bERKShre council Covid-19 News – 11 December

West Berkshire Council latest bulletin at 11th December 2020 is available here: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKWESTBC/bulletins/2b05110


 

 

GOING GREEN AT CHRISTMAS

Get food savvy, craft ideas for recycling Christmas cards, what to do with all that packaging and used wrapping paper, and reminder of waste collection dates over the holiday period:

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKWESTBC/bulletins/2b07c3e


 

 

Warning To Vehicle Owners Following Increase In Catalytic Converter Thefts Across the Thames Valley

Thames Valley Police is issuing a warning to motorists following an increasing number of thefts of catalytic converters. Offenders are most commonly targeting parked Toyota Prius, Toyota Auris, Honda Jazz, Honda Civic, Honda CRVs and Lexus RX400 vehicles.

Since the start of the year, there have been 1,210 offences reported to the force up to the end of November, with an increasing number of reports since August. In many of the cases, offenders use car jacks to lift the vehicle and are able to remove the catalytic converter in a matter of minutes.

There are a number of steps you can take to try to protect your vehicle’s catalytic converter. Please speak to your vehicle’s manufacturer to establish what locks and guards are available. If your catalytic converter is ‘bolt on’, you can speak to a mechanic about having the bolts welded shut.

When parking in a car park and having to leave your vehicle unattended, try to park with the front of your car against a wall and avoid parking at the end of a row. This makes it harder for offenders to gain access.

When at home, if you can, park your vehicle in a locked garage or, if that is not possible, park in a busy well-lit area, as close to your property as possible. You can also consider installing a Thatcham-approved alarm to your vehicle, one that activates when the vehicle is lifted or tilted offers effective protection. You can also mark your catalytic converter with a forensic marker.

You may see what appears to be people carrying out repairs or work to a car but please look closely and report any suspicious activity immediately. Within moments, the catalytic converter may be gone. If you see such a crime in progress, please call 999 immediately.

Anyone with any information about catalytic converter thefts should call the non-emergency number 101 or make a report on the Thames Valley Police website. https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/

 

 

West Berkshire Energy Switch – Sign up to save on your energy bills

West Berkshire residents are being invited to sign up for the West Berkshire Collective Energy Switch and save on their energy bills.

https://bigcommunityswitch.co.uk/west-berkshire/home

The scheme, run in partnership with iChoosr Big Community Switch offers a no obligation collective energy switching scheme which gives people the opportunity to group together and pay less for their energy. Electric or dual fuel can be switched.

Since 2016, more than 7,600 households across West Berkshire have switched enabling them to access renewable energy and save an average of £270 per year in energy bills against standard tariffs by switching suppliers.

Register for the West Berkshire Energy Switch scheme today to see how much money you might save by switching.

A reverse auction will be held on 9 February 2020 where energy suppliers will compete with their best offers. Registration closes at midnight on 8 February 2020. From 23 February, participants will receive their personalised offer for consideration.

You’ll need to have your latest energy bill to hand, as details will be requested in the registration process.

 

 

WEST BERKSHIRE Christmas Collection Dates and Waste Information

Rubbish and Recycling Christmas and New Year

Information on rubbish and recycling collection dates are available at:

https://info.westberks.gov.uk/article/30715/Christmas-and-New-Year-Bank-Holiday-Collection-Changes

**Collections will return to normal from Monday, 18th January 2021**

Christmas Tree Recycling

We will be collecting real Christmas trees from Monday 4 January until Friday 29 January. Please remove all decorations, lights and any pots. Trees can be placed out with your recycling and you do not need to have a garden waste subscription to recycle your tree.

Reducing Waste This Christmas

Follow Recycle for West Berkshire’s Facebook page for tips and advice on reducing waste this Christmas. Their Facebook page also includes news or any changes to our waste service – a easy way to keep in touch with the waste team! https://www.facebook.com/recyclewestberkshire

There is also a webpage with handy waste reduction tips this Christmas. https://info.westberks.gov.uk/christmasrecycling

 

 

Newbury Town Centre Masterplan Survey

West Berkshire Council has appointed Hemingway Design to lead a a multi-disciplinary team with a major new master planning study on the future uses of Newbury Town Centre.

Please have your say and support this important project by filling out a 10 minute online survey (linked below). The goal of the survey is to begin to identify the town's needs. This exercise will form the first stage of a broad engagement strategy with the local community.

The study will be developed over the next 9 months to outline how the Town Centre can evolve into the future, resulting in a full masterplan. It will take into account the significant changes in the retail and hospitality industries and the impact of Covid-19 in accelerating the review of alternative uses for town centres and public spaces.

Take the 10 minute online survey https://www.newburytowncentremasterplan.co.uk/

 

 

WEST BERKSHIRE COUNCIL COVID-19 NEWS

West Berkshire Council latest bulletin at 4th December 2020 is available here:

Covid-19 News - 4 December (govdelivery.com) 

 

A Cold Weather Alert level 2 has been issued

There is a 60% probability of severe cold weather between Monday, 7th December 2020 and 0900 on Thursday 10th December in the South East.

It is colder than average, with persistent fog suppressing daytime temperatures. This weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services.

 

Help shape our new Health and Wellbeing Service Strategy

Take part in our survey with a chance to win £100 shopping voucher

Over the next ten years, the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy for Berkshire West will aim to make life happier and healthier for everyone. Please can you help by taking part in their online survey – found here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/jhwbstrategy

If you want to learn more about the strategy and the journey so far, please visit: https://www.berkshirewestccg.nhs.uk/JHWBS

The Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy will be hosting three virtual public meetings on 13th, 20th and 27th January. If you would like to attend, please let them know at: berkshirewestwellbeing@gmail.com

 

CLOSURE – LOCKRAM LANE – 15th DECEMBER

Lockram Lane in the Parish of Wokefield will be closed from the hours of 08:00 to 16:00 for one day only on 15th December 2020 between its junctions with Goring Lane and Goddards Green.

This closure is to enable Volker Highways to carry out permanent carriageway works on behalf of West Berkshire Council.

Blue light access will be maintained.

Please follow the diversion which is signed on site.

A plan of the closure and diversion route can be found at: https: https://one.network/?tm=GB119857754

All enquiries please contact West Berkshire Council on 01635 519080

 

WEST BERKSHIRE COUNCIL COVID-19 NEWS

West Berkshire Council latest bulletin at 2nd December 2020 is available here:

Covid-19 News - 02 December (govdelivery.com)

 

  

Guidance

Making a Christmas bubble with friends and family

The government is changing some social contact restrictions for a short period of time. When following these new rules, we must each continue to take personal responsibility to limit the spread of the. For many, this will mean that it is not possible to celebrate Christmas in the way you normally would.

Between 23 and 27 December:

· you can form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three households

· you can only be in one Christmas bubble

· you cannot change your Christmas bubble

· you can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble

· you can only meet your Christmas bubble in private homes or in your garden, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces

· you can continue to meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home according to the rules in the tier where you are staying

· you cannot meet someone in a private dwelling who is not part of your household or Christmas bubble

You should travel to meet those in your Christmas bubble and return home between the 23 and 27 December. Anyone travelling to or from Northern Ireland may travel on the 22 and 28 December.

Full details available here.

 

West Berkshire Council announces Community Infrastructure Levy fund now open for bids

West Berkshire Council is accepting bids for Community Infrastructure Levy grants between £10,000 and £100,000 for use towards local infrastructure projects to be implemented by 31 March 2022. The guidance and application form are posted on the Council’s website at https://info.westberks.gov.uk/cilbidding. The bid application closing date is 5pm, 10 January 2021.

The successful bids will be funded by the £500,000 set aside by the Council from its Community Infrastructure Levy. These grants are on top of the 15% (or 25% if there is a neighbourhood plan) community infrastructure levy that already goes to parish and town councils.

The bidding process is open to community groups and other infrastructure providers/partners in West Berkshire, ward members, town and parish councils, and organisations that wish to deliver infrastructure that will benefit the residents and businesses of the area.

The proposed schemes must deliver the infrastructure requirements of the West Berkshire Infrastructure Delivery Plan and meet the needs of the adopted Local plan. In addition, the proposals must demonstrate how the projects will fit with the Council Strategy and the Covid-19 Recovery Strategy. The final bids will be proposed to Executive (the Council’s decision-making body) on 11 February 2021 to be included as part of the 2021-22 budget.

 

West Berkshire Council to launch £279k COVID Winter Grant Scheme for residents

West Berkshire Council has launched its COVID Winter Grant Scheme worth £279k for food, energy and other essential items for residents in need due to the pandemic. Free School Meal vouchers for holidays will also form part of the programme. The COVID Winter Grant Scheme will run from 1 December 2020 to 31 March 2021.

Through the COVID Winter Grant scheme, the Council will provide families, individuals and vulnerable people in need with financial support for food, utility bills (heating, cooking, lighting), water bills for household purposes (including drinking, washing, cooking, central heating, sewerage and sanitary purposes), or other related essentials.

As part of the scheme, the Council will make arrangements for the provision of Free School Meal vouchers for eligible 5 to 16 year olds during the Christmas and February half term school holidays (17 days in total). Children in school not currently receiving Free School Meals but considered by the school as vulnerable will be included. Consideration will also be given to children between 16 and 18 and children in cross border education settings. Details on how the vouchers will be implemented are currently being finalised.

The application process for the COVID Winter Grant Scheme will also enable eligible applicants to benefit from other funding such as the £103k Emergency Assistance Grant for Food and Essential Supplies for ongoing support with their needs, for example, information to access longer term support such as benefits.

Those who currently have support from professionals such as social and care workers will be encouraged to work with their provider to make an application. In addition, individuals who are in need can make an online application independently on the West Berkshire website or contact the Community Support Hub from 1 December, when the scheme formally launches.

Any individuals who may need support with the online application process, including those without internet access, are welcome to contact the Community Support Hub from 1 December on tel: 01635 503579 or by email: westberksbct@westberks.gov.uk. The Community Support Hub is open during office hours between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Thursday, or between 8.30am and 4.30pm on Friday.

 

POST-LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS IN WEST BERKSHIRE (High tier)

West Berkshire will be in the high tier [Tier 2]  of restrictions from Wednesday, 2nd December 2020

Under the post-lockdown arrangements, the Government has placed each region in one of three tiers – medium, high or very high. The tiers are based on the prevalence of coronavirus in a region, and introduce varying degrees of restrictions to help combat the virus.

The local region includes West Berkshire along with Reading, Wokingham, Bracknell Forest, and Windsor and Maidenhead. This region will move into the high tier from Wednesday 2nd December. Under the high tier:

  • There is no mixing of households indoors, apart from support bubbles. A maximum of six people can meet outdoors
  • Shops, gyms and personal care services (such as hairdressers) will all reopen
  • Pubs and bars must close, unless they are operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals. Last orders will be taken at 10pm, and venues must close by 11pm
  • People should minimise travel and work from home where possible
  • Schools, colleges, university and early years settings will be open

More information about restrictions at the medium, high and very high tiers can be found online.

You can also stay up-to-date on restrictions where you live using this postcode finder.

As well as the specific restrictions outlined above, residents should continue to follow the “hands, face, space” advice to help reduce the transmission of coronavirus.

Tiers will be reviewed every two weeks with regions moving to more or less severe restrictions, or staying as they are, depending on factors such as transmission rates and how local services are coping.

West Berkshire Council is continuing to provide support to residents and businesses who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus restrictions. Later today, the Council will announce details of a new Winter Hardship Grant Fund and which opens for applications next week.

Support is also available for businesses affected by the restrictions put in place.

Residents have been receiving leaflets through the post this week with information about the support available to local residents, useful contacts and local arrangements for contact tracing. It also included information about the different tiers, which were correct at the time of posting. Since then these tiers and have changed and residents are asked to follow the amended tiered restrictions as set out here.

You can find out more information about the latest advice in West Berkshire, and information about local coronavirus cases, on the Public Health for Berkshire website.

 

SHOP SECURELY ONLINE THIS CHRISTMAS

In the immediate run up to Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas 2020, the National Cyber Security Centre and Action Fraud have launched their own mini campaigns to help provide guidance to UK residents to shop securely online and to fight back against Fraud this Christmas.

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday fast approaching, it's likely that shoppers will move online more than ever with most high street stores still closed. https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/blog-post/shop-securely-online-this-black-friday

The refreshed six steps in this guidance will help you to avoid scam websites and purchase items securely:

1. Choose carefully where you shop

2. Use a credit card for online payments

3. Only provide enough details to complete checkout

4. Keep your accounts secure

5. Watch out for suspicious emails, calls and text messages

6. If things go wrong

By following our shopping online securely guidance we hope that we can help you avoid scams and instead focus on bagging a bargain.

Action Fraud has laid out: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/news/action-fraud-launches-new-campaign-to-fight-back-against-fraud-this-christmas

Thames Valley Police will be circulating guidance and advice relevant to the above campaigns via external facing social media outlets, of which our @TVPCyber_Fraud Twitter account is one.

Watch out for phishing emails or texts.

When things go wrong: Anyone can fall victim to fraud. If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

 

KEEP WARM, KEEP WELL – WINTER PREPAREDNESS

This year we have the added challenge of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 is likely to amplify the health risks associated with cold weather. People who are vulnerable to dying from the impact of cold temperatures overlap with those who are susceptible to illness from COVID-19. These shared risk factors mean the cold weather period is of even greater importance this year if we are to protect the health of our communities.

Actions you can take to shield yourself and family members:

· Find good information about the health risks – try NHS choices at www.nhs.uk

· If you are receiving social care or health services ask your GP, key worker or other contact about staying healthy in winter and services available to you.

· Make sure you have a list of emergency numbers to hand.

· Check room temperatures – especially in rooms where disabled/vulnerable people spend most of their time.

· If you or someone you know is likely to be restricted to one room only during the winter, make sure that the room can be kept at or above recommended temperatures and you plan what resources may be needed to keep them safe and warm.

· Protect water pipes from freezing by insulating them.

· Look out for vulnerable neighbours and help them prepare for winter.

· Consider other preventive action you can take, e.g. volunteering to help implement community emergency plans.

Keep Warm Keep Well poster.

 

 

WEST BERKSHIRE COUNCIL COVID-19 NEWS

West Berkshire Council latest bulletin at 20th November 2020 is available here:

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKWESTBC/bulletins/2ad43f3  

 

 

Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) scheme launched for West Berkshire businesses

West Berkshire Council has been awarded £3.17 million from national Government to support businesses across the district that are not covered by other grant schemes or where additional funding is needed.

The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) funding is to help those businesses which, while not legally forced to close, are nonetheless severely impacted by the four-week national restrictions from 5 November until 2 December 2020.

It is intended that this funding should be used to support businesses affected by the restrictions until the end of the 2021/22 financial year. This could include:

  • businesses which supply the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors
  • businesses in the events sector
  • business required to close but which do not pay business rates

Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) are allocated in the following four categories:

  • Part A - Support for non-rate-paying businesses who have been forced to close due to new national restrictions, but have ongoing fixed property related costs, such as rent in shared working spaces.
  • Part B - Support for businesses which are ancillary to the hospitality, retail and leisure industries and who have not received any business grants administered by the Council to date. This focuses upon businesses which have not specifically been required to close, but have lost their main source of revenue as a result of national restrictions upon the industries to which they provide goods or services.
  • Part C - A ‘hardship’ fund for rate-paying businesses that did not receive support under the previous grant schemes administered by West Berkshire Council and who require further support due to demonstrable financial vulnerability. They may have received the LRSG, although not necessarily.
  • Part D - A ‘hardship’ fund for non-rate-paying businesses which have not received support under the previous grant schemes administered by West Berkshire Council or the schemes outlined in Parts A-C.

For more information on eligibility and how to apply, please visit our specific Covid information for businesses page on our website: https://info.westberks.gov.uk/coronavirus-business.

 

Carers Rights Day 26th November 2020 - Join online events

Please find a link to online events taking place Thursday and Friday (26th & 27th) for Carers Rights Day. https://directory.westberks.gov.uk/kb5/westberkshire/directory/service.page?id=d9HP_u2EUOI

The virtual sessions are being managed by TuVida’s Carers Hub in the Ealing area and will run on various online platforms such as Zoom and MS Teams (laptop/tablet/mobile with speaker & camera required)

To book onto a session, please contact 0118 324 7333 or alternatively, you can email at berkshirehub@tuvida.org

Poster available here.

 

Thames Water Priority Services Register

The pandemic has created some very significant challenges for many of Thames Water customers, and that these are likely to continue for some time. Thames Water responded to these challenges by putting a range of measures in place during the first national lockdown and are continuing these initiatives while the outbreak persists. The key actions taken are:

· Launching a flexible payments scheme for those customers who have been financially affected by Covid-19. More than 6,600 customers have benefited from this so far.

· Committing £4 million this financial year to our Customer Assistance Fund, which provides debt support and financial help for customers with outstanding bills.

· Becoming the largest charitable funder of debt advice within the Thames Valley region after doubling our independent Trust Fund donation to £1 million to support customers who are in financial need.

· Supporting 185,000 low-income households with discounts of up to 50% off their water bill. We intend to increase the number of customers on our social tariff to 300,000 by 2025.

· Enabling more customers to sign up to our Priority Services Register. By sharing their individual needs Thames Water can tailor services to support customers in an emergency, including delivering bottled water and offering alternative methods of communication. Customers can sign up at: https://www.thameswater.co.uk/help/extra-care/priority-services.

If you feel that you would benefit from any of these measures, please go to their website at: https://www.thameswater.co.uk/my-account/billing-and-payment/help-paying-your-bill.

 

Take part in Covid-19 Insights Survey

 

In partnership with Public Health Berkshire, West Berkshire Council need your help on how they can communicate key COVID-19 messages across West Berkshire in an engaging and motivating way.

The Insights survey has been designed to understand people’s views and attitudes towards Covid-19, national guidance and existing communications.

WBC is offering a chance to win a £50 shopping voucher as a thank you for taking part.

Please follow this link to complete the survey in full.   https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/PHBerkshireCOVID-19/

There’s a link on the page for people to use if they want help with translation. The survey closes on Sunday, 22 November.

Please circulate this link as widely as possible – anything you can do to drive a wide range of responses to this important work will be very much appreciated.

This survey is being carried out by Social Change UK, an independent research company. All of the answers will be stored securely and kept confidential.

 

Reading Road, Padworth Carriageway Surfacing

West Berkshire Council’s contractor Volker Highways Ltd. will be undertaking essential carriageway resurfacing on Reading Road, Padworth (from Welshman’s Road to Silver Lane) as indicated on the attached plan.

The works will go ahead between the hours of 9.30am to 3.30pm from Monday 16th to Tuesday 24th November 2020 using a road closure and signed diversion route.

Due to the narrowness of the carriageway emergency vehicles will NOT be allowed through the site.

These works are weather susceptible and will have to be rescheduled if it is very wet. Information boards will be erected on site and will be updated as and when required if the programme changes. Additionally this information and any updates can also be found at https://one.network/?119419000

  

West Berkshire campaigns to wrap up Christmas for those in need

West Berkshire Council is supporting two great Christmas gift giving campaigns this year to show people in need that others in their community are thinking of them.

The Council is launching its annual Giving Tree campaign, which provides gifts for victims of Domestic Abuse and their families over Christmas. This year they have also created a special Community Santa project for people who have been experiencing hardship due to Covid and have been nominated by their communities to receive a gift.

Due to restrictions as a result of the pandemic, this is being done digitally this year and the Council is asking people to choose a recipient via two digital pages for Community Santa and Giving Tree at https://info.westberks.gov.uk/Christmas.

The campaigns will be closing on 7th December.

 

 Information on Current Scams doing the Rounds

November 2020:  From the Neighbourhood Policing Administrator – West Berkshire LPA, please read some information on current scams circulating through telephone calls, emails and unwanted deliveries.

Please share with those in your neighbourhood who may be vulnerable and keep especially alert in the run up to Christmas.

 

Council leader will answer questions on Coronavirus response during Facebook Live event – 17th November

Cllr Lynne Doherty, the Leader of West Berkshire Council, will be answering the public's questions regarding the Council's ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic next week.

The online chat will be streamed live on the Council's Facebook Page at 6pm on Tuesday 17th November. Coming mid-way through the second national lockdown, residents can find out more about how the Council is supporting local communities and businesses as well as asking questions about the response to, and recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Watch live online from 6pm. Residents can submit questions in advance email questions in advance via pr@westberks.gov.uk.

Cllr Doherty said:

"Coronavirus continues to have a huge impact on how we are living our lives. Here at the Council, we are working hard to support our communities and our businesses through this difficult period. Next week I'll be providing an update on the response in West Berkshire as we approach the half-way point in the second lockdown, and answering questions too. The last time we did this it was well attended and I hope people will come and get involved again this time around."

Take part in the event at www.facebook.com/westberkshire. The video will remain available to watch on the Facebook page after the event, and will also be available on the Council's YouTube channel.

 

WEST BERKSHIRE COUNCIL COVID-19 NEWS

West Berkshire Council latest bulletin at 9th November 2020 is available here:

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKWESTBC/bulletins/2aa5bf6 

 

 

Further grants available to closed West Berkshire businesses

Additional grants will be available from today to local businesses who have had to close as a result of the new national restrictions.

Following its announcement that further restrictions requiring non-essential businesses to close would come into force from 5 November to 2 December, the Government confirmed that Local Restrictions Support Grants (LRSG) would be made available to support businesses financially throughout this period.

These grants will offer up to £3,000 depending on the rateable value for businesses who have had to close due to these restrictions. West Berkshire Council will be administering the scheme and eligible local businesses will be able to apply from 6 November. Details of the application process is available on the Council’s website and businesses are being encouraged to submit their application as soon as possible so that payment can be arranged.

Speaking about the announcement, Councillor Ross Mackinnon, Executive Member for Economic Development and Finance at West Berkshire Council, said: “When the country went into lockdown back in March, the £29m of grants and £37.4m business rate relief we administered were a vital source of source of support for local businesses and I know that these further grants will be very welcome at such a difficult time. I would encourage any business who is eligible for the grants to apply via our website so that we can get to work on their application as soon as possible.”

https://info.westberks.gov.uk/coronavirus-business

 

 

Local Contact Tracing for COVID-19 launched

A West Berkshire based contact tracing system has been launched by the Council to reach more people testing positive for Covid-19 and their contacts.

In our continued efforts to control the spread of the virus, local contact tracing has been set up to support and complement the NHS Test and Trace system.

Local contact tracers are specially trained council staff who will contact local residents that have tested positive for Covid-19 but have not been able to be reached by the national NHS Test and Trace system. Local contact tracers will inform those residents of the legal requirement to self-isolate, request their close contacts in order that they can be traced, and let them know what local support is available to them.

Residents can be assured that the local contact tracing number will be from an 01635 number, which will be the same number used every time. A local contact tracer will never ask for any financial information, passwords or payment.

More information available at https://info.westberks.gov.uk/local-contact-tracing

 

 

West Berkshire Council launches UK’s first local Covid-19 Dashboard

New one-stop shop for lockdown rules and local data across Berkshire

As England enters a second national restriction, West Berkshire Council has announced the launch of a Covid-19 Dashboard designed to provide residents with comprehensive guidance on the national restrictions that will remain in place until Wednesday 2 December. Created to meet the needs of the local community, the website: https://www.berkshirepublichealth.co.uk/went live today and is the first of its kind in the UK.

On the ‘My Local Area’ section of the website, users can enter their full postcode for information on the rules and regulations to follow under this national restrictions. The site also provides a wealth of local information, including real-time data on Covid-19 across Berkshire, making it easily accessible to the county’s population of nearly one million residents. Using the dashboard’s interactive map, residents can search for results in their area and compare them with statistics for the rest of the county, the South East region and England as a whole.

As well as critical national restriction information, the site provides users with specific data on Covid-19 for each of Berkshire’s six local authority areas, including:

  • Daily new case numbers and total cases
  • Daily number of cases in graph format since the start of the pandemic in March
  • Daily new cases for England and total cases for England since records began
  • Weekly death rate and location (care home, at home, hospital, etc.)
  • Data for 111 and 999 calls triaged for people with suspected Covid-19 symptoms plus the number of daily online assessments.

 

 

West Berkshire Council library buildings closed

 5 November until 2 December

Order and Collect Service available online and by phone or email

In line with the Government’s National Restrictions for England to curb transmissions of COVID-19, West Berkshire Libraries buildings will be closed from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December.

Although West Berkshire Libraries will not able to offer in-person visits during this period, the Order & Collect service will still be available online or by phone on 01635 519813 (or ring the local library) or by email library@westberks.gov.uk.

Collections can be made from any of the eight libraries across the district or from the Mobile Library. The At Home service may be able to deliver to those self-isolating or unable to pick up books due to age, disability or other special circumstance. This can be confirmed by email to library@westberks.gov.uk or by calling 01635 519827.

In addition to physical items, West Berkshire Libraries have a large stock of e-books, e-audiobooks, e-magazines and e-newspapers. More information on the library website.

West Berkshire Libraries also run a number of online activities, including weekly storytimes and crafts for children, online talks for adults, a Code Club for 9-11 year olds and a friendly book group on Facebook called West Berks Reads.

Please note Mortimer Library is open for collections: 

Tuesday 10am to 12noon; Friday 2pm to 4pm; Saturday 10am to 12noon

 

 

COMMUNITY CHAMPION 2020 AWARDS NOMINATIONS

West Berkshire Council is calling upon local residents to nominate deserving individuals and groups for the Community Champion Awards 2020. Volunteer Centre West Berkshire and Greenham Trust have joined the Council to launch the scheme and are each supporting an award. Nominations can be made online by visiting https://info.westberks.gov.uk/communitychampion and are due by Friday, 20 November 2020. Paper nomination forms can be obtained by calling 01635 519458.

The Community Champion awards will honour those individuals and community groups who have gone above and beyond to support residents throughout West Berkshire this year. To recognise the fantastic contributions by locals throughout the pandemic, four new Covid-specific awards have been added to the usual roster of honours. All of the awards will be judged by an independent panel.

The Community Champion Award categories for 2020 are:

• The Pat Eastop MBE Junior Citizen of the Year

• Volunteer of the Year – supported by Volunteer Centre West Berkshire

• Community Group of the Year

• Lifetime Achievement Award (non Covid response)

• Covid Response Pat Eastop MBE Junior Citizen of the Year Award

• Covid Response Volunteer of the Year

• Covid Response Community Group of the Year - supported by Greenham Trust

• The 'Big Thank You' Award - created to recognise those people who may not meet the criteria of one of the awards above or who would appreciate more low key recognition.

The winners will be presented with their award at a virtual ceremony to be held in January 2021. Their details will also be recorded in an exclusive book called the "Roll of Civic Awards" which will be available for future generations to review.

  

 

How to reduce the risk of becoming a burglary victim this winter

Now that the clocks have gone back and the evenings are darker, there are a few simple steps you can take to help protect your property:

• Lock your doors and windows, if you have a UPVC door make sure you have double locked it by lifting the handle and locking it with the key. Make sure the key is removed from the lock and out of reach.

• Think about purchasing a Video Doorbell Camera - This will send the footage of anyone approaching your home, to your mobile phone.

• Keep valuables out of sight from doors and windows.

• Remember to mark your valuables using a UV pen and register them on the national property register at www.immobilise.com.

If you are leaving the house, you can deter burglars by making your home appear occupied:

• Double check that you have locked your windows and doors before leaving.

• Light up your living room using timer switch. A TV simulator can also be used to make give the appearance of a TV screen being used.

• Invite a neighbour to park on your drive while you are away.

You can find more information on how to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of burglary by downloading your FREE Home Security Guide from the Thames Valley Police website here: https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/police-forces/thames-valley-police/areas/advice/home-security-guide/

 

 

WEST BERKSHIRE COUNCIL COVID-19 NEWS

West Berkshire Council latest bulletin at 30 October 2020 is available here:

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKWESTBC/bulletins/2a82f1f

 

 

Help for families during half-term

Monday, 26 October 2020

Help is available for families struggling to access food this half-term.

There is no reason for any children in West Berkshire to be going hungry this half-term. West Berkshire Council is here to help families who are struggling and need assistance with food or other forms of support.

Anyone who needs help should contact the Community Support Hub on 01635 503579 or by email at westberksbct@westberks.gov.uk.

The Community Support Hub is open during office hours; call between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Thursday, or between 8.30am and 4.30pm on Friday. As well as providing support directly, the team can also provide advice about other local groups and organisations that might be able to help. For more information and to contact the team via the website visit www.westberks.gov.uk/SupportHub

Leader of West Berkshire Council, Lynne Doherty said:

“We’re here to help anyone who is worried about being able to feed their children or access food this half-term. It’s a difficult time for families but we want them to know they are not alone and that support is available if they need it.”

Over the weekend local restaurants, pubs and shops have also come forward offering to help feed families who are struggling this half-term. Thanking them for their efforts, Cllr Doherty added:

“It’s been fantastic to see local businesses coming out and offering food to families in need. It’s a further demonstration of the passionate community spirit we’ve seen in recent months and something which is to be admired. To all those who have been willing to help I express my heartfelt gratitude, I know this can also help to make a difference.”

 

WEST BERKSHIRE COUNCIL COVID-19 NEWS

West Berkshire Council latest bulletin at 23 October 2020 is available here:  https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKWESTBC/bulletins/2a7384d


WHATS ON – WEST BERKSHIRE HERITAGE - October/November

TALKS

Talk: Archaeology, climate and environment
Wednesday 28 October | 7pm | Free (donations welcome) | Zoom (live)

As part of the Festival of Archaeology, this online talk will examine the interconnections between humans and our environment in West Berkshire, taking the long view that archaeology can provide. It will touch on the impact of climate change on existing monuments and buildings, but also look to the future and how knowledge from the heritage sector can contribute to the debate about solutions.

Presented by Sarah Orr, Senior Archaeologist at West Berkshire Council.

This is a FREE talk but all donations are gratefully received. Tickets options range from £0 to £15. Click here to book.

Talk: Crime on the Canals
Wednesday 18th November 2020 | 7pm | Online

This West Berkshire Museum Talking History online talk looks at crime on the canals over two centuries, including murder, theft, criminal damage, health and safety, and even truancy. The speaker, Anthony Poulton-Smith, is a freelance journalist and author, with 78 published books, 1,500 articles and more than 200 books as a ghost writer.

This pre-recorded talk will be available to view via the West Berkshire Heritage YouTube channel. Bookings will close on Tuesday 17 November. Attendees will receive an email with a link to access the recording on Wednesday 18 November.

Tickets: £5 per household. Click here to book.

Talk: The Times of Plenty

Wed 25 Nov 2020 | 1-2pm | Zoom (live)

The Plenty name will be familiar to many people living in Newbury and has been associated with engineering in the town for over 200 years, with products ranging from ploughs to steam engines. This talk by Ellie Thorne will chart the development from family company to an international business, looking at the characters involved and how they shaped the direction of the business.

Ellie Thorne is a Senior Archivist at Berkshire Record Office (BRO) with responsibility for collections. Her main cataloguing and research interests include the archives of local businesses and architectural records. She is also a keen family historian and is always excited to find the human stories behind the more administrative records that BRO hold.

This is a FREE talk but all donations are gratefully received. Ticket options range from £0 to £15. Click here to book.

EXHIBITION:

Celebrating Our Differences
West Berkshire Museum | Wednesday 28th October 2020 - Saturday 13th February 2021

Celebrate diversity in this special exhibition created with pupils’ work from Curridge Primary School who have spent this term reflecting on what makes us the same and what makes us different, and that it is the differences that should bring us together. Year 2 and 3 found out about Martin Luther King and his famous speech; Year 4 and 5 created posters on diversity and as a class composed their own ‘I have a Dream’ speech; and Year 6 read about Harriet Tubman and then wrote poems inspired by the title ‘From the Darkness into the Light’. Much of the pupils’ classwork will be on display and explores themes of identity, race and equality. Also on display will be a selection of banners created by people who participated in the Black Lives Matter protests, illustrating local contemporary activism.

  

M4 Junction 13 (Chieveley) to 12 (Theale) – Weekend Closure Reminder

This is a reminder that the M4 eastbound carriageway between junction 13 (Chieveley) and junction 12 (Theale/Reading), will be closed next weekend to allow for resurfacing work to take place.

The M4 will be closed from 9pm on Friday 2 October through to 6am on Monday 5 October, to allow for all layers down to the foundations time to harden.

This will be followed by overnight closures (9pm to 6am) of the same stretch on Monday 6 and Tuesday 6 October 2020.

Traffic will be diverted from junction 13, south down the A34 and A339 into Newbury, then east all the way along the A4 to re-join the M4 at junction 12.

Significant delays and congestion are expected during these weekend closures due to the increase in traffic on the diversion route. You are advised to plan your journey and allow extra time or avoid this route if possible.

If you have any questions, or if you’d like to know more about the work please email Highways England at info@highwaysengland.co.uk or call on 0300 123 5000.

 

MORTIMER LIBRARY OPENING TIMES

The library will be open for restricted visits from Tuesday, 22nd September as follows:

Tuesday: 10 am – 12 noon and 2 pm – 4 pm

Friday: 2 pm - 4 pm

Saturday: 10 am - 12noon

You will not need to book a time to visit, but the number of people within the library will be limited and so you may need to queue to get in. You will be asked to keep your visiting time to about 30 minutes and to use the hand sanitiser provided on entry and exit. Please remember that wearing face masks is now mandatory in public libraries.

There will be limited access to computers and printing/photocopying facilities. There will also be no seating available within the library and no access to toilets or study facilities. While in the library, you must maintain an appropriate distance from other visitors and help keep everyone safe.

West Berkshire Libraries information video

 

Have your say on West Berkshire Council’s draft HOUSING STRATEGY 2020 – 2036


West Berkshire Council is inviting residents to have their say on its draft Housing Strategy 2020 - 2036. The draft strategy details how the Council plans to support residents with access to good quality housing while preventing homelessness and rough sleeping. This public consultation begins Friday, 18 September 2020 and will close at midnight on Sunday, 01 November 2020.

Make sure that you provide your views by reading the draft housing strategy and taking part in the consultation survey by midnight, 01 November: https://info.westberks.gov.uk/drafthousingstrategy.

Those unable to participate online can request a hard copy by calling 01635 519530 and selecting option 1.

More information in the press release.

 

HEATWAVE ALERT – 14th to 16th SEPTEMBER

A Heatwave level 2 warning has been issued from 12:00pm Monday 14th September to 09:00am Wednesday 16th September. This means that temperatures are likely to rise to levels that increase the risk of ill health among vulnerable adults, particularly older people and those with long term conditions.

Heatwaves can be dangerous, especially for the very young or very old or those with chronic disease. Advice on how to reduce the risk either for yourself or somebody you know can be obtained from NHS Choices at tips-for-coping-in-hot-weather, NHS 111 or from your local chemist.

 

Mortimer Library open for visits from 21st September

WBC are currently working hard to finalise arrangements for the next phase of reopening. This includes public access to libraries for browsing and borrowing in person during limited opening hours, which will begin from 21 September at all West Berkshire libraries. Please continue to check their social media for the most up to date news.

You will not need to book a time to visit, but the number of people within each building will be limited and so you may need to queue to get in. You will be asked to keep your visiting time to about 30 minutes and to use the hand sanitiser provided on entry and exit. Please remember that wearing face masks is now mandatory in public libraries.

There will be limited access to computers and printing/photocopying facilities. There will also be no seating available within the libraries and no access to toilets or study facilities. While in the building, you must maintain an appropriate distance from other visitors and help keep everyone safe.

 

Library Fines Amnesty Update

The West Berkshire library fines amnesty has been extended to 30 September 2020. As Mortimer Library prepares for the next phase of reopening (with restrictions) from 21st September, if you still have books at home that you borrowed before lockdown, don’t worry – the fines amnesty has been extended and there will be no fines charged on items due for return between 20 March and 30 September 2020.

If you don’t want to visit at the moment but you would like to return your loans now, remember that the library’s bookdrop/letterbox is open 24/7 for you to drop off items.

 

WEST BERKSHIRE COUNCIL WANTS YOUR SAY ON ITS DRAFT CULTURAL HERITAGE STRATEGY

We have developed a draft Cultural and Heritage Strategy which sets out our vision for the next 10 years to ensure that culture and heritage continues to be an important part of everyone's daily life in West Berkshire.

Our vision is to have a sustainable, resilient, and thriving cultural heritage sector that supports creativity and innovation, while bringing significant benefits to the economy and all our communities.

As a district we have a wealth of excellent cultural and heritage organisations and a unique historic environment. This draft strategy aims to build on its existing strengths and has identified a number of high-level objectives to be achieved by the council and key stakeholders working together.

To promote and develop our cultural heritage, we have worked with our stakeholders to develop the following five objectives as part of the draft strategy:

  1. Ensure our cultural and heritage organisations thrive and are as sustainable as possible.
  2. Contribute to the improvement of the health and well-being of all our residents.
  3. Improve access to cultural education, learning and employment.
  4. Protect and promote our unique cultural history, heritage, and environment.
  5. Increase domestic and international tourism to generate income, investment and increase economic resilience.

With the recent pandemic proving to be a threat to cultural organisations large and small, regionally, nationally and internationally, a clear strategy and plan is needed now more than ever.

Make sure you have your say by taking part in the survey. The consultation on the draft strategy will begin on Monday 7 September 2020 and will be open for 6 weeks from this date, closing on Sunday 18 October 2020.

More information available here:

https://info.westberks.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=37456


ROAD CLOSURES FOR TREE REMOVAL

Drury Lane, Mortimer will be closed from 9am to 4pm on 11th September 2020, the closure will be from its junction with Turks Lane, to its junction with Pitfield Lane.

New Road, Wokefield will be closed from 9am to 4pm on 15th September 2020, the closure will be from its junction with Goring Lane, to its junction with Lockram Lane.

The purpose of these closures is so contractors can remove trees that are in a dangerous condition.

Residential access will be maintained throughout and the diversion will be signed on site.

Please Note: Blue Light access will be permitted, but approach with caution as plant may have to be moved.

All enquiries should be directed to: WBC Countryside Department on 07776 492221

A plan of the closure can be found at: (click on link) Drury Lane: https://one.network/?tm=118275473


M4 Junctions 13 (Chieveley) to 14 (Hungerford) – Weekend Closure

This is a reminder that the M4 westbound carriageway between junctions 13 (Chieveley) and junction 14 (Hungerford), will be closed this weekend to allow for resurfacing work to take place.

Work is having to take place from 9pm on Friday 4 September through to 6am on Monday 7 September, to allow for all layers down to the foundations time to harden.

Further weekend closures have been scheduled for the following dates, but are subject to change:

  • 9pm on Friday 11 September through to 6am on Monday 14 September – M4 eastbound between junction 15 and junction 14
  • 9pm on Friday 2 October through to 6am on Monday 5 October – M4 eastbound between junction 13 and junction 12

Significant delays are expected during these weekend closures. You are advised to plan your journey and allow extra time or avoid this route if possible.

Confirmed dates/timings for the closures will be displayed in advance on large yellow signs alongside the M4, via the media and Highways England’s South-East Twitter.

Highways England would like to apologise in advance for any inconvenience or disruption during our work. If you have any questions, or if you’d like to know more please email info@highwaysengland.co.uk or call 0300 123 5000.

   

COVID RECOVERY GRANT

A new small pot of funding is available from West Berkshire Council to help local areas recover from Covid-19. Each District Councillor can support a local project, or projects, up to £1000. No match funding is required, and the money can be used for revenue or capital expenditure. In the Burghfield and Mortimer Ward, the three District Councillors have agreed to pool their grants so there is a pot of £3k to apply to.

Applications can come from support groups or other local organisations across the Ward (Beech Hill/Burghfield/Stratfield Mortimer/Wokefield) and should address at least one of the recovery priorities which include the health of our population, a strong and supported community sector, enhanced quality of life in our communities.

WBC’s announcement can be seen at https://info.westberks.gov.uk/article/37367

The full details of the Recovery Strategy can be seen at https://citizen.westberks.gov.uk/…/West_Berkshir_e_Recovery…

Applications giving details of the project, how it addresses one of the priorities and the amount required, should be emailed to admin@stratfield-mortimer.gov.uk by 31st August 2020.

 

CLOSURE - DRURY LANE 17 to 19 AUGUST

Drury Lane, Mortimer will be closed from 17th to 19th August 2020, the closure will be from its junction with Turks Lane, to its junction with West End Road.

The reason is to prevent any potential danger to the public or the workforce during urgent repairs to a visible leak within the carriageway

Residential access will be maintained throughout and the diversion will be signed on site.

All enquiries should be directed to: KCD on 0800 316 9800

A plan of the closure can be found at: (click on link) Drury Lane: https://one.network/?tm=118279990

 

Fluvial Flooding, Surface Water Flooding, Thunderstorm WARNINGS – 13/17 august

The Met Office have issued Yellow THUNDERSTORM Warnings (Very Low Likelihood of Medium impacts) to cover the potential impacts from showers and thunderstorms over the next few days. Details of the warnings can be found on the Met Office website, or on the Met Office App.

Warning issued for today (Thursday) and on Friday with further showers and thunderstorms expected. Saturday currently looks like being the quietest day of the week with only isolated showers in places, but the heavy shower and thunderstorm risk returns for Sunday and Monday.

Impacts:

Where the showers and thunderstorms do occur we could see torrential downpours, frequent lightning, large hail and gusty winds. There is the potential of seeing 20-40 mm of rain in less than an hour and as much as 60-70 mm or more in the space of just 2-3 hours. This could lead to impacts such as difficult driving conditions, flooding of homes and businesses from surface water, disruption to transport, power outages and damage to buildings.  Flood Guidance Statement for the weekend available here.

Other Hazards:

- Heat-Health Watch level-3 for SE England is out until 0900 on Friday, 14th August.

- The Daily Hazard Assessment is Amber for the wildfire risk for the next five days.

- The poor Air Quality risk is moderate to high today and tomorrow.


LEVEL 3 HEATWAVE ALERT

A Heatwave alert level 3 has now been issued from today, Thursday 6th August to 9:00pm Friday 14th August. This means that temperatures are very likely to rise to levels that increase the risk of ill health among vulnerable adults, particularly older people, the very young and those with long term conditions. People with breathing conditions such as asthma or COPD may be more affected when there are high air pollution levels together with hot weather.

“Stay out of the sun. Keep your home as cool as possible – shading windows and shutting them during the day may help. Open them when it is cooler at night. Keep drinking fluids. If there’s anybody you know, for example an older person living on their own, who might be at special risk, make sure they know what to do.”

Advice from Public Health England in relation to Heat and Covid-19:

• COVID-19 amplifies the risks of hot weather

• Fear of COVID-19 should not prevent action to tackle the risks from hot weather and heatwaves

• It is critical that actions to prevent health harms from high temperatures continue, with necessary adaptations in line with coronavirus guidance to keep everyone safe (i.e. shielding and self-isolation advice)

• Do not use a fan if anyone in the home is unwell with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Beat the Heat leaflet.

 

Clarke’s Education Foundation

Clarke's Education Foundation provides educational grants to local schools, youth organisations and residents of the parishes of Stratfield Mortimer, Mortimer West End and Wokefield.

The trust provides grants to local schools, for items not provided by the Local Education Authority and to eligible residents in the three parishes, for further education, including apprenticeships.

A student whose home address is in the parishes, and has been educated in a state school, may apply for a grant from the charity for higher education or entering an apprenticeship to buy tools for their trade.

Application forms can be obtained from mollie.lock64@gmail.com

Information on the full process for applicants will be detailed on the form.

The trust owns the School House and garden, in the grounds of St Mary’s school and derives its income from a combination of renting out the School House and a grant from the Relief In Need charity.

For more information, email the Foundation's clerk vh.greensands@yahoo.co.uk

 

Sign up now for the 2020/21 West Berkshire garden waste service

Subscriptions for the 2020/21 garden waste service are now open (as of Tuesday 21 July) for West Berkshire residents. If you have a current subscription, this will end on 28th August 2020 and you will need to renew by 14th August if you want to make sure there is no break in your service.

Residents who are subscribing for the first time can also do this online.

The 2020/21 garden waste service subscription period runs from 1st September 2020 to 27th August 2021. The subscription fees remain the same as last year with the service charge for the first bin costing £50.

Subscription sign up and full details of what can be collected are available online at: www.westberks.gov.uk/gardenwaste.

For residents who do not subscribe to the service, garden waste can also be taken to one of the recycling centres in Newbury and Padworth, or can be composted at home.

 

Thames Water Emergency Closure - Drury Lane, Mortimer Common

Drury Lane, Mortimer Common will be closed from the 17th – 21st July 2020, from its junction with West End Road to Pitfield Lane. This is an emergency closure so Thames Water can carry out a repair to a visible leak within the verge.

The alternative route for all vehicles affected by the Order is Pitfield Lane, The Street, West End Road and vice versa.

All enquiries should be directed to: KCD on 07730 910 716

A plan of the closure can be found at (click on Link): https://one.network/?tm=117901638

 

New way for residents to directly invest in a greener future is now live

West Berkshire Council has launched the UK’s first Community Municipal Investment (CMI) offering their residents and community groups a unique way to invest directly in a greener future for the district. 

The launch took place at Greenham Common where a Council owned building has been the first in a series of solar panel installations around the district. The move, which was supported by all political parties in West Berkshire, supports West Berkshire’s declaration of a Climate Emergency and is a key part of the Council’s new Environment Strategy.

A Community Municipal Investment (CMI) is a bond or loan mechanism issued by a Council directly to the public. It will be provided in partnership with the ethical online crowdfunding platform Abundance Investment, which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

CMIs can be used to supplement, diversify or replace sources of borrowing to fund specific infrastructure projects, or to refinance existing debt. West Berkshire will use its CMI to finance green projects in the district, such as installation of solar panels at a building on Greenham Common and five other buildings, including two local schools.

Sign up to find out more or download an offer document.

 

West Berkshire Council launches its Environment Strategy

West Berkshire Council is to launch its ambitious new Environment Strategy 2020-2030 today.

The Strategy, which was subject to public consultation earlier this year, will outline the steps the Council and its partners intend to take in order to reach the district’s target of carbon neutrality by 2030. Its delivery has been accelerated as a result of the priorities outlined in the Council Strategy 2019-23 and was approved by Executive yesterday (16 July).

The strategy’s vision is based on the five principles of mitigation, restoration, protection, partnership and integration. It contains a number of initiatives and projects that will contribute to the target of carbon neutrality by 2030; whether through infrastructure improvements, support for industry, investment in active lifestyle opportunities, or enhanced community engagement.

You can read the Environment Strategy here: https://info.westberks.gov.uk/policies.

A direct link to the PDF of the Environment Strategy is: https://info.westberks.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=49068&p=0.

Residents can sign up to receive email updates about environmental projects and news from West Berkshire Council direct to their inbox. To subscribe sign up to the newsletter here.

 

Health, Education and the Economy central to local recovery

West Berkshire Council has published its draft Recovery Strategy, which outlines its priorities for the district’s recovery from Covid-19.

The Strategy, which will be considered at Executive on the 16 July, sets out the priority areas the Council will focus on to help the community recover as quickly as possible from the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak.

It is structured around three core elements- health, education and the local economy- and gives details of how the council and its partners aim to improve the quality of life of all of those who live or work in the district.

In line with the council’s commitment to enhanced community engagement, there is a strong emphasis on plans to inform, consult and involve local residents in the development and delivery of these local recovery plans.

The council has also published its Recovery Action Plan as an appendix to the Strategy. This provides information about what has been done to date to support the local recovery in each of the three priority areas as well as further planned actions.

Link to WBC’s list of Executive meetings.

 

Message from Head of Local Policing Chief Superintendent about Further Easing of Restrictions

After over three months of social restrictions, we understand that people will want to go out and enjoy themselves when lockdown restrictions ease further on Saturday (4th July 2020).


As these restrictions are lifted however, the public have an even greater responsibility to adhere to the government guidance around social distancing and hygiene and play their part in stopping the spread of Coronavirus. Covid-19 still presents a significant threat to public health, as highlighted by the local lockdown seen in Leicester this week, and we must all continue to respect the measures in place to protect lives.

As with any expected busy weekend, Thames Valley Police has a comprehensive plan in place with officers visible in our cities and town centres, as well as extra resources and officers available to respond to any disorder or criminality, wherever they are needed. And whilst we have no powers to enforce social distancing, restrictions around gatherings are still in place and we will break up illegal events and take action against those who organise them.

We are also working with local authorities and licensees to support their plans to manage the number of people out and about. In some areas entry to a bar or restaurant will only be possible if you pre-book a table and not all premises are opening, so if you’ve not pre-booked you may not get entry to anywhere and you may wish to consider this when making your plans. Also make sure to pre-plan your travel and how you are going to get home.

We would also ask that people are mindful of the potential impact they could have on the emergency services and urge people to drink responsibly.

We want everyone to have a great time and enjoy themselves but please stay safe and adhere to the public health measures in place to help stop the spread of Coronavirus.

Please see the latest government guidance on the further easing of restrictions.


CYCLING ON PUBLIC RIGHTS OF WAY

West Berkshire Council are, unfortunately, receiving lots of complaints from walkers about cyclists riding inconsiderately and too fast both on footpaths and bridleways.

Cyclists have a legal right to ride on bridleways providing they give way to walkers and horseriders. There is no legal right to cycle on a public footpath although it isn’t a specific offence to - it is a trespass against the landowner.

Please check the status of a right of way before cycling along it, so you know if it is appropriate for you to be using it. Please do not cycle on these routes.

The Kennet & Avon Canal Towpath is a public footpath but there are rights to cycle along it. The Canal and Rivers Trust have a Towpath Code https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/news-and-views/our-campaigns/share-the-space-our-towpath-code and tips for cyclists https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/news-and-views/blogs/waterfront/cycling-on-the-towpath

Please make sure you ride with consideration and care especially when passing walkers to ensure everyone can use and enjoy our rights of way safely.


Public Rights of Way and Open Access Land in West Berkshire during the Coronavirus pandemic