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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

All public rights of way (PROW) and open access land (including West Berkshire commons) remain open. Levels of use are higher than normal during this period and it is especially important to be considerate to others.

PROWs are signposted and maintained by the District Council:

· Footpath - for pedestrians only.

· Bridleway - for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians only.

· Restricted Byway - for pedestrians, cyclists, equestrians and carriage drivers only.

· Byway - for for pedestrians, cyclists, equestrians, carriage drivers, and vehicles.

All PROWs are marked at the roadside with signposts, and at intervals along the routes with small arrows.

Please stick to public rights of way, and stay within the limits of open access land.

Public rights of way map: https://gis1.westberks.gov.uk/applicationtemplates/onlinemap/

Open access land map: http://www.openaccess.naturalengland.org.uk/wps/portal/oasys/maps/Section4

APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOUR

PROWs are highways, and you must use them with due care and attention.

Everyone must abide by the Countryside Code, and allow for the necessary social distancing to take place.

· Respect other people:

- consider the local community and other people enjoying the outdoors

- leave gates and property as you find them and follow paths unless wider access is available

· Protect the natural environment:

- leave no trace of your visit and take your litter home

- keep dogs under effective control

· Enjoy the outdoors:

- plan ahead and be prepared

- follow advice and local signs

· Respect other people

- Please respect the local community and other people using the outdoors.

Remember your actions can affect people’s lives and livelihoods.

 

 

West Berkshire Museum and Shaw House to reopen to public

The Museum will reopen on Wednesday 15 July and will then be open every Wednesday to Friday, 10am - 4pm.

Unfortunately the Museum's library and cafe will not be available in this phase.

Shaw House will reopen for visits to the House and grounds on Saturday 18 July and will then be open every Saturday and Sunday until the end of the summer season on Sunday 27 September, 11am - 4pm.

To ensure that it is safe for visitors to return, the Council's Culture service has made changes in line with government guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19 with a slightly reduced capacity, social distancing, queuing and one-way systems in place. Both venues have been deep-cleaned, have reception screens in place, hand sanitiser and hand washing facilities.

For details, please read: https://info.westberks.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=37338

 

HEATWAVE LEVEL 2 WARNING

A Heatwave Level 2 warning has been issued from 09:00 on Wednesday, 24th June to 21:00 on Friday, 26th June 2020 in the South East. This means that temperatures are likely to rise to levels that increase the risk of ill health among vulnerable adults, particularly the very young and older people and those with long-term conditions. https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/heat-health/#?tab=heatHealth

This year we have the added challenge of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Many more people will be staying at home this summer, due to shielding or self-isolation, and potentially be exposed to high indoor temperatures. We know that people who are vulnerable to dying from high indoor temperatures overlap with those who are vulnerable to illness from COVID-19.

What can you do?

· Shade or cover windows exposed to direct sunlight, external shutters or shades are very effective, while internal blinds or curtains are less effective but cheaper.

· Metallic blinds and dark curtains can make a room hotter.

· Open windows when the air feels cooler outside than inside, for example, at night. Try to get air flowing through your home, if possible.

· Turn off the central heating, and lights and electrical equipment that aren’t in use.

· Use electric fans if the temperature is below 35°C, but do not aim the fan directly at the body and ensure you stay hydrated with regular drinks.

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

· Check that fridges and freezers are working properly.

· If you have concerns about an uncomfortably hot home that is affecting your health or someone else’s health, seek medical advice.

· You may be able to get help from the environmental health department within your local authority; they can do a home hazard assessment.

Resources:

· Beat the Heat: Coping with heat and COVID-19 (poster)

· Beat the heat: keep cool at home (checklist)

· NHS Choices Heatwave: how to cope in hot weather

· Hydration leaflet and poster

 

 

M4 Junctions 12 (Theale, West Berkshire) to 15 (Swindon, Wiltshire) – Weekend Closures

Highways England will be closing sections of the M4 over several entire weekends for resurfacing works.

The first weekend closure is scheduled to take place:

· from 9pm on Friday 3 July through to 6am on Monday 6 July 2020, and will be a closure of the M4 westbound carriageway between junction 13 and junction 14.

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

· Friday 4 to Monday 7 September – M4 westbound between junction 13 and junction 14

· Friday 11 to Monday 14 September – M4 eastbound between junction 15 and junction 14

· Friday 2 to 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.

Please be aware that due to the current Covid-19 Pandemic, all works are subject to change due to available resource by our Supply Chain, as well as possible adverse weather conditions – confirmed dates/timings for all closures will be displayed in advance on large yellow signs alongside the M4.

If you have any questions, or if you’d like you know more about this work please email: info@highwaysengland.co.uk or call Highways on 0300 123 5000. Alternatively, to view the weekly report of full closures, please visit https://highwaysengland.co.uk/roads, scroll down and under Roadworks click on ‘Check for Roadworks’, then scroll down and under Planned full closures click on ‘Check for Roadworks’ (this will open a Microsoft Excel file that will allow you to filter by day and road).

 

Lockdown Wood Project

Newbury Friends of the Earth group have been working on a project which has the aim of marking the current lockdown and the impacts of the C-19 virus. This project is to be known as the Lockdown Wood Project.

The Lockdown Wood Project group is encouraging local residents to find tree seedlings in their gardens and allotments while under lockdown (and during the ongoing period when movements outside the home are restricted and discouraged), to put them in pots and look after them in their own gardens. The aim is to grow them on until they are big enough to plant into a new wood which will be called ‘Lockdown Wood’. It will commemorate this hugely difficult period of disruption and sacrifice which has impacted on us all. Local residents will be invited to dedicate a tree to someone who has been particularly affected by this pandemic, maybe a key worker or family member lost to Covid19.

West Berkshire Council will be supporting this project by providing some land on which these tree saplings can be planted, supplemented by additional planting funded by Friends of the Earth. It is hoped that suitable land can be prepared and planted up this winter with saplings donated or purchased, while the home-grown saplings are still too small to plant out.

If you are interested in becoming involved providing saplings or promoting the project in your local community, or if you simply want to find out more, then please do make contact with the organisers – Susan Millington at Newbury Friends of the Earth via their Lockdown Wood Facebook page at the following location. They will be delighted to hear from anyone interested in participating in this exciting project:

Link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1462905093887423/

 

 

WEST BERKSHIRE COUNCIL COVID-19 BULLETIN

Latest news and information from West Berkshire Council at 19th June 2020

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKWESTBC/bulletins/29136fd 

Latest news and information from West Berkshire Council at 12th June 2020 

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKWESTBC/bulletins/28ffa20

 

 

Emergency Active Travel Fund

West Berkshire Council has been awarded £124,000 from the Department for Transport to help introduce pop-up and temporary interventions to create an environment that is safe for both walking and cycling.

The allocation is part of the Government’s emergency active travel fund and indicates what WBC will receive under 2 phases. Under phase 1, WBC will focus efforts on measures that encourage active travel and can be implemented quickly to provide additional road-space for walking and cycling.

Measures include:

  • additional cycle parking in a number of our towns and villages;
  • temporary road closures and parking suspensions to enable social distancing in town centres;
  • temporary exemption for cyclists in one way streets;
  • Widening of footpaths at busy bus stops;
  • Permanent conversions of temporary cycle ways.

Phase 2 will be released later in the summer to enable WBC to secure funding of £495,000 towards more permanent measures to encourage active travel.

WBC’s Council strategy gives more details on their priorities to make West Berkshire a great place to live, work and visit.

 

 

WEST BERKSHIRE COUNCIL COVID-19 BULLETIN

Latest news and information from West Berkshire Council at 5th June 2020

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKWESTBC/bulletins/28e65ca

 

 

LONGMOOR LANE – WILL BE CLOSED 10 June 2020

Longmoor Lane, Mortimer, will be closed from 9am to 4pm on 10th June 2020, the closure will be from its junction with Burghfield Road, to its junction with Windmill Road.

The alternative route for all vehicles affected, is via Windmill Road, Hammonds Heath Road, The Street, Victoria Road, Burghfield Road, and vice versa.

The purpose of this closure is so contractors can remove a tree that is in a dangerous condition.

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

Please Note: Due to the nature of this closure (tree felling) Blue Light access cannot be guaranteed, therefore it is advised to use diversionary route where possible.

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

A plan of the closure can be found at: (click on link) https://one.network/?tm=117390755

 

 

Windmill Road, Mortimer will be closed - 09/06/2020

Windmill Road, Mortimer will be closed from 9am to 4pm on 9th June 2020, the closure will be from its junction with Longmoor Lane, to its junction with Hammonds Heath Road.

The alternative route for all vehicles affected, is via Hammonds Heath Road, The Street, Victoria Road, King Street, and vice versa.

The purpose of this closure is so contractors can remove a tree that is in a dangerous condition.

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

Please Note: Due to the nature of this closure (tree felling) Blue Light access cannot be guaranteed, therefore it is advised to use diversionary route where possible.

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

A plan of the closure can be found at: (click on link) https://one.network/?tm=117390604

 

 

Glass Recycling Banks

As from 1st June 2020 West Berkshire Council are removing all glass banks from:

· Hillers Garden Centre, Hermitage

· WBC Station Car Park, Hungerford

· Waitrose, Newbury

· Sainsbury’s, Newbury

· Station Car Park, Theale

· Willink School, Burghfield

· Waitrose, Thatcham

Residents will still be able to recycle their glass bottles and jars in their kerbside box or at one of the recycling centres (Newtown Road, Newbury or Padworth – www.westberks.gov.uk/recyclingcentres)

Additional green kerbside boxes for their glass (or any other recycling materials: plastic bottles, aerosols, cans/tins, paper and card), can be requested online – www.westberks.gov.uk/extrabins

 

 

Update on shops and business re-opening

Some non-essential businesses, such as certain shops, have been advised that they may re-open on 1st June whilst continuing to comply with social distancing guidance.

West Berkshire Council have made a number of resources available to help businesses to do this safely, including posters and other advice at https://info.westberks.gov.uk/covid19-businesspack

This will ensure that businesses have clear and consistent advice and signage available to them as they begin to welcome customers for the first time since they were advised to close in late March. Please pass this on to anyone you feel would benefit from it.

West Berkshire Council have also issued an order to close parts of Newbury town centre to traffic temporarily to assist with queuing and safety for pedestrians and cyclists in the town centre.

 

CITIZENS ADVICE TADLEY – GETTING ADVICE DURING CORONAVIRUS

During the current restrictions, CAB Tadley continue to offer phone and email advice to clients as normal and have set up several remote workers to facilitate this. Please see their contact details below for local people to get in touch.

For general advice:

Phone: 0118 981 7567 /  03444 111 306

Textphone: 03444 111 445

Email: basingstokeandtadleycab.org.uk

For help claiming Universal Credit:

Phone: 0800 144 8 444

Textphone: 18001 0800 144 8 444

Visit their website citizensadvice.org.uk where you can also chat to an adviser
online.

CAD also continues to refer to the Foodbank as necessary and they are offering deliveries to their clients in need.

 

WEST BERKSHIRE YOUTH HUB

The West Berkshire Youth Hub has been launched to help the young people, families and agencies in West Berkshire through the COVID-19 lockdown.

It is a virtual and telephone-based ‘one stop shop’ giving access to activity groups, resources, support agencies and volunteering opportunities still available at this time. The telephone support service will be staffed from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, with access to out of hours support, and young people are encouraged to get in touch with us to be informed about local activities, such as local youth groups, sports and drama clubs, which have moved online but may not be known to all. They will also be linked with appropriate, relevant and safe networks for the foreseeable future through lockdown and as restrictions are lifted.

While this service will not replace any other emergency service or out of hours team, where appropriate, young people will also be able to be referred to one of Berkshire Youth’s youth workers and other specialist agencies for specific support, while any request of need identified for this level of intervention will be referred or reported to appropriate safeguarding teams.

Who can use it?

West Berkshire young people, families/carers and agencies, each with their own separate button linking to further resources and information.

How can you help?

Berkshire Youth would be very grateful for your support for this project by:

  • Sharing this information with your (members/pupils) and their parents/carers and other relevant contacts who can benefit from this hub
  • Sending us links and information regarding local clubs, activities etc. which are still available at the current time, which we will then share on the West Berkshire Youth Hub

Contact details

W: https://wbyh.co.uk 

E: admin@berkshireyouth.co.uk

T: TBC (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

 

Goring Lane, Wokefield will be closed under three phases:

Phase 1: Goring Lane will be closed on 28th May from the property known as Holly House and Goddards Green between the hours of 08:00 to 17.00. This closure is to enable Volker Highways to carryout highway improvements to the carriageway.

The alternative route for all vehicles affected by the Order is via Mowbray Hill, Hammonds Heath Road, The Street, Bloomfield Hatch Lane, Lambwood Hill, Mortimer Road Grazeley Green Road vice versa

A plan of the closure can be found at: https: https://one.network/?tm=117325419

Phase 2: Goring Lane will be closed on 31st May from the property known as Holly House and Goddards Green between the hours of 08:00 to 17.00. This closure is to enable Hazel & Jeffries to carryout surface treatment to the carriageway.

The alternative route for all vehicles affected by the Order is via Mowbray Hill, Hammonds Heath Road, The Street, Bloomfield Hatch Lane, Lambwood Hill, Mortimer Road Grazeley Green Road vice versa.

A plan of the closure can be found at: https: https://one.network/?tm=117326477

Phase 3: Goring Lane will be closed between 29th May and 1st June 2020 from the junction with Hollybush Lane to 70m east of Hollybush Lane.

The alternative route for all vehicles affected by the Order is via James Lane, Hermits Hill, Reading Road, vice versa.

A plan of the closure can be found at: https: https://one.network/?tm=117322937

All enquiries please contact West Berkshire Council on 01635 519080

 

West BERKSHIRE Council launches Covid-19 residents' survey

West Berkshire Council is to launch a residents’ survey to gain insight into the impact of Covid-19 on the district.

The survey, which will be available from the 22nd May until 9am on Monday 8th June, asks residents a number of questions about how their circumstances have changed as a result of the Public Health Emergency. It also invites residents to give their thoughts on the Council’s response to the current situation as well as the implications for the local recovery.

It forms part of the Council’s ongoing engagement programme and responses will be analysed as West Berkshire Council develops a local Recovery Strategy with partners in the coming months. The Council intends to repeat the survey at regular intervals in the next year to ensure that any changes to public feeling are considered.

Commenting on the survey, Lynne Doherty, Leader of West Berkshire Council, said:

“The current situation is having an impact on all of us and we are keen to find out more about local people are feeling at this time. Doing so will ensure that the specific needs of local people inform the district’s recovery efforts.

“We would urge all of those who live in West Berkshire to fill in the survey to help shape our future work.”

The survey and contact details for the Consultation Team can be found at:

https://info.westberks.gov.uk/residentsurvey-covid19

Paper copies of the form can be requested by calling 01635 503043.

 

Recycling Centres to Open from 14th May

West Berkshire Council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) are set to reopen to allow residents the opportunity to dispose of waste and recycling that cannot be safely stored at home.

From Thursday 14 May both recycling centres, which are located at Newtown Road in Newbury and Padworth Lane, near Aldermaston, will be reopened.

In order to manage demand, a booking system is in place and you will not be able to simply turn up at the recycling centres.

The booking system will be live on the morning of Wednesday 13 May and residents need to book their appointment here: https://citizen.westberks.gov.uk/clickandtip.

Please remember that journeys to these sites during lockdown should only be made if waste cannot be stored any longer at home without causing a risk to your health and safety. The sites will be open seven days a week from 9:00am to 6:00pm, with the last booking appointment available at 4:30pm.

Precautionary measures will be introduced to help maintain social distancing at the sites and a traffic management plan will be in place.

It is advised you delay a visit until things are a bit quieter in a few weeks’ time or to only visit if you cannot safely store waste at home for the next couple of weeks.

 

NEWS FROM WBC LIBRARIES

As you are aware all the West Berkshire libraries have been closed for the past few weeks in line with Government guidelines. WBC are making plans to restore the library service to the public in phases, but would like to share with you their Libraries customer newsletter which was sent out last week – see link below.

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKWESTBC/bulletins/288d315

WBC are hoping that the newsletter will reassure customers who have not been able to return their library loans that there is no need to worry about this – no fines will be charged during this closure period.

You can still join West Berkshire Libraries online to get free access to our e-library and range of digital resources such as Ancestry and Britannica. There are thousands of titles available including e-magazines and e-newspapers too, and a range of digital activities for families and an online book group.

 

COMMUNITY SUPPORT HUB

The Hub is open seven days a week, 8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Thursday and 8:30am to 4:30pm, Friday to Sunday and Bank Holidays.

Telephone: 01635 503579

email: westberksbct@westberks.gov.uk or

ask for help from the Community Support Hub service online.

There is also a Community Support Hub Facebook page for volunteers across West Berkshire.

 

CLOSURE – GORING LANE

Goring Lane, Mortimer/Grazeley will be closed on 11th and 12 May 2020 from the hours of 08:00 to 17:00, from Wokefield Common to The Old Bell Public House. This closure is to enable Volker Highways to carryout carriageway improvements on behalf of West Berkshire Council.

The alternative route for all vehicles affected by the Order is via Grazeley Green Road, Bloomfield Hatch Lane, Mortimer Road, Lamwood Hill, Bloomfield Hatch Lane, The Street, Victoria Road, Burghfield Road, Reading Road and vice versa.

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

All enquiries please contact West Berkshire Council on 01635 519080

A plan of the closure can be found at: https: https://one.network/?tm=117182951

 

M4 Junctions 12 (Theale, West Berkshire) to 15 (Swindon, Wiltshire) – Resurfacing

Highways England are resurfacing various sections of the M4 east and westbound carriageways between junctions 12 and 15, to ensure the network remains in a safe condition.

For the safety of workforce and customers, sections of the M4 eastbound and westbound will need to be closed overnight (between 9pm and 6am, Monday to Friday only).

For May 2020, the following closures are planned:

  • Monday 27 April to Monday 4 May – Lane closures on the westbound carriageway between junction 13 and junction 14
  • Tuesday 5 May to Friday 15 May – Full closures of the westbound carriageway between junction 13 and junction 14, with a signed diversion via A34 south to Speen, west along the A4 to Hungerford, then north on the A338 to the M4
  • Monday 18 May to Thursday 21 May – Lane closures on the westbound carriageway between junction 13 and junction 14
  • Tuesday 26 May to Thursday 28 May – Full closures of the westbound carriageway between junction 13 and junction 14, with a signed diversion via A34 south to Speen, west along the A4 to Hungerford, then north on the A338 to the M4

Please note works are currently not scheduled to take place between Friday 22 to Monday 25 May due to the Bank Holiday weekend.

Due to the current Covid-19 Pandemic, all works are subject to change due to available resources and an update will be provided in late-May with the planned closures for June.

The confirmed dates/timings for all closures will be displayed in advance on large yellow signs alongside the M4.

Access will be maintained for emergency service vehicles on blue light calls.

 

M4 Weekend Closures

Highways England have advised of some weekend closures planned on the following dates:

  • Friday 3 to Monday 6 July – M4 westbound between junction 13 and junction 14
  • Friday 4 to Monday 7 September – M4 westbound between junction 13 and junction 14
  • Friday 11 to Monday 14 September – M4 eastbound between junction 15 and junction 14
  • Friday 2 to Monday 5 October – M4 eastbound between junction 13 and junction 12

Confirmation of these weekend closures will be advised nearer the time.

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

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

Alternatively, to view theoir weekly report of full closures please visit https://highwaysengland.co.uk/roads, scroll down and under Roadworks click on ‘Check for Roadworks’, then scroll down and under Planned full closures click on ‘Check for Roadworks’ (this will open a Microsoft Excel file that will allow you to filter by day and road).

 

 

WEST BERKSHIRE COUNCIL MOVES TO VIRTUAL MEETINGS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

West Berkshire Council has introduced virtual meetings to ensure it can continue to advance its plans, take decisions and provide scrutiny whilst maintaining social distancing.

Meetings are hosted on Zoom, a video conferencing facility, and live-streamed on West Berkshire Council’s YouTube channel to allow residents to follow proceedings. The public are still able to ask questions and these must be submitted in advance in the same way as they are for meetings at Council offices.

The first virtual meeting in the Council’s 22-year history took place last week with a meeting of Personnel Committee. The next meeting to be held will be of the Executive at 5:00pm on Thursday 30 April. You can view the Council meeting here.

The move to hold virtual meetings comes following a change in legislation at the beginning of April which removed the requirement for councils to hold meetings at a specified physical location.

The Executive will consider a range of important projects as the Council looks to move forward with the plans set out in its Council Strategy. Among the items to be considered are:

  • Adoption of an Economic Development Strategy for the district
  • Approval to launch a £1m Community Bond to help deliver projects in support of the Environment Strategy
  • Consideration of a report on a recent peer challenge undertaken by the Council; and
  • A new project to develop support for the community and voluntary sector.

Members of the public who have submitted questions will receive a written response which will also be published on the website. The move to virtual meetings means it will not be possible to ask a follow-up question, but it does not prevent further questions being submitted for future meetings.

Full details on Council meetings and committees can be found online: https://info.westberks.gov.uk/committees.

 

  

CLOSURE OF GORING LANE – 5th to 7th MAY

Goring Lane, Mortimer/Grazeley will be closed from the 5th to 7th May 2020 from the hours of 08:00 to 17:00 , from Wokefield Common to The Old Bell Public House. This closure is to enable Volker Highways to carryout carriageway improvements on behalf of West Berkshire Council.

The alternative route for all vehicles affected by the Order is via Grazeley Green Road, Bloomfield Hatch Lane, Mortimer Road, Lamwood Hill, Bloomfield Hatch Lane, The Street, Victoria Road, Burghfield Road, Reading Road and vice versa.

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

All enquiries please contact West Berkshire Council on 01635 519080

A plan of the closure can be found at: https: https://one.network/?tm=117131820

 

 

RECENT ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM WBC EMERGENCY PLANNING SERVICE

West Berkshire Council’s Emergency Planning service would like to bring two recent announcements to your attention; the first relates to Parks and Public Open Spaces, and the second to Funerals.

You can still go to the park for outdoor exercise once a day but only alone or with members of your household, not in groups.

Communal places within parks such as sports courts, playgrounds and outdoor gyms have been closed to protect everyone’s health.

We ask that households use parks responsibly and keep 2 metres apart from others at all times.

Unless you are with members of your household, gatherings of more than two people in parks and other public spaces have been banned. The police have the powers to disperse gatherings and issue fines if necessary.

 

 

Ash Lane Closure - Burghfield

Ash Lane, Burghfield will be closed from the junction with Sulhamstead Road to Clayhill Road on the 23rd and 24th April from the hours of 08:00 to 17:00. This is to enable Volker Highways to carryout essential carriageway improvements on behalf of West Berkshire Council.

The alternative route for all vehicles affected by the Order is Sulhamstead Road, Clayhill Road and visa versa.

All enquiries please contact West Berkshire Council on 01635 519080

A plan of the closure can be found at: https://one.network/?tm=117088569

 

 

COVID-19: WBC Waste and Recycling News

For the latest information bulletin from West Berkshire Council on Waste & Recyling, please go to https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKWESTBC/bulletins/285b3f8

The bulletin includes updates on bin collection days and tips on what to do with your waste and garden waste, how to reduce your waste, information on fly tipping and how to report it, and restrictions on bonfires.

 

 

COVID-19: SIGN UP WITH WBC FOR THEIR LATEST UPDATES

WBC is introducing a newsletter to share the latest updates on the virus and disease.

It will provide residents with advice, information about changes to services, signposting to the support available through the Council and its partners, etc.

You can sign up here: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKWESTBC/subscriber/new?qsp=CODE_RED and there is information about signing up on Facebook and Twitter for easy sharing.

 

 

Priority Services Register and SSEN Resilience Fund

Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks offer a Priority Services Register (in partnership with Thames Water) for vulnerable members of our society. The aim is to offer support, information and assistance in the event of a power outage, whether planned or unplanned, or in the event of a water shortage.

In order for this service to work effectively they need to know where our vulnerable customers are and for that to happen we need them to register.

Attached is a copy of SSE’s Register which can be emailed to relevant people or printed out.

Registering is easy and can be done by posting the form in the booklet, by phone or by going on line.

This is a completely free service and is in no way connected to who the customer pays their electricity bill to. SSE look after the NETWORK for the whole area and are therefore responsible for all the underground and overhead cables.

Their help consists of phoning vulnerable customers in the event of a power cut to check that they are OK; providing phone or text updates throughout the power outage to ensure the customer knows what is going on. If the power outage is lengthy then food vouchers will be issued. If the customer relies on electrical medical equipment SSE will keep in contact with them and if necessary, where possible, generation can be provided. If a problem occurs with water supply then Thames Water will deliver bottled water to the doorstep.

SSE’s Resilience Fund has now opened for this year and they are accepting applications until 30th April. Please see link below for full details. If this is something you feel you may qualify for then please apply as soon as possible. Please note application does not guarantee acceptance.

https://www.ssen.co.uk/resiliencefund/

 

 

West Berkshire Council announces refund for school transport

West Berkshire Council have taken the decision to assist parents and carers who are finding it financially difficult during this time by offering the option to apply for a refund on fares paid for school transport. This is in response to the current directive from the Government to close schools during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

A refund will be given to those who have bought a farepayer seat on home to school transport for the two weeks from 23 March 2020 to 3 April 2020. To qualify for this refund parents and carers will need to complete the dedicated refund form available online: https://info.westberks.gov.uk/article/36932. The information needs to be completed correctly as the payment will be made by bank transfer.

A decision will be made regarding an automatic refund for the last two terms of school, from 20 April to 22 May 2020 and 1 June to 17 July 2020, once central Government have issued further guidance on school attendance for these periods.

Completed forms must be returned to: transport@westberks.gov.uk by Thursday 30 April 2020.

 

 

Message from Superintendent Lindsey Finch - Commander of West Berkshire (Local Police Area)


I understand that this is a difficult and worrying time for a lot people as we all make significant adjustments to our daily lives to follow the measures set out by the government. These measures have been put in place to stop the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.

You will be aware that the police were given new powers to help reinforce these measures and whilst these are an option to us, we will only use them as a last resort. Officers will routinely be stopping members of the public and vehicles to ensure the Government’s advice is being adhered to so please don’t be alarmed if you are stopped and work with us if you are told to return home.

Here in West Berkshire we are ensuring that if you are spoken to by an officer or a PCSO, it will be in an effort to explain why we are out and about, and encourage people if they are not already doing so, to work with us to keep everyone safer by supporting the Government guidance. We will also be using this opportunity to try to understand whether there are any vulnerable people in the area who are not getting the support they need in this challenging time. We can then help to direct them to people who can assist.

This current climate offers up a lot of uncertainty which can make people feel anxious, unsettled and fearful but I want to reassure you that my team and I are still policing your communities, responding to emergencies as well as effecting the Government’s restrictions to stay inside and only go out in very specific circumstances.

I want to say a huge thank you to all of you for staying inside and keeping our streets clear, and for all the messages of support for us, NHS colleagues and other partners and key workers who are trying to be part of the solution. This will inevitably take some adjustment for us all, but I know that in West Berkshire you will all continue to do the right thing.

By continuing to stay home, you can protect the NHS and save lives. Thank you again for your co-operation during these challenging times.

Please click here to view a video message from Superintendent Lindsey Finch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Us_Q4_EOJNg&feature=youtu.be

Useful information and advice:

For more information on the Government’s restrictions, please visit the GOV.UK website.

You can find a number of frequently asked questions and a message from Chief Constable John Campbell on our website.

If you need to report anything to us that is not an emergency, you might experience some delays calling 101 so where possible report through the Thames Valley Police website. In an emergency always call 999.

Sent on behalf of Superintendent Lindsey Finch, Commander for West Berkshire LPA (Local Police Area) – 1st April 2020


Launch of Emotional Health Academy Helpline

West Berkshire Council has set up a dedicated telephone helpline for young people experiencing issues and concerns relating to COVID-19.

The Helpline, which is linked to its Emotional Health Academy (EHA), will offer the district’s young people self-help support, advice and guidance from trained EHA workers. It will come into operation on 6 April, providing an opportunity for children and young people (aged 11 to 18) to express their concerns and talk about issues directly affecting them during the current coronavirus crisis. EHA workers will use active listening skills to support young people in dealing with difficult feelings around COVID-19 and provide signposting and self-help support for their general wellbeing.

This local helpline is a short-term service and will be available only during the coronavirus pandemic, to provide ‘in the moment’ support to children and young people. It will provide access to trained EHA workers who can offer advice and self-help tools and provide support to manage ‘low level’ problems. It is not a crisis line and does not replace other services such as the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

From Monday 6 April, the EHA helpline will be open between 9:00am and 5:00pm, Monday to Friday, and young people aged 11 to 18 can use it to access advice and support by calling: 01635 503587.

Commenting on the service, Councillor Dominic Boeck, Executive Member for Children, Education and Young People at West Berkshire Council said:

“We know that many children and young people are feeling anxious and upset at this time of national crisis, and are struggling to adjust to changes in their everyday lives. That is why we are setting up this helpline in addition to other services provided locally and nationally to support the mental health and well-being of children and young people.

“The EHA helpline will offer a listening ear and a range of self-help and signposting resources to support young people in West Berkshire to cope with lifestyle changes relating to COVID-19 both now and in the difficult times ahead.”

 

 

West Berkshire Council produces Coronavirus advice leaflet for residents

Households in West Berkshire Council will receive a leaflet containing advice and guidance about support available to them as we all deal with the impact of Covid-19.

A copy of the leaflet is available here

The leaflet, which will be sent out to every household this weekend, gives details of support being offered by the Council, guidance on staying safe and useful links to vital services. It also provides details of the Community Support Hub, which has been established in recent days.

The Community Support Hub, which the Council has set up in partnership with Greenham Trust and Volunteer Centre West Berkshire, will support the most vulnerable members of society as outlined by Central Government earlier this week. It will also serve as a point of contact for all requests for support and offers from volunteers.

The Community Support Hub can be contacted on: 01635 503579 or via email on: westberksbct@westberks.gov.uk.

Speaking about the leaflet, Cllr Lynne Doherty, Leader of West Berkshire Council, said:

“We want residents in West Berkshire to know where to go if they need help through this difficult time.

“The Community Support Hub, which was launched just last week, will support our residents, particularly those who are in vulnerable groups.

“We’ve already been overwhelmed with offers of help and we are so proud to see the whole community pulling together. There is always room for more, though, so get in touch if you feel you can help; while adhering to national guidance on staying safe.

“As well as providing details of the Hub, this leaflet offers tips for those struggling with the effects of isolation, gives details of financial support available and lets people know how to stay safe. Ensuring it is delivered to all households is a key priority for us so that no one misses out on help they need.

“As always, we would urge anyone in need to contact the Hub and we will help wherever we can.”

 

 

Update on waste services for West Berkshire during the Coronavirus pandemic

West Berkshire Council is working with its waste contractor, Veolia, to ensure that essential collections can be delivered for as long as is practical during this unprecedented time. Both Veolia and West Berkshire Council would like to thank the residents who have been showing their support with notes, pictures and posts on social media for the waste teams.

Collecting waste from residents across the district remains a high priority for the Council but it is a very challenging situation for everyone with a reduction in staff availability which could result in further service reductions going forward.

The Council is continually monitoring the situation and the following changes have been implemented:

Currently suspended services include:

  • HWRCs (this is due to government lockdown guidance)
  • Bulky waste collections

Services that have been scaled back:

  • Street cleansing
  • Container deliveries (under review)

This is a changeable situation and further changes may be introduced in the coming days with or without advance notice. Please keep visiting the Council’s website for updates. We have created a dedicated page on our website that includes all the updates in one place to make it easier to keep up to date with information: https://info.westberks.gov.uk/coronavirus. All residents and businesses are encouraged to check this page regularly for updates across our service areas.

Please avoid making calls/enquiries to the Council on routine matters or non-essential waste services. This will allow our colleagues to focus limited resources on providing essential services. The crews have seen large volumes of excess refuse being presented for collection this week. It is also important that, wherever possible, residents reduce their waste generation at this time or use available storage e.g. sheds or garages to hold back some of the waste where they can and if safe to do so.

If that trend continues, it could overwhelm our already stretched collection systems and lead to significant services disruption going forward. We would also ask residents to be considerate towards the hard-working waste collection teams, who are doing their best for our communities.

The Council’s waste collections may start earlier than normal to give them a chance to finish rounds. Residents are advised to leave their bins out the night before (wherever practicable) or by 6:00am on the collection day.

Steve Ardagh-Walter, Executive Council Member for the Environment at West Berkshire Council, said: “I appreciate that waste collections are a much valued service so please be assured that we are engaging regularly with our contractor to keep collections going as best we can. I ask that residents continue to bear with us and, wherever they can, to adopt good waste reduction measures such as home composting or reusing items for example, leftover food and packaging. Our website offers a number of ideas on reducing food waste, recipes and recycling. I would encourage residents to use this valuable resource while the Council continues to do what we need to do to support residents.”

 

 

 West Berkshire Community Support Hub launches 

As the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak continues, communities across West Berkshire have united together to support their families, friends and neighbours in need.

Offers of help have been pouring in on social media with concerns for the vulnerable and elderly, who are at a greater risk of serious illness from Covid-19.

That is why West Berkshire Council, in partnership with Greenham Trust and Volunteer Centre West Berkshire, have created an online Community Support Hub. We want to thank and help spread the word about the amazing support that is available across the district from our community champions.

The Community Support Hub will coordinate local support across West Berkshire to meet the needs of those who are self-isolating because they are vulnerable or have been advised to stay at home.

We need to know who is vulnerable and where they are. We will do this through working with community groups, Town and Parish Councils, partners that we work with and information from the public e.g. neighbours.

Towns and Parish Councils will use all this information to create a community needs map so that the Community Support Hub can match what individuals and communities need with the help voluntary and community groups can provide. At its simplest level, the Community Support Hub is about helping people continue to be good neighbours.

The function of the Community Support Hub will be to work together so that community and voluntary groups can try to make sure that those who are vulnerable get what they need. This would include mental health support and practical help such as offering to pick up shopping or medication, being at the end of the phone for a chat for those who are feeling lonely, walking the dog, and signposting to various groups for advice and guidance.

If you would like more information on the Community Support Hub, please do get in touch.


We also want to celebrate the great work that the West Berkshire community is currently undertaking and share good practice on what’s happening.

Tell us what you are doing via social media using the hashtags #WestBerksCommunity #WBCommunityLove on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. We would love to share your inspirational community acts of kindness.

 

Have your say on our draft Housing Allocations Policy

West Berkshire Council’s Housing Allocations Policy is changing and are seeking your views on the proposed changes which will determine the way homes are allocated by the Council.

The Housing Allocations Policy supports a number of the Council’s priorities, such as ensuring vulnerable children and adults achieve better outcomes, and sets out how affordable homes rented through housing associations and Registered Providers are allocated to residents in housing need through the Council’s choice-based lettings scheme – Homechoice West Berkshire.

The draft policy looks at how well the District Council is meeting the housing needs across West Berkshire and proposes the introduction of a priority banding system to replace the current system of prioritising applications by awarding points. Other key proposals include changes to the qualification criteria which will determine who can join the housing register.

Councillor Hilary Cole, Executive Member for Housing for West Berkshire Council, said:

“We are inviting residents and stakeholders to have their say on our draft Housing Allocations Policy and in particular our proposal to change from a points based system to a banding system.

“The proposed changes will ensure that social housing, including affordable housing, is allocated to people who have a genuine housing need and that the most vulnerable applicants are given the highest priority. This will make best use of affordable housing in the district while supporting safe and sustainable communities.

“I would encourage as many people as possible to provide their views by completing the consultation survey.”

The public consultation on the proposed policy will begin on Tuesday 17 March 2020 and close at midnight on Sunday 3 May 2020.

To read the policy and have your say on the consultation survey, please visit: www.westberks.gov.uk/drafthap2020.

 

 

 

M4 Junctions 13 to 14 Welford Viaduct (West Berkshire) – Emergency weekend closure

Following rapid deterioration of the surface of the bridge which carries the M4 over the River Lambourn, we will be implementing an emergency full weekend closure of the M4 westbound carriageway between junctions 13 and 14 to carry out significant repairs.

This closure will take place from 10pm on Friday 27 March through to 6am on Monday 30 March 2020.

A full weekend period is required to allow the materials sufficient time to set. Repairs undertaken in the past using overnight lane closures only have proven unsuccessful as curing time has been too short.

During the closure a signed diversion route will be in place from M4 junction 13, south on the A34 to the A4 Speen junction, west along the A4 to Hungerford, then north on the A338 to join the M4 at junction 14.

Permanent structural repairs to the bridge are currently scheduled for later in 2020/21, but are still in the development stage.

Please be aware that this closure is subject to change due to weather conditions or unforeseen circumstances – please check the yellow signs placed in advance alongside the road for confirmation of the closures dates/timings.

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

 

 

ACTIVITIES AT MORTIMER LIBRARY

The Library currently remains open but all craft and club activities held in Mortimer Library are suspended for the foreseeable future. This includes Craft and Chat, Rhyme Time, Children’s Crafts, Children’s Board Games, etc.

For more information phone: (0118) 9332882

You can get more updates at the West Berkshire Libraries Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WBerksLibraries/

 

 

Closure of ‘The Avenue’ - Parish of Stratfield Mortimer

The above road will be from 12th to 25th March 2020, in order to carry out emergency repairs to a visible leak. The closure will prohibit any vehicle from proceeding in any direction over the Southern loop of The Avenue.

The alternative route for all vehicles affected is via the Northern connecting section of The Avenue that runs parallel to The Street. (The top section of the loop).

Access will be maintained for residential access.

The diversion will be signed on site.

All enquiries should be directed to: Cappagh on 020 8947 4000

You can find more details of this closure by clicking on the link: https://one.network/?tm=116766527

 

 

CANCELLED - CHILDREN’S BOARD GAMES IN LIBRARY - Friday, 13th March Please note that the children’s board games in the library this Friday (13th March) has been cancelled.

 

 

SOCIAL PRESCRIBING SERVICE FROM WEST READING VILLAGES PCN

Do you know our surgery is part of a Primary Care Network (PCN)? The West Reading Villages Primary Care Network (PCN) works with Chapel Row Surgery, The Boathouse Surgery, Mortimer Surgery and Theale Medical Centre.

One of the important services they provide is a social prescribing service which is available to anyone, who would like help to:

· Improve your general health and wellbeing

· Reduce feelings of isolation

· Discover local self-help groups, clubs and befriending agencies

· Volunteer your own time and experiences

· Find bereavement support

· Access social groups and parenting classes

· Explore support for housing, employment, benefits, debt & legal advice

· Become more active

· Get involved in your local community

Talk to your GP or healthcare professional about a referral. Alternatively, you can self-refer by emailing lucy.hill17@nhs.net or calling Lucy on 07933 944 556

A social prescriber is someone you can talk to confidentially; someone who is practical, helpful and who will not judge you; and someone who can give you additional and ongoing support to improve your health and wellbeing.

 

 

LIBRARY “AT HOME” SERVICE  

The West Berkshire Libraries ‘At Home’ service is designed to help those who find it difficult to visit their local library because of age, disability or other special circumstance by delivering books directly to them.

 

CONSULTATION ON ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR IN NEWBURY

Are you concerned about Anti-Social Behaviour in Newbury town centre?

People who live, visit or work in Newbury town centre are being asked to take part in a consultation on the order to help reduce incidents of anti-social behaviour in the town centre.

West Berkshire Council is looking to introduce a new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) for Newbury town centre. PSPOs allow the council to place restrictions on certain behaviour in an area, to make sure that everyone can feel safer and enjoy public spaces.

The consultation will be live between 24 February and 6 April 2020. It is expected that the final decision will be made by 14 July 2020. A full report on the consultation will be published on www.westberks.gov.uk/psponewbury.

A map of the proposed ‘restricted area’ to be covered by the PSPO is here.

Take part in the consultation at www.westberks.gov.uk/psponewbury

 

 

 

FLOOD RISK UPDATE – 20th FEBRUARY 2020

Please see below the update regarding the flood risk in West Berkshire

Met Office:

Thurs & Friday: unsettled in next few days, some rain, 5-10mm generally. Some strong winds this afternoon but nothing like we have experienced.

Sat/Sun: Unsettled again, slightly heavier rain on Sunday but not anything like the last few weekends.

Next Week- continues to be unsettled.

Weather Warnings: None are in place or expected in short term.

Eastern Area:

General: 5 Flood Warnings and 30 Flood Alerts in place across the Thames Valley.

· River Thames: In West Berks area the levels are rising slightly in the Purley on Thames area and downstream. However, they are expected to stabilise and start dropping overnight. The levels will stay high for a while as the water from the tributaries work through the networks. The Jubilee River is in operation.

· River Pang– stabilising and starting to drop – still on Flood Alert

· River Kennet – stabilising but will remain high due to the Groundwater now feeding into the system- still on Flood Alert

· River Lambourn – stable but will remain high for some time due to groundwater - still on Flood Alert

No new flood alerts or flood warnings are currently expected based on the forecast.

· Groundwater: 2 X Groundwater alerts – Lambourn and Pang Valley. Particularly there are concerns for the River Lambourn area at the moment. Reports are now coming in with respect to sewage pipes being inundated and ‘bubbling’ in gardens and the area around Great Shefford deteriorating. There is now a ‘Groundwater Cell’ in place with the EA so we are linking with them and our highways team as to the next steps. Feedback in relation to issues would be appreciated from both Lambourn and indeed the Pang areas.

Again, this is a good time to check for damage, blockages etc and report online all call customer services if a West Berkshire issue, or to the relevant agency asap.

 

 

FLOOD ALERTS

Heavy rain falling onto already saturated ground and strong winds over the weekend have led to impacts such as difficult driving conditions, disruption to transport, isolated power outages and the potential for flooding of homes and businesses from rivers or surface water.

Currently there are 22 flood alerts in place in Berkshire, a number in West Berkshire area including 2 Groundwater alerts: https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/warnings

With the rainfall from yesterday and forecast it is likely more flood alerts will be put in place. There is also the possibility of Flood Warnings, currently the most likely flood warnings to be activated is the Lower Kennet near Burghfield which at the moment is expected to ‘peak’ between 0300- 0600hrs on Monday morning. It is currently expected to be at approximately the same levels as in the previous floods this winter. As a result, a flood warning may be issued for this area later today. It is recommended that properties in the area get prepared.

Further Ahead:

Monday and Tuesday look like seeing days of sunshine and showers, although some places may remain dry, in a brisk west to south-westerly wind. Further unsettled weather is expected later next week.

Next 5 days: https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/5-day-flood-risk?_ga=2.162922108.1930880300.1581777330-82914738.1578599795

The Met Office situation: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/forecast/gcphr8ztm#?nearestTo=Stratfield%20Mortimer&date=2020-02-17

Current issues:

At the weekend, WBC had reports of trees falling across roads, traffic lights being an issue along with several flooded highways. Most of this is surface water flooding. Our contractors are going out to clear if possible, where this is not possible, they are putting up flood boards and, if necessary, some roads may have to be closured.

Our contact centre is reporting higher than normal calls, often due to repeat calls about the same issue. If anything is not an urgent issue then you are asked to report it on line. A reminder that the call centre number is 01635 42161.

 

 

New budget sets out investment for the future

West Berkshire Council's proposed Revenue Budget for 2020/21 sets out clear investment in the future of the district.

It includes a council tax increase of 1.99% and a 2% rise in the Adult Social Care (ASC) precept. This will enable the council to deliver the budget with no cuts to services.

Ross Mackinnon, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Finance said, “We never want to increase the tax burden of our residents. However, the increase in Council Tax plus the ASC precept will raise around £4 million of income which means that I can say with confidence that there will be no cuts to services, and that’s something to shout about.”

“We'll be investing heavily in the district wherever it is most needed. For example, in schools, care homes, and tackling homelessness. We will be focussed on continuously improving the environment and will be investing in measures, such as tree planting, to naturally capture and reduce carbon dioxide.

“This budget will not only maintain essential services, but is a massive step forward in ensuring that West Berkshire will continue to be a great place to live, work, visit and learn.”

The council is proactively looking at affordable ways to borrow to ensure that important environmental projects can be taken forward. One idea is a ‘climate change bond', which would allow communities to invest in environmental schemes receive a small return on their investment.

Key investments outlined in the budget include;

  • Over £7.5million invested this year in new schools and expansion to existing schools (including Highwood Copse, Theale Primary and The Willink School)
  • £1.2million in large scale tree planting
  • Over £10million in improving roads and junctions around the district

The Budget proposal will go before the Council's Executive on 13 February and to Full Council on 3 March 2020. 


 

WEATHER FORECAST FOR WEEKEND: Saturday / Sunday 14-15 February

Storm Dennis is expected to bring a spell of wet and very windy weather across the UK over the weekend.

Outbreaks of rain will continue through much of the weekend; 20-30 mm of rain quite widely with a few isolated locations seeing as much as 40-50 mm. As we could start to see some impacts in places, the Met Office have issued a Yellow RAIN Warning (Low Likelihood of Medium Impacts) for the areas more likely to see impacts, to go along with the Yellow Flood Guidance Statement, to highlight the potential for river and surface water flooding.

The rain will be accompanied by very strong, south-westerly winds, with gusts of 50 mph isolated 60 mph. The strongest winds are expected during Saturday although some strong winds are still possible during Sunday.

The Met Office have issued a Yellow WIND Warning (Very Low Likelihood of Medium Impacts) to cover the potential impacts from the strong winds. Impacts could include damaged or fallen trees, difficult driving conditions, disruption to transport, power outages and isolated structural damage. With the potential for fallen trees and structural damage there is risk of injuries and danger to life.

Warnings can be found on the Met Office App and on the Met Office website at www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings.

 

Exploitation, Vulnerability and Safeguarding (Need to Know) Sessions

WBC Building Communities Together team and TVP are running five Exploitation, Vulnerability and Safeguarding (Need to Know) sessions over the next year – details and form attached if you are interested.

A free, two hour training session run by Thames Valley Police will explain what the emerging issues and trends are regarding county drugs lines and the links to modern slavery and child exploitation. The sessions will provide a national overview as well as share information on current cases which affect West Berkshire.

This session will explore why children and adults are working for county drugs lines and how social media is used for targeting the most vulnerable in our society.

The session will support practitioners with how to help and highlight the benefits of partnership working and information sharing, as well as providing information on personal safety awareness.

Dates: Thursday 5th March 2020

Thursday 4th June 2020

Thursday 3rd September 2020

Thursday 3rd December 2020

Thursday 4th March 2021

Time: 10:00am-12:00pm

Venue: Shaw House, Church Road, Newbury, RG14 2DR

 

West Berkshire Directory

The West Berkshire Directory provides the local community with an online directory of local and national services available for all. There are over 2000 records on this online, one-stop shop which is being updated daily.

It covers a wide range of services for adults, families and those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities which can provide information, advice and support for those who need it. Leisure activities, clubs, registered childcare providers, care homes, supported living they are all there at the fingertip.

https://directory.westberks.gov.uk/kb5/westberkshire/directory/home.page


 

CLOSURE OF NEW ROAD, WOKEFIELD – 17th February to 3rd March

New Road will be closed, 17th February to 3rd March inclusive, between its junction with Lockram Lane and Goring Lane. (The works are from Lockram Lane to the East Lodge of Oakfield)

Diversion is via Lockram Lane and Goring Lane.

The closure is for fibre optic cable installation by Gigaclear, to whom enquires should be addressed on 01932 544032.

The closure can be viewed on one.network under the following link New Road, Wokefield

 

PLEASE REGISTER YOUR BIKES

Thames Valley Police no longer accept bikes that have been found by a member of the public or take reports of lost bikes. If a person has had their bike stolen this needs to be reported online to TVP or by calling 101. A lost or stolen bike needs to be reported with all details and serial numbers online to www.bikeregister.com. It is important for all bike owners to register their bikes on this website, as besides helping to get your bike back if stolen and found abandoned, it also helps with finding out your identity if you are involved in an accident on your bike.

TVP have access to search this site so they can check if a stolen bike has been found providing the owner knows the serial number. The finder of a bike can go to this website to check if the bike has been reported stolen and if it has, it needs to be reported to the Police. If the found bike has not been recorded on www.bikeregister.com as lost or stolen, the finder needs to make reasonable attempts to locate the true owner via social media pages such as Lost and Found in our area. Best practice for finders of bikes would be to hold on to them for a period of 4 weeks to give the owner chance to come forward but after this period the finder can decide how to dispose of the bike and would suggest giving to the Community Furniture Project.

 

 

UPCOMING ROAD CLOSURES

The following roads will be closed at the times below to allow maintenance works to take place

Nightingale Lane, Mortimer

Closure in place between Brewery Common and Mortimer Lane on Thursday 6th Feb 2020 (7am – 5pm). Diversion via Mortimer Lane, The St, Hammonds Heath Road and vice versa. A plan of the closure can be found at https://one.network/?tm=116245585

Yattendon Road, Pangbourne

Closure in place between Pangbourne Hill and Gardeners Lane on Friday 7th Feb 2020 (7am – 7pm). Diversion via Gardeners Lane, Pangbourne Road and vice versa. A plan of the closure can be found at https://one.network/?tm=116245502

Emergency and residential access will be maintained at both closures although a small delay is to be expected. Enquires should be directed to West Berkshire Council Highways Maintenance Team on 01635 519080


 

CAMPERVAN STORIES & CRAFTS (Free)

Friday, 21 February at 2-3pm in Mortimer Library

FOR UNDER 7s: meet children’s author Rachel Jane and hear all about the adventures of Milo and Lil, the campervans. Then join in with our colouring and craft fun!

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


ENVIRONMENT STRATEGY CONSULTATION

MORTIMER LIBRARY DROP IN SESSION - 1.00pm, Monday, 10th February

West Berkshire Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and held a Climate Conference last October. The Council is now working on a draft Environment Strategy which went out to public consultation at the beginning of January for 6 weeks.

As part of the public engagement, and to reach a wider section of the resident population of West Berkshire, the District Council will be holding some informal ‘drop in sessions’ in some of the districts libraries.

The drop in session will be brief (around 45 minutes) and will give residents an opportunity to talk casually and tell WBC what concerns them about the climate change and the environment in West Berkshire. It does not replace the opportunity to respond formally to the consultation, but WBC want to encourage those who are not as motivated to responding to a formal document but still have opinions to share.

 

GIGACLEAR BACK IN STRATFIELD MORTIMER

Gigaclear contractors (CCN) are preparing to return to Mortimer and close out the final sections of the network build.

Provisional dates are for the 24th of February to the 30th of March, across 10 different locations and for varying durations.

  • 24th – 25th February: Wokefield Bridleway 7
  • 25th – 27th February: Station Road, Mortimer
  • 27th February – 10th March: The Street Mortimer
  • 10th – 11th March: Stratfield Mortimer Footpath 8
  • 11th – 12th March: Outside Abbotts Lodge ‘The Street’ Stratfield Mortimer
  • 12th – 16th March: The Street
  • 16th – 17th March: Monktons Lane
  • 17th – 30th March: Wokefield Row
  • 30th – 31st March: Road known as New Road
  • (Half Term possibility) 17th February – 03rd March: Road known as New Road

 

Some work will require only minimal disruption, but there will be a few instances of larger scale work which may require two-way lights or diversions on the road. Their contractors will put up early signs if it is a closure and letter drop residents the week before to let them know.

Should you have any queries, please contact their Network Build Care team:  networkbuildcare@gigaclear.com or 01865 591 137

You can also register for updates on progress by scanning the QR code on the attached leaflet or go to gigaclear.com/our-network

 

UPDATE:  Severe Cold Weather Alert

The current Level 2 severe cold weather alert has now been extended until 9.00am on Wednesday, 22nd January.

You can find the alert here: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/cold-weather-alert/#?tab=coldWeatherAlert

 

FLOOD WARNING UPDATES - 17 January 2020

Sadly, the forecast of things improving was a tad premature and we had some heavy rain yesterday. As a result, all the rivers in the area are on at least a flood alert with one river – the Kennet at the lower reaches on a Flood Warning where properties are at risk of flooding.

The following flood warnings are now in place: to be prepared for flooding of properties.

· Properties closest to the River Kennet at the Burghfield, Southcote, Coley and Holybrook areas

The following flood alerts are also in place:

· River Enborne and Foudry Brook

· River Kennet and its tributaries from Berwick Bassett down to Newbury

· River Kennet from Thatcham down to Reading

· River Lambourn and its tributaries from Upper Lambourn down to Newbury – see the note attached about Thames Water Tankering in Lambourn area.

· River Pang from East Ilsley to Pangbourne and Sulham Brook

· River Thames from Pangbourne to Purley

· River Thames and its tributaries from Days Lock to above Pangbourne

· River Thames from Mapledurham to Sonning

Groundwater Alerts:

At the moment WBC are not expecting more flood warnings to be put in place.

Property Flooding:

At this moment in time no reports of properties flooding internally have been reported. There are some properties which have been surrounded by way with some access issues.

Roads:

As a result a the conditions a number of roads have been affected all of which have been added to our website: https://one.network/?tm=116126952 (please scroll out to get the full picture and identify roads in your area). It has been noted that a number of vehicles have been driving through these road closures – which normally means if they breakdown their insurance is invalid, however it also places additional resource issues on the emergency services.

In addition to the road closures there are a number of roads which have flood water in places and whilst passage care needs to be taken.

The Highways officers and WBC contractors are working hard to try to clear flood waters where they can but this is likely to take some time due to the numbers.

Forecast:

The weather is set to improve over the next few days, and it is expected to get colder as a result on the roads and therefore the risk of a mixture of water and cold causing hazards on the road network is likely to increase. The situation is being closely monitored as a result.

What we are doing:

WBC continue to monitor the situation and work with other agencies to try mitigate the situation as far as possible. Officers and contractors are busy assessing reports of issues, prioritising them and responding as soon as possible. They are also monitoring for vulnerable people being affected or isolated, providing support where needed. This work will continue over the coming days.

Reporting issues:

As indicated before WBC consider that the risk of flooding has not gone away as a result ask that:

· any issues causing flooding in the roads etc are reported to West Berkshire Council – online or via the contact centre 01635 551111 or out of hours 01635 42161 (for emergencies only). Please don’t go to individual officers since they are often out on site or the issue is not logged to be processed in a coordinated way.

· any issues in the rivers are reported to the Environment Agency as soon as possible to allow for works to be undertaken. 0800 80 70 60

· any issues relating to Sewage are reported to Thames Water 0800 316 9800

Kind Regards

Carolyn Richardson
Service Manager - Emergency Planning

West Berkshire Council

 

FLOODING AND GROUNDWATER ALERTS

The following flood warnings are now in place: to be prepared for flooding of properties.

· Properties closest to the River Kennet at the Burghfield, Southcote, Coley and Holybrook areas

The following flood alerts are also in place:

Groundwater Alerts:

Overnight on Tuesday a number of trees fell on to the road network with crews working throughout the night to clear the areas and make the roads safe. This has continued through Wednesday. In addition, a number of roads have been closed due to flooding; these can be reviewed on: https://one.network/?tm=116126952.

The weather is set to improve over the next few days, although we still expect rain, so we are still at risk of flooding until this water pushes its way through the system. We are also expecting that the risk will not go away for some time so we would ask that:

· any issues causing flooding in the roads etc are reported to the West Berkshire Council – online or via the contact centre.

· any issues in the rivers are reported to the Environment Agency as soon as possible to allow for works to be undertaken.

· any issues relating to Sewage are reported to Thames Water

Any queries please email emergencyplanning@westberks.gov.uk.

 

WEST BERKSHIRE COUNCIL CELEBRATES LOCAL HEROES

The winners of the 2019 West Berkshire Council’s Community Champion Awards have been announced at an evening awards ceremony at Shaw House on Monday 13 January 2020.

Pat Eastop Junior Citizen Award

Joint winners Benjamin Kaesser and Finlay Beavan take home the prizes for the Pat Eastop Junior Citizen Award.

Benjamin Kaesser was nominated by Lucille Harrison of Swings and Smiles for his fantastic voluntary work with the young people who use Swings and Smiles.

Finlay Beavan was nominated by Mrs Gemma Piper, Headteacher of Kennet School, for his wonderful contributions to his local community including a sponsored run to highlight the needs of the homeless.

Volunteer of the Year Award

The winner of the Volunteer of the Year Award went to Jana Little, who was nominated by no fewer than seven people.

Jana was nominated for setting up and running a local Terracyle scheme which has not only diverted considerable waste from landfill but has raised money for a local charity.

Again the judges were extremely impressed with the standard of nominations and also presented Steve Masters and Tessa Brown a Highly Commended award each.

Tessa Brown who was nominated by Maureen Martin for her voluntary work to benefit the staff, children and families of the Hungerford Nursery School Centre and Steve Masters who was nominated by David Marsh and Claire Willsher for his role as Chair of Trustees for Eight Bells for Mental Health Newbury.

Community Group of the Year

The winner of the Community Group of the Year went to 4th Thatcham Cubs who were nominated by Lucille Harrison from Swings and Smiles in Thatcham.

The panel was extremely impressed by the wonderful work carried out by the 4th Thatcham Cubs group and loved the strong sense of inclusion that the group allows children with special needs to take part in an activity that many children take for granted.

The Lifetime Achievement Award.

The winners of the Lifetime Achievement Award went to the late Colleen Walker and Jane Fairchild, who is Colleen’s daughter.

The panel was extremely impressed by the dedication and commitment demonstrated by Colleen Walker to helping others. It was clear from the nomination that Colleen spent all her working life in a caring capacity and this compassionate ethos carried on in her wonderful charity work.

The two commended awards went to Mrs Wynne Frankum who was nominated by Bucklebury Parish Council for her commitment and service to the community of Bucklebury, and to Mr Robert Alderman who was nominated by Sarah Warburton on behalf of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust for an amazing 68 years of voluntary work with the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust.

The highly commended award in this category went to Marcus Allum who was nominated by Richard Keene.

Marcus Allum is a lifelong resident of West Berkshire, having been brought up in Chapel Row, he has a business in Beenham and is currently Chairman of Frilsham Parish Council.

Award winners' details will also be recorded in an exclusive book called the "Roll of Civic Award" which will be available to view at the council's offices in Market Street, Newbury.

Overall, the number and standard of nominations for 2019 were outstanding. For information on this year's winners visit www.westberks.gov.uk/communitychampion.

 

SPECIAL EXHIBITION – “FOCUS ON STRATFIELD MORTIMER”

At the West Berkshire Museum

4th December 2019 – 5 July 2020

This special exhibition looks at the parish of Stratfield Mortimer’s history through objects from the museum collection and from the local community.

 

Have your say on our draft Environment Strategy

West Berkshire Council has developed a draft Environment Strategy in response to its declaration of a Climate Emergency in July 2019. The draft Strategy details the different ways the Council, with the help of the local community and businesses, can contribute towards tackling the climate crisis and achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.

The Council will lead by ensuring it is doing all it can within its own operation, and continue the initiatives we have already committed to making a start on since last year. These initiatives will make a positive contribution to protecting and preserving our natural environment as well as assisting us to become carbon neutral by 2030. These include:

  • installing more solar panels across our estate, aiming for a significant contribution from solar energy towards the Council’s energy consumption and beyond;
  • continuing to increase the number of charging points for electric vehicles in West Berkshire; and
  • conducting a Council carbon audit so we understand our challenges and are better placed to become carbon neutral by 2030.

West Berkshire Council have reviewed and analysed relevant data and engaged with a range of stakeholders over the last six months to gain insights into the priorities, challenges and opportunities related to our carbon neutral target and wider environmental concerns.

Steve Ardagh-Walter, Executive Member for the Environment for West Berkshire Council, said: “The Environment Strategy is a significant focus for us and while we want to lead on this important issue, we know the Council cannot deliver this strategy alone: everyone across West Berkshire has a role to play.

“The changes we can make will vary in size but all are important as we work towards our shared aspiration. The publication of this strategy, we hope, will act as a catalyst to residents, businesses and interested groups that we all need to adjust our own priorities and behaviours if we are to rise to the challenge that climate change presents to us all. Please therefore read the strategy, respond to the consultation and, crucially think about what action you can take to make its aims a reality.”

The climate presents us all with a challenge that we must meet to secure a safer, greener environment for the generations that follow us. We recognise the Council needs to engage more with the local community, schools, town and parish councils, local environment groups and the business community. We will be holding various focus groups and drop-in sessions across the district in local libraries during February - more information will be announced on the website soon.

The consultation on the strategy will begin on Thursday 9 January 2020 and will be open for 6 weeks from this date, closing on 21 February 2020.

To read the strategy and take part in the consultation, please visit our website: www.westberks.gov.uk/draftenvironmentstrategy.

 

BOARD GAMES ARE BACK IN THE LIBRARY THIS FRIDAY

The weekly Friday afternoon Board Games for children (between 3.45pm and 5.45pm) is back in action. These games sessions are free and all children aged 8+ are welcome.

See you there for some new challenges!

WEST BERKSHIRE’S LARGEST VOLUNTEER RECRUITMENT EVENT – V365 2020

V365 2020 at Corn Exchange, Newbury – 11th January 2020 – 10am to 3pm

Volunteer Centre West Berkshire are organizing a large volunteer recruitment event with 65 different charities based in West Berkshire. The event will showcase all the opportunities for volunteering in our area.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of our communities and there are so many ways you can make a difference. Whether it is a New Years resolution, or you are just looking for new ways to get involved – VC West Berkshire look forward to seeing you there!

 

West Berkshire Councils ‘Giving Tree’ surpasses expectations


The generosity from residents across West Berkshire has once again exceeded expectations to help domestic abuse victims with the ‘Giving Tree’.

The initiative is arranged by West Berkshire Council’s Building Communities Together Team as part of its ongoing work, alongside partner organisations, to help protect and care for victims of abuse across the district.

The ‘Giving Tree’ was launched on 3 December as part of the worldwide White Ribbon Campaign which aims to eliminate violence against women and children. The ‘Giving Tree’ allows local people to take gift tags with a child’s age from the Christmas tree and donate gifts, vouchers, money, or experiences, for the recipient to enjoy.

This year the 'Giving Tree' extended its reach across West Berkshire to include trees at Tilehurst Parish Council and Hungerford Hub and Library meaning more people were involved in the gift of giving.

This act of kindness has truly gripped the hearts of many people across West Berkshire as there was an overwhelming 187 presents donated this year.  
Jade Wilder, Community Coordinator for the Building Communities Together Team at West Berkshire Council, said: “This has brought such happiness and hope to those who need it, so thank you to all the residents within our community who took the time to purchase a gift because it couldn’t have been this successful without you.”

 

BURGHFIELD & MORTIMER NEIGHBOURHOOD ACTION GROUP

The next meeting of the Burghfield and Mortimer NAG will take place on Wednesday, 8th January 2020, at 7pm in the meeting room at Burghfield Village Hall.

A copy of the agenda can be downloaded from here.

 

Consultation on proposed term dates for 2021/22

Term dates for community and voluntary controlled schools are set by West Berkshire Council following a consultation process. West Berkshire will ‘propose’ term dates and would recommend that schools consider aligning term dates with other schools in the area, for example, secondary schools with primary schools, in recognition of families with children at different schools.

In West Berkshire, the set dates traditionally include a common INSET at the start of the Autumn Term. Therefore, 191 days are set with recommendations for the remaining 4 INSET days.

The 2021/22 proposal for West Berkshire sets a common INSET day on Wednesday 1st September 2021 and suggests other inset days on Friday 22 October 2020, Tuesday 4 January 2021, Friday 8 April 2021 and Friday 27 May 2021. We have aligned our term dates with neighbouring authorities to try to alleviate any cross border difficulties.

The proposed dates for 2021/22 have been through our internal consultation process and are now available for public consultation. The consultation runs from 6 January until 24 February 2020. The deadline for feedback and comments is 24 February 2020.

https://info.westberks.gov.uk/termdates2022

Link to survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/terms2022

Proposed Term Dates for 2021/22

These term dates provide a guide. Sometimes a school may adjust the dates slightly due to specific circumstances, and we recommend that you check with the school if a specific date is key to your plans, e.g. before making a holiday booking.

Please note that we cannot accept consultation responses from school by email, and your formal response to the consultation should be made via the online form (link above). We will however, clarify any points and maintain FAQS through the consultation period, based on feedback we receive.

Trading, Pupil Transport & Planning Officer Access, Planning & Trading, West Berkshire Council

 

 

THINKING OF VOLUNTEERING IN THE NEW YEAR? 

West Berkshire Libraries' message of the month (January) is all about volunteering not just in their libraries, but in the West Berkshire Museum and at Shaw House too.

For more information, call 01635 519533 or send an email to cultureandlibrariesvolunteers@westberks.gov.uk  

www.westberks.gov.uk/volunteer  

  

West Berkshire Directory

The Directory - https://directory.westberks.gov.uk - is a free online resource highlighting a wide range of information, advice and support available across West Berkshire for adults, families and children – it includes lists of useful phone numbers, email addresses and websites of local and national organisations.

The Directory provides a first point of contact for many support networks, linking in to a huge amount of advice and support, alongside details of the many organisations and community groups running events and activities in the district.

 

Adult Social Care Mailbox

The adult social care mailbox ccenquiries@westberks.gov.uk has been renamed adultcare@westberks.gov.uk. Any mail addressed to ‘ccenquiries’ will automatically appear in the adultcare mailbox – this is a permanent arrangement due to our details being published on numerous documents and external sites.

People are encouraged to submit an online enquiry, this prompts for useful information to enable action in a timely manner without the need for us to request further information. The enquiry form has a friendly URL www.westberks.gov.uk/adultenquiry and sits on WBC’s Adult Social Care Advice webpage.

 


Local Voluntary and Community Groups Invited To Apply For POLICE PROPERTY ACT FUND Grant

£170,000 available to community and voluntary groups


The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Thames Valley, Anthony Stansfeld, and the Chief Constable, John Campbell, have opened a new grant round of the Police Property Act Fund.

The Fund, which is jointly managed by the PCC and the Chief Constable, is created from money recovered by the police and the proceeds from the sale of items that cannot be returned to identified owners, including seizures from criminals.

Earlier this year, £106,733 was distributed to 27 different organisations in addressing Police and Crime Plan priorities and the PCC and Chief Constable expect to allocate around £170,000 in this grant round.

Applications are now invited from local voluntary and community groups who can contribute towards two of the PCC’s strategic priorities in his Police and Crime Plan priorities, which are:

  • Vulnerability
  • Prevention and Early Intervention

Some examples of projects that may be considered include those that aim to tackle:

  • Elder abuse
  • Hidden harm such as stalking, honour based abuse and forced marriage
  • Peer on peer abuse
  • Hate crime
  • Mental health

All applications will be required to submit clear evidence of how their project or activity will contribute towards achieving the key aim indicated.

The closing date for this round of applications is 12pm Friday 22nd November 2019 and applications will be considered jointly by the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and the Chief Constable.

More information and the application form can be found at https://www.thamesvalley-pcc.gov.uk/get-involved/police-property-act-fund/

Successful recipients will be invited to attend a presentation ceremony, due to be held on Monday 17 February 2020 at Holdsworth Hall, Sulhamstead.

Thames Valley Police.

 

Your vote matters – have you returned your Household Enquiry Form?

Residents across West Berkshire are being encouraged to complete their Household Enquiry Forms before time runs out to be added to the electoral register.

The household canvass takes place every year between September to December and is used to check whether voter registration records are correct. We have had a good rate of response back on the forms, but there are still some outstanding. A reminder is being sent out this week to nearly 15,000 households across West Berkshire that haven’t returned their Household Enquiry Forms.

It is really quick to do as the form lists the current eligible voters in the household and asks you to check and update the details. If details are incorrect, the steps you need to take are fully explained on the form.

It is important to confirm the details on the form as it can affect an individual’s right to vote but more importantly a response is required by law.

Responding to the Household Enquiry Form can be done using a variety of methods, including posting the form back in the pre-paid envelope, online, over the phone or via text. Details of how to use these methods can be found on the form.

There are other advantages to being on the Electoral Register as it can affect an individual's credit rating; if you are not on the register of electors, it may have an affect on your credit rating which can lead to difficulties when applying for mortgages, loans, credit cards or even a mobile phone contract.

Have you registered to vote? With the general election taking place on 12 December, it is important to note you need register to vote in the UK Parliamentary general election by 26 November.

Further information about your right to vote can be found at www.aboutmyvote.co.uk.

 

 

Winter Plan in pace to support rough sleepers

On 1 November 2019, West Berkshire Council’s Winter Plan was put in place in readiness to support single people and childless couples who are sleeping rough or at risk of sleeping rough with a warm place to stay. The Winter Plan also ensures that the council is ready to activate the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol, (SWEP) when temperatures are forecast to be below freezing conditions for 3 consecutive days.

It will help the most vulnerable homeless single people who have a local connection to the district to have the support they need during extreme cold weather and to be able to access warm, safe accommodation at Two Saints as well as wider support and advice.

When SWEP is activated, non-residents who are at risk of sleeping rough will also receive support.

The Winter Plan is the plan of action developed by The Homelessness Strategy Group over the last year.
Voluntary groups and charities including West Berkshire Homeless, Loose Ends, Eight Bells and the Newbury Soup Kitchen will join forces to focus their efforts to support the work of Two Saints and ensure that rough sleepers receive the help they need to help them back to independence and a home.

Supporting rough sleepers during adverse weather is part of a much broader programme of activity to tackle homelessness in the district. West Berkshire Council’s housing team works alongside a number of local partners year-round to prevent people becoming homeless in the first place as well as offering help and support when it does occur – including through its ‘No Second Night Out’ policy to help people find emergency accommodation.

Anyone at risk of sleeping rough on the streets should go to West Berkshire Council’s offices in Market Street, Newbury for support. Anyone who becomes homeless when the offices are closed should contact the council’s Emergency Duty Team on 01344 786543.

People can also tell Streetlink https://www.streetlink.org.uk/ which exists to help end rough sleeping by enabling members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with the local services that can support them.

If you are concerned about someone over the age of 18 that you have seen sleeping rough in England or Wales, you can send an alert to StreetLink via their website.

The details you provide are sent to the local authority or outreach service for the area to help them find the individual and connect them to support. If you think the person you are concerned about is under 18 please do not contact StreetLink but instead call the police.

 

 

West Berkshire's Climate Conference attracts over 300 attendees

Over 300 people gathered at a Climate Conference organised by West Berkshire Council on Monday 28 October.

The event follows the council’s declaration of a climate emergency in July 2019.

It's one of the first initiatives to come from a new Environment Board established by the Council which will create a new Environment Strategy and coordinate and oversee environmental projects to help work towards carbon neutrality in West Berkshire by 2030. It also supports the Council's priority to maintain a green district as set out in the new West Berkshire Council Strategy 2019-23.

Opened by Richard Benyon MP for Newbury, former Parliamentary Secretary at the Department of Environment and Wildlife Minister (DEFRA) it looked at how residents, communities, organisations and the council can help tackle the climate crisis and work towards carbon neutrality by 2030.

The Keynote speaker, Tom Heap, Rural Affairs Correspondent of BBC News and contributor to the BBC One programme Countryfile, the Panorama programme, and the BBC Radio 4 programme Costing the Earth spoke specifically around the challenges facing West Berkshire.

There were also break-out sessions covering the Science of Climate Change, Climate and Land use, Sustainable Transport, Renewable Energy, Green District, Circular Economy and Waste and a chance to shop with some of West Berkshire's eco-friendly businesses.

Speaking about the conference, Lynne Doherty, Leader of West Berkshire Council said: "We were delighted to see so many people at the Conference. It was an exciting day which brought together not only academics, industry figures and local organisations but over 300 people who were serious about finding out how we can all work together to tackle the climate crisis here in West Berkshire.

"Climate change is an important issue that affects us all and the Conference clearly showed how very passionate and committed the people of West Berkshire are to making the changes needed to future proof our planet. It was a great opportunity to speak directly to local people and hear their views, ideas and experiences as we look at shared solutions we can adopt in the district.”

“All delegates will be asked to feedback on their thoughts and preferred actions. Residents will then have the opportunity to take part in a public consultation on the Draft Environment Strategy.”

 

 

COLD WEATHER PLAN

Are you “#winterready”? As you know, cold weather increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, lung illnesses, mental health illnesses such as depression, flu and other diseases. People slip and fall in the snow or ice sometimes suffering serious injuries. Older people, very young children and people with long-term health conditions are particularly vulnerable to suffering adverse effects of cold weather.

It is the responsibility of Emergency Planning and Public Health to provide key warning and informing messages during the period of the Cold Weather Plan: 1st Nov to 31st March because primary prevention, such as keeping indoor temperatures at 18oC, can help prevent excess winter ill health and deaths.

Level 1: Winter preparedness and action programme is in force throughout the winter from 1st November to 31st March and covers the moderate temperatures where the greatest total burden of excess winter death and disease occur. Cold Weather Messages leaflet (attached).

Check that you, and any children and elderly members of the family, are #winterready for ‘winter preparedness and action’: be alert, and prepare for cold, i.e. have flu jabs ahead of winter, ensure houses are properly insulated/ boilers serviced, etc.

You may also find Preparing for Winter - Advice to help you during the winter months a useful resource: https://info.westberks.gov.uk/winterprep

 

 

Home Office County Lines Awareness Campaign

County lines gangs use children and vulnerable people to courier drugs and money. A young person who is involved in county lines activity might exhibit some of these signs:

· Persistently going missing from school or home, or being found out-of-area

· Unexplained acquisition of money, clothes or mobile phones

· excessive receipt of texts or phone calls

· Suspicion of self-harm, physical assault or unexplained injuries

· Parental concerns

· Significant decline in school performance

· Significant changes in emotional well-being

· Relationships with controlling, older individuals or gang association

· Leaving home or care without explanation

If you see something that doesn't feel right, or looks suspicious, concerning a child or young person you should report it to Thames Valley Police, online or call 101, or 999 in an emergency. Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

Poster available here

 

 

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 upcoming half-term and Christmas events - please go to http://info.westberks.gov.uk/35205

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

 

 

Put your musical talents to good use…

Alzheimer’s Society is the only UK charity that campaigns for change, funds research to find a cure and supports people living with dementia today.

Singing for the Brain is one of the Society’s most popular services for people affected by dementia. It offers the opportunity for everyone to socialise and take part in a good old-fashioned sing-song within a safe and supportive environment.

The Burghfield Singing for the Brain group meets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month between 1.30pm and 3.00pm at Burghfield Common Methodist Church Hall.

We urgently need a new volunteer who would be happy to lead the group as our current volunteer will shortly be moving on. This would involve putting together a singing programme to meet the needs and tastes of those who attend and then leading the singing on the day.

We’re looking for someone who can sing well and ideally play an instrument too. We run several Singing for the Brain groups in Berkshire so there’s the opportunity to visit any of these and learn from other Lead volunteers plus we provide other training for the role.

The best way to find out whether this is the volunteering role for you is by going along to the group to see for yourself what’s involved! Please contact Jane Penton (jane.penton@alzheimers.org.uk or 07540 921 221) if you would like to arrange to visit.

 

Protect Your World - Top Cyber Tips

Over the next few weeks, Thames Valley Police will be publishing our top cyber security tips as part of our Protect Your World campaign.

Our Protect Your World campaign aims to encourage Thames Valley residents and businesses to protect themselves online.

The campaign is aimed at helping residents stay one step ahead of cyber criminals by producing top cyber security steps everyone needs to take.

It not only explains the risks of cyber crime, but also what steps you should be taking to stay safe and how you can complete them.

For more information on our seven top tips, visit the Protect Your World page and follow the campaign on our social media channels using #ProtectYourWorld.

https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/police-forces/thames-valley-police/areas/c/2018/protect-your-world/

 

 

VOLUNTEER WITH HOME-START WEST BERKSHIRE

Home-Start West Berkshire need volunteers who can spare 3 hours a week. If you are organised, calm and caring you could offer support to a family experiencing hardship.

Contact https://home-startwestberks.org.uk/ (01635 760310) to find out more.

  

 

WEST BERKSHIRE Council welcomes improved rail timetable

Faster journeys and more frequent services will be coming West Berkshire’s way thanks to the biggest timetable change in over 40 years!

West Berkshire Council welcomes the announcement by Great Western Railway (GWR) that there will be a new timetable serving the Thames Valley from December 2019.

On the popular Reading to Newbury route, passengers will benefit from an increase to three trains an hour, journey time improvements of around five minutes, and a more consistent service throughout the day with up to two fast services an hour running through to London Paddington. There will also be a third train each hour during peak periods on the Reading to Basingstoke line improving links to Mortimer Station.

With improved links, more seats and faster and more frequent journeys from West Berkshire stations to popular destinations like Reading and London, residents and businesses can celebrate these upcoming changes.

Richard Somner, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Transport and Countryside said “We welcome the new timetable, which builds on the unprecedented investment made by the rail industry and also the efforts of the Council and the Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership who have worked in tandem with GWR to support electrification on the Newbury to Reading, improvements to Newbury and Theale railway stations, and the provision of new faster and less polluting trains.

“These new services will provide residents with greater choice and seats, plus shorter travel times to Reading and London, helping to boost our links with these important economic centres and meeting the council's priorities of developing local infrastructure and supporting businesses to start, develop and thrive in West Berkshire. I urge residents to consider taking advantage of these improved services and use the train wherever possible.”

 

REMINDER:  WBC GARDEN WASTE COLLECTION 2019-2020

If you would like to have your garden waste collected in your green bin you will need to subscribe to the service. This is an opt-in, paid for service.

The 2019/20 garden waste collection service starts on 2 September 2019 and runs until 28 August 2020. If you are renewing your subscription, to ensure your garden waste service continues after the 31 August, with no gaps in collections, you will need to renew your subscriptions by 11 August 2019.

 

 

ANNUAL CRICKET MATCH - The Alan Thorpe Trophy

The annual Alan Thorpe Trophy match, sponsored by the Parish Council, will be played on the Fairground on Sunday, 11th August, between Mortimer Cricket Club (MCC) and Mortimer Villages. The match starts at 1.00pm.

 

 

 

Subscribe to 2019/20 garden waste collections

West Berkshire residents can subscribe to the 2019/20 garden waste collection service from today (Tuesday 16 July).

Residents signing up will have their garden waste – including grass cuttings, prunings, plants and weeds – collected every fortnight. Full details of what can be collected are available online

Around 29,700 households across the district signed up for the 2018/19 collection service. Current subscribers will soon receive an email or letter with details about how to renew. To ensure collections continue without interruption residents should subscribe before 11 August 2019.

The 2019/20 subscription period runs from 2 September 2019 to 28 August 2020 and costs £50 for the first bin. Residents can subscribe to the service at any time until 30 June, 2020. The price is fixed for the period, (there will be no part year charge) so residents are encouraged to sign-up early to get the best value from their subscription.

Garden waste can also be taken to one of the recycling centres in Newbury and Padworth, or can be composted at home. Opening times for the recycling centres are:

  • Newbury: 8.30am - 7.30pm, 7 days a week
  • Padworth: 8am - 6pm, 7 days a week

Food waste will continue to be collected from green bins at non-communal properties, even if they have not subscribed to a garden waste collection service.

To subscribe online or for more information about the service and to read our Frequently Asked Questions visit www.westberks.gov.uk/gardenwaste.

It takes only a few minutes to subscribe and can be done on computer, tablet and smartphone. As well as signing up themselves, residents are also able to subscribe on behalf of family, friends and neighbours.


 

West Berkshire Council declares Climate Emergency

West Berkshire Council declared a Climate Emergency yesterday evening (Tuesday, 2nd July).

There was unanimous support for a motion to declare the Climate Emergency at a meeting of West Berkshire's Full Council.

The declaration follows discussion at a meeting of Council last month and a petition put forward by Councillor Steve Masters (Green Party) requesting the declaration of a Climate Change Emergency.

Climate Change is high on the agenda for the council and features in a number of the new Council Strategy priorities.

Steve Ardagh-Walter, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for the Environment said:

“It is the responsibility of government at all levels to limit the negative impact of climate breakdown, and we need to start working on this right now.

“We are responding to this urgent call for change by making a firm pledge to do everything we can to deliver carbon neutrality by 2030.

“However, we do realise that it will take time for the level of change we need to take place. That is why we have created an Environmental Board that will work with residents, businesses and neighbouring authorities to create a strategic plan for change.

“As a council, we have been making positive steps towards change and will continue to work with business and communities to find and use greener options. There are clear benefits but this will require hard work from everyone in the community and changes in individual’s lifestyles.”

The newly formed Environment Board will provide an interim report to the council’s Executive in September 2019 with the progress made to date.

 

 KEEP BURGLARS OUT THIS SUMMER


Whether you are staying at home, or going away on holiday, here’s a reminder of our top tips to protect your home against burglary this summer:

At Home

· Fit window opening restrictors to all ground floor and other easily accessible windows. This will allow ventilation while restricting access.

· Close and lock all windows and doors, even if just out in the garden.

· Remove window and door keys from the locks, store out of reach and away from your letterbox.

· Keep valuables out of sight, along with any visible signs including charging cables.

·