Latest News

West Berkshire Council & Downland Ward Updates from Councillor Clive Hooker

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021

The Parishes of the West Downland Benefice will be holding A Service in Commemoration of His Late Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at 6pm on Friday 16th April 2021 in Welford Churchyard

Parking will be available at Welford Park

The service will be organised in line with current Covid-19 regulations for outdoor worship.

· Please ensure that you maintain social distancing as you enter and exit the churchyard, especially through gateways and narrow walkways. Please leave gates and doors open.

· Please check in using the NHS App, or by offering your name and contact number to the sidesman on duty.

· Printed orders of service will not be provided. Instead an electronic version of the Order of Service, for printing or download onto a hand held device, will be made available on the St Gregory, Welford entry on the A Church Near You website from Thursday 15th April

· If you are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, or have reason to self-isolate, please do not attend the service.

No physical Books of Condolence are being made available.

If you would like to view the online Book of Condolence you may do so here:

If you would like to write your own message of condolence you may do so here:

Revd Miriam Keen

West Berkshire Council to launch Mobile Community Collect

Press Release "West Berkshire Council will be distributing lateral flow device testing home kits across its district from Monday 12 April.

Community Collect is a government programme which makes lateral flow device testing home kits available to families and households with children and young people at Primary or Secondary School, or College, including childcare and support bubbles. Lateral flow device testing helps with the process of finding more COVID-19 cases and breaks the chain of transmission.

West Berkshire Mobile Community Collect will be in operation from Monday to Friday, with a different specified route around the district each day. The routes and timetable can be found on the council’s lateral flow testing webpage.

The Government has recently announced that everyone in England should have access to twice weekly lateral flow device testing from Friday 9 April. People will be encouraged to have regular testing, so that more positive cases within households are found and prevented from entering workplaces, schools and colleges so that as a society we are able to make a step towards a more normal way of life.

The Community Van will be parked at Leckhampstead Village Hall Monday's 2.30 till 3.15pm, starting Monday 12/04/21

All families and households with Primary, Secondary and College aged children and young people are encouraged to undertake lateral flow device testing at home twice a week and report their results to, or call 119, 7am to 11pm (lines open every day)."

Settlement Boundary Review

As part of the Local Plan 2037 Review West Berkshire Council is reviewing all parish settlement boundaries. In an initial consultation the Parish Council have been asked to review the proposed minor changes to the Leckhampstead Settlement Boundaries. These along with the Emerging Draft Local Plan 2037 will then go on to full public consultation in the summer of 2021. The Parish Council has been asked to provide any feedback on the proposed boundaries by the 21st April 2021.

Leckhampstead Proposed Settlement Boundary - Guidance Notes

West Berkshire Council - Public Consultation on Rights of Way - Press Release 6th April 2021

Have your say on public rights of way

Work as started on an improvement plan for public rights of way across West Berkshire - and we want your views.

West Berkshire Council is responsible for around 740 miles of public footpaths, bridleways, restricted byways and byways. There are public rights of way across the whole of West Berkshire, in both urban and rural areas. These form an important network for enjoying and exploring the countryside and travelling to work or school, as well as supporting tourism and good health. They provide hundreds of miles of free routes on which people can walk, cycle, ride horses or use other means of travel.

Our rights of way improvement plan helps us to make sure the public rights of way network meets the needs of the public, now and in the future. Our current Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) was adopted on the 27 May 2010 and it now needs updating.

Speaking about the work Councillor Richard Somner, Executive Member for Transport and Countryside, said:

"Many people have used public rights of way more during the pandemic, or have discovered them for the first time. Accessing the countryside and West Berkshire's network of paths has been very important to people for their health and mental wellbeing. We want to better understand the value of the public rights of way network to those who currently use them as well as how we might other residents to discover and make use of them."

The rights of way service is also using the process of reviewing its ROWIP to understand the needs of residents of West Berkshire more fully. It will use the opportunity to make sure the ROWIP addresses the priorities of the area in terms of health and wellbeing, supporting people living with disabilities and mental health issues, regeneration, growth, transport, climate change, tourism and other priorities.

To make sure the new ROWIP reflects the needs of West Berkshire's residents, we'd like to know about your experience of using our public rights of way, and how important the network is to your health and wellbeing. We also want to know if you've encountered any problems using the PROW's, and whether your concerns were addressed.

An online survey has been set to gather people's views - take part before 30 May 2021.

A public right of way is a path that anyone has the legal right to walk on. Some public rights of way can also be used by cyclists, horse riders or motorists. You can use:

  • Footpaths for walking, running, mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs

  • Bridleways for walking, horse riding, bicycles, mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs

  • Restricted byways for any transport without a motor, except mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs

  • Byways open to all traffic for any kind of transport, including cars (but they're mainly used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders)

You can explore public rights of way on the West Berkshire Online Map.

Increasing Plastic Recycling for West Berkshire

West Berkshire Council Press release 25th March 2021

West Berkshire Council, in partnership with its waste contractor Veolia, are trialling four new recycling banks to increase collection of plastic waste. The banks will be for the collection of plastic pots, tubs and trays and will be available to use from Monday 29 March 2021.

Residents will be able to recycle a wider range of plastics in the new recycling banks including: yoghurt pots, margarine/butter tubs, biscuit trays, chocolate/sweet tubs, ice cream tubs, fruit punnets, meat trays and cosmetic pots.

Cllr Steve Ardagh-Walter, Executive Member for Environment at West Berkshire Council said: "It is important we reduce our plastic waste and choose alternative products where possible. I am delighted we are able to improve our recycling facilities in West Berkshire and provide new recycling banks for plastic pots, tubs and trays. There's an increasingly strong desire from the public to recycle more plastic waste types and I hope the new banks will help residents to reduce the amount of plastics they put into their black bin.”

Sara Perry, General Manager at Veolia, added: “Veolia are pleased to work with the Council to expand plastic recycling options within West Berkshire. The new banks will be rolled out on a trial basis to allow monitoring of plastics collected and we are testing the markets to find out how much we are able to place within it.”

The new plastic recycling banks will be tested at the following locations:

  • Padworth and Newbury Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs). Residents will need to book an appointment online as usual before visiting the sites and carry their HWRC permit.

  • Station Road car park in Hungerford

  • Kingsland Centre car park in Thatcham.

Please make sure your plastics pots, tubs and trays are clean and all lids/films are removed before recycling. Unfortunately, we cannot accept black plastic trays, plastic film, wrapping or plastic bags. To check what you can recycle and for more information on recycling plastics visit:

Currently West Berkshire residents are able to recycle plastic bottles in their green bags at the kerbside, as the materials used in making plastic bottles are easily recycled in UK markets. The plastic recycling banks will initially be installed on a trial basis to help the Council assess how well the public engage with this scheme and to look into the continued availability of markets for these materials going forward.

New HWRC Live Webcams

Alongside this positive development, the Council is also pleased to announce that residents can view the recycling centres through our new live site webcams. These webcams will give residents the opportunity to have a look at real-time site conditions before they set off on their visits. View them online:

West Berkshire Council Active Travel Scheme Consultation opens 22nd February 2021

Have your say on our ‘Active Travel’ schemes in West Berkshire

West Berkshire Council is committed to encouraging active travel by introducing more walking and cycling opportunities throughout the district.

The council is taking action to help the public safely make walking or cycling trips part of their daily travel choices. Below is the link to take part and find out more on the schemes already identified:

If you have suggestions on other schemes you can help WBC identify suitable locations in your neighbourhood to create more accessible streets for active travel, including better public spaces, secure cycle parking and provide high quality environments suitable for cycling and walking.

Your feedback will help the Council plan effectively, when budgets become available, and make improvements that are most important to you.

Help for Residents - As set up in the Spring if anyone is in need of assistance with shopping due to self isolating please get in touch with the Parish Council Clerk on or 07811 322994

Newbury Town Centre Consultation

West Berkshire Council is currently undertaking a major vision and masterplanning exercise for Newbury town centre in response to challenges facing high streets and town centres. You can learn more here.

As part of this, they are running a public survey to gage opinions about the town’s current and potential offerings. Full details can be found here:

Information from West Berkshire Council 6th January 2021

Following the Government’s move to put all of England into a National Lockdown, we have issued the following Covid-19 Bulletin to Residents:

We would be grateful for your support in encouraging your communities to stay home, stay safe and follow the rules. Facebook and Twitter images are attached for your use.

Local support resources are also attached to this email in the document called “Support this winter.”

In addition, we are sharing cold weather advice and materials from Public Health England and Berkshire Public Health. According to weather reports, there is a 70% probability of severe cold weather / icy conditions until this Friday morning in the South East, becoming very cold later in the week. Cold, frosty nights are expected along with showers, bringing a significant risk of icy conditions.

Finally, here is a course that you or your volunteers might be interested in:

COVID-19: Psychological First Aid

Learn how to give practical and emotional support to help individuals with different needs cope with the emotional impact of Covid-19 using PFA. Psychological First Aid (PFA) is the globally recommended training for supporting people during emergencies and offers guidance on delivering psychosocial care in the immediate aftermath of the emergency event.

Downland Practice - 5th January Practice Update

"Work on the COVID-19 Vaccination Hub based at the Newbury Racecourse is underway and it is likely that patients will be booked in for COVID_19 vaccination once delivery dates of the vaccine are confirmed. These clinics will be held at the Newbury Racecourse. Please do not contact the surgery to book in for a COVID-19 vaccination, the practice staff will contact those patients who are eligible. For all patients who are healthcare workers, we will require you to bring your work ID badges to your appointment as confirmation of your position. The vaccination clinic will likely be fairly short notice once we receive confirmation of vaccine delivery.

Thank you to all of the volunteers who have came forward to help at the Vaccination Hub, we have had 74 names put forward, including 52 to help in administration, 12 Healthcare workers, 6 medical administrators and 4 First aiders. The practice will be in touch with these people later today to advise them of the next steps.

Lockdown January 2021 – Lockdown is upon us again, the Pharmacy Team are working on the medication delivery scheme that we had in place during the first lockdown in March 2020. This scheme will be reduced to include only those patients who are shielding or are too frail to collect their own medications. More details will emerge in the next few weeks as we get in touch with the local volunteers who worked on this project the last time."

Keep up to date on the practice website

West Berkshire Council have released the following information regarding the move to Tier 4

New information will follow soon, but in the meantime, please see the attached poster on the Tier 4 restrictions. Further details can be found on the website: