Message sent by
Claire Williams (Police, Co-ordinator, West Berkshire)
Police are appealing for a witness who may have vital information following a burglary at a premises in Northbrook Street, Newbury between 1 and 2am on Monday (20/11), and who may have seen a group of four people putting on gloves on the tow path close to Camp Hopson. The group of four were in dark clothing and had yellow hippo bags.
There was also a white long wheel based van in the vicinity.
If anyone has information about this incident please contact the 24 hour Police Enquiry Centre on 101 (Ref 43170344872)
Council begins consultation on 2018/19 budget
West Berkshire Council has begun a consultation on proposals affecting some frontline services as it prepares to set its budget for 2018/19.
Next year West Berkshire Council will have around £123m to spend on services in communities across the district. However, an increasing demand for these services and a reduction in central government funding means the council will have to find savings of around £10m in order to deliver a balanced budget.
The council began preparing the budget earlier this year and has worked hard to minimise the impact on frontline services. Most of the savings will be found through the council becoming even more efficient, generating additional income and through a possible increase in Council Tax. However, around £1m will impact on services delivered in communities across the district with proposals which include:
Speaking ahead of the consultation Councillor Graham Jones, Leader of West Berkshire Council, said: "Every year our communities are asking more from the services we provide but we are receiving less money to provide those services. We have looked first at how the council can work differently by becoming more efficient and by working more closely with other local authorities and with our communities. Our priority has been to protect those services which support the most vulnerable people in our communities but it's inevitable that there will be an impact on some other services. Although we have set out our proposals for next year it's important we give communities the chance to tell us how they will be impacted and what might be done to alleviate the impact of any decisions before we decide how to proceed."
How local authority funding is changing
Over the past eight years West Berkshire Council has had to find savings worth £55m while at the same time responding to an increase in demand for its services. This is because of a reduction in funding from central government which has seen the Revenue Support Grant (worth £33.7m to the council in 2011/12) fall to just £100,000 in 2018/19.
Read our infographic to see how West Berkshire Council is funded and how money is spent.
In finding the savings for 2018/19 the council has sought to protect frontline services as far as possible. This has primarily focused on becoming an even more efficient council, which over the last twelve months has included:
Press Release from West Berkshire Council - 1st November 2017
With colder weather on the way, West Berkshire Council is ready to keep people on the move with its winter plan for key routes across the district.
From Monday 30 October the Council monitors the weather and will grit roads whenever road temperatures are forecast to fall below zero with a hoar frost.
Primary routes, which account for 40% of the district's almost 800 miles of road, will be gritted whenever a frost or ice is forecast. These routes include all A and B roads and some strategically important C roads, will be gritted when a frost or ice is forecast. Secondary routes, which make up 20% of the highway network, will be gritted once frosty or icy conditions have been experienced for an unbroken period of 72 hours or greater (i.e., sub-zero temperatures experienced through the period for 3 continuous days and nights)
In addition, there are currently 480 salt bins serving council offices and public buildings with daily access and the road network in general. Of these, 31 are owned and maintained by the council and 449 are owned and maintained by the Parish or Town Councils.
Councillor Jeanette Clifford, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Highways and Transport said, “We’re ready to put our Winter Plan into action to ensure that our roads are as clear and safe for our residents as possible.
"While we treat key routes some roads will not be treated. Drivers should be prepared, allow more time for journeys during bad weather and take extra care when travelling."
Decisions about when to grit roads are triggered by cold and other weather alerts from the MeteoGroup and flood alerts from the Environment Agency. West Berkshire Council’s contractor, Volker Highways, have 1,500 tonnes of salt stockpiled at the Council’s Chieveley depot for the winter with plans in place to replenish this stock as required throughout the season.
However, should the need arise the Council have access to 1,000 tonnes of additional salt which is stored off site. When gritting does take place it is usually done either after the evening rush hour or before the morning rush hour in order to minimise disruption on the roads.
A snow clearance plan is also in place which aims to keep almost half (48.5%) of the highway network available when it snows with priority given to bus routes and access routes to schools and GP surgeries.
Information about routes which have been gritted is provided in real time on the council’s website once the winter weather plan is instigated.
You can read our Winter Service Plan – which includes maps of Primary and Secondary routes and find advice on staying safe this winter including while you travel.
Keeping you up to date with Parish news and events. If you have an event or news item you would like to share please email the Parish Clerk