Sonning Neighbourhood Plan
Spring Questionnaire 2021
We've received responses from over half the homes in the Parish! Currently a total of 354 completed questionnaires.
We'd sincerely like to thank all of you who have taken time to read and complete our rather long but worthwhile survey. And if there are any of our residents who still have to get their form to us then please don't delay - it's not too late but please do it soon.
You can discover more information about the Plan and the results of our survey (once they've been determined) can be found here: Sonning Neighbourhood Plan
After many months of development we now have a questionnaire that will be delivered to all Sonning residents before the end of April. It's good timing since it coincides with the easing of lockdown and our distribution team will be able to deliver it by hand and, if the opportunity arises, have a chat with people about how important this is to the future of our Parish and why we really need every resident aged 16+ years to complete a questionaire.
Sonning Support, is the new name for what was the Sonning Covid-19 Community Support Group, originally set up by the Sonning Parish Council in March 2020. They are an independant, informal group of local volunteers who joined together to provide help and support to those people who need it during these unprecedented times. If you need help in collecting a prescription from the chemist, buying food from the shops, walking a dog or other errands then do get in touch - click on the link above to contact them.
Volunteers do not expect payment for their time - the beneficiary is only expected to pay the cost of their shopping, prescriptions or other such expenses that they would cover normally.
If you have any concerns or queries please contact Trefor Fisher via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or 07789 880072.
Covid-19 Useful Links
From WBC & the NHS.... Covid-19 - Advice for Residents
from the Government.... Covid-19 - Overall Situation
Road Safety Report - June 2020
Councillor Trefor Fisher has published the latest report from the Highways Working Group. It can be read here: Road Safety Report
A Neighbourhood Plan for Sonning
Sonning Parish Council together with the Sonning & Sonning Eye Society would like to thank everyone who came to this important meeting in February. Pearson Hall was packed and we apologise to those of you who had to stand.
Information about the Neighbourhood Development Plan and the presentation that was given is available on Sonning.info. You can sign up to be kept informed about how the Plan is progressing and, hopefully, join the team.
This showcases the work of many of the organisations around Wokingham that are working to improve our wellbeing. There will be events held every day all week for all ages highlighting the importance of Wellbeing, through; talks, storytelling, art, performance art, music, health & fitness, meditation & relaxation, discussion & more.
The week finishes on Sunday 19th from 12noon – 3pm with a Community Picnic and entertainment held at Howard Palmer Gardens. A short video explains more: https://bit.ly/2V4KeEF. Full details of all events can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/wokinghamwellbeingweek/.
WBC have formally announced the Parish Elections for the Borough. There are NINE councillors to be elected for Sonning Parish.
1. Nomination papers must be delivered to the Returning Officer, Electoral Services, Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 1WH between 9am and 5pm on any day after the date of this notice but no later than 4 pm on Wednesday, 3rd April 2019.
2. Nomination papers for Parish Elections may be obtained from Clerks to Parish Councils or the Returning Officer, Electoral Services, Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 1WH from the Returning Officer during the times stated above.
3. If any election is contested the poll will take place on Thursday, 2nd May 2019.
4. Applications to register to vote must reach the Electoral Registration Officer by 12 midnight on Friday 12 April 2019. Applications can be made online: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
5. Applications, amendments or cancellations of postal votes must reach the Electoral Registration Officer at Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 1WH by 5 pm on Monday, 15th April 2019.
6. Applications to vote by proxy at this election must reach the Electoral Registration Officer at Electoral Services, Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 1WH by 5 pm on Wednesday, 24th April 2019.
7. Applications to vote by emergency proxy at this election on grounds of physical incapacity or for work/service reasons must reach the Electoral Registration Officer at Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 1WH by 5 pm on Thursday, 2nd May 2019. The physical incapacity must have occurred after 5 pm on Wednesday, 24th April 2019. To apply on the grounds of work/service, the person must have become aware that they cannot go to the polling station in person after 5 pm on Wednesday, 24th April 2019.
If you are interested in becoming a councillor the Parish Election Nomination Pack can be downloaded from here: ParishNominationPack
Wokingham Borough Council Local Plan
A Development Threat To Sonning
The Parish Council are urging residents to read up on the details of the proposed development sites and to respond to the survey. You could possibly even visit one of the events being organised by WBC, to view development proposals, put forward by developers/land owners for the Borough and in particular Sonning. There are five sites in Sonning which could, with planning permission be turned into large housing developments and two identified as traveller sites. Wokingham is required to supply 800 new houses each year, as part of the Government proposals, across the Borough. The Parish Council objected to all the proposals for Sonning in 2016 when they were first consulted and the latest consultation gives residents and others the opportunity to air their views. Residents will have important local information, which could assist WBC in making their final decision, on which proposals to include in the Local Plan.
Do not miss this opportunity to have your say! Respond to the survey and ensure that wbc makes the right decision. It will shape the community in which you have chosen to live.
Click here to read all the information and find out about the local events
Deadline for your response is 22nd February
Remembrance of the end of WW1. This is a joint venture to mark the end of the First World War is a joint venture between the Sonning Parish Council and St Andrews.
The current list of events taking place on Sunday 11th November on King George’s Field, starting at 6.30pm (timings are to coincide with 100’s of similar events across the country) is:
6.55pm The Last Post
7.00pm WW1 Beacon of light
We will be lighting a beacon symbolising an end to the darkness of war and a return to the light of Peace.
7.05pm St Andrews Church Bells
The church bells will ring in celebration of Peace.
We will be selling Indian food, burgers and hot dogs, plus wine and beer. Soft drinks for the children will be complementary.
We are pleased to be able to inform you that Wokingham Borough Council officially adopted the Conservation Area Appraisial on 19th April. click on the cover below to download a copy (NB. It is a low resolution version but 3Mb.)
The Parish Council and the Sonning and Sonning Eye Society have been working together over a number of years to produce the Conservation Area Appraisal which, now that it is adopted, will form an important evidence base together with other adopted planning documents. National planning guidance identifies the importance of evidence based documents as informing planning policies and decisions. It is a very valuable document and will help to inform the assessment of future planning proposals being considered by WBC.
The local nature reserve in Sonning, managed by the Friends of Ali’s Pond volunteer group, has just won the CIEEM award for small scale practical nature conservation. Representatives of the FAP went to the annual national awards ceremony at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Click here for further information
Stephanie Hilborne (CEO The Wildlife Trusts), Alastair Driver, Belinda Driver, John Woodhouse (all Friends of Ali’s Pond) and Trefor Fisher (Sonning Parish Council)
Sonning Parish Council were represented at the awards by Councillor Trefor Fisher who said: “As owners of this small parcel of land in the centre of the village, Sonning Parish Council are thrilled with the recognition of what has been achieved here by the Friends of Ali’s Pond group over the years. Through local community action and fund-raising they have turned a formerly largely neglected and often fly-tipped area into a superb wildlife reserve which is extremely popular with the local community, not least the schools and Baden-Powell groups who use it for pond-dipping and other nature study activities.”
The Council are pleased to be able to let you know that Sonning has now been declared a No Cold Calling Zone. Thanks to the hard work of the various Neighbourhood Watch Co-Ordinators, who took the requried steps and undertook a survey of residents, Sonning residents should be able to enjoy their property in peace and can prevent unwanted callers.
The letter from West Berkshire Trading Standards (click here to open it) gives details of how the scheme works and anyone wishing to deter cold callers needs to display one of the "No Cold Callers" stickers which are available from Jan Fielder. Please note that the Fair Trading Officer responsible is now Julian Weal.
In accordance with the Electors' Rights (by law any person entitled and registered to vote has the right to inspect a council's accounts) Sonning Parish Council has published the requisite Notice of Appointment. Click here for further information
Why not come along to the Annual Parish Meeting to be held in the Pearson Hall on Tuesday 17 May at 7.00 pm for 7.30 pm. This is your opportunity to meet your Councillors, listen to their Annual Reports and to ask questions. Light refreshments will be served from 7.00 pm. The Council look forward to welcoming as many of you as possible. Click here to open the Agenda
The Council are pleased to announce that Tony Farnese was elected, unopposed, to the role of Chairman of the Council at the Council meeting held on 14 July 2015. Cllr Farnese, who has been a member of the Council since he was co-opted in April 2005, said that he would be pleased to take on the role but regretted the resignation of Mr Doyle.
The Parish Council were sorry to receive the unexpected resignation of their Chairman, Councillor Pat Doyle, in early June. Pat had served on the Council since being co-opted in February 2007 when he immediately took over the role of Chairman of the Planning Committee. Pat had previously dealt with planning while Chairman of the Sonning and Sonning Eye Society’s Planning and Traffic Panel and brought his expertise to the Parish Council. Over the years Pat became even more knowledgeable in planning matters and continued as Planning Chairman after he became Chairman of the Council in February 20013. The Council would like to express their thanks to Pat for his huge contribution to the Council and the community and to say how sorry they are that he is no longer a member of the Council. As a sign of their appreciation, Councillors made a point of including a vote of thanks in the minutes of their meeting on 14 July 20015. The Council would like to wish Pat all the best.
Following the purchase and installation of a second ‘life saving’ Defibrillator at ‘Beech Lodge’, adjacent to Sonning Primary School, in December 2014 at a cost, including installation, of just over £2,000, your Parish Councillors decided to arrange a fund raising event to recoup expenditure in conjunction with Barclays Bank plc, its bankers.
Barclays Bank plc operate a ‘Match Funding’ scheme to finance worthy causes that matches any funds raised on any ‘single’ event up to £1,000 – raise £1,000 and receive £1,000! Following a visit by Kim Savage, from Barclays plc Woodley, to a meeting of the Council last year to explain Barclays’ initiative, it was decided to hold a fund raising event to be arranged by group of Councillors. Kim was an active participant at the event and we are most appreciative of her enthusiastic help on behalf of her generous employers.
Thanks to some solid organisation, help from Sonning Scouts, members of our community, beautiful spring weather, the Fun Afternoon was a brilliant success, raising a total after limited expenses of £840.57 (with match funding taking the total to £1,681.14).
In addition to a well used bouncy castle, a welly wanging competition, an informative exhibition by the S&SE Society, a visit from our local paramedic to explain defibrillator operation, a busy bar, cakes and tea supplies, tasty barbecue, school parents tombola, a well supported raffle, the star attraction for the afternoon was undoubtedly Sonning’s version of Crufts where our local dog owners displayed the abilities of their pets. Even Sonning Parish Council’s Chairman Pat Doyle’s star pooch won a red rosette with his biscuit catching abilities!
And with special thanks to the tireless efforts of Councillors Mena Pownall, Tony Farnese and wife Joan* (* not a Councillor), Trefor Fisher and Alex Evans, all in all a terrific Sonning style afternoon was had by everyone.
Sonning Glebe celebrated in style on Sunday with a traditional street party. With nearly 200 attending, including the Rt Hon. Theresa May MP accompanied by husband Phillip, sunny weather added to the party atmosphere, with games, food, teas, cakes to fuel the fun. Almost £800 was raised for the British Legion from the raffle and donations.
The ancient willow overlooking the river and the Wharf on the edge of Great House land has to come down. The amount of rot in the trunk has caused it to become a danger to the public. In spite of valiant efforts by tree surgeon Julian Clark with severe pollarding (as undertaken with the willow alongside the bridge that split in October 2013) the old tree has to go, by approval from WBC.
Cllr Pat Doyle attended today’s Lafarge Tarmac ‘Local Liaison Meeting’ (attended by Lafarge Tarmac Estates and Operations, Sonning PC, Eye and Dunsden PC, Landowners Phillimore Estates, Oxfordshire County Council). There was no representation from Shiplake, Caversham or Henley.
The Committee meets twice a year to cover detail on forthcoming operations, progress addressing numerous planning conditions and questions local concerns.
It is significant that vehicles carrying processed aggregate will pass either through Caversham or Henley in spite of the latters apparent determination to eliminate HGV’s passing through the town, loaded or empty, and not just trucks from the gravel works.
An extended conveyor tunnel will be installed over Spring Lane together with a ‘Bailey’ bridge for vehicles mainly for the process of removing stripped topsoil from the land to be excavated. The soil will be stored elsewhere above the flood-plain for use following backfill of the excavated workings with inert waste. It is anticipated that back filling could begin as early as two years from anticipated start of aggregate excavation and while that process continues.
It is notable that diligent efforts are being made by the company to fully comply with all operational conditions set out by Oxfordshire County Council. It was made clear by Lafarge Tarmac (soon to be renamed after an imminent sale) that all company vehicles in addition to customer and supplier vehicles in excess of 7.5 tons are clearly briefed that no access to the plant at Sonning Eye is available through Sonning.
As there was no response to the notice advising of an election to become Parish Councillors for Sonning, there will be no election for positions as Councillors on Sonning Parish Council. The Council will be returned unopposed. This has the additional benefit of saving an administration fee to the Council that could be anything up to £2,500.
Sonning Parish Council has asked Wokingham Borough Council’s highway engineers to take a look at the state of the roadway in Pound Lane, particularly the northern section from the Sonning Primary School crossing to its junction with Pearson Road. Highlighting the poor state of the roadway will hopefully result in some urgent repairs if not a full re-surface, budgets permitting.
We understand that the old redundant ‘bell/siren pole’ from the former Fire Station site will be re-installed shortly. Not until the pole was taken down for safe keeping during development of the site was it realised that the bell/siren platform was roofed by and old and very rickety kitchen table! For health and safety reasons, the table is being replaced with a sturdier replica.
Although we had a firm promise back in November 2014 from Wokingham Borough Council that Sonning’s mostly blocked rainwater drains and gullies/culverts would be cleared in time for winter, after some more persuasion, the job is promised to start today, March 18th.
Since BT sold the old phone box outside Pearson Hall to your Parish Council we had a vital Defibrillator installed, followed by another at Beech Lodge next to the school, covering the playground, school and recreation area, plus the neighbourhood.
The phone box in Pearson Road is an Information Point, a totally free facility for local businesses and organisations to display their services and make any kind of leaflet, brochure, business flyer etc. available to locals in visitors alike. Panels are also provided to house suitably sized posters. Contact Pat Doyle (on 0790 513 7857) or email email@example.com for size details.
We are all aware of recent sand and gravel processing by La Farge Tarmac in the ‘triangle’ between the B478 and Spring Lane. Permission was granted towards the end of last year by Oxfordshire County Council for the next phase on land east of Spring Lane (towards Shiplake – about half way) for excavation and processing sand and gravel totalling 1.89 million tonnes, including the removal of soil. Planning approval is accompanied by a total of seventy six conditions covering such elements as Archaeology Mitigation, Flood Management Plans, Ground Water Levels, Noise Monitoring and many more.
A rolling conveyor for the movement of excavated material from the site will be installed over its length and will elevate over Spring Lane to join the existing conveyor into the processing plant. Once processed, the materials will be taken from the plant in lorries, the eight wheelers when fully loaded will weigh thirty two tons. To move the 1.89 million tons will entail just over one hundred and eighteen thousand journeys (118,000) duplicated by the lorries returning empty. Lorries will more than likely travel through Caversham and Henley to access A4 and M4.
Your Parish Council received assurances from the company that their lorries or ‘customer’ lorries would not access the processing site via Sonning Bridge. It’s worth noting that heavy penalties await any transgression of the existing Weak Bridge weight limit on our historic bridge.
Full operational production of the site is estimated to begin at the start of 2016 for which a new site access/exit will be constructed adjoining the A4155 Reading – Henley road. Processed materials will leave the existing plant at Sonning Eye. According the current Oxfordshire County Council Minerals ‘directory’ total yield from the site extending towards Shiplake will total 5.5 million tonnes.
Welcome to the new Sonning Parish Council Website. We have been working hard over the past year or so to produce a new website packed with up to the minute information, news, views and ‘All things Sonning’!
These ‘eye-catching’ pages now hold a wealth of information, not only about the workings of the Parish Council but about Sonning itself; its history, amenities and facilities, details of local groups and organisations and much, much more. We couldn’t have achieved this without help from many knowledgeable, local individuals and we would like to extend a warm ‘thank-you’ to everyone who has given their help and support freely over the last few months.
However, this is YOUR website too, so please do browse through the pages using the menu on the left hand side and if you think that anything is missing, or if you have any comments generally about how the website looks or works or if you have a view about the information that it provides, then we would love to hear from you. We would especially like to hear from local groups and people organising community events, who would like their contact details added to the relevant pages. We very much hope that this will become a well-used and valued community resource.
You have probably noticed that we have also taken this opportunity to give Sonning Parish Council an ‘image makeover’. We are delighted to be able to unveil our new Sonning Parish Council logo, painted for the council by local artist and Bluecoat school teacher, Mr Richard Ennis. As you can see, the logo cleverly incorporates many of the key features for which Sonning is known and loved. We would like to extend our gratitude to Mr. Ennis for his assistance with this.
As technology moves forward at an ever increasing speed, we were very aware that any new website should be easy to maintain and update, easy for the public to use and needed to be ‘future-proofed’, as much as possible. We hope that we have ticked all of those boxes and in addition, the website has been designed to be accessed from computers, tablets and smart phones. So whether you are at home with your computer, or in front of your smart TV, or on a train with your smart phone, you should be able to keep in touch with what’s going on in your Parish!
We look forward to hearing from you.
The Web Team
Funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund, a variety of outdoor fitness equipment has now been installed in King George V field.
The range is designed to extend fitness opportunities to the wider community with resistance being provided by the users own body weight. The cardio bundle is fun to use and is already proving to be extremely popular with all age groups. Its free for everyone from age 7 upwards, in an uncontrolled yet social and uninhibited environment, whether its just to play, for a work out, or as an aid to recuperation after an injury or illness.
Take some time out and go and try it for yourselves.
Following a formal invitation from Sonning Parish Council, the Rt. Hon’ Theresa May MP Home Secretary came to Sonning on November 23rdat 1.30pm to undertake the official ‘switch-on’ of the Parish Council’s Sonning Bridge Pathway Safety Lighting.
Financial donors to the project were also formally invited, together with the Mayoress of Wokingham Borough, Borough Councillors, Parish Council contractors G.D.Contracting Ltd’s Graham Dawson, Scottish and Southern Energy Contracting manager Pete Stevens, representatives of The Scarecrow Committee, Sonning and Sonning Eye Society and numerous Parishioners.
After a brief welcome and address by Parish Council Chairman Cllr Doyle to the company who had assembled on the set-back pathway alongside the ‘Great House’ hotel, Theresa responded with her own endorsement to the Parish Council’s health and safety initiative. Theresa then crossed the roadway and activated the lighting system to enthusiastic applause.
Invited guests, including Theresa, adjourned to ‘The Great House’ for a brief drinks reception.
With cold but bright sunny conditions, a splendid turnout to welcome our important visitor and the fullest support of our local authority, your Parish Council derives enormous satisfaction from its ongoing programme of Health and Safety works in our Parish.