Village Newsletters


Below are published the Village Newsletters from the most recent to March 2013.


Village Newsletter

from Alton Parish Council, Spring, 2017

Plenty of news and plenty to do as the days lengthen and the weather warms up (we hope).  Help launch the Coronation Hall as a cinema. Add your garden to the Summer Trail. Enter for the fruit and flower show. Or just enjoy it all. 

Film shows – and more – at the Coronation Hall: Help is needed to get a local arts group going to promote cinema and other entertainments at the Coronation Hall.  The village hall committee has offered support and the Summer Open Gardens Festival is donating funds to start the project off. As yet the idea is still very much in its infancy and volunteers are needed to get it off the ground.  If you are interested, have some ideas or expertise or would simply like to be involved in the effort to get this going, contact Robert on 01672 852265 or  robert@carpenterturner.co.uk.  

All Saints saved for the time being!  An urgent appeal for £9,000 to pay for weatherproof cover for the church following the theft of lead from the roof in 2015 was launched by Maggie Faultless and Music for Awhile at the start of this year. Remarkably, the friends of Music for Awhile and MFA itself have exceeded this initial ‘emergency’ target. The church is now weatherproof, a battery alarm will be fitted and the larger project of fund-raising to replace the original lead has begun. Please contact maggiefaultless@gmail.com  for more information and to support the next phase of the campaign. Good news from St Mary’s, too. Thanks to a successful fundraising campaign the ancient church at Alton Barnes has reopened and was formerly rededicated in February by Bishop Ed, more formally The Right Reverend Dr Edward Condry, Bishop of Ramsbury. The restoration should see that building secure for many years to come.   

This could save a life: There is now a defibrillator – a possible lifesaver in the event of a heart attack – outside the Coronation Hall. Please note the instructions below, and keep them in case of need. 

If someone has collapsed and is not breathing call for help and if you know how, administer CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation). Someone should phone 999 for an ambulance and someone should collect the defibrillator which is positioned on the roadside wall of the Alton Barnes Coronation Hall. They need to phone 999 to give the Hall postcode and the number of the defibrillator which are clearly shown on the box and then they will be given a code to dial in. This will release the defibrillator so they can take it to the casualty. When it is opened it will talk to you to tell you what to do including how to administer CPR before medical assistance arrives.

High speed broadband now: With a fibre-link cabinet installed on the Honeystreet bridge, ‘superfast broadband’ is now available for Honeystreet and Alton Barnes. Anyone interested can contact their service provider, or check by entering their phone number on the link below.  ‘Superfast broadband’ does not at present cover Priors but the parish council is pressing for it to be extended.

www.homeandwork.openreach.co.uk/when-can-i-get-fibre.aspx

Open Gardens Festival with added music!  –  On Sunday, June 11 we will once again be opening our lovely gardens in aid of three Parish fund-raising projects, including the All Saints Appeal. Added to which Music for Awhile have offered their time to perform three mini recitals at the church.

Among the highlights - Trail of cottage & manor gardens, including newly completed gardens of Michael Balston, international landscape designer & Vice President of the RHS. Music for Awhile mini-recitals, All Saints, 12 noon, 2pm & 4pm. Newly restored Saxon Church of St Mary’s, Alton Barnes. Delicious teas along the Garden Trail. Lunches in the pretty canal-side garden of the Honeystreet Café (open to 5pm). Plant stall. Vintage Sunbeam rides between the villages. If you would like to help whether it be opening your garden, helping with teas & cakes or growing a few plants for the stall contact Louise Tel: 01672 851058  email:  louiseegolden@icloud.com

Wildlife walks: Eddie Smith is once again going to lead his wildlife walks, donations for village charities and projects. April 29 - Milk Hill. May 27 - Woodborough Hill and Kennet & Avon Canal. Meet at St Mary's Church 9am. Contact Eddie on etmesmith@gmail.com or 01672 851429 before 28 April to book on either or both dates. Numbers limited.

New owners at the Barge Inn: The pub has new owners, Pietro and Barbara, who promise “a twist of Italian food and a fine and selected wine list.” Reopening scheduled for the start of April.

Dates for your diary  ~ ~  (all at Coronation Hall unless otherwise stated)

   Sat Apr 22, 2.30pm: From Honeystreet to Salonika. On 24 April 1917 Frederick Doggett of The Barge Inn, Honeystreet, was killed in Salonika during the first Battle of Doiran whilst serving with 7th Battalion the Wiltshire Regiment. Brigadier Simon Hutchings and Alan Wakefield tell his story.  All Saints Church, Stanton St Bernard. Tickets: £5 (students £3) Tel: 01672 851352 or email: contact@stantonstbernard.com

   Sat Apr 29, 9am: Wildlife walk – Milk Hill 

   Thur May 4: County and Parish Council elections. Polling 7am to 10pm

   Sat May 27, 9am: Wildlife walk – Woodborough Hill and K&A canal

   Sun June 11: Open Gardens – across the three villages

   Sat June 24: Annual Flower Show

   July weekends 1/2, 8/9, 15, 22/23: Altons open studios, Meriel Balston and Deborah Husk. For details see  http://www.marlboroughopenstudios.co.uk

And don’t forget the continuing Village Coffee Mornings on the first Saturday of each month, Coronation Hall 10am to 12 noon. See you there!


Village Newsletter

from Alton Parish Council, Autumn, 2016

Let's have a party! That's the big plan this Christmas – for details see below. Meanwhile, there's plenty to be getting on with and much to enjoy. 

The 2016 Christmas Extravaganza
This year, just for a change, it has been decided to drop the Christmas Panto (Oh yes it has). But there will still be a big festive party at the Coronation Hall - a celebration dinner with entertainment. The date: Sunday evening December 11. But please note that space is limited and although tickets will be free this will be a ticket-only event.  Full details and booking arrangements will be announced shortly. Look for notices on the village boards and, of course, on the parish website altonsandhoneystreet.org

Good news from St Mary’s. The long-running programme of repair and restoration is almost complete, and the church is scheduled to reopen at the end of this month. Thanks to all those who put in so much time and effort to raise the money – and to all who gave. Less good news from neighbouring All Saints. The Churches Conservation Trust, despite earlier hopes, has decided not to fund the £89,000 required to replace the lead stolen from the roof. The make-do plastic sheeting is letting water in causing more damage to the interior. The church is now being scaffolded to allow the Trust to install a “longer term temporary roof covering" in rubber.

Warning! Traffic hazard: The short stretch of road down the hill on the approach to Alton Barnes from Lockeridge has seen as many as eight accidents in the past few weeks, with cars overturned. Safety measures now being considered include new warning signs and road resurfacing, possibly with a non-skid material. Speed limits through the parish and over the canal bridge are also being reviewed. 

…and hedge hazards: Overgrown hedges on the roadside can be a serious accident risk if they block drivers’ sightlines, particularly at exit and entrance and turning points. If you have a hedge under your care please keep it well cut back!

Defibrillator at the Coronation Hall: In the event of a heart attack defibrillators can and do save lives. This one will shortly be ready for use (look for the cabinet next to the front entrance of the Hall). Access is by dialing 999 and a key code will be given by the operator after appropriate details are passed to the emergency services. The code is entered on the cabinet lock and then the defibrillator can be used. Many thanks to those who donated at the Barge Inn and elsewhere. The next step will be to arrange training and ask for volunteers. Look for notices on the boards and, of course, on the parish website. 

…and speaking of the website: The number of visitors continues to grow and we hope it is becoming a really useful gateway for the whole community. Do take a look at altonsandhoneystreet.org

Planning latest: Redevelopment plans for the Honeystreet sawmill seem to be on hold after it became clear that a proposal to build 15-25 houses on the site would not win local support. A proposal to build two houses across the canal at Fernbank in place of the existing bungalow and annex has been approved with conditions. Other applications reviewed by your Parish Council included alterations to The Priory and Chandlers House at Alton Barnes.

Broadband: Still disgracefully slow, most would say, despite a new connection box on the canal bridge. This is being pursued with BT, with Wiltshire Council and with our MP, Claire Perry. Please send your own speedtest results to parishspeeds@gmail.com so we can identify the areas of poor service by address and telephone number.

Barge Inn: The pub is up for sale with an asking price of £900,000. Loud and late-night noise from a very small minority of boats moored nearby continues to be a serious abuse, which has been taken up with Wiltshire and with the Canal and River Trust.

Wishing all an (early) Happy Christmas and a good New Year!


Village Newsletter

from Alton Parish Council, Spring, 2016

A busy, lively Spring and Summer ahead. Solve a murder. Celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday. Raise a glass to the reopening of the Barge Inn. Go in for a prize at the Summer Show. All that and more in months to come.

A tale of two churches – Thanks to generous donations both locally and beyond, enough has now been raised to pay for essential roof repairs to the Saxon church of St Mary's, Alton Barnes. The aim is to complete the work and reopen the church by the end of June. As many will recall, thieves last year stripped the lead from the roof of All Saints, Alton Priors. Restoration (including an alarm system to prevent a repeat) will cost an estimated £89,000. It is hoped the Churches Conservation Trust will be ready to fund this. Their decision on this, along with nine other church projects, is due on June 28. 

Honeystreet sawmill:  The Parish Council embarked a year ago on a new kind of planning process called a Neighbourhood Development Order. The aim was to give local residents the final say on a proposal to build homes and offices on the sawmill site. Unfortunately the procedure ran into problems and the Parish Council was left with no alternative but to drop it. It will now be up to the owner to decide whether to proceed with a standard planning application. The recent local questionnaire – our thanks to the many who completed it – produced a wealth of opinions and suggestions.  These will be very useful if an application does go ahead. For more detail on the results and on the proposal in general, see the Sawmill page on the Parish website http://altonsandhoneystreet.org.uk

Parish website: … Speaking of which, the website is seeing a very welcome increase in the number of visitors. It offers far more information, regularly updated, than a necessarily brief Newsletter. The latest addition is YOUR page, where anyone living in or with connections to the parish can have their say. So why not take a look.  That address again http://altonsandhoneystreet.org.uk

Barge Inn reopening: The pub - dark since the previous tenants departed in January – is scheduled to reopen in mid-April. And not long after, if all goes according to plan, it should become the first pub in the universe (or at least in the UK) with its own purpose-built Observatory. For details go to www.honeystreetobservatory.com 

The pub’s owner, Ian McIvor, has sent a strong written assurance to the Parish Council that there are no plans to close the place or convert it. And you should be able to see a direct update from him before long, on the parish website. 

Murder at the Coronation Hall! Yes, there will be blood (or so we are promised) at the Hall on the evening of Saturday, April 2. Watch the drama unfold and join one of the teams competing to discover whodunnit. Tickets, including a two-course dinner, £12 (£8 for under-16s) and there will be a licensed bar. All profits to the Hall fund. For booking details and many other local events, see over the page.

New speed limit? Wiltshire Council was approached to lower the speed limit over the canal bridge from 40 to 30 mph in line with elsewhere in the parish. After speed tests, the council said vehicle speeds were not excessive enough to justify a change. But the parish council is continuing to pursue the matter.

Hare coursing. Along with the regular warnings about keeping homes, outbuildings and vehicles secure against theft, police have recently raised concerns over hare coursing. It seems there have been a number of incidents locally, including Alton Barnes. Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101.

New Road signs and Village Gates. All pedants will welcome the new road signs which correctly announce their arrival  at Honeystreet (rather than Honey Street). Our thanks to the local residents who generously covered the cost. And thanks to another generous giver, we hope village gates on the road from Lockeridge coming in to the Altons will be installed before long. 

Dates for your diary  ~ ~  (all at the Coronation Hall unless otherwise stated)

  • April 2        10.00 – 12.00  - Village Coffee morning 
  • 7.30  - "Keeled Over”  A Murder Mystery Supper. Come and help solve the crime! Tickets at £12.00 (£8.00 under-16), to include meal, available from Liz Kellett (01672 851920) or Deborah Husk (01672 851233).  Licensed bar. 
  • May 19       7.00 – Parish Council AGM, followed by Parish Council meeting 7.30 approx. Meetings are open – all welcome
  • June 11      The Queen’s 90th Birthday. Celebration at the Coronation Hall. To   include Barn Dance and Hog Roast.  All welcome. Full details to follow.
  • June 23       EU Referendum. Polling Station will be the Coronation Hall.
  • June 25 Summer Show of flowers and vegetables. Details to follow including schedule.
  • June 25/26 Music for Awhile, 21st Summer Festival, All Saints, Alton Priors. For details see the parish website.
  • Oct. 15     7.30 – Wine Bluff Special. With wine-tasting, cheese and biscuits. Tickets £8.00 from Liz Kellett (01672 851920) or Deborah Husk (01672 851233).  Licensed bar.


And don’t forget the continuing Village Coffee Mornings on the first Saturday of each month, 10am to 12 noon. See you there! 

Village Newsletter

from Alton Parish Council, Autumn, 2015

Plenty of news just now. The Parish Council has been spending much time on the proposal to build houses on the Honeystreet sawmill site, which presents the biggest change to the area in very many years – see fuller account below. Wilts Council is conducting a parish Housing Needs Survey, at our request, which everyone is urged to complete.  But as winter approaches there is also traditional cheer on offer, not least the Christmas panto.

New 30 mph speed limit? A petition urging that the speed limit through the village be lowered to 30 mph has been sent by the Parish Council to the County Council. The next step is likely to be a test to establish the speed of cars going through the village to be followed, we hope, by a positive decision. This initiative could take some time but wheels are in motion – although perhaps not quite as speedily as those on our road!

All Saints Church – theft: As many will be aware, in July thieves by night stripped the lead from the church roof. A meeting of local residents held at the church was told that the Churches Conservation Trust is hopeful that money can be raised to replace the lead in Spring next year, at which time an alarm will also be fitted. The CCT is also seeking a volunteer to research, write and design a "walk-around guide" to the church. Anyone interested, contact Ed Mcgregor, Volunteering Officer, on 07872 502 118 or emcgregor@thecct.org.uk

Although crime in the Pewsey area in most categories has fallen over the past year, police are warning of a continuing hazard particularly theft from cars, homes and outbuildings. As always, the advice is to keep buildings secured all times and valuables in vehicles out of sight or, preferably, removed altogether. Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101.

Honeystreet sawmill development:  As some will remember, at a village meeting back in March the developers, HAB Housing, explained their proposals for a mix of homes, studios and offices on the site. The Parish Council is at this stage taking no view one way or the other. But after careful consideration and consultation, it has decided to go ahead with a process which will allow local residents to decide. The procedure, still relatively new is called a Neighbourhood Development Order (NDO). Basically it means that a proposal is developed in consultation with local residents and is then put to a local vote. If the vote is in favour, the plan goes ahead.  If not, it doesn’t. This is an alternative to the more usual planning application system where, though local residents can voice an opinion, it is up to the local council, Wiltshire, to decide. For more detail, see the Sawmill page on the Parish website http://altonsandhoneystreet.org.uk

Housing Needs Survey: As part of the NDO process, Wiltshire Council is carrying out a survey to investigate the need for housing in the parish, not least affordable housing. Everyone should by now have received a survey form. Please be sure to COMPLETE AND RETURN IT (prepaid envelope) before the deadline of OCTOBER 30. 

First aiders: A heart attack can be one of the most dramatic and immediate candidates for life-saving first-aid. Carol Whittle at Honeystreet has kindly trained a number of local residents in CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation). You might care to keep a note of these contact details:

Stephen and Ruth Hepworth  1 The Granary, Alton Priors.  01672 851690

Mick Pavey 5 Rectory Close, Alton Barnes. 01672 851110

Peter and Sharon Emery 1 Rectory Close, Alton Barnes. 01672 851890

Carol Whittle 5 The Terrace, Honeystreet. 01672 851117

Richard Heacock The Old School, Alton Barnes. 01672 851322 

A defibrillator is available at the Barge Inn, and money is being raised for another at the Coronation Hall.

Panto! Sound expert wanted – oh yes they are: Alex Whittle who for many years has provided the technology and the expertise for the panto sound-effects and some of the music is unavailable this time. If anyone has the knowledge and the equipment please contact Robert Carpenter Turner on 01672 852 265. 

Mend those potholes online: Well, not quite, but Wiltshire Council is bringing in a new method of reporting road repair problems directly through the MyWiltshire App.  This can be accessed through the Wilts Council website, through the mobile phone app or by phoning the council on 0300 456 0105. They say a co-ordinator will then prioritise the work from the information given.  “The more information provided at the time of the report, the quicker a decision will be made on its priority.” 

Dates for your diary ~ ~ 

Note - The Coronation Hall needs a new volunteer BOOKINGS SECRETARY. If you are interested please phone Liz Kellett to find out all about it 01672 851920

  • Oct 31 – Barge Inn, Halloween Fancy Dress Party 8 til late
  • Nov 12 – Coronation Hall, A Wiltshire Chronicle. Former TV producer David Collison on the Wiltshire episodes of BBC TV’s Chronicle series.
  • Dec 6 (to be confirmed) – Coronation Hall, Christmas Panto 

And don’t forget the Saturday Village Coffee Mornings each month, 10am to 12 noon.  Next on Saturday Oct 31 (none in November) and then December 5. See you there! 


           

Village Newsletter

from Alton Parish Council, Spring, 2015

A busy Summer ahead, with the Festival of the Three Villages in June, just one week before the Flower and Produce Show and the Music for Awhile Summer Festival, which celebrates its 20th year. Let’s hope the weather is – Summery!

Festival of the Three Villages: Over the Midsummer weekend, June 20/21, the villages will be celebrating the forthcoming restoration of St Mary’s Church.  Work will start in mid-August.  There will be events in the Altons and Honeystreet including a Treasure hunt, Tug-of-war, races up to Adam’s Grave and Kite Flying up there, a Barn Dance and Hog Roast on the Saturday.  On the Sunday there will be a Summer Solstice celebration at the northern end of the Springs, a croquet tournament and teas, Songs of Praise in St Mary’s and final Festival drinks.  There will also be History Walks, a Restoration Exhibition in the Church, pooh sticks over the Springs, a special Festival Lunch at the Barge, and flowers in the churches.  Tickets will be required for the Barn Dance and Hog roast. Otherwise there will be collections divided between a village defibrillator, the Springs fund, the Coronation Hall and the Church maintenance fund.  Programmes with details of all the weekend’s events will be put through every door soon. And keep an eye on the Parish website altonsandhoneystreet.org.uk

Honeystreet sawmill development:  Some 50 people turned up to a well-attended Village Meeting at the Coronation Hall. The developers, HAB Housing, explained their proposals for a mix of homes, studios and offices on the site and answered questions. The main concern was the potential increase in traffic. Other issues raised included the need for affordable housing, internet access, preserving the line of trees to the south of the site, the question of who would look after the proposed new public open space beside the canal - and the broader question of the change in the scale and nature of a very small village.  HAB are soon to hold a “pre-application advice” meeting with Wiltshire Council to discuss the planning application they hope to put in, and a Parish Council member will be there. 

First aid training – volunteers wanted! Following a recent medical emergency in the Altons, it has been suggested that it would be useful to have a trained first-aider available, preferably in each of the three villages. Anyone interested please contact Peter Emery on 01672 851890 or email peter.emery371@btinternet.com

Playground fence: As some may remember, the last Newsletter invited views on removal of the fence, which is in a bad state of repair and would cost up to £2,000 to renew. One resident did voice concern. But parish council members feel that the existing fence is not an effective safety barrier, nor to dogs, which can get in though the gate. They also noted that nearby play areas at Lockeridge and All Cannings are unfenced. The fence will therefore be removed shortly. 

New lights for Honeystreet?   There has been a suggestion that the four orange sodium street lights along the north bank of the canal (Chimney Lane) could be replaced by lights which, while still offering security, are less glaring, less light-polluting and more in keeping with the village. Paul Oatway, our Wiltshire Councillor, has indicated that there would be grant available to cover part of the cost. The Parish Council would be interested to hear any views, for or against. 

Flower and Produce Show: The annual Midsummer Show, featuring flowers, vegetables, fruit, home-crafts, photography and children’s classes, will take place in the Coronation Hall, Alton Barnes on Saturday 27th June.  Doors open at 2.30 pm – Entry 50p, children free.  As well as refreshments and raffle, there will be the famous Auction of Produce at 4.00 pm.   Enter your garden produce or simply come and admire the achievements of others – a moment of tranquility after the hurly-burly and excitement of the Three Villages Festival. For entries or other information phone David Collison on 01672 851176 or 07736 237701. 

Parish Council AGM: The Annual General Meeting will be at the Coronation Hall at 7pm, Thursday, May 14, immediately followed by a regular Parish Council meeting. All welcome. 

Good words: Some first class Coronation Hall talks are planned for this Autumn. Speakers include writer and former Alton resident Steve Marshall on our local “waterscape” of rivers and springs (September 10); archaeologist Jim Leary on his current excavations at Marden Henge (Oct. 22); and former TV producer David Collison on the making of the Wiltshire episodes of BBC TV’s  Chronicle series (Nov 12). Keep a lookout for fuller details on the parish website.  

Dates for your diary ~ ~ (all at the Coronation Hall unless otherwise stated)

  • May 1-4 Beltane fete at The Barge Inn begins on the Friday evening -  music, fire-juggling, maypole dancing, face painting  and much more
  • May 7    Election day. Coronation Hall polling station open 7am to 10pm

              The Travelling Talesman.  Come and hear the storyteller. His theme      this time is Giants.  Barge Inn, 7.30pm

                 May 14  Parish Council AGM and pc meeting, 7pm

  • June 20 / 21  Festival of the Three Villages
  • June 27 -  Midsummer Flower and Produce Show

And don’t forget the Village Coffee Mornings on the first Saturday of each month, 10am to 12 noon.  Next, Saturday May 2 and Saturday June 6. See you there! 


* * *


Village Newsletter

from Alton Parish Council, November 2014

As  ever, there’s plenty going on no matter what the Winter may bring by way of rain or chill. Help save our bus service, take a look at the emergency arrangements in case of flood, buy a Christmas card in aid of St Mary’s Church, join speedwatch, have your say on the village website – and don't forget the Christmas Panto! 

RAF memorial With the two World Wars much in mind lately, the Parish Council has agreed to establish the RAF memorial - dedicated to those  killed whilst training at the wartime Alton airfield - as a wildflower area. Once seeded it should need cutting only once a year and be self-supporting and, we hope, appreciated. 

Save our bus service! Wiltshire Council is proposing a new timetable which will improve  services from the Altons and Honeystreet  to Devizes and Pewsey. However this could be under threat unless there is enough demand. A final consultation on the revised timetable closes on December 10.  We hope you have received, or soon will, a copy of the timetable and questionnaire. Kate Fielden (phone 01672 851859 ) can collect and forward your reply if you wish. Or online go to  http://dcap.org.uk/news/connect2-consultation/ and send your completed questionnaire to buses@wiltshire.gov.uk

Please fill in the questionnaire even if you don’t use the bus at present as it may be lost if response is poor. You might need the service yourself in future.

New look for the playground? A recent safety inspection showed that the playground fence is in a potentially dangerous state of disrepair. Renewal would cost up to £2000. But nearby play areas at Lockeridge and All Cannings are unfenced. To save money, the parish council is considering removing the fence and putting up warning signs as necessary. If you have any views on that why not go to the parish council website http://altonsandhoneystreet.org.uk  and let us know.


Precept - The Parish Council has very reluctantly decided to make a significant one-off increase in the "precept" – the money for parish costs raised through council tax. Although the percentage increase is large, the effect on households will be relatively small, amounting to an extra one or two pounds a month on your council tax bill. We hope the details below will explain the situation and answer any questions.

How much? The precept will rise next year from the present £2400 to £4,000. 

What will it mean for me? The Council Tax on a band D property will rise £14.85 to £36.11 a year.  The rate for a band G property will be £60.18, an extra £24.72. 

What is the money spent on? Costs in the past year included £690 for grass cutting and maintenance at the playground and RAF memorial, £766 playground insurance, £19 expenses, £774 legal fees for purchase of playground and £88 playground safety inspection. But in some years costs can be much higher: the refurbishment of the White Horse in 2009 cost £21,000.

What is the reason for the increase? At present the parish council has the right to decide how much money it needs to raise each year. But we understand the government plans to "cap" precepts, limiting increases to 1 or 2%. That would be acceptable if the parish council had money to spare, but the precept has always been kept as low as possible with little or no safety margin. We have been warned that unless we act while there is still time the parish council could find itself, some years down the line, without enough money to meet its obligations and with no means to raise more. So we must build a reserve.

Planning success - The parish council successfully challenged a plan to build three new executive-style houses on the canal bank at Honeystreet. The development was approved by Wiltshire Council officers but with help from our local councillor, Paul Oatway, their decision was  unanimously reversed by the Planning Committee. The developers have come back with a more modest proposal for a single property.

St Mary’s Church Appeal - Donations continue to come in and a sum of over £50,000 is now in the bank. The report on the state of the church is expected to be completed in the next two weeks and work is expected to start next summer. On sale in aid of the Appeal - greetings cards showing a Laurence Whistler bowl, engraved while he was living in the village, of St Mary’s Church and the White Horse.  Contact Meriel Balston on 01672 851851.  Also, Shirley Burrow’s fascinating small book about her childhood in the Altons  – available from her on 01672 851685. We look forward to The Festival of Three Villages next midsummer weekend to celebrate the restoration of our Church, and life in the Altons.

Flood wardens - ‘Tis the season for wet weather. In emergency, please contact your local flood warden as follows: Barnes – Peter Emery (01672) 851890 / 07886 128192 or Ben Owen 851708 / 07825 345407; Priors – Steve Hepworth 851690 or Kate Fielden 851859; Honeystreet – Alex Oliver 851956.  

Speedwatch – volunteers, please - Thanks to our volunteers, during two years the percentage of vehicles exceeding the 30mph limits in the villages has dropped from 18 to 9% during the periods of operation. This is welcome. But we need more volunteers to help out. If you can spare an hour or two each month please contact Steve Hepworth by e-mail on chairman@altonsandhoneystreet.org.uk

Wiltshire Highways have asked that households check perimeter hedging and trim back any that are impinging on the roadway or footpaths.

Dates for your diary - Coronation Hall

Sun. Dec 14 – Christmas Panto “Aladdin and Ray's Magic Garage”. Matinee 4pm. Evening performance – details to follow

Weds. Jan 14 – Good Companions 1-4pm

Thur. Jan 15 – Parish Council 7.30pm

And don’t forget the coffee mornings, 10-12 Saturday Dec 6 and Jan 3 


Lastly, please take a look at our website! We hope it will be increasingly useful as the best place to hear about local events, business, socialising, and voicing your view. Just go to http://altonsandhoneystreet.org.uk  


MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL



Village Newsletter

from Alton Parish Council, Spring, 2014

Let’s hope the worst of the weather is over and we are heading for a better Summer. But whatever the weather there’s plenty going on to keep us busy and entertained - and plenty of dates for your diary

Floods: Jayne Drew has been appointed flood warden and main point of contact for the Parish Council with Wiltshire Council. She says: “I am aware of the various flooding incidents within the Parish but if there are others that I may not be aware of do email me at thedrews@chapelcottage.plus.com or phone 01672 861555 so we can put together an accurate picture of its effect on our villages. On the whole, we have (so far) escaped with relatively light damage in comparison to other parts of the country but this is little comfort to residents living with dehumidifiers to dry out wet homes. There has been some confusion over the supply of free sandbags from councils and we are pressing Wilts Council for a decisive answer. The Parish Council does not have a supply of sandbags at our disposal unfortunately.”

Our Saxon Church of St Mary

 An Appeal Committee has been formed to raise major funds for urgent repairs to St Mary’s Church, particularly to the roof.  The Appeal will be launched in April and will involve applying for a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant, approaching  various Trusts and Foundations, and setting up a Crowd Funding website.  There is already a piece on the village website about this project, which will be updated regularly. We are also planning various fundraising days or evenings  - see dates for your diary, below. There are plans for a series of talks on local history over the winter months.  And in 2015 there will be a major two-day event A Festival of Three Villages.  This fundraising will be a community project, so if you would like to be involved please contact Michael Balston on mb@balston.co.uk  Steve Husk on steven.husk@gmail.com or Hugh Potter on hughapotter@aol.com.

Films at the Hall! And new furniture

With the generous assistance of a grant from the Wiltshire Council Area Board, a digital projector has now been installed at the Coronation Hall, together with a remote control screen, speakers and a radio microphone.  At present the Hall committee is being instructed in its use, but once the system is fully up-and-running it will be available as a Hall facility, with clear instructions for users.  It is intended that a surcharge of £5.00 will be added to the standard hall hiring fee for those who wish to use the projector. Thanks also to help from the Area Board, the Hall is to have new, lighter-weight FOLDING tables, which will make daily use and storage much easier (and safer !) Bookings, Liz Kellett 01672 851920.

Hare coursing can happen in our area. Perpetrators may damage crops, break fences, steal from barns – and often have big gambling money behind them. Police ask anyone with reason to believe coursing is under way to ring 999. 

The Robert Pile Educational Charity This is a local educational charity that has funds available to support the education of any resident of Alton Barnes, Alton Priors or  Honeystreet who is in need of financial assistance to access a course. Applications can be for adults or children. Assistance is normally provided to cover up to 50% of the identified costs.  Invoices have to be provided to the charity. The applicant needs to have been a resident for two years within the Parish. Application forms can be obtained any of the Trustees below, contact by phone 

The Robert Pile Educational Charity ~ Clerk wanted!

A local volunteer is needed to be Clerk. This is a non onerous task as the there are only three scheduled meetings a year! Anyone volunteering must be computer literate with access to e-mail – and able to keep information about applicants confidential. Please contact Arthur Johnson or Stephen Hepworth for details.

Our very own website! For up-to-date news, local businesses and more, take a look at http://altonsandhoneystreet.org.uk

Dog owners – an appeal: Please be responsible and, as and when necessary, keep your dog on a lead, collared and under control.  Serious problems can be reported to the police on phone 101. 

Dates for your diary ~ ~ (all at the Coronation Hall unless otherwise stated)

March 12, 7pm, St Mary’s Appeal, Quiz and Bingo evening, with a raffle. Tickets £10 to include bingo strips, cheese and biscuits, and a glass of wine.  Please ring Victoria Oliver on 01672 851851 for information and  tickets. 

May 12, St Mary’s Appeal, Bridge Day at The Manor, Alton Priors.  For details please ring Deborah Husk on 01672 851233

May 22, 7pm - Parish Council AGM and pc meeting

May 26 (Spring Bank Holiday) Car boot sale

Looking ahead -  In an attempt to keep pace with the weather, it has been decided to delay the Midsummer Show. This will now be held in the Hall on Saturday 5th July.

And don’t forget the Village Coffee Mornings on the first Saturday of each month, 10am to 12 noon.  Next, Saturday March 1. See you there! 


* * *


Village Newsletter

from Alton Parish Council, Autumn, 2013

Plenty going on to keep us warm and entertained as Winter draws on. And plenty of dates for your diary up to Christmas and beyond

Altons and Honeystreet on the net:  The parish council website has been updated and upgraded. We are now building up an array of local information which we hope will be useful, interesting, or even both! There are links to local businesses, accommodation and more, and we hope that there will soon be a message board for you to put forward your own views and suggestions. Why not take a look on http://altonsandhoneystreet.org.uk

The Robert Pile Educational Charity: This is a local charity with funds available to support the education of any resident of Alton Barnes, Alton Priors or Honeystreet in need of financial assistance to access a course. Applications can be for adult courses or for children. Assistance is normally provided to cover up to 50% of the identified costs.  Invoices have to be provided to the charity. The applicant needs to have been a resident for two years within the Parish. Application forms can be obtained from  Trustees Arthur Johnson (Honeystreet) 01672-851026, Rev. Deborah Larkey -851746, Stephen Hepworth (Priors) -851690, Jenni Bickerdyke (Barnes) -564370.

Open Gardens – Summer highlight:  The Open Gardens Day in June was a great success. Some 15 gardens in the three villages were on display and drew a big and admiring attendance – undeterred by the arrival of a swarm of bees in one of the gardens on show. The event raised more than £2,000 for St Mary’s Church and the  Coronation Hall. Thanks to all who helped to organize and who took part. 

Let’s Get Pickled: Not what you might think! Come and hear author and broadcaster David Collison on “The Arte & Misterie of Pickling & Preserving” at 7.30 on Friday, November 15, at the Coronation Hall. Bread, cheese and pickles provided, bring your own drinks. Tickets in aid of the Coronation Hall, £7.50. 

Noise: The parish council is aware of a number of local complaints about late-night or excessive noise. We are keen to encourage Wiltshire Council (which is responsible for dealing with the problem) to take action when required. They say it is important to ensure that complaints, if made, are properly logged. The number to contact is 0845 056 8035. Even if they cannot take immediate action, you should ask to have your complaint recorded, with a reference number. It would also help if the parish council can be told, either through the website message board (see above) or by contacting any pc member.

Panto: Alton Panto Productions, now in their eighth smash-hit year, are proud to announce their latest production  - Goldilocks and the Three Aliens. This Christmas, for the first time ever, there will be a matinee as well as an evening performance. See events diary below.

Neighbourhood police: Talking of the net, Pewsey Neighbourhood Policing team tell us they now have their own Facebook page. You will find them via http://www.wiltshire.police.uk/index.php/policing-in-your-area/county/2791?npt=EC

If you 'like' the page you will be able to receive updates and alerts that affect this area. 

Next Parish Council meetings: 

Monday, Oct 14 (to consider Honeystreet planning applications) 

Thursday, December 5 

Both at 7.30, Coronation Hall. See noticeboards and the website for more details

Some other dates for your diary, this year and beyond ~ ~ ~

(all at Coronation Hall unless otherwise stated)
Friday, Nov. 15, 7.30 – “Let’s get pickled” – see above 

Sunday, Dec. 15 – Christmas entertainment: 

Afternoon, matinee panto performance and children’s tea party. 

Evening, Christmas carols, Kennet Vale Silver Band, Traditional Mummers Play, Mother’s Jam choir, Panto.   Interval wine and mince pies. 

Times and full details to be confirmed – look out for the posters, and on the website! 

Feb 22, 2014 – Curry evening – in aid of the church. Details to follow

April 12 – Car boot and table-top sale – with refreshments

And don’t forget the Village Coffee Mornings on the first Saturday of each month, 10am to 12 noon

Saturday, October 5

Saturday, November 2

Saturday, December 7

See you there! 


* * *

Village Newsletter

from Alton Parish Council, March, 2013


A thoroughly cold, wet start to the spring; let’s hope we don’t have a repeat of rain-drenched 2012. But whatever the weather there are lots of local events to keep everyone busy and – we hope – cheery. And history buffs should have a field day, starting with the event immediately below. 

Step Back in Time (again): We are delighted to report that, following his successful appearance last year, Ray Pope will join Shirley Burrow, David Carson and David Collison for an evening of local history. Topics this time are expected to include family life, holidays, and schooldays. Cheese and wine, collection for village charity. 

Come and join in with your own memories, Saturday April 27, 7pm at the Coronation Hall. 

Parish Council elections: local council elections, including Alton, will take place across the country on Thursday, May 2. Closing date for nominations, noon on Friday, April 5.  For all other details, contact Wiltshire Council Electoral Services on 0300 456 0112. 

Join the Alton Conservation Team. David Carson would like to form a Conservation Group to help plant hedges and trees, restore hedgerows, keep the stream(s) clear, clear ditches etc in and around Alton Barnes and Priors. He says: “I would be delighted to hear from anybody with practical skills and equipment (eg chainsaws) or who is just happy to get their hands dirty.  Contact me preferably by email - djmcarson@hotmail.co.uk - or by telephone 01672 851826. If there is enough interest I will organise a meeting in the Coronation Hall.”

Boat break-ins: Boats moored at Honeystreet have suffered a number of recent thefts. Anyone in and around the area is asked to keep a look-out for any suspicious activity and, where appropriate, let police know. 

Open Gardens – Summer highlight: Plans are well under way for an Open Gardens Day on Saturday, June 29. We hope there will be stalls, teas, talks and demonstrations on everything from landscape gardening to beekeeping. But above all we hope it will show the villages at their best. We want to encourage as many folk as possible to open their gardens and will be putting flyers through everyone's doors nearer the time. The message is really that if you're proud of your garden, no matter how large or small, we want to see it!

Walk your way through history: "A Tale of Two Villages" is the title of a series of walks through the parish, guided by David Carson. Dates (all Thursdays) are April 25, May 23, June 27 and July 25, starting from the Church of St Mary, Alton Barnes, at 6.30pm. The moderately energetic walk lasts approximately 90 minutes and sensible footwear should be worn. Tickets, £12, must be booked in advance through the Wiltshire Heritage Museum, Devizes. A percentage of each ticket sold goes to help the Museum.

And some other events ~ ~ ~

St Mary’s Church: Easter morning Communion Service at 9.30am, March 31.

Annual Parochial Church Meeting:  7.30, Monday April 22, Coronation Hall.

Annual General Meeting and Parish Meeting: Thursday May 9, 7pm, Coronation Hall

Midsummer show: the annual Flower and Produce Show, now well-established, will take place at the Coronation Hall on Saturday, June 22. Keep an eye on the notice boards for details nearer the time. 

And don’t forget the Village Coffee Mornings, Coronation Hall first Saturday of each month, 10am to 12 noon

Saturday, April 6

Saturday,