News: December 2019

Below are selected items from our recent newsetters and other news. Members of the society receive the full newsletter and other regular updates by email ahead of them appearing on this website.

Highclere Society AGM

The 23rd AGM was held at the Highclere Village Hall on a 14 November 2019. Despite the wet weather many members attended and enjoyed a glass of wine and nibbles.

Patrick Hedgeland gave a speech detailing our achievements last year and our commitments going forward. These included the Parish Council's Neighbourhood Plan development, where the Chair of the Steering Group, Colin Wall and many of the volunteers are Society members. Another Society project team consisting of Phil Wrigley, Traci Sharp and Martin Osgood are looking at the community needs of families in the village and how to provide them. After careful consideration they concluded that the best role for the Society was to help establish new activity groups separate from the Society by co-ordinating with other groups. The Society's year was also busy with the usual events, a wine tasting evening, golf days and the summer BBQ.

The Chair and the committee were re-elected. During the AGM we were delighted to announce that a total of £1,524 had been raised for Alzheime's Society. Tim Waters represented them and gave a very informative speech. Tim was then presented with a cheque for £1,524.

Our chosen charity for next year, as voted for by those in attendance, is Bruce Accessible Boats. With your help and support we hope to raise lots of money for this vital local charity

Annual Christmas Walk

The Village Christmas Walk is on Friday 27 December meeting at 10.30 am at the Highclere Red House for a prompt 11am start, returning to the pub by 1pm. The route will meander through Highclere and local surrounding areas. Everyone is welcome; there is no need to book, just turn up. Sturdy waterproof footwear is recommended but not pushchairs or wheelchairs as the walk can be muddy in places and there are stiles. Well-behaved dogs are most welcome but they must be on a lead. Approximately halfway round there will be a pit stop for mulled wine and mince pies and a collection in aid of Naomi House & Jacks Place.

Raffle Prizes

The large amount of money we raise for charity at the BBQ each year would not be possible without the generosity of local businesses who kindly give raffles prizes. We would like to thank them again - Silverbirch Beauty, The Furze Bush Inn, Penwood Nurseries, Newbury and Crookham Golf Club, Joe Garrett, the Red House Highclere, David Lloyd Centre in Newbury, Esseborne Manor Hotel, Christine and Neil Leah, The Rampant Cat, Bombay Sapphire Distillery, The Jack Russell,and Phil and Sally Wrigley for providing wine for auction.

It is also important, as a community, to remember that we do not have to go far to celebrate the festive season. We are very fortunate to have these excellent establishments on our doorstep or very close. We know they very much appreciate the support of Highclere Society members and we wish them all a very busy and Merry Christmas leading into a Successful and Happy New Year.

The Highclere Neighbourhood Plan

A Neighbourhood Plan (NP) is a powerful tool for local communities to influence planning outcomes in their area over a long-term horizon of 10-20 years. In May, the Highclere NP Steering Group announced the next step in our Plan's development - gathering local views on the subject - beginning with a public event and to be followed by questionnaires and surveys, and consultation with local businesses and landowners.

Planning directly impacts a small but important set of local issues but its influence spreads widely. So, over the past three months the Working Group has developed a broad framework of planning-relevant aims and objectives to guide the community in this process. These are expressed as the draft long-term Vision shown below; supporting objectives have been developed in the five categories headlined by the Vision's bullet points.

A Draft Vision for Highclere

To conserve and improve the Parish so that by 2035 a vibrant Highclere will be a village where:

Although we believe this Vision reflects a wide spectrum of local views, it is the views of the whole Highclere community that must be the basis for eventual Plan. So, Community Engagement events are planned for February 2020, as the first of a number of meetings to be arranged involving as many in the community as possible. It will, we hope, be a precursor to a continuing dialogue about the future of Highclere between the community and the NP Steering Group. We expect some lively conversations during those meetings.

Before the first Event, the Working Group will be communicating with as many residents and stakeholders in the Parish as we can to make sure the event is a success. Please watch for more news and detail about the event on Village noticeboards, online at Nextdoor, here in the Highclere Society newsletter, on the Parish Council website and in the Parish magazine. Please direct any suggestions for more community communication paths, and further questions about the Neighbourhood Plan to Colin Wall at colin.n.wall*AT*

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