Burglaries in the parish
Three commercial premises in Dunsden and Sonning Eye were hit over the Bank Holiday weekend. The break-ins seem to have been carefully planned and resulted in several thousands of pounds of losses. A reminder to be vigilant at all times, report all suspicious activity, and make sure that doors and windows are not left open when a house is empty.
Plan for 245 new houses near Dunsden to be decided this Wednesday (6th)
The parish council is firmly opposed to Gladman’s outline planning application for a large new housing development near Dunsden. It would almost triple the number of houses in the parish and if agreed might set a precedent for further large scale house building next to Playhatch and elsewhere in the area. CAGE is an umbrella group of seven local parishes and four Reading residents groups that are fighting the scheme. Will you support the campaign? They are running buses to the planning committee on Wednesday in order to encourage as many members of the public to attend as possible. Find out more on the CAGE website.
Henley Road closure
The parish council is working with Oxfordshire County Council and the police to ensure they attempt to limit the impact of the extra traffic through Playhatch and Dunsden during the nine weeks the A4155 is to be closed. Extra warning signs are to be installed and additional action will be taken as needed.
Expanding fibre broadband in Eye & Dunsden
Fibre broadband is coming to the remotest corners of the parish, thanks to the Better Broadband programme. The majority of coverage in Eye and Dunsden has been delivered commercially. Three postcodes (RG4 9PU, RG4 9PX and RG4 9PY) with four premises, are not in the existing plans and we are not aware of any further commercial deployment plans. These residents may wish to consider a co-funding option detailed on the website.
Grow your own on our allotments
The council provides two allotments, one at Sonning Eye and another at Playhatch. Vacant plots sometimes become available. If you’re interested, please email Mandy, our Clerk.
Get your tickets now for village hall curry night fund-raiser at the Loddon Brewery
A fun evening is promised as the Loddon Brewery opens its doors for a charity auction in aid of the village hall on Saturday June 10th. There will be displays about the brewing process as well as a chance to sample Loddon ales. Tickets cost just £15 including a welcome drink, and a two course meal supplied by the award-winning Himalaya MoMo House. There’ll be a silent auction of several dozen amazing lots at bargain prices, including trips on a helicopter, a glider and a combine harvester.
You can also bid for some great family days out, including a spa day and a visit to the Roald Dahl Museum or dinner and a night’s stay at the French Horn or Great House in Sonning. If you are feeling more adventurous, why not bid for a sculpture to be created from a sitter of your choice or a special piece of music to be written for you? Local guest auctioneers will also be on hand for a selection of the more popular lots. All proceeds go towards the transformation of Dunsden Village Hall into a bigger brighter and warmer space for the whole community. See the lots on offer now.
CAGE celebrate Gladman defeat
Campaigners have been celebrating the announcement that South Oxfordshire District Council has decide to refuse permission for the construction of 245 houses on land between Peppard and Kiln Roads next to Emmer Green. The Chairman of CAGE said ‘this is a tremendous victory for all those who have written with their objections and for the dedicated campaigners from local parish councils and residents’ groups who have been working away at opposing the scheme since it was first lodged in the autumn. The countryside we care about will continue to be threatened and CAGE will remain vigilant. An appeal on the grounds for refusal is now possible, but at least campaigners have some much deserved breathing space.’
What should we do with the telephone kiosk on the village green?
The parish council has now acquired the red phone box on the village green at Dunsden from BT, which was about to remove it. The aim is to preserve it as a long-standing part of the village scene. Other possibilities include the installation of CPR equipment or the provision of local information about the Dunsden Owen Association trail, the community orchard and other parts of local life of interest to visitors.In Binfield Heath a phone box has been converted to a book exchange. The kiosk at Playhatch is a listed structure, as it is part of the setting of Playhatch House, which is a listed building. Please use the comments section to contribute your ideas!
Henley Road due to close for months during summer due to subsidence
Engineers have found that the collapsing A4155 near The Flowing Spring will now need to be completely closed for around two months over the summer (exact dates yet to be fixed). It was hoped that the shoring up works could be carried out using single lane working. Diversions will be available. Install the phone app Waze for the latest highways information from Oxfordshire County Council.
MP John Howell has pledged to work with Reading East MP Rob Wilson to support the CAGE campaign against 245 unsustainable houses in the Chilterns landscape close to Emmer Green. His support came in a week when South Oxfordshire District Council confirmed the application will probably go before their planning committee on the 17th or 24th May.
At the meeting at Bryant’s Farm, John Howell heard that if the houses are built they will place an intolerable burden on local schools in both Reading as well as South Oxfordshire, where primaries are already struggling to cope with an influx from Reading’s hard-pressed schools. The site would be in the catchment of Shiplake C of E Primary which is already unable to meet demand.
Local health centres have also recently indicated they are unable to cope with hundreds more patients from the development. Dr Ronay of Sonning Common Healthcentre commented to Emmer Green Residents Association that she was ‘most concerned about the strain this development would cause on infrastructure and services locally’. She said that in addition to the strain placed on the health centres, cross border issues would mean some Reading health support services would not be available to the new residents, 40% of whom would be in social housing.
Mr Howell was driven along the narrow lanes around Eye & Dunsden parish. CAGE campaigners pointed out that commuters could expect even longer delays because of the development as it would choke local roads along the route to Sonning bridge.
There’s still time to make your views known on the Gladman application. Just follow this link to comment on the SODC website.
Henley Road collapsing at between ‘Botany Bay’ and Playhatch roundabout
We have heard today from Oxfordshire highways manager David Bullock of a serious deterioration of the A4155 Henley Road between the house called ‘Botany Bay’ and the Playhatch roundabout. The road surface is moving and an embankment failure is possible. In order to relieve the pressure on the road, one-way working with traffic lights has been introduced, with manual control at peak times. Unfortunately, this arrangement is likely to continue whilst a permanent repair is being planned and carried out. The shifting of the road will continue to be monitored in the meanwhile and OCC are working as rapidly as they can to rectify the problem.
Great House temporary car park
The parish council has received a number of complaints about a newly installed car park for the Great House at Frizer’s Farm. A planning application for one year’s use has now been submitted and will shortly be visible on the SODC website. This scheme follows the Great House withdrawing from a plan to build a car park on the Mill island, adjacent to the backwater bridge opposite the Furleigh river bank. The withdrawal was in response to considerable objections being raised at the last meeting of the parish council. A shuttle mini-bus will run to the hotel, dubbed a ‘community park & ride’. Once a planning application is received, the parish council will make its views known to SODC, the planning authority. The Great House is working urgently to find an alternative location on the Sonning side of the river.
Gladman application for 245 houses in Dunsden
The planning officer reports that this contentious application is not likely to go to committee until the end of April or later. Work is being done to deal with Oxfordshire objections about the lack of school places and the results of an archaeological survey which revealed Roman and prehistoric remains. The Parish Council opposes the scheme and is hoping for a good turn-out by the public at the committee meeting. Comments are still being received by SODC.
Tarmac gravel extraction
Soil stripping and the building of a conveyor across Spring Lane starts in April, with gravel extraction beginning towards Shiplake around six months later later. Tarmac are expected to announce a local event later in the year at which they will explain the work. The parish council and Sonning Eye Action Group will monitor the work closely. The consent notice for the work is here.
Oxfordshire County Council have launched a website designed to help people identify their flood risk and to respond to the threat of flooding if it should occur. Of particular interest to Sonning Eye and parts of Playhatch, it includes a searchable flood map and advice about preparing a community flood risk and mitigation report.
The Wilfred Owen Association has generously offered to give Dunsden a sculpture by Anthony Padgett of the famous WW1 poet Wilfred Owen who lived here 1911-13.
The Committee of the Wilfred Owen Association favours a position where it can always be seen. The church, parish council and village hall committee favour an indoor position because the green is already cluttered and because of the risk of crime.
The result of this poll will be considered when the Wilfred Owen Association makes a final decision later in the year. Please vote online now and share your view!
This periodic event at All Saints Church, Dunsden provides a good opportunity to see inside the church where the young Wilfred Owen was assistant to the Rector. For more information see the church website.
Sunday 26 February, Church Open Day, 10 am to 5pm
- Guided tours of the church and grounds
- Live music and readings
- Learn about the Wilfred Owen Trail
- Refreshments, including mulled wine,
tea, coffee and home-made cakes
- Large off-road car park
- Free entry
CAGE (Campaign Against Gladman in Eye and Dunsden) is an alliance of local parishes and residents groups united in their opposition to the Gladman proposal for 245 houses in Eye & Dunsden.
The group now has its own website and Facebook page which provide the latest information. Despite incorrect information on the SODC website, comments are still urgently needed on the detrimental planning application.