Image of a stall with graphics containing information about Eye & Dunsden

January news from E&D

Parish News

Welcome to another collection of news about what makes the place you live so special. In this issue don’t miss the chance to go on some free guided walks about the history and character of our villages, and don’t forget the evening of excellent musical entertainment coming up in our wonderful village hall. 

Neighbourhood Plan News

A Happy New Year to you all from the NDP Team!  After a break for Christmas, we’re all looking forward to getting back to work on the next steps of the NDP process.

“Do you want SODC to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Eye & Dunsden to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?”

This is the question that residents will be asked in the Referendum which marks the conclusion of the NDP process (providing we all agree!). People who are on the electoral roll in the neighbourhood plan area (which for us is the Parish of Eye & Dunsden) will be entitled to vote. And if more than 50% of those who vote vote “yes” then the neighbourhood plan becomes part of the statutory development plan for the area. As the question states, SODC will then refer to the recommendations and proposals within the NDP plan when deciding on planning applications in our parish.

The NDP team are working hard to enable the Referendum to take place this summer, although there are still many stages of the process to work through – we will of course tell you when we next need your informal feedback. Our goal is to ensure that when the referendum takes place, residents will be happy to vote YES and support the neighbourhood plan.

Keep up-to-date with all that is happening with the neighbourhood plan by following us on social media (details below) Please note that this newsletter will now be produced bi-monthly so expect the next one in March.

NDP dates for your diary

Saturday 12 March, 2022 at 10.30am – a second chance to find out more about the fascinating story of Dunsden on a free guided walk of the village with David Woodward and John Plumer. Meeting Point: Dunsden Green, followed by coffee at Loddon Brewery. Please join us!

Saturday 23 April, 2022 at 2.00pm – Guided Walk in Sonning Eye with David Woodward – despite the miserable weather, this walk was very well-attended when we ran previously so, if you weren’t able to make it along, you have another opportunity. Don’t miss it again!

Saturday 7 May, 2022 at 2.00pm – Nature Walk – this guided walk will enable you to share some of the information from the environmental reports we have commissioned as part of the NDP process. More details to follow.

Queen's Jubilee emblem

How would you like to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee?

It has been suggested that a beacon, linking to others locally,  might be lit at the top of the village hall field (perhaps it could even be seen in Windsor!). The idea of planting a commemorative grove of trees on the field has also been proposed, perhaps with a celebration. What do you think and have you any other ideas? Please email the Parish Clerk, Mandy Sermon.

You may also like to hold a street party. The main festivities will be over the weekend of 4 June, beginning with a special Bank Holiday on Thursday 2 June. Why not join the big picnic on the playing field at Binfield Heath at which there will be a live relay of the London celebrations? There are loads more ideas on the national Jubilee website.

Things that go bump in the night

A number of local people have expressed concern about noise nuisance, whether from late night car or motorbike racing on the Henley Road or at Thames Valley Park, where Police have taken action. The Parish Council is investigating funding speed monitoring on the Henley Road which would enable Police to take further action there.

Other nuisances

The Parish Council is also represented on the Tarmac Liaison Committee which deals with operating issues at the gravel works. Residents with particular issues can also email the site manager, Kevin Browne.

Fly-tipped rubbish continues to be a problem locally. It has to be collected by District Council contractors at considerable cost. If you see fly-tipping – or the results of it – please report it directly to Similarly, potholes are increasingly a problem. If you are aware of one locally please contact and tell them the area, address and if possible, postcode. It’s the fastest way to get results.

Book now for a top night at the hall, Ninebarrow are back: 4 March, 2022

Ninebarrow by Greg Funnell

The hall committee have booked the hugely popular duo Ninebarrow for a performance on Friday 4th of March. They make superb and award-winning music, and have a big following.

Tickets are selling fast and are available here. A full refund will be issued in the event of cancellation. Don’t miss this top class event.

Snowdrop Sunday: 20 February, Dunsden Church

A free event to enable you to visit the beautiful churchyard with its carpet of snowdrops and aconites, and to enjoy some short entertainments inside.  Homemade tea and cakes will also be available. From 10am to 4pm.

Image of Neighbourhood Development Plan timeline

Christmas news from E&D

Neighbourhood Plan News

Thanks to all those who completed questionnaires after the exhibition in August. The NDP team have been working hard to review your comments at this informal consultation with parish residents and businesses. The good news is that the responses received were strongly in support of the progress made so far and the direction in which the plan is taking. The exhibition remains available on this website.

Overall, 76% of the respondents agreed that we needed the policies identified and 74% agreed or strongly agreed with the objectives as drafted. The team’s emphasis on addressing the very real threat of large developments within our Parish will move forward, based on this show of support.

In terms of response, Sonning Eye came out on top, submitting 49% of the parish residents’ questionnaires, followed by Playhatch on 30% then Dunsden with 20%. The NDP team will provide further informal consultation opportunities before the plan is drafted to allow for your input, all of which will be considered by the Steering Group, and our planning consultants.

We’ll be keeping you updated on progress so you know when we need your comments again. The feedback report from this informal consultation will be made available together with other evidence gathered to support the NDP when the Regulation 14 process – the formal consultation – is started. We aim to start this process in early Spring 2022.

Look out for the next NDP newsletter with further news.

Parish News

A controversial plan for flood defences in Caversham and Reading has been cancelled by the Environment Agency. 

South Oxfordshire District Council has announced that it will not pursue further appeals against the construction of a care home in the AONB at Sonning Common. A group of local parishes continue to press for the enlargement of the AONB area locally.

What’s new at the village hall?

Quiz Night, January 15th

The Dunsden Owen Association perpetuates the memory of the war poet Wilfred Owen who lived in the village as a teenager. The committee have raised the funds to enable the creation of a dramatic new stained glass window for All Saints Church as part of a national competition run by a City livery company. But they also hope to re-launch a free interactive phone trail and to make it easier for people to find the Owen graves in the churchyard.  Proceeds will be shared with the hall.

So (subject to restrictions) a quiz night is being held on Saturday 15 January to raise funds. These quizzes, which are run by Beth and John Timms, have long being highly popular. For £12.50 you get the quiz as well as some delicious fish and chips, with various food alternatives and a full bar available.

Get your tickets here. Full refund in the event of cancellation.

Ninebarrow by Greg Funnell

Ninebarrow are back: 4 March, 2022

The hall committee have booked the hugely popular duo Ninebarrow for a performance on Friday 4th of March. They make superb and award-winning music, and have a big following.

Tickets are available here, with a full refund available in the event of cancellation.


Image of people in the village hall

NDP news for September

Thank you to you all!

Our first Community Event run by the NDP team on Bank Holiday Monday was a great success, with over 50 residents from the parish’s three villages coming along to meet the team and give their views on the draft policies to be included in the plan, as well as on progress so far. A number of excellent information panels set out details of the draft policies to enable residents to find out what was being proposed so that they could complete
a questionnaire.

All the responses are being collated and analysed so the residents’ views are taken into consideration as the plan moves forward. Responses to each comment made will be included in the Consultation Statement, part of the NDP.

Attendees were also able to enjoy themselves chatting not only to their fellow residents but also to members of the NDP team while enjoying a glass of sparkling wine as the children made full use of the bouncy castle in the village hall grounds. Further events are planned as the process of moving the plan towards completion progresses.

Residents on the NDP distribution list were forwarded copies of the panels together with the Questionnaire so that they can complete it and share their views with us, even if they were unable to attend the event itself. If you received your questionnaire via email, please let us have it back completed by the deadline below so we don’t miss out on getting your input.

If you haven’t yet seem them, the panels and questionnaire are now available on the parish website.


Thanks to local businesses too!

Local businesses were also given the opportunity to share their views on the work done by the NDP team as we conducted a Zoom meeting on 14th September. Business owners and representatives of the larger businesses in the Parish joined us and had the chance to ask questions on the draft policies as well as open the way for future conversations about their role in the future plans for the Parish.

Withies to watercress – a fascinating Sonning Eye walk this weekend

Travel back in time and look to the future too on a fascinating guided walk of Sonning Eye this Saturday morning. It will be led by long-standing residents Nick Marks and David Woodward from the Sonning Eye NDP team. Find out why stripping the willow was once so important in the village. And who got to make the watercress sandwiches after chapel!  Meet by the barn near Eyot House, at 10.30am.

Dates for your diary

Saturday 2 October, 10.30am – Guided Walk in Sonning Eye, meet at the barn by Eyot House.

Friday 8 October Extended date for questionnaire return. See the exhibition and download the form at


Get in touch


Red graphic of Neighbourhood Plan Community Event

Check out our exhibition!

It's not too late to view the exhibition panels from our first ever public consultation event on the August Bank Holiday

Over 50 people enjoyed our first ever public consultation, including the bouncy castle and bubbly refreshments. If you would like to see the set of exhibition panels from the event, please download them here.

Once you have seen the exhibition why not complete our Questionnaire? You can print off the PDF and then complete it and post to Long Gardens, Sonning Eye, Reading RG4 6TR. Alternatively your form can be emailed to

Flyer with an image of people on the village green

Neighbourhood Plan Community Event

An invitation to an enjoyable afternoon…

Enjoy some free bubbly with your neighbours (and a bouncy castle too) and find out about all the work the team of NDP volunteers has been doing to shape the future of the parish.

With the help of Government funding, we have commissioned experts to report on the settlements, landscape and ecology of the area.

They have helped us draft planning policies which will eventually acquire legal weight every time a new planning application is made.

The completed NDP will also state community expectations for improvements that can be made to parish life. The entire process is entirely dependent on the views of the entire community, so please come along and tell us what you think.

How should we recognise the climate emergency? How can we make our roads safer for all users? What new pedestrian and cycle routes would you like to see in the parish? What kind of new development would you support int he parish and why?

This is the most significant initiative of its kind in the parish for 40 years.

Join us at Dunsden Village hall between 2 and 5pm on Bank Holiday Monday. We look forward to seeing you.

Flyer with an image of people on the village green
Image of bridge over a canal at sunset

NDP news for May 2021

Welcome to a rather rained out May NDP Newsletter. We thought it would be both interesting and useful to tell you a bit more about what Neighbourhood Development Plans (NDP) are, why one is being produced for the Parish and how it will impact – and hopefully benefit – us all.
Herewith some fascinating facts about NDPs
  1. Eye & Dunsden Neighbourhood Plan Area was formally designated by the District Council on 21 February, 2020. It covers the whole parish including Sonning Eye, Playhatch and Dunsden and all the beautiful landscape around us.

  2. The ability for residents to establish general planning policies for their neighbourhood area stems from the 2011 Localism Act.

  3. The Eye & Dunsden NDP team (made up of locals, some of whom are also on the Parish Council) is using these new neighbourhood planning powers to establish general planning policies for any proposed development or use of land in the parish.

  4. The NDP process gives the residents the chance to ensure the Parish develops as they wish, and enables them to protect the Parish and guide its growth.

  5. Local councils produce broader Local Plans which set the main strategic context within which our NDP will sit. The NDP cannot con- tain any provisions which are contrary to the local development plan.

  6. The District Council must must give weight to the NDP when they decide planning applications. A key part will be design codes which describe the preferred appearance of new buildings based on our local building styles. Other aspects relate to where any new development should go, its sustainability, and impact on existing properties, as well as how we optimise the routes which connect us all together.

  7. The NDP also gives us all a chance to contribute to some wider local objectives, for the good of the whole community. An NDP can establish a local wish for things such as traffic calming or the creation of bus routes but it cannot legally make them happen. The parish, district and county councils then have the option to take these forward.

  8. NDPs do not seek to stop new development.

  9. We have been working on NDP Stage 1 (Getting Established) since October 2019. Beginning with an initial survey, we have gathered evidence, working with experts and identifying key issues for residents and businesses

  10. Stage 2 (Preparing the Plan) is now underway. We are working on objectives and policies which support the priorities identified. The team will be publicising these draft objectives and policies and seeking your input on them at a community consultation event in August. Details will follow.

  11. Your role is vital in ensuring the plan comes into force – a referendum must show a major- ity in support of the NDP. This is Stage 3 of the process – Bringing the Plan into Force – and we’ll tell you more about this in future newsletters and via social media.

Tell us more…

If there are other aspects of the Parish that you love – buildings, green spaces, views – or you have any stories about how the villages developed into the places they are today, please share them with us. Post photos and your thoughts using the links below.

Twitter: Eye&DunsdenNDP 

Facebook: Eye & Dunsden Neighbourhood Plan

Parish Website: – register for updates


View of fields in the local area

NDP news for March 2021

NDP news for late March 2021

“These old buildings (and their surroundings), do not belong to us… they have belonged to our forefathers and they will belong to our descendants unless we play them false. They are not in any sense our property to do with as we like. We are only trustees for those who come after us”
William Morris: inaugural meeting of SPAB

Welcome to the second edition of the NDP Newsletter – we hope you enjoyed last month’s and managed to identify the birds! Thank you for the positive feedback you’ve given us!

This month we’re focusing on the Character of the Parish – as the NDP team are working with consultants to prepare a Character Assessment to highlight important buildings and other features of the Parish – such as trees, traditional walls, hedgerows and views. This will help to ensure that any new buildings are in keeping with the character of their surroundings.

What’s your favourite building or feature of the parish?

We would love to know what your favourite aspect of the parish is – such as a favourite building, tree or old wall.

Please POST A PICTURE on our NDP Facebook Page or on the Twitter account (details below). One part of the NDP is a register of all the structures and natural features in the parish that are valued (including listed buildings). We want to add those things that are not already officially recognised, so when you post the picture, tell us why you think it should be included. We look forward to seeing your entries.

Thank you.

Your March challenge…

How much do you know about these wonderful local features? Find out more from this quick quiz on the Parish’s buildings (answers at the bottom of the page):

  1. How many listed buildings or structures are there in the parish?
    (a) 12               (b) 21                  (c) 32              (d) 39
  1. When was the Conservation Area in Sonning Eye designated?
    (a) 1981         (b) 1953            (c) 1977        (d) 1897
  1. Which famous poet was on the school board of the village school at Dunsden Green (now the Village Hall)?
  1. What century does the Crown Inn at Playhatch date from?
    (a) 16th          (b) 17th             (c) 18th         (d) 19th
  1. How many arches are there on the Grade II Listed Bridge across the Thames into the Parish?
    (a) 5                  (b) 10                       (c) 11        (d) 7

Members of the NDP team

Suzanne Abraham, Richard Berkley, David Breeze, Howard Crews, Ian Dick, Nick Marks, Robin Page, John Plumer, Deborah Simmons, David Woodward (Chair).

Find out more

Twitter: Eye&DunsdenNDP · Facebook: Eye & Dunsden Neighbourhood Plan
Parish Website: – register for updates
To know more or get involved, please contact David Woodward:

ANSWERS: 1. (c) 32 (including the bridge); 2. (a); 3. World War 1 Poet Wilfred Owen: 4. (a); 5. (c)
Image of fields with grey clouds

NDP news for February 2021

Image of fields with grey clouds

February 2021: Sub-committees set-up and reports received

Progress continues to be made on the preparation of the Eye & Dunsden Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP). Following October’s informal meeting, a steering group (SG) of nine residents from across the parish was set up. 

Monthly meetings started in November 2019, initially in person at The Flowing Spring and in recent months as you would expect, these have taken place virtually via Zoom – but still continue to be productive and move a wide range of matters forward.

Evidence gathering

The first stage of the process is “evidence gathering” so the SG produced a short, focused questionnaire which was delivered to each household in the parish as well as being available on-line. Thank you to those of you who completed it – the information was insightful and has proved useful in helping to identify the aspects of the parish which are important to the residents so that the SG can ensure these are kept in mind as the plan takes shape. The SG are also working with a number of experts to assist in gathering evidence relating to factors such as the landscape and the ecology of the area.

The first draft of the landscape character assessment was reviewed by the SG at last month’s meeting and has since been discussed with Liz Allen CMLI who is a landscape architect and who prepared the report. Liz provided her expertise for the Shiplake NDP in 2019. This report helps identify aspects such as valued landscapes and recreational sites within the parish to assist the SG in seeking to protect these where possible.

Some members of the SG met with Sharon Brentall of Bluestone Planning, the consultants who will be drafting the NDP, to discuss the timeline for the project as well as to clarify further areas that the SG can – and should – be focusing on. Sharon has also been involved with other local NDPs so is familiar with the area. To help her understand our parish even more, she took the time to undertake a walking tour with David Woodward, who is the chairman of the SG. A further tour is planned.


As more evidence is gathered, the SG is setting up a number of smaller sub-groups focusing on specific areas such as the character of the parish, the landscape, transport and the environment & ecology of the area. If you are interested in being involved with any of these sub-groups – or joining the SG – please can you contact identifying which sub-group you are interested in together with details of particular skills or knowledge (if any) which will benefit the sub-group.

It is anticipated that you will need to commit a couple of hours each month to assist, which hopefully is a worthwhile time investment to help shape the future of the parish.The SG are currently looking at ways in which the information and evidence gathered can be shared with local residents as well as ways in which local businesses can be involved in the plan. 

At present this is impacted by the government COVID guidelines however the SG are hopeful that some face-to-face meetings can take place in the months ahead. If you are interested in finding out more about the work that has been done by the SG, the minutes of the meetings are available here where you will also be able to access further resources relating to NDPs.

Have your say graphic with a map of the area background

Complete the NDP questionnaire

Please have your say by returning our NDP questionnaire

Every house in the parish should now have received a copy of our Neighbourhood Development Plan questionnaire. It will help the volunteers behind the plan shape the future of our parish. Please either post back your return or complete the simple questionnaire online at this address.

Corona Virus eases but village hall remains closed

The village hall remains closed but a number of exciting events are proposed in the autumn including a comedy night and the return of award-winning duo Ninebarrow.

Parish council meetings

The annual parish meeting is postponed because of the pandemic.  Current parish council meetings are being held by Skype. Contact the parish clerk Mandy Sermon, for full details and to attend.