June news from Eye & Dunsden: including why we need a parish plan and 'Live at the Apollo' stand-up performance in our hall

What is a parish plan and
why do we need one?

 Why you should get involved

Some 40 out of 85 parishes in South Oxfordshire have now either completed or are working on their Neighbourhood Development Plans, helped with grants from the District Council. They aim to provide local communities with a chance to identify where any new development will go, and so avoid inappropriate development that might threaten to spoil their area. The process is not simple, but expert help is available, and once agreed, the plan provides the District with evidence it must apply when deciding planning applications.

The potentially disastrous Gladman application for 245 houses close to Dunsden was made more likely by the lack of a parish plan and without one, similar speculative applications for mass housing are more likely here. To complete our plan we need a small group of volunteers from the community to commit to the process. 

For more information, contact Ian Dick.

Local crime wave

April and May saw an unusually high number of crimes in the area, including the theft of cars from Reading Sailing Club and from homes in Playhatch and other areas. Repeater devices are believed to be being used to connect with keys in people’s houses. Please be especially vigilant about security in the summer months, especially when it is easy to forget when doors and windows are left open or unlocked.

Development at Playhatch

The parish council is soon to receive its share of the Community Infrastructure Levy as a result of the construction of four houses at Playhatch. The amount is small, and would be much greater if we had a Neighbourhood Development Plan, but it will be used to improve facilities in the village. If you have views, please contact the parish clerk Mandy Sermon, clerk@eyedunsden.org or attend the annual parish council meeting. We have suggested to the developers they name the new development ‘Dene Close’ after the wooded valley with a stream which once ran from Penny Pond at Dunsden to Playhatch.

Gladman defeated

High Court judge dismisses claim for appeal

After three years of campaigning by a team of dedicated volunteers from Emmer Green, Eye & Dunsden and surrounding parishes, a High Court judge rejected Gladman’s claim for an appeal and dismissed their case for 245 houses close to Emmer Green. Further planning applications for the site are of course possible at any time.

Illegal rave at A4155 chalk pit

On Saturday 27 April you may have been disturbed by the sound of a rave being held without permission at the old chalk quarry close to the new Tarmac entrance on the Henley Road. Police were called to the event, the second of 2019, which ran from midnight to around 8am but were unable to do anything because of the large numbers attending. Discussions are continuing to try and avoid a repetition.

Church parish giving scheme

Except perhaps for ‘hatchings, matchings and dispatchings’ most of us rarely visit our parish churches, which are located in Sonning (for Sonning Eye) and in Dunsden for those in Playhatch and Dunsden. All Saints, Dunsden is a fine building, built in the middle of the nineteenth century as an offshoot of St Andrew’s in Sonning, painted by John Piper, and increasingly renowned for its connection with Wilfred Owen, whose family lie in the graveyard. At Easter and Christmas the church is filled with an appreciative congregation, many of whom travel some distance because of their fondness for the special qualities of meetings in this historic building.

Our churches receive no public money, and in the case of Dunsden, costs are entirely borne by a small and increasingly elderly congregation. In spite of the work of dedicated volunteers, the building faces an uncertain future. Complete re-decoration is now needed which together with other essential works is expected to cost around £28,000. The Church of England has launched a parish giving scheme to encourage local people to consider a small regular donation towards the work and upkeep of their parish church. To find out more, take a look at www.parishgivingscheme.org.uk/for-donors/. Under Gift Aid, the scheme is very tax efficient. Even a small amount will be very much appreciated. To find out more about supporting Dunsden church, please email robert.thewsey@btinternet.com 

Better broadband in Sonning Eye

There are moves to install high speed fibre connections direct to houses in Sonning Eye. Help from the County Council may be available. For more information contact our parish Clerk, Mandy Sermon.



Village hall AGM, Tuesday 25 June, 6.30pm

All are welcome at the hall’s Annual General Meeting. Hear about our progress in the last year. Tell us what we have been doing well and what we can do better. Maybe even find out about how you can get involved! Refreshments will be served.

Flock Comedy in Dunsden

Stand-up comedy coming to Dunsden on October 5th

Look out for news of an exciting new event from Flock Comedy featuring Chris McCausland  (‘Live at the Apollo’, Comedy Store, ‘Unwrapped with Miranda Hart’ and more) and three other professional stand-ups.

Tickets will be available from August 1 from buytickets.at/dunsden

So many opportunities in our village hall!

From yoga and Pilates to art and music, it all happens in our village hall. There’s an ever-changing programme of activities, and the hall is very popular for weddings and other family occasions. To find out more, email Jo Summerland, the hall’s booking manager.


Hatha Yoga – 10–11 am. Info@serenyoga.com · www.serenyoga.com/classes

Monday Club – ‘Teas and Talks’ for the over 60s. First Monday of the month, October to April at 3 pm.  New faces welcome. George Englefield on 01189 476830 for more.

Ashtanga Yoga – 7.30–8.45 pm. Sian on 07775 780080 · www.sianyoga.com


Vinyasa Flow Yoga – 7.45–9 pm. Lucy: 07879 490373 · www.liftpersonal-training.co.uk


Slow Flow Yoga & Meditation with Wild Soul Yoga – 6.30–8 pm. Charlotte on 07846 712086 · www.wildsoulyoga.co.uk

Pilates (Improvers)  – 7–8 pm & 8–9 pm. Sophie: 07941 970312 · www.berkshirepilatesclasses.co.uk

WAT Country Dance – Alternate Wednesdays, 8–10 pm · Andrew on 01189 481195 · folkscape@yahoo.co.uk


Physiotherapist-led Pilates classes – 7–8 pm. Vicky on 07788 921033 · panaceaphysiotherapy.co.uk

Hatha Yoga – 7.30–9 pm. Uddhava on 01189 581817 · uddhava@traditionalyoga.org


Yoga 4 health – 10–11.30 am. Sarah Khan-Willett on 07765 903230 ·  sarah1105@btinternet.com

Dance Fit Fun (Legs, Bums and Tums) – 12.30–1.30 pm Kayleigh on 07970 074683 · www.fb.com/DanceFitFunwithKayleigh/our progres

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