Newbury Weekly News

Thursday, October 12, 2017 Survey will help ‘prioritise funds ’ Roads questionnaire asks residents to rate transport ser vices Report by DAN COOPER email dan.cooper@newburynews.co.uk twitter @danc_nwn

Newbury Weekly News

WEST Berkshire Council has insisted that a survey it sent out – asking residents to rate how much they value a number of public services – is not related to any proposed cuts. The council has been forced to make more than £60m of savings since 2010, which has seen libraries and children’s centres close and many bus services scrapped. However, the council has provided reassurances and instead says that the question- naire, which was distributed to 3,300 people at random, gives people “an opportunity to help improve public transport and roads” in the district. It added that the results will “enable us to find out what local people think about these impor- tant services”. As an incentive for taking part in the survey, there are cash prizes of up to £500 on offer for those who complete and return it. A spokesman for West Berk- shire Council, Martin Dunscombe, said: “This survey is unrelated to any savings

“The results of this survey will help us prioritise those resources and identify best practice from around the country. “I’d encourage anyone who receives a survey to take part and make their views count.” One resident, who didn’t want to be named, described the ques- tionnaire as a “waste of money and time”. The resident added: “It is an embarrassment that so-called professional people can resort to such infantile methods – it looks like something you fill in at school. “All public services are impor- tant, and all of them should be provided by the council. “That’s what we pay council tax for.” West Berkshire Council is one of 112 local authorities to sign up to the standardised survey. The survey, which is being run for the 10th year, is the largest collaboration between local authorities The results are due to be published later this month. The council employed Ipsos Mori to send out the survey, which consists of 21 questions.

programme. “It is an annual survey we do to understand how well we are doing compared to other councils and also to understand what our residents think of local high- ways/transport services. “It helps us to maintain and improve these services and in fact can open doors to additional fund- ing through showing a research/evidence-based approach to these services.” However, West Berkshire Council’s portfolio holder for highways and transport, Jeanette Clifford (Con, Northcroft), admitted the results of the survey would “help us prioritise” resources. She added: “Whether we live in town or country we all rely on West Berkshire’s road network to get around. “We invest heavily in our roads, although at a time when resources are precious we still have to make difficult decisions about how we prioritise this funding.

Family and friends of Stephen V al raised more than £3,000 in his memor y for the British Heart Foundation Gamekeeper’s £3,000 legacy for BHF

Charlbury, Oxfordshire. His family and friends cele- brated his life and raised funds for the BHF’s lifesaving research. Mr Vale’s daughter, Helen Wigley, said: “My father will be sorely missed and we hope that this donation will help towards the BHF’s research so that others don’t have to go through the same situation as us. “We are delighted to have raised an incredible £3,566.27 and thank everyone who donated.” Every three minutes someone loses their life to heart and circu- latory disease. BHF fundraising manager for Berkshire Lewis Honeywill said: “We are sorry to have learnt about Stephen’s passing and never cease to be humbled by the harassed, alarmed or distressed, or the occurrence of crime or disorder. Nine people, including Mr Lawson, of Farmhouse Mews, were asked to leave and handed a map of a 48-hour exclusion zone in the town. But at 4.30pm on July 30, Mr Lawson was seen in Thatcham Broadway and reported for summons for failing to comply with the order. He pleaded guilty at Reading Magistrates' court on Wednesday, September 27. He was ordered to pay £365 (£250 fine, £85 costs to theCrown Prose- cution Service and a surcharge to fund victim services for £30).

selflessness of people like the Vale family, who have at this tough time thought about the BHF and raised an incredible £3,566.27, which we will use to forward our pioneering and life- saving research. “We urgently need more people to join our fight for every heartbeat and help power our life-saving research. “That’s why we’re calling on everyone across the UK to organ- ise their own fundraising event to help support our vital work. “Hold an event today, tomor- row or in the future so that we can continue in our fight to reduce the number of people taken from their families prema- turely.” Neighbourhood oficer from the problem solving team based at Newbury Police Station Pc Jon Bradford said: “There have been ongoing reports of anti-social behaviour within Thatcham by members of the public, who have felt intimidated and distressed by large groups gathering in particu- lar places in the town. “This is not something we want within our community – we want residents and visitors of all ages to feel safe within the town. “We will continue to deal with incidents of anti-social behaviour within the town – and hopefully this result will send a warning to those who intend toignore disper- sal notices."

THE family of a local game- keeper who died suddenly have raised more than £3,000 in his memory. Stephen Vale died from ischemic heart disease at the age of 56. Instead of flowers, his family asked for funeral guests to donate to the British Heart Foun- dation, raising a phenomenal £3,566.27. Mr Vale, originally from Suffolk, became a gamekeeper at the age of 16. His family received a posthu- mous award for his outstanding contribution and long service to the vocation, having worked at the same shooting lodge for more than 35 years. Mr Vale worked at the Eling Estate in Hermitage and at the Cornbury Park estate, near A TEENAGER has been fined for entering Thatcham town centre while banned from doing so. Alex Lawson, 18, was among a group of young people drinking and shouting outside Thatcham Library at 8.40pm on July 28. One of the group was also in possession of cannabis. Police asked the group to leave under section35 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. The act gives police powers to disperse people basedon reason- able grounds that they have contributed, or are likely to contribute, to members of the public in the locality being

For a fundraising pack with tips, sign up for free by visiting www.bhf.org.uk/yourway Teenager broke town centre ban

Man cleared of sexual assault A NEWBURY man who was accused of groping a woman in a town centre pub has been acquitted. When she appears to move his hands away from her waist, Mr Shafik immediately began danc- ing, but soon returned and appar- ently nuzzled her neck. witness box, Mr Shafik said he had been“inspired” by the woman and had wanted to dance, but insisted that at no time did she rebuff his advances.

Mohamed Shafik,of Martingale Chase, was said to have made repeated, unwanted advances to his alleged victim during the early hours at the Snooty Fox in Bartholomew Street, by pawing at her private parts and trying to kiss her. But the married 27-year-old was cleared after the woman conceded, during her testimony to Reading magistrates on Friday, October 6, that she had drunk so much she could remember little of the inci- dent. CCTV footage showed Mr Shafik standing directly behind the woman, who cannot be identi- fied, at the bar area.

The woman saidthat his hands, by now out of sight, were molest- ing her and the footage showed her recoiling from him. But Tom Bryer, defending, said: “The CCTV shows, crucially, that her breasts aren ’t touched. That is half the crown ’s case. “She said she told bar staff she felt uncomfortable, but there is no supporting evidence. “She accepts that the signifi- cant amount of alcohol she consumed impacted her recollec- tion of events.” Mr Shafik denied sexually assaulting the woman on July 22. Giving evidence from the

He said: “If she really didn ’t want me to be present she would have moved to another place. She could have shouted and screamed.” Maddie Charlesworth, prose - cuting, showed the CCTV footage in which the woman appeared to suddenly flinch away from him and asked: “After that you were taken away, weren ’t you?” Mr Shafik said:“ She was laugh- ing with her friend afterwards – as if they had succeeded in what they were planning to do.” After retiring to confer, magis- trates returned a verdict of not guilty.

Glorious garden opens for charity MORE than £500 was raised for charity when a Newbury resident opened up her garden to the public. Keen gardener Noushin Speaking about her decision to open up her lovely garden for the first time, the green-fingered fundraiser added: “I just wanted to do something for charity. been affected by cancer, and Great Ormond Street because for me, everything is about the children.”

The afternoon event proved such a success Mrs Garrett will be hosting another one next year. A total of £550 was raised.

Garrett has been tending to her two-acre plot for around 15 years and 50 paying guests went along for a look around the horti- cultural haven in Garden Close Lane. All funds raised will go to Macmillan Cancer Research and Great Ormond Street Hospital. Mrs Garrett also served visitors drinks, sand- wiches and cakes. “It was absolutely excel- lent,” she said. “People were very happy and interested – I provide each guestswith a quiz to help find my unusual plants, and a map of the garden to find their way around.”

“I chose Macmillan because I think everyone knows someone who has

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Noushin Garrett opened up her gardens for public viewing Ref: 40-2817A

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