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Message Board Notices
Thursday, 22 February, 2024
Berkshire Community Groups - Free networking & training afternoon on 9th March
Tuesday, 20 February, 2024
CROWN ESTATES TREE WORK - BRACKNELL ROAD - CHIEF FORESTER COMMS TO CROWTHORNE PARISH CLLR

Following concerns raised with both the Crowthorne Parish Council Office, and direct to our Cllrs, Cllr Jeff Allen wrote to the Chief Forester, Richard Everett, of The Crown Estates and has received the response below:-

Dear Cllr Allen
Thank you for your message regarding the tree work along Bracknell Road, Crowthorne. This work has been planned over the last few months alongside SSE and Bracknell Forest Council to deliver a number of important objectives, including tree safety management, roadside drainage improvements and maintaining the energy network infrastructure.

A lack of maintenance on this section over recent decades has meant that the trees on the roadside bank have encroached into the powerline corridor. This has caused recurring contact with the powerlines resulting in burnt branches and power network outages. SSE require a specified vegetation free buffer zone around the network cables and all the trees on the bank were within that buffer area. Undertaking arboricultural works to reduce these trees outside the buffer zone would not have been practical and would have left the trees heavily unbalanced towards the road. It is for this reason we made the decision to fell the trees and put something more manageable in place for the future. We shall be replacing with mixed native hedges which are quick to establish, have very high biodiversity value providing nesting cover, blossom and winter berries for birds. The hedge can also be managed so as not to interfere with the road network, drainage infrastructure and powerlines. This will be planted in the autumn.

I apologise that you feel that the works have not been well communicated and in hindsight I should have sent more details to the Parish Council in advance. We informed the BFC countryside and communication teams in advance and put interpretation signage up on site along with an information alert on our website. We have worked with the immediate neighbours around the worksite to ensure that they understand what is going on and that the works have a minimum impact on them. I appreciate that this is a big visual change on the landscape and people may be distressed at the felling of these trees, however I’m afraid that on this occasion it was absolutely necessary and I feel the work has been delivered to a high standard with the minimum of disruption to road and forest users.

Thursday, 14 December, 2023
Bracknell Forest Council - Have your say on our draft 2024/25 budget

Bracknell Forest residents, groups and organisations can now have their say on the council’s proposed 2024/25 budget.

Each December we set out proposals for where we will spend our money the following financial year. We also set out where we propose to make savings (sometimes referred to as efficiencies).

At its meeting on Tuesday (12 December), the decision-making executive agreed that the public should be consulted on the proposed 2024/25 budget over the next six weeks.

This means you have until Wednesday, 24 January to look through the proposed spending and savings and let us know what you think.

This year’s budget includes a range of spending and savings proposals, including:

  • Investing £5m in local roads over the next four years to provide a better surface, reduce potholes and reduce spending in the longer term.
  • Reducing grass cutting of verges and weed killing to increase biodiversity in the borough.
  • Dimming streetlights by 10 per cent to reduce our carbon footprint and cut light pollution.
  • Investing £300,000 in specific suicide prevention projects in multi-storey car parks.
  • Investing in leisure services, including essential maintenance of the pools at Coral Reef and Bracknell Leisure Centre and repairing equipment at Downshire Golf Course at a combined cost of £576,000.
  • Continuing to support the borough’s most vulnerable residents through the on-going council tax reduction scheme.

Residents can have their say through the official consultation. Additionally, this year, councillors will also be visiting keys destinations like libraries and The Lexicon to gather feedback on specific proposals. Comments will form part of the overall consultation. Dates and locations will be made available on the council’s website shortly.

Cllr Kathryn Neil, executive member for finance and business change, said: “Balancing the budget is becoming more challenging each year. This year we have been faced with an unprecedented in-year budget gap, which is slowly reducing but currently stands at more than £1m. The gap has been caused through rising costs, rising inflation, increased service demand and years of underfunding from central government.

“We are not immune to further cost, inflation and service demand rises. This is why creating balanced draft budget plans has been particularly difficult; we’ve had to look very carefully at what we can spend money on and where we may need to make savings.

“We now want to hear what residents think about these draft plans and so I urge you to have your say before 24 January. In order to hear more of your thoughts, we will also be visiting key destinations over the next six weeks to gather your feedback, which will help us refine the budget before it is agreed in February.”

The budget proposals do not detail the level of possible council tax increase for 2024/25. This will be discussed by the executive in February, as usual.

Monday, 27 November, 2023
Biodiversity Policy adopted by council
Crowthorne Parish Council's biodiversity policy
Adopted 7 November 2023
Introduction

The new government guidance on biodiversity published 31 May 2023 states that under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 there is a duty on public authorities to regard conserving biodiversity as part of their decision making.

Government guidance suggests some examples for parish councils that would demonstrate their regard for conserving biodiversity:

  • Develop policies and strategies and put them into practice.
  • Manage the planning system.
  • Manage their land and buildings such as nature reserves and parks.
  • Manage their waste, pollution, energy use and water.
  • Choose wood and plant products with care.
  • Develop infrastructure, such as paths.
  • Make decisions about procurement.
  • Implement economic, environmental, and social programmes.

In response to this, Crowthorne Parish Council has committed to this Biodiversity Policy, November 2023.

CPC's promise

CPC will consider the impact on biodiversity in the decisions made by council and its working groups, by seeking to minimise adverse impacts on biodiversity, and identifying opportunities to increase biodiversity when practicable.

CPC's land management responsibilities

CPC owns and manages the Morgan Centre and Recreation Ground along with the Parish Hall which includes a small outdoor area and hedgerow.

CPC owns and manages the Morgan Centre and Recreation Ground along with the Parish Hall which includes a small outdoor area and hedgerow.

CPC is a trustee, along with Wokingham Without Parish Council, of the Walter Recreation Ground Charity which manages Circle Hill wood and the Walter Recreation Ground for both public access and biodiversity.

CPC is involved in the management of the Millenium Garden – the small seating and shrub area, opposite The Prince.

CPC is involved in the management of the village retail areas by liaising with business owners and Bracknell Forest Council.

To benefit biodiversity, CPC will:
  • Consider the impact on biodiversity in all planning applications.
  • Encourage practices and projects beneficial to biodiversity through grants made.
  • Continue to review how it manages its estate including considering managing areas of the Morgan Rec as wildflower/longer sward areas, to add to the diversity of habitats present on site.
  • Consider environmental impact as a social value on all acquisitions and procurements. This includes emissions, recyclability, longevity etc.
  • Look to promote biodiversity to others via the parish council website
On our own estate, CPC will continue to:
  • Reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides.
  • Leave standing and fallen dead wood as invertebrate habitat where safe to do so, in line with BS3998 2010.
  • Remove invasive species that are detrimental to native flora or fauna as required.
  • Plant and sow native plants where practicable, taking seed provenance into account.
  • Increase nest sites by maintaining and installing bird and bat boxes.
  • Manage shrubs and hedgerows outside of the nesting season.
  • Promote management practices beneficial to biodiversity used on the estate, through the website, newsletters, social media, volunteers, and posters.
Thursday, 16 November, 2023
Bracknell Forest Council News Release - New Council Plan endorsed by executive

A significant step in agreeing the council’s new priorities for the borough for 2023-27 took place yesterday, when the decision making executive endorsed the draft Council Plan for approval by Council on 29 November.

The plan will look to improve local health, the environment, communities, and our economy over the next four years.

It sets out where the council will focus its attention, time and money.

The overall vision for the council in this period is to grow together and shape tomorrow. The plan has three key themes in line with that vision:

  • Engaged and healthy communities
  • Thriving and connected economy
  • Green and sustainable environment

Once approved, the council will work with other relevant organisations like the NHS, community groups and businesses on the agreed priorities and projects.

Cllr Mary Temperton, leader of the council, said: “The draft Council Plan sets out the priorities for the borough for the next four years and aligns with the promises we made as part of our election manifesto.

“It sets out three main priorities for the council to focus its time and resources on until 2027. These are engaged and healthy communities, thriving and connected economy, and green and sustainable environment – all of these areas are important to our community. "

“The executive agreed the draft plan on Tuesday and I look forward to hearing the views of full council later on this month.”

You can find the full draft plan on the council’s website: Council Plan 2023 2027.pdf (bracknell-forest.gov.uk). Council will be asked to discuss the plan at its meeting on 29 November, where it is due to be given final approval.

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