On Sunday 9th September Anne Budd will be hosting a showcase event at the village hall in celebration and recognition of all the women in the Circle of Friends. The exhibition will centre around the creative skills and crafts of the members including, for example, knitting and sculpture. This will be a free event, with tea/coffee and cake on offer.
Watch this space for more details.

Walbury Computer Group: free one-to-one computer help

Since April, volunteers have been getting few enquiries for help, so sessions have been reduced. Three more are to be offered this autumn at Inglewood, on the first Wednesday of the month: on 3rd October, 7th November and 5th December, at either 10am or 11am. If you would like some help with your laptop, tablet, phone or digital camera, book a 1-hour session by phoning Patricia Poyton on 01488 668901.

White Hart: inspector dismisses appeal

Following the public hearing on 24th April, the planning inspector has dismissed Stella Coulthurst's appeal against WBC's rejection of her application to turn the White Hart into four dwellings.

In support of his decision, the inspector made the following points:

  1. The main issue of whether or not the use of the appeal site as a public house is genuinely redundant includes considerations of community value, viability, and marketing.
  2. The considerable amount of correspondence from local residents providing examples of its use as a place in which to meet informally, hold more formal gatherings and socialise with other residents makes it clear that the White Hart is still valued by the local community, even though these activities have ceased since its closure.
  3. The time lapse since the pub's closure would represent a challenge for anyone now wishing to re-establish the business, but the previous accounts show a healthy level of turnover, and it is clear that reopening as a public house has considerable support within the local community and indeed from further afield.
  4. Since 2004 the White Hart has run on an owner-operator basis and, in order to show that the use of the site as a public house is genuinely redundant, the inspector considered it necessary for the appellant to demonstrate that there is no market interest in running it on a similar basis, ie, freehold. In the absence of any evidence that would demonstrate this he could not be certain that its use is genuinely redundant.
  5. The arguments in favour of dismissal are not outweighed by other considerations such as: the owner's wish to recoup investment; the existence of other public houses in neighbouring villages; contribution to the housing supply; and the economic and employment benefits which would accrue locally from the construction work.

See the inspector's full report here.

Currently offered on eBay (click on the pic for the link).

140-piece wooden jigsaw of the White Hart.

The buzzards are back!

Birdwatchers regularly applaud the return of the red kite (pictured left), which had been persecuted to near-extinction in England by Victorian gamekeepers, but which was reintroduced in the Chilterns at the end of the twentieth century. They have become a common sight over Hamstead Marshall over the last decade.

But at a price. As red kites flourished, our local common buzzards (pictured right) disappeared, seemingly unable to compete successfully for food. They became a rare sight, whilst in recent years any glance skywards will usually spot a red kite.

This year the buzzards are back. They've been spotted in Hamstead Park, and over Woodcote at Chapel Corner.

They sound alike, and both feed on carrion. How to tell the difference:

tail: red kites have forked tails, buzzards are fan-shaped;

colour: red kites have conker-red plumage with white on the underside of their wings, buzzards are patterned variously in brown and cream;

flight: buzzards glide with their wings slightly uplifted into a V-shape, whilst the red kite's wings are slightly arched. Buzzards fly higher and make use of thermals to glide for long periods without beating their wings.

See the What's On page for a calendar of village events.

See the Social Life page for more details of individual events.

See St Mary's website for details of church services and events organised by the support group.

See the Hamstead Hornet for a summary of village news in the last quarter: White Hart latest, planning applications, village property on the market etc.