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Thriving Through Venture students from Marlborough and Calne deliver report in Parliament

25 Jan 2020 Nick Maurice

On Wednesday 22 January six students from St John’s School in  Marlborough, Marlborough College, Kingsbury Green School, Calne and St Mary’s, Calne presented a report on the issue of migration to the All Party Group for Migration in the House of Lords and asked vital questions of politicians on some of the...

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Kitchen Porter – Catering - Marlborough College

25 Jan 2020

  Kitchen Porter – Catering     We require a reliable and enthusiastic person to join our Catering team as a Kitchen Porter.  You will be required to assist within all areas of the College catering operation.  Essential requirements are the ability to work on your own, or as part of a small team,...

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Display and Visual Merchandiser - The Merchants House

25 Jan 2020

Display and Visual Merchandiser   eight hours per week    We are seeking a creative, self-motivated, proactive and organised person with experience in window dressing in a similar retail setting.The key parts of the post are: Change window displays and centre tables within the shop with themes and seasonal product Retail experience in a similar shop...

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Bigger Bloom for Marlborough as the Town is selected to represent South West in Britain in Bloom

24 Jan 2020

Marlborough was announced this week as one of the seventy finalist towns vying to win the UK’s largest community gardening competition

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Obituary: David Uttley - 1939 - 2019

24 Jan 2020 Dianne Uttley

David returned to education teaching at Pewsey Vale School where he taught for 21 years.  During this time he set up a livestock unit & wildlife area.  Educational cruises & visits to the Gambia were also part of his time there.  He ran a popular fishing club taking pupils to...

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Danny Kruger MP - Monthly Column

24 Jan 2020 Danny Kruger

On Monday, the House of Commons passed a motion approving the Queen’s Speech, the Government’s legislative programme which was read out by Her Majesty before Christmas and has been debated over the last 10 days.  To my mind this vote was as significant as the passage of the Brexit Bill,...

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Stonebridge Meadow meeting sees definitive evidence that otters are back in the River Kennet

23 Jan 2020 A Correspondent

A highlight of Wednesday evening’s Stonebridge Meadow Annual Review in Marlborough (January 22) was a screening of video footage showing an adult and two young otters in the river - just one mark of the success of the habitat management of the site. 

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Bishop of Ramsbury opens Chilton Foliat Community Clubhouse

23 Jan 2020 Sue Round

Earlier this week, the Bishop of Ramsbury, the Right Reverend Dr Andrew Rumsey, led a service of thanksgiving and dedication and formally declared the Chilton Foliat Community Clubhouse open. 

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Wiltshire Council faces up to the NHS changes - and promotes the virtual meeting

23 Jan 2020

Last summer, when Councillor Philip Whitehead took over from Baroness Scott as leader of Wiltshire Council, he inherited the position of joint chairman of the county's Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB). 

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Mark Cooper confirmed as next year's Mayor and Andy Wilson to be his Deputy

22 Jan 2020

  Deputy Mayor, Councillor Mark Cooper was confirmed as the next Mayor of Marlborough at Monday's (20 January) meeting of the Full Town Council.

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Longboard charity trekkers pay tribute to friendly Marlborough

Longboarders at Marlborough skate parkLongboarders at Marlborough skate parkFive longboarders who rode from London to Cardiff in a bid to raise £10,000 for charity have paid tribute to the hospitality of the people of Marlborough – one of their official staging posts.

The sportsmen were riding longboards – which are skateboards with a longer deck and bigger wheels, and are designed for transport, as opposed to their shorter stunt-oriented cousins – along the A4 in a gruelling 176-mile challenge made tougher by the fact that they carried all their kit on their backs.

Setting off from London last Friday, Steve Matthews, Matthew Hernon, Will Aldington, Anthony Pierce and James Jones finally arrived in Cardiff on Monday (August 20).

And during their scheduled overnight stop in Marlborough they took time to visit the hipped mini ramp, wave to kicker, quarterpipes, tombstone, jumpbox and rollover of the town's skate park – designed by professional skateboarder Mike Foreman and considered to be one of the best in the UK.

Steve told Marlborough News Online this week: “We camped at Savernake, which was lovely, and the following morning we were greeted by some really nice people in the town, including a group of ladies who bought us bacon rolls from the Food Gallery.

“Marlborough is a great town and the people were very hospitable, I'm glad we chose to stop here. We were even given £40 in cash from lots of random passers by.”

“We completed the 176 miles in four days, finally reaching the millennium stadium at 6.30pm on Monday evening 

“We're all covered in blisters and ache like you wouldn't believe. There are some big uphills past Marlborough, although I did reach 36mph a few miles out on a massive downhill section, a new personal best.

“The fundraising has nearly reached £5,000, which is amazing, and we were even mentioned on the Chris Evans' breakfast show on Radio 2 yesterday.

“Turns out we're the first longboarders to ever do the London to Cardiff: the fulfilment far outweighs the pain!”

Anyone who wants to add to the team's tally for Macmillan Cancer Support can donate at


Volunteers and community groups to take centre stage at area board

Next month’s meeting of the Marlborough Area Board will showcase the support that is available for the area’s voluntary and community groups.  The meeting will be preceded by a “market place” of stalls and displays from local groups.

Meeting in Marlborough’s Town Hall on Tuesday, September 25, the board’s normal business will be compressed to allow representatives of support organisations to explain how they can help local groups.

The Town Hall will be open from six o’clock to give people time to visit the “market place” before the meeting begins at seven o’clock.

Among those taking part in this special edition of the Area Board's series of bi-monthly meetings will be:

•    Sandie Lewis from Wiltshire Council’s Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) Support Unit.

•    Simone Lord from GROW and Wiltshire Volunteer Centre. GROW is funded by the Council for the benefit of Wiltshire communities.

•    Ellie Townsend from the Spice Time Credits Initiative will talk about recruiting and rewarding new volunteers.

•    Christine Alexander who is the Aster Communities Development Facilitator.

•    Emma Cooper of Wiltshire Council’s VCS Support Unit will talk about tackling financial exclusion.

•    Sarah Cosentino who works for Wiltshire Council’s Digital Literacy scheme will explain how volunteer Digital Literacy Champions can be recruited.

•    And Andrew Jack, the Marlborough Area Board manager will spell out how groups can apply for Community Area Grants.

The meeting will also hear from two Wiltshire Council representatives: Cabinet Member Councillor Lionel Grundy on the success of recruiting volunteers to help at Wiltshire’s libraries. And Laurie Bell, the service director for communications, will talk on maintaining the legacy of London 2012.

There has been some criticism locally of the poor response in the area to the recent Join in Local Sport campaign.  So this will be a chance to question the council on its plans for the future of development of sports opportunities for the area.

For further information about this Area Board meeting contact Andrew Jack on 01225 713109 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Travellers’ invasion of Marlborough College playing fields comes to an end in blazing sunshine

The invasion of Marlborough College by a convoy of travellers who burst through the school gates on the Bath Road at 6pm on Thursday ended peacefully in yesterday’s blazing sunshine as unexpectedly as it began. 

At 11.45 am the six white caravans, a lorry, one horse-drawn cart, a car and a truck towing another horsebox drove off the playing field where the Duchess of Cambridge once excelled at hockey, watched by security guards and escorted by Wiltshire police vehicles. 

And joined at the entrance by another white caravan that had found itself locked into Marlborough Common, they headed out of the town for an unknown destination, possibly the Dorset Steam Fair.

They had spent some 50 hours illegally encamped on private land while Jonathan Leigh, the College’s new Master who only arrived the week before, organised a court injunction to end the invasion.

A police spokesman said: "The traveller incursion at Marlborough College has now ended. The travellers have left the site at approximately 12pm today (Sunday) following a direction to do so. They have now left Wiltshire."

Police had talked to the travellers as their children, horses and dogs enjoyed their stay in the serene surroundings of the prestigious independent school, whose alumni include the wives of David Cameron, George Osborne and Speaker John Bercow.

And they had promised to leave “no later than Sunday”.

But meanwhile another drama was unfolding on Marlborough College where three travellers’ caravans, which had failed in a bid to rejoin the convoy on the playing field, had snapped the town council’s padlock on the Commons barrier, amid fears that the travellers would subsequently encamp there.

Newly-co-opted Councillor Val Compton told Marlborough News Online: “ I received a call from a rather distressed lady in St John’s Close.  The padlock on the gate to the Common had been taken off – I presume by bolt cutter – and three vehicles were parked up.  She and her husband secured the gate again with another padlock.”

“She was very concerned about the patch of grass by St John’s Close and the Rugby Club.  There was a lot of traveller movement both pedestrian and vehicular in town going up to Common.”

“I went up to the Common to see if there was anything the Rugby Club could do as there was an event on.  We discussed possibilities but with farm vehicles mostly harvesting, it would be difficult to find anything to park there.  We also discussed barricading with vehicles – but that is far too risky.”

“The police were manning the second gate, opposite the club, on to the Common, one vehicle left and the police then locked the gate, having agreed with the remaining travellers that they would open it again at 7am Sunday to allow them to leave.”

“I couldn’t understand why the police didn’t ask the two vehicles to park up somewhere else in town if they were genuine in their decision to leave.”

“The police then left. I am hopeful the traveller departure will actually happen, but frankly anyone driving at the gate from inside the field, could probably get through it and leave the way open.

“The police will monitor the situation but of course need to also attend to other things in Marlborough.  Perhaps we need a conversation with a security company about more effective ways, such as effective pop up posts, of ensuring this can’t happen in the future.”

She added: “The real hero is the lady who does not wish to be named, but was quick thinking enough to replace the padlock on the main gate to the Common.  She then phoned me as the police were not very co-operative towards her, so that I could take the situation forward.”

Councillor Compton has now checked and photographed all locked Commons gates, cleared “indescribable” rubbish abandoned by the travellers, and also photographed another weak entry point to west side of Common.

She fears that travellers may well return, and declared: “We need the eyes and actions of residents who must be encouraged to phone the police on 101, if not emergency 999, and report what is happening – that’s the only way we got police presence up on Common.  Otherwise they wouldn’t know what is happening.”

Councillor Richard Pitts, chairman of the council’s Amenities and Open Spaces Committee, also visited the Common and on Sunday replaced the padlock with one belonging to the town council.

“The travellers broke in and we probably can’t stop that,” he told Marlborough News Online. “The trouble is that nobody knows exactly what they might do once that happens.”

“Our whole purpose was to get the travellers off the Common without any form of confrontation or aggression.  There is no purpose is causing more grief.”


High flyer takes over as Marlborough Jazz Festival chairman to face tough times ahead

Graham Rivers - newly elected chairman of the Marlborough International Jazz FestivalGraham Rivers - newly elected chairman of the Marlborough International Jazz FestivalA high flying chief executive of companies across the UK, Europe and America has been elected chairman of Marlborough’s International Jazz Festival in a shake-up of its top team. 

Graham Rivers (pictured) has taken over from Susie Fisher, who has held the post for the past three years, to keep it one beat ahead and ensure its future in the tough economic times facing the country. 

He is a 60-year-old former executive at board level with sales and marketing expertise in a career with international technology and management service companies dating back to 1975, who describes himself as “allegedly retired.” 

And in an exclusive interview with Marlborough News Online he praised Nick Fogg, the festival’s founder, and declared: “What he created has endured and evolved where others have fallen by the wayside.”

“Marlborough itself is a world known brand and identity which can be built up further through the web, social and digital media to reach an even bigger audience and attract more visitors to the event.”

Guitar-playing Mr Rivers, who lives in Chiseldon, added: “What I hope I can bring to the party is the experience and understanding I have gained and an affinity with music and entertainment from what I have been doing in recent years.  And that will help to develop what is a very successful event anyway.”

“I want to bring a little more experience and time to help the festival move on in the tough economic times ahead.  And I am looking forward to it.”

Paying tribute to Susie Fisher, Nick Fogg, twice Marlborough’s mayor, who was elected festival organiser, said: “Susie has done a great job as chairman.”

“She has led a disparate team of individuals with aplomb and good humour and has always ensured that the numbers match -- a vital task in a festival where the finances can easily run out of control.”

“It's good that she's staying on the committee with a special role relating to sponsorship.  We need her experience and abilities.”

And after the executive reshuffle on Tuesday, Susie, who followed Brian Ashley as chairman after serving on the executive for more than six years, said: “During these last three years we have successfully put together a strong volunteer committee that has vastly improved the overall organization and operation of the Festival.”

“After three years as chairman, I feel it is time to step aside so someone with new ideas and different skills can step in.  I am certain we have found that person in Graham Rivers.  I love Marlborough and the Jazz Festival and have volunteered to continue working on the committee in whatever capacity they feel I can be helpful.”  

“As a charity, sponsorship is very important and I'm starting there.”

Despite his peripatetic career, Mr Rivers, who was born in Hilperton, near Trowbridge, has maintained a home for 18 years in Chiseldon for his wife and only daughter, who now lives in Canada.

He describes his music interests as catholic, including classical and opera, but has a special liking for traditional jazz. “If I’ve really got a sweet spot, it’s the blues,” he revealed. “I played the guitar badly and used to play the clarinet as a kid.”

“With the guitar I can sit and strum quite happily to myself.  And I find that quite soothing and enjoyable according to what the frustrations of the day may have been.”

He has concerns about the way jazz is defined, Amy Winehouse, classified as a jazz singer but seen by young people as a pop entertainer.

“There is a question of understanding what an amazing performer she was, a question of definition,” he pointed out. “The trouble with the entertainment business is that it is sold as a commercial product when, in fact, it is something very special.”

“In some ways perhaps that’s because, if you look through any dictionary of quotations, music appears so many times and is usually linked either to a romantic engagement or to some form of inspiration.”

“So dear old Shakespeare is quoted so very many times – ‘If music be the food of love play’ but not the rest of the quotation, ‘Give me excess of it; that surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die’.”

“What I chuckle about is Samuel Pepys.  One of his diary entries said, ‘Music and women – two things I cannot but give way to, whatever my business…’.”

Nevertheless, the sharp end of the economy remains in his sights.

“What has happened in the broadest sense is the creation of an excess of debt,” he said. “We all get overweight, so we’ve got to slim down, we’ve all go on diet and we will come through the recession OK.”

“We have to recognise too that money is tight for people as we continue to build on what the Jazz Festival is all about, which is delivering a fantastic array of music and bands to people at a very fair price and with open access to everyone.”


Start-up CCTV scheme to be considered for Marlborough – but only after a Big Brother debate

Marlborough, the only market town in Wiltshire without its own CCTV system, is to consider the introduction of a start-up scheme of four high quality digital cameras to cover the High Street at an initial cost of £20,000. 

A report promised last October, which was presented to the Town Council on Monday, revealed that the council has had the subject on its agenda for 11 years but that the crime rate in Marlborough has always been historically low. 

It revealed that in Salisbury the manned CCTV system cost £60,000 a year to run while other towns relied on an army of volunteers to monitor their CCTV system to keep down costs but still faced rent and rates on a property from which to manage the system. 

“Obviously Marlborough cannot run such a system because it would mean a huge hike in the council’s precept, which of course none of us want,” Councillor Noel Barrett-Morton told councillors. 

“So we seek a system that will give us high definition pictures that the police need.  It is possible to install a start-up scheme with just four cameras in the High Street. This small but quality system could be added to as and when finance becomes available and give the council reasonable flexibility.” 

“Camera pictures could be beamed into the council offices and, with Home Office approval, picked up on computers at the police station, where they can monitor the situation.” 

Now a working party considering the implementation of CCTV is to provide a detailed report at next month’s full council meeting. 

Police Inspector Ron Peach, who attended the meeting, supported the need for a CCTV system, pointing out:  “It has to be of high quality with pictures produced being available for use as evidence we can proceed on”. 

“It is well documented the deterrent effect that CCTV has in reducing crime and social disorder for fear of being caught and also the evidence of culpability after the event.”

However, as the Mayor, Councillor Edwina Fogg, interjected, there was a need too for a “big debate” on the concept of CCTV, emotional counter arguments existing on what others have described as a “Big Brother” approach.

“There is a whole debate going on out there about the absolute case for a CCTV system.  I think we really have got to look into this in far greater detail.”

The report, written by Tory Councillor Marion Hannaford-Dobson, who set up the working party of three councillors, referred in particular to outside gangs of thieves and pickpockets had identified Marlborough as a vulnerable town.” 

“Residential, commercial burglary and theft from trade vans are far easier because Marlborough has no records of vehicles entering or leaving the town,” said the report. 

“There is evidence of travelling shoplifting and pickpocket gangs from London, Bristol, Manchester, some even from much further afield.  These unwanted visitors then pass on information to other shoplifting and pickpocket colleagues exactly which communities are not protected by CCTV.”

Waitrose, which is Marlborough’s biggest business and has its own internal CCTV, introduced security guards in May after its wine and spirits section in particular was hit by shoplifters.

“There has been a significant reduction in thefts since then,” manager Richard Clare told Marlborough News Online. “Criminals do become aware that we are much better protected.”


Beware thieves siphoning – and drilling – petrol tanks as austerity hits, warns police inspector

Cars parked in Marlborough’s residential streets are becoming the victim of an increasing number of petrol thefts, police warned this week. 

While the town remains a safe place to live, Police Inspector Ron Peach told the town council on Monday: “There has been an increase in thefts from motor vehicles around the town, particularly the theft of fuel from motor vehicles.” 

“Some of these offences have involved people drilling petrol caps and draining them and others have been siphoning off petrol.  There has been an increase in this type of offence.  I guess as austerity hits and people get tired of petrol price increases we shall have to accept more of this kind of thing.” 

He revealed that vehicles parked in residential streets were under threat with two incidents in particular in Castle Court, Marlborough, and added: “Everyone needs to keep their eyes and ears open and feed back any information they have to local officers so that they can try to deal with it.” 

He reported a rise too above any residual level of thefts of machinery from rural sites.  A barn in Burbage had been burgled and a quad bike and motorcycle trailer stolen. 

The thieves had also attacked an antique safe used for storing “bits and pieces” with an acetylene torch found on the premises. 

“These people are determined individuals,” said Inspector Peach.  “We all need to be alert to this sort of crime.  That’s where personal CCTV for those kind of offences can be helpful.” 

“A picture can be worth a thousand words, an image can go a long way to solving those sorts of crimes.”


Chamber of Commerce fears that CCTV project will be delayed by Big Brother debate

Paul ShimellPaul ShimellMarlborough’s Chamber of Commerce has given its full support for the town council’s bid to introduce a start-up high-powered, quality CCTV system to cover the High Street shops and businesses. 

But it fears that any continued debate on the proposal for a £20,000 initial scheme with four cameras will end up with further delay, the town council having first discussed CCTV 11 years ago and failed to take decisive action. 

“It’s great, a fabulous idea which the Chamber fully supports but I fear we shall be in the same position 10 months from now and nothing will have happened,” Paul Shimell, the Chamber’s president, told Marlborough News Online.

“We are the only market town in Wiltshire without CCTV.  Everyone knows it.  That’s why we are being targeted and hit by gangs and thieves. Shops are suffering and CCTV is what we need to fight crime.”

“If the latest report to the town council shows it is such a good idea, then why haven’t they not introduced it?  Why have they suddenly found the finance to do it when before they said it was too costly?”

He remains concerned  that opponents to “Big Brother” CCTV as an intrusion into people’s lives will prevent the project going ahead, and added: “We have to ensure that any scheme does not invade people’s privacy.”

With other Marlborough organisations, including Marlborough town councillors, the Chamber is currently supporting the creation of a Business Improvement District to cover the town, which would eventually result in a Neighbourhood Plan being introduced.

This would include a wide-range of improvements for transport and parking, energy consumption, culture, tourism, telecommunications and Marlborough’s historic streetscape.

“If we can get that going then may be it will be the method by which we can fund CCTV ourselves,” he declared.


Mike Gatting to speak at Sports Dinner

Mike GattingMike GattingFormer England cricket captain Mike Gatting OBE has been confirmed as guest speaker at the inaugural Marlborough Sports Forum fundraising dinner in October.

The batsman will give the after-dinner address, sharing anecdotes from his colourful 23 year first class cricket career with Middlesex and his 18 years with England.

Mr Gatting served as captain from 1986 to 1988, and he led the national side in 23 test matches. He is now a cricket coach and commentator. 

The Sports Dinner will be held at Marlborough Town Hall on Thursday, October 25 from 7pm. Tickets costs £35, which includes a drink on reception and four-course dinner.

The funds raised will support the young sports people of Marlborough, helping them to participate in sports or to further the careers of those competing at the highest levels, by contributing to the costs of equipment, travel or tour accommodation.

Marlborough Sports Forum is a representative body made up of most of the town's sports clubs and associations.

For tickets, send a cheque made payable to Marlborough Sports Forum to Cllr Andy Ross, Marlborough Sports Forum, c/o Marlborough Town Council, 5 High Street,  Marlborough SN8 1AA.


Headmaster praises another summer of A level exam success for Marlborough’s St John’s students

Dr Patrick HazlewoodDr Patrick HazlewoodPraise for his sixth form students came today (Thursday) from Dr Patrick Hazlewood, headmaster of St John’s, Marlborough, as it rejoiced in spectacular A level results. 

With 53 per cent of grades achieved at A* to B, Dr Hazlewood confirmed that he was delighted with the performances of many individual students and the Sixth Form as a whole. 

And he told Marlborough News Online: “This is one of the best performances that the school has achieved and it is the result of very hard work on behalf of both students and teachers”.

Another very successful summer for St John’s students sees them now well set in the fight for university places.

Following on from the school’s best ever International Baccalaureate results received in July, more students than ever have achieved top grades at A-level.

This year’s high achieving students at A-level include Katie Mills with three A* grades and an additional two A grades at AS level and Dan Jones with three A* grades plus an A at A-level.

Dan is off to Cambridge to read Computer Science whilst Katie will take a year out before applying to university.

Other students achieving at least three A* or A grades are Andrew Butler, Sam Chapman, Leo Dennis, Andrew Elia, Josh Eustace, Charlotte Farrell, George Fry, Oliver Hudson, Sam Keith, Emmie Price-Goodfellow, Dave Reynolds and Jack Smith.

Lionel Grundy, the Wiltshire Council cabinet member for children’s services, told Marlborough News Online: “I would like to offer my congratulations to all those who have received their results today and I am delighted that so many young people have done so well.

“To gain these results young people have worked extremely hard throughout their studies and it is also a tribute to the support and guidance they have received from their teachers, lecturers and those around them, all of which will have contributed to this success.”

Carolyn Godfrey, corporate director for children and education, said: “The feedback we have received to date confirms there are some outstanding individual and school results and it is fantastic to hear about the achievements of many young people across all the qualification pathways.

“While these performances reflect individual skills and talents of young people, they also reflect the high quality teaching in the schools and colleges. I would like to congratulate the students and thank all those who have supported them to secure their achievements.

“There is a range of support on hand if young people require further advice and guidance regarding their next steps. The schools, Wiltshire College and Ucas helpline all have advisers and a wide range of information on hand to support young people.”

The Ucas website ( has lots of advice available for young people who have received their A Level results today including information on clearing and options available to them. On Twitter it is advising applicants to follow @ucas_online and @ucasclearing to get up-to-date information.


Councillors erupt in protest to plans for a third pedestrian crossing for Marlborough College girls

A new planning application displayed  on inaccessible lamp postA new planning application displayed on inaccessible lamp postMarlborough town councillors clashed yet again with Marlborough College last night (Monday) when the Planning Committee recorded its unanimous opposition to proposals for a new Puffin crossing within yards of the College’s immaculate gates.  

They declared the plans “invalid” because they failed to reveal all the information posted on lamp posts, which include cutting a hole in the listed College boundary wall and widening the already narrow pavement.

And they blamed Wiltshire Council for the errors – and the College for submitting an erroneous report from consultants claiming that the town council approved the plans.

“This is going to be a nightmare for the people living there,” protested former mayor Councillor Nick Fogg, one of Marlborough’s two Wiltshire councillors.  “This has been a big cock up by Wiltshire.”

The row follows in the wake of the town council’s objections to the College buying the nearby Ivy House Hotel, now in the process of conversion into a hostel for 60 girl students at the College, where the Duchess of Cambridge was a student.

It is for them that the College is seeking a safe entry into its grounds despite the fact that there are two Pelican crossings further down the Bath Road specifically for the use of students.

The situation is further embarrassing for the College as Councillor Margaret Rose, who chairs the Planning Committee, is an employee of the College and had to leave the council chamber while colleagues roared their opposition.

The Ivy House Hotel swathed in scaffolding as work proceeds on its conversionThe Ivy House Hotel swathed in scaffolding as work proceeds on its conversion“This town supports the people,” declared Councillor Marion Hannaford-Dobson, who pointed out that the town council had twice before objected to similar proposals.  “The College is in the town.  The town is not in the College.”

Councillor Stewart Dobson, leader of the council’s Tory group, agreed.  “They can’t possibly have three crossings within such a short space.  It is desperately unfair on the people who live in the west end of the town and will cause total traffic confusion.”

But it was Councillor Fogg who led the fray by revealing that the planning application before the committee – for a controlled Puffin crossing with footpath widening at the junction with Bridewell Street – was not the same as that posted on lamp posts, which also showed plans to breach the College’s listed boundary wall.

A resident had pointed this out to Wiltshire last Thursday and received an admission that an error had been made.  New details had been posted and this alone made the whole process “invalid”, insisted Councillor Fogg.

He raised other issues including the disturbing noise made at night by Pelican/Puffin crossings and potential serious danger of a juggernaut jumping the pavement, as well as extending back to the  High Street/Pewsey Road junction and causing traffic chaos.

He read to from a report submitted to Wiltshire by consultants hired by the College saying : “It has been an objective of the council to provide a pedestrian crossing arrangement in Bridewell  Street.”

And he added: “Well I don’t recall that at all.  The College has a wonderful capacity for producing consultants to say what they pay for.  This case is no exception.”

It was estimated that some 1,400 people would use the Bridewell crossing, many at peak times when commuters were driving in and out of Marlborough yet the space available for them to stand on the pavement was limited.

“I think the Guinness Book of Records should be notified about this because there is no place for them to stand,” he protested.

“We have to put all these points in as part of a massive objection.  We have an obligation to protest as vociferously as possible.”


Police are unable to act as travellers encamp on private Marlborough College playing field

Travellers parked on College MeadowTravellers parked on College MeadowPolice announced this morning (Friday) that they can take no action against travellers who encamped at around 6pm last night on a sports playing field alongside the Memorial Hall in the grounds of Marlborough College. 

“It is private land and the College is dealing with it,” Police Inspector Ron Peach told Marlborough News Online. “The College is seeking legal advice.” 

“We are aware that it happened and that there are 12 vehicles parked on the field.  We can only act if they cause some damage or any offence is committed.”

The travellers are believed to have been evicted from an illegal site in Newbury and were monitored moving across the county border into Wiltshire by Thames Valley Police, who warned Wiltshire Police of their presence.

A police car drove on to the site late yesterday afternoon and officers talked to the travellersA police car drove on to the site late yesterday afternoon and officers talked to the travellersThe playing field, used last week by those attending the Marlborough College Summer School for parking, is usually where students at the independent public school play hockey, rugby and lacrosse.

Jonathan Leigh, the new Master of the College, who moved in only last week, told the BBC: "We are pursuing all legal steps to remove these people as soon as possible."

One witness said: “Horses grazing on the land are clearly visible from A4.  Security Guards now blocking gateway in and on duty checking but I wonder how quickly they’ll be able to get them off.”

Courtney Goodwin, a passer by said "I first noticed the ponies chomping at the lacrosse pitch, then saw all the caravans round the edge of the field and the police vehicles parked outside the main gate.  Didn't look like nomal Summer School activity."

A convoy of a dozen caravans were first spotted on the road to Beckhampton before they doubled back on to the Bath Road and drove straight through the gates of the College, whose famous pupils in the past have included the Duchess of Cambridge and other members of royal family.

Ponies grazing on the College's lush turfPonies grazing on the College's lush turfThey are now parked on the far side of the field and their horses, dogs and children have been seen playing in the field.

Friday afternoon:  a local resident reported seeing several more vans attempting to enter the college premises, but being blocked from doing so by College security staff with Police in attendance.  One long caravan being towed by a Transit tipper truck, unable to turn into the college because of the blockage, was seen attempting a three-point turn on the A4 at the Manton crossroads.

The travellers are reported to have told Wiltshire Police they intend to move on "no later than Sunday".

One of the travellers ponies enjoys a runOne of the travellers ponies enjoys a run


An opportunity for young musicians to join in the success of all that Marlborough jazz

Jazzports at the Jazz FestivalJazzports at the Jazz FestivalMarlborough’s Jazz Festival youth band has launched a recruiting campaign for new members to join the success it achieved at last month’s event, when it played four times over the festival weekend, including the headline act of star performer Clare Teal. 

The Jazzports are local musicians aged under 18, all playing their chosen instruments to a very high standard, who were set up two years ago under the expert direction of local musicians Mick Allport and Tim Walters. 

They have been getting together four times a year for rehearsals, gigs and recording sessions during school holidays and half terms.

Now Mick and Tim have launched the Marlborough Youth Jazz Orchestra (MYJO) to widen access into the band and to ensure a succession of talent as older players move on or go to university.  MYJO recruits play alongside and learn from the senior members so they can move up to The Jazzports when they are ready.

“It’s an academy, if you like, to bring through great young local talent – when I think back to two years ago it’s astounding how well they’re now playing,” Mick Allport told Marlborough News Online.

The band is looking for new members, aged 10 to16, who play musical instruments at Grade Two or above, all instruments – Jazzports and Marlborough Jazz band performing at this year's Jazz FestivalJazzports and Marlborough Jazz band performing at this year's Jazz Festivalsax, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, piano, drums, bass, guitar – being welcome.

The next course will run from Wednesday, August  29 to Friday, August 31, and will culminate in a gig at Marlborough Town Football Club in which all players, Jazzports and MYJO, will be able to perform.

On the Friday, Brian Miller, former house pianist at Ronnie Scott’s Club in London, will be joining to give extra tuition.  The senior band will go on to record six tracks at the Mooncalf recording studio near Marlborough on September 1.

The cost of the course is £150 but help will be given in cases of financial hardship.

For all enquiries please contact: Clare Allman on 07971 464229 and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Your chance to ask Claire Perry why she claimed she knew the Duchess was pregnant

Claire Perry at Library700pxClaire Perry at Library700pxYou can quiz your Tory MP Claire Perry on any subject you like tomorrow (Monday) and again on Tuesday when she visits local coffee shops and pubs and invites constituents to join her.

Mrs Perry is now back from a family holiday with her husband and three children at Lake Tahoe, on the California/Nevada border, which they visited last year.

And she is making her first public appearances since causing furore -- and attracting criticism -- by declaring that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting her first child – and that would be good for the economy.

She made the comment out of the blue last month during the first Question Time debate in the Memorial Hall at Marlborough College, where the Duchess was a student, a new event at the College’s annual Summer School.

Now you can ask her why – and whatever else you want about the declining economy or the increasing price of petrol and rail fares  – during her visits to local cafes, coffee shops and pubs in her Devizes constituency.

The unique tour is described on her website as “an opportunity to meet Claire informally and tell her of any gripes, ask questions, raise issues or just say hello.  There's no need to book – just turn up.”

And  48-year-old Claire explains: "There are lots of fantastic cafés, coffee shops and pubs across the constituency.  Caffeine keeps me going as I juggle the many aspects of my roles as MP, wife and mother and I am really looking forward to getting out and about - meeting and listening to people over a coffee.”

“We've tried to cover most towns and villages across the area but if there's somewhere you'd like me to go next time, do let my local office know on 01380 729358 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we'll do our best to find a date".

The coffee dates are as follows:

Monday 20 August:

2.45-3.15pm: Next Door Coffee Shop, 14 High Street, Pewsey.

3.45-4.15pm: The Green Dragon, 24 High Street Market Lavington.

4.30-5pm: The Ship Inn,10 High Street, Upavon.

And on Tuesday 21 August, she is at:

12.15-12.45pm: Parklands Hotel & Bentley's Chop House, Ogbourne St George, Marlborough.

1-1.30pm: Aldbourne Post Office, Café and Deli, 13 The Square, Aldbourne.

1.45-2.15pm: The Bell at Ramsbury, The Square, Ramsbury.

2.45-3.15pm: The Food Gallery, 47-48 High Street Marlborough.


Was the good news on the jobs front one temporary legacy of the Olympics?

The national unemployment figures out this week (August 15) brought some good news.  They are not yet at gold, silver or even bronze levels – but they have taken a turn for the better which some experts put down mainly to the number of temporary jobs connected to the Olympic Games.

The number of those unemployed across the nation fell by 46,000 to 2,560,000 in the three months to June.  At eight per cent, it’s the lowest level since July 2011.

The July figures for the Devizes constituency showed very little movement. There were marginal decreases in those claiming benefit in the 25-49 and 50-and-over age groups. Those still unemployed in the 24-and-under group were slightly up, and those claiming jobseekers allowance for more than a year – the ‘long-term unemployed’ – showed no movement.

But the prospect for future movement in the jobs market within the constituency looked good with a significant increase in job vacancies.

Poster at Devizes Job CentrePoster at Devizes Job CentreNationally, however, this month’s figures reinforced a worrying trend: the number of part-time workers jumped 71,000 to 8,070,000 – the highest total for twenty years.  And a record 1,420,000 are in part-time jobs but want to be in full-time jobs.

There seems to be a rush to get people out of the claimant column into any level of part-time employment. This must be worrying the Treasury as the increase in part-time workers will inevitably hit both tax revenues and high street spending.

This was confirmed at the start of the month when figures for the first three months of the year showed UK households’ real spending power had fallen by 0.6 per cent as wages failed to keep abreast of rising prices.


Canal boat Diana’s journey to the Paralympic Games

Diana, one of the Bruce Trust's fleet of four canal boats Diana, one of the Bruce Trust's fleet of four canal boats People with disabilities visiting the Paralympic Games will have the chance to stay aboard the Bedwyn-based canal boat The Diana which will be moored near the Olympic Stadium.  She’s one of the Bruce Trusts four specially adapted, purpose-built canal boats which normally give canal holidays for people with a wide range of disabilities. 

The boat will be providing accommodation for visitors from all over the country. But first The Diana will have to get there.  On Saturday (August 18) she will set off on the eighty-two mile journey from Bedwyn wharf to Stratford East. 

Among those at Bedwyn wharf to see her start her unique journey at 11.30 a.m. will be the Chair of Wiltshire Council, Christine Crisp, and Marlborough’s Mayor Edwina Fogg, who is a Patron of East Wiltshire Mencap.  During the voyage Rotary Clubs along the Kennet and Avon Canal will be crewing the boat and providing day trips to local groups of people with special needs. 

The Diana, named in memory of the late Princess of Wales, is scheduled to arrive on her mooring, as near to the Olympic Stadium as security will allow, in time for the Paralympics’ Opening Ceremony on Wednesday, August 29.   Bruce Trust volunteers will man her throughout the Games and a wide range of charities for disabled people have been invited to apply for low cost accommodation and entry tickets to the Paralympics. 

Charges will be just £25 a night per person and The Diana can accommodate up to ten people including carers each night. 

The Trust’s founder, David Bruce, explained: “This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only attend the Paralympics but also to stay on one of our special boats in a unique location.  The Diana is fully equipped and accessible for disabled visitors and we are only a few minutes wheelchair ride away from the main Olympic Stadium.”        

The Bruce Trust was set up as a registered charity twenty-four years ago following the sale of Bruce’s Brewery and the Firkin Pubs.  It has enabled 13,500 disabled people to enjoy a safe canal boat holiday. 


Waitrose grows back in strength thanks to that summer sunshine and Olympic fervour

Waitrose manager Richard ClareWaitrose manager Richard ClareGrowth is back on agenda at Marlborough’s Waitrose supermarket – and it is not only thanks to the Olympics, the return of sunshine weather and people deciding to holiday at home this summer. 

For at least two of the rare breed apple trees planted in the Waitrose car park five months ago are bearing fruit as genuine proof that Marlborough’s community orchard project hasn’t been hit by too much rain or the double-dip recession. 

Waitrose manager Richard Clare, pictured alongside a rare 19th century apple tree from Buckinghamshire called Grenadier, is delighted. 

That is because he helped the prepare the 200ft long apple tree beds on one side of the car park when the project was originated by the then branch manager Andy Davies and Philippa Davenport, creator of Marlborough’s Apple Day events. 

“I was a trainee branch manager then,” he recalled.  “We had 19 branch managers here all with their shoulders to the wheel preparing the ground. It’s going to take a couple of years for the trees to bed in. 

“Then we will have a good crop.  That will be a real bonus.  And people can enjoy them.”

Meanwhile, there has been a welcome leap in sales at the supermarket, which has some 24,000 customers, coinciding with the launch of the Olympics and the return of good weather. 

“There was some pent-up frustration for people,” Richard told Marlborough News Online.   “So the barbecues were lit up at last.  It was a great opportunity for people in Marlborough to celebrate a national event.  That was a fantastic weekend for us.” 

And with the sunshine back this weekend, he added: “We have also picked up a little that people are not going away on holiday.  It looks like that they have either delayed going away because of the Olympics or are not going away at all.” 

Whether holiday-at-home or not is part of the return in trading will be discovered when the Olympics come to an end.  “Then we shall see what the legacy is and whether it can be sustained,” said Richard. 

He is also pointing out to customers that Waitrose is not part of the row over the price of milk, which has left farmers protesting at cuts in their payments from some supermarket suppliers is forcing them to make a loss. 

“Our policy on milk and being fair to the farmers hasn’t changed – we haven’t changed the price we pay our suppliers and we have maintained our prices, not raised them,” he explained. 

“We are honouring our suppliers and very much fitting in and following the Waitrose way of treating people fairly.  So that ultimately means farmers can plan their finances for the future and our customers can have faith in what we put on our shelves is sourced responsibly. 

“We think that is very important in any business.” 


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