County Council Update

from County Cllr Anne Wight

November 2018            

 

 

Local Government Reorganisation

The Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, has decided that a brand new county-wide unitary council will be established in Buckinghamshire.The announcement by Secretary of State James Brokenshire has been hailed as a ‘truly historic day’ by County Council leader Martin Tett.

The new council, which will replace the county council and four districts, will be simpler, better value and more local to Buckinghamshire communities than the current two-tier system, ultimately moving to a more sustainable future for the county.

Services which complement one another but are currently divided between the district and county councils such as bin collections, waste disposal, planning and roads, would be brought together under the single unitary council, resulting in more efficient, joined-up services for residents.

The Secretary of State said in his statement: "Having assessed both proposals against the criteria that we announced to the House on 28 February 2017 (PQ 65271), I have concluded that whilst both proposals meet the criterion for a “good deal of local support”, only the proposal for a single unitary council satisfies the criteria for “improving local government” and for “being a credible geography” and that in any event the proposal for a single unitary council is better able to meet the criteria overall. 

"Accordingly, I am today announcing that I have decided to implement, subject to Parliamentary approval, the locally-led proposal to replace the existing five councils across Buckinghamshire – the two tier structure of Buckinghamshire County Council and the district councils of Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Bucks and Wycombe – by one new single unitary district council, and that I have decided not to implement the proposal for two new unitary councils."

The full statement of the Secretary of State can be found at this link:

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2018-11-01/HCWS1058/

 

 

 

Remembrance Day Services and Events

 

I was delighted to have been able to attend the Remembrance Day services at Ivinghoe and Pitstone this year, where I laid wreaths to remember all those who fell in the service of Buckinghamshire and the nation.  I am sure that the Marsworth services were equally poignant and am only sorry that I was unable to attend them this year, although I was very glad to have been able to donate a wreath for the village war memorial.  It was lovely to see such support for the events to commemorate the Centenary of the Armistice, both in Ivinghoe Division and throughout the entire nation! 





School transport consultation     

A ten-week consultation on planned revisions to Buckinghamshire County Council's home to school transport arrangements was agreed by Cabinet members on Monday, (22 October).

The consultation, which launches on Wednesday 31 October, will seek people's feedback on options for modernising the service to make it more sustainable.

The service, currently costing £15.1 million, takes more than 9,000 Buckinghamshire children to and from school.  Of this, £12.7m pays for statutory provision, for children eligible for travel assistance. The remaining £2.4m pays for transport where the County Council has applied discretion and agreed to support young people.

The Council says the level of spending is unsustainable and aims to use its limited resources to support those who need it most. The review of the County Council's transport offer would include:

  • Improving the mix of council-provided and commercial transport to provide more flexible options and save money.
  • Applying statutory requirements to all Buckinghamshire schoolchildren, which would include phasing out local free transport arrangements in Ivinghoe and Iver.
  • Requiring parents of post-16 Special Educational Needs students to contribute towards their travel costs.

There would be no change to arrangements for more than 5,000 pupils who are eligible for free travel. Proposed revisions would apply to children and young people who are not eligible for free statutory home-to-school transport.

The finances supporting home to school transport are causing the county serious problems since costs are rising which requires BCC to look at how we can continue to get children to school safely. This might mean, for example, using public transport instead of dedicated school buses. In many cases public transport and school transport use the same routes. We are looking at a number of options to reduce costs, which limit the need to increase prices. 

We would very much like to encourage feedback from residents on how best to implement the proposed options so that the future offer meets the needs of families, communities and schools.  The aim is very much to make changes considerately in order to limit the need to increase prices.

As part of the consultation Mike Appleyard will hold 11 face-to-face meetings as detailed on the website with those who use the service, and will also meet parents of SEN students. Results of the consultation will be reported to the County Council Cabinet in March before a final decision is made.

 

Budget Consultation

As many of our residents have definite views as to how and where they would like to see the county spend its money, the Budget Consultation is currently underway and we would like to encourage as much resident participation as possible. Everyone living or working in the county is encouraged to take part.

The short consultation can be completed online at www.buckscc.gov.uk/budget2019 until the closing date of 14 November.

People without access to the internet or a computer can complete the survey at their local main library, where staff will be happy to help residents complete it online. These are Amersham, Aylesbury, Beaconsfield, Buckingham, Chesham, Hazlemere, High Wycombe, Marlow and Princes Risborough.

 

Don’t Pay Twice

Don’t Pay Twice!’ is a Transport for Buckinghamshire campaign which aims to encourage staff, Local Area Technician’s, operatives, Members, Parish Councils, bus drivers and the general public to report damage to the highway asset which they might be witness to.

What does this mean?

When we talk about the asset, we are referring to things such as bollards, street lights and signs on the highway. When a member of the public damages the asset, we need to be made aware of this as soon as possible so that we can repair it and make the area safe as soon as possible. We also need to know about any damage so that we can make a claim against the person who caused the damage. 

A good example of this would be if you saw somebody drive into a bollard and subsequently knocking it over. Another example is fly tipping on the highway.

What should you do?

If you are a witness to someone damaging the highway asset, you should take a photo and report the incident using this link page: https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/transport-and-roads/report-a-highways-problem/dont-pay-twice/ 

If you’re unable to take a photo, you should still report it to us with as much detail as you can.

When trying to take a photo it is important not to put yourself in any confrontational or dangerous situations and to keep yourself safe at all times. 

Once submitted, your report will be reviewed by the TfB Green Claims Team. If required, you may be sent a Witness Statement form to provide further details.

What the ‘Don’t Pay Twice!’ campaign doesn’t include

The ‘Don’t Pay Twice!’ campaign is the chance to report damage to the asset to us. It should not be used to report highway defects, such as potholes, resurfacing issues or a street light that’s gone out. These can be reported via Fix My Street 

 

Adult Social Care Consultation

Overview

BCC is consulting on proposals to change the amounts we charge for some social care services. The charges ONLY apply to people who can afford to pay the full cost of their care or part of the cost. We are interested in hearing from Buckinghamshire residents who use adult social care services, their families and carers. As well organisations that provide adult social care services or support users, their families and carers.

 

Dates

This consultation is open for responses from 15 October until 10 December 2018.

 

 

Background

Every year, we look at what we charge customers for social care services to make sure we receive enough money to pay the bills for these services.

 

To decide who should pay the charges we ask customers to tell us about their income, savings, investments and expenses. This is so we can decide whether or not they will be asked to pay towards their care costs. In simple terms, these are the rules:

  •          If you have less than £14,250 in savings and investments, we will only look at your weekly income to decide if you have to pay anything towards the care you receive
  •          If you have between £14,250 and £23,250 in savings and investments, we will look at this amount as well as your weekly income to decide how much you need to pay towards the care you receive
  •          If you have £23,250 or more in savings and investments, you will be asked to pay the full charge for the care you receive.

Also, the Department of Health are changing the national minimum rate for some adult social care charges and this will affect the amount we need to charge some of our customers from April 2019.

 

Further Information

For more advice and guidance you can visit the following websites:

Care Advice Bucks                          www.careadvicebuckinghamshire.org

Eligibility for support                        http://bit.ly/2f8qXzN

Finance and paying for care                     http://bit.ly/2wO6GJa

Independent financial advice                    http://bit.ly/2wPoh1K

 

How to have your say

Please complete our short online survey at this link:  https://www.research.net/r/ASCcharges2019-20 

 

Paper copies are also available for download on the BCC website.  

 

 

Early Help Consultation

Just a reminder that the Early Help Consultation launched on 4 October and will run for 10 weeks. 

There will be three options which are being considered, and your views will be especially important to help BCC make the best choice to help families in need of early intervention and help.

For more information, please consult this link on the website:

https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/care-for-children-and-families/improving-early-help-services-for-children-young-people-and-families/consultation-process/

 

County Council Update

from County Cllr Anne Wight

September 2018

 

 

Brownlow Bridge closure dates and TfB Update

I now have the following dates for the scheduled refurbishment of the Brownlow Bridge traffic lights.

 

The planned completion date for Stoke Hammond Bypass is Sunday 7th October so as discussed to avoid conflicting diversion signs and inconvenience to residents we will start Horton Road Canal Bridge on Monday 8th October with planned completion on 23rdOctober.

 

The road closure will be from 0930-1500 each weekday to avoid disruption to the school transport that uses Horton Road.  Temporary traffic lights will be in place at all other times.

 

In addition next week repairs have been arranged for the sensors for the traffic lights at Cheddington Station Bridge and Cooks Wharf Canal Bridge so both are working more efficiently.

 

Roadworks.org has been updated with the latest dates.

 

 

Household Recycling Center Service Consultation

As recycling is one of those issues which affects us all locally, I would like to draw everyone’s attention to the current consultation on this on the Buckinghamshire County Council website. 

What we are consulting on

  

  • Whether to close one site or two - our preferred option for closure of one site would be Bledlow, and for two sites would be Bledlow and Burnham

 

  • Which two weekdays it would it better to close Aylesbury (Rabans Lane), Burnham and Chesham sites
  • Whether to charge residents from outside Buckinghamshire for using our sites stop them using the sites altogether or continue to allow them the same access as Buckinghamshire residents.

 

Further Information

There’s a good deal of information on our Consultation webpage (https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/waste-and-recycling/hrc456/ )  that explains what we’ve done during the service review and how we’ve developed the consultation. If you have any questions, the answers can hopefully be found there.

 

How to have your say

You can let us have your views by completing our online survey which can be accessed via the “Have your say” link on the BCC homepage.  Alternatively, you can access it via the link here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/g9wpw5j 

 

If you would prefer to complete a printed copy of the survey we have attached it below so you can print it off and drop it into any library or council office or return it by post to:

 

Waste & Recycling Team.Floor 7, County Hall, Walton Street, Aylesbury, HP20 1UY.

 

What happens next?

The consultation feedback will be reviewed and included in a report to Cabinet in December 2018. Cabinet will then make a final decision on which service changes will take place from April 2019. We will publish the results of the consultation and details of the decision on our Consultation webpage in January 2019.

 

Contact

If you have any questions about this consultation please email the Waste & Recycling Team on waste_strategy@buckscc.gov.uk

 

Many thanks for helping us through your feedback!

Parking Permits

On the 27 September 2018 Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) will launch ‘virtual permits’ for on-street parking, along with online applications for all other permit types. The new virtual permits will reduce the time it takes to apply for, and receive, a permit - currently, it can take up to 14 working days to receive a permit, but a virtual permit becomes live as soon as it is approved. Enforcement officers will know instantly if a vehicle has an active permit via their handheld devices.

Virtual permits will be available for all types of on-street parking. This means that people will no longer have to display a permit when parking a car in a permitted area anywhere in Buckinghamshire. This includes resident permits, dispensations and carer permits, as well as other types of on street parking permits.

 

This should make it quicker and easier to apply for a permit, as the application process will be simplified. Requests for permits and any changes made to existing permits will be effective immediately and they are also now environmentally friendly as there is no paper involved.

 

It is recognised that some residents may have issues relating to internet access, so alternatives will be put in place to ensure they can still obtain the virtual permits.

All current permit holders are being written to with further details.

 

 

Children in Care

 

I was very pleased to have been able to attend the We Do Care Celebration Event in High Wycombe on 21 August.  It was very well attended by our kids in care and their foster families as well as by several of our county councilors.  The event featured several bouncy castles, an ice cream van, Thames Valley police vehicles and Buckinghamshire  Fire and Rescue vehicles with their teams, and special guest speaker Ashley John-Baptiste, formerly from the X-Factor and now working as a BBC journalist.  Ashley himself went through the care system and was particularly inspiring as a speaker.  As the number of kids in care is rising nationally and in Buckinghamshire, it is becoming even more important for us to find people willing to come forward as foster carers. 

If you feel that you might be interested in becoming a foster carer, you can get more information via our Facebook page and Twitter page links below:


https://www.facebook.com/adoptionbucks   and

 
https://www.facebook.com/FosterBucks/

 

Twitter is @Bucksadoption -https://twitter.com/BucksAdoption

 

And via the Family Information Service link here: 

https://www.facebook.com/bucksfamilyinfo/ 

 

Or contact me at awight@buckscc.gov.uk and I will be happy to put you in touch with the relevant officers at Bucks County Council. 

 

 

The Chiltern Walking Festival

 

The Chiltern Walking Festival will be taking place between the 6th and 21st October. If you wish to book or for more information, please see their website below:

 

https://www.visitchilterns.co.uk/walkingfest.html 

 

There are over 50 walks and events with highlights including:

 

  • ‘Meet the maker’ craft walks – from pit fired ceramics to saddle making- and Arts and Crafts architect walks in Amersham
  • Outdoor cooking for the family at Path Hill Outdoors near Reading
  • Beacons of the Past Hillfort walks – and a tour of Danesfield House Hotel Water Garden
  • Fungus walk, bat walk, autumn colours and wildlife safari
  • ‘These Little Piggies’ farm tour
  • Windswept Watercolour Workshop
  • Brakspear paths, pints and pies – a guided walk along the River Thames followed by a micro-brewery tour at the Bull in Henley

Remembrance Day

Just a reminder to parishes to let me know if they would like a Remembrance Day wreath from the county council as soon as possible so that I can place the order for for those.

 

 

County Council Update

from County Cllr Anne Wight

September 2018

 

 

Brownlow Bridge closure dates and TfB Update

I now have the following dates for the scheduled refurbishment of the Brownlow Bridge traffic lights.

 

The planned completion date for Stoke Hammond Bypass is Sunday 7th October so as discussed to avoid conflicting diversion signs and inconvenience to residents we will start Horton Road Canal Bridge on Monday 8th October with planned completion on 23rdOctober.

 

The road closure will be from 0930-1500 each weekday to avoid disruption to the school transport that uses Horton Road.  Temporary traffic lights will be in place at all other times.

 

In addition next week repairs have been arranged for the sensors for the traffic lights at Cheddington Station Bridge and Cooks Wharf Canal Bridge so both are working more efficiently.

 

Roadworks.org has been updated with the latest dates.

 

 

Household Recycling Center Service Consultation

As recycling is one of those issues which affects us all locally, I would like to draw everyone’s attention to the current consultation on this on the Buckinghamshire County Council website. 

What we are consulting on

  

  • Whether to close one site or two - our preferred option for closure of one site would be Bledlow, and for two sites would be Bledlow and Burnham

 

  • Which two weekdays it would it better to close Aylesbury (Rabans Lane), Burnham and Chesham sites
  • Whether to charge residents from outside Buckinghamshire for using our sites stop them using the sites altogether or continue to allow them the same access as Buckinghamshire residents.

 

Further Information

There’s a good deal of information on our Consultation webpage (https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/waste-and-recycling/hrc456/ )  that explains what we’ve done during the service review and how we’ve developed the consultation. If you have any questions, the answers can hopefully be found there.

 

How to have your say

You can let us have your views by completing our online survey which can be accessed via the “Have your say” link on the BCC homepage.  Alternatively, you can access it via the link here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/g9wpw5j 

 

If you would prefer to complete a printed copy of the survey we have attached it below so you can print it off and drop it into any library or council office or return it by post to:

 

Waste & Recycling Team.Floor 7, County Hall, Walton Street, Aylesbury, HP20 1UY.

 

What happens next?

The consultation feedback will be reviewed and included in a report to Cabinet in December 2018. Cabinet will then make a final decision on which service changes will take place from April 2019. We will publish the results of the consultation and details of the decision on our Consultation webpage in January 2019.

 

Contact

If you have any questions about this consultation please email the Waste & Recycling Team on waste_strategy@buckscc.gov.uk

 

Many thanks for helping us through your feedback!

Parking Permits

On the 27 September 2018 Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) will launch ‘virtual permits’ for on-street parking, along with online applications for all other permit types. The new virtual permits will reduce the time it takes to apply for, and receive, a permit - currently, it can take up to 14 working days to receive a permit, but a virtual permit becomes live as soon as it is approved. Enforcement officers will know instantly if a vehicle has an active permit via their handheld devices.

Virtual permits will be available for all types of on-street parking. This means that people will no longer have to display a permit when parking a car in a permitted area anywhere in Buckinghamshire. This includes resident permits, dispensations and carer permits, as well as other types of on street parking permits.

 

This should make it quicker and easier to apply for a permit, as the application process will be simplified. Requests for permits and any changes made to existing permits will be effective immediately and they are also now environmentally friendly as there is no paper involved.

 

It is recognised that some residents may have issues relating to internet access, so alternatives will be put in place to ensure they can still obtain the virtual permits.

All current permit holders are being written to with further details.

 

 

Children in Care

 

I was very pleased to have been able to attend the We Do Care Celebration Event in High Wycombe on 21 August.  It was very well attended by our kids in care and their foster families as well as by several of our county councilors.  The event featured several bouncy castles, an ice cream van, Thames Valley police vehicles and Buckinghamshire  Fire and Rescue vehicles with their teams, and special guest speaker Ashley John-Baptiste, formerly from the X-Factor and now working as a BBC journalist.  Ashley himself went through the care system and was particularly inspiring as a speaker.  As the number of kids in care is rising nationally and in Buckinghamshire, it is becoming even more important for us to find people willing to come forward as foster carers. 

If you feel that you might be interested in becoming a foster carer, you can get more information via our Facebook page and Twitter page links below:


https://www.facebook.com/adoptionbucks   and

 
https://www.facebook.com/FosterBucks/

 

Twitter is @Bucksadoption -https://twitter.com/BucksAdoption

 

And via the Family Information Service link here: 

https://www.facebook.com/bucksfamilyinfo/ 

 

Or contact me at awight@buckscc.gov.uk and I will be happy to put you in touch with the relevant officers at Bucks County Council. 

 

 

The Chiltern Walking Festival

 

The Chiltern Walking Festival will be taking place between the 6th and 21st October. If you wish to book or for more information, please see their website below:

 

https://www.visitchilterns.co.uk/walkingfest.html 

 

There are over 50 walks and events with highlights including:

 

  • ‘Meet the maker’ craft walks – from pit fired ceramics to saddle making- and Arts and Crafts architect walks in Amersham
  • Outdoor cooking for the family at Path Hill Outdoors near Reading
  • Beacons of the Past Hillfort walks – and a tour of Danesfield House Hotel Water Garden
  • Fungus walk, bat walk, autumn colours and wildlife safari
  • ‘These Little Piggies’ farm tour
  • Windswept Watercolour Workshop
  • Brakspear paths, pints and pies – a guided walk along the River Thames followed by a micro-brewery tour at the Bull in Henley

Remembrance Day

Just a reminder to parishes to let me know if they would like a Remembrance Day wreath from the county council as soon as possible so that I can place the order for for those.

 

 

 

 

County Council Update

from County Councillor Anne Wight

July 2018       

 

 

Arriva Bus Changes

From 30th July 2018 route 61 will be operated by Red Eagle instead of Arriva. Red Eagle are based in Aylesbury and a sister company of Redline Buses who run Service 164 to Cheddington.  Full timetables for these changes can be found on the BCC website.

 

Rural Bus Survey

At the moment, Bucks County Council is in the process of reviewing views on rural bus routes until 20 July on the BCC website.  We would like as many residents as possible to provide their views.

Background

Many of the bus routes serving rural areas of Buckinghamshire need ongoing financial support from the County Council to operate. We want as many people as possible in our village communities to have access to public transport, so you can get out and about and do what’s important to you, such as go to the doctors, the shops or visit friends and family.  We need to plan carefully to make sure we use this money as effectively as possible.

  

How to have your say

Please complete the online survey which you can find on the BCC website or by using the link address below.

 

If you would prefer to fill in a printed version of the survey or would like an Easy Read version, please find on the website to print off. Alternatively, they are available at any Buckinghamshire library or from our Public Transport Team (see contact details below).

 

What happens next?

We’ll review all the survey feedback this summer, and later in 2018 we’ll carry out a consultation on any proposed changes.

 

Contact

Enquiries about this review can be made by email to our Public Transport Team on passtrans@buckscc.gov.uk or by phoning 01296 382416.

 

https://democracy.buckscc.gov.uk/mgConsultationDisplay.aspx?ID=7382 

 

London Luton Airport Ltd Non-Statutory Expansion Consultation

As Pitstone residents have been very vocal in their concerns to me about aircraft noise and particularly night flights, London Luton Airport are consulting on expansion plans and have invited communities and stakeholders to participate.

The consultation runs until 31 August, 2018 and  information can be accessed via this link:

https://futureluton.llal.org.uk

The events timetable is included for your convenience below.

At our request at the LLACC meeting last week, it was agreed by LLAL to also hold an event at Pitstone Memorial Hall on 31 July from 4 – 8 pm.  I made the point that several Pitstone residents have contacted me to indicate that they do feel very strongly about aircraft noise and so this additional event has now been included in the timetable, and there will be more information on that on the various websites as well.

Do please turn up to have your say!

 

Non Statutory Consultation events

Date

Time

Venue

Monday 9 July 2018

2pm until 8pm

University of Bedfordshire, Luton Campus, Vicarage Street, Luton LU1 3JU

Tuesday 10 July 2018

2pm until 8pm

Oaklands College, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire AL8 6AH

Wednesday 11 July 2018

2pm until 8pm

Eaton Bray Village Hall, Church Lane, Eaton Bray, Dunstable, Bedfordshire LU6 2DJ

Friday 13 July 2018

2pm until 8pm

Jubilee Centre, Catherine Street, St Albans, Hertfordshire AL3 5BU

Monday 16 July 2018

2pm until 8pm

Hitchin Town Hall, Brand Street, Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1HX

Tuesday 17 July 2018

2pm until 8pm

The Old Town Hall, High Street, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire HP1 3AE

Wednesday 18 July 2018

2pm until 8pm

Southdown Room, Harpenden Public Halls, Southdown Road, Harpenden, Hertfordshire AL5 1PD

Saturday 21 July 2018

1.30pm until 5pm

Raynham Community Centre, 66 Eaton Green Road, Luton LU2 9JE

Monday 23 July 2018

2pm until 8pm

Ellen Terry Room, 2nd Floor, Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre, Lytton Way, Hertfordshire SG1 1LZ

Wednesday 25 July 2018

4pm until 8pm

Mead Hall, East Lane, Wheathampstead, St Albans, Hertfordshire AL4 8BP

Thursday 26 July 2018

2pm until 8pm

The Incuba, 1 Brewers Hill Road, Dunstable, Bedfordshire LU6 1AA

Friday 27 July 2018

2pm until 8pm

Breachwood Green Village Hall, Chapel Road, Breachwood Green, Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG4 8NX

Saturday 28 July 2018

1pm until 4:30pm

Flamstead Village Hall, Church Road, St Albans, Hertfordshire AL3 8BN

Monday 30 July 2018

2pm until 8pm

Stockwood Discovery Centre, London Road, Luton LU1 7HA

Wednesday 1 August 2018

2pm until 8pm

Caddington Sports and Social Club, Manor Road, Caddington, Luton LU1 4HH

Thursday 2 August 2018

4pm until 8pm

Whitwell New Fellowship Hall, 9 Bendish Lane, Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG4 8HX

Saturday 4 August 2018

12pm until 4:30pm

Linslade Community Hall, Waterloo Road, Linslade, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire LU7 2NR

 

Additional:   Tuesday 31st July at Pitstone Memorial Hall, Vicarage Rd, Pitstone, Leighton Buzzard LU7 9EY, open to the public from 4pm – 8pm.

 

Early Help Consultation planned for October

The Council will be starting a new consultation process on how families are supported through its Early Help services.

Further details will be provided when the consultation is launched in October 2018.

The timeline for this consultation is as follows:

Pre-Consultation - July - August 2018

  • BMG Research (independent research agency) carries out in-depth interviews with residents, partners and organisations*
  • Design of the consultation

Public Consultation - October 2018 for 10 weeks

  • Survey published for residents, partners and organisations to respond to
  • Public meetings held across Buckinghamshire

 Cabinet Decision - March 2019

  • Decision made on Early Help service
  • Details and timeline for the start of new service arrangements provided

 

*Please note that residents, partners and organisations will be invited to take part in this part of the consultation. It is extremely important that in the first phase of the research, views about each of the services we currently provide are heard from the people using them. This means that the information that is collected is fair and unbiased.

 

 

 

County Council Update

from County Councillor Anne Wight

June 2018  

 

Brownlow Bridge Damage and Closure

As you may know, the Brownlow Bridge near Ivinghoe was badly damaged by a van on Monday this week and there is now a large gap in the brickwork on the bridge.

Unfortunately, the bridge is no longer safe for use, by cars, cyclists or pedestrians, necessitating a full closure for a period of approximately three months.

TfB is working with the Canal and River Trust, who are responsible for repairing the bridge.  As TfB was due to replace the traffic lights on the bridge over the forthcoming school holiday period, and it is hoped that this work can be done once the bridge is made safe again. 

Diversions will be in place throughout this period. 

Marsworth Traffic Lights

I have made TfB aware of a resident’s concerns regarding the placement of the secondary light behind the primary when the lights were recently replaced.  TfB have re-examined the site and have taken on board the resident’s concerns, although have restated that the lights are legally positioned and that similar arrangements exist in other parts of the country.  The arrangement was changed to allow for greater worker safety when maintaining the lights in future when working on the lights so close to the canal bridge.  However, they have agreed to monitor the situation with a view to possibly adding another light should it be deemed necessary. I will keep MPC apprised of any developments in this regard.

Healthwatch Bucks

I was very pleased to have been invited to attend the recent Healthwatch Bucks meeting in Pitstone.  Healthwatch Bucks works closely with BCC and the NHS in order to improve patient care and experience.  They do this through inviting patients to express their ideas and opinions and provide feedback on health services in Bucks, so that it can be considered and acted upon by the health authorities to improve service.

Their priorities for 2017-2018 are Mental Health and Wellbeing, Prevention and Primary Care, and Transition to and within Social Care.  They do online reporting of patient surveys and provide signposting to services, which helps service users understand what they can expect from the NHS and other health and care services. They often direct people to information that is already in the public domain but is hard to find. This includes information to help people understand any choices they may have regarding these services.

For more information, you can contact Healthwatch Bucks on 0845 260 6216 – Monday to Thursday between 9am and 5pm – or you can email info@healthwatchbucks.co.uk or explore their homepage at

 

https://www.healthwatchbucks.co.uk 

 

NPHT Recruitment

NPHT --- Chairman and Trustee recruitment

 

As you may know, I am a Trustee for the National Paralympic Heritage Trust as part of my role at BCC.  The NPHT was established on 11th November 2015, exists to enlighten and inspire future generations by celebrating, cherishing and bringing the Paralympic heritage and its stories of human endeavour to life.

The NPHT is currently looking to appoint up to three independent Trustees, ideally with an understanding of, and access to, important networks or contacts in the sport and/or heritage sectors, who are also committed to NPHT aims and values, and to equality and diversity.

They are specifically looking for people with skills and experience in one of the following areas:

  • Culture and heritage sector - including collections and archives, and engagement in particular.
  • Fundraising experience - particularly in the cultural sector.
  • Finance experience - ideally with a formal financial qualification to support sound financial management within the Trust.

 

Applications should be received by Monday 2nd July 2018. Interviews will take place in July. 

 

For more information or to apply, please download the Trustee welcome pack here or request one by email at vicky.hopewalker@paralympicheritage.org.uk

 

For an informal discussion, please contact: Emma Boggis, one of the current member appointed Trustees, on 0207 976 3941 or eboggis@sportandrecreation.org.uk

Do please also check out the NPHT website at the link below:

https://www.paralympicheritage.org.uk/news/trustees-at-npht

 

Rural Bus Route Survey

Overview

We are reviewing the rural bus services that receive financial support from Buckinghamshire County Council and we would like to hear from people about routes affecting our division!

 

Dates

This survey is open for responses from 7 June to 20 July 2018

 

Background

Many of the bus routes serving rural areas of Buckinghamshire need ongoing financial support from the County Council to operate. We want as many people as possible in our village communities to have access to public transport, so you can get out and about and do what’s important to you, such as go to the doctors, the shops or visit friends and family.  We need to plan carefully to make sure we use this money as effectively as possible.

 

Further information about the review is available on the Bucks County Council website at the following link or by clicking on “Have Your Say” on the homepage.
 

https://democracy.buckscc.gov.uk/mgConsultationDisplay.aspx?ID=7382

 

How to have your say

Please complete the online survey!

 

If you would prefer to fill in a printed version of the survey or would like an Easy Read version, there is a print option as well. Alternatively, they are available at any Buckinghamshire library or from our Public Transport Team (see contact details below).

 

What happens next?

We’ll review all the survey feedback this summer, and later in 2018 we’ll carry out a consultation on any proposed changes. Updates on the review will be available on our website here

 

Contact

Enquiries about this review can be made by email to our Public Transport Team on passtrans@buckscc.gov.uk or by phoning 01296 382416.

 

 

My new role

I am happy to say that at the last council meeting I was appointed as the Deputy Cabinet Member for Education, and so will be moving over from Communities and Public Health.  A few of us newer deputy members have been reshuffled in order to provide us with a broader experience base and more detailed knowledge of other portfolios.  I look forward very much to working with Cabinet Member Mike Appleyard, who is the Cabinet Member for Education.

 

 

 

 

 

County Council Update

from County Councillor Anne Wight

May 2018     

 

The “Minded to” Decision for a Single Unitary for Buckinghamshire

As you may have heard, former Local Government Secretary, Sajid Javid, has stated that he is minded to create a single unitary authority in Buckinghamshire. 


It’s important to be clear that - should the government take a final decision to implement a single unitary - the result would be a brand new council to replace the existing five district and county councils across Buckinghamshire. An Implementation Executive (made up of elected members from each of the existing five councils) would be established to work together to lead the preparations for the new council and make decisions about future arrangements.
 

Key benefits of a unitary council for town and parish councils:

  • A flexible partnership offer that reflects the differing sizes, geographies and resources of parish and town councils – more choice about which assets and services (if any) you take on, together with a package of funding and support to allow this to be sustainable and successful.
  • A more responsive agile service: service delivery based locally through community hubs, able to respond more quickly to local requests and your needs for any changes in service delivery.
  • Greater local influence, choice and decision making - putting real decision-making power in the hands of local people: a new network of community boards with powers and budget to take decisions for local areas, providing greater scope to represent residents in decision-making on the future of local services.
  • The opportunity to take even greater ownership for the local environment, with associated opportunities to generate local employment.
  • Higher levels of public satisfaction as a result of enabling services to be more tailored to meet local needs through this approach.
  • More substantial roles to attract candidates to join the local council.

 

The New Council would mean considerable scale economies from not having duplicate services (e.g. bin collection and waste disposal handled by different councils), and would eliminate a lot of the confusion as to which council is responsible for which service. 

 

Communities will be free to take on the role they want in the services that matter to them, and will not be given accountabilities they don’t want and assets they don’t need.

We are encouraging people to write to the Secretary of State ---now James Brokenshire---to confirm their support for this opportunity to make local government in Buckinghamshire sustainable and fit for the future. The new council will save £45m over five years, offer better value to tax payers and be far simpler for them to do business with than the current model of five county and district councils. We are very grateful for the views and contributions to the debate that people have provided so far, and look forward to continuing our discussions to develop the detail of the future approach.

 

Please show your support for the change by writing to:

 

james.brokenshire@communities.gsi.gov.uk              

 

Potholes and Damaged Road Surfaces

I am pleased to say that at the recent Full Council meeting Buckinghamshire County Council voted to release £1.234m of County Council reserves to supplement existing funding to provide for predominately high quality plane and patch type repairs.

This will be in addition to the £1.1 m of funding for pothole repairs which has been given to Bucks County Council by the national government.

I was out recently with our Local Area Technician to survey the road surfaces across our Division and we are putting together a plan as to how we can best use this money to restore our local roads to good condition.

I am also aware of the flooding issue under the Cooks Wharf Bridge and the LAT and I went out to see that as well.  Although the surface water has now been dealt with and the gullies have been unblocked, we will be looking at some of the longer term runoff and drainage issues which led to the flooding to see if we can ensure that sufficient drainage is in place to prevent it recurring.

 

 

 

My Question on Freight Strategy to Cabinet Member from his Report to Full Council, as taken from the public record on the Bucks County Council website.

Questions to the Cabinet Member for Transportation from Ms A Wight:

Q:  I would just like to say that I know my residents thoroughly welcome the Cabinet Member’s initiative in providing Buckinghamshire with a Freight Strategy. As HGVs on narrow rural roads are causing my residents many concerns regarding road safety, traffic congestion during the school run, and loss of amenity, they are keen to know whether the final form of the Freight Strategy will include any form of enforcement, as is the case in our neighbouring counties of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire?

A:  Thank you for your support throughout the consultation. Once we have published the Freight Strategy, we will be investigating the problems in rural areas that have been raised through the consultation to seek possible solutions and develop an action plan. This could include enforcement action as a last resort when other solutions are not possible and budget allows. I am pleased that Council agreed resources to implement the Freight Strategy which includes a new designated Freight Officer position, as well as over £700k for physical measures over the next four years.

 

Marsworth Traffic Lights

Due to a resident expressing concern about the position of the secondary traffic light at the Marsworth bridge after the lights were recently replaced, I have raised this issue with TfB and am awaiting their response.  I share the resident’s concern at the placement of this light and am working to see what can be done to improve the situation.  I will report back to the parish council once I have had a response from TfB.

 

National Paralympic Heritage Trust Chairman and Trustee Recruitment

The National Paralympic Heritage Trust, which was established on 11th November 2015, exists to enlighten and inspire future generations by celebrating, cherishing and bringing the Paralympic heritage and its stories of human endeavour to life.

The NPHT is looking to appoint up to three independent Trustees, ideally with an understanding of, and access to, important networks or contacts in the sport and/or heritage sectors, who are also committed to NPHT aims and values, and to equality and diversity.

They are specifically looking for people with skills and experience in one of the following areas:

  • Culture and heritage sector - including collections and archives, and engagement in particular.
  • Fundraising experience - particularly in the cultural sector.
  • Finance experience - ideally with a formal financial qualification to support sound financial management within the Trust.

Closing Date - Applications should be received by Monday 2nd July 2018. Interviews will take place in July. 

 

For more information or to apply, please download the Trustee welcome pack here or request one by email at vicky.hopewalker@paralympicheritage.org.uk

 

For an informal discussion, please contact: Emma Boggis, one of the current member appointed Trustees, on 0207 976 3941 or eboggis@sportandrecreation.org.uk

 

Do please also check out the NPHT website at the link below:

https://www.paralympicheritage.org.uk/news/trustees-at-npht

 

Grass Cutting Schedule

For information on grass cutting schedules, please see the link below.  Depending on parish agreements for devolved services, some grass cutting may be the responsibility of the parishes. 

https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/transport-and-roads/road-maintenance-and-repairs/grass-cutting/

 

Anaerobic Digester

In response to the query at the last Local Area Forum meeting on the anaerobic digester at Westcott, I have been informed that over the last month the owners of the Westcott facility have been in contact with BCC about  their intention to sell this facility.  BCC only recently had it confirmed that it has been sold to Olleco, who already operate a similar facility next to the Arla factory just off the A41.    Officers at Buckinghamshire County Council have since held a meeting with Olleco and from their early conversations it seems that to date there are no intentions to close the facility at Westcott.  


For more information there are some article links below

 

 

https://www.letsrecycle.com/news/latest-news/olleco-buys-aylesbury-plant-renewi/

 

County Council Update

from County Councillor Anne Wight

April 2018       

 

Sajid Javid’s “Minded to” Decision for a Single Unitary for Buckinghamshire

As you may have heard, Local Government Secretary, Sajid Javid, has stated that he is minded to create a single unitary authority in Buckinghamshire. 


It’s important to be clear that - should the government take a final decision to implement a single unitary - the result would be a brand new council to replace the existing five district and county councils across Buckinghamshire. An Implementation Executive (made up of elected members from each of the existing five councils) would be established to work together to lead the preparations for the new council and make decisions about future arrangements.
 
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to combine best practice from across our existing councils, join up and redesign services to focus on local residents’ needs, and of course to save many millions of taxpayer pounds to plough back into frontline services. The savings assumptions of £18m a year are prudent estimates which have been independently verified by a third party.

The new council would provide access to services at a very local level for residents through a network of community hubs in locations across the county; and the formation of community boards across Buckinghamshire would put real decision-making power in the hands of local people, empowering them to meet the differing needs of local communities.
  
Town and parish councils are central to any future unitary model and will be key partners in all aspects of this work. We will all need to work together to ensure a smooth transition and make sure we do not lose the expertise and innovative, customer-focused approaches from across all our existing councils.

 

Key benefits of a unitary council for town and parish councils:

  • A flexible partnership offer that reflects the differing sizes, geographies and resources of parish and town councils – more choice about which assets and services (if any) you take on, together with a package of funding and support to allow this to be sustainable and successful.
  • A more responsive agile service: service delivery based locally through community hubs, able to respond more quickly to local requests and your needs for any changes in service delivery.
  • Greater local influence, choice and decision making - putting real decision-making power in the hands of local people: a new network of community boards with powers and budget to take decisions for local areas, providing greater scope to represent residents in decision-making on the future of local services.
  • The opportunity to take even greater ownership for the local environment, with associated opportunities to generate local employment.
  • Higher levels of public satisfaction as a result of enabling services to be more tailored to meet local needs through this approach.
  • More substantial roles to attract candidates to join the local council.

 

The New Council would save more than £18 m per year, there would be considerable scale economies from not having duplicate services (e.g. bin collection and waste disposal handled by different councils), and would eliminate a lot of the confusion as to which council is responsible for which service. 

 

Communities will be free to take on the role they want in the services that matter to them, and will not be given accountabilities they don’t want and assets they don’t need.

We are encouraging people to write to the Secretary of State to confirm their support for this opportunity to make local government in Buckinghamshire sustainable and fit for the future. The new council will save £45m over five years, offer better value to tax payers and be far simpler for them to do business with than the current model of five county and district councils. We are very grateful for the views and contributions to the debate that people have provided so far, and look forward to continuing our discussions to develop the detail of the future approach.

 

Please show your support for the change by writing to:

sajid.javid@communities.gsi.gov.uk

 

 

Potholes and Damaged Road Surfaces

 

Unfortunately due to the especially cold winter, new potholes have emerged in many of our roads due to the combination of freezing weather and ice in and on road surfaces.

 

To help improve road surfaces, Buckinghamshire is getting over £1 million from the government for the roads for repairs and road surface maintenance.   

 

I am also pleased to report that we councillors have been given a small fund to be used to improve roads through jetpatching over the next few months.  I will be discussing with our Local Area Technician the roads most in need of repair throughout our villages so that they get the attention they need.

Children’s Centers

Over the last few months, the council has been talking with local councillors, residents, schools and partners, holding public meetings and sharing plans for the new early help service and the suggested future use of children’s centres and youth buildings in the local community.

As a result of these conversations, the council wants to do more to capture the views of residents and local families before implementing the new service and will be carrying out a further public consultation in the next few months. As such, the council will not be implementing the decision made by Cabinet on 8 January 2018 in relation to moving to the new service.

Dates for the next stage of the consultation process will be forthcoming soon.

 

Freight Strategy Consultation

The next phase of the Freight Strategy Consultation is still running until  9 April, 2018.  Please encourage as many residents as possible to participate, as their contributions and viewpoints are essential to ensuring that Bucks County Council and Transport for Bucks gets this strategy right to create the best possible outcome for our residents.

Road works on Cooks Wharf, Cheddington

There will be a road closure on High Street, Cheddington some time between 9th April and 13th July, 2018 for the distance from the 30 mph sign to Cooks Wharf.  This will affect traffic on Cheddington High Street, Mentmore Road, Long Marston Road, Cheddington Lane, Tring Road, Wingrave Road, Lower Icknield Way, Cheddington Road and vice versa.

Diversions will be in place as indicated below, and I will confirm exact dates once those are made available to me.

Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week

I would also like to remind everyone that Maternal Mental Health Matters Awareness Week will run this year from  30th April - 6th May​.  Last year, the first ever UK Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week was held in line with World Maternal Mental Health Day and it was a huge success with coverage across the whole of the UK.

 

As I was one of those mums who suffered with perinatal anxiety and later postnatal depression, this is an area where I feel that I have a duty as a county councillor to champion this cause and ensure that any mum who is similarly affected gets all the help and support available.  The Perinatal Mental Health Partnership (PMHP) will be running events throughout the week aimed at raising awareness of mental health issues in new mums and mums-to-be.  For more information follow the PMHP as detailed below:

 

Twitter : Follow us at @PMHPuk

Facebook : Like our page - https://m.facebook.com/PerinatalMHPartnershipUK/

 

 

 

County Council Update

from County Councillor Anne Wight

March 2018  

 

Freight Strategy Consultation

The next phase of the Freight Strategy Consultation will run from 26 February until 9 April, 2018.  Please encourage as many residents as possible to participate, as their contributions and viewpoints are essential to ensuring that Bucks County Council and Transport for Bucks gets this strategy right to create the best possible outcome for our residents.

 

Temporary Traffic Lights on Lower Icknield Way, Marsworth

Starting on 5 March, 2018 works will begin to replace the expired traffic signal equipment on Canal Bridge, Lower Icknield Way in Marsworth.  These works should be finished by 23 March, 2018.  A day time road closure is anticipated from 9:30 am – 15:30 between 12th March until 23rd March in order to provide safe working space due to the width of the road and bridge.  There will be a diversion route in place, and there will be advanced notice road signs warning drivers of the closure to be placed, as well as letters and email to the relevant parish councils and district councilors. 

 

Safe in Bucks Consultation

A short consultation questionnaire from our Communities Cabinet Member, Noel Brown, can be found on the link below and will help us evaluate your priorities for making Buckinghamshire a safer place to live.  Please let us know your views!

https://www.research.net/r/safeinbucks

 

Next Local Area Forum Meeting

Due to adverse weather conditions last week, the LAF had to be postponed.  It will now be held at 7 pm on 19 March at Mentmore Village Hall.

 


   National CSE Awareness Day - helping to keep children safe from exploitation


 

 

Pledge your support and know the signs of abuse to help keep all children safe against child sexual exploitation – that’s the call from Buckinghamshire's Safeguarding Children Board to mark National CSE Awareness day on Sunday 18 March.

National CSE Awareness day aims to highlight the issue of child sexual exploitation by encouraging everyone to think about, spot the signs and speak out against all forms of child exploitation and abuse. 

You can show your support for the national campaign via social media by writing a personal pledge on your hand, taking a photo and posting it to your facebook, twitter, instagram or other social media account using the hashtags #HelpingHands and #CSEDay18. Search the hashtags to see examples.

Child sexual exploitation is a form of sexual abuse that happens when a child or young person is tricked or forced into doing something sexual in return for things like attention, money, drugs, gifts or alcohol. It is illegal, although young people might not always see it that way, because they are groomed and manipulated by their abusers. Over time, abusers can manipulate a child to do things they think they are enjoying or things they are ashamed of. By the time the child realises there is something wrong, they can feel trapped and be too frightened or ashamed to tell anyone.

Safeguarding Board partners are running an information stall at Friars Square shopping centre in Aylesbury on Monday 12 March between 3pm and 5pm to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation, giving the public advice on how to spot warning signs and how to report concerns about a child. 

Fran Gosling-Thomas, Chair of Buckinghamshire’s Safeguarding Children Board said: “We are pleased to support this very important campaign in Buckinghamshire. Grooming and sexual exploitation can happen to any child or young person, both in real-life face to face situations and online, with online grooming playing an increasingly large part in exploitation. The safeguarding of our children and young people in Buckinghamshire is everyone’s responsibility, and it is essential that people stay alert to the signs of child sexual exploitation so that we can all play our part in helping to keep children safe.”

A parent of a Buckinghamshire child affected by child sexual exploitation is urging people to ensure they are well-informed: “Several years ago, my child was a victim of abuse through child sexual exploitation. In 2018, this abuse is still happening, in Bucks.

“In the time it’s taken me to write these words, how many children across Buckinghamshire are being directly affected by this form of abuse? It’s all our communities’ responsibility to educate themselves, understand the process of grooming and where we see it occurring, report it so a child does not have to suffer a moment longer. These children could be anyone’s child. Mine, yours, a family member, your child’s best friend from school, anyone. 

“Child Sexual Exploitation isn’t going to go away by itself – we have to act and work together to make it go away. All our children deserve a future free from abuse or exploitation. Only working together as a whole community can we make that happen.”

Warren Whyte, Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, says the National Awareness Day is an ideal opportunity for people to show their support and understand more about child exploitation in order to help others: “It can be very difficult for children and young people affected by CSE to recognise what has happened to them. It’s crucial that we are all aware of the warning signs of child sexual exploitation - the more we all understand, the better we are able to protect children.

“Our message is simple: if you see something that doesn't seem right, say something. Contact our Children’s Social Care team, or talk to someone about it. It may be nothing but it may also save a child from becoming a victim of exploitation.

“Tackling child sexual exploitation remains a priority for the County Council - we pledge that we will listen to you, we will support you and we will act.” 

Buckinghamshire’s Safeguarding Children Board is a collaboration of agencies who work with children and young people in the county, and includes Buckinghamshire County Council, the four district councils, Thames Valley Police, Barnardo’s R U Safe, and health organisations. Together, they run a partnership CSE awareness campaign, ‘RUWise2it?' which provides parents and the public with information on how to spot the signs of exploitation and how to report concerns. Visit
www.RUWise2it.co.uk to find out more.

Find out more about National CSE Awareness Day at 
www.stop-cse.org

How to get help or report a concern: 
If you are concerned about a young person you can contact the First Response Team (Children’s Social Care) on 0845 460 0001 or 01296 383962 or email: 
secure-cypfirstresponse@buckscc.gcsx.gov.uk

If you think a child or young person is in immediate danger call 999. Alternatively contact your local police on 101 who will have a dedicated team you can talk to about child sexual exploitation.

Buckinghamshire also has a countywide ‘R-U-Safe?’ service for young people run by Barnardo’s, which is able to offer advice and support to any young person worried about these issues. Email:
rusafe@barnardos.org.uk, text 07546 075 638 or visit www.barnardos.org.uk/rusafebucks

ChildLine also offers support directly to children and young people – contact them on 0800 1111 or visit their website www.childline.org.uk

 

 

 

County Council Update

from County Councillor Anne Wight

February 2018  

 


 

 

 

Station Road roadworks in Cheddington

While the works for these are ongoing and expected to be completed some time within the next few weeks, there have been reports of residents moving the Diversion signs near the King’s Head and the Church at Ivinghoe, as well as some barriers in Cheddington.  Please remind all residents that moving signs associated with roadworks or diversions is against the law.  Moreover, if the roadworks team has to put signs and barriers back into place, that further delays the completion of the works.  Many thanks for MPC’s assistance in reminding residents to leave the signs and barriers in place for the duration of any road works.

 

Pitstone to Marsworth Footpath

This has now been commissioned by TfB and the works are scheduled to commence from the 5th of February for 8 – 10 weeks.  All site clearance should be completed before March.  It is envisaged that work teams will be on the B489 carriageway between 9:30 – 15:30 each day and traffic arrangements are being finalised at the moment.  

 

Marsworth Airfield Planning Application 15/00374/APP

Many residents have written to me in regards to this application from the surrounding villages in Bucks but also from Herts as there is some concern regarding additional HGV and industrial vehicle movements across the Division should this application succeed.    I redirected them to post their comments on the AVDC planning application website and they have now done so.  I have commented to oppose the application and Bucks County Council is also opposing the application on the grounds of highway safety.   This application is likely to go to Committee at AVDC some time in the next few weeks. 

 

 

LLACC and Heathrow Expansion consultations

At the LLACC meeting on Monday 22 January the subject of aircraft noise was raised by councillors from surrounding councils.  It was noted that noise complaints were up significantly between July to September 2017 at 5,785, as compared with the same quarter last year which had only 1,866 noise complaints logged.  

 

With regard to future expansion, Luton Airport will start consultation later this year on expanding the airport from 18 million passengers a year to 38 million. As part of the expansion the Airport will need to also consult three times on changes to airspace as they refine options down to dedicated flight paths. If you are affected by aircraft noise from Luton Airport and want to influence future flight paths then you should complain if an aircraft is unusually low or noisy. Complaints can be made at:

 

https://www.london-luton.co.uk/corporate/community/noise/making-a-noise-complaint  

 

 

 

 

Opportunities in Bucks

The Opps in Bucks website is a really useful tool for any local businesses who would like to get involved in offering young people in our area apprenticeships or work opportunities.  This is a networking tool which puts young people in Bucks in touch with businesses and education opportunities to allow them to obtain further skills and work experience, and at the same time means that our local businesses can tap into the energy, enthusiasm and skills base that our young people have to offer.

 

The website is easy to navigate, and for young people looking for opportunities, there is a Wannabe icon at the far right of the page which links to specific work experiences on offer by businesses along with apprenticeships and various jobs currently being advertised.

 

The links are below, and well worth exploring for any young people wondering about their next steps as they move into work experience.

 

https://oppsinbucks.org 

 

https://wannabebucks.org/?utm_source=Oppsinbucks&utm_campaign=icon&utm_medium=homepage

 

 

 

Royal British Legion News

With Remembrance being led by the Legion since 1921, the commemoration of the end of the First World War is going to be one of the most memorable and significant moments in the history of the charity and the entire nation.

 

During the last 100 days of the centenary, from 8th August to 11th November, the Royal British Legion wants to encourage everyone to thank those who fought, those who returned, and those who worked to rebuild the country for future generations and achieved incredible advancements in many areas including medicine, the arts, and everyday life.

 

Please visit the Thank You Webpage which can be found at the link below to find out more and watch their short film. Further news about the Thank You movement will be released in the coming months.

 

https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/remembrance/ww1-centenary/thank-you/     

 

Also as part of the centenary commemorations, this summer the Legion will re-enact the original ‘Great Pilgrimage’ of 90 years ago, when 11,000 people visited the battlefields and the graves of their loved ones in France and Belgium. On August 8th, thousands of Legion members will re-tread those footsteps and proudly march through the famous Menin Gate in Ypres.

 

The occasion will be a powerful act of Remembrance, bringing together Legion Branches and local communities. It is the presence at the ceremony of representation from more than 1,000 towns and villages from across the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, which marks this event as unique within the UK’s recent commemorative programme. Further details about how your community can become involved will be released in the coming months. Please visit the Great Pilgrimage 90 website at the link below to find out more.

 

https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/community/calendar/remembrance-services-and-events/great-pilgrimage-90/ 

 

 

 

Active Bucks

Residents may be interested in the Active Bucks website -  www.activebucks.co.uk - which holds over 1800 activities across Bucks and allows residents to filter activities by distance, activity type and day/time.

 

By registering on the website, residents can also download a voucher that allows them to access their first session free!

 

Local Area Forum Meeting

The next LAF meeting is scheduled for 1st March at 7pm at Ivinghoe Village Hall. 

 

  County Council Update

from County Councillor Anne Wight

January 2018  

 


 

Happy New Year Marsworth!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish Marsworth Parish Council a very Happy New Year and hope that 2018 brings much happiness and prosperity to MPC and all the residents of Marsworth!

 

Station Road Cheddington Diversions

From 10th January for approximately one month, Station Road, Cheddington will be closed completely from the junction of Mentmore Road for 640 meters. Diversion routes are being set up which will include Long Marston Road, Cheddington Lane, Tring Road, Wingrave Road, Lower Icknield Way, Marsworth Road, High Street, Church Road, Station Road, and Horton.

 

These works are expected to cause minor delays for local residents and restrictions on road parking in that area, but they are necessary due to Anglian Water pipe repair in Cheddington.

 

Planning Application 15/00374/APP for Marsworth Airfield

As MPC may know, this application is now due to go to Committee at AVDC some time in the next few months.  BCC is objecting to this application on several grounds, and the officer informs me that the deadline for comments is 31 January.  I am happy to consider resident viewpoints and the views of the MPC when drafting my comment, so do please feel free to express those to me either in person or via email, ideally in the next week or so if possible.

 

 

College Lake

I was very pleased last month to have been invited to see the wonderful nature reserve on our doorstep which is College Lake by the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT).

 

As residents may already know the Trust looks after 88 nature reserves across the three counties, covering about 2,500 hectares. Working closely with local communities, decision-makers, landowners and businesses, they work with and for nature.

 

All three counties have suffered 70 years of habitat destruction, with meadows, hedgerows and woods having disappeared under houses and roads. Consequently, BBOWT is restoring and creating more places for wildlife and people, where even small changes make a big difference.

 

Their aim is to lead the way for nature’s recovery, and connect people with nature, and their vision is for an environment rich in wildlife, valued by all.  Everyone can make a positive difference to their local environment.

 

If anyone is interested in joining the BBOWT, do please have a look at their website for the Highlights of 2017 below:

 

 https://youtu.be/sYmGL7V9av8

 

as well as their website at:  bbowt.org.uk

 

If anyone is interested in supporting the Trust, or would like more information about their work, please use the following email and they will be very happy to help you.

 

 biancarush@bbowt.org.uk

 

 

 

LLACC and Heathrow Expansion consultations

 

In the next few weeks, many residents in Bucks will receive a Heathrow Airport Expansion and Airspace Principles Consultation Leaflet.  This will provide details about the next public consultation, which will start on 17 January and run until 28 March 2018.  The leaflet will provide details about the consultation, how to respond, and a list of local consultation exhibition events that will be held during February and March. 

 

There is a short video which explains more about Heathrow’s forthcoming consultation below

 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&;v=TboP3BBiQRY   

 

 

The link below provides more information about Heathrow’s expansion plans. 

 

https://www.heathrowexpansion.com   

 

I am happy to take any resident viewpoints to the next LLACC meeting on 22 January later this month, as the officer working on this at BCC is also working on the Luton airport expansion as well. 

 

According to our BCC aviation planning officer, the next stage of this consultation in late 2018 will have some indication on possible impacts for Luton airport expansion.  Luton interim airspace change principles (2018 to 2025) are also likely to be consulted on from summer this year. 

 

 

Brexit Summit

 

I also found the recent Bucks Brexit Summit very informative and made a special effort to attend as it was hosted by Bucks County Council and Buckinghamshire Business First.  The focus of the summit was to look at the way that Brexit would affect Buckinghamshire and to work with local businesses to help shape the future and explore new export opportunities as Britain prepares to leave the EU. 

 

Buckinghamshire County Council has been proactive in taking a strategic lead in preparing for Brexit, recognising the Council’s place sharping role and the potential for the county to thrive in a post-Brexit environment.  Buckinghamshire’s unique strategic location and entrepreneurial dynamism mean it is perfectly placed to be the national economy’s growth engine leading the way in growing productivity and delivery the government’s Industrial Strategy. 

 

The Council has taken early action to recognise the local implications of Brexit and is taking steps to mitigate negative impacts and maximise emerging opportunities, setting up a task and finish group which coordinates our Brexit preparations as well as collaborating and sharing best practice with other local authorities and organisations across the country to help support learning and maximise opportunity.  The Council is also keen to lobby strongly for Buckinghamshire, to ensure our future relationship with Europe and any potential changes to legislation are as beneficial as possible to local businesses, public sector partners and ultimately, our residents.

 

As part of these preparations the Council has analysed its internal workforce finding that EEA nationals represent 3%, a lower percentage than ONS estimates of EU workers in the local workfoce at 5.6%.  As a large commissioning organisation (over 80% of all  Council expenditure is delivered by contractors and suppliers) the Council is engaged in ongoing discussions with suppliers to understand and monitor the potential impacts of Brexit, both from a workforce and supply chain perspective. 

 

As a place shaper, Buckinghamshire County Council is taking actions to realise Buckinghamshire’s potential and ensure the best possible outcome for Buckinghamshire as a place.  Working in partnership with Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP) and with Buckinghamshire Business First (BBF), the Council has produced detailed analysis of Buckinghamshire’s local economy, including workforce dependencies and trade relationships.

 

Fortunately, Buckinghamshire is close to major research institutions and well-placed to attract investment in research and innovation facilities to build on existing strengths in motor sport, high performance engineering, space propulsion and drones, agri-food and creative and digital industries.  BTVLEP and BBF are currently delivering programmes to accelerate innovation in growth-oriented firms and sectors, in particular, in high performance technology, life sciences and medical technologies, information economy, creative industries, food and drink, and business services. 

 

Buckinghamshire has over 34,000 businesses, ranging from Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to global players in their respective fields. 

 

Marsworth business owners and managers, as with other businesses in Bucks, should prepare for Brexit disruptions and opportunities, and although different businesses will have different priorities and exposures, the points below should be considered by all:

 

-         Prepare to compete in a global market and explore opportunities to expand to new markets

-         Prepare for short term disruption

-         Map the current supply chain, and consider exposure to short term disruptions and explore alternative suppliers where appropriate

-         Consider the impact of WTO tariffs on international trade and explore alternatives if affected

-         Join and utilise business networks (including sector-specific) to keep abreast of developments and lobby government effectively

 

Although government is quite rightly focused on the national and international ramifications of Brexit, it is important to consider local distinctions and how Brexit will affect different parts of the country in different ways.  This reality will pose unique challenges and opportunities which will need to be addressed at a local level but for which central government policies will be necessary to enable a successful outcome for each individual local area.  These might include:

 

-Negotiate and agree the future status of EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals in the EU (including future immigration policy)

 

-Continue investing in infrastructure projects (East-West Rail and additional infrastructure development).

 

-Commission and enable the publication of migration data at a local authority level and available ty sector and occupation

 

-Review the Shortage Occupation List to ensure it is aligned to the government’s Industrial Strategy and enabling the effective recruitment of talent to fuel economic growth

 

-Recognise local government’s unrivalled knowledge of local communities and key role in place shaping and driving economic growth.

 

The conclusion of the Brexit summit was that overall Buckinghamshire is well placed to succeed in a post-Brexit world, with one of the country’s most productive economies and with its strategic location within the Golden Triangle between Oxford, Cambridge and London, in what has been dubbed the Silicon Valley of the UK.  Buckinghamshire is also conveniently located near Heathrow, the UK’s gateway to the world which is only likely to become more important following its proposed expansion.

 

Although Brexit brings some uncertainty and issues to address, it is also a great opportunity for local businesses and partners in Buckinghamshire to take a proactive approach to ensure future success and post-Brexit prosperity in the “Entrepreneurial Heart of Britain”.  Coinciding with the emergence of disruptive technologies and unprecedented economic change, Brexit provides businesses, public sector organisations and government with the opportunity to evaluate how things are done and become more agile and innovative, ready to harness global opportunities post-Brexit.

 

Should any Marsworth businesses wish to explore further opportunities with Buckinghamshire Business First, do please get in touch!

 

 

 

 

County Council Update

from County Councillor Anne Wight

November 2017    

 


BCC Budget Public Consultation

 

Overview

Next year’s budget for Buckinghamshire is going to be shaped in the coming weeks. We need to know where you value the spend most, so that we can consider your views when the Council's Cabinet decides on a draft budget for next year. 

 

Dates

This consultation is open for responses from 17 October 2017 until 19 November 2017

 

Background

There’s no doubt about it, 2017 has been a challenging year so far. Developments at both a national and local level have meant huge changes in how we do things. With increased budget pressures from central government, coupled with the increasing needs of our ageing population, the rising number of school places required and growing social care costs, we are facing some really tough choices. The gap between what we want to achieve and the level of support and services we can realistically offer is going to be a difficult one to manage without changes and reductions to your services, which is always the last thing that we want to do.

 

We have responsibilities that we must carry out, statutory work and services to undertake - for example, the care of vulnerable children and adults, and maintaining our roads and pavements. This sits alongside other work that, although not a legal requirement, we still want to accomplish to ensure Buckinghamshire remains a safe, prosperous and healthy community. For example, working to reduce anti-social behaviour, running our country parks, delivering and supporting youth services and helping businesses to grow and provide employment.  As a council we deliver health and social care, education, transport and environment services to over 530,000 residents and more than 33,000 businesses. To some extent or other, these amenities touch you all in some way.

 

We want Buckinghamshire to continue to be a great place to live and work. However, budget pressures have meant we need to change how we provide some services, sometimes reducing what was done previously, and in other places working smarter and becoming more commercial. It’s a balancing act and we work hard every day in these increasingly testing times.

It’s challenging. It’s not easy and if we had more funds we would be spending differently. The fact of the matter is that with an ever-growing and ageing population, pressures on our budget increase, and really hard choices have to be made now to secure the future of essential services for all.

 

Next year’s budget for Buckinghamshire is going to be shaped in the coming weeks. We need to know where you value the spend most, so that we can consider your views when the Council's Cabinet considers and decides on a draft budget for next year.

 

Further information
You can read more about our draft plans for getting the best value from next year’s budget on the BCC website using the link below:

https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/council-and-democracy/finance/budget/budget-consultation-201819/

 

These plans are not set in stone, and you should never underestimate how much we need your input into setting our budget. It’s your money and we want to give you the very best value that we can.

How to have your say

Please complete our short online survey which you can access on the Buckinghamshire County Council website, by clicking the link

“Have your Say on current consultations” on the right side of the home page, which should direct you to this weblink and survey:

 

https://democracy.buckscc.gov.uk/mgConsultationDisplay.aspx?ID=4299

 

Contact

If you have any questions about this consultation please email Marcus Grupp on mgrupp@buckscc.gov.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

County Council Update

from County Councillor Anne Wight

August 2017    

 


Buckinghamshire Strategic Infrastructure Plan (BSIP)

 

The purpose of the BSIP is to shape and influence growth in Bucks in order to deliver the strategic outcomes of the Bucks County Council Strategic Plan – these are: Safeguarding Our Vulnerable, Creating Opportunities and Building Self Reliance and Ensuring Buckinghamshire is Thriving and Attractive and can be found here:

 

http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/council-and-democracy/our-plans/our-strategic-plan/        

 

 

The BSIP is intended to take a positive approach to development and outcome maximisation, influencing the delivery of services and the nature and location of strategic infrastructure investment.

 

A key objective of the BSIP is to maximise efficiencies in the delivery of services and infrastructure, including those relating to schools, flooding, energy and waste management, transport and highways, ecology and public health through the adoption of three spatial principles.  The application of spatial principles enables the County Council to most effectively plan and deliver services and work with key stakeholders to meet the service and infrastructure needs arising from additional housing and population growth in the most efficient and integrated way.  Commonly agreed strategic, spatial principles across all key stakeholders enable the effective co-ordination of growth and strategic infrastructure priorities across the District Local Plans, County-wide strategies and the Strategic Economic Plan for Bucks.

 

The County Council is not the Local Planning Authority for Buckinghamshire (with the notable exception of minerals and waste planning) as such the County Council is not seeking to take over the spatial planning role within the County; this role is clearly taken by the individual District Councils through their respective Local Plan processes.  As such the County Council is not seeking to make any new proposals for growth but to set out a non-statutory, strategic infrastructure plan for Buckinghamshire with which to influence and engage key stakeholders in strategic planning; to co-ordinate and effectively manage the strategic infrastructure and service pressures arising from housing and employment growth and nationally significant infrastructure projects within and across the border of Buckinghamshire.

 

The Strategic Infrastructure Plan is not a statutory planning document, it is intended to add value to the Local Plan process through strategic infrastructure planning; influence and engage key stakeholders in managing and mitigating growth impacts, including promoters of national infrastructure projects and key service providers.  This BSIP report (Part 1 - Spatial Principles) represents the first stage of the work that Local Partnerships is carrying out for Buckinghamshire County Council.

 

The report can be found here: 

 

https://democracy.buckscc.gov.uk/documents/s99779/Spatial%20Principles%20cabinet%20supporting%20document%20V7%2014-07-17%20WAP1.pdf 

 

The next steps which are currently underway in the preparation of the second stage of the BSIP (Part 2 – Infrastructure Priorities) are to consider:

 

Where and how the County Council can effectively influence growth and manage the provision of strategic infrastructure and services;
·  A more detailed approach to prioritising infrastructure and infrastructure funding (based on the spatial principles and criteria set out in part 1);
·  An analysis of costs and availability of funding;
·  Future approaches to infrastructure delivery including - 
  o   Options and different delivery solutions
  o   Model for assessing benefits including impact on economic productivity (GVA)

 

A series of workshops will be held over the coming months to engage key stakeholders and to identify critical infrastructure priorities for investment. A second report on progress and infrastructure prioritisation will be brought back to Bucks County Council’s Cabinet in due course. 

 

Public Consultation:  Improving early help services for children, young people and families

Buckinghamshire County Council is seeking views on a proposed new approach to supporting children and families earlier to prevent them needing help from social care services in the future.  The consultation is available online at www.buckscc.gov.uk/earlyhelp until 22 September.

 

There has been a steady increase in the number of children and families needing support from children’s services in the last few years. This, along with less money in the public purse means that we need to change some services to better help the children and families who need it the most.

 

We know that some of our current services don’t always reach these children and families so we need to change that.  We also want to join up services for families rather than them having to do so themselves.

 

The consultation outlines proposals for a new approach to helping children and families, to ensure small problems don’t get bigger and too difficult to manage. From money worries, parenting tips, behavioural issues right through to support with mental health and domestic abuse - the proposal is to work with families to tackle all of their problems at the same time.

 

Read the details of the consultation and have your say at www.buckscc.gov.uk/earlyhelp to help shape the future of early help services for children and families here in Buckinghamshire.


A new Library for Aylesbury

 

On Monday 24th July Cabinet formally agreed a proposal to integrate lending and reference provision in Aylesbury and to undertake community engagement on the design for a new and modern library for Aylesbury. The County Council agreed an investment of £366,000 for the new library but the new integrated arrangement will save £87,000 a year.

 

The current arrangement, with lending and reference resources split over two sites, is inefficient and does not reflect the needs of our customers.  The absence of a ‘shop-front’ makes the study centre difficult to find for some customers and disabled access is unsatisfactory.   The study centre services and resources will move from the existing space in County Hall and all library services will be then be  delivered from the current lending library ‘shopfront’ premises on Walton Street.

 

The outline design offers an attractively refurbished modern library with self-service technology, improved children’s facilities, new teenage area, two meeting rooms, improved toilet and baby changing facilities and increased opening hours.

 

Detailed drawings or confirmed designs have not yet been agreed as the intention is to share the broad elements of the design with customers and residents at a series of presentations and open days as follows.

 

·               Saturday 12th August    Lending library        9.30am -1pm

·               Monday 14th August     Study Centre           10am – 1pm

·               Tuesday 15th August    Lending library        2pm – 7pm

·               Thursday 14th Sept.       Study centre        2.30pm- 5.30pm

 

 

Pitstone Quarry Meeting

I met with Thames Valley Police as well as other stakeholders from PItstone and Aldbury villages for a discussion about swimming in the quarry.  It was agreed that Thames Valley Police would approach the landowner to see whether improved fencing and/or CCTV might be possible on the site.  I will also be writing to the landowner to emphasise the danger to the public if he has not taken reasonable measures to ensure that the quarry is adequately fenced off. 

 

 

 

County Council Update

from County Councillor Anne Wight

July 2017

 

Marsworth Airfield

The Development Control hearing to discuss the retrospective planning application for a change from empty skip storage to waste processing on the Marsworth Airfield site took place on 19th June.  I spoke at the hearing to object to the application, along with Peter Brazier, chairman of Mentmore parish council, who represented several villages in the local area, Richard Brake, chairman of Marsworth parish council, and Pier Thomas from the Campaign Against Lorry Menace (C.A.L.M.) group.  Despite the many objections, the planning application was approved, subject to routeing restrictions.

 

Freight Strategy

The Freight Strategy public consultation closed on 6th July and had 1092 responses, which was an excellent response rate for an online public consultation.  I had a meeting with Paul Irwin, Deputy Cabinet Member for Transportation, and Chris Poll, district councillor for Ivinghoe, at which we discussed many of the local concerns with regard to the B488 and B489 routeing of HGVs.  Paul has agreed to use this information in the formulation of the Freight Strategy and another public consultation is planned for the autumn.

 

Pitstone Quarry Swimming

I had a brief meeting with Thames Valley Police after the issue of swimming in the quarry near Pitstone was brought to my attention last week.  Thames Valley Police has already had a meeting with colleagues in Hertfordshire to discuss what measures might be taken to stop people from parking their cars outside the quarry and swimming there. There will be a forthcoming stakeholder meeting on this, according to Philip Duthie of Thames Valley Police, which I hope to be able to attend.

 

BCC e-newsletter

The first of the new BCC e-newsletters for the new term should be out soon.  I plan to feature photos of our village and local community events in as many BCC newsletters as possible.  It is circulated to more than 18,000 people, and is also sent out to 600 town and parish contacts throughout the county.  Hence, I am hoping to be able to illustrate what interesting and thriving villages we have in here in Ivinghoe Division!

Upcoming Dates

The next County Council meeting will be held on 13 July, and the next Local Area Forum will be on 27 July in the Main Hall of the Cottesloe School in Wing

 

Report From District Cllr. Jenkins - July 2017

 

We still have not heard from the Secretary of State when he's likely to determine which proposal to recommend (if either). We are in contact with him and Paul Rowsell - his advisor. A date of later in the year has been mooted although the Government has quite a lot of important matters on its agenda and the creation of new unitaries may not be top of the list.

 The "resultant areas" referred to are the north and south proposed unitaries, one made up of the existing AVDC boundary and the other made up of the combined boundaries of Chiltern, South Bucks and Wycombe District Councils. A while ago there was a suggestion that 300,000 should be the minimum number of residents in a unitary authority. The proposed southern unitary would have more than this number whilst the northern one has, at the moment, 188,000. However, as you're aware, significant housing growth is planned for The Vale during the period of our emerging local plan, and beyond, and this will add to that number.

 We already have more residents than Milton Keynes had when it went unitary and we certainly wouldn't be the smallest unitary in the country. BCC, therefore, is trying to use our population number to play down the value of our proposal.

 Our proposal involves the transformation of services currently provided by BCC, building on the successes of AVDC over the past few years. BCC doesn't seem to be embracing transformation and is relying on short-term savings that would be achieved by amalgamating departments. This is extremely short sighted because once those savings have been achieved, and costs keep rising, cuts will have to be made in order to bridge the funding gap. Wiltshire Council went along exactly the same route and whilst it made savings in the first two or three years it's now looking at a financial black hole of around £50m.

 Transforming services to make them more efficient is the only sensible way forward and this needs to incorporate an increased use of digital technology so that the need for face to face contact is reduced and residents/parishes have access to information 24/7, not just when the offices are open. We've just appointed a Parishes Liaison Officer who'll be working with Parishes to ensure that their needs are taken into account when designing new digital systems. He'll be going round Parishes to talk to them and understand how we can improve communications and the supply of information.

 BCC is planning to set up 19 regional boards. This is old hat, will be costly and won't provide the 24/7 contact that Parishes and residents need and deserve. We closed our regional customer service centres a few years ago because they weren't being used, as so much more can be done online these days - from applying for benefits and council tax discounts to checking on the non-collection of a waste bin.

 BCC's proposal includes having 34 elected members for The Vale. Our proposal has 59 members. We believe that residents are better served by having a larger representation of members, particularly given the large geographical area of The Vale. BCC's proposal would have one of the largest residents/members ratio in the country.

 With 64 elected members in the south of the County, it's quite clear that The Vale will become the poor relation and will run the risk of becoming a dumping ground for things that the south doesn't want - such as the incinerator at Calvert. The southern members will always be able to outvote the northern members. Our proposal ensures that we have complete control of everything that goes on in The Vale.

 What can Ivinghoe, and other Parishes, do? Certainly write to John Bercow MP and David Lidington MP and also to Paul Rowsell and Sajid Javid MP expressing the concern that a single unitary for Bucks would be a retrograde step, would be inefficient and would severely hamper the transformational work that's been taking place in the County, particularly by AVDC.

 

 

COUNTY COUNCILLORS REPORT MARCH 2017


Fantastic fossils will be on display at College Lake on the first weekend in April. Fossils from the Jurassic beds excavated at College Lake, designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, are normally in storage at the Bucks County Museum Resource Centre at Halton. I have visited the resource centre twice recently as a member of the Select Committee for Transport, Environment and Communities which maintains an overview of the Museum Trust.

The centre is open to the public by appointment. College Lake is also a new venue for Active Bucks 'simply walk' on Wednesdays at 10.15 and I have enjoyed a walk with the group on a couple of occasions.


Since the new year I have been a member of the Health and Social Care looking to understand the NHS strategic and transformation plans for Buckinghamshire Oxfordshire and Berkshire, to be implemented in the next few years.

The Transport Environment and Communities select committee on which I am also a member has been looking at school travel planning across the County to see how the council can build on its record of reducing pupil journeys to school from 56% fifteen years ago to 26% now, and how this can be maintained with fewer resources than ever.

Work continues on school place planning in the Ivinghoe Division. Dagnall Church of England school is currently consulting on becoming a combined school taking pupils up to the age of 11, which is one of many measures in discussion to provide more places.

Residents will be receiving a small increase in their council tax bills this year. Unwelcome as it is, there is no other way to pay for public services.  By 2020 there will be no top up grant from government and we don't know how the additional funds announced in the budget for adult social care will be distributed, although I don't expect good news for Bucks and other counties.

About two thirds of the county council's £350 million budget is spent on social care. Half of this year's council tax increase will go into this service which supports increasing numbers of older people and adults with learning disabilities.

By 2020 all County Council funding will be from council tax and possibly a small amount from business rates and none from government. Since 2010 the council has cut its budget by £100 million and is continually required to make savings of about £30 million per annum.

This leaves very little spare for roads and all other services such as public health, planning, environment, and education.

In the Ivinghoe division last year 12 local road repair schemes from Ledburn to Dagnall were completed. Work done ranged from patching to complete resurfacing, but there is still a list of urgent work, while other roads deteriorate as fast as repairs catch up. This is replicated across the county perceived in a recent survey as having the worst roads in Britain, not to mention some of the heaviest traffic.

One parish in the division is already negotiating to take over minor repairs on a budget less than the pro rata estimated a transport for Bucks. The local area forum continues to work on speeding problems and is dismayed to see police numbers and resources being drastically reduced in the area.

Avril Davies,
County Councillor,
Ivinghoe Division. 
 

NEW YEAR JANUARY 2017 CATCH UP

Report by Avril Davies on 12 January, 2017

 

Since September there has been progress on several of the issues I reported to you back then.

Planning for school places has been given a high priority, joint working between planners and education has started, and local headteachers have had a positive meeting with county officers.

 

At the annual Transport for Bucks conference a promise was made to begin work on an HGV strategy and I put my name forward for the working group which kicks off in February.

 

The local area forum has sent the proposed letter to the police and crime commissioner on the enforcement of speed limits in rural areas where significant breaches have been evidenced by the speed watch volunteers. Eventually the Chief Constable has responded in writing, which will be put before the next LAF meeting in early February.

 

The proposals to change home to school transport policies for secondary school pupils have been abandoned, which is good news for my Division

 

The joint bid from Pitstone and Marsworth Parish Councils to the New Homes Bonus fund has been successful and work is beginning on designing and building the footway to make walking between the two villages a much safer enterprise.

 

A new ‘Active Bucks’ County Council walk has been launched from College Lake, every Wednesday at 10.15am free to turn up and join, very much like the Monday walk from Ivinghoe Lawn, which is such a success that it will feature in a County Council video.

 

I attend the advisory board meetings for the Aylesbury cluster of children centres and I continue to be impressed not only by the good work they are doing in Wing and Ivinghoe but also by their wide reach out to and appreciation by all families with pre-school children. Where they have had to share sessions between centres they are hoping to facilitate more informal sessions on a voluntary basis.

 

However £500K of cuts for children’s centres is proposed in the current budget. The County is yet again looking to reduce its spending by £46M in the next four years, 75% of which by ‘efficiencies’ and only 6% by cuts, but where efficiencies are not achievable, cuts are the result. The County’s total budget is about £340M, of which £58M is in ring fenced grants. The £23M general support grant will only continue for the next two years, and although due to be replaced by a share of the business rate going to central government council tax will inevitably increase as the £46M of savings still needs to be found.

 

A decision on whether local government will change in Bucks to one single tier authority, like Milton Keynes, more than one single tier authority, or no change at all, will be decided in the spring by the Secretary of State.

 

It is going to be very difficult to deliver public services at a local government level in the foreseeable future. The opportunity for Parish Councils to take more responsibility for their own locality is an attractive proposition for some and a step too far for others. How this will turn out will depend not only on the Secretary of State and any future council but also on how a local plan or lack of increases the pressures on the environment, our quality of life, and our roads, schools and other services in our communities.

 

Avril Davies

County Councillor

Ivinghoe Division

 

 

 

County Councillors News Oct 2015

A4146 Proposed Reclassification and Weight Restriction

Transport for Bucks (TfB), Thames Valley Police (TVP), and senior officers from Central
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire county Council (HCC) have been working together to use
the opportunity of the opening of the A5-M1 link road (the Dunstable Northern Bypass) to
keep HGVs in the main arterial routes, reduce HGVs on unsuitable rural roads, and
respond to local proposals from Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire residents to
reclassify the A4146 and introduce weight restrictions.
As this will have serious repercussions for the B488 and B489, Buckinghamshire County
Council and Transport for Bucks have acknowledged the importance of enforceable
weight limits to be included for the B488 and 489.
Major advance signposting over long distances will be needed in order to make this
work, so Highways England are also fully involved, as well as transport operators
particularly the waste carriers going to Newton Longville.
Contact me by email if you need to know more and I can forward the briefing note made
available to the Local Area Forum on Oct 1st, but not available on line.

'Active Bucks'

The Local Area Forum voted for one off funding from the Public Health pot to be
invested in this area in organised walking opportunities for all ages. There was a contest
between setting up coached running groups similar to From Couch to 5K, and the Park
Run, and for dance groups, but walking claimed the majority of votes.
There will be plenty of information available as soon as the walks are set up, which will
be complementary to existing health walks and formal and informal Nordic walking
groups that already take place.

Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Fire Authority

The fire authority presented it's annual report to the County Council in September. The
Bucks and MK authority is the only authority in the country to have reduced its council
tax for 2015-16 and frozen it since 2011. Since 2010 there have been savings of £2.1M in
a £29M budget without reducing the numbers of fire engines and fire stations.
In the last 5 years deliberate fires have been reduced by 56%, non domestic fires by 33%'
and domestic fires and related injuries still continue to fall despite increased housing
numbers.

Children's services and prevention of child sexual abuse

This continues to be the main priority of the County Council at the moment. The trial
and sentencing in the summer at the Old Bailey of a group of men involved locally in
abuse shocked many people into questioning if everything possible is being done to
prevent this now and in the future.
As well as implementing the major improvement plan for children's services, and a peer
group review by leading officers and members from other authorities taking place as I
write, the select committee review in which I take part in to the prevention of child
sexual exploitation has been continuing exhaustively all summer, and has revealed some
excellent practice from our partners in the health service and the police, and
committed individuals in schools,

County Councillors report July 2015

Roads

On Wednesday July 8th I gave the new cabinet member for transportation at Bucks County Council a personal guided tour of the Ivinghoe Division. Not only had I pleaded with him at Council, only half in jest, for the whole of the £3M released from council reserves for highway maintenance, to be spent in Ivinghoe Division, but also as a new broom his interest had been sparked by his meeting with Edlesborough Northall and Dagnall campaign group to downgrade the A4146 to a B road, who raised all the HGV routing issues that beset this corner of the County.
The downgrade is being pursued by Hertfordshire county council, but the officers at Bucks, although sympathetic, are adamant that such a step must not divert traffic on to other roads, particularly the B488. There would be an opportunity, with the opening of the A505 link from Leighton Buzzard to the M1 - the Dunstable North bypass - but it would need co-ordinate signage and changing the designation of the Stoke Hammond Bypass from the A4146 to the A505. The three counties involved are working on this to see how this could be implemented.

Preventing Child Sexual Exploitation.

I am participating by special invitation from the chair of the Education, Skills and Children's Services Select Committee review of this hot topic. R U Safe?and RUWise2it? are not services or campaign slogans operating in a vacuum. The police have told us that two children out of three from pre school onwards are vulnerable to this through the use of social media and on line games. The job of the select committee is to see if the Council is taking every action it can to make people aware, and protect children and young people by whatever means appropriate. There are many opportunities on offer to learn about internet safety, so take them if you can. The recent Old Bailey trial of several men from the Aylesbury Area only shows how hard it is to bring perpetrators to justice. I know personally that the County Council and Thames Valley Police have been taking preventative action and working to get robust enough evidence to bring people to court since at least 2005 when I requested a meeting about this because of some information I had been given.

Bucks County Council Annual Debate

The debate, postponed from May when the Parliamentary Select Committee was visiting the route of HS2 in Bucks, hosted on July 16th by Professor Tony Travers speaking on the theme of challenges and opportunities facing local government, followed by a debate on the Bucks Strategic Plan. As leader of the opposition I decided to respond to the leader from a presentation I made on behalf of Bucks CC at the Local Government Association Conference, on the findings of the national scrutiny development project in which Buckinghamshire participated, looking at the challenges for transparency and accountability in a council that commissions services from external providers, and the high risks councils need to manage where local government has been taking and continues to take nearly three quarters of government spending cuts, along with a five year and ongoing freeze in council tax.

Dagnall School

With the endorsement of parents and the community, Dagnall School has taken the innovative step to become a Church of England maintained school in the diocese of St Albans. I have been able to support this unusual step from the beginning, as the head teacher has been good enough to engage me from the early days, and reassure me that not only will the school continue to serve the whole community, but that it's presence will be strengthened by being able to draw upon the resource of the diocese, and partner with other nearby schools such as Little Gaddesden.

Ivinghoe Conservation Area

I am elated and extremely relieved that the revised Ivinghoe conservation area policy has passed all the hurdles, and been agreed at Aylesbury Vale District Council. This is an excellent piece of work and well worth investing in a copy if you are interested in the history of the village. Ivinghoe was one of the first villages in Aylesbury Vale to be designated a conservation area because of its outstanding merits, but being an early prototype, did not benefit from the scholarship, architectural expertise and planning policies that informed later conservation areas. The revision was long overdue and thanks are due to Karen Groom, chairman of Ivinghoe Parish Council, who left nothing to chance, and attended the final decision making cabinet meeting to leave the Councillors in no doubt of the importance and value of the conservation area to residents.

Beacon Villages Community Library

Everyone involved in the library was very sorry but quite understanding that Emma Huxley decided to stand down as chair after more years than she had bargained for setting the library on a successful course for the future. Emma has done an amazing job with competence and charm, but with a two year old and a full time job in London there are limits! Thank you for everything Emma, and don't forget us. Meanwhile I have taken over the reins as chair, and new members have joined the management committee. My next challenge is to remember to put all the news and activity on the Facebook and Twitter accounts - or better still find someone else to.

The library plays a central role in our villages. As well as books don't forget you can use expensive software free of charge such as ancestry.com for family history, the driving test theory practice, and Which? The VE fun day garden party was a lovely addition to our events calendar, the Library Lunches (in Cheddington) are a regular feature, and BeaconLit literary festival day had an amazing third year at Brookmead school, with participants still tweeting and blogging about it.

Avril Davies

District Councillor’s News – May 2015

Thank You

I will be standing down as your district councillor on 7 May. I would like to take the opportunity of thanking you for sixteen enjoyable years representing the people of Marsworth. It has been an experience which I shall look back upon with great pleasure.

May I wish you all the best for the future.

Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk

District Councillor’s News – April 2015

Planning

My report in last month’s Marsworth News titled Planning and Aylesbury Vale – some questions you might wish to ask, provided an update on the current planning situation in Aylesbury Vale. It referred to the possibility of the Vale of Aylesbury local plan being adopted as early as Summer 2016. Since then I have been informed that the earliest date for the adoption of the plan will be Summer 2017 (as originally envisaged). This timetable is dictated to an extent by the work that adjoining local planning authorities have yet to carry out; the results of which feed into VALP.

Unitary Authority Status.

At its last meeting the district council voted, with cross-party support, to spend £80,000 on preparing a business case for establishing a unitary authority for North Bucks, in place of the present two-tier structure. I abstained on the grounds that spending such money on a project that would barely commence prior to the district, parish and national elections in May was inappropriate and might, in the light of political developments after the elections, prove to have been money wasted. I did, however, stress my support for the principle of a unitary authority based on the north Buckinghamshire area. One council providing the services presently provided by BCC and AVDC would, in my opinion, make for improved democratic accountability and also financial sense.

Financial Problems
In these difficult times people can encounter financial problems which make it problematic for them to meet the cost of rent, mortgage and other bills. AVDC provides an advice service to help people avoid getting into such serious financial difficulties in the first place. All enquiries are treated in confidence. For details contact the council’s housing debt advice service on 01296 585168.

In addition to this advice service, financial support may also be available from a trust based in Aylesbury:-

The Elizabeth Eman Trust

Those living on limited means and needing help to meet day-to-day bills might wish to consider approaching the Elizabeth Eman Trust for help. The trust pays a pension of £133 every three months, at the end of March, June, September and December to those eligible to receive its support.

Applicants need to complete a very short and easy form. They also need to supply their birth certificate, marriage certificate (if any) and their late spouse’s death certificate, if appropriate. Further details from Mr J Reddington, Clerk to the Trustees, at Messrs Horwood & James, 7 Temple Square, Aylesbury HP20 2QB (ref: SAB) or telephone 01296 487361 and ask for Mrs S Batchelor.

My Allowance and Expenses

My allowance and expenses for the last full financial year (2013–14) were:
Basic allowance: £ 5,304.00
Mileage allowance: £ 508.80
Parking and Fares: £ 50.85

TOTAL: £ 5,863.65

The above figures do not include any costing for the laptop computer on loan to me from the Council. The mileage allowance includes attendance at site meetings all over the Vale for the development management committee.

May Elections

Parish, district council and General elections will take place on Thursday 7 May. On a personal note, I will be standing down at this election.

Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk

District Councillor’s News – March 2015

Planning in Aylesbury Vale
Planning issues such as Neighbourhood Plans, the Vale of Aylesbury Plan, or particular planning applications, have frequently been in the news in recent years. Some planning applications have, quite understandably, caused considerable controversy and greatly upset communities both locally and across the Vale.
The details below aim to provide up to date information on the planning front in Aylesbury Vale. My thanks to the district councillor for Pitstone, Cllr. Avril Davies and the planning officers at Aylesbury for their major contributions, helping to ensure that this piece is as comprehensive and accurate as possible. For ease of reading, I have set out the information as a series of questions and answers.
1: What informs new plans and planning decisions in the Vale?
There are three main influences:
(a) Government planning guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework, which came into effect in 2012, and the more recent National Planning Practice Guidance.
(b) The existing, but out of date, Aylesbury Vale District Local Plan which will be replaced by the new Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan (VALP) over the period 2016/7
(c) Neighbourhood Plans – that is individual village or town plans. Two Neighbourhood Plans (NP) are presently “made” that is, adopted as part of AVDC’s Development Plan. Another 14 such plans are in the pipeline to be “made” within the next two years.
2: Why are there suddenly so many big planning applications in rural and urban areas?
In the last two years an unprecedented number of speculative planning applications for large numbers of homes on land not, in most cases, previously designated for development have been submitted to Aylesbury Vale District Council.
The effect of the new national planning policy, introduced in 2012, is to presume that planning permission will be given for sustainable development unless there is an overwhelming case against it.
The Council has twice been unable to put in place a strong local plan to state local priorities, which can interpret and adapt the national guidance in a way that is sensitive to both the needs and character of the Vale.
Government rules require that Aylesbury Vale DC should be able to show a five year supply of land to meet the housing needs for that period. Based on current estimates of need there isn’t enough land allocated or permitted for housing. Consequently a developer can argue that their scheme should be granted permission as it helps to add to the supply of housing for the next five years.
Aylesbury Vale planners can still apply policies “saved” from the old Local Plan, such as encroachment in to the countryside or detriment to the character of the landscape,and can utilize the content of government planning guidance but a succession of planning appeal judgements has given very little weight to these matters, stating instead that the benefits of supplying the houses needed for a five year supply of housing outweighs these and other (eg: traffic growth) considerations. One of the first casualties of this approach was the limit on rural developments to 5 houses.
All the above factors can provide an opportunity for speculative applications.

3: What is the present situation?
Recently there has been a significant number of planning applications to build schemes of 10, 30, 40, 70, 100 and more houses in many villages across the Vale. Locally, villages such as Cheddington, Pitstone, Ivinghoe, Slapton, Edlesborough and Aston Clinton either have schemes proposed, under consideration or determined (i.e.approved or refused).
4: What part do Appeals play in such a situation?
The views of Aylesbury Vale people and AVDC still carries some weight. On 26th January the appeal against refusal of planning permission for three sites, Hampden Fields, Weedon Hill and Fleet Marston, totalling 5,800 houses, was dismissed. The inspector upheld in almost every detail the council's grounds for refusal. Even if these appeals had been allowed, the 5,800 would not have increased the 5 year supply as the sites would have delivered hardly any houses inside five years, as so much pre-construction and infrastructure work as well as detailed plans would have been required.
5: What progress is being made on the new plan for Aylesbury Vale
The new Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan (VALP) was begun in May, and has just completed the 'call for sites' stage see: http://www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/planning-policy/vale-of-aylesbury-local-plan/vale-aylesbury-local-plan-call-sites-response/. These sites will all be examined for viability and deliverability, and consulted on next summer. A timetable anticipates the completed plan being adopted in 2017. (However it might be possible to achieve an earlier completion date in late 2016.) The nearer that it gets towards its 2017 (or 2016) completion date, then the more note planners are legally able to take of its contents to help inform their planning decisions.
6: What are Neighbourhood Plans and why are they important?
Neighbourhood plans are intended to complement rather than contradict District Plans, and are drawn by local communities to guide future housing, jobs and infrastructure developments in a way that is sensitive to both the needs and character of their individual village or town whilst meeting the need for development in an area.
7: Are many Neighbourhood Plans being prepared across the Vale?
At present about 16 communities are engaged in the process of producing NPs.
Cheddington and Pitstone are well advanced in their respective neighbourhood area planning. Cheddington NP is nearing the end of its public consultation stage.
Ivinghoe has made an application to designate an area for a plan. Slapton’s NP area was designated early this January.
Winslow having completed its plan and held a referendum now has a “made” (completed) plan. It now forms part of AVDC’s Development Plan. In January the company, Gladman, requested leave to petition the Court of Appeal directly to review the decision of a High Court Judge that the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan was lawful. Neighbourhood Plans, it would seem, are being taken very seriously.
Wing, Marsh Gibbon, Haddenham and Great Horwood are all at advanced stages of the NP process.

8: How would you sum up all the above information?
It is possible that until the Vale of Aylesbury Local plan is adopted in 2017 there will be a large number of speculative developments of all sizes in the Vale. Some of these may be of a kind that would not normally be expected to get planning permission. However, because of the lack of a local plan, the problem of the five year housing supply and other issues referred to in question 2 above, we are likely to see permission given to some schemes (which in different circumstances might not have been considered appropriate) there being no significant planning reasons with which they can be resisted. However the situation should begin to improve once the issue of the five year housing supply is resolved and as the VALP, with its specific policies for the Vale, begins to emerge during 2016.
9: I have further questions. Whom should I contact?
Corry Cashman: 01296 668565 c.cashman@zen.co.uk
Or
Avril Davies: 01296 668152 acdavies@buckscc.gov.uk
Or
Aylesbury Vale District Council Forward Plans Department
planningpolicy@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk

Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk

District Councillor’s News – February 2015

Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan

The Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan (VALP), presently under preparation, plans for new housing, jobs and infrastructure across the Vale until 2033. Subject to being found “sound” it is due to be adopted in 2017. (The previous plan was withdrawn early last year due to issues relating to its soundness). To ensure the “best possible innovative plan for the Vale” a cross-party VALP scrutiny committee, of which I am a member, has been set up to “scrutinise, examine and challenge all aspects of the plan”. Part of its role will be to make sure that there is “effective communication and engagement with the Vale communities and interested parties”. I will keep you informed of its progress.

Cheddington Station

Further reminder of Line works in February

London Midland advise that there will be further line closures over two weekends in February. These will be on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 February, and on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 February.

There will also be reduced train services on the mornings of Monday 16 February and Monday 23 February.

Further closures are also planned over the Easter weekend (Friday 3 to Monday 6 April).

At the time of writing London Midland has still not provided any further information.

Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk

District Councillor’s News – January 2015

Next year’s District Council Tax (2015 -16)

Aylesbury Vale District Council is proposing a freeze for next year’s council tax.
The proposal, subject to confirmation by the council at its February meeting, means that the AVDC council tax for a Band D property will remain at £136.35 a year (£2.62 a week) from April 2015.

AVDC takes only 9p in every pound of the total council tax collected, with the rest of the money (81p) going to Buckinghamshire County Council, Thames Valley Police, Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service and individual parish councils.

This draft budget will be discussed at a meeting of the council’s Finance and Services Scrutiny Committee on 15 December. The proposals will be considered by cabinet again in January before February’s council meeting.

Cheddington Station

Advance Warning of Line works in February 2015

London Midland advise that there will be further line closures over two weekends in February. These will be on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 February, and on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 February.

There will also be reduced train services on the mornings of Monday 16 February and Monday 23 February.

Further closures are also planned over the Easter weekend (Friday 3 to Monday 6 April).

At the time of writing London Midland has not provided any further information.

Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk

District Councillor’s News – December 2014

Season’s Greetings.

May I wish you all a Happy and Peaceful Christmas and New Year.

Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk

County Councillor's October 2014 Report

Bucks County Council Children's Services were judged inadequate by OFSTED this summer, particularly around social work practices. However processes for children who go missing or who are at risk from sexual exploitation were identified as strong, thankfully. In recent weeks a robust improvement plan has been drawn up and the council committed to additional funding, so far £4M overspend this year, £1M from contingency, plus another £4M still needed. The OFSTED report opened with the statement that Children's Social care is not in the two top priorities for the Council, limiting the effectiveness of those with lead responsibility for the service. I hope this hard hitting report is an opportunity to change that.

The local Children's Centres at Ivinghoe and Wing Were also inspected by Ofsted in October, but the report is not yet published.

BCC moved one step closer to a credible road maintenance strategy by identifying the need for £263M capital investment in Bucks roads for a four year 'preventative asset maintenance' programme. Without an investment strategy in place bids for cash will fall on deaf ears at government level. This is a stunning U turn from a council leader who has consistently rubbished my annual budget speech for the last three years which has emphasised the absolute necessity for this kind of investment. The new cabinet member for Transportation, Ruth Vigor-Hedderley has successfully reorganised the delivery of highway repairs and gained additional revenue funding, the results of which can be seen in the spate of local roadworks.

The Local Area Forum will be in Ivinghoe Town Hall on November 26 and will include a full 20 minute item from Thames Valley Police, feedback from Aylesbury Vale Youth for Christ and Aylesbury Youth Action on progress on young people's projects arising from the priority setting meeting in February, school parking, and traffic calming.

The AVDC Heritage Team will soon be embarking upon a comprehensive Grade II Listed Building Survey across the District, as part of the National Heritage at Risk Grade II Project.

The aim of the project is to train local volunteers up to survey important historic buildings in their area, and to monitor those buildings to make sure that they are not falling into disrepair.

AVDC would like to invite all interested local residents, Parish and Town representatives and amenity societies to help us with the project, which will be taking place between now and April 2015. To take part email buildingsatrisk@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk

The District Council elections May 2015 will be held on new boundaries, decided by the Boundary Commission, despite representation and alternative suggestions from the Council and local people. The current separate Pitstone and Cheddington wards will be combined into a single 'Pitstone and Cheddington' ward with two District Councillors. The new ward will include Pitstone, Cheddington, Ivinghoe, and Marsworth, but not Ivinghoe Aston or Slapton.

The General Election May 2015. If our MP John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, stands again for election, as anticipated, it is highly likely that he will once again not be opposed by the three main political parties. (As speaker, he is not a member of any political party). Last time many voters were disappointed when they only discovered this on polling day. It is a longstanding convention that in respect for the office, the main parties do not oppose the speaker. Local Lib Dems have been lobbying the national party ever since our MP became the speaker, to ignore the convention and give voters a choice, so far without success.

Avril Davies
County Councillor
Ivinghoe Division

District Councillor’s News – November 2014

Garden Waste Bin (Brown Bin) Collections

The last date for collection of garden waste bins (brown bins) this year will be Monday 1 December. Collections will start again on Monday 9 February 2015.
If you have any queries please see the Aylesbury Vale District Council Recycling and Waste collections website http://www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/refuse-and-recycling/ or call the waste helpline on 01296 585510

Keeping your Home safe on Dark Winter Evenings

Darker evenings afford the burglar greater cover to commit burglary offences and also a period where it is more obvious if you’re not at home. Occupied houses have lights on during the winter months. Lights are often required from 4pm and so a timer switch, which enables lamps to come on in an unoccupied house, can be effective. AVDC community safety group recommends that timer switches on lamps are used in the house and that they are set to follow a pattern of someone living in the house, for example one comes on late afternoon in the lounge area, followed by one upstairs from around 6.30 to 7pm making it appear there is someone home.
For more advice on keeping your home safe this winter visit the AVDC website: http://www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/community-living/community-safety/crime-disorder/crime-reduction-advice/communitysafety-burglary/
or email :communitysafety@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk
or telephone AVDC community safety on 01296 585005

Cheddington Station

Advance Warning of Line works over the Christmas Holiday

From 11pm on Wednesday 24 December to 4am on Monday 29 December services on the Cheddington to Euston line will be severely disrupted (or not run at all). Euston bound trains will terminate at Hemel Hempstead and a bus service will ferry passengers to Stanmore underground station to connect with the tube to London. There will, of course, be no service at all on Christmas Day and Boxing Day (25 and 26 December).

London Midland will provide more information by mid-November.

Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk

District Councillor’s News – October 2014

A 418 – Wing Bypass

At September’s Local Area Forum we were informed that a recent bid by BCC for government funding for an A 418 bypass around Wing had been unsuccessful.

It would appear that, even if future bidding opportunities arose and were successful, it would be unlikely that Wing would see a bypass built before the mid 2020s.

Cheddington Station

Work on the foundations of the new foot-bridge at Cheddington Station continue until
10th October inclusive. Up to 9 trains a day from Euston will be unable to stop at Cheddington station, thus requiring travellers from the south to alight at Tring station for a connecting bus service to Cheddington. Passengers wishing to travel from Cheddington to Leighton Buzzard will also have to avail of the bus service.

I am sorry that it was not possible to publicise this earlier, but I only received news of it in early September. Further details should be available at Cheddington station and on the London Midland website www.londonmidland.com/ .

Web-casting of District Council Meetings

Aylesbury Vale District Council is to broadcast live web-casts of its meetings, commencing in September. At the time of writing I do not have further details. More information should be available on the Council’s website www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/ by the time you read this.

Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk

District Councillor’s News – September 2014

Biggest change to voter registration in 100 years

A new voter registration system called Individual Electoral Registration (IER) came into force this summer in the biggest change to voter registration in 100 years.
Instead of the head of the household being responsible for registering everyone who lives at an address, every individual is responsible for their own voter registration.

All residents in Aylesbury Vale should have received a letter by the end of July to letting them know about the change to the electoral register. The letter will have explained to each individual what to do next.

The vast majority of eligible voters will not have needed to do anything as they will have automatically had their details transferred from the old system, to the new one. However, about 16,000 voters received a letter advising them that their details were not able to be confirmed and that they were required to provide a national insurance number and date of birth.
Residents who had moved house recently were also encouraged make sure they were registered on the new system.

As Chris Sheard, Electoral Services Manager for AVDC, said: “If you’re not registered, you will not be able to have your say on who represents you locally in future elections. Registering to vote may also help your credit rating.”

If you believe that you have not been registered to vote or have other concerns you should contact AVDC’s electoral services on 01296 585807 or by email at
electoralregistration@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk

Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk

District Councillor’s News – August 2014

Boundary Commission Report
The commissioners’ recommendations, now before parliament and most likely to be approved, will mean that a new Pitstone and Cheddington ward, electing two district council members, will be created.
This ward will comprise the parishes of Marsworth, Cheddington (both presently in Cheddington ward), Pitstone and Ivinghoe (village parish-ward). Slapton, presently in Cheddington ward, will become part of Wingrave ward.
There will be fifteen single-member wards, ten two-member wards and eight three-member wards across the district. These changes will apply at the next district council election in May 2015.
Full details: www.lgbce.org.uk/current-reviews/south-east/buckinghamshire/aylesbury-vale-fer

AVDC Committees Reduced in size
Subject to final agreement all AVDC committees will in future consist of no more than 11 members. I see this as a generally welcome development as some committees with as many as 17 members did not always operate as efficiently or effectively as they should have. Committees with up to 11 members should still ensure the range of opinion, expertise and experience needed to do an effective job.

London Midland – Line Closures during August

Work to improve track and signalling equipment mean that the line between Apsley and London Euston will be closed on three weekends during August. Consequently services from Cheddington, Tring, Leighton Buzzard and all stations as far as Birmingham will be severely disrupted. London Midland advise that if you have to travel at these times you should travel by another route.

Booklets with full details are available at Cheddington and other stations as well as online at: www.nationalrail.co.uk/watford

Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk

Distict Councillor’s News – July 2014

Financial Problems for People Living on Limited Means

In these difficult times people can encounter financial problems which make it difficult for them to meet the cost of rent, mortgage and other bills. In last month’s Marsworth Village Newsletter I provided details of AVDC’s advice service which offers advice to help people avoid getting into serious financial difficulties.
(Tel: 01296 585168). In addition to this advice service financial support may also be available from a trust based in Aylesbury:-

The Elizabeth Eman Trust

Those living on limited means and needing help to meet day to day bills might wish to consider approaching The Elizabeth Eman Trust for help. The trust pay a pension of £111 every three months, at the end of March, June, September and December to those eligible to receive its support.

Applicants will need to complete a very short and easy form. They will also need to supply their birth certificate, marriage certificate (if any) and their late spouse’s death certificate, if appropriate. Further details from Mr J Reddington, Clerk to the Trustees, at Messrs Horwood & James, 7 Temple Square, Aylesbury HP20 2QB (ref: SAB) or telephone 01296 487361 and ask for Mrs S Batchelor.

Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk

District Councillor’s News – June 2014

The Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan

It had been hoped to have a new district plan for Aylesbury Vale adopted in around two years’ time. This would have guided the development of housing, infrastructure, jobs and other matters up to 2031. However the district council has now published a new timetable which indicates that it will be three years (i.e. Summer 2017) before a new plan (The Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan) is finally adopted.

Three points have been made by AVDC to explain why a three year timetable is needed:

(i) Changes introduced through the new National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) in March 2014, require two new studies, the Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessment, and Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HEDNA and HELAA). Economic development is also required to be taken into account as well as housing numbers. Work is underway to commission these studies in the coming months. The council, as it is required to, will be working in co-operation with other authorities.

(ii) The government has delayed the release of crucial Census data, which is presently holding up the commissioning of the studies.

(iii) AVDC is currently working with adjoining authorities, Buckinghamshire authorities and those within our Housing Market Area, to ascertain the unmet housing needs and how these needs can be met in the Vale.

My main concern is that the lack of an up-to-date Local Plan opens the Vale up to more large-scale speculative development applications, particularly in the vicinity of Aylesbury. Given the pro-longed absence of a robust Local Plan, the Council will find it increasingly difficult to resist such applications.

Financial Problems
In these difficult times people can encounter financial problems which make it problematic for them to meet the cost of rent, mortgage and other bills. AVDC provides an advice service to help people avoid getting into such serious financial difficulties in the first place. All enquiries are treated in confidence. For details contact the council’s housing debt advice service on 01296 585168

Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk

District Councillor’s News - May 2014

Watford Re-signalling - Closures on Railway over May Bank Holiday – Saturday 3 May to Monday 5 May 2014

As I mentioned in last month’s Marsworth Village Newsletter, new track and signalling is to be laid on an 8 mile (14 km) stretch of railway between Kings Langley and Bushey during 2014 and 2015. Both Virgin and London Midland trains will be seriously affected by this work. Since the publication of the Newsletter details of train services, referred to in it, have been changed once again. Up to date details are available from www.londonmidland.com/watford or telephone 0121 634 2040

Another Way to Support the Local Community

The Swan Credit Union is a financial co-operative owned and run by its members. It offers those who join it a safe place for their savings (covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme up to £85,000) as well as good value loans. It is ethical. It is not a bank. It offers a personal service by telephone five days a week and an online service at all times. The Swan CU members live in the Aylesbury Vale, Thame and Milton Keynes area and so the services it provides benefit the local community. At present no dividend is paid on savings but it is hoped to pay one within the next couple of years. Credit Union loans offer many people a real alternative to the loan sharks, doorstep lenders and pay day loan companies. Opening an account is a positive way of supporting our local community. The Swan Credit Union is supported by our MP John Bercow, Aylesbury Vale District Council and Buckinghamshire County Council through their payroll deduction schemes.

While all the above details are, to the best of my knowledge, correct full and further details can be obtained from the Swan’s website: www.aylesburyvalecommunitybank.org.uk or by phoning : 03030 300147 or by emailing: enquiries@swancreditunion.org.uk

Watford Re-signalling - Closures on Railway over May Bank Holiday – Saturday 3 May to Monday 5 May 2014

As I mentioned in last month’s Marsworth Village Newsletter, new track and signalling is to be laid on an 8 mile (14 km) stretch of railway between Kings Langley and Bushey during 2014 and 2015. Both Virgin and London Midland trains will be seriously affected by this work. Since the publication of the Newsletter details of train services, referred to in it, have been changed once again. Up to date details are available from www.londonmidland.com/watford or telephone 0121 634 2040

Another Way to Support the Local Community

The Swan Credit Union is a financial co-operative owned and run by its members. It offers those who join it a safe place for their savings (covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme up to £85,000) as well as good value loans. It is ethical. It is not a bank. It offers a personal service by telephone five days a week and an online service at all times. The Swan CU members live in the Aylesbury Vale, Thame and Milton Keynes area and so the services it provides benefit the local community. At present no dividend is paid on savings but it is hoped to pay one within the next couple of years. Credit Union loans offer many people a real alternative to the loan sharks, doorstep lenders and pay day loan companies. Opening an account is a positive way of supporting our local community. The Swan Credit Union is supported by our MP John Bercow, Aylesbury Vale District Council and Buckinghamshire County Council through their payroll deduction schemes.

While all the above details are, to the best of my knowledge, correct full and further details can be obtained from the Swan’s website: www.aylesburyvalecommunitybank.org.uk or by phoning : 03030 300147 or by emailing: enquiries@swancreditunion.org.uk

Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk

District Councillors News April 2014

Cuts in Central Government Grant and AVDC’s New Business Model

As a business the district council is one of the larger ones in the Vale. It employs nearly 500 people and provides a wide range of services from planning to refuse and recycling.

In the coming year the council will spend nearly £40 million providing these services. This spending is funded from the following sources:

£16 million (40%): Chargeable council services (e.g. brown bin collections)
£6 million (15%): Council’s investments, transfer from reserves etc.
£9 million (23%): Council tax
£1 million (2%): Special expenses (Aylesbury town)
£8 million (20%): Government grant

(For clarity I have rounded the figures up/down)

In 2010 the district council received around £12 million in government grant. As you can see from the figures above, this has been reduced from £12 million to £8 million over the last four years. The council anticipates that by 2020 this grant will have disappeared altogether. In other words between now and 2020 approximately 20% of the council’s income will disappear.

To prepare for this the council set up its New Business Model initiative which is leading to changes in the way in which it provides its services.

Broadly speaking for the future this means:

1. The council will continue to provide the services that it is legally required to do (e.g. refuse and recycling collections)

2. New services for which the council can charge a fee will continue to be introduced (e.g. professional advice on planning issues)

3. Services which the council is not legally obliged to offer and which cost the council money will either have to pay for themselves, be privately run or be closed down (e.g. some community centres)

4. Some popular services which the council is not legally obliged to provide will, where possible, be maintained using monies from profits made from the council’s fee charging businesses.

5. A continued emphasis on making further savings in the council’s budget.

6. The council making capital investments which produce rental income (e.g. Travelodge hotel in Aylesbury)

Given the severity of the government’s cuts it is difficult to see any alternative to the New Business Model course that the council has embarked on.

The new consultancy services offered by the council’s professional staff are a welcome extension of the services that the council is able to offer and should also have the effect of increasing its income. Since 2006 the number of staff directly employed by the council has dropped by nearly 30%, from over 700 to less than 500 and is set to continue to drop over the next few years. However, fewer staff means reduced professional input at the heart of the council’s business. Professional input, in planning, environmental health, conservation area, historic buildings, design, and other areas where particular expertise and experience is required, is being and will continue to be constrained. This necessarily will have an impact on the communities and the character of the Vale.

Watford Re-signalling - Closures on Railway over May Bank Holiday – Saturday 3 May to Monday 5 May 2014

As I mentioned in November’s and last month’s Marsworth Village Newsletter, new track and signalling is to be laid on an 8 mile (14 km) stretch of railway between Kings Langley and Bushey during 2014 and 2015. Both Virgin and London Midland trains will be seriously affected by this work. Below are details of London Midland services over the coming May Bank Holiday weekend.

Please note that the details below apply only to London Midland train services. At the time of writing I do not have any details for Virgin train services.

Saturday 3 May
London Midland Services will start/terminate at Hemel Hempstead where passengers will change onto replacement coach services.

Every 30 minutes a coach service will run directly from Hemel Hempstead to Edgware for passengers to connect with the London Transport Network.

Every 30 minutes a replacement coach service will run from Hemel Hempstead, calling at Apsley, Kings Langley, Watford Junction, Bushey and Edgware.
Abbey Line train services will be replaced by a special coach from St Albans City station to St Albans Abbey and all stations to Watford Junction.

May Day Bank Holiday - Sunday 4 May before 12.00 hours
There will be no London Midland services between Northampton and London Euston.

A replacement coach service will operate between Northampton and London Euston. There will be a mix of direct services and buses calling at all stations.
London Overground services will not run; buses will replace trains between Watford Junction and Harrow for passengers to connect into London Underground Services.
Abbey Line train services will be replaced by a special coach from St Albans City station to St Albans Abbey and all stations to Watford Junction.

May Day Bank Holiday - Sunday 4 May after 12.00 hours
As above; plus a shuttle train will operate between Milton Keynes and Hemel Hempstead.

May Day Bank Holiday - Monday 5 May
London Midland Services will start/terminate at Hemel Hempstead where passengers will change onto replacement coach services.

Every 30 minutes a replacement coach service will run directly from Hemel Hempstead to Edgware for passengers to connect with the London Transport Network.
Every 30 minutes a replacement coach service will run from Hemel Hempstead, calling at Apsley, Kings Langley, Watford Junction, Bushey and Edgware.
The first London Midland rail service will depart London Euston at 11.24.
The first London Midland service to arrive at London Euston will be the 09.50 departure from Northampton.
London Overground rail services will be in operation on this date, providing a rail service between London and Watford Junction.
Abbey Line train services will be replaced by a special coach from St Albans City station to St Albans Abbey and all stations to Watford Junction.

Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk

District Councillor’s News for March 2014.

AVDC Council tax increase of 1.99% (5p per week for a band “D” household)

This increase is part of the district council’s strategy to “tackle the significant reductions in the council’s grant funding from central government while protecting services [which] residents value”.
The extra money generated (£166,000) will “be ring-fenced to support businesses in the district to encourage growth and job creation”.
Approximately 9% of council tax monies collected goes to the district council.

Since 2010 AVDC has been forced to find savings of £5.7 million in its budget as a result of a 48% reduction in government funding. With a further £1.2 million cut in funding expected by 2015/16, the council has had to review every service to see where money can be saved and new income generated.

Withdrawal of the Vale of Aylesbury plan

The Vale of Aylesbury Plan has now been withdrawn by the council. It will be at least two years before a new one will be in place. The potential for numerous speculative development applications gaining approval in the interim is a real threat to the future well-being of the Vale.

Watford Re-signalling - Closures on Railway in 2014 and 2015 – Update and New Closure Dates
As I mentioned in November’s Marsworth Village Newsletter, new track and signalling is to be laid on an 8 mile (14 km) stretch of railway between Kings Langley and Bushey during 2014 and 2015. Both Virgin and London Midland trains will be seriously affected by this work. Virgin trains will terminate at Milton Keynes and buses will ferry passengers to Euston. London Midland trains will terminate at Hemel Hempstead and buses will ferry passengers to stations between there and Euston. The slow (stopping) overground service between Watford Junction and Euston will operate as normal.

Network Rail has now reduced the number of days that the railway will be closed in order to carry out this work. This means that the continuous 16 day line closure of the West Coast Mainline planned for this August and the 9 day continuous closure planned for February 2015 are cancelled. The work will now be carried out during a series of weekend “possessions” in 2014/15. The dates on which these arrangements will apply are:

2014
Sat 3 May to Mon 5 May
Sat 9 August to Mon 11 August
Sat 16 August to Mon 18 August
Sat 23 August to Tue 26 August
Wed 24 to Mon 29 December

2015
Sat 14 to Mon 16 February
Sat 21 to Mon 23 February
Fri 3 April to Tue 7 April

PLEASE NOTE: London Midland also advise:

These are the weekends when work is planned to take place but please be aware that other weekends may be required.

I will try to pass on further information as it becomes available.

Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk

District Councillor’s News for February 2014.

Vale of Aylesbury Plan Strategy 2011 – 2031 found to be “Unsound”

The Vale of Aylesbury Plan proposed, inter alia, for around 13,500 new houses in the district by 2031 and a minimum of 6,000 new jobs.

Following several rounds of consultation, Aylesbury Vale District Council submitted the plan to the Secretary of State last August for independent examination by Kevin Ward a member of the planning inspectorate.

On 7 January Mr Ward found that there had been a “a failure to comply with the duty to co-operate” with other local authorities in the preparation of the plan and that “that in relation to the overall provision for housing and jobs, the Plan has not been positively prepared, it is not justified or effective and it is not consistent with national policy. It is therefore not sound”.

The council had, he advised, two options – “Firstly the Council could choose to receive my report. Given my findings, I must recommend non-adoption of the Plan. Alternatively the Council may choose to withdraw the Plan under S22 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (as amended) I appreciate that you will be disappointed by my conclusions.” A copy of the inspector’s report can be found on the council’s website at: http://www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/planning-policy/

In 2010 the council withdrew its previous plan prior to completion.

This all means that the Vale will not have an up to date local plan for at least the next two years. Planning applications made during this time will be determined by the policies contained in the government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and any “saved” policies from the 2004 Aylesbury Vale District Local Plan which do not conflict with those in the NPPF. My main concern is that the lack of an up-to-date Local Plan opens the vale up to more large-scale speculative development applications, particularly in the vicinity of Aylesbury. In the absence of a robust Local Plan, the Council will find it increasingly difficult to resist such applications.

Boundary Commissioners’ Recommendation for Cheddington Ward

At present Cheddington ward, comprising the parishes of Cheddington, Marsworth and Slapton, elects one councillor to Aylesbury Vale District Council. The Boundary Commissioners have recommended that this should be changed to a new ward of Pitstone and Cheddington, comprising the Cheddington, Marsworth, Ivinghoe and Pitstone represented by two councillors. They would welcome comments from residents and local organisations on this proposal. Further details are available on:
http://www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/south-east/buckinghamshire/aylesbury-vale-fer
The closing date for comments is 8 April 2014.

District Councillor’s News for January 2014.

AVDC Budget 2014-15
Subject to cabinet and council agreement, it looks likely that there will be a 1.99% increase in the district council tax for next year. This extra money will be “ring-fenced” (i.e. used solely) to support businesses in the district and encourage growth and job creation. The council’s new business plan aims to make money, to supplement the council’s budget, through the provision of new services offered by its professional staff. Government grants towards council services continue to plummet: the £12million support provided to AVDC in 2010 is reduced to £6 million in 2014-15 and looks likely to fall to £0 by 2020.
The 1.99% increase would cost an additional 5 pence a week for a band “D” household. Aylesbury Vale receives less than 10% of the council tax. The bulk of the tax goes to Buckinghamshire County Council, with smaller amounts to The Fire Service, The Police service and parish councils.
Corry Cashman

District Councillor’s News for December 2013.

Free Parking in Aylesbury

People visiting Aylesbury will be able to take advantage of free parking at certain times again this Christmas. Shoppers and visitors will be able to park for free after 4.30pm on Thursdays in AVDC’s car parks (only) in Aylesbury between 21 November and 19 December.

Always check before parking that parking is free in the in the car park at the time you are parking.
Further details on the AVDC website at: www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/news
Season’s Greetings.
May I wish you all a Happy and Peaceful Christmas and New Year.
Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk

District Councillor’s News Oct 2013

Watford Re-signalling - Closures on Railway in 2014 and 2015
New track and signalling is to be laid on an 8 mile (14 km) stretch of railway between Kings Langley and Bushey during 2014 and 2015. Both Virgin and London Midland trains will be seriously affected by this work. Virgin trains will terminate at Milton Keynes and buses will ferry passengers to Euston. London Midland trains will terminate at Hemel Hempstead and buses will ferry passengers to stations between there and Euston. The slow (stopping) overground service between Watford Junction and Euston will operate as normal. The dates on which these arrangements will apply are:
3 -5 May 2014
8 – 25 August 2014
25 – 29 December 2014
14 – 22 February 2015
3 – 6 April 2015
I have enquired as to what arrangements will be made to compensate season ticket holders affected by this, but was informed that this has yet to be decided.
The above information was provided by London Midland when I attended their stakeholders’ conference on October 11th. It was an interesting and useful conference.
LM’s managing director apologised for the record of cancellations and poor timekeeping last year. He said that the service was now improving and 36 new drivers had been trained to remedy the shortage of drivers. From next April LM will provide an additional 4,000 seats on its peak-time Euston services. I asked that the poor late night service out of Euston to Tring, Cheddington and Leighton Buzzard stations be addressed. Frequently, many passengers in four-car trains have to stand from Euston to Hemel Hempstead.
I took the opportunity of raising the issue of high charges and low use at Cheddington station car park. The new head of the west coast service, Barrie Cottam, undertook to review this matter, taking into account Cheddington’s special rural circumstances.
I complimented the stakeholder manager, Jed Burgess, as I was requested to do by a number of passengers, on the success of the extended opening hours of Cheddington station’s booking hall, since the closure of the ticket office.

Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk

District Councillor’s News September 2013

Fracking
A number of district councillors, including myself, have been asked whether fracking is planned for any location in Aylesbury Vale. I have received the following advice from BCC: “At the present time, Buckinghamshire County Council has not been approached by any developers with a view to carrying out any Shale gas exploration or development in Buckinghamshire.”
Further details are contained in the advice note attached to the email conveying this report.
Fracking information is also to be found on the BCC website at: http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/environment/planning/fracking/#.UhjR-EZwZjo

My Allowance and Expenses
My allowance and expenses for the last full financial year (2011–12) were:
Basic allowance: £ 5,304.00
Mileage allowance: £ 550.00
Parking and Fares: £ 31.00

TOTAL: £ 5,885.00

The above figure does not include any costing for the laptop computer on loan to me from the Council. The mileage allowance includes attendance at site meetings all over the Vale for the development control committee.

Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk

County Councillors Newsletter July 2013

Thank you for once again for your confidence in re-electing me as your County Councillor in the May elections. This is the first chance I have had to put my thanks on paper rather than on 'social media'! I have also been elected Liberal Democrat Group Leader on the County Council, albeit to a much smaller group. The Council has reduced in size from 59 members to 48 and now includes 7 UKIP members.

The new Council commenced with the Annual Bucks Debate with guest speakers Ben Page from pollsters IPSOS MORI, local businessman Alex Pratt, reflecting on the economy, and the privileged position Bucks has with the second fasted growth in the UK, and Wendover GP Dr Johnny Marshall looking at the challenges for local government to maintain and improve public health. The debate can be seen on http://www.buckscc.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/100337

Community Leaders Fund
Since May I have applied for and had authorised (but cheques still in the post!) funding for paint and materials to enable the painting and decorating of the fabulously restored Ivinghoe Village Centre to be opened. I have also provided BBOWT at College Lake with funding to enable the publication and sale of the definitive account by Graham Atkins of the history of the creation of the College lake reserve, and we hope to have a joint launch of the publication on the reserve in August. There is a little bit left for small projects.

Local Area Forum
At last the efforts of the various community speedwatch teams are coming to fruition, with the soon-to-be-installed vehicle activated speed signs (those that flash) in several identified speeding hot spots. County engineers are also working on simple schemes to remind drivers where limits are in place – Great Gap being a case in point. Work is still progressing on winning funding for several footpath projects in the Division including Middle Path to Pitstone Windmill car park, and Pitstone to Marsworth.

Library DVD ‘voluntary’ scheme.
I have been working with the librarian, Shelle West and volunteer Frances Booth to set up a free DVD sharing/mutual exchange scheme for the DVDs that have been gifted to the library. Previously there has been a charge for DVD loans to cover the huge cost of DVDs over and above normal cover price that is levied on DVDs that are loaned or hired. Continuing the old scheme would be loss making for the library. We have come up with a voluntary scheme where library users will be able to take out DVDs for no charge, and not entered as a loan on the electronic borrowing record. However there will be a prominently displayed piggy bank for donations to cover refreshing the stock and replacing DVDs that are inadvertently not returned. We will suggest a voluntary return date for the DVD with a reminder date stamp. Frances will be trading our out of date and unpopular DVDs on Ebay, and buying more popular DVDs and special requests, supplemented with the piggy bank donations. We are also asking library users to contribute to the scheme by donating any DVDs they may have at home and no longer wish to view which we can either put in the borrowing pool or trade. The scheme is due to start any day now – ask in the library for information.

BeaconLit
This mini festival has been written up elsewhere. Working with the small team of Chris and Dave Sivers, Bren Sainsbury and Jackie Wesley to launch this event was well rewarded by the amazing feedback we received from those who came (about 60) and the bloggers, writers and tweeters who commented and reported on the day. The event was supported by the Arts Council, AVDC and Bucks CC as well as the best selling authors who entertained us in two chat-show style sessions ably hosted by Dave Sivers. Local writers were well represented but my special thanks is to Brookmead, Edlesborough and Cheddington Schools, who with the help of their literary adviser Simon Wrigley, and the enthusiastic support of the head teachers, entertained us all with a selection of Summer Ghost Stories. The competition winner was Thanks too to Ivinghoe WI for their fabulous cakes and to CuriosiTea in the village centre for keeping everyone sustained.

Cheddington going for Gold
In June I joined a walking crocodile of Cheddington school pupils in their effort to achieve national gold accreditation for travel planning. The WOW walk once a week team needed to invite their local councillor – a pleasure.

Politics Roundtable BBC3CR
Having tasted this during the election campaign at a Question Time representing the four political parties at a live event in St Mary’s Church Aylesbury, I was invited back to Roberto Perrone’s live show in mid June. A superb broadcaster.

AVDC Development Control annual tour.
This started with a visit to Arla who are well on their way to making this a zero carbon operation and a blueprint for all future European dairies. 38,000 trees have been planted, 100 managers already employed, of 700 full time jobs overall. A billion litres of milk, and only milk, will eventually pass through here every year, from cows in the surrounding counties, to customers inside the M25.

http://avrildavies.mycouncillor.org.uk
@avrilpitstone

Avril Davies

District Councillor’s News - August 2013

Cashless Parking in AVDC Car Parks
Car parking charges can now be paid either in cash or by mobile phone at council car parks in Aylesbury, Wendover, Winslow and Buckingham.
To use the new service, drivers have to register their vehicle and payment card details. They will then be able to pay for parking either by calling the pay-by-phone number, going to the pay-by-phone website or using the mobile phone app.
Please note there is a 20 pence charge for this service each time it is used.
To register for the service, please visit www.paybyphone.co.uk or call 0330 400 76275.

HS2
The district council has voted in the past to spend money on a campaign to oppose HS2. As I have explained in past editions of the “Marsworth Village Newsletter”, I have not supported this as I did not believe it to be an appropriate use of council tax money.
However, at the last council meeting I did support a proposal to spend £100,000 to ensure that appropriate and timely mitigation measures be taken should HS2 go ahead. This money will only be spent on ensuring that all farmhouses, isolated houses, villages, towns and sites of historical and environmental significance along the route will, as far as possible, be protected from the adverse impact of HS2, whether from noise, vibration, visual or other sources. I asked the leader of the council, Councillor John Cartwright for his assurance that the £100,000 would be spent solely for this purpose and this was given at the council meeting. The money, the council was informed, will come from “additional contribution out of any efficiencies that we make in the current year and if necessary” it would “use our working balances to fund this”.

I think that if HS2 is built then the council has a duty to ensure that it has the least possible adverse impact on those Vale residents living along its path.

Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565

District Councillor’s News July 2013

Summer Holiday Activities for Young People in Aylesbury Vale
Aylesbury Vale District Council has organised a series of artistic, sporting, play and other events for young people (aged between 4 and 16 years) over the Summer holidays. Activities include cooking, archery, magic, horse riding, golf, glass art workshops and drama workshops. Full details and prices can be found at: http://www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/search/?s=a&k=do-it+summer+2013 or telephone 01296 585301
Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk

THE BUCKINGHAMSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL
(WATERY LANE, MARSWORTH)
(TEMPORARY PROHIBITION OF THROUGH TRAFFIC) ORDER, 2013

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has made an Order, which will temporarily prohibit any vehicle from proceeding, except for access, in that length of Watery Lane, Marsworth, which commences at its junction with Church Lane and continues to the bridge which passes over the Grand Union Canal.

The alternative route for vehicles affected by the closure will be via Church Lane, Vicarage Road, Lower Icknield Way, Watery Lane and vice versa.

The closure is required whilst power network works take place and it is anticipated that the works will commence on 25 July 2013 and will take approximately 12 days between 0800 hours and 1600 hours each day to complete.

The Order will come into operation on 25 July 2013 when the appropriate signs are lawfully displayed and will continue in force for a period of 18 months or until the works have been completed, whichever is the earlier.

Penalties for not observing these restrictions will be as prescribed by the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and the Road Traffic Act 1991.

Dated 17 July 2013.

ANNE DAVIES
Service Director: Legal & Democratic Services
County Hall
Aylesbury
Bucks
HP20 1UA

District Councillor’s News - July 2013

Changes to the planning process affecting Householders

In last month’s district councillor’s news I referred to the proposed Householder Extension Local Development Order (HELDO) which the district council proposes to introduce. I also referred to “Changes to planning rules presently before parliament” Parliament has now agreed to these changes and below is an outline of how these two changes could combine to affect planning in the Vale.

The parliamentary changes which have now come into effect will apply for a fixed term of three years. They will permit some extensions to be built at the rear of houses without planning permission. Generally speaking, single story extensions of up to 8 metres to the rear of detached and semi-detached houses, and up to 6 metres in of the case terraced houses, will be permitted. Only immediately adjacent neighbours will be able to object to such proposals. Their objection may only be based on the claim that the amenity of their property is adversely affected. A planning officer will make the final decision as to whether or not there is merit in their claim.

The district council’s HELDO, if agreed, will provide for a householder to erect certain extensions other than those referred in the paragraph above. HELDOs will cover many types of extensions, such as those longer than 8 and 6 metres referred to in the paragraph above, two story extensions and first floor extensions. Householders will need to apply for a confirmation under the HELDO that they can carry out such work without the need to apply for planning permission.

The cost of a HELDO has yet to be decided but it is likely to be between £200 and £250. The confirmation process should take around two weeks. Planning applications can still be made if the resident prefers to do so. The planning application process will take between two and three months to complete. The cost is around £172.

Parish councils will not be able to comment on individual HELDO proposals. Homeowners seeking a HELDO will have to inform their neighbours before approaching the council. There are situations in which HELDOs will not apply, such as in the cases of listed buildings, houses in conservation areas and certain other locations and situations.

AVDC is consulting on HELDOs until midnight on 8 August. Should you wish to comment, go to www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/ and scroll to the foot of the page to the “Have your say” section. Click on “New approaches to planning permission” and follow the links. Or Telephone 01296 585768

Please note: The above information is correct to the best of my knowledge, but if you are making or involved in a planning application, or considering building work, or have further detailed enquiries, please contact the professional officers at AVDC. Email east@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk

Corry Cashman Tel: 01296 668565 c.cashman@zen.co.uk

District Councillor’s News - June 2013

Householder Extension Local Development Order
At present most planning applications can take two to three months before even straightforward, low impact planning permission such as for extensions are granted. To speed up this process the district council propose to make a Householder Extension Local Development Order (HELDO) for the Vale. This would allow householders planning more straightforward types of extensions to their houses to apply to have their application judged compliant with the HELDO and be issued with a certificate stating that they can carry out the development. This process, for which there will be a charge, would take a couple of weeks rather than a couple of months. The categories of work which would be eligible for such a certificate are not yet agreed. Certain areas of the Vale and types of buildings would not be covered by the HELDO. These include “Listed Buildings, and buildings within a Conservation Area, dwellings within the Metropolitan Green Belt, dwellings within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, dwellings formed from converted former agricultural buildings, and dwellings that are the subject of agriculture or equestrian occupancy conditions or where there are other restrictions on occupancy”.
While I recognise the advantages attached to this proposal, I am concerned that if implemented it will deny town and parish councils the opportunity to make informed comments on behalf of local communities where an HELDO application is made. Equally I am concerned that the proposal would also appear to be contrary to the principle of localism.

It is proposed that there will be a formal consultation commencing on the 12 June 2013 and closing at midnight on 8 August 2013.

Please note 1: This proposal should not be confused with changes to planning rules presently before parliament. These, at the time of writing appear not to affect the district council’s proposal.

Please note 2: The above information is correct to the best of my knowledge, but if you are making or involved in a planning application, or have further detailed enquiries, please contact the professional officers at AVDC. Email east@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk

Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk
District Councillor’s News - May 2013

Welfare and Council tax Benefit Changes
Most, but not all, of these changes were introduced in April and affect some people in a big way. I have tried to briefly outline some of them in the paragraphs below. The information is to the best of my knowledge accurate. However full and authoritative information can be obtained from the contacts listed below.
The New Size Criteria for the Social Rent Sector (popularly referred to as “The Bedroom Tax”)
If you rent a house from a housing association (such as the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust), you may have lost part of your housing benefit if the government thinks that you have more bedrooms than you need. To help explain I have set out two examples below:
Example 1: A family of 4 (mother and father and two sons aged 11 and 13) with both parents out of work pay £200 a week rent for their three-bedroom house. Their landlord is a Housing Association. Until this April they received £200 in housing benefit to pay the £200 rent. In April they are now declared, under the new government rules, to have an extra bedroom. (The government says that they only need two bedrooms.) As a result, their housing benefit is reduced by £28 or 14% of the total weekly rent. In other words housing benefit will pay £172 of the rent and the family will have to find the remaining £28.
Example 2: A family of 4 (mother and father and two sons aged 11 and 13) with both parents in low paid jobs pay £200 a week rent for their three-bedroom house. Their landlord is a Housing Association. Until this April they received £100 in housing benefit to pay the £200 rent. The remaining £100 was paid out of their wages. In April they are now declared, under the new government rules, to have an extra bedroom. (The government says that they only need two bedrooms.) As a result their housing benefit has been reduced by £28 or 14% of the total weekly rent. In other words housing benefit will pay £72 of the rent and the family will have to find the remaining £128.
As you can see from the above examples the reduction in housing benefit is based on the total rent and takes no account as to whether or not the tenant is already paying a part of the rent.
Pensioners are exempt from this scheme.
For further information contact AVDC’s Benefits Advice Line: Tel 01296 585618
Council Tax Changes
From April every working-age resident in the Vale has to pay some council tax on their property.
For example, until this April, a 28 year old out of work person would have received £71 “Job seeker’s allowance” (JSA) a week to cover costs such as food, heat, water, gas, electricity, bus and train fares and other costs apart from their rent and council tax. Since April they will have received £71.70 “Job seeker’s allowance” a week to cover costs such as food, heat, water, gas, electricity, bus and train fares and other costs apart from their rent and some (but no longer all) of their council tax. They will now have to pay a minimum of £3.66 a week for council tax out of their £71.70 “Job seeker’s allowance”. (In most cases it will be more than £3.66 a week.)
Please Note: for a person under 25 years of age the same arrangements apply. The only difference is that their “Job seeker’s allowance” is £56.80. Only people over 25 years of age receive £71.70 a week.
For further information contact AVDC’s Benefits Advice Line: Tel 01296 585618
The Overall Benefit Cap
The government has brought in new measures to cap the total benefit a household can receive. This means that a couple or single parent with one or more children, can no longer receive more than £500 per week in total from Child Tax Credits, Housing Benefit, JSA/ESA/Income Support, Carer’s Allowance, and some other benefits. A single person can only be in receipt of a maximum £350 per week from the same benefits.
Claimants receiving Disability Living Allowance, Working Tax Credits, Attendance Allowance or the support component of Employment and Support Allowance will not be subject to the cap.
If a household exceeds the amount of benefit the government has set out they can receive, a deduction will be taken from their Housing Benefit, to bring them under the weekly limit.
The cap will come into effect before October 2013, and the Department for Work and Pensions will write to all affected households before the cap starts.
Please visit https://www.gov.uk/benefit-cap for further details.

Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk

Mediation Buckinghamshire offers a way of improving relationships and resolving differences between neighbours, business customers, work colleagues and family members. It gives everyone an equal chance to voice their concerns and to listen to what others are saying, before deciding together what should be done to put things right and start again on a new footing. We offer, free of charge to Buckinghamshire Residents:
• Community Mediation (neighbour issues including noise, inconsiderate parking, children & teenage behaviour)
• Room to Talk (inter-generational family mediation)
• Youth Offending (Restorative Justice)

We also offer fee paying work for High Hedges, Workplace & Civil Mediation.

For more details of the services we offer, please visit our web site at www.mediationbucks.org.uk
or contact us by:

‘phone: 01494 520827
email: mediation@mediationbucks.org.uk

District Councillor’s News April 2013

Council Tax

The total council tax payable in Marsworth Parish is set out below:

Band A: £984.74
Band B: £1148.86
Band C: £1312.99
Band D: £1477.11
Band E: £1805.36
Band F: £2133.61
Band G: £2461.85
Band H: £2954.22

Marsworth and Planning Applications.
From now on, if Marsworth parish council takes a contrary view to that of an AVDC planning officer on a planning application in the parish, it will only be referred to development control committee, for a final decision, if the parish council is prepared to send a representative to speak on the matter. Written representations by the parish council, in such situations, will no longer guarantee that an application will be referred to the committee, other than where the chair of the committee deems it appropriate. These changes are for a “trial period” of 6 months.

Cheddington Station Update

As you may already know Cheddington station ticket office will have closed on Friday 29 March.

However, thanks to the timely action taken by Cheddington resident, Dave Stevens, supported by commuters and passengers, London Midland have arranged for the waiting room and toilets to be open for extended hours from Tuesday 2 April onwards. These hours are 6.40 to 12.00 noon on Monday to Friday.

Train tickets can be purchased from the ticket machine outside the waiting room. The machine only accepts credit cards. Travellers buying their tickets with cash may do so on the train.

Aylesbury Vale Transport Users Group
The Aylesbury Vale Transport Users Group, which represents the bus and train users of the Vale, held its AGM, followed by an ordinary meeting on 5 March. It intends to focus, in future, not just on the important everyday provision of train and bus services, but also to plan for the future of transport provision in the Vale. It will be investigating the potential for evening / night services on some routes (eg: Aylesbury to Milton Keynes and Aylesbury to Watford, following on from the recently provided Aylesbury to Oxford service) and the possibility of a regular through service from High Wycombe to Northampton via Aylesbury, Buckingham and Silverstone.

Changes to the Buildings Regulations Service
From April there will be changes to the buildings regulations service presently provided by AVDC. There will be a choice of either a “Basic” or a “Premium” service at a cost yet to be announced. Both services will cover matters such as health and safety, but the premium will aim for “quality” and to place the “owner in control”. Recent government legislation places a greater emphasis on sustainable construction, and the premium service will aim to make sure that the best of what is shown on a plan is actually built. There will also be a database of builders which will also identify “poor” builders.

Financial Problems
In these difficult times people can encounter financial problems which make it problematic for them to meet the cost of rent, mortgage and other bills. AVDC provides an advice service to help people avoid getting into such serious financial difficulties in the first place. All enquiries are treated in confidence. For details contact the council’s housing debt advice service on 01296 585168

Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk

Council Tax 2013-14

AVDC is to increase council tax by 2%. This means that a band “D” household will pay an extra 5 pence a week or £2.62 a year. The district council element comprises less than 10% of the total council tax bill.

The Thames Valley Police element of council tax is also to increase by 2% (£3.08 a year for a band “D” household). Buckinghamshire County Council and fire authority elements of council tax are not to be increased.

Good News: Recycling doubles in first four months
Since the launch of the new collection scheme on 4 September, the district council’s recycling rates have more than doubled.
In the first four months of the new system (September to December 2012) 54% of waste created was recycled. This compares with 24.5% recycling in the same period in 2011.
The South East and Vale of Aylesbury Plans.
1. Currently when a planning application is made to the district council it has to be in accordance with planning policies found in:
(a) The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)
(b) The South East Plan
(c) “Saved” policies from the Aylesbury Vale District Local Plan 2004.
2. From March this will change with respect to the “saved” policies: planning applications made to the district council from then will have to be in accordance with planning policies found in:
(a) The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)
(b) The South East Plan
(c) But only policies in the Aylesbury Vale District Local Plan 2004 that do not conflict with those contained in the NPPF and the South East Plan.
3. Sometime around or after the same time the South East Plan is to be revoked by the Government. From then onwards planning applications made to the district council will have to be in accordance with planning policies found in:
(a) The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)
(b) Policies in the Aylesbury Vale District Local Plan 2004 that do not conflict with those contained in the NPPF and the South East Plan.
The government’s intention was that each planning authority should have a new local plan in place by now (March 2013). However, many local authorities, including Aylesbury Vale, will not have a new plan in place. This means that:-
- They will lose the support of the “saved” local policies, which did much to guide development in a way sensitive to local communities and their environments.

- Old local policies which do not conflict with national policies will still apply.

- Where a local policy might have supported growth and development in various ways sensitive to different locations, now it may be deemed not to be in conformity (e.g. not sufficiently pro-growth) with the NPPF and have to be ignored.
However, as the Vale of Aylesbury Plan gets nearer to adoption it can be used to give weight to and to inform planning decisions. The nearer it is to being adopted then the more weight it will have in helping to determine planning applications.
Once the new Vale of Aylesbury plan is adopted, then it will be able to guide appropriate growth and development in a way that has been informed by the people of the Vale. This is unlikely to happen, in my opinion, before the end of this year.
Between the end of March and the adoption of the VA plan there will exist a period during which opportunistic/speculative planning applications may be made and the ability of the council to resist them will be severely constrained without the support of a strong and robust local plan.
Note: The above information is correct to the best of my knowledge but if you are making or involved in a planning application please contact the professional officers at AVDC. Email east@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk
Corry Cashman
Tel: 01296 668565
c.cashman@zen.co.uk

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