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Buckinghamshire County Council News 
Great Brickhill, Wing and Ivinghoe

Welcome to the September edition of Buckinghamshire County Council's newsletter keeping you up to date with our work in your area. We'd really appreciate your feedback on the content, what has interested you and what you'd like to see in future. Please email Adam King at aking@buckscc.gov.uk with your news and views.

New council would save millions and empower residents

Abolishing Bucks’ five county and district councils and replacing them with one new, single authority would provide better services and enhance local decision-making, while saving tax payers more than £18m a year.

That is according to a blueprint for the new ‘Buckinghamshire Council’ which has been approved by County Council members and which will be submitted to Government this autumn. If given the green light, the old councils could be abolished and the new Buckinghamshire Council created by 2019.

County Council Leader Martin Tett said: “A new council would be a fresh start for Buckinghamshire, designed from the bottom up to provide better, more locally-focused services. I’m particularly proud of our proposals to bring the council closer to local communities.”

Included in the proposals are:

Community Boards
Nineteen Community Boards would serve Buckinghamshire’s towns and villages, enabling local councillors to take decisions on issues such as funding for community groups and local roads maintenance. They would meet regularly in each area and the public would be encouraged to attend alongside town and parish councils, police, fire, and health organisations.

Community Hubs
Community Hubs in each of the 19 Community Board areas would provide a base for a number of public services, including the new Buckinghamshire Council. It means residents, particularly vulnerable people who might be unable to travel very far, would be able to access a wide range of services from a place that is local to them – all under one roof.

Parish/ Town Delivery Partnership
Parish and Town Councils would have the opportunity to take on more services and community assets if they choose to, from public toilets and parks to support for the isolated and footpath repairs.

For more information log on to www.futurebucks.co.uk

Ivinghoe division: Update from Councillor Avril Davies

Over the summer I've had a rare chance to enjoy what the Ivinghoe Division offers all its residents. Outdoor events and long walks in the Ivinghoe Hills, Ashridge Forest and on the Grand Union Canal. 
 
A regular Active Bucks walk from the Ivinghoe old school started in late August to motivate more people to get the benefits of exercise with companionship and encouragement. 
 
Recently with the Local Area Technician I reviewed progress on the repair and maintenance programme for our local roads, not least the railings at Cooks Wharf, in preparation of putting forward priorities for the next financial year. 
 
My campaign continues to impose a weight limit on the B488 in response to a scheme of weight limits in neighbouring Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire confining heavy lorries to the M1, A4146 Leighton Buzzard bypass, and the A505 after the completion of the M1 link north of Dunstable. 
 
The provision of sufficient primary school places locally is now a concern to many, given the number of new homes proposed in the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan. There may also be changes to entitlement to free school travel for secondary school pupils next year, depending on the outcome of this summer's consultation.
 
The outcome of the West Coast Main Line rail franchise consultation has been published with only a small nod to station access and parking issues. Recently axed Southern trains between Milton Keynes and East Croydon have now been restored to five a day. Luton Airport will also be proposing changes to its aerospace this autumn. Contact acdavies@buckscc.gov.uk 
 
Wing division: Update from Councillor Netta Glover

I am pushing for the bollards at Watermead to be repaired. They have been out of action for ages but are very complex and expensive to fix.

I have been attending meetings of the Natural English Partnership which joins up all the groups connected with keeping our environment the way we want it to be.  

I am pushing to find a way to deal with weeds on pavements. I am not sure how this can be resolved given that the use of the chemicals that work has been forbidden.

Meetings at the Fire Authority have been very interesting. The teams not only put out fires - they are trained as ‘first responders’ to emergency calls and have saved several heart attack victims. They are also concentrating on prevention.  

The Luton Airport Consultative committee, which I regularly attend, keeps a watching eye on flights over our area straying off the path and because the airlines know they are being constantly monitored they know the authorities will be on to them. 

Recently I attended the fifth birthday of the shop at North Marston. This shop was given planning permission to the great delight of the village when I was their County Councillor so I have kept up my interest in its progress. It is now making a nice lot of money which is spent on village interests.  They have helped upgrade the village hall and provided an improvement to the local park.

In June I was present at the handover of the Energy From Waste complex at Greatmoor. It has been turning non recyclable waste into electricity since January. Each year it will provide electricity for 33,000 homes and save hundreds of tonnes of waste being buried in landfill sites and save us tax payers a load of money.

I regularly attend all the parish councils in my patch picking up any concerns and trying to sort them out. Contact nglover@buckscc.gov.uk

Congratulations to Bucks' adult learners after GCSE results

The Council's Cabinet Member for education has congratulated the many adults who notched up excellent GCSE results at the end of last month.

Students aged from 20 to 66 years old, studying with Buckinghamshire Adult Learning, achieved some fantastic grades in the exams, and did both themselves and their tutors proud.

In all, 102 learners studied for GCSEs across the various centres in the county.

Impressively, 69% of these students achieved A*-C grades in English and 70% achieved A*-C grades in Maths - 9% higher than the national average.

The oldest learner achieved a B in maths at Quarrendon, Aylesbury, while learners at the Millbrook Centre in High Wycombe did exceptionally well, achieving 3 A*s in Maths and an A* in English.

Cabinet member Zahir Mohammed said: "This is a huge achievement for all of our learners, some of whom have often not had great experiences in the past. It should also be noted they studied for the exams while also working and looking after families."

For more information about the courses, call 01296 398957 or 01494 778203 or visit www.adultlearningbcc.ac.uk

Organ donation campaign after woman saves councillor's life

The County Council is actively encouraging its staff to join the organ donor register after a councillor's life was saved by a liver transplant.

It is urging thousands of workers to sign up to become donors as a tribute to the unknown woman whose liver saved long-serving councillor Bill Chapple.

Three years ago, Bill, now 63, was given roughly two weeks to live if a donor couldn’t be found for him.

“I was suffering from non-alcoholic cirrhosis caused by a fatty liver. and was told that if I didn’t have a transplant within roughly a fortnight it would be too late,” he revealed.

“Then a woman in her late 50s died suddenly and I was given her liver. I don’t know who she was because we are not allowed to know – but without her, I wouldn't have been able to give my daughter away in marriage, or meet any of my young grandchildren."

Pictured is Bill, left, with County Council leader Martin Tett.
'I needed a wee': Top 10 excuses for fly-tipping revealed

The top ten 10 excuses from litter louts for dumping rubbish in our beautiful Bucks countryside have been revealed - with one culprit claiming he simply 'needed a wee'.

The Joint Waste Partnership for Buckinghamshire published the list after bringing hundreds of fly-tippers to court in a ‘zero tolerance’ campaign over the last 13 years.

The top 10 excuses:

10. I know the person who works on the tip and they don’t like me, so when I saw them working, I drove on…
9. I sold my vehicle to some people who were quite intimidating actually…
8. It was my van, but I had lent it to this other man who is now not answering my calls… I think his name is Jim…
7. I saw other fly-tipped waste and thought the area was a recycling centre …
6. The waste fell off the back of my vehicle as I drove along …
5. I didn’t dump it – I was there, but I only stopped to do a wee…
4. My van was untidy and I needed to give my boss a lift so I cleared the rubbish out because I know he doesn’t like the van untidy…
3. I dropped my phone and there was so much rubbish in the car that I could hardly find it – I cleared the rubbish out so I could find the phone…
2. I met a man at the ‘dump’ who said he wanted it – can’t think why he then dumped it rather than taking it back to the ‘dump…’
1. I paid a man with a van to take it…
Bucks' school funding on the agenda

Key issues facing the education system in Buckinghamshire - including some of the lowest-funded schools in the country - were on the agenda when the leader of the County Council met the government’s Minister of State for School Standards.

Tuesday's meeting between Martin Tett and Nick Gibb was arranged by Chesham and Amersham MP Cheryl Gillan and also covered high building costs, the government’s academy programme, the principle of extending Bucks’ grammar system and the challenge of making progress at the small minority of schools which require improvement.

Despite these issues, more than 90% of the county’s schools are either 'Good' or 'Excellent' according to education watchdog Ofsted, which Martin said was a credit to Buckinghamshire.

Martin said: “Nick listened, appreciated the problem and explained what the Government was doing to make school funding fairer across the country. He was also very supportive of our excellent schools.”

According to the schools allocation index 2015-2016, the seven secondary schools with the lowest funding in the country are (all figures below refer to funding per pupil):
1. Royal Latin School (£3,996)
2. Dr Challoner's Grammar (£4,068)
3. Aylesbury High (£4,093)
4. Aylesbury Grammar (£4,097)
5. Sir William Borlase's (£4,101)
6. Beaconsfield High School (£4,111)
7. Dr Challoner's High (£4,120)

Also in the bottom 10 per cent (out of around 3,000 schools) :
  • John Hampden (£4,161)
  • Royal Grammar (£4,166)
  • Wycombe High School (£4,181)
  • Sir Henry Floyd (£4,197)
  • Chesham Grammar (£4,259)
  • Waddesdon Church of England (£4,353)
  • John Colet (£4,435)
  • Great Marlow (£4,449)
  • Cottesloe (£4,508)
  • Princes Risborough (£4,523)
  • Holmer Green (£4,528)
  • Chalfonts Community College (£4,528)
  • Burnham Grammar (£4,552)
  • Buckingham (£4,559)

Website makes it easier to apply for school places

Families will be able to apply for a secondary school place on new ‘easy-to-use’ web pages following improvements to the County Council’s website.

The Council’s Find My Child a School Place online service is now live and officials are confident it will make it much simpler for people to apply online.

The site also has a webchat feature so families can ask for further explanation if the information they require is not on the website.

The new service has been designed to be mobile first – in response to the significant growth in mobile use of the main Council site.

For the new service, go to www.buckscc.gov.uk/findaschoolplace

Volunteers needed to help the unemployed

Volunteers are needed to spare an hour a week mentoring unemployed people to help them find jobs. Buckinghamshire County Council needs the mentors to lend a hand at the end of employment courses run by its Community Wellbeing Programme.

The courses are designed to give the unemployed new skills in care or construction or simply boost their confidence in the job market. Martin Phillips, Council Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Public Health, said: “All we are asking for is for the volunteers to give an hour a week to help someone else achieve their education, training and employment goals. It’s only a small amount of time to give but may make all the difference in supporting them to find new opportunities to learn new skills or to apply for jobs that suit their lifestyle.”

Prospective mentors, who will be unpaid, will be trained and matched with an individual with similar background or experiences. If you are interested, contact Kat Johnston on 07747 476820 to find out more.

Scheme praised in national review ordered by David Cameron

A national review ordered by former Prime Minister David Cameron into the care of vulnerable children has praised a pioneering regional scheme co-ordinated by Buckinghamshire County Council.

The ‘Cross Regional Project’ was singled out as an example of best practice in Sir Martin Narey’s independent review of children’s residential care.

Sir Martin calculated the project - which was specially designed to improve the lives of children in care - is saving taxpayers across six authorities £1.4m a year.

The initiative aims to use the size and flexibility of the partnership to ensure young people in care are sent to homes in their local area, and it also provides them with specialist therapeutic services.

Buckinghamshire’s partners are: Oxfordshire, Herts, Milton Keynes, Bracknell Forest and Reading.

Pictured: Head of Children’s Care Services in Buckinghamshire, Simon Brown, with Emma Beech, Contract Director for Keys Childcare, which developed six local children’s homes as part of the project.

Copyright © 2016 Communications, All rights reserved.


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