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Buckinghamshire County Council News - Great Brickhill, Wing and Ivinghoe

Welcome to the March edition of Buckinghamshire County Council's newsletter for this area, where your County Councillors are Janet Blake (Great Brickhill division), Netta Glover (Wing) and Avril Davies (Ivinghoe). Places such as Quainton, Newton Longville, Whitchurch, Wingrave and Cheddington are also included within this area. Please email Adam King at aking@buckscc.gov.uk with upcoming events you’d like included. The next edition will be out in May.

Ivinghoe division: Update from Councillor Avril Davies

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 at 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. 
New freight strategy to reduce load on communities

Minimising the impact of freight travelling through Buckinghamshire was the subject of a special summit which brought together community leaders from across the county.

Organised by Buckinghamshire County Council, the debate focused on the key issues that directly affect local communities from lorries and trains carrying freight. These included noise, road safety, damage to roads, lorry routing and congestion.

The session, marked the start of the process to refresh the Council's existing freight strategy originally published in 2010.

Workshop chairman and the County Council's Deputy Cabinet Member for Transportation, Paul Irwin said: "This session was all about fact finding and listening directly to the views of our local communities. We covered a range of potential solutions from weight restrictions on roads to better sat-nav technology to help HGV drivers."

The new strategy is expected to be finalised in 2018.
Meet the Teachers - Gavin (Primary School Teacher)
Haydon Abbey teacher Gavin Jones talks about his job
Recruitment drive for more teachers

Buckinghamshire County Council has launched a recruitment drive for more teachers – just weeks after unions wrongly suggested the number of teachers in Buckinghamshire could fall.

With more than 100 teaching and support roles to fill, the council has created a new website, which includes the stories of local teachers who swapped careers in the likes of banking, journalism and tourism for the classroom.

The website highlights the many different routes into teaching and the financial support available, with bursaries up to £25k on offer. 

Zahir Mohammed, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “The NUT and ATL’s recent suggestion that funding cuts could mean a reduction in the number of Buckinghamshire’s teachers was based on wrong assumptions and as this new recruitment drive shows, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Buckinghamshire is investing in its teachers to ensure schools in the county remain amongst the best in the country."

Cabinet member welcomes tougher mobile phone penalties

Mark Shaw, Buckinghamshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Transport, has welcomed tougher sentences for drivers caught behind the wheel on their mobile phones.

He said: “I see so many drivers in Buckinghamshire using their mobiles at the wheel, and it makes my blood boil! The fact that some drivers think it is acceptable to focus even a part of their attention on some text message, call, or – even worse – social media while they are driving, is terrifying.

"My message to drivers is: put the phone away while you are in the car. It is not safe – no matter how good a driver you think you are, you are 50 per cent less focussed when you are on your phone. To think anything else is pure arrogance, and it could cost a life.”

We've created a jargon-free website explaining proposals for a new single, county-wide council for Buckinghamshire, which would save £18m a year, improve services and strengthen local decision-making.
www.futurebucks.co.uk contains:
> The business case, plus a summary of its key points.
Case studies from other areas which have a county-wide unitary council.
> An at-a-glance comparison with the district councils' proposals.
> Answers to more than 50 frequently asked questions.
Get Easter covered

The Easter holidays will be here before you know it but Buckinghamshire Family Information Service has got things covered on its Leisure and Recreation section where you can find hundreds of activities and things to do.

The website also includes information on childcare including Ofsted registered clubs, camps and courses.
County Council's role in creation of Milton Keynes celebrated

The role played by Buckinghamshire County Council in the creation of Milton Keynes was marked last month, as the city celebrates its 50th birthday.

Milton Keynes’ Deputy Mayor and Mayoress David and Susan Hopkins were guests of honour at the County’s full council meeting. Chairman Val Letheren presented them with a replica 17th century map of Buckinghamshire, alongside a bouquet of flowers to the Deputy Mayoress.

The County Council had a strong influence in the original plans for a large new town in north Bucks. In 1962, planning officer Bill Berrett came up with the first proposals for a ‘North Bucks New City’, designed to help alleviate the chronic housing problem in London as well as creating a commercial hub for Buckinghamshire. County Architect Fred Pooley proposed building a monorail providing free transport to its residents.

In 1967 the Milton Keynes Development Corporation took control of planning the new city and Pooley’s proposals never got off the drawing board. However, the County Council’s original vision – as well as the approximate site – laid the foundation for what we now know as Milton Keynes. The County Council was also responsible for the city for its first 30 years, until 1997 when a unitary authority was created.
50 day countdown until elections

March 16 marked just 50 days to go until the County Council elections on May 4.

The elections give local people across Buckinghamshire the chance to choose the 49 councillors they want to represent them and to make the important decisions about millions of pounds of public services.

Both the County Council and the four district councils are busy making all the necessary arrangements so that everything runs smoothly between now and voting day itself and for the subsequent counting and declaration of results. 

To be able to vote, you must be on the electoral register. Poll cards will be sent to all those already registered at the end of March, but if you're not sure whether you are registered, contact your district council. You can apply to register by visiting www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. The deadline for the County elections is April 13.

There's also still time to think about standing as a candidate to become a county councillor, with the nomination period opening on March 27. Again, your district council will have all the details about this and they can send you all the relevant forms. Completed nomination papers will need to be returned by hand to the district council in the area you wish to stand by 4pm on April 4.
Together we can prevent child sexual exploitation

Being aware of the signs of child sexual exploitation and knowing where to go to raise a concern are two simple but important things we can all do to help Buckinghamshire's young people stay safe.
 
The National CSE Awareness Day, held on March 18, was supported by partners in Buckinghamshire who work together to protect children as part of the Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board.
 
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.

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.
 
Visit www.RUWise2it.co.uk to find out more.
 

County Council joins Apple and Google on awards shortlist

Buckinghamshire County Council and its property consultants Carter Jonas have joined Apple, Google and UBS on the shortlist for a national award after a project to make public services more efficient.

The project reviewed more than 500 buildings owned by the Council, alongside NHS, central government, blue light, and district, town and parish properties. It has been used to examine where public services can share buildings, resulting in tax payer savings. 

Judges at the Property Awards 2017 have now put the Council and Carter Jonas through to the final six in a category which recognises excellence in estate management.

The winner of the award, which was free to enter, will be announced on April 4.

John Chilver (pictured), Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “To be in the company of Apple, Google and UBS demonstrates just how highly judges thought of our work, which will help ensure that public services in Buckinghamshire are far more integrated and efficient.”

County Council leader comments on budget

Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council, on what the budget means for...

Social care
"I am very pleased that the Chancellor has listened to county and metropolitan councils and acted on the crisis in Social Care. The rapidly ageing population and the rising costs of providing care for those in need is pushing many councils' finances over the tipping point. We will need to see the detail but the initial commitment of £2 billion over the next three years is welcome. Much will depend on how this money is distributed around the country. It needs to come where need is greatest, not just allocated on some historic formula. Also how much will be maintained in funding to councils' budgets into the future?"

Transport
"On transport it was good to see a commitment to an extra £690 million to tackle urban congestion but this will be allocated by 'competition'. We need to know what will be the criteria for this competition and over what period the money will be available? Councils preferably need certainty to plan roads over a long period of time, not annual announcements. The fund also needs to focus on areas with high future housing growth not just existing town centres."

Economic growth
"Disappointingly, whilst there was much reference to the so called 'Northern Powerhouse' and 'Midlands Engines', there was little or no mention of the South East. Whilst it is important to ensure that all parts of the country prosper, it is also vital to remember that the South East of England is the true 'economic heart of Britain'. We are one of the few parts of the country with a net contribution to the national Treasury and we provide the money to fund investment elsewhere. We need to see investment in the South East, particularly given its high housing growth targets if it is to remain successful."

Grammar schools
"Lastly, as a County Council committed to Selective Education we welcome the proposal that there will be the opportunity for more parts of the country to benefit from a 'Grammar style' education. Providing the next generation with the type of opportunity that their predecessors had will be great for the country's productivity and for social mobility."

Active Bucks activities taking place in your area

 
Do you you know you can access a voucher to attend a local activity session for free? There are over 2500 weekly activities to choose from across Buckinghamshire, and you can filter by distance, day of the week, time of day and activity type.  Visit www.activebucks.co.uk.  
 
Active Bucks is also offering a number of new activities across Bucks based on the feedback of over 3500 Bucks residents. Many activities target beginners and Active Bucks are particularly keen to encourage residents who do little or no activity!
 
Click here to view all the activities Active Bucks are offering in the Great Brickhill, Wing & Ivinghoe area 
 
Can you help us to promote Active Bucks to your residents? Active Bucks can provide the tools needed to make it as easy as possible.  This could include:
 
  1. Promoting www.activebucks.co.uk on your website or newsletter/magazine – we can provide text and images if required
  2. Show your support via your social media channels  
  3. Distributing Active Bucks posters/postcards in local venues – let us know what you require
Call for suffrage pioneer nominations

International Women's Day on March 8 marked the launch of a national project to find and honour 100 pioneers who helped change the course of history nearly a century ago to make sure women received the vote.   

The influential Women’s Local Government Society, chaired by Buckinghamshire County and Wycombe District councillor Lesley Clarke OBE, is calling on local people from across the country to identify, research and nominate those women and men who were active in the campaign to extend the vote to women.

She said: "We're looking for 'suffrage pioneers' - those ordinary people who did extraordinary things to bring about changes in the law. It's so important we tell their stories, both in the run up to 1918 and beyond.

"We really want people to travel back in time and unearth these potentially untold stories. Perhaps your grandparents or other family members might have been activists? Perhaps there's a local statue of someone or folklore about a person who helped bring about the change? Whatever it is, we want to know about it!"    

Local people and organisations have until October 31 to submit their nominations. Full details, including the nomination forms are available on the www.suffrage-pioneers.net website. 
A free MOT for your health

Everybody wants to have an active and healthy life for as long as possible, but as we get older the risk of developing serious disease and illness increases. With early intervention and treatment however this risk can be reduced.

This is what the NHS Health Checks are designed to identify.

All eligible residents in Buckinghamshire aged 40-74 have a Free NHS Health Check every five years.

The Health Check is a very straightforward 20 minute assessment where blood pressure, cholesterol, BMI and lifestyle are assessed by your GP or healthcare professional.

Afterwards you’ll get an info/ results pack which includes advice and suggestions on what to do next should you need it.  

How do I book one?
You may get a letter in the post from your GP in the next few weeks asking you to attend a Health Check at your surgery, but you can also contact your GP directly or visit the website to book one locally

*To be eligible for a Health Check, you must:
  • Be aged between 40 and 74 
  • Be a Buckinghamshire resident
  • Not been diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or had a stroke
  • Not had an NHS Health Check in the last 5 years
To subscribe to this email contact Adam King aking@buckscc.gov.uk

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