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Buckinghamshire County Council News - Chesham, Chess Valley and Chiltern Ridges

Welcome to the March edition of Buckinghamshire County Council's newsletter for this area, where your County Councillors are Mark Shaw (Chesham division), Noel Brown (Chess Valley) and Patricia Birchley (Chiltern Ridges). Chenies, Cholesbury, Chartridge, The Lee and Hyde Heath are also included within these divisions.
Please email Adam King at aking@buckscc.gov.uk with upcoming events you’d like included. The next edition will be out in May.

Cllr Noel Brown in the High Street
Chesham town centre improvement work taking place

Improvement work is currently taking place on Chesham High Street and Market Square by Transport for Bucks.

The work consists of pavement and roadway improvements including repair to areas damaged by tree roots, replacement of some blockwork along the pavement between Station Road and Red Lion Street, installation of a new drainage channel between Station Road and Church Street to address some flooding issues, and tree pruning and maintenance.

Efforts have been made to limit disruption to local businesses and residents. While fencing around works will be in place, access to all properties will be maintained, with any work that does affect access to local businesses taking place outside of normal working hours. Chesham’s vibrant Wednesday and Saturday markets will also continue to operate as normal.

The work is on target to be completed at the beginning of April.

Speaking in February, when the work started, County Councillor Mark Shaw, who represents Chesham and is Cabinet Member for Transport, said: "It's been a long road to securing the budget and organising these vital works, and Noel Brown [County Councillor for Chess Valley] and I are both so happy they are about to commence.

"We really tried to listen to local residents and businesses, and the concerns we were hearing about were trip hazards and flooding – I believe these issues will be addressed by these works, and I hope everyone enjoys, and benefits from, the results. So, please bear with the contractors for the next couple of months or so, and we’ll have a renewed and restored high street just in time for spring."

Chesham division: Update from Councillor Mark Shaw

Yet again it's been a busy couple of months locally, thankfully it hasn’t prevented me from getting involved in the community and helping residents out with their problems and concerns.
 
I was very pleased to meet up with Chesham in Bloom to discuss how Transport for Bucks could help them as Chesham has now been entered in the national In Bloom competition. This is a very impressive achievement and I wish the In Bloomers the very best of luck in the competition later in the summer.
 
I have also met several times with the Chesham Society to learn about their exciting plans  for the future of Chesham. They really have come up with some innovative ideas including setting up a Community Interest Company. We are lucky to have such committed people in Chesham who care about its future.
 
I continue to work closely with the "Brown not Green" anti development group which are rightly campaigning against the threat of proposed development on the Green Belt site in Lye Green. The group has been very active and recently presented a petition signed by over 1,800 people to Chiltern District Council.
 
As Chairman of Pond Park Residents Association we organised a litter pick in the Pond Park Area on the Saturday 4th March. It was great to see so many people turn up especially the Brownie and Rainbow troops. I was really pleased to be able to present thank you certificates to them after the event. 
 
Together with Tricia Birchley and Noel Brown we continue to have our monthly surgery at Chesham Library between 10-11am no appointment is necessary if you would like any further information please contact me on 07951 744656 or email me on markshaw@buckscc.gov.uk. Please note there won't be one in April.

Chess Valley division: Update from Councillor Noel Brown

The County Council has agreed a balanced budget based on an increase of 4.99%, to fund the Social Services increase caused by the pressures of the growing numbers of older people in Bucks. The number of over 80s will increase some 43% between 2010 to 2020 which will be good news to many, but sadly often brings its own problems.

On top of my visits to Chenies, Little Chalfont, Latimer and Ley Hill Parish Councils  as well as Chesham, for the last two meetings I have been  chairing the Amersham LAF as well as the Chesham and Villages one, sharing information across all layers of Councils and the Police. Many of the problems are similar and lessons are learnt from each other.

Continuing the Health Overview meetings, I was lucky to be involved with the meeting at Amersham Hospital talking freely with the front line staff. They were worried so often about poor communications issues, whether it was the Pharmacy, Transport, Social Services or whatever was needed to complete the discharges. It will be great if we can recommend a way through it all as everyone wanted to find answers. So many thanks to the staff who took part.

We are also looking at the new proposed ways of working more closely together between the Hospitals, Doctors Surgeries and Social Services to keep us supported in our own homes, trying to anticipate problems rather than waiting for a crisis. So often our older people are worried about seeking help from Social Services in case they are put in a home, whereas that is the last thing the Social Workers will want. Please let us know when you need that help so we can all help you avoid the crisis.

Discussions continue about the Local Plan and Chesham Town Council and the Chesham Society are trying to see how many of the new homes needed can be fitted in at a higher density nearer to the centre of town, to avoid having to go into the Green Belt. There are some good opportunities but we could be talking of a minimum of four or more stories which, even with good design, some will not be happy about. There really are no easy answers.

But elsewhere things are moving forward. Work has actually started on the repairs to the walkway in the pedestrianised area at long last, hoping to deal with problems up to Station Road or beyond till the money runs out in this session.

Also the Parking Review is entering its last stages with the formal consultation now out which we hope the public will support where it affects their roads..

Patricia at a recent World Cafe community event in Chesham
Chiltern Ridges division: Update from Councillor Patricia Birchley

As the County Council draws to the end of its four year term in early May, our school results continue be to be 10% better than the national average.  

Children's Services have greatly improved with quicker case referrals and the employment of more permanent social workers, Adult Social Care continues to see an increase in the number of over 85s requiring support and these two services now absorb 60% of the council budget. The Council is pleased that the Chancellor listened to local government and acted on the crisis in social care by an initial commitment of another £2 billion over the next three years.

Improving the quality of our rural roads continues to be an absolute priority for County and that said, BCC is now in negotiation with HS2 to ensure the safety of local residents during the construction phase. Things such as official truck routes, improvements to junctions and phone numbers to report problems are some of the important issues for us as the Highways Authority. The Council has won substantial concessions from HS2 in terms of funding for community projects and once again everyone who has contributed to the HS2 debate and held them to account deserves our sincere thanks.

Bucks Business First is tapping into a national campaign to empower more women to start their own businesses. It has organised a pizza and networking evening to encourage young entrepreneurs and is seeking entries for the 2017 Buckinghamshire Business Awards. Most businesses in Bucks employ less than 25 people and the encouragement of BBF has in many cases helped bring inward investment into the County.  

For example, Bucks & Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership has successfully bid to government for £20 million local growth funding to support new road infrastructure, help the University of Buckingham to double in size and build world class business incubation facilities in the heart of the County.

Looking ahead,  the Council's new Strategic Plan will focus on looking after Children and Adults with Care needs, the environment, and supporting economic growth amongst ambitious plans to ensure this will remain a good place to live in 20 years time.

Please get in touch if I can speak to officers on your behalf at County Hall.: Pbirchley@buckscc.gov.uk/ 0771 470 4017
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.

Chesham man fined for dumping rubbish in Chartridge

A Chesham man who dumped building waste in Chartridge has been ordered to pay nearly £2,000 by the courts.

Jake Thomas Sheridan Blankson, 30, of Brandon Mead, was caught on surveillance camera fly tipping the waste in Arrewig Lane from his van late at night on September 29, 2016.

When interviewed at a police station, Blankson admitted depositing the waste.  He claimed he had found the waste dumped at the roadside elsewhere, had taken it home to examine it to see if there was anything of value and, finding nothing, drove to Arrewig Lane and dumped the material there.

The Magistrates fined Blankson £633, and ordered clean-up and prosecution costs to be paid in the sum of £1,175.  A victim surcharge of £80 was also levied  –  making a total to pay of £1,871.

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.

Mark welcomes tougher mobile phone penalties

Chesham county councillor Mark Shaw has welcomed tougher sentences for drivers caught behind the wheel on their mobile phones.

Mark, who is Cabinet Member for Transport, 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.”

Labourer William Allen, 36, of Chesham, who in 1871 was sentenced to eight months in prison for stealing bacon. Access the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies' archives here.
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.
Meet the teachers - Richard (History Teacher)
Wycombe High School teacher Richard Binks 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."
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.

Chesham duo show true grit with wizard new name

After a long and hardworking career Buckinghamshire's gritters Salty, Daisy and Snowdrop have retired. In their place we welcome Blizzard Wizard, Snowphie and Brrrrrrian!

During December Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) held a competition to name their three new arrivals, and whittled over 200 entries down to the winning three. It was a tough decision, with entries such as ‘Melt’n John’ and ‘Meltallica’ as well, of course, as Salty McSaltface…

Blizzard Wizard was named by Arran and Calum Kelly, from Chesham, Brrrrrrian’s name was chosen by Beth Arnaud, from Waddesdon, and Snowphie has been named by Sophie Ingham (pictured), from Long Crendon, who chose her own nickname, given to her as it snowed on the day of her birth. Her ‘glitter’, as she refers to it, along with the other two new trucks, will join the existing fleet, all of which were named during 2009 by local schools.

TfB make daily decisions during the winter about whether or not to treat the roads based on forecasts from stations across the county. They make this decision based on a number of factors, but will look at whether or not the road temperature will drop below zero.

To keep informed of these decisions, follow TfB on Twitter @tfbalerts.

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 know you can access a voucher to attend a local activity session for free? There are over 2,500 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 3,500 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 Chesham area 
 
Can you help us to promote Active Bucks to your residents? Active Bucks can provide all 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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