Copy
Local news brought to you by Buckinghamshire County Council
View this email in your browser

Buckinghamshire County Council News - Aylesbury

Welcome to the March edition of Buckinghamshire County Council's newsletter for this area, where your County Councillors are Andy Huxley (Aylesbury North West division), Raj Khan (Aylesbury North), Phil Gomm (Aylesbury East), Brian Roberts (Aylesbury South East), Brian Adams (Aylesbury South West) and Steven Lambert (Aylesbury West).
Please email Adam King at aking@buckscc.gov.uk with upcoming events you’d like included. The next edition will be out in May.

Aylesbury South East division: Update from Councillor Brian Roberts

The Great British Spring Clean Campaign

On Saturday 4th March, local councillors Bill and Sue Chapple, Mark Winn, Roger King, Denise Summers and myself, joined forces with the local Scouts and Guides with some of their mums and dads to clear away a lot of litter as part of the National Great British Spring Clean Campaign.

The target was the sports field on Wendover Way where 16 bags of rubbish were collected. Apart from the benefit of clearing away this rubbish, this brilliant bunch of youngsters learnt a lot about the perils of litter and the problems this causes. We found a rugby ball, 2 Discs, (as in Discus) an old wallet, a cricket ball and the find of the day was a green rubber duck. A great mornings work where we all felt we had made a useful contribution to clearing up our local environment.

Capital maintenance programme

The Capital Maintenance programme is where County Councillors meet with County Engineers to discuss the state of the roads and walkways in their area and to agree on a programme of repair/maintenance.

This is a rolling programme that is updated each year. Recently we have seen work carried out in Chiltern Street, Madeley Road, Walton Dene, Wendover Way, Mandeville Road and many more.

In January when I had my annual meeting, it was confirmed that Walton Way, Clinton Crescent, Fairmile and the area around Wellington Road and Rutherford Road would receive an upgrade this year.

The engineers have also agreed to carry out an assessment of Harvey Road and Barnard Crescent with a view to advise the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust on what is needed to repair the walkways of this area. Across the county £120m has been spent on the road network over the last six years, but there is still a lot to do. This investment into our roads network will continue with another £60m to be spent over the next four years to continue the improvements. 
 
Making it easier to get around Aylesbury

With a current petition running on the Council’s website, Mark Shaw, Buckinghamshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Transportation explains some of the issues and solutions to traffic in and around Aylesbury. 

"Fact...when it comes to things that annoy us about modern life, sitting in traffic jams is right up there with slow wi-fi, cold callers and people who talk loudly on mobiles. 

We hate it, inching along getting more and more frustrated as the daily schedule we planned out begins to fall apart through no fault of our own. You're probably thinking, why when I drove in absolutely fine yesterday on my normal journey, is it chock-a-block today? 

The reality however is that, Aylesbury's traffic is probably no better or worse than any other similar sized town. Of course it's a pain when you're caught up in long delays, like the Thames Water emergency works a few weeks ago, but thankfully these more extreme situations are relatively rare. For much of the time - indeed like on March 15 when The Bucks Herald led with the story ‘Enough is enough’, the traffic was running fine. 

But I offer that comment with some caution. I'm not pretending it's absolutely perfect and yes, very occasionally we do see parts of the town gridlocked because at some key locations, traffic flows are at or close to full capacity. I fully understand people's frustrations about that. 

So, what are we doing about it? After all Aylesbury is a successful town, it’s continuing to grow and it has busy roads running in and out of it from north, south, east and west. We need to plan very carefully and make sure every pound of our limited resources improves the journeys we all make, particularly those at peak times during the working week. 

Following recent consultation, I have just approved the new Aylesbury Transport Strategy, which is our blueprint for improving all forms of transport in and around the town. It's no easy fix though. We don't have millions of pounds under the mattress just waiting to be spent. What we need to do is focus on a mixture of improvements. 

One of the major parts is the concept of new outer link roads for the town. In effect, they are a series of jigsaw pieces. Some sections are already in place like Martin Dalby Way and Stocklake and we have the new Eastern link Road being built too. Funding via HS2 is also in place for other sections like the Stoke Mandeville bypass. 

For other sections, it’s a complicated process to get developer contributions and other funding in place. So no immediate fix, but I’m confident we will get there in the end. In the longer term, there's also the concept of a new east-west expressway which could run close to Aylesbury, so that could play an important part too. 

But the Strategy contains other solutions too. Things like junction improvements and, with nearly 60% of local journeys currently being made by car, there's clearly potential for people to look at different ways of travelling more generally. Just think for a second, if you're stuck in traffic, you're potentially adding to the problem rather than being part of solving it. On average, every household in the Vale owns more than one car but could our car dependency behaviour change over time? That too could make a huge difference. 

I completely get people's frustrations when problems occur, however as Cabinet Member responsible, I'd like to assure local people we are doing everything we can in the both the short and longer term to improve journey reliability for local people and businesses. 

Aylesbury is a successful place and I want that to continue by providing the transport infrastructure we all need and deserve."

Proposals for new satellite school in Aylesbury

Proposals have been announced for Buckinghamshire's first satellite school, in Aylesbury.

St Michael's Catholic School, High Wycombe, plans a satellite - initially with four forms of entry - on the former Quarrendon School site.

A consultation with parents and the local community will run until April 28.

The proposal comes in a partnership between Buckinghamshire County Council, St Michael's governors and trustees, and the Diocese of Northampton.

The satellite school would cater for students between 11 and 19 and open in September 2018 with a Year 7 intake of 120, growing over time to six forms of entry.

Headteacher Garret Fay and St Michael's governors would have overall responsibility for the satellite site and local governors would be sought to support the multi-site school's governance.

After the consultation, the school partners will decide whether to move to the next stage and publish a statutory notice outlining the proposals and triggering a four-week public representation.

Zahir Mohammed, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills (pictured), said: "This is an important consultation and I hope people will take the time to respond, as their views are of great significance.”

Prepared for rising water: Warren Whyte, Billy Stanier, Mike Smith and Gary Wade with an emergency pump at The Willows

Volunteers band together to fight the floods

When it comes to rising flood water, The Willows estate, Aylesbury, is ready to rise to the challenge.

A new detailed Deployment Plan has been drawn up to protect the 450 homes from the risk of flooding from the Stoke Brook that runs past the estate.

Residents, volunteers and council officers are ready to spring into action if bad weather threatens rising water levels.

And they'll press into action temporary flood defences residents bought with £245,000 of pooled Government compensation from damage when the river burst its banks in February 2014, flooding 79 homes.

The equipment - six heavy duty pumps and portable flood barriers - have undergone trials since it arrived last year. Now residents, Buckinghamshire County Council, and Aylesbury Vale District Council have drawn up a plan to ensure it's used safely, correctly and at the right time.

When the risk of flooding is high, County Hall's emergency planning team will raise the alert and co-ordinate a team of duty council officers and volunteers to transport and set up the flood defences.

The volunteer four-wheel-drive group BORG has offered to take equipment from the council's Griffin Lane depot to the Willows where a waiting team of volunteers drawn from residents Town, District and County Councils, will set it up led by two duty deployment staff.

The deployment plan is the result of several months of discussion between councils, voluntary organisations and community groups.
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."
Stoke Mandeville's Paralympic heritage to be saved

Historic archives and artefacts dating back to the very origins of the Paralympic movement will be catalogued and conserved by the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies.

The archives department of Buckinghamshire County Council, in partnership with the National Paralympic Heritage Trust (NPHT), has been awarded a major grant of £175,566 by the Wellcome Trust for cataloguing and conservation work on the vital records which track the origins of the Paralympic movement.  

These will include patient records dating back to 1944, when Dr Ludwig Guttmann first set up the spinal injuries unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

In addition to those patient files, the archives of the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation and WheelPower will come into the scope of this exciting ‘Spinal to Sport’ project.

The award will fund three new members of staff to help complete the work, which will take two years.

County Archivist Laura Cotton who was instrumental in obtaining the funding said: “It is really exciting to be widening access to these records by cataloguing them and making them available to the public."

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.”

Mary Batson, 39, of Aylesbury, who in 1872 was sentenced to 21 days in jail for stealing two tins of meat. A plaiter by trade, she claimed she wouldn’t have stolen the meat if she hadn’t been drinking. 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.
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.
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 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 particularly keen to encourage residents who do little or no activity!
 
Click here to view all the activities Active Bucks are offering in the Aylesbury 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

Chairman's afternoon tea with care provider

County Council Chairman Val Letheren enjoyed afternoon tea and some gentle armchair exercising when she attended an event held by care provider Home Instead recently.

Val was invited to attend the event to find out more about the organisation and the work they do in helping older people stay independent in their own homes.

The Aylesbury Vale and North East Oxfordshire branch of Home Instead hosted the event at the Holiday Inn in Weston Turville.

Val said: “Buckinghamshire has a large population of older residents so it is great to see organisations such as Home Instead providing services and support to help people stay living independently for longer.”

Home Instead is a previous winner of a number of Dignity in Care awards around the country.This year's winners will be announced on May 19.
To subscribe to this email contact Adam King aking@buckscc.gov.uk

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list