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Buckinghamshire County Council News Beaconsfield, Gerrards Cross and Denham

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 junction for Gerrards Cross

Traffic lights at the main crossroads in Gerrards Cross town centre will be removed, and a new junction design has been submitted to Buckinghamshire County Council for approval.

The supermarket chain Tesco is funding the work on the junction of Packhorse Road with Station Road and Ethorpe Close to replace the lights with a raised road surface and controlled pedestrian crossing.

Work is scheduled for the October half-term holiday week once a safety audit has been done and traffic management arrangements approved.

Mark Shaw, Cabinet Member for Transport (pictured), said the scheme was in response to residents' requests, and since a public consultation in December, the County Council had been working with the parish council and Tesco to develop a suitable funded scheme.

'I know how important this scheme is to residents, and I'm pleased we're moving ahead towards installation,' he said. 'It's important to minimise inconvenience to residents and businesses, which is why we've chosen school holidays to do the work.'

Mark said he had hoped the work could be done before the end of the summer holiday, however, outstanding safety checks and emergency water main repairs prevented it from going ahead.

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

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…

Autumn sees changes to Household Recycling Centres

As autumn arrives once more, there are some changes being made to Buckinghamshire County Council's Household Recycling Centre service.

As is usual, winter opening times at the Household Recycling Centres come into force on 1st October, and this year the winter opening times will be 9am to 4pm every day. This earlier winter closing time makes the service more cost-effective, as winter evenings are the least popular time for people to visit their Centre.

Since 2006, for some visits to the Recycling Centre – for instance when using a commercial vehicle or large trailer - you have to obtain a free permit. To make the permit system faster, more convenient and cost-efficient, it's now going fully digital, which means that instead of waiting for your permit to arrive in the post, you can immediately present your permit code to Recycling Centre staff using your mobile device, or take along a print out if you prefer.

Lastly, we're phasing out the old name 'Household Waste and Recycling Centre' in favour of 'Household Recycling Centre'. This doesn't make any difference to the types of material you can take along, but it does emphasise the most important role of the centres: helping to further improve recycling rates in Buckinghamshire, which are already well above the national average.

Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet Member for Planning & Environment Warren Whyte said: "These changes reflect our drive towards efficiency in our waste services, while at the same time making the permit system faster and more convenient for users. The renaming of Household Recycling Centres marks our ongoing commitment to achieving the best environmental outcomes possible in Bucks through recycling, re-using and reducing our overall consumption."

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

Government funding for Bucks' schools discussed at meeting

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)
Volunteers needed to help the unemployed find jobs

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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