It is important that we all take time to remember those who sacrificed their lives fighting for their country. Therefore, I was pleased to learn that Buckinghamshire Remembers a website that documents war memorials, plaques, stained glass windows and other forms of commemoration relating to World War One is almost complete. The website contains photographs of the war memorials and many of the casualties. You can view the website by clicking here.
Archive for the ‘Buckinghamshire County Council’ Category
A letter from Eric Pickles concerning the revocation of the regional strategy for the South East of England PlanFebruary 14, 2013
I recently received the below letter from Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, concerning the revocation of the regional strategy for the South East of England Plan. I warmly welcome this announcement which means that the top down Central Government targets for house building will be scrapped. It will give more responsibility to elected local councillors to decide how much development we need and where it should take place.
I recently wrote to Buckinghamshire County Council concerning Highbridge Walk as I had been informed that since BCC had taken responsibility for parking enforcement from AVDC there has been concerns that resident would no longer be able to use a bud lay-by to about load and unload. I have now received a reply which I have enclosed below.
I received the below information from Bucks County Council regarding Trading Standards’ scam emails which I thought may be of interest to constituents.
“Incidents of scam emails being sent from hacked email accounts is on the rise, says Buckinghamshire’s Trading Standards team, who are reminding members of the public to be aware.
The fake emails, which look like they have been sent from the genuine email address of a friend or a family member, are sent to all addresses in the address book of the hacked email account. The email will usually be titled “I need your help” or “I’m in trouble”, and will ask the recipient to send a ‘loan’ in excess of £1,000. The cause of these types of emails is usually that the sender’s email address has been hacked into by a cyber criminal.
Martin Phillips, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, said: “If you receive an email of this nature, we advise you to try to establish if your friend or family member really is in need of help. If it’s your email account that has been hacked into in this way, contact your email service provider who will be able to restore your email address for you.”
All major web-based email service providers are aware of the problems with account hacking and now offer a system to quickly restore email addresses if they are hacked.
For more help on email scams check with your email service provider or visit the Trading Standards webpage at:
I recently received information regarding revisions to the bus network in Aylesbury Vale from Buckinghamshire County Council and I have included this below.
“From February 5th, there are going to be small changes to timetables designed to improve reliability. The alterations are based on information on actual running times from the Real Time Information System and include a new higher frequency of services on Arriva’s Line 300 to cope with demand.
Peter Hardy, Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet member for Planning and Transport said “These changes will help to further improve bus reliability and I am pleased that Transport for Buckinghamshire will continue to work in partnership with bus companies to help improve punctuality and attract more people to travel by bus”.
Line 300, is one of Buckinghamshire’s most popular routes and services will now run up to every fifteen minutes on weekdays. Between Aylesbury to Princes Risborough, most journeys will now run direct along the A4010 via Little Kimble. Passengers from Butlers Cross will be able to catch the revised 321 route, but with some peak journeys available on Line 300.
In Aylesbury town there will be some revisions to the Rainbow Routes network. Most affected is Greenroute 4 which currently runs between The Coppice, the town centre and Walton Court. This will be extended to Stoke Mandeville Hospital and, together with Redroute 9, will provide a ten minute frequency from the town centre and Walton Court to the Hospital.
Paul Adcock, Area MD for Arriva said “The changes we are introducing are to improve reliability for our services. We are also pleased to announce more buses to Stoke Mandeville Hospital and more frequent buses on our 300 service between Aylesbury, Princes Risborough and High Wycombe. These improvements show our commitment to offering a good network of services for Aylesbury and the surrounding area. The bus now offers a real alternative to the car for days out, nights out, travelling to work and going to appointments, with no parking fees or the hassle of finding space as well as the savings made on fuel, it really is time to give the bus a try.”
Other significant changes include new timetables on routes 16 and 18 following the consultation on the future of routes in Steeple Claydon, Marsh Gibbon and Waddesdon. The consultation had a huge response and the most common requests have been incorporated within the revised timetables.
To see a complete list of the changes and view the new timetables please go to the Buses and Trains pages at www.buckscc.gov.uk/transport alternatively you can call Traveline on 0871 200 22 33 (calls cost 10p per minute).”
I spent Friday in Kent looking first-hand at the impact that the Channel Tunnel High Speed rail route had had there. I travelled to Ashford with the Managing Director of Southeastern, the rail company that operates the local rail services serving the whole of Kent. In the county, I met parish councillors from two villages beside which HS1 was built, local campaigners fromk the Ebbsfleet/Gravesham area, Kent County Councillors and KCC officers, including planners who had been closely involved in coping with the railway’s construction and operation. I also stood right by the HS1 route while both a local fast service and a Eurostar train passed.
Inevitably, one day can only give you a brief impression of what people in Kent went through and live with now. To start with, there are two major differences between HS1 and the proposed HS2. First, Kent actually has stations – at Ashford and Ebbsfleet- and not just the Eurostar services but fast local services run along the HS1 tracks. So there are some benefits to local people in terms of better services to be weighed against the adverse impact. Second, for most of its length HS1 runs alongside a six-lane motorway. There is simply no comparison between that and the Misbourne Valley route. To label them equally as “transport corridors” is risible.
Southeastern told me that they now had more passengers from towns like Ashford and Folkestone using the high speed services than using the conventional trains, despite a 20 per cent fare premium for the high speed option. They argued that passengers were willing to pay the extra because they valued the time saved from the daily commute and the opportunities that that gave to them for leisure and family life. I challenge them as to whether this meant that they were providing a rich man’s service. They denied this, arguing that their trains were used by people on average incomes too. In don’t know whether there are published figures to show the number of passengers from different income groups. The local campaigners and parish councillors were more sceptical about the transport benefits. they said that the Department for Transport’s original predictions of passenger numbers and revenue had not come close to being fulfilled and said that they resented paying through taxes and higher fares for a line that only a minority of the county’s population used.
It was difficult to gauge the noise impact, in large part because the proximity of the motorway inevitably dulled the impact of train noise. While the noise from the two trains that I observed was less intrusive and shorter in duration than I had expected, those trains were shorter and travelling more slowly (140mph for the local service and 180 mph for Eurostar) than is predicted for HS2 (250 mph). Local campaigners said that while noise barriers did work pretty well, out in open country with no noise barrier the impact was much greater. To my mind this reinforced the need for detailed and reliable noise maps to be available for study and comment before any final decision is taken on HS2.
I saw a cut and cover tunnel at the edge of one village. Visually, I would not immediately have known that there was a tunnel there had I not been expecting it. The village road had been reinstated over the top of the tunnel and the depth of the topsoil layer meant that oak trees were now growing on top of the structure. However, the parish councillor from that village said that construction had meant disruption, temporary road closures and diversions and a lot of dust over a couple of years. He also said that compensation had been ungenerous and taken far too long to get settled. Kent County Council briefed me about rescue archaeology along the route and on how some historic buildings had been dismantled and relocated.
In terms of lessons learned, Kent CC said that with hindsight they would have engaged earlier over the issue of overhead gantries, which were visually very intrusive, and tried to get the DfT to waive its normal rules about safety barriers on bridges. It was the inflexible imposition of these rules that had left a number of country lanes looking permanently suburbanised, when there was no objective need for large concrete barriers in such locations. One of the things that had worked well was the establishment of an environmental fund, financed by central government and administered by an independent trust, that could give local groups grants to finance local environmental projects.
What came across from all the conversations I had is that that people in Kent, whether officials, councillors or grass-roots campaigners are happy to share their experiences with colleagues in Buckinghamshire. They too had to go through the experience of learning very quickly about a range of technical issues and drawing on their knowledge may help Bucks constituents in their campaign.
This study was mentioned in a lot of this morning’s broadcast media but was not, when I checked, available on Network Rail’s web site. However, a journalist has kindly emailed me a copy which I have posted here.
I recently received a press release from Bucks County Council regarding Plan Care and I have enclosed the relevant sections below which may be of interest to constituents.
“ By mutual agreement, Plan Care will now provide homecare only to people living in Aylesbury and the immediate surrounding area. The rest of Aylesbury Vale, including Winslow and Buckingham will now be served by six to eight alternative agencies contracted by the Council for at least the next six months.
In addition, during this period, new clients in the whole of Aylesbury Vale, including Aylesbury town, will be referred to the alternative agencies.
During this six month period the Council will explore the options for a more permanent solution to the provision of homecare in the wider Aylesbury Vale District with the aim of least disruption to clients.
Most of the Council’s clients outside of Aylesbury have already been transferred to alternative agencies and they will remain with the new agency while the Council explores the best way forward.
Plan Care took on the three year contract with the Council last November (2010). The renegotiated contract takes effect immediately and is for the remainder of the contract period although the Council will work closely with Plan Care and continue to monitor performance.”