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.
Archive for the ‘Saunderton’ Category
A letter from Eric Pickles concerning the revocation of the regional strategy for the South East of England PlanFebruary 14, 2013
The local NHS consultation closes on 16 April.
To see a short and jargon-free summary and to comment online you can look HERE.
The proposals include changes to hospital services at Stoke Mandeville and Wycombe. There’s been a fair bit of coverage in the local media already but if you haven’t yet what is being suggested and want to have your say, do follow the link.
In the last few days, I’ve had two or three constituents come up to me to say that they’ve heard that the Post Office wants to close the sorting office in Princes Risborough. If true, this would mean a serious reduction in service not just for people living in Risborough itself but for residents of villages like Bledlow and Lacey Green as well. Apparently you would have to trek into Aylesbury (tough if you haven’t got a car) to collect a package or parcel that was delivered while you were out. I@m going to chase tyhe Post Office this week to see what is going on and will post further news here.
Greengauge 21 is a company that has long supported High Speed Rail, and has weighed in behind the HS2 proposal. They’ve recently published a report in which they argue that it would be possible for the government to link HS2 to improvements to local rail services that would give people in Bucks and neighbouring counties some benefits to set against the financial and environmental costs of HS2.
They say that new services could be run from Aylesbury to Watford Junction and the West Coast Main Line via a new (but oft-mooted) Croxley link and that a new link to Heathrow could provide direct rail access to and from the airport for the Wycombe-Risborough branch of the Chiltern Line.
It’s an interesting line of argument and one that I hadn’t heard before. Better local rail services would be attractive, though I noted that Greengauge did not envisage these being provided until after HS2 had been completed. Indeed, they seem to reckon that the prospect of a direct Chiltern Line-Heathrow connection in particular would have to wait until much later. And of course money would have to be found to finance the new links suggested.
Of course nothing that Greengauge suggests would lessen the environmental impact of HS2 and I doubt that their proposals would make any difference either to the business case for HS2 which is the subject of such vigorous controversy. But I’d be interested to know what my constituents think.
On 9 December the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles MP, dismissed the travellers’ appeal to allow development of a currently unauthorised travellers’ site at Hemley Hill.
Mr Pickles upheld the Planning Inspectorate’s report, which was submitted to the Secretary of State on 5 October, but extended the compliance period from 6 to 18 months. This means that the travellers will have to leave the site within that time period.
The travellers’ have the right to appeal Mr Pickles’s decision, but would need to make an application to the High Court within the next 6 weeks.
“I welcome this decision, which will come as a relief to many local residents, and hope that the travellers will now accept the decision and move out quickly from land that they had no right to develop in the first place.
“The Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, has made it clear that he is determined to protect the rights of established residents, along with the status of the green belt and AONB”.
Please find below the letter that I sent to the new Transport Secretary, The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, on the day his appointment was announced. I will of course put up the response that I receive.
From Monday 12th April at 5.00pm Parliament was dissolved. This means there will be no MPs until after the General Election on 6th May. Until that time I will be campaigning for re-election as the Conservative Party’s Candidate for Aylesbury.
My Westminster staff are not allowed to work in the House of Commons during the election campaign though they are continuing to deal as best they can with constituency casework from their homes.
To find out more about the Conservative Party’s policies please visit http://www.conservatives.com/
The decision a few years back to concentrate particular hospital services in either Stoke Mandeville or Wycombe, rather than at both sites, stirred up a huge row. In Aylesbury, we saw cardiac services go south. At Wycombe, which is the local hospital for a lot of my constituents in Stokenchurch, Naphill and other villages, maternity and children’s services were closed and concentrated at Stoke.
An awful lot hangs on having an effective ambulance service to get patients from one end of the county to a hospital at the other. Living in Risborough, I see and hear those ambulances a lot.
So what is going to happen if this rail route goes ahead and involves a viaduct across the A4010 at Stoke Mandeville? Is it really possible to do it without temporary road closures or, at the very best, traffic restrictions that are bound to add significantly to delays. I’ve been onto the Bucks Hospitals Trust today to flag this up as an issue. It’s just the latest illustration of the far-reaching impact that this scheme could have on many aspects of life here.
There’s now a bit more news on timings. Lord Adonis, the Transport Secretary, is scheduled to make a statement in the Lords at 11.30 am. His Commons Minister, Sadiq Khan, has just twittered that he expects to be repeating that statement in the Commons at 12.15 pm. The actual White Paper, with all the small print detail, isn’t expected to be available until after the Commons statement, perhaps at 1.00 pm.
Today we’re due to get the Government’s announcement about plans for a new high-speed rail route from London to Birmingham. I’m expecting an oral statement in the Commons in either the late morning or very early afternoon.
A lot of countries are building high-speed rail lines to link major cities. A fair number of my constituents will have used the TGV in France and other countries in Europe and Asia are pushing ahead with similar schemes and they clearly have important economic benefits. If they succeed in diverting travellers from roads and aeroplanes, they could have environmental benefits for the country too.
The problem for our area is that any route from London to Birmingham seems likely to go through the Chilterns. We’d suffer the environmental damage but, because the trains would not stop locally, we’d get no direct benefit.
I’ve not been given any advance details of the route. Our local councils have been consulted at officer level but have all been sworn to secrecy. Press leaks from the Department of Transport suggest that the government is looking at three options, each involving existing transport corridors.
One would be to follow the M40 corridor, either tunnelling under or skirting High Wycombe, then running along the A4010 through the Bradenham valley, going around Risborough and off towards Haddenham.
A second option would be to follow the line of the A413 past Chafont, Great Missenden and Wendover, going round Aylesbury to the West and then over towards Quainton.
A third would be the A41 corridor past Hemel Hempsted, Tring and Aston Clinton then up along the Herts/Bucks/Beds border.
Whichever the government proposes, we’d be looking at a 100 metre swathe of land that would be in addition to rather than taking over existing railway lines.
I’ll blog more when I have some news.