3 new Buckinghamshire Council consultations

This month, a number of important consultations are launching, and Buckinghamshire Council would like to hear your views.

The council regularly seeks views from local people on a range of topics, from developing and updating policies, to making key changes to services.

It couldn’t be easier to have your say and all views and comments are considered when final decisions are made.

Three consultations which the council would like to hear views on are:

  • Development of the Local Nature Recovery Strategy – consultation open until 18 August
  • Library Flex transformation programme – consultation open until 18 September
  • Review of the Housing Allocations Policy for Social Housing Tenancies – consultation open until 22 August

The council is seeking views to help in the development of a Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS) for Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes. Local Nature Recovery Strategies were introduced in the Environment Act 2021 and every area in England is producing one.

The strategy will be used to help protect and preserve local nature and wildlife habitats which are integral to the region but which, through a variety of reasons, including climate change and economic factors, may be under threat. The council would like to find out which aspects of nature are important to local people and find out their views on the draft priorities that have been drawn up as part of initial discussions with residents and partners.

To find out more about the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Local Nature Recovery Strategy and to take part in the consultation visit: https://yourvoicebucks.citizenspace.com/environment/lnrs-priorities

The council would also like to ask residents for help with redesigning library services so they will continue to meet Buckinghamshire’s needs while responding to current and future challenges.

The Library Flex model proposes a new way of operating some Buckinghamshire libraries, reflecting changes in library usage over the years, by having staff available at times of greatest customer need and use of self-operated technology to provide library services at quieter times.

Library Flex will also provide an opportunity to increase opening hours, benefitting people who work, commuters and students. Currently many libraries open from 10am but could open earlier without staff and until later in the evening, and for longer during exam times so that people can go there to study.

Residents are being asked when they would most like staff to be available and when they would prefer to be able to visit the library.

The consultation also includes a review of opening hours at Burnham Library and a proposal to open High Wycombe Library on Monday instead of Sunday – both of which are separate from the Library Flex proposals.

To find out more about the proposals and to take part in the consultation visit: https://yourvoicebucks.citizenspace.com/culture-sports-and-leisure/library-flex

The Housing Allocations policy sets out the procedures that must be followed when assessing the eligibility of applicants for social housing tenancies. The policy details how applicants, via the Bucks Home Choice scheme, can apply to the housing register, what the eligibility requirements are, how the assessment process works, and how it proposes housing is allocated in the future.  

The council is in the process of reviewing the policy and would like to gain feedback on the proposed changes from current and prospective housing tenants, local residents, and partners. 

To find out more about the Housing Allocations Policy consultation and to take part, visit: https://yourvoicebucks.citizenspace.com/housing/housing-allocations-policy-consultation

All consultations being run by Buckinghamshire Council can be found on the website: https://yourvoicebucks.citizenspace.com

Could the Millennium Education Foundation help you achieve your further education aims? Grant applications now open.

MILLENNIUM

 EDUCATION FOUNDATION

Registered Charity No. 1077157

What does the Millennium Education Foundation do?

Established to mark the year 2000, the Millennium Education Foundation provides financial awards to eligible students for further education courses, which they and their families might not otherwise be able to afford.

Who can apply for an award?

Any full time student under the age of 22, who has lived for at least 3 years in Aldbury, Long Marston, Marsworth, Pitstone, Puttenham, Tring, Wigginton or Wilstone.

What do the awards cover?

The awards are intended to help towards the cost of tuition fees, accommodation, books, clothing, other equipment, travel costs and any other justified expenses of eligible students. Awards usually cover a period of three years.

How do I apply for an award?

Applications are invited in the autumn preceding the first academic year of study. Forms, with details of the application deadline, are available from:

Elaine Winter

Secretary to the Trustees of Tring Charities

21 Bunyan Close

Tring

Herts

HP23 5PS

01442 827913

Email: info@tringcharities.co.uk

 

You will be asked for your academic record and details of your future plans. Your parents/guardians will be asked to supply financial information.

 

What will happen once I have applied?

If you appear to be eligible, you will be asked to attend an interview where you will have the opportunity to discuss your plans for the future and to ask any questions that you may have.

You will be notified of the outcome of your application and interview in good time before you finalise your choice of further education.

Please note: The deadline for applications is 15th November for university applications the following year.

Buckinghamshire Councillors Report May 2024

Council reminds residents of new photo ID requirements for local and national elections

Buckinghamshire Council is reminding residents that to vote in upcoming elections in England they will need to show a valid photo ID at polling stations.

This will apply to:

  • Local elections
  • UK General elections
  • Police and Crime Commissioner elections
  • UK parliamentary by-elections
  • Recall petitions

The Electoral Commission’s website lists the accepted forms of photo ID.

A photo ID will be required to vote at a polling station for the Police and Crime Commissioner election on Thursday 2 May.

For people registered to vote by post, no photo ID will be required. This is because postal voting requires other identification checks, such as signature and date of birth verification.

Street Trading Policy consultation

We want to hear your views on our draft Street Trading Policy for Buckinghamshire Council.

If you are holding a community event, you may be impacted by the proposals, so I would urge you to read the consultation and please tell us your views – either through the consultation pages or a direct email/letter.

Street trading is the sale or offering for sale of items in a street. A ‘street’ includes any road, footway, or other area to which the public have access without payment (including service stations).

It is not only the public highway – it can include publicly accessible areas that are privately owned, such as shopping centre car parks and open spaces.

The consultation has been extended and you now have until 11:59pm on Sunday 26 May 2024 to tell us your views.

We will use your responses to develop the final Buckinghamshire Street Trading Policy.

UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL 12.30PM FRIDAY 10 MAY 2024: Council unveils unique benefits package in drive to recruit more foster carers

​ Buckinghamshire Council today (Friday 10 May) unveils a unique and exciting package of benefits and perks for foster carers in Bucks, as it launches a major new campaign to recruit more foster carers.

All councils offer some benefits to foster carers but in the face of ever-increasing costs for children’s social care, Buckinghamshire Council is taking a proactive approach in a bid to encourage more people to come forward and consider fostering.

From a 100% refund on Council Tax to free bus travel in the county, and from free leisure passes to access to a bigger bin, the package has been carefully and thoughtfully put together in partnership with current foster carers in order to help make their lives easier. It also reflects the invaluable role foster carers play in supporting children in care and the council’s appreciation for all that they do.

Full details of the benefits package:

  • A retrospective Council Tax allowance to cover 100% of their Council Tax bill (eligible foster carers will have had a placement for 182 days within the year. This can be a continuous placement or a number of short-term placements).
  • Free parking in Buckinghamshire Council car parks and country parks.
  • Free bus travel for foster carers and the children they care for, within their chosen travel zone in Bucks.
  • Free membership to a chosen Buckinghamshire Council leisure centre and access to family swimming and soft play.
  • Free access to Buckinghamshire Country Parks events and activities.
  • Offer of an enlarged bin, free green waste collections and two free bulky waste collections per year in recognition of the additional demand within fostering families.
  • An electronic device to help manage admin tasks.
  • Free family annual pass to the Discover Bucks Museum and Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery.
  • Free family theatre tickets.

Buckinghamshire is one of only a handful in the country, and the first in the local area to offer a full refund on Council Tax for those eligible. Combined with the other benefits, the new package will be offered to existing eligible foster carers as well as new recruits.

Bucks taxi driver loses licence after being caught using mobile phone while driving

​ Buckinghamshire Council has successfully defended in court a decision to revoke a private hire taxi driver’s licence after he was caught using a mobile phone whilst driving.

Mr Azhar Iqbal of Littleworth Road, High Wycombe, was stopped on the A355 by Thames Valley Police officers, after he was seen handling and speaking into a mobile phone whilst driving in August 2022.

Mr Iqbal failed to notify Buckinghamshire Council at the time of the offence, contrary to the conditions of his private hire licence. He eventually notified the council’s Licensing Team in April 2023, and subsequently Mr Iqbal’s private hire licence was revoked by Buckinghamshire Council on 12 October 2023.

Mr Iqbal unsuccessfully attempted to have his original conviction overturned. On 19 December 2023, after hearing evidence from the attending police officers and watching recordings from officers’ body worn cameras, magistrates said they were satisfied that he was guilty of the offence. He was issued with 6 DVLA points and ordered to pay a fine and court costs totalling £774.

Further to Mr Iqbal’s revocation, Buckinghamshire Council received an appeal against the decision to revoke his licence which was heard at Wycombe Magistrates on Friday 26 April 2024. 

The District Judge found the conviction for using a mobile phone was sufficient to justify revoking Mr Iqbal’s licence in accordance with the council’s policy and that there were no exceptional circumstances to justify an alternative decision.  

Mr Iqbal was ordered to pay Buckinghamshire Council’s costs in the case of £5,500.

 

Council pledges extra £500k for gully cleansing and roadside drainage repairs

With the highest rainfall for more than 200 years throughout winter and spring, in recent months many areas within Buckinghamshire have experienced flooding and related problems. To bolster resilience to flooding and heavy rain, the council will use the new funding to carry out extra cleansing of high priority gullies that need it in addition to its regular planned gully maintenance, to ensure they are in prime condition to cope with periods of sudden heavy or prolonged rainfall. New ditches and ‘grips’ to remove water from the road will also be created in some problem areas, and damaged drainage systems will be repaired so that water can flow away more easily

New home energy efficiency grant scheme launches in Bucks

​ Grants of up to £30,000 are now available for energy efficiency improvements for homes. These measures can include work such as loft insulation and window replacements. Eligible households in Buckinghamshire who own properties with an Energy Performance Certificate rating of D or below (D to G) can take advantage of this opportunity.

This local scheme, named the Domestic Building Envelope Energy Efficiency (DBEEE) Grant, is fully funded from Buckinghamshire Council’s allocation from the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

If a resident is approved for a DBEEE Grant and they are given the go ahead for home improvement works, then the council will pay the contractor after the work has been completed. To qualify for the grant, all works must be completed and grant claims submitted by 31 December 2024.

Residents should enquire about the grant through Better Housing Better Health. To qualify, residents need to provide necessary proofs, including a quotation for the desired improvement work on their homes.

More information on the DBEEE Grant can be found on the council’s website.

For residents who aren’t looking to have major work done on their homes, the council’s Energy Doctor scheme offers a range of free energy and water saving measures. These include hot water insulation jackets and reflective radiator panels. To find out if you are eligible for an Energy Doctor visit, go to the council’s Energy Doctor webpage.

Councillor Derek Town 

BC ‘Street’ Trading Policy consultation- if you are holding a community event on open space, and have any element of ‘trading’ (eg craft stalls or burger vans), then you may be impacted by these proposals

We want to hear your views on our draft Street Trading Policy for Buckinghamshire Council.

If you are holding a community event, you may be impacted by the proposals, so I would urge you to read the consultation and please tell us your views – either through the consultation pages or a direct email/letter.

Street trading is the sale or offering for sale of items in a street. A ‘street’ includes any road, footway, or other area to which the public have access without payment (including service stations).

It is not only the public highway – it can include publicly accessible areas that are privately owned, such as shopping centre car parks and open spaces.

The consultation has been extended and you now have until 11:59pm on Sunday 26 May 2024 to tell us your views.

We will use your responses to develop the final Buckinghamshire Street Trading Policy.

Latest update from your Buckinghamshire Councillors

Transform your street into a Play Street!

Communities across Buckinghamshire are being invited to take advantage of a scheme which highlights the importance of outdoor play and encourages neighbours to spend time socialising together, promoting the benefits for health and wellbeing in all ages.

Play Streets invites residents from communities across the county to apply for permission, free of charge, to close their road for a few hours at a time so that they can come together outside their homes to socialise, reduce social isolation and play safely. The scheme is part of the national Playing Out initiative and has been running successfully in Buckinghamshire for several years. Roads are closed to traffic for the duration, but pedestrian access is allowed, and residents can enjoy spending time together outside their homes.  

Bin-spiring volunteers collect bagfuls of litter during Great British Spring Clean

Communities around Buckinghamshire have been busy binning and bagging this spring, as Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean has completed its ninth annual run. Committed Buckinghamshire residents have come together as part of the country’s biggest mass action environmental campaign, collecting and safely disposing of litter from streets, parks and open spaces across the county.

Following this year’s theme ‘the environment is for everyone’, community groups and individuals in Buckinghamshire organised over 94 litter picking events around the county – a record breaking year for Buckinghamshire. The majority of the events took place in the South where more than 926 volunteers collected over 1,723 bags, and clocked over 1,852 volunteer hours.

Although The Great British Spring Clean is over for this year, the need for litter picking stays. The council empties over 4,000 litter bins every week, but over 2 million pieces of litter are dropped every single day in the UK, littering our towns and countryside.

Anyone can organise a litter pick or join an existing litter pick group. To get you started, the council can help you to organise a litter pick in your local area by lending litter pick equipment, providing waste bags and collecting the waste after the litter pick has finished. You can find more information on the council’s website.

Litter picking isn’t just a group activity and doesn’t have to take a lot of time. As an individual, you can take part in the Litter Lotto – it’s easy, simply download the Litter Lotto app on your phone and take a photo in the app, of yourself throwing some litter into a bin. This doesn’t only tidy up our streets, but also gives you an opportunity to win instant cash prizes and offers, as well as giving you the chance of winning a weekly £1,000 jackpot. Local Litter Lotto users also have a chance to win an extra £250 in an exclusive monthly prize draw, aimed just at people binning litter in Bucks!

Please park considerately on the school run

As schools return after the Easter holidays, parents and carers dropping children off by car are being given a timely reminder to #Beconsiderate about how and where they park or stop, to help keep everyone safe.

Buckinghamshire Council is relaunching its #Beconsiderate campaign which seeks to remind those who hop in the car to do the school run, to think about the safety of pedestrians and other road users when they stop to drop their children off.

Many children are taken to and from school by car every day. Sometimes in the rush to get there on time, it can be tempting to pull onto the kerb or part way onto a driveway, stop on zig zag lines or even pull into a bus stop.  While it may seem like a harmless thing to do, vehicles blocking pavements and footpaths, even if just for a short time, often means pedestrians, which can include young children, those with limited mobility and older people, are forced to go into the road to get past, which can be extremely dangerous. Similarly, part blocking a private driveway or lowered kerb can prevent larger vehicles including emergency ambulances and fire engines from getting through and parking in or near a bus stop can lead to unnecessary traffic queues.  It is also important not to block the visibility for school crossing patrollers when they are assisting families on their way to school safely. 

Majority of Bucks families get first choice primary school place

Figures published today (Tuesday 16 April) show that more than 9 out of 10 families in Buckinghamshire received their first-choice preference for a primary school place this year.

For children starting primary school in Reception, 91.27% have received their first-choice allocation, (compared to 90.33% last year). Figures for the top choice of junior schools (Year 3) are very slightly changed at 95.12%, (compared to 96.70% last year) but still equate to the majority receiving their first choice.

Council unveils ambitious Housing Strategy for 2024-2029

Buckinghamshire Council has unveiled a comprehensive Housing Strategy for 2024-2029. The strategy sets out the council’s vision, priorities and actions to meet the current and future housing needs and challenges in the county.

The Housing Strategy has been developed with the input and support of a wide range of partners, including housing associations, developers, community groups and other public sector organisations.

To achieve the strategy, the council has created three key priorities:

  1. A strong housing offer: The vision is to provide affordable, accessible, sustainable, and suitable housing choices for all life stages. Recognising that a safe and secure home is fundamental to quality of life, public health, and economic prosperity.
  2. Better homes: The council is dedicated to improving the quality and sustainability of existing homes. Through targeted investments, it aims to enhance living conditions and create vibrant communities.
  3. New homes: The strategy emphasises the importance of affordable, accessible, and appropriate new housing. By collaborating with housing associations, developers, and community groups, Buckinghamshire Council will ensure that residents find homes that meet their needs and aspirations.

Each priority includes:

  • What the council will do to achieve it
  • The challenges Buckinghamshire faces
  • Actions the council is taking now
  • Proposed actions up to 2029

Fly-tipper receives suspended prison sentence for dumping asbestos roofing waste in Bucks

An 81-year-old man from London has narrowly escaped prison after admitting to dumping asbestos roofing materials in Denham, Buckinghamshire.

Jagdish Kumar Sharma admitted fly-tipping the waste at Broken Gate Lane in Denham on 17 September 2023. He entered a guilty plea when his case was heard at High Wycombe Magistrates Court on 17 April 2024.

On 17 September 2023, residents at Broken Gate Lane, Denham discovered black sacks dumped in undergrowth on their unadopted road. They reported the dumping which was investigated by an enforcement officer from Buckinghamshire Council. The investigating officer counted 16 black sacks of corrugated roofing sheet material which he suspected to have asbestos content. The officer took samples away for analysis. It was confirmed that white asbestos fibres were present, so a specialist contractor had to be found to clear the material away safely.  As the road has not been adopted it meant that the clean-up costs fell to the residents as the landowners, rather than to the council. The residents have a CCTV system which they used to identify the vehicle suspected of having brought the waste.

Buckinghamshire Council officers investigated and interviewed Sharma at a police station near his home. Sharma explained that he had found the waste dumped illegally outside a property he owned in London. He said he was so incensed by finding the waste dumped on his property that he loaded it into his own vehicle and removed it. He was unable to provide a satisfactory explanation as to why he dumped it where he did, but he did admit dumping the waste himself at Broken Gate Lane.

The District Judge sitting at High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court took account that this offence involved the deliberate dumping of hazardous waste material, as well as the offender’s age and personal circumstances. He sentenced Sharma to 3 months imprisonment (suspending the sentence for 12 months). Sharma was ordered to pay clean-up compensation in full to the local residents in the sum of £582. He was also ordered to pay full investigation and prosecution costs of £917.66 and a victim surcharge of £154, totalling £1,653.66. 

Councillor Derek Town 

Aldbury May Fair, Monday 6th May 

This year during the afternoon of May Fair, there will be a TTRO (Temporary Traffic Regulation Order) in place, closing Stocks Rd from the Pitstone / B488 end.  This means that traffic will only travel along Stocks Rd in one direction – from the village centre to the car parks, and then past Stocks Golf Club and out of the village towards Pitstone.

Visitors will be encouraged via social media to access May Fair / enter Aldbury, from Station Rd or Toms Hill Rd only, so that we can keep traffic moving towards the car parks. Please let friends and family know, and that they may need to allow extra time than usual to get to, or through, the village.

The one way system and any congestion will only happen during the afternoon of May Fair, and fortunately it’s only one day a year, so hopefully any inconvenience will be bearable. 

If you have a query or comment, I’m Lisa  – lisa.thompson@wlands.co.uk 07745228153

On behalf of Friends of Aldbury School May Fair committee

Ivinghoe road closure this week for road patching

Church Road / Tring Road Ivinghoe, Between the Kings Head and the junction with the B489 Dunstable Road.

Road Closure for patching works by Bucks Highways.

Thurs / Fri / Mon 11th / 12th / 15th April, 09:30 – 15:50 on all days. Road should be open on the weekend.

Diversion route via Pitstone

61 bus service will be on divert during the closure and will miss out Ivinghoe and Marsworth Road, Pitstone. During the closure the nearest bus stop being serviced will be at Pitstone Memorial Hall.

The times of the closure are not expected to have any effect on school bus routes.

The Buckinghamshire Food and Drink Awards are back and ready to serve success!

Events and PR, known for their widely credited SME Business Awards, National Business Women’s Awards and National Building and Construction Awards have announced the return of the beloved Buckinghamshire Food and Drink Awards for 2024. They have been revamped with a variety of new categories to celebrate the success of hospitality businesses after the challenges the last couple of years have posed.

“Now more than ever, we need to support our restaurants, pubs, farm shops, butchers and many more. We aim to celebrate their resilience, showcase their skill and affirm their status within the county.” commented Awards Director, Damian Cummins.

This year’s categories include newcomers such as

  • Best Street Eats and Bevs
  • Café or Tearoom of the Year
  • Brewery of the Year
  • Restaurant of the Year
  • Best Artisan Bakery
  • Top Local Pub
  • Best Newcomer

And many more.

These awards call upon the public to nominate their favourite hospitality businesses to bring light to the exciting and diverse range in Buckinghamshire. The nominations are now open so people are encouraged to think of eateries that amaze, bakers that astound, pubs that hold special memories and so much more.

You can nominate one company per category, just visit go www.bfda.co.uk

Buckinghamshire Food and Drink Awards Social Media can be found here:

Instagram – @foodanddrinkawards

LinkedIn – Food and Drink Awards

Facebook – Food and Drink Awards

X – @fanddawards

#Bucksfada

Call for volunteers – HouseMouse on 18 May 2024

The HouseMouse crew is returning to Pitstone on 18 May 2024 with the Big Top for the dance music party of the year.

It is being run by volunteers from the community, for the community. They would very much welcome some extra volunteer assistance at the event.

If you would like to help out, for the whole event or just for a few hours, please contact Christabel Boersma on christabelboersma@hotmail.com or the main HouseMouse email address which is party@housemousemusic.club

Thames Valley Police Have Your Say Event – Pitstone 6/4/24

HAVE YOUR SAY 😀

Come along and see a member of the Wing Neighbourhood Policing team to raise any concerns you may have or chat about crime prevention measures. 👮

3rd April – 12:00-13:00 – Wingrave Community Hub

4th April – 11:00-12:00 – Wing Market

6th April – 16:00-17:00 – Pitstone Tea Room

We look forward to seeing you there.

Buckinghamshire Councillors report for March 2024

Money down the drain for company prosecuted for fly-tipping in Bucks

A drainage company has paid a hefty price for making the error of paying a rogue trader to dispose of their commercial waste after it was found fly-tipped in Buckinghamshire. 

Drainiac Ltd, pleaded guilty to the offence of failing in their duty of care when transferring waste to a waste remover when the case was heard at High Wycombe Magistrates Court on Wednesday 21 February 2024.

The court heard that on Wednesday 21 June 2023, mixed building waste was found dumped at Gravelly Way, Penn, in Buckinghamshire. Buckinghamshire Council’s waste enforcement team carries out regular searches of the area, due to it being heavily blighted with fly-tipping.

On this occasion, an enforcement officer found evidence amongst the waste linking it to an address in Eastern Dene, High Wycombe. The details were later traced back to a company called Drainiac Ltd who explained they were approached by a man with a van asking for scrap metal. Drainiac Ltd had no scrap metal but explained they had some waste. The man with the van accepted £50 cash and removed the waste from the property.

Magistrates at High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court fined Drainiac Ltd £4,000 and ordered them to pay a contribution of £1,049.89 towards the council’s clean up and investigation costs – making a total to pay of £5,049.89.

Roofing company pays high price in court

A roofing and building company who failed to carry out proper checks on a ‘man with a van’ who offered to dispose of trade waste for them has paid a high price for its error after being prosecuted in court. 

Highlife Roofing and Builders Ltd pleaded guilty to the offence of failing in its duty of care when transferring waste to a waste remover when appearing at High Wycombe Magistrates Court on Wednesday 21 February 2024.

The court heard that on Tuesday 18 July 2023, mixed building waste, including black sacks and wooden material, was found dumped at Holtspur Lane, Wooburn Green in Buckinghamshire. An officer from Buckinghamshire Council’s waste enforcement team investigated and found evidence amongst the dumped waste, giving an address in The Green, Wooburn Green, High Wycombe.

The details were later traced back to a company called Highlife Roofing and Builders Ltd, who explained they were approached by a man with a van who offered to remove waste from a property.  The man took the waste which was later found dumped just down the road from where it had been collected. Highlife Roofing and Builders Ltd workers admitted they saw the waste dumped the next day but explained they didn’t pick it back up as it was ‘no longer their problem’.

Magistrates at High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court fined Highlife Roofing and Builders Ltd £6,000 and ordered the company to pay a contribution of £1,289.71 towards the council’s clean up and investigation costs – making a total to pay of £7289.71.

New library collections will provide invaluable resource for families with children

​A new range of books covering topics around parenting, childhood and childcare are now available for loan at two libraries in Buckinghamshire.

Parenting and Childcare Topics (PACT) is a unique collection of 170 different books designed to help parents and carers of children and young people to navigate a variety of topics from pregnancy, to dealing with complex emotions and situations, right up to approaching university. The books cover everything from general parenting tips to specific situations such as being separated parents or caring for a child with special educational needs and disabilities.

Many of the books are written directly for adults, but a number are also written for the children and young people, including books around bullying and puberty.

A variety of books on the topics of parenting and childcare are already available across all libraries in Buckinghamshire but the enhanced PACT series has been introduced in two of the biggest libraries as an additional resource, with the support of local business, Limitless Tutoring, who have sponsored the collections.

Creating an age friendly Buckinghamshire for all

Buckinghamshire Council has outlined its commitment to helping older people in Buckinghamshire live healthy, active and independent lives as set out in its Healthy Ageing Strategy which has been formally approved by the council this week.

The document sets out the vision for how Buckinghamshire aspires to be a place for all residents to enjoy growing older in an age friendly community. The strategy also includes an action plan of how the vision will be achieved.  

Angela Macpherson, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing explained: “Healthy ageing means living a healthy and fulfilling life, being able to participate in activities and contribute to your community. It also encompasses having financial security and living in a suitable home in a safe and thriving community. With the right policies, environments and support, people can age well and live independent and meaningful lives.”

To become an age friendly community, the strategy focuses on eight interconnecting areas outlined by the World Health Organisation (WHO):

  • Outdoor spaces and buildings
  • Transport
  • Housing
  • Participation in society
  • Volunteering and employment
  • Communication and information
  • Community support for health and wellbeing
  • Respect and social inclusion

In the first year, the focus for Buckinghamshire will be on two priorities – outdoor spaces and buildings, and participating in society.

To oversee the implementation of the strategy a multi-agency Age Friendly Bucks Partnership has been set up with external partners including the NHS and voluntary sector organisations. The views and ideas of residents and community groups have shaped the aims of the strategy and will continue to inform the implementation.

To further support the success of the strategy Buckinghamshire Council has joined the UK Network of Age Friendly Communities which is run by the Centre for Ageing Better and affiliated to the WHO’s Global Network for Age Friendly Cities and Communities. Being a member of this network provides access a range of additional resources including good practice guidance and advice. In addition, the council has partnered locally with Age UK Buckinghamshire to ensure a local focus in maintained.

Learn how to be a Better Biker

Buckinghamshire Council is encouraging bikers of all ages and experience to enhance their riding skills with the help of a specialist course.

The Be a Better Biker (BaBB) workshops are run as part of the council’s Travel Safe Bucks road safety initiative, in partnership with Thames Vale Advanced Motorcyclists, Bucks Advanced Riders & Drivers, Milton Keynes Advanced Motorists, Oxford Advanced Motorcyclists and local fire and rescue services. The aim is to reduce the number of bikers killed or injured on the roads and equip motorcyclists with additional skills to keep safe.

Costing just £20 per person, the workshops cover a range of advanced techniques including:

  • Manoeuvring
  • Overtaking
  • Cornering techniques
  • An on-road assessment with a qualified observer
  • A review of the on-road session.

Courses are taking place across the Thames Valley region and locally at:

  • Saturday 6 April – Winslow Fire Station
  • Saturday 20 April – Chesham Fire Station
  • Saturday 18 May – Princes Risborough Fire Station
  • Now in their 15th year of running, the courses have helped hundreds of bikers in Buckinghamshire to improve their skills on the road.

Anyone wishing to take part must hold a full and valid motorbike licence and have access to their own vehicle to use during the course.

For more information, or to book your place, visit: Book a motorcycle course | Buckinghamshire Council

Councillor Derek Town 

Easter bin collection dates 2024

Residents in Buckinghamshire are being reminded to double check their refuse and recycling bin collection dates over the Easter Bank Holiday.

To ensure residents don’t miss their collection due to Bank Holiday changes, the council is reminding everyone to check the revised dates for their area. Collections due to take place on Good Friday, 29 March, will move to Saturday 30 March, and with no collections on Easter Monday, 1 April, all collections that week will take place one day later than usual. Please check the revised timetable online and present any bins or containers by 6:30am on the revised collection day.

Easter holidays are a great time to bond with your family and enjoy delicious food. To ensure you keep your Easter food waste and costs to a minimum, you can check out our handy online toolkit which includes a portion planner tool and recipes for Easter leftovers. Any food waste can be put in your food recycling bin and left out for collection on bin day. Most food waste can go in the food recycling bin but you can check on the council website to see what can and cannot be recycled.

Councillor Thomas Broom, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, said: “Easter is the time to enjoy great food and the company of our loved ones while celebrating the beauty of spring. Easter eggs, like Christmas presents, can generate quite a lot of extra packaging to recycle. You can find advice on our website for what can be recycled, where it needs to go and even some handy tips for using leftovers creatively.” 

In addition to the bin collection changes, the opening hours at all Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) across the county move to summer opening hours of 9am to 6pm from Monday 1 April. Please check your local site to find out which days they are open, as this varies according to each site.

For more information on all of Buckinghamshire’s HRCs please visit the website.

Buckinghamshire Volunteer Matching Service matches 2000th volunteer

Set up in 2020 in response to the pandemic, the Buckinghamshire Volunteer Matching Service has recently placed its 2000th volunteer in the county, supporting over 140 local charities.

Anyone who is 16 or over can sign-up to the service which finds volunteer roles to suit their preferences such as location, type of role, interests, and availability.

It currently has 800 volunteer roles to fill across the county – from frontline emergency response positions, befriending and mentoring opportunities, to outdoor roles. To find out more about these volunteer roles and how to register, go to the Volunteer Matching Service; once you have completed the 5 minute form, the team will look for a role for you.

You can read the stories of some of the volunteers placed by the service, including the 2000th volunteer Evie, on the Community Impact Bucks website.

There is also a register of local opportunities available within Pitstone on this webpage: https://pitstone.co.uk/ppcinfo/vacancies-and-employment/

Ashridge Estate – Protecting Our Roots – Horse Riding Information Session

In September 2023 we publicly launched our ‘Protecting Our Roots’ project and held our first public engagement event, to share our future vision for the Estate and bring to life the urgent need for change. As part of the project we have been reviewing all recreational activity across Ashridge Estate and the varying impacts these have on the special landscape in our care. We know that horse riding is a popular activity at Ashridge and we want to continue welcoming horse riders, however we also need to make some changes to protect the estate and prevent further harm.

The information sharing session is on Wednesday 3 April 2024 with slots at either 5.30pm-6.30pm or 7.00pm-8.00pm. We are also holding another session the week before but this has already sold out.

The session will consist of a short presentation about the changes being made to the permit scheme and some adjustments to our network of permissive bridleways, and include materials to read and a chance to ask questions

Please register via https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ashridge-riding-event to book your place as spaces are limited. All materials will be available on the ‘Protecting Our Roots’ website (nationaltrust.org.uk/ashridge-protecting-our-roots) after the event.

Buckinghamshire Councillors report for February 2024

Secretary of State decision, land adjacent to HMP Grendon and HMP Springhill   In response to being notified of a decision to uphold an appeal against Buckinghamshire Council’s refusal of planning permission for a new Category C prison at land adjacent to HMP Grendon and HMP Springhill at Grendon Underwood, Councillor Peter Strachan, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration said:   “This decision is desperately disappointing and is another kick in the teeth for local people already blighted by HS2 and East West Rail construction works in this area. While we understand the need for more prison places nationally, we remain adamant that this is the wrong location for this facility. This is a rural location, which takes in an historic landscape and it will not be easy for families to access the facility to visit inmates.   The council’s Strategic Sites Committee unanimously refused planning permission for the prison back in March 2022 and we stand by the reasons for that decision; the committee felt that the combined effects on the local area in terms of sustainability, heritage and the environment would have an overriding negative impact. There was also a feeling that not enough consideration has been given to alternative sites which could be more suitable for such a facility.   It is therefore disappointing to receive news that the appeal against our decision has been upheld. We are in the process of digesting the decision letter in full before determining any next steps”  

Fly-tipper’s Christmas Day ‘gift’ to Bucks residents lands him in court   A man who brazenly dumped waste in the middle of a road in Beaconsfield on Christmas Day 2022 has been prosecuted in court following an investigation by Buckinghamshire Council’s fly-tipping enforcement team and the assistance of local residents who were outraged by the incident. Jordan Louis Acton, aged 32, of Ernest Road, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey, admitted to fly-tipping a load of waste at the roadside at Windsor End, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, on Christmas Day 25 December 2022.  He entered a guilty plea when his case was heard at High Wycombe Magistrates Court on 25 January 2024.  The case had been delayed in coming to court due to a change of address which saw Acton fail to attend an earlier hearing and his subsequent arrest in Surrey. On 25 December 2022, a commercial truck load of waste was dumped at the roadside near houses and offices on Windsor End in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire.  Vigilant local residents examined the dumped waste and found traceable details which were later investigated by an enforcement officer from Buckinghamshire Council’s fly-tipping enforcement team.  Local residents and businesses checked their domestic and commercial CCTV systems and helped confirm the description of the offending vehicle. The description was referred to Thames Valley Police who subsequently identified the vehicle. The details found in the dumped waste were traced to waste which the producer confirmed was removed by Acton and he was identified as the registered keeper of the vehicle seen carrying and depositing the waste. Acton was interviewed by enforcement officers from the council but gave ‘no comment’ responses to questions. High Wycombe magistrates fined Acton £693 and awarded full clean-up and investigation costs to Buckinghamshire Council who brought the prosecution, to a total of £1,838.70.  A victim surcharge of £277 was also imposed meaning that Acton has to pay a total of £2,808.70. Communities should prepare for groundwater flooding

Communities across the Berkshire Downs and Chiltern Hills should be prepared for groundwater flooding. Residents can check their risk on the government website. If you are in an area that is not covered by the Environment Agency’s groundwater flood alerts but have previously experienced groundwater flooding, you should prepare for groundwater flooding over the coming weeks.

Groundwater flooding is currently occurring in areas across the Berkshire Downs and is starting to appear in Buckinghamshire. Groundwater levels are high in the Wycombe area and are being monitored. Buckinghamshire Council have produced groundwater flood maps of the likely locations for groundwater flooding, where it is most likely to emerge and what locations it will impact. These are available for Chesham, Marlow, Hambleden, Wycombe and West Wycombe.

If you are experiencing flooding, you can call Floodline for advice at 03459881188. You should report flooding to Buckinghamshire Council.

If it is an emergency and flooding is causing a risk to life, you must call 999.

Groundwater can infiltrate the sewage system. If you have problems flushing your toilet or sewage is emerging, contact Thames Water on 0800 316 9800.

Groundwater flooding occurs when water gathers beneath the ground’s surface, causing the water table to rise and eventually reach the surface. Groundwater flooding has some key characteristics that differ from other sources of flooding:

  • Flooding will usually occur days or even weeks after heavy rainfall.
  • Flooding may persist for a long time, often lasting for weeks.
  • Water may emerge on hillsides.
  • Water may rise up through the floors, rather than entering through doors.

Due to these characteristics, and the fact that groundwater flooding is a less common source of flooding, people are often caught unprepared.

Furthermore, while local agencies are prepared to support you, no measures are available to lower the water table during a groundwater flood. Therefore, residents and businesses must be prepared that groundwater levels will remain high and should undertake measures to protect their property until the water table naturally falls. The most important thing to do to prepare for groundwater flooding is to have a personal flood plan. Flood Mary’s website has many resources for creating a plan, including a template to fill in. If residents and businesses already have flood plans, this is the time to review them and action what they can. We advise planning for the worst-case scenario of groundwater flooding lasting for weeks.

This can be incredibly difficult, as homes, roads, and community spaces can all be affected for long periods of time. If you are struggling and would like someone to talk to, the National Flood Forum is a charity to help, support and represent people at risk of flooding. You can call them on 01299 403 055.

“Groundwater flooding can have devastating impacts on those affected. One of the best ways to reduce that impact is to be prepared. Ensure you have your flood plan ready and speak to your community to ensure everyone knows of the risk. Groundwater has long been the forgotten form of flooding, and communities at risk do not get the same level of advice and support as they do with other forms of flooding. We are working to change that with Project Groundwater, and we will continue to share our learning to benefit all who experience groundwater flooding.”

Project Groundwater supports communities to be more resilient to groundwater flooding. The project aims to increase engagement with communities in order to help build understanding and awareness of groundwater flooding. We are working to:

  • improve monitoring of when and where groundwater emerges
  • develop a better groundwater flood warning service that will support residents to take action
  • investigate what nature-based solutions could be used to reduce groundwater flood risk.

This project is funded by Defra as part of the £200 million Flood and Coastal Innovation Programmes which is managed by the Environment Agency. The programmes will drive innovation in flood and coastal resilience and adaptation to a changing climate.

For more information, please visit: www.projectgroundwater.co.uk  

You can follow the project on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

​ For more information, please visit: www.projectgroundwater.co.uk

 

Buckinghamshire Council announces Aylesbury town centre improvements

Work is due to start on a number of upgrades and improvements in Aylesbury town

centre, to enhance the existing space with attractive lighting and other new features.

Buckinghamshire Council is committed to the positive regeneration of our county and in particular our market towns, as outlined in the Buckinghamshire Regeneration Framework, which has recently been adopted. This includes specific town centre plans to create great, sustainable places to live and visit, where our businesses and communities can thrive and prosper.

As part of a package of investment, these initial measures will bring forward immediate improvements to the heart of Aylesbury, kickstarting the wider regeneration of the town.

Library theatre show promotes the benefits of gardening for mental health

A theatre show promoting the benefits of gardening for mental health is being hosted in nine libraries across the county between Monday 19 February and Saturday 2 March.

The Head Gardener show features the story of brothers Jake and Warren Oldershaw and brings audiences a performance that digs deep into the reasons why we could all do with a bit more horticulture in our lives.

During the show the pair tell personal tales of why gardening is so important for mental health; design, draught and bring to life a unique and beautiful garden; share fascinating stories of different projects, plants and species; and even throw a few songs into the mix.

The show has been given the thumbs up by celebrity gardener Alan Titchmarsh who described the performance as: ‘Living proof that gardening is good for you’.

The theatre tour is being jointly funded by Buckinghamshire Council’s Healthy Libraries programme and the national Rekindle programme. Rekindle is led by Creative Arts England and funded by Arts Council England and is designed to empower libraries to strengthen ties with local arts and make it more accessible to local communities. The Healthy Libraries programme brings public health initiatives direct to residents, providing a range of events, activities and information to help people live healthy and happier lives.

A new vision A for parking across Buckinghamshire

Buckinghamshire Council has unveiled its vision and ambition for parking across the county as part of a new Parking Strategy which sets out how the service will develop in coming years.

From embracing new technology to providing customers with greater choice and flexibility and from streamlining parking charges to promoting greater safety and reducing congestion, the document, which was agreed by Cabinet yesterday (Thursday 22 February), starts to align the different on and off-street parking arrangements from the previous legacy councils into one strategy which covers the whole county.

Key aims within the strategy include:

  • A commitment to maintaining the upkeep of quality parking provision across the county.
  • Working to ensure the council’s parking operations are fully self-funded as is required legally.
  • Exploring ways to give people flexibility in parking options across the county.
  • Intelligent use of parking enforcement to ensure effective enforcement locally and county-wide.
  • A gradual transition to online/digital payments for all parking, reflecting trends in payment preferences which have accelerated in recent years, whilst maintaining cash payments for as long as economically possible in existing locations.
  • Ensuring residents and customers are kept fully informed of changes.

The strategy has been informed by a previous review of current parking arrangements and starts to address inconsistencies across the county and identify where changes are needed to provide a better service for residents.

One of the first actions the council is taking is signing up to the National Parking Platform (NPP), a Department for Transport pilot scheme which aims to provide greater flexibility in paying for parking while providing value for money. The scheme will be piloted in council car parks in Wycombe and will allow customers to choose which supplier they purchase their parking time through.

Council pledges an extra £5 million investment in fixing roads

​Buckinghamshire Council has pledged an extra £5 million of funding this coming year to boost investment in repairs to roads across the county, adding to the £105 million already committed to the road network over the next four years.

The money will be used to fund much needed repairs across the county caused by long periods of very wet weather this winter, and councillors agreed to ‘deploy the funding as quickly as possible’.

In total Buckinghamshire Council has committed £110m to highway repairs and improvements over the next four years. The overall investment will go towards maintaining and improving the road network across the county, including a range of works and schemes, from the so-called ‘Plane and Patch’ programme, where whole sections of roads are resurfaced, to one-off large scale projects like Station Road Cheddington and cleansing our 85,000 gullies

As we move into warmer weather in the spring months the temporary repairs reduce in number so longer-lasting improvement works and bigger resurfacing projects can be undertaken.

This is the second year in a row that Buckinghamshire Councillors have committed an additional £5 million of funding for the county’s roads, recognising the impact of two wet winters and what residents have asked for their money to be spent on.

Councillor Derek Town 

Join the Great British Spring Clean 15-31/3/24

Communities around Buckinghamshire are being invited to pop on their gloves and hi-vis vests, grab a refuse sack and litter picker and get involved with clearing up their local area as part of Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean.

Now in its ninth year, the national, annual initiative is the country’s biggest mass action environmental campaign. It encourages residents, community groups, businesses and councils to collect and safely dispose of litter from local streets, parks and open spaces. This year, the initiative runs between Friday 15 and Sunday 31 March and the theme is ‘the environment is for everyone’ so we should all do what we can to keep it looking good. Keep Britain Tidy is also celebrating its 70th anniversary this year and is asking people to set themselves a special #PlatinumPledge, challenging themselves or their community to pick up 70 items of litter, spend 70 minutes litter picking or even fill 70 bags of litter.

Last year in Buckinghamshire, hundreds of people got involved in local community litter picks during the two-week period. More than 80 community clean up events took place across the county. A total of 1,200 bags of waste were collected in the south area with similar figures in the north of the county.

Groups wanting to arrange a local litter pick this year can request free items including litter pickers, bag hoops, gloves and hi-vis vests to help carry out their event in safety. Free litter sacks are also provided.

To find out more about how you can get involved with the Great British Spring Clean visit the council website: Great British Spring Clean | Buckinghamshire Recycles (recycleforbuckinghamshire.co.uk)

Would you use a foot/cycle path to Tring station? Would you use a footpath along Upper Icknield Way to Bulbourne? Please complete the HCC consultation survey before 26/2/24

Link to the HCC survey:

https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/d16be381409845c591e002b6a3a19bac/

Dacorum Borough Council is working with Hertfordshire County Council to develop a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP). The plan forms part of the Government’s strategy to increase the number of trips made on foot or by bike.

It will help them to identify walking and cycling routes of most importance to the community over the next 10 years. Funding will be sought from central Government and/or from developer contributions. The aim is to make these routes more attractive and viable options than using a car.

Their consultation includes cycle routes along Northfield Road to Tring Station and from Bulbourne to Tring Station, with both being identified as primary routes (those most likely to see a higher conversion to cycle use) (see map below). The Parish Council has been pushing HCC for the Northfield Road route for many years. If this route is still important to you, please take a couple of minutes to complete their short survey.

Their consultation also includes footpath access along the same two routes – Northfield Road to Tring Station and from Bulbourne to Tring Station. The Bulbourne one being identified as primary (most likely to see the most use/conversion of people to walking) and the Northfield Road one as secondary (see map below). Both foot and cycle provision have been part of the parish council discussions with HCC. If this route is still important to you, please do complete their short survey.

You can choose to select the ‘walking and cycling’ option from their drop down menu and lodge your comments for both at the same time.

If you are one of the people that have answered the parish council survey about a possible footpath route from the Westfield Road roundabout along the Upper Icknield Way to College Lake, or if you haven’t had the opportunity to respond to us yet but would use a footpath along this route, please also take a moment to complete the survey and request they add the footpath (and/or cycle path) link between their two proposed routes above (ie Westfield Road roundabout down to Bulbourne).

HCC are planning to use the feedback from their survey to shape grant applications to central government for funding that might enable some of these routes to be delivered. The feedback will also be used in their discussions with nearby developers to try and secure funding towards their implementation. So please help ensure that these routes are seen to be high priority and in high demand by responding to their survey.

Have your say:

Are the routes connecting the places where you’d like to go? Are any improvements required? Are there any barriers that would stop you from using these routes? Take part in their consultation, which closes at 11.59pm on Monday 26 February 2024.

Follow this link:

https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/d16be381409845c591e002b6a3a19bac/

Thank you.

Pitstone Parish Council

Repair Cafe annual environmental statistics

Please find below the latest environmental statistics from the Repair Cafe, which has now been operating for a year:

Below is the link to the International Database that shows our Repair Cafe results in real time.

https://dashboard.repairmonitor.org/?language=en&cafe=520&country=gb&year=all

We now have experts for repairs of:

electronic/electrical items,

Mechanical items,

Clothing, fabrics,

Laptops, mobile phones, tablets both software and hardware issues,

Furniture,

Jewellery,

Clocks,

We can repair a huge range of items now and our repairers hate being bored! they love to be kept busy the whole time so please come along and bring all your items for repair.

Buckinghamshire Council updates for residents

Healthy Start Scheme

NHS Healthy Start Scheme is a food assistance programme providing financial support to families and pregnant women to buy healthy food and milk. Uptake is low locally, meaning hundreds of families are not receiving the food support they’re entitled to.

For more information, please visit the Healthy Start campaign page

Council Tax Reduction and Help with Debt

If you are experiencing financial difficulty, please visit buckinghamshire.gov.uk/ct-help – where you’ll be able to check to see if you’re eligible for council tax reduction.

For advice with debt and bills, residents should visit: buckinghamshire.gov.uk/cost-of-living

And for mental health and wellbeing support, residents should visit: buckinghamshire.gov.uk/mental-health

Welcoming Spaces

As the weather has now turned colder, I wanted to remind you that ‘Welcoming Spaces’ across the county continue to offer a friendly and free place where people can go to stay warm and well this winter.

Buckinghamshire libraries continue to welcome anyone who wants to use them as a Welcoming Space.

In addition, several other local community organisations have created their own Welcoming Spaces in church halls and community centres, providing warm and friendly, social spaces for people to go. Find out more about Buckinghamshire’s Welcoming Spaces on our website.

Emergency Support During Winter Months

We know that some people find this time of year challenging which is why we want residents who may need it, to know that emergency help and support is available.

I’ve included below the key contact information for residents.

  • If someone needs emergency support or help with food and/or energy, they should contact our Helping Hand service using the online form or by calling 01296 531 151. (Please note that this service is only available during usual office hours and is closed at weekends and on the public holiday days over Christmas and New Year.)
  • Anyone in immediate need of food who cannot wait until the next working day when the Helping Hand service is open – and has no other avenue to help – should contact our Emergency Social Work Team on 0800 999 7767. (Please note they will not be able to provide food on Christmas Day when the shops are closed, but otherwise can provide immediate help and advice in an emergency.)
  • If you see anyone sleeping out on the streets of Buckinghamshire, please contact StreetLink online or call 0300 500 0914. They will notify our dedicated Outreach workers. If you see anyone you believe to be under the age of 18 and/or are concerned about the health or welfare of anyone that you see sleeping rough, please call 999.
  • Residents who may be finding this time of year challenging or lonely or are experiencing difficulty with their mental health can find help and advice on the NHS Buckinghamshire Taking Therapies webpage.
  • Information about additional support can be found on our cost of living webpages.

Consultations

RAF Halton Supplementary Planning Document – Monday 22 January to Monday 4 MarchProposals for on-street and off-street parking in Buckinghamshire – Wednesday 24 January to Sunday 18 February

Buckinghamshire Councillors Report for January 2024

Council plan to balance the books for the next three years

Buckinghamshire Council has published its medium-term financial plan which details how it will balance its budget for the next three years.

In an acutely challenging financial context for local government, the council has worked hard to identify the savings needed to balance the books until 2027 and where spending reductions will be needed over the next three years. It’s also produced a detailed budget proposal for 2024/25 including how much it’s proposing to spend on major projects and services, following consultation with residents.

With many local authorities increasingly unable to produce balanced budgets, we are not yet in that position in Buckinghamshire. We have already made considerable savings from becoming a single unitary authority in 2020. The council forecasts that by 2027, it will have saved a total of nearly £172 million from both savings and additional income.  

However, the council is still facing very significant extra financial pressure because of rising costs and demand particularly for services that help the most vulnerable, such as social care, providing temporary accommodation for people who have become homeless and home to school transport (particularly for children with special needs). All of these are critical services that people depend on, and which are statutory, meaning the council is legally obliged to fulfil these services.

It means that to balance the budget, the council has put forward solutions to ultimately reduce costs, including:

  • investing in additional children’s homes to reduce the heavy cost burden of external placements
  • making savings in Adult Social Care through providing help for some residents, where it fits their need, to live more independently
  • rationalising the council’s office space, such as closing the King George V site in Amersham
  • investing in more housing and temporary accommodation units to bring down the spend on costly nightly-paid accommodation

Residents were asked their views during the autumn on where they wanted the council to prioritise spending the budget and this feedback is now reflected in the financial plans.

The budget proposals include spending the following amounts over the next four years:

  • £105 million on the highways network
  • £25 million on supporting housing and homelessness
  • £14.7 million on climate change and flood management projects
  • £37.6 million on economic growth and regeneration projects

Overall, the plan proposes that the council spends £656.4 million on capital projects over the next four years.

The council raises the money needed to pay for these projects and services through grants and income streams. The biggest of these by far is the income from council tax, which makes up 80% of how council services are paid for. Because the cost of providing services has risen so significantly due to added demand and high inflation, the council can only balance the budget by raising council tax again next year. The budget proposals put forward a 2.99% rise in the base rate of council tax, with a further 2% rise to be spent on Adult Social Care, meaning a total rise of 4.99% – or an extra £1.69 per week for the average Band D property.

Underpinning this overarching financial plan are a number of key principles, including how it will allow the council to keep delivering on the priorities residents have asked for, while not making over-ambitious savings or excessively using reserves in the process.

Councillor Derek Town 

Buckinghamshire Councillors Report for December 2023

Keeping roads safe this winter

​When temperatures plummet, Buckinghamshire Council’s trusty fleet of gritters rolls into action, salting key roads across the county, to make them safer for motorists. But did you know that the council also provides salt bins for people to freely use to make their roads and pavements safer during cold and icy weather?

The bins are filled with salt and are available at multiple locations across the county for drivers and pedestrians to treat public roads and pavements in their local area. The bins are filled and topped up during the winter season with a mixture of salt and sand. They are located in targeted areas known to be affected by icy conditions which the gritting routes don’t cover.

Salt bins are provided for residents to use on public roads and footways only, and should not be used to clear private drives.

Changes to household DIY waste disposal due from 31 December

Residents in Buckinghamshire will be able to dispose of small amounts of DIY waste for free at Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) from 31 December 2023.

The changes have been brought in by central government and will make it easier for people to freely dispose of small amounts of waste created at home from DIY projects such as re-tiling, renovating a bathroom or digging a pond in the garden.

Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet voted in favour of necessary changes to the council’s Waste Access & Acceptance Policy which sets out rules and procedures for the county’s 10 HRCs, to reflect the new legislation.

Following the change in law regarding the disposal of household DIY waste, the council is reintroducing a digital e-permit for DIY waste. From 31 December, any resident wanting to dispose of household DIY waste at a HRC will need to have an e-permit printed out or on a portable device, such as a mobile phone or tablet, before they visit. This only affects residents who wish to bring household DIY waste.

The DIY e-permit will allow residents to dispose of one load of DIY waste each week for free. One load of DIY waste is no more than 100 litres of loose DIY waste, or one large item no bigger than 2m x 0.75m x 0.7m such as one bath tub, one door or one kitchen unit. Staff will scan the permit and check the resident’s address, after which the e-permit will expire. It can be renewed after seven days, to allow residents to dispose of another load of DIY waste for free. Anyone wishing to dispose of more than one load of DIY waste in a week will be able to do so but will be charged, using the same price list which has been in place for the past four years.

Council enforces higher penalties for fly-tipping in Bucks

​ Those caught fly-tipping in Buckinghamshire face the consequence of paying a higher penalty for their crime following changes to the law which have been adopted by the council.

Earlier this year the government increased the maximum Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) for fly-tipping from £400 to £1,000. The penalty for Failure in Householder Duty of Care, has also been raised from £400 to a maximum of £600. This penalty relates to people who have waste removed by a third-party waste carrier. By law householders have a duty to check that the carrier they are using is legally authorised to carry out the work and will do so responsibly. If the waste they have given the carrier is found dumped illegally, the householder is deemed to have failed in their Duty of Care regarding their waste and can be liable for prosecution.

Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet today voted in favour of amending local policies to reflect the changes, bringing in powers to enforce the highest rate for FPNs for those caught breaking the law in this way.

FPNs are generally used for smaller scale offences and avoid court proceedings and a criminal record. However where possible the council will always seek to impose the maximum penalty and for larger scale or more serious offences the defendant may be summoned to court where fines are set by magistrates and can result in custodial sentences and costs totalling thousands of pounds.

Coming soon to the Aylesbury area – buses on demand

​People in the area surrounding Aylesbury will have an exciting new choice of how to travel by public transport after Buckinghamshire Council is set to partner with WeMove to launch a ‘demand responsive’ bus service. The three-year trial follows the successful introduction of a similar scheme in Wycombe earlier last year, which has already proved so popular that it has expanded to new areas to meet demand.

The new service is part of a pilot scheme funded by the Government’s Rural Mobility Fund and covers a specific geographical area, enabling passengers to request a pick up from one of the fully accessible minibuses at a convenient nearby ‘virtual bus stop’ as the buses travel through their area.

The areas covered by the service include Aston Clinton, Weston Turville, Halton, Hartwell, Stoke Mandeville, Bishopstone and Weedon. The service will drop off passengers anywhere within the operational area, which includes Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury town centre and the railway stations at Aylesbury, Aylesbury Vale Parkway, Stoke Mandeville and Wendover.

Councillor Derek Town 

Emergency support during the Christmas & New Year holidays

Buckinghamshire Council has provided the following information:

We know that some people find this time of year challenging and after a tough year in general, and this Christmas might be even harder. This is why we want residents who may need it, to know that emergency help and support is available during the festive period. Key contacts are below:

  • If someone needs emergency support or help with food and/or energy, they should contact our Helping Hand service using the online form or by calling 01296 531 151. Please note that this service is only available during usual office hours and is closed at weekends and on the public holiday days over Christmas and New Year.
  • Anyone in immediate need of food who cannot wait until the next working day when the Helping Hand service is open – and has no other avenue to help – should contact our Emergency Social Work Team on 0800 999 7767. Please note they will not be able to provide food on Christmas Day when the shops are closed, but otherwise can provide immediate help and advice in an emergency.
  • If you see anyone sleeping out on the streets of Buckinghamshire, please contact StreetLink online or call 0300 500 0914. They will notify our dedicated Outreach workers. If you see anyone you believe to be under the age of 18 and/or are concerned about the health or welfare of anyone that you see sleeping rough, please call 999.
  • Residents who may be finding this time of year challenging or lonely or are experiencing difficulty with their mental health can find help and advice on the NHS Buckinghamshire Taking Therapies webpage.
  • Information about additional support can be found on our cost of living webpages.

As Pitstone residents, you can also reach out to our local services:

Make it a green Christmas and take note of revised bin collections

Amidst all the seasonal plans and celebrations, Bucks residents are being reminded to take note of changes to bin collections during the festive period and to remember to recycle as much of the extra waste that accumulates at this time of year as possible.

Did you know that households produce around 30% more waste during the holiday period? From cardboard boxes to bottles and food wrappers to Christmas cards, much of the extra waste that is generated can be recycled. Cardboard boxes should be folded and flattened and placed securely next to your recycling container if it is full. You will also need to remove any other packaging such as tape and polystyrene. Glittery wrapping paper and Christmas cards with embellishments cannot be recycled and so need to be put in your regular waste bin.

With extra food and drink for parties and gatherings, it can be easy to buy more than needed. To ensure you keep food waste and costs to a minimum, check out our handy online toolkit which includes tips on storing food and making it go further. Leftovers and food waste can be put in your food recycling bin and left out for collection on bin day. Most food waste can go in the food recycling bin but you can check on the council website to see what can and cannot be recycled.

There are lots of other ways to be more environmentally friendly at Christmas, such as donating unwanted gifts or food and recycling old Christmas cards and ornaments into gift tags and decorations. Find out more on our website: https://www.recycleforbuckinghamshire.co.uk/christmas/

Due to the bank holidays, normal bin collections will be operating to a revised timetable. Make sure you check the amended dates in the below table and leave your bins out for collection by 6.30am on the morning they are due to be collected.

Residents who subscribe to the garden waste collection service should note that the service is currently suspended for winter and will resume on Monday 22 January 2024. As a garden waste subscriber, you can dispose of your Christmas tree, wreaths, holly and mistletoe in your garden waste bin after Christmas. Simply remove any decorations, cut the tree into smaller pieces and place them in your garden waste bin. If you are not subscribed to the garden waste collection service, you can either take your tree to your nearest Household Recycling Centre or see if there is a local charity collection nearby.

Buckinghamshire’s Household Recycling Centres will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. On all other days over the Christmas period the sites will operate the usual opening days and hours (9am-4pm). Check online before you visit to confirm opening hours and avoid the queues.

Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment said: “There are lots of ways we can all make an effort to be greener at this time of year and every small thing that we do makes a difference. From being creative with your leftover food to donating unwanted gifts and recycling Christmas cards and wrapping paper, there are some great and cost-effective ways to be environmentally friendly over Christmas so be sure to give it a go.”

Changes to household DIY waste disposal due from 31 December ​

Residents in Buckinghamshire will be able to dispose of small amounts of DIY waste for free at Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) from 31 December 2023.

The changes have been brought in by central government and will make it easier for people to freely dispose of small amounts of waste created at home from DIY projects such as re-tiling, renovating a bathroom or digging a pond in the garden.

Today (Tuesday 12 December), Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet voted in favour of necessary changes to the council’s Waste Access & Acceptance Policy which sets out rules and procedures for the county’s 10 HRCs, to reflect the new legislation.

Following the change in law regarding the disposal of household DIY waste, the council is reintroducing a digital e-permit for DIY waste. From 31 December, any resident wanting to dispose of household DIY waste at a HRC will need to have an e-permit printed out or on a portable device, such as a mobile phone or tablet, before they visit. This only affects residents who wish to bring household DIY waste.

The DIY e-permit will allow residents to dispose of one load of DIY waste each week for free. One load of DIY waste is no more than 100 litres of loose DIY waste, or one large item no bigger than 2m x 0.75m x 0.7m such as one bath tub, one door or one kitchen unit. Staff will scan the permit and check the resident’s address, after which the e-permit will expire. It can be renewed after seven days, to allow residents to dispose of another load of DIY waste for free. Anyone wishing to dispose of more than one load of DIY waste in a week will be able to do so but will be charged, using the same price list which has been in place for the past four years.

Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Climate Change & Environment said: “We know these government changes will be welcomed by residents, but in order for us to manage them effectively, we are reintroducing a DIY e-permit system like we have used previously. This may be an extra step for residents, but it allows us to ensure that everything will run smoothly and will deter commercial traders from abusing the new system which is for residents only.”

Gareth continued: “We don’t want people to be held up in queues at the HRCs while the new system is bedding in, so we are looking to give people as much notice as possible of the changes and the need for them to download their e-permit before they visit the HRC from 31 December. We will be promoting the new process widely and would suggest people check our website and social media channels for the most up to date information. The whole process is very simple and straightforward and should become second nature to everyone once it has been up and running for a few weeks.”

The changes will only apply to DIY waste. Residents bringing garden waste, electricals, general and other types of waste commonly brought to HRCs will not be affected and can continue to use the sites in exactly the same way as before.

Commercial traders, landlords and residents disposing of waste produced by traders will still need to pay for commercial waste disposal.

For more information on the changes visit the council website.

Recruiting Volunteer Independent Appeal Panel members

Are you interested in education? Committed and open-minded?

Buckinghamshire Council is looking for volunteer members for the Independent Appeal Panel to hear school admission appeals.

Appeal hearings take place remotely via Teams on school days from about 9am to 3pm.

We provide panel members with support and training on relevant law and procedure. 

We welcome applications from all backgrounds.

If you can:

💬 Communicate effectively with a wide range of people

🔎 Analyse information to form conclusions

🙂 Be sensitive and respectful of the need for confidentiality

We want to hear from you!

To register your interest, please contact:

kim.guy@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

Buckinghamshire Councillors Report November 2023

Food waste – Don’t bin it – Recycle it!

Buckinghamshire Council is asking residents to think twice before throwing food waste in the bin and to recycle it instead.

Currently around a third of the waste thrown in the regular rubbish bin in Buckinghamshire is food waste. This equates to around 28,000 tonnes of food every year, an average of 2kg per household per week. It is enough to fill Big Ben more than one and a half times each year. Not only does this cost local taxpayers more than £600,000 a year in disposal costs, disposing of food waste in this way also damages the environment as it produces double the amount of carbon emissions compared to recycling food waste.

As part of a renewed drive to encourage more people to recycle their food waste, over the next few weeks the council will be delivering leaflets, putting stickers on rubbish bins, and letting people know about the many benefits of food recycling. Attention is particularly being focused on areas where there is more scope to increase food recycling rates.

 

Buckinghamshire Council cracks down on fraudsters

Buckinghamshire Council is encouraging residents to help them fight fraud as part of International Fraud Awareness Week (12-18 November).

The council’s Fraud Team tackles housing benefit cheating, council tax scams, cybercrime and more. Losses from fraud cost taxpayers thousands of pounds yearly.

Recent action by the Fraud Team includes a joint operation with Parking Services aimed at targeting Blue Badge misuse. Investigators caught several people using expired badges or overstaying time limits in disabled parking bays. Offenders were issued a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) for their parking contravention and sent warning letters.

 

Get better health and wellbeing with BetterPoints

Buckinghamshire Council is reminding residents that there is no better time to get active with BetterPoints. The free health and wellbeing app has been helping thousands of people in the county to move more and make simple but effective lifestyle changes to improve their health and wellbeing. Now could be the perfect time for new users to start as a range of extra incentives have recently been added. 

BetterPoints is an easy-to-use mobile app that motivates users to be more active and offers incentives in the form of points which can then be converted into vouchers to spend in local shops or given to local charities as a monetary donation.

Since the initiative launched earlier this year, more than 2000 residents in Bucks have downloaded the app and been using it, earning points when they walk, cycle, run or visit a leisure centre. The simple tool encourages people to make healthier lifestyle choices to boost their health and wellbeing.

Extra points are on offer for residents who would like to lose weight or give up smoking when they access support via Be Healthy Bucks. Be Healthy Bucks is Buckinghamshire’s free health and wellbeing service to help residents make small changes to lead a healthy life. They offer stop smoking support, healthy weight programmes, NHS health checks and support to cut down on alcohol. 

You can go one better with Better Points during November and December. A range of incentives have been added where users can redeem their Better Points for shopping vouchers to help towards the cost of Christmas.

There are also weekly ‘Gift of Giving’ prize draws where Better Points users will be entered to win 10,000 points – worth £10 – and a £20 donation to a local charity of their choice.

 

Tree-mendous programme of tree-planting continues in Bucks

Buckinghamshire Council is making great progress in its ‘Bucks Tree Mission’ to plant half a million new trees (one for every resident), as part of its efforts to address climate change and boost the natural landscape of the county.

National Tree Week runs from 25 November to 3 December. It marks the start of the next tree planting season which finishes at the end of March. It’s a great time to take stock of what we’ve achieved so far and to let people know about some of the new tree planting projects coming up.

In the last twelve months, we’ve created new woodlands at Wing Woods near Leighton Buzzard and at Grange Farm and Bury Farm in the south of the county.

The site at Wing Woods, which is managed by Forestry England, includes 109,000 new trees with a further 23,000 trees being added in the coming months. Species planted include native trees such as common beech, common oak, silver birch and black poplar.

We have also secured over £264k from the Forestry Commission’s Local Authorities Treescape Fund. The fund aims to restore tree cover in non-woodland areas affected by disease, habitat loss or ageing tree stock. We will be working with partners including Earthwatch and ReLeaf Marlow on these exciting planting projects.

There will also be another 5,000 new trees planted across Buckinghamshire this season through various community projects, including some new, so-called, ‘Tiny Forests’. This involves planting up to 600 specially selected young native trees in a small, prepared area to encourage faster growth. Tiny Forests have already been planted at Princes Risborough and at Bourton Park in Buckingham and the new ones are being planted in ‘Opportunity Bucks’ areas in the county.

Opportunity Bucks is a flagship programme for the council, focussing on ten wards in Buckinghamshire to improve outcomes for the people who live there. Much work is being done to allow better access to all kinds of opportunities in these areas, from supporting residents into work and training, to improving the local environment, hence focussing these projects in these places. New Tiny Forests will be planted at Hamilton Academy, Brooker Recreation Ground, Totteridge Recreation Ground and Desborough Park in High Wycombe and at Walton Court in Aylesbury.

Can you give something back to your community this Christmas?

As the festive season comes into full swing and people plan activities and shopping, Buckinghamshire Council is asking residents to get into the true spirit of Christmas and think about what they can give back to their local community to ensure everyone has an enjoyable festive season.

From donations to your local food bank or community fridge to volunteering time to support a local community initiative, there are lots of easy ways people can do something small that can make a real difference to those less fortunate.

There are many ways you can help:

There are lots of other ways you can help others. Take a look at the council website for more information: How you can help others | Buckinghamshire Council

Businesses in Bucks boosted by investment

Buckinghamshire Council has awarded £1.6m to help boost support for businesses and entrepreneurs in Buckinghamshire. The funding is from central government and will help support a range of local businesses and entrepreneurs as part of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).

The UKSPF forms part of the Government’s Levelling Up agenda. Its aim is to make funding available to help build pride in local areas, support high quality skills training, support pay, employment and productivity growth and increase life chances. The funding will be used to strengthen the local economy by providing tailored support to help businesses to start, grow, increase productivity, and drive innovation, and employment.

Business support organisations were invited to bid for a share of the Buckinghamshire funding earlier this year. Applications needed to focus on four key priorities – rural business support; business growth and productivity; business start-ups and entrepreneurship; and sustainability and the journey to net zero.  

Through the competitive process, 4 organisations were granted funding for a range of initiatives:

  • Enterprise Nation – £207k for its Next Generation Bucks programme to boost the number of start-ups in the county.
  • Buckinghamshire Business First – £509k for its Growth Programme, offering tailored growth advice and support to local businesses.
  • Maybe Solutions – £136k for a programme of social media support focusing on high street business growth.
  • Retail Revival – £167k for providing tailored support to retail businesses to help increase productivity and growth.
  • Buckinghamshire Business First – £506k to work with local businesses to calculate carbon emissions and support with ways to reduce them.
  • Buckinghamshire Business First – £69k to provide support to rural businesses in the county.

·          

Shining a light on streetlight repairs

Buckinghamshire Council is making steady progress with its plan to upgrade and fix broken streetlights around the county.

Since April this year, crews have fixed more than 1,150 broken or damaged streetlights, alongside the ongoing programme to upgrade all lanterns to use more energy efficient LED bulbs

Councillor Derek Town 

Have your say on Home to School Transport

Buckinghamshire Council has today launched a consultation on proposed changes to its Home to School Transport policies. Most of the changes reflect updated guidelines issued by the government earlier this year. The changes aim to make the school transport policies clearer and to provide more detailed information on some topics, including transport for children with SEND.

Some pupils between the ages of five and 16 are eligible for free home to school travel assistance because the walking route to their nearest suitable school is within the statutory walking distance limits, but the walking route is unsafe. Routes are assessed against the nationally recognised Assessment of Walked Routes to School guidance published by Road Safety GB. The council encourages safe, sustainable ways of getting to school and we aim to reduce car and bus journeys by working within our budget to make walking routes to school safe. Improvements to walking routes will be considered where they can be made at a reasonable cost and where they will benefit the wider community as well as those travelling to school. Where a walking route previously assessed as unsafe is made safe, the transport eligibility for pupils who could be using the walking route will be reviewed and transport assistance only provided to those who continue to be eligible to receive it. Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, Steven Broadbent, commented: “Home to school travel for eligible children is a statutory service that we must deliver, and the council’s school transport policies provide the framework for the services we provide. The proposed changes to our school transport policies are intended to make these policies easier to understand, as well as, to provide more detailed information on some topics including transport for children with SEND.

“The council encourages safe, sustainable ways of getting to school. By working within our budget to review and improve walking routes, we aim to increase the number of families walking or wheeling to school. Walking and talking on the way to school is a great way to connect with others. Reducing short car and bus journeys is better for the environment and air quality around our schools, and improved walking routes benefit all in the community. “Our school transport budgets are under significant pressure, but by working within our budgets to improve walking routes where we can, we hope to balance our climate change ambitions with providing home to school transport to those who are eligible to receive it.  “We’d like to know what you think about these proposals – please take part in our consultation at www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/school-transport-consultation

Join the ‘Primary Care Conversation’ to transform services

The Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board (BOB ICB) is working with health and care partners to develop a strategy and implementation plan for the future of primary care. This includes general practice, community pharmacy, optometry (eye care) and dentistry across BOB.

The ICB will also involve local people and patients to transform the way these services are delivered in their communities and neighbourhoods, enabling the integration of primary care and community services with the aim of improving access to services, people’s experiences of using them and better outcomes for patients.

The work aims to:

  • build a shared understanding of the current state of primary and community services and present a case for change
  • build a consensus on the future vision for primary care and its integration with community services
  • design the way we deliver this care (operating model) and other tools such as digital healthcare support 
  • test the practical application of the new model through projects
  • capture learning and build capability for phased roll-out of the final strategy.

As part of our programme of work to transform primary care, we have launched the ‘Primary Care Conversation’ to let you share your experiences about these services in an online survey at: https://yourvoicebob-icb.uk.engagementhq.com/hub-page/primary-care  Your views will help to inform and shape an ICB primary care strategy to deliver better care for you.

A printed copy of the survey is available by post or by telephone for people without online access. To request one please contact 0300 123 4465 or email engagement.BOBICS@nhs.net

Open until 31 January 2024

Upper Icknield Way patching this week, with diversion in place

Upper Icknield Way, Pitstone, Buckinghamshire

17 November – 20 November

Delays likely – Road closure

Name: Upper Icknield Way, Pitstone

Location: Upper Icknield Way

Description: Streetworks / License – Streetworks

Responsibility for event: Buckinghamshire Council

Current status: Planned


Description: PATCHING WORKS

Works location: FROM ROUNDABOUT TO END OF USRN

Additional description: Patching works take place prior to roads receiving surface treatments. Potholes or other defects are patched and the surface made level. Surfacing work will follow at a later date.

Responsibility for works: Buckinghamshire Council

Current status: Planned work about to start

Works reference: D400226214501

Public Consultation re Restoration of Pitstone Quarry 28-11-23

As you are probably aware, Clark Contracting are proposing to amend the mineral and restoration operations at Pitstone Quarry. The image below shows the proposed master plan for the development. The website contains more information: https://pitstone-quarry.co.uk/.

Clark Contracting are pleased to announce that they have an organised a ‘drop-in’ session on Tuesday 28th November between 1200 and 1845 hrs for local residents and interested parties. The drop-in session will be at Pitstone Pavilion, Marsworth Rd, Pitstone, Leighton Buzzard LU7 9AP.

Location Map

This drop-in session is to enable interested parties to meet the team, discuss any aspect of the scheme, and provide pertinent comments.

There is no need to book or contact us in any way. If you require further information do not hesitate to contact the team via email pitstonerestoration@aae-ltd.co.uk.

Buckinghamshire Councillors Report for Oct 2023

Household recycling centres change to regular winter opening hours

From Sunday 1 October, all 10 of Buckinghamshire’s Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) will switch over to the usual winter opening hours of 9am to 4pm.

The days each centre is open will remain unchanged but the change in hours reflects the fact that as it gets closer to the clocks going back at the end of October and over the winter months, the number of visitors to the sites decreases rapidly once it starts to get darker earlier.

To find out which days your local HRC is open and also further details of what can and cannot be taken to a centre, visit: buckinghamshire.gov.uk/waste-and-recycling/

Did you know you can also view live webcam footage via the council website, to check if the site is busy and avoid having to wait in a queue? If you are unsure about the best time to visit, take a look at the cameras and plan your trip accordingly.

Start your journey to quit smoking this Stoptober

Smokers in Buckinghamshire are being encouraged to make this month the start of their journey to giving up smoking for good and to play their part in the goal of creating a future smoke-free generation. 

Statistics show that around 10% of people in Buckinghamshire regularly smoke cigarettes or tobacco. Buckinghamshire Council wants to raise awareness of the benefits of quitting smoking during the month-long national campaign, Stoptober, to encourage more people to quit smoking. 

The negative impacts of smoking are well documented when it comes to health and household finances. However, within just days and weeks of stopping smoking, the positive benefits emerge, including having more energy, breathing more easily and saving money. If you can stay smoke-free for 28 days, it has been proven that you are five times more likely to quit for good. 

In Buckinghamshire, a large amount of work is being done as part of a longer-term aspiration, to create a smoke-free generation. One of the key parts of this initiative is to reduce the exposure to smoking experienced by children and young people. In 2022 Buckinghamshire Council introduced the Smokefree Sidelines initiative. This Public Health campaign seeks to discourage adults from smoking on the sidelines at grassroots sporting events so as not to expose children to the effects of secondary smoke inhalation and to discourage young people from wanting to take up smoking. 

Another part of the work is the creation of Smokefree Parks and Playgrounds which operates in the same way. Since the start of the Smokefree schemes: 

  • 11 sports clubs have signed up to Smokefree Sidelines  
  • 14 parks and playgrounds have gone smoke and vape-free  

Have your say on Buckinghamshire polling arrangements

​Buckinghamshire Council has launched a consultation asking residents for feedback on polling districts and polling places across the county.

The council is required by law to review polling arrangements periodically. This will ensure polling places are convenient and accessible to voters for forthcoming polls, such as the election of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley on 2 May 2024 and the next UK Parliamentary election, when that is called.

Most polling districts, polling places and polling stations will remain unchanged. However, some changes are required due to venue availability or new boundaries arising from recent reviews.

Residents are encouraged to share feedback by 11:59pm on 4 December 2023 on the following:

  • Accessibility of current polling places
  • Suitability of venues used as polling places
  • Proposed polling districts
  • Comments can be submitted via an online survey, email, post, or printed paper survey. Full details are available at: www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/polling-review
  • The revised polling arrangements will be published on 1 February 2024. This allows time for any changes to be made before the next scheduled elections in the county – including the election of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley on 2 May 2024.

Bucks History Festival returns to celebrate our history and heritage

Buckinghamshire History Festival returns on Wednesday 1 November for its eighth annual celebration of the county’s history and cultural heritage.

The festival, which is coordinated by Buckinghamshire Archives, sees the Archives Team come together with partner organisations to present a huge range of things to see and do throughout November, bringing our past to life and uncovering the often untold stories of Buckinghamshire people and places from across the years.

Council’s Energy Doctor scheme now offering water-saving devices

Buckinghamshire Council is pleased to announce that its Energy Doctor scheme is now able to offer new water-saving devices to help low-income households save money on their water and energy bills.

The Energy Doctor scheme provides a range of resource-saving measures to eligible households. These now include:

  • aerating shower heads
  • 4-minute shower timers
  • cistern water displacement bags for use in non-dual flush toilets

Using an aerated shower head or shower timer is estimated to save £50 in terms of household annual water and energy costs. The cistern water displacement bags displace around 1 litre of water every flush – which can achieve savings of approximately 4,800 litres per year.

Councillor Derek Town 

Can you help Santa in Pitstone on 13 or 14 December 2023?

It’s that time of year again! 🎅🎅🎅

The Santa Float preparations are in full swing at Rennie Grove Peace Hospice Care; Louise and I can’t wait to bring some festive cheer to the residents of Tring and surrounding villages, who wants to join us?

Please let us know which routes/dates you would like to accompany the float. If you have any friends or family who would like to join us this year, please give them my email address/phone number as I would love to hear from them!

As always, we really do appreciate your invaluable help and hope to make this year’s Santa float the best one ever…. without any snow!

Look forward to hearing from you all,

Best wishes

Alison and Louise

Weds 13 Dec

Castlemead

(meet at the junction of Westfield Road & Warwick Road)

5:45

Thurs 14 Dec

Pitstone Village

(meet at the junction of Cheddington Road & Marsworth Road)

5:45

Alison Parker
Supporter Care Officer – Community & Corporate

Direct Dial: 01442 820723
Switchboard: 01442 890222
Rennie Grove Peace Hospice Care
Rennie House, Unit 3, Icknield Way Industrial Estate, Tring, HP23 4JX

www.renniegrovepeace.org

Have a view on the Ivinghoe Freight Zone?

As of June 2022 Local Authorities have been given powers to enforce certain Moving Traffic Offences, details can be found using this link Moving traffic offences | Buckinghamshire Council , this includes the Ivinghoe Freight Zone.  If you have a view on focusing the MTO team on the Ivinghoe Zone use the Your Voice Bucks platform. Have your say on new locations to enforce moving traffic offences – Your Voice Bucks – Citizen Space.

It is due to close on the 29th October 2023.

In the meantime, you may report breaches of the order to the police using their online reporting tool, this is the same link for speeding vehicles of any type. Report a road traffic incident | Thames Valley Police

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