Letters round-up: Action on verges

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A correspondent who wants action taken on grass verges features in this week’s round-up of the Herald letters page.

Council

Action on verges

In an excellent article by Neil Shefferd printed in the Bucks Herald on April 8 last year, attention was drawn to a long-standing grievance by local Buckingham Road residents (all keen to see respectable standards in the local area maintained) to the continual usage of a major bus-stop and lay-by and adjacent grass verges being used as a car parking area by a number of thoughtless local residents.

This bus stop has grown in usage over recent years with frequent services to Buckingham Park, Maids Moreton, Buckingham and Milton Keynes all on the timetable.

Being on the main approach to the traffic light system down by the shops at the bottom of the road, it is obviously essential that the services should be allowed to exit the main carriageway into the lay-by to allow both free access to passing traffic and also customer usage directly from the bus shelter both on and off the buses.

Mothers with very young children, pensioners, the disabled and infirm members of the public should clearly not be put at real risk of an accident by having to gain access on and off buses by stepping out on to the main road in order to do so.

The endless practice by certain local residents both using the lay-by as a car park, and also the continual and damaging use of adjacent council-owned verges as a parking area has reduced the local area to a muddy water-filled slum status at potentially great expense with regard to eventual reinstatement back to their original green condition.

Local people ask ‘why do they park there in the first place?’ the answer is because they can - there exists no enforcement to prevent it, and also because the lay-by and verges are just a few metres from their front doors.

However, they could park their cars towards the end of Whaddon Chase and the north side where there is room for five vehicles, or they could park on land at the rear of their dwellings, but this would entail extra driving and walking.

And so they simply take the most convenient and easiest option and to hell with the effect it has on everyone else.

I am well aware, as a large number of Aylesbury residents are, that this type of ‘vandalism’ is widespread all over the town, known locally as ‘grot spots’, where large areas have become mud-heaps filled with water where virgin grass verges once existed.

The area cited in this letter is a prime example.

A great deal of time has elapsed since your original article of April 2015, leading to a growing feeling of apathy among some residents who are now of the opinion that ‘as usual nothing will ever get done.’

However, with the original welcome involvement of UKIP councillor Andy Huxley (Quarrendon) moves are afoot to cure this problem once and for all.

In November 2015, through Bucks County Council and Transport for Buckinghamshire, a questionnaire was sent out to local residents with agreed proposals by them to both reinstate the bus stop and lay-by to formal status by installing double yellow lines at the site and to introduce restrictions on the verge area behind the bus-stop and further down the road.

The willingness to carry this through is not a problem, but an imminent local forum meeting is to be held on the subject of funding for the project in the face of local authority cuts.

I ask the question ‘what are the real costs in terms of health and safety of local bus users and also the long-term costs of restoration of the absolute destruction of grass verges at and along this site?’

I urge the authorities to make this area a funding priority to both make the long-term costs minimal and to remove personal injury risk to our local bus users.

Peter Vaughan

Buckingham Road, Aylesbury

Development

Sainsbury’s a mess

What on earth has happened to Sainsbury’s plans to modernise their in town supermarket and build apartments for sale on the corner of Cambridge Street/New Street.

The dereliction of this site is palpable and continues to blight this part of town.

After all of these years the old Odeon, Sloan house and the old council building the far side of Sainsbury’s access road stand empty and falling apart.

Indeed when the scaffolding on the old Odeon went up last year I thought that at long last somebody is actually doing something.

Instead this scaffolding has been erected to catch the lumps of concrete falling off the façade of the building.

Surely the district council with their new entrepreneurial skills can offer to at least go into partnership with Sainsbury’s to develop this site even if some apartments are built and sold to pay for the others.

When you consider that the area runs up to Buckingham Street this becomes a large site.

You would have thought that the internet video of the inside of the old theatre would have been embarrassment enough, let alone allowing young teenagers to disappear behind the unkempt bushes and alleyways of Sloan house with their cans to do whatever, is bordering on the irresponsible.

For the town’s sake, somebody take a lead.

Name and address supplied

Poem

Spare a thought...

Is your neighbour OK?:

Spare a thought for your neighbour,

As you scrape the ice from your screen.

Before you rush off today,

When were they last seen?

Sure, you are very busy.

Certainly you’ve lots to do.

When did you last see them?

Say “Good morning” and “How are you?”

Are they just like you?

Rushing off. ‘Cause that is life ?

Have they got a family?

Children maybe and husband or wife ?

Or are they alone?

Who will they speak to today?

No daily pinta. Or postman,

To nod to on their merry way.

If next door is a single household.

Nay matter young or old.

Could they be in need today.

Lonely, unwell, cold?

So as you crunch your way.

Maybe no snow, but still freezing ice, so mind.

Make a chance, check your neighbour.

They’ll know you care and that’s kind.

Pip Rance

Langdon Avenue, 
Aylesbury

Taxis

Erratic behaviour

Has anyone else noticed the erratic behaviour of taxis around Aylesbury.

I wonder if they abide by a different Highway Code? Pulling up without indicators being used and abandoning/parking on a whim but in a dangerous manner and causing obstruction to other drivers.

I wish someone would tell them that they are responsible for their passengers, who are paying for the service, and also to other drivers who ARE mostly abiding by the rules of the road.

Name and address supplied

Rail

How will it help us?

David F Mason’s walk down memory lane about his brief stop on the train at Verney Junction half a century ago (letters page Bucks Herald 13/1/16) brought back many happy memories for me as well.

As I boy I used to ride my bike down to Verney Juction and watch the empty trains go past.

Sometimes I would talk to the man in the signal box and I recall once going up there to see all the shiny levers.

But once again, like all you other advocates of turning the clock back half a century, Mr Mason fails to address the fundamental issue of how East-West Rail will help someone living at or near Verney Junction now, get to work in Buckingham?

How will it help someone living in Steeple Claydon get to work in Milton Keynes?

How will it help someone living in Twyford get to work in Aylesbury?

Undoubtedly, HS2 will cut a few minutes off the journey time for a few people who wish to live in Birmingham and commute to work in London, but it will be of absolutely no use to those who live along the route and will blight the lives of thousands of people.

Similarly, as your correspondent the previous week pointed out, East-West Rail will shorten the journey times of a few people travelling from Oxford to Cambridge.

But the majority of those living in the rural areas along the route will still have absolutely no alternative but to get in their cars and sit in a queue of traffic to get to work!

Perhaps the most heartbreaking aspect of all this is that in the 50 years since the line closed it had become (and could be again) a wonderful, overgrown, undisturbed haven for wildlife.

Last year, in what I can only describe as an act of enviromental vandalism, beautiful established trees were felled with a chainsaw. The bushes and undergrowth were smashed down with a flail and then just to make sure that nothing would survive, the whole area was sprayed with chemical defoliant.

I’ve no doubt we’ll be told that this was all done with the welfare of the wildlife in mind, but this will be even more of our beautiful natural enviroment which will disappear under concrete and gravel.

Still, look on the bright side, after we’ve spent all week getting annoyed and frustrated sitting in traffic jams trying to get into work, come the weekend we can all “de-stress” by hopping on the train and having a nice day out in Norfolk.

Well worth the £250,000,000 price tag!?

Name and address 
supplied

Charity

Thanks to Mail

I am writing to say a huge thank you to everyone in the South East that has run, swam, walked, abseiled, hopped, held their breath or baked for the Stroke Association over the last year.

We have seen some fantastic support and recently saw the Royal Mail team in the South East complete 5k runs, wash cars, play in cricket tournaments and Bubble Football matches to help raise an incredible £1 million. It is a fantastic achievement and we are so grateful.

Every year there are around 152,000 strokes in the UK - that is one every 3 minutes and 27 seconds. Stroke kills twice as many women as breast cancer, more men than prostate and testicular cancer combined, and is the number one cause of long-term severe disability.

But thanks to the millions of pounds raised by our supporters and charity partners, like Royal Mail, the Stroke Association has been able to support stroke survivors in their life after stroke and invest in ground breaking research.

Since September 2014, Royal Mail staff have been raising money so that we can continue to provide Life After Stroke Grants to stroke survivors and their families across the country at a time when they need us the most. These grants help survivors take their first steps back into the community. We will be continuing to work with Royal Mail over the next year to raise a further £1 million to fund up to 10,000 recovery and activity grants.

On behalf of stroke survivors and their loved ones, I would like to say thank you to Royal Mail for their time, commitment and support.

Jon Barrick

Chief Executive, Stroke 
Association

HS2

Use British steel

Only a few weeks after the closure of the Redcar Steel Works, and the loss of thousands of jobs in the steel works at Port Talbot, Scunthorpe, Rotherham and Sheffield, the Chancellor George Osborne has specifically asked China to tender for the supply of steel for the forthcoming HS2 (High Speed Rail project).

This project will need literally millions of tons of steel over a period of time, with a multi-million Pound (if not multi-billion Pound) value.

Keeping the production of this steel in the UK would present a golden opportunity to revive our steel industry.

I am not a ‘political animal’, and like thousands of people I am disillusioned with most of the politicians, but I am strongly in favour of fairness.

I have never worked in the steel industry, but feel very strongly about the decline in UK industry and the misery it causes to the employees who lose their jobs.

The message Osborne has sent to the UK steel industry, by personally requesting China to tender, is that the process will NOT be on a ‘level playing field’ for all.

It seems to me that Osborne is obsessed by balancing the books as fast as possible (I agree that he should balance the books, but slower) and has no thought for the consequences to UK industry and its workforce.

We may not be able to match China’s steel prices, BUT by keeping people in work and not having to pay benefits, should help bridge that gap.

I have therefore started a Petition on the Government website, which reads: ‘ALL STEEL USED IN THE HS2 PROJECT SHOULD BE MADE IN UK STEEL PLANTS’. I need 100,000 signatures to force a debate in the House of Commons. I would like to think that this will help keep the steel production and as such the jobs, in the UK.

Could I please ask that you support my petition by going onto the Government website and simply ‘ticking a box’.

It will ask for your name and e-mail address, but will then keep you up to date with the progress of the petition.

Your details will NOT be disclosed to anyone.

Please visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions and then search on HS2 to find the above worded petition.

Please help – we really do need to highlight Osborne’s indifference to both UK industry and UK jobs – it really is scandalous!

Bob Lax

Rotherham