LETTERS ROUND UP: “Council fails to see the bigger picture”

Letters
Letters

A round-up of this week’s Bucks Herald letters...

We did act for you

As was pointed out in the letters page last week, during the election Conservative canvassers were out and about during the election in Bedgrove.

We make no apology for this, as unlike others who may find it old fashioned we think it is still vital to get out and about talking to residents on their own doorstep.

We will then try and deal with any issues they raise and problems we notice. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful people in Bedgrove we managed to speak to, it’s the most enjoyable part of my job as a Councillor and Tom Hunter-Watts and I are truly privileged to serve Bedgrove for a second term. No matter which way you voted, or if you voted, Tom and I are here to serve you, so please pick up the phone and call, email or write to us if you have an issue that requires our help.

Whilst canvassing we came across many issues including the terrible state of Beaufort Close where the tarmac has worn away.

We reported the issue to Transport for Bucks immediately, but it would appear from their response that the road is not considered dangerous, so is not going to be repaired as an emergency.

I have since arranged and had a meeting with the Deputy Cabinet Member for Transport at BCC, Cllr Paul Irwin at Beaufort Close to discuss the state of the road.

His response was, that while it was not deemed dangerous and therefore could not be funded from the emergency roads repair fund, I should speak to the County Councillor for the area to see if we can get it scheduled in for repair.

Unfortunately the County Councillor tells me that the roads programmes is already put together for this year, but that he will consider it along with any other pressing cases he may have for road repairs in the following financial year.

Hopefully, this will convince last week’s correspondent that they have not been forgotten about, we have as promised when we came canvassing fought your corner as much as we can and whilst the problem may not yet be solved we have put it in the hands of those who can we hope solve it for you.

Cllr Mark Winn

Conservative district 
councillor

RIP town centre

Shops and businesses are closing down in Aylesbury because parking charges stop shoppers coming to town.

They find it cheaper to shop at out of town supermarkets, which offer free parking.

The council, in its wisdom, now wish to substantially increase town parking charges, thereby forcing more shops to close, fewer people to come to the theatre, cinema and restaurants etc.

They plan, however, to offer free parking, from 9pm, which is great for night clubs, pubs and similar establishments.

The Council, unfortunately, fails to see the bigger picture. All they see is a department (cost centre) making more money, whilst the whole town suffers.

Maybe the extra money will pay for the Police and Accident and emergency, as a result of fighting and disturbances in Market Square and surrounding areas following late night excessive drinking.

This is unlikely – the cost of policing etc comes from our excessive council tax, which we all have to pay.

RIP to the High Street, thanks to Aylesbury Vale District Council.

John Feore

Grenville Green, Aylesbury

Thanks to angels

Some little time ago I had the honour of going out in the late and early hours with Aylesbury’s Street Angels. Having learned more about them at a service at St Mary’s Church in Aylesbury I was keen to see them in action. This group of trained community minded volunteers offer practical help to those who need and want it.

They offer a listening ear and a calming community presence around pubs, clubs and restaurants.

They offer things like helping people who have drunk too much to find their way home safely, protect vulnerable women and provide a listening ear to defuse disputes before they escalate.

All complements but never replaces the 
emergency services.

I observed groups of girls happily coming up and chatting, lollipops handed out and offers of flipflops if shoes were ‘killing’ them.

Aylesbury in the ‘wee’ small hours is a happier and better place with the Street Angels.

A big thank you to all these dedicated people.

Judy Brandis

Chairman of Licensing, AVDC

Good and the bad

I would like to correct a mistake in last week’s paper.

On page 2 Mr Williams of the Bucks Labour Party said this: “If the children pass the 11-plus they will go to a good or excellent school.

“If the children do not pass the 11-plus they will have the choice of a non-selective school, 55% of which are less than good.”

What utter codswallop.

Presumably he tells how good a school is by the exam results but that is not a valid measure.

It is more a measure of how intelligent the pupils are rather than how good a school is.

Intelligent kids will usually get good exam results even with bad teachers, while stupid kids will usually get bad exam results even with good teachers.

55% of non-selective schools may well get bad results but that doesn’t mean they are bad schools.

It just means that they have different material to work with.

A surgeon who does only easy jobs will have a high success rate and a surgeon who does difficult jobs will have a low success rate, but that doesn’t mean that the latter is a bad surgeon.

He is probably better than the former.

The way to tell a good school is to assess whether it enables the pupils to flfill their maximum potential , even though their potential is limited and exam results are poor.

On the other hand a grammar school is a bad school if it doesn’t enable the kids to fulfill their maximum potential, even though they have superior potential and the exam results are good, (but not as good as they could be).

I explained all this in my previous letters which were published on 11-3-09 and 27-1-10. Those letters can be seen in the library.

N Hayes

Address supplied

Build on brownfield

Dare we hope that the recent announcement by George Osbourne, that in the future, applications to develop brownfield sites would automatically be approved, might prompt a much needed rethink of the absurd situation which pertains in Great Horwood?

Great Horwood has not just one but two genuine brownfield sites begging to be re-developed, yet neither of these sites are considered “suitable” by either Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) or Great Horwood Parish Council (GHPC).

The site to the western side of the Winslow Road, is a “satellite” site of the old Horwood aerodrome. This overgrown area of over 1 hectare, is full of crumbling concrete tracks and dilapidated (potentially dangerous) wartime Nissen huts and could easily accommodate 30 new dwellings. The reasons for refusing to consider this site for development are somewhat esoteric. Firstly “it is detached from the built form of the village” because it is separated from other houses by a single field.

This does not seem to be a criteria which is enforced consistently. Take a drive around Milton Keynes and you’ll see numerous isolated blocks of flats, or small estates which seem to have no relationship to the other developments around them.

The concern that “there is no footpath access”, is somewhat undermined by the suggestions from the parish council over recent months that the Winslow Road footpath should be extended (past the brownfield site) to link up to the North Bucks Way footpath. One has to ask, if footpath access could be provided for recreational purposes, why couldn’t it be provided for a housing development?

The most bizarre objection from GHPC was that the site couldn’t possibly be considered “because of the possible historic significance of the crumbling Nissen Huts!” One has to ask, if these structures are of such historical significance surely they shouldn’t simply be left to collapse, they should be dismantled and taken to a museum to be properly preserved!

The other site is the redundant animal feed mill on the northern edge of the old aerodrome. This large metal building was recently described by the police as “an incredibly dangerous structure”, particularly worrying since it is located directly adjacent to the “Horwood Pece” children’s playground. This site is over half a hectare in size and could accommodate 15 dwellings. The reasons for rejecting this site? Again the cry that “it is detached from the built form of the village”, even though as previously stated it is adjacent to the village playground.

The other objection to the mill site is that there are access problems. This completely overlooks the fact that there is a perfectly adequate road through the old aerodrome site to the Winslow Road which services the industrial estate and the Medical Detection Dogs Centre.

The Great Horwood Neighbourhood Plan, approved by public vote in March of this year, offered neither of these sites as an option to villagers. Instead the plan proposes development of two greenfield sites, one on the Nash Road and the other in the Little Horwood Road.

Please let me make one thing absolutely clear, I am opposed to any large scale housing development in this village. The construction of another 40 plus dwellings in Great Horwood, (in addition to the hundreds being proposed for Winslow) can only serve to exacerbate the chronic traffic problems which are already being endured by the rural roads in this area during peak travel periods.

But since AVDC has seen fit to impose this burden on Great Horwood, surely it cannot be right to put bulldozers through our beautiful, productive, green fields while these crumbling, dilapidated, potentially highly dangerous areas are available for re-development?!

Alan Marlow

Little Horwood Road, Great Horwood

Relief all round!

Well, relief all round! We are now safely in the hands, or rather eyes, of Councillor Warren Whyte who is amusingly quoted as “having inherited the project”.

One hopes that he fully understands the financial implications of his inheritance and, no doubt, in a future interview will explain these to those of us of lesser brains who may be confused by the only figures quoted in your article on July 3.

It appears that an investment of £200 million now will deliver £150 million savings over the next thirty years.

This raises some interesting financial questions to be addressed – if interest is applied to the £200 million, which one assumes BCC did not have lying around with nothing to do, surely the total cost will be just about double what was spent today. Certainly my mortgage seems to work like that!

Does this mean, therefore, that before any operational expenses are accounted for a revenue stream of about £550 million is required to “save” us £150 million over thirty years?

Of course, there is also an intriguing aspect to all this and that is that Mr Whyte and his colleagues have perhaps found a way of making the capital disappear, in which case might there not be an opening for them in Athens?

We should be told!

Roger Landells

Address supplied

Call 112 in Europe

Schools are out and the holidays are here.

Lots of your readers will be travelling around Europe.

No one wants a crisis on holiday, but if there was one would they know what number to call?

The Europe-wide emergency number is 112 – it works here too.

Calling the number costs nothing and puts you in touch with an operator, wherever in Europe you are.

One number ends confusion, cutting time for emergency services to respond to an incident.

Travel safe, enjoy your holidays and remember 112!

Catherine Bearder

Lib Dem MEP for South East