Letters round-up: Council responds over disabled parking plus Aylesbury’s musical heritage and Europe referendum IQ test

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The row over disabled parking in Aylesbury continues on this week’s letters page.


Strength of feeling

I understand the strength of feeling expressed by readers who contributed to the debate in your letters page last week about our Aylesbury town centre on-street parking review consultation.

No decision has been made and it’s important to me that before we take any decision we have everyone’s feedback in front of us.

That’s why I want to encourage as many as possible to respond to our consultation survey http://ow.ly/YHeQ0 before the closing date tomorrow (Thursday, March 3).

Demand for short-term parking in the town has increased and the aim of the parking review is to try to meet this rise, and to increase the turnover of parking in the town.

The proposals involve potentially changing 15 taxi bays, 17 loading bays and 27 disabled bays into pay and display parking places – and creating 29 new bays where there are yellow lines – to help make the town centre more accessible to all visitors.

Drivers with blue badges have access to more than 110 designated free disabled spaces close to the shops in Aylesbury town centre. Also, blue badge holders can park free near the shops in town centre roads where there are yellow lines. Our consultation focuses only on 27 of the on-street disabled bays; it doesn’t affect the 80 or so blue badge spaces in the car parks close to the shops.

I understand the strength of feeling towards any proposals affecting spaces available to drivers with disabilities, from my work as chairman of my local Multiple Sclerosis Society branch, and I will take account of every response to our consultation survey.

Mark Shaw

Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet Member for Transport


Sad to see them go

I am writing to comment on the disabled parking topic in Aylesbury.

My husband has just got his blue disabled badge and he can now go to Aylesbury and has the convenience of parking close to the shops. It would be very sad to see them go and it could prevent many people from shopping in the town.

I feel it would benefit the people of Aylesbury and bring shoppers into the town if the traffic problem was sorted out.

I don’t know if anybody from the BH or AVDC travel into Aylesbury via the Tring Road but since all the traffic lights have been installed it is a nightmare. This is not just at peak times, it is all day long.

Name and address 


Far short of ‘best’

I am writing regarding the WendoverHS2 response to the HS2 Parliamentary Select Committee chairman’s comments at the final public session and their report.

I quote from their response.

They are deeply disappointed but, regrettably, not surprised by the House of Commons HS2 Select Committee report which has failed to recommend extending the Chiltern Tunnel throughout the whole length of the A.O.N.B to the north of Wendover.

As one of the largest communities directly on the HS2 route, Wendover is being affected disproportionately by the scheme. A massive civil engineering project will cut through the heart of the village, yet Wendover will have the lowest level of mitigation spent per affected household along the route. In the vicinity the proposal is for two viaducts each 500 metres long and a height of 15 metres joined by a massive embankment over 1km long, all sitting within the AONB.

The evidence presented by the local community to the select committee over the past six months covered wide-ranging impacts on the local area on hydrogeology, noise, transport disruption and damage to local business, as well as a gross visual impact on the Chilterns AONB.

HS2 Ltd has demonstrated gross incompetence in failing to adequately address these issues.

The community’s case was that an extended tunnel would solve virtually all of the above issues at little additional cost; in response, HS2 Ltd issued a string of inflated cost estimates, unsupported by any evidence.

In concert, virtually every governmental body in the Chilterns AONB area requested that HS2 Ltd ask their contractors for a fully bored tunnel be priced as an alternative to the HS2 Ltd above-ground scheme.

This request for an independent pricing has been rejected by the chief executive of HS2.

Despite some brave independent voices on the committee, HS2 Ltd’s blatant attempt to filibuster the process appears to have won the day. The committee have failed to consider the evidence put to them, see through the shocking HS2 cost estimating process (presented by lawyers, not engineers) and failed to follow through its own recommendations made in July last year.

The HS2 lead QC’s comment that the Hybrid Bill process had proved, by the standards of fairness and inquiry, to be as good as a public inquiry, is a bad joke.

The HS2 QC also claimed that there had been unfailing courtesy by the select committee to the petitioners. I beg to disagree.

The Government is in a headlong rush to construct this white elephant project and the petitioning process would appear to be a sham. Meanwhile, the community suffers blight and affected homeowners, businesses and farmers continue to fight for fair compensation, which at present has been revealed by the select committee to be wanting.

Over 10 per cent of all petitions to the select committee were from Wendover residents, organisations and businesses. We are expecting a similar number of petitions to the House of Lords HS2 Select Committee.

We have not as yet had a reaction about the report from Mr Lidington, our local MP, despite his assurances that he was working hard behind the scenes to ensure the best possible mitigation for Wendover.

The mitigation inflicted on Wendover falls far short of “best”.

Roger Waller



Vacuum of silence

As the nation faces one of the most important decisions in a generation about our future in the EU, our MP tells us that he cannot give us a view on the matter, as his role as Speaker of the House of Commons requires neutrality.

So, once again, the disenfranchised constituents of Buckingham get no leadership, or even an expression of opinion, from our Parliamentary representative.

Perhaps Mr Bercow could tell us instead what progress he has made on his promise, made after the last General Election, to campaign to change the situation whereby the constituency unfortunate enough to elect the Speaker not only has a neutered MP unable to vote in the House of Commons, but also has no choice at the ballot box because the main political parties offer no candidates, ‘by convention’?

However, not only is our MP silent on the EU referendum, but it would seem that many/most of our local politicians – with one or two honourable exceptions – are also silent or ‘undecided’ on the matter too!

Our continued membership of the EU does have significant implications for us all at town, district and county level and our councillors should tell us where they stand on it.

Anyway, in the vacuum of silence from our politicians, I am happy to help to fill the gap by declaring my total opposition to our continued membership of the EU and urging everyone to Vote Leave.

It is high time that our country took back control of our affairs from the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, restored the primacy of Mr Bercow’s much-loved Houses of Parliament in enacting the laws of this country, ended the huge net contribution made by the UK to the EU budget every year, and enabled the UK to decide who should enter the country and on what basis.

I urge your readers to Vote Leave in the referendum on June 23!

Stephen Caunt

Hillesden Way, 


I’m a shareholder

For some time now I have been receiving emails from Aylesbury Vale District Council which refer to me as a “customer”.

I find this rather irritating since as a local elector, and one who has been funding AVDC through Council Tax and rates for over 40 years, I feel if anything I am a shareholder.

However, today’s message goes one step further; announcing the bizarrely named “Limecart” – Aylesbury Vale’s new Homes and Garden Service operated by Vale Commerce Ltd, a company wholly owned by AVDC.

Meanwhile as reported recently by another correspondent it is now nigh on impossible for local residents to speak to anyone at the council by telephone.

Last year I raised a query about an invoice to which I have never had a reply.

Even our local parish clerk spent days trying to get a response to an inquiry about trees and then got an unhelpful reply.

If I want information or advice about my garden or house there are many available sources.

However, there are some things which can only be dealt with by the local council.

If AVDC is really interested in what it calls “customer fulfilment” then it should concentrate on improving its core function of providing a service to local residents which is after all what it is there for.

Dr Eric Rose



Musical heritage

Aylesbury has a long history of being associated with music.

The earliest reference I’m aware of is a song called The Aylesbury Girl, which was first published in 1720 but which is almost certainly much older than that.

It references the Ups and Downs which was a euphemism for the 69th Foot Welsh Regiment which was regarded as a humorous anomaly because their ranks consisted largely of raw recruits and elderly veterans (a bit like Dad’s Army).

The song references Johnny the Rover who was perhaps a soldier in the Ups and Downs who had his way with a pretty Aylesbury girl after she invited him to replace her garter in an Aylesbury orchard ‘on the outskirts of the town’.

Steeleye Span recorded the song, retitling it The Ups and Downs in 1973 which was included in their Parcel of Rogues album. They gave a wonderful rendition of it at Friars Aylesbury on February 26, 1976, as a final encore which brought the house down. The first verse is:

As I was going to Aylesbury all on a market day,

A pretty little Aylesbury girl I met upon the way.

Her business was to market with butter, cheese and whey

And we both jogged on together, my boys, fol-der-o diddle-o-day.

No doubt Aylesbury saw a steady stream of troubadours play the town over the centuries but it wasn’t until the 1960s that Aylesbury was marked out as a real music town.

In the pre-Friars era some amazing bands came to Aylesbury.

Between 1960 and 1964 The Granada (now the Gala Bingo Hall in the High Street) saw The Rolling Stones and many world class 1960s artists including from the US The Ronettes, Gene Vincent, Bruce Channel, Bobby Vee and Brian Hyland.

British superstars such as Adam Faith, Helen Shapiro, Johnny Kid & The Pirates, The Hollies and Manfred Mann also played the Granada, which was fully seated and doubled as a cinema.

The Borough Assembly Hall (previously called the Market Theatre, The County Theatre and the Grosvenor) had its entrance in the alley at the side of the Green Man in the Market Square.

This is the venue which was used by Nanda and Jon Lesley for their Bluesville promotions and local promoter Eddie Friday.

From 1964 to 1968 highly influential bands such as The Yardbirds, The Spencer Davis Group, Marianne Faithful, The Who, Them (featuring Van Morrison), Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band, Cream, The Animals, Georgie Fame, Rod Stewart, Jimi Hendrix, Downliners Sect, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers,The Small Faces, Dave Dee,Dozy,Beaky, Mick and Tich and the Crazy World of Arthur Brown and many others all played there.

This was the venue used by Friars Aylesbury from 1971 until its closure in 1975 before Friars moved to the Civic Centre, and was where David Bowie played three of the most pivotal gigs in his career.

In the 1960s there were also gigs at The Town Hall (which used to be on the site of the Civic Centre) and Walton Parish Hall. Friars started in June 1969 in the original New Friarage Hall in Walton Street. Of all these venues only the Granada and Walton Parish Hall remain.

Friars Aylesbury is currently doing research into the bands that played Aylesbury prior to Friars starting in June 1969. If you have any memories or information about the sixties gigs at the Granada or the Grosvenor please contact David Stopps on info@fmlmusic.com or hayley.okeeffe@jpress.co.uk.

David Stopps

Friars Club Aylesbury


Need Health Staff

Wonder what sort of NHS could be achieved if it was given priority above such follies like HS2, and staff were recognised similar to pop and movie stars, average footballers and expensive city financiers.

Training more staff as suggested in this poem could have quite an impact:

Can you help save our NHS

It seems to be in quite a mess.

Now the politicians are trying to dictate,

When they don’t have a clue, just debate.

And many staff are suffering duress

Would it help to train more front line staff?

And send many managers for an early bath.

More home trained doctors and nurses,

Get rid of paper work curses.

For statistics, they’re having a laugh.

The health of the world could be in our hand(s)

When we pinch trained staff from other land(s)

Gentle nurses from the Philippines,

And caring Indian doctors it seems.

Help UK, but their home health could be undermanned?

The UK bankers in the city,

With wages and bonuses are sitting pretty,

By deviousness and stealth,

Can juggle wealth, but not health.

But we poorly pay healthcare workers, more the pity.

The politicians want health service workers to do a seven-day week,

When our MPs for the summer months off do sneak.

A&E have to deal with an emergency,

While politicians procrastinate – not much urgency.

And if they don’t succeed have a fit of pique.

So please can we get the patient (NHS) well.

Should we send our MPs a letter and tell

Them, to recognise what health workers do.

Let them do reasonable hours and pay them their due.

Train more staff, don’t import them and our little islands numbers swell.

Pip Rance



IQ test for voters

It is obvious from his article last week that Mr Pratt is intelligent enough to understand the question of the European Union in the forthcoming referendum; but the trouble is half the people aren’t.

He said that the judgement call is very fine and that the EU will shape our relations with the rest of the world. It is therefore important that the right decision is made and for that reason I think voting in referendums should be limited to people of average intelligence and above.

This is because people of below average intelligence are not intelligent enough to understand the issues.

Voting in elections should continue to be universal but referendums require at least average IQ to be able to make a sensible judgement.

We therefore need a separate electoral roll for the top half of the population.

If it wasn’t obvious from a person’s occupation or other evidence that he was of average IQ or above then he would have to take an IQ test if he wanted to vote in referendums. A separate electoral roll for the intelligent half of the population should also be used for juries.

At the moment juries are chosen at random from the general electoral roll, which is mad because it means that, on the law of averages, half of each jury is too stupid to understand the case. In complicated cases this must result in the frequent incorrect verdicts. There should be a floor below which jurors are not allowed to fall.

N Hayes

Address supplied