This week’s Bucks Herald letters - you can send a letter on any subject to the editor by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org - we reserve the right to edit letters.
I cannot be the only person surprised by John Bercow’s sudden and dramatic leap from the political fence he has occupied since becoming Speaker of the House of Commons. For years he has insisted that we, his constituents, could be told nothing of his political views because of the need to preserve his precious neutrality. So nobody here has the faintest idea whether we now have a Conservative, Labour or Liberal MP.
Now, however, it appears that neutrality is not so important after all when it comes to wishing to see Donald Trump barred from speaking to MPs. Mr Bercow is very clear what he thinks and has made sure that everybody knows his views. I hold no brief for President Trump, I probably would not invite him into my house, but is he any worse than the President of China or many of the other “dodgy” customers who have had the honour of speaking in Westminster Hall? Why has the Speaker singled him out?
However, that is not really the point of this email. It just occurs to me that, now Mr Bercow has surrendered his virginity in such a spectacular fashion, perhaps he might be willing let us local voters know his thoughts on other controversial matters. That is, of course, assuming that he plans to stand for election again in the future.
Roger Edwards - via email
John Bercow spoke for the nation when he said that President Trump should not address the House of Commons. Both as Speaker and Buckingham MP, he did exactly what he should do. He spoke for the vast majority of British people who find many of President Trump’s policies and views shameful.
I am of no party, and have never in fact voted for Mr Bercow. But I feel ashamed that some other MPs seem happy to humiliate our country, by rolling out the red carpet to Mr Trump faster than Britain has done for any previous US President before.
Good for Mr Bercow. There’s a very real danger that Britain will look weak and unprincipled at the same time if President Trump comes in triumph to the Commons. If Mr Bercow can help prevent that, he’ll get my vote next time.
Edmund Cairns – via email
I commend John Oliver for his forthright and very solid arguments that have appeared on these pages so often.
It’s a shame that nobody from the so-called councils pay heed to his wisdom and foresight. It is about time that instead of wasting money on literature that is not fit for purpose, that the high and mighty of BCC and AVDC do not have the decency to acknowledge or even read his articles of wisdom regarding our ridiculous roads and so called,if any infrastructure plan.
How can this town accommodate the thousands of new-build houses anticipated when the road systems that exit cannot even accommodate the existing volumes of traffic?
It’s about time that local people (living in Aylesbury) had their say and not be reliant on visitors who park at the council offices during the day but do not have the inclination to answer phone calls and what appears in the local press!
Even our two MPs do not respond to letters that appear but enjoy their own inclusion in our only public mouth-piece.
It’s about air, noise and other forms of pollution that exist but have not been addressed.
I am sure that the powers that be are quite aware of the need for a dedicated bypass for the town but hope the public sector will forget what has been printed in these columns eventually.
Let’s hope that a member of the council will spend the money on buying a copy of
The Bucks Herald and take note of what will appear this week.
Dennis Thomas – via email
Recent correspondents have complained about the lack of forward planning from AVDC and the various detrimental impacts that this has already had on traffic, pollution levels and the quality of life for those already living in the area.
In addition there are concerns that the public utilities – gas, water and electricity – will not be able to provide services for all the homes planned for the future, and the environmental impact from over-population are well documented – and don’t even mention the bypass! In short – the infrastructure to support all this isn’t there. There have been a significant number of objections to every planning application for large scale developments for many years – all to no
avail. Our councillors steadfastly ignore the views of those whom they represent and, like all politicians, continue to try to put a good ‘spin’ on what is happening.
The latest example is the article in last week’s edition by Cllr Neil Blake, AVDC leader about “exciting times ahead” Exciting for whom?
Not for those who need to drive into the town on already congested roads and cannot find a parking
space when they get there, unless they have a blue badge; not for those whose lives will be made a misery while all the new developments for the “exciting new restaurant and apartment hub” are taking place; not for those pedestrians who are already breathing air polluted by traffic fumes.
The development of the Exchange Street area has been a planning disaster from the beginning e.g. lack of car-parking for anyone, including
blue badge holders, next to Waterside Theatre and costly car parking charges, and will continue.
Cllr Blake tries to reassure us that the various sales and rental income will be reinvested to ensure that AVDC maintains the service for residents “as they expect and deserve”.
There has been little evidence of this for many years and I doubt that things will improve.
Why would anyone want to come to Aylesbury unless they had to?
Name and address supplied
I’d like to respond to confusion expressed about what traffic measures are being planned to support the housing growth in and around Aylesbury. We’re working closely with Bucks County Council to make sure transport links are appropriate now and in the future.
As much as a high speed ‘bypass’ may seem to some like a logical solution, such a proposal was rejected in the 1990s due to concerns from the public, AVDC and BCC about the impact on Aylesbury and nearby villages, and many issues still apply today.
The link roads planned in the Aylesbury Transport Strategy will give drivers choice of where to enter Aylesbury or let them avoid travelling through the town centre altogether. While free flow of traffic is important, and roads will be faster flowing where appropriate, cars aren’t the only way to travel. We need to make sure everyone can safely get around and that there are other ways for people to get to school, work, shops and so on.
Neil Blake – leader of
Aylesbury Vale District Council
I have set out some thoughts about the traffic problems in the town as suggested in your paper last week.
Some time ago a county council engineer, (John Bramwell) was given an OBE for his work. He was the pioneer of the mini roundabout and proved that traffic lights slow traffic down. To combat this he introduced a policy of removing all lights and replacing them with roundabouts.
One set was left because the DVLA commented that if there were not any traffic lights in the town that they would move their driver test centre to another location.
The current thinking is that roundabouts should be replaced with lights; it was claimed that the modern systems controlled by somebody sitting at a central computer (which cost £200,000) altering the phasing to suit traffic flows, are more efficient and safer.
The roundabouts on the A41 have been changed because of the increased traffic from ARLA, the claim being that this will increase traffic flows, made it safer to cross the road by Adams Garage and reduce pollution .
Their claimed benefits do not appear to have been achieved; it can now take 30 minutes to travel from the end of the Aston Clinton by-pass to Oakfield Road, there is far more queuing/stationary traffic than there used to be, there has been a number of collisions in the Oakfield
Road, King Edward Avenue, Tring Road junction. The lights are confusing, and the junction certainly is not safer. I have seen a number of motorists go past a red light, usually when the first one of the three lights is green.
Also motorists seem to increase speed when they see a battery of green lights and a clear road.
It was also claimed that air quality would be improved, why has the monitoring equipment been moved away from the junction and why have two or three requests for the current readings been ignored. A continuous sore throat and difficulty in breathing suggests that the air quality has deteriorated.
Another forest of traffic lights has now sprung up on Oakfield Road with yet more threatened on the A41 between Bedgrove and the
Aston Clinton by-pass.
This coupled with the planned “new town” can only make the existing problems worse. What do we have to do to make the planners listen to the concerns of the local residents, when one tries to discuss this matter with them, they try to claim that these issues are not in their brief and do not seem to have any proposals to mitigate the problems.
This is clearly against the directive given in the Planning Practice Guide published by the government and found on the internet, in fact this document implies that they have a legal duty to consider air
quality which would imply that if they ignore it, those concerned could be prosecuted.
Has the time come for the Health and Safety Executive to be pushed into making a case against those individuals who choose to ignore the E U rules and are putting people’s health at risk?
As well as doing very little to deal with the existing problems, they are still suggesting that main roads (they call them ring roads) go through the middle of housing areas. These new roads will most likely be cluttered with traffic lights and other measures to slow traffic down which will make them useless as a ring road.
There is also now research carried out in Canada which suggests that living within 50 metres of a busy road can cause other health problems as well as breathing problems.
K.D. Keasley - via email
Last week, whilst I was driving to Bicester along the A41, I was very surprised to see, in the opposite direction, traffic queuing from the outskirts of Aylesbury, all the way to Waddesdon.
This immediately brought to mind a meeting I attended last year, in the Waterside Theatre, which addressed planning issues facing rural Bucks. Whilst organised by the Country Landowners Association it was open to the public, a knowledgeable group of experts formed a panel and it was also attended by AVDC, Bucks County Council and other public bodies.
After a lively and interesting debate about a range of issues, I asked for clarification regarding strategic oversight, planning and co-ordination.
This centred about the enhancements to the road systems and the timely creation of supporting amenities in parallel with major developments.
I cited the changes taking place around Bicester, the impact of HS2, both during the construction and implementation stages and the very significant housing developments being approved around Aylesbury.
I wanted to know who had responsibility for tracking the impact of each of the developments and strategically modelling the traffic movements and load characteristics over time.
Who ensured that the relevant information was accurately submitted by the parties concerned and also how that information was used minimise adverse effects during the planning approval process at AVDC, County and National levels.
I was completely astounded to learn that the answer is “nobody”.
Individual developments and projects like HS2 are simply not co-ordinated, nor considered together to determine whether the existing infrastructure is able to support them.
Given the importance of the A41 and linked roads to the national network this seems to me to a major weakness in practice.
No surprise, therefore, that Aylesbury is becoming increasingly congested and we can expect much worse to come.
I would welcome comments from other contributors and would encourage the Bucks Herald to undertake its own investigation into this issue.
Graham Woodroffe - Wendover
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