An objection to our use of the word ‘abandoned’ to describe a church in Fleet Marston, is featured in this week’s letters round-up.
I must object to the headline of your article of January 27: “Abandoned church and narrow railway bridge scupper Fleet Marston plans”, regarding the rejection of plans for 2,745 homes at Fleet Marston.
Whilst I would not wish to pass judgement on the planning application, your description of St Mary’s Church as ‘abandoned’ is incorrect, and even rather insulting to those who look after it.
In fact this pretty little Grade II listed medieval church has long been cared for not only by The Churches Conservation Trust, which has been responsible for it since 1973 and has invested a considerable amount of charitable funds in its upkeep, but also by many in the local community who enjoy its modest charms.
The church continues to attract more than 200 visitors a year, and I would encourage the staff of the Bucks Herald and your readers to pay a visit soon, and enjoy its rustic Norman font, its beautiful 14th century chancel arch, and its fine 15th century queen-post roof.
Director, South East, of the Churches Conservation Trust Housing
SPOT ON COVERAGE
The Bucks Herald coverage of the rejection of the nearly 6,000 houses proposed in the Vale this week was spot on.
It got the balance right between marking a significant victory for local people against the reality that we are in for a long fight ahead.
The editorial comment was sublime in its non political overview of the problems with government policy, the council, planners and balancing the need for housing that no one denies.
It repays searching out if you missed it.
Let’s just call it the way it is.
The Secretary of State has sadly left plenty of wriggle room for developers.
It appears to many people that this decision, so close to a General Election, is an attempt to shore up Tory support in what used to be the safe seats of Aylesbury and Buckingham.
We are now left with the stark reality that despite this decision there is no sign of any change the policy of building in open countryside; no sign that the NPPF, “The Developers Charter”, allowing the “presumption in favour” of development, will be scrapped; no sign that the almost unachievable quantity of housing demanded out of the Vale will change, and, no sign that AVDC will stand up for residents.
They pay lip service to defending the countryside and protecting our town and villages. We are simply “naive flies” to be swatted away and belittled as the residents of Watermead, Aston Clinton and Haddenham have been recently.
Obviously I welcome the decision by the Secretary of State but we all know the decision just buys us time.
We have to make the most of it. We have district and national elections in less than 100 days. Only by fundamental change will we prevent these applications coming back and have an inclusive discussion about the growth of Aylesbury.
We have a real opportunity to change. If we fail to take it, with leading local politicians safely re-elected, don’t be at all surprised if Mr Pickles isn’t so understanding next time around.”
Aston Clinton Ward
Hooray! There are now two of us commenting on the Kingsbrook development proposal.
Few people will disagree with Deni Denison’s comments (BH letters 28 January) but this is not a private debate – anyone can join in.
Let’s be clear about one thing, however. This is not a scheme like the three that Eric Pickles MP has happily rejected. AVDC gave Barratts outline planning permission in December 2013.
What is now up for comment is the detail. People should send their views to the Development Control Officer at AVDC quoting the planning references 14/03487/ADP and 10/02649/AOP
Bucks CC has been seeking help in funding the long-awaited Stocklake Link Road which is intended to improve access into Aylesbury from the east.
They see Barratts as the good fairy who will make their dream come true. If the main road is not designed to an appropriate standard, the dream will become a nightmare.
Barratts’ present proposal shows a road which is never going to be better than Aylesbury Road, Bierton, or Tring Road, Aylesbury, which it is intended to relieve.
Heavy lorries will be using it all day and every evening, so the road must not go through the middle of the estate, like Camborne Avenue/Bedgrove and other housing estates.
I have asked Bucks CC to insist on the appropriate design standards for this future A road in accordance with their powers under the Highways Act 1980. I hope others will support me.
Campion Close, Aylesbury
AVDC refused me permission, as Chairman of the Haddenham Village Society, to speak at their committee which approved an application to build 280 houses on the Glebe Lands in Haddenham.
This was on the specious grounds that we had not submitted an objection to the revised – as well as to the original – planning application.
Others who had only objected to the original application were, however, allowed to speak.
This is typical of the way in which AVDC is subverting the democratic process.
The Haddenham Village Society is the largest representative body in the village, with 350 families in membership, and has been fully involved in Haddenham’s Neighbourhood Plan.
While our members naturally have different views on individual housing sites and other proposals in the plan, we know that the plan has been very widely discussed and supported. It was passed unanimously by the parish council.
Nothing breeds cynicism more than broken promises.
The Government promised that neighbourhood plans would let communities decide where houses would be built.
Haddenham spent two years making its decisions.
We are not Nimbys; our plan accepts that the village will grow by 26%. Now AVDC has told us that our views are irrelevant.
So much for promises.
Professor Sir Roderick Floud FBA.
I am writing in response to your article last week about the number of unfilled Year 7 places in some Bucks grammar schools.
Having put three children through secondary education, one at the Sir Henry Floyd, it is my understanding that grammar schools are allowed to keep places free in Year 7 for children taking the 12 Plus who then join in Year 8.
As long as these places go to children from Bucks, I don’t see what the fuss is about.
Children learn at very different rates and many mature during Year 7 (especially the summer born children) and deserve the chance to take the 12 Plus, as do those who may have failed the 11 Plus by only a few marks.
Ms Alison Davies
FAILED TO IMPRESS
I must congratulate Anne Eden on her promotion to a top NHS role.
It is good to see she is keeping up the record of all the chief executives that have been in charge of Stoke Mandeville Hospital, since it became a trust.
All have left the post for a better job, leaving the hospital in a worse state than when they first took over.
Anne Eden has left the National Spinal Injuries Centre (NSIC) still in a mess.
In 2013 I wrote saying that there were 12 non-spinal patients in the unit which stopped spinal patients from being admitted.
This is aggravated due to the shortage of spinal nurses. This situation is still there and has been mentioned as far back as 1993. Nothing has changed.
Failures like Anne Eden have not given service to the public that they are well paid to do.
It is typical of Jeremy Hunt to congratulate Anne Eden who brought the trust into special measures and had to bring in others to get it out of the mess.
He, like David Cameron, knows little about how the NHS really works.
When trusts were brought in 23 years ago privatisation was started in 1992 with the introduction of Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and all the private firms that took over some parts of the hospital.
The massive debts are not shown and known as ‘off-balance-sheet’. Both Conservatives and Labour have supported this but do not add this to the true private sector’s involvement in the NHS.
Since trusts and PFI senior managers have done well in their salaries while the front line staff have been reduced and kept on low pay.
NO NEED FOR SPEED
I was interested to read, in the Bucks Advertiser for January 30, Becca Choules’ article about the bus and car crash at the traffic lights near the Bourg Walk junction with Friarage Road.
This struck a chord with me because, on the previous evening, Thursday 29th, at 6.20pm I stopped at the traffic lights opposite the police station, on the Wendover Road approach to the gyratory system.
Well after the lights had turned red, a bus passed on my offside and drove straight through the red light at some speed, heading towards the town centre.
I was unable to get the registration number. A few minutes later, at the very junction described in Becca’s article, a different bus drove through a red light on my nearside, heading towards the Morrisons’ bus stop.
On a previous occasion some months ago, also early on a Thursday evening, I was followed and very aggressively tailgated from the Bedgrove turn on the Wendover Road to the junction by the police station described above, all within a 30mph limit.
This was a red bus, which had just refuelled at the Bedgrove filling station and headed off towards Stoke Mandeville, presumably going off duty. Again I was unable to get a registration number but I
reported it later at the filling station, where the manager was unable to identify the bus.
I do believe that more and more drivers are jumping red lights around Aylesbury but surely we can expect better from public service vehicles who have large numbers of passengers without seatbelts and are, effectively, driving huge battering rams.
Can the various fleet managers please take note and instil more responsibility into their drivers?
Name and address supplied
TITTER AT THE LOCAL
Your choice of picture on last week’s front cover caused quite a titter down the local last night!
One just cannot seem to synchronise a picture of (now UKIP) Councillor Phil Yerby under a banner proclaiming:
‘Thumbs-up for common sense’
Thank you for the recent mention of Aylesbury United Walking Football Club in last week’s Bucks Herald.
I’m Matthew Doherty, Manager of Aylesbury United Walking Football Club.
Aylesbury United Walking Football Club meets at The Astroturf, Meadowcroft, Aylesbury at 6.45 for 7pm on a Monday night.
Although Walking Football is aimed at the over 50s, our sessions are inclusive and we don’t discriminate on the grounds of age, gender, or ability.
We have a return fixture against Milton Keynes Mad Walkers on February 12 at Woughton Leisure Centre, Rainbow Drive, Milton Keynes, MK6 6EJ, and are taking part in the Berks & Bucks FA Walking Football Festival at Bisham Abbey on February 22, and we have plans to expand our operations as the milder weather approaches.
Walking Football is ideal for those in their 50s who wish to return to football, or those that may be excluded from the conventional game, for example asthma sufferers, transplant patients and people with mild physical disability.
Our group ranges in age from 15 to 79. The only difference between this and regular football is no running.
We are a friendly group and would welcome new faces. Subs are £3 per session, with the first one being free.
We have our own Facebook page, which is updated regularly: https://www.facebook.com/WalkingFootball Aylesbury
You can email me for more information at matthew. firstname.lastname@example.org or phone me on 07837 776845. More information on Walking Football can be found here: http://www.walkingfoot ballunited.co.uk/
May I thank London Midland and Virgin for true customer service today Tuesday last week).
Severe disruption because of a power outage meant no trains were running from Tring to Euston this morning.
Coincidentally, a London- bound Virgin train was stationary at Platform 2.
When power returned with no sign of a London Midland train, waiting passengers were invited to join the Virgin train.
Needless to say those of us who were waiting needed no second bidding!
Thank you to those involved in the decision, it was great to see customer service at its best.