Here’s this week’s Bucks Herald letters page, including roads ideas and some services shout-outs
Those who have to make decisions which will have a long-term effect on the community must consider their responsibilities carefully. The public expects no less.
A report in medical journal The Lancet confirms what Mr Keasley wrote in last week’s letters columns about the detrimental effects on public health when houses are within 50 metres of a main road.
Some houses on the Kingsbrook estate at Bierton, as approved by AVDC, will be less than 15 metres from the main road which goes through the middle of the housing and central recreation area.
The original scheme even included a bandstand beside the main road. That feature was only removed following a comment at committee, but the play area was accepted.
The committee was told that the road could be widened later if necessary to accommodate the traffic diverted from A41 as well as A418.. Widening would bring those houses even closer to the main road, of course, so they should be set back far enough to allow for that possible need for widening.
Building healthy communities and avoiding noise and pollution are key requirements of national planning policy.
They are particularly important for children and the elderly.
Therefore, in all new developments, designers should segregate through traffic from pedestrians, cyclists and other traffic having business within the estate. John Oliver - via email
Join service group
Calling all ex-RAF National Servicemen and Women who live in Bucks, Berks or Oxon. We are a friendly and informal lot who meet at meetings, talks and visits, Newsletter. Please contact our Chairman, Mr. Peter Jackson on 01865 873246 for more information.
If you signed on you are still welcome.Brian Lloyd - via email
On February 8, the government announced that the Dubs Amendment, where by lone Syrian child refugees were taken into the care of the United Kingdom, was coming to an end.
I am proud of this country and its history. I am proud of the dogged stance it took alone against Nazism in 1940 and our role in defeating Adolf Hitler.
But I am also proud of Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved hundreds of Jewish children from the Holocaust. We should all be.
But now this country is shutting its doors to children; alone and stranded, who are fleeing war, genocide and destitution in that poor country of Syria.
This decision brings infamy and shame on our country and its history.
I call on our Member of Parliament Victoria Prentis, who has made much of her admirable Singing for Syrians initiative, to take this issue up with the government.
I call on her to condemn this decision and to call on the government to take in more children looking for sanctuary.
Sean Woodcock B.A. (Hons), M.A - via email
Bucks Care Ltd
Bucks Care Limited (BCL) is wholly owned by Bucks County Council (BCC). Seeleys House is the only place in Bucks which provides this residential respite care.
Information has been dragged out of BCC by the press and by Labour and UKIP Councillors (and there must be something serious when they co-operate). However, there are still major questions unanswered by BCC.
First, the Care Quality Commission reported the inadequacies in April and families of people staying at Seeleys House have been complaining for some time. Why didn’t BCC do something about the inadequate care until just before Christmas?
The care was part of an £8 million/year contract between BCC and BCL. Why was no-one monitoring delivery on the contract? Or if they were, why didn’t BCC do something about it?
Second, the financial questions. Councillor Appleyard says the £2.4 million deficit run up by BCL will be found from elsewhere in BCC’s budget. But BCC is strapped for funds. Where is it going to find the money?
Somebody or something is going to suffer.
Councillor Appleyard also says that BCC has achieved overall savings in setting up BCL. This is how the arithmetic goes. BCC set up BCL in 2013. It then transferred BCC staff to the company, cut the budget by about £1.2 million a year and told BCL to get business from elsewhere and make a profit.
BCL failed to get this business and made a loss. It cut staffing and other expenditure on Seeleys House.
The care provided to vulnerable people deteriorated until the Care Quality Commission stepped in. Meanwhile BCL had run up a deficit of £2.4 million.
BCC then had to bring the staff and the work back in house and cover the £2.4 million. It will also have to spend more to bring the service up to a good standard.
Vulnerable people and their families have suffered. Seeleys House had to close for three weeks before Christmas because of the Care Quality Commission’s assessment and has been providing fewer beds than required for months. Some families will not now allow their vulnerable relatives to go to Seeleys. Some families therefore have not had the respite they need and are legally entitled to. BCC will probably have to pay some compensation.
Moreover, BCC has to find the money to replace Seeleys House; BCC proposes to sell the site and provide respite services elsewhere.
This is what Councillor Appleyard means when he says BCC has made savings over the life of the company. These aren’t savings – they are irresponsible cuts.
This is what BCC means when it refers to its “expertise” in financial investment. A financial shambles.
Final question. What does it take to get people to take responsibility for their actions – and resign?
Linda Derrick - via email
SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, has been providing vital support for our troops, veterans and their families for 131 years; annually, it now supports over 60,000 people.
We provide the ‘frontline’ across the military charity sector through our network of motivated and resourceful volunteers who go and visit those who may require help and who address their needs.
To continue this essential work - that alleviates suffering and hardship amongst those who are serving or have served this Nation in our Armed Forces and their families, SSAFA is in real need of more volunteers in your local area.
Our volunteers deliver vital assistance in all sorts of ways – starting by visiting individuals in their homes, assessing their needs and building a bespoke package of support. We can help with issues such as mobility, home repairs, house adaptations, household goods, homelessness, marriage breakdown, mental health problems, urgent debt support, essential food and groceries needs, clothing and to cover the training costs to help younger veterans back into work.
Volunteering for SSAFA is a most rewarding role: it is varied, interesting and hands-on and requires planning and problem solving, using local knowledge, in order to address the difficulties facing a wide range of people – from a veteran of World War II to a recent Service leaver in their twenties.
At SSAFA, we feel very strongly that the Armed Forces community have ‘looked after our backs’; it is now our turn, whenever and wherever necessary, to protect theirs.
We would therefore like to hear from any of your readers who are interested in joining SSAFA’s volunteer ranks, particularly those who have the time and inclination to give something back to men and women who have already given so much.
Please contact us at www.ssafa.org.uk/newrecruits or call 0800 032 5612. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Lieutenant General (retired) Sir Andrew Gregory KBE CB - chief executive, SSAFA, the armed forces
This Valentine’s Day, couples everywhere will have been looking forward to a romantic night out to focus on each other and enjoy time away from hectic daily life.
For parents caring for a life threatened or terminally ill child, life doesn’t stop on 14 February.
Many are unable to head out for a relaxing meal due to the complexities of their child’s condition and finding a babysitter can be next to impossible when your child is so ill.
Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity supports over 2,000 families who are caring for a child with a life threatening or terminal illness.
We help these families however we can to make life a little bit easier, as they face the reality that their child might not get better.
Our nine teams of specialist Family Support Workers were busy this Valentine’s Day providing emotional and practical support to parents. They can give parents rare time together, as well as making sure that brothers and sisters don’t feel left out by organising fun activities for them.
Please make a donation to Rainbow Trust, to help us support even more families and give parents the break they truly deserve. Just visit rainbowtrust.org.uk/donate or text RAIN18 £3 to 70070 to make a £3 donation.*
Anne Harris -director of care Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity
Fake news feeling
I have worked a plot on the Bedgrove allotments since 2004.
It has always been a peaceful, safe and pleasant place to be. As far as I am aware there has been no vandalism whatsoever.
Your article mentions that greenhouses have been smashed on the Bedgrove site.
This is not possible as there are no greenhouses or sheds on the site, as Aylesbury Town Council do not allow them to be erected on the Bedgrove site.
There are no policing issues. Residents are happy - most of them are plot holders - and nobody is wanting to give up their plot.
I have always found Aylesbury Town Council to be helpful and supportive, and plot holders enjoy good relations with the allotment officer.
I believe that county councillors are creating fake news, to give the impression that allotments are a vandal’s playground, so that they have reason to clear away the allotments.......and sell the land for housing development. This is a move that is typical of our oppressive local government officials.
I am happy to speak on record if this story progresses in any way. I would prefer to be left alone on my allotment to grow fruit and vegetables for my family in peace! Grant Jupp - via email
The NHS in 2016 is under-funded, under-doctored and overstretched. Patients and communities deserve to know the true choice that we face: increase funding or cuts to care.
We see time and time again stories of issues and problems surrounding the NHS - and is there any surprise?
The staff work incredible hard but there simply isn’t enough of them, they don’t have enough money or support to provide a service we can all be proud of.
Like David Cameron before her, it’s galling to listen to Theresa May at PMQs say that the Tories are providing more funding than Labour who she says are responsible for even greater healthcare failings in devolved Wales.
With respect Mrs May, this is all happening on your watch – the latest raft of NHS performance figures on cancer care and A&E waiting times make very sobering reading –
And there must be fundamental failings somewhere if the Government’s investment is not having the desired benefits. It is tragic that the NHS is now just a political football kicked around by politicians looking to score cheap points against each other.
The front line staff have my absolute empathy, they are worked senseless with decreasing resources all the time. I would love to see Jeremy Hunt work a week in their shoes. Beryl Hargreves - via email
Thanks so much to the kind gentleman in Aylesbury on Friday who helped me when I dropped my handbag.
It had my phone in it which has some precious photographs on.
It’s times like this that make you realise that there are nice people out there. Sheila Jones - via email
Have your say too
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Please get in touch by emailing editorial@ bucksherald.co.uk or calling 01296 326178