DCSIMG

Letters round-up (including betting shop loophole and council boss’s response over congestion)

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Letters appearing in this week’s Bucks Herald newspaper include:

A DAILY STRUGGLE

Despite the much lauded ‘switch on’ of traffic lights at Bedgrove yesterday the traffic woes in Aylesbury continue even with the most meaningless assurances from BCC.

Anyone who would dare to venture beyond their office comfort zone in BCC can easily see the effect their designed ‘improvements’ are having on daily commuters as they struggle to get to work each morning despite every hindrance being put in their way.

Having endured 12 months of this chaos it leaves one wondering could those responsible for this mess at BCC have orchestrated a bigger farce?

The Bedgrove junction did work until recent works commenced. Equally,the Edward’s Avenue junction worked and of course not forgetting the utter chaos now witnessed outside Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

I really despair to also note that these same genius planners now intend to alter the gyratory system in Walton Street as their final act of vandalism.

The overall effect of all this ‘work’ is that Aylesbury business heart is being strangled and people are going elsewhere to shop and do business so as to avoid the chaotic road traffic.

I do wonder how Arla trucks will stick to schedule in this chaos.....time is money in business and surely they too will seek an alternative venue!

M G Lowry

Bedgrove

ARLA LORRIES

I was amazed to learn only recently why we needed state of the art traffic lights it was nothing to do with improving traffic flow but purely to give the Arla drivers straight ahead or right hand and left hand turns how wonderful I thought, all that upheaval we suffered,

What may I ask happened before Arla I don’t seem to recall any instances of lorries tipping over on the towns roundabouts. That aside just how long do the council intend to pursue this penny pinching attitude to the town’s traffic problems take a piece of grass verge from here take a bit from there move that footpath there, this poor old town of ours requires a ring road or a bypass.

If we should be lucky enough and be awarded the construction of a bypass it should be a spur off the roundabout at the commencement of the Aston Clinton bypass in a north west direction also giving Waddesdon its much talked about bypass and finally linking into the M40.

On a more personal note having lived on the Aston Clinton Road, Weston Turville, for 31 years obviously we have seen a huge increase in traffic numbers but no more so than the last 12 months,which makes one wonder are the council missing an hidden factor which relates to the very noticeable increase, for sure the increase is not because of what Aylesbury has to offer,have the traffic routes to Aylesbury and beyond changed.

And on the subject of bypasses why over the years has Aylesbury never been considered for a bypass, when places like Thame, Bicester, Finmere, Buckingham, Deanshanger,Stoney Statford, Bletchley, Tring, Wendover, and Great Missenden, Stoke Hammond, Leighton Buzzard all have a bypass - Aylesbury based on the current situation must surely qualify.

Ronald Smith

By email

RUSH HOUR

Further to previous traffic chaos observations:

I’d like to add that it was interesting to note recently, when there was a serious accident on the A41 at Fleet Marston causing the road closure around 7:30am onwards, that the traffic in the town during the morning rush-hour was so light it was a joy to drive across town doing the school-run. (From Bicester Road to Tring road).

It did seem to suggest that much of the rush-hour traffic is, in fact, passing through on the A41.

I think it clearly indicates the difference a bypass, or outer ring-road would make to the town.

V Moore

Northern Road, Aylesbury

COUNCIL BOSS’S RESPONSE

I write in response to Mary Taylor’s letter in last week’s Bucks Herald (4 December), in which she asks a number of questions about traffic in Aylesbury.

I have arranged for my Planning Team to send a full response to Mrs Taylor, but I would also like to respond.

Firstly, she asks about the Tring Road roadworks and my comment at November’s County Council meeting that ‘Arla weren’t going to design anything that was substantially better.’

The works are being carried out by contractors on behalf of Arla who have designed the scheme and who have had to demonstrate that the residual effect on the road system as a result of the development is not severe. The planning application for the dairy development was submitted to Aylesbury Vale District Council, the planning authority, who consulted the County Council as the Highway Authority on the impact of a development on the road system.

Guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework limits opportunities to raise objections to planning proposals on transport grounds, as this is now only appropriate where it can be demonstrated that the impact will be severe.

We, like all other Highway Authorities, have a role in enabling economic growth and development by ensuring that transport infrastructure needs are met as far as possible. Other considerations for refusal of a scheme lie with the determining planning authority (Aylesbury Vale District Council in this instance).

The new traffic lights at the Bedgrove junction with the Tring Road were switched on last Wednesday, and early indications are that the junction is working well and as intended.

The traffic flows along the full length of the Tring Road will be managed by a computerised system which, after a bedding-in period, will be able to manage the flow of traffic by changing the timings and phasing of the lights according to actual conditions.

By using traffic information from other junctions, the system learns to optimise traffic flow on all junction arms.

Mrs Taylor also asks about the removal of the central reservation on Exchange Street.

On busy roads like Exchange Street, we are duty-bound to make sure that people have a safe place to cross.

The installation of the signalled pedestrian crossings brings the clear benefits of lower accident rates and much higher safety levels for both pedestrians and vehicles and therefore was the right course of action.

The question of the part-closure of the Gyratory junction was also raised.

The applicant submitted significant amounts of technical data which clearly demonstrated that the scheme proposed would be workable.

This is a matter which is now being considered by the Secretary of State.

Lastly, Mrs Taylor says that a ring road for the town is the only solution.

The County Council has an adopted Local Transport Plan for 2011 – 2016, against which the impact and benefits of proposed developments are assessed.

The Strategic Plan for Buckinghamshire identifies the improvement of north - south links as a priority. To take this forward, the County Council has allocated a significant budget to plan and design transport schemes so they can then be pitched to central Government to attract funding.

To date, the County Council has secured delivery of the northern section of the Eastern Link road by Barratts, as the developer of the Aylesbury East housing site.

We are also working on securing funding for the southern part of the Eastern Link as part of the Strategic Economic Plan to be submitted to Government in March next year.

I do understand the frustration that roadworks cause for people using the roads in and around Aylesbury.

They are necessary, they need to be done, but the disruption is being managed and kept to a minimum.

Janet Blake

Cabinet member for planning and transportation, 
Buckinghamshire County Council

NELSON MANDELA

Nelson Mandela RIP: He made a difference in a world of prejudice, hate and fear...this poem dedicated to the memory of the great man Nelson Mandela who made a significant difference to this world and touched millions of lives ...

Look down to no one

It’s dangerous to generalise and say they are all no good’.

Different gifts and talents are needed, I’m sure that’s understood.

Do you feel superior? or is it really fear?

Put away your prejudice and your bigoted idea.

You’re equal to the next person, no better or no worse.

Try saying something positive, instead of the usual curse.

Everyone’s a child of God, everyone’s unique,

So let’s look down to down to no one and offer friendship when we meet.

Simon Icke

Aston Clinton

SECRET SERVICES

Unlike your reader (name and address supplied over the past few weeks) I don’t have the luxury of hours of free time to spend penning superfluous letters in defence of The Guardian’s treachery, so it is with great reluctance that I find I must respond once more.

This will be my final letter on the matter.

Your reader suggests I cannot differentiate between evidence and assertion.

I suggest he cannot appreciate that some people understand the Official Secrets Act and what it means.

To suggest that our secret services today act outside the law is wrong. There may well have been a time in the past when they were not so firmly regulated but no one can accuse them of that today.

Spies in all the agencies are subjected to long and stringent training in the law, and nothing is done outside the law.

The truth of the matter is that the actions of Edward Snowden and the journalists on The Guardian have caused great damage to our country, to individual spies, to their families.

This cannot be disputed. Your correspondent needs to understand that specifics cannot be given publicly because this information goes straight to our enemies.

I am proud of our secret services and the extremely difficult job they do protecting the citizens of our country.

Their job is now a million times harder, as they are working endless extra hours of overtime to counteract all the damage caused.

This is at great cost to the tax payer as the spies are now undertaking the heavy burden of creating new ways of counteracting terrorism and serious crime, thanks to their strategies having been exposed to the entire world.

The personal strain on our spies cannot begin even to be calculated.

If there were to be a terrorist attack on our country within the next five years I know where the blame will lie.

Name and address supplied

DO WE EXIST?

Copy of letter sent to MP David Lidington

I would like to add my voice to that of Nick - and no doubt thousands of others whose lives are being destroyed by the threat of HS2.

We are being treated despicably and it is obvious that both HS2 and the Government is trying to pretend we do not exist!

It does seem that despite all logic the Government is hell-bent on proceeding with the scheme - it seems that the latest justification is to do with trade with China! (I suppose that at least that is an admission that we cannot fund the project from our own resources and also that we have managed to lose the engineering and manufacturing skills to be able to implement it ourselves!!)

It is absolutely incredible that HS2 does not know what properties will be affected and therefore require compensation.

It is probably a deliberate action to try and hide some of the true costs. Published documents admit that the affected zone will be at least 500m so surely at an absolute minumum all properties within this distance must get true and fair compensation.

In reality of course it will be a much greater distance. In my own position - approximately 100m away - I might be offered the option of selling my house at true market value. Even this is not a guarantee and even if it does happen it is grossly unfair as I do not want to move, the character of the house will be completely ruined, my community will be destroyed and I will face costs of around £60,000 to move.

Is that fair? Obviously it is not and so people in my situation - and I suspect that there will be thousands - must be offered true compensation and this must be taken into account in the ever spiralling cost of the line. After all, you - and I hold you personally responsible as a member of the Government - are breaking our Human Rights in that we can no longer enjoy our homes.

The least you can do is give us proper compensation - and do it now so we do not have to live under the constant stress that we are subjected to now.

Can you assure me and the others in the same situation that the Government will provide us with proper compensation for the loss of our homes and communities and not just the paltry sum that is being considered now.

You are destroying our lifeand so you must pay! Of course if this true cost was taken into account then the benefit - which is of course already insufficient to justify the project - will be reduced even further and perhaps, finally, common sense will prevail.

I doubt this though because Mr Cameron, despite opinion polls showing that less than 20% of the population support HS2 in its current form, seems determined to push it ahead.

I do wonder what the vested interest is - or is it some political agreement with his cronies all tied up with Heathrow expansion, making Birmingham “London’s third airport” or other projects?)

I look forward to your response to this specific question.

Niall Ramsden

Address supplied

GAMBLING

Fixed odds betting terminals are a big issue at the moment and rightly so.

We have a number of bookmakers in Aylesbury within a short distance of each other.Have you ever wondered why?

The 2005 gambling act states that the bookmakers are only allowed four of these machines in any one shop, so to get around that they open new shops, and no wonder, when each machine at the moment is taking £825 profit in a week.

There is concern throughout the media which has labelled the increase of these machines as a Cancer rapidly moving throughout the UK and has also been called the ‘Crack Cocaine of Gambling’.

Liverpool council has voted unanimously to halt the progress of these machines and Ireland has banned them completely.

There was a press release by the Gambling Commission Regulator on the 22/08/2013 which used underage children to test purchase in gambling facilities.

There findings were shocking in over half of the premises visited the children were allowed to gamble without being challenged.

I would like there to be a locking mechanism with age verification on every age restricted machine starting with the FOBTs in bookmakers.

Gambling is a very serious issue as not only will the gambler be affected but also his Family and society will pay a huge price.

I was a gambler for 40 years and in that time I have seen nothing as addictive as the FOBTs, I have also witnessed underage gambling on many different occasions. I now do not gamble at all.

Over the last 15 months I have made contact with and have built up relationships with my local MP, MPs in the House of Commons, an ex-Chief Inspector at New Scotland Yard and many others.

It is now coming to the Christmas period and those who have very little also may be tempted to gamble, lets at least warn them of the consequences and let them make the choice.

Ian Bartlett

Aylesbury

 

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