Letters to the editor in this week’s Bucks Herald newspaper include:
NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE
I attended the special Aylesbury Vale District council meeting on the failure of the Vale of Aylesbury development plan to be approved by the independent inspector.
The plan failed on two counts.
Firstly the duty to consult with other authorities. A basic requirement.
Secondly low housing numbers which significantly differed from the jobs numbers.
The failure of this plan is incredibly important to the residents of Aylesbury, without a plan that informs developers wanting to build in Aylesbury then it is open season.
We may now land up with inappropriate poor housing developments, that do not include the necessary infrastructure improvements to help the economy, and deliver community needs like a ring road, schools, surgeries and all that is required to make them work.
So to sum up the debate.
Tory: Its not our fault guv, the Lib Dems should have come up with a plan (despite being in opposition), it’s Government, its Nick Clegg’s fault (note not Eric Pickles the Tory Secretary of State for local government), no one should resign we’re all blameless, no we’re not the ruling party honest guv, it’s the other councils fault they should have talked to us, those bigger boys made us do it.
Lib Dems: The Tories are in power, the Tories came up with a plan that was deeply flawed, and failed to consult with neighbouring authorities, the Tories have wasted a huge amount of tax payers money in coming up with two failed cunning plans, the Tories should resign and bring in outside people to develop a new plan.
Labour: The Tories have wasted our money.
UKIP: Its the immigrants fault!
As readers might expect the Tory administration put up the ring of steel and voted down the motion to remove Cllr Paternoster as Cabinet member for planning, and appoint a new head to ensure that a viable Aylesbury Vale development plan is put in place as quickly as possible.
So it’s official no one is to blame, and no one in the ruling Tory party is taking responsibility for this failure.
Aylesbury residents should batten down the hatches, the housing developers are coming and this time there’s no plan to defend us, they now have permission to build at will.
Liberal Demcrat, Aylesbury Town Council, Oakfield Ward
HEADS IN THE SAND
Politics and politicians are often viewed with contempt.
Many view the political process and those engaged within it as short sighted and inept. It’s a view of politics I campaign to change.
But when AVDC’s housing plan is judged to be unsound by an independent government inspector, the view that politicians have their heads in the sand becomes even more entrenched. And rightly so.
Mr Bryne’s damning verdict of the Conservative and Lib Dem dominated district council speaks volumes about Aylesbury’s mis-management.
As reported by the Bucks Herald: “The scrapping of the plan could mean the council recommending developments for approval it would not otherwise have done.”
We now face the prospect of having opportunist housing developments eating away at our green spaces and throttling our already choker block roads.
The Vale of Aylesbury Plan is distressing not because it’s unrealistic or that Mr Bryne slapped it down in such clear and condemning terms. Simply that its poor management re-enforces the apathy and frustration felt towards politicians.
It is this council’s inability to deliver on the faith shown by the electorate that’s most concerning.
Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Aylesbury, Labour Party
I feel I have to reply to Mrs J King’s letter in this week’s Herald regarding waste around the Penn Road area.
I am a registered waste carrier – a privilege that costs me around £150 every three years.
When I’m working I either build in a cost for waste removal, or advise the customer that they can take their own waste to the recycling centre for free (in most cases).
The issue we have here is that there is no shortage of people willing to take waste quite legally (after all, we’re constantly warned about the potential fine if waste is passed to an unregistered carrier...), probably for a charge of £15 - £20 for their time.
What a lot of people don’t realise is when we get to the tip we are charged a minimum £53.48 to drop that waste off – because its become trade waste.
So, I would quite happily take old mattresses etc. away at £20 a time, except its not – its a minimum cost to the customer of £73.48.
That’s why rubbish gets left and/or fly tipped, and that’s why unlicensed carriers are booming.
Blame Europe for landfill charges.
In the BH you carried an article on the purchase, by Bucks County Council, of picture of a past Lord Lieutenant John Egerton for £ 3,400.
If in the words of the current Lord Lieutenant ‘’this is a good investment’’ why did he and the County Council chairman Carl Etholen not buy it from their own personal funds?
Furthermore, locating a picture of an ugly 17th century man in a ‘’woolly wig’’ is hardly going to create a mad rush by the public to the Judges Lodgings, that have restricted public access.
Another classic example of inappropriate use of our public funds by those who really should know better!
Northumberland Avenue, Aylesbury
BINS BEING MISSED
Does anyone else have a problem with their refuse not being collected?
Over the last six months or so I have had to phone the recycling and waste depot on a few occasions as our bins had not been emptied, and on two occasions just the food bins were left. This is not just my refuse but my neighbours also.
They have then made a special collection on the Monday or Tuesday (our collection day is Friday).
However, I was quite astonished when I phoned last Friday to report that our food bins had not been collected yet again to be told that as it was late Friday it wasn’t worth arranging for them to be collected as by the time it was put through then it would be our usual collection day anyway!
I did point out that our food bin was full up and I would therefore have to put any further food waste in the normal household bin but this didn’t seem to bother him.
I was told that the dustmen don’t have a regular round so we can get different crews each week and if they don’t know the area, especially the villages, then some bins can get missed.
I would therefore suggest the management at the waste recycling centre consider training their staff on the routes to take in the towns, villages and hamlets to ensure that all bins are collected.
We didn’t appear to have this problem before their working week was reduced to 4 days, and with more and more houses being built in and around Aylesbury surely this needs to be re-addressed.
Name and address supplied
NO SPORT IN KILL
What silly nonsense Heather Jan Brunt writes in this week’s Bucks Herald (The sporting life of foxes) when she claims that foxes kill for sport.
Their nature is often to kill surplus prey to cache or just leave for consumption later – ‘sport’ does not come into it.
Mrs Brunt argues that killing sprees carried out for sport should be punished by the death penalty – does that apply to humans as well?
For example to those who killed the swan and other birds at Wendover this week (p5 Buck’s Herald)?
For goodness’ sake, man can send spacecraft far out into the universe, surely it is not beyond the wit of a farmer to build a fox-proof enclosure.
Giles du Boulay
NOT A PRETTY SIGHT
It’s been quite a week.
In the space of a few days, we’ve seen the horrendous gagging bill become gagging law, a peaceful UKIP HS2 protest stopped by armed police and now the Government has censored the Major Projects Authority HS2 report.
Democracy coalition-style is not a pretty sight.”
Cllr Seb Berry
Independent, Great Missenden Ward
FIGHT FOR US OR QUIT
Copy of a letter sent to Aylesbury MP David Lidington.
Like many of your constituents, we have become seriously disillusioned with your stance on HS2.
It simply does not reflect our views on this political vanity project.
The scheme has no justification and will cause untold damage and disruption to our area both during construction and operation with no economic benefits whatsoever to any of us.
As a Minister, you have been unable to express any personal views against HS2, and have made no significant contribution to debates on HS2 in the Chamber.
You have told us that you are working “behind the scenes” to influence Government policy. Clearly that approach has not been successful.
The Government, of which you are a part, now seems more than ever committed to driving HS2 through Aylesbury, in spite of mounting evidence against the viability of the project.
We appreciate that for a professional politician like you, achieving Ministerial office is a highlight of your career.
But sadly, you really need to give up your government post to serve the best interests of your constituents.
Now is the time to make that choice: your Ministerial post or the interests of your constituents.
We call on you to demonstrate that you are a politician of integrity by resigning from the Government to join our fight against HS2 as a backbench MP.
Vincent Nolan, Niall Ramsden, Nick Bartman and 200 others
FACING THE CRITICS
Recently I was criticised for not doing anything about the Jonahan Page Centre following the proposed closure and its impact as a children’s centre, although I had.
The criticism was totally unfounded as the centre was not on my district council area. Yet again the Liberal Democrats did not apologise.
The Aylesbury (Quarrendon) Children’s Centre currently runs out of Jonathan Page and has recently taken on the purpose built accommodation at The Aylesbury Vale Academy on Berryfields.
If the Jonathan Page Centre were to close some activity would transfer to the Berryfields site with some services being delivered from community venues in the Gatehouse/Meadowcroft area. It would not result in the closure of the centre.
UKIP Cllr Andy Huxley
County Councillor for Quarrendon
Dear kind-hearted chicken brain.
It was very sweet of you to put a platform by a bus stop in Aston Clinton near the doctor’s surgery.
It certainly makes it easier to get on and off the bus.
Unfortunately it is very slippery in icy weather and it is only a matter of time before someone slips and falls under a bus as it arrives at the bus stop.
Good job it is near the doctor’s surgery.
This platform should either be removed or covered in a non-slip surface before something unfortunate happens.
NOT CENTRE STAGE
I see your newspapers have previously carried articles about UK Parking Control Ltd.
Last night I was in a car park at the end of a Wycombe Swan theatre show, where several confused patrons had received parking tickets, having read the signage on the way in, and believing that due to it being 7pm, they did not have to pay.
When I spoke to several of these individuals, they all said the same thing, they had read to the point of seeing “Monday to Saturday 7am-1800” and then stopped reading, they were all caught out by the extra times shown at the bottom of the tariff.
Please could you add some publicity to this, as I don’t believe people should be penalised by up to £100 by these misleading signs.
And hopefully they will boycott the theatre until some pressure is brought to bear upon these companies.
I shall also be circulating this on twitter and other social media sites.
NO FACE TO FACE
When the plans were approved to build the new Council Offices at Gatehouse Road, Cllr John Cartwright pledged that AVDC would maintain a town centre presence, as long as it was deemed necessary.
The High Street Office is now closed, and the only face to face services available are at the Gatehouse Offices.
A very convenient and visible location for a town centre office, would be in one of the many empty units in Hale Leys shopping arcade.
The Council state that the number of people using the High Street Office had fallen dramatically over the past 4 years.
This is not surprising given that most of the services had moved out, and the low profile it had maintained.
I would suggest that a town centre presence is still needed.
It would be interesting if AVDC would publicise the number of people who were in fact, still visiting the High Street Offices.
Northumberland Avenue, Aylesbury
THOUGHT PROVOKING EDITORIAL
Adam King’s provoking editorial hits the three big issues facing Aylesbury currently.
Is it not time to grasp these nettles? Accept that lots more people wish to come and live in Aylesbury Vale and plan for it.
For example: The sons and daughters of the residents of Chiltern, Wycombe and South Bucks districts, where house prices are high and Green Belt policy restricts development to redevelopment sites and mostly flats are built;
Six million more passengers at Luton Airport must mean more jobs there; Thousands of new jobs at Silverstone - where will the workers live?; A new rail station at Winslow offering a quick short journey to Milton Keynes and also Oxford; A 38 minutes journey time to central London from Haddenhan can only lead to increased demand to live there - unless more homes are built the locals will be priced out!
And let us not ignore the ever-increasing ageing population of Aylesbury itself who may wish to down-size to release money from their property for their children.
Do the controlling Tories on the County and District Councils understand modern capitalism any more?
You have to work with the market and with central government when planning anything.
Don’t they know that Buckingham Park was built on land owned by an Oxford College, and most of Berryfields on land owned by the Church of England, both probably bought as long-term investments many years ago.
If thousands of new dwellings are coming to Aylesbury Vale maybe central government should be invited to impose upon us a development corporation that would take planning and transport infrastructure functions away from the County and District Councils within the designated area.
Tory councillors on BCC and AVDC are moving towards rendering their authorities not “fit for purpose” through proposed staff reductions and privatisations.
A development corporation would be directly financed by central government - so we may then see some new roads and other necessary infrastructure.
Who would now say Milton Keynes has not been a success?
This would also advance the splitting of Buckinghamshire into two Unitary Authorities - the northern mostly Aylesbury Vale being one, and the three reactionary Green Belt authorities to the south becoming the other.
Maybe the rumoured new town at Gerrards Cross is a distraction, an idea put about by central government weary of the endless opposition to HS2?
To accommodate more than a few thousand dwellings it would have to link the Chalfonts to Gerrards Cross and Beaconsfield.
The people sleeping in back garden sheds in Slough need somewhere to live!
Regarding HS2, is it not time for BCC to stop irritating central government and to sit down with them and negotiate some advantages to the Vale?
Could an Aylesbury bypass be built at the same time we are going to experience all the construction upheaval around Aylesbury referred to in Adam King’s excellent previous articles?
May I refer your readers to two recently published documents:- The Price Waterhouse Cooper and Demos annual assessment “Good Growth for Cities” November 2013 to see which towns are flourishing, doing well, and are places people want to live and work - these include those in the “Oxford to Cambridge Arc” - Oxford, Milton Keynes (and Aylesbury), and Cambridge - which with top of the list Reading - are all towns which are soon to be linked by East West Rail.
Also look at the House of Commons Transport Committee Ninth Report of 2013-14 “High Speed Rail on Track?” where connectivity has suddenly appeared as an issue as important as capacity.
BCC and AVDC should be arguing for an interchange station at Calvert between HS2 and East West Rail so that in the long run this area continues to flourish and is well-connected to the Continental Railway system.
Local politicians, as well as national, have a duty to think beyond the next election to the wider world that their children and grandchildren will inherit!