DCSIMG

Letters round-up (including election fall-out, grass cutting and potholes)

Letters

Letters

Letters to the editor which appeared in this week’s Bucks Herald newspaper include:

ERODING STANDARDS

I have to agree with Paul Waddingham’s letter that the highly esteemed spinal centre (NSIC) is being gradually eroded.

Not only have 12 beds on St Patrick’s ward become designated as an Escalation ward with their own staff for general patients but now spinal staff are already expected to cover this section.

As this is the case why should these beds not return to spinal patients as the ward was built for.

The NSIC was paid for by patient and public donations specifically for spinal treatment.

It is appalling that whilst the NSIC is short of rooms anyway, the best office in the building has been given over to the Buckinghamshire NHS Smokefree Support Service which is for all of Buckinghamshire healthcare services with very little spinal usage.

An office in the NSIC is used by the private patient administration for the BHT although there are no longer private patients in the NSIC.

The Poppa Guttmann Trust introduced an arts programme for NSIC patients but, after 18 months, has been allocated a very small room which is yet to be cleared of old equipment and will only accommodate about three wheelchair patients!

In order to raise morale and a sense of pride, The Poppa Guttmann Trust introduced The Guttmann Care Awards which allows patients on each ward to vote for their staff member of the month.

This has proved very successful and gives ward staff of all levels a feeling of a job well done and appreciated.

It is hoped that these awards will help with the recruitment and retention that is so badly needed.

The spirit of Stoke Mandeville has slipped and needs to be restored.

The Poppa Guttmann Trust is actively trying to do so but we need spinal management to drive this.

Senior management, however good as managers, lack this specialist background and experience..

Mike Mackenzie Hon LL.D

Thame Road, Piddington

DREADFUL MESS

Have any of you had a wander through Aylesbury Cemetery lately?

My friend and I went there over the bank holiday to attend to our husbands’ cremation stones.

What a shock! Last year the council cleaned up around the cremation plots, they removed the grass and put down shingle and it looked lovely. ur husbands’ cremation stones.

But they did not put a membrane down first and now a year later weeds are growing all through the stones and it looks a dreadful mess.

Aylesbury Town Council don’t seem to be able to get anything right, what a waste of public money.

Mrs G Redgwell

Elm Farm Road, Aylesbury

POTHOLES

Parts of our valuable road system are under threat of failure, as is our council’s ability to respond to the years of neglect of surfacing and drainage maintenance.

We now have a new phenomenon to contend with, which is ground saturation.

The exceptionally high water table after all the heavy rain means that road foundations are being softened.

This weakening of support, combined with already cracked roads, must inevitably lead to expensive problems in keeping the roads in a serviceable state.

You do not have far to look to see where this is happening.

The asphalt industry has recently pointed out that it is 20 times more expensive, per square metre, to patch potholes than to resurface properly.

That means that for every ten potholes, averaging half a square metre each, an area of 100 square metres could be resurfaced for the same cost.

Furthermore, the pothole repairs are unlikely to last more than a year or two, wheras new surfacing should have a life of 15 years or more.

It is said that nationally we spend more than £30 million annually in compensating drivers for vehicle damage caused by poorly maintained roads.

Have we gone mad?

O J Oliver

Campion Close, Aylesbury

THANKS TO VOTERS

I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who voted to re-elect me to the European Parliament, I am delighted and you have my word I will continue to work tirelessly to represent your views and interests.

Of course the results overall were disappointing for my party but I am immensely proud of the campaign the Liberal Democrats fought.

We stood up for what we truly believe in and made our argument unashamedly pro-European where others faltered and floundered.

However, the real losers of these elections are the British public because Britain’s voice is now weakened in the EU.

If the 24 UKIP MEPs do decide to turn up, which they do not have a track-record of doing so, and if, as they say they will, they only vote ‘no’ on legislation regardless of whether it’s in Britain’s interests or not will be unspoken.

Those seats should have gone to hard-working MEPs who would have put forward the British argument, now many important decisions will be being taken by other countries’ MEPs, in the interests of those countries.

The UK has the third largest number of MEPs and before we have had huge sway in EU policy; our new weakened status saddens me, as it will the businesses, trades, charities and those that recognise the benefits our EU membership brings.

Thankfully the South East has six other hard-working MEPs, who will do the work they have been elected to do and I look forward to getting stuck in with them in our next term.

I wanted to say once again how grateful I am to all those who helped get me re-elected and all those who voted for me. I will not let you down.

Catherine Bearder MEP

Liberal Democrat Party

GRASS CUTTING

Letter sent to Councillor Mark Winn regarding his complaint over grass cutting:

As I am sure you are aware the County Council is facing an extremely difficult financial situation.

We have had major cuts of over 44% to our central Government Grants since 2010.

At the same time demand for our services, particularly services to the most vulnerable such as Childrens’ Safeguarding and Adult Care, has increased significantly.

We also froze Council Tax for three years (as you will recall, during this period AVDC, which does not have responsibility for these type of services, decided to increase its Council Tax).

As a result we have had to save £15 million this financial year and we will need to find an additional £50 million plus worth of savings over the next four years.

Quite frankly our financial situation means that we have had to take some very tough and difficult decisions.

The easy ‘efficiencies’ have long since been made.

Savings now are frequently in areas which we would rather not reduce but where we have little choice.

Reducing the frequency of grass cutting was one of these.

Like you I would like to find a viable way of restoring grass cutting particularly in towns.

Therefore we are currently proposing a financial ‘devolution’ package to Parish and Town Councils which could include grass cutting.

Many Town Councils carry this out very effectively and could secure significant efficiencies by combining it with existing contracts.

This proposal is currently generating a lot of interest and I hope that you will encourage its take up in the Aylesbury Vale area.

Councillor Martin Tett

County council leader

WE NEED A BYPASS

No doubt a good number of your readers will have seen the local TV news on the 28th May covering the official opening of the new Arla Milk Production Plant (the world’s biggest) at Aston Clinton!

The event was attended by our local MP whose byword in recent years has been ‘we must have infrastructure before expansion’ in Aylesbury? I would appreciate an answer from him?

Not only I, but many people were concerned to hear also the comments of Ash Amar from Arla who commented on working with the local community and ‘new investment in traffic light system to minimise impact’!

Not quite sure how the new traffic lights along Tring Road are minimising impact – the road is in desperate need of re-surfacing with current vehicle usage, not just the laughable patching that took place the previous week at 11.30pm. with no prior warning, great for people with young children!

And how will the traffic lights minimise the impact of increased HGV. movements as capacity at the plant increases to twice that of present?

According to our own local government figures that of some 760 traffic movements every day 24/7 at the moment that we have to contend with and capacity to double that number if Ash Amar’s figures are correct?

With Aylesbury’s roads already ‘gridlocked’ quoting Councillor Mr Nigel Hayward who was also interviewed, how much longer must residents wait for a bypass?

Unfortunately there was an opportunity when Fairford Leys was developed only to find that the link road from Oxford Road to Bicester road was to run through new housing.

Now we have Berryfields from Bicester Road to Buckingham Park with yes, once again what appears to be a single carriageway road no doubt meandering through housing. What an opportunity missed.

And what about the proposed developments by Barrett Homes and Hampden Fields; can we expect the same there?

Answers please since I do not think many Aylesbury people are thinking that they are ‘Closer to Nature’.

PS Denmark has ‘Go Gades and Ring Gades’ (walking streets and bypass roads) which proliferate most towns and villages allowing the residents to move freely and safely.I hope our Danish colleagues can influence the present rulers of Aylesbury to take a leaf out of their book.

D. Thomas

Address supplied

FIGHT YOUR CORNER

UKIP did very well in these last local and European elections, and there’s no question that they put a huge amount of energy into their campaigns.

Some of the criticisms they have been levelling at this coalition government are entirely justified.

But in Aylesbury Vale, many of those who have been battling hardest and most 
effectively against HS2 have been local Conservatives. No one has done more to bring a halt to this appalling project than Martin Tett, the leader of Bucks County Council and chairman of the 51M Group of councils. AVDC have contributed substantial funds to the stop HS2 campaign, and individual Conservative members have made the case in the clearest, bluntest terms to government ministers.

David Lidington has come under a lot of criticism, especially in the past few weeks, for not resigning as a minister. The trouble with David Lidington, as even his opponents might concede, is that he is a man of principle and integrity. If he believes that he can make the best case against HS2 from within the government, then he won’t take the opposite view simply in response to an electoral setback. Politicians without principles always take the easiest route, because they never want to risk unpopularity. David Lidington is doing the harder work of making a detailed case against HS2 day after day from within the machine.

But I have to confess that when I speak to people on the doorstep, there are times when I can’t defend our political system or the actions of the Coalition. Since the attacks on September 11th, British people have become far more aware and informed about the threat posed by Islamic fundamentalists, and they rightly feel the government has done nowhere near enough to confront them. That underlies a great deal of the current concerns about “immigration”. Neither has the government woken up to the immense injustice of house price inflation and the social housing shortage. Families cannot afford to rent privately, and they are forced to wait years on the list for an affordable place to live. This is very wrong.

And the government has not been anything like as committed as many of us had hoped to the principle of localism. The British State has always had a tendency to centralise power inappropriately, and our culture and economy has always been disproportionately weighted towards London. In that respect, the Coalition have made an insufficient break with the past.

Local politicians obviously have only limited power to influence national decisions. But we fully exercise our right and duty to protest – on HS2, on development by appeal, on all the various attempts by the DCLG to micromanage local decision making. The people of the Vale want representatives who will fight their corner, and local Conservatives have always been, and will continue to be, at the forefront.

effectively against HS2 have been local Conservatives.

No one has done more to bring a halt to this appalling project than Martin Tett, the leader of Bucks County Council and chairman of the 51M Group of councils.

AVDC have contributed substantial funds to the stop HS2 campaign, and individual

Conservative members have made the case in the clearest, bluntest terms to government ministers.

David Lidington has come under a lot of criticism, especially in the past few weeks, for not resigning as a minister.

The trouble with David

Lidington, as even his opponents might concede, is that he is a man of principle and integrity.

If he believes that he can make the best case against HS2 from within the government, then he won’t take the opposite view simply in response to an electoral setback.

Politicians without principles always take the easiest route, because they never want to risk unpopularity.

David Lidington is doing the harder work of making a detailed case against HS2 day after day from within the machine.

But I have to confess that when I speak to people on the doorstep, there are times when I can’t defend our political system or the actions of the Coalition.

Since the attacks on September 11, British people have become far more aware

and informed about the threat posed by Islamic fundamentalists, and they rightly feel the

government has done nowhere near enough to confront them.

That underlies a great deal of the current concerns about ‘immigration’.

Neither has the government woken up to the immense injustice of house price inflation and the social housing shortage.

Families cannot afford to rent privately, and they are forced to wait years on the list for an affordable place to live.

This is very wrong.

And the government has not been anything like as committed as many of us had hoped to the principle of localism.

The British state has always had a tendency to centralise power inappropriately, and our culture and economy has always been disproportionately weighted towards London.

In that respect, the coalition have made an insufficient break with the past.

Local politicians obviously have only limited power to influence national decisions.

But we fully exercise our right and duty to protest – on HS2, on development by appeal, on all the various attempts by the DCLG to micromanage local decision making.

The people of the Vale want representatives who will fight their corner, and local Conservatives have always been, and will continue to be, at the forefront.

Tom Hunter-Watts

Conservative district councillor for the Bedgrove ward

POOR HAVE SUFFERED

Now the dust has cleared following the European elections, all parties will now be gearing up for next year’s local and general elections.

May 7, 2015 will give us all a chance to have our say on the successes, and failures, of the current government, and we should all use our hard-fought right to vote.

While most of the publicity seems to have gone to a party with no MPs and no control

of any councils, the UK-wide local elections resulted in the Labour Party winning most of the seats.

We saw significant increases in London, and we took control of councils in Cambridge (a university town with a Lib Dem MP!), Redbridge, Merton and Crawley. And in Buckinghamshire, probably for the first time, we have beaten the Lib Dems into fourth place in the polls!

While people say there is no difference between the Tory and Labour Parties, I’ll say this.

If Labour had won the last election, there would be no bedroom tax and, while we would have had to look at our economic policies, we wouldn’t have imposed a severe austerity package of cuts to the poor and vulnerable.

Nobody won the last election, resulting in a coalition of the Tories and Lib Dems to give

us a government of the more than 325 MPs required for a majority..

While the government say things have improved since the credit crunch and the worst recession in living memory, since 2010 the poor have become poorer, workers appear to have less rights, and we are giving away one million food parcels a year at food banks!

On top of this, AVDC are receiving approximately thousands of calls a week from people in arrears because of a reduction in help from council tax benefit and a situation of low wages and benefit sanctions!

We have one of the worst gaps in educational opportunities between the poor and well-off in the UK, and we are seeing parts of the NHS being privatised!

This government has imposed the harshest cuts to the poor, and their idea of “localism” is to pass everything to local councils and then drastically cut their budgets!

No logic, and no common sense. We won’t be able to change things overnight, but more Labour councillors elected will be able to lobby the Labour Party in government to abolish the hated and destructive bedroom tax, suspend the contract with Atos and fully investigate Work Capability Assessments, stop employers exploiting staff with zero hours contracts, bring in a living wage, tackle bankers’ bonuses, reverse the privatisation of the NHS and social care, take more control of heating costs imposed by energy companies, and stop using the economic crisis to punish the poor!

And we should listen to what the electorate are saying. Families, the elderly, the poor, sick and vulnerable, as well as shopworkers, teachers and nurses need a party that stands up for fairness and social justice, and only the Labour Party can deliver these aims.

The fight starts here.

Michael Beall

Labour district councillor for Southcourt ward

EU’S EARLY ASSAULT

The people of South East of England have voted and I am grateful to have a mandate to serve and represent all the people of this important area of the British Isles in the European Parliament for another 4 years.

The frustration and anger felt by the electorate is something I am acutely aware of and also hold the same feelings when only in my first days back in Parliament the European Commission is trying to undermine David Cameron’s historic budget cut by demanding an extra £500 million from British taxpayers to meet Brussels spending bills this year.

This early assault by the EU underlines shows how important it is for the UK to have MEPs present in Brussels and ready to act and represent and fight for the national interest.

The mandate I have from the people of the South East England is to make Europe work better for the UK, and ensure that economic recovery inspired by prudent economic management by Chancellor George Osborne is not hampered by Brussels regulations and other unnecessary EU red tape.

Richard Ashworth MEP

Conservative Party

SEXUAL VIOLENCE

Children in war zones around the world – from Somalia to the Central African Republic – are facing the daily threat of rape and abuse.

Sexual violence in conflict is destroying countless children’s lives but sadly it largely goes unreported because children have no one to confide in or they fear stigma or retribution.

These traumatic experiences can scar a child for

life and result in ongoing patterns of abuse and poverty – putting future generations of children at further risk of sexual attack.

This month the UK Government is hosting a global summit on preventing sexual violence, which has the opportunity to make children’s lives better.

This is the chance for people across the UK to take action and speak up for children around the world.

UNICEF UK calls on leaders to commit to protect children from sexual violence in war zones. Children must be supported to report sexual crimes and hold their abusers to account.

And for child survivors of sexual violence – more funding is needed to provide them with vital psychological support.

The time to act for children is now.

Please support our campaign to help end sexual violence against children in conflict www.unicef.org.uk/endsexualviolence

Anita Tiessen

Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF UK

 

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