This week’s letters to the editor including Watermead Crematorium and the council tax letter error

Letter. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150730-111636001
Letter. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150730-111636001
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Have your say

Here are this week’s letters to the editor.

To send us your letters please clearly mark them ‘letters’ and send to editorial@bucksherald.co.uk.

Alternatively you can write to: Hayley O’Keeffe, The Bucks Herald, Claydon House, 1 Edison Road, Aylesbury, HP19 8TE

Why not volunteer

I work as a Volunteering Officer for the Alzheimer’s Society, and we currently have a great need for more volunteers to help us tackle the loneliness and isolation people living with dementia can often feel.

Alzheimer’s Society would like to unite communities to tackle dementia and reduce these feelings and their impact.

Our befriending service, which we operate across Buckinghamshire and

Berkshire, is one of the ways we try to help people living with dementia overcome loneliness. This is where our volunteers come in.

Volunteer befrienders donate an hour or two of their time each week to visit a person with dementia in their local community.

Each visit will vary but common activities including taking a walk in the local park, going to the shops or even staying at home and playing a board game.

The simple act of keeping somebody company and offering support during simple activities such as these can make a world of difference to someone in need.

If you are somebody with a few hours to spare each week during normal business hours, then we would love to hear from you.

We offer Befrienders full training and support you through every aspect of your volunteering duties.

As well as the obvious benefits your contribution will make to the life of a person with dementia, Befriending is also a great way to gain valuable experience.

Meet new people and add to your skill set.

If you are interested I would love to hear from you.

You can contact me by emailing b.papadakis@alzheimers.org.uk, or contacting our office at 0118 959 6482.

Alternatively you can check out our website at www.alzheimers.org.uk, where our Befriending opportunities, as well as a host of others are advertised.

Bernadette Papadakis, Alzheimer’s Society Volunteering Officer for Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire

Village needs help

I have just sent this email to our MP, various members of the House of Lords, The Secretary of State for the Environment & anyone else I think of who may possibly give a fig about the butchering of Aylesbury Vale....

We need your help. Please would you investigate why Aylesbury Vale is being ripped to pieces by housing developers?

In our village of Aston Clinton alone, 601 new builds have been granted planning permission in the last few years.

We have lost so much wildlife habitat & rural landscape.

Usually they are waved through by AVDC planning department but the most recent, 85 houses on College Road South was refused and yet as the developer has appealed, the decision comes down to the planning inspectorate at Bristol.

We are (were) a small village and we cannot afford to raise the £30k required to fund a judicial review for each of these developments.

As a result our doctors surgery is struggling and our school is full, and yet they continue to come as there is no local plan and we seem undefended at all levels by those we elected to represent and to care for our interests.

If you cannot pursue then could you offer us some advice as to how we can fight against this?

We know the current national strategy is for as much building as possible in the interests of supporting the economy but why does it all have to be allocated in Aston Clinton or on the A41 corridor to Aylesbury? At the moment we are feeling abandoned and ignored by those who have the ability to take these decisions, and really need some help and guidance as to how we can fight our corner. Thank you”

I will be very interested to see which of our elected representatives feel inclined to respond.

H Sharp - via email

Pothole reporting

Today I was informed by a recorded voice that it is no longer possible to report a pot hole over the telephone ,you have to go on line .

Okay so I tried but the online system requires postcodes before you can start not knowing the code

I was unable to advance my notification further so I will tell the public about it.

On the approach to the juntction with the bus lane from the station on the dual carriageway going towards Walton St there is a sizeable hole with

cables for the traffic lights visible surely this is dangerous.In last week’s Herald we are told that the BCC are about to spend a shed load of money on our roads but cant tell us yet were it wil be spent.

I bet that Aylesbury will be bottom of the list as usual due to the majority of councillors not living here and having no interest in the town or its people.

Christopher Lowe - via email

Crematorium plan

I’m writing to clarify Aylesbury Vale District Council’s recent comments on the Watermead crematorium legal judgement, after they were misinterpreted by some. The council was criticised for expressing ‘disappointment’ at the recent Court of Appeal verdict which quashed the planning consent we granted for the development.

The ‘disappointment’ was due to the fact that AVDC’s decision was not upheld and that costs had been awarded against us, despite the fact that our decision on the planning application had already been upheld by the High Court - where it had been ruled that there was no arguable claim that AVDC had failed to adequately assess the risk of flooding.

The latest ruling from the Court of Appeal prolongs the uncertainty around the development for everyone and increases financial demands on the council.

In these circumstances it is reasonable for AVDC officers and members to be disappointed and does not in any way pre-judge the decision to be made, nor indicate support for the developer.

The decision now goes back to AVDC to re-determine the planning application, which, as in every case, will be done with complete impartiality. The developers do not need to submit a new application, but will be required to provide further information with regard to the risk of flooding. The application will then be reported back to the Strategic Development Management Committee for its consideration.

There are calls for AVDC to take immediate enforcement action against the developer who is continuing work on the site, following the Court of Appeal’s decision.

However, a breach of planning control is not a criminal offence and the authority is not required to take action, which in itself is a complex process. AVDC will now be concentrating on considering additional information with regard to the application, which will be subject to consultation, and will keep the need for any enforcement action under review.

Tracey Aldworth, director, Aylesbury Vale District Council

Watermead plans

I write in support of the Westerleigh Crematorium at Watermead, as I welcome the competition that this facility will bring to the publicly-financed crematorium at Cane End Lane – perhaps funerals will get cheaper.

I have never understood why the cash-starved Tory-controlled councils of Buckinghamshire are building one when a private enterprise is prepared to invest in a crematorium.

When AVDC was drawing up their Green Infrastructure Strategy about 5 years ago I commented during the

consultation period that here was a large predominantly green open space over 100 hectares that also included various social and recreational facilities – such as the ski slope, hotels and the

Aylesbury United football ground and it should be included in the Green Infrastructure Strategy.

This would give AVDC tighter planning control over any development within it – I wonder if Watermead Parish Council commented at that time?

But my comments were ignored – which signalled to me (and developers) that the area was open for further development.

But I consider that this location is an excellent one for a crematorium - in an established attractive landscaped parkland setting, not near to the housing development, is easily found by visitors to

the town, is near two hotels from which visitors can walk to funerals and also a choice of establishments where a wake can be held.

The abandoned ski hillock is a ready-made necropolis just crying out for appropriate monuments!

Planning permission was quite rightly granted.

Steven Mitchell - via email

Donation thanks

I am writing to you and your readers as we embark on a year of celebrations to mark the 30th Anniversary of Scannappeal fundraising with the local community to make a dramatic difference to the diagnosis and treatment available at our hospitals. Scannappeal is a registered charity, independent to the NHS, that raises finds to purchase state of the art medical and diagnostic equipment.

Back in 1987, Wycombe hospital was in the queue for a CT scanner which would have meant a five year wait for NHS funding. At that time, DR. Chris Foote, a consultant at the local hospital, had the idea of launching an appeal to raise the money through the community. He approached the then CEO of Amersham International, Sir Stuart Burgess, and between them an appeal board was formed, an appeal director was appointed, and we have never looked back!

The Scannappeal story has featured royalty, celebrities, clinicians, fundraisers, volunteers and, most importantly, hundreds of thousands of patients who have benefited from the life saving and life changing equipment that the local community has helped us provide. During that time an estimated three million people have been part of that story, either helping raise funds or as a patient.

Since purchasing the original scanner to diagnose and treat cancer, we have equipped a dedicated cancer unit, as well as funding specialist equipment for prostate, breast, bladder, pancreatic, bowel, skin and kidney cancers. Our HeartScan Appeal means that Amersham, Wycombe and Stoke Mandeville Hospital all have state of the art cardiology scanners, including the first 3D heart scanner in the country. This is just part of the long shopping list of items that Scannappeal has donated in the last 30 years raising over £12m.

30 major public appeals and 70 other projects have been completed with Scannappeal equipment currently located in every major clinical department. Most people know someone in the area who has benefitted from the equipment we have provided which is now used every 10 minutes by one in four of the local population.

My overpowering impression of Scannappeal, is of a community coming together to support its hospitals in any way they can. Whether through, donations, fundraising or volunteering, the generosity of the community is completely overwhelming. We have many committed and generous volunteers who give their time, week in, week out. Our supporters, of all ages, give their time and effort to fundraise for us, whether through joining an event, organising a coffee morning or volunteering in our bookshops.

Finally I would like to pass on my warm and sincere thanks to the whole community who continue to dedicate their time, passion and commitment to Scannappeal. We have achieved such a great amount but there is still so much we need to do. We hope that you will continue to show your support, through donations, volunteering and fundraising, in our 30th anniversary year and for many more years to come, so we can continue the positive work we do helping thousands of local people, people like you.

Lisa Trivett - director, Scannappeal

Council tax error

In response to a letter from Mr Paul Davies in last week’s Bucks Herald, I would like to clarify the situation regarding the error in the council tax bills that were sent out to residents of Aylesbury Vale.

Although the mistake was made in the breakdown of council tax and did not affect the total bill, we were legally obliged to issue householders with a new, corrected summary.

We are doing all we can to prevent this from happening again and are sorry that it came at a cost, especially as we have made every effort in recent years to make considerable savings here at AVDC. We would like to assure residents that despite this setback we will be continuing with our goal to save £20 million pounds from our budget by 2020, through efficiencies we are making by being more commercial.

Cllr Neil Blake, Leader, AVDC