In this week’s round-up of the letters page, independent councillor Peter Coopers says council leaders – all of them Conservatives – need to start working together towards going unitary.
ACTION NEEDED NOW
The Government confirmed last week that its financial settlement for Aylesbury Vale District Council’s 2015/16 services, will be a massive £1.2 million (16%) less in than in 2014/15.
Since 2010 AVDC’s support from the Government has reduced by £6.8 million, a reduction of more than half in 5 years. The other 3 Bucks districts and Bucks County Council have suffered similar cuts.
With this background and last week’s Unitary announcement from AVDC in mind, it is a relief that the leadership of AVDC has come to the realisation that the only way to finance proper council services in the future, is to modernise along Unitary lines. Well done Cllr Blake, I am pleased to have you on board!
AVDC’s initiative is a start, but cannot work on its own. Cooperation and commitment from the other districts and the county council is an essential part of the equation. Martin Tett, leader of the County Council has been very clear in his support for the Unitary model but it would appear the leaderships of Wycombe, Chiltern and South Bucks districts continue to refuse to come to the party.
This is clearly against the wishes of their electorate and certainly takes no account of research carried out by the Bucks business community. The Ernst Young report commissioned by Bucks Business First earlier this year clearly demonstrated how at least £20m can be taken out of the annual costs if Bucks is run on unitary lines. With an election waiting in the wings, we need all the Bucks political leadership to work together for the benefit of the whole community. But with the some district leaders seemingly determined to shunt the subject in to a siding,
I am increasingly concerned that their personal interests remain more important to them than representing their electorate. This attitude inclines me towards supporting the formation of an ‘Independent Commission’ to oversee the coming debate. This idea, put forward by Bucks Business First, would take the self interest of some of our political leaders out of the equation and permit the progress we urgently need.
Whilst it is true that it will be for newly elected councils to take up the baton after the May 15 elections, it would be hugely beneficial for the foundation stones for change to be laid now.
We need our leaders (all of them Conservatives) to talk to each other and learn to cooperate.
They need to do this now. I have a feeling the electorate will be watching their actions as the May elections draw nearer?
Cllr Peter Cooper
AVDC Wingrave Ward
SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS
On Thursday 11th December I went shopping in my wheelchair, with my four-year-old grandson, in Aylesbury.
At some point, between Marks and Spencers and the Smoothies shop my purse disappeared.
I retraced my steps but couldn’t find it and no one had handed it in to either M&S or the security men in Hale Leys.
My grandson was very upset and worried. Fortunately there were no credit cards in the pourse and not much money. This did mean that he would not be able to get the treat that I had promised him .
However the owner of the smoothie bar reopened his shop and gave him his favourite without charge. A huge thank you. It’s good to know there are kind people around.
The following Friday my daughter, while walking in Wendover Woods found a ladies handbag. Inside was a considerable amount of money and credit cards.
She handed the bag into the cafe in the woods so it could be traced back to the owner.
I would just like to say how proud I am, that my daughter knows the difference from what’s right and what’s wrong.
Young people often get a bad reputation, but there are planty of good ones out there.
Name and address supplied
Along with a number of other Watermead residents I attended & took part in the meeting of AVDC’s Development Management Committee to make known our views regarding the proposal to build a crematorium on the site of the Riviera Restaurant & former ski slope.
Unlike any other crematorium I know this will be in full view of houses including my own and in an area which was originally dedicated by the Watermead developer to Leisure & Recreation.
As well as the inappropriateness of a crematorium on this site we raised concerns about flooding, traffic, overflow parking on the Watermead spine road and inaccuracies in the reports before the council.
The scale drawings on display did not seem to show the true height of the chimney and there were only glib reassurances regarding possible toxic or unpleasant emissions. The prevailing wind being straight across the lake to the houses.
A letter from MP David Lidington, who of course represents the wider area and not just Watermead, echoed our concerns and set out very cogent reasons why the application should be rejected.
Whilst Councillor Edmonds, the chairman, was very fair in allowing us to speak for the allotted time - a brief 2 1/2 minutes- it was to no avail. The officers of the Council batted away every argument as they were patently more concerned about the risk of the developer appealing than about the concerns of Council Tax payers.
We in the public seats were not allowed to point out further errors in their statements.
As for the councillors: Mrs Glover who represents Watermead on the County Council excluded herself on the grounds that she had already formed a view but not so the other members of the controlling group who had also clearly already decided how they would vote.
Councillor Foster seemed to find the whole matter amusing and Mrs Polhill was very patronising in dismissing residents concerns.
In the end, after 3 hours, the officers were given delegated powers to agree the application subject to being satisfied about some technicalities. We were not told what these were.
At the end I felt this had been a travesty of local democracy and that local residents had wasted their time attending.
Indeed I even wondered why we are paying for councillors to attend meetings just to rubber stamp officers decisions.
Dr Eric Rose
So this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Asked Lennon and Yoko
All the years they were young.
They believed there’d be Peace,
And love on earth then,
Can we make it happen?
So they don’t have to ask again.
War could be over
If we want it to be,
Whether it’s world wide
Or your neighbour you see.
Is it really worth
Not loving each other?
Instead of holding a grudge
Against our sister or brother.
Even if it’s a friend
Or a relative lost,
Because of a quarrel
At some pointless cost.
As twee as it is
Christmas-time is intended,
To let go of the pettiness
And old wounds now amended.
So break the olive branch
And I give it to you,
To start again
For the year anew;
And if you don’t take take it
Then that’s meant to be,
But when it’s true love
It’s given for free.
So Merry Christmas
And what have you done?
It’s not all about goals
Or how much money you’ve won;
But giving your time
With patience cannot measure,
At this special moment
You will always treasure.
So Merry Christmas
And Happy New Year,
Lets all raise our glasses
And let go of the Fear!