In this week’s round-up, the chairman of AVDC’s planning committee defends councillors over the decision to allow Watermead crematorium.
KEEN EYE ON ISSUES
I would like to respond to the letters in recent editions of the Bucks Herald regarding how the AVDC Strategic Development Management Committee dealt with the application for the proposed crematorium in Watermead.
I can assure residents that we looked carefully at all the issues raised by the parish council, objectors and local members, as well as the applicants, and took great care to listen to the representations made verbally by the parish council as well as the local residents at the committee meeting.
I would like to stress that members of the committee are experienced in considering planning applications and ensure that they comply fully with the guidance relating to bias and pre determination.
I therefore dispute the criticism of elected members in your letters pages.
The council has to take into account the National Planning Policy Framework set by central government which states a presumption in favour of development and states that “if a plan is absent, silent or out of date, permission should be granted, unless there are significant and demonstrable reasons not to grant permission”.
Members must only take into account material planning considerations, which can include public views where they relate to relevant planning matters. Local opposition or support for a proposal is not in itself a ground for refusing or granting planning permission, unless it is founded upon valid material planning reasons which can be supported by substantial evidence to justify a refusal.
While I appreciate that some residents might disagree with the judgement made in terms of the impact of the proposed crematorium in Watermead, I believe that these matters were given full and proper consideration.
Councillor Michael Edmonds
Chairman of the Strategic Development Management Committee
Yet again Jackson Road, Quarrendon has not been gritted this year and as a result has been treacherous at times.
It is a bus route which must give it some priority so why hasn’t it been done?
If this were an isolated occasion I wouldn’t be so annoyed but this happens every year!
Please get this sorted before an accident occurs involving the many children using that area to walk to and from Quarrendon Academy and other local schools.
DON’T BE TAKEN IN?
Please don’t be taken in by Martin Tett’s ‘mealy mouthed’ concerns as reported in the BH with much credibility: comment 31.12.2014
“Looking ahead I am very concerned at the threat of unplanned urban sprawl across north Buckinghamshire.
Many communities feel besieged. We need a far more strategic approach to new housing...”...how rich is this coming from Martin Tett: In my opinion he is just playing politics pretending to care... he might fool a few people but he doesn’t fool me...
If Bucks County Council really cared about this new onslaught of village new housing developments they would instruct their Highways & Transport Departments to oppose plans like the ones off Brook Street in Aston Clinton on grounds of health & safety alone ; which of course they haven’t... they have moved from sitting on the fence to giving AVDC planners the green light despite hundreds of letters of objection from villagers pointing out just how dangerous this country road already is without the proposed over development of more than 100 new houses coming off this rural road...so please don’t be taken in by Bucks County councils duplicity.
Expect more of this ‘duplicitous public speaking’ as we near the May 2015 elections... as I said before the only thing that will gain politicians’ attention, is if they think they will be held accountable as they seek re-election (and no that doesn’t mean waiting until May it means putting the pressure on them now and holding them to account in the public forum....
Bucks Herald, Mix 96, BBC Three Counties Radio etc ....) without this they will continue to play fast and loose ; saying one thing in public and doing nothing to stop the plans in council ( AVDC or Bucks CC) allowing planners officers and developers to do more or less what they like...Martin Tett’s and others’ hand wringing on the sidelines means nothing ... especially from a man who was very keen to bring his precious incinerator project to Aston Clinton during 2007/2008 and only changed his mind after massive and sustained public protest including 9,000 signature petition handed to him on County Hall steps with BBC TV & local press cameras at the ready, more than 3,500 letters of objection, and letters in the papers nearly every week for up to a year.... so this caring Bucks CC leader of village life forced his pet project on the good people of Calvert despite widespread sustained local protests..
Martin Tett & co care about the villages’ unwelcome significant new developments... you must be joking! (unless perhaps you mean the village where he lives ?)
Expect more of the same in 2015 especially during the next four months...
WE CAN DO BETTER
As 2015 begins there is a feeling of real change and optimism in the air.
After the gradual disintegration of trust in the main political parties it is time for a new type of politics.
Whilst the traditional parties continue you treat the electorate with contempt it is up to us in the new, modern parties to earn the respect of the electorate to trust us with government both locally and nationally.
The sheer irony of the policy statement put out by the leader of the Conservatives last week in this paper demonstrated that contempt by the old parties.
It stated that “many communities feel besieged” by planners and it needed a “more strategic approach”.
Yes of course that is true but it is the very Conservative administration he supports that is responsible for this.
He does absolutely nothing to stop it. The duplicitous nature of politics like this has to stop and the public must be treated with more respect.
At UKIP we have been working extremely hard to earn that respect and to demonstrate to you that we are more than capable of both running local services more efficiently than they currently are and also playing a part in National Government. We have people who have been in cabinet. We have people who have run multi billion pound private businesses and we have people who have extensive experience developing large public sector organisations.
We are confident we have the skills to run things better for all.
So here are just a few of our policies for the year ahead then?
We will continue to be in favour of immigration and will move to a points based system (similar to Australia) attracting the best skills to the UK.
As the only party who opposes High Speed 2 nationally and locally we will continue to vehemently oppose it. It will be scrapped “from day one” of a UKIP coalition, FULL STOP.
We will allow local people a referendum of major housing projects where they can say “no” rather than having it imposed by government and local authorities.
Locally, we will continue to fight for planned growth up to a maximum of 10,000 new homes (not the current 25,000 on the table by the Conservatives/Liberal Democrats)
We have identified costed ways to keep your council tax frozen for the next 4 years. We will do this.
We will continue to spearhead the change to a unitary council which will enable large cost savings and enable the public to hold local leaders to account.
There is much to play for in 2015. With your support, the people of Aylesbury Vale can spearhead a step change in politics locally and Nationally.
UKIP Parliamentary Candidate
VILLAGERS UNDER THE COSH
I am writing to you in response to Martin Tett’s comments specifically his concern at the threat of unplanned urban sprawl and communities feeling besieged.
This case is highlighted in many villages including Aston Clinton, where the village feels besieged by developers.
This sprawl can be curtailed by the council standing up to developers, being true to their words and listening to the electorate rather than being afraid of costs involved in appeals etc should they reject plans.
An opportunistic planning application in Brook Street Aston Clinton was heard on Friday by AVDC, (see page 6) and involves 91 houses, in addition to 80+ already approved within a few metres from this site. This application received 400 individual and powerful letters of opposition highlighting the severe adverse effect this will have on the services and resources in the village, many expressing genuine concern over road safety.
Surely this is a perfect opportunity for councillors to substantiate their public statements of concern with some positive action supporting the communities of the Vale’s villages who they serve, by rejecting these large scale unnecessary and unsustainable developments.
Mr Steve Bowes
Firstly can I say that I am not writing this either in opposition or support of AVDC’s independent aims. I am writing it to give constituents help in forming their own opinions with regards to this issue.
AVDC, in its wish to become unitary needs to be clear on how it would run vulnerable people’s services . All we have read so far is that unitary would be cheaper to run.
We must remember that councils are not for profit organisations, but they are key to safeguarding young, elderly and vulnerable people’s needs.
This rush to look relevant,is in my opinion a main reason that AVDC is seeking to go unitary.
I hope this is not a false flag operation regarding key services which may later result in service cuts. Delivering services with a smaller income after taking them from Buckinghamshire County Council.
I wish for the record to place some perspective on services AVDC will need to deliver if the public choose to create this unitary authority.
Adult safeguarding: AVDC would from day one be looking after people with physical disabilities, mental health issues, adults in care and those with learning disabilities and people with serious illness and dementia.
These people would need a 24/7 vulnerable persons response team.
They would also need to put in place social care teams to stop any vulnerable persons being mistreated or abused.
One of the most complex matters they will have to undertake is children’s services.
AVDC would have to build a team of social workers for the new area.
These social workers would also seek to look at matters like fostering and adoption with a first response team plus a full database working in line with Sections 17 to 47 of the Children’s Act 1989. This covers disabled children’s safeguarding plus children with serious disabilities, as well as seeking to prevent and protect children from risks such as abuse or exploitation.
From day one AVDC would have to have this in place, costed and operating.
The public need to know the facts on a number of questions.
These are: What would the admission policy be for secondary and primary schools?
Will the unitary authority council support grammar schools?
How would this council operate with regards to the 11+ replacement test?
Would there be a school catchment area within any Vale unitary council area?
All of these questions should be answered before members of the public make their choice.
I have placed this letter before you, not to give my opinion but to point out my own concerns regarding vulnerable members of the public under a future unitary authority.
These matters need public guarantees of services being given with supported facts on how this would ever operate within the new council.
I wish for a full public debate within the Buckingham area on whether a unitary authority for Aylesbury Vale would truly work in the interests of people in the north of the area. For in the end it is a public choice and the public must have all the facts before choosing to say yes or no, to leaving Buckinghamshire County Council which has been their service provider for the past 125 years.
Councillor for Buckingham and Labour group leader at Aylesbury Vale District Counci
COURT IN THE ACT
In his letter last week Dr Rose reported on a meeting of the AVDC development management committee.
He said that members of the public who attended were not allowed to point out all the errors in the statements of the council officials about development of Watermead.
In my letter which you published on 15/08/12, which can be seen in the library, I pointed out the need for a public service court.
Dr Rose’s experience is a good example of that need. If we had such a court at the moment Dr Rose would be able to summons the relevant councillors and officials to appear before the court and if they ignored the summons they would be arrested.
When they appeared before the court Dr Rose would point out the remaining errors in their statements and the people summonsed would be forced to listen and respond.
If they failed to do so they would be imprisoned until they did. Such a court would greatly improve local democracy.
N Hayes Address supplied