Letters round-up: Unitary, farming column, art of Islam, Charles Pope, Watermead Crem, tourist centre and Tilbury's

Another bumper week for the Herald letters page '“ here's what our readers are thinking...
Thanks to Ron Adams for this picture of a very wet Riverside Walk in MeadowcroftThanks to Ron Adams for this picture of a very wet Riverside Walk in Meadowcroft
Thanks to Ron Adams for this picture of a very wet Riverside Walk in Meadowcroft


Give us referendum

It is time we saw the end of the wasteful, expensive, and antiquated system of district and county councils.

Leslau's. Photo by Rupert AnsonLeslau's. Photo by Rupert Anson
Leslau's. Photo by Rupert Anson

To the ordinary resident, it appears that our local politicians just want to hold on to their power, influence and generous allowances.

I remember reading about the 2007 debacle in the Herald.

How absurd to spend so much time and money, debating the issue of combining “back office” functions, then to abandon the concept.

Back in the mid 90s, all residents of Buckinghamshire, were consulted on the future pattern of local councils.

Leslau's. Photo by Rupert AnsonLeslau's. Photo by Rupert Anson
Leslau's. Photo by Rupert Anson

The vote of the ordinary man/woman in the street was to have three councils: Milton Keynes, Aylesbury Vale, and South Bucks.

Our vote was ignored. Milton Keynes then became a unitary in 1997.

The rest of the county lumbered on, and still lumbers on, with a county council and four districts.

It is now time to stop talking and take action.

There must be a referendum.

The question: do you want to retain the existing system? do you want two councils: one north and one south of the county; or just one organisation for the whole of the county.

The decision of the people must then be acted on.

I’m sure it will be painful to some councillors that they will lose their seats.

There will also be job losses in local government staff.

We are told that savings must be made (look at the way older people’s services and libraries have been cut).

Well one easy way to make enormous savings is to make numerous local government staff redundant.

Both county and district council’s offices are expensive and - in the case of Gatehouse Palace, opulent.

Josephine Brader

Narbeth Drive


Just get on with it

In your paper this week, Janet Blake states the two tier system is costly and confusing.

Because of AVDC we don’t just have a two-tier system but in Aylesbury Town we have a three-tier system, which was caused with the creation of the Town Council and AVDC deciding that it did not want to carry out certain tasks such as Cemeteries, Grass Cutting, etc. When this happened there appeared to be no reduction in staff at AVDC and also no reduction in the council tax requested by AVDC.

I certainly would not want AVDC as a Unitary Authority.

Let’s just have one Unitary Authority for Buckinghamshire as per the Bucks Business First report.

No more research, no more money wasted, just get on and do it.

Richard Lipscombe

Broughton Avenue, Aylesbury

Farming Column

An enjoyable read

I’d just like to say how much I enjoy reading your Farming Matters column by Heather Jan Brunt.

It’s really interesting to learn about what goes on in the rural community and how they are affected by current events.

I found the last story about how farming subsidies will (or won’t) be changed by the EU vote particularly interesting, especially with the video showing how much work goes into producing flour each year.

I look forward to the column each week and learning about what we normally take for granted.

The statistics about how much we spend on food each year are very surprising.

I wonder how many people think about that?

Wendy Clarence



The art of Islam

We have been delighted with the response so far to our Art of Islam exhibition which opened on March 26 at the County Museum in Aylesbury.

Visitors really seemed taken by the range of exhibits over the Easter weekend. And no wonder, because it is the largest display of Islamic art ever seen in public in the county or anywhere in the South East outside the great museums.

Treasures on display include carpets, paintings, furniture, metalwork, jewellery and calligraphy from across Asia, as well as one of the largest collections of Qur’ans in the country.

The good news though, if you have missed it, is that the free exhibition runs until September so there is still plenty of time to go and enjoy the vast range of stunning items.

And the even better news perhaps is that the exhibition is only part of the Art of Islam Festival.

Events are planned in Chesham, Aylesbury and High Wycombe and Milton Keynes, and include opportunities for visitors to experience Islamic literature, poetry, ceramics, painting, music, calligraphy and textiles.

We are really excited by all of this and hope you will be too.

A brochure containing information about the enormous range of different sorts of events and talks is available at this link: www.buckscountymuseum.org or can be picked up in libraries or the museum in Church Street, Aylesbury.

Richard de Peyer

Director, Bucks County 
Museum Trust


We owe Mr Pope

As musicians and singers we owe Charles Pope the honour of creating Aylesbury’s great musical heritage.

As mentioned in 9th March issue, he first formed in the 1930s the Choral Society of which I was a teenage member, the Orchestral Society, the Charles Pope String Orchestra and the Madrigal Singers (subsequently the Consort of Voices).

His gentle kindness encouraged hundreds of young people including David Aylett and myself to pursue our musical ambitions.

Charles also supported the Music Club to which nationally talented musicians were invited to Aylesbury College to perform as a stepping-stone to their musical careers.

Many of these later became famous.

In the 1960s when Aylesbury College was opened with great optimism and Charles Pope was invited to become Director of Music, he invited ladies from existing local choirs such as the Chiltern Singers, to become Aylesbury College Ladies’ Choir.

I was invited and the choir continued until his death when it was re-named the Charles Pope Ladies’ Choir which is still in existence. During this time there has only been five conductors.

The Choir meets on Thursday mornings in school term at 10 o’clock in Stoke Mandeville Methodist Church, Eskdale Road.

Our work includes concerts to Churches, organisations and is greatly appreciated in Care Homes.

To continue these performances we very much need to add to our small group new members who love singing or would like to try.

It is well documented that singing is theraputic and there may be some among you who dislike going out in the evenings to Choir and we welcome you to preserve our numbers.

Charles would be very proud of his fledgling choir with some of its existing members still meeting after fifty years and it is important to the music of Aylesbury to continue our small 

Aylesbury would be a very poor place culturally without the imagination and hard work in those early days of the musical and creative arts offered by Aylesbury College of Further Education and especially Charles Pope.

Name and address 


It’s palpably absurd

If I am honest, I would have to say that there is a certain amount of “Nimbyism” in most of us, but the proposal to build a Crematorium at Watermead is palpably absurd and goes way beyond narrow parochialism.

How can it possibly be right to build a crematorium in very close proximity to two housing estates, adjacent to a lovely lake and amenity area, enjoyed not only by Watermead and Buckingham park residents, but by many other local people and their families,.

Why should residents and local people’s enjoyment of what Watermead has to offer, be blighted in this way, particularly when the site is deemed to be the least favoured out of ten alternatives.

Why build a crematorium less that two miles away, from a crematorium that has already been started and which incidentally, has not been the subject of such vociferous objection by local residents.

Who in their right mind would want a Crematorium built with its only access and exit onto the A 413, and within a very short distance from the Holman’s Bridge where a cortege turning right at the traffic lights could very easily bring traffic to a standstill at the very busy junction at the Horse & Jockey.

I notice from a recent article in the Bucks Herald, that the Developers are now blaming the Parish Council for blocking an alternative access road, (a claim incidentally which the Parish council vehemently rejects) which in my view suggests that the developers are also concerned about the potential traffic problems.

Finally, how can it be right to create a facility surrounded by so much sadness and grief in an environment designed to provide so much pleasure and happiness; how can that be respectful to those who have left us and to those that remain.

Name and address 


Let’s stand united

It was interesting to read the article in this weeks paper.

Whenever there is a dispute it seems that someone is always there to muddy the waters and try to divide opinions.

At the end of the day there is only one point to ponder, should a crematorium be build next to a leisure space that is enjoyed by so many in Aylesbury and in plain sight of Housing or not.

Just my view but I feel that the lake and surrounding woodland and green spaces are a real asset that we should be keen to protect. I know I am not the only one that feels this way.

The fact that people still want to fight says a lot about how important Watermead is to them.

I hope that people stand united and continue to fight for what they believe in.

If you care about something enough you have to do all that you can to protect it don’t you?

Name and address 


This is shameful

I would like to say that the decision to build this crematorium is a scandal .

The planning committee who gave permission for this development should be sacked.

We all assume that planning committees have residents interests uppermost when deciding on planning application, but clearly in this instance they have fallen woefully short of making the right decision.

I wonder if anyone agreeing to this application is affected by this decision and actually live in Watermead– I shouldn’t think so somehow.

We realise that the town needs to develop but not regardless of who it walks over in the process.

Westerleigh too should be brought to task over their insistence of building this crematorium on amenity land and trying to pass it off as a brownfield site when it’s nothing of the sort.

I can only hope that when this matter goes to appeal that the powers that be will throw out this application and use common sense, which one can’t say about AVDC.

Aylesbury Vale DC have made such a mess of giving planning permission to two opposing crematoria companies within three miles of each other leaving residents of Watermead Parish council, and residents to sort it out and foot the bill for doing so.

Considering that the Bierton Consortium had been given planning permission first that should be the final and only decision.

This is shameful and planning gone mad.

Name and address supplied


Our tourist centre

Ode to Aylesbury Tourist Information Centre

What a shame you’ve closed now

After all these years

There’s going to be much sadness

And a lot of tears

Where will I book my coach trips

And find the times and fare

Who’ll give advice and listen

Now you’re no longer there?

Where can I pick up timetables

For local bus & train

Do I have to wander round

And search the town, in vain?

Who will stock your leaflets

And sell tickets for events?

The loss that we are feeling

Is totally immense!

Name and address supplied


All about Leslau’s

RE: Rupert Anson’s letter and photo regarding Leslau’s sign at Tilbury’s site (picture above).

The three shop units in this article face Buckingham Street and are part of the ground floor of Brooke House Market Square Aylesbury.

I can remember these units as far back as the late 1940’s.

Looking at your picture from left to right:

This shop was run by Mr Jessie Fryer and sold second hand books of quality together with sheet music and was part of the Chiltern Library.

In September 1953 Mrs V H Robins took over the Library and introduced confectionery and Tobacco Goods together with sheet Music

In 1980 this unit was extended to incorporate the next door unit on the corner of Brook House and by this time Mrs Robins and her Son Michael were trading as a Newsagent Confectioner and tobacconist.

This business was famous for one of the first shops in the area to open seven days a week and until 10:30 in the evening way back in the 1950s.

This business is still operating as retail newsagents (News Direct) delivering newspapers working out of offices at Station Road Haddenham covering an area from Thame to Aylesbury to Kimble’s.

The middle unit was part of the Chiltern Library before being taken over by Mr & Mrs Leslau and their son who setup a jewelers shop,this was then taken over by a partnership the name of which I can not remember.

This was then taken over by Mr & Mrs Urich who moved their Jewelers Shop from Cambridge Street to this unit to make way for development in Cambridge Street.

The right hand unit was a snack Bar owned by Mr & Mrs Wilson (Jack Snacks) which was then taken over by Mr and Mrs Heasman after which the unit became a shop selling Jeans only.

As Friars Square was being re-developed in the late 1980s this side of Brooke House was the temporary home of shops that had to re-locate for the re-development.

In recent years this side of Brook House had been used by an other Aylesbury family (The Kings ) who have run butchers shops ( T S Tibury) in the Aylesbury area for as long as I can remember.

What now for the future of premises in the centre of town that has for so long has housed local family businesses?

It is a pity that all that sparks a memory is a sign that relates to a business that was there the shortest length of time.

Michael Robins

Address supplied

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