AVDC leader: Much to celebrate in 2014 but new year brings new challenges

For me, the festive period is a time to reflect on the past year and also to look forward to the challenges 2015 will bring for Aylesbury Vale.

Neil Blake

Progress on plans for Waterside North in Aylesbury town centre has been one of our major achievements.

During consultation, it was clear many residents saw the complex of public space, restaurants and accommodation as a great addition.

We hope to get work started in the next year.

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Meanwhile UCAV (University Campus Aylesbury Vale) is going up fast and come autumn 2015 we’ll have a first-class facility which will run vocational courses to help serve the local economy.

Behind the scenes, work’s also been going on to attract more investment and employment to the Vale, as well as encouraging local businesses.

We also agreed to commit up to £1.5 million of funding to bring superfast broadband to even more areas of the district.

That’s the bigger picture but it’s our residents that make the Vale a truly great place.

It was fantastic to see thousands of you at our wonderful events including the Roald Dahl Festival and Play in the Park.

And I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the vast majority of you for your sterling recycling efforts.

Our rates are now above 50 per cent.

Thanks also to the crews who work tirelessly.

All of these services and many more are delivered against a backdrop of central government cuts.

Those cuts will get bigger over the next five years but with sound financial management and new ideas, we’re confident we can balance the books.

Next year will also see us looking into the idea of a unitary authority for the Vale – something we believe would offer best value service delivery for our residents.

We will keep you updated on this.

It just leaves me to wish all our residents a happy and prosperous New Year.