News

Buckinghamshire will adopt a single unitary council model in 2020

In the written statement of 12 March 2018, (HCWS535), my Rt Hon. Friend, the then Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (Sajid Javid),

told the House that there was consensus amongst the five Buckinghamshire councils that local government across the county should be reorganised, and that two alternative approaches for doing this were being proposed. He announced that he was minded to implement, subject to Parliamentary approval, the locally-led proposal for replacing the current structures with a single new unitary council, and that he was not minded to implement the locally-led proposal for two new unitary councils for the same area. There followed a period for representations.

Since then I have received over 3,000 representations, which I have carefully considered along with all other relevant information available to me. I am clear that there is broad consent for change in Buckinghamshire. A survey, conducted by Opinion Research Services of a representative sample of residents, found that 75 per cent agreed with the principle of reorganisation in Buckinghamshire, and overall 87 per cent of the representations made to me supported change. Both proposals made it clear that retaining the status quo is not an option.

Having assessed both proposals against the criteria that we announced to the House on 28 February 2017 (PQ 65271), I have concluded that whilst both proposals meet the criterion for a “good deal of local support”, only the proposal for a single unitary council satisfies the criteria for “improving local government” and for “being a credible geography” and that in any event the proposal for a single unitary council is better able to meet the criteria overall.

The Government’s policy – as explained to the House by Ministers on 22 May 2018 (Hansard, Col. 336WH) is that we will not seek to impose top-down solutions on local government; where there is a desire and a thrust for more change and innovation we will look to support those involved, according to the criteria we have laid out. Given the desire and thrust for change and innovation in Buckinghamshire, that the five councils agree that the current structures are not sustainable, and that the locally-led proposal for a single unitary is the only proposal that meets the three criteria, I am persuaded that the right course of action is to establish a new single unitary district council for Buckinghamshire.

Accordingly, I am today announcing that I have decided to implement, subject to Parliamentary approval, the locally-led proposal to replace the existing five councils across Buckinghamshire – the two tier structure of Buckinghamshire County Council and the district councils of Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Bucks and Wycombe – by one new single unitary district council, and that I have decided not to implement the proposal for two new unitary councils.

Whilst I am clear that the single unitary proposal fully meets the three criteria, I recognise that some have questioned whether such a structure might weaken local democratic engagement at the most local level. To help reassure any who might be concerned on this, I intend to speak with the five councils to determine whether I should modify the proposal before implementing it, in relation to councillor numbers, perhaps providing for three-member electoral wards. I will also expect the new unitary council, and in the meantime the existing councils, to engage with their local communities about the appropriate arrangements for civic representation for towns and parishes. I similarly expect the councils to promote and help support the development of neighbourhood plans, as I consider these can be key building blocks for the successful implementation of change in Buckinghamshire that residents deserve.

In March, the then Secretary of State was clear that, in relation to establishing a single council, further steps were needed to secure local consent amongst the local partners. Further steps have been taken, with Ministers having meetings with council leaders. The great majority of local partners do support the proposal for a single unitary council including the police, the ambulance service, CCG, NHS Trust, Independent Chair of the Adult Safeguarding Board, Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, and Bucks Business First. In addition to enjoying a good deal of local support, I am satisfied that the proposal meets the requirement for local consent set out in the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016.

I now intend to prepare and lay before Parliament drafts of the necessary secondary legislation to give effect to my decision. My intention is that if Parliament approves this legislation the new council will be established on 1 April 2020 with the first elections to the council held on 7 May 2020. I intend to explore with the district councils whether they would like me to make and lay before Parliament an Order to delay for one year the May 2019 local elections in Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Bucks and Wycombe, so as to avoid councillors being elected for only one year if Parliament approves the legislation establishing the new council.

From March 2019 the sunset clause means that the consent provisions in the process we are currently using for reorganisations fall away. In future, any proposal considered under the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act process will require unanimous consent from all councils. Alternatively, I may issue a formal invitation for proposals, and the specific circumstances in which I would do so will be set out in due course.

Home to School Transport Survey

Public Consultation on Bucks School Transport Arrangements

Planned revisions to Buckinghamshire County Council’s home to school transport arrangements go out to public consultation today (Wednesday, 31 October).

A consultation survey at www.buckscc.gov.uk/schooltransportsurvey will seek public feedback on options to make the service more sustainable and fit for purpose.

The County Council’s revised transport arrangements would include:

  • – Improving the mix of council-provided and commercial transport to provide more flexible options and better value for money.
  • – Applying statutory requirements to all Buckinghamshire schoolchildren, which would include phasing out local free transport arrangements in Ivinghoe and Iver.
  • – Parents of post-16 children with special educational needs contributing towards their travel costs.

There would be no change to arrangements for more than 5,000 pupils who are eligible for free travel. Proposed revisions would apply only to children and young people who are not eligible for free statutory home-to-school transport.

Mike Appleyard, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “We’re exceeding our budget by £1.3 million and we need to make much better use of transport resources across the county to get the best value for money. We also want to be consistent in applying our statutory duties, while considering the effect on all those who use the service.

“It’s important that we get feedback on the proposed options so that our future offer meets the needs of families, communities and schools. Be assured we will make changes considerately so that we limit the need to increase prices.”

As part of the consultation Mike Appleyard will hold 11 face-to-face meetings with those who use the service, and will also meet parents of children with special educational needs. Results of the consultation will be reported to the County Council Cabinet in March 2019 before a final decision is made.

The service, currently costing £15.1 million, takes almost 9,900 Buckinghamshire children to and from school. Of this, £12.7m pays for statutory provision, for children eligible for travel assistance. The remaining £2.4m pays for transport where the County Council has applied discretion and agreed to support young people, even though they are not eligible for free travel.

Advanced Notice – Temporary closure of Frederick Street car park

***Advanced Notice for Residents***


***Temporary closure of Frederick Street car park***

The Parish Council is planning to carry out work to improve the Frederick Street car park. This work will involve repainting white lines to clearly mark out parking spaces and creating two new disabled parking bays.

Weather permitting, this work will be carried out on Friday 16th November 2018 and is expected to be completed by mid-afternoon. The car park will need to be closed temporarily during this time to allow the white lining to be painted and to dry. It will, therefore, re-open on the morning of 17th November. In the event of bad weather on Friday 16th, the work will move to Friday 23rd November. Once parking is suspended any remaining vehicles which obstruct the works may be removed from the car park at the local authorities discretion.

Please ensure all cars are removed from the car park by 8.00am on Friday 16th November.

Notices advising vehicle owners that parking will be suspended will be placed on car windscreens in the run-up to the works commencing.

Should you have any questions regarding the improvements or need any information while the work is underway please contact the Clerk on 0196 651800.

Thank you
Waddesdon Parish Council

Chairman’s Autumn Report 2018-2019

Welcome to my autumn update with a round-up of what has been happening in and around Waddesdon and what exciting things we have coming up …


Parish Council Services

The parish council precept which is added to your council tax bill allows us to provide various services to Waddesdon residents, ranging from the allotments and burial ground, funding recreational facilities including the playground at School Lane and the football field and providing grants from the community fund for projects benefiting local residents. In May this year, we circulated a summary at the Annual Parish Meeting which set out how the precept will be spent in the 2018/19 financial year.

Are we getting it right?

With the Neighbourhood Plan adopted it is now time to take stock of the services provided to the village. The parish council is here to serve you and we want to do this to the best of our ability within the limitation of our powers. So, are we giving the right priority to the things that are of importance to you?

But can this be improved upon? Are there other things you would like us to do?

So, next year we want to carry out a full consultation with residents about what services you want from the parish council so that we can meet residents’ aspirations for Waddesdon. We would welcome any thoughts you have at this point. Please let us know if there are any other parish council services we should be provided from the precept, so we can include questions about these in the consultation.

Locating problem areas in Waddesdon, a ‘call to arms’ so to speak.

If on your travels you’ve spotted something amiss on the public thoroughfares in Waddesdon. Such examples are missing or broken signage, overgrown vegetation that affects a footpath or a broken or uneven pavement. Please contact the Clerk and we will take them up with landowners or the relevant authorities – Clerk’s details can be found on the website and in this newsletter on our regular page!

Dates for your diary!

Sunday, November 11th 10.45am service at war memorial, 7 pm beacon lighting at the children’s centre

Monday, December 10th Over 60’s Christmas lunch

Friday, December 21st Santa’s Grotto and Float

Steve Walker, Chairman, Waddesdon Parish Council

 

Thames Water to address water leak in Baker Street

Water Leak in Baker Street – Planned Road Closure


After numerous reports from both residents and the Parish Council we have been notified that Thames Water has carried out an initial investigation into the water leak on Baker Street.

They are now working with Bucks County Council, so they can carry out the repair as quickly and safely as possible with minimal impact on local properties and traffic. Whilst the work is carried out they have advised that there may be disruption to both the highway and footpath.

Traffic Disruption

They have indicated that they will have had to close the road while the repair is taking place.

Repairing Road Surfaces

Any repairs to the road surface may take longer as Thames Water will need to liaise with the relevant local authority. Full details can be found here. Thames Waters reference for the water leak is 31148085.

Bucks Best Kept Village results revealed

The results of the Bucks Best Kept Village competition for 2018 have been announced.


Villages and small towns in Aylesbury Vale did particularly well in this year’s competition winning the majority of the categories.

We have been awarded a certificate of merit in the DeFraine cup (for villages with a population of 1501-3000)

Richard Pushman, chairman of the Bucks Best Kept Village Competition said: “Our popular Best Kept Village competition highlights the great community activity that goes on in our lovely Buckinghamshire villages.”

“It is a great way to recognise the contribution of many who give their time and effort to showcase and enhance their local environment. The Best Kept Village competition is not just for ‘pretty’ villages – we want to see communities where everyone makes an effort to keep their surroundings well maintained.”

“The competition is a good opportunity for villages to celebrate all the positive aspects of life in their village and we warmly congratulate this year’s winners for their superb efforts. The standard is higher than ever this year despite the drought conditions.”

The Best Kept Village competition is sponsored by George Browns and Bucks County Council with additional support from Milton Keynes Council and the district councils at Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern and Wycombe.

Oxford to Cambridge Expressway: ‘Corridor B’ preferred by Highways England

Oxford to Cambridge Expressway


A plan to link together fast-growing technology hotspots took a further step closer to fruition today (12 September 2018) as Roads Minister Jesse Norman announced the chosen central corridor for the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway.

After detailed scrutiny and review by Highways England, of the 3 options A, B and C, Corridor B was judged to offer greater benefits to the region – outperforming the other options by providing better links to jobs, education, leisure and health services.

The expressway, with options to pass either west or east of Oxford, is also expected to take up to 40 minutes off the journey between the A34 south of Oxford and the M1.

Picture of the proposed corridor route.

Building the new link close to the east/west rail link will also offer more options for the commercial development of up to 1 million new homes, in line with proposals by the National Infrastructure Commission, and encourage more people to travel by train rather than by cars.

Roads Minister Jesse Norman said:

The government is taking the big decisions on infrastructure, working to maximise growth and productivity across the UK.

England’s economic heartland, as it has been called, already plays a crucial role in powering the UK’s growth, science and innovation, but there is no single route to connect Oxford and Cambridge.

This expressway will enhance both transport connectivity and growth across the region for the benefit of the UK as a whole.

Infographic showing benefits of the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway.

The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Robert Jenrick, said:

The Oxford to Cambridge arc is one of the greatest opportunities for economic growth in Europe. We want to realise that potential by investing in the new infrastructure the area needs and the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway is an important part of our plan.

The Expressway will provide a link between 2 of the country’s intellectual powerhouses and open up vital jobs, skills and housing opportunities to transform the region’s economy.

We are investing record amounts in the UK’s infrastructure, including funding the largest road-building programme since the 1970s.

A full public consultation will be held next year, in which residents and businesses in and around the corridor will have their say on more detailed designs for the route.

Bucks CC – Supported Bus Services Survey

Bucks CC – Supported Bus Services Survey


Many of the bus routes serving rural areas of Buckinghamshire need ongoing financial support from Bucks County Council to operate. BCC want as many people as possible in the village communities to have access to public transport, so you can get out and about and do what is important to you, such as go to the doctors, the shops or visit friends and family.

Since the last review 5 years ago a lot has changed and they would like to understand how current bus services are being used. This survey information will be evaluated to review how future services can better meet people’s travel patterns, and this may include revising existing routes and timetables or looking at alternatives such as community transport or other flexible transport services.

Please take a few moments to complete the survey at www.buckscc.gov.uk/bussurvey which is open for responses until 20 July 2018. BCC will review all the feedback from the survey this summer, and later in 2018 will carry out a consultation on any proposed changes. Updates on this review will be available on the BCC website.

Whether you are a regular or occasional bus user, feedback to BCC via this survey is important to help shape and protect the future of your local bus service.

For those unable to complete the survey on-line, paper copies of the survey are available. Please contact the Clerk on 01296 651800

Sink hole on pavement at Golden Mede entrance

Golden Mede / A41 Sink Hole


We have been made aware of a sink hole that has appeared in the pavement located at the Golden Mede entrance adjacent to the A41.

The issue appears to be related to recent works carried out by Thames Water in this location. The council has made Thames Water aware of the problem. Cllr Paul Irwin has visited the site and has informed Transport for Bucks of the situation.

If you are walking along this route please be aware of the barriers that have been placed around the sink hole and that the pavement is extremely unsafe to cross over at this time and we would recommended avoiding it until a repair team has accessed the site.

An update will follow once we know more.