Parish News

Photo Competition

10

February 2024

Great and Little Kimble cum Marsh Parish Council are running a photo competition and are looking for residents to showcase their amazing photography skills.

We are looking for photos of our beautiful Parish in Spring 2024, whether it be the beautiful scenery or a landmark.

Photos should be taken between 15th March and 15th April 2024.

Competition is open to all ages but please do read the below rules.

All entries will be displayed on the Parish Council Website www.kimblecouncil.org.uk

Entries should be submitted to clerk@kimblecouncil.org.uk

Between 15th March and 15th April 2024

Rules:

1. Submissions must be emailed to clerk@kimblecouncil.org.uk by the deadline of 15th April 2024

2. You may submit as many entries as you wish however, the photo must have been taken by the entrant and must not contain any materials owned or controlled by a third party.

3. Please provide a description for your photo i.e., where it was taken.

4. Photos must not be enhanced in any way it must be the original photo.

5. Participants of all ages are welcome.

6. By entering the competition, the entrant agrees that the council may use the image for any purpose in the future.

7. All entries may be displayed on the Parish Council website and social media. Please state when submitting your entry whether you are happy for your name to also be displayed.

8. All photos must have been taken within the boundaries of Great and Little Kimble cum Marsh.

9. All participants must live within the Parish of Great and Little Kimble cum Marsh.

Judging:

1. Great and Little Kimble cum Marsh Parish Councillors will judge the entries and the judge’s decision will be final and binding.

2. The winner will be announced at the Parish Council meeting on 10th April 2024

The Prizes:

1. The following prizes will be allocated following the judge’s decision: 1st Prize: £250, 2nd Prize: £100 and 3rd Prize: £50


Consultation opens on detailed guidance for the redevelopment of RAF Halton

09

February 2024

Buckinghamshire Council today launched a consultation on a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) that, once finalised, will inform the planning and development decisions for RAF Halton near Wendover once it ceases to be a military base in 2027.

RAF Halton was identified as a site for growth in the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan 2011-2031 (VALP) which was adopted in 2021. Buckinghamshire Council has worked with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (part of the Ministry of Defence) to develop a clear framework and principles for the development of the site as it transfers from military to residential use. These are set out in the SPD, which expands on the objectives previously set out in the VALP.

Peter Strachan, Buckinghamshire Council's Cabinet Member for Planning & Regeneration, said:

"The closure of RAF Halton offers an excellent opportunity for the development, largely on brownfield land, of a high-quality residential neighbourhood with associated infrastructure, services and facilities including a primary school, a new local centre and enhanced green spaces.

"This Supplementary Planning Document sets out in detail the expectations and requirements for the development. It will allow us to ensure that the new neighbourhood meets the needs and aspirations of both new residents and people living in the surrounding area. But this is still a draft document, so I’d like to invite individuals and organisations with an interest in this local area to take part in the consultation and give us their views and suggestions. These will be used to help us draw up the document’s final form."

The consultation is open from now until Monday 4 March. To take part, please go to: buckinghamshire.gov.uk/raf-halton

Update from Buckinghamshire Council - severe weather

09

February 2024

You’ll no doubt be aware that the heavy rain overnight has added to already saturated ground which has caused a number of flooding incidents across the county and a lot of standing water on the road network.

There are currently 2 flood warnings and 9 flood alerts in place in Buckinghamshire. You can see the detail of this on the Environment Agency website.

The council is keeping residents up to date with the latest information via its social media channels. We wanted to let you know of the best information to pass onto residents if they’re concerned or are experiencing impacts of the poor weather conditions.

• To find out if there any flooding warnings or alerts are in place in your area, use the Environment Agency website, and follow the advice on their pages

• To find out about severe weather alerts, use the Met Office website

• These two websites are the best sources of information for residents

• If residents need to alert the council to an emergency or significant incident, they should use the emergency numbers for the Highways Team – they can assist with sandbags if there is an immediate and significant threat that homes or property might flood. These numbers are 01296 382 416 and 01296 486 630 out of hours

• Please be advised that residents should not use Fix My Street to report emergencies out of hours, as this is used for routine ‘in hours’ reporting and may not be seen

• There is some generic advice and information on the council’s website about how to be prepared for severe weather and what to do if you’re worried about flooding – please use the link www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/flooding

We will keep you informed as this situation develops and hope that the above information is useful.

After the clearance of any overnight fog, tomorrow looks like it will be mainly fine and dry although one or two showers are possible, especially later in the day across western parts of Hampshire and the Thames Valley. Sunday will see a mainly cloudy day with showers, isolated heavy, spreading east during the day, clearing early evening.

Sheephouse Wood and HS2

09

February 2024

Councillor Peter Martin, Buckinghamshire Council’s Deputy Cabinet Member for HS2, has expressed his extreme disappointment at the decision by the Planning Inspector to allow an appeal by HS2 Limited, who were seeking consent for development next to Sheephouse Wood in Charndon, Buckinghamshire.

He said, "We believe HS2 Limited is unnecessarily damaging Sheephouse Wood, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Ancient Woodland. The Planning Inspector’s decision is desperately disappointing and yet another kick in the teeth for local people and the environment severely impacted by the construction of the rail line."

Back in March 2023, Buckinghamshire Council became aware of HS2 cutting back trees in Sheephouse Wood and asked them why this was happening. HS2 stated that the works were needed for safety/technical reasons, to protect both the Bat Mitigation Structure they had decided to construct, and the railway line when it became operational.

The Council served a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) to protect trees at risk from being cut down. The TPO ensured the trees were not touched for up to six months, giving us more time to discuss with HS2 why they believed such brutal action was needed, find alternative options and to mitigate the impact of their works. HS2 continued to say that the removal of the trees was necessary.

Despite us asking for more detailed information from HS2 Ltd, about the proposed work to the trees, the flood risk associated with the construction of the Sheephouse Wood ‘Bat Mitigation Structure’ (SWBMS), and a footpath underpass, HS2 Ltd chose to appeal the Council’s ‘non determination’ of the application.

The Council submitted a robust case to the Planning Inspector asking HS2 Limited to amend its application in the interests of avoiding harm to Sheephouse Wood. The key aims of the Council’s case included:

  • limiting the tree loss within Sheephouse Wood
  • limiting the potential for flooding
  • ensuring the Bat Mitigation Structure design met high quality design standards
  • ensuring the earthworks and fencing were sensitive to the area

The Planning Inspector upheld HS2 Limited’s appeal so consent has been granted and development will now go ahead. In granting consent, the Inspector has deemed that tree management, including felling, is necessary and can start. This removes the protection afforded by the TPO. HS2 Ltd must, however, ensure that any works to trees is undertaken with great care and avoids harm to nesting birds. The Council will check activity to ensure proper methods and safeguards are followed.

The Council still considers that the work being done at Sheephouse Wood is avoidable harm, so we are pleased that the Inspector has applied a condition to the planning consent that ensures further scrutiny by the Council on the appearance of the SWBMS; and improved landscape design of the watercourse that runs through the site.

Consultation opens on detailed guidance for the redevelopment of RAF Halton

27

January 2024

Buckinghamshire Council today launched a consultation on a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) that, once finalised, will inform the planning and development decisions for RAF Halton near Wendover once it ceases to be a military base in 2027.

RAF Halton was identified as a site for growth in the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan 2011-2031 (VALP) which was adopted in 2021. Buckinghamshire Council has worked with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (part of the Ministry of Defence) to develop a clear framework and principles for the development of the site as it transfers from military to residential use. These are set out in the SPD, which expands on the objectives previously set out in the VALP.

Peter Strachan, Buckinghamshire Council's Cabinet Member for Planning & Regeneration, said:

"The closure of RAF Halton offers an excellent opportunity for the development, largely on brownfield land, of a high-quality residential neighbourhood with associated infrastructure, services and facilities including a primary school, a new local centre and enhanced green spaces.

"This Supplementary Planning Document sets out in detail the expectations and requirements for the development. It will allow us to ensure that the new neighbourhood meets the needs and aspirations of both new residents and people living in the surrounding area. But this is still a draft document, so I’d like to invite individuals and organisations with an interest in this local area to take part in the consultation and give us their views and suggestions. These will be used to help us draw up the document’s final form."

The consultation is open from now until Monday 4 March. To take part, please go to: buckinghamshire.gov.uk/raf-halton



Marsh Lane Level Crossing

26

January 2024

I am writing to update you on our work to improve safety at Marsh Lane level crossing between Aylesbury and Little Kimble stations in Buckinghamshire.

As you will be aware the level crossing has been closed for upgrades since 19August 2023, to facilitate HS2 construction works. In the summer last year, we realigned 2km of the existing railway, to make space for the new high-speed line to run beneath.

We’d hoped to deliver the enhancements at Marsh Lane by Spring 2024, however a delay to our programme means that the crossing will now remain closed until August 2024. The existing road diversion will be kept in place throughout the extended closure.

Due to the extensive engineering work involved with the realignment of the track last year, we couldn’t complete the level crossing work at the same time as the railway closure. The realignment works required continuous access for engineering trains through the area to help facilitate moving and replacing the track.

Upgrading a level crossing isn’t just installing new barriers, over the coming months our teams will be installing a number of new signals (the traffic lights of the railway) that will control the level crossing, in addition to higher capacity power cables and object detection technology.

Work of this complex nature unfortunately cannot happen in isolation and needs to be coordinated with other planned signalling improvements in the region. Control of the level crossing’s new signals will need be updated at Marylebone signalling centre, a process that can only happen at certain intervals to allow for the new software that’ll control the level crossing to be extensively checked and ‘settle in’. Following work to retime our work, we’re now confident we can deliver the much needed safety improvements at Marsh Lane by summer 2024.

I would like to sincerely apologise for the delay in reopening the level crossing and assure you that it’s not a decision we take lightly. I understand the disruption this will cause to the local community. We’ll be writing to local residents next week to update them about the delay and with information on a planned community drop-in session in February. This will give local residents the opportunity to ask members of our project team questions about the work.

Bucks resident pays penalty for dumping mattress on street

18

January 2024

A man from Desborough in High Wycombe, who admitted to illegally dumping a mattress on a residential street, has been fined after being caught in the act on CCTV.

The man was spotted on private camera footage leaving his property and carrying the mattress down the road with another man. The same mattress was later found dumped nearby, on the corner of Green Street and Upper Green Street, High Wycombe.

Buckinghamshire Council officers investigated and interviewed the culprit who claimed he ‘did not know’ he wasn’t allowed to leave the mattress there.

The man chose to pay a fixed penalty of £300 for admitting the offence and to avoid court prosecution. Buckinghamshire Council has since increased its fixed penalty rate for fly-tipping to £1,000, in line with Government changes which were introduced in 2023, as part of a crackdown on the illegal dumping of waste.

Buckinghamshire Council investigates the on-street fly-tipping of waste wherever evidence allows. If a fixed penalty is issued and the offender chooses not to pay it, cases can progress to court where the offender risks a much higher fine, court costs and a criminal record.

Gareth Williams, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment said: “Buckinghamshire Council has a zero tolerance to dumping offences of any kind. There is no excuse for fly-tipping. There are excellent recycling facilities for residents seeking to dispose of bulky items, either by taking them to one of our Household Recycling Centres or arranging for a bulky waste collection via our website.”

Gareth continued: “We are grateful to the resident who provided us with the CCTV footage and gave us permission to use it to help bring this culprit to account. Sadly, the dumping of items like this is an ongoing problem in many of our residential areas. Not only does it create a real eyesore, it also has a cost to the council and ultimately taxpayers, in terms of the financial burden of having to fund the clear up and disposal. This incident happened before our rates increased but anyone issued with a Fixed Penalty for a similar offence now will be looking at paying more than three times the amount so I hope that will be a stark warning. We have eyes and ears everywhere – don’t chance it – dispose of your waste lawfully and ethically.”

If you have evidence showing an offence taking place and you are willing to provide a witness statement, please contact the council’s Enforcement Team at: SCRAPflytipping@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

To report fly-tipping anywhere in Buckinghamshire visit: www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/fix-my-street

Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP) - rough sleepers

08

January 2024

Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP) - rough sleepers

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Buckinghamshire Council
8 January 2024

Dear colleague,

As the weather is exceptionally cold, if you see anyone sleeping out on the streets of Buckinghamshire, please contact StreetLink via https://www.streetlink.org.uk or phone 0300 500 0914, who will notify our dedicated Outreach workers.

If you see anyone you believe to be under the age of 18 and or are concerned about the health or welfare of anyone that you see sleeping rough please call 999.

A warm area will be available in Buckinghamshire Council Offices at Walton Street, Aylesbury; Queen Victoria Road, High Wycombe; or any of the Council’s libraries.

During office hours you can contact our housing teams on the following numbers:

Aylesbury Vale Area: 01296 585168

Chiltern and South Bucks & Wycombe Areas: 01494 421212

Kind regards,

Mark Winn

Cabinet Member for Homelessness & Regulatory Services

Buckinghamshire Council

Buckinghamshire County Council plan to balance the books for the next three years

05

January 2024

Buckinghamshire Council has published its medium-term financial plan which details how it will balance its budget for the next three years.

In an acutely challenging financial context for local government, the council has worked hard to identify the savings needed to balance the books until 2027 and where spending reductions will be needed over the next three years. It’s also produced a detailed budget proposal for 2024/25 including how much it’s proposing to spend on major projects and services, following consultation with residents.

With many local authorities increasingly unable to produce balanced budgets, we are not yet in that position in Buckinghamshire. We have already made considerable savings from becoming a single unitary authority in 2020. The council forecasts that by 2027, it will have saved a total of nearly £172 million from both savings and additional income.

However, the council is still facing very significant extra financial pressure because of rising costs and demand particularly for services that help the most vulnerable, such as social care, providing temporary accommodation for people who have become homeless and home to school transport (particularly for children with special needs). All of these are critical services that people depend on, and which are statutory, meaning the council is legally obliged to fulfil these services.

It means that to balance the budget, the council has put forward solutions to ultimately reduce costs, including:

  • investing in additional children’s homes to reduce the heavy cost burden of external placements
  • making savings in Adult Social Care through providing help for some residents, where it fits their need, to live more independently
  • rationalising the council’s office space, such as closing the King George V site in Amersham
  • investing in more housing and temporary accommodation units to bring down the spend on costly nightly-paid accommodation

Residents were asked their views during the autumn on where they wanted the council to prioritise spending the budget and this feedback is now reflected in the financial plans.

The budget proposals include spending the following amounts over the next four years:

  • £105 million on the highways network
  • £25 million on supporting housing and homelessness
  • £14.7 million on climate change and flood management projects
  • £37.6 million on economic growth and regeneration projects

Overall, the plan proposes that the council spends £656.4 million on capital projects over the next four years.

The council raises the money needed to pay for these projects and services through grants and income streams. The biggest of these by far is the income from council tax, which makes up 80% of how council services are paid for. Because the cost of providing services has risen so significantly due to added demand and high inflation, the council can only balance the budget by raising council tax again next year. The budget proposals put forward a 2.99% rise in the base rate of council tax, with a further 2% rise to be spent on Adult Social Care, meaning a total rise of 4.99% - or an extra £1.69 per week for the average Band D property.

Underpinning this overarching financial plan are a number of key principles, including how it will allow the council to keep delivering on the priorities residents have asked for, while not making over-ambitious savings or excessively using reserves in the process.

Buckinghamshire Council Leader Martin Tett said:

“Council budgets are under extreme pressure everywhere and it’s been very challenging to produce a balanced budget that takes us through to 2027. This won’t come without pain and a reduction in some services that people may notice and feel.

Overall though, this Medium Term Financial Plan shows how we can maintain core, frontline services, and still put some further investment into those areas residents have asked us to prioritise, within the threshold of current council tax rate rises that are allowed without holding a referendum to increase council tax further.

I know it will not be welcome news to our residents that bills will rise again from April, but we simply have no choice. Council tax makes up some 80% of the funds needed to pay for our services and with costs and demands rising, despite large savings, so must our income. I know that this might cause worry for some households so I urge anyone who is worried about paying their council tax bill to get in touch with our team in the first instance as there is help and advice we can offer.

As an organisation, we have an overarching plan that supports four key principles; strengthening our communities, improving our environment, protecting the vulnerable and increasing prosperity and we are still in a position to fund services and projects that deliver on these priorities.

These are difficult times and it’s harder than ever to pay for the services we all value. I really hope our residents can understand the thinking and planning behind these proposals which I want to be fully upfront on. The budget will go through a rigorous scrutiny process during the second week of January so I invite people to look at the plans in detail and put forward any questions or comments they have on these plans so this feedback can be considered during these important meetings.”

Roadworks update

21

December 2023

We continue to make big progress on road repairs across Buckinghamshire and have now completed over26,000 road repairs since our new Buckinghamshire Highways contract began on 1 April. These repairs are on top of our annual resurfacing programme.

We have 21 teams working on road repairs, including potholes, some round the clock, seven days a week. Alongside this we continue to roll out our programme of bigger improvement works, with over 200 larger resurfacing, drainage and road safety projects on specific sections of the highways.Since April, our projects have included cleaning almost 62,000 gullies, fixing 2850 streetlights and completing 12 grit runs.

As part of Buckinghamshire Council’s £105m investment in roads across the county over four years, work is taking place at the following locations through Buckinghamshire Highways' Strategic Highway Maintenance Programme.

The works are part of a rolling programme of countywide work and some activities are extremely weather dependent, therefore dates shown are subject to change at short notice. These dates may also be subject to change depending on the availability of materials and unforeseen circumstances out of our control. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused.

Footways resurfacing works

Craigwell Avenue, Aylesbury (Monday 13 November to Monday 22 January)

Footway resurfacing works using a footway closure and give and take traffic management. In operation between 7am to 7pm.

Drainage Works

Brudenell Drive, Marsh Lane and Lower Road, Stoke Mandeville (Monday 27 November 2023 to Friday 12 January 2024)

Drainage works using both a lane management and give and take traffic management. In operation between 8am and 5pm on Brudenell Drive, 7am and 7pm on Marsh Lane and 9:30am and 3:30pm on Lower Road.

Street Lighting Works

  • Marlow – various locations – upgrade of LED lanterns
  • Aylesbury – various locations – upgrade of LED lanterns
  • Various Locations – upgrade of illuminated signs and bollards (located on central traffic islands and roundabouts)
  • Various Locations – upgrade of damaged street lighting columns and removal or damaged stumps
  • Bourg Walk Bridge –upgrade of lighting to LED lanterns along the Bourg Walk using partial closure (cyclist please dismount)

Road worker abuse has increased this year – please respect our workforce while they make improvements to Buckinghamshire’s Highways.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

How to access emergency help from Buckinghamshire Council over the festive season

19

December 2023


In the run up to Christmas, Buckinghamshire Council is highlighting where families and individuals can seek emergency help and support if they need it over the festive season.

Any Buckinghamshire residents needing emergency support or help with food and/or energy should contact the council’s Helping Hand service using theonline form or by calling 01296 531 151.This service is available during office hours but is closed at weekends and on the public holiday days over Christmas and New Year.

Anyone in immediate need of food who cannot wait until the next working day when the Helping Hand service is open - and has no other avenue to help - should contact the council’s Emergency Social Work Team on 0800 999 7767. They will not be able to provide food on Christmas Day when the shops are closed, but otherwise can provide immediate help and advice in an emergency.

Many foodbanks will be operating different opening days and times over the Christmas period – residents who need to access a foodbank will need a referral from the council’s Helping Hand service, or another similar support service, so please contact the Helping Hand service in the first instance if you or someone you know needs to use a foodbank.

If you see anyone sleeping out on the streets in Buckinghamshire, please contactStreetLink online or call 0300 500 0914. They will notify the council’s dedicated outreach workers. If you see anyone you believe to be under the age of 18 and/or are concerned about the health or welfare of anyone that you see sleeping rough, please call 999.

Residents who may be finding this time of year challenging or lonely, or are experiencing difficulty with their mental health can find help and advice on theNHS Buckinghamshire Taking Therapies webpage. In addition, there are some top tips on mental health and being ‘kind to your mind’ during the festive period atHealth and Wellbeing Bucks.

Information about additional support can be found on the council’scost of living webpages.

Online advice is available 24/7 from Citizens Advice Bucks, plus the national advice line is available during office hours on 0800 144 8848 if you need immediate advice.

Arif Hussain is Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities. He said:

“While most of us are excited about the festive season, for some Buckinghamshire households it can be a challenging time of year, and some people may need to access some extra help or support.

“Please share the information above with your friends, neighbours and local networks. You never know who might need it this Christmas.”

Make it a green Christmas and take note of revised bin collections

14

December 2023

Amidst all the seasonal plans and celebrations, Bucks residents are being reminded to take note of changes to bin collections during the festive period and to remember to recycle as much of the extra waste that accumulates at this time of year as possible.

Did you know that households produce around 30% more waste during the holiday period? From cardboard boxes to bottles and food wrappers to Christmas cards, much of the extra waste that is generated can be recycled. Cardboard boxes should be folded and flattened and placed securely next to your recycling container if it is full. You will also need to remove any other packaging such as tape and polystyrene. Glittery wrapping paper and Christmas cards with embellishments cannot be recycled and so need to be put in your regular waste bin.

With extra food and drink for parties and gatherings, it can be easy to buy more than needed. To ensure you keep food waste and costs to a minimum, check out our handy online toolkit which includes tips on storing food and making it go further. Leftovers and food waste can be put in your food recycling bin and left out for collection on bin day. Most food waste can go in the food recycling bin but you can check on the council website to see what can and cannot be recycled.

There are lots of other ways to be more environmentally friendly at Christmas, such as donating unwanted gifts or food and recycling old Christmas cards and ornaments into gift tags and decorations. Find out more on our website: https://www.recycleforbuckinghamshire.co.uk/christmas/

Due to the bank holidays, normal bin collections will be operating to a revised timetable. Make sure you check the amended dates in the below table and leave your bins out for collection by 6.30am on the morning they are due to be collected.

Residents who subscribe to the garden waste collection service should note that the service is currently suspended for winter and will resume on Monday 22 January 2024. As a garden waste subscriber, you can dispose of your Christmas tree, wreaths, holly and mistletoe in your garden waste bin after Christmas. Simply remove any decorations, cut the tree into smaller pieces and place them in your garden waste bin. If you are not subscribed to the garden waste collection service, you can either take your tree to your nearest Household Recycling Centre or see if there is a local charity collection nearby.

Buckinghamshire’s Household Recycling Centres will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. On all other days over the Christmas period the sites will operate the usual opening days and hours (9am-4pm). Check online before you visit to confirm opening hours and avoid the queues.

Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment said: “There are lots of ways we can all make an effort to be greener at this time of year and every small thing that we do makes a difference. From being creative with your leftover food to donating unwanted gifts and recycling Christmas cards and wrapping paper, there are some great and cost-effective ways to be environmentally friendly over Christmas so be sure to give it a go.”

Changes to household DIY waste disposal due from 31 December

12

December 2023

Residents in Buckinghamshire will be able to dispose of small amounts of DIY waste for free at Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) from 31 December 2023.

The changes have been brought in by central government and will make it easier for people to freely dispose of small amounts of waste created at home from DIY projects such as re-tiling, renovating a bathroom or digging a pond in the garden.

Today (Tuesday 12 December), Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet voted in favour of necessary changes to the council’s Waste Access & Acceptance Policy which sets out rules and procedures for the county’s 10 HRCs, to reflect the new legislation.

Following the change in law regarding the disposal of household DIY waste, the council is reintroducing a digital e-permit for DIY waste. From 31 December, any resident wanting to dispose of household DIY waste at a HRC will need to have an e-permit printed out or on a portable device, such as a mobile phone or tablet, before they visit. This only affects residents who wish to bring household DIY waste.

The DIY e-permit will allow residents to dispose of one load of DIY waste each week for free. One load of DIY waste is no more than 100 litres of loose DIY waste, or one large item no bigger than 2m x 0.75m x 0.7m such as one bath tub, one door or one kitchen unit. Staff will scan the permit and check the resident’s address, after which the e-permit will expire. It can be renewed after seven days, to allow residents to dispose of another load of DIY waste for free. Anyone wishing to dispose of more than one load of DIY waste in a week will be able to do so but will be charged, using the same price list which has been in place for the past four years.

Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Climate Change & Environment said: “We know these government changes will be welcomed by residents, but in order for us to manage them effectively, we are reintroducing a DIY e-permit system like we have used previously. This may be an extra step for residents, but it allows us to ensure that everything will run smoothly and will deter commercial traders from abusing the new system which is for residents only.”

Gareth continued: “We don’t want people to be held up in queues at the HRCs while the new system is bedding in, so we are looking to give people as much notice as possible of the changes and the need for them to download their e-permit before they visit the HRC from 31 December. We will be promoting the new process widely and would suggest people check our website and social media channels for the most up to date information. The whole process is very simple and straightforward and should become second nature to everyone once it has been up and running for a few weeks.”

The changes will only apply to DIY waste. Residents bringing garden waste, electricals, general and other types of waste commonly brought to HRCs will not be affected and can continue to use the sites in exactly the same way as before.

Commercial traders, landlords and residents disposing of waste produced by traders will still need to pay for commercial waste disposal.

For more information on the changes visit the council website.

Keeping roads safe this winter

09

December 2023

When temperatures plummet, Buckinghamshire Council’s trusty fleet of gritters rolls into action, salting key roads across the county, to make them safer for motorists. But did you know that the council also provides salt bins for people to freely use to make their roads and pavements safer during cold and icy weather?

The bins are filled with salt and are available at multiple locations across the county for drivers and pedestrians to treat public roads and pavements in their local area. The bins are filled and topped up during the winter season with a mixture of salt and sand. They are located in targeted areas known to be affected by icy conditions which the gritting routes don’t cover.

Salt bins are provided for residents to use on public roads and footways only, and should not be used to clear private drives.

Steven Broadbent, Cabinet Member for Transport explained: “Our gritters treat miles and miles of priority routes across the county, including all A and B roads but clearly, we cannot treat every road. These salt bins provide a handy way for residents to self-serve and make their local area safer if the weather conditions cause concern and so are hugely valued by many communities.”

Residents can request a salt bin for their local area and all requests will be considered. If the request is granted, the council will pay for the installation of a salt bin and will refill as needed throughout the winter while stocks allow. Where a request is not granted, communities have the option to pay for a bin to be installed and for the ongoing delivery of salt stocks.

Visit the council's website to request a salt bin.

Steven added: “We grit our priority routes when road surface temperatures – which can be up to 5 degrees cooler than the air temperature - are predicted to drop below 0.5 degrees Celsius. Remember to still take extra care when driving as roads may still be icy; temperatures can drop after rain or the salt that has been spread can be blown away by wind or washed off by rain. Bear in mind too, that if temperatures drop below -8 C even gritted roads won’t be able to stop ice from forming.”

To check which routes are gritted, visit the council’s website at www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/gritting. And for updates when gritting is taking place, follow @buckshighways on Facebook or @bucks_highways on X.

Call blocker device helps vulnerable Buckinghamshire residents avoid scams

07

December 2023

Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards is cracking down on telephone scammers this festive season by encouraging people with vulnerable family or friends to support them in applying for a free trueCall device, which prevents scam and nuisance calls.

The compact trueCall device screens incoming phone calls and blocks calls from unknown and unsolicited phone numbers.

Each year, a significant number of Buckinghamshire residents fall victim to fraudsters who employ deceptive tactics to steal sensitive data. Among the most prevalent methods used is cold calling, where fraudsters impersonate legitimate representatives of businesses or financial institutions.

Mark Winn, Cabinet Member for Homelessness and Regulatory Services, said:

“Our Trading Standards team helps to protect the vulnerable from telephone scammers year-round by providing these easy to plug in home devices. Once fitted, they enable all known contacts to dial straight through, with anyone else being screened on the various settings available.

“Christmas is a great time for getting together with friends and family and having conversations with the more vulnerable about cold callers. These conversations could help identify individuals who may benefit from having a trueCall device fitted in their homes. A great gift for any vulnerable person in Buckinghamshire, they are provided free of charge to those in need, so please do encourage people to contact us if they believe they could benefit from having one of the devices.”

Alarming statistics shared by the trueCall team reveal that the proportion of nuisance calls identified as scams has surged from 21% to 40% in the past two years. Furthermore, one-third of scam victims fall prey to a second scam within a year, with single older individuals being three times more susceptible than those living with partners. Vulnerable individuals are also targeted with approximately 40% more scam calls compared to the general population.

To date, Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards has successfully installed 547 trueCall devices. Over the past year alone, these call blockers have prevented over 48,000 scam and nuisance calls. It is estimated the use of these devices has prevented £600k being taken by deception from Buckinghamshire residents.

To apply for a free call blocker device, interested individuals should contact Trading Standards via email at ts.prevention@surreycc.gov.uk or call Citizens Advice on 0808 223 1133. The devices are provided on loan for as long as they are needed – ensuring ongoing protection against fraudulent activities.

Any incidents of suspected fraud should be reported to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133.

Can you give something back to your community this Christmas?

28

November 2023

As the festive season comes into full swing and people plan activities and shopping, Buckinghamshire Council is asking residents to get into the true spirit of Christmas and think about what they can give back to their local community to ensure everyone has an enjoyable festive season.

From donations to your local food bank or community fridge to volunteering time to support a local community initiative, there are lots of easy ways people can do something small that can make a real difference to those less fortunate.

There are many ways you can help:

There are lots of other ways you can help others. Take a look at the council website for more information: How you can help others | Buckinghamshire Council

Arif Hussain, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities said: “Christmas is traditionally a time for giving and so we are asking all those who are able, to think about what they can do to give to support others in their community. The smallest act can make such a difference. Just looking in on an elderly or vulnerable neighbour can give a lift to someone living on their own. We know that Buckinghamshire has a strong community spirit and with cost of living pressures still impacting people, it’s important that those of us who are in a position to help, try to do what we can to support others, so everyone can enjoy the festive season.”

If the cost of living pressures are affecting you visit: www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/cost-of-living

Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP) - rough sleepers

28

November 2023

As the weather is exceptionally cold, if you see anyone sleeping out on the streets of Buckinghamshire, please contact StreetLink via https://www.streetlink.org.uk or phone 0300 500 0914, who will notify our dedicated Outreach workers.

If you see anyone you believe to be under the age of 18 and/or are concerned about the health or welfare of anyone that you see sleeping rough, please call 999.

A warm area will be available in Buckinghamshire Council offices at Walton Street, Aylesbury, Queen Victoria Road, High Wycombe, and King George V Road, Amersham.

During office hours you can contact our housing teams on the following numbers:

  • Aylesbury Vale Area: 01296 585168
  • Chiltern and South Bucks & Wycombe Areas: 01494 421212

Kind regards,

Mark Winn

Cabinet Member for Homelessness & Regulatory Services

Buckinghamshire Council

Take part in an NHS survey to share your views on primary care services across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West (BOB).

27

November 2023

Dear Resident,

There is an NHS survey that you can take part in to share your views on primary care services across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West (BOB).

The local NHS wants the public/patients to tell them about their experiences of using primary care services in the region to inform a strategy the local NHS is developing to transform these services. more info see here

Newsletter text and link to the survey below.

https://x.com/nhsbobicb/status/1728368223211466771?s=20

Festive shopping – and parking - made easy in Buckinghamshire

24

November 2023

Buckinghamshire’s high streets are brimming with Christmas cheer, ready and waiting to welcome customers in the lead up to the holiday season. With free parking in towns and villages on select days in December and reduced bus fares, it’s easier than ever to take advantage of local shops and businesses overflowing with gifts and fresh produce to help celebrate the festive season in style.

Shop Local this Christmas, that is the message Buckinghamshire Council is sending to residents who are getting ready for their festive celebrations. Towns and villages across the county have been decorating high streets with lights, trees and decorations, ready to welcome customers onto their pavements and through their doors.

Rachael Matthews, Deputy Cabinet Member for Town Centre Regeneration, said: “The Christmas period is an important time for our local high streets. They rely on the loyalty of local customers to ensure they enjoy a successful festive season, so we want to remind people how important it is to shop local.

“You really don’t need to venture far to get everything you need to enjoy your celebrations and by supporting businesses in your local town or village, you are helping to ensure they can continue to run successfully and add value to your local area which benefits everyone.”

To make it even easier to visit your local high street to do your Christmas shopping, the council is offering free parking in its car parks that support local high streets on Saturday 9 and Saturday 16 December. To check which car parks are included visit the council website:www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/free-xmas-parking.

Or shoppers can let public transport take the strain by doing their Christmas shopping by bus, taking advantage of the extended £2 cap on single journey bus fares, now extended by the Government until next autumn.

Steven Broadbent, Cabinet Member for Transport said: “Whether you choose to travel by car or by bus, you can save money on your journey before you hit the shops. We know many people need a helping hand this Christmas, so the council is playing its part to give communities and high streets a festive boost.”

Buckinghamshire Council will also introduce a temporary pause on scheduled roadworks in some areas of the county in weeks leading up to the festive break. Steven explained: “To make it easier for people to travel and maximise trade, Buckinghamshire Highways will introduce a widespread postponement of roadworks in and around town and village centres in the run up to Christmas. Although we don’t have the power to stop emergency utility works that need doing, pausing planned roadworks will reduce possible delays.”

Many local businesses in Buckinghamshire are taking part in Small Business Saturday on Saturday 2 December, offering another chance for people to support their local shops and businesses and take advantage of special discounts and promotions. Find out which Bucks businesses are taking part in this year’s event: https://smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com/small-business-finder

One place to take your pick of independent and unique gifts sold by local artisans is the Aylesbury Christmas Craft & Gift Fair, taking place in Market Square, Aylesbury, on Sunday 3 December from 11am to 4pm. There are also lots of other Christmas themed events and fairs taking place across the county over coming weeks. Take a look at the Buckinghamshire Family Information Service website to find out what’s on near you: https://familyinfo.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/things-to-do/things-to-do-this-christmas/

Help make a child’s wish come true this Christmas

16

November 2023

Christmas is a magical time for children. Whatever their age, every child is excited to find a present under the tree with their name on it. Sadly, not all children are guaranteed a gift to open on Christmas morning, but that is where residents of Buckinghamshire are being asked to assist, if they can.

Local charity, Inspire Bucks, is once again running its Christmas Gift Appeal which aims to ensure that some of the most disadvantaged local children and young people get at least one gift to open this Christmas.

The appeal seeks donations of new toys and gifts for children and young people ranging in age from babies to care leavers aged up to 25. Those who prefer can give a monetary donation which will be used to buy suitable gifts for the children and young people.

The gifts are given to local children and young people in need, including those in care and others whose families are facing severe financial difficulties and simply cannot afford to spend money on toys and gifts. Inspire Bucks works closely with council social workers, schools and food banks to identify recipients and everyone will receive at least one gift.

Last year the appeal helped provide a Christmas present to nearly 3,500 children in Buckinghamshire. Anita Cranmer, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Education said: “Every year we are overwhelmed by the generosity of local people who donate to the Gift Appeal. This support makes a huge difference to so many disadvantaged children across the county. I know we are all still facing high cost of living pressures but I would ask those who are able to support this cause, to contribute with either a gift or monetary donation. Every gift and all the money donated goes directly to the children and young people to help give them the Christmas they deserve.”

Anita added: “This year the appeal will also include young people who are leaving the care system to take the next steps into their adult lives. We want to make sure these young people, who may not have families of their own, don’t miss out. A specially chosen gift just for them will bring a smile to their faces and show them that they are cared for which is what Christmas is all about.”

To find out more about where to drop off gifts or how to make a monetary donation, visit the Inspire Bucks Gift Appeal website.

Gifts are needed for all ages. If you are unsure what is suitable, Inspire Bucks have put together an Amazon gift list which enables you to purchase something direct.

You can also donate a monetary gift via the charity’s Just Giving page: Inspire Bucks Christmas Gift Appeal 2023 - JustGiving

New footpath creates a safer link for local community

15

November 2023

Work has just finished on the installation of a new footway alongside the A4010 (Risborough Road) at Ellesborough and this week, some of those involved in making it happen got together to mark the occasion.

The new path runs for 350 metres, connecting existing footpaths which run north from the Fremantle Court Nursing Home into Stoke Mandeville, and south along the Risborough Road. The scheme provides a safe footway for pedestrians between the nursing home and the nearest shop, which is located within the service station at the junction of Risborough Road and North Lee Lane.

The works were carried out by Buckinghamshire Highways using the HS2 Road Safety Fund, which was made available by the Government to leave a legacy of safer roads for local communities impacted by HS2 construction. Ellesborough Parish Council’s successful application to that fund to improve access for residents and Fremantle Court visitors enabled the creation of the new path. Numerous additional projects have been completed in other locations around the county, all helping to improve road safety.

Steven Broadbent, Cabinet Member for Transport said: “We are delighted to have been able to respond to the local community and to bring about this improvement for local residents and visitors to the Fremantle Court Nursing Home. The A4010 is a very busy road which, together with adjoining roads in the area, has been heavily impacted by HS2 construction in terms of increased HGV traffic, road closures, diversions and traffic management. This scheme, which joins two existing footpaths, will enable residents and visitors to walk to the nearest shop in safety, while also extending the existing footpath from the Terrick roundabout along Risborough Road and into Stoke Mandeville. We know the changes will be welcomed by everyone in the local community.”

Steven added: “The disruption caused by the ongoing HS2 works on our doorstep continues to be a real headache for many local residents but with access to this limited funding, we are at least able to address a range of road safety concerns that might otherwise not have been possible so we can continue in our efforts to improve road safety for everyone across the county.”

Food waste - Don’t bin it – Recycle it!

13

November 2023

Buckinghamshire Council is asking residents to think twice before throwing food waste in the bin and to recycle it instead.

Currently around a third of the waste thrown in the regular rubbish bin in Buckinghamshire is food waste. This equates to around 28,000 tonnes of food every year, an average of 2kg per household per week. It is enough to fill Big Ben more than one and a half times each year. Not only does this cost local taxpayers more than £600,000 a year in disposal costs, disposing of food waste in this way also damages the environment as it produces double the amount of carbon emissions compared to recycling food waste.

As part of a renewed drive to encourage more people to recycle their food waste, over the next few weeks the council will be delivering leaflets, putting stickers on rubbish bins, and letting people know about the many benefits of food recycling. Attention is particularly being focused on areas where there is more scope to increase food recycling rates.

Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, said: “We know lots of people already recycle their food waste and we appreciate their efforts, but we want to encourage more people to do it. Recycling your food waste is much better for everyone and it really couldn’t be easier. With our weekly food waste collection service, all you need to do is put your food waste in your dedicated food recycling bin rather than your regular bin. Leave it out for collection on your usual weekly bin day and we will empty it.”

Even residents who are keen recyclers might not know they can recycle some food waste. Many people don’t realise they can recycle mouldy bread or out of date food – once the packaging has been removed of course. Even tea bags and coffee grounds, which you might not think of as food waste, can be recycled.

Home composting is another way of recycling some food waste which can be transformed into soil improver for gardens. Cooked food waste is not suitable for composting however and should instead be put into the kerbside food recycling bin for collection.

Gareth continued: “By recycling any food that can’t be eaten instead of throwing it in the bin, you will be helping to save money which could be spent on other essential council services. The food that is collected for recycling across Buckinghamshire is delivered to facilities near Aylesbury and turned into energy to power our homes. It also produces a high-quality fertiliser for use on agricultural land. Did you know, recycling just six tea bags will generate enough energy to boil a kettle to make another cuppa?”

The recycling process for food is called anaerobic digestion. It uses micro-organisms to break down food waste in the absence of oxygen, inside an enclosed system. As it breaks down it gives off methane, which is collected and converted into biogas and used to generate electricity. It also creates a nutrient-rich digestate that can be used as a fertiliser for agriculture and in land regeneration.16,000 tonnes of food is recycled from Buckinghamshire homes each year.

You can find more information on recycling food at home and also tips on how to reduce your food waste on:www.recycleforbuckinghamshire.co.uk

Buckinghamshire Council cracks down on fraudsters

13

November 2023

Buckinghamshire Council is encouraging residents to help them fight fraud as part of International Fraud Awareness Week (12-18 November).

The council's Fraud Team tackles housing benefit cheating, council tax scams, cybercrime and more. Losses from fraud cost taxpayers thousands of pounds yearly.

Recent action by the Fraud Team includes a joint operation with Parking Services aimed at targeting Blue Badge misuse. Investigators caught several people using expired badges or overstaying time limits in disabled parking bays. Offenders were issued a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) for their parking contravention and sent warning letters.

Commenting on the operation, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport Steven Broadbent, said:

“Blue Badge misuse is not only fraud, but also a serious problem for our most vulnerable residents who rely on the scheme to access essential services and facilities. By parking in disabled bays without a valid badge, offenders are taking away spaces from those who really need them, causing them unnecessary inconvenience and stress.

“The recent successful operation by our teams to identify those who misuse Blue Badges – whether they are expired, stolen or used by someone else – sends a clear message to anyone who thinks they can get away with this dishonest and selfish behaviour: we will find you and we will take action.

“Suspected abuses of the Blue Badge scheme should be reported to us via our website.”

Nationally, fraud costs the public sector £50 billion annually – that’s around £1,000 per household. And of all crimes committed in the UK, fraud is estimated to account for 40% of them.

John Chilver, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Accessible Housing & Resources, commented:

"We do not tolerate fraud in Buckinghamshire.

“We take all fraud allegations seriously and investigate them thoroughly. We urge anyone who spots anything suspicious to report it. If needed, this can be done anonymously.

"Fraud harms all Buckinghamshire residents by diverting funds away from essential services. Which is why we should all be vigilant – your tip-off could stop the cheats."

Frauds, scams or other suspicious activity in Buckinghamshire should be reported via the council’s website.

Tips and advice on becoming ‘fraud aware’ are available on the Action Fraud website.

Buckinghamshire’s Welcoming Spaces give a warm welcome to all

09

November 2023

As the weather turns colder and the days get shorter, Buckinghamshire Council is reminding people that Welcoming Spaces across the county continue to offer a friendly and free place where people can go to stay warm and well this winter.

Last winter, the council opened up all of its libraries and community libraries as Welcoming Spaces. The initiative forms part of the council's Helping Hand programme of support for residents impacted by cost of living pressures. The idea behind Welcoming Spaces is to provide warm, free, safe, and supportive places that any resident can visit at any time of year. They allow people to keep warm, save money on heating and access free support, advice and Wi-Fi, as well as meet new people, find local groups and activities to participate in and look after their physical and mental health.

Buckinghamshire's libraries continue to welcome anyone who wants to use them as a Welcoming Space.

Clive Harriss, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture & Leisure said: “Libraries are the perfect place for people to come to if they are in need of some warmth and company. Cost of living pressures are still having an impact on residents and if you are worried about putting your heating on at home, please remember, you can come to one of our Welcoming Spaces. Not only can you relax in comfort, anyone seeking a bit of company can meet with others and our staff are on hand with information and advice on a range of topics. The initiative worked so well last year that we are keen to ensure that everyone knows they are once again open to all.”

Several other local community organisations have created their own Welcoming Spaces in church halls and community centres, providing warm and friendly, social spaces for people to go. Find out more about Buckinghamshire’s Welcoming Spaces on the website: buckinghamshire.gov.uk/welcoming-spaces

For community groups or organisations that want to offer a Welcoming Space, a toolkit is available to help register and promote your space for free on the Bucks Online Directory. Welcoming Spaces are a great way to involve people in other activities that support their wellbeing and sense of connectedness to their local community. Spaces that provide activities such as quiz or games nights, board games, puzzles, film screenings or a 'knit and natter’ are simple ways to engage people and enable them to make connections with others.

The council is also working with local voluntary and community organisations to distribute free Warm Packs, including practical items such as a blanket and warm socks, to particularly vulnerable residents. The council has purchased a limited number of these packs using the Household Support Fund, provided by the Department for Work & Pensions, for local partners to provide to people who need them.

Additionally, the council is asking people to look out for older or more vulnerable neighbours. Arif Hussain, Cabinet Member for Communities explained: “We are asking people to be a good neighbour and keep an eye on them, especially older people or those who live on their own. Just a quick knock on their door to see if they are okay, offering to clear their drive of snow or ice or checking if they need any groceries from the shop, small gestures like this can make all the difference to a vulnerable person.”

Arif added: “Winter is a wonderful season but it can also be more likely that problems can occur, particularly due to the weather. The good news is, there are lots of simple but practical things we can do to prepare ourselves for winter. From making sure your car is equipped to cope during a snowy or icy period to checking that you are well stocked with any medications or provisions you may need should a spell of bad weather make it more difficult to go out, it all helps to be prepared.”

For more information on how to ensure you are winter ready visit the council website: www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/winter-ready

If you are struggling to heat your home or know someone else who is, contact the Helping Hand team: buckinghamshire.gov.uk/helping-hand or call 01296 531151.


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Buckinghamshire Council seeks views on new housing strategy

08

November 2023

Buckinghamshire Council is inviting residents, businesses and organisations to share their views on its draft Housing Strategy for 2024-2029. The strategy sets out the council’s vision, priorities and actions to meet the current and future housing needs and challenges in the county.

The Housing Strategy has been developed with the input and support of a wide range of partners, including housing associations, developers, community groups and other public sector organisations.

To achieve the strategy, the council has created three draft priorities:

  • responding to the needs of Buckinghamshire’s diverse population
  • better homes: good quality, sustainable and matched to need
  • new homes: affordable, accessible and appropriate

Each priority includes:

  • what the council will do to achieve it
  • the challenges Buckinghamshire faces
  • actions the council is taking now
  • proposed actions up to 2029

The consultation is open until midnight on Monday 18 December 2023 and can be accessed online or by requesting a paper copy from the council. The feedback received will help shape the final version of the strategy, which will be published in 2024.

Mark Winn, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Homelessness and Regulatory Services, said:

“We all know Buckinghamshire is a wonderful county in which to live. It is vital for the growth of our economy and the welfare of our residents that everyone in Buckinghamshire has access to a safe, secure and suitable home that meets their needs and aspirations. Our draft Housing Strategy sets out how we plan to achieve this over the next five years, working with our partners and local communities.

“The strategy also recognises the opportunities to improve the quality and sustainability of existing homes, to enable new affordable housing development for those in housing need and to support residents to live independently and live well in their homes.

“This is our first countywide Housing Strategy and we want to hear from as many people as possible. So please take part in the consultation and let us know what you think.”

You can have your say on the draft Housing Strategy at Your Voice Bucks.


Aylesbury railway reopens after major rail upgrades complete

30

October 2023

Network Rail, HS2 and Chiltern Railways are thanking passengers and local people this week after the railway between Aylesbury and Princes Risborough reopened as planned this morning (Monday 30 October) following major work to prepare for HS2.

What work has been completed?

During a 12-week closure of the line, a damaged culvert was repaired to the south of Aylesbury station in August. Immediately after this work was completed, almost 2km of track was replaced and installed across a brand-new embankment built by HS2’s contractor, EKFB (a team made up of Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial Construction and Bam Nuttall).

The new section of track will provide smoother and more reliable journeys for Chiltern Railways' passengers as well as vitally allowing HS2 to construct new high speed lines which will pass beneath a new 100m steel bridge carrying the existing railway. To the north of the new high speed route HS2 have installed a further bridge structure which will allow the proposed South West Aylesbury Link Road to also pass beneath the route between Aylesbury and Princes Risborough.

We’ve worked hard to reduce the impact of our work on the local environment by delivering most of our materials by rail, including 11,000 tonnes of railway ballast (stone). This has helped us to remove over 800 lorry movements from the local and national road network.

Marsh Lane level crossing closure

As part of our work to realign the railway, Marsh Lane level crossing needed to be closed to the public during the railway closure to allow our engineers and engineering trains safe continuous access to the work site.

Now our track realignment work has been completed, a project to upgrade Marsh Lane level crossing is required to make it safer and bring it up to modern safety standards. Work will take place to install a full barrier level crossing in 2024 and then it will reopen to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. We’ll keep you and the local community updated about this project.

Thanking passengers in Aylesbury

On Tuesday 31 October, staff from Network Rail and Chiltern Railways will be thanking passengers in person for their patience at Aylesbury and Princes Risborough stations between 3pm and 6pm. As a thank you gesture, passengers will be offered special edition cakes and vouchers for use at both of the stations’ cafés.

All Saints Church - the Future

30

October 2023

Please use the QR code on to take the survey on the future of All Saints Church, our beautiful 13th century church. 

Buckinghamshire Council outlines winter support offer for residents

17

October 2023

Buckinghamshire Council has confirmed its package of support to those most in need as we head into winter. £4.8m of Household Support Fund (HSF) from the Department for Work and Pensions is being used to provide a wide range of support to residents. The HSF money is also being used to provide grants to food and welfare voluntary and community support organisations, to help those struggling with the ongoing cost of living pressures.

Buckinghamshire Council Leader Martin Tett and Cabinet Member for Communities, Arif Hussain, welcomed Minister for Social Mobility, Youth and Progression, Mims Davies MP, to Buckinghamshire yesterday as part of ‘Household Support Fund Awareness Week’, to see how the Household Support Fund is helping people here in Buckinghamshire and beyond. They visited one of the local organisations that has received funding from the Helping Hand service. The Monthly Monday Meals programme at Buckinghamshire New University offers students a free monthly recipe kit and meal bag, as well as access to an online cookery course to learn how to prepare healthy and budget friendly meals.

The HSF supports the council’s Helping Hand service which assesses applications for financial help and navigates residents to the most appropriate support. Since April this year, using the Household Support Fund money, the council’s Helping Hand service has:

  • managed 5,120 applications for support
  • helped 2,540 residents with bespoke support
  • referred 1,709 households to local food banks
  • funded 1200 white goods and essential items
  • issued nearly 30,000 free school meal holidays digital food vouchers during the May and Summer school holidays in 2023
  • supported over 40 food banks and local voluntary organisations

In addition to the support provided to eligible families during school holidays through the Household Support Fund, Buckinghamshire Council also runs the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme during the Easter, Summer and Christmas school holidays. Funded by the Department for Education, HAF provides free holiday activities and a healthy hot meal for children in Reception – Year 11 who receive benefits-related free school meals.

Speaking about the fund, Buckinghamshire Council Leader Martin Tett said:

“I am pleased that the Minister has seen how the Household Support fund is benefiting our residents and making a real difference to their everyday lives. This money allows us to do so much at a time when many of our residents need extra help, and I’m very proud of the wide range of support that the council has been able to offer using the Household Support Fund. It’s a chain of support that is making a huge difference; Government is providing the means, the council is providing a co-ordinating role as well as giving direct help, and our voluntary sector is working hard on the ground with various projects, all meeting people’s needs.”

Arif Hussain, Buckinghamshire Council's Cabinet Member for Communities, added:

“The HSF supports the day to day running of our Helping Hand service which has become a vital port of call for thousands of residents. Through this service we have helped local households in a wide variety of ways. The funding being allocated for a full 12 months combined with some increased flexibility has allowed us to tailor our offering; we can now, for example, use the funds for debt advice and support for those who have received help from HSF funded initiatives but who require additional assistance to improve their finances.”

Minister for Social Mobility Youth and Progression, Mims Davies MP, said:

“It was great to visit the Monday Monthly Meals programme with local MP Steve Baker, as part of the Household Support Fund Awareness Week. I met the team here at Buckinghamshire New University who are utilising the fund by offering students the supplies and recipes they need to eat well – one of many cost of living initiatives taking place in the area thanks to a £4.8 million investment from our Household Support Fund.

“Without this important funding from the Government and the hard work of the council and local community, the over 234,000 awards of support already made to the most vulnerable would not have been possible. I encourage anyone struggling with the cost of living to speak to the council to find out what support is available for them.”

Professor Nick Braisby, Vice-Chancellor of Buckinghamshire New University, commented:

“We are grateful for the Household Support funding Government has provided. Our monthly Monday Meals initiative, delivered with our Students’ Union, is making a real difference to students who would otherwise find it difficult to make ends meet. The additional funding is part of the University’s award-winning support for students through the cost-of-living crisis. This includes free meals, reduced prices in our catering outlets, reduced rents in University halls of residence, increased scholarships and bursaries, and subsidies to ensure that students can access a range of sports, recreation and skills development sessions for free. The HSF funding is an essential element of this student support package.”

Notice of Polling Districts and Polling Places Review

11

October 2023

Notice is hereby given that in accordance with Section 18C of the Representation of the People Act 1983 Buckinghamshire Council (the Council) is to carry out a review of its polling districts and polling places. Relevant information and mapping regarding the current arrangements and proposals for changes can be found on the Council’s website www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/polling-feedback, or can be inspected at The Gateway, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP19 8FF. The (Acting) Returning Officer (ARO) for the Parliamentary constituencies of: • Aylesbury • Beaconsfield • Buckingham and Bletchley • Chesham and Amersham • Mid Buckinghamshire, and • Wycombe will comment on the proposals. Those representations will be published on the Council’s website and will be available for inspection at The Gateway, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP19 8FF in accordance with the timetable set out below. Electors within the Council area or within a UK Parliamentary constituency which has any part in the authority may make a representation. We invite comments from all electors regarding the convenience of voting at polling stations currently used for elections and would welcome suggestions for alternative sites. The Council would also welcome the views of all residents, particularly disabled residents, or any person or body with expertise in access for persons with any type of disability, on the proposals, ARO’s representations or any other related matters. Anybody making representations should, if possible, give alternative places that may be used as polling places. Comments and representations may be submitted as follows: By post Polling District Review Consultation, Electoral Services, The Gateway, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP19 8FF By email elections@buckinghamshire.gov.uk By completing the online feedback form www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/polling-review All representations must be made by no later than Monday 4 December 2023 Timetable Date 2 October 2023 Formal notice of review 6 November 2023 Publication of (Acting) Returning Officer’s comments 2 October 2023 Commencement of public consultation period 4 December 2023 End of public consultation period 18 January 2023 Final proposals considered by Standards and General Purposes Committee 1 February 2024 Publish revised register of electors The outcome of the review will be published by the Council in January 2024 and will be available for inspection on the Council's website and The Gateway, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP19 8FF. Anybody making representations should be aware that, upon completion of the review, all correspondence and representations received must, by law, also be published. Dated: Monday 2 October 2023 Rachael Shimmin Chief Executive Buckinghamshire Council

Last chance to have your say on Buckinghamshire Council's spending priorities

10

October 2023

Buckinghamshire Council is preparing its spending plans for 2024 to 2025 and is asking residents, businesses and other local stakeholders to give their views on which services should be prioritised.

The consultation period will close at midnight on Sunday 15 October 2023, so this is your final opportunity to have your say on how your council tax is spent.

The council is committed to ensuring that their budget for the next financial year is allocated in a way that meets the needs of the community – including funding for essential services such as education, social care and waste management.

There have already been a significant number of responses to the consultation from across Buckinghamshire, but it's not too late to give your views. You can provide feedback on the proposed spending plan by visiting the council's website and filling out theonline survey.

Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council, said:

“Budget setting in recent times has become extremely difficult. While we are seeing some more stability and a slowing of inflation, we have also seen very significant rises in social care costs, with many more people coming through the door needing our help. It means we’re already spending more than we budgeted for this year on services like social care and temporary accommodation, and if this trend continues, it puts even more pressure on our overall budgets.

“I have to level with people and explain that we will have to take some really tough decisions to balance our books. We know residents have been experiencing ongoing cost of living pressures, so we face very difficult choices on how we provide some services going forward.

“All this means it is crucial that we build up a clear picture of what residents, businesses and local stakeholders want us to do.

“With the Money Matters survey, we’ve made it as quick and easy as possible for you to give us your views – it really will be ten minutes well spent if you can take part. Your views will then be fed into our final budget proposals which will be heavily scrutinised just after Christmas in a series of special meetings. The final budget is then voted on during February, ready to ‘go live’ on 1 April 2024.”

You can find more information about Money Matters and have your say by visiting Buckinghamshire Council'sMoney Matters webpage.

Council Leader demands that Buckinghamshire must gain from HS2 cancellation

06

October 2023

Buckinghamshire Council Leader, Martin Tett, reacted to Wednesday’s announcement of the cancellation of the Birmingham to Manchester section of HS2, by saying that, having ‘suffered all of the pain without any gain’ from Phase 1 of the project, Bucks should now receive significant compensatory investment.

“I was absolutely delighted with the decision. It is undoubtedly right that this ill-conceived and vastly expensive scheme is finally cancelled. My regret is that it is thirteen years too late. Here in Buckinghamshire, we have suffered the devastation of our beautiful county and environment. People’s lives have been destroyed, businesses closed, and our fabulous countryside and ancient woodlands torn up. I dread to think how much hard-pressed tax-payers’ money has already been wasted.”

“Sadly, I fear that it is too late to cancel the HS2 line through Buckinghamshire. The damage is already done. What I am demanding is that the Government commits a fraction of the £36bn saved from both de-scoping Euston and cancelling north of Birmingham to help repair the damage already done in Buckinghamshire. I am writing today to Mark Harper, the Secretary of State for Transport putting the case that Buckinghamshire deserves to share significantly in the national benefits of cancellation. We have an environment that needs restoration and key transport schemes that need funding. These should be priorities for the Government now that it has finally seen sense.”

Buckinghamshire Council announces ‘zero tolerance’ approach to utility works

02

October 2023

Buckinghamshire Council has written to every utility company that operates in the county with a clear reminder of their obligations when they want to carry out roadworks. The council has also introduced seven-day working in its ‘Streetworks’ team to carry out even more inspections to check works are being managed correctly.

The number of permit requests for utility works has increased dramatically in recent years with a significant knock-on impact on the county’s road network. There has also been a rise in the number of Fixed Penalty Notices the council has had to issue to utility firms where they’ve failed to keep to the terms of their permits. Breaches the council has taken action on include:

  • failing to display correct permit references and emergency contact details on site
  • not taking away traffic lights when they’re no longer needed
  • failing to implement correct traffic management
  • not publicising proposed works well enough
  • failing to remove surplus materials and equipment

The council has informed utilities companies of its new ‘zero tolerance’ approach when they fail to keep to the permitted arrangements. Companies will now receive a Fixed Penalty Notice on first breach and will have their permit revoked if a further breach occurs.

Utilities firms have the right to access their networks by digging up the roads to carry out repairs, service connections and improvement works. They also have the right to respond to emergency situations with permissions granted retrospectively. The council issues permits so these works can go ahead but under these permits they are obliged to follow strict agreed criteria. The council also weighs up many factors before agreeing a works permit, such as whether there is another set of roadworks nearby, or if there is too great an impact on a critical service such as a school or hospital.

As part of the approach to lessen the impact of roadworks disruption, the council is also carrying out a wholesale review of the county’s road network to identify the busiest areas with a view to potentially make changes as to when utilities works can take place in these places, potentially insisting on more evening, shift and weekend working. The council is also going to lobby government over the current fine rate for breaches, which is nationally set at £120, reduced to £80 for early payment.

Steven Broadbent is Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport. He said:

“We do want a constructive relationship with all utilities firms who we know have to carry out works to repair and improve their infrastructure, and that often this will ultimately benefit us all. However, we are very much aware of the impact of these works and the disruption they cause, and it’s absolutely critical that utility firms keep to the terms of their permits and manage their works appropriately and responsibly.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen too many cases this year where works just haven’t been managed well enough and the inconvenience and detrimental impact of this falls onto our residents, businesses and communities. We are taking this action to make sure standards and obligations to residents are maintained.

We have limited ability to refuse works but we do our utmost to work with firms to keep disruption to a minimum, setting out clear expectations as part of the permit process. We also think the current fine limit is totally insufficient to deter mismanagement of works.

Overall, we know the impact of roadworks is a major issue for our residents. We also know road use and driver habits has changed since the pandemic, hence us doing a fresh review of our network to understand the current pinch-points and so we can look to programme works better around these locations.”

Notes to Editor

  • Four years ago the council dealt with around 20,000 works requests per year; this figure is expected to rise to 70,000 by the end of this year
  • People can view information about roadworks in their area by going to the council’s website www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/roadworks

Roadworks

Household recycling centres change to regular winter opening hours

28

September 2023

From Sunday 1 October, all 10 of Buckinghamshire’s Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) will switch over to the usual winter opening hours of 9am to 4pm.

The days each centre is open will remain unchanged but the change in hours reflects the fact that as it gets closer to the clocks going back at the end of October and over the winter months, the number of visitors to the sites decreases rapidly once it starts to get darker earlier.

Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment explained: “This is something that we do every year at this time, but we want to make sure that everyone is aware of this important change to winter closing times of 4pm from 1 October, so please take note.”

To find out which days your local HRC is open and also further details of what can and cannot be taken to a centre, visit: buckinghamshire.gov.uk/waste-and-recycling/

Did you know you can also view live webcam footage via the council website, to check if the site is busy and avoid having to wait in a queue? If you are unsure about the best time to visit, take a look at the cameras and plan your trip accordingly.

Don’t forget, any items such as furniture, garden equipment, bicycles and household equipment in good condition that you are looking to get rid of, can be taken to any HRC where they are collected for reuse. Items donated are sold on by the South Bucks Hospice which runs the reuse shops in High Wycombe and Aston Clinton HRCs. Items for resale can be taken to any of the 10 sites and will be transported to the reuse shops.

Gareth continued: “We would encourage anyone who wants to get rid of good quality household and garden items to donate them to the hospice reuse shops. You can combine your donations with a regular trip to the tip so it couldn’t be easier. The items you no longer want will be snapped up by someone else who needs them and by donating in this way you are helping raise much needed funds for a local charity, so everyone is a winner.”

How can we make Buckinghamshire safer?

12

September 2023

That is the question the Safer Buckinghamshire Board is asking residents and other interested parties as it launches its Safer Bucks consultation.

The Safer Buckinghamshire Board is the local multi-agency community safety partnership that brings together experts from the police, fire service, probation health and social care services.

Following last year’s community safety survey, the new Safer Buckinghamshire Strategy 2023-26 was developed. The strategy outlined the five key priorities for improving community safety and fear of crime in the area. To help deliver the next 12 months of the strategy, the Safer Buckinghamshire Board is keen to know:

  • What impact crime and anti-social behaviour has in local areas
  • More about people’s experiences of reporting crime
  • How safe or unsafe residents feel in Buckinghamshire

The consultation is open to anyone who lives, works or studies in Buckinghamshire. It is open until 29 October. You can complete the survey online at: Community safety survey 2023: How can we make Buckinghamshire safer? . Residents can obtain a hard copy by contacting: sbp@buckinghamshire.gov.uk.

Thomas Broom, Buckinghamshire Council’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Community Safety said: “On the whole Buckinghamshire is a very safe place to live and visit but like any area, there can be times and locations where issues occur. We are really keen to hear from local residents and others about their experiences and the effect these matters have had on them. We can and do look at the statistics and background data, but this first-hand detail from individuals responding to a survey like this is invaluable in helping us to effectively target our resources and attention to make the best impact and improvement. It doesn’t take long to complete so please take a few minutes to let us know your thoughts.”

You can read the full Safer Buckinghamshire Strategy online.

Online Portal for victims launches Monday

01

September 2023

On Monday, Thames Valley Police will be launching a new online portal for victims of crime. As the first police force to be using technology like this, we will be initially launching this with a trial period and wanted to provide a short briefing to you on what this portal will allow should it come up in conversations with victims of crime that you have contact with.

Last year, our force received nearly 1 million contacts from the public. Across the UK, there has been an increase in calls to 999 and 101, so it's vital we find new ways to communicate with our communities.

The new portal uses digital technology to improve our non-emergency contact to ensure we're giving victims the best possible service, and we’re able to prioritise those most in need.

Victims will be able to log in and get updates on their reports and contact the officer in charge of their case more easily, as well as having access to helpful resources depending on the type of crime they have been a victim of, and find useful information and links to other relevant agencies.

Victims have to be invited to the portal so they will receive a text and/or email if they are eligible to log in. As we are in the early stages of using the portal, it will not be available for all crime types and for the trial period will be used for crimes that we deem to be of a lower risk and for which we receive higher volumes of reports, for example theft from motor vehicles. We aim to expand the portal to incorporate further crime types in the future.

During the pilot period, the online portal will be hosted on a separate website, but once it is up and running for all crime types, we hope to link it to the existing Thames Valley police website. For now, only victims who have been invited to use the portal will have the URL to take them to the site.

You can watch a short video explaining what the portal will do at: TVP Portal animation - YouTube

What next?

So that we can effectively assess the success of the portal and where improvements may be needed, an opportunity for feedback will be made available around October time.

Whilst the portal is in a trial period, we will not be sharing proactive external communications for some time, potentially later this year, by which time we hope to have the portal embedded and be in a position to share positive outcomes from its use. We hope that you will be able to support us in sharing that content when the time comes.

Money matters – tell us how you want your council tax spent

31

August 2023

Buckinghamshire Council is preparing its spending plans for 2024-25 and is asking residents, businesses and other local stakeholders to give their views on which services should be prioritised.

Like household budgets, councils across the country are also experiencing significant financial pressures due to rising costs and added demand on services. The general economic turbulence of the last year and a half has also made budget setting and forecasting even more challenging. In particular, the council has seen social care costs escalate even further in recent months due to many more vulnerable residents needing our help.

With everyone managing their own cost of living pressures, it’s really important that residents tell the council how they want to see next year’s council tax spent.

Council tax is the main way that local council services are funded – from bin collections to road repairs to looking after adults and children who need our care. The council has ongoing costs to provide its services and also draws up capital spending plans too – ‘one-off’ spends on particular projects or schemes such as last year’s decision to invest millions of pounds extra in resurfacing and repairing the county’s roads after significant winter damage.

The council’s ‘Money Matters’ survey has gone live today – this is the way residents can tell the council which areas they want prioritised in next year’s budget. The survey takes just ten minutes to complete. These views are then fed into the final budget proposals which are then heavily scrutinised just after Christmas in a series of special meetings. The final budget is then voted on during February ready to ‘go live’ on 1 April 2024.

Councillor Martin Tett is Leader of Buckinghamshire Council. He said:

“Budget setting in recent times has become extremely difficult. While we are seeing some more stability and a slowing of inflation, we have also seen very significant rises in social care costs, with many more people coming through the door needing our help. It means we’re already spending more than we budgeted for this year on services like social care and temporary accommodation and if this trend continues, it puts even more pressure on our overall budgets.

I have to level with people and explain that we will have to take some really tough decisions to balance our books. We know residents have been experiencing ongoing cost of living pressures, so we face very difficult choices on how we provide some services going forward.

All this means it is absolutely crucial that we build up a clear picture of what residents want us to do. I urge you therefore to tell us by completing the ‘Money Matters’ survey.”

Students across Bucks receive their GCSE results

24

August 2023

It can be an anxious time, but the wait is finally over for thousands of students across the county, as GCSE exam results are available from schools today (24 August).

Many students will travel into school to pick up their results but other secure options such as by telephone or the school’s parent portal will be available for those who cannot be there in person. Parents and students should check with their school to ensure they know what options are available.

Joseph Baum, Buckinghamshire Council’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services said: “Well done to all those students who have worked hard and got the results they wanted. We know that the effects of the pandemic are still impacting children and young people of all ages, so the achievements of those picking up their results today is testament to their resilience and they should be very proud.”

Joseph added: “We know there may be some students who may not do as well as they hoped or expected but there is plenty of help and support available so make sure you speak to your school or college in the first instance, talk to friends or family, or go online.”

Support includes:

There is also a lot of support for students who may be experiencing stress and anxiety about their results and what the future holds. Options available include:

  • Speak to teachers at school – both in an academic capacity and also as pastoral experts who can help with emotional issues.
  • Some schools have an independent counsellor available with whom students can talk in confidence.
  • Peer support networks –speaking to someone of a similar age can sometimes feel easier than speaking to an adult and can provide reassurance from someone who has recently been through the same experience.
  • Charities – most now offer both online and telephone support. Speaking anonymously can make talking over problems and worries easier.

Joseph added: “Completing your GCSEs is a huge achievement and we wish all our students well for whatever their next steps may be.”


Buckinghamshire Council hosts its second Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair

22

August 2023

The second Buckinghamshire Council Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair will take place on Saturday 23 September.

The County-wide event, which will be held at The Elgiva Theatre in Chesham, is an opportunity for employers to promote their jobs and apprenticeship opportunities to anyone looking for employment or seeking a change of job or career.

Buckinghamshire Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair will run from 10am to 3pm on Saturday 23 September and those interested in attending the free event can secure their place now at:

Buckinghamshire Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair Tickets, Sat 23 Sep 2023 at 10:00 | Eventbrite

The first hour from 10am to 11am has limited spaces for people who would prefer a quieter experience or need additional support – book early if this time suits you.

Attendees will be able to meet and talk with over 25 exhibitors and support organisations including All Spring Media, Silverson Machines, Carousel Buses, Buckinghamshire Fire, First Response, Balfour Beatty, Atkins Global, DeVere Hotels, Buckinghamshire Council and Buckinghamshire NHS Trust. Buckinghamshire Adult Learning will once again be delivering mini workshops on the day.

Exhibitor spaces are still available and can be booked by emailingjobsfair@buckinghamshire.gov.uk.

Joseph Baum, Deputy Cabinet Member for Education and Skills said:

“It has been a long-running passion of mine to help people find opportunities in Buckinghamshire, and I am proud to have played a part in organising this event. It is genuinely exciting and rewarding to be helping to lead the second Buckinghamshire Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair’.

This year the event is being supported by Opportunity Bucks, the council’s flagship programme to improve opportunities for people in Buckinghamshire.

Opportunity Bucks focuses on ten wards in Buckinghamshire where people are experiencing the most hardship, one of which is Chesham.”


HS2 update from Buckinghamshire Council

14

August 2023

What is Buckinghamshire Council doing on behalf of residents?

Buckinghamshire Council demand actions to repair the sinkhole at Little Missenden

After the appearance of the sinkhole at Little Missenden on 13 May 2023, Buckinghamshire Council held urgent meetings with HS2 Ltd. Leader of the Council, Cllr Martin Tett visited the site shortly after its appearance with the Deputy Leader, Cllr Gareth Williams, and one of the Council’s HS2 Marshalls, Steve Hall. They sought information on what had caused this large hole in the ground and what action was being proposed to repair it. Buckinghamshire Council has been working with HS2 Ltd and their contractor Align, since then to ensure that the damage is repaired and that actions are taken to prevent a similar event occurring in future.

This “ground movement” occurred after Cecilia, one of their tunnel boring machines (TBMs) needed to stop for some routine maintenance. Cecilia stopped on 9 May for some maintenance and then restarted on 12 May. She had a burst pipe so had to stop again later in the day for some further maintenance and repair. When she restarted on 13 July the sinkhole, which is approximately 6m in diameter and 5m deep, was spotted by HS2 Ltd’s surveying team. HS2 Ltd notified key stakeholders including the landowner and tenants, the Environment Agency (EA) and Affinity Water. As soon as the ground movement was reported HS2 Ltd fenced off the area with thick black tarpaulin to shield the hole and ensure public safety.

Cecilia had been working 30m below ground level in Shardeloes Park and Garden when she entered a dissolution feature and movement then occurred at the surface. Florence, the second TBM had already travelled through this area without incident. Both TBMs have now safely passed under the River Misbourne and the A413.

Once access arrangements are agreed with the landowner and tenant, HS2 Ltd’s contractor, Align, will carry out a photographic reconstruction survey of the whole route before remedial works begin and their environmental experts will check trees in the historic parkland to ensure that the access route from the temporary compound to the sinkhole avoids Root Protection Areas and that there is adequate separation from trees with nesting bats or owls, etc. All grazing stock will be moved prior to works and Align will provide traffic marshals for the duration of the works to manage vehicle movements and pedestrians on the public right of way.

The existing topsoil and subsoil material will be removed from the base of the sinkhole followed by a structural backfill of the area (approximately 150-200 cubic metres) to approximately 400mm below the existing ground level. Chalk material from one of the local vent shaft sites at Little Missenden or Amersham will be used for this.

Then secondary landscape remediation will follow between one to three months later once the ground has stabilised. The 400mm layer of subsoil and topsoil will be reinstated and tied into existing grassland and the whole area reseeded. The fence around the site will be retained until the grass establishes.

Align, forecast that the first stage remedial works will take approximately two weeks. The second stage will follow later and will take approximately one week. These works are intended to restore the landscape to how it was previously. Appropriate archaeological monitoring will also be conducted in consultation with Historic England, Buckinghamshire Council’s archaeologist and the Gardens Trust.

Align wish to carry out these works during the dry summer period, when the impact will be reduced, and are working with the landowners and other stakeholders to progress the works as soon as possible. There will be a partial road closure on Highmore Cottages and a partial inside lane closure on the A413 from 29 August to 8 September from 10am to 3pm for delivery of plant and materials to the site. Diversion signage will be in place to direct traffic via Taylors Lane and the public right of way will remain open with traffic marshalls to ensure public safety during working hours.

Further information on the sinkhole can be found on the HS2 FAQs document.

Martin Tett, Leader, Cllr Gareth Williams Deputy Leader, and Steve Hall, HS2 Marshall at Buckinghamshire Council on site shortly after the appearance of the sinkhole.

Buckinghamshire Council are working with HS2 Ltd to communicate to residents the impacts of the works to the Princess Risborough to Aylesbury Line

Buckinghamshire Council have been working with HS2 Ltd and their contractor, EKFB, to ensure that residents are fully informed about the works being carried out on the Princes Risborough to Aylesbury (PRA) rail line. EKFB will be constructing, moving, and commissioning a new rail line. The realignment, which is only about 20m from the original line, is integral to keeping the Network Rail line open as HS2 passes through. There work will require a 10-week closure of the PRA line, known as a blockade, whilst EKFB carry out their works. This is planned to be between Saturday 19 August and Monday 30 October 2023.

EKFB have agreed with Network Rail and Chiltern Railways to carry out the works within this 10-week period to shorten the period of disruption for all rail users and residents. This means that during this time there will be periods of 24 hour working, subject to consents, to allow the live railway to switch from the existing line onto the new track.

EKFB aim to complete the majority of the noisy 24 hour works during the school summer holidays, to take into account Booker Park School which is situated next to the railway line. This is a specialist SEND school which teaches an array of students with varying degrees of sensitivity to noise. For this reason, EKFB have agreed to reduce the disruption to pupils by limiting noisy works during their school hours 8.30am to 3.30pm. There will be some operational noise during the overnight works as well as tower lighting to allow work to be carried out safely during the night shift. EKFB have carried out some noise and vibration modelling on the planned activities and some properties located near-by may be impacted for short periods of time. EKFB are contacting residents of these houses separately.

Road users of North Lee Lane will have to follow a diversion route during the Marsh Lane crossing upgrade from the 18 August until spring 2024.

There will also be a traffic light-controlled HGV crossing point across the A418 Oxford Road from Tuesday 8 August to Friday 25 August 2023 from 8am to 6pm to facilitate the transport of essential aggregate materials to the PRA work site. These will be manually controlled by an operative on site to give priority to road users.

Footpath closures will be in place during the 10-week blockade to install a noise hoarding alongside the Princess Risborough to Aylesbury Line at the back of the Hawkslade estate. This will reduce the operational noise to properties close to the railway line during the works.

EKFB are planning to divert the current water main for Brook Farm away from the HS2 line and look to reconnect to an existing water main along Marsh Lane. Due to the nature of the works, there may be disruption to the local water supply and a road closure on Marsh Lane between 8am and 6pm Monday 21 August to Friday 25 August 2023. Safe access to properties along the road will be maintained via traffic lights.

Details of these closures and diversions can be found on the HS2 in your area webpage.

Network Rail also havea video explaining the works starting on 7 August.

To find out more about how these works may affect you, EKFB are running a series of community engagement events and online over the coming months. Details can be found on the HS2 Events web page.

You can also book a 20-minute virtual 1-1 on the PRA line works between 3pm-7pm from July to October.

Addressing residents’ concerns about HGVs on our highways

Our HS2 & EWR Marshalls Steve Hall and Mark Rann have been busy following up residents’ complaints about HS2 HGVs on our roads and have been able to report these instances to HS2 Ltd, which has resulted in warnings or formal notices being issued to individual drivers over the last few months.These include:

  • Multiple HGVs parking on the carriageway at the junction of the A355 and Bottrells Lane, using the area as an unauthorised rest stop. A CCTV camera has now been installed here to deter further instances.
  • HGVs travelling in excess in the 40mph limit on the A355 at Beaconsfield.
  • HGVs driving side by side at 50mph all the way down the dual carriageway from Great Missenden to Amersham, causing a significant tail-back.
  • Instances of vehicles travelling off their approved routes.

The Council’s Marshalls are out across the county every day and if you have concerns about any HS2 HGVs or issues you would like us to look in to, such as vehicles traveling off their approved route, driving standards, or excessive speeds, please let us know and we will investigate. We will need the location, date, time, and registration number of the vehicle or better still a photo (if it is safe to do so). You can contact us at: ewrandhs2enquiries@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

Buckinghamshire Council coordinated efforts for improvements to Nash Lee Lane following complaints from residents

In the first month following the opening of the realigned Nash Lee Road and Nash Lee Lane to accommodate HS2 construction, we received a variety of complaints from residents who expressed concerns regarding road safety. Additionally, there were two similar incidents just a few days apart, involving vehicles travelling at excessive speeds who both failed to stop at the end of Nash Lee Lane, resulting in crashes into the gardens of neighbouring properties. One of the residents shared his concerns on BBC Three Counties Radio and the incident was also published on the main BBC news website.

Following the incidents, we co-ordinated a meeting on site between officials from Buckinghamshire Council and EKFB with residents, plus representatives from both the Parish Council and the Wendover HS2 Mitigation Action Group. At that meeting residents shared their concerns about both the speed and volume of traffic using Nash Lee Lane, which was thought to be caused by motorists mistaking this for Nash Lee Road and therefore being unaware that Nash Lee Lane is a short road and also a cul-de-sac. As a result of this meeting a range of measures was agreed for implementation by EKFB which the residents thought were a good solution.

Within three weeks of the meeting all but one of the agreed 14 short/medium term measures agreed, had been implemented. There have not been any further incidents at this location.

HS2 Road Safety Fund update

The HS2 Road Safety Fund aims to provide a legacy of improved road safety for communities impacted by HS2 construction. The total fund for the project is £30 million with £3.95m allocated to Buckinghamshire Council.

Since the move to Buckinghamshire Highways in April, officers from Buckinghamshire Council and its new highways partners have been working together to progress the agreed Tranche 1 HS2 Road Safety Schemes. We expect these schemes to be delivered by the end of 2023. These include:

  • During the Summer Holidays - the existing crossing outside Stoke Mandeville Combined School is being upgraded to a parallel crossing, accommodating cyclists as well as pedestrians. This will improve safety for pupils cycling to and from school.
  • By the end of September - a range of traffic calming measures at Water Stratford and on School Hill, Charndon, together with the introduction of parking restrictions on Werner Terrace, Charndon will be completed.
  • By the end of December, a further three schemes will be delivered, these are - Puffin Crossings outside Hyde Heath Infant School and over the A422 at Westbury, and a footpath at Ellesborough adjacent to the A4010, between the Fremantle Nursing Home and the petrol station at the junction with North Lee Lane.

Design work is currently underway on agreed Tranche 2 schemes, which include:

  • Traffic calming measures at both Gawcott and Kingsey.
  • Widening of the bell mouth of School Hill Charndon where it intersects with Perry Hill.
  • Crossings outside Robertswood Primary School, Chalfont St Peter, and on the A418 at Wing.
  • Raising of existing crossings at Chalfont St Giles.

Feasibility work is also taking place on potential footpath schemes at Ashendon and along the A355 between Longbottom Lane and Ledborough Lane.

The final tranche of the HS2 Road Safety Fund will be launched once all the Tranche 2 schemes are agreed and we know how much of the budget is left. This will be advertised in the local press, on our website and we will inform all members and parishes through our regular newsletters.

If you have any queries regarding the HS2 Road Safety Fund, please email: hs2roadsafetyfund@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

Details of all HS2 Road Safety Schemes delivered and those in the pipeline can be found on our website.

CCTV new locations and requests for future camera locations

Buckinghamshire Council has three mobile CCTV cameras to monitor which are used to monitor the impact of HS2 construction.

The CCTV cameras are currently located at:

  • Location: A413 Great Missenden Link Road roundabout
  • Reason for deployment: to review HS2 HGVs on roundabout and observe abnormal load movements
  • Location: Bottrells Lane
  • Reason for deployment: to observe any HS2 HGVs parking on the Bottrells Lane carriageway
  • Location: A355 western side, south of the Maxwell Road junction, Beaconsfield
  • Reason for deployment: to identify any HS2 HGVs using local roads rather than the new bypass

Any queries or concerns regarding the use of CCTV should be sent by email to EWRandHS2enquiries@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

You can also propose a location which would benefit from the placement of a mobile CCTV camera using our online form below. Note that suggestions will only be considered where there is evidence of disruption caused by HS2 construction works. Suggest a camera location here.

HS2 Ltd Chief Executive resigns

Mark Thurston, HS2 Ltd’s Chief Executive announced his resignation in July after six and a half years of leading the high-speed rail organisation. Mark will leave in the autumn when Chairman, Jon Thompson, will step up as interim Chief Executive. Mr Thurston’s resignation comes at the height of the construction of Phase One of HS2, with major works taking place at more than 350 sites between London and the West Midlands.

Mark Thurston joined HS2 Ltd in March 2017, shortly before construction of Phase One of the high-speed railway began. During this time there has been a mobilisation of a 28,500 strong construction workforce and a variety of major UK and European contractors.

However, the project has also suffered series delays, cost increases and political pressure. There is speculation about the future of the project, as well as whether its scope, including the speed and frequency of trains it could accommodate will be watered down. The Government says it remains committed to delivering the high-speed railway, however on the 20 July the Infrastructure and Projects Authority published its annual report on major projects giving HS2 a red rating which implies that “Successful delivery of the project appears to be unachievable.” The rating means that there are “major issues with project definition, schedule, budget, quality and/or benefits delivery, which at this stage do not appear to be manageable or resolvable.” The IPA report said that “The project may need re-scoping and/or its overall viability reassessed.”

The London to Birmingham leg of HS2 was originally due to open in 2026, but is now expected between 2029 and 2033. The leg of the line to Leeds has been scrapped, replaced by a shorter high-speed line which will link Birmingham and East Midlands Parkway. In March, the government announced it was delaying the Birmingham to Crewe leg by two years to cut costs. Work at London Euston has also been paused for two years after costs increased from £2.6bn to £4.8bn.

An HS2 Ltd spokesperson said the priority now is to ensure that the initial high-speed services connecting Old Oak Common in west London and Birmingham Curzon Street are running by the current target of the early 2030s.

Announcing his resignation, Mr Thurston said “Leading this organisation has been the highlight of my career and a privilege from the first day – the programme has come such a long way and I want to thank everyone who has worked on the project during my time. The next 18-24 months will see the project move into an exciting new stage. I have agreed with the board that someone else should lead the organisation and programme through what will be another defining period for HS2.”

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper MP paid tribute to Mr Thurston who he credited with “successfully overseeing the start of construction and ensuring HS2 has created tens of thousands of skilled jobs and apprenticeships across the country.” He added “As HS2 enters its next phase, the government remains committed to unlocking all the benefits of this flagship infrastructure scheme – increasing rail capacity, connecting communities, and growing the economy."

HS2 community contributions in Buckinghamshire

HS2 Ltd and its contractors have a programme of community investment, supporting communities through volunteering, skills, and education, and working with parish councils and community groups along the line of the future railway through Buckinghamshire.

HS2Ltd’s contractors Align and EKFB, have supported a number of projects in Buckinghamshire by providing funding or volunteers. Recent projects included:

Chalfont St Giles play park

  • EKFB supported the Buckingham Country Show event on 3 June by facilitating fencing, tower lights, welfare units, generators, and cones. They also contributed towards security costs. The organisers were able to raise £40K for charity and have thanked the EKFB team for the significant savings resulting from the donations.
  • Chalfont St Giles Play Park was opened recently, having been designed with assistance from Align via community feedback, and based on the River Misbourne and the village footbridge.
  • EKFB assisted the organisers of Twy-Fest with the donation of equipment to be used on the day. Tower lights increased security during the night events and HERAS fencing and cones helped segregate pedestrians from cars in the field during the day. A donation from EKFB also allowed the organisers to cover the costs of security personnel. The organisers said, “The support from EKFB played a large part in keeping our event safe for attendees and I am very happy to report that we had no safety related incidents at all - thank you again.”
  • Align donated refreshments and snacks for Carers Week, at the Epilepsy Centre in Chalfont St Peter for those supporting the centre and its residents.
  • Fifteen volunteers from EKFB & HS2 attended Lindengate in Wendover and completed many tasks on the six-acre site. These included weeding around one of the many ponds, turning compost, re-barking the footpaths, planting, and transporting shingle around the site to improve drainage.
  • EKFB have sponsored the Le Grande Tour, organised by the PACE Centre in Aylesbury, supporting babies and toddlers with cerebral palsy. A team from their Aylesbury construction site also participated in the 300-mile challenge.
  • Align and EKFB are working with the Great Missenden Walled Garden assisting with utilities surveys on site, leading to the installation of a new polytunnel.
  • There have also been donations of woodchip/topsoil to local schools, litter picks, foodbank donations and the purchase of tickets for local schoolchildren to attend Claydon house for the Summer Ballet.
  • Three engineers from EKFB visited Chesham Grammar School on the morning of 12 July to participate in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) morning for year 8 students. Sophie Henderson, Joe Marsh, and Tom Kelly ran workshops on designing and building bridges.


If you have a local project or community initiative that you think HS2 Ltd might be able to help with please get in touch with them through the HS2 Helpdesk or giving them a call on 08081 434 434.

HS2 Ongoing Work

You can see the work that is taking place in Buckinghamshire on the HS2 website,‘In Your Area’ section, (Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire) and sign up for automatic alerts. HS2 Ltd or contractors are committed to sending out Advanced Warning Notices 2 weeks ahead of works commencing.

Works in Buckinghamshire

I have listed some of the main works in the table below (please note this is not a comprehensive list):

Works

Duration

Colne Valley Viaduct.

Mar 2021 - December 2023.

Colne Valley Viaduct, Moorhall Road, Hillingdon – phased road traffic management for viaduct crossing works. There will be a fully signed diversion route during full road closure, pedestrian access will be maintained.

Phased traffic management on Moorhall Road from Saturday 15 July to Friday 27 October 2023 ranging from a single lane closure to a full road closure for all vehicles from Friday 28 July to Friday 18 August.

Chalfont St Giles, CSG10/1 and CSG32/1 footpath closures.

Jun 2020 - Feb 2030.

Chalfont St Giles, Bottom House Farm Lane closure.

Aug 2021 - June 2023.

Fleet Marsden, Blackgrove Road, temporary traffic lights for BT and Thames Water utility diversion works ahead of the A41 realignment and localised vegetation clearance.

27 February 2023 to 22 September 2023.

Wendover, Rocky Lane 24-hour lane closure for connection of a watermain.

Monday 21 to Friday 25 August 24-hour lane closure with temporary traffic lights.

Wendover, lane closures on the A413 Wendover Bypass to finalise installation of the power connection to the HS2 site off the bypass.

24-hour road closure Monday 14 to Friday 18 August.

Little Missenden A413 daytime single lane closures for works surveys. Single lane closure on A413 dual carriageway heading north towards Aylesbury.

5 June to mid-July and then monthly until December. Lane closures will be 9.30am to 3.30pm.

Little Missenden, temporary closure of the inside lane of A413 and access to Highmore Cottages to deliver plant and materials to reinstate the area of ground movement in the Shardeloes Estate.

Partial road closure on Highmore Cottages and partial inside lane closure on the A413 from 29 August to 8 September 10am to 3pm.

Great Missenden overnight road closures for preparatory works for the Wendover Dean Viaduct.

From July 2022.

Aylesbury, south earthworks cutting.

Oct 2021 - Oct 2024.

Aylesbury, a number of long-term public rights of way closures for construction of internal haul road and HS2 line.

Oct 2021 - late 2024.

Marsh Lane and Old Risborough Road closures.

May 2021-Apr 2026.

Princess Risborough to Aylesbury line 10-week closure (blockade) to construct, move and commission the new line.

Network Rail safety upgrades on the Marsh Lane crossing.

Monday 7 to Friday 18August closure of the Princess Risborough to Aylesbury line and the Wendover Line for Network Rail works.

Friday 18 August after 8.00pm Marsh Lane Crossing closed for Network Rail works until Spring 2024.

Saturday 19 August 2023 to Monday 30 October 2023 24-hour closure of the Princess Risborough Aylesbury Line.

Princess Risborough to Aylesbury Line footpath closures to clear vegetation and tree removal to allow installation of noise hoarding to mitigate noise during the 10-week closure (blockade) described above.

Saturday 5 August 2023 to November 2023 footpath closure and installation of noise hoarding.

Monday 31 July to Friday 4 August vegetation clearance.

Princes Risborough, A418 Oxford Road traffic management for HGV crossing to transport essential aggregate materials to the PRA work site.

Tuesday 8 August to Friday 25 August 8am to 6pm.

Princess Risborough, Marsh Lane road closure for installation of a water main for Brook Farm.

Monday 21 August to Friday 25 August 8am to 6pm.

Mixbury 24-hour diversion of a section of 303/4 bridleway whilst the new bridleway overbridge is completed.

Early March 2023 until overbridge completed.

Quainton, Station Road daytime closures for deliveries of material for the construction of the Quainton Railhead.

Full road closure for safety reasons during construction of the railhead.

Closures 8.00am-6.00pm from Monday 3 October 2022.

A section of Station Road will be fully closed from 19 September 2022- Autumn 2023.

Quainton, lane closure on Station Road South for BT diversion works. Station Road South, just before the junction with Quainton Road and Fiddlers Field/Snakes Lane will be under 3-way temporary traffic lights.

Monday 14 August to Friday 18 August.

Preston Bissett and Twyford PROW closures for construction of Twyford embankment and Godington East culvert.

April/May 2022 to early 2026.

Waddesdon PROW closures for construction work.

April 2022 to late 2024.

Denham, overnight closures of A412 to install giant red girder for deck of Colne Valley Viaduct.

19 August to 25 October 10pm to 6am every night.

Gawcott Road/Perry Hill 4-way lights for electric cable installation on Gawcott Road.

Thursday 11 and Friday 12 May, crossroad of Gawcott Road/Perry Hill and West Street.

Steeple Claydon, temporary two-way traffic lights 24 hours/day on two sections of Steeple Claydon Road to carry out works to old water main.

Monday 7 August to Sunday 13 August 2023.

Wendover, Nash Lee Road, 24-hour road closure to introduce further safety measures at the roundabout and the plant crossing.

Monday 21 August to Friday 26 August 24 hours/day.

HS2 Forthcoming Works Packages for submission to Buckinghamshire Council

Schedule 17 of the HS2 Act puts in place a process for the approval of certain matters relating to the design and construction of the railway, which requires that the nominated undertaker (HS2 Ltd and its contractors) must seek approval of these matters from the relevant planning authority. As deemed planning permission has been granted by the Act, requests for approval under Schedule 17 are not planning applications and there are few grounds on which the Council can refuse.

Buckinghamshire Council have recently received quite a long list of forthcoming works packages from HS2. You can view these at the HS2 Forthcoming Works Packages for submission to Buckinghamshire Council website.

Buckinghamshire Council HS2 coordination team

To contact the HS2 Community Engagement Officers and the HS2 Marshals please email: EWRANDHS2enquiries@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

HS2 Ltd Helpdesk and Mobile Visitor Centre

Emailto HS2Enquiries at HS2enquiries@hs2.org.uk

Freephone 08081 434 434

Minicom (used to help people with hearing or speech difficulties) 08081 456 472

Post to FREEPOST, HS2 Community Hub

Upcoming Mobile Visitor Centre and Drop In Events Dates and Locations

  • 14 August: 3.00pm-7.00pm. Chalfont St Giles, Memorial Hall, School Lane, Chalfont St Giles HP8 4JJ
  • 15 August: 10.00am-3.00pm. Hawkslade Community Centre, Orwell Drive, Aylesbury, HP21 9JL
  • 22 August: 10.00am-3.00pm. Hawkslade Community Centre, Orwell Drive, Aylesbury, HP21 9JL
  • 31 August: 8am-6pm. Bucks County Show, Weedon Park, Aylesbury, HP22 4NN
  • 5 September: 10.00pm-3.00pm. Manor Waste, Wendover HP22 6EA
  • 14 September: 3.00pm-7.00pm. Great Missenden Memorial Hall, Link Road, Great Missenden HP16 9AE
  • 14 September: 2.00pm-6.00pm. Hawkslade Community Centre, Orwell Drive, Aylesbury, HP21 9JL
  • 27 September: 10.00am-3.00pm. Ellesborough Parish Hall, Ellesborough Road, Butler’s Cross, Aylesbury HP17 0XA
  • 10 October: 4.00pm-6.00pm. Chesham Town Hall, Parsonage Lane, Chesham, HP5 1EP
  • 10 October: 2.00pm-6.00pm. Eskdale Community Centre, Eskdale Road, Stoke Mandeville HP22 5UJ
  • 16 October: 3.00pm-7.00pm. Amersham Free Church, Woodside Road, Amersham, HP6 6AJ
  • 16 November: 3.00pm-7.00pm. Chalfont St Giles, Memorial Hall, School Lane, Chalfont St Giles HP8 4JJ
  • 7 December: 3.00pm-7.00pm. Great Missenden Memorial Hall, Link Road, Great Missenden HP16 9AE
  • 14 December: 3.00pm-7.00pm. Kings Church, Raans Road, Amersham, HP16 6LX

Pre-booking is not required to visit the HS2 Mobile Visitor Centre, and people are free to drop in at any time. Please check the dates on the HS2 events page before attending in case of any changes. Future dates will be advertised on HS2 events.

Consultations on Planning Changes

11

August 2023

The Government have announced a series of planning consultations taking place this summer. Full details can be accessed by clicking on the links below.

The first focusses on proposed changes to Permitted Development Rights this includes change of use and the use of local design codes. Thisconsultationwill run from 24 July 2023 to 25 September 2023.

The second consultation, includes a series of proposals aimed at making the preparation of Local Plans simpler, faster and more accessible in England. This consultation, will close on 18 October 2023.

The third and final consultation, looks at streamlining and enabling the faster delivery of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) including off-shore wind, transport links and other major infrastructure. The closing date for thisconsultation is the 19 September 2023.

Bucks Household Recycling Centres continue to get top marks from residents

09

August 2023

Overall satisfaction with all ten of the county’s Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) is 100% according to the latest figures from the bi-annual Customer Satisfaction Survey.

The survey is carried out twice a year to gauge opinions of regular users of the sites and to ensure the facilities continue to meet the requirements of local residents.

The results show:

  • 100% of those interviewed said they were satisfied overall with the HRCs (61% said they were very satisfied and 39% said they were satisfied).
  • The layout of containers on site and the helpfulness of site staff also received 100% satisfaction ratings.
  • The area of least satisfaction was with road signs to the site which received a 97% satisfaction rating and traffic queues which received a 98% satisfaction rating.
  • Satisfaction with the range of materials which can be recycled has increased from the last survey.
  • Customers in Burnham gave the highest number of ‘very satisfied’ ratings of all the sites.

Gareth Williams, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment said: “These results are a great indicator of the popularity of our household recycling centres. Our wish is to make it as easy as possible for people to be able to get rid of their household waste and recycling in a responsible and convenient way. It’s great to hear that the vast majority of our customers are pleased with how the centres are run and we will aim to continue this trend and listen to all the feedback to see if we can make further improvements.”

FCC Environment manages the ten HRCs across the county on behalf of Buckinghamshire Council.

FCC Environment’s HRC Contract Manager James Reseigh commented: “The recent survey results are fantastic and a true reflection of the continued hard work and dedication of the team members operating the sites. This comes hot on the heels of our High Wycombe site winning the Civic Amenity Site of the Year in the National Recycling Awards which was an amazing achievement. But it’s good to have it confirmed that our visitors feel that we deliver a great service. We are excited to continue to do so over the duration of the contract.”

The survey also asked site users about the reuse facilities at the HRC sites, gauging awareness of the reuse shops at Aston Clinton and High Wycombe HRCs and their knowledge of donating items for resale and reuse.

In 2022-23, reuse tonnage was 941 tonnes in total, the equivalent weight to more than 78 double decker buses. Staff working at all HRCs also keep an eye out for items brought to the sites to see whether they can be resold and direct residents to the reuse area. Items are taken from all 10 sites and delivered to the two shops in Aston Clinton and High Wycombe. Top selling items include furniture, garden ornaments, crockery and sporting equipment – all of which can be donated directly to one of the reuse shops which are run by South Bucks Hospice.

In the survey, over two-thirds of respondents (70%) claimed to know that all HRC sites keep reusable items separate. These items are then sold in one of South Bucks Hospice's charity shops. Of those asked, 64% said they would donate if they knew what items could be donated.

The reuse shops are open for the same hours as the HRCs and are staffed by South Bucks Hospice staff. The reuse shop at High Wycombe now has its own car park and entrance which has increased footfall to the shop. More donations are always welcome.

Jackie Ward, CEO of South Bucks Hospice, said: “Reusing and recycling has always been popular with many people but with continued cost of living pressures, even more people are looking at ways to make their money go further and reuse shops like these can be great places to find a bargain. We are finding that many items are being snapped up almost as soon as they are donated so we are always keen for people to donate more. You can combine two trips in one, get rid of your waste and donate to charity at the same time.”

To find a full list of Household Recycling Centres in Buckinghamshire, visit the council’s website.

Longwick Village Hall Summer Fest 23rd September

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August 2023