Buckingham Otter Trail

The Buckingham Otter Trail 2021 was a temporary feel good public art event featuring ten individually decorated, 3ft sized otter sculptures displayed across town and surrounding green spaces from July 23rd - August 31st.

The trail was a fantastic way for residents and visitors to explore Buckingham and find out more about its businesses, artists and local attractions. Sponsored by local businesses and organisations, the otters were beautifully decorated by professional artists, school children and community groups in all sorts of colours and mediums which brought much excitement to the town over summer.

The free, inclusive public art sculpture trail was the perfect family friendly day out and made many happy memories. All ten otters were together one final time which gave people a chance to say their final farewells at the first ever Celebrate Buckingham Event. If you didn't get a chance to do the the trail you can read all about it below.

The sculptures will now be auctioned off to raise funds for the Mayor's charities and to support a future similar event in 2022.

Otter name: Jeff

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Otter name: Canalotto

Artist: Zoe Day

Otter name: Lockii

Artist: Young people at My FutureSelf Matters

Otter name: Prints of the Future

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Otter name: Lacey

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Otter name: Patchy

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Otter name: Olive Otterson

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Otter name: Monty

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Otter name: Jimmy Fisher

Artist: YC2/ Buckingham & Winslow Young Carers and designer Kate Lowe

Sponsor: Buckingham Town Council

Otter name: Flo

Artist: Derryn Snowdon and staff at Buckingham Community Hospital

Sponsor: Buckingham Town Council

Fun Fact Friday: Lark Rise to Candleford

Larkrise to Candleford is a famous novel that showcases how a young Flora Thompson grew up in the scenic Buckinghamshire countryside. Flora wrote poems and short stories for many years but it was not until 1945 that the Lark Rise trilogy was published. Before that, the stories were published separately as Lark Rise in 1939, Over to Candleford in 1941 and Candleford Green in 1943.

The stories relate to three communities: the hamlet of Juniper Hill (Lark Rise), where Flora grew up; Buckingham (Candleford), where Flora visited and the nearby village of Fringford (Candleford Green), where Flora got her first job in the Post Office.

Candleford is a combination of Banbury, Bicester and Buckingham. Throughout the book, Candleford is highlighted as a special and realistic type of place, showing how typical village life was like at the end of the 19th century. The stories are told in the third person by ‘Laura’, a version of the author’s childhood self who observes events directly, while the adult author is also present as a second narrator, commenting and reflecting on past events.

Due to Flora Thompson writing her account of previous events that happened nearly forty years after, she was able to identify the period as a pivotal point in rural history: the time when the quiet, close-knit and peaceful rural culture, governed by the seasons, began a transformation. This transformation saw the start of agricultural modernisation, better communications and urban growth which you can see in today’s society. This transformation is not explicitly described but it appears as a fable, for example in Laura’s first visit to Candleford without her parents: the journey from her tiny village to the sophisticated town, represented the worldly changes that would affect her whole community in the future. How do you think Buckingham would have appeared back then?

You can still very much feel Flora Thompson’s presence within these locations, Buckingham especially. One reason for this is because her uncle had owned a factory in Markham’s Court where she would make regular visits too. Another reason is because Buckingham’s Old Gaol Museum has an exhibition all about Flora Thompson’s life and works which was formally opened on 25th May 2007 to coincide with the sixtieth anniversary of her death. It is the only permanent, viewable exhibition of Flora Thompson memorabilia in the world. The display has been augmented over the years with costumes and props from the BBC film production of “Lark Rise to Candleford” and many artefacts from the museum’s collections that illustrate the life and times of the local rural communities that Flora wrote about so eloquently in her books.

Buckingham Town Council freezes budget

Buckingham Town Council has voted to maintain the same budget for 2021/22 as the council has provided for in the current year. At the Town Council meeting held to set the budget councillors voted to raise £903,990 through Council Tax in total, the same as for the current year. However, in the coming year the cost will be shared amongst slightly fewer people. This has been caused by an increase in the number of houses claiming Council Tax benefit, and less homes being completed in 2020 than forecast. This means that to maintain the current budget of £903,930, the annual cost for a Band D household will be £173.27, an increase of £4.21 or just over 8p per week.

The Council provides a wide range of services compared to those run by neighbouring councils, including:

• Public toilets in Cornwalls Meadow and Chandos Park
• Tourist Information Centre
• Shopmobility
• Lace Hill Sports and Community Centre
• Brackley Road Cemetery
• Bourton Park
• 5 play areas
• Annual programme of over 20 events including the fireworks display and Fringe Week
• Defending and refreshing the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan
• Providing grants to local community groups

Councillor Geraldine Collins, Mayor of Buckingham, said: “The Town Council has done its utmost to keep any increase to our residents as low as possible, whilst ensuring our services are maintained at the expected level. I hope you will agree this has been achieved.”

Buxplore is now on Google Play!

Eight months after its initial launch, Buckingham’s very own heritage exploration app Buxplore has been used by a fantastic 2,700 people! To celebrate, the app is now going to be available to download directly from the Google Play store.

Download Buxplore from the Google Play store!

This moment is a fantastic milestone for the community project, which was created by Buckingham Town Council working with local schools, the Old Gaol museum and the Buckingham Society, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players through the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Buxplore is a fun and interactive heritage exploration app. Answering questions you might have had whilst walking around Buckingham from ‘what is that?’, ‘who lived here?’ and ‘what used to be there?’ with interactive trails on a number of themes, including an introduction to local Heritage for Kids, the Stowe House parkland and a challenging murder mystery!

All of the Buxplore app routes can be completed by walking around Buckingham. Lots of users have told us that a trip out trying Buxplore has livened up their daily exercise. You can also use Buxplore from home using ‘virtual mode’ if you are self-isolating.

The Town Council is currently working on several new routes and upgrades to the app. Suggestions from the public about features you’d like to see are welcome. Please email office@buckingham-tc.gov.uk with your ideas.

Cllr. Mike Smith Chair of the Economic Development Working Group who started the project said “The Buxplore project, which has involved inputs by local groups and many individuals, has already proved to be a valuable asset for local people and visitors to fully explore our historic and picturesque town. Indeed, the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic has seen many "armchair explorers" amazed at what they could learn about their home town. Perhaps most pleasing has been the engagement of our younger townsfolk - good grounding for a lifetime of heritage appreciation.

The National Heritage Lottery Fund has certainly enabled us to create a worthwhile and engaging addition to our numerous other reasons to fully enjoy our lovely town and all it has to offer, and we are most grateful to them".

Buxplore logo
Two children touch ammonite set into a brick wall
National Lottery Heritage Fund logo

Download Buxplore from the Google Play store!

Become a Town Councillor: Stand for Election on May 6th 2021

Interested in representing Buckingham as a Councillor?

If you would like the opportunity to represent Buckingham as a Town Councillor or a Buckinghamshire Council Councillor now is the time to stand for election.

Applications to stand are called nomination papers and must be received between Monday 22nd March and 4pm Thursday 8th April. Nomination papers must be handed in, in person, to the election office in Aylesbury. Read this detailed letter to Town and Parish Council candidates for more information about the process:

Town Councillors represent Buckingham is a number of areas from the management of parks and green spaces, to acting as a consultee for planning applications and local events.

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Town Councillor, come along to our open information session Monday 8th March 2021, at 7pm on Zoom. For details of how to log on and join the meeting, please email the Town Clerk at townclerk@buckingham-tc.gov.uk, If you cannot attend, or would like any more information about the role, do email us or call the office on the number below.

If you haven't done so before, you may also find it useful to attend a Town Council meeting.

The (Local) Returning Officer will be holding virtual briefings via Microsoft Teams for candidates and agents. For the Aylesbury election areas this is 4pm on Wednesday 10 March. If you’d like to attend one of the briefings please email elections@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

There is more information about Buckinghamshire Council's responsibilities and how to stand for election as a Buckinghamshire Councillor on their website.