Council celebrates the decision to keep Buckingham’s last public phone box

Buckingham Town Council are celebrating the decision by Buckinghamshire Council to object to the removal of the last phone box in the town. Objections to the removal were submitted to Buckinghamshire Council by the Town Council and also Buckinghamshire Councillor Warren Whyte.

Buckinghamshire Council officers revealed in their Case Officer Report that
“A leaflet produced by BT about their policy on payphone removals states that no payphones will be identified for removal in suicide hotspots, accident blackspots, where there is no mobile coverage and within 400 metres of the coast. In addition they will not remove payphones where there is a reasonable need. For this criteria they will retain a payphone where it is the only payphone within 800 metres, which has had at least 12 calls in a 12 month period and where the local population is not fewer than 500 households within 1km of the payphone. …The data provided alongside the notification, indicates that the payphone kiosk has 6 uses per month – and therefore on average 72 uses per annum. The kiosk also appears to be in location where there are more than 500 households within 1km. In addition the nearest phone box to the notification site is in excess of one mile away, and therefore it is considered that the kiosk in question may fall into the category of having “reasonable need”, and therefore further justification would be required to overcome concerns raised.”

The phone box in question is on Market Hill opposite M & Co. The nearest remaining phone box would be in Middle Claydon. BT have to follow an agreed process when they remove the last public phone in an area, which includes requesting permission from Buckinghamshire Council.

Buckingham Town Councillors had opposed the removal of the phone box, pointing out that it is in the centre of town and accessible to all; not everyone has a mobile, or unrestricted access to a phone – such as children, vulnerable adults, or those in an abusive relationship who may need to call a helpline without the abuser knowing. The means of calling the emergency services is also vital in a town centre where accidents or medical emergencies may occur. The sparse local bus service may mean that residents of surrounding villages need to call a private hire cab if they miss their bus home for any reason.

Town Mayor Geraldine Collins said, “I am delighted that our last remaining Public Phone Box is to stay and that this vital service remains available to our community”.

Impact of Coronavirus Measures on Buckingham Town Council Services

Following the Government’s announcement of new national restrictions to reduce the spread of Covid-19, Buckingham Town Council has reduced and removed some services for the duration of the new measures.

Grounds Maintenance

The Grounds Maintenance Team are continuing to work to maintain Bourton and Chandos Parks, green spaces and the cemetery.  Burials will continue to be arranged.

Play areas will remain open and play area checks and repairs will continue.  Parents and guardians should take appropriate steps to ensure children’s safety and hygiene is projected when using equipment.

Multi Use Games Areas and adult outdoor gym equipment will be closed in line with the new restrictions.

Members of the public are asked to remember that Town Council staff have been instructed to have minimal direct contact while they are at work, so all questions about Council services should be made by phone or email wherever possible.

Markets

The Town’s markets remain very much open.  The market provides people with a low risk outdoor place to shop for essential supplies.  Stalls are placed apart from each other and socially distanced queuing remains in place.  All stall holders have been asked to make sure they have some means of hand washing at their stall which they should use regularly.  This is a great way to support local businesses at this time.

Shopmobility

The Shopmobility Service is now closed temporarily.

Tourist Information Centre

The Tourist Information Centre has been closed temporarily.  However, staff are still available to answer queries by telephone and email during working hours:

Opening Hours
Monday – Friday, 10.00am to 4.00pm
Contact Us
Phone: 01280 823 020
Email: TIC@buckingham-tc.gov.uk
Web: www.discoverbuckingham.uk

Lace Hill Sports and Community Centre

The Centre will be closed, except for a very small number of users who meet the new requirements.

Events

No Town Council events are now planned for December.  The events programme for 2021 will be reviewed in the New Year.

Town Council Office

The Town Council office is now closed to visitors.  However staff are still working and phone calls and emails will be responded to in the usual way: office@buckingham-tc.gov.uk or by phone 01280 826426.

Play Areas Open Image showing Otters Brook play area
Multi Use Games Areas closed showing roped off area
Outdoor Gyms closed sign showing trim trail in park
Stop: outdoor staff may be working in the parks, please do not approach them
Tourist Information Centre, Shopmobility and Lace Hill buildings

Moreton Road gas main replacement

Scotia Gas Networks have asked us to pass on the following message about Moreton Road roadworks.

“As you will be aware, SGN have commenced an urgent programme of work to replace gas main on Moreton Road from the junction of the High Street to Western Avenue. We will be replacing an old metal mandatory gas main with a new plastic main to ensure we can continue to provide gas safely and efficiently to the local area long into the future. This work is essential.

We apologise for not having had the opportunity to communicate with you sooner. SGN are responding to requests to prioritise this project as a matter of urgency to incorporate some of the work whilst under lockdown, this will help alleviate some of the disruption this work will have on the local community.

The following is our intended plan

2 November to 6 December (Christmas embargo)

We will be working from the junction of the High Street to the junction of Summerhouse Hill.

With the main located in the road, for the safety of road users and are engineers it is necessary to have a north bound lane closure in place around our work area. To avoid a full road closure, we will be operating multi-way traffic lights to keep local traffic moving in both directions.

Access to properties within the closure will be maintained if safe to do so, if access for any reason isn’t possible the team on the ground will advise those residents impacted in advance so alternative arrangements can be made.

6 January to completion 31 March 2021

We will return to complete the final section from Summerhouse Hill to Western Avenue.
Again it will be necessary to have a lane closure in place for the duration with traffic lights in place to allow two way local traffic.

Gas main connection to properties

There is a possibility that we will need to connect a number of services to the new main being installed. To do this our engineers will need access to your gas meter within your property. Any properties affected will be contacted in advance explaining what is needed and the team on the ground will make local arrangements. Please can we reassure you, our engineers are following strict COVID guidelines to ensure we maintain everyone’s safety. There’s more information about our coronavirus plans, as well as other ways to contact us, on our website: sgn.co.uk/coronavirus.

Diversion route – HGV and large lorries

With a lane closure in place, the width of road space available on Moreton Road during this project will not be suitable for oversized vehicles, HGV and large lorries. Advance diversion route signage will be in place on approaching roads to allow redirection. Bespoke signage at beginning of works advising access width is limited not suitable for HGV’s or lorries.

We appreciate the nature of our work is disruptive for communities, we have taken the opportunity now whilst a lockdown is in place, to try and minimise this for the community. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused by these works.

If you’d like to get in touch about our project, you can speak to our 24hr Customer Service team on 0800 912 1700.”

Download: no trick or treat posters

Buckinghamshire Council have advised that families don't take part in trick or treating this Hallowe'en, due to the increased risk of passing on Coronavirus while taking part in parties or door to door trick or treating.

There are lots of fun alternatives to try in your household or bubble to celebrate Hallowe'en. Perhaps you could:

  • Try the Buckingham town centre pumpkin trail. Spot all 12 pumpkins and fill in your answer sheet for £1 off already half price children's books at the University of Buckingham bookshop.
  • Pumpkin hunt around your neighbourhood! Lots of residents are putting carved or coloured in pumpkins in their windows. Get dressed up with your family and take some treats with you for a walk. When your child spots a pumpkin you can put a sweet or treat in your child's bucket.
  • Looking for an alternative to spooky activities? Buckingham Parish Church have organised a Light Trail for the 31st October. Stalls will be dotted around the town centre from 4-6pm.
  • Traditional games - try bobbing for apples or eating a ring donut hanging from a string. You could even make a treat filled spooky pinata using a balloon and papier-mâché.
  • There are lots of wonderful pumpkin patches near to Buckingham, spend some time choosing and carving your pumpkins.
  • Dress up at home, maybe you could challenge a relative to make a tricky costume out of things around the house?
  • Film night - big or small, we all have a favourite film we enjoy.

If you are worried about unexpected visitors knocking on your door and would like a 'No Trick or Treat' Poster, or a Pumpkin colouring sheet to display at your home, we have made downloadable options:

No trick or treat poster
A young girl in a pink top bobs for apples
Pumpkin Colouring In Sheet

Buckingham Photography and Art Competition Winners

For the second year in a row, we are pleased to announce that the Buckingham calendar is available to purchase from the Tourist Information Centre in The Old Gaol.

Front and Back covers of the Buckingham 2021 calendar. The front image shows a child with a fishing net standing in the FloshThis year we opened the competition up to artwork as well at photography and we were blown away by the talent that Buckingham has to offer. It was very difficult to choose the 12 winners to be included, but with a good range of images from all the seasons, the calendar would be a great addition to your wall.

Councillor Geraldine Collins – Buckingham Town Mayor – said, “I always look forward to seeing the Buckingham calendar.  This year as always it is a great reflection of our local area. I was thrilled to see the photographs and artwork entries for this year.  thank you to our wonderfully talented community, and to those who work with them to bring this together.”

Discover Buckingham with 12 unique images of the town for £6.00 from the Tourist Information Centre; it’s the perfect present for Christmas.

Thank you to everyone that entered and well done to all the winners.

Here are the winning entries:

  • January – Mike Lake, Canal in the Mist
  • February –  Peter Bowtell, Buckingham Highlights
  • March – Barbara Farmer, Woodland of Western Avenue
  • April – Tamika McCullough, Springtime Bloom
  • May – Irene Schrufer, Precious Purple
  • June – Cathy Read, Buckingham Gaol
  • July – Sandra Windmill, Gone Fishing
  • August – Louise Stubbs, Canal Stories
  • September – Tamika McCullough, Swan Girl
  • October – Mural by Children of Buckingham
  • November – Mike Lake, Radcliffe Centre sunset
  • December – Lynette Dunkley, Winter’s Walk on the Railway Path

Cancellation of autumn and Christmas events

Buckingham Charter Fair

Buckingham Charter Fairs have been cancelled for 2020. Nichols Amusements have decided not to hold the Buckingham fair in 2020 in light of advice received from the Aylesbury Vale Safety Advisory Group and the Town Council. The Head Showman, Marshall Nichols will bring in one small stall on Saturday 17th and Saturday 24thOctober, when the fair would have been held. This will mean that the town is able to retain the royal charters for the two fairs.

The risks of being a focal point for transmission of Covid 19 are too high for the event to be safe, and it would be “very difficult if not impossible” for this event to go ahead while complying with the health protection regulations. The SAG has written to the Council to say that it the view of the SAG that it would be “very difficult if not impossible for (the fair) to go ahead while complying with the health protection regulations as set out.”

Councillor Robin Stuchbury, Chairman of the Town and Centre Committee said that, “the committee had some very important decisions to make about future events in the light of concerns about whether they could be held safely. We are grateful to Mr Marshall Nichols for the care he has demonstrated for the people of Buckingham. The decision not to bring in the fair this year demonstrates both his respect for the town of Buckingham and the well-being of the families who visit the charter fair each year.”

Bonfire & Fireworks Display

The Town Centre & Events committee met Thursday evening and made the decision that this year’s Bonfire & Firework Display should be cancelled for 2020.

The event which is held in Bourton Park and organised by Buckingham Town Council draws a large crowd each year and as with other events it would be impossible to comply with the health protection regulations.

Christmas Light Switch On

The annual Christmas Light Switch On which is organised by Buckingham Town Council is to be cancelled for 2020.

The area outside the Old Gaol where the event takes place and the number of people that participate as well as number of attendees, would be a focal point for transmission of Covid 19. It would be very difficult to comply with the health protection regulations as set out.

The Town Centre & Events Committee will be considering activities that residents can participate in safely from home in the next few weeks.

Remembrance Day Parade and Christmas Parade

Buckingham Town Council provides the road closures for the Remembrance Day Parade and the Christmas Parade.  The Town Council will also regrettably not be able to provide these for 2020.

The Royal British Legion organise the wreath laying and service at the war memorial and details regarding this will be announced by them at a future date.

The Christmas Parade Committee has already decided to cancel this year’s Christmas Parade due to Covid 19.

Enquiries

Please contact the Events Coordinator, Amanda Brubaker via email at events@buckingham-tc.gov.uk.

Anti-social behaviour in Buckingham Parks

With the summer finally here we are all getting outside more and enjoying the outdoors with the towns parks being used more than ever especially over the last few months. Our Greenspaces team have been working hard to keep them clean and well maintained. However, we have noticed a marked increase in problems. The main issues have been graffiti and broken glass being left in the parks and particularly in the play areas.  This is not only unsightly for other park users it can also be dangerous – in one case shards of glass were left on a children’s slide. On another occasion, a disposable barbecue was lit on a park picnic bench, burning a hole through it.

Picture of a burnt bench in BuckinghamThe Town Council has increased the number of times the bins are emptied and parks are litter picked, and introduced a parks check on Sundays, but we can’t be present all the time.

Buckingham Town Council would like to ask if anyone sees anyone acting in a clearly anti-social way in the parks to please report it immediately to the police by calling 101. We are hoping for many more sunny days where everyone can enjoy Buckingham’s unique parks, play areas and riverside walks. To help us, please help Thames Valley Police by immediately reporting any anti-social behaviour by calling 101. Take your litter home, be considerate of others, and don’t forget to refill your water bottles at the new water bottle refill station in Chandos Park.

Our Green Spaces Team are busy cutting grass and keeping our parks and green spaces looking their best – please keep a distance of 2 metres from them. If you have any queries, contact the Town Council office who will be happy to help.

 

Buckingham Wears Face Masks

Cllr Stuchbury wearing a locally made facemaskFollowing the introduction of the requirement to wear facemasks in shops Buckingham Town Council have arranged for the Buckingham Tourist Information Centre to support local businesses by selling locally made face coverings from a variety of different makers. Pin Clothing have a variety of different fabrics in small medium and large for £6. LW Creations are selling a variety of masks for £3.50.   The Town are not seeking to compete with local businesses, but to promote local traders.

Town Council staff will be wearing visors when dealing with members of the public.  However everyone is encouraged to keep maintain a distance of 2m at all times.  Visors are being used because they enable residents to see facial expressions, and lip readers to understand what is being said.

Councillor Robin Stuchbury, Chair of the Town Centre and Events Committee, said, “I am pleased that the Tourist Information Centre is supporting residents in this way by enabling access to locally made masks in the town centre. “

 

Buckingham Online Fringe Sneek Peek

Fringe Week 11th – 19th July

As we are unable to hold our usual Fringe Week, it was decided that we would do an online version of the event.  You will be able to take part in stargazing from your back garden, online Quiz Night, children’s colouring competition and more.

 

1st – 20th July  Children’s Colouring Competition.

Organised by Gilroy Steel Solicitors.  Open to all children under the age of 10 yrs.  Download your colouring sheet from https://www.gilroysteel.comBFW2020.  First prize £20.

 

11th – 19th July Stargazing From Your Back Garden

What does the July sky have to offer this month?  Buckingham Town Council together with UK Astronomy encourage you to look up at the sky and see what you can see with the naked eye, binoculars or telescope.  Follow the Town Council Facebook page for a guide on what can be seen.  On Saturday 11th July, you will be able to watch a presentation and chat via Zoom at 7pm with Ross Hockman from UK Astronomy. This will be streamed live on The Buckingham Town Council’s YouTube channel. If you would like to attend, please contact the Events Co-ordinator via email on events@buckingham-tc.gov.uk for the meeting’s details. Interested in Astronomy? Then check out the UK Astronomy’s Facebook page www.ukastronomy.org.

 

 

Wednesday 15th July Isolation Examination Fringe week Special Quiz Night 8pm

Hosted by Mikey Dyson.  Log on to https://www.facebook.comisolationexamination/ at 8pm to join in.

 

11th -19th July Children’s Mural Design Challenge

Open to all children, help to create a mural with your artwork. Draw a picture of a bug, bird, butterfly, insect or creature that you might see on a wildlife walk in or around Buckingham or draw yourself going for a walk. Your drawing should be on A4 paper and cover the whole sheet. Outline your drawing in a dark colour, preferably using a dark pencil or marker pen so that it stands out.

The drawings should be e-mailed to events@buckingham-tc.gov.uk by noon on Monday 20th July.  50 designs will be chosen and The Children’s Workshop will put them together as a permanent mural which will be displayed in Buckingham.

Saturday 18th July Buckingham Fringe Rock Hunt

Painted rocks will be hidden around town for anyone to find. There are prizes to be won, one rock per family. Find a rock? You lucky thing! Keep hold of it, take a photo and send it to use via our social media pages or email our Events Co-ordinator on events@buckingham-tc.gov.uk. Tag us using #BuckinghamFringeRocks from 12pm onwards.

 

Oxford Fiddle Group

Fringe Week regulars the Oxford Fiddle Group will be doing an online concert.

The ever popular Oxford Fiddle Group are returning to Buckingham again for the Buckingham’s Online  Fringe Week. They perform songs and tunes mainly from England and Scotland, but also from Ireland and the USA. Some players also play other instruments besides the fiddle, so a typical line up for one of their performances could include a celtic harp, double bass, guitar, mandolin and concertina.

This weekend watch an online performance by them via the Buckingham Town Council You Tube channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kmk3j3_VmKY

Lace Hill, Tourist Information Centre and Chandos Park Toilets to reopen 4th July

Lace Hill Sports and Community Centre

The Lace Hill Community Centre has been closed since the beginning of the lockdown. The Centre will now open for hirers who can meet the current guidelines. Unfortunately, we are not yet allowed to open centre for sporting activities, or to open the changing rooms. A range of safety measures have been put in place, including ensuring hirers can maintain social distancing, and an additional cleaning regime. It is hoped that most hirers will return by September.

Tourist Information Centre

The Tourist Information Centre, in the front of the Old Gaol, will also reopen from Saturday 4th July. The Centre will now be open 7 days a week; it was agreed earlier in the year to trial summer opening on Sundays to improve the service to weekend visitors to the town. Measures have been put in place to prevent and reduce any risks. Queries can also be made via phone during opening hours: 10am-4pm on 01280 823020.

Buckingham Shopmobility is still closed until further notice.

Chandos Park Toilets

After the reopening of most other public toilets in Buckingham on Thursday 18th June, we’re pleased to announce that the toilets in Chandos Park will also be fully reopened from Saturday 4th July.

Additional measures have been put in place to ensure they are as safe as possible for use. An additional daily clean has been introduced and high visibility signage will be prominent, advising users to thoroughly wash their hands and to maintain social distancing in accordance with the government guidelines.