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”.
Following 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. “
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.
Buckingham Town Council carried out its first online Mayoral election and robing ceremony on Monday 11th May 2020. Councillor Geraldine Collins was elected unanimously as the new Town Mayor, and formally robed by her husband Councillor Paddy Collins in their home during an online meeting which was watched over YouTube by residents and friends in Buckingham and overseas. Paddy Collins will be the Mayor’s consort for the year.
Councillor Collins is the first Mayor of Buckingham to have been elected and robed online.
During the meeting Councillor Howard Mordue – the longest serving Town Councillor – explained the history behind the Mayor’s chain, and the other regalia.
A video of the ceremony can be viewed from the Council’s YouTube channel.
Geraldine is keen to support local groups during these difficult times, and would welcome invitations to take part in events even if they are happening online!
Councillor Collins said:
“At this time of year, we usually have a variety of events in our town to look forward to and at these I would normally be able to meet many of you and your families. Sadly, many of these events have had to be cancelled. At these events we pass around our buckets to raise funds for the Mayor’s charities, I hope we can find some alternative ways to support our local groups and charities until such time as we can all get together again, which I look forward to very much.
I spent many years during my nursing career in children’s nursing and during this time became aware of the emotional difficulties many children and young people face alongside the physical illness. In the adult side I saw the same difficulties and saw the challenges faced in supporting and helping all concerned. This is why the charities I have chosen to raise funds for this year are:
- Clearly Speaking who are a great support to children, young people and their families, dealing with a variety of emotional needs; i.e. autistic spectrum disorders, learning difficulties anxiety disorders, depression, communication and mental health and the
- Kit Cat Club who also support children and their families through very difficult times.” Many of these problems have been exacerbated during this present crisis.
For more information about the Mayor and her chosen charities, visit the Mayor of Buckingham page.
Buckingham Tourist Information Centre may have closed its doors for now, but we are still committed to helping anyone that needs it. We have set up a support line for Buckingham residents that don’t have access to the internet and need information on where to find help, essential travel information, local business closures and opening times.
We are currently compiling a list of information that we think people will need, but please let us know if you are doing something for the community or if you are a local business with a change to your circumstances. We don’t know everything, but we will try our best to help in any way we can. Contact us on 01280 823020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Due to the ongoing coronavirus (covid-19) situation, the public toilets in Cornwalls Meadow car park and Chandos Park have been temporary closed.
Our green spaces team have been marking these facilities closed, as well as play areas and play areas run by partner organisation Aylesbury Vale District Council in order to reduce the number of staff needed to work on this task.