The Buckingham Otters Auction

After a Summer of Otter Spotting, the Buckingham Otters Bidding Extravaganza Begins

Did you fall in love with the otters? Would you like to become the proud owner of one? Our final key event of the project, the Buckingham Otter Auction is here and bidding opens this Friday 24th September 2021!

The Buckingham Otter Trail was a temporary feel-good public art installation featuring ten 3ft tall sized otter sculptures. Sponsored by local businesses and organisations, the otters were decorated by professional artists, school children and community groups which brought much excitement to the town over summer.

Photograph of painted otter sculptures

Following the removal of the otter-tastic sculptures at the end of the trail and their appearance at the first-ever Celebrate Buckingham event, Buckingham Town Council will now say their final farewells to the beloved otters as they swim away to their new forever homes.

Chairman of the Town Centre Events Committee Cllr Robin Stuchbury said “After a summer of giving so many people pleasure the otters are going up for auction, if you’ve enjoyed seeing the otters this is your opportunity to purchase one and by doing so you’ll be contributing to the Mayor’s charities and benefiting our local community, in the very same way the otters have throughout the summer. So please don’t miss this one off opportunity of owning your own Buckingham otter and by doing so you’ll be helping others”.

The bidding will be taking place online using social media and the Town Council website. Each week one otter will be added to the auction, you will have nearly two weeks to make your highest bid.  The otter being auctioned will be on display at the Tourist Information Centre. Bids may be submitted through the Town Council website and by telephone.

The online event will see our large sculptures auctioned, with profits to be split equally between the Mayor’s Charities and a future similar event next summer. The Mayor’s Charities are Project Street Life and Community Care North Bucks, which includes YC2 Buckingham & Winslow Young Carers, North Bucks Carers, Open House and the Hospital Car Service. We could not be more delighted to raise money for these worthy causes, pouring funds straight back into supporting the community and making another sculpture trail next summer for everyone to enjoy.

If you wish to find out more information about the auction or one or more of the otter sculptures, please visit www.buckingham-tc.gov.uk

We’ll be sad to wave goodbye to our otters but we’re sure there are wonderful things on the horizon for them in their new homes!

Quick Litter Pick

We’ve all had moments where we’ve spotted the littered remnants of someone’s night before and wanted to just get stuck in and clear it up. This year has been no different, and Buckingham Town Council has received requests from residents and community groups asking how best they can get involved in safely clearing any litter they find while out and about.

When you’re dealing with someone else’s rubbish the best way to clear up litter is with litter pickers. Keeping the litter at a distance from your body can protect you from broken edges and any unwanted germs that might be lurking.

As only the most dedicated of litter hunters tend to carry around litter pickers at all times, the Town Council has introduced Buckingham’s first #QuickLitterPick point. This covered cage in Bourton Park contains 5 individual litter pickers and a supply of bin liners and can be accessed by anyone with the code for the lock. (Anyone who would like the code can call the Town Council Office or Buckingham Tourist Information Centre during opening hours).

Cllr. Sue Hetherington has already been out to have a go and said: ”The Quick Litter Pick is a great idea, it was easy to use and we had really positive reactions from the people we met while using the litter pickers. Everyone was keen to have a go! This project was originally started with previous Chair of the Environment Committee Ruth Newell, I’d like to send her a big thank you.” The Quick Litter Pick point can be found near the Bourton Park Car Park and Multi-Use Games Area in Buckingham.

This year Buckingham Town Council have taken a multi-pronged approach to getting litter under control, including more regular park bin emptying and raising awareness of the problem, particularly of broken glass which can easily cause harm to children and animals.

Planning Committee: 24th May 2021

The Planning Committee of Buckingham Town Council met on Monday 24th May. The full agenda is available in our archive.

The following decisions were made:

  • Cllr. Mark Cole JP was elected as Chair and Cllr. Anthony Ralph as Vice-Chair.
  • Cllr. Sue Hetherington was chosen to represent Buckingham Town Council on the North Bucks Parishes Planning Consortium East-West Rail Group
  • Of the planning applications discussed, 5 were recorded as no objections (one with the proviso to the satisfaction of the Heritage Officer) and 1 application was opposed. Of the tree applications discussed 6 were recorded as no objections and 1 opposed. Please note: planning applications are not decided by Buckingham Town Council, its objections or approval are given as a consultee to the planning authority: Buckinghamshire Council.
  • Briefing notes will continue to be provided for the agenda by the Planning Officer.
  • Buckinghamshire Council’s tree officer is to be invited to attend a meeting with Buckingham Town Council’s Planning Committee, Environment Committee, Tree Wardens and the Buckingham Society.
  • The next meeting of the Planning Committee will take place on Tuesday 8th June on Zoom.

A live stream of the meeting is available on YouTube. Full minutes of the meeting will be available via our 2021 archive in due course.

It’s Blooming Spring!

This Saturday 20th March 2021 is the Spring Equinox. The Spring Equinox marks the beginning of spring and from this day forward the day is longer than the night which means extra daylight. After the cold and gloomy winter, springs warmer weather puts a smile on everyone’s face. There are many reasons to enjoy spring including, brighter days, colourful flowers, green trees, birds return, bees and butterflies reappear, the list could go on and on!

Spring is the perfect season because it’s not too cold and not too hot to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. With this in mind, we have put together a Spring Spotter Sheet for young children to enjoy while on their walks. Buckingham has some lovely walks, for more information, visit our Walks and Maps page. Here you can download pdf copies of local walks and maps to help you explore beautiful Buckingham. Don’t forget to check out Buckingham’s Community Heritage app Buxplore. Remote access has currently been enabled so if you are still self isolating you can still enjoy a visual tour around the streets and parks of Buckingham, completing activities, questions, and mysteries from home.

We would love to see some photos of you out and about completing the Spring Spotter Sheet. Please send your photos to us via private message on Facebook, or tag us on your post using #SpringSpotter @BuckinghamTC and don’t forget to tell us what you thought to be entered into a prize draw to win a reusable water bottle. We will do our best to share as many of your photos as possible. Happy hunting!

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

Our design was inspired by the natural world around Buckingham and wanted to reflect the animals, birds and insects we have seen on our many walks during lockdown. The design incorporates lots of ideas taken from the year 6 children and discussions we had around the theme. We liked the idea that you could find lots of different creatures hidden around the sculpture and hoped that it would appeal to both young and old, counting the insects, finding the toad or even the hedgehog! We named him Jeff - not entirely sure how that happened - he's enjoying being in our school reception at the moment welcoming visitors!

I'm a primary school teacher at Buckingham Primary school specialising in art. When not at school I am also an artist exhibiting my work in galleries working in predominantly oils and watercolours. I also teach adults art at Vitreus Art Gallery, Towcester. I have been chair for many years of Buckingham Art for All - a popular local community art group

Heritage & Sons are proud to serve the wider community in Buckinghamshire and to support the fantastic Buckingham Otter Trail. We are part of CPJ Field, a leading family-run funeral service provider which operates funeral homes across South East England. At CPJ Field we understand that no two lives are the same, which is why every funeral we arrange is completely individual too. Whether you’re making the arrangements for a loved one or prudently planning your own, we’re here for you in every way. Over the past three centuries, CPJ Field has been actively owned and managed by the Field family through ten generations. It is our solemn promise to help you to make your funeral experience as personal and individual as possible.

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Otter name: Canalotto

Artist: Zoe Day

Zoë Day is a professional artist who has lived in and around Buckingham all of her life. Zoë studied art from a young age learning to paint wildlife with her grandmother. She went on to learn techniques and methods from some of the most prestigious art institutions including the Florence Academy, Oxford’s Ruskin School of Art and the Heatherley’s in Chelsea. Zoë set up her own Art School in 2010 and is still passionate about teaching the joy of painting in her weekly classes, while principally engaged in modern landscape painting and exhibition/commission work.

Zoë’s inspiration for this otter comes from her love of the Buckinghamshire landscape and countryside and is a celebration of this amazing project by the Canal Society to transform a disused waterway into a beautiful sanctuary for local wildlife. Try to see how many different creatures you can spot on her design!

The Buckingham Canal Society are proud to be supporting the Buckingham Otter trail. Our aim is to fully restore the 10 miles of the Buckingham Arm of the Grand Union Canal, from Cosgrove right through to Buckingham. At Bourton Meadow, where our otter is located, you can see a restored ¼ mile stretch of the canal, which is a haven for many species of wildlife and flora, including kingfishers, reed warblers, herons, various butterflies, dragonflies and fish species, water voles, and even grass snakes, which love a swim on a warm day’!

‘We welcome new members and volunteers to join us; membership starts from just £4 per year - and our volunteers need no skills other than a desire to get involved, whether weekly or infrequently. We hold regular work parties at Bourton Meadow, Hyde Lane (2 miles from Buckingham) and Cosgrove, during the week and on weekends, or you can volunteer to help with admin, finance, marketing, grant applications - and much more. You can find out more at www.buckinghamcanal.org.uk

‘We would like to give a special thank you to our amazing Otter Artist, Zoe Day, who is from Buckingham who painted the wonderful Canalotto’.

Otter name: Lockii

Artist: Young people at My FutureSelf Matters

MyFutureSelf Matters with the support from local residents Charlotte and Justin who wanted to highlight the amazing work Carl was doing for local Buckingham School children: "We covered the otter in a key/padlock covering to highlight MyFutureSelf unlocking the potential of young people in the Buckingham area. We then got our young people to come up with words that related to their lives and that tied in with emotional well-being, these words were then coloured in by some of the young people completing our mentoring programme’. The young people chose the name Lockii because this is a reflection of the lock and key covering.is a mentoring service who support young people in Buckinghamshire with their mental health, lifestyle and wellbeing.

Carl is the founder and owner of MyFutureSelf Matters. It is a mentoring service that supports young people in Buckinghamshire with their mental health, lifestyle and wellbeing. They offer 1:1 support in person or online and work with children from 10 to 24 years old. MyFutureSelf Matters aim to equip young people with tools and strategies to increase their emotional health, resilience and improve their overall well-being.

Otter name: Prints of the Future

We wanted all Roundwood children to be part of painting our otter for the trail so we decided the best way to do that was by decorating our sculpture with fingerprints. We named our otter 'Prints of the Future' as one day, in the not-too-distant future, it will be the hands from these prints that serve our community. The children thoroughly enjoyed decorating with their fingerprints and watching as the number of prints grew with a visit to each year group. We have to say we really fell for our otter sculpture and were all sad when it had to be collected but we hope people will enjoy finding it as a part of the trail.

Gawcott Solar CIC is a not for profit enterprise which owns a community solar array at Gawcott Fields Farm between Gawcott and Buckingham. The 4.17 megawatt solar array is made up of over 16,000 solar panels and is expected to generate over 4 million kWh of renewable electricity each year. That’s equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of around 1,000 homes. Surplus income generated by the solar array (after operating and financing costs) is used so support community projects in the local area.

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Otter name: Lacey

The children were really excited to be part of the community otter project. The first thing we did was to decide if it was a boy or a girl. We put boy and girl written on two pieces of paper in a hat and one was pulled out. Girl was drawn, so we named her Lacey. The idea for the pattern was inspired by the history of the area around Lace Hill and Buckingham. Many of the street names have a lace or sewing source, Catchpin Street, Bobbins Way, Threads Lane and Linen Lane. I thought it would be relevant to our estate and the Buckingham area to try and reflect and depict the historical lace-making past. I thought decorating the otter with a lacey pattern would reflect this. The children painted the base colour of dark purple and cream for her tummy and then a ‘lacey’ pattern was stenciled on the top with a doily to break up the base colour. They worked in small groups throughout the week to stencil the patterns. The children then wanted to add some bright colours so they decided on yellows for the tummy and tail and pinks for the main body. The children were very proud of the finished result and were sad when Lacey left to get varnished.

Barratt David Wilson Homes is part of Barratt Developments plc - the country’s leading house-builder. Barratt is committed to building quality homes and this year received more NHBC Pride in the Job Quality awards than any other house-builder for the 16th year in a row and was awarded 5 stars by the HBF for customer satisfaction for the eleventh year in a row.

As a house-builder that is committed to supporting the communities in which it builds, Barratt David Wilson Homes, who are currently building at selection of 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 bedroom homes at its St Rumbold’s Fields development in Buckingham, is proud to sponsor the Buckingham Otter Trail this year. It’s a great opportunity for residents and visitors to get behind local businesses and engage with a fantastic community event, as well as adding some fun public art to the local area.

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Otter name: Patchy

Our Year 2 class chose an Elmer inspired patchwork design for our otter. The whole class took part, with each child designing and painting a section. The children wanted to make his fur appear realistic so opted for tones of brown. They thoroughly enjoyed the design process and were very proud of their finished product.

Howes the Florist has been on Nelson Street in Buckingham for over 70 years, offering flowers for all of life's big occasions and here to celebrate the small joys too. Our hand delivery floral gifts are created by our wonderful team and available 6 days a week, delivered locally.

The otter trail is a wonderful idea and having grown up in this beautiful market town we wanted to be part of raising the profile of our amazing local community. We are fortunate to be among the families benefitting for YC2 (Young Careers Buckingham), Our three children have attended village schools, as have my parents, Grandparents, Aunts and siblings. The pandemic has shown what an amazing community spirit we have in Buckingham and we are so proud to be part of this wonderful town.

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Otter name: Olive Otterson

Olive Otterson was decorated by the Students' Union.

The University is delighted to participate in the Otter Trail initiative. Positive relationships with our local community are really important to the university and we love seeing residents enjoying our campus facilities. The University has educated thousands of students from all over the word for almost fifty years and we employ many of our staff from within the community. We hope the Otter Trail and our University Otter will encourage families to make use of the University Bookshop and (if Covid guidelines allow) that you make a visit to the Vinson Building and experience the University Café. We very much look forward to welcoming you.

The University of Buckingham Bookshop owner Alison Cameron: “We are the only independent bookshop in Buckingham and you can find us in the Vinson Building on Hunter Street. We stock all sorts of beautiful books and our in-store selection of children’s books are always half price! We can get most books the next day and there is a lovely local customer discount. We recommend based on our customer reviews and also work with local schools making sure the best books are available to all ages of children. You can follow us on Facebook and Instagram or email book.shop@buckingham.ac.uk or call on 01280 820365. We are passionate about promoting a love of reading whether you’re 1 or 101!"

University Logo

 

Otter name: Monty

There was much excitement when we received our otter and decisions turned to how it should be decorated. Many suggestions were submitted but we decided to settle on a doodle design in the style of Mr Doodle. We felt this would allow the children maximum range of creativity whilst have a theme running throughout all the designs. We liked the idea of lots of individual ideas being knitted together through the use of simple black lines.
The children were introduced to the work of Mr Doodle and asked to design their own doodle idea to be included on the otter. We wanted the children to be able to express their own creativity so left the theme quite open. Initially, we had ideas come in that were quite animal based and you’ll see some designs around Disney too.

Bucks Radio is the new sound of Buckinghamshire, aiming to bring local radio back to the county. We've been overwhelmed by the support we've received so far, and are looking forward to becoming a part of Bucks life. Between them, our team have been working, and broadcasting, in the area for over 40 years, so we understand what matters to you. Right now we're broadcasting online, via smart speakers and app, meaning you can take us with you wherever you go. We have the latest news, weather and travel, and loads of community information, including our free What's On Guide and features like Charity Friday.

We're supporting local business, and have a variety of advertising and sponsorship packages available, and are happy to talk about bespoke competitions and partnerships. We are looking forward to the relaxation of current restrictions so that we can get out and about in the local community again.

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Otter name: Jimmy Fisher

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

Sponsor: Buckingham Town Council

We were invited to take part in the Buckingham Town Council’s project intended to encourage families to come back into the town centre after the restrictions of the last 18 months.

Week one was when the team were introduced to the metre-high, life-sized Otter who quickly was named ‘Jimmy Fisher’. The team walked around him, studied him and took part in a 10 question UK Otter Quiz which helped them make their designs really personal to our own otter population. Each of the team produced separate designs - it became clear that our Jimmy Fisher would reflect the local countryside - meadows of waving grass and reeds, wildflowers including dandelions, daisies and thistles. Insects vital to a healthy ecosystem were included-bright yellow and black bees, blue/white/lemon butterflies and a glowing sun and rainbow to signify the elements needed for a healthy countryside.

YC2’s logo is a big red balloon with ‘YC2’ written on it, it is on the young carer and volunteer hoodies and tee shirts, so balloons floating in the blue sky was an essential addition to Jimmy’s main body with fluffy white clouds scudding across. His head was brown and he had bright blue eyes. Small woodland and waterside animals also were drawn as of course otters share their habitat with lots of other wild creatures.

Week 2: the start, it was a bit daunting as at that stage he seemed VERY WHITE and VERY LARGE, but the team quickly started on the main areas of his body.

Week 3-7: Local artist Kate Lowe and owner of bagsymefirst.com came on board to help advise the children on the overall concept so that all of their ideas could be incorporated. As the weeks went on Jimmy became very important to us all, he represented the freedom that many young carers do not always have, and he was seen as strong and living as part of the natural world we all know is so important. She took Jimmy home each Friday night after the latest painting had been done, to sketch on more of the children’s designs ready for the following week.

Jimmy certainly reflects the individual approach of the Team, the girls love a ‘bit of bling’ so the clouds and balloons, even the edges of the reeds and grasses had little spots of glitter applied. One of the first designs showed thistledown floating in the sky, so artist Kate took all 65 sets of initials of our current register and painted them on in the tiniest lettering ever seen. Jimmy Fisher will always have a record of each young carer who is a member of YC2 in 2020/21. Further inspiration came and Jimmy has a pretty daisy chain necklace and is holding a large fish that he has just caught and is about to enjoy!

Otter name: Flo

Artist: Derryn Snowdon and staff at Buckingham Community Hospital

Sponsor: Buckingham Town Council

Derryn Snowdon, Inspired Marbling: "I began water marbling in Istanbul. We call it 'ebru' in Turkish and it is an ancient art of creating patterns on a watery base and then transferring them to paper (usually). Marbling an otter was an adventure for me as an amateur water marbling artist. The size and shape of the statue was a challenge and I needed all my creative powers to find ways to get more of Flo marbled.

Possibility, challenge, adventure: "I took the otter to Buckingham Hospital staff, who named her, whilst taking turns to try their hand at water marbling for the very first time. I taught them some of the practices and terms in traditional Turkish marbling and they took to it like …well like an otter to water! Flo was named after Florence Nightingale, and echo's the flow in water marbling design and the water where otters live. Flo represents a journey of exploration for us all. The non-marbled parts provide a neutral background to display the marbled parts. The smudges and incomplete patterns draw you in to complete the pattern in your mind. I hope as you enjoy exploring Flo and our marbling art you will wonder what marbling pattern would you have liked to add to Flo?"

Wellbeing Wednesday: Mental Wellbeing During A Pandemic

Taking care of your mind as well as your body is really important if Coronavirus means you are still spending a lot of time at home. You may feel bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also feel low or anxious, or concerned about your finances, your health or those close to you but it’s important to remember that it’s okay to feel this way. The tips and advice here come from the Department of Public Health and Mind, and are things you can do to help you keep on top of your mental wellbeing.

Stay connected with others

Maintaining healthy relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. Think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family. This could be through a simple phone call, video call or even a text message. Try to set aside some time in your day or week to check in with others because they might need just as much support as you do.

Talk about your worries

Remember that it is okay to share your concerns with others you trust. If you cannot speak to someone you know or if doing so has not helped, there are plenty of helplines you can try instead.

  • Call CALM on 0800 58 58 58
  • Call Samaritans on 0330 094 5717 or text 116 123.
  • Call Mind Infoline on 0300 123 3393
  • Text SHOUT on 85258 to reach crisis volunteers 24/7. Texts are free.

Look after your body

Our physical health can also impact how we feel. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, stay hydrated and exercise regularly. Going for a walk, run or bike ride is a great way to lift your mood and clear your head. Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. But it doesn’t need to be particularly intense for you to feel good, slower-paced activities such as walking can be just as beneficial. Need some inspiration? Take a look at some of our blog posts outlining activities that can help you to stay active during this time.

Keep your mind active

Make an effort to focus on your favourite hobby. However, if you don’t have one, picking something new to learn at home might also help to stop feeling anxious or worried. This is because continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and higher levels of wellbeing. So, why not learn something new today? You could read, write, play games, do crosswords, complete Sudoku puzzles or even start to draw or paint. Whatever it is, find something that works for you.

Get as much sunlight, fresh air and nature as you can

Bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. It can improve your mood, reduce feelings of stress, and make you feel more relaxed. There are plenty of lovely open parks and greenspaces within Buckingham that you can utilise on your daily outings; don’t miss out on beautiful free experiences in your local area!

Flooding: could you be a flood volunteer?

On 23rd and 24th December 2020, at the end of a difficult year for many, the River Great Ouse burst its banks amid extremely heavy rainfall, and serious flooding hit Buckingham.

Many local residents immediately jumped to the aid of their neighbours. From turning up with buckets or supplying water pumps to help clear water to opening their homes to those in need, many people did what they could to help. Buckingham Free Meals, led by 14-year-old Sulayman, coordinated free hot food and drinks and ongoing food parcels. The Bard of Buckingham, Dean Jones, launched a fundraiser to support those flooded with rebuilding their lives. The more than £17,000 raised will be held and distributed by the Town Council based on decisions made by an independent panel.

Staff from Buckingham Town Council joined those from Buckinghamshire Council and Transport for Buckinghamshire to help close roads, deliver sandbags and clear up the mess. It took over a week to sanitise and reopen play areas and the public toilets, as well as clearing large amounts of debris from across the parks. The Council’s Shopmobility unit was flooded, and some equipment damaged.

The Council passed on a flood alert from the Environment Agency in the morning of 22nd December. Unfortunately, the EA’s flood gauge does not appear to have been working correctly, and no Flood Warning was issued.

The Town Council are reviewing the Community Flood Action Plan. Any suggestions for changes would be gratefully received. The Council are also looking to sign up Flood Volunteers to help with future floods and other emergencies. Residents from homes NOT at risk of flooding are ideal for this role, as those directly affected are less able to immediately help others. If you are interested in volunteering please email admin@buckingham-tc.gov.uk

The Town Council now has a direct arrangement with the Bucks and Oxon Response Group (BORG) who will again be prepared to use their 4×4 vehicles to help with any future events.

National Lockdown: impact on Buckingham Town Council services

As of Tuesday 5th January, Buckingham, and the whole country, have entered a new National Lockdown. There is a summary of what this means on our Coronavirus pages, which also contain signposts for local help or a raft of issues that may be impacting on your life at this time. For detailed guidance about the lockdown restrictions please visit the government website.

There are some additional changes to Buckingham Town Council services due to the National Lockdown:

  • Play areas will remain open, however, multi-use games areas and outdoor gym equipment are now closed. Please be patient and do not use equipment while we arrange signage.
  • Buckingham market remains open for essential items.
  • The Food Fair, Pancake Races and other upcoming public events in January and February will be cancelled.
  • Shopmobility will be closed, the Shopmobility building was also impacted by the flooding just before Christmas.
  • Public toilets will remain open.

As in Tier 4 the following additional services are running differently:

  • The Tourist Information Centre and the Tourist Information Centre phone line are closed.
  • Lace Hill Sports and Community Centre is only open for a very small number of allowable bookings.
  • Town Council staff are largely working from home, apart from the Green Spaces Team who continue to work out and about. The green spaces team have worked extremely hard clearing up after the flooding on Christmas Eve. Please help keep our team safe and well by not approaching them while they are working. If you have a query, please call or email the office team, and we will help you.

 

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”.

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. “