Community Tree Planting at Lace Hill

 

An impressive 20 volunteers from the local community came along to the Town Council’s Tree Planting Day on Sunday February 2019 at Lace Hill Football Pitches. Volunteers included Buckingham Rotary Club, Buckingham’s Tree Wardens and Town Council staff and Councillors. With plenty of people turning up to lend a hand and lighten the workload, it was a successful and cheerful day of planting.

Volunteers helped to plant 280 saplings to improve the appearance of this green space Volunteers gathered together after planting trees at Lace Hill on a sunny dayand slow the wind down through a mosaic of predominantly broadleaved trees. The saplings were secured from Cole’s Nurseries through generous donation from Buckingham’s Rotary Club to create a native shelterbelt around the pitch and will help to improve biodiversity in the area.

Councillor Margaret Gateley, who also joined in the event, said “It was great to work alongside various community groups on a glorious sunny morning. I look forward to going back in a few months to see how the trees are coming along. Our Estates Team will be keeping an expert eye on them in the meantime.”

 

Spring 2019 newsletter

 

Spring newsletter cover picturesJust like the sunshine the spring 2019 newsletter has arrived!

Buckingham Town Matters Spring newsletter 2019

Inside you’ll find future events, andqr code for the 2019 events survey all the details about local news that effects the town. We’re also taking the opportunity to launch our 2019 events survey! Follow the QR code or link below to take part by the end of March. Events Survey

 

Buckingham Town Council Opposes Proposed Care Home at West End Farm

 

At the Extraordinary meeting of Buckingham Town Council held on Monday 4 February, Councillors discussed the proposed care home at West End Farm on the Brackley Road.  The proposal is to build 72 self-contained flats with at least one resident requiring at least 1.5 hours care per week; the minimum age for residents would be 55. Care would be available 24 hours a day but not from live-in carers.

The new owners of the site, Brio Retirement Living, had submitted plans to vary the approved scheme to enable it to be built of modular units to be assembled elsewhere and brought in by truck. The proposed on-site amenities (for instance, a cinema) had also been reduced.

Councillors felt that their concerns on the amount of traffic likely to be generated by residents had not been addressed.  Residents aged 55 may well have a job or other outside interests and commitments, and parking would also be needed by staff and visiting carers.  The proposed access onto a fast road would be awkward, and there were only 72 parking spaces proposed for the 72 flats. Town councillors have always opposed the definition of the development as a care home as the flats are self-contained, with kitchen and bathroom, with a front door onto a stairwell with no internal connection to adjacent stairwells.

Town Councillors feel the proposal is for a retirement village with a nominal entry requirement for contract care, and consequently housing, which means that according to the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan a requirement of 35% Affordable Housing should be insisted upon, even if this was satisfied by a payment towards such housing elsewhere.

Town Councillors therefore decided to continue to oppose the proposal.

 

Planning application number 18/04290/APP

River Great Ouse: Recovery Update

 

After the successful reintroduction of 8,000 Chub fish to the river this week, we have received an updated community briefing from the Environment Agency on the River Great Ouse.

The updated briefings tell us more about the future plans for the recovery of the river.

Current situation and next steps: recovery and restoration

“We are working with partners; Upper Ouse Catchment Partnership, local angling clubs, Buckingham Town Council, and other landowners to help restore the river and hopefully improve on what was there before the incident, the Upper Ouse Recovery Plan will look at:

• Restocking roach, dace and chub

• Removing barriers to help fish migrate naturally which could speed up the recovery

• Increasing flow speeds to improve fish spawning and invertebrate communities

• Improving marginal features to create habitat for fish and other w

ildlife.”

The full community briefing from the Environment Agency is available here: 8th February Community Briefing 

The Environment Agency have also updated the Upper Ouse Recovery Plan

The pollution incident affected more than 25km of the River Great Ouse between Brackley and Thornton. Thousands of fish were lost and the invertebrate community was heavily impacted too. Fish stocks have since been assessed and we now have a better idea of the impact of the incident, (unfortunately we are unable to share this information). We know that invertebrates are also beginning to recover and fish have been seen in the affected length.”

The full report from the Environment Agency is available here: Upper Ouse Recovery Plan

Buckingham Town Council Supports New Development

 

At an Extraordinary Meeting of Buckingham Town Council on Monday 4th February, called because of time restraints on the responses, Councillors considered two proposals for new developments in the town: an outline plan for 420 houses on land south of Osier Way behind Gawcott Fields, and amended plans for the Tingewick Triangle land at the junction of Tingewick Road and the bypass.  The difference between the approaches of the two developers gave a clear example of the best way to develop new housing plans for the town.

Osier Way

The development at Osier Way was opposed by Councillors; the site was not marked for housing in the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan and fell outside the settlement boundary, separated from the town by the industrial areas and the bypass, and had no community facilities beyond open space and play areas. Councillors are concerned that this proposal would result in a dormitory estate which would be isolated from town life. In addition, the proposal assumed that residents would work locally and walk or cycle to work or school.  However in reality there is little likelihood of taking small children to school in any other way than by car, making the parent-car problems at the primary schools even worse than they are now. Shopping trips to Tesco, Lidl and the town centre would also add to the traffic in and out of the site via Osier Way and the bypass.

Councillors criticised the assumption that 25% Affordable Housing was acceptable, when the currently valid Plan – Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan – requires 35% (a difference of over 40 houses).  It was felt that the figure in force when the plans were submitted should be used, not the proposed figure in the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan which has not yet been accepted by the Examining Officer.

Tingewick Triangle

Plan of houses in the Tingewick triangle area of Buckingham

Plan of houses in the Tingewick triangle area of Buckingham. Large green area is site of St Rumbolds Well and Roman archaeological finds.

In a huge contrast, Councillors welcomed the recent changes made to the detailed plans for Tingewick site in consultation with Design South East; this was a site designated for housing in the Neighbourhood Plan, and the developers had met and consulted with the Town Council at all stages, gradually refining the outline plan to suit Buckingham styles and other consultees’ requirements. Councillors therefore agreed no objections to the revisions, noting that not all consultees had responded yet. They also stipulated that all houses had to have telecoms connections before occupation.

Buckingham Town Council does not make final decisions on planning applications; this is the responsibility of Aylesbury Vale District Council.  However the Town Council are a statutory consultee on all planning applications, and make representations to AVDC where the Town Council opposes an application.

 

Osier Way – application 19/00148/AOP

Tingewick Triangle – 17/04668/ADP

Buckingham Town Council award record number of Community Grants

 

Buckingham Town Council has allocated a record amount of community grant funding for 2019/20 following a high number of recommendations.

Following an increase in applications to the Council for funding there will be an increase of £2,200 in the grants allocated to local community groups, meaning the Council will award a total of £25,511 in the coming financial year.

The Council are keen to support Citizens Advice Aylesbury Vale, and have decided to allocate the organisation one pound per household, based on the precept figure. This follows a recent decision by Winslow Town Council to take the same approach. “Our hope is that all other parishes will do something similar and ensure our local Citizens Advice is on a solid financial footing” said the Mayor.

“The Town Council is always keen to help local organisations that support our community. It is really impressive to see the good use that our local groups make of the limited funding that is available.”

 

Grant Applications

Buckingham Town Council keep their Council Tax increase to 10p per household

 

Buckingham Town Council has voted to only increase the Council Tax raised by the Council on residents in 2019/20 by 10p per household.  At the Town Council meeting on Monday 14 January councillors voted to use £8,586 from reserves towards the coming year’s budget to keep the rise as low as possible.  The total amount raised through Council Tax by the Town Council in 2019/20 will be £852,777.  This equates to an increase of 10p per week for a band D property, a rise of £5.26 or 3.3%.  The Town Council also raises funding through charges, for example for use of rooms in the Lace Hill Community Centre, for burials and by charging the County Council for services provided on its behalf.

The additional funding will be used to install new fencing round the Bourton Park play area and dog-proof gates for Lace Hill Park. The Council will begin to pay for the purchase and development of the new cemetery and allotment site. The Council provides additional services to those run by neighbouring councils, including the Tourist Information Centre, Shopmobility, Lace Hill Community Centre and the annual fireworks display.

The Town Mayor, Jon Harvey, said, I am really pleased that the Town Council have been able to keep our Council Tax increase so low. The Town Council is providing a wide and increasing range of services for the town while ensuring we have the finances in place to purchase and develop the new cemetery and allotments.”

The other Councils, Crime & Police Commissioner and Fire Authority set their own Council Tax rates and increases.

Cold weather plan in force for rough sleepers.

 

As we are in a period of extremely cold weather Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) have activated our Severe Weather Emergency Provision for this week.

AVDC ask that any one who comes into contact with a person sleeping rough or is likely to end up sleeping rough themselves, to please contact StreetLink via http://streetlink.org.uk

You can also call 0300 500 0914 or a member of the Housing Team on 01296 585168 during working hours.

Buckingham Town Council asks residents to help “Fix Buckingham”

 

Buckingham Town Council’s Environment Committee is holding a ‘fix my street’ week, running from 5th to 13th January.

Town Councillors will be out and about carrying out an audit and reporting defects and repairs around the town centre and parks.  Councillors are asking residents to help build a complete picture of issues using the County Council’s page on fixmystreet.buckscc.gov.uk

The Town Council already works with the County Council to carry out minor works including cutting grass verges.  In early 2019, the County Council will also provide the Town Council with a small budget to arrange minor repairs.  Feedback will also be used to help devise the Town Council’s small work programme, as well as to help the County Council identify works which are needed in the town.

The County Council’s FixMyStreet site enables anyone to report details of an issue, including photos, which ensures that the query is forwarded to the correct council.  Where it is the County Council’s responsibility, the issue is logged on their system and the website updated as progress is made. FixMyStreet is primarily for reporting things which are broken or dirty or damaged or dumped, and need fixing, cleaning or clearing, like graffiti, dog fouling, potholes or street lights that don’t work.

It is helpful to be as precise as possible; a photo or asset number (e.g. from a streetlight) can be really helpful.

Councillor Margaret Gateley, Chair of the Environment Committee, said, “I am delighted that we are able to use fix my street to register issues and to monitor progress. I encourage all residents to look at their street and to report anything that needs fixing”.

Buckingham Town Council to protect Lace Hill play area

 

At its meeting on Monday evening (10 December 2018) Buckingham Town Council’s Environment Committee decided to pay to install gates on the new play area at Lace Hill to prevent dogs from entering the playground. The Council was disappointed to learn that the Management Company was not prepared to install the gates, and felt the need for this work was so strong that the Town Council should fund the work directly.

The Town Council has written to the Lace Hill Developers highlighting the absence of gates at the Lace Hill play area and asking for a contribution towards their installation. No response has been received despite chaser emails.

The Town Council will now arrange works in April 2019 to install two sets of gates at a cost of £3,339.

Councillor Margaret Gateley, Chair of the Environment Committee, said, “while it is disappointing that the Lace Hill Management Company is not prepared to fund this work, I am delighted that the Town Council have agreed to install gates to ensure the safety of children using this valuable play area.”