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.

 

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.

Play areas to reopen Saturday 4th July

Buckingham Town Council are pleased to announce that from Saturday 4th July the play areas owned by the Town Council will be reopened, along with the Tourist Information Centre and Lace Hill Community Centre.

Play Areas

The Town Council’s play areas in Bourton Park, Chandos Park, Otters Brook, by the Lace Hill Community Centre and next to Meadway (Ken Tagg) will all be opened, along with the adult gym equipment in Bourton Park.  Government guidance makes this possible from Saturday. There will be signs at each area asking everyone to be aware of the risks and to take note of the guidance displayed by the equipment:

The equipment will not be cleaned daily – the Council does not have the resources to do this.  So parents or carers may wish to wipe equipment down before using it, and should always provide hand gel for children after use.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Try to maintain a 2 metre distance, except for from people of the same household
  • Wait at a safe distance, and if the equipment is in use return later
  • Anyone who has coronavirus symptoms, or is part of a household where somebody does, should not use the equipment
  • If you are wearing a disposable mask or gloves throw it away after use or take it home with you; DON’T LITTER.
  • Anyone who is clinically vulnerable should not use the equipment.

 

The Council has carried out a full safety inspection of the all play equipment to get ready for the reopening.  Unfortunately, some of the wooded items at Otters Brook are no longer safe due to internal rotting.  These have been taped off until repairs can be made.

Re-Opening of Public Toilets in Buckingham

Changing Place Toilet Cornwalls MeadowBuckingham Town Council are pleased to announce that from Thursday 18th June the Public toilets will be re-opened in Cornwall’s Meadow along with the disabled accessible toilets in Chandos Park.
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 inside and outside each cubicle, advising users to thoroughly wash their hands and to maintain social distancing in accordance with the government guidelines.
At this time the male and female toilets in Chandos Park will remain closed due to the difficulty in keeping the communal areas safe. This will be kept under review and the Town Council aim to re-open these facilities as soon as it is safe to do so.
The Disabled accessible toilets in Chandos Park will be opened from Thursday, as this is a single cubicle, and can be accessed with a RADAR key which is sometimes referred to as the National Key Scheme (NKS). This is a nationwide scheme that offers people with disabilities independent access to locked public toilets around the country.
Councillor Ruth Newell, Chair of the Environment Committee added that she was “pleased that the Town Council was able to re-open their toilet facilities, to assist the public as they use the increasing number of re-opening shops and businesses.”

Buxplore: Buckingham heritage walks and audio tours by app!

Looking for things to do in Buckingham?

Need a reason to try Buxplore? Wild or stately, industrial and rural – Buckingham is an ancient town with many secrets hidden behind timber and brick walls. Buxplore was built to help residents and visitors discover more about Buckingham.

Not one of the hundreds of people have tried Buxplore since it launched three weeks ago? Here are six reasons to give it a go!

1. Free Buckingham kids activities

We know it’s been a long time since March and families are looking for new ideas for things to do in Buckingham. Buxplore is fun and interactive, the perfect way to be active and sneak in a homeschooling history lesson. Heritage for Kids is a fantastic trail to get the whole family hooked. Starting at the Chantry Chapel, explore the oldest parts of Buckingham – find, touch and imagine icons from Buckingham’s thousand year history.

This short route passes by Chandos Park – the perfect place to stop for a picnic.

two children touching the ammonite on Bristle Hill

2. Guided audio tours of Buckingham

With clear maps flagging locations to explore and audio options, these routes are really easy to follow with all the benefits of an audio tour without a clunky device to carry around. Simply use your mobile phone to access the app (don’t forget to turn on your mobile data and location tracking) then head out to the first stop on your chosen route.

3. Learn and explore Buckingham’s wild spaces from Bourton Park to Buckingham Canal

Connect with nature and learn more about Buckingham parks and the river Great Ouse. This explorer route is designed to be explored a little at a time, the perfect way to find some of the hidden green spaces you might not know about. Most of this trail is well away from roads with child friendly activities to try at every stop!

For photography fans this route offers fantastic opportunities to take photographs of wildlife including kestrels, wild flowers and the most beautiful parts of the River Great Ouse.

4. There’s been a murder! Can you solve the puzzles and find the culprit?

Tried all the online escape rooms? Buckingham murder mystery trail is a totally free interactive detective mystery. Start on Moreton Road at the Old Police Station and meet Sergeant William Jeeves! Solve puzzles to unlock new locations and discover clues as you take a tour around the murkier side of Buckingham history.

Don’t worry – hints are available if you get stuck and there are plenty of places to stop for fantastic food on the way around! Not in Buckingham? Turn on virtual mode to take part wherever you are.

Old Police Station Buxplore

5. Discover Buckingham Walks from the railway to Stowe House and Gardens from a different point of view

With six different trail themes getting stuck into Buckingham history is as simple as choosing your route. Interested in Stowe? View Stowe House and Gardens from the parkland trail, taking in temples and the House from a different angle and discover more about how Stowe and Buckingham are linked while taking in glorious view over the town.

What about the industrial revolution? There’s a trail for that too!

6. Did we mention it’s free?

Thanks to a £10,000 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund Buxplore is completely free to use and will remain live for the next five years, with new routes add as often as we can. If you have ideas for new routes, let us know!

National Lottery Heritage Fund Logo

How to download the app and start using Buxplore

Start by visiting Buxplore.web.app on your mobile device and clicking the white box at the bottom of the screen to download the app. Then simply pick a route and visit the first location to get started!

More questions or need information about compatibility? Visit out Buxplore FAQ

Easter in Buckingham

A message from The Mayor, Councillor Mark Cole JP:

thank you from buckingham mayor coronavirus“May I say a big thank you to everybody in Buckingham and district who has helped to reduce the risks of Covoid-19, not only those in the front line – NHS staff, carers, postal workers, council staff, refuse collectors, and food, foodbank and prescription deliverers – but to all those who are respecting Government guidelines by staying at home for all but the most essential trips to food and pharmacy outlets, or exercise.

“In line with Government advice, our town parks will be open for everyone to enjoy this Easter, but for obvious reasons the play areas will remain shut. Whether in the parks, the estates, or in the countryside, please keep your distance from others, and if you are a dog walker keep your dog on a lead – notices will remind everyone of this – and together we can beat this contagion.”

Easter Activities

Buckingham Town Council are inviting residents to create Easter bonnets!   If you’re stuck for what to use or may struggle to get materials, try using the things that are already accessible in your house and garden first.

Here are just a few materials you can use to make your very own Easter bonnet;

  • A hatImage of our Happy Easter colouring activity
  • Paper or Card
  • Colouring pens and pencils
  • Cotton Wool
  • Ribbon
  • Glitter or Sequins
  • Flowers
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Don’t forget your can create Easter Eggs for our Easter Egg Hunt too.

Post your creations to the Town Council’s Facebook and Instagram pages and use our #BucksBonnets so everyone can join in.

And why not wear your bonnet while you exercise over the weekend…

Covid 19 Information for Buckingham

Buckingham Town Council has published a Coronavirus web page giving links to local groups providing support, coordinating volunteers and seeking resources to do more in this challenging time.

The page is being updated each working day with any new information specific to Buckingham.  The Council is also using its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages to provide up to date information on its services and those of other organisations in the town.

This includes links to local businesses who are offering additional services at this time.  As well as local groups and services who are providing support to those who need it and who are seeking more volunteers.

Play Areas

The Town Council’s play areas remain closed for the time being, i.e. those in Bourton Park (junior and senior), Chandos Park, Badgers Estate (Otters Brook), Meadway (Ken Tagg) and Lace Hill, along with the outdoor sports and exercise equipment in Bourton Park.  The same applies to the other eight play parks in Buckingham not managed by the Town Council.

Parks and Green Spaces

The Town Council’s parks remain open for exercise for the Bank Holiday weekend, however everyone who is visiting parks and open spaces must maintain social distancing, keeping at least 2m from each other. This means please avoid narrow paths, as well as thinking carefully about activities you may do there. The parks should be used as routes to exercise through, not as places to remain in.

This is particularly important to remember while exercising. If you are moving faster than another individual or household group and are not able to pass someone with a 2m distance between you, you must stop or move to an area where there is a suitable distance. All park users are responsible for ensuring that this distance is maintained.

The Grounds Maintenance Team are continuing to maintain Bourton and Chandos Parks, green spaces and the cemetery.  Grass cutting has started for the new season, including on grass verges and vision splays.

The Team will be checking the parks are safe and emptying bins over the Bank Holiday weekend.  However, 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.

The Buckingham Road Cemetery remains open in the usual way but the same social distancing principles apply.

Markets

The town’s Tuesday and Saturday markets remain open to stalls selling essential food and goods.  The market provides people with a low risk outdoor place to shop for essential supplies.

Shopmobility

The Shopmobility Service remains closed temporarily

Tourist Information Centre

Tourist Information Centre staff are still available to answer queries by telephone and email during the Centre’s usual working hours:

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

Temporary Closure of All Council Play Areas

Following Monday’s announcement by the Prime Minister, as of Tuesday morning, 24th March the Town Council has closed all of the play areas it manages, i.e. those in Bourton Park (junior and senior), Chandos Park, Badgers Estate (Otters Brook), Meadway (Ken Tagg) and Lace Hill. It has also closed the use of the outdoor sports and exercise equipment in Bourton Park.

There are 8 other play parks in Buckingham not managed by the Town Council and the same rules will apply to them.

The Town Council’s parks remain open for exercise, however everyone who is visiting parks and open spaces must maintain social distancing, keeping at least 2 metres from each other. This means please avoid narrow paths, as well as thinking carefully about activities you may do there. It is not appropriate to use parks as social spaces to meet others who are not living in your household.

This is particularly important to remember while exercising. If you are moving faster than another individual or household group and are not able to pass someone with a 2m distance between you, you must stop or move to an area where there is a suitable distance. All park users are responsible for ensuring that this distance is maintained.

We will continue to monitor the position and may need to take further steps to protect the well-being of our residents. We are in this together.

Full government guidance on staying at home and away from others

Lace Hill Sports Pitches and Dog Walking

Keep Dogs Off the Pitches poster

We welcome everyone at Lace Hill Sports Pitches, this is a communal space that we want all residents to be able to enjoy. Buckingham's parks are one of its best assets and the Council works hard to maintain them and to create green spaces that work for everyone, including those exercising and dog walkers.

At the moment the Council is reviewing how best to ensure that everyone can enjoy the Lace Hill playing fields, and below are some of the most common questions that have been raised.

The playing fields at Lace Hill were paid for by section 106 funds, this is money that developers must pay when they build large numbers of houses to improve the infrastructure of an area.

The funding was for two sports pitches associated with the Sports Centre and the school. In the first stages of the housing at Lace Hill being built there may not have been sports teams visibly using the space, but several sports clubs now hire the space to use for training and official match games.

Buckingham Town Council took over the Lace Hill Sports & Community Centre and the playing fields from the developer in 2016. This means that the cost of maintaining the Centre and the Fields comes out the Council Tax paid by everyone in Buckingham and not just members of Lace Hill.

The housing maintenance fee paid separately by Lace Hill residents does not cover the Lace Hill Sports & Community Centre or the pitches.

In 2019, Buckingham United Football Club made an agreement with the Town Council that they would take over the maintenance of the sports pitches themselves. This means that they can maintain them to a higher standard without any extra cost to tax payers. As part of this agreement they also put up fencing around one of the pitches, which will be removed at the end of each season.

Other sports clubs also use the fields for training sessions and official match games, and pay a hire cost which contributes towards the cost of the maintenance of the area.

The playing fields are used by several sports teams for training and official match games, including by children learning how to play football, rugby and other field sports.

There have been repeated incidents where the presence of out of control dogs have put children in danger:

  • Owners have allowed their dogs to foul on the pitches and not cleared it up, which is a significant risk to children as dog poo contains harmful parasites that can make children unwell, and in severe cases can cause blindness.
  • Recently, owners have thrown balls for their dogs into the unfenced pitch area while children are training. This is an obviously unsafe thing to do, causing a serious risk of harm to both the children and dogs.
  • Unsupervised dogs have also run into the children's play area.

The well being of everyone who uses the playing fields is important, and the Council cannot ignore the risk currently being posed to children from dogs whose owners are not keeping their dogs under control.

Yes you can, but dogs must be kept under control and walked responsibly.

  • Always clear up after your dog, even if there is no one around. There are dog poo bins at the playing fields.
  • Keep your dog off the sports pitches.
  • Keep your dog under control, if the pitches are in use your dog should be on a lead.
  • Consider using other park spaces if you want to spend time with your dog off lead.

This is because the unfenced area is still a sports pitch. In fact, this is the pitch most commonly used by children training, who are particularly at risk from out of control dogs.

If there are continued issues with dogs in this area the Council will have to consider firmer action.

Money for Buckingham app project from the National Lottery Heritage Fund

The Buckingham Community Heritage App Project

Buckingham Town Council has received a grant of £10,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for a Community Heritage App based in Buckingham. This exciting project has been developed with input from children and residents in the town and will be a fun interactive way to explore Buckingham and learn more about the town’s history.

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players the project will enable residents and visitors to learn more about common landmarks like the Old Gaol and Chantry Chapel; as well as the hidden history of Buckingham and the Royal Family, Doctor De’ath, leather boots for circus elephants and duck races. To unlock historic photographs and earn points users will have to race around the town, visiting real locations and spotting the evidence of Buckingham’s historic past.

Buckingham Town Council has developed this project via its Economic Development Working Group which aims to support and develop the long term economic health of the town through town planning and increasing public pride and knowledge of the town. The app will encourage users to walk or cycle around the town, improving knowledge of paths and promoting visiting the historic Town Centre, riverside parks and other heritage locations further afield.

Councillor Mike Smith, Chair of the Economic Development Working Group said "This is great news for Buckingham, and thanks to the National Lottery we shall be able to introduce a completely modern approach to displaying and steering local residents and our many visitors around our numerous heritage sites. We are very grateful for the support of the National Lottery in this project, and look forward to welcoming some of its many players once the App has been developed."

Thanks to this National Lottery Heritage Fund grant, Buckingham Town Council and the work of local developer Mark Vanstone, from TechnoVisual, young people at both The Buckingham School and the Royal Latin School will be able to take part in the creation of their very own app from market research, coding and testing to launch, a fantastic learning opportunity – all while engaging with their Buckingham heritage.

“It’s nice to be involved in a project as big as big as this, I’d like to have a future career in cyber security.” Faye, from the Royal Latin School

“I thought it was a good opportunity to try something new and stretch my boundaries, which I’ve been doing more at secondary school.” “Kids often use things that are fun, and if you use this app you aren’t just having fun you’re learning about history too. Kids are on their phones all the time and this way they’re doing something educational too.” William and Chloe-Isabell, from The Buckingham School

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. www.heritagefund.org.uk.

Students from The Buckingham School and the Royal Latin
Celebrating funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund
National Lottery Heritage Fund logo

Wheelchair friendly picnic table in Bourton Park.

Buckingham Town Council have installed a new wheelchair and pushchair accessible picnic benches at Bourton Park, thanks to funding from local group, Buckingham AccessforAll. The bench was designed and assembled by the Town Council’s Greenspaces Team using locally source timber.New picnic bench with John Russell from Access 4 All.

Cllr. Ruth Newell, Chair of Environment Committee, said: “This is a great addition to Bourton Park and we thank AccessforAll for funding this Picnic Bench. It looks great and will be well used.”

Mr. Ed Grimsdale, Secretary of AccessforAll said: Our Access Group wanted to set an example by raising some money to buy something which would be useful both for disabled people resident in Buckingham and the town’s visitors. It decided to buy an accessible park bench because there’s a legal duty under the discrimination acts to make such provision but also it’s fun to be included, to be sat with friends around the New picnic bench with Ed Grimsdale from Access 4 Allsame table sharing a picnic in the fresh air. The Town Council’s Estate Manager responded with enthusiasm and suggested that he and his team could design and make a great bench that would be better value and more durable that anything currently on the market. 

Thus, the new, rugged BUCKINGHAM ACCESSIBLE PICNIC BENCH has been built and installed in Bourton Park.”