Members of Buckingham’s Town Centre and Events Committee agreed at a June meeting of the Committee, to issue a press release explaining their frustration at the slow pace of street repairs in the town centre of Buckingham.
The Committee first raised the issue in 2022, noting highway defects in the town centre, including lose cobblestones and lifted paving slabs. The Committee was concerned about the number of members of the public reporting to them that they were injured after trips or falls in Buckingham town centre over the last few years with broken and misaligned paving slabs, as well as sunken temporary repairs and loose cobbles at fault. The Town Centre and Events committee oversees Buckingham street markets, and multiple events in this area including the popular BandJam: Big Bash, Music in the Market, Charter Fairs and the Christmas Lights Switch On.
With these in mind, the Town Centre and Events Committee expressed its concern over the potential risk to traders and customers these highway defects posed.
The Council contacted Buckinghamshire Council to ask whether repairs were planned, and then once it was confirmed that Buckinghamshire had identified issues, when the works might start. In April 2023 the highways contractor for Buckinghamshire Council changed and Buckingham Town Council received a letter from Buckinghamshire Council’s Directorate for Communities, Highways & Technical Services.
The letter confirms: “As you have stated, the footway on Market Hill was prioritised at the last meeting, with replacement of the slabs between the Old Gaol and the King’s Head as the extents. Our design process will also look beyond these extents to confirm whether works outside these areas should be included. At present, I am not able to provide you with a date when these works can take place. The design process will identify not only the works needed but also any constraints or clashes with other planned works. Once the design is complete, a contractor will be appointed and, at that point, a date will be identified, which is likely to be later this year .”
The Town Centre & Events Committee were frustrated by the lack of detail in the letter and that the lack of a timeline for action indicated an accepted decline in the quality of the fabric of the town centre.
Cllr. Robin Stuchbury, chair of the Town Centre & Events Committee said “Members of the Buckingham town centre events committee have been concerned about these matters over a great period of time, as you can imagine. Many members of the committee are continuously approached about the fabric of the town, it’s uneven surfaces and trip hazards. After a period of correspondence, with no new definite program of works, published or agreed. They had a responsibility not to be silent about these concerns. Therefore, have issued a press release seeking dialogue on how and when the improvements to the town centre, so obviously needed, can be planned, organised and take place. Allowing people to move around the town without fear, regardless of their age, or condition and go about their business, with no worry, or concerns about the conditions of the footpaths and town centre, which presently I feel, are in a little need of some TLC and planned investment, bringing the town back into better condition to enable the town to prosper and the community to thrive.”