Call blocker device helps vulnerable Buckinghamshire residents avoid scams
Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards is cracking down on telephone scammers this festive season by encouraging people with vulnerable family or friends to support them in applying for a free trueCall device, which prevents scam and nuisance calls.
The compact trueCall device screens incoming phone calls and blocks calls from unknown and unsolicited phone numbers.
Each year, a significant number of Buckinghamshire residents fall victim to fraudsters who employ deceptive tactics to steal sensitive data. Among the most prevalent methods used is cold calling, where fraudsters impersonate legitimate representatives of businesses or financial institutions.
Mark Winn, Cabinet Member for Homelessness and Regulatory Services, said:
“Our Trading Standards team helps to protect the vulnerable from telephone scammers year-round by providing these easy to plug in home devices. Once fitted, they enable all known contacts to dial straight through, with anyone else being screened on the various settings available.
“Christmas is a great time for getting together with friends and family and having conversations with the more vulnerable about cold callers. These conversations could help identify individuals who may benefit from having a trueCall device fitted in their homes. A great gift for any vulnerable person in Buckinghamshire, they are provided free of charge to those in need, so please do encourage people to contact us if they believe they could benefit from having one of the devices.”
Alarming statistics shared by the trueCall team reveal that the proportion of nuisance calls identified as scams has surged from 21% to 40% in the past two years. Furthermore, one-third of scam victims fall prey to a second scam within a year, with single older individuals being three times more susceptible than those living with partners. Vulnerable individuals are also targeted with approximately 40% more scam calls compared to the general population.
To date, Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards has successfully installed 547 trueCall devices. Over the past year alone, these call blockers have prevented over 48,000 scam and nuisance calls. It is estimated the use of these devices has prevented £600k being taken by deception from Buckinghamshire residents.
To apply for a free call blocker device, interested individuals should contact Trading Standards via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Citizens Advice on 0808 223 1133. The devices are provided on loan for as long as they are needed – ensuring ongoing protection against fraudulent activities.
Any incidents of suspected fraud should be
reported to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808
Can you give something back to your community this Christmas?
As the festive season comes into full swing and people plan activities and shopping, Buckinghamshire Council is asking residents to get into the true spirit of Christmas and think about what they can give back to their local community to ensure everyone has an enjoyable festive season.
From donations to your local food bank or community fridge to volunteering time to support a local community initiative, there are lots of easy ways people can do something small that can make a real difference to those less fortunate.
There are many ways you can help:
- Donate gifts or money to collections such as the Inspire Bucks Christmas Gift Appeal which distributes new toys and gifts to local children and young people in need
- Donate items to your local food bank or community fridge
- Donate to the Heart of Bucks together against poverty appeal
- Volunteer your time to a local initiative. Community Impact Bucks runs a volunteering matching service that allows you to match your skills and time commitment to the volunteering opportunities available, including those within Opportunity Bucks areas.
- Become a Buckinghamshire Food Champion and collect Christmas donations for your street or local area - Set up a food collection point on your street (Food Champions) | Buckinghamshire Council
There are lots of other ways you can help others. Take a look at the council website for more information: How you can help others | Buckinghamshire Council
Arif Hussain, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities said: “Christmas is traditionally a time for giving and so we are asking all those who are able, to think about what they can do to give to support others in their community. The smallest act can make such a difference. Just looking in on an elderly or vulnerable neighbour can give a lift to someone living on their own. We know that Buckinghamshire has a strong community spirit and with cost of living pressures still impacting people, it’s important that those of us who are in a position to help, try to do what we can to support others, so everyone can enjoy the festive season.”
If the cost of living pressures are affecting you visit: www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/cost-of-living
Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP) - rough sleepers
As the weather is exceptionally cold, if you see anyone sleeping out on the streets of Buckinghamshire, please contact StreetLink via https://www.streetlink.org.uk or phone 0300 500 0914, who will notify our dedicated Outreach workers.
If you see anyone you believe to be under the age of 18 and/or are concerned about the health or welfare of anyone that you see sleeping rough, please call 999.
A warm area will be available in Buckinghamshire Council offices at Walton Street, Aylesbury, Queen Victoria Road, High Wycombe, and King George V Road, Amersham.
During office hours you can contact our housing teams on the following numbers:
- Aylesbury Vale Area: 01296 585168
- Chiltern and South Bucks & Wycombe Areas: 01494 421212
Cabinet Member for Homelessness & Regulatory Services
Take part in an NHS survey to share your views on primary care services across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West (BOB).
There is an NHS survey that you can take part in to share your views on primary care services across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West (BOB).
The local NHS wants the public/patients to tell them about their experiences of using primary care services in the region to inform a strategy the local NHS is developing to transform these services. more info see here
Newsletter text and link to the survey below.
Festive shopping – and parking - made easy in Buckinghamshire
Buckinghamshire’s high streets are brimming with Christmas cheer, ready and waiting to welcome customers in the lead up to the holiday season. With free parking in towns and villages on select days in December and reduced bus fares, it’s easier than ever to take advantage of local shops and businesses overflowing with gifts and fresh produce to help celebrate the festive season in style.
Shop Local this Christmas, that is the message Buckinghamshire Council is sending to residents who are getting ready for their festive celebrations. Towns and villages across the county have been decorating high streets with lights, trees and decorations, ready to welcome customers onto their pavements and through their doors.
Rachael Matthews, Deputy Cabinet Member for Town Centre Regeneration, said: “The Christmas period is an important time for our local high streets. They rely on the loyalty of local customers to ensure they enjoy a successful festive season, so we want to remind people how important it is to shop local.
“You really don’t need to venture far to get everything you need to enjoy your celebrations and by supporting businesses in your local town or village, you are helping to ensure they can continue to run successfully and add value to your local area which benefits everyone.”
To make it even easier to visit your local high street to do your Christmas shopping, the council is offering free parking in its car parks that support local high streets on Saturday 9 and Saturday 16 December. To check which car parks are included visit the council website:www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/free-xmas-parking.
Or shoppers can let public transport take the strain by doing their Christmas shopping by bus, taking advantage of the extended £2 cap on single journey bus fares, now extended by the Government until next autumn.
Steven Broadbent, Cabinet Member for Transport said: “Whether you choose to travel by car or by bus, you can save money on your journey before you hit the shops. We know many people need a helping hand this Christmas, so the council is playing its part to give communities and high streets a festive boost.”
Buckinghamshire Council will also introduce a temporary pause on scheduled roadworks in some areas of the county in weeks leading up to the festive break. Steven explained: “To make it easier for people to travel and maximise trade, Buckinghamshire Highways will introduce a widespread postponement of roadworks in and around town and village centres in the run up to Christmas. Although we don’t have the power to stop emergency utility works that need doing, pausing planned roadworks will reduce possible delays.”
Many local businesses in Buckinghamshire are taking part in Small Business Saturday on Saturday 2 December, offering another chance for people to support their local shops and businesses and take advantage of special discounts and promotions. Find out which Bucks businesses are taking part in this year’s event: https://smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com/small-business-finder
One place to take your pick of independent and unique gifts sold by local artisans is the Aylesbury Christmas Craft & Gift Fair, taking place in Market Square, Aylesbury, on Sunday 3 December from 11am to 4pm. There are also lots of other Christmas themed events and fairs taking place across the county over coming weeks. Take a look at the Buckinghamshire Family Information Service website to find out what’s on near you: https://familyinfo.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/things-to-do/things-to-do-this-christmas/
Help make a child’s wish come true this Christmas
Christmas is a magical time for children. Whatever their age, every child is excited to find a present under the tree with their name on it. Sadly, not all children are guaranteed a gift to open on Christmas morning, but that is where residents of Buckinghamshire are being asked to assist, if they can.
Local charity, Inspire Bucks, is once again running its Christmas Gift Appeal which aims to ensure that some of the most disadvantaged local children and young people get at least one gift to open this Christmas.
The appeal seeks donations of new toys and gifts for children and young people ranging in age from babies to care leavers aged up to 25. Those who prefer can give a monetary donation which will be used to buy suitable gifts for the children and young people.
The gifts are given to local children and young people in need, including those in care and others whose families are facing severe financial difficulties and simply cannot afford to spend money on toys and gifts. Inspire Bucks works closely with council social workers, schools and food banks to identify recipients and everyone will receive at least one gift.
Last year the appeal helped provide a Christmas present to nearly 3,500 children in Buckinghamshire. Anita Cranmer, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Education said: “Every year we are overwhelmed by the generosity of local people who donate to the Gift Appeal. This support makes a huge difference to so many disadvantaged children across the county. I know we are all still facing high cost of living pressures but I would ask those who are able to support this cause, to contribute with either a gift or monetary donation. Every gift and all the money donated goes directly to the children and young people to help give them the Christmas they deserve.”
Anita added: “This year the appeal will also include young people who are leaving the care system to take the next steps into their adult lives. We want to make sure these young people, who may not have families of their own, don’t miss out. A specially chosen gift just for them will bring a smile to their faces and show them that they are cared for which is what Christmas is all about.”
To find out more about where to drop off gifts or how to make a monetary donation, visit the Inspire Bucks Gift Appeal website.
Gifts are needed for all ages. If you are unsure what is suitable, Inspire Bucks have put together an Amazon gift list which enables you to purchase something direct.
You can also donate a monetary gift via the charity’s Just Giving page: Inspire Bucks Christmas Gift Appeal 2023 - JustGiving
New footpath creates a safer link for local community
Work has just finished on the installation of a new footway alongside the A4010 (Risborough Road) at Ellesborough and this week, some of those involved in making it happen got together to mark the occasion.
The new path runs for 350 metres, connecting existing footpaths which run north from the Fremantle Court Nursing Home into Stoke Mandeville, and south along the Risborough Road. The scheme provides a safe footway for pedestrians between the nursing home and the nearest shop, which is located within the service station at the junction of Risborough Road and North Lee Lane.
The works were carried out by Buckinghamshire Highways using the HS2 Road Safety Fund, which was made available by the Government to leave a legacy of safer roads for local communities impacted by HS2 construction. Ellesborough Parish Council’s successful application to that fund to improve access for residents and Fremantle Court visitors enabled the creation of the new path. Numerous additional projects have been completed in other locations around the county, all helping to improve road safety.
Steven Broadbent, Cabinet Member for Transport said: “We are delighted to have been able to respond to the local community and to bring about this improvement for local residents and visitors to the Fremantle Court Nursing Home. The A4010 is a very busy road which, together with adjoining roads in the area, has been heavily impacted by HS2 construction in terms of increased HGV traffic, road closures, diversions and traffic management. This scheme, which joins two existing footpaths, will enable residents and visitors to walk to the nearest shop in safety, while also extending the existing footpath from the Terrick roundabout along Risborough Road and into Stoke Mandeville. We know the changes will be welcomed by everyone in the local community.”
Steven added: “The disruption caused by the ongoing HS2 works on our doorstep continues to be a real headache for many local residents but with access to this limited funding, we are at least able to address a range of road safety concerns that might otherwise not have been possible so we can continue in our efforts to improve road safety for everyone across the county.”
Food waste - Don’t bin it – Recycle it!
Buckinghamshire Council is asking residents to think twice before throwing food waste in the bin and to recycle it instead.
Currently around a third of the waste thrown in the regular rubbish bin in Buckinghamshire is food waste. This equates to around 28,000 tonnes of food every year, an average of 2kg per household per week. It is enough to fill Big Ben more than one and a half times each year. Not only does this cost local taxpayers more than £600,000 a year in disposal costs, disposing of food waste in this way also damages the environment as it produces double the amount of carbon emissions compared to recycling food waste.
As part of a renewed drive to encourage more people to recycle their food waste, over the next few weeks the council will be delivering leaflets, putting stickers on rubbish bins, and letting people know about the many benefits of food recycling. Attention is particularly being focused on areas where there is more scope to increase food recycling rates.
Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, said: “We know lots of people already recycle their food waste and we appreciate their efforts, but we want to encourage more people to do it. Recycling your food waste is much better for everyone and it really couldn’t be easier. With our weekly food waste collection service, all you need to do is put your food waste in your dedicated food recycling bin rather than your regular bin. Leave it out for collection on your usual weekly bin day and we will empty it.”
Even residents who are keen recyclers might not know they can recycle some food waste. Many people don’t realise they can recycle mouldy bread or out of date food – once the packaging has been removed of course. Even tea bags and coffee grounds, which you might not think of as food waste, can be recycled.
Home composting is another way of recycling some food waste which can be transformed into soil improver for gardens. Cooked food waste is not suitable for composting however and should instead be put into the kerbside food recycling bin for collection.
Gareth continued: “By recycling any food that can’t be eaten instead of throwing it in the bin, you will be helping to save money which could be spent on other essential council services. The food that is collected for recycling across Buckinghamshire is delivered to facilities near Aylesbury and turned into energy to power our homes. It also produces a high-quality fertiliser for use on agricultural land. Did you know, recycling just six tea bags will generate enough energy to boil a kettle to make another cuppa?”
The recycling process for food is called anaerobic digestion. It uses micro-organisms to break down food waste in the absence of oxygen, inside an enclosed system. As it breaks down it gives off methane, which is collected and converted into biogas and used to generate electricity. It also creates a nutrient-rich digestate that can be used as a fertiliser for agriculture and in land regeneration.16,000 tonnes of food is recycled from Buckinghamshire homes each year.
You can find more
information on recycling food at home and also tips on how to reduce your food
Buckinghamshire Council cracks down on fraudsters
Buckinghamshire Council is encouraging residents to help them fight fraud as part of International Fraud Awareness Week (12-18 November).
The council's Fraud Team tackles housing benefit cheating, council tax scams, cybercrime and more. Losses from fraud cost taxpayers thousands of pounds yearly.
Recent action by the Fraud Team includes a joint operation with Parking Services aimed at targeting Blue Badge misuse. Investigators caught several people using expired badges or overstaying time limits in disabled parking bays. Offenders were issued a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) for their parking contravention and sent warning letters.
Commenting on the operation, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport Steven Broadbent, said:
“Blue Badge misuse is not only fraud, but also a serious problem for our most vulnerable residents who rely on the scheme to access essential services and facilities. By parking in disabled bays without a valid badge, offenders are taking away spaces from those who really need them, causing them unnecessary inconvenience and stress.
“The recent successful operation by our teams to identify those who misuse Blue Badges – whether they are expired, stolen or used by someone else – sends a clear message to anyone who thinks they can get away with this dishonest and selfish behaviour: we will find you and we will take action.
“Suspected abuses of the Blue Badge scheme should be reported to us via our website.”
Nationally, fraud costs the public sector £50 billion annually – that’s around £1,000 per household. And of all crimes committed in the UK, fraud is estimated to account for 40% of them.
John Chilver, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Accessible Housing & Resources, commented:
"We do not tolerate fraud in Buckinghamshire.
“We take all fraud allegations seriously and investigate them thoroughly. We urge anyone who spots anything suspicious to report it. If needed, this can be done anonymously.
"Fraud harms all Buckinghamshire residents by diverting funds away from essential services. Which is why we should all be vigilant – your tip-off could stop the cheats."
Frauds, scams or other suspicious activity in Buckinghamshire should be reported via the council’s website.
Tips and advice on becoming ‘fraud aware’ are available on the Action Fraud website.
Buckinghamshire’s Welcoming Spaces give a warm welcome to all
As the weather turns colder and the days get shorter, Buckinghamshire Council is reminding people that Welcoming Spaces across the county continue to offer a friendly and free place where people can go to stay warm and well this winter.
Last winter, the council opened up all of its libraries and community libraries as Welcoming Spaces. The initiative forms part of the council's Helping Hand programme of support for residents impacted by cost of living pressures. The idea behind Welcoming Spaces is to provide warm, free, safe, and supportive places that any resident can visit at any time of year. They allow people to keep warm, save money on heating and access free support, advice and Wi-Fi, as well as meet new people, find local groups and activities to participate in and look after their physical and mental health.
Buckinghamshire's libraries continue to welcome anyone who wants to use them as a Welcoming Space.
Clive Harriss, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture & Leisure said: “Libraries are the perfect place for people to come to if they are in need of some warmth and company. Cost of living pressures are still having an impact on residents and if you are worried about putting your heating on at home, please remember, you can come to one of our Welcoming Spaces. Not only can you relax in comfort, anyone seeking a bit of company can meet with others and our staff are on hand with information and advice on a range of topics. The initiative worked so well last year that we are keen to ensure that everyone knows they are once again open to all.”
Several other local community organisations have created their own Welcoming Spaces in church halls and community centres, providing warm and friendly, social spaces for people to go. Find out more about Buckinghamshire’s Welcoming Spaces on the website: buckinghamshire.gov.uk/welcoming-spaces
For community groups or organisations that want to offer a Welcoming Space, a toolkit is available to help register and promote your space for free on the Bucks Online Directory. Welcoming Spaces are a great way to involve people in other activities that support their wellbeing and sense of connectedness to their local community. Spaces that provide activities such as quiz or games nights, board games, puzzles, film screenings or a 'knit and natter’ are simple ways to engage people and enable them to make connections with others.
The council is also working with local voluntary and community organisations to distribute free Warm Packs, including practical items such as a blanket and warm socks, to particularly vulnerable residents. The council has purchased a limited number of these packs using the Household Support Fund, provided by the Department for Work & Pensions, for local partners to provide to people who need them.
Additionally, the council is asking people to look out for older or more vulnerable neighbours. Arif Hussain, Cabinet Member for Communities explained: “We are asking people to be a good neighbour and keep an eye on them, especially older people or those who live on their own. Just a quick knock on their door to see if they are okay, offering to clear their drive of snow or ice or checking if they need any groceries from the shop, small gestures like this can make all the difference to a vulnerable person.”
Arif added: “Winter is a wonderful season but it can also be more likely that problems can occur, particularly due to the weather. The good news is, there are lots of simple but practical things we can do to prepare ourselves for winter. From making sure your car is equipped to cope during a snowy or icy period to checking that you are well stocked with any medications or provisions you may need should a spell of bad weather make it more difficult to go out, it all helps to be prepared.”
For more information on how to ensure you are winter ready visit the council website: www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/winter-ready
If you are struggling to heat your home or know someone else who is, contact the Helping Hand team: buckinghamshire.gov.uk/helping-hand or call 01296 531151.
Buckinghamshire Council seeks views on new housing strategy
Buckinghamshire Council is inviting residents, businesses and organisations to share their views on its draft Housing Strategy for 2024-2029. The strategy sets out the council’s vision, priorities and actions to meet the current and future housing needs and challenges in the county.
The Housing Strategy has been developed with the input and support of a wide range of partners, including housing associations, developers, community groups and other public sector organisations.
To achieve the strategy, the council has created three draft priorities:
Each priority includes:
The consultation is open until midnight on Monday 18 December 2023 and can be accessed online or by requesting a paper copy from the council. The feedback received will help shape the final version of the strategy, which will be published in 2024.
Mark Winn, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Homelessness and Regulatory Services, said:
“We all know Buckinghamshire is a wonderful county in which to live. It is vital for the growth of our economy and the welfare of our residents that everyone in Buckinghamshire has access to a safe, secure and suitable home that meets their needs and aspirations. Our draft Housing Strategy sets out how we plan to achieve this over the next five years, working with our partners and local communities.
“The strategy also recognises the opportunities to improve the quality and sustainability of existing homes, to enable new affordable housing development for those in housing need and to support residents to live independently and live well in their homes.
“This is our first countywide Housing Strategy and we want to hear from as many people as possible. So please take part in the consultation and let us know what you think.”
You can have your say on the draft Housing Strategy at Your Voice Bucks.
Aylesbury railway reopens after major rail upgrades complete
Network Rail, HS2 and Chiltern Railways are thanking passengers and local people this week after the railway between Aylesbury and Princes Risborough reopened as planned this morning (Monday 30 October) following major work to prepare for HS2.
What work has been completed?
During a 12-week closure of the line, a damaged culvert was repaired to the south of Aylesbury station in August. Immediately after this work was completed, almost 2km of track was replaced and installed across a brand-new embankment built by HS2’s contractor, EKFB (a team made up of Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial Construction and Bam Nuttall).
The new section of track will provide smoother and more reliable journeys for Chiltern Railways' passengers as well as vitally allowing HS2 to construct new high speed lines which will pass beneath a new 100m steel bridge carrying the existing railway. To the north of the new high speed route HS2 have installed a further bridge structure which will allow the proposed South West Aylesbury Link Road to also pass beneath the route between Aylesbury and Princes Risborough.
We’ve worked hard to reduce the impact of our work on the local environment by delivering most of our materials by rail, including 11,000 tonnes of railway ballast (stone). This has helped us to remove over 800 lorry movements from the local and national road network.
Marsh Lane level crossing closure
As part of our work to realign the railway, Marsh Lane level crossing needed to be closed to the public during the railway closure to allow our engineers and engineering trains safe continuous access to the work site.
Now our track realignment work has been completed, a project to upgrade Marsh Lane level crossing is required to make it safer and bring it up to modern safety standards. Work will take place to install a full barrier level crossing in 2024 and then it will reopen to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. We’ll keep you and the local community updated about this project.
Thanking passengers in Aylesbury
On Tuesday 31 October, staff from Network Rail and Chiltern Railways will be thanking passengers in person for their patience at Aylesbury and Princes Risborough stations between 3pm and 6pm. As a thank you gesture, passengers will be offered special edition cakes and vouchers for use at both of the stations’ cafés.
All Saints Church - the Future
Please use the QR code on to take the survey on the future of All Saints Church, our beautiful 13th century church.
Buckinghamshire Council outlines winter support offer for residents
Buckinghamshire Council has confirmed its package of support to those most in need as we head into winter. £4.8m of Household Support Fund (HSF) from the Department for Work and Pensions is being used to provide a wide range of support to residents. The HSF money is also being used to provide grants to food and welfare voluntary and community support organisations, to help those struggling with the ongoing cost of living pressures.
Buckinghamshire Council Leader Martin Tett and Cabinet Member for Communities, Arif Hussain, welcomed Minister for Social Mobility, Youth and Progression, Mims Davies MP, to Buckinghamshire yesterday as part of ‘Household Support Fund Awareness Week’, to see how the Household Support Fund is helping people here in Buckinghamshire and beyond. They visited one of the local organisations that has received funding from the Helping Hand service. The Monthly Monday Meals programme at Buckinghamshire New University offers students a free monthly recipe kit and meal bag, as well as access to an online cookery course to learn how to prepare healthy and budget friendly meals.
The HSF supports the council’s Helping Hand service which assesses applications for financial help and navigates residents to the most appropriate support. Since April this year, using the Household Support Fund money, the council’s Helping Hand service has:
In addition to the support provided to eligible families during school holidays through the Household Support Fund, Buckinghamshire Council also runs the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme during the Easter, Summer and Christmas school holidays. Funded by the Department for Education, HAF provides free holiday activities and a healthy hot meal for children in Reception – Year 11 who receive benefits-related free school meals.
Speaking about the fund, Buckinghamshire Council Leader Martin Tett said:
“I am pleased that the Minister has seen how the Household Support fund is benefiting our residents and making a real difference to their everyday lives. This money allows us to do so much at a time when many of our residents need extra help, and I’m very proud of the wide range of support that the council has been able to offer using the Household Support Fund. It’s a chain of support that is making a huge difference; Government is providing the means, the council is providing a co-ordinating role as well as giving direct help, and our voluntary sector is working hard on the ground with various projects, all meeting people’s needs.”
Arif Hussain, Buckinghamshire Council's Cabinet Member for Communities, added:
“The HSF supports the day to day running of our Helping Hand service which has become a vital port of call for thousands of residents. Through this service we have helped local households in a wide variety of ways. The funding being allocated for a full 12 months combined with some increased flexibility has allowed us to tailor our offering; we can now, for example, use the funds for debt advice and support for those who have received help from HSF funded initiatives but who require additional assistance to improve their finances.”
Minister for Social Mobility Youth and Progression, Mims Davies MP, said:
“It was great to visit the Monday Monthly Meals programme with local MP Steve Baker, as part of the Household Support Fund Awareness Week. I met the team here at Buckinghamshire New University who are utilising the fund by offering students the supplies and recipes they need to eat well – one of many cost of living initiatives taking place in the area thanks to a £4.8 million investment from our Household Support Fund.
“Without this important funding from the Government and the hard work of the council and local community, the over 234,000 awards of support already made to the most vulnerable would not have been possible. I encourage anyone struggling with the cost of living to speak to the council to find out what support is available for them.”
Professor Nick Braisby, Vice-Chancellor of Buckinghamshire New University, commented:
“We are grateful for the Household Support funding Government has provided. Our monthly Monday Meals initiative, delivered with our Students’ Union, is making a real difference to students who would otherwise find it difficult to make ends meet. The additional funding is part of the University’s award-winning support for students through the cost-of-living crisis. This includes free meals, reduced prices in our catering outlets, reduced rents in University halls of residence, increased scholarships and bursaries, and subsidies to ensure that students can access a range of sports, recreation and skills development sessions for free. The HSF funding is an essential element of this student support package.”
Notice of Polling Districts and Polling Places Review
Notice is hereby given that in accordance with Section 18C of the
Representation of the People Act 1983 Buckinghamshire Council (the
Council) is to carry out a review of its polling districts and polling places.
Relevant information and mapping regarding the current arrangements
and proposals for changes can be found on the Council’s website
www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/polling-feedback, or can be inspected at
The Gateway, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP19 8FF.
The (Acting) Returning Officer (ARO) for the Parliamentary constituencies
• Buckingham and Bletchley
• Chesham and Amersham
• Mid Buckinghamshire, and
will comment on the proposals. Those representations will be published on
the Council’s website and will be available for inspection at The Gateway,
Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP19 8FF in accordance with the
timetable set out below.
Electors within the Council area or within a UK Parliamentary constituency
which has any part in the authority may make a representation. We invite
comments from all electors regarding the convenience of voting at polling
stations currently used for elections and would welcome suggestions for
The Council would also welcome the views of all residents, particularly
disabled residents, or any person or body with expertise in access for
persons with any type of disability, on the proposals, ARO’s
representations or any other related matters.
Anybody making representations should, if possible, give alternative
places that may be used as polling places.
Comments and representations may be submitted as follows:
By post Polling District Review Consultation, Electoral
Services, The Gateway, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury,
Bucks, HP19 8FF
By email email@example.com
By completing the online feedback form
All representations must be made by no later than Monday 4
2 October 2023 Formal notice of review
6 November 2023 Publication of (Acting) Returning Officer’s comments
2 October 2023 Commencement of public consultation period
4 December 2023 End of public consultation period
18 January 2023 Final proposals considered by Standards and
General Purposes Committee
1 February 2024 Publish revised register of electors
The outcome of the review will be published by the Council in January
2024 and will be available for inspection on the Council's website and The
Gateway, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP19 8FF.
Anybody making representations should be aware that, upon completion
of the review, all correspondence and representations received must, by
law, also be published.
Dated: Monday 2 October 2023
Last chance to have your say on Buckinghamshire Council's spending priorities
Buckinghamshire Council is preparing its spending plans for 2024 to 2025 and is asking residents, businesses and other local stakeholders to give their views on which services should be prioritised.
The consultation period will close at midnight on Sunday 15 October 2023, so this is your final opportunity to have your say on how your council tax is spent.
The council is committed to ensuring that their budget for the next financial year is allocated in a way that meets the needs of the community – including funding for essential services such as education, social care and waste management.
There have already been a significant number of responses to the consultation from across Buckinghamshire, but it's not too late to give your views. You can provide feedback on the proposed spending plan by visiting the council's website and filling out theonline survey.
Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council, said:
“Budget setting in recent times has become extremely difficult. While we are seeing some more stability and a slowing of inflation, we have also seen very significant rises in social care costs, with many more people coming through the door needing our help. It means we’re already spending more than we budgeted for this year on services like social care and temporary accommodation, and if this trend continues, it puts even more pressure on our overall budgets.
“I have to level with people and explain that we will have to take some really tough decisions to balance our books. We know residents have been experiencing ongoing cost of living pressures, so we face very difficult choices on how we provide some services going forward.
“All this means it is crucial that we build up a clear picture of what residents, businesses and local stakeholders want us to do.
“With the Money Matters survey, we’ve made it as quick and easy as possible for you to give us your views – it really will be ten minutes well spent if you can take part. Your views will then be fed into our final budget proposals which will be heavily scrutinised just after Christmas in a series of special meetings. The final budget is then voted on during February, ready to ‘go live’ on 1 April 2024.”
You can find more information about Money Matters and have your say by visiting Buckinghamshire Council'sMoney Matters webpage.
Council Leader demands that Buckinghamshire must gain from HS2 cancellation
Buckinghamshire Council Leader, Martin Tett, reacted to Wednesday’s announcement of the cancellation of the Birmingham to Manchester section of HS2, by saying that, having ‘suffered all of the pain without any gain’ from Phase 1 of the project, Bucks should now receive significant compensatory investment.
“I was absolutely delighted with the decision. It is undoubtedly right that this ill-conceived and vastly expensive scheme is finally cancelled. My regret is that it is thirteen years too late. Here in Buckinghamshire, we have suffered the devastation of our beautiful county and environment. People’s lives have been destroyed, businesses closed, and our fabulous countryside and ancient woodlands torn up. I dread to think how much hard-pressed tax-payers’ money has already been wasted.”
“Sadly, I fear that it is too late to cancel the HS2 line through Buckinghamshire. The damage is already done. What I am demanding is that the Government commits a fraction of the £36bn saved from both de-scoping Euston and cancelling north of Birmingham to help repair the damage already done in Buckinghamshire. I am writing today to Mark Harper, the Secretary of State for Transport putting the case that Buckinghamshire deserves to share significantly in the national benefits of cancellation. We have an environment that needs restoration and key transport schemes that need funding. These should be priorities for the Government now that it has finally seen sense.”
Buckinghamshire Council announces ‘zero tolerance’ approach to utility works
Buckinghamshire Council has written to every utility company that operates in the county with a clear reminder of their obligations when they want to carry out roadworks. The council has also introduced seven-day working in its ‘Streetworks’ team to carry out even more inspections to check works are being managed correctly.
The number of permit requests for utility works has increased dramatically in recent years with a significant knock-on impact on the county’s road network. There has also been a rise in the number of Fixed Penalty Notices the council has had to issue to utility firms where they’ve failed to keep to the terms of their permits. Breaches the council has taken action on include:
The council has informed utilities companies of its new ‘zero tolerance’ approach when they fail to keep to the permitted arrangements. Companies will now receive a Fixed Penalty Notice on first breach and will have their permit revoked if a further breach occurs.
Utilities firms have the right to access their networks by digging up the roads to carry out repairs, service connections and improvement works. They also have the right to respond to emergency situations with permissions granted retrospectively. The council issues permits so these works can go ahead but under these permits they are obliged to follow strict agreed criteria. The council also weighs up many factors before agreeing a works permit, such as whether there is another set of roadworks nearby, or if there is too great an impact on a critical service such as a school or hospital.
As part of the approach to lessen the impact of roadworks disruption, the council is also carrying out a wholesale review of the county’s road network to identify the busiest areas with a view to potentially make changes as to when utilities works can take place in these places, potentially insisting on more evening, shift and weekend working. The council is also going to lobby government over the current fine rate for breaches, which is nationally set at £120, reduced to £80 for early payment.
Steven Broadbent is Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport. He said:
“We do want a constructive relationship with all utilities firms who we know have to carry out works to repair and improve their infrastructure, and that often this will ultimately benefit us all. However, we are very much aware of the impact of these works and the disruption they cause, and it’s absolutely critical that utility firms keep to the terms of their permits and manage their works appropriately and responsibly.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen too many cases this year where works just haven’t been managed well enough and the inconvenience and detrimental impact of this falls onto our residents, businesses and communities. We are taking this action to make sure standards and obligations to residents are maintained.
We have limited ability to refuse works but we do our utmost to work with firms to keep disruption to a minimum, setting out clear expectations as part of the permit process. We also think the current fine limit is totally insufficient to deter mismanagement of works.
Overall, we know the impact of roadworks is a major issue for our residents. We also know road use and driver habits has changed since the pandemic, hence us doing a fresh review of our network to understand the current pinch-points and so we can look to programme works better around these locations.”
Notes to Editor
Household recycling centres change to regular winter opening hours
From Sunday 1 October, all 10 of Buckinghamshire’s Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) will switch over to the usual winter opening hours of 9am to 4pm.
The days each centre is open will remain unchanged but the change in hours reflects the fact that as it gets closer to the clocks going back at the end of October and over the winter months, the number of visitors to the sites decreases rapidly once it starts to get darker earlier.
Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment explained: “This is something that we do every year at this time, but we want to make sure that everyone is aware of this important change to winter closing times of 4pm from 1 October, so please take note.”
To find out which days your local HRC is open and also further details of what can and cannot be taken to a centre, visit: buckinghamshire.gov.uk/waste-and-recycling/
Did you know you can also view live webcam footage via the council website, to check if the site is busy and avoid having to wait in a queue? If you are unsure about the best time to visit, take a look at the cameras and plan your trip accordingly.
Don’t forget, any items such as furniture, garden equipment, bicycles and household equipment in good condition that you are looking to get rid of, can be taken to any HRC where they are collected for reuse. Items donated are sold on by the South Bucks Hospice which runs the reuse shops in High Wycombe and Aston Clinton HRCs. Items for resale can be taken to any of the 10 sites and will be transported to the reuse shops.
Gareth continued: “We would encourage anyone who
wants to get rid of good quality household and garden items to donate them to
the hospice reuse shops. You can combine your donations with a regular trip to
the tip so it couldn’t be easier. The items you no longer want will be snapped
up by someone else who needs them and by donating in this way you are helping
raise much needed funds for a local charity, so everyone is a winner.”
How can we make Buckinghamshire safer?
That is the question the Safer Buckinghamshire Board is asking residents and other interested parties as it launches its Safer Bucks consultation.
The Safer Buckinghamshire Board is the local multi-agency community safety partnership that brings together experts from the police, fire service, probation health and social care services.
Following last year’s community safety survey, the new Safer Buckinghamshire Strategy 2023-26 was developed. The strategy outlined the five key priorities for improving community safety and fear of crime in the area. To help deliver the next 12 months of the strategy, the Safer Buckinghamshire Board is keen to know:
- What impact crime and anti-social behaviour has in local areas
- More about people’s experiences of reporting crime
- How safe or unsafe residents feel in Buckinghamshire
The consultation is open to anyone who lives, works or studies in Buckinghamshire. It is open until 29 October. You can complete the survey online at: Community safety survey 2023: How can we make Buckinghamshire safer? . Residents can obtain a hard copy by contacting: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thomas Broom, Buckinghamshire Council’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Community Safety said: “On the whole Buckinghamshire is a very safe place to live and visit but like any area, there can be times and locations where issues occur. We are really keen to hear from local residents and others about their experiences and the effect these matters have had on them. We can and do look at the statistics and background data, but this first-hand detail from individuals responding to a survey like this is invaluable in helping us to effectively target our resources and attention to make the best impact and improvement. It doesn’t take long to complete so please take a few minutes to let us know your thoughts.”
You can read the full Safer Buckinghamshire
Online Portal for victims launches Monday
On Monday, Thames Valley Police will be launching a new online portal for victims of crime. As the first police force to be using technology like this, we will be initially launching this with a trial period and wanted to provide a short briefing to you on what this portal will allow should it come up in conversations with victims of crime that you have contact with.
Last year, our force received nearly 1 million contacts from the public. Across the UK, there has been an increase in calls to 999 and 101, so it's vital we find new ways to communicate with our communities.
The new portal uses digital technology to improve our non-emergency contact to ensure we're giving victims the best possible service, and we’re able to prioritise those most in need.
Victims will be able to log in and get updates on their reports and contact the officer in charge of their case more easily, as well as having access to helpful resources depending on the type of crime they have been a victim of, and find useful information and links to other relevant agencies.
Victims have to be invited to the portal so they will receive a text and/or email if they are eligible to log in. As we are in the early stages of using the portal, it will not be available for all crime types and for the trial period will be used for crimes that we deem to be of a lower risk and for which we receive higher volumes of reports, for example theft from motor vehicles. We aim to expand the portal to incorporate further crime types in the future.
During the pilot period, the online portal will be hosted on a separate website, but once it is up and running for all crime types, we hope to link it to the existing Thames Valley police website. For now, only victims who have been invited to use the portal will have the URL to take them to the site.
You can watch a short video explaining what the portal will do at: TVP Portal animation - YouTube
So that we can effectively assess the success of the portal and where improvements may be needed, an opportunity for feedback will be made available around October time.
Whilst the portal is in a trial period, we will not be sharing proactive external communications for some time, potentially later this year, by which time we hope to have the portal embedded and be in a position to share positive outcomes from its use. We hope that you will be able to support us in sharing that content when the time comes.
Money matters – tell us how you want your council tax spent
Buckinghamshire Council is preparing its spending plans for 2024-25 and is asking residents, businesses and other local stakeholders to give their views on which services should be prioritised.
Like household budgets, councils across the country are also experiencing significant financial pressures due to rising costs and added demand on services. The general economic turbulence of the last year and a half has also made budget setting and forecasting even more challenging. In particular, the council has seen social care costs escalate even further in recent months due to many more vulnerable residents needing our help.
With everyone managing their own cost of living pressures, it’s really important that residents tell the council how they want to see next year’s council tax spent.
Council tax is the main way that local council services are funded – from bin collections to road repairs to looking after adults and children who need our care. The council has ongoing costs to provide its services and also draws up capital spending plans too – ‘one-off’ spends on particular projects or schemes such as last year’s decision to invest millions of pounds extra in resurfacing and repairing the county’s roads after significant winter damage.
The council’s ‘Money Matters’ survey has gone live today – this is the way residents can tell the council which areas they want prioritised in next year’s budget. The survey takes just ten minutes to complete. These views are then fed into the final budget proposals which are then heavily scrutinised just after Christmas in a series of special meetings. The final budget is then voted on during February ready to ‘go live’ on 1 April 2024.
Councillor Martin Tett is Leader of Buckinghamshire Council. He said:
“Budget setting in recent times has become extremely difficult. While we are seeing some more stability and a slowing of inflation, we have also seen very significant rises in social care costs, with many more people coming through the door needing our help. It means we’re already spending more than we budgeted for this year on services like social care and temporary accommodation and if this trend continues, it puts even more pressure on our overall budgets.
I have to level with people and explain that we will have to take some really tough decisions to balance our books. We know residents have been experiencing ongoing cost of living pressures, so we face very difficult choices on how we provide some services going forward.
All this means it is absolutely crucial that we build up a clear picture of what residents want us to do. I urge you therefore to tell us by completing the ‘Money Matters’ survey.”
Students across Bucks receive their GCSE results
It can be an anxious time, but the wait is finally over for thousands of students across the county, as GCSE exam results are available from schools today (24 August).
Many students will travel into school to pick up their results but other secure options such as by telephone or the school’s parent portal will be available for those who cannot be there in person. Parents and students should check with their school to ensure they know what options are available.
Joseph Baum, Buckinghamshire Council’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services said: “Well done to all those students who have worked hard and got the results they wanted. We know that the effects of the pandemic are still impacting children and young people of all ages, so the achievements of those picking up their results today is testament to their resilience and they should be very proud.”
Joseph added: “We know there may be some students who may not do as well as they hoped or expected but there is plenty of help and support available so make sure you speak to your school or college in the first instance, talk to friends or family, or go online.”
There is also a lot of support for students who may be experiencing stress and anxiety about their results and what the future holds. Options available include:
Joseph added: “Completing your GCSEs is a huge achievement and we wish all our students well for whatever their next steps may be.”
Buckinghamshire Council hosts its second Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair
The second Buckinghamshire Council Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair will take place on Saturday 23 September.
The County-wide event, which will be held at The Elgiva Theatre in Chesham, is an opportunity for employers to promote their jobs and apprenticeship opportunities to anyone looking for employment or seeking a change of job or career.
Buckinghamshire Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair will run from 10am to 3pm on Saturday 23 September and those interested in attending the free event can secure their place now at:
The first hour from 10am to 11am has limited spaces for people who would prefer a quieter experience or need additional support – book early if this time suits you.
Attendees will be able to meet and talk with over 25 exhibitors and support organisations including All Spring Media, Silverson Machines, Carousel Buses, Buckinghamshire Fire, First Response, Balfour Beatty, Atkins Global, DeVere Hotels, Buckinghamshire Council and Buckinghamshire NHS Trust. Buckinghamshire Adult Learning will once again be delivering mini workshops on the day.
Exhibitor spaces are still available and can be booked by email@example.com.
Joseph Baum, Deputy Cabinet Member for Education and Skills said:
“It has been a long-running passion of mine to help people find opportunities in Buckinghamshire, and I am proud to have played a part in organising this event. It is genuinely exciting and rewarding to be helping to lead the second Buckinghamshire Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair’.
This year the event is being supported by Opportunity Bucks, the council’s flagship programme to improve opportunities for people in Buckinghamshire.
Opportunity Bucks focuses on ten wards in Buckinghamshire where people are experiencing the most hardship, one of which is Chesham.”
HS2 update from Buckinghamshire Council
What is Buckinghamshire Council doing on behalf of residents?
Buckinghamshire Council demand actions to repair the sinkhole at Little Missenden
After the appearance of the sinkhole at Little Missenden on 13 May 2023, Buckinghamshire Council held urgent meetings with HS2 Ltd. Leader of the Council, Cllr Martin Tett visited the site shortly after its appearance with the Deputy Leader, Cllr Gareth Williams, and one of the Council’s HS2 Marshalls, Steve Hall. They sought information on what had caused this large hole in the ground and what action was being proposed to repair it. Buckinghamshire Council has been working with HS2 Ltd and their contractor Align, since then to ensure that the damage is repaired and that actions are taken to prevent a similar event occurring in future.
This “ground movement” occurred after Cecilia, one of their tunnel boring machines (TBMs) needed to stop for some routine maintenance. Cecilia stopped on 9 May for some maintenance and then restarted on 12 May. She had a burst pipe so had to stop again later in the day for some further maintenance and repair. When she restarted on 13 July the sinkhole, which is approximately 6m in diameter and 5m deep, was spotted by HS2 Ltd’s surveying team. HS2 Ltd notified key stakeholders including the landowner and tenants, the Environment Agency (EA) and Affinity Water. As soon as the ground movement was reported HS2 Ltd fenced off the area with thick black tarpaulin to shield the hole and ensure public safety.
Cecilia had been working 30m below ground level in Shardeloes Park and Garden when she entered a dissolution feature and movement then occurred at the surface. Florence, the second TBM had already travelled through this area without incident. Both TBMs have now safely passed under the River Misbourne and the A413.
Once access arrangements are agreed with the landowner and tenant, HS2 Ltd’s contractor, Align, will carry out a photographic reconstruction survey of the whole route before remedial works begin and their environmental experts will check trees in the historic parkland to ensure that the access route from the temporary compound to the sinkhole avoids Root Protection Areas and that there is adequate separation from trees with nesting bats or owls, etc. All grazing stock will be moved prior to works and Align will provide traffic marshals for the duration of the works to manage vehicle movements and pedestrians on the public right of way.
The existing topsoil and subsoil material will be removed from the base of the sinkhole followed by a structural backfill of the area (approximately 150-200 cubic metres) to approximately 400mm below the existing ground level. Chalk material from one of the local vent shaft sites at Little Missenden or Amersham will be used for this.
Then secondary landscape remediation will follow between one to three months later once the ground has stabilised. The 400mm layer of subsoil and topsoil will be reinstated and tied into existing grassland and the whole area reseeded. The fence around the site will be retained until the grass establishes.
Align, forecast that the first stage remedial works will take approximately two weeks. The second stage will follow later and will take approximately one week. These works are intended to restore the landscape to how it was previously. Appropriate archaeological monitoring will also be conducted in consultation with Historic England, Buckinghamshire Council’s archaeologist and the Gardens Trust.
Align wish to carry out these works during the dry summer period, when the impact will be reduced, and are working with the landowners and other stakeholders to progress the works as soon as possible. There will be a partial road closure on Highmore Cottages and a partial inside lane closure on the A413 from 29 August to 8 September from 10am to 3pm for delivery of plant and materials to the site. Diversion signage will be in place to direct traffic via Taylors Lane and the public right of way will remain open with traffic marshalls to ensure public safety during working hours.
Buckinghamshire Council are working with HS2 Ltd to communicate to residents the impacts of the works to the Princess Risborough to Aylesbury Line
Buckinghamshire Council have been working with HS2 Ltd and their contractor, EKFB, to ensure that residents are fully informed about the works being carried out on the Princes Risborough to Aylesbury (PRA) rail line. EKFB will be constructing, moving, and commissioning a new rail line. The realignment, which is only about 20m from the original line, is integral to keeping the Network Rail line open as HS2 passes through. There work will require a 10-week closure of the PRA line, known as a blockade, whilst EKFB carry out their works. This is planned to be between Saturday 19 August and Monday 30 October 2023.
EKFB have agreed with Network Rail and Chiltern Railways to carry out the works within this 10-week period to shorten the period of disruption for all rail users and residents. This means that during this time there will be periods of 24 hour working, subject to consents, to allow the live railway to switch from the existing line onto the new track.
EKFB aim to complete the majority of the noisy 24 hour works during the school summer holidays, to take into account Booker Park School which is situated next to the railway line. This is a specialist SEND school which teaches an array of students with varying degrees of sensitivity to noise. For this reason, EKFB have agreed to reduce the disruption to pupils by limiting noisy works during their school hours 8.30am to 3.30pm. There will be some operational noise during the overnight works as well as tower lighting to allow work to be carried out safely during the night shift. EKFB have carried out some noise and vibration modelling on the planned activities and some properties located near-by may be impacted for short periods of time. EKFB are contacting residents of these houses separately.
Road users of North Lee Lane will have to follow a diversion route during the Marsh Lane crossing upgrade from the 18 August until spring 2024.
There will also be a traffic light-controlled HGV crossing point across the A418 Oxford Road from Tuesday 8 August to Friday 25 August 2023 from 8am to 6pm to facilitate the transport of essential aggregate materials to the PRA work site. These will be manually controlled by an operative on site to give priority to road users.
Footpath closures will be in place during the 10-week blockade to install a noise hoarding alongside the Princess Risborough to Aylesbury Line at the back of the Hawkslade estate. This will reduce the operational noise to properties close to the railway line during the works.
EKFB are planning to divert the current water main for Brook Farm away from the HS2 line and look to reconnect to an existing water main along Marsh Lane. Due to the nature of the works, there may be disruption to the local water supply and a road closure on Marsh Lane between 8am and 6pm Monday 21 August to Friday 25 August 2023. Safe access to properties along the road will be maintained via traffic lights.
Details of these closures and diversions can be found on the HS2 in your area webpage.
Network Rail also havea video explaining the works starting on 7 August.
To find out more about how these works may affect you, EKFB are running a series of community engagement events and online over the coming months. Details can be found on the HS2 Events web page.
Addressing residents’ concerns about HGVs on our highways
Our HS2 & EWR Marshalls Steve Hall and Mark Rann have been busy following up residents’ complaints about HS2 HGVs on our roads and have been able to report these instances to HS2 Ltd, which has resulted in warnings or formal notices being issued to individual drivers over the last few months.These include:
The Council’s Marshalls are out across the county every day and if you have concerns about any HS2 HGVs or issues you would like us to look in to, such as vehicles traveling off their approved route, driving standards, or excessive speeds, please let us know and we will investigate. We will need the location, date, time, and registration number of the vehicle or better still a photo (if it is safe to do so). You can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Buckinghamshire Council coordinated efforts for improvements to Nash Lee Lane following complaints from residents
In the first month following the opening of the realigned Nash Lee Road and Nash Lee Lane to accommodate HS2 construction, we received a variety of complaints from residents who expressed concerns regarding road safety. Additionally, there were two similar incidents just a few days apart, involving vehicles travelling at excessive speeds who both failed to stop at the end of Nash Lee Lane, resulting in crashes into the gardens of neighbouring properties. One of the residents shared his concerns on BBC Three Counties Radio and the incident was also published on the main BBC news website.
Following the incidents, we co-ordinated a meeting on site between officials from Buckinghamshire Council and EKFB with residents, plus representatives from both the Parish Council and the Wendover HS2 Mitigation Action Group. At that meeting residents shared their concerns about both the speed and volume of traffic using Nash Lee Lane, which was thought to be caused by motorists mistaking this for Nash Lee Road and therefore being unaware that Nash Lee Lane is a short road and also a cul-de-sac. As a result of this meeting a range of measures was agreed for implementation by EKFB which the residents thought were a good solution.
Within three weeks of the meeting all but one of the agreed 14 short/medium term measures agreed, had been implemented. There have not been any further incidents at this location.
HS2 Road Safety Fund update
The HS2 Road Safety Fund aims to provide a legacy of improved road safety for communities impacted by HS2 construction. The total fund for the project is £30 million with £3.95m allocated to Buckinghamshire Council.
Since the move to Buckinghamshire Highways in April, officers from Buckinghamshire Council and its new highways partners have been working together to progress the agreed Tranche 1 HS2 Road Safety Schemes. We expect these schemes to be delivered by the end of 2023. These include:
Design work is currently underway on agreed Tranche 2 schemes, which include:
Feasibility work is also taking place on potential footpath schemes at Ashendon and along the A355 between Longbottom Lane and Ledborough Lane.
The final tranche of the HS2 Road Safety Fund will be launched once all the Tranche 2 schemes are agreed and we know how much of the budget is left. This will be advertised in the local press, on our website and we will inform all members and parishes through our regular newsletters.
If you have any queries regarding the HS2 Road Safety Fund, please email: email@example.com
Details of all HS2 Road Safety Schemes delivered and those in the pipeline can be found on our website.
CCTV new locations and requests for future camera locations
Buckinghamshire Council has three mobile CCTV cameras to monitor which are used to monitor the impact of HS2 construction.
The CCTV cameras are currently located at:
Any queries or concerns regarding the use of CCTV should be sent by email to EWRandHS2enquiries@buckinghamshire.gov.uk
You can also propose a location which would benefit from the placement of a mobile CCTV camera using our online form below. Note that suggestions will only be considered where there is evidence of disruption caused by HS2 construction works. Suggest a camera location here.
HS2 Ltd Chief Executive resigns
Mark Thurston, HS2 Ltd’s Chief Executive announced his resignation in July after six and a half years of leading the high-speed rail organisation. Mark will leave in the autumn when Chairman, Jon Thompson, will step up as interim Chief Executive. Mr Thurston’s resignation comes at the height of the construction of Phase One of HS2, with major works taking place at more than 350 sites between London and the West Midlands.
Mark Thurston joined HS2 Ltd in March 2017, shortly before construction of Phase One of the high-speed railway began. During this time there has been a mobilisation of a 28,500 strong construction workforce and a variety of major UK and European contractors.
However, the project has also suffered series delays, cost increases and political pressure. There is speculation about the future of the project, as well as whether its scope, including the speed and frequency of trains it could accommodate will be watered down. The Government says it remains committed to delivering the high-speed railway, however on the 20 July the Infrastructure and Projects Authority published its annual report on major projects giving HS2 a red rating which implies that “Successful delivery of the project appears to be unachievable.” The rating means that there are “major issues with project definition, schedule, budget, quality and/or benefits delivery, which at this stage do not appear to be manageable or resolvable.” The IPA report said that “The project may need re-scoping and/or its overall viability reassessed.”
The London to Birmingham leg of HS2 was originally due to open in 2026, but is now expected between 2029 and 2033. The leg of the line to Leeds has been scrapped, replaced by a shorter high-speed line which will link Birmingham and East Midlands Parkway. In March, the government announced it was delaying the Birmingham to Crewe leg by two years to cut costs. Work at London Euston has also been paused for two years after costs increased from £2.6bn to £4.8bn.
An HS2 Ltd spokesperson said the priority now is to ensure that the initial high-speed services connecting Old Oak Common in west London and Birmingham Curzon Street are running by the current target of the early 2030s.
Announcing his resignation, Mr Thurston said “Leading this organisation has been the highlight of my career and a privilege from the first day – the programme has come such a long way and I want to thank everyone who has worked on the project during my time. The next 18-24 months will see the project move into an exciting new stage. I have agreed with the board that someone else should lead the organisation and programme through what will be another defining period for HS2.”
Transport Secretary, Mark Harper MP paid tribute to Mr Thurston who he credited with “successfully overseeing the start of construction and ensuring HS2 has created tens of thousands of skilled jobs and apprenticeships across the country.” He added “As HS2 enters its next phase, the government remains committed to unlocking all the benefits of this flagship infrastructure scheme – increasing rail capacity, connecting communities, and growing the economy."
HS2 community contributions in Buckinghamshire
HS2 Ltd and its contractors have a programme of community investment, supporting communities through volunteering, skills, and education, and working with parish councils and community groups along the line of the future railway through Buckinghamshire.
HS2Ltd’s contractors Align and EKFB, have supported a number of projects in Buckinghamshire by providing funding or volunteers. Recent projects included:
If you have a local project or community initiative that you think HS2 Ltd might be able to help with please get in touch with them through the HS2 Helpdesk or giving them a call on 08081 434 434.
HS2 Ongoing Work
You can see the work that is taking place in Buckinghamshire on the HS2 website,‘In Your Area’ section, (Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire) and sign up for automatic alerts. HS2 Ltd or contractors are committed to sending out Advanced Warning Notices 2 weeks ahead of works commencing.
Works in Buckinghamshire
I have listed some of the main works in the table below (please note this is not a comprehensive list):
HS2 Forthcoming Works Packages for submission to Buckinghamshire Council
Schedule 17 of the HS2 Act puts in place a process for the approval of certain matters relating to the design and construction of the railway, which requires that the nominated undertaker (HS2 Ltd and its contractors) must seek approval of these matters from the relevant planning authority. As deemed planning permission has been granted by the Act, requests for approval under Schedule 17 are not planning applications and there are few grounds on which the Council can refuse.
Buckinghamshire Council have recently received quite a long list of forthcoming works packages from HS2. You can view these at the HS2 Forthcoming Works Packages for submission to Buckinghamshire Council website.
Buckinghamshire Council HS2 coordination team
To contact the HS2 Community Engagement Officers and the HS2 Marshals please email: EWRANDHS2enquiries@buckinghamshire.gov.uk
HS2 Ltd Helpdesk and Mobile Visitor Centre
Emailto HS2Enquiries at HS2enquiries@hs2.org.uk
Freephone 08081 434 434
Minicom (used to help people with hearing or speech difficulties) 08081 456 472
Post to FREEPOST, HS2 Community Hub
Upcoming Mobile Visitor Centre and Drop In Events Dates and Locations
Pre-booking is not required to visit the HS2 Mobile Visitor Centre, and people are free to drop in at any time. Please check the dates on the HS2 events page before attending in case of any changes. Future dates will be advertised on HS2 events.
Consultations on Planning Changes
The Government have announced a series of planning consultations taking place this summer. Full details can be accessed by clicking on the links below.
The first focusses on proposed changes to Permitted Development Rights this includes change of use and the use of local design codes. Thisconsultationwill run from 24 July 2023 to 25 September 2023.
The second consultation, includes a series of proposals aimed at making the preparation of Local Plans simpler, faster and more accessible in England. This consultation, will close on 18 October 2023.
The third and final consultation, looks at streamlining and enabling the faster delivery of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) including off-shore wind, transport links and other major infrastructure. The closing date for thisconsultation is the 19 September 2023.
Bucks Household Recycling Centres continue to get top marks from residents
Overall satisfaction with all ten of the county’s Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) is 100% according to the latest figures from the bi-annual Customer Satisfaction Survey.
The survey is carried out twice a year to gauge opinions of regular users of the sites and to ensure the facilities continue to meet the requirements of local residents.
The results show:
- 100% of those interviewed said they were satisfied overall with the HRCs (61% said they were very satisfied and 39% said they were satisfied).
- The layout of containers on site and the helpfulness of site staff also received 100% satisfaction ratings.
- The area of least satisfaction was with road signs to the site which received a 97% satisfaction rating and traffic queues which received a 98% satisfaction rating.
- Satisfaction with the range of materials which can be recycled has increased from the last survey.
- Customers in Burnham gave the highest number of ‘very satisfied’ ratings of all the sites.
Gareth Williams, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment said: “These results are a great indicator of the popularity of our household recycling centres. Our wish is to make it as easy as possible for people to be able to get rid of their household waste and recycling in a responsible and convenient way. It’s great to hear that the vast majority of our customers are pleased with how the centres are run and we will aim to continue this trend and listen to all the feedback to see if we can make further improvements.”
FCC Environment manages the ten HRCs across the county on behalf of Buckinghamshire Council.
FCC Environment’s HRC Contract Manager James Reseigh commented: “The recent survey results are fantastic and a true reflection of the continued hard work and dedication of the team members operating the sites. This comes hot on the heels of our High Wycombe site winning the Civic Amenity Site of the Year in the National Recycling Awards which was an amazing achievement. But it’s good to have it confirmed that our visitors feel that we deliver a great service. We are excited to continue to do so over the duration of the contract.”
The survey also asked site users about the reuse facilities at the HRC sites, gauging awareness of the reuse shops at Aston Clinton and High Wycombe HRCs and their knowledge of donating items for resale and reuse.
In 2022-23, reuse tonnage was 941 tonnes in total, the equivalent weight to more than 78 double decker buses. Staff working at all HRCs also keep an eye out for items brought to the sites to see whether they can be resold and direct residents to the reuse area. Items are taken from all 10 sites and delivered to the two shops in Aston Clinton and High Wycombe. Top selling items include furniture, garden ornaments, crockery and sporting equipment – all of which can be donated directly to one of the reuse shops which are run by South Bucks Hospice.
In the survey, over two-thirds of respondents (70%) claimed to know that all HRC sites keep reusable items separate. These items are then sold in one of South Bucks Hospice's charity shops. Of those asked, 64% said they would donate if they knew what items could be donated.
The reuse shops are open for the same hours as the HRCs and are staffed by South Bucks Hospice staff. The reuse shop at High Wycombe now has its own car park and entrance which has increased footfall to the shop. More donations are always welcome.
Jackie Ward, CEO of South Bucks Hospice, said: “Reusing and recycling has always been popular with many people but with continued cost of living pressures, even more people are looking at ways to make their money go further and reuse shops like these can be great places to find a bargain. We are finding that many items are being snapped up almost as soon as they are donated so we are always keen for people to donate more. You can combine two trips in one, get rid of your waste and donate to charity at the same time.”
To find a full list of Household Recycling Centres in Buckinghamshire, visit the council’s website.