Have your say on the proposed council tax scheme for the new Buckinghamshire Council

Have your say on the proposed council tax scheme for the new Buckinghamshire Council

In a consultation launched today, 14 August 2019, residents are being asked for their views on how the new Buckinghamshire council will support people on low incomes with their council tax bills through a new Council Tax Reduction (Support) Scheme.  The changes are being discussed as the five councils prepare to become one, new council from 1 April 2020.


Currently the four district councils, Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Bucks and Wycombe, offer different levels of council tax support across Buckinghamshire, through the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

However, from 1 April 2020, there will be one council for Buckinghamshire, so the proposal is to have one scheme for the whole of the county meaning people in the same situation are treated consistently and fairly wherever they live.

The proposal brings the four current schemes together in the most effective way, with the least amount of change for those currently receiving a reduction in their council tax bill while making sure the new scheme is affordable for the new council.

Council tax support is offered to people of working age on low incomes who are eligible for a reduction in their council tax based on their financial situation. This includes vulnerable people such as people who receive qualifying disability benefit and single parents with a child/children under 5. The proposed scheme does not affect pensioners who will continue to receive the same level of council tax reduction as directed by Government.

Many people will see little or no changes, but combining four schemes into one does mean there will be some differences.

Martin Tett, Leader of the Shadow Executive, said: “When we are one council it’s important that there isn’t a postcode lottery on the help our residents can get. We want a fair approach that offers residents the same level of support with their council tax bills no matter where they live in the county.”

To find out more and have your say, visit https://shadow.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/consultations/counciltaxreduction

Road Closure – Furze Lane



If only a section of the road is to be affected, give relevant junctions/distances in metres. Approx 40m either side of bridge.2.


PERIOD FOR WHICH ORDER IS SOUGHT from 00:00 to 23:59 on 28-29 August 20192 days 3.

ALTERNATIVE ROUTE FOR AFFECTED USERS – Verney Road, Vicarage Road, High Street, Buckingham Road.

REASON FOR ORDER Insert description Bridge Inspections access to Lakers Nursery from A413 junction.

Will the Emergency Services have access through the closure Yes

Will Buses have access through the closure No

Buckingham Rd, Whitchurch – Oving Road to Dunton Turn (Sunday 11 August)


News from Buckinghamshire County Council


PR 10640
05 August 2019
APPROVED for Immediate Release


Weekly roadworks update




Buckingham Rd, Whitchurch – Oving Road to Dunton Turn (Sunday 11 August)

Surface dressing works taking place using a road closure in operation between 7am and 7pm

County Roads

APPROVED for Immediate Release


Give us your views on roads


Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) is seeking the opinions of residents on the county’s road system in a new online survey that will provide information that will inform the council’s strategic highways planning.

This online survey is open to all residents, and is in addition to the annual National Highways and Transportation (NHT) survey which was sent to 3,300 randomly selected households in Buckinghamshire during June.

Through this survey, BCC will be taking a deeper look at two of the key NHT questions which concern ‘Road Condition’ and ‘Road Congestion’. The opinions collected through this survey will be used to supplement the information obtained via the NHT.

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Transportation Mark Shaw said: “when we look at the combined results of these two surveys, we can really start to build a picture of how the public views and rates our services. This will assist both Buckinghamshire County Council with transport planning and Transport for Buckinghamshire – the strategic highway maintenance arm of the organisation – with advising us on where the roads budget is best spent each year.

“We really value the views of our residents, and this additional questionnaire will give us a better understanding of any issues respondents are experiencing with road condition and road congestion.”

The survey will remain open to the residents of Buckinghamshire until 30 September 2019. It takes under five minutes to complete and is open to all residents even if they have responded to the initial NHT survey received last month.  The results will be made available on the BCC website in the autumn this year.

Complete the survey here:



New Bus Company to Run Rural Route

County Council transport officers have brokered a new deal to keep the rural route 60 bus service running.

The long-distance service, run by Arriva to serve villages to the north of Aylesbury, was due to finish on 28 July after the company gave the County Council statutory notice that it wouldn’t be continuing.

But today (Wednesday 10 July)  the Council announced that Red Rose Travel bus company will take over the route with a revised timetable. And services from Buckingham Tesco to Maids Moreton will be absorbed into other routes.

The existing eight-times-a-day subsidised Route 60 runs from Aylesbury to Buckingham and Maids Moreton, serving Oving, North Marston, Granborough, and Winslow, carrying between 30 and 40 passengers a day.

It’s one of 46 bus routes across Buckinghamshire that the County Council supports with a £1.8 million fund from local taxes to give access to local communities.

The new route 60 timetable between Buckingham, Winslow and Aylesbury, has been created to meet the majority of users’ needs, drawing on travel patterns and the council’s own surveys. It provides six journeys each way between Winslow and Aylesbury, with three extended to Buckingham.

Between Buckingham and Maids Moreton, Monday to Friday journeys will be run by routes 18 and 151, while on Saturday routes 131 and 132 will operate the service.

Mark Shaw, Deputy Leader and Transport Cabinet Member, said that in negotiating with another company to operate the route for the County Council, officers had considered journeys made by school pupils, by people getting to and from work, and by people who would otherwise be socially isolated.

“Our rural routes receive some of the highest levels of subsidy and we work closely with bus companies to encourage greater use,” said Mark. “With route 60 I believe the new arrangements we’ve negotiated provide support that most closely matches the needs of users.”

Arrangements for the new routes can be found in the bus timetables section of the County Council website.

Extensions complete Buckingham to Winslow cycleway

The final extension to the Buckingham to Winslow cycleway has been given the finishing touches, and is ready for residents’ rubber to hit the road.

Work on the £180,000 London Road to Buckingham schools section started in March and, ahead of final safety checks in the coming few weeks, local County Councillors Charlie Clare and Warren Whyte gave it a wheely good once-over.

The extension serves the Swan Pool Leisure Centre, the Buckingham School and the Royal Latin School, and involved widening the pavement along the Buckingham-bound side of London Road.

It joins an earlier £73,000 extension through the Badgers estate to Cornwalls Meadow, finished last September, in linking the town centre with the main cycleway from Winslow to the Buckingham ring road.

Mark Shaw, Deputy Leader and Transport Cabinet Member, said he was delighted Buckinghamshire County Council was able to provide another extension to the successful £2.3 million Buckingham to Winslow shared footway and cycleway.

“This really does open the choices for people to walk or cycle in Buckingham,” said Mark. “We’ve already seen how well-used the main section is and the two extensions will be a huge benefit for those who use the leisure centre, walk or cycle to school, and for those who want to avoid the traffic into the town centre.”

The 5.6 mile section between Winslow and the outskirts of Buckingham opened in January 2017. Last year cycle counters on the route logged more than 10,500 journeys annually through Winslow, just over 10,000 through Padbury, and almost 8,500 past Adstock.

During some summer days, more than 100 cycle journeys a day were measured at Winslow. Before the cycleway opened that figure was just 16.

The main shared footway and cycleway was paid for by a Local Growth Fund grant through the Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, and the extension scheme was funded by Lace Hill developer contributions.

Introducing New Hublets

You can now hire out your own tablet at Aylesbury Library! ‘Hublets’ are Samsung Galaxy tablets which customers can borrow for use within the library itself. All you need is your Buckinghamshire library card and PIN to release a Hublet for up to two hours, completely free.

The Hublets are ready to browse the internet using the library’s wifi and are preloaded with some favourite apps. For example, you can access eBooks and eMagazines with the Libby and RBdigital apps. Prefer to listen to eAudiobooks with BorrowBox?  You can connect your headphones to listen to your stories, or watch videos, without disturbing other library users.

When you’re finished all you have to do is return the device to the docking station and it will log you out of any websites you have visited and clear any information you have downloaded to the device, ensuring that the Hublet is charged and ready for the next customer.

The Hublets will also be used for children’s coding sessions in Aylesbury Library from time to time.  Just ask staff for more details next time you visit.

Councillor Gareth Williams, Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Public Health said:

“I’m really proud of what we’re achieving at Aylesbury Library and the new Hublets are another addition to what’s a bright, modern and welcoming new library environment. We hope to offer Hublets at more of our libraries if they prove popular at Aylesbury.

All of our libraries are fantastic community hubs fit for modern life. Alongside traditional book-borrowing we offer so much more – there are free family activities, a chance to browse up to date newspapers and magazines plus general information and advice and you can to do printing and scanning too. Why not check out what’s on at your local library?”

Join us for a day of celebration for our local armed forces community

Tickets are going fast but there is still time to get yours and join us for a day of celebration and appreciation for our local Buckinghamshire armed forces community.

Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Armed Forces Day takes place at Booker Air Park in High Wycombe on Saturday 29 June, from 12 noon. The day is packed with live entertainment, music and attractions including a two hour long air display.

The event is open to the general public but its main aim is to give our local armed forces a day to relax and enjoy with their families and for the public to come along in support to show their thanks and appreciation for everything our armed forces do and have done for us. It forms part of a national programme of events taking place around the country.

This year’s event is in a new venue and for the first time is also completely free but you must still register online for tickets. To book tickets visit: www.buckscc.gov.uk/armedforcesday

We still need volunteers to help on the day. If you can spare a couple of hours to help with tasks such as hospitality, car parking, selling programmes and backstage support, we would love to hear from you. Anyone aged over 14 can volunteer but under 16s must be accompanied by an adult. In return for helping out you will receive a free limited edition t-shirt and refreshments.

To find out more or to volunteer visit our website: www.buckscc.gov.uk/armedforcesday

HM Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher said: “We are really looking forward to this year’s Armed Forces Day. We have a packed programme of music, attractions and entertainment for the whole family to enjoy, it promises to be a fantastic day out.

“We must also remember, the main purpose of the event is to celebrate and give thanks to all our armed forces personnel, both past and present, for everything that they do and have done for us. We owe them so much and this event is the perfect way to show our appreciation.”

Bucks joins national campaign to cut plastic waste

Single-use plastic bottles are a massive cause of plastic waste and pollution, with an estimated 7.7 billion plastic water bottles used each year in the UK. That’s why Buckinghamshire County Council is joining the national call to reduce this largely avoidable problem by supporting National Refill Day on 19 June.

But National Refill Day isn’t just for one day – we’re asking people to use the day to make the switch permanently to using a refillable bottle for their water on the go.

As well as a call to action on using reusable bottles, Refill Day is part of the wider Refill campaign, which seeks to make tap water available in more places so that when you’re out and about, it’s always easy to refill your bottle for free.

There are already about 100 Refill Stations in Buckinghamshire already, and the best way to find one that’s convenient for you is to download the app to your mobile phone. Participating premises will also display a Refill window sticker.

But it isn’t only businesses that are joining the Refill revolution. Beaconsfield is soon to install a new public water fountain after the project – championed by the Women’s Institute and the ‘Plastic-Free Beaconsfield’ campaign – won the Beaconsfield Decides local funding ballot.

The County Council’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Planning & Environment Clive Harriss said: “It’s really important that we all recycle our waste plastic properly, taking care that it doesn’t contaminate the environment. But it’s better still if we avoid creating plastic waste in the first place – and using a refillable water bottle is an excellent way of doing this.

“The UK has some of the best-quality tap water in the world, so why not seize the moment and do your bit to reduce plastic waste by switching to a refillable water bottle?”

Facts and stats

  • A million plastic bottles are sold every minute around the world – a figure that’s expected to grow by 20% by 2021 (source: Euromonitor International’s global packaging trends report).
  • Of the 13 billion plastic bottles used in the UK each year – an estimated 7.7 billion, or nearly 60% are plastic water bottles (source: RECOUP (RECycling of Used Plastics Limited) cited in: House of Commons, ‘Plastic bottles: Turning Back the Plastic Tide’).

Police & Crime Bulletin May 2019

Calls to the police 101 non-emergency number to become free by April 2020

From April 2020 calls to the 101 police non-emergency number will be free of charge. At present, callers are charged 15p a time. The Home Secretary has announced that he will invest £5 million a year to fund the service, which receives around 30 million calls each year nationally.

Thames Valley Police’s website has been operating on the Single Online Home platform since July 2018 and the public are already able to contact the force and report crimes online. The Single Online Home (SOH), is being launched in full in the summer to reflect changes in how the public are interacting with the police.

The PCC for Thames Valley has been ensuring that the Force focuses on improving the performance of 101. The time taken to answer calls has been steadily falling since a spike during the football world cup and the heightened terrorist threat. Performance is being closely monitored and additional investment is being made in increasing staff, improving training and upgrading technology to make it easier for the public to get the help they need.

Calls to 999 are always prioritised and continue to be free. In an emergency, always call 999.

A change in the law is needed to tackle illegal encampments

As we enter spring we are also entering the seasons for the increase in unauthorised encampments. It is almost universally the case that the public expectation of action by the police in dealing with illegal traveller encampments is not matched by legislation. The limited powers that the police have, especially when an encampment is on private land, is a frustration to the landowners, local communities and indeed many police officers. I fear it can also damage wider confidence in policing as the public do not necessarily understand the limited powers the police have.

Last year the Government consulted on the powers to tackle unauthorised encampments and it has now indicated it’s intention to change the law to give greater powers to the police and local authorities. This is welcomed but the details will need to be scrutinised. There is an indication of some of the areas that will be considered, such as changing the threshold number of vehicles that constitutes an unauthorised encampment and extending the period before anyone can return. The devil will be in the detail however and if meaningful changes are to be brought about it will need changes in the law and a different approach from the police and local authorities.

I have written to all twenty-one of the MPs across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire asking them to meet collectively to discuss the problem of unauthorised encampments once the government proposals have been published.

In the meantime Thames Valley Police have made significant progress with local authorities in establishing a joint protocol to better coordinate the response to unauthorised encampments. The lack of transit sites in the Thames Valley is one of the issues that limits the powers that the police have at their disposal and one of the issues that I believe needs to be addressed.

I will continue to encourage the police to do everything they can to use their powers within the existing system in order to limit the harm to communities from unauthorised encampments, but the system is flawed and I welcome the opportunity being offered by the government to change it.
Read more on my website at www.matthewbarber.co.uk

Collaborating with other Emergency Services

Collaboration makes a real difference in keeping the public safe. Earlier this month I attended the ground breaking ceremony for the new Tri-Service Station at Crowthorne. This is just the latest collaborations between Thames Valley Polie and the three Fire and Rescue Services across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

Once completed the new building will provide a base for Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service, Thames Valley Police and South Central Ambulance Service. Not only is it more cost effective to share premises, but it also fosters the ever closer working relationship between the emergency services.

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