Letters round-up (includes disabled parking, school report, HS2 and ping pong gone)

Letters
Letters

Letters to the editor which appeared in this week’s Bucks Herald newspaper.

Diabled parking

Under attack

I see Councillor Brian Roberts is continuing the attack on the disabled of Aylesbury with removing disabled parking bays in the High Street.

By putting in new bollards in the High Street near WH Smiths this actually takes away access to the disabled bays in George Street and Kingsbury.

As someone who has been paralysed for 60 years, unlike Mr Roberts, I HAVE sweated blood and tears negotiating the High Street with the continued obstructions put in the way by the council.

Due to the high number of patients of the National Spinal Centre living in and around Aylesbury, plus the increase of the Paralympics, it was known in the late 50’s and early 60’s that the councils did not want Aylesbury to become “a town of cripples”.

Mr Roberts confirms this attitude still persists. If the council had continued with the rising bollards when the centre became pedestrianised many years ago, then the so called drive through would not have happened. Over the years the words planning and logic seem to have been missed from the council’s vocabulary.

It was only last week that I was made aware of the notices in town.

Typical of the council to place them out of wheelchair height. I would like to see those in favour of banning disabled drivers try to push themselves in a wheelchair up the High Street from Anchor Lane carrying shopping both ways.

The replacement bays are no good. I wonder where Mr Roberts has got this crackpot idea that out door cafes etc. will breathe life into the centre?

I congratulate him and other supporters of his for keeping the town clear of cripples!

Paul Waddingham

Limes Avenue, Aylesbury

School report

Not up to the mark

I write in connection to the article printed on page 20 on the 18th September 2013, in the Bucks Herald, regarding Broughton Infant School.

I would be grateful if you might see your way to printing my response.

I feel that this article is inaccurate and wish to bring this to your attention.

I have been associated with the school for 20 years as a former governor and chair of governors, in all this time Broughton Community Infant School has always been judged as “Good”.

It is therefore inaccurate to say “standards had fallen steadily since the last inspection (back in 2005 when it was last graded as “Good”)

Inspections were carried out at the school on the following dates, 18th Sept 2000, 20th Oct 2005, 11th Feb 2009, 9th Jan 2012 all of which were judged to be “Good”

I quote from the Ofsted report on their own website of their findings of an interim inspection of the school.

15/03/2012: “I am pleased to inform you that our interim assessment shows that the school’s performance has been sustained and that we can defer its next full inspection.

“As a result, the next full inspection will not take place any earlier than the summer term 2013”.

I also wish to raise my concerns about the statement made by Ms Standage which said: “We have had quite a few changes of staff recently but we now have a fantastic team”.

I consider her statement maligns those staff that have left, and appears to suggest that they were less than satisfactory.

I have known many of the staff at the School for a long time, all of whom without doubt were dedicated, hard-working and highly professional, and was led extremely well by the former Head teacher.

Perhaps further questions should be directed at Ms Standage, the governing body and the local authority as to why so many staff and indeed other members of the team have left suddenly since her appointment in April 2012.

Name and address supplied

Tring Road

Bad decisions

At noon on Saturday September 28, traffic entering Aylesbury was tailed back to the end of the Aston Clinton bypass, with not an Arla lorry in sight.

If the signals at the Oakfield Junction were replaced by a mini roundabout , traffic would move continuously through the junction instead of being held up for long periods, or is there a better idea?

Tring Road does not need to be a cycle route. What happened to the proposal to use Broughton Avenue and Oliver Way for cyclists?

The county council is in the position of Mr Micawber, waiting for a kind developer to turn up the fund the extra roads needed to distribute traffic round Aylesbury.

This could be a long time coming.

Mr Lidington will remember, no doubt, that the council had an Aylesbury Southern bypass under design in the 1980s. That idea was defeated by two others.

Firstly there was no agreement with Oxfordshire about where the scheme should terminate at the western end, and secondly the Department of Transport hi-jacked the scheme as part of its projected East Coast ports to Southampton trunk road.

That concept fell with the abandonment of the Roads for Prosperity White paper around 1991.

So, we are stuck with the consequences of past bad decisions, not least the decision to build a northern ring road (Elmhurst Road and Weedon Road) with continuous frontage development and terminate it via Oakfield Road at a T-Junction.

Oxfordshire has managed much better with the excellent distributor road around Bicester.
As far as I can see, things can only get worse, because there seems to be no agreed Master Plan for Aylesbury.

OJ Oliver

Campion Close, Aylesbury

Clogged roads

BANGing on

As a member of BANG (Bypass Aylesbury Now Group), I welcome the recent acknowledgements by our local MP David Lidington and many county and local council representatives and others that Aylesbury desperately needs a bypass to relieve traffic congestion, notably on Tring Road.

For many years Mr. Lidington and others have advocated that infrastructure must be in place before further development be undertaken.

Unfortunately this policy has not been followed in Aylesbury Vale and the Arla Milk Plant is a prime example.

The planning application was rushed through ‘like a coach and horses’, the increase in traffic using Tring Road inevitably increasing the congestion even more so, we estimate that Tring Road, part of our so called Ring Road has over 26.000 vehicle movements per day including 8 to 9% heavy goods vehicles.

It is now likely that the increased traffic volumes will result in increased air pollution in the Tring Road to levels well above critical, ( already at critical levels some five years ago with nothing having been done to remedy it).

In addition local residents will have to withstand increase in traffic noise and the damage caused due to poor road surfaces.

In 2006 a petition of some 5,000 signatures asking for a bypass for Aylesbury was submitted by BANG to Bucks County Council for onward submission to government. There was no response.

However what we did get was recognition that Aylesbury would become a cycle town.

However that was rescinded two years later after the expense to the economy was seen as futile in a town that does not have the correct infrastructure to accommodate such a need.

Towns’ need space to accommodate dedicated cycle ways, not white lines that appear and then disappear, instructing cyclists to join the main traffic again.

If a dedicated bypass were in place a cycle town would have been workable,by freeing up the congested roads such as Tring Road and also the town centre. It’s most important that any town has a heart and the only way that Aylesbury can now obtain that, as seen now by most logically thinking people who agree, is for the town to have a dedicated bypass that would not only allow all traffic to move freely but would accommodate the traffic flow from the M25 in the east to the M40 and A34 in the west, the present A41 being used as a rat run between the two.

Going back a number of years it’s interesting to note that traffic lights were replaced at King Edward Avenue by ... mini roundabouts. What goes round comes round.

NB Do not blame ARLA for this situation, a very well respected international Company that offers excellent products that most of us use every day.

Just a shame the infrastructure was not in place already

D Thomas

Address supplied

Road Rage

Ring of truth

As usual critics express their disapproval, but do not come up with solutions.

There is only one way to satisfy all road users and that is an outer ring road.

There are just too many vehicles, and too many that have to reach the other side of the town.

Prior to the traffic lights, those using King Edward Avenue often had to wait until some kind driver on the Tring Road let them in, but there was little

or no chance of turning right.

It remains to be seen how the changes at Bedgrove will work out.

Let’s hope it will help those who often find themselves in a queue reaching almost back to Jansel Square.

With traffic arriving at the end of the A41 by-pass two abreast, how on earth can a single track road hope to cope with not only those vehicles but also those joining the main road into Aylesbury.

Those who believe it is better elsewhere, just try driving through Dunstable or Buckingham.

Derek Whitehead

Bedgrove

Politics

Choice words

Politics in Aylesbury seems to have become a very nasty game indeed, particularly when it comes to how the old establishment parties are reacting to the rise of UKIP in local government.

Rather than address the issues that UKIP is connecting with the local electorate on, such as HS2, certain individuals have decided to resort to base “smear” tactics, sneers on social media outlets and in the comments section of the online version of this paper, and even in electoral literature that we have seen distributed in May and more recently in the Oakfield town and district by-election.

In one way this is a compliment. The cosy complacency of the parties that have controlled local government for decades has been shaken to the core, and they clearly fear that their dominance will be further eroded, or even turned over, by UKIP in the 2015 local elections that coincide with the General Election. Their fear is palpable.

In another, it is dangerous. County councillor Phil Gomm, our candidate for the Oakfield district seat, was physically assaulted while out leafleting and canvassing.

The individual responsible was throwing Nazi salutes and yelling that UKIP are a party of fascists, racists and no different from the BNP.

While the national narrative coming from some media outlets feeds into this total misrepresentation of UKIP, this has been exacerbated by the behaviour of certain local spokespeople for the other parties, and it has to stop.

UKIP is the only party which bans even former members of extreme groups from membership and expels them when it is found that they have been dishonest on their membership applications.

UKIP is not anti-immigration, we are pro-controlled immigration using a similar system to that used in Australia.

UKIP is not anti-Europe or anti-European, we are just against losing our national sovereignty and independence to unelected European Union bureaucrats.

UKIP is not fascist – anyone with even the most basic appreciation of reality knows that fascism is a political ideology that is authoritarian, anti-democratic, economically protectionist, racist and pro-big government; UKIP is none of these things.

If our opponents disagree with our policies, let them argue against them in a grown-

up, objective manner and treat the electorate as intelligent adults who can make their own choices.

The problem is that will lose these arguments since UKIP policies occupy the common (not centre) ground of British politics and our blend of common-sense, pragmatism and always putting our constituents (and our country) first is speaking to an ever increasing number of normal people, particularly in Aylesbury.

Sadly, I do not expect such maturity to appear. The old parties are in a panic, and panic leads to actions without thought of the consequences, as can be seen by the disgraceful assault on Phil Gomm.

Let us hope that their childish irresponsibility does not lead to more assaults on decent people putting themselves forward to serve their local communities as a UKIP councillor.

Barry Cooper

Waddesdon

HS2

Worlds apart

This conference season the contrast between UKIP and the Conservatives over HS2 could not be more marked.

Cameron and Osborne in Manchester have been peddling the bogus assertion that HS2 is necessary to address capacity issues.

Everyone by now must be aware that Euston and the lines to it are much less congested than other London Stations. And you certainly wouldn’t need anything like £50bn to create new capacity on the Euston line if it were genuinely necessary.

But it is full speed ahead for Osborne, complete with a brand new HS2 head, Sir David Higgins, who will get £50,000 per month at your expense to work on creating a continuing subsidy drain.

But then Osborne has always preached ‘austerity’ (for you) while he borrows more money at your expense than any previous Chancellor. He will have doubled the national debt by 2015 - on the Government’s own figures – so he is no stranger to squandering money.

Meanwhile in London the UKIP dedicated a session, led by our own UKIP Bucks County Councillor Chris Adams, about opposing HS2 as a major national issue.

UKIP seems to be the only party promoting the view that less government might sometimes be better government.

That the old political parties all support HS2 is a blatant snub to the ‘hard working people’ for whom they currently profess so much concern.

The people who actually earn the money that Cameron and Osborne love spending so much could certainly think of better uses for it.

Alan Stevens

UKIP County Councillor for Great Missenden

Buses

Dial a ride maybe?

The subject of cuts in local bus services is clearly raising concerns amongst local people who are finding themselves with much reduced or discontinued services around the town.

However there do seem to be some services which might actually be reduced with little detriment to travellers.

For example, I am aware that there are during the day, four buses per hour on the 300 service between Aylesbury and High Wycombe supplemented every few hours by a 321 Redline bus.

Most are underused and a reduction to three or even two per hour would still provide an adequate service outside the peak hours. There must be other similar examples.

Bearing in mind that one full round trip between the towns is equal in time to two or three local circuits there must surely be scope for savings here which could fund the maintenance of local services cut for cost reasons.

Perhaps a community bus service (over and above dial - a - ride) like that in Princes Risborough could also plug some of the ‘gaps’ in the services?

Another consideration is that ultimately our bus services exist with just 50% of funding from fares and the rest from local or central government.

Bus passes are unlikely to be withdrawn as they are really part of the subsidy injection which would have to be made up directly.

It does however seem to be ridiculous that every journey with a pass is a charge to the terminus even when only a one stop trip might occur.

If the use of free passes was limited to perhaps a once a day trip within a closely defined area eg to shop or visit the hospital, those who choose to joy ride or make unnecessary journeys would rightly pay for their pleasure leaving scope for the maintenance of really needed services.

R Drake

Aylesbury

Promises

State of the paths

I could hardly believe your report on Page 9 of the Bucks Herald titled “Pavements like ploughed field” regarding the state of the pavements particularly on the Elmhurst Road and estate.

Councillor Raj Khan comments were unbelievable to say the least as they would indicate that he has only just become aware of the state of these pavements whereas he has been fully aware of their condition for over ten years or more and has managed to get absolutely nothing done about them in the past and I doubt if he will in the future.

As a past active member of the Elmhurst Resident Association I was present on numerous occasions when the state of these pavements, particularly in the main Elmhurst Road were brought to his attention as Cllrs Jenny Puddefoot and Joan Poole who were both present, can testify.

At that time,he walked with me and others around these pavements , which must now be a decade or more ago when he was full of promises to get the situation resolved but nothing was achieved and they are now in an even worse state than then.

I am afraid that Mr Khan talks the good talk but is not very successful when it comes to getting anything achieved, regarding these pavements.

He used to be a very caring councillor apparently greatly interested in the problems of his constituents but I am sorry to say that the impression he has given to me and many of my friends in recent years is that he is now primarily interested in self-promoting the Raj Khan personna and will jump on any current bandwagon to get publicity for himself.

The photo accompanying the article is a good example. Whilst appreciating the problems that the state of our pavements present for mobility scooter riders, Cllr Khan should not forget that other groups, like the elderly, the walking disabled, partially-sighted, mothers with prams and wheelchairs, young children and the public in general have all had to contend with the state of these pavements over many, many years, without any improvements to them being made by Cllr Khan or his fellow councillors or the council he represents.

Let’s forget all the empty promises and let us finally see some action on Elmhurst, but then as the Transport for Buckingham spokesman said Limes Avenue residents are to be the lucky ones to get their pavements done - another example of favouring one of the more affluent roads in the area at the expense of part of the main ring road around the town.

Last time this situation reared it’s head, I believe Elmhurst lost out to the more affluent Bedgrove.

They say that money talks- it certainly seems to - need I say more.

Stan Ball

Elmhurst Road

Aylesbury

Canals

Pull the otter one

I am positive I saw an Otter on the canal at Broughton last week and I spoke with another person who thought they had seen one a few weeks before.

Can anyone confirm the presence of otters in the canal at Broughton?

Peter McIntosh

Goosen Green, Bedgrove 
If you have spotted an otter in the canal write to the editor roger.hawes@jpress.co.uk

Community

Ping pong gone

In my capacity as Secretary of the Aylesbury and District Football League in the 1970s the local council sent me a questionnaire on the future requirements for sport/recreational facilities in the town now that it had doubled in size.

This was just after we had lost four pitches down the Bicester Road and the Hazell’s and Rivets’ pitches to development.

Now, as chairman of the Aylesbury and District Table Tennis League I learn that we are to lose the use of the Elmhurst Community Centre.

I await the questionnaire from the council on the future requirements for sport/recreational facilities in the town now that it has doubled in size.

Jim Styles

By email

By-election

Congratulations

Congratulations to Allison Harrison and Mark Willis on their success in the by-election in Oakfield.

We were very happy with the result as previously we had finished last so we know that a lot of progress is being made by the party and the work put in by Chris Adams.

Councillor Steven Lambert, who is leader of the opposition on Aylesbury Vale District Council, and several of his colleagues need to be very careful how they applaud the success.

Councillor Gomm was attacked and kicked when delivering leaflets which may have been a result of the literature that had been put out.

The matter will be taken further. Our policies on immigration are well known and we have the support of the ethnic communities both here in Aylesbury and nationwide.

We are not a racist party and it is about time the Lib Dems grew up and turned the record over.

I have already tweeted Councillor Lambert and said that we came second with a clear conscience and they came first with a smear campaign. I know which I prefer.

I have on several occasions asked Councillor Lambert for an apology but not received one yet. What about it this time Councillor?

Andy Huxley

Chairman Aylesbury Vale Multicultural Centre, leader of UKIP and independent Group Bucks County Council

What do you think? Comment below or email letters@bucksherald.co.uk