District chief slams town councillors for Aylesbury arts plan criticism

Councillor Brian Roberts and Aylesbury town centre
Councillor Brian Roberts and Aylesbury town centre

A district council chief has hit back at claims the authority’s latest plan for Aylesbury is ‘all talk and no action’.

Councillor Brian Roberts, cabinet member for civic amenities, said he was ‘deeply disappointed’ by comments made by Liberal Democrat members of Aylesbury Town Council about the draft ‘Improvement Plan for Aylesbury Town Centre 2013-2021’.

The plan aims to make Aylesbury a centre for entertainment and the arts, but Lib Dems on the town council said they have heard similar things before and that the scheme needs ‘beefing up’.

Mr Roberts was particularly riled by Councillor Allison Harrison’s comments that the town council are the authority doing things for Aylesbury.

Writing in the Bucks Herald, he said: “Although we’ve heard the criticism about the plan, we’ve yet to hear what they would do instead and what contribution they plan to make.

“The town council’s inference that they are the only ones actively supporting the town on a daily basis is pure nonsense, especially when you consider the investment plans for the town.”

Mr Roberts, a Conservative who also sits on the town council, pointed to the Waterside development, including the soon to open Waitrose and Travelodge, as examples of district action, as well as the work it has done with Grosvenor Estates to improve Friars Square.

He also said the council’s town centre partnership has organised around 400 free events for this year, including music and markets.

Mr Roberts said: “The partnership’s business plan is totally focused on supporting and improving the town centre and the work of the town centre management team is hugely respected and welcomed by businesses.

“So come on Aylesbury Town Council, a bit of recognition of the efforts of others would not go amiss and would do much to demonstrate that you are truly interested in joint working for the benefit of the town rather than just political point scoring.”

Mr Roberts said the district council is continuing to seek input from various groups on the plan to help put ‘flesh on the bones’.