The election dominates this week’s round-up of the letters pages.
Election day is fast approaching when people will have to choose who will represent them not only in Parliament, but also in Aylesbury Vale District Council and Buckingham Town Council. May I urge readers to consider their options and vote for what you believe in.
On the one hand there are candidates who have popped up out of Aylesbury and will disappear back there soon afterwards...
There are four local Tory District Council candidates who have made priorities which I would describe as the Obvious (ALL councillors fight inappropriate planning), the Done (after years of delay, the Swan Pool is now finally getting some investment), the Mysterious (If Buckingham Town Council had any power over the toilets, they would be built by now!) and the Catch-up (why has it taken this long to for local Conservatives to wake up to the scandal of the empty building on Embleton Way?).
There are several independents standing for the Town Council but what do you know about them? Remember they might be independent on the ballot paper only...
And there are the Labour Candidates: We promise to Stand up for Buckingham, no matter what. We will check, re-check and check again to make sure that Buckingham people are getting our fair share from AVDC. We will monitor AVDC when it is pursuing cost savings and make sure the council does not overlook vulnerable people and those in greatest need. We will always listen to local people and answer their questions honestly and as quickly as we can. We will use our local knowledge and be creative in challenging, nudging and persuading those with power to use it for the many people of Buckingham not just a privileged few.
But whichever way you vote - please vote!
On Saturday morning (2 May) between 10.30am and 2.30pm, your local Labour Town & District candidates (and supporters) will be present outside the Old Gaol. We want to hear about your concerns, hopes and ambitions for Buckingham. If we cannot answer a question on the spot, we will follow this up and get back to you. If you are in town on Saturday or want to make a special trip, we are very keen to meet you and listen to what you have to say!
Labour Party Candidate
Your correspondent John Lidbetter seems to be determined to run down John Bercow.
John has been an outstandingly good constituency MP – better than any I’ve had in 52 years as a voter in many parts of the UK.
He is unfailingly helpful and involved with local and national issues, while at the same time managing the surprisingly complex and demanding tasks associated with his elected position as Speaker of the Commons.
This is why he attracts the votes of so many who might in other circumstances vote Labour or Lib Dem.
John Bercow is, in person, completely free of any “self-aggrandisement”, as imagined by Mr Lidbetter, and has proved to be an outstanding and innovative non-Establishment Speaker.
We should be proud and grateful that he is standing again.
Thanks to society
The Conservative team for Buckingham and Luffield Abbey was delighted to take part in the local election hustings last Thursday. We would like to thank the Buckingham Society for organising the event and promoting greater awareness of the local council elections, the Rector for his chairmanship, and the University of Buckingham in allowing it to be hosted in the Radcliffe Centre.
Simon Cole, Tim Mills, Howard Mordue and Warren Whyte
I was interested to read the letter from the Labour Party candidates in Bicester referring to the allowances for town councillors. I would make the following response. In 2003 the Labour Government introduced the Local Authorities(Members Allowances)(England) Regulations for payment of allowances to Town and Parish Councils.
The objective of this regulation was to address what they saw as the gender, ethnicity and age profile of these authorities.
Councillors have the option each year whether they elect to take the allowance.
The allowance is in place of any expenses incurred in carrying out the role as a Councillor.
I trust this clarifies the situation.
Cllr Richard Mould
The full answer
I would like to thank the Buckingham Society for arranging the Hustings last week.
Because of time restraints I was not able to give a full answer on the Public Toilet saga.
The land for both possible sites, by the recycling bins and outside the Community Centre, is owned by AVDC and following a report AVDC would like to place them outside the Community Centre opposite Waitrose.
This would avoid the unnecessary risk for pedestrians to cross the entrance to the car park on a busy corner.
Planning approval is under way and permission has been given by the owners of the Community Centre to connect to the sewers, which would save disruption caused by digging across the main road down to the car park. Space would also be available for Shopmobility.
In order for the project to progress it requires Buckingham Town Council to overturn its original decision and agree to the new site.
Money for the toilets was agreed by an AVDC grants panel to the Town Council and the money would have to be paid to BTC for the toilets to be built.
Design of the building is the same as BTC wanted on their original site.
Now is the time for all concerned to work together for the toilets to become a reality.
Cllr Howard Mordue
What has he done?
For the record I have no interest or association to any party or candidate.
Politic s is about perception and John Bercow has been a good local MP, according to perception.
We are told that being Speaker gets us special access to Ministers, so we have influence. So let us look at HS2 and see if that was true.
Mr Bercow is against HS2, he has met all of the Transport Secretaries and effectively told them their scheme is rubbish and a waste of money .
He has talked to a lot of civil servants. He has not met the person in charge of HS2 or any other people from the rail industry. He (or his very able staff) have filled in numerous surveys , written letters and attended meetings. So on the face of it Mr Bercow has been very busy.
Based on the amount of effort over several years and his special influential status as Speaker he should have delivered some very good results for Buckingham.
So what did Mr Becow actually achieve .............virtually nothing! While other parts of Buckinghamshire have got tunnels, cuttings and other benefits , we have got nothing!
Assuming the SNP do not kill HS2 , we can look forward to years of misery during construction. Instead of using his “influence” to lobby for things which will benefit the local people he appears to have spoken to lots of people who have just ignored him.
That is not really surprising , if you tell someone their pet project is a load of rubbish and do not engage them in an intelligent dialogue,they tend to ignore you.
The real issue is as small rural constituency we have no power or influence, Mr Bercow and his staff can get your passport sent or the street lights fixed , but when it comes to big issues such as HS2 he is out of his depth. I am in favour of World Peace , will that make a difference.
No , Mr Bercow is anti HS2, so what.....
Mr Bercow will get re-elected and he will continue to enjoy his job for life and we as voters will continue to be disenfranchised as Mr Bercow is no doubt quite happy to leave the current system in place.
When it comes to politics there is only one guaranteed winner, politicians.
Politics today is not about who to vote for but who not to vote for. Mine goes to “None of the Above” as that seems the best option.
Only a couple of weeks before this circus comes to an end.
Come to tea party
I am writing to invite your animal-loving readers to host a Paws for Tea tea party on Friday, May 15 in aid of the wonderful work of Blue Cross pet charity.
Blue Cross’s Paws for Tea fundraising event combines the nation’s greatest loves – tea, cake and pets. To take part, all you have to do is hold a tea party with friends, family or colleagues and ask them to make a donation in return for some tasty treats.
Blue Cross works tirelessly to help over 40,000 sick, injured and homeless pets every year that would otherwise have nowhere else to go.
All funds raised will help Blue Cross care for the country’s most needy pets, and every penny raised really does count.
So go on, put the kettle on and sign up now at www.bluecross.org.uk/teaparty or phone 0300 790 9903.
As the nation marks Parkinson’s Awareness Week, I’d like to tell your readers about Parkinson’s, a disease which affects nearly 130,000 people in the UK. Parkinson’s is an incurable, progressive disease of the nervous system that inhibits the way the brain controls movements such as walking, talking and writing.
People with Parkinson’s and other disabled people and carers often find it extremely costly and difficult to organise a break away from their daily routine because of their complex medical and care arrangements. As a result, a huge number of disabled people and their carers give up on the possibility of ever taking any respite, due to the enormous physical or financial barriers they face.
I work for Revitalise, a national charity providing respite holidays with care at three accessible centres around the UK. Each year we welcome thousands of disabled people and carers to enjoy much-needed breaks with us – breaks which often mean the difference between coping and despair.
If your readers would like more information about Revitalise or would like to support our vital work, please call us on 0303 303 0145 or visit www.revitalise.org.uk.
Why the fuss?
What is all the fuss about renaming a station?
Let’s face facts, Bicester has very little else to offer other than Bicester Village.
Pioneer Square is a big improvement but the actual town is drab and downmarket.
It is getting better, slowly, but needs a complete upgrade, it’s years away from being worth visiting.
So the people complaining are missing the point and that is, how do we get the 1000s of visitors who come to the Village, into the town itself? I would have thought the town being associated with the Village can only be a positive and therefore renaming the station, Bicester Village, makes perfect sense.
The restaurants in the town are all mediocre at best and you won’t attract visitors in with a Wimpy, I mean, who’s idea was that? If you are going to go for a chain why not Itsu or one of Raymond Blancs? At least then the visitors to the Village may stray out of the overcrowded restaurants on the Village and into the town. You have to offer them better quality or, at the very least, the same that they can get at the Outlet otherwise why would they leave?
Bicester is a perfect location to base yourself for traveling the country and has lots of potential, it’s just such a shame that most people who live here would rather travel further a field to go out or go to the Village.
Buckinghamshire businesses are set to benefit from £10 million of European funding to increase competitiveness, reduce unemployment and support rural development.
EU funding plays an important role in creating sustainable and inclusive growth and this is a real opportunity for Buckinghamshire businesses to access extra funding. Funds are available by applying to Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) – they’re yours for the taking.
Catherine Bearder MEP
It was heartening to read in last week’s paper about the two women who have vowed to set up what your report terms, ‘an official fundraising arm’ of Buckingham & Winslow Young Carers (YC2). We’re all well aware of the need for cuts to help get the country’s debt down but there are some cuts that seem too cruel. I have seen in my own circle of friends how these difficult years financially have seen more people living at home with problems and relying on unofficial carers, typically their own family members and often the younger generation.
The fact these young carers are filling a gap that once would have been filled by the council or government took a long time to be recognised and groups like YC2 offer vital support to what some have termed a ‘hidden army.
So when, often without any choice, they have given up some part of their growing up or studying time to plug the gap and effectively save probably thousands upon thousands of pounds over the years, it does seem one cut too many to put this little bit of support they get at risk, for the sake of £7,500.
Surely somewhere in the county council empire they could have cut something else but, having done so, thank goodness the community has stepped up to make sure the great work can carry on. I really hope Ginny and Jan are successful in their efforts to help this brilliant group continue for many years to come.
An article on page five of the Buckingham & Winslow Advertiser on April 17, headed ‘Councillor steps down after 20 years service’, dealt with my husband Derrick Isham not standing for re-election to Aylesbury Vale District Council.
I felt the article failed to point out he is standing for a seat on Buckingham Town Council’s North Ward, an area he has represented for many years. Perhaps you would be good enough to correct this in this weeks advertiser.