Local Government Reorganisation
The Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, has decided that a brand new county-wide unitary council will be established in Buckinghamshire.The announcement by Secretary of State James Brokenshire has been hailed as a ‘truly historic day’ by County Council leader Martin Tett.
The new council, which will replace the county council and four districts, will be simpler, better value and more local to Buckinghamshire communities than the current two-tier system, ultimately moving to a more sustainable future for the county.
Services which complement one another but are currently divided between the district and county councils such as bin collections, waste disposal, planning and roads, would be brought together under the single unitary council, resulting in more efficient, joined-up services for residents.
The Secretary of State said in his statement: “Having assessed both proposals against the criteria that we announced to the House on 28 February 2017 (PQ 65271), I have concluded that whilst both proposals meet the criterion for a “good deal of local support”, only the proposal for a single unitary council satisfies the criteria for “improving local government” and for “being a credible geography” and that in any event the proposal for a single unitary council is better able to meet the criteria overall.
“Accordingly, I am today announcing that I have decided to implement, subject to Parliamentary approval, the locally-led proposal to replace the existing five councils across Buckinghamshire – the two tier structure of Buckinghamshire County Council and the district councils of Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Bucks and Wycombe – by one new single unitary district council, and that I have decided not to implement the proposal for two new unitary councils.”
The full statement of the Secretary of State can be found at this link:
Remembrance Day Services and Events
I was very honoured to have been able to attend the Remembrance Day services at Ivinghoe and Pitstone this year, where I laid wreaths to remember all those who fell in the service of Buckinghamshire. It was lovely to see such support for the events to commemorate the Centenary of the Armistice, both in Ivinghoe Division and throughout the entire nation. I found the services poignant and moving, and I was especially grateful for lovely curry lunch which was provided by Royal British Legion in Pitstone after the services for all those who attended.
Brownlow Bridge Update
As you may know, the Brownlow Bridge in Ivinghoe was badly damaged last spring by a van and was subsequently repaired by the Canal and River Trust. The C&RT stated it was their view that the bridge should have an 18 tonne weight limit put on it going forward, which would mean HGVs would be unable to use the bridge and would need to use alternate routes. This would have the effect of mitigating some of the HGV traffic through Horton and Ivinghoe on the B488 and Pitstone coming down the B489.
After much discussion and bridge loading analyses, Transport for Bucks has agreed the C&RT weight limit for the bridge in the short term, and is in the process of issuing a TTRO to limit the maximum weight on the bridge to 18 tonnes. However, they are also currently analyzing the traffic diversion effects for local businesses and residents, and so in the longer term it remains to be seen whether they will propose any alternative arrangements going forward.
Anglian Water Works in Ivinghoe
A road closure for the junction of the B488 and B489 by the church in Ivinghoe had been planned for the end of January. These works are necessary to place a meter on the main water service for the village to monitor leaks in the future. However, due to concerns raised by an Ivinghoe parish councillor regarding timing of this work in conjunction with the current diversions in place in Pitstone, the works are now being moved to the school summer holidays, and planned to take place from the end of July for approximately ten working days.
Final confirmation of these works will follow in the coming months, at which time I can provide more information to PPC regarding diversion routes.
Bucks County Council Christmas Present Appeal
The BCC Christmas present appeal for children in care across the county is due to be launched next week. Cllr Paul Irwin will be launching the appeal on behalf of all our children in care. The appeal has been well supported in previous years and has made a real difference to our looked after children, for many of whom Christmas can otherwise be a very difficult time. If you would like to help with present donations, the deadline is 17 December, to allow for staff to wrap them before Christmas. I will send more information through after the official launch of the appeal next week.