David's Statement on the Bucks Unitary Authority Decision

David said:

"As you know, the Secretary of State has announced that he is minded to agree to the proposal of a single unitary authority to replace both Buckinghamshire County Council and the four District Councils. Milton Keynes would remain as a separate unitary council in its own right.
"I share the view of both the County and District Councils that the present two tier system should be replaced by unitary local government. Money in local government is and will continue to be tight. It should be used to spend on front-line public services rather than on supporting five different hierarchies of officials, personnel systems, maintenance contracts and so on. I have also come increasingly to the view that the current distribution of responsibilities is confusing. For example, the District Council is responsible for collecting our bins, but the County Council for managing and disposing of the waste. The District Council takes planning decisions about new housing, but the County Council has to deal with the consequences for roads, schools and social services.
"My approach to this debate has been to try and start with an open mind and judge which of the unitary options, one or two authorities, will best deliver improved public services at least cost to local residents.
"Having studied both proposals, and while I respect the case that the District Councils have made for having two authorities, my own preference is for a single unitary Council.
"There were a number of reasons that led me to this view.
"First, the saving to local residents would be significantly greater with one authority rather than two: £18.2 million a year compared with £10.3 million. That's nearly £8 million extra each year to spend on local services or to return to local residents through a lower rate of Council Tax.
"Second, I discussed the proposals with the local NHS organisations who were concerned that social services for children, elderly people and people with disabilities, currently the responsibility of Buckinghamshire County Council, should not be split up as a consequence of local government reform. Indeed, the two NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, the purse holders for local NHS spending, that cover North and South Bucks respectively have decided to federate in order to work more effectively on a County-wide basis.
"Third, local business, especially as represented by Bucks Business First and the Bucks Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, argued strongly for a single unitary council.
"A lot of work has been done by both County and District Councils to support the different cases that they have made to the Secretary of State. He made his "minded to" decision having taken account of detailed submissions by both the County and the Districts as well as responses by other organisations and individuals. Both the County and District Councils are now entitled to make their case again to Mr Javid ahead of his final decision. However, I hope that this will be done without spending large amounts of taxpayers' money and I regret the decision by some Councils to spend residents' money on door to door leaflets."

David's article for the Bucks Free Press

"Two events last week reminded me of the work that we still need to do to break down barriers between people of different ethnic backgrounds and religious faiths - and also why we have cause for hope.

"The Muslim News is this country's biggest Muslim newspaper. I was asked to speak at its annual awards ceremony in London.

"I know from talking to Muslim constituents here in Bucks that they feel hurt and offended that most reporting about Islam in Britain focuses on extremism and terrorism. No reasonable person denies the importance of those issues but the picture needs to be a balanced one.

"There is no contradiction between being a loyal and active citizen of the United Kingdom and being a devout Muslim. Both locally and nationally we are seeing more and more British Muslims placing a leading role in the mainstream of civic, political, professional and business life.

"Look at the role models: from Sir Mo Farah setting yet another British record in the London Marathon to Mishal Hussein subjecting political leaders to a grilling on the  Radio 4 Today programme.

"But for me the role model of the last twelve months was Mohammed Mahmoud, Imam of the Finsbury Park mosque. When a man set on mass murder drove his van into a crowd of worshippers, Mohammed stretched out his arms to protect and shelter the attacker. His action stopped anger from generating more violence and ensured that the man responsible was judged by law, tried and sentenced to life. That Imam represented the best of Islam and the best of British.

"The second event was the memorial service to mark 25 years since the murder of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence. It is a cause of shame that his family had to fight for so long o get justice for their son. And we cannot be content with a situation in which so many people in Britain's black communities feel that the criminal justice system is unfair to them.

"But what shone through at the service was how the Lawrence family have built something positive out of brutal tragedy. We heard from three young black people how the Stephen Lawrence Foundation had given them new opportunities for education and rewarding careers.And the words from Stephen’s mother and brother were of the need to keep working and fighting for justice and reconciliation.

"A good lesson for us all."

Wendover Woods Woodland Hub

David thought that you would be interested to know that Wendover Woods was sucessful in securing a £450,000 grant from the HS2 Community & Environment Fund. This grant will benefit the Wendover Woods Recreational Development project by providing a multipurpose recreational centre for people visiting the area. 

"The new building will incorporate a café with 100 indoor covers and outdoor seating for 200 (open to all), an adaptable interpretation space and 23 toilets including fully accessible units. The site currently has a small café which opened in 2006 which caters for 30 indoor covers, a car park with 220 spaces and toilet provision including a temporary toilet unit. It offers car parking, café and toilet facilities for those wishing to access the woodland for walking, cycling and picnicking or more adventurous play such as the Go Ape high ropes experience. The existing café building will be used as an information point and the existing toilet block as a store and pay shelter for the car park once the new hub building is in place."

If you would like to read more about this funding click here. 



David Visits Olleco Waste Management In Aston Clinton

David recently visited Olleco Waste Management company near Aston Clinton after a number of residents have been in touch regarding odour problems originating from the plant.

David said:

“I met Chief Executive Robert Behan to raise constituents’ complaints about the odour from the plant over the past several months. He accepted that Olleco did not act fast enough initially, although they have since taken steps to put this right and to engage more with the local community about their concerns. I will continue to liaise with community representatives to make sure that these improvements continue to be implemented.”

David also thought you would like to know that the Environment Agency recently released a briefing on the odour situation at Olleco which you can read below.

Aylesbury Crown Court Closure and Opening

David recently attended the closing of the old Aylesbury Crown Court and opened the Crown Court premises on Walton Street.

David said:

"I was very pleased to be able to attend the opening of the new Crown Court in Aylesbury. This magistrate has been in Aylesbury for close to 300 years and the new building on Walton Street increases the number of court rooms from two to three. 

"The Crown Court has been an important part of the community for a long time and I hope that they continue their educational work with local schoolsand community groups on the new premises."

Cold Weather Payments

David thought you would be interested to know that Cold Weather Payments have been triggered for some postcodes in Aylesbury. 

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"£25 will be paid to eligible residents within Aylesbury constituency living in the Postcode district(s) listed above.

"Cold Weather Payments are made to recipients of selected benefits. To “trigger” the payments the average temperature at a specified weather station must be recorded as, or forecast to be, 0°C or below for seven consecutive days"

If you are eligible for Cold Weather Payment click here for more information.