David's comments on the recent disruption caused by a burst water main on the A41 

Today there were severe delays caused by a burst water main along the A41, affecting most of Aylesbury's main routes and causing queues back to the Aston Clinton junction.

David has contacted Thames Water and will update this page with their response.

David commented:

“Following complaints that I have received from local residents concerning the burst water main on the A41 I contacted Thames Water for an update and to find out what plans are in place for this not to happen again.

“This is not the first time that this has occurred so I have also spoken with Mark Shaw, Head of Transport for Bucks, about the wider implications that this has on the road networks.

“These kind of incidents in the centre of the town reinforce the necessity for the completion of a ring road around Aylesbury. So that residents have the option of alternative routes if these sort of events ever occur again.”

David welcomes new school proposal

David has welcomed the proposal from St Michael's Catholic school to open a new school on the former Quarrendon site in Aylesbury. The new school will help provide for the growing number of school aged children in Buckinghamshire. The school will initially open with four classes of 30 children in year 7 and intends to build up to 6 classes per year.

The proposal is currently in a consultation phase. You can respond at this link.

Visit to Action 4 Youth

David recently visited Action 4 Youth, an organization that provides children in Aylesbury with after school activities and outdoor experiences to keep them active and to help develop a range of useful skills.

Visit to RAF Halton

On Friday David was given a tour of RAF Halton by Station Commander James Brayshaw.

During his visit David had a chance to meet the airmen and staff members operating at the base. David also was shown the various facilities around the base including flight simulators, workshops and exercise areas.

The visit allowed David to discuss a variety of issues with staff including support for families and children, youth engagement and welfare for service personnel.

David also talked about the proposed closure of the base in 2020 and how best to mitigate the effects of closure on the local individuals and businesses who have links with the base. 

 

Update regarding Bovis Homes and the College Road hedgerow

David has been contacted by a number of constituents about the hedgerow on College Road. Below is an update that he sent out to residents in Aston Clinton. For your reference I have also attached the letter which Bovis will be dropping off to residents today further explaining the situation.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 is the basic legislation that protects animals, plants, and certain habitats in the UK. All species of wild bird are afforded protection under Part 1 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). Under this legislation it is illegal to:  intentionally kill, injure or take wild birds; intentionally take, damage or destroy a wild bird’s nest while it’s being used or built; intentionally take or destroy a wild bird’s egg; possess, control or transport live or dead wild birds, or parts of them, or their eggs; sell wild birds or put them on display for sale; use prohibited methods to kill or take wild birds.

As you know, Bovis applied for planning permission for AVDC to remove the hedges and plant a new hedge in a different location, in order to allow for car park spaces as had been requested by local residents. In considering the application, AVDC took note of the statutory duties that the Wildlife and Country side Act imposes on Bovis. The Council has told me that in a case where statutory requirement exists, the local council will not duplicate in planning conditions but instead attaches what in planning jargon is called an informative which draws attention to what the law says. This is what AVDC did in this case. The Council would not be responsible for carrying out any enforcement action. Instead, concerns regarding the legality of the works to the hedge should be directed to the Police who are responsible for investigating and pursuing breaches of the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

The Council’s ecologist’s advice (which can be viewed on the AVDC website 16/02968/ADP) states that the bird nesting season usually covers the period from mid-February to the end of August, but it is very dependent on the weather and that certain species of birds may nest outside this period.  If works are deemed to be necessary during the bird nesting season then there is a protocol to be followed and this is contained in the ecologist’s response which was attached to the planning decision.

Bovis has confirmed to me that a senior ecologist and assistant were on site today to carry out a bird nesting survey of the hedgerows. Independent ecologists FPCR confirmed that there are no nesting birds in the hedges to be removed. The hedge will be reduced to a manageable level and removed on Tuesday 28/2/17 once fencing has arrived to secure the site.

Increased infrastructure funding announced for Aylesbury constituency

David recently received a letter from Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP), announcing  several projects  which will benefit the Aylesbury constituency. 

BTVLEP announced that with the aid of the Buckinghamshire MPs they have secured £20.48 million in the most recent round of Local Growth Funding. The investment, per-capita is the best in the country and is a strong testament to the work of the BTVLEP.

The three projects to be supported by the funding will be:

The Stoke Mandeville Relief Road: This piece of infrastructure will help maintain the main road link between Aylesbury and High Wycombe following the arrival of HS2. This road will also be important in supporting the development of Aylesbury's Garden Town proposal.

The University of Buckingham's new centre for Economics, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: A new centre for Economics, Innovation and Entrepreneurship supported and funded by both the Institute of Economic Affairs and Lord Vinson. This centre will be at the heart of the campus and is expected to welcome students as early as 2018.

The Silverstone Enterprise Zone Innovation Centre: The Enterprise Zone at Silverstone is the fastest developing of the new Enterprise Zone sites in England. The proposed new innovation centre will support the growth of high performance engineering technology and will provide and important growth between education and business.

 

News from the week commencing 30 January

Community Policing Awards

Thames Valley Police are holding their 16th annual community policing awards. The awards allow members of the constituency to nominate officers who have gone above and beyond in their role.

Click here for more information or to nominate an officer


Tiffin Cup Competition

David will be holding a competition to decide which South Asian restaurant he will nominate for the Tiffin Cup.

Restaurants who wish to enter the competition can be voted for at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/GQDHS6W or tweet your vote using #TiffinCupAylesbury.

The voting will close on 30 March.


Letter from the Secretary of State

 

This week David received a letter from the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Defence regarding the future of RAF Halton. The letter clarifies how the closure will proceed.


Sainsbury's investment

David also received a letter from Sainsbury's this week outlining their plans to invest in Aylesbury.


Diary

This week David met with members of the clergy in order to allow them to raise any concerns that they may have about the local area. 

David also met with the Bucks Herald to discuss issues of interest within the constituency.

Later in the afternoon David attended further private meetings.


Campaigns

David thought you might be interested in seeing his responses to national policy campaigns he has received this week.

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In response to 'Finn's Law',

Police support animals undoubtedly make a valuable contribution in the detection and prevention of crime and in maintaining public safety Attacks of any sort on police dogs or horses are unacceptable and should be dealt with severely under the criminal law. 

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 an attack on a police dog or other police support animal can be treated as causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, and the maximum penalty is 6 months' imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or both. The financial element of the penalty was raised in 2015 from a maximum fine of £20,000. Similarly an attack on a police animal could be considered by the court as an aggravating factor leading to a higher sentence. Under some circumstances assaults on support animals could be treated as criminal damage which would allow for penalties of up to 10 years' imprisonment.

The Government has also requested that the Sentencing Council considers assaults on police animals as an aggravating factor as a part of their current review on guidelines for sentencing in the Magistrates' Courts, which includes animal cruelty offences.

While the current penalties are appropriate, I agree that it is unpalatable to think of police animals as merely 'equipment' as the charge of criminal damage might suggest, and does not convey the respect and gratitude felt for the animals involved and their contribution to law enforcement and public safety. Work across Government is underway to explore whether there is more that the law should do to offer the most appropriate protections to police animals and all working animals.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.


News from the week commencing 23 January

 

Holocaust Educational Trust

This week David signed the Holocaust Educational Trust Book of Commitment, pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day, honouring those who died and paying tribute to the Holocaust survivors who still work to educate young people about these events.

 

 

 

Letter from Minister

David also received a letter from Andrew Jones MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport.

In the letter he outlines how Buckinghamshire County Council will benefit from the Department for Transport's 'Access Fund' competition


Diary

In addition to his regular surgery meetings with constituens, David also met with the Chief Executive of Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust at Stoke Mandeville Hospital to meet with members of staff and discuss issues surrounding healthcare.


Campaigns

David thought you might be interested to see his responses to a number of campaigns he received this week.

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In response to 'Crisis' Homelessness Reduction Bill' campaign.

I share your concern regarding the situation faced by those who are homeless.

The Government is working hard to reduce homelessness. In the last parliament more than £500 million was provided to councils and charities to tackle homelessness and central Government funding is now increasing to reduce homelessness further. Homelessness acceptances are now less than half of what they were during their peak in 2003-04 under the previous Labour Government.

Councils have a duty to provide advice on homelessness to anyone seeking help and they will take steps to prevent homelessness wherever possible. Since 2010, councils have prevented over 1 million households from becoming homeless and the Government is now protecting homelessness prevention for councils.

The report by the Crisis Expert Panel, to which St Mungo’s contributed, provides a valuable insight into how aspects of the current legislation in England can be updated in light of the models adopted in Scotland and Wales.

The Homelessness Reduction Bill has not yet been published but I look forward to examining the contents of the Bill in due course.

I look forward to receiving more details about the event that Crisis is organising on the 27 October. I will be sure to check my diary and see if I am able to attend.

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In response to the Royal College of Nursing's 'speaking up on nursing pay' campaign.

Following recommendations from the independent pay review bodies, the NHS Pay Review Body and the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body, the Government accepted a 1% pay rise for doctors, dentists and all NHS staff on Agenda for Change contracts for 2016 to 2017.
 
Delivering a safer 7-day NHS for patients is a government priority. An important part of this is that the NHS has to ensure it has the right staff, in the right place, at the right time to provide high quality services across the week. The NHS already has 32,000 extra clinical staff, including more than 10,000 additional doctors and more than 10,600 additional nurses on its wards since May 2010.
 
To help support NHS staff in their duty of care, the Government has committed to increase NHS spending in England by £10 billion in real terms by 2020, of which £6 billion will be delivered by the end of 2016/17. By cutting bureaucracy and championing higher standards, Ministers have ensured this money goes on frontline care not administration. The NHS has been rated the best healthcare system in the world, something that is only possible thanks to the dedication and hard work of all NHS staff, supported by a strong economy.