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Buckinghamshire Council newsletter August 2021

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27 August 2021Dear Resident,
As August comes to an end, I hope everyone has had a reasonable holiday period – despite the weather!
In my last newsletter, I said I wasn’t going to send my next one out until early September. However, with so much going on in Buckinghamshire I thought it was important to update you on some important news impacting on local people.
Helping Hand for AfghanistanThe top international news has, of course, been Afghanistan. The efforts of our fantastic Service personnel is beyond praise. Many people who have supported British troops as interpreters, or in similar roles within the former Afghan Government and society have been, and many still are, at very genuine risk to their lives. Buckinghamshire Council believes these are exceptional circumstances where it is important to support the British Government’s efforts to relocate the most vulnerable to the United Kingdom.
The situation is complex and evolving rapidly. We are currently in discussions with Government agencies, such as the South East Migration Partnership, to understand exactly what is required. At present we understand that many new arrivals are in hotels before being relocated to longer term accommodation. The Government has indicated that many of those arriving are in large family groups. We are in discussions with various parties, such as the Ministry of Defence and housing providers, to see where it might be possible to repurpose existing property for this. However, accommodation is not the only requirement and it will be necessary to consider the other support needs such as health, schooling and potentially psychological support. We will also need to consider how best to help any new arrivals integrate into the local community and access employment.
We are extending our existing ‘Helping Hand’ programme for vulnerable families to include these new arrivals and working closely with the Voluntary and Community Services in Bucks, a partnership built up following our experience of tackling Covid together. 
The residents of Buckinghamshire are again showing how generous they are, so it is no surprise that local people are keen to make generous offers of assistance.
If you want to make a donation
Working closely in partnership with Heart of Bucks, we have established a Helping Hands: Support for Afghanistan crisis fund. This enables any residents or businesses to pledge their support. Money raised from this fund will provide crisis support for individuals and their families, long-term resettlement support and grants to charities supporting Afghan Refugees.
Keen to register your interest?
We will keep our website regularly updated and we will be active on social media so resident and community groups are aware of what support is required. Please note, that at this stage, we have been advised that donations of clothes or toys are not needed.
Importantly, if you would like to make us aware of any specific skills, support or experience you or your organisation have, please enter your details here and we will get in contact with you once we know what the families needThis could include offers of accommodation, specific language or cultural skills.
I have been so impressed with the way in which the people of Buckinghamshire have shown their support in these exceptional circumstances.
Temporary changes to bin collectionsTemporary changes to the former Chiltern and Wycombe areas onlyLike many organisations up and down the country our waste service provider has suffered from the national shortage of HGV drivers. This, together with some crews having to self-isolate due to being ‘pinged’ by Covid Test and Trace, has meant we have seen a significant impact on waste collections. This has been particularly severe in the former Chiltern and Wycombe areas.  As an interim measure, residents in these former areas only have been asked to dispose of their food waste together with their general rubbish (in the black bin). Brown food caddies will still be emptied if presented on general rubbish week only, but this waste will not be recycled during this time. General rubbish is still being collected every two weeks. Collections in the rest of the county are unaffected.
This is a temporary measure only. We anticipate that food waste in these areas will be collected separately again from Monday 13 September.
I’m really sorry if you live in these areas and are facing disruption. We hope that ultimately, this is a short-term issue. Please be assured we are all working very hard to address it and thank you for your patience and understand during this difficult period. I also want to thank our crews who are working hard in challenging times to maintain the service.
Bin collections over the Bank Holidays
Bin collections across Buckinghamshire will be operating to a revised timetable next week. With no bin collections on the Bank Holiday (Monday 30 August) all collections that week will take place one day later than usual.
Please check the revised timetable and present any bins by 6:30am on the rescheduled collection day.Our nine household recycling centres will remain open over the bank holiday weekend – including on Monday 30 August. However, before making a trip to the tip, please check our website for all the latest household recycling centre information.
Supporting the reopening of local theatresLocal theatres are a huge part of the cultural life in Buckinghamshire, and their return marks an important milestone in the county’s journey to recovering from the pandemic.
Wycombe Swan Theatre reopened its doors this week and the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre is opening its doors on 5 September. (Read more here.) Other local theatres are also reopening so please check locally.
The theatres, their staff and all of those involved in upcoming productions have worked really hard to prepare for their reopenings, and I wish them well as they start to welcome back visitors.

New safe cycling route extension officially opensThe Haydon Hill extension to the ever-popular Waddesdon Greenway, which links Aylesbury to Waddesdon to the west, was officially opened this week.
The new extension means that a 5½ mile long, low-traffic route from Aylesbury town centre all the way to Waddesdon village via the Roman Park Leisure area at Berryfields is now available for the very first time.
The route is the latest addition to our vision of a network of safe cycling routes in Buckinghamshire running north to south right across the county from the Brackley borders to the Colne Valley.

Bierton Crematorium wins prestigious architectural awardI am delighted that Bierton Crematorium, near Aylesbury, which first opened in April 2019, has been awarded the prestigious RIBA South Award 2021. The Royal Institute of British Architects awards and prizes are regarded internationally as a mark of excellence, recognising the best architecture in the country.
Vision for the so called ‘Oxford to Cambridge ARC’I wanted to make you aware of a Government consultation on what they describe as the Oxford to Cambridge ARC. This sets out their intention to prepare a ‘Spatial Framework’, effectively a Regional Plan, for the area between Oxford and Cambridge. This would potentially have very serious implications for Buckinghamshire as Government could use it to set the direction and scale of new development, in particular new housing. This could mean much higher ‘top down’ housing targets that would need to be met locally. 
This Framework would be legally binding upon councils when they come to prepare their own Local Plans, effectively overruling local communities and democratically elected councils’ wishes.Our position is that Buckinghamshire is already delivering large numbers of new houses within current Government targets. We do not wish these targets to be significantly increased by this Regional Plan. We believe that democratically elected local councils are best placed to make local decisions on where and when housing is built, rather than having this imposed ‘top down’ by central Government.
We understand local residents may be asked to join focus groups to collect views. If you wish to understand our position in more detail, please refer to our website.

Next newsletterMy next newsletter will be in a couple of weeks. I would like to thank you again for signing up for this and future newsletters.
We can now only send newsletters to residents who sign up for them so please let your neighbours and friends know they can also sign up for updates about Buckinghamshire Council activities here:  Sign up for our e-news     Keep well and stay safe.Martin TettLeader of Buckinghamshire Council

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Monday to Thursday 9am to 5:30pmFriday 9am to 5pm
Please note we’re closed on bank holidays.
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