Dear Local Area Forum members
I am writing to update you on the developments of our Localism work as we pave the way for the new Buckinghamshire Council which will replace the five councils in Buckinghamshire on 1 April next year.
At the Shadow Executive meeting today, we agreed the creation of 16 Community Boards to ensure strong connections between Buckinghamshire Council and our diverse communities. Community boards will help the new council understand and respond to local communities and their individual needs, giving local communities a voice and facility to work with councillors to improve services and make real changes in their local area.
The new community boards are an important part of keeping the new council local, as set out in the Government’s Structural Changes Order for a single council for Buckinghamshire.
Community boards will begin their work following the local election in May 2020 and first meetings are anticipated to take place in June/July 2020. Residents, town and parish councils and community organisations will be encouraged to get involved to make sure the boards are successful in making real changes and improving the lives of our residents at a truly local level. Each community board will meet at least five times a year and the meetings will be open to all to attend.
Between now and the launch of the new council, we will be working to set up Community Boards to launch following local elections in May next year. This will include setting up a new team to support the boards with at least 1 dedicated community co-ordinator per community board area.
The new council will build on the work of Buckinghamshire County Council’s Local Area Forums, as well as wider best practice. The last meetings of the current Local Area Forums will therefore take place during December 2019.
I would like to express my heartfelt thanks for all the work you and your fellow LAF members have put in over the years to develop effective local partnerships and support local projects. You have made an invaluable contribution to local decision making and to local life in Buckinghamshire.
Buckinghamshire County Council
With a general election looming, people may have concerns about accessing polling stations in order to vote if the weather turns wintery and the roads become icy.
So what is planned?
The returning officers, who are responsible for the smooth running of the general election locally, will be working in partnership with Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) to check on the weather forecast daily in the week leading up to the general election.
In the event of a cold snap, roads which are traditionally gritted - the precautionary routes - will continue to be treated as normal. The more extensive secondary routes will also be gritted to increase the number of roads receiving treatment.
TfB has plotted the location of each polling station to identify those which are not in the vicinity of precautionary or secondary gritting routes and will, if resources and time allow, aim to ensure that the key routes leading to the polling stations are accessible. As an additional measure, where possible, road closures which are close to polling stations will be removed to enable access.
Routine daily gritting
TfB constantly monitors weather forecasts and road surface temperatures between October and April, and undertakes precautionary salting of around 44% of the entire network whenever there is a possibility of ice formation. It’s the road surface temperature (RST) that’s important, so when there's a forecast for the RST to drop below +0.5 oC, the crews are alerted and the 25 gritters get ready to begin their work.
TfB has the limited resource of 25 gritters, and the safety of the precautionary network for road users will remain the number one priority even on election day.
The Council made The Buckinghamshire County Council (Herds Hill and Buckingham Road, Steeple Claydon in the Parish of Steeple Claydon ) (Temporary Prohibition of Through Traffic) Order, 2019 which will temporarily prohibit any vehicle from proceeding, except for access, in Herds Hill for 1667 metres. Alternative route: Claydon Hill, Sandhill Road, Middle Claydon, Steeple Claydon Road, Queen Catherine Road and vice versa. The closure is required whilst East West Rail Core Hole and Trial Holes take place commencing on 16 December 2019 between 09:30 and 15:00. The proposed Order will come into operation on 16 December 2019, as signed, with maximum 18 months duration.
Dated 20 November 2019
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