Chairman’s Report 2013

1st May 2013

Co-options & Councillors

It was with some reluctance that I agreed to succeed Bob Uglow as Chairman of the Council owing to the time needed to carry out the duties properly.  I remain of this point of view but hope that I have come somewhere close to my predecessor’s level of effectiveness.

Following Bob’s retirement, and Cllrs Ingram and Wylie having to stand down owing to work and travel commitments, we co-opted Cllrs Reading, Britnell and Hojer who I thank for agreeing to join the council.

Diamond Jubilee

The highlight of the year was undoubtedly the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.  After much discussion about bunting and the words to be printed on mugs, street parties were held in Bledlow, Bledlow Ridge, and Saunderton.  Hundreds of people attended the Bledlow street party and I am told the Bledlow Ridge celebrations were at least as successful.

Road Maintenance

After repeated requests and lobbying of Paul Rogerson our County Councillor, the top of Haw Lane, Chinnor Road Bledlow Ridge and Wigans Lane were resurfaced.  The roads continue to be a problem with many complaints received, particularly from residents of Haw Lane, where there remains a long stretch in very poor repair.  Vehicle Activated Signs were due to be installed by Transport for Buckinghamshire in Bledlow in April, but have yet to appear.

Bledlow Childrens’ Home

The new owners demolished some of the more modern buildings and started work on the roof of the main listed building in the Autumn, only to be stopped by Wycombe District Council as they had not carried out some preliminary work required as a condition of their planning permission.  This has all but stopped progress and to our continued frustration we still have no idea when work will resume.

Saunderton Vale Parking

During the year the station parking problem subsided following a change in the railway timetable.  A survey of local residents proved inconclusive so the proposed parking measures were cancelled in order to save money.

Hemley Hill

The travellers are still resident at Hemley Hill and, as might have been expected, they are now appealing to Europe having exhausted the UK legal process.  Of some concern was that the Hemley Hill Action Group felt they were not receiving the support of their local Wycombe District Councillor.

Broadband and Web site

Large areas of the parish receive an extremely poor broadband service with parts of Bledlow receiving ½Mbps, while others nearer the exchange receive a much better service ‒ even 10mbps for one lucky Saunderton resident.  Cllr Britnell is leading a campaign to encourage BT to make a better service available and is also looking into wireless based alternatives with Buckinghamshire Business First.

Cllr Britnell is also working with volunteers to set up a sustainable and content-rich web site which we look forward to using.  A recent demonstration was very impressive and it is the council’s intention to help fund this initiative providing only that it is set up so that it will be available to the parish on a permanent basis and suitably managed.

Budget and Precept

The parish finances remain strong: the balance on 1st April 2012, £93,039.33 and at 31st March 2013, £96,585.55.  The precept has been at £17000 for five years.

In view of the continued recessionary climate the Parish Precept has been held for the fifth year running at £17,000.  Given the more than comfortable level of reserves, this approach is sustainable for at least the next few years.

I would like to note the retirement of our County Councillor Paul Rogerson and thank him for his support over recent years.

Finally, I wish to thank the Parish Councillors for their commitment and particularly the clerk for his support during the year.

Simon Breese

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