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Opinion : Will a single ‘Council for Buckinghamshire’ be a good idea?

| March 17, 2018

No doubt you will have seen the article that appeared in the news section of this site recently entitled ‘Government ‘minded’ to create single unitary council for Buckinghamshire‘.

It seems that currently the Government’s favoured option for the re-organisation of local government in Buckinghamshire will see the current five authorities replaced with a single, as yet untitled, ‘Council for Buckinghamshire’.

Of course things could change, indeed according to the news article the public can still submit comments up to Friday 25th May 2018 after which a final decision will be made.

The current local government structure in High Wycombe was created by the Local Government Act 1972 taking effect on Monday 1st April 1974 and saw the merger of the Municipal Borough of High Wycombe with Marlow Urban District and Wycombe Rural District.

In my opinion April Fools Day 1974 was a very bad day for our part of the world. In 1974 the only ‘April Fools’ were the people of Wycombe who have subsequently seen their town disappear into an economic, cultural and architectural abyss.

In the intervening 44 years almost all the furniture factories of Wycombe have closed, many of the towns historic buildings have been demolished and houses have been crammed in on any available piece of ground. Frogmoor has been taken over by drunken yobbos, tramps beg freely in Wycombe town centre and prostitution took hold in the Desborough Road area.

Over the years yours truly has heard of many peoples experiences with local service provision in the Wycombe District. While some of the local services would be measured using the gold standard sadly certain services would be most effectively rated using the Bristol Scale.

From what my good self can see the abolition of the current local Government structure in Buckinghamshire is the best thing to happen for years. The sooner a new ‘Council for Buckinghamshire’ takes over the running of all our services the better.

My only concern is that those tasked with creating the new council are too timid when it comes to the re-structuring of the service provision. There are efficiency savings to be made and they should most definitely be made.

As well as a reduction in the number of elected Councillors in Buckinghamshire no doubt there will also be savings to be made by centralising services and reducing the number of back-office workers needed to provide the services. Now is the chance to clear out the deadwood and let’s hope it happens.

I, like many of my friends, am fed up with poor levels of service and a general disregard for the law-abiding residents when it comes to the provision of certain local services. Indeed if those reducing the staffing levels are in the least bit shy at handing out the redundancy notices to the workers in the departments that have provided a poor service over the years then please get in touch with my good self and I will come and hand them out personally with a smile on my face.

When the new ‘Council for Buckinghamshire’ takes over I just hope a ‘Wycombe Town Council’ doesn’t pop up as a method of placating the pomposity of the same old tired faces who failed to get seats on the ‘Council for Buckinghamshire’ but whom still feel it their duty to serve High Wycombe in the hope of getting a mention in the New Year’s Honours list.

The ‘Council for Buckinghamshire’ needs to be a forward thinking organisation that brings a fresh breeze to the area it administers while safeguarding the historic nature of the towns under its control. The sooner it starts operating the better.

What do you think?

My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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