Change is coming to Buckinghamshire.
As you probably know by now we’re getting a new Unitary Council and soon all of the current five municipal organisations will cease to exist.
After looking through the Business Case that sets out the stall for the new Unitary Council, as far as yours truly can see, it makes no mention as to where the new super council should be based. On page 68 it mentions that £1.5 will be saved through property rationalisation, to me this seems rather small.
Surely the new Unitary Council should be based in High Wycombe?
Yes, Wycombe should definitely be the home for the new Unitary Council.
Keep the County Reference Library and other public facing service infrastructure currently in Aylesbury where it is but the ‘back office’ administration functions could easily be done elsewhere such as in Wycombe.
This would of course mean the current County Hall tower block building in Aylesbury could be sold off to developers for conversion into luxury flats. Just think how much money that would raise for the tax payers of Buckinghamshire.
No doubt some of the other soon to be empty municipal buildings could also be disposed of too raising even more money which could be used for the benefit of the residents of Buckinghamshire.
The new Unitary Council is an opportunity and it’s about time Wycombe launched a campaign to host the new Council here.
So far there have been calls to create a Town Council in Wycombe, but we need to think big. After all failing to think big has been one of the biggest reasons that Wycombe has been held back over the years.
Incidentally, the statement made by the Secretary of State when announcing the Unitary Council on Thursday 1st November 2018 stated :
“I will also expect the new unitary council, and in the meantime the existing councils, to engage with their local communities about the appropriate arrangements for civic representation for towns and parishes. I similarly expect the councils to promote and help support the development of neighbourhood plans….“
So there we go, the existing councils are expected to ‘engage with their local communities … for civic representation for towns and parishes‘. Therefore calling for a Town Council for Wycombe is surely like calling for the sun to set at night – it’s going to happen and the Government wants it to happen.
What Wycombe needs to be doing is campaigning to host the new Unitary Council.
After all Wycombe has many advantages. With excellent transport links like the M40 to London, Birmingham and Oxford as well as being an average of journey time of 44 minutes (fastest journey time of 25 minutes) from London by train.
Aylesbury doesn’t have a motorway nearby and has a staggering average journey time of 76 minutes to London by train with the fastest train taking an unbelievable 55 minutes.
The Eden shopping centre in Wycombe covers 79,000 sq.m. and is capable of hosting 107 retail units while Friars Square in Aylesbury is a tiny 26,300 sq.m. with space for just 41 stores.
Wycombe also has an aerodrome too as well as a plethora of other facilities that far eclipse the offering available in Aylesbury.
Aylesbury is a ‘Garden Town’ and already earmarked for millions of pounds of investment, so does it need any more?
Let’s see a campaign started for High Wycombe to be the main home of the forthcoming Unitary Council for Buckinghamshire.
What do you think?
My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.