No money for road safety
‘Safeguarding children’ is higher council priority
(From left) Chalfont Lodge marketing manager Gail Davies, kitchen assistant Hong Jun Zhao, head chef Dusan Hlavenka and hospitality team member John Lever ROAD safety projects are missing out on funding because the county council is ploughing money into safeguarding children.
Buckinghamshire County Council leader Martin Tett told campaigners from Chalfont St Peter who were appealing for cash to improve road safety in Bull Lane that the council’s financial situation is ‘dire’ and that it had a ‘massive obligation’ to increase spending on safeguarding children.
Speaking at the Bucks County Council community funding meeting in Jubilee Hall, Seer Green, on Wednesday last week, he said: “All of our costs have gone up really dramatically, probably as a result of the publicity of (recent) child abuse cases.
“I have been trying to plug a £12million gap in next year’s budget and I have no idea how I’m going to do that.
“Very soon we won’t be able to do anything else other than look after children and the elderly.
“I’m just trying to interject a note of reality. I do not want everyone leaving this room thinking ‘we have just a few months and we are there’.”
Vicky Amlot, of Bull Lane, has campaigned to create a footpath in her street, which she describes as ‘a dangerous situation’ because of poor visibility and speeding traffic.
The road leads to Gayhurst School and connects to Maltman’s Green School, in Maltmans Lane.
Students from both schools walk on the road.
Mrs Amlot said she will continue to try to find money for the project.
Chiltern district councillor John Wertheim added: “We talk about the safety of children but we are not talking about the safety of children on the roads.
“You need to look at it from both ends, eventually we are going to have a child run over.”
The council has launched a consultation to ask if people would like to see council tax frozen, increased by two per cent (42p a week more for band D), which would raise an extra £4.5m, or increased by five per cent (£1 a week more for band D), which would bring in £12m more, meaning services could be protected and programmes such as investing in roads could continue.
A five per cent rise would mean holding a county-wide referendum following the consultation to see if a majority of the public was in agreement.
Mr Tett said a referendum would cost about £500,000, which the council ‘would never be able to get back’ if people voted against a rise in council tax.