No money for road safety

‘Safe­guard­ing chil­dren’ is higher coun­cil pri­or­ity

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Lor­can Lovett lor­can.lovett@trin­i­tymir­

(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.


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