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Call out the phone crooks

DO ANY BFP readers receive phone calls from Microsoft and BT saying that either there is a problem with your computer, or your internet connection, respectively? 
These calls often come in the middle of a meal, or in the middle of a favourite TV programme. 
These calls are easily recognised by the 5 second gap before someone says ‘hello’. 
They say they are from Microsoft, or BT, but they are not. 
These callers are crooks who are trying to get access to your computer, or trying to obtain your banking details. 
I would strongly suggest to BFP readers that they interrupt the caller and say, “You are not from Microsoft/BT. You are a crook. Please get a real job and go away”. 
If all BFP readers do this, perhaps they might stop their annoying and frustrating calling. 
Readers can, of course, buy blocking technology sold by BT; the company that fails to block these calls in the first place!
John Laker, Marlow​

Marlow Museum needs your help

Following a well-received visit to a local care home the Marlow Museum intends to extend its ‘outreach’ programme during the rest of the year and over winter.

Already museum staff visit schools and equally welcome group visits to the museum at Court Garden. So we intend to take the museum’s story, local history and memories to more venues.

But we need help, your help – we have some items but need more objects for residents to touch, hold and maybe recall happy times.

These could be everyday items of a few years ago, from the garden, kitchens and businesses. In good condition and safe. Not too big but able to fit in an old style suitcase.

Here again we need one or two suitcases, preferably lockable and certainly manageable. Perhaps you have one in the loft or garden shed. A chance for a clear out?

We also need toys, puzzles or playthings too for the younger element. Yes, another suitcase or carry box for them as well.

Can you help? Call us first on 01628 485474 or pop into the museum on a Wednesday, Saturday or Sunday afternoon when we are open – it’s free.

It’s just in case we get offered too many of the same items or if they are too difficult for us and the clients to handle.

Of course, if you have ideas where we might visit to bring a little comfort or cheer to a centre, club or home, why not let us know.

Mike Hyde, Marlow Museum

Where is the common sense?

I was shocked to learn of the closure of Chiltern's recycling centres and the gobbledygook response of Cllr Caroline James (Bucks Free Press, August 2).

I can only presume this is a money saving measure, yet the cost of the resultant fly tipping will dwarf any savings not to mention the damage to the environment.

I despair - is our Local Authority quite bereft of common sense?

John Ford, Amersham

Please think about safety before finances

I recently had a meeting with Councillor Drew regarding the parking between Kiln Avenue and Sandycroft Road in Little Chalfont with regard to road safety.

To his credit he has tried to overcome these issues by submitting plans in the past, only to see them refused. He told me he would try again at the next meeting.

I have since learnt that at the last meeting these plans have once again been refused by the parish council. In this same meeting approval was granted for 'no parking' restrictions for Linfields which is a cul-de-sac and does not seem to have the same level of hazards as that of the Kiln Avenue to Sandycroft road area - is one to conclude this is a postcode decision?

There have been several near misses between cars and an incident involving a child in recent months outside Avenue Stores with cars clearly speeding through the zone, apparently with little regard for the residents.

The reduction in visibility due to commuter cars parking on the bend makes it extremely difficult to see cars approaching from the other direction.

I would urge both the parish and county council to swiftly reconsider their decision regarding the road safety in Elizabeth Avenue and especially the 150 yards between Kiln Avenue and Sandycroft Road before an extremely serious accident occurs.

All we are asking for is a single yellow line and the same parking restrictions as that of the east end of Elizabeth Avenue.

One would hate to think that the local authorities are putting finances before safety considerations. Let’s make Little Chalfont safe for all.

I have also sent this letter to Chesham and Amersham MP Dame Cheryl Gillan and Cllr Martin Tett, leader at Bucks County Council.

Mick Patterson, Little Chalfont

A good use for former supermarket?

Given that Marlow's former police station has been replaced with housing for the elderly, perhaps the Waitrose premises could be the home for Boris's new Bobbies...

Chris Witcher, Marlow

10 reasons for a town council

I WRITE this letter in reply to Cllr Katrina Wood’s letter last Friday.

1. According to ‘A history of the County of Buckingham vol 3’ published in 1925 ‘High Wycombe is the first town in Buckinghamshire in point of size and perhaps the most important from the point of antiquity and historic importance.’ Burgesses are mentioned as playing a part in the town’s governance since 1226 with the office of mayor dating back to 1285, almost 750 years. It was through those pioneering town councillors that Wycombe is the large market town it is today.

2. Marlow (pop 14,000); Princes Risboro’ (8,000); Amersham (17,700); Chesham (20,300); Beaconsfield (10,700) - all much smaller than High Wycombe (120,000), have town councils. All of them are attractive towns working closely with and answerable directly to the local people. It is interesting, too, that Aylesbury (72,000) not only hosts Buckinghamshire County Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council but it also has its own town council.

3. The impression is that the town committee/Charter Trustees, with little power and only a small budget, feel impotent to change things and currently need to get approval from Wycombe District Council (WDC), for any action outside their remit. And here any request might well fall by the wayside as only 24 of the 60 WDC councillors represent High Wycombe wards.

4. A Town Council would have the power to take executive decisions to restore run-down areas, promote the town, interact more with townspeople, attract tourists, look to the future and take responsibility for its actions. The mayor could again chair council meetings. And there would be plenty for an active town council to deal with in the shape of local planning, economic development, air quality, parking, tourism, markets, sporting facilities, public gardens, children’s’ play areas, cemeteries, toilets, woodlands, heritage, war memorials as well as civic events and mayoral duties. Those are surely best decided locally rather than in a huge new Buckinghamshire Council situated elsewhere.

5. Through ‘good housekeeping’ WDC has amassed over £200m in reserves over the years. Could some of this money not have been spent improving areas of the town? In a long letter last week Cllr Katrina Wood, WDC leader, took credit for the shopping revolution in town, great places to eat and the variety of leisure pursuits on offer. All very commendable but these advances have also happened in most other towns. But what Cllr Wood doesn’t seem to get is that too many parts in the centre of the town look rundown and neglected, and thus detract from the quality of daily life of residents:-

a)Frogmoor - often plagued by unsavoury elements, paved in bland concrete, and patronised by pigeons where in the ground lies a desolate plaque ‘boasting’ of failed fountains.

b) The High Street is littered with street furniture/bollards with a lone tree reaching upwards near the Little Market House. All this defaces the wonderful Georgian High Street that was painted twice by local artist William Hannan in 1772 and which he said was the longest, broadest and grandest High Street in the county.

c) The underpass linking Queen Victoria Rd to The Rye remains flooded. Not a great advert for a town where WDC has just spent millions on a new traffic layout close-by.

d) By the large children’s playground “Ropes on The Rye” stands a cafe, a makeshift corrugated iron hut which has no indoor seating and no toilets. And even in Spring/Summer it only opens at weekends and during school holidays.

e) The lake here - The Dyke - is covered in weeds with a fallen tree sprawled across this famous Capability Brown feature further along impeding any boating. Will many people be interested in rowing through this morass? A diligent, caring and pro-active town council would never allow all these problems to fester?

6. In the event of the new Buckinghamshire Council being headquartered in Aylesbury every time one of the 120,000 residents of High Wycombe wants to take part/watch a council debate that pertains to the largest town in the county, it will mean a journey to Aylesbury 15 miles away.

7. For the last 4 years I have lead historical walks around High Wycombe trying to bring the town’s history to life. And many people have said after the walks that they will never see Wycombe in the same light again. That is a great compliment but it probably meant they didn’t think much of Wycombe before!

8. Then there is heritage. Two standout features, the Iron-Age fort, Desborough Castle and the 12th century Hospital of St John the Baptist in Easton Street, are just sitting there being smothered by trees/weeds and as a result are almost invisible. At Desborough Castle why not remove the trees/weeds so that kids can play and let their imaginations run away. And why not chop the trees and light up the old columns of the hospital which, with the old Royal Grammar School behind, could act as a spectacular gateway into Wycombe from the east. Then there is the Brunel Railway Shed station - one of only four left in the country designed by the famous railway engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. This iconic building, with its wonderful mural painted by Dan Wilson, has been standing idle for some time. Now WDC has purchased this building but why did it take them so long? And what are they going to do with it with just 8 months to go until the council is dissolved and the money runs out to spend on it. This could be an interesting site for a branch of the museum or even the museum itself perhaps surrounded by greenery. And as part of the deal a ‘station cafe’ here would be welcomed. Also, almost forgotten, is the Clock Building in Frogmoor which stands anonymous today but where many famous Wycombe furniture makers and designers were taught at a time when the town led the world in furniture design and production. Not even a blue plaque adorns this former technical college building where ‘time’ has even passed the clock by. Also, the Guildhall, built in 1757, with 2 famous features inside, lies empty and ignored and surely could be put to better use e.g. an art gallery.

9. Unlike Aylesbury there are no statues in High Wycombe. But maybe they are a thing of the past anyway. That, however, shouldn’t stop people who have helped put the town on the map being commemorated in other memorable ways. For instance, Abbey Way could become ‘Dame Frances Dove Way’ and Hillbottom Road could change to ‘Martin O’Neill Way’. These 2 inspirational people helped put Wycombe on the map and bring recognition to the town. They deserve to be remembered in a fitting way and this would surely have popular acclaim.

10. Cllr Katrina Wood also said last week that bringing back a town council would cost an exorbitant amount of money to local tax payers. That surely is an exaggeration. Currently, in ‘Band D’, Marlow council tax payers pay £51 for their town council whilst those in Wycombe pay only £14 for their town committee. If Wycombe Town Council was to levy a tax at the same rate as Marlow that would mean just £3 extra per month in council tax for ‘Band D’ taxpayers. And in return if we get a clean, vibrant and attractive town that would surely offer outstanding value.

After 45 years without a town council it is time to bring vitality and creativity back into local government and to create a town that locals feel proud to live in and which is outwardly attractive.

And so at the upcoming local governance review it is time to cast aside complacency and to make a pitch in favour of the re-establishment of a town council so that Wycombe has a chance, once again, to have the look and feel of an important town, not just in the county, but also in the country.

A town council in High Wycombe does not prevent Micklefield, Terriers and Sands from having their own parish councils if residents so wish.

Willie Reid, High Wycombe