Send your letters via email to or via post to Bucks Free Press, Loudwater Mill, Station Road, Loudwater, HP10 9TY.

Incredible support from the community

I would like to express our thanks to all the people of High Wycombe and surrounding areas who very generously supported all our 2019 Christmas Supermarket and Float collections.

The overall total raised was just over £8,050 and with additional generous financial donations of £500 from High Wycombe Rotary Club, we were able to distribute over 300 food parcels to needy people in the Wycombe District Council area, including Marlow, Lane End, Stokenchurch, Holmer Green, Tylers Green and Hazlemere. We are grateful to Thames Valley Police who delivered 75 of the food parcels to those vulnerable people who had been suffering as victims of crime.

Our thanks also go to Juniper Hill School who provided the location for making up the parcels on Sunday 8th December 2019 to assist us in placing over 4000 items into 300 bags. Several members and friends helped with this operation and we were also assisted by our Mayor who packed a bag the fastest on the “Trolley Dash”, and we thank them all for their support.

In addition we would like to thank the children at both Godstowe and Disraeli Schools for making the Christmas cards to go in the police parcels.

Many local charities helped us with the float collections, which despite some adverse weather were successful. These were: Thomas Ball, Wycombe Rent Guarantee Scheme, XP Support Group, Thames Valley Air Ambulance, Hazlemere Youth Group, Child Bereavement Trust who will receive a donation.

The local supermarkets, Waitrose High Wycombe, ASDA High Wycombe, Morrisons High Wycombe, the Co-operative Store at Hazlemere, Tesco’s Loudwater, and Sainsbury’s at Flackwell Heath are to be thanked for allowing us to collect at their stores where we raised £4650 of the £8050. Our thanks also go to Booker Cash and Carry for help with food supplies at a very busy time of year and to Steve Harris of Full Service Circle Ltd for maintaining the float.

Our primary aim is to assist local charities and projects to help people in the Wycombe Area and if you wish to apply for help with a project please call Lion Pam on 01628 521405 for more information on how to do this.

Thank you for your support again this Christmas and throughout the past twelve months – your generosity enables us “ordinary people” to do amazing things.

Stephen Baskerville, President of the High Wycombe Lions Club

We need more information Cllr Tett

With than 90 days to go before all 546,000 citizens in Bucks come under the control of the new Unitary Authority on April 1 it would be good to get some serious information as to how the transition is to be handled.

The statement from the future Council Leader, Martin Tett (BFP, Jan 10) was of little help, full of banal generalities at the level of ‘improved services for our residents’.

If things are going so well and will be ‘more straight forward’ after April 1, why will the new Bucks Authority need to set up a network of seventeen so-called “access and access plus points” around the county? Surely this could all be done via improved website facilities?

The majority of the council taxpayers will be more interested in knowing how the money will be spent. So far the theoretical budget for 2020/21 shown on the current website suggests a total of about £370 million will be spent.

The figures shown only account for about 60 per cent of the nominal spend with £73.6 million allocated for Children’s Services across the county but £37.7 million allocated to the Deputy Leader and Resources portfolio.

What is the other 40 per cent be spent on? How many people are going to be employed by the new authority and at what cost in terms of salaries and pensions? Let’s have more information from Cllr Tett.

It would surely be helpful at this time to know how the transition will be handled. Presumably the new authority assumes full legal responsibility for all the activities of the old councils which should vanish on March 31.

So when will WDC be holding it’s “last ever” meetings of the committees covering finance, planning etc? Does anyone out there know?

Andrew Barrow, Hazlemere

Where is my home post-Brexit?

I’d like to thank Phil Jones for his letter published by Bucks Free Press on January 10.

I am an EU national and have been living and working in the UK since 1990. Before June 2016 I felt at home here. I have lived in this country for most of my adult life, I adopted the British way of life and I felt like a foreigner in my country of origin.

I didn’t have the opportunity to vote in the referendum that decided my future. Since then I have been told to go home, but where is that?

I thought this was my home now and even invested my money on a house before all this.

In the press, I have been called queue jumper, rat, lazy... and blamed for long waiting lists on the NHS, social housing list, etc. Even though, I am personally quite healthy and hardly need to see my GP or use any other public services.

I used to be carefree and chatty but now I don’t dare to answer my phone in public when my mum calls because 51.7 per cent of people voted for me to leave and there is a high chance that a few of them are around me when I answer that call and may not like to hear a foreign language.

Most of my friends tell me not to worry, that I will be OK, but how do they know? Many people have been rejected by the HO after many years living and working here.

They are infamous for the amount of mistakes they make - remember Windrush? Now we don’t even have the right to appeal if we are rejected. It feels like a lottery with bad prizes only.

I may get lucky and be accepted by the home office but that will not mend my heart.

Aratxu Bl, address withheld

EU citizens are being punished

Thank you for publishing the letter of January 10, 2020, from Phil Jones regarding the EU citizens trapped in limbo by Brexit.

Thousands of EU citizens came to our country in good faith and have made their lives here, marrying UK citizens, having children, buying houses - just living decent law-abiding lives and contributing to society.

They did not come illegally. They are not refugees. Many have been here for decades. Now they are being punished for the crime of believing that when the UK makes a promise and confers rights on people, it will honour its word.

They have become political pawns and the way they are being treated is shameful.

Carolyn Towner, Ruislip

Some big concerns ahead of a new council

Last month Buckinghamshire Shadow Authority Executive Board voted through the terms of reference for 16 new ‘Community Boards’ to be set up around the county in the spring. Ready for the new single Unitary Authority coming into existence on April 1.

The aims of these Community Boards as boasted by the Leader of the Bucks County Council while promoting a new single, large authority in 2018 were to “put real decision- making power into the hands of local councillors, empowering then to meet the differing needs of local communities… this includes increasing real decision making at local level”.

Also, 92 per cent of respondents to the public consultation thought that all local councillors as well as unitary councillors should be allowed to vote on key decisions within their respective communities.

Aside from the fact that legally these boards can only ever be advisory to the unitary executive (which is understandable) and less than one per cent of the total council budget has been allocated to them for local projects anyway; two specific things are of concern.

Concerns echoed by a district councillor at the executive meeting in December but voted down by a majority of county councillors.

Firstly, on the occasions when a vote is needed for community board decisions only unitary councillors will have a vote.

Parish councillors and other community representatives at meetings will only have indicative votes - if the community board chairperson allows.

Secondly, the chairperson of each of the 16 boards has to be appointed by the Leader of the Unitary Authority (who also has a veto on the vice-chair), not by members of respective local boards.

In the spirit of ‘localism’ Community Boards were proposed to ensure a balance between the centralised decision making of one big ‘distant’ authority and the needs of a local district/area and its residents. There is also a need to encourage more participation from residents and parish councillors in community matters. The above discourages it.

An argument made for going against public opinion and restricting formal decision-making to unitary councillors is there will be “too many people voting at meetings”. Which sounds to me a convenient way to say “there will be too many non-unitary authority councillors voting, with a real risk of a majority approving things the executive don’t like”

The chairmanship of these boards is an important role within a community. There needs to be strong links between community boards and the unitary authority so it’s right that the chairperson be an elected unitary councillor.

However, there’s no valid justification for the unitary authority leader having sole power to choose the chairperson of these boards, other than ensuring overreaching centralised influence and control of local issues.

The choice of chairperson will greatly affect the direction and strategy of these boards. It should be a founding principle that the chairperson of a ‘Community Board’ should primarily answer to the representatives of that respective community, and not be under the ‘fear or favour’ of the unitary authority Leader.

I do hope that some current shadow authority members ‘call-in’ the above points, which don’t live up to the current council leaders’ boasts about local empowerment and increased decision-making in different districts.

Mark Skoyles, Marlow

My thoughts on letters

RE: Bucks Free Press letters January 10

‘How would it feel to be an EU citizen?’ - Phil Jones clearly does not consider the readers to be EU citizens.

I wonder how many of the 27-plus languages of the EU countries Phil speaks.

I would surmise that he would have just as much difficulty in any of these countries as his hypothetical EU citizens in the UK - unless they spoke English.

‘Fighting against cocaine use’ - As far as I am aware there is no major illegal supplier of cocaine in the EU.

What freedom of movement has achieved is to widen and ease the area of distribution throughout the EU.

P.D. Somerville, High Wycombe