Residents in High Wycombe are calling for the creation of a local town council amid ‘neglect’ from the county-wide authority.

A campaign first launched by former mayors of Wycombe Trevor Snaith and Khalil Ahmed back in 2018 to create a town council in their area is continuing to resonate with locals.

Following a new consultation launched by Buckinghamshire Council which gives residents until April 7 to have their say on how High Wycombe is governed, Trevor, 69, and Khalil, 52, spoke to people in the town centre today (March 9) to gauge the trend of local opinion.

Unsurprisingly – the pair managed to generate 5,000 signatures on a petition calling for a devolved local government back in 2018 – the responses from passersby invariably struck the same note; one of frustration and impatience for change in their town.

Michael Holt, 60, who volunteers at Wycombe Museum, said: “The museum is in desperate need of more funding – they’re only just hanging in there. I draw photos of buildings around the town, too, and it’s so sad to see the decline in some of their structures. This is history that’s not being looked after.

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“I had heard about the campaign before, but seeing it now, I just think we really need a town council. Councillors sitting in Aylesbury and making decisions about Wycombe just feels too far away.”

Tamsin Holkham, 45, a former employee at Aylesbury Town Council who grew up near Wycombe, said: “I know what a town council can bring to an area – they look after the cemetery, the allotments, the High Street and the green spaces.

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“When I was younger, my parents would come into town just to go to the market, but it’s become so neglected now, it’s appalling. Somewhere like Desborough Road should be thriving in the same way that Cowley Road in Oxford is, but it hasn’t been looked after. There’s just no pride in the town at all.”

Andrew Pitman, 68, and his wife Bartha, 72, said they had moved to Wycombe five-and-a-half years ago and had been surprised by the lack of lower-rung government in the area.

Bucks Free Press:

READ MORE: 'Local people tackling local issues’: Campaigners call for High Wycombe Town Council

Andrew said: “It’s obvious – in local democracy, local people should know what money is being spent on. We should have influence over that, not someone in Aylesbury.”

Bartha added: “You read about the town online and people talk it down – they don’t have any pride in it. It’s about feeling like you can help make change happen. If I see a town councillor walking down the street, I can go up and ask them what they’re doing about a problem.”

Bucks Free Press:

Dimitri Matheou, owner of Cutler’s barber shop in the town centre, said: “So many of the independent shops in Wycombe are dying because they’ll only have two or three people coming in a day. People don’t want to come down here anymore – we’re hanging on by the skin of our teeth and the council doesn’t seem to care.”

Hussain Shahid, an 18-year-old Labour youth activist added: “If you look at the consultation, it says a town council would care for parks and make more opportunities for young people. That’s what this town needs.

Bucks Free Press:

“Why are so many young people out on the streets committing anti-social behaviour? Because they have nowhere else to go. If we do get a town council, I’d like to stand as a councillor and do everything I can to make sure there are measures in place to stop people feeling isolated.”