This blog is due to be next updated at Easter
Cases plummet – The number of new coronavirus cases in the Penn/Holmer Green/Knotty Green area in the week to last Saturday was insignificant, statistically speaking, being described officially as “less than three”. In Tylers Green it was five and in Hazlemere three, all areas showing a significant decline in the past few weeks.
Good to be back – Local schools have reported a near 100 per cent return of pupils for their reopening after the lockdown this week.
Deep clean – The parish council is to undertake a deep clean of all its public playgrounds as part of its continuing coronavirus precautions.
Adult learning returns – Buckinghamshire Council says it will be reopening its adult learning centres for face to face learning next month.
Community garden – Plans are being made in Penn Street to create a community garden in the vicinity of the village’s Holy Trinity Church.
Track repairs – Chepping Wycombe Parish Council plans to spend around £17,000 on a major upgrade of the deteriorating track at the bottom of the back common in Tylers Green.
Protests at the hilltop lanes
HS2 gave notice this week that it’s about to start work on one of the most sensitive parts of the railway’s path through the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. (AONB).
Three old, deep and narrow lanes – Leather Lane, Bowood Lane and Rocky Lane – known collectively as the hilltop lanes off the Amersham to Wendover road, will be closed intermittently between now and the end of May to enable contractors to remove ancient hedgerows and established trees. HS2 say the work is necessary to allow access for its construction vehicles to worksites at the top of the hills.
Environmental protestors moved into place this week in an attempt to protect some of the mature oak trees due to be felled and the contractors have already held talks with the police to have them removed when the time comes and security fences put in place.
The Chiltern Society, which says experience so far indicates HS2 removes more trees than it needs to on its construction sites, is seeking reassurance that an absolute minimum number of trees will be removed. At a site further down the line they challenged another contractor’s wishes to remove eight trees for a construction site. After some negotiation and a bit of creative thinking the contractors ended up removing just one tree.
MEANWHILE there is growing concern that a row between a housing developer and the council in Beaconsfield is going to lead to pandemonium in London End in Beaconsfield Old Town.
When HS2 construction reaches its peak in this area in a year or two there will be a maximum of 1,000 HGV journeys a day between the M25 to the work sites near Amersham (500 travelling one way loaded with chalk spoil, and 500 travelling the other way for the next pick-up).
The idea was that the giant lorries would use the newly constructed, wide duel-carriageway through the new housing development being built off the Beaconsfield to Amersham road, thus enabling the HGVs to avoid the small mini-roundabout at the end of London End by the entrance to Wilton Park. Alas that new road is not completed and is beginning to look as though it won’t be in time because the council and the developers are locked in a dispute about who should pay for it.
It’s a complex dispute full of legal niceties and macho brinkmanship, but unless someone gets their finger out quick, the result will be a trashing of that particular piece of Beaconsfield environment. As one veteran HS2 watcher told me: “At the moment, Beaconsfield hasn’t any idea what’s going to hit it.”
The Beaconsfield Society is urging people to respond to a public consultation which they say will lead to less public involvement in planning applications.
In a consultation document Buckinghamshire Council says that it “may” do things like publish local plans for consultation or publish details of planning applications on nearby notice boards or lamp-posts. The society thinks the council “must” take such actions rather than leave themselves an opt-out.
Its website says it’s astonishing the council is running a consultation on not consulting with the public.
You can view the consultation document and express an opinion on https://yourvoicebucks.citizenspace.com/planning/sci-2021/ The deadline is 22 March.
Good timing – Banksy’s portrayal of an escaping prisoner climbing down a rope on the side of the former Reading Jail wall has boosted the chances of the building becoming an arts centre. Councillors in the town agreed this week to put in a bid to buy the jail and convert it into centre for arts, culture and heritage.
Lorry checks – Police and border force officers conducted an unannounced search on lorries from the continent at Beaconsfield Service Station last week to check for illegal immigrants and to warn HGV drivers on how to prevent people-smuggling.
Clamping surge – Police said DVLA officials clamped so many vehicles in the Chiltern and South Bucks area this week for alleged non-payment of car tax they ran out of clamps.
Access plans – Buckinghamshire Council is working on a cycling and walking plan for the county to improve facilities for cyclists and walkers and reduce reliance of car journeys.
Steaming ahead – The Flying Scotsman will be steaming its way through Slough and Maidenhead stations en route to Oxford on a ceremonial journey from Paddington on 23 May.
Back at Easter
As you know this blog has been updated on a weekly and even daily basis during the past year in an attempt to keep people informed during a difficult time. It has been a pleasure to welcome many hundreds of extra readers during this time.
Now, though, we seem to be edging towards some sort of normality again so, barring any future emergencies (and who knows!), this blog will from now on be updated as and when necessary..
The next update will be at Easter. Should anything particularly newsworthy involving Penn and Tylers Green break however, then, of course, it will be updated straight away.