Coronavirus update (29 July)
THERE has been a 50 per cent drop in the number of new coronavirus cases in the area this week compared to last week.
In the seven days to tonight 1,034 new cases have been reported in Buckinghamshire compared to 2,025 in the seven days to last Thursday.
Eight people a day have been admitted to Buckinghamshire hospitals this week compared with 16 a day last week, although two Covid related deaths have been recorded this week, the first since mid June.
In the Wycombe area 82 per cent of adults had received one dose of coronavirus vaccine by yesterday and 65.4 per cent have received two doses.
Latest confirmed figures for our immediate vicinity show there 41 new cases in the area that includes Penn in the seven days to last Saturday 24 July. In Tylers Green there were 19 new cases and in Hazlemere 42. This week’s confirmed figures are expected to show a drop in line with the rest of the county.
New Covid cases in Bucks highest since mid January (report 23 July)
Local figures – New cases of coronavirus are continuing to rise in Penn, Tylers Green and Hazlemere.
In the area that includes Penn in the seven days to last Sunday, the 18th, there were 46 new confirmed cases compared to 35 in the seven days to 4 July, two weeks previously. In Tylers Green there were 29 new cases (compared to 23) while in Hazlemere the figure leapt to 66 new cases, compared to 17 two weeks previously.
County figures – Figures for the whole of Buckinghamshire this week show that new cases are now the highest since mid January. They show there were 354 new cases on Monday, 267 on Tuesday, 209 on Wednesday, 40 on Thursday and 240 Friday. However, hospital admissions due to Covid remain low with only a handful of people on ventilators and no Covid-related deaths recorded since mid-June.
Continuing caution – Most Covid restrictions were lifted on Monday, but in local shops and places where people gather most are choosing to continue wearing face coverings and keeping socially distanced, as requested by the Government. There is some evidence that more people in the area are self-isolating either because they have Covid symptoms or have been warned by the NHS app they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive.
Schools hit – Local schools were affected in the run up to the end of the summer term with a number of children and staff self-isolating. All children at Tylers Green Middle School reverted to remote learning for the final few days of term, while at Manor Farm Junior School a socially distanced last day school assembly was held outside to say farewell to retiring head Andrew Sierant.
Financial blow – The pandemic cost Tylers Green Village Hall, pictured above, more than £20,000 in lost bookings in the year to the end of March, the hall’s AGM was told this week… a cost that has made a big dent in the hall’s reserves. The hall fully reopened for all types of bookings on Monday, including children’s parties and family celebrations. Call manager Emma Byrne on 01494 819990 to make a booking or see the hall’s website on www.tylersgreenvillagehall.co.uk
Festival precautions – All people attending this weekend’s Penn Festival in Penn Street are being required to show evidence of being double jabbed for Covid or produce a negative lateral flow test. Penn Fest has introduced a number of additional safety measures.
Theatre plans – Aylesbury Waterside theatre announced this week it will reopen on 5 September with a gig by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, followed by a week-long run of the touring production of Hairspray. Wycombe Swan has previously announced it will reopen on 25 August.
Wedding surge – A surge of wedding and civil partnership ceremonies following the easing of Covid restrictions has meant that Buckinghamshire’s ceremony rooms are fully booked for the most popular days and times until October. .
Hammersley Lane residents win latest round to save trees from destruction
THE COUNCIL slapped permanent tree preservation orders on remaining trees in woodland off Hammersley Lane, Tylers Green, this week. Residents believe the area was being cleared in preparation for potential housing development.
In February diggers appeared on the two acre woodland behind Hilltop and neighbouring homes and began uprooting trees, hedges and shrubs.
Workmen told residents the work was “woodland management” but residents said it was more woodland removal. With the help of local councillors they persuaded Buckinghamshire Council to impose immediate temporary tree preservation orders on the remaining trees which meant the work had to stop.
This week, after giving the owners of the land the opportunity to appeal against the move, the council confirmed its earlier decision. The owners can still appeal to the High Court.
The site abuts the Gomm Valley, part of which is earmarked for housing. Residents believed the woodland clearance was a preparatory move by the owners to seek planning permission for a housing development of their own.
Imposing the tree preservation orders the council said the woodland is an “important component of the visual amenity and local landscape character. It added: “The council wishes to prevent any works that are unsympathetic or harmful to the health of the woodland and the visual amenity it provides.”
Heritage Centre project kick-started
PLANS to establish a Penn and Tylers Green Heritage Centre are now back on the agenda after the Covid interruption.
Planning permission to build the centre was granted early last year on the site of the old changing rooms at Tylers Green Village Hall but just as fund raising was about to get underway in earnest, the pandemic intervened.
Now a fund raising group is being formed to kick-start the project under the chairmanship of Madalyn Roker. If you would be interested in joining the team or finding out more about the project please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PENN’S new MP, Sarah Green, hasn’t ventured a maiden speech in the House of Commons yet – she is still very much finding her feet – but the Lib Dem MP for Chesham and Amersham has opened her innings with a couple of written questions … one about the impact of closing the police counter at Amersham nick and the other about the level of support the Government gives councils for road resurfacing (a major grumble in this pot-holed corner of the world).
Both questions were batted safely into the slips by Government ministers. The impact of individual police station closures is a matter for the police, not the Government, said Police Minister Kit Malthouse. As for the roads the Government gives a lump sum to highway authorities each year and it’s up to them how they prioritise it said Transport Minister Rachael Maclean.
All eyes on the Gomm Valley as the tide turns…
THE CONSERVATIVES, locally and nationally, are still conducting their inquest into why the electors of Chesham and Amersham gave them such an enormous kick up the backside in last month’s by-election. But it is already pretty obvious that many people simply don’t like and don’t want thousands of new homes to be built on undeveloped greenfield sites and countryside.
Consequently, locally and nationally, the Tories are looking at what they can do to address the concerns.
Gareth Williams, the councillor who heads Buckinghamshire’s planning and regeneration, said this week that the number one priority is build new housing on what are called “brownfield sites”, that is areas that have already been developed or contain redundant industrial or office buildings.
The pandemic has thrown up more of these sites as more people work from home and companies look to downsize offices and workplaces.
In the autumn the council will reveal a list of potential brownfield sites in the county that could be used for housing development and will begin a new search for such sites, calling on the public to suggest areas where they think new homes could built in the area.
In addition, the council is looking to build more homes in town centres, particularly in High Wycombe and Chesham where there are plenty of empty shops that could be converted. Indeed, this week the council expressed a wish to see the whole of the Chilterns shopping centre in High Wycombe converted to accommodate 300 flats and apartments, moving Primark and Wilko over to the nearby Eden shopping centre.
It will be interesting to see what affect all this has on the Gomm Valley, the largely undeveloped and environmentally important land between Hammersley Lane and Cock Lane, Tylers Green.
The area has been earmarked for housing for years, but how many and what type remains hugely controversial. House builders Taylor Wimpey bought the land earlier this year after a developer’s scheme to build 1,000 houses for previous land owner Aviva got stuck in the mud.
Taylor Wimpey is now said to be formulating a planning application of its own and must be looking with some concern at the latest political manoeuvrings.
The chances of getting anything like a one thousand home development past the council and the planning authorities in the present climate seem increasingly remote, despite Boris’s pre-Chesham and Amersham by-election pledge to get more new homes built more quickly.
Fly-tipping fine – A company in Barnet who allowed their contractor to dump this old furniture and packaging in Gatemoor Lane, off Paul’s Hill, Penn was fined £1,617 by High Wycombe magistrates this week.
Pistol shots – Film director Danny Boyle has been in the area this week shooting scenes for his TV biog of the Sex Pistols, called Pistol. The former Penn School and Hazlemere Golf Club have been location bases. Last Sunday set designers transformed Hemel Hempstead town centre into “Huddersfield in the 1970s.” Meanwhile in the High Court the group’s former lead singer, Johnny Rotten (John Lydon) is fighting a legal battle to prevent the group’s songs to be used in the series.
Speed petition – Residents have launched a petition to reduce the 50mph speed limit to 30mph on the stretch of the A40 where the new Beaconsfield Primary Care Centre – of which Penn Surgery is a part – is being constructed.
Stun gun incident – Police are appealing for witnesses after an incident at the Shell garage on the London Road near the Hammersley Lane junction late on Wednesday night. A fight broke out and police recovered a number of weapons, including a stun gun. A seven year old child received minor injuries from the stun gun.
Farewell Kathleen and Peter – The death has occurred at the age of 97 of Kathleen Wright who, with her husband Barry, ran the village newsagents in Elm Road, Penn for many years. The death has also occurred after a short illness of Peter Stevens, the senior church steward at Tylers Green Methodist Church in Coppice Farm Road.