ABOUT a third of the new homes planned in Tylers Green’s biggest housing development for 50 years will be sold under shared ownership schemes in an attempt to encourage younger local people onto the housing ladder.
Developers, the Hill housing group, say that 34 of the 109 homes it plans to build at Ashwells Field, the open space at the top of Ashwells, off Cock Lane, will fall into the ‘affordable homes’ category.
Shared ownership deals will be offered to those who fit the criteria under the Bucks Home Choice scheme (details on https://www.buckshomechoice.org.uk/choice/ )
Families in the area have been complaining for years that their offspring simply cannot afford to buy houses in Penn and Tylers Green. Shared ownership schemes enable younger people to buy part of a home and then, as their income increases, eventually buy it all.
The company plans to submit a detailed planning application for the Ashwells Field site later this summer and, if all goes according to plan, building will start in about a year.
It says the development will comprise a mix of detached, terraced and semi-detached homes and will include features such as electric vehicle charging units, air source heat pumps and sustainable drainage systems. It promises two play areas for children of different age groups and says the design of the estate will take a ‘landscape-led’ approach.
Roads through the development will have traffic calming measures, while other traffic measures include the provision of a drop-off point for the neighbouring Tylers Green Middle School and the widening of part of Cock Lane near the estate’s access road.
Details of the proposals can be seen on a specially created website, https://www.ashwellsfield.co.uk
Car theft gang target local BMW and Mercedes owners
A PROFESSIONAL gang of car thieves are thought to be behind a spate of thefts of Mercedes and BMWs in recent weeks.
The thieves use a device that can fool the cars’ keyless system so they can open car doors and be driven away to be sold on a thriving black market.
In mid-May police said 12 Mercedes and nine BMWs had been stolen this way in the Holtspur, Hughenden and Hazlemere area. Then, a few days later, similar thefts were reported in Penn and Tylers Green.
A police spokesman said: “We need the public to be vigilant. Call in strange behaviour in the early hours if people are loitering. Jam signals with a Faraday pouch.” (A pouch that can jam signals that start the vehicle).
The AA said people owning cars with keyless computer systems are twice as likely to have them stolen as those with conventional keys. They advised owners to resort to “old tech” steering wheel locks to deter robbers.
Revamped Horse and Jockey takes on a new lease of life
THE Horse and Jockey in Church Road, Tylers Green has reopened for business after a £240,000 revamp by its owners Star Pubs.
Finishing touches are being made to the new kitchen and the pub will serve food from 26 June. Landlady Alex van Someren, who came from The Squirrel in Penn Street last year on a temporary basis, has been given a five year lease to stay at the pub.
The “Jockey” was first built in the 1830s, not as a pub but as a trio of cottages. It wasn’t in Church Road either – St Margaret’s hadn’t yet been built, and the track that ran alongside it was known as Gomm Lane.
It wasn’t until 1844 that it was first licensed as a beer house and named the Horse and Groom…not the wisest of decisions as there was already a pub in the village called the Horse and Groom, a quarter of a mile away in Elm Road, where the doctors’ surgery is today.
Needless to say having two pubs with the same name in the same village caused no end of confusion so early last century the Amersham brewers Weller, who owned the pub, changed its name to the Horse and Jockey.
Penn and Tylers Green to be represented by the same councillors
PENN and Tylers Green will be represented by the same two councillors for the first time at the next Buckinghamshire council elections in 2025.
Following a review of boundaries in the county, the Boundary Commission has decided that Penn, Tylers Green and Loudwater should constitute one ward, with two council representatives.
At present Penn is in a ward that also includes Old Amersham, whereas Tylers Green is in a separate ward that includes Loudwater.
The commissioners have decided that Penn and Tylers Green are, in effect, one community but because they were tasked with creating new wards of roughly the same size electorate, added Loudwater as well.
The commission has also cut the number of councillors on Buckinghamshire Council by 50 to 97 in addition to altering boundaries that affect every ward. Hazlemere ward has been slightly expanded to include Terriers.
The commissioners’ final recommendations have yet to be approved by Parliament.
How a chance wartime meeting led to an 80 year friendship for Belgian and Tylers Green families
THE TWO teenagers Norma Bennett’s dad and his fellow soldiers met liberating the Belgian city of Leuvern in early September 1944 were like many others – so grateful to be free after more than four years of Nazi occupation.
Neither could have possibly guessed that the chance meeting would lead to their respective families becoming close personal friends in a relationship that celebrates 80 years next year.
A few days after the initial chance meeting Norma’s dad Harry recognised brother and sister Victor and Marie-Jose de Leeuw when they were trying to buy potatoes in a nearby village. The youngsters insisted that Harry and his mates come and meet their parents, Gerard and Olga, and they all hit it off.
This was to be no brief wartime acquaintance however. Within a week or two Harry took part in the ill-fated attempt to shorten the war by capturing Arnhem in neighbouring Holland. While retreating from that encounter he met the de Leeuws yet again, and this time lasting ties were made.
The lifetime friendship that followed between Harry’s family and the de Leeuws is fondly recalled by Norma, of Southcote Way, Tylers Green, a long-standing trustee of the village charity Penn and Tylers Green Village Care.
She said: “After the war my mother and father and two brothers visited the family in February 1946. I was born in November of that year and my ‘Belgian family’ tell me I was conceived there! In 1948 Olga came to visit my parents at their home in London.”
She added: “After this, most years we camped on the Continent visiting the family each year. When I was ten I was sent on a coach to stay with Olga and Gerard until my parents joined. This was a pattern and I then stayed with Gerard’s son Victor and his wife Josephine who had honeymooned at our house in London.”
The remarkable relationship between the families has sustained and prospered through five generations – Gerard’s great-great granddaughter Eli was born in 2021- with the friends attending each other’s family occasions like weddings and funerals.
It’s a wonderful example of how friendships can grow from adversity.
Bird’s eye view
Drone photography is giving us new insights into familiar territory. Here’s St Margaret’s Church with the parish rooms opposite in Tylers Green – soon to become a regular haunt for Penn and Tylers Green’s new vicar, the Rev. Samuel Thorp, whose licensing service takes place this month. Picture: Bovingdon’s Estate Agents.
The Indian princess who walked Penn’s muddy fields in wellies and pearls
ENGLISH Heritage last month unveiled a blue plaque on the London home of leading suffragette, Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, who spent her final days in Tylers Green.
The daughter of the ruler of the last Sikh empire and a god-daughter of Queen Victoria, she was born into fabulous wealth in 1876 and brought up as an aristocratic Englishwoman.
But she had a strong rebellious, indeed revolutionary, streak, and from 1909, on return from India, became a leading activist in the suffragette movement, once trying to jump in front of the prime minister’s car holding a poster “Give women the vote!”
She moved to what was then called Coalhatch House in Hammersley Lane to join her sister just before the Second World War where villagers long remembered the two Indian princesses, dressed in wellies and pearls, trudging over the muddy fields taking their dogs for a walk.
They helped the war effort by taking in a couple of working class evacuees from Ealing, but the clash of backgrounds made it difficult for both sides.
Sophia died in her sleep at her home in 1948 and her ashes were scattered in India.
Penn and Tylers Green Scouts raised over £1,000 at their spring jumble sale in the village hall which will enable them to buy new camping equipment and fund their centenary celebration on the common on 17 June. Before the sale opened some of the helpers, pictured above, featured in the BBC Three Counties Radio Treasure Quest programme.
Remembering Jan – A tree planted in memory of Jan Lance, an enthusiastic gardener who helped launch the annual Open Gardens and long time supporter of Penn and Tylers Green Village Care, is to be dedicated at a ceremony at the Sports and Social Club. It is planted at a spot where her husband Gavin’s ashes were scattered. Gavin was, for many years, a stalwart and founder member of Penn and Tylers Green Sports and Social Club. This year’s Open Gardens event is on 11 June, the day after the Fun Run.
Car park closed – A large sink hole closed the Horse and Jockey car park in Church Road, Tylers Green, just a week or two before the refurbished pub on the opposite side of the road reopened for business. Engineers are trying to find out why the ground collapsed – it is thought to be the site of an underground stream.
Community choir – Tylers Green Middle School has formed a community choir comprising all age groups. It meets for hour long rehearsals on Wednesday evenings in term time. Contact the school for details.
Pedestrian crossing – A feasibility study is planned to recommend whether a pedestrian crossing should be provided on the main B474 through Penn and, if so, where it should be sited.
School trees – Following a tree survey of the woodlands area at the back of Tylers Green First School, permission is being sought to fell two of the five ash trees suffering from Ash die-back disease. Annual checks will be carried out on the remaining three. The school is also seeking to prune three oak trees and a Scots pine. The woodland is in the Tylers Green Conservation Area and is used for outdoor lessons.
Narrow escape – Manor Farm Junior School has appealed to parents, motorists and pupils to take extra care in Rose Avenue at school leaving and arrival times after one pupil came within a whisker of been knocked over by the car.
Toddler trapped – Firefighters were called to free a two year old girl trapped in a car in Church Road,Tylers Green. She was released, uninjured, through a rear window.
Future plan – Penn Parish Council has begun a public consultation on its Neighbourhood Plan, which outlines how it wants to see the area developed in the coming years. You can find out more on https://www.ppnp.online The consultation closes on 14 July.
Grant approved – Chepping Wycombe Parish Council approved a grant of £2,000 to Tylers Green First School for new audio-visual equipment in the hall.
Cup winners – Penn and Tylers Green Football Club’s men’s first team finished mid-table after their first season in division one of the Combined Counties Football League but won the division’s challenge cup, beating Aldermaston 2-1 at Windsor.
Penn and Tylers Green FC’s under-5s enjoying the club’s Festival of Football last month, which attracted hundreds of young footballers from around the area. Picture Penn and Tylers Green FC.
Mighty Morgane – Penn and Tylers Green Cricket Club’s first team got their season off to a strong start, winning their first three matches in May. One of the club’s junior players, Morgane Marriott, representing Buckinghamshire under-13’s girls, bowled two wickets for six runs in a match against a Lords MCC girls side.
Country show – Penn House will host the Bucks Country Show on 1 and 2 July
Penn Fest – TV presenters Dick and Dom and Radio 6 award-winning DJ Craig Charles are booked to perform their DJ sets at Penn Festival on 21 and 22 July. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Bastille will be the headline acts.
How a 500,000 year old chunk of Chilterns flint put the wind up HS2
IN THE immortal words of Sir Alex Ferguson, it’s squeaky bum time at HS2.
The gigantic tunnel boring machines – the best in the world according to the high speed rail company – will this month edge their way, centimetre by centimetre, through the most delicate part of the entire tunnelling operation. They will pass just 18 metres below the River Misbourne, a rare and globally important chalk stream, near Great Missenden.
One false move and some geologists fear the entire river could suddenly slurp down some natural plughole in the fragile chalk, never to be seen again.
The omens are not good. Last month one of the 2,000 tonne, 170 metre long machines, named Cecilia for some reason, bit off more than it could chew.
An enormous piece of ultra-hard flint, which has been lodged for half a million years amid the softer, mashed-up chalk around it, refused to submit to Cecilia’s massive cutting teeth, causing damage to the machine’s internal pipework.
Cecilia burped, and the tunnelling engineers did something they desperately try to avoid – they stopped the machine.
Now the problem with stopping giant worms like Cecilia is that when you start them up again they shake, rattle and roll the earth that’s around them.
And that seems to be precisely what happened: 32 metres above Cecilia in a field next to Shardeloes lake, the earth began to tremble in the early hours of 13 May. Then plop! An enormous hole six metres in diameter and five metres deep suddenly emerged, sending hundreds of tonnes of soil and soft chalk into an unknown void.
The event has put the frighteners on HS2 and the Environment Agency, who are supposed to be overseeing the geological and ecological side of things to ensure there’s no danger to any passing pedestrian and his dog innocently and unknowingly walking over where the tunnelling is taking place.
Checks are now being made twice daily for ground movement and changes in water levels as the tunnel boring machines edge ever so cautiously along the Misbourne valley. A major investigation is under way as to how it happened.
‘We know best…‘
But the fact is many experts had seen this coming. Dr Haydon Bailey, probably the country’s leading authority on the Chilterns geology, has been warning of such catastrophes ever since the idea of routing HS2 through the Chilterns was suggested 13 years ago.
The chalk that makes up the Chilterns landscape isn’t the same sort of smooth, easy-to-cut chalk you find on the South Downs or the white cliffs of Dover which made carving out the Channel Tunnel a doddle.
Half a million years ago the Chilterns was the location of vast, violent earth movements, which left enormous chasms underground and the chalk smashed to smithereens. In the ensuing tens of thousands of years water trickled in and around this fragile eco-system creating what is still today one of the country’s most delicate aquifer systems.
Dr Bailey and his colleagues have consistently warned that barging through the fragile sub-structure to create tunnels conveying hundreds of trains at 150 mph could permanently damage the Chilterns aquifer system causing unpredictable damage.
But the politicians on both sides of the House of Commons and the Lords, who have provided no real opposition to HS2 because the vast majority of them were in favour of it, didn’t listen. Neither did the Environment Agency, which is supposed to be the public watchdog on such things. And, of course, neither did HS2 Ltd, whose supreme confidence in its own technology to overcome any problem anywhere borders on arrogance.
Alarmingly, they are still not listening.
Police drop vote-rigging prosecution citing ‘insufficient evidence’
AFTER a two year investigation the police have decided there is insufficient evidence to support a prosecution for vote-rigging in our neighbouring council ward of Bowerdean and Totteridge.
The decision comes a year after the High Court dismissed a petition calling for the May 2021 council election result to be overturned.
A special recount in which High Court officials and members of the Electoral Commission examined everyone of the 9,212 votes cast, confirmed the election was won fairly and squarely by three independent candidates.
One of the losing Liberal Democrat candidates called for the police investigation and petitioned the High Court claiming that 80 of the 108 rejected ballot papers should have gone to the Lib Dems but had been tampered with, making them ineligible.
Voters could only select three candidates but, the Lib Dems claimed, the 80 ballot papers in question showed that three votes had been made for them but a different pen was used to vote for a fourth candidate, making the ballot paper invalid.
Allegations of electoral fraud are not new in the Wycombe area.
Following the 2019 general election, Wycombe (and Tylers Green) MP Steve Baker, told the House of Commons that activists for particular candidates “sought to procure votes for as little as £10, a free taxi ride or a free pizza.”
Police are still investigating Mr Baker’s allegations, but in the meantime Mr Baker and others persuaded Parliament to approve the Elections Act which, among other things, means people have to have photographic proof they are who they say they are before they can vote.
Mr Baker told this blog: “I still think there is more to do: concerns remain over the integrity of postal votes and the ability of postal voters to cast their vote without interference, and I am also concerned about the way in which the electoral roll is compiled.”
Damp tents and modest heroes
AS Penn and Tylers Green Scouts celebrate the centenary of their official formation in the village this month (see April blog), more fond memories of scouting in the early 1950s, this time from Trevor Long, now from Salisbury, whose recollections, edited here, include a couple of lessons in life…
“We loaded up Mr Pickle’s blue Volkswagen van with all the gear and set off north. Seat belts and road safety hadn’t been invented so we were slouched all over the equipment in the back of the van as we journeyed to Grasmere in the Lake District.
“Early on we discovered that it rains in Cumbria, and being camped on a slight slope the torrent rushing through our tents made life uncomfortable. The farmer kindly offered us his barn so bracken was harvested and laid out on the floor (don’t know why) and we erected our damp tents in the barn and survived.
“I do recall that it was at this camp that we tackled assistant scoutmaster Harry Pusey and his war record. Boys in the 1950s were growing up amongst men who had achieved much in the war yet were reluctant to disclose the conditions, hardships and successes they had witnessed.
“This was well illustrated when we asked Harry ‘Did you shoot any Germans in the war?’ No’, was the answer. ‘Did you see them then?’ Yes, was the answer. ‘Didn’t you shoot them?’. ‘No, they never done me any harm’.”
Hospital rebuff – The Government has turned down Wycombe Hospital’s request for funding to replace its ailing tower block with a new surgical centre by 2028. Bucks NHS Trust, which says the 1960s tower block has come to the end of its life, said it is spending £2m a year monitoring the building and carrying out emergency repairs. The Trust says it will continue to lobby the Government.
Pothole mania – Buckinghamshire Council says its road teams are filling-in 700 potholes a week in an attempt to restore the county’s roads before bad weather sets in again.
Oldest kite dies -The last of the red kite chicks brought over from Spain to reintroduce the species in the Chilterns in the 1990s has died in a bird sanctuary aged 29. Aragon was thought to be the oldest red kite in the country.
Novice beats council leader – The Liberal Democrats won control of Windsor and Maidenhead Council from the Conservatives following last month’s local elections. A 22 year old education company worker, George Blundell, beat veteran former Tory council leader Andrew Johnson in the Hurley and Walthams ward. Local elections in Buckinghamshire will take place in 2025.
Archive home wanted – The Beaconsfield Archive, which contains items relevant to Penn and Tylers Green, is looking for a new home in case its present base, the Beaconsfield Town Hall, next to Waitrose, is demolished for development, as is expected at some time in the future.
Tree nursery – A community tree nursery, which will grow native trees and shrubs from locally harvested seeds throughout the Chilterns, has been launched on Penn Estate land at Winchmore Hill.
New hotels – Travelodge has announced plans to open budget hotels in the Amersham area and Gerrards Cross.
Cycle path – Work has begun to build a separate cycle path and footpath adjacent to the A413, Amersham to Wendover road. It’s hoped the first four kilometre stretch from the Firecrest pub to Great Missenden will be completed within the year. Eventually it is planned to have a separate and safe cycling and walking route from Wendover to Uxbridge, to be known as the Misbourne Greenway.
You can contact this blog at firstname.lastname@example.org It is due to be next fully updated on 1 July.