WHAT started as a one-off sponsored walk by a Tylers Green man to raise money for research into prostate cancer is mushrooming into a nationwide fund-raising campaign backed by sporting celebrities.
In 2018, Ron Hedley, of Old Kiln Road, was diagnosed with prostate cancer. After initial treatment, Ron, a lifelong cricketer and member of Buckinghamshire Cricket Club’s over 60s and 70s team, enlisted the help of some of his friends in the game to organise a sponsored walk and fund-raising lunch for Prostate Cancer UK.
Over the past few months that effort developed into 10 sponsored walks and lunches taking in cricket grounds in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Middlesex. So far they have raised over £21,000.
Now, Ron and his wife Pat have joined forces with Prostate Cancer UK and The Bob Willis Fund, named after the legendary England fast bowler who died of prostate cancer in 2019.
They are asking each of the 32 English and Welsh counties who play over-60s cricket to organise similar sponsored walks over the next couple of years in their own areas, under the title England Cricket Seniors.
Ron and Pat are hoping to take part in every walk organised and are hoping the last one will end at Lord’s in September 2024, to coincide with his 75th birthday.
They have the support former cricketer Allan Lamb, former England football Mick Harford and restauranteur Alain Roux.
There’s more details and how to donate on bobwillisfund.org/ronsmarch
Memorial trees on the common to commemorate WW2 veterans
REMEMBRANCE Day has an extra special significance in Penn and Tylers Green this year as the two-minute silence event will be followed by the planting of 16 memorial trees in and around the common to commemorate those from the village who died while in service in the Second World War.
They will join a similar set of memorial trees planted, originally in the 1930s and then some more recently replaced, to remember those killed in the First World War.
This year’s short Remembrance Service on Friday 11 November will be held on the front common and not the back common as in previous years. It will take place around a flagpole and be led by the Rev Graham Summers, Penn and Tylers Green’s associate priest, and John Youers, from the local branch of the Royal British Legion.
It begins at 10.50am and will include two minute’s silence at 11am.
Children from Tylers Green First School, Tylers Green Middle School and Little Oaks Nursery are expected to join members of the public. Everyone is welcome to attend. Refreshments will be provided in the Sanctuary at St Margaret’s parish rooms afterwards.
The 16 new trees, a mixture of white beam and rowan, have been provided by Chepping Wycombe Parish Council. They provide a dual purpose as the village’s contribution to the late Queen’s Green Canopy Platinum Jubilee initiative in addition to commemorating the local men who were killed in the war.
Families of the servicemen remembered have been invited where it has been possible to find them. The trees will be dedicated by Katrina Wood, who chairs the parish council, and Earl Howe, from Penn House.
Restorers unearth past glories of former Penn school
CONSERVATIONISTS preparing the former Penn School for major restoration work have discovered the walls of an artificial lake which was filled in 100 years ago.
The ornamental lake, with a summer house on an island in the middle, was built by the Rose family when they lived in the Victorian mansion, then called Rayners.
When London County Council bought the estate in 1922 to convert Rayners into a school for deaf children they had the lake filled in.
Now, the new owners, funded by local billionaire businessman Peter Kelly, have appointed conservation architects and a design team with the intention of converting the building into a luxury hotel and restoring the listed building to its former glory.
The hotel will revert to the building’s original name and be called Rayners Penn.
The renovators have also been working on the mansion’s overgrown kitchen garden and discovered an engraving of a floral design which was created for the Rayners original owner, Sir Philip Rose (see picture below).
Sir Philip was a leading Victorian lawyer and personal friend of prime minister Benjamin Disraeli, who lived across the valley at Hughenden Manor. The design, say the architects, will be “at the heart of the revival.”
They added: “After years of neglect the fabric of the buildings is in a sorry state. Everything from brickwork to windows, walls and floors require careful renovation.
“The main buildings are listed so we are working with conservation architects and specialist craftspeople to bring Rayners sensitively back to life.”
Local news in brief
Mobiles banned – Sir William Ramsay School is banning the use of mobile phones within the school except when they are needed in exceptional circumstances (an app for measuring sugar levels in diabetic students for instance). Parents who want their children to carry a mobile are being told that students will have to leave them outside the classroom in special bags.
Fizzled out – For the first time for years there is no official public firework display and bonfire in the village this year. The Penn and Tylers Green Sports and Social Club, who usually hold the event, decided to hold a Halloween party instead to raise club funds.
Mobility hub – In a consultation document on travel plans in the Wycombe area over the next 25 years, the council envisages a ‘mobility hub’ in the Ashley Drive area of Tylers Green with availability to hire e-bikes and e-scooters, catch a bus, park bicycles and provide a space to park and charge electric cars which are part of a car-sharing-to-work scheme.
Business award – The Tylers Green based recruitment company Zenopa, in Church Road, won the Apprenticeship and Young Person Employer of the Year award at the Buckinghamshire Business Awards.
Litter-pickers wanted – Chepping Wycombe Parish Council, which covers Tylers Green, is to ask for more volunteers to join its litter-picking scheme.The council donates funds to a litter-picker’s desired charity.
Money for Nothing – Sally Finch, of Church Road, Tylers Green went to dump some old speakers at Beaconsfield tip – and ended up being featured on a national TV show. Sally’s speakers were taken by members of the BBC show Money for Nothing and transformed by specialist recyclers. The show was broadcast on Wednesday 2 November and can be picked up on iPlayer.
One-way plan – The parish council is asking residents living by the back common in Tylers Green whether they would support or oppose a suggestion to make Rays Lane, around the side of the common, one way for vehicles. If agreed there would be no entry from village hall end of the track.
Rewilding the common
Regional news in brief
Hospital improvements – A new skin centre opened at Amersham Hospital on 13 October, acting as a base for dermatology conditions in the area. At a later stage plastic surgery teams will be included in the centre.
Trees threatened – The BBC TV show Autumnwatch reported that the population of edible dormice – an invasive and damaging species – had grown several hundred percent in the Chilterns in recent years and the mammals are now moving into west London.
The programme also revealed new research to show that beech trees are suffering more than other types of trees in the warmer weather of recent summers. Local woodland owners, like Penn Estate, have been replacing beech with other species of trees.
Museum row – Talks to resolve a spat between the Chilterns Open Air Museum and Comer Homes, who own the land the museum occupies, are continuing in secret after the Government, the Arts Council, Bucks Council and Penn’s MP Sarah Green became involved. The museum had to cancel its big Halloween event and put a hold on its main revenue source as a filming venue after Comer Homes blocked off the area it uses for parking, saying the activities contravened its lease.
Lib-Den gains – Two by-elections held on the day prime minister Liz Truss resigned (20 October) saw the Liberal Democrats beat Conservative candidates in the Tory-held Beaconsfield Central and Beaconsfield West wards of Beaconsfield Town Council.
MPs stay…well almost – Most of our local Conservatives MPs and politicians retained their jobs in prime minister Rishi Sunak’s reshuffle: Steve Baker (Wycombe, including Tylers Green) is a minister in the Northern Ireland Office; Joy Morrissey (Beaconsfield) an assistant Government whip; and Earl Howe, of Penn House, the deputy leader in the House of Lords.
Aylesbury MP Rob Butler wasn’t so lucky. He began his role as a junior minister in the Ministry of Justice on 20 September and returned to the back benches on 27 October.
Blooming wonderful – Amersham won this year’s Britain in Bloom competition in addition to a Royal Horticultural Society Sustainability Award after it increased the space in the town growing wildflowers by 30 per cent.
Crime increases – The hot, dry summer saw an increase in reported crime in this area compared with the spring. In the Chepping Wye and Chalfont districts of Thames Valley Police, which includes Penn and Tylers Green, there were 670 crimes reported in June, July and August compared to 621 in the previous three months.
Penn and Tylers Green in the second Elizabethan age
Continuing our look at some of the changes in the village, some significant; others less so, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. This month, the 1970s and 80s…
Penn telephone exchange opened, giving everyone a Penn number. Old Tylers Green numbers deleted.
The first Village Show at Tylers Green Village Hall.
Barclays closes its branch at Bank House on the common.
Land sold for £260,000 at Ashwells for housing development.
Agreement to extend and improve Tylers Green First School, including indoor toilets.
Alde House bought for conversation into 13 units for elderly people.
Houses at bottom end of Kings Ride built.
Retirement of Arthur Rees, first head of the Tylers Green Middle School and a former First School teacher.
First extension (Penn Room) to Tylers Green Village Hall.
New Road gets its first footpath.
New Road loses its police house.
The village’s district nurse, Nurse Cobb, retired.
Work begins on Wheeler Avenue housing development.
Manor Farm Middle School opens.
Granite kerbing installed along edge of common in School Road to prevent parking on the common.
Council proposal to earmark Gomm Valley for future housing meets strong opposition.
Children’s writer Alison Uttley dies and is buried in Penn Churchyard.
New Penn and Tylers Green scout and guide hut opened in Ashley Drive.
Plans to provide a new cemetery in Cock Lane.
Sir William Ramsay School opens.
Hazlemere Library opens, relieving the need for Tylers Green Parish Rooms to open a couple of days a week as a temporary library.
Hazlemere Community Centre in Rose Avenue opens.
Doctors Dunwell, Gow and Horn move to their Elm Road surgery in Penn.
Tylers Green First School celebrates its centenary.
First Carols on the Common, organised by Olive Hampton.
Village celebrates the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.
Woodbridge’s barn (now the office of fmifa finance company) in Elm Road collapses and roof destroyed.
Tylers Green Middle School swimming pool first in the county to be heated by solar panels.
Woodbridge’s Barn restored and reopened as Penn Barn, an antiques centre.
Two 85ft high Wellingtonia trees in New Road felled after being struck by lightning.
Minibus service to Beaconsfield, organised by Tylers Green Community Transport Association, closes through lack of support.
Hearn Close and Hillside built in place of woodland.
Penn Annodising moves to new premises on St John’s Industrial Estate.
Service at Holy Trinity to mark 300th anniversary of founding of Pennsylvania.
Penn and Tylers Green Football Club’s new clubhouse opened.
Burrows Close built on site of an old nursery.
King’s the Butchers closes.
Plans to widen Hammersley Lane.
Elm Road gets its first made-up footpath
Perfects Yard (opposite Rayners) rebuilt and modernised.
The first Penn and Tylers Green half marathon and fun run.
Queen’s Head changes its name to Roast Inn causing widespread anger.
Busby’s Nursery closes to be redeveloped as Nursery Close.
Village Care launched.
Penn Patients Participation Group launched.
Residents Campaign Action Group wins a battle to stop housing development on part of Tylers Green Middle School playing fields.
Various village events raise £30,000 for the Great Ormond Street Hospital’s Wishing Well Appeal.
Bishop of Oxford dedicates engraved glass doors at Holy Trinity, Penn.
Bishop of Liverpool, David Sheppard, preaches at Tylers Green Methodist Church.
Despite protests, Tylers Green loses its red telephone boxes.
Great storm in October destroys hundreds of beech in Kings Wood and leaves Kingswood Avenue without electricity for five days.
Duchess of York (Sarah Ferguson) visits company in St John’s Industrial Estate: children from Tylers Green First and Middle Schools line the route.
School Road Post Office and sorting office; Streeters the butchers, Barnes Corner grocers, and Hazlemere Road nursery all close.
First computers appear in village schools.
Penn and Tylers Green FC beat Dennis Waterman Showbiz X!, 11-2 in charity game.
New post office opens in chemist shop in Church Road, Tylers Green.
Why are housing developers spending thousands fighting a battle they seemingly have no chance of winning?
FOR 70 odd years the Green Belt has, by and large, acted as a barrier to prevent towns and villages merging into one urban sprawl, particularly in this area.
So it was no surprise earlier this year when Buckinghamshire councillors turned down a planning application by developers Portman Estates to build up to 500 houses on Green Belt land on the edge of Beaconsfield.
What was a surprise was that Portman Estates then decided it was worth spending thousands on legal and planning fees appealing that decision at a Government planning inquiry – an inquiry that got underway in October.
On the face of it the developers stand no chance of winning.
Fresh Government guidance issued last month insists “existing Green Belt protections will remain”, and hints that “levelling up” measures currently chugging their way through Parliamentary debate could strengthen that protection even more.
In his first Prime Minister’s Questions, Rishi Sunak told an MP: “We must protect our Green Belt.” In her last Prime Minister’s Questions, Liz Truss told another MP: “We want decisions about homes and infrastructure to be driven by local people, not by Whitehall.”
And there’s no question many local people are opposed to Portman Estates’ plan. Residents have raised tens of thousands of pounds to pay for a barrister to represent their views at the planning inquiry.
A private inquiry by the Conservatives into why they lost the relatively safe seat of Chesham and Amersham, which includes Penn, at last year’s by-election has concluded.
It apparently says that although the unpopular high speed railway HS2 played a part, the main reason for the surprise Tory defeat was that local Tory voters were appalled at Government housing targets being imposed on councils.
Is change in the air?
The targets forced the councils to approve housing on green field sites – although not Green Belt – without, people felt, increasing capacity in education, health and other services to cope with the increased populations.
So what do Portman Estates know that the rest of us don’t?
Why, waiting in the wings, is the Epilepsy Society in Chalfont St Peter preparing plans to build a 1,000 home estate on Green Belt land it owns?
Perhaps the new “where are we now” guidance published by the House of Commons Library last month provides a clue.
It reports that a select committee of MPs looking into the future of the planning system called for a review to “examine the purpose of the Green Belt”… and “noted that commentators were divided on whether Green Belt land should never be built on or constituted an anti-growth mechanism.”
Testing the water
The select committee MPs – comprising six Conservatives and five Labour – were themselves clearly divided on the issue.
At the last election Labour said it would protect the Green Belt and prioritise building on brownfield (previously developed) sites. The party’s pronouncements this year have concentrated on how they will kick-start house building in Britain without any mention of Green Belt.
“We’ll reform the planning system so speculators can’t stop communities getting shovels in the ground,” Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told September’s Labour Party conference.
He was referring to situations – rather like the Gomm Valley in Tylers Green – where developers buy up land and sit on it for years knowing it’s a fair bet that sooner or later the pressure to build new homes will enable them to cash in.
Perhaps the developers think a similar tactic with Green Belt land will work now. Can they detect a Green Belt wobble? Do they think the politicians will blink first?
Back in Beaconsfield Portman Estates clearly believe it is worth testing the water. They may not win this particular battle: but they may yet win the war.
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