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June 2011
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Chiltern Ridges News
By Tricia Birchley

The election result on 6th May ensures another four years of stable local government and I congratulate Nick Rose on being re-elected Leader of Chiltern District Council.

Out and about on the campaign trail we met many of you and talked about issues ranging from roads to HS2. The outcome in Great Missenden shows the frustration felt locally about the train and I can say that Nick and I are vehemently against it and will continue to do everything within our power to stop it.

Council budgets
Paying for local council services will be up to £115 cheaper for residents in Buckinghamshire this year compared with other authorities. Now that council budgets are agreed comparisons between all 27 English County Councils reveal our average Band D charge remains below the national average. Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire charge £84 and £41 more respectively than Bucks. County Council Leader, David Shakespeare, has pledged that the council will not charge a penny more in Council Tax than it needs to!

Many difficult decisions have had to be made to keep costs down such as the move to community libraries, changes to day services and the youth service. I intend to be a champion for disabled and elderly people and to continue to take a personal interest in community libraries to ensure that they all remain vibrant and at the heart of their communities.

Health and social care
Thanks to the day services consultation ‘Having a Good Day’ we have listened to the concerns of people who responded and have retained Seeleys House in Beaconsfield which caters for some of our most disabled people. New state of the art facilities for people needing a day centre will start to open in 2013.

The Health and Social Care Bill 2011 means that the County Council will have a far bigger role in managing our health needs in Buckinghamshire. I shall be chairing the first meeting, in shadow, of the Health and Wellbeing Board which will be the key partnership for promoting health and wellbeing and focus on securing the best possible health outcomes locally.

The Board will develop the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) to understand the needs of our population and determine priorities for the new strategy which spans the NHS, social care, public health and wider health determinants. The strategy will be outcome-focussed based on the needs assessment.

Electoral review
Not quite such good news is the outcome of the Boundary Commission electoral review. The plan is to reduce the number of county councillors from 57 to 49. This means the loss of two seats in Chiltern, the idea being that the number of electors is increased in each division. In my case the number of voters remains much the same but the boundary changes in 2013 mean that, if selected, I would no longer represent Cholesbury cum St Leonards nor Little Missenden and Little Kingshill, instead parts of Chesham would be included. Between 19th July and 9th October there will be an opportunity to respond on how the draft recommendations reflect community identity and other criteria and I am very much hoping to reverse the decision.

Please let me know if I can raise any of your concerns with officers at County Hall.

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