Page 32 - Phonebox Magazine December 2016
P. 32

Olney Ward Councillors’ Corner
Cllr Peter Geary
Cllr David Hosking
Turvey Planning Application
Cllr Keith McLean
Two of us are involved in the budget work of the Council, however we feel that the idea of “double taxing” people for the same services is wrong. When householders are already paying for these services in their Council Tax it is wrong that their parish councils should tax them for the service again. These changes cannot be forced on people. They would have to be done in agreement with parish councils and therefore you will have a voice, through your parish council and/or directly to us. The changes are not proposed for the coming Council Tax year but if approved by MKC councillors will come into force in the 2018/19 tax year. We will robustly challenge these plans, however in the coming months it is likely that we and your parish council’s will be seeking your views on a way forward.
Olney High Street Lights
Following survey work undertaken over the past months it has become clear that several of the street lights in Olney High Street are coming to the end of their useful life and will soon become dangerous if not repaired or replaced. This is primarily due to corrosion probably speeded up by dogs cocking their legs against the posts. MKC will therefore be replacing all the street lamps early in 2017. This will undoubtedly lead to some localised disturbance; we have met with of cers to discuss how the impact of the work can best be minimised. As the current street lamps are no longer available, the replacements will be similar and in keeping with the conservation area in which they sit.
Super-Fast Broadband
Most areas of the ward now have access to super-fast broad band (SFBB), but as a rural area it is understandable there are still several areas where SFBB is still unavailable. MKC has invested a signi cant sum into initiatives to work with BT and the Government to get matched funding so many of the villages in the Borough, not currently covered by the service, will be connected. The plans for the coming years’ rollout were revealed last year; we are working with MKC of cers to try to ensure that as many of the villages that we represent are SFBB enabled as soon as possible. We are therefore delighted that Ravenstone has recently been informed by MKC that it will bene t from SFBB in summer or autumn 2017; this is 12 months sooner than expected as reported to us nine months ago. We will continue to press MKC and BT to keep Olney Ward communities without SFBB as urgent requirements.
Happy Christmas
At the time of writing Christmas still seems a long way off, however this is the last column before Christmas and we would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. We will be dealing with our work as normal through the festive season and surgeries as usual will be on the  rst Friday of every month at the Olney Centre, between 19:30 and 20:30, so if we can help then please get in touch. In the meantime, please do contact us:
Peter Geary - 01234 714260 - David Hosking - 01234 241010 - Keith McLean - 07983 456081 -
On 2nd November Richborough Estates held an exhibition for a proposed development for 80 houses on land at Newton Lane, Turvey. Whilst Turvey lies in Bedfordshire, and is not often something that we would worry about, some residents of Newton Blossomville are concerned about the impact the increased traf c  ows will have on the roads in the area. The potential application is to be submitted as an outline application. If permission is granted, this would be for the principle of development and the access that it would use. Richborough Estates probably would then sell the site to a developer who would apply for detailed planning consent; this is when the detailed design of the houses would be determined. The pictures that were displayed at the exhibition were therefore indicative and were in no way a  nal proposal. We attended the exhibition and spoke with the agents for the development, expressing the concerns about traf c and made it clear that this needs to be addressed in any submitted planning application. It is expected that an application will be submitted in the New Year. If the safeguards for extra traf c traversing the route from Turvey to Emberton are not included, then we will lodge objections. We would encourage residents and parish councils to send their own consultation responses.
Landscaping services
Currently Milton Keynes Council (MKC) is responsible for numerous universal services that we all take for granted. These include cutting the grass, litter picking and looking after play areas. In certain areas in the ward, such as Olney, Weston Underwood and Ravenstone, the landscaping work is undertaken or commissioned by the parish council but is paid for by a grant from MKC. In the remaining areas, the work is done by the Council’s contractor, Serco, who also do the litter picking and maintain all the play areas. With the signi cant budget pressures that MKC is facing, radical ways of reducing expenditure is needed; the maximum increase in Council Tax that can be approved by the Council without a referendum is 4% increase. Conversely, parish councils are not capped and can raise their precept as much as they wish. As you may have seen, if you take note of your parish council’s correspondence or minutes, parish councils have been contacted by MKC regarding them taking on some services currently paid for through your Council Tax and raising their precept to pay for them. While the proposals are not yet  rm, landscaping, litter picking and play area inspection and maintenance are some of the services that could be transferred. The size of the precept increase that would be required to fund these services varies between parishes; this is still unknown but could be between 30% and over 100% - in this case size does matter! We have huge sympathy with MKC to propose a deliverable budget.
32 Phonebox Magazine | December 2016

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