Agenda and minutes
Venue: Virtual meeting via MS Teams. Join this meeting by clicking on the link below.
Contact: Liz Hornby
Chairman's Welcome, online etiquette and brief introduction to the Community Board
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and explained that the focus of the meeting was town and village regeneration. The Board had a productive start in 2020 supporting Chesham and villages within the area with additional support during the Coronavirus lockdowns.
Regular reporting took place on HS2 and its effects on the Chiltern’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). A villages forum was developed to listen to residents’ priorities and acted on them. Kept in touch with Town Team re: opening town centre Chesham.
The Chairman was delighted to attend the induction and installation of the Reverend Chris Hayward as rector of the benefice of Hawridge with Cholesbury and St Leonard’s. It was interesting to note that Chris and his wife were married at the Lee and feel like locals and Chris is keen to be involved with community affairs and the Chairman had arranged to meet with him again, in August for further discussion.
It was noted that Heather Dean had stepped in for Philippa Batting of Bucks Business First.
Apologies for Absence
Apologies were received from:
Anne Birkett (Parish Cllr, Latimer & Ley Hill)
Ruth Fowler (Parish Cllr, The Lee)
To agree the Minutes from the meeting held on 11 March 2021.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 11 March 2021 were agreed as a true record.
Declarations of Interest
To receive any disclosure of disclosable pecuniary interests by Members relating to items on the agenda. If any Member is uncertain as to whether an interest should be disclosable, he or she is asked, if possible, to contact the Monitoring Officer prior to the meeting. Members are reminded that if they are declaring an interest, they should state the nature of that interest and whether or not they are withdrawing from the meeting.
There were none.
· Look back at 2020/2021.
· Looking forward 21/22 – Key areas of Focus. Views on local priorities within these and ways of working to deliver projects to support these areas.
· Funding overview and process update.
Caroline Green, co-ordinator for the Community Board reported that last year had been a successful one due to the support of local charities and groups and that she looked forward to working with them during the coming year.
Caroline Green shared some slides and reported that 4 Community Boards had been held in the previous year and that 4 local priorities/working groups had been established which had led to 14 projects being funded. Going forward for the coming year, it was noted that there would be 4 Community Board meetings, 3 of which would be formal themed meetings and one which would be a community forum. The particular area of focus for the year ahead would be directed annually, by the Cabinet Member. Actions groups would be created to facilitate and deliver projects that met the priorities within those areas of focus.
The Board would address the areas of focus within the action groups who would meet regularly between the Community Board formal meetings. This would be a place to establish local priorities through interacting with local members of the community and local groups to ensure that the local needs and priorities were met through various projects. People were encouraged to get involved in the action groups to help in developing and highlighting local projects and asked to contact either Caroline Green, or the Chairman or Vice Chairman (Cllr Patricia Birchley or Cllr Jane McBean).
All feedback in relation to projects would be taken into consideration but where there was not a consensus, Community Board members would be asked to vote on funding recommendations. Contact details were:
Caroline Green: email@example.com
Cllr Patricia Birchley: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Jane MacBean: email@example.com
Caroline Green reported that the Community Board had a budget of £284,588 which included some unallocated funds from the previous year. Given the pandemic, an exception was made and funds were carried over from last year. It was noted that this would not normally happen and any unallocated funding would not, from this current year, be carried over.
It was noted that a minimum of 15% of the budget would be allocated to supporting local environmental projects and another 15% would be allocated to economic recovery. A single funding process was now in place with one funding pot although the criteria was the same for all applications and was called the Community Board Fund. A monthly email update would be sent to all members of the Board in future outlining applications received and seeking indicative views and support. Board members were encouraged to respond to these monthly emails.
The Board recently granted £1,140 to support local artists to tell a story during Buckinghamshire Cultures Open Weekend which would take place shortly. Two applications had been received and Caroline Green stated that she was working with those groups to gather further information and ensure they met the criteria before sharing the reports with the Board members.
The Board will hear from representatives about the plans and activity taking place around town centre and village regeneration and explore opportunities to support the community and economic recovery.
Topic 1: Town Centre regeneration and planning.
Cllr Gareth Williams will present an update to the Community Board on Town Centre regeneration and planning.
Topic 2: Bucks Business First – Be Your Own Boss.
Philippa Batting, CEO of Bucks Business First, will present an overview of the BYOB training programme to the Community Board.
Topic 3: The Village Forum; Rural regeneration.
Cllr Chris Brown will give an overview of the Board’s Villages Forum, which represents the 6 rural areas of the Community Board.
Topic 4: Chesham Masterplan.
Tony Molesworth will present a brief update to the Community Board on the current status of the Chesham Masterplan.
Topic 1: Town Centre Regeneration & Planning
Cllr Gareth Williams explained that he was Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration at Buckinghamshire Council and was also Deputy Leader of the Council. Cllr Williams explained that he was also a Town Councillor for the Waterside Ward in Chesham and that he was a warden of the Emmanuel Church on Broad Street as well we being a debt coach for a local charity called Christians Against Poverty.
Cllr Williams reported that since November 2020 the Council had distributed the government money it had received, which amounted to £21 million, into the local economy across Buckinghamshire. This meant that 4,500 businesses had been supported which amounted to 16,000 employees received support. Buckinghamshire was the second authority in the country in terms of the Local Restrictions Grant Distribution Support in terms of the speed in which the distribution took place. The business package had been designed to be simple to ensure the speed of delivery.
In terms of opening up lots of activity had taken place, to be on the side of business ensuring that they could open up and access to public spaces was available, given Covid measures. Whether it was alfresco dining or simply creating a vibrancy where possible. Signs had been put up ‘Welcome Back’ campaign and some processes had been simplified to assist with the opening up.
Cllr Williams reported that there had been an increase in unemployment and focus would continue to address this. Work had taken place with the DWP to retrain people for jobs in the aeronautical industry as well as the film industry as they were a large part of Buckinghamshire.
Towns across the county were moving at different paces. In Aylesbury there was a Garden Town Scheme and in Wycombe there was a significant regional future High Street fund and it was noted that £11.7million of government money had been secured which the Council would top up as necessary. Chesham, as the third largest town in the county, had been added to the agenda for the town’s allocation.
The Town Council was dynamic and there was also a Chesham Masterplan team and priority was being given to projects and capital funding was being looked at too. An ambitious levelling up bid was submitted to government thanks to many people involved in the Board.
Examples of what some other Community Boards had undertaken was shown (slides were attached to these minutes for information).
Topic 2: Bucks Business First – Be Your Own Boss
Heather Dean commented that Bucks Business First (BBF) was running a project called Be Your Own Boss which was supporting people who wished to start self-employed work or perhaps who want to go further and start a business and employ people.
A programme had been developed - £3,000 for up to 12 participants and Community Boards had been approached to explore whether they wished to support people in their local area to start their own business. The programme included an Enterprise Day which looked ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
To respond to questions submitted to the Chairman prior to the meeting.
Community Briefings (Papers):
· School transport scheme.
· Public Health Covid-19.
· Neighbourhood Policing Issues Survey and Panel.
The Chairman reported that two public questions had been received by Mr Jim Convoy on behalf of the Chesham Society. The first question covered Community Board membership and the second covered the proposed boundary changes and the impact it would potentially have on the Community Board area.
In response to the first question in relation to Community Board membership, the Chairman stated that the Community Board welcomed members from the Community Board area and people were encouraged to get involved in our Action Groups to help inform decisions and projects. All members could be actively engaged this way.
In response to the second question regarding boundaries. The Chairman explained that the Boundary Commission for England (BCE) were currently consulting on their initial proposals for revised parliamentary boundaries in England as part of their 2023 review. These were the boundaries used for the election of MPs to Parliament. The Standards and General Purposes Committee considered a report on the BCE’s initial proposals and agreed to send a coordinated response. Any individual or organisation may comment on the initial proposals via the BCE’s online boundary tool. The deadline for responses was 2 August 2021.
The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE), a separate organisation to BCE, was undertaking an Electoral Review of Buckinghamshire Council. This would review the number of Councillors and the Ward boundaries for Buckinghamshire Council to take effect when the next scheduled local elections take place in May 2025. The first phase of that Review sought to determine what should be the appropriate size of the Council in terms of the number of Councillors. The LGBCE was expected to make a decision on the council size in due course. Once a determination of the Council size has been made Phase 2 of the work will commence. This would involve the drawing up of boundaries for the new wards. It was anticipated that this work would be carried out during the Autumn of 2021 and as part of this process there would be consultation with individuals and organisations.
In response to the question of parishes becoming a part of Princes Risborough, work was ongoing to respond to the proposals. This was a first round of constituency changes. Bucks Council would have a view on what was happening with constituencies. Any Community Board input would be part of the wider discussion.
Request for the Bucks views to be shared with parishes was requested. This would need to be taken away and checked first before any response was shared. It would be checked to see if the Community Board was able to make a representation.
Date of next meeting
21 October 2021.
21 October 2021 at 6.30pm