Aylesbury Vale District Council shoots itself in the foot

June 17, 2011 2:59 PM

The normally quiet market town of Winslow, Buckinghamshire, has become the centre of heated debate in recent months. Last year, Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) decided to reintroduce parking charges at the Greyhound Lane car park. Those people who work in the town but have to commute by car are facing additional costs of £12.50 per week. Many of those people are on low incomes and can't afford these additional charges, while local shopkeepers fear the charges could kill their businesses as they lose valued and trusted members of staff.

The charges could easily encourage people to shop elsewhere too, and will no doubt create additional parking problems in side streets. One local resident, Ruth Ash, decided to take action and started collecting signatures on a petition. She managed to get around half the residents to sign it and also enlisted support from the town's MP, John Bercow. Despite this obvious opposition, AVDC has pushed ahead with a consultation that will no doubt cost more than the council will receive in revenue from parking charges.

AVDC blames the town council for this problem, claiming that an agreement reached in 2005 for Winslow Town Council to contribute £2000 per year + RPI had expired, and the town council refused to negotiate. The Town Council has stated AVDC made unreasonable financial demands when trying to negotiate a new agreement, demanding the contribution increase from £2000 a year to £16,000

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Stomping off home in a sulk"][/caption]

Now events have taken a sinister turn. As a result of negative publicity in the local press on various issues, AVDC has banned local reporters from speaking directly to cabinet members and officers. Instead, residents will be drip-fed a diet of press releases coming from the council's communications department. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot! If AVDC thinks the previous coverage was negative, it ain't seen nothing yet!

I am not saying the council has anything to hide, but by taking this course of action, it is surely implying it has. AVDC has shown no regard to public opinion, and when the going got tough, retreated to its bunker like a spiteful child unwilling to share his football.

Councils should be listening to what their employers - us - want. They should stop treating us with disdain, and should certainly stop engaging in adolescent games like preventing the press from talking to cabinet members and officers of the council. Taxpayers in this part of Buckinghamshire certainly deserve much better.The normally quiet market town of Winslow, Buckinghamshire, has become the centre of heated debate in recent months. Last year, Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) decided to reintroduce parking charges at the Greyhound Lane car park. Those people who work in the town but have to commute by car are facing additional costs of £12.50 per week. Many of those people are on low incomes and can't afford these additional charges, while local shopkeepers fear the charges could kill their businesses as they lose valued and trusted members of staff.

The charges could easily encourage people to shop elsewhere too, and will no doubt create additional parking problems in side streets. One local resident, Ruth Ash, decided to take action and started collecting signatures on a petition. She managed to get around half the residents to sign it and also enlisted support from the town's MP, John Bercow. Despite this obvious opposition, AVDC has pushed ahead with a consultation that will no doubt cost more than the council will receive in revenue from parking charges.

AVDC blames the town council for this problem, claiming that an agreement reached in 2005 for Winslow Town Council to contribute £2000 per year + RPI had expired, and the town council refused to negotiate. The Town Council has stated AVDC made unreasonable financial demands when trying to negotiate a new agreement, demanding the contribution increase from £2000 a year to £16,000

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Stomping off home in a sulk"][/caption]

Now events have taken a sinister turn. As a result of negative publicity in the local press on various issues, AVDC has banned local reporters from speaking directly to cabinet members and officers. Instead, residents will be drip-fed a diet of press releases coming from the council's communications department. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot! If AVDC thinks the previous coverage was negative, it ain't seen nothing yet!

I am not saying the council has anything to hide, but by taking this course of action, it is surely implying it has. AVDC has shown no regard to public opinion, and when the going got tough, retreated to its bunker like a spiteful child unwilling to share his football.

Councils should be listening to what their employers - us - want. They should stop treating us with disdain, and should certainly stop engaging in adolescent games like preventing the press from talking to cabinet members and officers of the council. Taxpayers in this part of Buckinghamshire certainly deserve much better.

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