We hope that you, your families and friends are all keeping safe and well during this dreadful Covid-19 pandemic. We find ourselves in extraordinary times, but the Town Council is continuing to serve its residents. Here are some of the highlights:
Town Council – Under legislation, elections to the Town Council are postponed until May 2021. There is no requirement to hold a public annual general meeting in May, so we will not be doing so. Thus, all Councillor roles will continue as at present until May 2021.
The Council continues to operate with staff working remotely and if you need to contact them, please do so by telephone or email. All the normal services are still being provided and we have already held a number of meetings using Zoom. The next meetings are a Resources Committee and a Planning, Environment and Transportation Committee, both being held on 12 May. A full Council meeting will be held on 19 May. All these meetings are available for residents to view live, via Facebook. It is likely that this will be the way that we will conduct our meetings for the foreseeable future.
Unfortunately, we have had to close all children’s playgrounds, but the cemetery has re-opened subject to strict conditions. Our allotments are open, subject to social distancing, and a number of vacant plots are being let to new tenants.
Our civic events calendar has had to be changed. The Mayor’s golf day has been cancelled and will hopefully take place in spring 2021. Our civic service and Celebrate Marlow are also postponed until spring next year, so we are considering combining these two into a ‘thank you’ event to recognise the efforts of so many residents during this crisis. We have also cancelled the French market. At the present time, however, we are continuing to plan for Switch on and Shop and Carols on the Causeway, but they will be kept under regular review.
New Buckinghamshire Council - The new Buckinghamshire Council came into operation on 1 April after the old Shadow Authority, County Council and all District Councils ceased on 31 March. The Council’s new website is https://www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk. Services previously provided by Wycombe District Council can be found under the heading Wycombe Area.
As with the Town Council, elections to the new council have been postponed until May 2021, but legislation has allowed for the administration of the council to be established. All current County and District councillors are now councillors of the new council. Marlow is covered by the existing county divisions, namely Marlow Town (town wards – north and west, south and part of south east) and Flackwell Heath, Little Marlow and Marlow South East (town ward – part of south east). Thus, our previous District Councillors, Suzanne Brown, Alex Collingwood, Neil Marshall, Richard Scott and Roger Wilson will all represent our town residents on Buckinghamshire Council.
A new cabinet under the leadership of Martin Tett was agreed at a cabinet meeting of Buckinghamshire Council on 30 April. There will be two deputy leaders and a larger than normal number of portfolio holders to address the transition to the new council and issues arising from Covid-19. Richard Scott remains as Chairman of the Council. Further details of roles in the new council can be found on its website.
All our local members become members of the South West Chilterns community board, which is designed to respond to local needs by working in partnership with residents, town and parish councils, community groups, police and healthcare organisations. Our community board will enable councillors to make recommendations to Buckinghamshire Council on local issues, empower members and communities to influence service design and delivery and bring communities together with members and partners to find local solutions. Each community board will have a delegated budget with which to address agreed local priorities and issues. It should be noted that our community board covers a large geographical area from Hambleden to Wooburn Green and Marlow to Ibstone.
Meals from Marlow – This voluntary service continues to do a great job, delivering up to 1,250 a meals a day to NHS staff in local hospitals, including, Wycombe, Wexham Park, Frimley Park, St. Marks, Stoke Mandeville and others, as well as meals to the vulnerable in Marlow and surrounding areas. There has been fantastic support from the community with the number of volunteers growing by the day. Town Council officers are delivering to nominated residents and All Saint’s Church is running a delivery programme of volunteers for other recipients. The Town Council has been involved with this initiative since inception and Richard Scott (mayor), Jocelyn Towns (leader) and Hilary Martin (town clerk) are trustees in the organisation set up to run it. A truly brilliant community effort and a big thanks to Tom Kerridge and Chris Hughes of Brand Events for their inspiration; these meals are so well received. Anyone who would like to contribute can go to https://www.pubintheparkuk.com/marlow/meals-from-marlow
Bunting and hanging baskets – These will soon be decorating our town again and hopefully cheering up our residents. The bunting should be in place in time for VE Day and the baskets soon after; these will be a ‘cheerful’ addition to the town in these unprecedented times.
Marlow bridge – We continue to work with the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, seeking planning permission for lighting of the bridge. Buckinghamshire Council is also refurbishing the bridge structure and work will begin in the middle of May, with further work planned for the autumn. More news will be released as we have it.
A water refill station – has been installed on The Causeway and we are waiting for Thames Water to connect it. They have given us a date of the 29th July, although it cannot come into public use until we are out of this pandemic.
Environment – The Sustainable Marlow team are continuing to meet on a regular basis. A press release was issued last week to announce the TC’s Climate Change and Air Quality statements. These are both available on our website. We will soon be sharing actions that we are working on from these two initiatives. The #sustainablemarlow team is looking at how to build on the cycling and walking momentum experienced recently and hopes the community will engage to continue this initiative after lockdown.
Christmas lights infrastructure – In March, the Town Council approved a new and extended Christmas Lights display, together with new electrical infrastructure. The infrastructure work is now underway and we look forward to seeing the new display fully illuminated for the busy Christmas period.
Tree Planting – We have had six new trees planted in Lock Road and a further five trees have been promised thanks to Richard Scott’s Wycombe Council ward budget. Further trees are planned by Re-Leaf Marlow for later in the year.
In the meantime we wish you and your families well for the coming months and hope that the present lockdown and other restrictions will slowly be lifted to allow an early return to what may be a new normality.
Best wishes and stay safe
Town Mayor, Cllr Richard Scott
Council Leader, Cllr Jocelyn Towns