So here we are the last day of July 2023. If your council is one of those who take an August summer recess you will be allowing yourself a small sigh of relief before attending to the backlog of housework items you’ve been avoiding. BMKALC don’t train in August so for us too, it’s a time to take stock, take some time away and replenish our energy levels before September’s packed timetable. So here’s a short summary of what’s hot in our sector this week.
You will be aware of the progress of the bill known as Martyn’s Law, not yet concluded. However it is apparent that the proposed law could hold serious consequences for Town and Parish Councils for any ticketed event they or those using their facilities, hold. NALC and the SLCC are lobbying for a review of this bill in order to take account of the impact on T’s and P’s and local groups. Helen has produced a helpful summary, attached of the views from both NALC and the SLCC. We’ll keep you informed of the progress.
London Luton Airport Expansion
BC and BMKALC are registered interested parties to be kept informed during the National infrastructure Project to extend passenger numbers and associated services at Luton airport. I have attached a presentation from BC which was given local councils who are directly affected by the expansion. We have an Executive Board member whose focus is all things Luton Airport and Rachael who monitors and submits our observations.
Community Automated External Defibrillators fund and expression of interest form – reminder
Organisations in England are being invited to bid for a share of £1 million of government funding to buy defibrillators for community spaces like town halls, local parks or post offices. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is inviting interested organisations to register expressions of interest for its Community Automated External Defibrillators (AED) Fund, aimed at increasing the number of AEDs in public places. An estimated 1,000 new defibrillators are to be provided by the fund. As part of the grant award, applicants will be asked to demonstrate that defibrillators will be placed in areas where they are most needed, such as places with high footfall, vulnerable people, rural areas, or due to the nature of activity at the site. Examples could include town halls, community centres, local shops, post offices and local parks, to ensure that defibrillators are evenly spread throughout communities. Organisations are encouraged to submit an expression of interest form.
BC Design – Supplementary Planning Document – North and Central Planning Areas on 30 June 2023.
This document was prepared to support the implementation of policy BE2 – Design of new development in the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan, 2021. The document provides guidance on the implementation of design and related policies in the north and central planning areas of Buckinghamshire. Any person with sufficient interest in the decision to adopt the Supplementary Planning Document may apply to the High Court for permission to apply for judicial review of that decision. Any such application must be made promptly and in any event not later than 3 months after the date on which the SPD was adopted. The Design Supplementary Planning Document’s Consultation and Adoption Statement is available to view at: https://buckinghamshire.gov.uk/public-adoption-statement The Design Supplementary Planning Document can be viewed upon request at BC public receptions.
Effective Playground Management
It’s August tomorrow and our playgrounds will be coming into their own. Both Gallaghers and BHIB offer information to support councils in ensuring that playgrounds are safe and happy places for our residents. An extract from Gallaghers below:
Both the play equipment and the surface of the playground should comply with the British and European Standard for playground equipment and surfacing, BS EN 1176. While these standards are not retrospective or, currently, a legal requirement, they represent good practice in the event of an accident claim. To help ensure the safety of users, and minimise risk of claims, appropriate guidance should be followed, from the design stages to ongoing maintenance:
- Ensure professional advice is given on appropriate design and layout, with a focus on the intended age group.
- The playground must be installed by a competent person in accordance with standard BS EN 1176, and a post-installation inspection carried out by an independent body.
- If equipment pre-dates BS EN 1176, it is likely to have met the previous standards, but should be inspected by an expert (such as RoSPA) to check whether it is safe or may require remedial work.
- Inspections should be carried out weekly, monthly, and annually—with the annual inspections carried out by an independent specialist.
- All inspections should be recorded in writing as part of the council’s or organisation’s records, including the weekly visual checks.
Faults should be repaired quickly, and any unsafe equipment should be section off and clearly marked as out of use until it can be fully repaired. We strongly recommend carrying out weekly visual checks of play areas and facilities, and these should be recorded in writing. This can prove to be vital in assisting insurers in the event of an injury claim.
On 3 August (1-2.30pm) BC will be holding an LGPS retirement planning webinar for your employees. The aim of the webinar is to help those close to retirement age consider their options for taking payment of their LGPS pension and to raise awareness of the process involved. The webinar is aimed at active members approaching minimum retirement age (age 50 +). There is no booking procedure for the webinar, the link is contained within the attached invitation flyer. They just need to click the link at the correct time and date to join the webinar.
Activities over the Summer
There’s a lot going on around our counties for families to engage with this summer. MKCC have a programme with the opportunity to win further prizes as you take part. If you have an information point for local residents, it might be useful to have this and similar information to hand for them. For example, If you choose to explore Milton Keynes on foot, by two wheels or public transport. Each journey you take over half a mile will enter you into a prize draw. There’ll also be points awarded to runners up which can later be redeemed for vouchers. More information and how to download the app is available here.
Prizes you can win are:
Week 1 – Family Activity Voucher for six at Gulliver’s World
Week 2 – Family Ticket for Willen Aqua Parc
Week 3 – Family Ticket for Bletchley Park
Week 4 – Family Ticket (2 Adults and up to 4 children) for Milton Keynes Museum
As you know we like to highlight the great things that happen in our communities not only the challenges so here’s a link to a good news story from our base in Aylesbury. These examples are why we do what we do, where we do it, with our neighbours and friends. https://www.aylesburytowncouncil.gov.uk/news/autistic-young-people-make-book-exchange-cabinet-from-recycled-wood/. Do let me know if you have a good news story you’d like to share.
I’m away for a few days but back in the hot seat on Wednesday, Helen is enjoying a break and Lorraine capably holding the fort. We look forward to speaking with you soon!