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Statement regarding news relating to a former Councillor

We were shocked by the news today that a former Councillor of Woughton has been found guilty and sentenced for a series of horrific acts that took place during the 1970s, 80’s and 90s. We were also disappointed that he attempted to use his position with this council to mitigate the impact of his crimes – these crimes took place many years before he was elected and, as a public servant, he should be held to a higher standard, not enabled to use this to excuse or minimise his appalling abuse. 

Woughton Community Council deplores the acts of this individual and is pleased that he has been held accountable for his behaviour. The impact on the victims of his crimes is significant and long lasting and our thoughts are with them – we wish them well for the future and offer our praise for the bravery they showed throughout the trial. Whilst nothing can take away the experiences they had, we hope that the outcome of this case can, at the very least, bring some level of justice.

Woughton Community Council expects the highest standards from officers and members. As a former ‘Council of the Year’, Woughton is seen as a beacon of best practice within the local council sector and today’s news undermines this. It also shows huge disrespect for the residents he was supposed to serve – whilst his crimes took place many years before his election to the council, his actions mean that everything he is associated with will forever be tainted.

Woughton Community Council will take steps to remove the councillor from our picture archives, website, and council offices boards and shields and will continue to work to ensure the safety of all through policy, behaviour and best practice.

Keeping your dogs cool

It’s been a funny year for weather, with storms, heatwaves, hail, wind – it really has been four seasons in one day at times!

For our four legged friends, the heat can be a real issue – overheating, burning paws or simply trying to find a way of cooling down when wearing a massive woollen coat can all be a problem. To try and make sure that dogs here is Woughton stay safe, we have gathered some information that may be helpful – we will also be working with animal charities to try and have regular updates and info sessions to help keep all the furry fluff balls happy, healthy and safe.

With thanks to all those who helped with this.

Keeping your dog cool – https://www.pdsa.org.uk/taking-care-of-your-pet/looking-after-your-pet/puppies-dogs/beat-the-heat-how-to-keep-your-dog-cool-in-summer

Keeping your pet cool – https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/seasonal/summer

Quick info (and most of this works for humans too!)

There are lots of fun things you can do to help your dog cool down on hot summer days.

Keep hydrated. It’s important that your dog drinks enough in hot weather so they don’t get dehydrated. Take a look at our tips on helping them keep up their fluids.
Stick to the shade. Does your dog love to spend time in the garden? Make sure they have a shady spot to lounge in. Trees and shrubs create natural shade but you can also hang a tarpaulin or put up a gazebo to give your dog somewhere cool to mooch about.
A paddling pool for paws. A shallow paddling pool or washing up bowl filled with cool water can give your dog a chance to cool off their paws. Keep a close eye on them around water to make sure they’re safe.
Create a cool room. Some dogs will seek out a tiled floor on hot days as they’re nice and cool to lie down on. You could also set up a fan for them or an area with some cool, damp towels for your dog to lie on.
Ice packs and cool pads. You may be able to buy cooling beds and mats from your local pet shop for your dog to lie on. If you can’t find them, an alternative is to wrap ice packs in a towel and pop that in your dog’s bed to cool it down.

Woughton has LOADS of dogs, cats and other pets – we hope this will help ensure they can all stay well.

Landscaping and grass cutting

 

 

We wanted to update you on the landscaping, as there have been some comments about how long the grass is, both here in Woughton and elsewhere in the city.

Woughton has seen a strange spring and early summer, with heavy rain, then lots of sun, temperatures that are up and down and all of this has led to extremely fast growth of both grass and other plants. Combined with balancing mowing with allowing nature in some places (the ‘No Mow May’ initiative) and some staffing issues with sickness, annual leave and so on, we find ourselves a little behind where we would usually be at this point.

To address this, we have put some additional resources in place, with more people, more mowing and hopefully this will mean we catch up in a couple of weeks. With the weather now being warm and dry, growth is slowing down, and this will help. The Landscape Team is out in all weathers – rain, wind, cold or warm (even really warm!) and will continue to work their way around the parish.

Thank you for your understanding and for the support offered – it is greatly appreciated.

WCC response to the ‘Virtual Meetings’ decision

This week, the High Court ruled against Lawyers in Local Government (LLG), Association of Democratic Services Officers (ADSO) and Hertfordshire County Council and their bid to enable local councils to continue meeting remotely. The judgement states that following the ending of the current ‘Flexibility’ regulations on May 6th, that local council meetings

must take place at a single, specified geographical location; attending a meeting at such a location means physically going to it; and being “present” at such a meeting involves physical presence at that location’.

Representatives from our umbrella organisations (NALC, SLCC) have expressed ‘disappointment’ in this ruling, suggesting that it is a ‘shame’ that remote meetings cannot continue. We are more than disappointed – we are angry that our members, our officers, and our residents are being denied the right to democracy due to the inaction of legislators and placed at risk during a period of continuing impact from the pandemic. We feel that those that represent us have failed to impart the significance of these decisions and look with frustration at the House of Commons, where distancing rules and safety measures remain in place. The inequity of this is not lost on those of us working at the frontline of local democracy.

We have seen exceptional levels of support from local people regarding the online meetings. Having historically seen very few members of the public attend in person, this week alone has seen over 500 views of two meetings. Over the course of the past year, our meetings (both full council and committees) have been watched over 7,000 times, averaging over 200 views for each meeting.

We cannot, in any good conscience, agree to the return of ‘in person’ meetings at this time. The idea of 19 councillors, plus 3 or 4 officers and members of the public gathering in our chambers is as unlawful as holding virtual meetings – we have a duty of care alongside legal obligations under health and safety and equalities legislation. Any risk assessment is going to show that this situation is unworkable and unsafe. If an equality assessment is also considered, where those with long term conditions, health needs or other risk factors are included, excluding those people from being able to take part would potentially mean a further breach of law.

We are eager to see members of the council be empowered to continue to play a full and active role in democracy. The only way for that to happen at this point is via online, virtual meetings. As the current NALC Star Council, where our council has been recognised as exceptional in the 10,000 town, parish and community councils across the country, we understand that our actions are likely to be highlighted and have not taken these decisions lightly. However, we feel that the failings of others to understand the impact of these decisions on local councils leave us no choice.

We shall continue to protect our councillors, our officers and our residents and shall act in their best interests, as we always do. Legal does not always mean right.

Cllr Tina El Shabrawy

It is with the deepest sadness that we have to announce the death of Cllr Tina El-Shabrawy. Cllr El-Shabrawy, Tina,  was a respected, valued and popular member of the Woughton family. She worked tirelessly for the Residents of Beanhill (her ward) she will be sorely missed by those residents and many of us across the parish.

See ya later Bub

UPDATE 3rd MARCH – Some local residents and Tina’s son have set up a donations page for funeral / a memorial. You can find that at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lorna-webb-1 (please note that this is NOT a Woughton Community Council initiative but local residents).

Traffic Management Consultations – March 2021

There are a couple of consultations that are currently being discussed at Milton Keynes Council about road changes in the parish – please see the information below and let MKC know your views.

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The above is a consultation about making some roads in Peartree Bridge into 20mph zones.

More information at www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/consultations/633 or you can email your views to TROteam@milton-keynes.gov.uk, putting TRO-300 in the subject box.

Consultation ends on 1st April (no joke!).

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And this one is about no waiting at any time (double yellows) on Maslin Road in Beanhill.

You can see more at https://www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/consultations/635

This consultation ends on 8th April 2021.

Change to public transport – March 2021

From April 1st, there are some changes to bus services across the city, which include a new ‘MK Connect’ service (it’s a bit like the old ‘Dial a Ride’, for those of you that go back that far).
We are still discussing what this means for residents in Woughton and will share any updates as they come through, but here is some information about the new service.
This will run alongside the regular buses (although some of the routes will change, including the No1 route, which serves part of the parish), so it is worth having a look to make sure you aren’t caught out.
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Estate Officers

Each of the MK Estates which includes council housing has been allocated an ‘Estate Officer’.

In Woughton, this means every estate except Leadenhall is covered (sorry, Leadenhall – you do have some Housing Associations covering parts of the estate, but no council housing anywhere).

Contacts, should you need them, are:

Beanhill                          Lisa                   07584 884655

Coffee Hall                    Anita                 07768 658375

Peartree Bridge           Anita                 07768 658375

Tinkers Bridge            Anita                 07768 658375

Eaglestone                   David                  07753 420671

Netherfield                  Helen                   01908 691691 (new number to follow)

Next Day home delivery

Image may contain: text that says "Doorstep Delivery for the Elderly and Vulnerable If you or someone you know could benefit from our next day Doorstep Delivery service, we're here to help. Call 0345 611 6111 and select option 5 to place an order. Morrisons Next Day delivery when ordered before 5.30pm. No minimum spend."
This is placed for information only and is not ‘endorsed’ by WCC.
Other supermarkets are available!

Morrisons Doorstep Delivery for the Elderly and Vulnerable.

If you don’t have internet access, can’t get a delivery slot and/or is isolating, you can speak with a real person to place an order by calling 0345 611 6111 and select 5.
Please share this with elderly or vulnerable family/friends.
More information ⬇
1: Free next-day delivery for the elderly (if in the right area, if not can take up to 2 days). They do ask if you wish to make a donation of £1.50 towards delivery costs. Those not classed as elderly will be asked to pay £4 for the delivery. Delivery time: 10am-6pm
2: Min. order of 5 items, however max. 3 of each item.
3. Carers can call on behalf of the person they care for, giving cared for’s name, address & phone number.
4. Chip & Pin/Contactless payment on delivery with the driver. (May possibly come in unbranded delivery vehicle but the driver will always be in uniform.)
6. This service is going to continue in the future even when we are through the pandemic.
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