I live at Crockmore Farm in Fawley with my wife, Joanne, our two daughters, a couple of dogs and a cat. I have now completed nearly 18 action packed months as a Buckinghamshire Unitary Councillor, first elected in May 2021. This is my first experience as a Councillor unlike my two colleagues, Dominic and Zahir, who served in the District Council and County Council respectively.
I am Chair of Fawley Parish Meeting and have served the Fawley Community for over eight years also as a trustee of our Village Trust that keeps village assets for our community.
I co-managed our ‘Fawley Fibre’ broadband project that brought gigabit fibre broadband to all the residents and premises in our Fawley village. I wanted to help our rural ‘not-spots’ get gigabit capable fibre broadband and I have helped Lane End and Frieth to set up Gigabit Community Schemes which are now both being implemented by F&W/ Hey Broadband, offering residents download speeds from 100mb up to 900mb. I helped Frieth secure a £30,000 grant towards the installation through the Council which made the scheme viable for F&W. I am currently working on several other projects to get fibre broadband into other Chiltern villages while liaising with BDUK and Bucks council as we are currently in procurement with the government’s ‘Project Gigabit’.
I am a campaigner for road safety and slowing traffic in our rural villages where we have many walkers, cyclists, horse-riders and vehicles sharing the narrow roads, many of which have derestricted speed limits.
Potholes and fly tipping are two areas where I have been pushing to see improvements locally and will continue to do so in the Chiltern Villages. In the winter especially, when potholes can be obscured when full of rainwater, they can be lethal for cyclists as well as damaging vehicles causing extra expense to owners in these difficult times.
I chair the ‘Transport and Highways’ action group on our South West Chilterns Community Board and we have been successful in solving many safety issues in our ward. Liaising with our Buckinghamshire Council local area technicians, we have been able to get the resurfacing of many shoddy road areas in our ward and while there is still a lot of work to do, we have been able to guide some priority areas.
I am personally very pleased to have successfully pressed for the heritage resurfacing of Hambleden Village square with golden chip road topping. This had been long overdue and the village is once again a ‘chocolate box’, bringing tourists, cyclists, walkers and serves as a very popular venue for filming.
Ukraine refugees have been hosted by many of our generous residents in our ward area. I have assisted groups such as Mother Sister Daughter with donated items and also support the Marlow Ukraine collective as a Councillor, liaising with our dedicated Ukraine officers at Buckinghamshire Council. It is a difficult time with rising fuel costs for residents to continue to host refugees and we are trying to find solutions to the pressing problem of housing.
I also sit on the West Planning Committee where we are tasked to adjudicate any planning applications ‘called in’ by Parish Councils and Buckinghamshire Councillors. Where there are local fears that there are ‘material’ reasons for further scrutiny of a planning application, these applications can be heard by this committee. With a full report, including the proposed decision from the Buckinghamshire Planning Department, we make site visits before deciding the application at West Planning Committee. Planning is a very emotive subject for neighbours and applicants and it is important that we maintain a fair balance for all parties. This can be especially poignant in AONB, conservation areas and green belt.
I have been involved with residents in many different areas to hold Thames Water’s feet to the fire with regard to water supply and leaks. Two villages in our ward totally lost water supply over the hot summer for long periods. After the hot summer, ground movement has resulted in many water leaks in our roads and verged and I have built relationships with key local Thames Water personnel to expedite the repair of identified leaks, trying to prioritise the major outflows.
Lastly, I am frequently contacted by residents who have reached a road block when trying to liaise with Buckinghamshire Council and I consider myself to be a bridge between resident and the Council. As a Unitary Council, it is large and appears bureaucratic. I have helped many residents cut through the bureaucracy by talking to the relevant council department directly on their behalf. I also help the Parish Councils in the same way. Examples include clearing a ‘Right of Way’ footpath, parking issues, speeding issues, local grant applications and helping two churches get broadband installed.
Every day is different….and then I have my day job. Working for our family business, Quickfold Business Solutions, based in Sands in High Wycombe and I am treasurer of Henley Choral Society. Given any free time, you may find me making up numbers in a game of Cricket, playing golf very badly, enjoying a dog walk, a game of tennis and always listening to music.