Our top five success stories of 2018
It's been a busy year here at Wycombe District Council, so as it's #OurDay today, we thought we'd share a handful of success stories from throughout 2018...
1. A flourishing Handy Cross Hub (HxH)
To say the development of the purpose-built Handy Cross Hub has been a hit with the community would be a huge understatement. This project – which now includes a hotel, day nursery and children's gym – has proven a big success for High Wycombe, providing a purpose-built leisure centre, a popular Waitrose supermarket, park and ride facilities, all in one convenient location. “HxH has proven a huge success for residents and businesses alike, meeting the needs of a wide range of users," said Cllr Katrina Wood, Leader of Wycombe District Council. "I am pleased to see this success continue with the addition of the Hungry Caterpillar Day Nursery and The Little Gym. Together they will provide quality childcare and the valuable opportunity for children to keep fit while developing their confidence.”
Speaking about the introduction of The Little Gym to the HxH development, founder and co-owner Matina Macintyre said: “We know that children learn best when they are having fun, and we can’t wait to hear Handy Cross full of children’s happy laughter as they giggle and grow in The Little Gym."
Compared to the last year of the old sports centre, the HxH leisure centre saw attendance figures rise by 46%, while the addition of the Hungry Caterpillar Day Nursery and The Little Gym are expected to boost attendance even further.
2. A safer place to live and visit
Whether you're taking a taxi home after a night out, trying out a new restaurant for the first time, or taking a walk in your favourite park or green space, our work behind the scenes is what makes Wycombe a safe place to live, visit and enjoy.
Back in April this year we teamed up with Thames Valley Police, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and Aylesbury Vale District Council to inspect licensed taxis for defects, MOT and insurance and remove unsafe vehicles from the roads of High Wycombe. Ensuring a safer experience for those taking taxis in the area, the operation saw immediate prohibitions and warnings issued for problems ranging from detached anti-roll bars and faulty seatbelts to the failure to display an ID badge. We're also responsible for carrying out restaurant inspections to ensure that their food hygience ratings are up to standard, so you can eat out without the worry. And recently our private sector housing team was out cracking down on rogue landlords and unsafe and unlicensed HMO properties (houses in multiple occupation).
These services may go under the radar, but they're vital to keeping you safe.
3. The new Midsomer trail in Marlow
Now for something a little different. Back in July we teamed up with Visit Buckinghamshire to launch a new local discovery trail in Marlow based on locations used in the popular TV detective series Midsomer Murders. Funded by WDC, the 17-mile trail starts in Marlow and winds its way through scenic countryside and takes you to some beautiful locations including Frieth, Lane End, Fingest and Hambleden – and the positive response from the local community and tousists alike has been brilliant.
“Tourism initiatives like this not only add to the ‘feel good’ factor of a place, but also play an important part in supporting local businesses by bringing new customers," explained Cllr Graham Peart, Cabinet Member for Community. So, if you do love sampling excellent food and drink from local independent businesses, you'll find loads along the route, including Laceys Farm (Lane End) and the Chiltern Valley Winery (Hambleden).
You can check out the trail here. Printed copies of the trail are available from the information centres based in local libraries.
4. A new space for creative business at DesBox
Looking ahead into 2019 for a moment, this year has seen the exciting plans for the new DesBox development take shape. This funky three-storey development will provide a distinctive new design-based working community for artists, craftsmen and small businesses in Wycombe District - and construction is now underway! The site at Baker Street will be comprised of 57 shipping container units, providing a creative space for small businesses and artists, and is part of our wider Desborough Area Renewal initiative.
Back in September, Steve Broadbent, the Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Regeneration, said: "The Aldi development and DesBox are both part of our bigger vision for the transformation of the whole Desborough Area. This will see new homes which are currently being built behind the Eden Centre at Centre Square, new apartments in the former furniture warehouses on Leigh Street, and the creation of employment space at DesBox. I can’t wait to see it all coming to fruition over the coming months.”
5. Award-winning parks
We love the parks of Wycombe district just as much as you do, so it was with great pride that we once again accepted Green Flag Awards for some of our best-loved green spaces. Back in July, The Rye in High Wycombe and Higginson Park in Marlow both retained their Green Flag status, while Hughendon Park was promised a 'mystery shop' later in the year. The international award - now in its third decade - is intended to show the public that a space offers high environmental standards, has great facilities and is well maintained.
“We are absolutely delighted to receive these Green Flag Awards once again," said Cllr Graham Peart, Cabinet Member for Community. “We know how much quality green spaces matter to residents and visitors, and these awards celebrate the dedication that goes into maintaining our parks to such a high standard."
Do you enjoy using our parks? Or perhaps you're still excited over WWFC's promotion? Follow us on Twitter and share this post with the hashtag #OurDay!