AGM 2023 – Chair’s Report

Great Missenden and Prestwood Revitalisation Group held its Annual General Meeting at Holy Trinity Church Hall on Saturday 18th November. Thank you to all who attended, and participated in the discussion afterwards, ‘How might Prestwood now turn good ideas and intentions into community action?’

Chair’s Report

Thank you all for coming along today – it’s terrific to see you here.

GMPRG’s last get-together was two years ago, held via Zoom, because the COVID pandemic limited our capacity to gather. But, since we emerged from the pandemic, we’ve been able to engage with the community again and projects that had been suspended, were reignited.

Carole Eaden – thank you

During this time, our Chair, Carole Eaden, stepped down from her position after five years, to pursue more time with her family and work. I would like to thank her for her endless devotion to the GMPRG and its efforts to try to improve our surroundings and facilities. Carole has always held the big picture vision for this community and contributed much towards efforts to help try and make it a reality. The GMPRG continues to be fed by the legacy of her leadership, particularly through the group’s work on the Community Vision for HP16 and the Hamilton Baillie place-making scheme for Prestwood. Carole is unable to be with us today, but we would like to thank her with a small token of our appreciation which we will pass on to her.

A new Direction for GMPRG

Since Carole stepped down and I assumed the role of Chair, we have navigated some significant changes. One of the largest catalysts was Bucks Council’s vote, following the demise of the Chiltern District Council, to stop funding the seven Revitalisation Groups (the GMPRG among them). It was a significant loss to each of the groups and several decided to stop operating.

During this time, the GMPRG has taken the opportunity to consider its role in the community. We’ve reflected on the past, and how we might best continue to offer real, meaningful value to the community in the future.

Through our reflection we’ve decided to:

  • Narrow our focus to the village of Prestwood.
  • Prioritize the ongoing development of relationships between the GMPRG and the other organizations and the residents of Prestwood.
  • Work with the community to encourage a broader volunteering culture.

Recent and current Projects

Taking into account our limited volunteer base, we’ve focused on getting some small projects in the community moving:

We completed the installation of the Prestwood Car Park Bench and notice board which was a collaboration between the GMPRG, the Prestwood Coop and ALIGN with support from the Great Missenden Parish Council and Buckinghamshire Council’s Missendens Community Board.

We completed the Bee and Bug Friendly School Garden Competition with the volunteering help of Karen van Oostrum, in which we engaged 10 schools in the area and over 1300 students in a competition to design a bee and bug friendly garden for their respective schools, announcing the prize winners in April, and continue to track their progress as their gardens evolve.

We are managing other projects which include the installation of three bike racks outside the Prestwood Village Hall and a new bench at Moat and Chequers Lane corner. These projects, whilst small, are terrific at engaging multiple stakeholders at various levels. They represent ongoing collaborations between the GMPRG, Prestwood residents, groups and organizations throughout Prestwood and Great Missenden as well as Bucks Council.

Where we are not leading on projects, we continue to explore opportunities to contribute to already thriving initiatives benefiting our community. Last year we supported the installation of nine bike racks in Great Missenden and recently, we’re excited to be helping fund other emerging projects in the Community.

As an organisation, the GMPRG and its members have also been advocating to protect and maintain our community; lobbying for a more cohesive Community Speedwatch network, the removal of graffiti on our walls and bus stops, the maintenance of our verge wildflowers between May and September, safer routes for bikes and pedestrians throughout our community, with particular focus on the route between Lodge Lane and Great Kingshill; and we continue to support all efforts to develop a cohesive plan for Prestwood and its future.

Responding to Community, building closer working Relationships

Throughout the years, we have grown our experience in surveying the Community, and our project objectives have been led by the feedback we have received. Although excited to continue engaging with our community, we recognise that our efforts to accomplish great things could be magnified significantly through collaboration and joined-up thinking. This is why we are exploring new ways of working with other Prestwood organisations, to use our experience to help support a cohesive vision and to facilitate the process of turning good intentions into sustainable and valued results.

A more flexible volunteering Model

As we continue to take on more projects in the community, we are always looking for those who might want to help. The challenge for many is time commitment. For this reason, we are altering our volunteer model to include opportunities for residents to volunteer for the projects they feel most connected to. Once the project is over, so is their commitment. We hope that by adopting this model we might offer residents the opportunity to be part of the change in Prestwood without feeling over-committed.

The Future…

Today, having dealt with the past in the AGM, we would like you to consider the future. ‘How might Prestwood now turn good ideas and intentions into community action?’ Excellent work has been done in the past months and years to highlight the changes residents would like to see. These include Progress for Prestwood’s recent initiative, the 2018 Community Vision update and the ongoing work of the Prestwood Village Association. Now we need to challenge the barriers that prevent those ideas from becoming a reality and see the community thrive together, by working together.

I would like to thank all of the members and volunteers of the GMPRG for their continued and valued commitment and look forward to another year of building relationships and contributing to this community’s capacity to thrive.

Eco Literacy Board – Refreshed and Revisited

'how long 'til it's gone'... eco literacy board placed in prestwood by great missenden and prestwood revitalisation group

Our rate of consumption is a problem. We are using the Planet’s natural resources 1.7 times faster than she can regenerate them. It is also a problem because of the mess we leave behind. Much of what we no longer need, finds its way into the Natural World. Here it remains, poisoning the land and impacting the health of life now, and well into the future.

This installation is designed to remind us of the cost of littering, that we have roles as stewards of this land and our responsibility to ensure that it continues to thrive for generations to come. We must reuse, recycle and repurpose all we do not need.

It is a funded collaboration between the GMPRG and the Missendens Community Board, and is guided by the Prestwood Village Association, the Great Missenden Parish Council and the Prestwood Scouts. 

'how long 'til it's gone'... eco literacy board placed in prestwood by great missenden and prestwood revitalisation group
The ‘ecoliteracy board’ refreshed and revisited, on the wall of the Scouts’ Hut at Prestwood Common.

New Noticeboards in Prestwood and Great Missenden

GMPRG is very pleased to announce the fruition of the second of two noticeboard projects.

New Prestwood Noticeboard

Prestwood has a shiny new board for ‘Parish & Community Notices’ in the Coop car park in Prestwood. This has replaced the previous noticeboard which was well used, but very much on its last legs!

The board has a lockable section for Parish Council notices, and a section accessible to all.

For the new board and works in the car park, GMPRG applied for grants from the old Chiltern District Council and Midcounties Coop. We commissioned the board and then organised installation, including liaison on placement with Parish Council and Buckinghamshire Council.

Look out for some further improvements in that area in the near future!

Great Missenden Tourist Information Board

The Great Missenden Tourist information board was completed last autumn – see our earlier detailed post. It is an attractive addition to the High Street, and immediately became an important point of reference for visitors. Many of the village’s attractions are detailed on an attractive map, there is a brief explanation of Great Missenden’s history and position within the Chilterns, and clear signage towards the Roald Dahl Museum. There is also a section for notices.

Tourist information board Great Missenden High Street

The Tourist Information board was the result of a collaboration between GMPRG and Great Missenden Village Association (GMVA), with funding from both, and project managed by Carole Eaden (GMPRG) and Mike Wintgens (GMVA). Funding also came from Chiltern District Council and Bucks CC (LAF and Community Leaders grants), and the Roald Dahl Museum.

The artwork and text was then taken forward also into an attractive and very useful local guide leaflet.

New Noticeboard in Great Missenden

map detail great missenden information board

Great Missenden has a shiny new Information Board at the junction of the High Street and Link Road.

great missenden information board

It is the result of a collaboration between GMPRG and Great Missenden Village Association (GMVA), with funding from both, and project managed by Carole Eaden (GMPRG) and Mike Wintgens (GMVA).

An application was made to the Missendens Local Area Forum (LAF) in February 2019. As long ago as The Market Town Health Check Report of Spring 2009 and Great Missenden Parish Design Statement of March 2012, the need for improved information for visitors to Great Missenden, the AONB and Chilterns had been highlighted. And yet nothing had been done, so it was high time!

The LAF contributed a grant of £2,830, and the Roald Dahl Museum chipped in for signage pointing visitors to the museum along the street. A donation was received also from Bucks CC Community Leaders Fund.

The left-hand side of the board features information about the village and its history, the Chilterns, and a specially commissioned water colour-style illustrated map. On the right-hand side is the space for notices, able to accommodate up to 8 A4 advertisements of local cultural activities and events.

text and map great missenden information board

The map is beautifully illustrated with sketches of local features and landmarks, including the Roald Dahl Museum, Roald Dahl’s grave, the Church of St Peter and St Paul, Missenden Abbey and Park, and the old petrol pumps. Images depicting our nature and ecology include trees, a butterfly and – of course – red kites.

map detail great missenden information board

Visitors are now welcomed to Great Missenden in a way that befits the beauty, history and ecology of the village at The Heart of the Chilterns.

GMPRG would like to thank and acknowledge all who helped realise this project, including Chiltern District Council and Bucks CC (LAF and Community Leaders grants), GMVA and the Roald Dahl Museum, as well as our suppliers Lovell Johns and Fitzpatrick Woolmer.

Transport Group Meeting Notes 10 March

41 bus from High Wycombe to Great Missenden

With thanks to John Cadman, Transport Group Leader for GMPRG.

To review the membership and objectives of this project group, please visit our Current Projects – Community Transport Group page.

In the light of recent developments, the purpose of this meeting was to revise the scope of this group and to agree next steps.

Recent developments include:

  1. Recent Government announcements about HS2 approval, plus 6 billion pound investment in bus services, plus the increasing public awareness of green issues makes this a good time to proceed.
  2. Written support for our objectives from our local MP with regard to facilitation of funding and other matters.
  3. Steve Burns, very experienced local bus operator, will advise the group where he can.

Revised Scope/Objectives

  1. “Peak” and “Off-peak” solutions will be considered separately since they are different models.
  2. School Transport provision and Parking solutions are out of scope.
  3.  A survey will be conducted to obtain evidence of demand for the viable options available, along the lines of the original objectives above. This is expected to be conducted in May/June. It will be predominantly on-line via GMPRG.
  4. The group will attempt to recruit extra people with public transport expertise to take this forward.
  5.  Sources of funding from HS2 and the Government Bus initiative will be investigated.

Comment/next steps

The previous meeting in November concluded that progress on improving our very poor local bus service via Arriva alone will not happen and therefore the emphasis should be on alternative solutions.  However recent Government announcements make this a good time to re-visit improving the bus service as well.  The intention is to consult the public on what they would use via a survey.  This will be targeted at commuters using Great Missenden station and as many local residents as possible.  It will be heavily promoted via Great Missenden and Prestwood Village Associations, Great Missenden Revitalisation Group, The Source, GMPC and other local notice boards etc. It may also be beneficial for residents in outlying rural localities to promote the survey to ensure their needs are being covered, especially for off-peak needs.

This group has the support of GMPC and Bucks CC members, including Public Transport, and local village Associations. Now is the time to get wider public support for achieving the objectives. Without that support, nothing will happen. That will be the focus of the next steps.

  1. PVA, GMVA, GMPRG to campaign for extra experienced people to join the group as soon as possible.
  2. Circulate proposed survey questionnaire to interested parties for comment.
  3. Obtain approval from GMPC and Chiltern Railways for the survey to be conducted.
  4. Conduct the survey in May/June, assuming Corona Virus and HS2 works do not prevent this.
  5. Peter Martin to investigate funding opportunities via Government initiative and HS2.

GMPRG response to GMPC’s proposed new parking on Buryfield

GMPRG parking proposals for Buryfield

Great Missenden and Prestwood Revitalisation Group supports, in principle, Great Missenden Parish Council’s plan to replace parking that will be lost on Link Road, due to HS2 enabling works changes. It agrees also that it makes sense to replace parking close to the village centre and the Memorial Hall, so that it serves the same purpose.

GMPRG proposed for consideration two further areas for new or increased parking. It proposed also the commissioning of a Landscape Impact Analysis, to gain a professional opinion of the new parking area on the impact to the AONB.

GMPRG’s comments were informed in part by local concerns, and also a desire to improve the acceptability of this parking plan, and its chances of success.

GMPRG’s detailed response is set out on the PDFs below – click on the link to open in your browser, or click the buttons to download.

Protecting Chiltern from unfettered nighttime noise from Luton Airport

low flying airplane

One of the overwhelming themes among the responses to GMPRG’s was the appreciation of our surroundings, the natural beauty and peace of the Chilterns, and the desire to preserve them as much as possible.

In this spirit, GMPRG made a submission against an application by London Luton Airport Operations Limited to relax the day and night noise contour restriction imposed on their 2015 planning consent.

Great Missenden & Prestwood Revitalisation Group recorded its concern at the potential extension of the daytime and night time noise contours potentially impacting on this part of the Chilterns in between 2020 to 2024.

We pointed out that the Chiltern Hills are mainly an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, set between two extremely busy airports, London Heathrow and London Luton. As such any increase in the level of noise over the area would be damaging to the quiet enjoyment of this scenic environment.

A copy of our submission can be read below:

Objection by GMPRG to application to vary condition on nighttime noise countours

Working with Others

Word Cloud showing responses to 10-20 years vision in GMPRG survey

Great Missenden & Prestwood Revitalisation Group (GMPRG) works to initiate and implement schemes for the social, economic and environmental benefit of the local community.

Within our area, covering the Parish of Great Missenden including Prestwood and the villages of Ballinger, South Heath and Heath End, we are fortunate that several other organisations share complementary objectives. In 2019, therefore, we have been pleased to work more closely with other groups, businesses and residents. In certain circumstances, we believe that this can yield greater results and better support across the community.

Examples of such cooperations during 2019 include:

  • A Great Missenden Village Noticeboard, which will be installed early in 2020. GMPRG applied successfully for funding from Missendens Local Area Forum. Various local groups and businesses have since agreed to make contributions of funds or in-kind. These include Great Missenden Village Association (GMVA), the Roald Dahl Museum, Missenden Abbey and the Chilterns Conservation Board. Further funds have been made available through a CDC Community Grant and the Bucks CC Community Leaders Fund (with thanks to Barbara Rowett and Cllr Peter Martin, respectively). A truly community effort!
  • Notwithstanding its negative impacts, there are funds available from HS2 for mitigating the effects on local community and businesses. GMPRG is looking at opportunities with Great Missenden Parish Council (GMPC) and GMVA, and leading a project to consider improvements to the centre of Great Missenden.
  • In the recent past, GMPRG has organised secure bike stands and security rings in various locations, with funding from Bucks CC LAF and from the Mid-Counties Co-operative. Responding to the 2018 Community Vision feedback, GMPRG member Mike Johnstone presented plans to upgrade the bridleway between Prestwood and Great Missenden at GMPRG’s 2019 AGM, and a working committee was proposed. A grant application to CDC Large Projects Fund was subsequently taken forward by Mike as a member of Great Missenden Parish Council (GMPC).
  • Prestwood Common was identified within the 2018 Community Vision as an unattractive and even unsafe location, but one essential to the wellbeing of the community. A successful application to CDC’s Large Project Fund grew from a community project initiated by Prestwood Village Association and GMPRG; documentation prepared by GMPRG was then passed on to GMPC. The £20,000 award adds to an earlier grant to GMPC from Bucks CC Local Area Forum. More consultation and funding is still needed, and GMPRG hopes to contribute as part of a broad cross-community effort in 2020.
  • Another area identified for improvement within the Community Vision is local public transport. A Project Team led by John Cadman has started to consider options. Members include representatives of numerous local groups and businesses.
  • The results of our Community Vision Update consultation have been published, and are available to others to study.
  • GMPRG has helped fund a Midsomer Murders location trail. This was requested by Chiltern & South Bucks Joint Community & Leisure Team, with fellow Old Amersham ‘Revite Group’ acting as ‘bankers’.

Can you help?

Revitalisation Groups draw their members from a broad spectrum of residents and local organisations. GMPRG is therefore in a strong position to research, and to harness skills to fund, initiate and deliver projects for the benefit of our community.

Would you like to bring your skills and enthusiasm to the Committee, or join one of our working groups? If so, please contact