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.

The Prestwood car park bench has finally been installed.

While having a new bench in this location is great, the closure of this project brings far more to celebrate. This seemingly simple initiative took the best part of four years to complete. How could that be?

The initiative was born through a collaboration between the GMPRG and the Prestwood Co-op at the end of 2019 to replace the Prestwood notice board and provide a bench. However, just as the project started, COVID stopped it.

As we began to emerge from isolation, the Notice Board shown below was installed but Buckinghamshire Council was considering various locations for EV charging points, Prestwood car park being one of them. The concern was that if chosen, the cabling for the project might need to run under the proposed bench location and no one wanted to install it only to have it ripped up again.

However, a few months ago, Buckinghamshire Council gave the go ahead to install the bench. The Parish Council helped the GMPRG team meet the licensing requirements, ALIGN offered to cover the cost of installation and the resin foundation, and Chesham Town Council Works team completed the job.

While this project took way longer than anticipated, it is testament to the resilience of the teams and their capacity to work together that it’s finally complete. As our learning increases, projects like this become easier and the sense of community grows. If you are interested in exploring how you could be part of a project like this, feel free to contact us at We would love to hear from you.

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.

Representation to Buckinghamshire Council Visions & Objectives Survey 2023

Overall, the proposed objectives look very good. However, without seeing details of how
Buckinghamshire Council intends to achieve them it is too early to comment extensively.

All Great Missenden & Prestwood Revitalisation Group (GMPRG) can do at this stage is provide local surveys and opinion, which it is hoped will be helpful to Buckinghamshire Council in understanding the needs of this area for the new Buckinghamshire Local Plan as it progresses.

Please access the file below for full details of our representation

About the School Garden Bee and Bug Friendly Competition

Over the past four months local schools have been designing a bee and bug friendly garden for their school as part of a competition funded by the Missendens Community Board and led by the Great Missenden and Prestwood Revitalisation Group. Students from EYFS / KS1 to KS4 have been working hard to think about how best to promote biodiversity and support the life cycle of pollinators right in their own local school grounds. 

Early in the year, local botanist and educator Karen van Oostrum (Prestwood Nature) visited each of the schools and engaged over 1300 students about how they might best think about their design entries. Teachers from participating schools then got to work with their students, aiming for meeting the design submission deadline by 31 March. The design entries came in on time for each of the three streams of the competition [EYFS/KS1, KS2 and KS3/KS4]. 

During April the judges, Karen van Oostrum, Helen Matthews (Missenden Walled Garden), Keith Pounder (The Plant Specialist in Great Missenden) and Christopher Black (GMPRG) reviewed all the designs carefully and selected the winners. We are excited to announce that they are:

EYFS / KS1      Hyde Heath Infant School

KS2                  Great Missenden CE Combined School

KS3 / KS4         Chiltern Way Academy

Prizes totalling £1,500 were distributed to the three winning schools before the end of the summer term and a buddleia bush was given to all participating schools.  As some funding is still available, it has been agreed to try and continue working with schools on further biodiversity teaching.

To all schools, all teachers, all children involved, please know that this has been a remarkable experience. We were truly impressed with each design and hope that you might find ways to make them a reality in your schools. Thank you for taking part.

GMPRG further response to revised plans for Great Missenden Station

This is GMPRG’s further response, dated August 22 2022, to the revised plans for the station. Please refer to our earlier response, dated December 20 2021, included on our News and Projects page.

Dear Ms Showan

Application Number: PL/21/0534/FA Land at Great Missenden Railway Station Station Approach Great Missenden Buckinghamshire HP16 9AZ

The GMPRG are in favour of redevelopment on this site but still have concerns with regard to the designs submitted.

Further to the revised plans posted 9th August 2022 and Bucks Highways Development Management letter dated 13th July, GMPRG would like to make the following comments:

  • The reduction in the number of apartments from 37 to 33 helps to reduce the pressure on parking and the bulk of the buildings.
  • The increase in the number of parking spaces by 8 spaces to 35 spaces is a step in the right direction.
  • However as set out the Countywide Optimum for Zone A is 33 + 10 spaces = 43 spaces, thus there is still a shortfall of 8 spaces to meet the minimum standard.
  • Great Missenden already has a parking problem
  • The changes to materials, particularly the roof tiles is another step to the buildings integrating better into the location.
  • Block B, although somewhat reduced,  being further up the hill is still overbearing and thus out of keeping with the Conservation Area.

The other issue is that Entran Ltd talk about 45% of all households living in flats in this ward have no vehicle. This ignores the fact that there is a lot of sheltered housing in Great Missenden. The likelihood of retired people wishing to live by the railway is very low. Further, while the railway provides a good link to London and Aylesbury, the bus services east and west are inadequate. To be able to enjoy living in the Chilterns, the vast majority of people need a car to access the countryside.

Bearing in mind that there are 20 2 bedroom and 1 3 bedroom flat, there is likely to be a need for at least 43 parking spaces, ignoring visitor parking. We agree that Mr Higgs is right to be concerned about the low level of parking provision and that minimum of 43 should be provided.

One opportunity which could be explored is for further parking to be made available in the Station Carpark. Even before the Covid pandemic, the station car park was rarely full. Finding 8 to 15 spaces should not be impossible.

For and on behalf of Great Missenden and Prestwood Revitalisation Group

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.

GMPRG’s Response to the Discovery and Exploration phase for the New Local Plan for Buckinghamshire

GMPRG has submitted a response to the above, based on the community feedback received in 2018 from the Community Vision update. The GMPRG representation is available below.

In the withdrawn Chiltern and South Bucks Local Plan 2036 there were no site allocations proposed for the Parish of Great Missenden. The Great Missenden and Prestwood Revitalisation Group (GMPRG) questions how will the emerging Buckinghamshire Local Plan identify local needs so that they are met?

Click below to download the document in full.