12:00PM, Friday 19 November 2021
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How we would benefit from ‘Great Park’
I was encouraged to read the comments made by Councillor Joshua Reynolds (Lib Dem, Furze Platt) in The Advertiser (November 4) concerning climate change.
He said the that the climate should be considered within ‘everything that we do’.
He also warned the council not to contradict themselves following COP26 by going through with developments on prominent green sites such as Maidenhead Golf Course.
This same sentiment was expressed by Boris Johnson at the recent Conservative Party conference.
RBWM councillors meet November 23 to discuss the corporate plan.
This could provide an opportunity to take decisions on our behalf that would significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the Royal Borough and provide enormous health and wellbeing benefits to all its residents.
In their deliberations the council should consider the following:
W The preservation of Maidenhead Golf Course would provide the most significant antidote to carbon dioxide emissions in the Royal Borough. It is imperative that this large open and green space is retained. If 2,000 homes are built on the site it will have the opposite effect.
W The Conservative-led council should remember that they represent the residents of our borough, 4,500 of whom signed a petition in support of turning the golf course into Maidenhead Great Park. This proposal was rejected by only one vote in the Council meeting which followed.
Clearly new homes are required in the Royal Borough and indeed thousands are being built in Maidenhead including more than 2,700 in the town centre.
Residents who will occupy these homes will need green space nearby where they can relax and enjoy open land and clean air with residents from all over the Royal Borough.
New York has Central Park, Maidenhead can have its own Great Park.
Wellbeing should be the first priority
I read with great interest the article in the Maidenhead Advertiser of October 28, ‘Great Park campaigners planning Town Hall demonstration’.
With the publicly owned greenspace of the golf course, we have wonderful opportunity to protect woodlands, biodiversity and town centre public amenity all in one go.
It’s upsetting to read the quote from the spokesperson from RBWM saying ‘the redevelopment of Maidenhead Golf Course is a crucial part of the next phase of Maidenhead’s regeneration’.
Surely in light of the biodiversity crash and climate crisis we face, protecting the greenspace of the golf course is crucial for the future wellbeing of our community, not concreting it over?
Is the council’s climate strategy just hot air?
I read with interest the article in the Maidenhead Advertiser of October 28 ‘Great Park campaigners plan protest at Town Hall’.
I sincerely hope that this demonstration will show our council the strength of feeling in the borough about the importance of protecting our environment for the benefit of future generations.
Pollution and the effects of climate change are already being felt in the borough and across the country.
I just cannot understand how anyone can think it’s a good idea not only to destroy this public green space but to build 2,000+ dwellings on it.
If the Royal Borough truly ‘recognises the challenges posed by climate change’ then they would understand that there is absolutely no way they can meet their own published targets to halve CO2e emissions by 2025 and build on this greenbelt land. Was the environment and climate strategy just another waste of public funds and time?
Disconnect between people and authority
I reflect after being selected to spend ten days in the Glasgow COP26 inner sanctum.
Alok Sharma deserves the accolades for agreements on coal, methane, and deforestation, but we are off the pace.
His leadership and the oratory of President Obama were the only signs of statesmanship in a barren global political landscape.
The developing world showed its true colours by not having met the 2009 commitment for $100bn for the undeveloped (the equivalent amount the UK alone spent in under three months for the pandemic).
Those that polluted the least are affected the most.
The amount was recommitted but as the Marshall Islands said: No more words but action, we disappear at 2 degrees.
A call to measure wellbeing not GDP and address inequality as a way forward was applauded.
The mood is changing – a report showed an ever-increasing global population worried about climate change (13 per cent increase even through COVID).
Cities and councils globally are losing legal battles for not having plans commensurate with stated emergency policy.
The young are angrier and more disaffected by lack of climate action.
The most revealing result was that globally individuals have little idea what the priority for personal action should be.
Universally, ‘recycling’ was number one when it’s not – reducing consumption and diet for example are way more impactful.
What of RBWM citizens and council?
The chair of the corporate plan scrutiny panel could not support a wellbeing goal because anyone can wake up feeling good or bad is so grossly uninformed.
The embarrassing and potentially illegal two-word statement in the Borough Local Plan that climate change will be given ‘material consideration’ in planning decisions, should simply be unacceptable to all of us.
I understand an RBWM cabinet member attended COP, I wonder if they can influence the leadership to get the emergency understood.
The week before COP I arranged for my university to train officers at RBWM in climate issues through a self-determination fun programme which is accredited.
This, an action after battles to get RBWM to accept a 1.5-degree plan, which it finally did.
However, we must move faster than council speed.
I contemplate how to install a similar training as an option for every citizen in the borough to address assumptions, knowledge, prejudice, and fake news mobilising opinion and actions.
We would be the first citizen collective, likely worldwide, to achieve this and be informed to dictate that our corporate and local plans represent our values and protect our planet.
We are way off achieving 1.5. Individually we can do something now for our children and grandchildren.
Our knowledge, vote and pockets have never been more powerful.
PM and MP prone to acting supine over NI
Richard Poad is concerned that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is destroying the integrity of our democracy (Viewpoint, November 11).
I agree, but I am even more concerned about his casual attitude to the territorial integrity of our country.
Admittedly Northern Ireland only contributes about 2 per cent to our GDP, so perhaps he felt that its loss would be a reasonable sacrifice to get him that ‘fantastic’ free trade deal with the EU that he told us about in his special television broadcast last Christmas Eve (Viewpoint, December 31 2020, ‘Counting the costs of the PM’s concessions’).
Meanwhile, largely unremarked in the mass media, the Irish government has suddenly discovered that it is possible to check goods coming into the Republic from Northern Ireland without creating a ‘hard border’ and potentially provoking a resurgence of terrorism.
Putting the headline ‘Border checks to enforce air quality rules on solid fuel’ into Google will bring up an article from last week, buried on the Times website, which explains that ‘from next year local authorities will enforce import bans on the smokiest such fuels’.
In other words the checks will be performed away from the land border, one of the ‘alternative arrangements’ previously rejected by the Irish government, with one Irish politician even saying ‘no matter where you locate check sites – they amount to a hard border.”
The UK government under both Theresa May and Boris Johnson supinely accepted that kind of nonsense from the Irish government, leading us inexorably into the present mess with the territorial integrity of our country under threat, so why did they approve that?
Dr D R COOPER
Belmont Park Avenue
Something whiffy this way comes
In the House there is a stench.
And it’s on the front bench.
It is called corruption.
And causing much disruption.
Some MPs want personal gain.
They should be ashamed.
All are not the same.
The good should not be blamed.
But the PM is the worst offender.
How can he be the mender?
He is encouraging this sleaze.
Himself to please.
Those with safe seats.
Are very hard to beat.
Some can abuse their position.
After elections they won’t be missing.
The system is First Past the Post.
In a safe seat your vote is toast.
Not only wrong, but is not fair.
Democracy means decisions we share.
There must be a better way.
For people to have their say.