02:54PM, Friday 29 November 2019
‘Need a crossing but have run out of cash’
In last week’s Advertiser, I read the article by Georgina Bishop on the very sad incident in Bray Road that led to the death of a 70-year-old pedestrian.
Cllr Hill calls for improvements to both crossings and also mentioned petitions on the crossing on Stafferton Link Road.
Resident Jon Reekie in his letter in Viewpoint (November 21) also makes his views very clear on the safety aspect of the crossings in Bray Road.
I would like to draw attention to the petition for a light controlled crossing on the A308 (Windsor Road) at the Braywick end of the road – petitions.rbwm.gov.uk/ Crossing/ Please consider signing it.
If you follow the Royal Borough on any platform, and indeed good old newsprint, you will see how proud they are of their own or supported developments on Braywick – the new leisure centre and two schools in particular.
It, of course, also already supports a nature reserve, rugby club and SportsAble.
So, it’s a very busy hub for local people (and now maybe a community football club too).
With the addition of the leisure centre and at least one school, many parents want to access them by walking, but they face a barrier – that barrier is crossing the A308.
At peak times, we are faced with lines of semi stationary traffic on one lane and fast moving on another.
Not an ideal situation when you are trying to walk to school or the leisure centre with young children or you have mobility issues.
From the outset, we have been given encouraging signs that our wish for a crossing would be favourably considered – first by ex-Royal Borough leader Simon Dudley and secondly by Cllr David Coppinger, our ward councillor.
Two possible schemes have been developed.
Scheme one only offered refuge islands adjacent to a very busy junction. I wrote to Cllr Coppinger about my reservations on this scheme which he appeared to take on board.
Scheme two was for a light controlled crossing. Cllr Coppinger agreed with local residents and me that this was the best solution.
Now we come to the crux of the matter.
It’s agreed we need a light controlled crossing at this point on the A308 to allow pedestrians to safely cross the road.
After a few more emails we are told we are unlikely to get the needed crossing before 2021/22, not because the Royal Borough lacks the will, but because the Royal Borough lacks the money.
So that’s it. We need a crossing, it’s accepted by the Royal Borough we need a crossing but we have run out of money.
I’m not naive. I know not every scheme can be funded now but this is, or should be, a high priority scheme.
By accepting we need a light controlled crossing, the Royal Borough has accepted that crossing the A308 at this point is dangerous, so dangerous we need a light controlled crossing.
It cannot be acceptable that a local authority like the Royal Borough has, in effect, run out of money and cannot fund a safety related scheme for the benefit of its residents.
Please consider signing our petition. We need all the help we can to get our crossing before 2021/22. Thank you.
What is Maidenhead’s unique selling point?
I have followed the various articles and letters regarding the redevelopment of the town centre for what seems decades, and I am left wondering if councillors check in their commonsense the same as their hats and coats when attending meetings.
The slow death of the High Street has been a topic for around 10 years and the Portas report was eight years ago.
What I can’t understand is why Maidenhead has demolished existing shops to create a ‘me too’ shopping mall to compete with close by Bracknell and Reading, when to my mind they should be competing AGAINST them to attract trade.
Shoppers will be asking themselves ‘where shall we go?’ and the choice will be any one of three malls whereas, in my mind, it should be ‘shall we go to a mall or to Maidenhead, where there are all those different niche shops and we can find things which are interesting?’
What is going to be Maidenhead’s unique selling point?
Where are the cheese shops, butchers, fishmongers, hardware stores, specialty shops?
I was encouraged by Rob Ticknell’s comments in the November 7 edition of the Advertiser, where he says that ‘people go to town centres to explore nooks and crannies’ and that car parking is central to encouraging shoppers into towns.
This seems to be opposite to the council’s attitude on cars, which is to keep them out.
Plainly cars are here to stay, albeit moving to electric models, so planners need to get shoppers as close to the shops as they can.
No one wants to unnecessarily lug shopping around. Encourage people in and make it easy and interesting, otherwise the online shops will get the business.
No doubt the developers can be very persuasive in maximising their letting space at the expense of the shopping experience, but what-ho chaps, we’ve got the plans through – pats on the back all round and let’s have another gin and tonic.
Still lots of potential in the town centre
I attended the first two hours of the town centre community consultation day last Saturday in the Nicholsons Centre, where I was involved with one of the small groups that walked around the town centre with a JTP staff member, informally discussing ideas for the future and issues of concern.
There followed a larger group exercise where problems, suggested solutions, and ideal future scenarios for the town were briefly commented on by the public participants and recorded for later consideration by the professional advisors.
There were also plans for small workshop groups to interact with JTP later in the day.
Although I live in the town, I was pleasantly surprised at how much potential there appears to be still in the town centre for further regeneration in the short and medium term.
It seemed to me that JTP were professional and highly experienced in this area of work, and I liked what I saw and heard. What a great shame they were not appointed five years ago.
However I feel they are starting in difficult circumstances, not of their making, as a substantial amount of the heavily criticised uncoordinated town centre regeneration work is well underway.
Furthermore they will have to contend with the difficult financial position that the Royal Borough is now in, and the age-old problem of developers needing profit, as set against the townspeople wanting better access and parking along with more well designed open and green space, and especially attractive looking buildings, etc.
An encouraging start I feel, but JTP are going to need public support, and pressure on the politicians at certain times in respect of some issues, and also some good luck, which I wish them.
Join with us to support global climate strike
I call upon everyone who lives, works or studies in the Royal Borough to join our peaceful rally to support the global climate strike this Friday, November 29, starting at 12pm at Maidenhead Town Hall.
We recognise that not everyone can take a whole day off from their job or studies to support the global climate strike movement, so we are hosting a peaceful climate rally in Maidenhead from 12pm-1.30pm this Friday.
Pop out in your lunch hour, drop by while you are shopping, bring your baby, your mother or your friends but do join in and have your voice heard.
The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead declared an environment and climate emergency in June this year, but there has been no visible change in behaviour or legislation since.
If your house was on fire you would act immediately to save yourself and your loved ones; our world is literally on fire and yet our leaders’ only action so far is to have a few meetings.
They do not yet understand that this is an emergency.
Join us this Friday at Maidenhead Town Hall from 12pm to show that we expect our elected local councillors and our national governments to take action NOW to address this very real emergency.
Join us and be part of something so much bigger as millions of people just like us raise their voices across the globe.
I know that I want to be able to tell my children I helped to protect their future; join us on Friday and be proud that you took action too.
Ray Mill Road West
Refuse, reduce, reuse, redesign, recycle...
In 1865, the English economist William Stanley Jevons observed that technological improvements, in this case James Watt’s steam engine which increased the efficiency of coal-use, led to the increased consumption of coal in a wide range of industries.
Jevons argued that, contrary to common intuition, technological progress could not be relied upon to reduce fuel consumption.
The Jevons paradox suggests, for example, that improved energy efficiency will increase the consumption of energy by making activities cheaper and therefore more accessible.
It predicts behaviour that we all know will occur but that we hope uniquely we will avoid because we do not intend to lose awareness of the reasons for the activity in the first place, for example, to reduce our carbon footprint.
But the Jevons paradox suggests that even the best ‘environmental’ intentions cannot be relied upon.
We must all be vigilant for this in our own lives and be aware of our behaviour; one way to look at this is through a series of hierarchies:
There is the Waste Hierarchy: refuse, reduce, redesign, reuse, recycle.
Our society’s focus on recycling, whilst admirable, can have unintended consequences. For example, the Borough’s plastic bottle recycling scheme in schools has seen children, incentivised to recycle by a shiny machine and by the promise of raising funds for their school, nag their parents to buy water in plastic bottles…
There is the Transport Hierarchy: walk, cycle, public transport, electric car, fossil fuel car share, fossil fuel car, fly.
And there is the Energy Hierarchy: use less, use efficiently, use renewables, recover, generate.
The temptation, in both these cases, is that, having purchased the electric car or switched to renewables we then think we can continue to use these as we always have or, worse, succumb to the Jevon’s paradox and use them even more.
Your electric car will inevitably continue to add to the congestion on our roads, hence continuing to contribute to the pollution caused by other cars.
And just because you’ve switched to renewables, it is not ok to see energy as a limitless resource with no consequences.
As Tim Berners-Lee notes in his book ‘There is no Planet B’, if our demand for energy continues to increase at its current rate then there won’t be enough room on the planet for all the solar panels needed to feed this insatiable appetite.
I certainly have these thoughts myself and have to consciously remind myself of the hierarchy.
We must all hold fast to our original aims in order to truly make a change and avoid the Jevons trap.
Boyn Hill Road
Use your voice to help shape your town
Readers with long memories will recall Maidenhead Neighbourhood Forum announcing (October 6) that it had applied for designation to prepare the Neighbour-hood Plan for Maidenhead (excluding Cox Green). We’re pleased that the Royal Borough has now started to process the application by commencing the required public consultation.
In the meantime, membership has grown to nearly 50 people and we have just completed a public survey on the mood of Maidenhead that yielded over 300 responses.
The six-week consultation runs until January 6.
We encourage organisations, businesses and individuals to submit their views on the two questions being asked:
:: Is the area applied for appropriate?
:: Is Maidenhead Neighbourhood Forum the right group to prepare the Neighbourhood Plan?
Links to RBWM’s consultation portal are also available on Maidenhead Neighbour-hood Forum’s website https://mnf.org.uk
We believe the right approach is for the Maidenhead Neighbourhood Forum to ‘listen first, listen widely’, then develop and test the emerging planning policies in public.
We intend on using a mixture of public meetings, online and postal surveys to involve residents, people who work, or own businesses in the plan area, to provide key inputs into the planning policies that the Neighbourhood Forum develops.
The Royal Borough is currently sponsoring several place-making public consultations.
Most recently, JTP ran a community planning day to help inform a vision and ‘charter’ for Maidenhead.
Fewer than 100 people took an active part and under 10 worked through the full five hours, me being one of them.
Maidenhead Neighbourhood Forum is making every effort to be supportive of these efforts but we anticipate our grassroots approach will accumulate a stronger public mandate over time.
Maidenhead Neighbourhood Forum is not a campaigning group.
We encourage organisations with an agenda to take an active part but we cannot be partisan.
There are forum members who are also elected borough councillors of all parties but the whole steering group is independent and not politically aligned.
The legislation for neighbourhood planning was framed in the pre-social media age and is silent on the use of online consultation.
It leaves us vulnerable to push-back that a membership of civic-minded people is not representative, however broad the consultation is.
We encourage readers to take part in developing these policies by completing our surveys, joining the forum, attending the public meetings.
It’s a lot of work for the core team and we particularly need more help from people with market research and social media skills.
Maidenhead Neighbourhood Forum
Reckless cyclists must be properly dealt with
When are we going to see policing of the reckless cyclists in the town?
We see not only young people but adults who should know better cycling along footpaths, on roads often in the wrong direction of traffic flow and also during darkness with no lighting.
This also happens through the different pedestrian underpasses.
I have even seen them cycle down the High Street when the fruit stall is there, forcing pedestrians to take evasive action.
When challenged it often ends in abuse and bad language.
I witnessed two adult cyclists ride along Queen Street in the wrong direction in the middle of the road, causing advancing motorists to take evasive action, and ride past two PCSO officers who witnessed the incident and did nothing.
They just watched the pair ride over the junction, causing cars to hoot horns and take evasive action.
We pay enough council tax to have this problem dealt with, not stopping and warning them but to issue tickets and punish the offenders and make others take notice.
Where are the council community wardens. Are they all in Windsor?
WILLIAM DAVID CHERRY
PM wasn’t dishonest – he just made a guess
You permitted Bruce Adam’s Viewpoint (November 21).
Why? Because he is anti PM and Lib Dem!
I consider the view of Bruce Adams to be dishonest.
How can he think the PM was being dishonest – Boris J just didn’t know the correct answer and made a guess.
Mr Adams just wanted to be nasty and I and many others, I suspect, feel the same as do I.
You should not have selected his Viewpoint. Bin it! Nasty!
Another point. Gross immigration is the point – not net! Adams’ Viewpoint – meaningless!
Vote for a party to save us from extinction
The most important political policy in this election must be to tackle the climate emergency.
Unless we limit global warming to 1.5°C, there will continue to be more intensity and frequency of extreme events on resources, ecosystems, biodiversity, food and carbon removal.
Planting trees is, of course, good but global pressure needs to be applied.
The Amazon currently loses the equivalent of 200 football pitches of forest every day due to deforestation.
Dry weather, 37°C hot conditions have destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres of woodland in California and eastern Australia; destruction of forests in Indonesia for palm oil production still continues.
Scientists believe we may be already deep into the sixth mass extinction event, which may be ‘too late’ to change.
An extinction or biotic crisis is a widespread and rapid decrease in the biodiversity on Earth.
Such an event is identified by a sharp change in the abundance of multicellular organisms.
Most biologists agree there have been five mass extinction events in history, with the most well-known occurring 66 million years ago, when the dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid.
So let us do our best and vote for the party which considers the climatic environment extremely important.
Yes, 2050 is too late.
Look at the Liberal Democrat policies – it may save us from our extinction, we do admit there is a problem!
Cox Green Lane
No candidates truly believe in Brexit
For two years the public position of the Irish government has been that it would be best if the UK stayed in the EU, but in any event we should stay in the EU customs union and single market.
So it was no surprise when the Republic's premier Leo Varakdar welcomed the close replication of that Irish government policy position in the election manifesto of the UK Labour party.
Following the withdrawal of the Brexit Party from the contest, voters in Maidenhead will no longer be offered the choice of a candidate who genuinely believes in Brexit. Obviously not the Greens, nor the self-styled ‘Liberal Democrats’, who urge a total abnegation of democracy, with the 2016 referendum to be treated as just a bad dream.
And nor the Labour party, which favours a comprehensive capitulation to the unreasonable demands of a foreign government.
While the Tory candidate, who previously campaigned to remain in the EU, now supports a dangerous variant of the crazy deal she herself struck in an attempt to at least temporarily appease that foreign government, as well as her party's supporters in the CBI.
There is no question that Mr Varadkar has done a cracking job for his country, and we might be tempted to regret that it was impossible to arrange a transfer for him to take over the management of our side.
However it has to be recognised that, in reality, he has only succeeded because our shower have allowed him to succeed, whether or not there has been active collusion behind the scenes.
Dr D R COOPER
Belmont Park Avenue
Top Ten Articles
Each week, we bring you a round-up of community and family-friendly events taking place across Maidenhead, Slough, Windsor, Burnham, Twyford and the surrounding area.