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First Maidenhead Waterways stage on track for Easter finish

The team behind the Maidenhead Waterways project has hailed one of the ‘most significant’ annual meetings in its history.

About a decade since the scheme was kicked off, its AGM was able to give a major update on the state of work being carried out.

Speaking about the scheme at St Mary’s Church Hall, in the High Street, on Tuesday evening, John Reekie, the project’s secretary, called the meeting ‘possibly the most significant of all our general meetings because we are now actually seeing progress’.

Since the last AGM, channels have been dug and banks strengthened throughout York Stream, from Town Moor, where York Stream splits from Moor Cut, all the way down to where they meet again near Stafferton Way.

This is the first stage of the first phase of the overall project.

A major partner in this has been Shanly Homes, whose Chapel Arches development in Maidenhead High Street uses the waterway as a major feature.

Waterways Group chairman Richard Davenport revealed that when work on the bridge arches under the High Street, which is currently being excavated, revealed structural issues, the house builder contributed two thirds of the £250,000 cost of fixing it.

Although such setbacks have an inevitable knock-on effect to the overall timeframe and expense of the scheme, the group remains confident the first stage will be completed by Easter.

It also still expects to be able to open the whole of the first phase, including construction of a weir near Stafferton Way and water being allowed back into York Stream.

Speaking about the status of the project, Mr Davenport added: “Obviously we’re delighted to see the progress on all parts of York Stream.

“In particular, we’re pleased to have developed the details of the designs, which optimises the waterway as a whole.”

He also reassured people concerned the scheme will impact on flooding, saying that all the necessary models and simulations had been run according to Environment Agency specifications and had shown the channel works were likely to reduce the risk of flooding.

And he praised volunteers who have been helping with channel clearances further upstream, which are considered vital to ensure a consistent supply of water for the scheme.

Cllr Derek Wilson (Con, Oldfield), the Royal Borough’s cabinet member for planning, was also at the meeting and called the project ‘something we should all be proud of’.

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