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Viewpoint: Bus gates, the A308 and parking problems

Featuring discussion on the controversial bus gate proposal for Shoppenhangers Road and a traffic survey for the A308 Windsor Road. Email Viewpoint letters to jamesp@baylismedia.co.uk

Useless idea to cut off Shoppenhangers Road

Having read the document related to the proposed ‘invisible’ RBWM Bus Gate on Shoppenhangers Road it beggars belief that this ‘short’ section of a major road with access to the town centre should be closed.

It appears there could be a hidden message in this proposal perhaps a forerunner to a ‘stealth’ road tax with fines imposed for misuse by unwary motorists attained by the installation of a costly ANPR camera monitoring and management system?

With reference to the supposed benefits, the pedestrian aspect – apart from the student traffic from Desborough College of short duration at start and finish times the footfall on this short section is negligible.

With regard to the environmental benefits this is completely offset by the redirection of traffic up and down Harvest Hill Road, a narrow country lane with a recorded fatality toward the bottom end in the recent past and then on to the Braywick Road (which is getting further congested with the opening of the new leisure centre) for town centre access.

If the BLP goes ahead the council nominated contractor Cala Homes intend to start the development on the golf course by building 164 homes on the 11th,12th,13th, & 14th holes, which all run parallel to Harvest Hill Road and which will involve heavy construction traffic.

A field on the opposite side of this road owned by Taylor Wimpey and two further sites in Manor Lane owned by Berkeley Homes will involve even more construction traffic - this will end up in complete chaos to the local residents.

Hopefully all local residents will express their views on the RBWM website.

TED GARRETT

Manor Lane

Maidenhead


More development and danger on the A308

The Royal Borough is conducting the next phase of its traffic survey about the A308 Windsor Road, closing at the end of this Sunday, January 24.

Despite the prolonged concerns of residents who live along or off Windsor Road, RBWM council keep approving a little more building and traffic every year or two along the A308, which over time has accumulated to result in a congested, polluted and often dangerous situation particularly during peak times.

There have been two separate deaths from road accidents along this section, and often many risky situations with vehicles turning into the flow of traffic, and yet the survey team are only considering accidents over the last five years.

There was NO proper consideration of these issues during planning approval for the hospice, with its 200 car parking spaces, indicating the large number of daily traffic movements from and back onto the A308. At that planning meeting, Cllr Coppinger explained that he had visited the site before approval when it was still a field and had difficulty leaving out into the traffic.

It was also explained that traffic along the A308 amounts to 18,000 vehicles per day and how this was similar to a major road in Northern Ireland which was being made into a dual-carriageway .... and this was not possible for the A308. And yet the hospice was approved with no further consideration.

RBWM has had the funding set aside for this survey for the last two years, so one has to question why it is only now being carried out after prior consideration of the Hospice and other building.

Pollution around the Holyport Road roundabout exceeds permitted levels. After campaigning by the Council for Protection of Rural England, planning precedent has been set with the refusal on pollution grounds of a recent house-building application in Kent. That judgement refers to the Air Quality Directive which states ‘in order to protect human health and the environment health as a whole, it is particularly important to tackle emissions and pollutants at source and to identify and implement the most effective emission reduction measures at local, national and community level ...’.

There must be NO more development from Junction 14 (the beginnings of Braywick) to Junction 11 (the beginnings of Dedworth), adding more traffic and often long queues of pollutiing vehicles along Section 5 in both directions towards Maidenhead and the M4 (Junction 15) or towards Windsor and the Windsor relief road (Junction 9a/9b).

The Government, RBWM and many other authorities have declared climate action to achieve net zero by 2050 or preferably sooner to comply with the Paris Climate Accord. We need real action and decisions to achieve this. And COVID-19 has shown the need for a new normal to protect our own health and that of the planet.

We need residents please to respond by Sunday 24th January to the RBWM survey at consultprojectcentre.co.uk/a308phase2 and including the above points in their ‘any further comments’ box.

PAUL GROVES

Tithe Barn Drive

Maidenhead


Valiant effort for the RBL’s Poppy Appeal

The Royal British Legion’s Annual Poppy Appeal in 2020 was severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the resultant lockdowns and enforcement of social distancing rules.

In Maidenhead, we were unable to staff our usual collection points in the High Street and Waitrose and house-to-house collecting was also banned.

Even our attempt to collect from the safety of our gazebo in the High Street on Saturdays was foiled by a combination of foul weather and a toughening of the already stringent anti-virus regulations.

We realised in advance that all of this would have an extremely negative effect, and, in fact, were warned by Legion headquarters to expect a reduction in donations of up to 75 per cent.

Nevertheless, our small band of members and volunteers managed to locate and retrieve over 90 collecting tins and poppy trays around Maidenhead.

Additional safeguards had to be observed even to count the donations, but these difficulties were overcome and I am delighted to report that a sum of £14, 692.76 was deposited in the Poppy Appeal account. I should point out that Sainsbury’s very kindly acted as the Legion’s partner in this year’s Appeal and held their own collections in store, this total will be reported in due course.

In common with everybody else, we look forward to the end of the crisis and a return to something approaching normality by the time for this year’s Poppy Appeal.

However, we always need more willing hands to assist in our endeavours to support the Armed Forces community.

At this time, it is worth highlighting the Armed Forces involvement in the country’s efforts to defeat the threat of coronavirus, once again we are in their debt.

It is no longer a requirement for Royal British Legion members to have served in the Armed Forces, merely a desire to assist those we always rely on in times of crisis, and, of course, their dependents. If you would like to help, the Secretary of the Maidenhead Branch can be contacted on:- secretaryrblmaidenhead@outlook.com or 07747 341171.

RAY WILLIAMS

Secretary

Royal British Legion, Maidenhead branch


Don’t forget about sheltered housing

Your Advertiser last week said all care home residences have had the first jab.

Maudsley is classed as sheltered housing.

You need to be over 55 to live there, most are quite old, carers on site attending them.

Surely this should be in the same bracket as care homes if carers need to visit quite a few residences.

LESLIE ROADE

Ray Street

Maidenhead


Charges will push out parking problems

I am writing in response to comments made by Cllr David Cannon in last week’s edition of the Advertiser and please note that my comments relate only to our car park in Hurley.

As most people will be aware, the residents of Hurley (including myself) have a very real problem with parking in our lovely riverside village. The issue will not go away and many schemes have been tried to solve the problem as the RBWM officer dealing with highways well knows.

To turn Hurley Car Park into a chargeable facility will only exacerbate our problems even more, especially during weekdays when visitors will endeavour free parking in the High Street or adjacent lanes on the roadside or grass verges etc.

DAVID BURFITT

Hurley


Have your say on our arts centre’s funding

Readers will be aware that RBWM has now published its draft budget for 2021/22 and is consulting with residents for their views.

The proposal is for all arts funding to be cut which will have a devastating impact on the wonderful Norden Farm.

I would urge all supporters of the Centre to complete the consultation survey before the closing date of 29 January 2021 at https://rbwmtogether.rbwm.gov.uk/

royal-borough-of-windsor-and-maidenhead-2021-22-budget-consultation

and as there is no specific section regarding the proposed arts cuts, that they use the comments box to let this local authority know how vital their continued funding is to Norden Farm’s future, and what a much loved venue it is to them and the local community.

SALLY HALFACRE

Moneyrow Green

Holyport


Download map and notes for Lifeline Walk

At the beginning of December last year the Civic Society put up a Christmas tree on the Green Way, as part of the St Luke’s Christmas Tree Trail (CTT) as, because of the pandemic, the popular festival could not be held in the church as usual.

Our tree was listed as Celebrating the Green Way a lifeline in lockdown and a banner to that effect accompanied the tree.

The Green Way, a path network that links Cookham through Maidenhead to Bray, was initiated by the Civic Society and East Berks Ramblers (EBRA) in the mid-1980s, and is being well used during the pandemic.

It was decided to put the tree plus banner where Green Way West meets Green Way East, north of North Town Moor.

The Society is very grateful to Peter Prior of Summerleaze Gravel for allowing us to use this location.

The CTT has now finished and the tree has been removed but we will leave the banner, The Green Way – a lifeline in lockdown, until the pandemic is over.

In the centre of the banner is a poster that gives details of what we have called The Lifeline Walk.

This walk devised, with the help of Steve Gillions of EBRA, will take walkers around both branches of the Green Way.

The guide notes and Steve’s map is available via a QR code on the poster.

Some sections of the Green Way are very muddy so do wear appropriate footgear.

The current Green Way leaflet, published by the Royal Borough with the support of the amenity societies, can be downloaded from the Society’s website

http://www.maidenheadcivicsoc.org.uk/group/2086/Projects/Documents/prow_green_way_leaflet.pdf

ANN DARRACOTT

Projects

Maidenhead Civic Society


Food for thought, not cash for consultations

Yet again the Government has got itself into trouble by not agreeing to provide free school meals during the February school holidays for vulnerable families.

This is badly thought out and leaves children at risk of going hungry.

What is the point of DfE guidelines on meals, when there is no quality control and they have even had the Prime Minister condemning them?

Time and time again this Government has been shamed into providing for school children over the school holidays.

I hope that they would by now have learned from their past mistakes.

By the time your readers see this letter I hope the Government will have seen sense and will be continuing to feed the most vulnerable children. The whole Government approach has been short-term and badly thought out, whether it’s ensuring children aren’t hungry, or have the equipment for and the clarity about their education.

Vast sums of money are spent on so-called experts and consultants, when it needs people with basic common sense and compassion to get it right.

NIGEL SMITH

Australia Avenue

Maidenhead

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