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Viewpoint: Will Nicholsons plans turn Maidenhead into 'Maidhatten'?

Featuring reaction to the Nicholson Quarter development in Maidenhead after it was approved by councillors.

‘Maidhattan’ needs its own Central Park

The Advertiser (March 11) reported that the RBWM Planning Panel had unanimously voted to approve the Nicholsons Centre re-development that will include a tower block up to 25 storeys.

This development will contribute 600 of the 2,760 dwellings planned for Maidenhead town centre.

One public speaker at the meeting described the development as ‘Maidhattan’ but sadly the difference is that Manhattan has Central Park and London has Hyde Park to provide open spaces, clean air and the ability to connect with nature.

The council had a real opportunity at the extraordinary council meeting (March 2), for Maidenhead to emulate New York and London when it debated a petition in support of turning the golf course into Maidenhead Great Park rather than the proposed development of 2,000 dwellings on the site.

At the end of the debate the proposal for the park was defeated by 21 to 20 votes.

It seems sad that a petition signed by 4,448 residents was rejected by one vote.

It would be very interesting to get a reaction to the outcome of this debate

from the large number of residents who signed the petition.


Walker Road


Capital gains will be Maidenhead’s loss

So at the behest of our councillors and so called planners, Maidenhead town is to become a downtown New York lookalike.

Obviously no regard has been given to the people that live here.

Were the people properly consulted?

I was under the impression that councillors were supposed have the best interests of their electorate at heart, it certainly doesn’t seem so in this case.

Do the people that live here actually want this ghastly development?

Cllr Andrew Johnson said he was ‘confident that the 25-storey building would be acceptable for Maidenhead, given it got approval from planning officers and councillors’. But did it get approval from the people of Maidenhead?

I think it’s about time that when massive projects like this are proposed everyone in the borough is informed by post with full details and we get to vote on it, and it we don’t want it, it doesn’t happen.

Our councillors will say that’s too expensive, but if they can spend six million on unnecessary roundabout improvements they can afford to keep us informed.

According to Areli Real Estate they have been consulting closely with the community for the last two years which is news to me as the first time I heard their name was in last week’s Tiser.

I get the distinct impression that Areli was formed just to make vast sums of money by destroying towns like ours.

To quote from their website: “In December 2018, ARELI entered into an investment partnership with Tikehau Capital to implement a comprehensive urban regeneration strategy across the UK.”

Enough said.


Cornwall Close


Looking forward to a great wind tunnel

Once again the developers have won!

With 25 storeys there are more profits but what a great wind tunnel!

There are the usual pretty pictures of people wandering around in the sunshine.

Regrettably for six months of the year our weather is cold, wet and windy,

where are the covered spaces for a farmers’ market etc?

Have the designers been to the Eden Centre in High Wycombe or Bracknell in winter? Both wind tunnels!

Our present Nicholson Centres is at least warm and dry for comfortable shopping all year round. Who will go to the new town centre apart from the people in the flats!?


Blackamoor Lane


Soft focus picture belies the stark reality

In the aerial view of the Nicholsons Quarter development on last week’s front page, Areli Real Eastate uses an old-age trick to deceive the viewer.

In the foreground is the High Street, with some older three-storey buildings identifiable. In the centre background is the 25-storey block of flats, conveniently pale against the misty distance, a block of flats which is twice as high as Berkshire House.

There are even lots of ‘architect’s trees’ in the middle distance.

Sixty years ago, many towns which fancied themselves to be go-ahead built ‘point blocks’ which modern developers would call ‘landmark’ or even ‘iconic’.

What they mean is very big and/or very tall, disregarding what effect they may have on their surroundings.

And just as Berkshire House was unloved, I predict that Areli Towers will be as well.

You quote the leader of the council as being ‘confident that the 25-storey building would be acceptable for Maidenhead, given that it got approval from planners and councillors’. What a complacent, even arrogant, attitude to suggest that just because planners and councillors approve something it is automatically ‘acceptable' to local people.


Supporting safe place for people to exercise

As founder of Cookham Running Club and one of the coaches to its 100-strong junior endurance squad, some of whom compete at national level, I have read with interest the opposition to plans by Mr Geoffrey Copas to provide playing fields with space for pitches, a club house and parking in Long Lane, Cookham. Surely it’s a no-brainer that we must snap up this opportunity?

Never has the issue of children’s health and fitness been more relevant – or steps proposed to improve it more pressing.

Previous surveys have shown more children in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead are driven to school in any other part of England suggesting activity levels could improve.

In 2015/16 17.9 per cent of children of reception age in the Royal Borough were overweight or obese, rising to 25.8 per cent in year six.

Following pandemic restrictions on physical activity, these statistics are only set to spiral.

With four primary schools, three nursery schools and a population that is likely to edge towards 7,000 in the coming census, Cookham is now large enough to be considered a small town and yet safe sports facilities for the youngsters who live here are almost non-existent.

Many of the roads in Cookham are poorly lit and, without pavements, too dangerous to run, walk or cycle on.

Efforts to improve road safety are often received with hostility – the recent installation of much-needed traffic control measures in the accident hotspot of Dean Lane in Cookham Dean which were dismantled because they were considered “too intrusive” for a ‘rural’ area being a case in point.

As a junior club, we are forced to de-camp either to another county for a floodlit track or in winter months to Maidenhead for safer streets on which to train with our youngsters. Both Mr Geoffrey Copas and Mr Tom Copas, of the Copas Partnership, have done more to support grass roots sport in recent months than many others.

Quietly and without fanfare they each allowed a series of cross country races to take place for free on their private land between successive lockdowns.

The Junior Performance Cross Series, the only league to take place in Covid-secure settings in the UK, attracted no fewer than eleven national age group champions – and national media accolade – to Cookham.

Places like Cookham need people like Mr Copas. His proposals for creating a safe sports environment should be supported by anyone with an interest in protecting our children’s health.



Our separated refuse is just going to waste

For several weeks now the residents of Ray Lea Close have watched the ‘bin men’ empty our carefully separated food waste into our general waste bins before tipping this combined waste into the lorry.

Several of the residents have already complained to the council about this.

On Saturday, March 13, however, we watched the Serco contractors:

  • Empty the food waste bin into the black general waste bin, then
  • Empty the black bin contents into the blue recycling bin, and then finally
  • Empty the blue bin (now full of combined food waste, general waste and recycled waste) into the same compartment in the bin lorry.

When asked why they were not treating our waste separately, they have given various reasons including “a problem with . . . . the lorries . . . . the fuel . . . . staff shortages . . . . and . . . .everything”!

On Monday, March 1, RBWM launched a ‘Waste Less, Recycle More’ campaign, claiming that throughout March it would be raising awareness of the connection between food waste and climate change and encouraging residents to cut down on the amount of food they throw away and to recycle everything that can’t be used (including out of date, leftover or raw food), using the food waste caddies provided.

RBWM informed us that: ‘70 per cent of all wasted food comes from our homes and food waste is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. With roughly one third of food produced around the world wasted, it’s no wonder that a massive 25-30 per cent of global greenhouse gases come from the food system alone.’

Councillor David Coppinger, lead member for Environmental Services, said: “Reducing the amount of food thrown away and using the caddies to dispose of it properly is just one simple way our residents can make a difference. All food waste can be disposed of in the caddy and residents can be confident that by doing so, they are playing their part in helping the planet.”

Unfortunately, Serco is unfit for purpose.

Their gross incompetence is making an absolute mockery of the council's 'Waste Less, Recycle More' campaign, and the efforts of Ray Lea Close residents to back this campaign thus count for nothing.

We are not being allowed to make a difference!

We cannot be confident that we are playing our part in helping the planet because Serco are undermining our efforts.

Please will you address Serco’s appalling record and give the residents of the borough the service they are paying for and help us all to ‘make a difference.’


Dr D R, meet Dr D R – or maybe Dr Prankster

I fear the Advertiser may be the victim of a hoax. You publish a letter (March 11, 2021) apparently by Dr D R Cooper which can only be from a prankster.

The letter describes the recent UK-EU Free Trade agreement as a ‘crass betrayal’ of Northern Ireland by Boris Johnson which ‘puts at risk the integrity of the UK’.

Surely this cannot be the same Dr Cooper who branded those of us who warned of this outcome in 2016 as scaremongers from Project Fear?

I suggest you check very carefully the origin of any further letters from the same source.


Courthouse Road


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