07:00PM, Friday 14 May 2021
Unacceptable queues seem likely to last
I was interested to read about the complaint from a resident of Guards Club Road and their difficulty in getting out from their road (Advertiser, May 6).
I have complained to RBWM about the installations of traffic lights as a means of controlling traffic in this area.
The fact that we are seeing big problems while the temporary lights are in place is a taste of things to come.
Whilst I recognise that the situation is exacerbated by the closure of the M4 at weekends I am absolutely convinced that there will still be a problem of unacceptable queues forever in this area.
The highways department in the RBWM are blind to the fact that a roundabout allows traffic to flow but traffic lights cause traffic to stop, thus causing a blockage to flow.
The concept has, theoretically, been designed to provide greater capacity in the road network. But all it will do is to frustrate drivers in this area and create a problem for anyone living in the vicinity of this junction.
By the way I have sent an email to RBWM highways department complaining that there are many days when work is not going on so the contractors seem to be dragging the contract out to justify the cost but in the meantime Guards Club Road and anyone, like me, living in the area has to suffer.
Clearly the designers of the scheme do not live in this area and don’t give any thought for us residents.
It was the Mysterious Officers wot done it
Last week’s Advertiser reported on the effects the works for the ridiculous A4/Oldfield Road traffic lights scheme are having on Guards Club Road and Ray Mill Road West and East.
When I wrote to Cllr Clark, the councillor nominally in charge of this, he wrote back seeking to justify the project.
But the actual justification was entirely in double quotes, quoting “Officers”.
It included stuff about Oldfield Road and Lassell Gardens and how they were suffering because the A4 was much busier, which was making it difficult to exit from these roads.
Given the fact that the councillor seemed to be saying ‘It wasn’t me, guv’, then we have to assume it was the Mysterious Officers wot done it.
Cllr Clark wouldn’t reveal their identities.
I decided to widen the investigation and contacted the council switchboard, but they remained tight-lipped regarding the identity of The Mysterious Officers.
So The Mysterious Officers, currently no doubt sitting at home, with one eye on Homes Under The Hammer and one eye on their laptops, are quietly causing Mayhem in Maidenhead.
And when this drama is all over, we all know it’ll do nothing to ease the flow of traffic and people will probably continue to use the back-doubles to avoid the A4 traffic lights.
I referred the councillor to the wonderful town of Marlow.
A town literally inundated with traffic but with no traffic lights at all.
However, The Mysterious Officers know best.
But who are they?
What are their names?
If you are going to cause problems for possibly a few million people, why should you be allowed the luxury of anonymity?
So, who done it?
Was it actually Cllr Clark after all?
Or was it The Mysterious Officers?
There are always red herrings everywhere when it comes to council bungling.
Cllr Clark can at least be contacted by email and phone, but The Mysterious Officers seemingly cannot.
Who are they and what are their email addresses?
MALCOLM JAMES STRETTEN
More free parking spots removed
Following reported lobbying of the RBWM by the owners of Strawberry Grove Cafe in Bridge Street to provide them with public open space for outdoor tables the council has removed another six or so free one hour on street parking places.
This in addition to the many already gone from the town centre under the guise of distancing for pedestrians or enhancing streets for non-existent cyclists.
How this going to help the town centre and encourage shoppers to drive into Maidenhead is completely beyond me.
If I was a struggling Maidenhead retailer I’d be livid to see this public space blithely given to a business that saw fit to buy or rent premises without space for exterior tables.
Who is paying for the wooden planters? I think we should be told.
Extend the deadline for Housing Strategy
Last week you reported that a Housing Strategy to 2026 had been given the green light to progress to adoption by the full council.
Elements of this strategy are very important – such as increasing the availability of affordable housing and providing more family homes rather than flats.
The Annual Authority Monitoring Report was published by the Borough two weeks ago and shows that at the end of March 2020 there were 2,902 dwellings in the planning pipeline of which 1,800 were under construction.
No analysis of these figures is provided, although we have requested it.
With an annual housing target of 712 dwellings, the number already permitted or under construction is equivalent to four years new housing supply.
Therefore, the die is cast until 2024 and the pending Housing Strategy can only influence planning policy and delivery for the last two years (2025/26).
It is not clear whether the 2,902 pipeline figure includes subsequent permissions such as Nicholsons Quarter.
The Monitoring Report relates to the status as at March 31, 2020.
If permissions after that date are not included then the impotency of the Housing Strategy is even greater.
As a matter of urgency the Borough should analyse the 2,902 dwellings reported as already in the pipeline and publish the significant data regarding affordable homes and housing type/mix.
Consideration should be given to extending the end date of the Housing Strategy to enable it to have some impact on the make-up of our housing stock.
It will all be too late in the day to positively steer planning policy to deliver the balanced mix of housing mix, type and size that Maidenhead needs.
Chair, planning group
Maidenhead Civic Society
Near misses with e-scooter riders
I have again encountered two near misses by young people recklessly riding E-scooters illegally.
The first occurred on Wednesday, May 4 – a young woman hurtled down the underpass by Sainsbury’s at approx 3.30pm.
All the entrances and exits are marked ‘no cycling’.
Fortunately she didn’t hit me.
When I exited on to the pavement of the Bath Road a youth sped by on an e-scooter, again riding close to where I was quite lawfully walking.
Considering there is a large police station a hundred odd yards away, I am astonished nobody saw him.
Why are all these people getting away with riding on the highway and public footpaths when they are only permitted to ride on privately owned land?
Why is nothing being done to prevent this and the participants caught and given substantial fines?
Sooner or later, sadly accidents will occur probably involving innocent elderly people quite lawfully doing their shopping.
Don’t have a separate rule on separation vote
The two interesting letters in the Maidenhead Advertiser from D R Cooper and Phil Jones (Viewpoint, May 6) concern the union of the four home nations (UK) and the union of European nations (EU).
D R Cooper reminds readers of the Conservative Party desire to preserve the United Kingdom, which is shared by the Labour Party, amongst others.
There were many in both parties who wanted to preserve the EU as it was, with the UK as a member; at the point of the 2016 referendum, around 75 per cent of MPs of both parties were pro Remain, with Lib Dems and Green even more committed.
Now, almost five years later, the UK is alone.
The Holyrood election in Scotland has seen the election of 72 MSPs, out of a total of 129, whose manifesto commitment is to hold a referendum on leaving the UK.
That’s a 55/45 per cent split, significantly more than the narrow 52/48 per cent advantage Leave enjoyed.
No matter what the voters and political parties of the other home nations want, surely the desire of the Scots electorate must be respected.
That was the UKIP argument with regard to the EU.
What’s good for the goose has to be good for the gander.
Full steam ahead for date with destiny
The Titanic was quite a sight to behold as it sailed out of Liverpool on its maiden voyage, a magnificent ship with a destiny ahead of it; to reach New York with all the pomp and ceremony it deserved and to establish itself as White Star’s flagship standard-bearer.
Last Thursday three ‘decisions’ were trumpeted at Cabinet which points to a much-desired destination of development, being showered with the confetti of investment.
But lurking beneath the water are a number of icebergs which must be negotiated.
1. Our affordable housing strategy makes no mention of ensuring that all housing will be built to help future residents cope with the increasingly extreme weather patterns that will blight Blighty for the next 50-100 years plus. Neither does our environment and climate strategy refer to safeguarding the lives and well-being of homeowners by building in what is called climate resilience. We are condemning residents to poor health and even higher death rates.
2. The council have announced an intention to review the future of the town hall without any backup evidence or viable alternatives being proposed, nor any promise of an open process, nor any clear rationale for decision making. One can’t help but wonder on the indecent haste in the report or whether there are any ulterior motives.
3. The council intends to give away public assets at a time when it is so short of cash that services have been cut to the bone. Not only that but it is proposing to allow development on green space which will reduce public open space needed for an increasing population, reduce carbon capture, increase the release of greenhouse gases, reduce the habitat needed to stave off biodiversity extinction, and all without any other options being presented or considered.
Now, this is the devil is in the detail.
Without planning documents and strategy documents that take climate change and the environment seriously, which we do not have even on the horizon, developers can and will effectively ignore the need to make every development carbon neutral, to protect future residents by building in climate-resilient measures or, to create swathes of urban habitat.
Builders will get away with murder, the murder of the environment, and our children's futures.
It seems like the icebergs have been reported to the bridge but neither the captain nor the officers care.
It’s full steam ahead for their date with destiny!
Cllr WISDOM DA COSTA
WWRA, Clewer & Dedworth West
A student from Maidenhead who suspects she was spiked with a needle on a night out after waking up in hospital the next day has urged people to report similar incidents to the police.