Viewpoint: What could Maidenhead learn from a Swedish town?

Email Viewpoint letters to jamesp@baylismedia.co.uk or write to Viewpoint, Newspaper House, 48 Bell Street, Maidenhead, SL6 1HX.


No desperate housing need in fresh data

Cllr Coppinger made several inaccurate or misleading statements in the Advertiser of 16 December, which need to be corrected.

He has stated in the past that opposition to development of Maidenhead Golf Course (MGC) is fairly recent, which is blatantly untrue.

Braywick Action Group (BAG) was founded on March 31, 2017, with the primary purpose of opposing this development, which it has been actively doing since that time.

The content of the local plan did not therefore come as a surprise at all, which he is implying it did.

Cllr Coppinger claims that ‘the redevelopment of MGC is a crucial part of the next phase of Maidenhead’s regeneration’.

How does he possibly reconcile that with RBWM’s own environment and climate strategy which states: ‘The role of the natural environment in creating great places is critical to the success of the borough economy and to our residents’ health and wellbeing, therefore it is important we take steps to protect it’?

Perhaps this statement applies to any green space in the borough apart from MGC?

Two thousand new homes are not ‘desperately needed’.

In 2012 the Government’s assessment of housing need in our borough was for 12,691 new homes.

In 2018, using updated data, this figure was halved to 6,382 new homes.

Of these, 6,000 homes have already been built, or have planning permission granted.

Using the 2018 assessment, only 382 more new homes need to be built by 2033, which can easily be accommodated using existing brownfield sites in Maidenhead.

Why, then, is our council so desperate to build 2,000 homes on MGC, and a further 600 on the adjacent golf practice ground?

The answer is the massive debt that the council are in, which is expected to reach £250million by the end of the year.

If it were to go ahead, the development would result in payments to the council from their development partner, CALA Homes, of £225million, effectively clearing the council’s debt.

If it were allowed to go ahead, this would be a short term fix of the council’s financial incompetence and mismanagement, but it would also be the long-term destruction of a very valuable asset for the health and wellbeing of all future generations to come in Maidenhead.

JOHN HUDSON

Rushington Avenue

Maidenhead


Compare and contrast with Swedish complex

We have just come back from visiting our daughter and family in Kungalv, Sweden (a town half-an-hour north of Gothenberg) which is about the same size as Maidenhead.

They have just built a wonderful covered complex in the town surrounded by high-rise blocks of flats.

It is built on three floors, the bottom floor being all parking (free for three hours!), lifts up to two other floors which are retail with escalators and in the middle of one floor there is a food hall with outlets selling world-wide cuisine and comfortable, help-yourself seating.

There is also an O’Leary’s Irish pub with a bowling alley and snooker tables.

There is also the main bus terminal with buses coming in from all directions.

There are free lockers to store your shopping so you don’t have to cart it around with you, and a doctor, dentist and family play area on the top floor.

Maybe there wouldn’t have been space for all these things in Maidenhead but I feel that the council have missed a big opportunity to build something that people would really want to visit.

I appreciate that Sweden has worse weather for longer than we do so this complex is completely covered but the open precinct planned for the Nicholson Centre seems to me to be a backward step.

SUE MORRIS

The Avenue

Maidenhead


No head for figures among ‘head’ leaders

Well what a surprise, who would have thought that Diane Abbott was helping out with the council finances?

Clearly this must be the only answer, because we were told that bi-weekly bin collections would save us £175,000, but now in fact it will cost us just over £750,000. Why did this happen?

Because our councillors couldn’t be bothered to find out all the facts before making a decision.

We have seen it time and time again.

No wonder the council finances are in such a state.

Of course Coppinger the council apologist was on hand as usual to make excuses for their pathetic performance.

Surely this is more proof, if any were needed, that this council and a number of council employees, some of whom are on six-figure salaries and are supposed to advise our councillors, are not fit for purpose.

They can’t handle finances, they can’t make sensible planning decisions, and they can’t handle public services or road planning.

Our council, it appears, can’t do anything.

KEITH CHAPMAN

Cornwall Close

Maidenhead


No flight respite even on Christmas Day

Heathrow has long been receiving incoming flights at 4.30am.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were allowed to sleep on Christmas Day morning?

The first two flights came in exactly at 4.30am.

The noise monitor in Windsor had been as quiet as 30 decibels.

Then the noise spiked up by 35 decibels – to 65db.

That is more than enough to disturb people’s sleep.

The night flights review is in progress.

Medically, we need undisturbed sleep.

The recommendation is eight hours.

How about flights are banned between, say 10pm and 6am?

ANDREW HALL

Windsor


Whimsical fishing for Brexit optimism

D.R. Cooper’s latest contribution to the ongoing Brexit debate (Viewpoint, December 16) is the usual combination of truths and smile-inducing whimsy.

Yes, Leave won the 2016 referendum by a small margin, supporting propositions which have long since been established as lies, and bolstered by the current Prime Minister, for whom telling the truth is as unnatural as missing out on an alcohol-fuelled party during lockdown.

To suggest, though, that the eight per cent rump of the electorate who think that Brexit is going well are the only people who have not succumbed to a ‘large scale anti-Brexit propaganda campaign’ is denied by former supporters like fishers and farmers, and even by D.R. Cooper, who spends as much time complaining about the terms of withdrawal as extolling the dewy-eyed wonders the UK was supposed to enjoy.

The conclusion is that the emotional argument for Brexit, which was genuine propaganda promoted by the majority of the billionaire-owned national news media outfits, has now been trumped by the cold realisation that the advantages of membership, now lost, were the de facto truth.

What is even more frustrating for patriotic Remainers is that as new rules begin to apply, negotiated by this charlatan bunch of schemers, things will only get worse.

Happy New Year?

JAMES AIDAN

Sutton Road

Cookham


Lost in an infinity mirror of negatives

Each week I approach Dr Cooper’s regular letter to the Advertiser with the same degree of anticipation as preparing to solve the Times Cryptic Crossword.

The December 16 letter reached new heights of convolution with double negatives, even a triple negative, and a lengthy single sentence final paragraph of 68 words.

It left me breathless with incomprehension.

The Government’s own ‘Service Design Manual’ explains how people read and why sentences longer than 25 words aren’t accessible.

In the spirit of Christmas and wishing him well in his relentless mission, I wonder if Dr Cooper could prepare for your New Year edition a simply phrased statement of his proposition to resolve the Brexit impasse on trade with Northern Ireland.

It would certainly go some way to helping the less linguistically able of us (and possibly Liz Truss, newly in charge of negotiations with the EU) to understand his proposal.

Am I right in thinking he believes that there isn’t really a problem in achieving unhindered movement of goods between Ireland (ROI) and NI, and at the same time between NI and the rest of the UK?

I just can’t see that being possible without joining the EU Customs Union... now there’s an interesting idea!

Déjà vu?

ROBIN WILLIAMS

Chiltern Road

Bray


Big thanks to helpful bin recycling team

My faith was restored in human beings this morning (December 23).

I panicked as I remembered the packed blue bin had not been put out for collection.

I heard the lorry driving away and hurried out to call after the man closest to our neighbours’ house.

Not only did HE return to get my bin but the lorry reversed and all three kind gentlemen came to my rescue.

They collected and emptied the recycling and took out my black bin too.

Such kindness made my Christmas.

Many thanks to these hard-working teams.

What would we do if we didn’t have this support?

A happy new year everyone.

JUDITH ROPER

Farm Road

Maidenhead


Chapter and verse on a time of turbulence

And it came to pass in those days that the Emperor Boris, Son of John, was in his Palace of Downing when he heard news of a terrible plague coming from the East and bringing much pestilence and fear.

Quickly Boris summoned wise people, amongst them a Whitty man, a Vam Dam and other sage bods to go forth and search for sightings and signs of this terrible scourge.

So an order was given and verily the wise ones followed a star and then, suddenly, what had been told came to pass and lo, they were much troubled and went with haste to tell Boris and the BBC of their dire prognostications and the Boss was much afraid.

The news was told to the boffins in their laboratories in Oxford and other learned places and leaving all else diligently searched for a way to fight the lurgy.

So it was that the wise Magi came forth bearing their gifts of AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna and presented them unto the NHS to vaccinate the people and there was much rejoicing in the land, not least by Boris and his court.

So it was that a proclamation was made that all the nation should be enrolled for a jab in the arm, beginning with the eldest and infirm down to the youngest and a great host of jabbers were assembled.

Legions of people were summoned to the Hall of the Town and in orderly fashion they were lined up and shot.

Alas, according to news bulletins, the COVID bug may need further shooting but at least the people and Boris can hopefully smile about it and say a big THANK YOU to all those who help us and guide us along the way to better days.

Rev PETER GRIMSHAW

Wessex Way

Maidenhead

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