Viewpoint: The value of the BBC

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


Reason no one parks in town is plain to see

Could the reason the council is facing a £600k shortfall in parking income this year be anything to do with the fact that, aside from having one’s eyes tested, there are absolutely no shops in Maidenhead worth visiting?

Just saying…

LINDA SHEPHERD

Bray Road

Maidenhead


Pressure from above led to car park fiasco

When I read your leading article on the Vicus Way car park fiasco I immediately thought of poor Derek Wilson.

He was the councillor responsible for planning decisions and chaired the planning committee when the decision to build the Vicus Way car park was made, against vehement opposition.

He was leaned on (by the then leader of the council) to reverse a decision he made to decline the planning application by RBWM and, as a result, lost his seat in the subsequent council elections.

He was right after all and has now been vindicated because it is clear that the car park is not needed and will, therefore, be a further drain on RBWM's shaky finances.

When will RBWM listen to, and take note of, public objections to planning decisions?

JON REEKIE

Oldacres

Maidenhead


Planning rules ignored when it suits council

I read last week that the Rising Sun pub in Hurley was refused permission to construct an outside pizza area for reasons including ‘fears over increased parking pressure’, ‘inappropriate development in the greenbelt’, ‘impact on the openness of the greenbelt; urbanising impact; harm to heritage assets; flooding and parking implications, impact on trees…’ the list goes on.

I have no affiliation whatsoever with this pub and am unlikely to ever go there but couldn’t believe the hypocrisy I was reading from the council, which finds every excuse in the book to deny a small business some form of expansion while completely ignoring every one of these very same objections it cites here in respect of development of Maidenhead Golf Course.

I’m frankly at a loss as to how to comprehend any decisions taken by the council in respect of planning and can find no explanation other than rank incompetence.

I took a walk at the golf course this morning and mourned how these clowns at the council have ignored their own rule book in order to try to dig themselves out of their own financial mismanagement.

It stinks.

STUART WHITFIELD

Cleveland Close

Maidenhead


Why does Windsor get a better clean than us?

It was great to see that everybody enjoyed the latest celebrations at Kidwells Park.

I’m so sorry the council’s cleaning agents could not make the effort to clean the pedestrian underpass from West Street to the park – it was heavily littered, with broken glass and the steps covered in litter.

When you compare it to the last Windsor Horse Show, the surrounding streets and areas were litter free.

The same is true with community wardens not being visible in Maidenhead but visible in Windsor.

We are still plagued by cyclists in Maidenhead High Street.

How many residents notice the lone cleaning operator in Maidenhead who has to daily clean from Maidenhead bridge – both sides of the roads – to the town centre, including Bridge Street, St Ives Road and Park Street and York Road?

We all pay our council tax and want the same facilities in both town centres.

Mr W D CHERRY

Norfolk Road

Maidenhead


Planners had not even visited the golf course

I read with interest your recent article announcing the start of consultation on
our council’s key planning document for South West Maidenhead, and attended the drop-in session at Braywick Leisure Centre on July 26.

Whilst it was good to get the opportunity to meet members of the planning department face-to-face, it was deeply disappointing to learn that none of them have ever visited Maidenhead Golf Course.

If they haven’t visited this council-owned land themselves, how can they properly understand the questions and concerns raised by local people?

For example, how can it be right to plan to cut down thousands of mature trees, many of which are 100-year-old oak trees when we face a climate emergency?

And why do the plans show the highest density development area of high-rise flats butting right up against ancient woodland, which must be protected with a buffer zone?

It was also upsetting to see the Braywick Park area represented as being entirely green.

In the last five years, approximately a third of this publicly-owned green belt land has been developed with the Braywick Leisure Centre and car park, and new Forest Bridge School.

And there are now plans to move the football ground to Braywick, resulting in a further major loss of green space.

These plans must be presented accurately for there to be public confidence in the consultation process.

DEBBIE LUDFORD

Rushington Avenue

Maidenhead
 


Not all air pollution levels are measured

Imagine my delight when I read in its Corporate Plan that the Royal Borough has declared an objective to ‘achieve the National Air Quality Objectives across all Air Quality Management Areas by 2025’.

Delight quickly became dismay, however, when I realised that there are national air quality objectives for 10 different atmospheric pollutants but our council measures concentrations of only two of them: nitrogen dioxide and PM10 particulates, the latter at just one site in Maidenhead.

There are five Air Quality Management Areas in the Borough.

Take ozone as an example.

Levels of this toxic pollutant in the air to the East of Windsor exceeded the World Health Organisation limit on seven consecutive days during the recent heatwave.

On two days the level was twice the WHO limit.

RBWM doesn’t measure ozone levels anywhere.

I wish our council well in its efforts to achieve what is an admirable objective in three years time but I feel that nothing short of a miracle will make it possible.

THOMAS WIGLEY

Windsor


Water leak on Green Way must be mended

In your recent report on the planned closure of the bridge over York Stream to allow construction of a larger one
(July 26, page 4), a local resident made reference to an alternative route into town pointing out, however, that there is a constant leak onto the path that makes it slippery and dangerous.

This path is the Green Way, a stream-side walk from Cookham through Maidenhead to Bray.

On Town Moor it runs alongside the old stream, now the waterway, and the leak has been raised repeatedly at the Green Way Working Group (GWWG), chaired by the Royal Borough and attended by Maidenhead Civic Society, East Berks Ramblers and Maidenhead Waterways.

In the past, if the pump stops working, it is not a leak but a flood, making the path completely impassable.

In April this year, I noted in the GWWG’s Condition Report that ‘the section of the Green Way just north of the A4 bridge is constantly wet because of seepage through the brick wall and also from the other side of the path, probably due to seepage from the cable buried in the stream bed in this position’.

The cable was put in the stream bed in 1994 before the waterway was created.

As the increased depth of the waterway, compared to the old stream, is the main cause of the problem, unsuccessful attempts to waterproof the wall next to the waterway have been made by Maidenhead Waterways.

What is needed is to put a bund across, pump the water around it and make the wall waterproof.

In addition the stream bed in this area needs to be dredged after removing the cable, otherwise the waterway will never be deep enough for boats.

Unfortunately the proposal for a new bridge from Town Moor did not come before the April meeting of the Green Way Working Group, even though it includes a slight diversion of the Green Way path.

If it had, the Civic Society would certainly have suggested funds be allocated to deal with this long-standing problem.

It is predicted that the remaining ‘missing link’ in the Green Way path will be fully open at the beginning of 2023 when the Waterside Quarter is finished.

By then this leakage problem must be solved.

ANN DARRACOTT

Maidenhead Civic Society


BBC caters for all tastes for 44p a day

What an extraordinary Opinion from Helen MacDonald in Viewpoint (July 28).

She takes the BBC to task for, amongst other things, having too many and too complex platforms, a bewildering variety of networks across TV, radio and the internet.

She bewails BBC ‘wall-to-wall’ coverage of sports (she tells us that football, rugby, motor racing, cricket, golf and other sports bore her rigid although she likes tennis).

As I write, I begin to wonder if this was all tongue-in-cheek, given that the only sport the BBC does cover ‘wall-to-wall’ is the tennis from Wimbledon for two weeks per year and anyone who wants to watch the other sports she so despises is probably forced to pay nearly £1,000 per year for Sky, BT and Amazon Prime.

Sure, we have been able to watch some international football played by women free in the last month – something that has probably brought the whole country together to forget the many challenges we face, if only for 90 minutes at a time.

And now we can enjoy the Commonwealth Games, if we choose, free from irritating adverts for ambulance-chasing solicitors, invisible bankers riding bareback and yet another left-hand drive car speeding round a dramatic mountain switchback (model shown not available in the UK).

But no, I don’t think she is pulling our legs, because she raises the high salaries of some of the presenting talent (yawn) and both moans that she doesn’t understand BBC Sounds while asking that everything should be on iPlayer.

Helen, Helen, you yourself decry what you claim is the ‘dropping of many popular and regular programmes’ because of sports, so we can agree that there is some output from the BBC that you value.

Well, it is available to you on iPlayer right now, and/or on BBC Sounds and the BBC website, if you don’t want to watch the Lionesses or the Red Roses live.

Are you really complaining that the BBC is just offering you far too much, and all for 44 pence per day?

GRAEME SMITH

Courthouse Road

Maidenhead


Shame the council now charges tennis players

Since your opinion piece penned by the spirited Helen MacDonald (Viewpoint, July 28), our children have been exposed to a wonderful array of different sports and activities on television this week, which has opened their eyes to the options available to them away from their consoles and phones.

The Lionesses have done wonders for women's football, bringing it home in front of record crowds and in Birmingham we have watched in awe the performances in hockey, gymnastics, netball, swimming, boxing, lawn bowls and cycling, amongst others, all of which are available locally.

As a parent, I enjoy taking my children to the park to try different sports they have seen on the television, and encouraging them to join a local team or club if they enjoy the experience.

However just as we are on the cusp of winning the post-COVID obesity battle, the failing administration at RBWM decide that the local tennis courts will no longer be available free to use and that they will impose a booking system and a charge on them. I guess that is two more children lost to the wonderful sport of tennis.

I wonder how many more?

RICHARD ENDACOTT

Kingsfield

Windsor


Fuel from EuroGarages in town is too pricey

EuroGarages are still cynically mugging Maidenhead motorists.

Last week I was in the Scottish Highlands and Islands. On July 28 unleaded was 181.9p a litre on the Isle of Skye, July 30 179.7p in Inverness and on Monday (August 1) the three profiteering EuroGarages in Maidenhead are laughing all the way to the bank at 187.9p.

They continue to hold top position on my boycott list.

JOHN WALSBY

Kelsey Close

Cox Green


Hey dude, what’s with all this US vocabulary?

Hey you guys – I’d like to tell you about a little trip I made into Maidenhead Town ‘Center’ recently.

I decided to drive but on account of it being so hot, I made sure I got some bottled water in the trunk.

It was getting dark so I made sure I also had my cell with me, plus a flashlight just in case the one in the cell let me down.

I fancied a coffee.

The guy in Costa asked me what I wanted. I said ‘Hey, can I get a skinny latte and some cookies to go?’.

After some coughing and spluttering (from the machine, not the barista) he handed me an Americano with soy milk on the side.

”Whadya think ya doin’ man?,” I said.

He looked shocked. “Hey! Just chill. Sorry ’bout that dude - my bad!”

On top of that he said he don’t got any cookies!

Unfortunately, like his machine, the coffee sucked.

I was going to meet some buddies later but called ’em up and took a rain check.

When I got home I checked out the Advertiser: loads of uncool stuff about sweaty councillor dudes in meetings who want much-needed homes instead of some golf course somewhere.

On the letters page there was some guy who was probably boring the pants off most people about protocols and single markets, brexiting and pan-European federations or whatever.

No idea what he was on about.

Apparently he’s in there every week…

When I woke up I also saw there’s a
load of fuss about a couple of guys called Sunak and Truss, which sounds a bit like some kinda surgical suppliers to me. I dunno.

Also, somebody was saying the Tory dudes want to replace a posh liar with a hypocrite.

Me, I’d go for a posh liar every time. After all, if you’re posh in the UK you can get away with stuff, can’t you?

There’s loads of lords, ladies, barons, earls, sirs, is there such a thing as a siress?

Anyway these guys chuck in a bit of Latin, call other guys My Right Honourable Friend etc and generally ponce about.

So I guess it works.

I was well tired, so I decided to veg out in front of Netflix.

Only trouble is, practically every drama is American with Americans speaking American fast to other Americans and saying ‘Hey’ a lot.’

So it’s real difficult to understand, man.

Me, I’m going to try to learn English again like I did all those years ago in school.

MAL STRETTEN (not a lord)

Boulters Lane

Maidenhead


Still waiting for cut in speed limit to 30mph

The B3024 Braywood Oakley Green Road runs through our village.

The residents would like the speed limit reduced from 40mph to 30mph.

In 2019, Cllr Dudley, then lead of RBWM council, promised to reduce the speed limit.

Cllr David Coppinger and members of OGAFCA road and transport group had a significant number of meetings and the possibility of a temporary speed reduction trial.

Five months later, Mr Tim Golabek, Cllr Phil Haseler and Thames Valley Police have vetoed the change to the speed limit.

RBWM’s word is not their bond.

B R EMBERY

Resident of Braywood for 70 years


Theresa May was right not to applaud Boris

Unlike Fred Veevers I consider Theresa May’s refusal to applaud Boris Johnson as most laudable (Viewpoint, July 28).

I gave three cheers for her as I watched the news that evening.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing: all those MPs who had voted for his removal from the position of Prime Minister because of his appalling record of deceit and law-breaking while in office were clapping and cheering him!

I looked around the Conservative benches expecting to see others withholding their approval but Mrs May was the only one and I felt proud that she is my representative in Parliament although I have not always seen eye-to-eye with her.

I’m at a loss to understand what Boris Johnson’s achievements were.

He was most notable for repeatedly breaking the law and if it didn’t suit him or one of his fellow Conservative MPs, he was quick to say he’d change the law.

In every post he’s ever held he has been guilty of lying and cheating.

What remarkable inconsistency on the part of a majority of Conservative MPs that they wanted him gone because his appalling behaviour seemed to be drawing the public favour away from their party, but expressing enthusiastic approval for him as he was about to go.

Brexit is far from ’done’.

Our economy is worsening; our workforce is depleted; the Northern Ireland situation is putting at risk whatever goodwill remains between the UK and Europe and the bid to go against the Protocol which Boris Johnson signed up to risks our country being seen as a breaker of international law who cannot be trusted.

A respectable person can be trusted; lying, law-breaking and hypocrisy, I’m sure most people would agree, are to be shunned.

By withholding her applause Mrs May showed that she is the only member of this Government who acknowledges that.

The rest cannot be trusted.

Their actions, as were those of Boris Johnson, are governed purely by self-serving expediency.

And what of the British people?

Do the majority now approve of wrong-doing?

The two candidates who are competing to replace Boris as Prime Minister both claim to be his supporters even though the resignation of one of them contributed to his forced departure.

It’s time we voted for a change of Government to give the Opposition a chance to prove that we, as a nation, uphold truth, decency and the rule of law.

TESS MARSH

St Marks Crescent

Maidenhead

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