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Crocuses bloom to promote battle to end polio

Blooming crocuses planted alongside the heart of the Maidenhead Waterways project have emerged from the soil.

Back in November, volunteers from the Friends of Maidenhead, the Maidenhead Waterways Group and the Maidenhead Thames Rotary Club planted 5,000 bulbs by the town’s library and new amphitheatre-style space.

The initiative was organised as part of Rotary International’s worldwide campaign to promote the final eradication of polio across the globe.

But as the town’s £5million waterways renovation continues to gather pace, the blooming of the colourful flowers perhaps also represents the seeds of change in the town.

Friends of Maidenhead chairman John Carr said: “The various improvements are all coming together to make this a very attractive area.

“With the new waterway, the amphitheatre, new apartments and cafes, the new footbridge to be installed shortly, and with enhancements like the crocuses it will become a popular area to visit.”

Richard Davenport, chairman of the trustees of the Maidenhead Waterways Group, said: “We anticipate that the current works on the first phase of the project will be completed at the end of this year.

“The weir at Green Lane will be added early next year and that will be like putting the plug in the bath.”

The complex project, which was granted planning permission back in 2012, intends to restore Maidenhead’s riverside setting through a host of improvement works including stream widening and the creation of embankments and towpaths.

A new footbridge by Maidenhead Library linking footpaths either side of York Stream is also likely to be installed by the summer, according to Mr Davenport.

Cllr David Evans (Con, Hurley and Walthams), the Royal Borough’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: “The waterways will be an integral part of creating a new civic square centre here in the centre of Maidenhead with culture and heritage.

“This programme is going to evolve over the next five or six years as we regenerate Maidenhead and it’s going to help bring people to the town.

“The imperative at the moment is to get this first stage completed and we then need to find the funding for the second stage of the town centre ‘ring’.”

The three men were joined by Cllr Asghar Majeed (Con, Oldfield) on Friday to catch a glimpse at the results from last November’s crocus planting.

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