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Theresa May gives views on Lowbrook, housing and homelessness in election interview

Advertiser reporter Will Taylor spoke to Conservative Party general election candidate and Prime Minister Theresa May. In this extended version of the interview published on our website on May 22, she discusses issues including Lowbrook Academy, housing and homelessness.

ON BREXIT:

“I voted for remain myself, but the way I look at it is very simple,” Mrs May said.

“We had a referendum, Parliament said to the British people it was their choice and overall a majority of people decided to leave. So I think it’s important the government actually respects the will of the people.”

She said the Conservatives are ‘the only party absolutely saying in government we will ensure we deliver what people have voted for, which is Brexit’.

“But what I see, what I feel, and hear from people I talk to in Maidenhead, but also around the country is, whether people voted leave or remain, there’s an overwhelming feeling of ‘let’s get on with it, let’s make a success of it’.”


ON HOUSE BUILDING:

“Greenbelt is something we do want to work to protect. But we also need to ensure we’ve got more homes being built. Councils should only look at the greenbelt if they’ve exhausted all other reasonable opportunities,” she said.

“Obviously, I prefer to see development taking place on brownfield sites. The problem here for the Royal Borough is they don’t have many sites available that are not starting to encroach on green spaces, or on greenbelt.

“So it’s a difficult balance the council has to achieve because a lot of people in the town would recognise they want to see more homes, because there are people here who want to be able to live in Maidenhead and it’s very difficult.

“As you know I’ve been a long-standing supporter of the Save Poundfield campaign, so there are some very specific areas I don’t want to see developed.”

Discussing Maidenhead Golf Course in Shoppenhangers Road, Mrs May said: “Some people don’t want to see it developed full stop. But for those who recognise some development may need to take place, the question is how is it done? And are they going to maintain as far as possible the character of the area?

“Lots of people enjoy walking their dogs in the woods there. There’s more to that site than the golf course actually and it’s important, if the council is looking at that site that look at it very carefully and sensitively.”


ON SCHOOLS:

“I did a lot of work with Lowbrook to help to get the council to agree in the first place they could expand to a two-form entry school.

“It’s a hugely popular school, yet we see people who live very close to it not able to get their children in. The expansion of Lowbrook is important. I was very heavily involved, I had a number of meetings to get that initial decision to expand.

“There is this question that the money was made available from the council and to be fair to Lowbrook, at the time, they said they didn’t think it was going to be enough. And the council said, ‘no, we think it’s enough’. You’ve got a situation where Lowbrook thought the council knew they wanted a bigger hall and the council thought they were agreeing to a smaller hall. So we’ve got to bring those together somehow and once the council’s able to go public again after purdah, I hope they’re going to provide a solution to this.

“What I want in schools is genuinely for every child to have a good school place, and that’s why I want to see a diversity of provision.

“We’ve already seen more children in good or outstanding schools as a result of opening it up to free schools and allowing more academies to be introduced.”

She added: “So we want diversity of the system, and I want parents to feel whichever school their child is going to, whether it’s a comprehensive, a grammar school, a faith school, an academy or free school, they’re getting a really good quality of education and the best start in life.”


ON HEATHROW:

“There are people here who feel very strongly about it, because they’re concerned about the noise implications. There are also a lot of people here who have their jobs connected to Heathrow.

“Obviously becoming Prime Minister meant I had to look at the national interest, in terms of airport expansion. We’d already accepted as a government South-east airport capacity needed to expand, and looking at all studies it was clear the preference was for Heathrow.

“It’s a slightly different scheme from the one previously as one of the key issues, one of the most frequently raised with me, is night flights.

“And, of course, we are looking to bringing even greater curbs in relation to night flights for the expanded Heathrow. So that’s why I say I think there are some differences to this scheme that mitigate some of the problems people here had identified.”


ON HOMELESSNESS:

“There’s a number of things we can do. In the manifesto we have made some commitments particularly in relation to rough sleeping, and over a period of years bringing an end to it.”

She added: “Obviously if they become homeless you want to find the solution. But if you can prevent it in the first place it’s an even better way to go, so that’s where I want to see the focus that we’re doing. Alongside building more homes we will be taking some specific action.”


 The interview was conducted on Sunday, May 21. We chose not to publish it last week as campaigning was suspended after the Manchester terrorist attack.

Watch extracts from the interview in the short video below.

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  • pef24

    23:11, 02 June 2017

    Fight the use of free votes for school funding decisions, sign the Petition for kidsbeforepolitics.org.uk #LA60PAN

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  • Carlyb

    19:07, 01 June 2017

    If this was a commercial enterprise, if I managed my funding agreements and negotiations at work In this way, I'd get sacked. Whilst I'm happy to hear that Mrs May remains supportive, I'm yet to see Cllr Dudley acting with any proactivity or professionalismto see this through. Personal gains vs public interest. Come on cllr, press on.

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  • craig

    19:07, 01 June 2017

    Lowbrook wrote to Cllr Dudley on the 28th of February outlining that they would be taking 30 if funding could not be agreed, letter is on the school website. Every letter since has reiterated this. Well before Purdah. This rebuts Cllr Dudleys comments in the paper today - "I was disappointed to hear we would not be taking 30 in September even if funding is agreed" And what are they voting on come the 19th. The school has not been involved in this paper to date. They have ignored the letters from the Governors and Mr Rooney???? I must reiterate the scheme was drawn up and endorsed by RBWM by Kevin McDaniel. This is fact as demonstrated by minutes and TLR declaration. In addition Kevin's email to Mr Rooney , also on website, confirms that the budget group supported the design and asked him to draw up a paper saying so. The arguments in the paper today were spin and should be challenged as such. It's the same old tired line which serves no purpose other then to upset parents with needless delays.

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