07:00PM, Friday 02 April 2021
Olfield traffic lights – more council stupidity
RBWM freely admits it is anti-car, and its development plans are designed to make a bad situation worse.
It is open to question as to whether it is also anti its residents, either wanting to lock them in or out of Maidenhead.
The A4’s ability to cope with traffic has already been severely compromised by all the developments along its route to Slough, but like the Suez canal, the alternatives to the A4 are all unpalatable.
Now the planners have created an obstacle that is as effective as the tanker blocking said canal in the form of traffic lights to replace the Oldfield roundabout, which previously worked passably well.
I tested the A4 early on Sunday morning when traffic is light and a journey to Waitrose is normally hassle-free, only to encounter a long tailback that would never be there normally.
I have lived in Maidenhead for over 50 years and I’ve witnessed many other RBWM stupidities, notably the traffic-calming measures on Ray Mead Road that were installed at considerable expense and inconvenience, only to be uninstalled shortly thereafter, incurring yet more expense and inconvenience.
For an authority that has teetered on bankruptcy, wasting tax revenues seems to be de rigueur and may explain part of the mess we are in!
Voter apathy to blame for new traffic lights?
In last week’s Advertiser (Viewpoint, March 25), Dr Brian Smith was complaining about yet more roadworks, this time at the junction of the A4 and Oldfield Road.
I was already angry about this load of nonsense, but now I realise that it’s in order to replace a perfectly functioning mini-roundabout with more traffic lights, I am very angry!
What idiots decided to cause all this temporary disruption, just to establish a more permanent disruption with a new set of traffic lights?
Once traffics lights are there, it will cause even more unnecessary delays along this stretch of road.
If you complain to the highways department they’ll say it’s ‘the councillors’ and if you complain to the the councillors they’ll say ‘it’s the highways department’ and so on…
In fact it’s a microcosm of the massive idiocy happening right now on the nearby M4.
Gangs of guys in high vis vests are busy turning the M4 into a death-trap, or as the useless politicians call it ‘a smart motorway’.
In reality, the reason local government in Maidenhead and indeed elsewhere, is so incompetent, is because people just cannot be bothered to vote or think about their vote.
And even if they do vote, in Maidenhead you could put up a good-looking pig with a blue rosette and the Tory faithful would vote for it – because that’s what they’ve always done.
A while back, I distributed leaflets for The Borough First party and I was met with a wall of apathy – people just can’t be bothered and so the mismanagement of Maidenhead continues.
So why can’t the idiots in Maidenhead council just take a look at nearby Marlow?
This is a town with masses of traffic and yet it has literally NO traffic lights – pedestrian lights, yes, but no actual traffic lights.
Apart from really major junctions, mini-roundabouts are a far preferable solution to traffic lights, because they are flexible and responsive to varying traffic flows.
MALCOLM JAMES STRETTEN
Gravely against bi-weekly bin collection
My wife and I are gravely concerned about the proposal to reduce the black bin collection from weekly to bi-weekly. We both recycle and use the food waste bin but often the black bin is full at the end of the week, especially when collections are delayed due to public holidays.
It is concerning that a councillor, when referring to a black bin question, said ‘get off your soap box’ as reported in the latest edition of the Maidenhead Advertiser (Viewpoint, March 25).
As a matter of interest, if black bin collections are reduced, I’m sure there will be a public reaction concerning council tax payments – something I would be happy to coordinate.
How to set ‘example of high standards’
No wonder many of us support issues and not parties.
‘As councillors of the Royal Borough we should be setting an example of ‘high standards’– words from Cllr Gurpreet Bhangra in last week’s Viewpoint (March 25), taking the moral high ground pretending a public letter will fix the issue of unprofessional councillor behaviour, which I agree should be repremanded.
In business behavioural situations with colleagues, you confront issues one on one, listen and understand reasons to create change.
Does the much-outdated partisan politics disable this effective approach and perpetuate ‘cheap shots’ in public without any resolution?
Look for root causes.
Council YouTube recordings show passionate frustration, leading to outbursts, has been caused by blatant abuse of power and destruction of the basic democratic process.
It is that, I as a resident, ‘look on in dismay’.
Take for example where the Conservative whip (a concept of course which puts party before the people and should be outlawed) interjected, with a ‘closure motion’ to stop an opposition councillor about to speak on critical constitutional change with what seemed a sound democratic request.
I wanted to hear that view and the council leader’s reasoning.
The whip didn’t even understand the process and wouldn’t retract his motion to which even the clerk blurted out an instinctive ‘what?’
Find that unbelievable? Look on YouTube, 2hr 19 mins into the RBWM council meeting June 23 last year.
Might I suggest Cllr Bhangra has a quiet, one-on-one, word behind closed doors with the party whip explaining quashing alternative views and disrespecting the democratic process is damaging to the bedrock of our society and the lack of transparency causes resident distrust, leads to outbursts, undermines the council in general and is the antithesis of ‘high standards’.
He can find the whip’s details on the web; his name is Cllr Bhangra.
Bank ‘doesn’t give a damn’ for the elderly
Following on from last week’s report from Jay Wilkinson (Viewpoint, March 25) about the HSBC Bank Maidenhead closing their counter service, I also was told that this service was to be closed starting July 1.
This again is the bank not giving a damn for elderly customers like me who have to draw out money over and above what the machines will supply.
Account holders should now think about moving their accounts to a bank that will keep this service going.
I for one will.
What about when you want to give the grandchildren a little for Christmas and birthdays?
I should be allowed to draw whatever I like from ‘my account’ when I want and how much I want and in what form I want.
I do not want to travel to Marlow, Reading, Beaconsfield, or Slough for this service.
Maidenhead should still supply this service for its customers, if not it will be the loser in all this.
This is another nail in the coffin for cash which some of us have to work with, not internet or phone banking.
How long will it be before Marlow, Reading, Beaconsfield or Slough also adopt this policy?
Not long I bet, then cash as we know it will be gone.
Be very careful what you wish for HSBC.
NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED
Speed camera pointing at floor for five years
It was interesting to read (Advertiser, March 25) that a vandalised Braywick Road speed camera was ‘currently’ pointing towards the ground.
Its been like that for at least four-and-a-half to five years! I used to drive past it on my way home from work every day and I retired at Christmas 2016!
There’s another one in Maidenhead in a similar condition and has been so for around the same amount of time.
I wonder if anyone knows where it is?
Share your memories of the Royal Family
On behalf of Maidenhead Heritage Centre I would like to use Viewpoint to appeal to Advertiser readers to help us add personal touches to a Zoom lecture called ‘God Save The Queen’, which we are giving on April 14 to mark the 95th birthday of the monarch a week later.
It would be wonderful if some readers could share memories or anecdotes of any meetings they may have had with senior members of the Royal Family – or even personal photos.
They can contact us via email email@example.com or via post to 18 Park Street, Maidenhead SL6 1SL.
Maidenhead Heritage Centre
Swift police work to thank for conviction
I would like to record my appreciation for the work of our local police force.
One afternoon last May, our daughter, not a young girl, was in our house on her own.
As she came down the stairs, she was surprised to encounter a strange man in the hallway.
He had apparently entered the house via an unlocked door.
In an ensuing chase, our daughter, quite a feisty lady, was knocked to the ground in the driveway and suffered minor injuries.
I was amazed by the police response.
Within five minutes of calling 999 two plain clothes detectives were with us.
Following on from them, several other policemen arrived and it was not until five hours later at 8pm that the last Crime Scene Investigator left our house.
I understand that the police found some of the assailant’s DNA on our front door and as a result they were able to match this with a person who had apparently been committing several other crimes in the area.
We just learned that last week the man concerned was sentenced to six years at Reading Crown Court.
It is very easy to criticise the police but I would like to thank and congratulate them for all the hard work they put in to solving this crime and seeing the culprit successfully brought to justice.
Freedom of speech does not mean lawlessness
In reply to the letter in last week’s Advertiser (Viewpoint, March 25) regarding the revision of the ‘alarming crime bill’, I would respectfully suggest that after the appalling scenes of violence in Bristol over the past week this would exemplify exactly why we do need the law changed.
‘Freedom of speech’ does not mean smashing up buildings, vandalising and setting fire to police vehicles, one of which had police still inside, and attacking the police themselves – the protests taken over by the hard left activists yet again.
Even the Mayor of Bristol himself commented that the lawlessness on show will be used as evidence and promote the need for the bill.
Given that mass gatherings are currently banned under the coronavirus legislation, for those of us who have stayed at home to save lives and the NHS for over a year, I am not alone in getting angry at seeing pictures of thousands of unmasked anti-vaxers and demonstrators marauding through UK cities, culminating in violence towards police and property.
Government ‘stingey’ compared to Scots
Following previous correspondence, I see that now the Scottish government, who have devolved powers, have gone one step further – or more accurately four steps further – than our Government by offering a 4 per cent pay rise to NHS staff in Scotland.
This will be backdated to December 1 last year and they have also rewarded all staff with a £500 one-off payment last November, in recognition of their extraordinary service last year.
All this is in stark contrast to the situation in England where our Government has recommended a 1 per cent increase from April, which will go to the pay review body to decide.
This makes our Government here look stingy in comparison as they have not recognised NHS staff adequately. Incidentally, I am no fan of independence, as I believe in the UK as a whole, but you can see why the Scottish Nationalists are on the rise.
I would add that despite my repeated requests on this subject I have still had no response from Theresa May’s office.
‘Patriotic’ view on the Government shambles
What a pleasure it was to read Richard Poad's Viewpoint letter (March 25).
A local historian and distinguished pilot, he expounded a patriotic, considered view on the shambles created by the most mendacious government of the post-war era.
Unlike the laughable nationalistic bleatings of some, Richard gave a clear analysis of a cabinet cabal assembled to agree with the worst Prime Minister in living memory, which Theresa May, no moderate herself, has seen fit to disagree with.
Many will look forward to more letters from Richard.
Link between plastic and reproduction
It’s the report that we at Plastic Free Windsor have been waiting for – a link between plastic and human reproductive health.
It was only a matter of time.
The impact of hormone disrupting chemicals on reproductive health in dolphins, in particular the killer whale, has been suspected for some time.
To imagine a similar impact on reproductive health in humans isn’t much of a stretch.
Shanna Swan is a professor of environmental medicine and public health at Mount Sinai school of medicine in New York City.
In 2017, she published data demonstrating that average sperm count in western men had fallen by over 50 per cent between 1973 and 2011.
Today, April 1, 2021, Simon and Schuster publish Professor Swann’s new book, Countdown, in which she identifies phthalates and bisphenol A as the most worrying chemicals for human reproductive health.
Phthalates lower testosterone and sperm count in men, while decreasing libido and increasing risk of premature ovarian failure, miscarriage and premature birth in women.
Bisphenol A mimics oestrogen and increases risk of reduced fertility in women.
In men it decreases sperm quality, reduces libido, and causes higher rates of erectile dysfunction.
Phthalates are widely used in the manufacture of plastic to make it soft.
Bisphenol A is used to harden it.
Extrapolating scientific data is a risky business, but extending Professor
Swann’s curve for reducing sperm count in western men between 1973 and 2011 predicts that by 2045, most couples planning to start or add to their family may have to take advantage of assisted reproduction.
These findings demonstrate just how important it is that as individuals we reduce our own dependence on single use plastic, particularly where food and drink is concerned, and that as a society we stop manufacturing plastic that is intended to be used once and thrown away.
Plastic Free Windsor
Brexit chickens are coming home to roost
It turns out I was wrong to think someone was impersonating Dr D R Cooper in your pages.
It seems the correspondent bemoaning Boris Johnson’s ‘crass betrayal’ of Northern Ireland which ‘puts at risk the integrity of the UK’ was after all the same writer who has argued so long and so loudly for Brexit (Viewpoint, March 25).
Probable authenticity is suggested by the usual mix of unsupported assertion (a free trade deal with the EU airily dismissed as worth no more than six months’ trend growth) and blaming George Osborne for everything.
But the clincher has to be the risible claim that a WTO trading arrangement with the EU (requiring a hard border in Ireland) would protect the UK from breaking up.
It is not the Trade and Co-operation Agreement nor the Northern Irish Protocol which have destabilised the UK, and may well lead to its disintegration, it is the exit of the UK from the EU against the democratic wishes of the people of both Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The (unchlorinated for now) chickens are coming home to roost, and Dr Cooper will search in vain for someone else to blame.
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