'Busy and narrow' Maidenhead road needs 'upgrade', meeting told

A councillor has called for the ‘busy and narrow’ Harvest Hill Road to benefit from pedestrian and cycling improvement works.

A Royal Borough full council meeting was held on Tuesday at Maidenhead Town Hall where a petition urging the authority to improve active travel measures along the route was presented to councillors.

Started by Councillor Ross McWilliams (Con, Cox Green), it was read out at the meeting on his behalf by fellow ward councillor Phil Haseler (Con) – but with 592 signatures, it did not meet the threshold to be debated by members.

In a speech, Cllr Haseler said that the matter should be taken up by the highways team, adding that the route is used by many different types of road user.

He said that by making it more accessible for active travel, it would help to connect people with areas such as the Braywick Leisure Centre and Bray.

“The section of Harvest Hill Road between Kimbers Lane and Braywick Road is a busy, narrow, single carriageway, unlit route subject to a 40mph limit,” Cllr Haseler said.

“The route is used by various categories of road user, with no provision for safe walking or cycling, creating a potentially hazardous situation.

“An infrastructure upgrade creating a safe walking and cycling route is badly needed and will encourage sustainable modes of transport, positively contributing to the climate emergency, whilst at the same time increasing pedestrian safety.

“I strongly urge the council to put this matter on the infrastructure upgrade agenda.”

The subject of the climate emergency was continued later in the meeting when Cllr Donna Stimson (Con, St Mary’s) presented a motion for council to acknowledge the work being done to ensure the borough meets its green targets.

She asked councillors to agree to holding an online Royal Borough summit during the UN COP26 event in Glasgow in November.

“We have to go faster and involve more groups, businesses and individuals,” Cllr Stimson said. “There should be no doubters amongst us anymore.”

The lead member for climate change added that she would also be bringing forward a proposal to cabinet tonight (Thursday) to form a ‘climate partnership’ between the local authority and sustainability groups.

But opposition councillor Simon Werner (Lib Dem, Pinkneys Green) blasted the motion, saying it did not talk about the future.

“We are hearing words but we are not seeing action,” he said. “We are seeing action from community groups but not any leadership from the council, and that is what people need and expect.

“Nothing in the motion talks about the future and what is going to happen to speed up the council’s efforts.”

This was later lamented by housing lead member Cllr McWilliams, who said that the borough is showing leadership and is also in the process of applying for Government funding to help improve the energy performance of social homes.

The Royal Borough declared a climate emergency back in June 2019

Also discussed at Tuesday's meeting were plans to bring back a Royal Borough residents discount scheme for parking, as well as talk on the Borough Local Plan and what would be done if full council was to vote against it.

Read more on all of that here

There was also discussion on the split of virtual and in-person meetings of the Royal Borough. 

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