06:09PM, Thursday 28 January 2021
A parking strategy for the Royal Borough was accused of leaving behind residents in West Windsor as councillors and public speakers locked horns.
The strategy, which outlines the council’s roadmap for parking up to the year 2025, was adopted at a cabinet meeting in November.
But the paper received more scrutiny at a Windsor Town Forum meeting this week, with a public speaker claiming people in West Windsor had been ‘disadvantaged’.
John Webb said that the council has provided ‘no alternatives’ for driving into town from this side.
“If you can’t ride a bike or walk, what can you do? The buses are virtually non-existent,” he said at Wednesday’s meeting.
Mr Webb asked whether there were other specific council strategies for laying on more public transport, and proposed a possible ‘shuttle’ service to serve residents.
He added: “It just seems to be completely ignored. If you had shuttle systems running up and down Dedworth Road, Maidenhead Road and St Leonards Road, it can get people in and out of town quickly.
“You would cut down the car usage massively, if that is what your objective is. Why should people in West Windsor be disadvantaged?”
Meeting chairman Councillor John Bowden (Con, Eton and Castle) debated with Mr Webb over the issues he had raised, claiming the council was in a ‘no-win situation’.
He said: “People are trying to discourage vehicle use from air quality perspectives, and yet we have still got to allow parking. How can we accommodate every possibility?”
“Who is going to pay for these buses?”, Cllr Bowden added.
Mr Webb replied: “We seem to be putting money into lots of other schemes elsewhere, but we keep forgetting about what could actually take the most people off the roads.”
Opposition councillors Helen Price (TBF, Clewer and Dedworth East) and Neil Knowles (WWRA, Old Windsor) advised the council that they should use the adopted parking strategy ‘alongside’ a public transport policy.
Cllr Price said: “You have got to bring strategies from different areas together so it is integrated.
“And as Mr Webb has said, if you can encourage 10 per cent of people who previously went by car, to go by bus, then you are saving costs. You won’t need car parks to be built.”
The issue over a potential park and ride for Windsor was also debated, with Cllr Knowles asking the council to look at ‘the traffic flow into Windsor and the direction it goes in’.
He recalled that when living in Arthur Road, he could not open his windows in the summer due to car fumes outside.
Neil Walter, the council’s parking principal, said this was something that has been ‘kicked around’ during his 20-plus years at the Royal Borough.
“All of these things are still out there. I have a number of concerns and ideas about a park and ride, and how it could work to serve our two main towns,” Mr Walter said.
The issue will be discussed ‘in the coming years of this strategy’, he added.
During his debate with Mr Webb, Cllr Bowden had claimed there was ‘no site available’ for a park and ride.
Mr Walter also told members his team has previously had ‘various ideas’ concerning a circular route in and out of Windsor, taking in Arthur, Alma and Clarence roads, ‘to reduce traffic congestion in those busy areas during the summer’.
The meeting had earlier heard from Thames Valley Police Chief Inspector Tracey Croucher, who claimed COVID rule-breakers at Windsor hotspots were becoming 'a bit of a nightmare'. Read more on that here.
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