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Viewpoint letters (April 4)

Featuring debate on town centre changes, cycle paths, the Borough Local Plan and Marsh Meadow . Scroll down for all of this week's letters.

Staff reporter

Staff reporter

Viewpoint letters (April 4)

One reader has called for the Sutton Road speed limit to be lowered

‘Dynamic forward-looking place to live’

Congratulations to the Advertiser, which seems to have a more positive outlook on the town and it’s regeneration in the last few weeks.

It certainly makes a better read.

While some growing pains are inevitable for the town I do believe that the end result will be a dynamic, forward-looking place to live with modern facilities and a strong array of shops, bars and restaurants.

So much of our future depends on the Maidenhead residents getting behind the town and promoting it from within.

Instead of complaining about Maidenhead’s past failings let’s start telling everyone about the exciting future that lays ahead.

The various developments, including Crossrail, the new leisure centre, the waterway, are all just a part of it.

The developers are asking the townsfolk for ideas on what could be done to enhance further the current plans.

My personal wish list includes a youth club established in the town for teenagers with perhaps a graffiti zone; a fountain splash park for small children in one of the new squares; water bottle refill posts; rowing boat or canoe hire for the new waterway; a permanent indoor market for crafts and fledgling shops; a pitch and putt course; goal posts in some of the parks; more litter and dog bins; more planting around the town including central reservations and some allotments available for those without a garden.

If you have some positive comments and great ideas about what you think would work in the town don’t hesitate to tell the developers, the council or the viewpoint page of the Advertiser.

GREG JONES

Court Road

Maidenhead


Cycle path won’t stop cyclists using pavement

Like it or not, I see we are going to get a cycle path along the Bucks section of the A4 and have the additional pleasure of months of yet more road works and traffic hold-ups.

However, I have a major safety concern about the cycleway, which will stop just before Maidenhead Bridge.

Are cyclists going to take their lives in their hands and return to the road to cross the bridge? Or are they going to dismount and walk on the footpath?

No, of course not! Mostly they are going to ride on the narrow pavements on the bridge thus forcing pedestrians to flatten themselves against the balustrades as usual.

A further danger with the bridge is that you cannot see over the brow of the hump.

I once saw a cyclist on the Skindles side pavement riding so fast that he was actually overtaking the traffic on the road. Anyone walking unsighted out of Mill Lane would have be obliterated.

On another occasion, as I was about to turn left from River Road towards Maidenhead, a cyclist came swooping straight off the bridge in front of mewithout hesitation or even a glance to check the traffic.

Did it not occur to her that, since she was on a pavement, she should do what any sensible pedestrian would have done and look left and right before crossing?

No, she was wearing earphones so was in a world of her own.

Luckily for her, I slammed on my brakes and she didn’t end up in the next world!

I forecast an accident waiting to happen.

CAROLINE GILLIES

Ellington Road

Taplow


Cllr Dudley has failed on all four promises

According to a comment made by Cllr Dudley on March 13 to the Bray Annual Electors Meeting, Maidenhead was sprawling towards the greenbelt and this should not be allowed to happen in orderto maintain the beautiful villages.

If there is any danger of Maidenhead sprawling into the likes of Bray and Holyport, he only has himself to blame.

When Cllr Dudley took over as lead councillor of the Royal Borough, he promised to deliver four things:

1) residents first (depending on which side of the greenbelt you live)

2) value for money (electioneering banners which should have been paid for by the local Conservative Party and not the local taxpayer)

3) deliver together (your guess is as good as mine)

4) equipping ourselves for the future ( I presume that’s a reference to the high rise blocks which will swamp the town centre and should be re-named Chicago).

Since he has failed in all four categories, it’s time for him to step aside and make way for councillors who have formed a new party (The Borough First) in order to restore faith and respect in local government.

HELEN HYMAN

Riverside ward


Borough Local Plan is not fit for purpose

On March 11 our Council issued a Borough Wide Design Guide for comment.

The guide is intended to be the basis for a Supplementary Plan of Development for future use in all developments taking place in Windsor and Maidenhead.

Based on my interactions with our planning department and their processes over the past few years I would welcome anything that helps the council make consistent and coherent planning decisions; in truth it seems they need all the help they can get.

Remember the Hindu Temple at Boulters Lock; the Riviera Hotel fiasco; the Vicus Way car park debacle? What is happening with Maidenhead golf course?

I rest my case.

Unfortunately the guide states that it supports our existing Local Plan – a plan dating from 1999 with some policies saved since 2003.

This means the council is trying to support policies that are in some cases20 years out of date.

One must question why the councilwould bother issuing the guide at thistime especially as the guide actually says the council intends to replace the Local Plan ‘in due course’.

The answer is simple.

Our council has completely failed residents by pursuing a Borough LocalPlan over the past three years that is notfit for purpose.

The Borough Local Plan has been questioned by the Planning Inspectorate, raising issues on plans to build homeson flood plain and green belt land without full justification.

The result – our Borough Local Plan languishes in limbo with no hope of approval unless radically changed.

Our council is unwilling or unable to tackle this issue.

A key policy of The Borough First (tBf) is to re-visit the Borough Local Plan, which will commence as soon as the local council elections in May are over.

The Borough First will work with residents and local businesses to ensure we get a BLP that is fit for purpose and then we will prepare and consult on the Supplementary Planning Documents that are necessary to help us make sensible planning decisions.

To bring order to our Borough planning is essential-we are contemplating massive decisions in regenerating Maidenhead town centre and building entire new communities.

This must be done with care for our existing communities and our future needs.

Our existing Council has failed us all on planning issues and this must not be allowed to continue.

Vote for your tBf candidate on May 2 so we can make sense of planning in our borough.

MICK JARVIS

Riverside ward candidate for The Borough First 


Meadow donation would be welcomed

It was interesting to read the letter in the Advertiser from Mr Geoffrey Copas (Viewpoint, March 21) regarding Marsh Meadow, which is adjacent to Cookham Village, and we’re very pleased he’s committed to keeping this valuable space open to the public.

Public use of Marsh Meadow was secured due to a planning condition from the Royal Borough, when Copas Farms Ltd were given permission to develop business use at Lower Mount Farm in Cookham Rise, in part to make up for the subsequent loss of the greenbelt at the farm.

Copas Farms Ltd recently applied to make permanent the business use at Lower Mount Farm and unfortunately approval was recommended by the RBWM planning officers.

We believe this is the wrong decision, as it is not good for the principle of no development in the greenbelt and willlead to increased traffic and noise pollution in a rural area and that’s why Cookham Parish Council strongly objected to the application.

We have no doubt that if Mr Copas offered to donate Marsh Meadow to the parish council and village, it would be welcomed with open arms and this would certainly secure it’s future for public use by residents and visitors alike.

COUNCILLORS IAN WERNHAM & JANE PERRY

Cookham Village Ward

Cookham Parish Council


Widbrook Common 60mph limit too high

I live on Sutton Road on the stretch between Widbrook and the 30mph speed limit for Cookham, so cars can and do drive at 60mph if not more.

The road is narrow, bendy, with poor sight lines, especially for residents turning onto Sutton Road.

There have been two serious accident on this stretch in five days!

Last Friday, a Veolia operative suffered severe head injuries and was airlifted to the John Radcliffe Trauma unit in Oxford after being hit by a car.

Today (Tuesday) the first house after Widbrook was seriously damaged whena car ploughed into it! Fortunately no one was at home.

There is a large hole in the wall andthe corner of the house is badly damaged.I do not know whether the driver suffered any injuries.

I am a parish councillor and have been trying to get the speed limit on this stretch of road lowered for some time.

Many people walk along this road to get to work in Maidenhead, there is no footpath or pavement so it is difficult and dangerous especially in the winter months in inclement weather and poor light.

It seems absurd that the speed limit on the other main road into Cookham is 40mph when it is wider, straighter and has a pavement down one side for the whole length and on both sides for part of its length.

I do hope that RBWM will now reconsider the speed limit on this stretch of road.

I have lived here for about 12 years and there have been several serious accidents in that time and countless minor ones.

Our house faces Widbrook Common and we have often opened our curtains and seen cars embedded in the fence along the road or on the Common itself.

Speed is a serious problem on this road.

Cllr JANE PERRY

Sutton Road

Cookham


Drivers using Waitrose car park as cut through

On March 12, upon crossing the London Road entrance to the Waitrose store, Twyford, I was knocked down by a fast moving car entering the store car park.

I subsequently sustained severe injuries to my right hand and arm, from which Ihave yet to fully recover.

The car was being driven at a considerable speed, the driver admitted not to have seen me, also admitting he was in a hurry to collect his child from nursery and presumably using Waitrose car park as a quick cut through, thus missing the village traffic lights and coming out onto the Wargrave Road.

Wokingham Borough Council have agreed in theory that to have a zebra crossing at the London Road entrance (there is already a raised walkway) would be sensible, however the wheels of bureaucracy are slow to turn.

Undoubtedly if my accident had happened to a child, I fear it would have been cranial injuries sustained with possibly a fatal outcome.

M I ELDERFIELD

Chaseside Avenue

Twyford


Call to help preserve our local wildlife areas 

As a lifelong conservationist, I am keen to see preserved as much of our local natural environment as possible, while aware that progress and development will continue, of course.

The degree to which we as a community share appreciation of our natural surroundings can be measured by the degree of concern for the creation in the use and management of the land around us.

Members of our local wildlife groups, such as Wild Maidenhead and Wild Cookham, have been impressed with some of the features that have been, and are being, developed at Thriftwood near Ockwells Park, since the land was obtained by the Royal Borough, and we equally hope that a similar approach can be adopted at the more recently acquired Battlemead Common in Cookham.

Decisions taken now can readily consign decades of natural wilderness and its resident creatures to simply an open parkland over-pressured by access which will immediately deprive wintering birds of this natural wetland environment and rare breeding owls of the peace and quiet they have been accustomed to.

That wonderful story of familiar and much-loved characters of the fields and willows penned by our very own Kenneth Grahame stemmed from his deep appreciation of the Cookham he knew in his day.

May I urge every reader to please go to this website (http://bbowt.org.uk/wilder) and watch the video contained.

I would then urge everyone to join our local Widlife Trust and engage in the battle to preserve what we can of our birds, bees, badgers and bluebells and to help our Borough representative to achieve something to be proud of to pass on to the next generation; a wilder future.

BRIAN CLEWS

Broomhill

Cookham


‘We don’t want to live in a world of waste’

In the fortnight that RBWM disbanded their sustainability panel, while hundreds of thousands of children across the world walked out of classrooms demandingaction on climate change, I was privilegedto be invited to attend a Maidenhead primary school and listen to the pupil’s views on what needs to be done.

They wrote to our local representatives and, rather than steal their thunder, I thought their demands speak for themselves:

“There are 36 football pitches of trees that are cut down every minute to make roads, houses, paper and furniture …26 orangutans being killed every day ... Deforestation is a problem for everyone … if we don’t stop then we humans will be dead and so will the animals; they aren’t doing anything to us, but we are and it’s not fair… animals will be extinct, and we don’t want that to happen, do we? It would be very sad if it did happen.” – Girl aged seven.

“… Did you know that the UK wastes approximately 7.3 million tonnes of food every year? Wasting this food costs the average household in Britain £470 a year. ... In France they have a law that supermarkets aren’t allowed to destroy unsold food. They are forced to give it to charities. This will feed millions of people who can’t afford to eat. Could we have a law like this in our country? ... This affects my future. My generation don’t want to live in a world of waste. Please fix this problem as soon as you can. ” – Girl aged eight.

“We could stop this by buying food from local shops and not getting your food from the other side of the world, we could recycle what we don’t need, we could reuse our items and we also need to spread the word.” – Boy aged seven.

“You should buy an anaerobic digester for every county because it helps reduce food waste. Our food waste is currently going to Oxfordshire and is recycled there. Landfill is one of the biggest problems. It releases methane gas which damages our ozone layer and creates global warming. ... My future is in your hands. You need to make a difference.” – Girl aged eight.

Everyone has the power to do something; heed these children’s words and take action.

If you would like to show your support, please join me at a plastic-free picnic protest, 12-2pm, April 12 outside theTown Hall.

SARAH BOWDEN

Boyn Hill Road

Maidenhead


‘Foreign influence and voter manipulation’ – we need to vote again

Ms May hailed the referendum as ‘a great exercise in democracy,’ but a House of Commons inquiry found ‘foreign influence and voter manipulation’ in the referendum vote and also the broadcast of fakenews, such as the notorious‘£350m-a-week for the NHS’ claim emblazoned on bright red buses.

A data firm potentially enabled it to precisely target enough voters on social media to have swayed the referendum result.

With 6million signatures having signed the ‘Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU’ petition, it now makes sense to have a new public vote - another Brexit referendum.

Perhaps businesses should also be heard to have their say in the vote?

BRUCE ADAMS

Cox Green Lane

Maidenhead


PM must press hard for independent trade policy

We all know that Prime Minister Theresa May repeatedly pledged that we would leave the EU on March 29, but has now broken her word.

Perhaps less widely known is that she has also repeatedly stated that we must have our own independent trade policy after we have left the EU.

Why, then, did she fail to appear toargue that case when MPs were debating whether we should seek a continuing customs union with the EU?

Would she really be content to see this country reduced to the same humiliating position as Turkey, which has foolishly accepted EU control of its trade policy without any say, even to the extent ofbeing forced to open its market to other countries without any reciprocation on their part?

If not, if she does not want us to be treated by Brussels in the same way that London treated the American colonies before they finally rose up and freed themselves, why did she not knock this crazy idea on the head the moment it was first proposed by the Labour party?

Over the past two and half years wehave witnessed the extraordinary spectacle of a government which never attempts to refute attacks upon its central officialpolicy, and in fact sometimes appears to be the original source of scare stories and other fallacious criticisms.

Dr D R COOPER

Belmont Park Avenue

Maidenhead


Revoking Article 50 a betrayal of democracy

I am writing because I believe I must do so in order to stand up for the remnants of democratic sentiment present in today’s political discourse.

I am not in favour of the present EU Withdrawal Agreement, nor am I particularly favourable towards the UK leaving on WTO terms, nor is an extension and renegotiation an ideal option.

However, it is right that the people, whether directly via a referendum, or indirectly via Parliament, should have a say on the deal.

Those who once scorned Gina Miller and her legal appeal would now find themselves thankful that Theresa May cannot ratify her deal without the assent of Parliament, which would otherwise find us in the‘worse-than-remain’ position of Norway – unable to influence the stream of trade regulations coming towards them.

It has been my personal position since the referendum that we should have a second referendum on an approve/ renegotiate basis.

Of course, I am in no position of power such that my personal consistency matters. Consistency in the application of the principles of democracy, however, does.

There is no mandate whatsoever for the revocation of Article 50.

As a point of principle, a second referendum should not have included the option to remain, because this had already been decided against.

The ambiguity, tardiness and politicalbias of the People’s Vote campaign have hitherto smothered any principled suggestion of a second referendum by alienating Leave voters.

As for the ‘the ability to change our mind’ argument, it is often collocated with ‘now we know what Brexit looks like’, or with a statement invoking the devastation of leaving on WTO terms.

The referendum, however, was a question of whether to leave or remain, regardless of what either would ‘look like’.

While advisory, Parliament’s decision to evoke Article 50 – in awareness and acknowledgement of a no-deal possibility – was predicated on the referendum result.

A decision to revoke Article 50 – on the basis of the avoidance of no-deal – would therefore have to be predicated on the reversal of the referendum result.

Since the people are sovereign over Parliament, this could only be a betrayal of democratic principles.

GEORGE WRIGHT

Maidenhead


Please sign petition for air gun regulation

Cats Protection is always horrified to learn of cases where cats have been injured or killed after being shot with an air gun.

Sadly, we regularly receive reports of  horrific cases across England and Wales where cats have suffered agonising injuries – often fatal – as a result of the indiscriminate use of air guns.

Cats that survive frequently sustain life-changing injuries from air gun attacks, such as limb amputation or loss of an eye.

Cats that survive frequently sustain life-changing injuries from air gun attacks, such as limb amputation or loss of an eye. Furthermore, a 2016 Cats Protection survey of vets found that 46 per cent of reported incidents result in fatalities.

Many of your readers may be shocked to learn that air guns are unlicensed in England and Wales, meaning that they can be legally owned by anyone over the age of 18. This is in contrast with Scotland and Northern Ireland, which both have sensible, modern laws in place to regulate who can own an air gun.

Cats Protection is determined to change this, and our petition calling on the Government to introduce the licensing of air guns in England and Wales has gathered over 110,000 signatures.

The Government launched a review into air weapons legislation in October 2017, including a consultation which concluded on February 6 2018, but have still not reported their next steps.  

In the meantime, your readers can help by signing our petition at www.cats.org.uk/airgunspetition

JACQUI CUFF

Head of advocacy & government relations, Cats Protection

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