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Viewpoint letters (May 9, 2019)

Featuring debate on the local election results, climate change and Heathrow expansion. Scroll down for all of this week's letters.

Staff reporter

Staff reporter

Viewpoint letters (May 9, 2019)

Largest single-party in the opposition

Thank you to everyone who came out to vote on Thursday.

Within the Royal Borough and nationally, the Liberal Democrats enjoyed success at the ballot box.

There will be nine of us in the new council, eight more than in the current one. This is a reflection of both the dedicated campaigning of our ward teams as well as the residents’ demand for change.

The Liberal Democrats are now the largest single-party in opposition on the council.

This gives us the opportunity to provide the balance and scrutiny that residents want.

We are eager to work with the residents’ associations, independents and any Conservative councillors, if they are willing to challenge the status quo, for the benefit of all the people in Windsor and Maidenhead. Before May 2 we asked you to ‘Demand Better’, now it’s time for us to ‘Deliver Better’.

Cllr CLIVE BASKERVILLE (Pinkneys Green), Cllr JOHN BALDWIN (Belmont), Cllr SIMON BOND (Belmont), Cllr MANDY BRAR (Bisham and Cookham), Cllr KAREN DAVIES (Clewer East), Cllr CATHERINE DEL CAMPO (Furze Platt), Cllr JOSH REYNOLDS (Furze Platt), Cllr AMY TISI (Clewer East), Cllr SIMON WERNER (Pinkneys Green)


The local election was notable for its civility

As outgoing deputy leader of the Royal Borough with responsibility for Windsor, I want to set on record my gratitude to the residents, councillors and officers I have worked with during my term of office.

Whilst I am deeply disappointed to have lost I am proud last week’s local election was notable for a civility that is all too rare in these fraught political times.

It was a credit to the activists, candidates and journalists involved.

But more than anything I want to thank the people of the old Park Ward for electing a nervous political rookie in 2007.

Words cannot express how it feels to be handed the honour of serving this amazing, unique, royal town as a councillor. I hope that everything I did over 12 years lived up to that honour. Good luck to the newly elected councillors, I may disagree with their politics but I have no doubt of their sincerity.

PHILL BICKNELL

Illingworth

Windsor


‘I will continue to protect the greenbelt’

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the residents of Bray, Holyport, Fifield, Oakley Green, Touchen End and Paley Street for electing me to represent you on the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead for a further term of office 2019/2023.

I will do my very best to continue to protect the greenbelt throughout the Royal Borough, support the weekly refuse collection and try and solve traffic problems including congestion and pollution in our villages etc.

Once again many thanks.

Cllr LEO WALTERS

Conservative councillor for Bray


Declaring a national climate emergency

Sir David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg, Parliamentarians and concerned RBWM residents; we are all linked by our shared responsibility to address the environment and climate emergency that we face.

Last week MPs approved a motion to declare a national environment and climate emergency, joining more than 60 borough, town and parish councils across the UK.

At a local level in RBWM, individuals and groups have been active over the last decade supporting wildlife in our area; opposing expansion at Heathrow; protecting green space; promoting renewable energy; reducing plastic pollution and improving air quality. And yet... carbon emissions continue to go up, the planet continues to get warmer and thousands of species continue to decline. Earlier this month we heard that the UK is now set to miss its 2025 and 2030 emissions targets by an even larger margin than before. Time is running out!

People may feel that there is only so much they can do, like recycling, conserving, choosing renewable energy or buying sustainable products.

We agree, and so in recent weeks a group of concerned RBWM residents have been peacefully lobbying our council candidates to declare an environment and climate emergency and to lead meaningful action on climate change locally.  

We have already received positive cross-party support with around 60 per cent of elected councillors signing a petition calling for the declaration; and commitment for a free vote on this motion at the full council meeting on June 25.

We are the ‘RBWM Climate Emergency Coalition’ and we call upon all those readers of the Maidenhead Advertiser who care about the future of our children, the planet and the creatures we share it with, to contribute to the call for a borough-wide environment and climate emergency action plan.

Addressing climate change and the environmental crisis will require collaboration at all levels; individual residents, local groups and businesses, and the council. It is time that we step up and take responsibility for the changes that need to happen.

We are the first generation to know exactly what we’re doing and the last generation to be able to stop it.

 Please sign the RBWM petition: https://bit.ly/2Vqws4o

To find out more join the RBWM Climate Emergency Coalition Facebook group or email rbwmclimateemergency@gmail.com 

We need to be able to tell future generations that we did not stay silent. 

This is your opportunity to make sure your voice is heard.

SARAH BOWDEN

RBWM Climate Emergency Coalition

Boyn Hill

Maidenhead


An opportunity now for collegial decisions

The political map of Windsor and the surrounds is looking very different following the local elections, with seven independents including those from the West Windsor Residents Association, Old Windsor Residents Association and The Borough First, joining five Conservatives and two Liberal Democrats.

This has followed a long campaign where residents have demanded a greater say in the running of their town, as demonstrated by the well-attended residents-led Windsor Town Forums.

With Windsor no longer dominated by a single political party there is an opportunity here for collegial decision making which can bring huge benefits to residents, businesses and tourists alike, therefore revitalising our historic town.

For many, this was not a vote on national issues, it was a rejection of the disastrous Borough Local Plan and the sheer contempt with which we residents have been treated by the council’s political leaders over the past few years.

This vote should act as a wake-up call for Cllr Dudley, that the ruling administration cannot continue to act with aggressive opportunism, but instead engage with residents and community groups and ensure that our borough is developed with all our children’s future in mind.

I would like to extend an invite to all elected councillors and those who were unsuccessful in Windsor to join residents and community groups in shaping the future of our town centre and its surrounds, ensuring that we can continue to be proud of our wonderful community.

RICHARD ENDACOTT

Chairman

West Windsor Residents Association


No apparent attempt to canvass our views

Thanks to botched ward boundary changes, residents in the old Park ward find themselves unrepresented by councillors on the borough council.

We are now the responsibility of two members of Old Windsor Residents Association who were elected as borough councillors by the villagers of Old Windsor who account for over 60 per cent of the new ward’s electorate.

Despite a claim by an Old Windsor candidate at the Bolton Residents AGM to represent our interests, there was no apparent attempt on the doorstep to canvass our views or, in fact, to find out what makes us tick.

Park ward has been grafted on to Old Windsor, but it is a fact that surgery is often unsuccessful with the graft being rejected by the body to which it is attached.

To avoid that let me list some of those annoying issues which Bolton Avenue residents will expect Old Windsor oriented councillors to correct:

W At the town end of Bolton Avenue there is a 20mph sign. At the bottom (Bolton Road) end there is no sign. As a consequence, drivers addicted to Satnavs, depending on choice of ‘fastest’ or ‘shortest’ route, leave Kings Road and drive at speed through Bolton Avenue en route to Legoland.

W An avenue is defined as a ‘road with trees’. Sadly, years of neglect, the girth of some 10 trees, together with bulging pavement roots, render the passage of prams, wheelchairs and the elderly a dangerous hazard. So... they walk in the road. Why not extend the paved/pedestrian walkway into the road adjoining the trees? It would inhibit casual parking and reduce traffic speed.

W Over a year ago a lorry flattened a 10ft high birch sapling in a properly shaped pavement plot adjacent to number 14. Six months later it was removed but not replaced. Furthermore, a healthy birch sapling adjacent to number 18 was cut down by the council and not replaced. Residents want their trees back!

Come on Old Windsor councillors! Now is your chance to deliver on your promise to represent our interests.

COLIN CHAMBERLAIN

Bolton Avenue

Windsor


The majority are from local political parties

On May 2 residents voted in the local elections. We would like to heartedly thank residents who voted for us together with those who helped us in our campaigns.

We will represent the interests of ALL residents, whether you voted for us or not.

The majority of Windsor councillors (eight out of 11) are from three local political parties and the Lib Dems.

Individually and collectively we will work in the best interests of Windsor residents, as we have done in the past.

Each of us looks forward to and welcomes collaborative workings and to that end invite the three Conservative councillors to join us in this innovative (for political parties) approach. 

Cllr CAROLE DA COSTA (WWRA, Clewer and Dedworth East), Cllr HELEN PRICE (TBF, Clewer and Dedworth East), Cllr WISDOM DA COSTA (WWRA, Clewer and Dedworth West), Cllr JON DAVEY (WWRA, Clewer and Dedworth West), Cllr KAREN DAVIES (Lib Dems, Clewer East), Cllr AMY TISI (Lib Dems, Clewer East), Cllr LYNNE JONES (OWRA, Old Windsor), Cllr NEIL KNOWLES (OWRA, Old Windsor)


Heathrow expansion vs protecting our planet

Thank you for your front-page article on the High Court verdict on the councils’ judicial review of the government decision for a Heathrow third runway.

Judges, Lord Justice Gary Hickinbottom and Justice David Holgate stated that they only assessed the arguments on narrow legal issues and noted that ‘it is open to parties to contend at the DCO (Development Control Order or Planning) stage that (for example) the particular proposed development should not be allowed because of its adverse effects on the environment’.

Meanwhile the extensive Extinction Rebellion activities over Easter garnered considerable public and MP support for the need to better protect the planet from climate change, and a week ago, MPs in Parliament voted to declare a ‘climate emergency’.

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn told MPs that at current trends the point of zero net emissions would not be reached until the end of the century, by which time ‘our grandchildren will be fighting for survival on a dying planet’.

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for the Environment, stated he accepted ‘the situation we face is an emergency’ and asked: “Are we content to hand down a broken planet to our children? That is the question members must ask themselves today. We have the chance to act before it’s too late. It’s a chance that won’t be available to succeeding generations. It is our historic duty to take it.”

When it states that it has reduced emissions by more than 40 per cent since 1990, the UK government does not include emissions from global flights or shipping. Caroline Lucas, the Green MP, said ‘the problem of aviation emissions was going to get worse in the UK. Heathrow, already the biggest point source of carbon in the UK, could soon get 50 per cent bigger’.

Was it a coincidence that the judges handed down their verdict just the day before publication of the government’s Climate Change Committee report ‘Net Zero – The UK’s contribution  to stopping global warming’?

The Paris Climate Change agreement and the UK carbon target for 2050 need to be enshrined in UK law however even that assumption has been overtaken by events.

Now Lord Deben, chair of the committee, urges the government to implement a target of ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

It is now clear that the viability of Heathrow expansion must be assessed against the target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. And Extinction Rebellion and others are urging ‘net zero’ significantly before 2050.

The Telegraph, a generally pro business and development newspaper, said last week that: “The legal decision to permit the continuation of plans for a third runway at Heathrow – and the original plan itself – is utter madness. It will be regarded as the worst decision ever made by the Department for Transport (DfT), and cannot justifiably go ahead if politicians are committed to the climate emergency declarations and the zero carbon 2050 recommendation from the Committee on Climate Change.  In the meantime, while we wait for what seems like its inevitable cancellation, billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is being wasted.”

So the pressure is increasing, and it is increasingly likely that Heathrow expansion will be shown to be inconsistent with climate change obligations and protecting the planet for our children and successors.

PAUL GROVES

Tithe Barn Drive

Maidenhead


Mowers are cutting off native plant flowers

My letter relates to the very meticulous mowing of large areas of flower-rich grassland in several of the borough’s parks and open spaces recently.

I fully understand the need for the mowing of roadside verges to maintain sightlines and road safety but in other places the rationale behind mowing large areas and into the base of woodland margins is a complete mystery.

Surely the mindset of the people doing this work or of those who give them instructions needs exploring and better practice put in place?

Maidenhead is going green – but the wrong sort of green.

Mowing gangs contracted by the borough are cutting off the flowers of native plants in many parks and long lengths of wide roadside margins – dandelions, daisies and many other plants are being deflowered.

No wonder insects, dependant on spring pollen and nectar have virtually disappeared in many places. No wonder birds and other wildlife dependant on insects are declining as never before.

Apparently the borough want our parks with neat, tidy, uniformly smart cut grass – a green desert, a polished public image, as if this is a civic duty.

How retrograde.

Where is the borough’s responsibility for all the other species (wildlife) upon which Maidonians, in the long run, depend?

NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED


Waiting for facilities at the ‘coach station’

I was recently invited to go on a coach trip, something I hadn’t done in many years.

I was told the coach station was in Bridge Road.

After several attempts to find it I gave up and I went to the town hall with no result.

The person I saw had not heard of it.

He told me to go to the library.

At the library it was explained to me that the so-called coach station was in fact a bus stop.

On the morning of the trip it was windy and bitterly cold. The coach was forty minutes late. I am 90 years old. There were other elderly people also waiting.

There is no protection from the elements. No toilet facilities. Nor anywhere one could get a warm drink.

Are there any plans for such facilities to be provided for the people of Maidenhead and if so, how long do we have to wait?

For, you see, at 90 I’m pressed for time.

P G DANDRIDGE

Stonefield Park

Maidenhead


Brian Pitts – We have lost a true gentleman

The demise of Brian Pitts brought back many happy hours in his company.

A big man was Brian in all aspects of the word and a massive defender for Maidenhead United in the 1960s – we have lost a true gentleman.

KEN BROWN

Burnham Lane

Slough


The last thing that EU wants is a ‘no deal’

I am furious that in the three years since the referendum the members of parliament have still failed to understand what ‘leave’ is all about, and the worst are the Labour Party.

The only people that do understand are Nigel Farage and the ERG group of Tories, and that is why Farage will sweep to victory on May 23.

Leave is not about worker’s rights, or wages, or GDP or anything related to money and jobs. If you are concerned about losing these things, then you really wish to ‘remain’, and that seems to be the case with Labour.

I am horrified that Mrs May is even discussing staying in the Customs Union while she negotiates with Labour.

‘Leave’ simply means that we do not wish to be under governmental control by any part of the EU. We do not wish to be involved in ‘ever closer union’.

We wish to be a sovereign state in which the people that govern us are representatives of the people of UK and are elected by the people of UK to set our laws.

There is nothing more to clarify in leave than that, and if you do start talking about ‘employment rights’, you have lost the plot and should call yourself a ‘remainer’.

The Labour Party is trying to retain matters that are nothing to do with the simple principle of ‘leave’.

Furthermore, there is no such situation as ‘no deal’, even if that is what Farage and the ERG may talk about, and what Yvette Cooper is so frightened of.

If the UK were to state that we will leave in October with no deal because we do not agree with the Withdrawal Agreement, the EU will suddenly change their negotiation.

The last thing Mercedes, BMW,  Germany and the EU want is ‘no deal’. The EU will never allow a ‘no deal’, and that is why we must state ‘no deal’, and choose a Prime Minister as soon as possible who is not frightened to say so. Then we will start to make progress because we will get an EU deal that Parliament will feel able to approve. If Mrs May reads this and decides to argue such a case, she may even get to keep her job and get a deal over the line.

PAUL TATHAM

Braybank

Bray


MP worried about US taking NHS contracts

Speaking at a public meeting some years ago, the Tory politician Lord Tebbit recalled that Edward Heath had wanted the UK to join the EEC or Common Market partly to tie the hands of any incoming Labour government.

He added that he did not share that anti-democratic view, asserting: “If the British people vote for socialism, they should get socialism.”

Now we have the reverse, with Labour MP Jonathan Ashworth displaying the same anti-democratic tendency when interviewed by Sophy Ridge of Sky News, by insisting that the UK must continue to be bound into a permanent and comprehensive customs union with the EU not for any positive reason, but expressly to ensure that any future Tory government would still not have the power to strike trade deals for the UK.

His reason being that if the UK had an independent trade policy then the wicked Tories would no doubt wish to sell off the NHS to the Americans:

“... the key thing is the government want to be able to do their own trade deals. And my concern is that if we have a trade deal with the United States for example, that could mean Trump’s America and big private healthcare corporations getting their hands on NHS contracts.”

This is what Prime Minister Theresa May has done to us through the utter mess she has made of our EU withdrawal negotiations, so she now has to turn to the intellectually and morally bankrupt Labour party to build enough support to get her rubbish deal through the Commons.

Dr D R COOPER

Belmont Park Avenue

Maidenhead


Personalised care for those with dementia

There are more than 8,250 people living with dementia in Berkshire and that number is set to rise in the next few years.

It is a travesty that people with dementia are waiting up to a year in hospital for a care home place, or ending up in A&E with an infection that good social care could have prevented.

The injustice of people battling to get quality dementia care, on top of battling the devastating effects of dementia can’t go on.

With further delay to the Green Paper on social care, we must find a new way through the impasse. 

That is why Alzheimer’s Society is calling for urgent investment in high-quality, personalised care through a dedicated Dementia Fund. I would like to urge your readers to join our campaign at alzheimers.org.uk/fixdementiacare

LINDA GODDARD

Area manager

Alzheimer’s Society Berkshire

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