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Viewpoint: Queen Street, Simon Dudley and Heathrow

Featuring discussion on the controversial right-hand turn ban in Maidenhead's Queen Street, the departure of council leader Simon Dudley and Heathrow's third runway.

Staff reporter

Staff reporter

Viewpoint: Queen Street, Simon Dudley and Heathrow

Why the u-turn on right hand turn ban?

The trial layout of the Queen Street junction, banning right turns onto the A308, has been in place for over two months now.

There has been considerable opposition to the change from residents, particularly in Boyn Hill where I live.

It is not only a question of inconvenience; there are legitimate concerns regarding the environmental impact from the predicted knock-on congestion as well as public safety fears arising from the restriction on emergency service vehicles.

However, I now fear that the change is set to be made permanent after the Conservative administration, reneging on its earlier pledge to bring the consultation results to this week’s full council meeting, have opted to bury the decision at the end of this evening’s cabinet meeting.

I have heard it argued that there is no legal requirement for this to be decided by the full council.

Whilst this may be true, nevertheless, my understanding is the administration have discretion here so have chosen to make a u-turn, presumably fearing the plan would otherwise be voted down.

I imagine councillors from all parties that have stated publicly they wanted to see maximum transparency must be furious about this manoeuvre.

I’m certainly aware that Cllr Josh Reynolds (Lib Dem, Furze Platt), who originally proposed the results of the consultation should be debated in full council, and who gained unanimous support for this at the Maidenhead Town Forum, is incensed.

In a letter last week, fellow resident Andrew Hill asked whether there were any councillors left that were still convinced banning the right turn is a good idea.

I’m afraid we may be about to learn, within the cabinet at least, there are.

ADAM BERMANGE

Boyn Hill Liberal Democrats

Boyn Hill Close

Maidenhead


Have say on future of your town centre

The council’s decision to commission JTP Architects to draw up a masterplan for Maidenhead town centre is very welcome news.

The risk was that, left to the council and the developers, we’d be left with a perhaps impressive but totally disjointed set of piecemeal sites. 

JTP’s appointment should ensure a holistic vision to guide future development towards creating a cohesive, vibrant centre for the whole community.  

The process is due to be launched and publicised in October.

JTP are masters of participatory planning, i.e. involving residents and businesses from the outset and producing results that not only meet but exceed expectations.

You only have to look at their plan for the proposed redevelopment of Nicholsons drawn up following their consultative weekend in March.

This incorporated all the ideas and wishes raised by members of the public during the consultation workshops and took them to another level of imaginative placemaking in a concept reminiscent of Brighton’s Lanes.  

The Civic Society is an ardent advocate of community engagement in planning. 

We were instrumental in the formation of the Partnership for the Rejuvenation of Maidenhead (PRoM), now disbanded, which drew up the Town Centre Area Action Plan, adopted in 2011. 

We would urge everyone – and especially those who don’t regularly use the town centre – to keep an eye open for the start of the consultative process next month and have your say.

We are also delighted that JTP’s Partner-in-Charge of participatory planning, Charles Campion, will be coming to speak at our AGM on November 20 in the Methodist Church Hall at 8pm.

BOB DULSON

Chairman

Maidenhead Civic Society


Councillor Dudley has left a ‘wake of chaos

I was overjoyed to see that Simon Dudley has resigned from his post as leader of the Royal Borough council.

Cllr Dudley has left a wake of chaos across the borough, bungling a range of initiatives that can finally be mended.  

This is a dawn, a bright spot of hope in the darkness for our borough.

Cllr Dudley heaped global scorn upon the borough with his callous disregard for the homeless, and he stood firm with his position – and with the support of his party who backed him to continue serving as their leader.

Cllr Dudley attempted to impose a regeneration plan on the borough that placed balancing the books (albeit with faulty assumptions) over other considerations.

His plan failed to meet the standards of scrutiny and other councillors are now left to start afresh.

Cllr Dudley kept Lowbrook Academy, the fourth best primary school in England, from being able to give more children the best possible start in their educational and career lives with a truly world-class education.

The last election saw Cllr Dudley's majority all but erased, and now councillors – within his party and without – can look ahead to clean the mess and truly build a borough that will truly be an exciting place in which to live and work.

TONY PERRY

Purssell Close

Maidenhead


A ‘fond’ farewell to council leader

Simon Dudley has messed up our town centre, and now he is leaving.

JON FOSTER

Fotherby Court

Maidenhead


Education needed to stop people littering

Good on you Phil! (Viewpoint, September 19).

I have passed you several times and you often pass my place with your bag and litter picker, amazing the number of bags of rubbish you have collected.

It was ironic that Phil Avery's letter appeared after my previous letter highlighting a discarded coffee cup in a recent Advertiser picture.

I regularly clear a local park and in the four or five bags of rubbish contain the same brand of discarded vodka bottles, fast food containers and carbonated drinks bottles.

I don't know what the answer is, but education is probably one way to tackle the huge amount of waste. But it is encouraging to see youngsters going out of their way to put their rubbish in bins.

MERVYN BUSTON

East Road

Maidenhead


Heathrow ‘target’ impossible to enforce

It is no surprise that Heathrow’s Rob Gray once again smokescreens the real issues (Viewpoint, September 19).

I refute his claim that I failed to recognise their commitments regarding transport and air quality around the airport.

He says that the expansion project will only be permitted if it can be delivered within strict and legally binding environmental targets – but he does not say that Heathrow’s carefully chosen word ‘target’ relates to an unenforceable aspiration which is entirely different to ‘enforcement’.

Mr Gray fails to admit that most of the current targets are not met today and this would be virtually impossible to remedy with an addition of at least 54 per cent more flights. 

It must be emphasised that most the of the current aircraft fleet will still be flying in 25 years time.

A few years ago Rolls Royce and Boeing engineers told the Heathrow Airport Consultative Committee that aircraft engines had already reached their maximum potential. 

Mr Gray fails to admit that the future flight paths and their associated noise have yet to be planned and will not be published until after the Planning Inspectorate have decided on the application.

It seems that local councils have responsibility for controlling air quality but no powers to differentiate and take action between aircraft pollution and what proportion of traffic pollution is airport related. Perhaps environmental experts could advise how the generators of carbon emissions can be pinpointed and controlled under a charging process.

The letter states that their plans include a detailed surface access strategy to increase the number of people travelling to and from the airport sustainably.

But their consultation papers clearly state that the rail provision is not part of their plan and Heathrow will not be assisting in the funding of new or upgraded railways.

The vehicle access charges will be particularly punitive upon all travellers outside the M25 as their public transport provision is skimpy compared with the multi layered round-the-clock services in London and its suburbs.

The cycling and walkways around the airport will only have limited benefit to local travellers and colleagues and like many other improved outside spaces the consultation documents state that they will only be provided if finance is raised from passenger levies and other sources other than Heathrow itself!

Those of us who live close to the airport strongly dispute the assertion that while passenger numbers have increased by 80 per cent in 25 years airport related road traffic has remained broadly static – although perhaps that is an apt description for the greatly increased number of traffic jams.

The excuse for the two new car parks adjacent to the airport is the consolidation of existing spaces, but the consultation documents also refer to discontinuing employee parking and provision of alternative benefits – which could escalate the growing rogue parking problems while offering more passengers the opportunity to drive.

Mr Gray describes this project as of huge local and national significance, creating thousands of jobs locally.

That does not make sense in an already high employment region which has an acute housing crisis. 

This last point links with the Airports Commission report which was adopted by Parliament. 

It stated that Heathrow could need 70,400 more employees and businesses attracted to a larger Heathrow could raise that to around 100,000. The report concluded that 70,000 more family houses will be needed with 5,000 provided by each of the 14 nearest councils.

That and all the extra school and hospital places plus road chaos will be a disaster for everyone except Heathrow’s foreign owners.

MALCOLM BEER

Chairman Local Authorities Aircraft Noise Council 

Orchard Road, Old Windsor


Has Heathrow ever heard of climate crisis?

Referring to Rob Gray’s response concerning Heathrow expansion, it does seem that because they are attempting to alleviate environmental concerns by improving public transport in the area and other measures, then they believe that they have a right to expand Heathrow and its third runway, destroying habitat for wildlife and the village of Sipson in order for the airport to fly 50 per cent more aircraft in and out of Heathrow.

If aircraft were a country they would be the third most polluting country in the world.

Also 20 of the world’s hottest years on record have occurred during the last 22 years.

It seems Heathrow has never heard of the climate change protests or the Extinction rebellion protests.

Will all planes be carbon neutral by 2050?

What an achievement if Heathrow is the first airport with a ultra low emissions zone by 2022, only for the aircraft to wipe out the benefits in seconds.

We definitely have an environmental problem that we have created and the Government must stop the third runway expansion and start to look at fair competition between the railway and the air travel for local journeys.

Bruce Adams

Cox Green Lane

Maidenhead


Net benefit of third runway practically zero

I am writing to reply to the letter last week from Rob Gray promoting a Heathrow third runway.

Since the Airports Commission report in 2015, the Department for Transport has reduced the top line 60 year total business benefit to the UK of a third runway by 60 per cent, from £147bn to £61bn, an insignificant proportion of the UK’s £2tn GDP per annum. 

After substantial costs of pollution, congestion, noise and health ill-effects, the DfT’s own report shows that the overall net benefit is practically zero and could easily go negative. 

Heathrow’s real motivation is to increase the £800million dividends sent last year to foreign Chinese, Qatari, Singaporean, Spanish and Canadian investors, whilst over the previous 10 years they paid only a total of only £24m in corporation tax to HMRC.

Heathrow’s original plan was for a third runway budgeted to cost £18bn.

When IAG (parent company of British Airways) and many others criticised this huge cost, Heathrow quickly replied that instead of putting the M25 into a tunnel under the new runway, they would put the runway onto a bridge or ski-style ramp over the M25 and so reduce the cost to £14bn.  Many people questioned whether this would be possible, but Heathrow maintained strongly that it would be.

Now strangely in their current masterplan there is no mention of a bridge or ski-style ramp and the cost has now increased to £32bn for a 30 year project!

This is a huge ‘land grab’ for a project bringing 30 years of construction hell for residents of West London and the Thames Valley.

Heathrow maintain that they can build and use a new runway with its additional 700 flights a day without increasing pollution or increasing the use of cars to and from the airport.

However their masterplan includes the building of two 25,000 space car parks.

Such statements like this, the ski-style ramp, false economics and jobs promises etc are totally disingenuous.

Heathrow’s objective also is to be ‘the transatlantic cargo hub for Europe’ with projections of “Air-truck” transit cargo by weight increasing by two-and-a-half times by 2040.

This means two-and-a-half times the number of freight heavy trucks and vans on the roads to and from Heathrow (M25, M4, A4, A30 etc).

Plus of course Heathrow will expect further growth in their time horizons to 2050 or 60 years.  Meanwhile their projections of export freight, i.e. aiding the UK economy, is only 1.7 times –  a smaller amount and they admit difficulty achieving export growth

In addition, the Airports Commission budgeted that the cost of public infrastructure (roads and rail) to support a third runway would be £5bn.

Transport for London estimated that it would be more like £15bn, and yet when pressed Heathrow have stated only that they would contribute just £1bn.

The whole project needs to be re-assessed in light of their huge masterplan proposals, Government commitments to be ‘carbon neutral’ by 2050 and increasing research and public awareness about the serious health ill-effects and cost of noise and pollution.

PAUL GROVES

Tithe Barn Drive

Maidenhead


Why are we backward with renewable energy?

I went to our local Extinction Revolution demonstration recently wielding a placard calling for the use of weirs in the Thames for reaping natural power by applying Archimedian screws, as the Queen has done at Romney Lock to power her castle.

We should have insisted that one be installed at Boulters which could have powered the new town created on the Taplow side.

But our council seems not to embrace such green technology which has proven to work since ancient times.

We may reinvent the wheel soon.

As an old Maidonian who has lived on the same patch of land since 1959 I have witnessed local extinctions of all manner of bird life.

When we arrived there were pewits and partridge chicks running around –  they went years ago.

The last pewit or lapwing circling for weeks calling for a mate was back in 1984.

I have seen cuckoo’s calling and a baby being fed by its host; no cuckoos for 10 years now.

We used to have moorhens in abundance, even saw two fighting with their feet, lying on their back and remember a neighbour to our great amusement having one try to nest in a bush by their ornamental pond.

None to be seen for two years now and then this year, no swallows.

There used to be hundreds especially in September when gathering to migrate, they always were in the meadows feeding off the flies round the cows.

Whether it is pollution from landing aircraft or the effect that they contribute to global warming, oh sorry expert scientists tell us it is the cows?

A bitter pill to swallow as an organic keeper of said animals since the 50s in the hope of trying to create an oasis for these species to survive.

To be told that cows are the culprits and not the silver birds of increasing size flying in all sorts of goodies from all around the world e.g. blackberries or flowers from South America etc,  just because we are worth it!

Furthermore we will need more electricity from renewable sources if we are to cut carbon emissions.

We are being encouraged with financial incentives to move away from gas to heat our homes and drive electric but this will only be successful if we can secure an ever increasing supply of electricity.

I have been driving an electric car which I try to charge when the sun is shining to benefit from the free electric I am generating. So it basically runs on sunshine as butterflies do.

It doesn’t have an exhaust pipe or engine that needs oil or water.  First time I drove electric I thought to myself, this is so futuristic…

What about recycling bottles? How on earth can breaking a bottle to melt down to remake another bottle be environmental?

We could learn a lot from the old fashioned milkman.

Or the Corona deposit bottle system; what a chance for the young to earn a bit of pocket money.

I could go on and on, but we need to change before we plunge headlong into a 70s recession of three day a week electricity.

Why are we so backward? Is it because as my old partner used to say: ‘There’s nothing common about sense anymore’.

JOANNA WHEATLEY

Long Lane Farm

Touchen End


Did you house an ATA worker during the war?

The 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War is also the 80th anniversary of the formation of Air Transport Auxiliary, the civilian ferrying organisation which was based at White Waltham and which is Maidenhead's claim to wartime fame.

This new exhibition at the Heritage Centre in Park Street concentrates on the pilots and flight engineers of ATA who had strong links to the Maidenhead area.

We even know where some of them were billeted and our ATA historians would be delighted to hear from readers whose families had ATA lodgers during the war.  

On display are newly acquired photographs and flying equipment used by one of the pilots featured in the exhibition, which runs until November 2.

RICHARD POAD

Chairman

Maidenhead Heritage Centre


Politicians lie through their teeth?

Dr Cooper's many posts have my regular support.

But his September 19 effort suggests politicians say one thing but do another.

Politicians lie through their teeth?

This revelation has to be broadcast to the four corners of Maidenhead, yea verily unto the borders of Holyport and Furze Platt forsooth via your mighty organ.

M D GEARY

Forlease Drive

Maidenhead


No Deal would leave a ‘legal and political void’

Dr Cooper's letter of September 5 cannot go unchallenged.

Dr Cooper suggested that I should read the House of Lords European Union Committee report on the EU budget, dated March 4, 2017. So I did.

It did indeed say that ‘although there are competing interpretations, we conclude that if agreement is not reached then... the UK would be subject to no enforceable obligation to make any financial contribution at all’.

But it also said that a ‘legal and political void’ would be undesirable and ‘we share the Government's view of the advantages of achieving a negotiated agreement’, which Dr Cooper failed to mention.

Please may I encourage Dr Cooper to read the Financial Times article by Alan Beattie on November 27, 2017: "More delusions on the Irish border – Simply ignoring the boundary is not an idea that would work in the real world.”

PHIL JONES

Member, European Movement UK


Put Brexit conclusions back to the people

Let’s have no more bluster about ignoring the democratic vote of the people.

The fact remains that (as I wrote in March this year) ‘of the 46.5 million registered voters at the time of the 2016 referendum, only 37.5 per cent voted to leave. 62.5 per cent either voted decisively to remain or couldn’t care enough about the issue to vote at all’.

Let’s get a final position on the negotiations and put the conclusions to the people.

You don’t buy a house without negotiating the price, why should we commit to an enormous change in our constitution and economic future without more understanding of the price.

ROBIN WILLIAMS

Chiltern Road

Bray

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  • gamberdog

    11:11, 08 October 2019

    Just returned from most frustrating trip into Town. Firstly parked in Grove road, machine would not accept Advantage card. People behind tried, same result. Went to other machine same outcome so instead of paying 30p for one hour had to pay £1.40. The machines installed are not fit for purpose. I do not know of anyone who has found them easy to use. Secondly on leaving Grove road navigated the road works at the station approach at 10.50 am, so not Peak traffic, waited ten minutes at temp lights. The traffic coming into town was backed up along Braywick as far as the eye could see, so took a detour via Stafferton Way to get to A4 then 308. How anyone can see this restructuring as an advantage to Maidenhead residents is beyond me, surely town planners could have foreseen the chaos that this will cause coming into Maidenhead from the south. After living here for 48 years my family despair at RBWM.

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