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Viewpoint: The general election, Brexit and Maidenhead Waterways

Featuring discussions on the Maidenhead Waterways project , the Borough Local Plan, the upcoming general election and the BBC licence fee

Viewpoint: The general election, Brexit and Maidenhead Waterways

Room for boats and wildlife on waterway

Martin Woolner’s (Viewpoint, October 31) wish to ban any kind of boating outside of the town centre section of the waterway ignores the broader aims of the waterway project.

The scheme has always had multiple objectives – to provide place making and a catalyst for much needed town centre regeneration; a new public amenity for the active and passive enjoyment of everyone as Maidenhead grows; and improving the designated (…but failing) wildlife corridor that was York Stream.

York Stream was for decades an unstable, litter filled, ‘ugly scar’ running through Maidenhead town centre, alternately flooding then drying out (as in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2014) when the flow failed, forcing wildlife to flee and fish rescue to be needed.

Although water levels are not yet fully raised, the channels haven’t dried out since 2014, due to regular and sustained channel maintenance by waterways group volunteers to secure the flow needed for the fish and eel passes in the new weir; to maintain water quality; and to preserve the up and downstream habitats.

When the Green Lane weir is complete, two fixed weirs that currently prevent fish passage can be removed, while the deeper and more stable water levels throughout the town centre will provide aquatic connectivity between Bray Cut in the south and Summerleaze lakes to the north.

Implemented with care, biodiversity should benefit from the waterway, not be threatened by it.

One further obstacle to Mr Woolner’s wish to ban boats outside the town centre is that the channels remain officially part of the River Thames, with the same public right of navigation.

This was confirmed and accepted by all the relevant authorities when the waterway project was consented in 2012.

It is also worth noting from a practical point of view that Bray Cut is twice the width of the newly enlarged town centre channels, to where Mr Woolner suggests boats should be restricted. 

Once its fallen trees have been cleared, Bray Cut surely has ample space for recreational canoeing and wildlife to coexist, as they do on the main river.


Chair, Maidenhead Waterways

Parking more pressing than waterways plan

So the waterways project is the key to the town’s prosperity (Viewpoint, October 31) –  I do not think so.

Parking is far more important, and the reluctance to easily drive to Maidenhead and park explains why footfall in the High Street is down 7.9 per cent on the previous year.

And of course we have the delays around the railway station which causes much problems with bus timetables.

Car ownership and traffic volumes are due to increase substantially, yet the BLP does not recognise that.

If we do not encourage people into Maidenhead, they will shop elsewhere, and without footfall shops will close.

I cannot understand how this council fails to understand this?


Cox Green Lane


So many reasons to find fault in Local Plan

As a local Royal Borough councillor for Bray, this is my response to the October 2019 second submission version of Borough Local Plan (BLP), now out for public consultation, in respect to the Triangle Site:

1 – I see that it is proposed in the October 2019 second submission version of the BLP to take the above large site (about 55 acres) out of the greenbelt and allocate it for industrial and warehouse use.

2 – If this happened it would cause a planning, environmental and traffic catastrophe for the whole of the parish of Bray. From feedback I have already received it will attract a large and strong residents' opposition.

3 – It is a step too far in trying to reach unattainable development targets in a Royal Borough which has so many constraints recognised both locally and nationally e.g. greenbelt, flooding, Crown land, National Trust land and so on.

4 – This proposal first came to light in the draft June 2016 BLP as a long term prospect; in fact it was inserted in the economy section, however this land is greenbelt and makes a significant contribution to the purposes of the greenbelt.

In the same draft local plan it stated that ‘the Borough takes great pride in being described as the first countryside west of London along the M4 Corridor…’ and this land is that very greenbelt land!

The Bray Parish Council have stated that this land is ‘a welcome green entrance to Maidenhead’ and is of high scenic value. Also we have won three major planning appeals on the basis of this, one on this actual site, and the other two (MSA) appeals adjacent to J8/9 interchange.

5 – One of the major problems with this site, which I think everyone recognises, is access. About a year ago Holyport residents employed highway consultants to advise on this aspect when there was a proposal to build houses on this site. Their conclusion was as follows:

Firstly, they considered the developer’s suggestion of a secondary access entry only off the A308(M) as not only unrealistic but contrary to Highway Agency policy.

Secondly, as to the access on to the A330 (Ascot Road) it was pointed out that at peak times the traffic is stationary for most of the period with queues extending south for 1.8km to Stud Green and regularly beyond near to the new Holyport College.

With the A308 and the A330 already completely overloaded and more to come with the 4,000 proposed housing development at Jealotts Hill. Whatever improvements there will be to Braywick Roundabout will not solve these problems in itself.

6 – I would reiterate that this site is greenbelt, the former home of the very popular Littlewick Show. It is neither a brownfield nor previously developed land. Up to now, residents thought it would remain greenbelt.

7 – As is common knowledge after years and years of trying, local residents have secured a ban on lorries in excess of 7.5 tonnes on the A330 (Ascot Road).

Finally, taking this land out of greenbelt will be so destructive and will possibly set the ball rolling for other releases. 


Conservative councillor for Bray

‘Interesting’ comments made ahead of election

I read with interest some comments made by the Maidenhead political candidates in last Thursday’s issue.

So we have a Liberal candidate who says they did staggeringly well in the European Elections.

Are they really proud of this? As they did finish behind the Brexit Party, who won the vote in Maidenhead in their first election.

The Liberals say the people in Maidenhead are coming round to a new way of working? Are we? Please enlighten us.

We have a Labour candidate who has put his name forward, but is not keen to stand, and we have the former Prime Minister, Theresa May, who has put herself forward, surprisingly in my opinion, after failing to deliver the people’s wishes to leave the EU!

Surely this paves the way for Claire Mowbray, the Brexit candidate, especially as her party won in the European elections here in Maidenhead.

I am writing this after getting feedback from her on why she didn’t make a comment in last Thursday’s issue.

She had a very good reason, in that she didn’t get a message forwarded to her in time to be able to comment, and in her busy role within the NHS she is not allowed to communicate via gmail.

Needless to say though, she has changed the method of communication to her for urgent matters.

She has some great issues she will be fighting for on behalf of the people of Maidenhead, including improved quality of care for patients, particularly the elderly and those suffering from mental health issues.

One I particularly like is that she will be opposing the release of greenbelt land for development and to reduce the housing allocation in Maidenhead.

She is obviously also supporting a clean break Brexit and to uphold our democracy! I totally agree with her there!

I am really looking forward to attending her first hustings, where she will discuss the issues she wants  to campaign for.


Marlborough Road


BBC should pay own way, not ‘mug OAPs’

I felt that I had to write regarding the BBC’s scandalous idea to make the over 75s pay for their TV licence.

The BBC should be made to pay for the running cost of funding the BBC programmes.

Maybe then they would not throw away the millions that they make from the general TV licence payers by being more frugal, economical, with all the millions that they make.

We all have to be more wary with our finances, so should the BBC. There are lots of ways the BBC could cut back.

The main point is to not pay such outrageous salaries to the wealthy celebrities, plus other money wasting ideas.

I hear that the BBC is planning to spend £100million on an advertising campaign to attract younger viewers. What a load of rubbish. 

Lord Tony Hall should get his hands out of his pockets and wake up to reality. Here are some examples of wasted TV licence payers money; spent over £43,000 on alcohol in the last year, aeroplane trips £20,000 in three months. I could go on and on but I am running out of ink.

BBC should pay their own way. Most licence fee payers have to. Most would not mind having adverts on the BBC, then we should not have to pay for a licence for the BBC channels. This way the BBC would not have to mug the OAPs and other needy viewers.

The BBC has become a bureaucratic load of monkeys. Most being paid obscene salaries. It all must change now.

There are more repeats than ever, every day. Repeats, repeats, repeats. This must end now. The BBC is no longer value for money and has not been for many years. All my family and friends plus neighbours agree totally with the contents of this letter.


Furlong Road

Bourne End

Boris Johnson forging risky Battle of Britain

A 1961 book, ‘The Narrow Margin', described how close we came to losing the Battle of Britain.

Unfortunately, a similar narrow margin worked in the opposite direction on Saturday, October 19 when 10 MPs elected in Northern Ireland decided to act upon their boiling anger with the backstabbing Brexit deal agreed by their Tory allies.

By supporting the wrecking amendment tabled by Sir Oliver Letwin the DUP MPs ensured its passage by 322 votes to 306; if they had not been alienated by Boris Johnson they would have contributed to a 316 to 312 victory for the Government.

Which could have gone on to win a ‘meaningful vote’ for Brexit, and we could now be well on our way out of the EU rather than being distracted by a general election that will do nothing at all to rectify the fatal flaws in the Irish protocol.

Even Theresa May had more sense than to do what he has done, however much he tries to cover it up with ever more extravagant adjectives to describe the fruits of his negotiation with the EU - ‘great’, ‘excellent’, ‘fantastic’, and so on.

On March 2, 2018 she correctly stated that it would be unacceptable to ‘... break up the United Kingdom’s own common market by creating a customs and regulatory border down the Irish Sea’, but that is what her successor agreed to do.


Belmont Park Avenue


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