10:05AM, Wednesday 17 February 2021
UPDATE: Opposition and parish councillors react with relief to the scrapping of the 'shambolic' proposals.
The Royal Borough has decided to abandon a proposal to build a bus gate in Shoppenhangers Road following negative feedback from residents.
Thousands of residents responded to a consultation around proposed cycling and walking improvements in the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead.
The proposed bus gate, which would have stopped car drivers using the road for through journeys, attracted 2,225 responses, of which 95 per cent of respondents disagreed with the plans.
It also asked for feedback on two low traffic neighbourhoods in West Windsor. A total of 2,221 responses were received on the idea, with about 90 per cent opposed to the proposals.
Councillor Gerry Clark, cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, said: "I am delighted that residents in their thousands have engaged with the latest infrastructure consultation.
“The consultation has done its job and we have listened. It is clear from the results that residents are against the bus gate and the low traffic neighbourhood proposals and therefore these schemes will not be progressed.”
The four-week consultation was run entirely online because of the current lockdown restrictions.
Cllr Clark said: "All responses will be analysed and we will consider some of the genuinely innovative alternative suggestions that have been put forward.
“When designing these schemes, we prioritise what will support residents' lives; what will support new house building; what will help meet our commitments to tackling climate change, and what will help support our local economy recovery post-COVID.”
Cllr Clark added: “We will be looking to hold more consultation events in the future using both digital and traditional methods to ensure that everyone has their say, and to engage with more residents on the crucial issue of infrastructure.”
The consultation also asked for feedback on school streets near local schools in Ascot, Maidenhead and Windsor.
The majority of respondents supported the schemes proposed for Boyne Hill Infant and Nursery School and Larchfield Primary and Nursery School.
The council will now engage with these schools to determine the most appropriate way forward and determine whether this can be delivered through the available funding.
Other school streets proposals were not supported, including those for Trevelyan Middle School in Windsor, South Ascot Village Primary School and Lowbrook Academy, Newlands Girls’ School and Wessex Primary School in Maidenhead.
Councillor Gurch Singh (Lib Dem, St Mary’s) spoke out against the bus proposals when they were put forward.
“This is one of the largest responses we have ever seen. It shows the public outcry to this ludicrous scheme,” he said.
“My plea to the administration is that, before they come up with shambolic proposals that will cripple the town, they consult across the house first.”
He added: “This was a farce, they tried to pull the wool over our eyes saying that Shoppenhangers was a ‘rat run’ – it’s not a rat run, it’s a main road.
“The response to this consultation shows that we won’t be fooled.”
The proposals raised concerns from people in Cox Green and White Waltham who use the road to get into the town centre.
White Waltham parish council chairman Pat McDonald said: “This is brilliant news to residents especially in the west of Maidenhead. This was our main road into the town.
“I was flabbergasted when I first heard about the proposal. I know we’re in a pandemic and everyone’s stuck at home, but surely they could have thought of something better to do with their time.”
The former Maidenhead Parliamentary candidate for Labour added: “Maidenhead town centre is struggling right now as it is, without making it harder to drive in and shop. We need to help the businesses that are only just about hanging on.”
The candidates standing in the upcoming Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner election have outlined their priorities for policing in the region.