06:30PM, Wednesday 08 September 2021
The Royal Borough council has started work on King Street in Maidenhead in an effort to ‘improve’ the experiences of pedestrians and cyclists - but the project has been met with some teething problems.
Works are part of the local authority’s ‘Missing Links’ project, an initiative aimed at enhancing connectivity across the town amid planned regeneration.
Construction on the southern section of King Street started on Monday and is set to last approximately nine weeks.
This will include tactile paving to indicate the crossing at the junction with Nicholsons Lane, with the works majority funded by the Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership.
The council had confirmed that businesses will remain open to customers while work is carried out during the day, with pedestrians diverted to unaffected sides of King Street.
Councillor Gerry Clark (Con, Bisham and Cookham) cabinet member for transport, said: “These works are planned to be carried out between 9.30am to 3.30pm to minimise disruption and our contractors will do all they can to minimise disturbance.”
Works on the centre section of King Street are due to start once footways on both sides have been completed.
Nicholsons Lane remains open to traffic, the council confirmed to the Advertiser today (Wednesday).
However, at a Maidenhead Town Forum meeting on Monday, councillors learned from Cllr Clark that the work was not synchronised with what was previously communicated – with the route appearing to be ‘closed off’.
“The works that started do not appear to be in sync with the communications in terms of the way the work would be carried out,” he said at Monday's meeting.
“At the end of King Street, it does look like the section has been closed off, and there are some storage containers on site. I have been informed and will be raising with officers.”
Opposition councillor Gurch Singh (Lib Dem, St Mary’s) said that this was having an impact on nearby Off The Tap.
“They cannot get deliveries, they cannot trade, their customers are struggling to get to the premises,” he told the meeting.
Storage containers were also said to be blocking access to the Smokeys nightclub – but the council has since announced that these have been repositioned.
Below: How the construction site looked today (Wednesday), with Off The Tap appearing to resort to new ways to attract customers amid the works.
A Royal Borough spokesman added the council was ‘aware’ of issues raised by firms about the works, adding it has been ‘working hard to resolve these issues’.
“Surface improvement work to the southern section of King Street to improve pedestrian and cycling access around the town began on Monday," the spokesman said.
"This will include tactile paving to indicate the crossing at the junction with Nicholsons Lane, which improves safety for people with visual impairments.
“We are aware of issues that have been raised by businesses in the area regarding the works site and have been working hard to resolve these issues, with a number of improvements already implemented.
“Site meetings took place yesterday (Tuesday) and this morning (Wednesday) with these businesses and we are committed to working with them to explore further improvements which might be possible.
"We recognise that highways improvements will often bring some temporary and unavoidable impact and are making every effort to minimise this.
“The council’s health and safety team reviewed the work compound outside of Smokeys and all the appropriate processes have been followed.
"Although both the entrance to the business and its fire exits have remained accessible at all times, we have agreed to move the compound further along Nicholsons Lane.
"Its new position has been assessed and will not block any entrances/exits."