02:54PM, Tuesday 16 November 2021
Some residents have raised concerns about leaves building up on the streets and not being swept away. MaidenheadWootton Way, Maidenhead
Concerns have been raised over the number of leaf collecting on paths in the borough and the potential safety hazard this poses.
Residents noted that they are seeing fewer road clearings in a number of areas, including central Maidenhead, Larchfield, Belmont, and around the Kidwell and Desborough Park areas.
Others have been dissatisfied with the timings of road sweepers – citing occasions when contractors came around early in the morning (6am) while commuting cars were still on the roads, diminishing the effectiveness of the clear-up.
Sweeping leaves from the roads and trimming back grass and hedges is the role of Royal Borough contractors Tivoli – which has been the subject of other concerns, including the overgrowth of grass on verges, parks and cemeteries.
Meanwhile, fallen leaves present new problems. One resident living near Desborough Park has taken to sweeping up the leaves on public paths herself.
“My neighbour and I are sweeping up the leaves in our street to prevent the drains (from) becoming blocked and the road flooding,” said resident Caroline Ki.
A central Maidenhead resident, said Jenny Cottle, said:
“The subway steps at Kidwells Park could prove particularly hazardous to older residents.
“Just one person slipping on wet leaves, injuring themselves, and suing RBWM for compensation is all it will take for them to realise exactly how much of a false economy this is.”
Despite worries that changes in the regime might be due to Royal Borough budget cuts, Cllr David Coppinger (Con, Bray), lead member for environmental services, said there have been none.
Instead he put the delay down to the unpredictable seasonal changes.
“This year, we have had totally different seasons. I’ve never seen anything quite like it – nothing has happened when it should,” he said.
“We have had half the year with nothing (for Tivoli) to do, then twice as much to do for the other half of the year.”
He added that the labour supply shortage has ‘affected virtually everything’.
“But I’m not making excuses for it – we have let down residents,” he said.
Tivoli's performance is set to be discussed at a Communities Overview and Scrutiny meeting on Thursday (November 18).
There will be displays at Windsor Racecourse and Legoland, local fireworks in Burnham and Twyford and smaller displays at schools in the Royal Borough.