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Viewpoint: Tougher sentencing, the waterways and fundraising efforts

Featuring discussion on tougher sentences for killer drivers, the role the waterways project plays in Maidenhead's regeneration and concern over British companies being lost to foreign firms.

Staff reporter

Staff reporter

Viewpoint: Tougher sentencing, the waterways and fundraising efforts

Maidenhead Waterways

Tougher sentencing for killer drivers a priority

The following letter was sent to senior Government MPs:

I am writing to you regarding the implementation of increased sentences for killer drivers.

I am a retired police sergeant having served the majority of my 30 years’ service on the traffic/roads policing department with both Thames Valley & Metropolitan Police services. During that time I have dealt with hundreds of road deaths and witnessed first hand the devastating effects these incidents have on bereaved families and our communities.

My understanding is that it was decided in 2017 to increase the maximum penalties for causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs and for causing death by dangerous driving from 14 years to life imprisonment.

In August 2015, Cox Green constituents Alison and Mark Hollands lost their 19-year-old daughter Bryony in a fatal road traffic collision after a driver heavily influenced by drugs and alcohol travelling at high speed lost control of his vehicle, careering onto the pavement and killing her in Mapperley, Nottinghamshire.

Mr Hollands and I have been advised in earlier communications that the Government is seeking to introduce the proposals for increased sentences as soon as Parliamentary time allows and assurance was given to Mr Hollands that the Government is committed to making sure the courts have sufficient powers to deal with driving offences appropriately and proportionately. Regrettably over two years later this matter has not progressed.

These horrific driving offences sadly occur across the country on a daily basis with disastrous negative impact on families, friends, work colleagues and communities. In reality thousands of people’s lives are affected by these appalling incidents.

No sentence can ever replace a loved one, but families in the same position as Mr and Mrs Hollands wake up every morning thinking about their loss and live in expectation that Government will give them some form of closure by bringing this matter before Parliament and adopting the increased sentences proposed.

I acknowledge that national politics is extremely busy but I urge you to give this matter the appropriate Parliamentary time needed and deserved as a matter of priority.

This will give courts the ability to sentence appropriately and bereaved families closure and reassurance that the loss of their loved one is being taken seriously.

Cllr PHIL HASELER

Conservative, Cox Green


Waterways project will put heart back in town

It was good to read the upbeat interview with council leader Andrew Johnson (Advertiser, January 2), anticipating a brighter future for Maidenhead and setting out his policy objectives.

The prize-winning waterway project directly supports those objectives: helping ensure Maidenhead’s uniqueness; putting character and a heart back into the town centre; adapting for the climate crisis and enhancing biodiversity; while creating a joined up town centre that works for everyone.  

2020 will see major progress on the waterway, with the Green Lane weir lifting water levels throughout the town centre, up to Town Moor. Boating will be possible for the first time on York Stream (but limited at the outset), together with new wildlife and aquatic habitats.

The waterway is being built in stages alongside continuing regeneration.

The Chapel Arches development embraces the waterway, directly contributed to its restoration and is already transforming that end of the High Street.

The York Road development is also well underway, exploiting its waterside setting as Maidenhead’s regeneration gathers pace.

With huge population growth planned for Maidenhead, many in high rise apartments, completing the waterway as a defining feature of a revitalised town centre is more important than ever.

Prioritisation of funding and adopting a consistent long term strategy are essential if the waterway is to make further progress and avoid abortive costs. 

The York Stream arm has a number of restrictions and does not yet support any standard of through navigation.

There is no public access to the water’s edge or any facility from which maintenance or recreational boats could operate.

A sustainable maintenance plan for the newly restored channels is also essential, ensuring they don’t slip back into the dereliction from which they have just been rescued.

A Green and Blue Infrastructure Plan is now promised to support the new Local Plan, but what its scope will be, what elements of the waterway project it will include and how it can be funded remains unclear. MW aims to work with RBWM to complete the York Stream arm and to establish a fresh strategy for future stages that maximise the waterway’s accessibility, public amenity value and biodiversity.

RICHARD DAVENPORT

Chairman

Maidenhead Waterways


British companies being lost to foreign firms

In 2016 the microchip designer ARM, which had offices in Maidenhead, was purchased by a Japanese company.

ARM was world-renowned and a highly respected technology company that was by some distance the market leader in its field.

Theresa May had stated that foreign takeovers may be bad for the national interest but as Prime Minister agreed the sale.

The offices in Maidenhead have now closed down.

It seems that when companies are taken over we lose control over how to run a company.

We now have another great British company – Cobham – a UK defence and aerospace company, and Boris Johnson  defended the controversial £4bn takeover by an American company despite national security concerns.

Why do we let great British national companies be taken over by foreign firms when there are so many restrictions on British firms taking over foreign companies?

BRUCE ADAMS

Cox Green Lane

Maidenhead


Seven-minute wait at traffic lights by station

The signs around the town stated that highway works at the station would be completed by Christmas 2019, and while the temporary traffic lights had been removed, the works were not completed.

On Christmas morning I waited seven minutes for the lights to change from red although there were no pedestrians crossing or traffic coming from Queen Street.

Presumably, somebody in the council will hold up their hand and resign. But will they?

MERVYN BUSTON

East Road

Maidenhead


New cycleway makes a pleasant change

Many thanks to Bucks CC for the nice new cycleway, a good safe route alongside a busy road, with plenty of room to pass oncoming cyclists & pedestrians, with no overhanging vegetation to cause injury or encroaching dirt banks further restricting effective width of cycle path. 

A pleasant contrast to that existing alongside the A308. 

J PAYNE

Walker Road

Maidenhead


Amazing sum raised for Thames Hospice

Another Christmas and another amazing sum raised for Thames Hospice.

We are pleased to announce that our Christmas gift wrapping service raised another £2,935 for the Thames Hospice.

Everything we raise goes directly to the hospice so thanks once again to everyone who used the service and we hope to see you again next year.

Thanks must also go to our army of volunteers who give up their time to help, to all the staff at the Nicholson Centre who allow us to wrap there, look after us and sweep up after us!

To Starbucks for tea and coffee and to those who contribute paper, ribbon and gift tags etc. And of course thanks to everyone who gives so generously to this good cause.

We wish you all a very happy and prosperous 2020 – a very exciting year for Thames Hospice as it will see the completion of its new state of the art premises at Bray Lake.

KATHY JUPP

Maidenhead Fundraising Group for Thames Hospice


Thanks, dears, for supporting Devine trot

I would like to thank the many folk who supported my December walk from Reading to Maidenhead’s Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice dressed as a Christmas reindeer on December 23 and all those who gave me a cheery wave or Christmas greeting along the way. All money raised will go towards funding the vital services which the Devine charity provides (both within the hospice’s walls and out in the community).

As the Alexander Devine service relies solely on the generosity of the local community I make no apology for including the following www.justgiving.com/ paulsdailydash should anyone still wish to donate.

PAUL FARMER

Wensley Road

Reading

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