07:00PM, Friday 18 June 2021
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New homes must be flexible for infirmity
What do you do when you become old and infirm, have a disability or are in poor health?
Look for accommodation which allows you to manage.
This can involve either paying thousands of pounds to modify a house or apartment or pay for staggeringly expensive care home or assisted accommodation fees.
One simple way to mitigate this situation is to build new homes to suit such people (and most of us will get there at some time).
The Government, recognising this, has designated such accommodation as M4(2) and M4(3) in the building regulations.
The typical additional cost to build a property to M4(2) requirements is a mere £1,500. To make suitable alterations later costs thousands, if they are indeed possible.
London and Reading both stipulate that all (100 per cent) of new properties must be built to M4(2) standards.
In addition, Reading also requires 5 per cent to be at M4(3), which is wheelchair standard.
The Royal Institution of British Architects also recommends this.
According to a survey undertaken a few years ago, the future problem of inadequate accommodation for the elderly and incapacitated will be worse in Maidenhead than Reading. So, what is RBWM policy?
In the BLP [Borough Local Plan] only a scandalous 5 per cent of new housing at M4(2) is stipulated and then only if more than 20 units are constructed – even then this requirement is not currently applied because the BLP has not been approved.
A council discussion has suggested that this might be increased to 30 per cent – still inadequate and without any justification – a number plucked out of the air.
This requirement will also exclude accommodation built on flood plains (about 20 per cent of housing stock in Maidenhead).
In effect, RBWM is completely ignoring the fact that much new accommodation will be unfit for the elderly and those with any physical disability, not to mention any elderly or handicapped visitors to these properties.
So, most of the many properties currently being constructed may not be suitable for current residents or their elderly visitors
in future years. Make sure you plan to
Residents squeezed over parking permits
I am a resident in Maidenhead.
When I moved to my street I had no restrictions on parking.
I never asked for so-called residents’ parking nor wanted it.
This year it would cost me £50 for my car and £70 for my van and I was looking at £175 to have visitors – obviously a restricted amount of visitors as I’m not allowed more than 75 vouchers of different hours.
My car permit ran out so I ordered a new one and paid for it but in the meantime the council came round and gave me a ticket for parking as a resident in my zone.
I appeal to the council.
I explain the situation and explain how I am a resident and already paid out £50 + £70 + £50 for a visitor permit plus £25 + £30 on parking tickets my girlfriend received whilst visiting because the council refused me more visitor vouchers.
Yet they refuse to cancel the parking ticket for me as a resident car.
This is not set up to help residents, it is a money-making scam to screw as much as possible from residents and their very few visitors they are allowed per year.
Shame on you.
The council you are a joke.
What is my next move please?
I am shocked and disappointed with the decision.
I put a post on Facebook and many residents simply cannot believe the charges residents in parking zones face.
Graffiti the latest issue for new 5G mast
I wrote to you a few months ago about a 5G mast in All Saints Avenue and how it had been painted a bright colour that stood out against the background.
The paint is coming away at the top of it, but more serious than that, is that by being so easy to write on it has become a target for the graffiti artists.
In big bold writing they have called into question the safety of 5G masts.
Maybe now the owners of this mast, whoever that is, will be forced to act.
Will my concerns be noted and addressed?
My concerns regarding the ‘improvements’ at the Castle Hill roundabout (Viewpoint, June 10) were conveyed to the council's chief executive, Duncan Starkey, and the correspondence passed to the executive director of place.
The RBWM website lists Andrew Durrant as executive director of place, whatever that means.
Andrew Durrant’s response was ‘the road changes will be monitored to assess their impact and, at the end of that period, if any issues come to light they will be addressed’, which does not answer my question which was why the lane was constructed in this odd way.
Similarly, a direct question – ‘why was the waste bin at the bottom of High Town Road removed?’ – elicited the response that my ‘comments were noted.’
It would appear that comprehension of the English language seems to be lacking in officers of the RBWM.
Andrew Johnson, in his welcoming speech for Mr Durrant, stated ‘Andrew will bring a wealth of knowledge to the role’.
This is surprising as his previous role at Westminster City Council was director of community services, responsible for planning social service programmes for outreach organisations, and before that head of sport, leisure and wellbeing.
His responsibilities at RBWM are planning, highways, transport, infrastructure, sustainability and communities!
Can you imagine the FA appointing a new manager of the England football team from the ranks of the National Basketball Association?
Indifference to the fate of Northern Ireland
It’s hard to disagree with D R Cooper’s contention (Viewpoint, June 10) that the ‘Great Charlatan’ cares not a jot for the integrity of the United Kingdom.
Why else would his negotiating team have approved a customs border between Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK just to achieve the fanciful accolade of getting Brexit done, which it clearly is not.
When an attention-seeking career calumnist is entrusted with leading a country, the outcome was likely to be this shabby ostracism.
Whilst leading Tories like Dom Raab and Peter Lilley seek to shift the blame onto the EU for upholding what David Frost negotiated, it’s plain that the culpability for all this lies with the desire on the part of Boris the Bumbler to be world king, or at least the UK Prime Minister.
That said, many Brexiters stated they were happy to see Scottish independence if it meant leaving the EU, so frankly, what more should have been expected than a complete indifference to the future of Northern Ireland?
A fatuous analogy – so don’t endorse it
Dr Cooper tried to compare Northern Ireland with the county of Dorset on June 3.
Northern Ireland has an open border with a European Union country.
I showed some friends Dr Cooper's letter of June 3.
It was described as a ‘fatuous analogy’.
Dr Cooper missed an opportunity to criticise me.
I was wrong about Northern Ireland milk in High Wycombe.
With limited exceptions, customs declarations are not required when goods move from Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK.
Member, European Movement UK
Crystal ball predicts restrictions and Euros
After an astonishing 2 years and 3 months of COVID restrictions Britain is finally set free.
The July 19 delayed date was pushed back a further month due to a ‘worrying rise’ in cases of 50 in a day, although none any more serious than a bad cold with no deaths.
This tedious narrative was followed the following month, taking us into autumn thus providing plenty of new excuses to cling to and prolong the agony.
July 11, 2021 saw England defeat Germany in the Euros final on penalties, a high spot amongst the gloom despite the enormous lost jobs and trade for the hospitality industry due to unnecessary restrictions.
Late autumn sees everyone possible double jabbed, with the third jab booster shots campaign well under way.
December sees the arrival of the Mongolian variant, which is in fact the mildest yet, but hey there’s a second Christmas to wreck for the nation and the powers that be waste no time in doing so: no mixing indoors etc just in time.
Winter/spring 2022 sees more of the same nonsense in varying degrees until summer 2022 when the joke’s finally worn too thin to continue with!
This weekend’s smart motorway closures on the M4 will be shorter than usual due to separate bridge works taking place in West Berkshire (Junctions 13-14)