Viewpoint: Bad planning for new A4 crossing?

Email Viewpoint letters to jamesp@baylismedia.co.uk or write to Viewpoint, Newspaper House, 48 Bell Street, Maidenhead, SL6 1HX.

Bad planning in Bad Godesberg Way

I have to agree with Cllr Gurch Singh and I too am surprised that the planning of this proposed crossing (in Bad Godesberg Way) was not better.

The project is planned to start on August 16 and to be completed in October, just when everyone returns from holidays and schools return. Brilliant!

The best time would have been to start it at the end of July when traffic is lighter but that would require forethought by RBWM, which we know is totally lacking in this council.

I also agree with Cllr Geoffrey Hill, that a footbridge would have been preferable as this is the main A4 trunk road and as has been demonstrated recently when the M4 is closed at weekends carries a tremendous amount of traffic and this will now be disrupted on a permanent basis with traffic lights.

The RBWM seem to have a pecuniary interest in traffic lights as there is preponderance and proliferation throughout the borough of these items which disrupt traffic and are often totally unnecessary.

MERVYN BUSTON

East Road

Maidenhead


Caring for ‘village made in heaven’

In Mr Copas’s letter last week (Viewpoint, August 10) he makes some valid points.

Unsightly high verges may not support biodiversity as he explains, but they additionally create vision hazards to pedestrians and traffic such as along the Moor road.

However, where land is not developed, especially as he mentions, in greenbelt, the options for the experience of farmers and expertise of science and knowledgeable groups such as Wild Cookham to arrive at the right solutions still exists.

Build on it and the options are gone forever.

I am currently mentoring COP26 programmes focused on innovation relating to the twin of biodiversity, climate change.

I understand the complexities of local government, local challenges and compromises, having drafted the original climate change strategy framework for our borough.

However, in Cookham almost 10 hectares of greenbelt, and more than that on either side, has been volunteered by landowners to be developed within the local plan and, as expressed by Mr Elvin in his letter last week, has no ‘objectively assessed need’.

I have shown, by my own representations, that these developments, outside of biodiversity effects, also contribute, for the first time in history, to a plan that creates gridlock within Cookham village.

Most of the designated greenbelt is at Lower Mount Farm. already with existing similar sized greenbelt removal.

It is not apparent what the motivations are either for the borough or the landowner, but they cannot be for sustainability or biodiversity. So how can we help?

Perhaps Mr Copas can talk to the landowner at Lower Mount Farm, the custodian of this greenbelt, and understand why their position is not the same as his, namely ‘to preserve our greenbelt countryside’.

Perhaps community innovations for cost neutrality can be found that enable the preservation of the land for future generations of wildlife, plants, and people.

Let’s understand and solve the issues together to avoid irreversible damage to a ‘Village made in Heaven’.

Farmers should not bear the entire brunt for preserving habitat and sustainability, on this we agree.

As Mr Copas appeals to ‘single issue groups’, and we must include landowners of greenbelt who wish to develop without appropriate justification, that they cannot ‘ignore or forget the potential negative side effects of their proposals’. I agree with him. Perhaps only then we might justify the title of ‘Best Kept Village’.

PAUL STRZELECKI

Berries Road

Cookham


Night flights impact on residents’ sleep

The Department of Transport (DfT) is conducting its second night-flights survey, closing on September 3 and this is particularly important for residents in our area.

Having enjoyed the return of birdsong and relative quiet during the pandemic, local residents are in trepidation about overflying returning to pre-pandemic levels.

The World Health Organisation recommends that adults have eight hours’ sleep a night, school age children nine to 11 hours and infants 12 to 15 hours.

They say that lack of sleep health ill-effects include stress, hypertension or high blood pressure, dementia and premature death, and lead to reduced productivity, slower learning in children, obesity, calcification of arteries and even a reduction in our bodies’ production of vital cancer-fighting cells!

Heathrow’s existing night-time curfew is from 11.30pm to 6am. But this is ‘from the stand or gate’ and ‘to the stand or gate’.

So an aircraft leaving the gate at 11.30am takes around 15 minutes to taxi to the runway and a further 15 minutes to take off and be over our area at midnight.

But early morning arrivals are allowed from 4.30am; so over residents at 4am to arrive at the gate at 4.30am.

What the DfT say is 6 ½ hours respite is in reality only 4 hours.

Heathrow is also allowed up to 16 ‘unscheduled’ flights per night, i.e. departing late or arriving early.

These can and do depart at any time for example at midnight, 1am and even 2am, and include the regular early morning arrivals at 4.30am.

The DfT says ‘there is growing evidence that exposure to high levels of aircraft noise can adversely affect people’s health’, but now they are proposing to extend it for a further three years before reviewing from 2025 onwards.

Rather than continuing the existing Heathrow night-flight curfew, it should be increased to an 8-hour ban every night from 23.00 to 7.00, and starting from 2022 and not from 2025.

Unscheduled flights should not be allowed, and any dispensation should only be the decision of the Minister for Transport, guided by the Minister of Health.

As the night-time regime is so adverse to the health and well-being of local residents, any future improvements in technology should be to the benefit of local communities, and not for Heathrow to increase night-time activity.

This consultation was delayed to enable consideration of the DfT's SoNA night-time sleep survey which has just been published. It turns out that this survey was conducted some time ago in 2014 and its conclusions are wholly inadequate, with insufficient focus on the late night departures and early morning arrivals noted above.

COVID has prompted a reassessment of priorities not to live by past standards.

Let’s use this opportunity to create a New Normal, grow back better and protect our health.

Please see response guidance on the SHE (Stop Heathrow Expansion) website, and send your objections, experiences and adverse effects of night-time aircraft noise to the consultation at night.flights@dft.gov.uk by September 3. Please also copy your response to info@stopheathrowexpansion.co.uk.

The more residents who can respond calling for reduced nightflights, the better.

PAUL GROVE

Tithe Barn Drive

Between Windsor and Maidenhead


Action not words on on sport facilities

Great news to read in last week’s Maidenhead Advertiser that RBWM are supporting local sports clubs.

Yes we want action, not just words, and hope that greenbelt policy should not prevent some types of sports facilities.

Sadly the rifle club were denied their replacement centre by the council and refused planning permission, as was the all weather hockey pitch and replacement equine facilities, to replace three existing facilities closed for other uses.

So for the future, I hope the council planning committee will accept that sports facilities help to preserve the openness of the greenbelt by maintaining it and/or accept that appropriate sports facilities should justify very special circumstances thereby being considered as appropriate buildings allowed in the greenbelt.

If not, local people will have to accept that living in areas of the greenbelt, they are sometimes denied sports facilities available in other areas.

GEOFFREY COPAS

Copas Farms


Land limitation forces difficult choices

I always read with interest your letter pages and a letter from Ken Elvin, the chair of Bray Parish Council, who I respect, caught my eye (Viewpoint, August 10).

I have heard a similar statement made by another Bray Parish councillor, so I assume that this misinformation comes from another source.

We are now in the final stages of having a fully approved Borough Local Plan which will both meet the need to provide housing across all types of tenure but also give us the policies to help us achieve a borough we can all be proud of.

This last stage enables the inspector to ensure that the final major modifications that she has asked for will meet both her and the communities wishes.

It is the Inspector who has said that she only wants comment on these major modifications, not officers or me.

The first error is about numbers. The inspector heard all the arguments about numbers of dwellings required when she held the two examinations in public.

It was her decision that the numbers used in the plan were correct.

None of us want to use greenbelt land but in a Borough with so many limitations there are no choices.

Town centres like Maidenhead are only suitable for flats and apartments.

If we are to build family homes whether for purchase or for social rent, we have to use the greenbelt.

The Aldi store will be used primarily by residents of Windsor, and everyone tells me that this will be a great asset to the town.

Bray Studios coming back to life (subject to planning approval) with it being a major centre for Amazon.

I wonder if their new series of Lord of the Rings will be filmed there?

In any case they already had planning permission to build houses on that site.

The so-called Triangle site. Yes, part of it is in the flood zone but there are different rules for commercial properties.

Whatever the developers know which part of the sites can be used and which cannot, This will provide jobs for our residents.

What better place for businesses than a site adjacent to the motorway network?

Just to remind you I was once Chair of Bray Parish Council and I represent Bray at the Royal Borough, but I look forward not backwards.

Cllr DAVID COPPINGER

Conservative councillor for Bray

Cabinet member for planning, environmental services and Maidenhead


Something rotting and the state of the earth

I am becoming somewhat weary of all this talk regarding global warming. Every time we hear about the weather lately it’s been the warmest, wettest or driest since records began.

Accurate records only began in 1880, if you want to go back a bit further basic records were kept by an observatory in Armagh, Northern Ireland, from 1794.

Anything beyond that is a bit hit or miss.

Even the scientists can’t agree on what was happening with the climate past a thousand years ago.

They can take core samples from various places going back millions of years but it’s still a best guess.

If you care to look at the records, the population graph runs almost exactly parallel with climate change.

In 1880 there were approximately 1,600,000,000 people across the planet, today there is about 7,794,798,739 people.

The UN predicts that by 2100 the population will reach eleven billion people.

That’s eleven billion warm bodies inhaling air and exhaling CO2.

All needing food and water.

I think population growth will be more of a problem.

Let’s hope Shanly will be there to build them flats.

Now everyone is worried because of the IPCC Report and the report that the Amazon is giving off more CO2 than it’s absorbing.

Firstly the report about the Amazon is not what it seems. The trees are not rebelling against the human race, but the rotting vegetation left from land clearance is giving off CO2.

The professor that discovered this and wrote the report made 600 flights over the Amazon to do so. I’m sure that helped the planet no end.

Secondly, over the last 60 years we’ve heard it all before. We’ve only got five years left or 10 years left to save the planet.

In 1966, when I was 13 years old, scientists said that we were crashing into a new ice age and by now the ice cap should have reached the Scottish borders.

Should anyone care to look at a map of this planet we live on, our little island is a very small part of it.

Look at the expanse of Canada, a country doing very little on climate change. USA, likewise.

Most of the South American countries can’t afford to do much and Brazil is definitely not helping.

Look at Africa, India, Russia, Middle Eastern countries and China. None of them doing much about climate change.

In fact China has plans to build several more coal-fired power stations.

If the British Isles were consumed by the ocean overnight and wiped off the face of the Earth our contribution to cutting CO2 levels would not even be missed.

Perhaps when the human race has managed to cause its own extinction the planet can return to the paradise it once was.

KEITH CHAPMAN

Cornwall Close

Maidenhead


Why was there a ‘must’ over EU agreement?

I recently happened upon a ‘position paper’ published by the government of Theresa May four years ago, on August 16, 2017, which carried the seeds of the current potentially disastrous outcome of Brexit.

In its paragraph 42: “The UK must reach an agreement with the EU in order to ensure that the Irish side of the land border, which is subject to relevant EU regulations, is also as seamless and frictionless as possible.”

For sure, most people would have agreed that it would be preferable to reach an amicable agreement with the EU, but it was a grave strategic error to publicly declare that we ‘must’ reach such an agreement.

The price for that agreement demanded by the EU and the Irish government was continued EU control of Northern Ireland, but Theresa May cleverly persuaded them to accept control over the whole of the UK.

(Viewpoint, October 11 2018, ‘Leaving the customs union seems unlikely’)

It took the genius of her successor, Boris Johnson, to reverse that negotiating triumph, to sacrifice the integrity of our internal market to protect that of the EU single market, and potentially break up the UK.

Perhaps even he now realises that the revised Irish protocol he gave to the EU must be terminated, and if Theresa May wishes to make good use of her remaining time as our MP she should work to that end.

As a ‘Conservative and Unionist’ MP she should surely be able to convince the other ‘Conservative and Unionist’ MPs that to preserve the union the Prime Minister they chose must abrogate this treaty.

Dr D R COOPER

Belmont Park Avenue

Maidenhead


How to have your say on the Local Plan

Further to my letter printed in last week’s edition of the Advertiser under the heading ‘Act on overloading in the Local Plan’ I would like to correct the email address given for the inspector’s programme office.

The email should read – bankssolutionsuk@gmail.com – Mail should be marked for the attention of Charlotte Clancy.

I apologise for this ‘typo’ and would like to thank all those who have brought this error to my attention.

KEN ELVIN

Tithe Barn Drive

Maidenhead


Hubs use a strong outreach programme

In May, the Royal Borough’s Family Hub Model was launched.

The principle of Family Hubs is to offer a more flexible, holistic, targeted and early help support service to those families most in need.

The multi-disciplinary hubs bring together a range of services including the Youth Service, Children’s Centres and the Family Resilience Service.

This decision has been predicated on a previous national Children’s Commissioner report and an All Party Parliamentary Group report, with MPs from all mainstream political parties, that set out clear recommendations in favour of all local authorities following this approach.

We have taken these decisions to deliver a better and more holistic service to local residents with an elevated emphasis on vulnerable families.

It has been deeply disappointing to see a garishly glossy Liberal Democrat circulating that talks about ‘children centre closures’ and ‘extreme cuts’.

This is simply not the case.

Let me be clear: the point of merging centres is to speak to the independent evidence base described above to enable an integrated, collaborative and highly supportive approach to supporting young people and their families.

Following evidence and listening to the views of residents is vital and at the heart of our modus operandi.

It is worth noting that the progressive ideas around use of Pinkneys Green community centre came via representations from local residents - not the Liberal Democrats as is curiously claimed in the leaflet.

Our Family Hubs are focused on providing services to those children, young people and families most in need of early intervention support.

The aim is to increase family resilience, enable independence and empowerment, and to reduce reliance on statutory interventions.

The hub model operates using two main bases: Alma Road in Windsor and Riverside in Maidenhead.

However, the entire framework is focused on providing services where they are most needed.

Importantly, this includes a strong outreach element, which means that children, young people and families can be supported wherever best suits them.

Through our family hubs structure, services can be delivered from one of our satellite buildings throughout the borough.

The family hub delivers a full programme of services encompassing health visiting, school nursing, specific one-to-one sessions and groups for vulnerable families, parenting support and opportunities for early years learning and development. We are also supporting the continuation of hosting a range of activity sessions from independent and private groups.

Our whole family focus is closely aligned to the Government’s Supporting Families agenda, which places a strong emphasis on mental health and relationship support.

Families with children at risk of exploitation or struggling to access education are also prioritised and always will be.

The new model will be kept under close review and we will seek to make service enhancements based on feedback.

Cllr STUART CARROLL

Conservative councillor for Boyn Hill

Cabinet member for adult social care, children services, health and mental health


Let us know ideas for new social groups

I just wanted to let you know that Age Concern Windsor’s Coffee Club, at the Spencer Denney Centre on Tuesday, September 17, 14pm-16pm will be discussing ideas for new social groups in Windsor.

We are looking to set up some new groups and would like to hear from anyone who is looking for a new social group.

Everyone is welcome to drop in and chat with us over tea and cakes. We would like to know what you are looking for, how long a time you want to spend, morning or afternoon and what type of things you would like to do, such as seated exercise, gardening, arts and crafts, cards or games?

If you are unable to attend on September 17 then please get in touch via, telephone 01753 860685, or email info@ageconcernwindsor.org.uk

RACHEL HARVEY

Chief Officer

Age Concern Windsor

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