Viewpoint: Maidenhead Golf Course and the BLP

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


Opportunity offered by golf course land

The 2021 United Nations Climate Conference begins October 31 in Glasgow.

This has reminded me of a scientific study, reported in the National Geographic (2019) which had the headline: “How to erase 100 years of carbon emissions? Plant trees – lots of them.”

The senior author of the study stated that findings show clearly that forest restoration is the best climate change solution available today.

However, he also points out the vital importance of protecting existing forests and phasing out fossil fuels.

Maidenhead Golf Course presents a wonderful opportunity to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

This site already has hundreds of trees but could easily accommodate thousands more. A mature tree on average absorbs 21 kilograms of carbon dioxide each year so on maturity this woodland could absorb many tons of carbon each year.

If this pattern is replicated across the United Kingdom it would be a wonderful legacy for future generations.

The council argues that we need the 2,000 dwellings that are planned on the golf course but this is not correct.

Already thousands of new dwellings are planned in other areas of Maidenhead and this includes the massive overdevelopment of the town centre.

The reason the council wants to build on the golf course is clearly financial as has been reported several times recently in the Advertiser.

If the golf course site is developed not only would the opportunity to plant additional trees be lost but also many of the existing trees on the golf course would disappear.

Councillors should note that, at the recent Conservative Party Conference, Boris Johnson stated that houses should not be built on ‘green fields’ and that increasing construction on ‘brownfield’ sites, will be the new focus.

GEORGE MIDGLEY

Walker Road

Maidenhead


The real reason for building on greenbelt

From reading last week’s Advertiser, Cllr Hilton states that the council is at least £200m in debt but they are not concerned because capital receipts far outweigh the debt.

The main capital receipts will be from Maidenhead Golf Course, which is in the greenbelt, and building on greenbelt land is counter to Conservative National and Local Policy. No mention of all the flats having been built on the site of the old Town Hall car park or on the old offices in York Road next to the library.

Something has gone badly wrong with the council finances, and their only solution is to build on Maidenhead Golf Course.

This is the real reason why they have been so desperate to buy the golf course – to cover the horrific debts they have built up.

BRUCE ADAMS

Cox Green Lane

Maidenhead


MP voted against new sewage dumping laws

Hello Theresa, please explain why you voted against the amendment to prevent dumping of raw sewage in our rivers and along our coastlines? You do not represent me!

JOHN K

Cookham


Serious concerns over flood planning

The consultation on the Main Modifications to the Borough Local Plan Submission Version which were regarded as necessary to make the Plan sound and capable of adoption was open to residents for comment from July 19 to September 5.

RBWM has now published all the consultation responses that have been received and they make extremely interesting reading.

In particular the consultation response from the Environment Agency (EA) is eye-opening.

The Environment Agency, as might be expected, focuses on how the Borough Local Plan (BLP) addresses flood risk and expresses in some level of detail its serious concerns about the soundness of the BLP.

Just one example, among many from the EA consultation response, where the advice the EA had previously given RBWM has not been fully complied with, concerns the provision of an 8m buffer zone alongside main rivers: “Proposed allocated sites AL9, AL10, AL28 and AL30 (as well as AL14 and AL15 mentioned above) are all within 8m of a main river. The 8m undeveloped buffer zone requirement in accordance with policy NR1 has not been included in these site’s proforma’s contrary to our advice.”

Another comment has particular resonance and endorses the submissions made by many others including the RBWM Residents Action Group (RRAG): “We are still concerned that part 1 of policy QP2 is not deliverable as ‘development sites will be expected to conform to the standards set out’ in a document that does not exist yet. If the Inspector determines that this plan is sound, we request that the Green and Blue Infrastructure SPD is completed as soon as possible and that the RBWM commits to a set date to ensure this policy is deliverable in the near future completing the SPD by a set date to ensure this policy is deliverable in the near future.”

How can this BLP be considered sound when so many of the supplementary planning documents, on which it depends, have yet to be written and will not be subject to public and/or independent scrutiny through the consultation process?

KEN ELVIN

Chairman

Bray Parish Council


Hospitality is not just catering for foodies

I read your article on the award-winning chef in Burchetts Green moving to pastures new with interest.

I am saddened by the fact that Mr Bonwick has the need to blame others for his business decision to turn the pub which previously welcomed both locals and strangers, adults, children, and pets and was fully open lunchtime and evenings six days a week for both drinks and food into a restaurant offering exclusive dining for the very few.

Business would have dropped off significantly and would have been on its knees from day one on his business model, until he had built up his foodie clientele.

I find it deeply offensive that he peddles derogatory remarks about The Crown and by association its previous incumbent when he changed the business beyond all recognition of the generally accepted description of a public house, even denying drinks to anyone not having a meal.

I wish him well in yet another new venture.

J HAYWARD-WITTWER

Former landlady of The Crown, Burchetts Green


Make parking cheaper to help the high street

As leader of the Local Independents group, I am well aware of the difficulties facing the Conservative administration regarding the council’s revenue budget but consider it common sense to encourage residents to use their local high streets.

There are the obvious issues regarding car use and climate change but the last two years have impacted the retail and hospitality industry in our borough and residents are saying they are travelling further and visiting ‘out of borough centres’ because of, in part, high parking charges.

Windsor residents are currently asked to pay higher parking charges because their local high street is a tourist town whereas Maidenhead residents are putting up with an enormous amount of disruption due to regeneration.

If our High Streets are to survive and become vibrant, we must ensure that residents are able to collect goods, visit our High Streets (despite mobility issues) and families can access our local facilities.

I asked officers to model a number of alternatives for resident discount parking. From modelling it appears that to allow one hour free (irrespective of how many hours purchased) in ALL car parks would reduce annual revenue by approximately £400k however in a reduced number of selected car parks it is estimated to be £150k.

We are generally seeing a move to ‘mobile app / phone call’ based parking fee processes and it would be expected that this is how the discount could be provided.

As shadow lead for finance, I will not be able to see the base figures for the budget until the draft budget is published.

There has been no approach by the Conservative administration to have a conversation regarding flexibility in the budget once all our statutory responsibilities have been met.

Therefore, I am completely in the dark as to whether this is viable or not.

The Local Independents group urge the Conservative administration to do all they can to implement residents’ discount parking within the budget for 2022/23 to give residents a fairer deal and to support our High Streets.

Cllr LYNNE JONES

On behalf of the Local Independents


Excrement sums up airport attitude to us

Of course Heathrow is a massive culprit when it comes to metaphorically dumping on its neighbours with noise, air pollution etc, but now I read that jets are literally dumping on neighbours in Windsor – keep your hat on, Ma’am!

Last week’s Advertiser reported that ‘a man in Windsor was hit by human waste from an aeroplane while in his garden’.

I don’t know about you, but I had to read that twice.

And what’s more, apparently it ‘wasn’t frozen’.

So do Heathrow jets make a habit of dumping frozen human waste?

Thinking about it though, if I had to choose, I reckon I’d prefer to be hit by frozen waste than by the good old soft variety – wouldn’t you?

Perhaps The Advertiser could run a poll to see what readers think?

And should RBWM be erecting appropriate warning signs in and around Windsor?

Seriously though, what a shocking thing to happen!

I see that the human waste came from a plane based, and I quote ‘from a very long way away’.

That’s the thing with planes, isn’t it? They so often come from a very long way away.

Anyway never mind the plane operators – Heathrow, the neighbour from hell, should be totally liable for this.

My wife suggested a campaign with the slogan ‘Say No To The Turd Runway’ but maybe that’s a little bit tasteless?

MALCOLM JAMES STRETTEN

Boulters Lane

Maidenhead


Impressed by effort made by Theresa May

May I through your publication express my extreme gratitude and thanks to your sitting Member of Parliament Theresa May who helped me and took part in my charity booklet project ‘Challenge 50’, where I travelled the country meeting fifty members.

Initially we were supposed to meet in December 2019, but due to the election that year it was delayed and then the pandemic meant that it was not until now that we could complete this task at her offices in Westminster.

Having then fixed a time, the tragic events of the killing of Sir David Amess took place three days before the appointed time, and I would not have been surprised and expected maybe the meeting would be cancelled as I was not a constituent and was potentially a stranger, but to her credit she and other MPs have stated that they will carry on with their normal surgeries and contact with the public.

I managed to present her with a gift in the form of a mug from Walsall FC too for her office.

Throughout, she showed herself to be a kind, considerate and compassionate person – in spite of my nerves she put me at ease.

I congratulate Maidenhead for having such a conscientious and excellent individual as their representative in Parliament.

MARK DABBS

Walsall’s Running Ambassador

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