12:00PM, Friday 14 January 2022
Email Viewpoint letters to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Viewpoint, Newspaper House, 48 Bell Street, Maidenhead, SL61HX.
Making the town live up to its surroundings
The stretch of water from Cookham, past Cliveden, through Boulters Lock to, say, Oakley Court is arguably the most attractive part of England’s great River Thames.
Sadly, Maidenhead itself is arguably the least attractive town in the area.
If the council and the developers are hoping to attract reasonably affluent and well-educated people from West London, they must raise their vision and create some areas which are elegant, smart and sophisticated otherwise such people will leapfrog Maidenhead and start their new lives west of Reading – down the railway line towards Bath.
Council cannot keep borrowing like this
A recent RBWM report on financing includes council borrowing for 2022/23 that is projected at £213million with debt payments estimated at £6.2million.
It adds that: “Like many councils, RBWM has chosen to capitalise certain council spending, eg replacement of equipment to ease the pressure on its revenue budget.” (Note – revenue budgets are funded from council tax and capital mainly from borrowing).
Not so long ago all maintenance items like maintaining school buildings and repairs to the roads were totally funded from revenue and capital was only used for new projects like new school buildings or road widening – but not anymore.
Switching revenue spending to capital has allowed the council to keep our council tax down but this has left us with significant debts that ultimately means money is spent on debt rather than services.
We are undergoing severe cuts in services to cover our debts.
Things could have been a lot better it the council had not continued to keep council tax down while at the same time following an extravagant spending spree on capital projects.
Apart from other schemes the following major schemes are committed up to 2023/24:
It is possible the council has recognised the error of its ways by the following quote:
“Over time the council needs to look to fund its more immediate needs from its revenue budget rather than using capital resources to fund them.”
Let’s hope this happens as we cannot keep on borrowing on such a scale, but to achieve this council tax will have to rise a lot.
Measure success by those who comply
I am writing in response to the somewhat jaundiced reporting in the article ‘weak evidence for cycling order’ in last week’s paper.
The premise that the success of a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) to seek cyclists to dismount and walk, in two small busy pedestrian shopping areas in the borough, should be measured by the number of people fined for breaching it, is somewhat sad.
All such orders, as with legislation in general, is to define what is acceptable behaviour, to educate/remind people and therefore prevent unacceptable and dangerous behaviour occurring.
The attempt to include e-scooters in this article was misleading, as they are already illegal in public places (unless a government trial) and are purely a police matter.
Following the introduction of the PSPO in August, (in response to public safety concerns and following a public consultation) a period of education by RBWM and our community wardens ensued, together with signage to advise cyclists of the new restrictions.
It appears that a current lack of complaints and fines should indicate that compliance is high and therefore this should be applauded as a success!
Whilst not everybody complies with the new PSPO, those that do not are eligible to being fined, however dismounting (or picking up their dog’s droppings) upon request, often avoids the need for a fine to be issued.
Following the comments of the Liberal Democrat councillor quoted in your article, it would appear that they would measure the success of the PSPO by the number of people that breach it, rather than comply with it!
If we followed the tone of this article and those Lib Dem councillors supporting its premise, we would measure the success of all legislation by the number of people who ignore or breach it?
This position in itself is inconsistent with their previously stated opposition to enforcing and fining the public for breaching other anti social behaviour restrictions, such as littering, where they criticise the Conservative administration for the high number of fines, stating that in this case they regard it as a failure of policy.
It is clear that the Lib Dems have no consistent policies and put political opportunism above the safety and well being of our residents.
Cllr DAVID CANNON
Cabinet member for public protection and parking
Green space more vital as we reach capacity
After signing the government petition asking for a ban on greenbelt development, today I received a response from the government saying it is ‘committed to greenbelt protection’, and outlining the policy in place.
If this policy is to be upheld, there’s no way building on the golf course would be allowed.
For example, the ‘exceptional circumstances’ our council is using to justify green belt take is housing need.
Yet this is being over-delivered in the Borough Local Plan by at least 2,000
new homes, and our council’s justification for that, is that it’s for a neighbouring borough.
According to government policy, local authorities are supposed to ask neighbouring boroughs to help to prevent greenbelt development, not promote it!
The policy also says that ‘the framework recognises that green infrastructure and accessible green space are beneficial to our health and well-being.’
The golf course is publicly owned greenbelt in our town centre, perfectly placed to provide these health and wellbeing benefits for the people of Maidenhead.
We are already seeing the majority of the borough’s housing need for 2013-2033 being met in their town centre, much of it in flats, so access to greenspace is more important than ever.
Petrol pricing seems very opportunistic
I wonder how many readers are aware that the seller of exorbitantly priced petrol in Maidenhead Euro Garages is owned by the same people who own Asda – the Issa Brothers of Blackburn, Lancashire.
Since well before Christmas, E10 Unleaded has been sold at £1.387 at their Asda petrol station in Staines whilst during the same period at their three sites in Maidenhead they charge a whopping £1.499.
Wholesale prices have fallen but according to the RAC UK drivers were overcharged £5million per day in December by retailers not passing on wholesale price cuts.
Euro Garages is one of the worst offenders and I’d urge Maidenhead motorists to boycott them.
Speak out – loudly – about night flight noise
If you do not like Heathrow air-planes taking off over your head at 00:40, you can email Heathrow Community Relations at email@example.com.
This time, the flight was at 00:44 on Saturday morning.
It was low, 2,400ft, and created a 29 decibel noise spike.
The night flight regime for Heathrow is being reviewed, and whilst there are emergencies and aircraft do need to land, when it comes to take-offs, the situation is very different.
Deciding to send a plane out when tens of thousands of local residents are sleeping is clearly going to disrupt people’s sleep.
Medically, we are told we should get eight hours sleep.
How about we ban take-offs between 22:00 and 06:00?
Oven-ready deal melts into an Eton mess
What seems to be clear from D R Cooper’s latest submission in his ongoing commentary about the difficulties with the Irish land border (Viewpoint, January 6) is that the Prime Minister’s appeal for votes at the last General Election to ‘Get Brexit Done’was as fanciful as most of the other utterances which have marked his career of half truths and non truths.
His ‘oven-ready deal’ was nothing more than undercooked junk food, and now this unconvincing chef and his fellow kitchen staff seek to blame the EU for sticking to Boris’ botched recipe.
When nationalistic emotions overcome logic as happened in June 2016, the outcome is the Eton mess which D R Cooper finds so unpalatable.
It’s high time to wake up and smell the coffee.
Long and winding road of changing priorities
In light of the publication of the priority of road users, my car has now self-identified as a bicycle.
A cross-party coalition of 28 councillors from three different factions has been formed at Wokingham Borough Council.