Viewpoint: Parking issues at Boulters Lock

Email Viewpoint letters to jamesp@baylismedia.co.uk or write to Viewpoint, Newspaper House, 48 Bell Street, Maidenhead, SL61HX.


Council should think outside all the boxes

The Royal Borough has announced yet another hassle-based and complicated scheme in relation to reducing the cost of parking.

What they need to do, however, is just reduce the cost of parking to a level proportional to what’s on offer.

Compared to just two local towns, Woodley and Henley for example, where parking is £1.20 for two hours, that’s not a lot!

Henley for instance is visually attractive and appealing and hasn’t adopted Maidenhead’s ‘vision’ of demolishing good looking buildings to replace them with concrete/brick ‘boxes’ which now blight the landscape amidst the rubble heap of destruction and both aforementioned towns have something Maidenhead lacks – namely SHOPS and the shoppers they attract.

DAVID COX

Bath Road

Maidenhead


Good luck trying to park at Boulters Lock

In connection with concerns over dangerous parking near to Battlemead Common, last week’s Advertiser had a headline stating ‘Call to open car park near new path’.

So I typed into Google Maps the words ‘Battlemead Common car park’ and what came up? Boulters Lock Car Park!

And I see Cllr Coppinger must have been on Google Maps too, because he’s advising visitors to Battlemead Common: “If visitors are arriving by car, they can park at Boulters Lock car park nearby and enjoy the circular walk along the Thames Path to Battlemead Common and back”.

Well, that sounds delightful.

It’s a warm sunny day and you fancy a walk up The Thames to Battlemead Common, why not just park in Boulters Lock car park?

That is if you can find a space there on a warm summer’s day.

Because, despite Conservative ex-council leader Simon Dudley promising to open the extension a couple of years ago, NOTHING has been done.

Yes, absolutely nothing has been done, because apparently all the cash has disappeared.

Where did it all go? Nobody knows.

At least they increased the price for parking there from diddly squat to £1.50 for two hours.

So if they just pull their fingers out, all those additional parkers would be contributing towards the very small cost of opening it up, using Groundtrax type plastic matting as already suggested by the CIC.

It doesn’t even need additional lighting, because it can be closed during the hours of darkness simply by closing the existing gate in the car park.

But all is not lost because various anonymous council officers have for some time been ‘scoping lower cost alternatives’.

Maybe those alternatives include getting Simon Dudley himself to roll his sleeves up and start digging?

After all, he already dug himself a very embarrassing hole so he might as well keep on digging.

Alternatively, I don’t know if the Scouts still do Bob A Job Week, but that would certainly save the council a lot of money.

So, nobody knows what these ‘lower cost alternatives’ may be.

But perhaps people might, just for once, stop voting on auto-pilot and in next year’s local elections ask themselves why they keep voting for a party that seems unable to manage its finances well enough to provide a simple and much needed car park extension.

Managing to get drunk in a brewery also comes to mind.

MALCOLM JAMES STRETTEN

Boulters Lane

Maidenhead


Hope many can enjoy the Millennium Walk

As noted in the Advertiser of March 24, there is now available an updated Millennium Walk leaflet that incorporates the link across Battlemead Common that opened on April 1.

All of this new link will remain open until after the annual Boundary Walk on October 2, thus providing a circular walk on Battlemead during these months.

Paper copies of the new leaflet are obtainable from the Maidenhead Arts noticeboard and the Rio Deli café both in Maidenhead Library.

Copies have also been deposited on the community noticeboard in Nicholson’s Walk shopping centre in Maidenhead.

Electronic versions can be downloaded from the websites of Maidenhead Civic Society and East Berks Ramblers.

The Millennium Walk that runs from Hurley cross country to Maidenhead Riverside connects at both ends with the Thames Path National Trail and is a joint project of the two societies.

We hope that the small car park, included in the most recent masterplan for Battlemead Common, will be open before too long to facilitate access to the new common, especially for disabled people and also to help relieve the pressure on both the Boulters Lock and Cookham car parks during the warmer months.

Until such time as this happens the nearest car park is that at Boulters Lock.

A walk along the Thames Path will bring you to Battlemead Common that now has attractive signboards detailing what can be seen.

At present the north wetland on Battlemead is, unusually for April, completely dry, perhaps due to the recent warm weather.

We hope more rain and more flow in the White Brook will soon restore this habitat.

Both the Civic Society and the Ramblers are very grateful to the Lions Club of Maidenhead for the Maidenhead Lions Platinum Award, commemorating Her Majesty. the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, that has facilitated the publication of the new leaflet.

ANN DARRACOTT

Maidenhead Civic Society


Help people save energy and money

Suddenly we are all aware of the critical place of energy in every aspect of our lives.

The raising of the price cap last week affects us all, with many in our communities facing frightening hardship.

Government (central and local) has to act to help us meet this challenge.

But it’s a challenge we all need to tackle.

The launch last weekend of Cookhams Footprint has already demonstrated that local communities can and will take action, with some 200 local residents signing up to our Facebook page in the first two days.

Our objectives go beyond the immediate crisis to address the broader climate challenge but Cookhams Footprint’s immediate focus is energy.

It’s clear that there is a general desire to act but a mixture of confusion, lack of knowledge (for example, of the grants available) and, yes, inertia stopping many people from taking the actions they know are needed.

Ground up community action, drawing on the experience and expertise of neighbours and trusted suppliers, is key to this.

We are calling on residents and community groups to get involved, whether that’s providing professional expertise and experience, offering their stories of installing energy-saving measures, generating their own solar or other energy or, as important, helping to get the message across our entire community.

We have created teams to look at each of these, including the longer term potential for community-scale generation schemes, and we are pointing residents to the many simple steps we can take now to reduce our energy consumption.

Working with borough-wide initiatives and with Government support our ultimate goal is to make Cookham self-sufficient in energy.

That’s ambitious but it’s increasingly clear that it’s a goal worth pursuing.

We urge Cookhamites to show their interest by signing up to the Facebook page for Cookhams Footprint and offer their skills and enthusiasm by email to cookhamsfootprint@gmail.com.

RICHARD CAMPIN, SARAH LLOYD PARRY, PAUL STRZELECKI, SUE TEASDALE

on behalf of the founders of Cookhams Footprint


Close calls for safe walking in town centre

Where are the Maidenhead wardens?

It was 10.30ish on Saturday when, walking along Queen Street towards High Street, three young teens – one on an electric scooter being ridden along Queen Street the wrong way – caused a car to stop abruptly to avoid hitting the scooter.

Trying to address these boys, a gentleman and myself were verbally abused and, in no uncertain terms, were told to (FO) go away.

As I walked up the High Street past the veg stall, I was aware that the scooter was behind me and, if I had stepped the wrong way, I would have been knocked over.

This was done again as he retur–ed to
his friends and again called some unsavoury words. I am 81 and born in the town centre and brought up to respect others at all times.

If these boys are on any CCTV they need to be challenged by some authority, so shoppers can use the High Street safely and free from abuse.

This is not the first time I have been subjected to close calls in the High Street by skateboarding, cycles and scooters and, in fact, I try not to go to the shops very often.

I find it better to go out of town.

NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED


Show me the money – not films or careers

Last week I was at a large gathering of Marlow residents who came to hear a report on the impact on our town of the proposed Marlow Film Studio, owned by Dido Property Limited.

I took two messages from the occasion, organised by the Save Marlow’s Greenbelt campaign:

The first was that there is very significant discontent in Marlow over this proposal.

The second was an awful sense that the town and its people have been sold a complete pup.

An elaborate operation has been put in train to project a myth that this proposal will bring great benefits to the town when manifestly the principal objective is to make enormous capital gains for the promoters.

Very simply the objective of the project is not to make movies but to make money – and lots of it – for the shareholders and directors, who include some of the most substantial landowners in the area.

This is to be achieved by making available for development 90 acres of land, currently designated by the county council as a natural park and theoretically not worth very much.

Much of this land has been acquired – in parcels – stealthily over the past few years, as the Marlow Society has pointed out.

Once approved for development, it will quite magically increase in value exponentially and money will tumble into the pockets of the Stonor and Fleming families.

The disbenefits for the rest of us are equally manifest.

We will lose the amenity of a beautiful wild area with an abundance of wildlife.

The ponds and thickets will be replaced by huge hulking structures which will loom over the eastern half of Marlow and scar the view from Winter Hill.

The space which separates Marlow from Bourne End – one of the underlying purposes of the greenbelt – will disappear.

The economic gains which Dido asserts will come simply don't stand up to scrutiny.

And the Hon William Stonor has the brass neck to say that he is ‘passionate about the environment.’ Oh really.

The Stonors of course have had a pretty good innings, secure for eight and a half centuries in their fastness in one of the prettiest folds in the Chiltern Hills and one can understand their desire to shore up their financial position for the next half millennium. And in principal I cannot object to people working hard to make themselves rich – but please God, not at the expense of the me and my fellow citizens here in Marlow.

Mr Stonor, you can no longer treat the peasants with disdain. That’s oh so thirteenth century.

Meantime, what the little people of Marlow would like is for you and your fellow directors, your brother-in-law, Mr Simon Barrowcliff, and the quondam additional first assistant editor, Shakespeare In Love, Mr Robert Laycock, to come out from behind the cover of your lovely mediaeval walls and your Guernsey-registered vehicle and explain how the bits of your financial jigsaw really fit together.

PAUL BURDEN

Oxford Road

Marlow


Prompt health service in a stunning facility

I was interested in the article on the opening of Heatherwood Hospital (Advertiser, March 31).

I had an appointment there last week for a CT scan.

I had my last CT scan several years ago at Royal Berks in Reading.

The unit was in the back of a lorry in the car park.

The unit at Heatherwood was like walking into the Starship Enterprise in Star Trek. What a magnificent facility, the staff were brilliant and I had my scan promptly, on time and was back out in 15 minutes.

Very impressed.

JOHN HENESY

Pinkneys Green


Stricter rules required on night flight noise

We all live close to Heathrow.

We would all like to sleep at night.

But when a recent flight from Lyon in France started its flight at 23:00 (our time), for a 1 hour 40 minute flight, it was always obvious that it would reach Heathrow well past midnight, and overfly Windsor – waking us all up.

When it did arrive, it took the noise level in Windsor from 38 decibels up to 68 decibels.

A 30 decibel noise spike.

It is the change of noise level that wakes people up.

The review of night flights has been kicked into the long grass.

This is just one more example of why we need stronger restrictions regarding Heathrow and night flights.

ANDREW HALL

Windsor


Future perfect story for the first of April

I loved your story, I think only online, about the Maidtrix, the special glasses that will enable you to see into the future and Maidenhead as it will be.

For those that missed the story, they will be available from the summer at the cost of £25 for an hour.

I’m so impressed by the idea that I'm contacting the firm involved, Polar-Lofi, to get me a pair of glasses that imagine Maidenhead without this council!

IAN SMITH

Belmont Crescent

Maidenhead


Needing a scapegoat for cronyism and chaos

One of the many falsehoods perpetrated by those encouraging a Leave vote in 2016 was that the UK would be able to ‘make its own laws.’

The UK has four separate bodies of legislation since it is comprised of four countries, and each is able to pass its own laws.

At EU level, member states have to implement common standards but are still free to set their own laws.

Those in doubt need look no further than same gender marriage, legal in, for example, Spain, Portugal, France, Denmark and Belgium, amongst others, but not in Hungary, Poland and Latvia.

Some still seek to blame the EU for the UK’s malaise and poor performance, convenient as it is to have a third party on which to pin the incompetence, maladministration, cronyism and bare faced lies of the chaotic choir of clowns in charge.

It seems such apologists include some who express opinions in Viewpoint.

JAMES AIDAN

Cookham


Thanks for wonderful, kind care in hospital

I would like to say a big thank you to all at Wexham Park Hospital who recently looked after my husband.

The medical care was amazing and everyone was so kind.

They do not always get the praise they deserve.

Thank you too, to all the blood donors who helped my husband, after many transfusions over the years, reach the age of 88 years (his death of unrelated to blood problems).

They do not get the thanks they deserve.

So, if you are thinking of becoming a blood donor, please do it now and help save many lives, and, if you are due to go into Wexham Park, have no fear, they are truly wonderful.

ANN TODD

Maidenhead


Surplus from budget boost to arts venues

Two good news items from RBWM last week, which are worth our attention.

Firstly, the council revealed that they have underspent their budget last year.

They will allocate much of their ‘surplus’ to Norden Farm and the Old Court arts centre.

Secondly, RBWM agreed to produce a vision for Windsor in conjunction with the Prince’s Foundation.

With the regeneration of Maidenhead well underway and improvements being made to Ascot’s High Street I am pleased to hear that RBWM is also giving attention to the challenges facing Windsor’s town centre.

A council that’s managing its finances while funding improvements to our town and village centres is good news for all in the Royal Borough.

ED WILSON

Bryer Place

Windsor


COVID tests and loved ones in care homes

Your readers may be among those who have already supported Alzheimer’s Society’s campaign and written to their MP urging to keep lateral flow tests free for care home visitors.

As the Government’s ‘Living with Covid’ plan comes into force (Friday, April 1), all COVID rules, including guidance on self-isolation, are dropped.

A recent poll by Alzheimer’s Society revealed that 75 per cent of people in the South East were against the scrapping of free tests for care home visitors.

Only 14 per cent supported the plans.

Now, over 145 supporters in Berkshire, and over 1,870 across the South East, have written to their MP, echoing calls from Alzheimer’s Society to ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, to urgently rethink the decision and keep free testing for care home visitors.

With some high street shops now charging up to £12 for a pack of five tests, families are facing costs of up to £733 a month to be able to visit their loved ones in care homes safely.

Our Dementia Connect support line (0333 150 3456) has heard from families concerned about paying for tests amid a cost of living crisis.

The Government must recognise the disproportionate impact paying for tests will have and although it was announced a small number of care home visitors providing close personal care, will continue to get free tests, we feel this doesn’t go nearly far enough to allow everyone to visit safely.

People with dementia have already experienced the devastating consequences of the pandemic and were worst hit, with more than 30,000 dying of COVID-19 – many of whom were in care homes.

With over 10,400 living with dementia across Berkshire, families should not be financially penalised for trying to keep their loved ones safe.

Support Alzheimer’s Society’s campaign to keep lateral flow tests free for care home visitors at alzheimers.org.uk/keeptestsfree

LINDA GODDARD

Area Manager for Alzheimer’s Society

Berkshire

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