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Viewpoint: April Fool's Day and more complaints about Oldfield Road lights

This week's Viewpoint includes reaction to the Advertiser's April Fool's Day story, comments on the Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Local Plan and more complaints about the traffic lights on the A4 and Oldfield Road junction.

Nearly had me fooled with local plan prank!

Ha ha, very good!

I loved your April fool in last week's paper.

Yes, ‘Updated local plan is a step closer’ was hilarious!

Had me going there for a minute.

On the other hand the cable car is excellent news for the town.

IAN SMITH

Belmont Crescent

Maidenhead


Is cable car joke as daft as was intended?

Full credit to the staff at the Advertiser for maintaining such a comprehensive source of reliable information during the pandemic.

It can’t have been easy.

And it’s good to see you’ve not lost your sense of humour.

A cable car for Maidenhead?

Councillors were considering this, according to the Advertiser website last week.

“Wow,” I thought. “Can this be real?”

Then I noticed the date – April 1.

A cable car is maybe setting the sights too high but a decent link between the station and King Street would be a welcome start.

And what about finding an imaginative way of connecting the town centre to its tourist-favoured riverside – avoiding the new traffic lights of course?

As Shakespeare said: “Jesters do oft prove prophets.”

So we can but hope that one day our council will find inspiration in the Advertiser’s creativity to give the

community something of which we can all be proud.

BOB DULSON

Maidenhead Civic Society


‘Over the moon’ with inspector’s report

I was surprised to read in this week’s edition (April 1) that according to Councillor Lynne Jones we are disappointed by the letter from the Inspector following the second examination in public last year for the Borough Local Plan.

I understand that for the majority of councillors they are unlikely to see a new Borough Local Plan in their career but let me reassure readers of your paper that I as lead member am over the moon with the response.

Frankly it is far better than we expected.

You and your readers will be well aware of the number of sites that have proved controversial and where there was a large number of well-considered challenges.

Not one of those sites has been rejected by the Inspector, whether it be the golf course, the Triangle site or the site to the west of Windsor.

In fact, she has added back some sites that we proposed taking out.

There is still some way to go.

We have to prepare the major modifications and we will go out again for consultation before submitting the final plan, but we are now at the tidying up stage.

Furthermore, the fact that the Inspector has not asked for major modifications of key sites means that at any appeal in the future the Inspector’s decision will carry significant weight even though the plan may not yet have passed through council and been adopted.

Cllr DAVID COPPINGER

Lead member for Planning Environmental Services and Maidenhead


Not just opposition councillors acting badly

Like Paul Strzelecki in last week’s Viewpoint (April 1) I too was both surprised and just a little amused by Councillor Gurpreet Bhangra’s letter (Viewpoint, March 25).

Cllr Bhangra took up nearly 12 column inches of the Advertiser’s Viewpoint column to draw attention to the bad behaviour of two opposition councillors at public meetings.

It seems Cllr Bhangra is happy to criticise Lib Dem and Borough First councillors but fails to mention that a member of his own party (the Leader of the Council) was featured on the front page of the Advertiser recently (February 11,) for committing a similar offence.

KEN ELVIN

Tithe Barn Drive

Maidenhead


Soviet-style cell-like flats with no freedom

I take this opportunity to add my fears to those of others about the future appearance of the centre of Maidenhead (Manhattenhead).

The current new blocks (right word) of flats (apartments is the wrong word) erected in and near Grove Rd are dismal, of minimal architectural merit, of a grey, utilitarian colour, almost Soviet in style, regimented and soulless.

I suppose the cost of construction restricted what was possible, but surely another colour or a mix of textures would not have broken the developer’s bank or dented their profits much?

I see these barracks when visiting the farmers’ market.

If more such slabby monoliths of similar size and density are to be built then the town centre will become a network of shaded wind tunnels incapable of keeping even the meagre scatter of designer trees alive.

Also I don’t perceive any SIGNIFICANT town square or even a mini Central Park into which the residents of flats can escape for a tiny dose of freedom.

Come on, surely we can do better than this, sacrificing numbers for quality?

OK, people need homes but not these cells, these grey boxes of mediocrity?

Am I too late to complain?

Or have we all been duped by the smart, shiny representations in ‘architects impressions’?

Does not the Civic Society have any influence on this?

NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED


Not too late to rectify A4 traffic lights fiasco

I dare to suspect that the fiasco at the Oldfield Road/A4 junction could have been avoided if left-turn lanes had been made a trial before the expense and upheaval of removing the roundabout and putting in traffic lights.

On the A4 approach there is a hatched lane which could have been used or even with the current lights could still be used.

At Oldfield Road, the junction could easily have been widened to accommodate a left-hand lane.

Had this been done it would have eased the traffic flow considerably.

It is not too late.

MAUREEN C GIBBS

River Gardens

Bray


Banging head against wall over A4 mistake

Having written to the Advertiser before about the traffic light installation at the junction of Oldfield Road and the A4 I was pleased to see the two letters (Viewpoint, April 1) supporting my view that RBWM have taken leave of their senses with this decision.

They are treating local residents as fools and they are clearly taking the attitude that they as ‘professionals’ know best.

One of the writers talks about the difficulty of the journey to Waitrose – what about us residents who live in this area and suffer every time we leave our house by car?

Our suffering and pain is relentless and I feel as though I am banging my head against a brick wall when taking the matter up with RBWM.

All I get is stupidity back!

It belies logic to believe that a restriction in the shape of traffic lights can ever help the flow of traffic.

Even one of the workers on the junction saw it our way so perhaps my comment to him is what it is all about in that it provides employment for some people. That is the only benefit I can see.

I suggest to your readers that they keep an eye on the future because a ‘professional’ at RBWM Highways will come up with a wonderful idea in the future idea to install a roundabout in the A4 and believe he or she has had a brainwave!

JON REEKIE

Oldacres

Maidenhead


‘Why do we let council get away with it?’

Why do we let them get away with it, why?

Our council I mean.

They impose hideous planning decisions upon us.

They ruin our road network so it takes 45 minutes to do a five-minute journey.

They employ companies that are obviously not up to the job, and they throw our money away with both hands.

I’m surprised the town hall hasn’t been besieged by a mob with pitch forks and torches.

In Viewpoint (March 25) Mervyn Buston said he will pay his council tax when Cllr Johnson replies to his letters. Good luck with that Mervyn.

I’ve sent letters to three councillors over the last two years and have never seen a reply or even an acknowledgement.

I think it just goes to show the calibre of the politicians and councillors we have these days. They just don’t care about you or me.

When their time is up they can just call

it a day with no accountability whatsoever, just like Councillor Simon Dudley who trashed the borough’s finances and just walked away.

Malcolm James Stretton Viewpoint (April 1) is right when he says there is voter apathy, but the problem is who we can trust to be our councillors?

Personally I wouldn’t trust any of them no matter what colour their rosette.

Perhaps we should have a system like they used to have in ancient Greece where everyone in the borough has their name put in the bin and if your name is pulled you’re on the council, for just one year not four and if you messed up you were out.

To quote Albert Einstein: “A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of the truth.”

KEITH CHAPMAN

Cornwall Close

Maidenhead


Traffic lights ‘evidence of nanny state mindset’

M J Stretton is spot on with his April 1 post (no fool joke intended). All traffic lights are evidence of nanny state mindset.

How often have we sat at red lights at crossroads while zero traffic passes on the green light crossing?

Drivers are mostly capable; priority from the right until it’s your turn to go.

MD GEARY

Forlease Drive

Maidenhead


Thanks for ‘Green Way lifeline in lockdown’

The Civic Society banner ‘The Green Way a lifeline in lockdown’, located just north of North Town Moor, at the junction of Green Way East and Green Way West, will be taken down shortly. It is pictured below.

It has been there since the beginning of December 2020 when it was accompanied, until the New Year, by the Civic Society Christmas Tree, part of the St Luke’s Christmas Tree Trail (CTT).

The Green Way and indeed almost all the footpaths have been heavily used in the pandemic with consequent effects on the surface. Hopefully warmer weather will improve them.

The banner is being taken down because the lockdown due to the pandemic is easing and also because the poster that accompanied it, that gave details of a circular route designed for walkers not familiar with the Green Way paths, has become bedraggled.

We also feel that Mr Prior might like to have access to his field again.

The circular route (CTT Walk Final) is available in ‘Useful Links’ on the Society website.

We would like to thank Peter Prior of Summerleaze Gravel and Steve Gillions of East Berks Ramblers for their help with this project.

Details of the banner and walk have been passed on to the Royal Borough for inclusion in the Memory Box being compiled to record what residents will remember about the pandemic.

Maidenhead Civic Society very much hope that we will not need the banner again.

ANN DARRACOTT

Maidenhead Civic Society


EU deal has created hard border in Ireland

Apparently Graeme Smith is unaware that Boris Johnson's deal with the EU has itself created ‘a hard border in Ireland’ (Viewpoint, April 1).

If he doubts that I suggest he googles for a short BBC video entitled ‘What it’s like driving across the new Irish trade border’, and follows their reporter Emma Vardy as she hitches a lift on a truck from Leicester to Belfast.

That hard border on the island of Ireland does not coincide with the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic because Irish politicians talked up the fear of terrorism, and it was agreed nothing would be done to invite attacks.

In October 2019 Boris Johnson mooted that checks could be done at sites away from the actual border; the ludicrous response from one Irish politician was: “No matter where you locate check sites - they amount to a hard border.”

So why is this stricture not applied to the check site in Belfast?

With the goods checked not just those destined for onward carriage across the border into the Republic but all goods coming from Great Britain, five times the volume.

Maybe Boris Johnson assumed that unionists would not mind that he had deceived them about there being no checks, they would just take it lying down; the Northern Ireland secretary has even denied the existence of a border.

All of which dangerous nonsense could have been avoided by suggested alternatives to border checks.

Including a well-developed proposal from Sir Jonathan Faull, previously a Director-General at the European Commission, and two professors of law, which may be easily be found googling for "An Offer the EU and UK Cannot Refuse".

Dr D R COOPER

Belmont Park Avenue

Maidenhead


Effective deterrents – put it to a public vote

Despite the good work done by Barnardo’s, the NSPCC and other charities for children, more and more children are sadly abandoned, abused and murdered.

In English law today there are no effective deterrents – since 1965.

In order to regain proper law and order and respect, the Government must reintroduce effective deterrents for the good of children and indeed everyone:

1.) Capital punishment for murder, rape, drug-trafficking, terrorism and treason

2.) Corporal punishment (hard labour) for other serious crimes

3.) National service – to get these young knife gangs off our streets.

We know prison and tags are ineffective today. Prisons are full a ne’er-do-wells (including murderers and rapists) are being set free early.

As with Brexit and Remain, the whole issue of effective deterrents should be put to a public vote.

To date MPs and the press shy away from effective deterrents, so let the public determine the outcome, for the good of all our citizens.

Mr TD SMITH

Village Road

Dorney


Go West? Sit still and panic more like!

With reference to the infuriating TV advertisement advising us to go left in the event of a breakdown and done to a musical adaptation of the cheerful Go West song, the reality couldn’t be further removed.

How often does a vehicle helpfully keep going in the event of a problem and especially for up to 1.5 miles to the next refuge – and given it’s not already occupied!?

Whilst admittedly I own and drive historic vehicles lacking computer management/ limp modes etc surely whatever type of vehicle is involved stands a good chance of being instantly stranded, plus the prospect for motorcyclists is possibly even more scary.

I really can't see anyone in any type of stricken vehicle, happily jigging along to Village People numbers while seeking the next refuge bay!

Pure terror would be far more realistic!

TONY BECK

Brownfield Gardens

Maidenhead

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