Patching up years of underinvestment

Wisom Da Costa

Wisom Da Costa

I welcome the Conservative administration devoting attention to our beloved Clewer and Dedworth.

But I hope  this is not a ‘one-off’ attempt to curry favour ahead of the May 2019 elections – though the budget papers indicate that no spend on Dedworth is noted for after the 2019 local elections.

The roads and pavements in Clewer and Dedworth have suffered long from a multitude of potholes, broken surfaces, impassable pavements and car-damaging speed humps. This indicates systematic under-investment in the area for more than 10 years.

The one-off £450,000 will provide little remediation or improvement to the 140-plus roads in the area, or the 280-plus stretches of pavement.

Looking at the budget for the borough as a whole, it is estimated that an annual road maintenance budget of £7million is required every year to adequately maintain our roads alone, on a rolling 25-year programme, rather than the derisory sums (£1.7m for resurfacing) allowed for by the Conservative administration.

Let me ask a question. Should you approve a spending plan based on only two, one-off, lines (£450,000) or, should you question the whole budget (total spend of more than £90m), the worryingly inadequate reserves, many areas of deficiency and the use of high risk medium projects to balance the books and a commitment to spend £430m on capital projects, where the main source of income is the speculative development at the Maidenhead Golf Club – which is being undertaken in a market downturn with an uncertain Borough Local Plan and apparently no evident risk analyses?

Even the Local Government Association questions its deliverability.

Should we not deliver on our oaths as councillors to ‘duly and faithfully fulfil the duties of it according to the best of my judgement and ability’ for all residents, which also implies not misleading the public.

As an independent, I represent all people in my ward. I listen to everyone as you can see with my quarterly surgeries. I do not take instruction (direct or tacit) from anyone but, after listening to residents, use best of my judgement and ability to serve all residents. I believe that people deserve better than spin and rhetoric and misleading statements.

Cllr Wisdom Da Costa

Independent

Clewer North, Windsor

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