Viewpoint: Cut-back greenery was a vital habitat

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

Action needed to stop rampant bike theft

Bike theft is a barrier to active travel in our town.

Last Thursday, after a great day out exploring some of London’s parks, I returned to Maidenhead Station to find my bike had been stolen.

And it wasn’t the only one.

There was evidence of at least six other dissembled bikes and cut bike chains.

It looked like a graveyard for bikes.

I’ve since found out that bike theft outside our station is a very common occurrence, and local thieves operate a very successful business from there.

So why aren’t there more cameras and more action from the police to stop this?

Our town is rapidly growing and we must take steps to encourage active travel, to reduce traffic congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions and promote healthier lives.

Rampant bike theft in our town centre is having the opposite effect.

Sadly it seems the environment and welfare of existing residents aren’t a priority for our council.

They are too busy building thousands of flats and filling in all the green space.

I seriously worry about the future of our town.

TARA SUTTHOFF

Maidenhead Riverside


This development is so deeply unpopular

There was an excellent article in the Advertiser last week on the protest walk on the golf course the previous Friday.

This was the fourth, very well attended demonstration organised by the Maidenhead Great Park campaign, demonstrating very clearly the depth of feeling amongst residents against the proposed development of the golf course.

This totally unnecessary development is deeply unpopular, and is not wanted by the residents of the town.

Using the Government’s own figures for new housing need, published in 2018, these show that the majority of new homes to be built by the end of the BLP in 2033 have either already been built, or have planning permission granted.

The remaining 400 houses still to be built can readily be accommodated on existing, already identified brownfield sites in Maidenhead.

There is therefore no need or justification to build a single new house on the golf course.

Our council, however, have used old, out- of-date statistics, and cleverly manipulated these in the BLP in order to justify building 2,600 new homes on the golf course.

Their desperation to do this is for purely financial reasons, as already reported many times.

This proposal will result in payments to the council from the developer CALA Homes of some £250million, effectively clearing their huge self-inflicted debt, a result of years of financial incompetence and mismanagement.

This is not a valid reason for the destruction of a beautiful, environmental green asset, and if these plans go ahead, it will be an act of criminal, environmental vandalism.

Cllr Haseler, cabinet member for planning, and other council leaders, when are you going to start listening to the wishes and requests of residents, who you were elected to represent and support?

You are certainly not doing so at the moment.

Cllr Haseler, and 'council spokesmen' keep repeating the same platitudes of misleading and untruthful statements, which were also repeated endlessly by his predecessor.

Are you hoping that if you repeat the same things often enough, that residents will start to believe the nonsense you are saying?

As has been stated many times in the past, the residents of Maidenhead are neither stupid nor naive.

They need, and deserve a caring council that listens to their wishes and requests, not one that blindly follows its own agenda at all costs, regardless of residents.

The opportunity to achieve this change is the local elections in May, 2023.

JOHN HUDSON

Rushington Avenue

Maidenhead


There’s no excuse for this cemetery mess

As someone born and bred in Maidenhead, I have family in Braywick cemetery but I now live in another part of the country.

I visited the cemetery on Friday and, well, what a mess.

It has never ever, ever, ever looked so bad.

Shame on the council.

There’s no excuse, it’s just awful.

P TREDGETT

Formerly of Maidenhead


Friends groups for two cemeteries

As ward councillors we received many messages from residents who were rightly upset at the state of the local cemeteries last year.

We have since been working with residents and RBWM officers to set up friends groups for Windsor Cemetery (known locally as Spital Cemetery) and Vale Road Cemetery, to give them some extra care in addition to the work carried out by contractors Tivoli.

We are pleased that lead member Cllr Coppinger supported this work at last week’s full council meeting and we invite any interested residents to get in touch with Cllr Davies at cllr.davies@rbwm.gov.uk for the Spital group and Cllr Price at cllr.price@rbwm.gov.uk for the Vale Road group.

Cllr KAREN DAVIES (Lib Dem, Clewer East)

Cllr HELEN PRICE (The Borough First Independents, Clewer & Dedworth East)


Draughtbusters and reducing energy use

I am grateful to journalist Chris Giles who has expressed something that has been in my mind since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

He wrote in the Financial Times: “Weaning ourselves off Russian gas starts on the home front.”

There is a big question whether western democracies can reduce their use of Russian gas, thereby decreasing the payments in the opposite direction that are important in funding Russia’s war effort.

There are big things that governments, companies and our own MaidEnergy can do to help and two things that we can all do – improve our home insulation and simply use less gas.

The Financial Times article cites research that a reasonably ambitious turning down of thermostats from 20°C to 18°C would cut winter energy use by 20 per cent to 25 per cent (and also notes that since 1971 our homes have become 5°C warmer on average) and suggests an extra layer or even battery-heated jackets.

Even a reduction of 1°C would help and it doesn’t mean freezing!

Personally I would put the emphasis on improving insulation, which we have done in our home.

Recent gas bills now show we are using 20 per cent less gas than the same period a year ago.

We are now planning the next step to make further reductions next winter.

Whilst we are relatively distant from the conflict zone, energy markets are international and Britain has among the continent’s leakiest housing stock, so potentially we can make a greater difference, even with simple, low cost draught excluders.

I particularly commend the local volunteer organisation RBWM Draughtbusters.

The country’s future energy security and British national interest would seem to coincide in the effort to use less gas.

SIMON BOND

Grenfell Road

Maidenhead


Cut-back greenery was a vital habitat

I was interested to read about the proposed regeneration of the embankment along York Stream.

Admittedly it does sound that a pleasant area is being created which people will enjoy.

Sadly the nettles, thistles, wild flowers and grasses which have been destroyed were a vital habitat for insects and other small creatures.

It is essential to preserve such areas because conservation must start right there at the bottom level.

In this increasingly urbanised world we all need to learn to appreciate and enjoy nature in its natural state.

Gerard Manley Hopkins, writing in the nineteenth century, wrote.

What would the world be, once bereft

Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,

O let them be left, wildness and wet,

Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

These are very true words.

SUSAN WOOD GRIMSHAW

Wessex Way

Cox Green


Night flight hit a noise spike of 39 decibels

A few days back, a flight which had arrived two hours late at Malaga, was then delayed further, prior to its return to Heathrow.

There was no prospect of it arriving at Heathrow before midnight.

It actually came over Windsor at 1.10am creating a 39 decibel noise spike

When the night flight regulations are reviewed – surely we should be calling for flights of this sort to be ceased?

ANDREW HALL

Windsor


Technology becoming literally exclusive

The evidence continues to grow of my non-existence.

Long ago, I had it beaten into my thick skull that – as a mere cash-user – I had no business darkening the door-steps of such august traders as Caffe Nero and the all-singing wonderland that is the new Braywick Leisure Centre.

Now it emerges that – not having the Internet, let alone such wondrous bits of software as Zoom and Microsoft Teams (how do I manage to live?) – I should remain unemployed for the rest of my days.

Earlier this year, an employer offered me an interview – to be carried out by Zoom, don’t-you-know!

Needless to say, the so-called ‘Job-Centre Plus’ proved utterly useless in supplying any facility for a person to attend such a meeting.

Fortunately for me, that particular employer did ultimately make arrangements for me to attend an in-person interview; where I was, sadly, unsuccessful.

Now, another employer has offered me an interview – this time, using Microsoft Teams: which, of course, everyone carries everywhere in their back pockets!

In addition, prior to interview, they intended emailing me a task to complete – which I imagine will call for me to use Microsoft Excel and/or Word.

While I have years of experience and can use these readily, I don’t necessarily have a licence to use either of them: why would I?

Fortunately, this employer, too, has now made an alternative provision, allowing me to go there and use their equipment.

Somehow, I seem to have missed the memo from on high which made it compulsory for everyone to have: the Internet at home; a mobile phone fixed to them at all times; every type of software anyone can name – all of them plundering your privacy on an industrial scale.

JAY FLYNN

Moneyrow Green

Holyport


This act of self harm is craven stupidity

While D R Cooper is focusing on the finer points of the Northern Ireland protocol, there’s proof aplenty that this Government recognises that its raison d’etre, getting Brexit done, is both an impossibility and an act of craven stupidity.

The Prince of Pomposity, otherwise known as the minister for Brexit opportunities (an oxymoron if ever there was one), a long time loather of the EU and splendid deceiver, has yet again delayed border checks on goods imported from the EU.

To impose them, said Mr Mogg, would be ‘an act of self harm’.

What a stunning admission from the Commons lounge lizard that taking back control would be adverse to the best interests of the UK.

This fork-tongued fop declares that ‘free trade is hugely advantageous to consumers’ and then joins the other Tory racketeers in removing the UK from the largest and most successful free trade bloc in the world, the EU.

While D R Cooper fulminates about the union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, people up and down the country are fretting about paying their energy bills, feeding themselves and their families and finding food banks.

It should be remembered, of course, that Vladimir Putin was a big supporter of Brexit, and whilst his wicked actions in Ukraine have had consequences for the UK economy, as indeed did the government response to COVID, economists have said that the hit to Britain’s financial wellbeing from Brexit is far greater than that of the near two-year lockdown.

As things go from bad to worse, surely even the most committed Leavers must be realising they did the wrong thing.

JAMES AIDAN

Sutton Road

Cookham


Refugee policy and, er, national competence

Paul Foll wrote that his family has volunteered to look after young refugees from Ukraine (Viewpoint, April 21).

He wrote: “If we were full EU members, our refugees would be safe and at home with us. Our anti-refugee policies, while in some cases well intentioned, treat people with cruelty.”

If the UK had stayed in the EU, then Putin might not have been encouraged and the Ukraine invasion might not have happened at all.

Is it Putin’s foreign policy to weaken Europe?

Please be aware that every EU country sets its own rules for migration from the rest of the world.

The Brussels jargon for this is, non-EU migration is a ‘national competence’.

The EU has a supporting role (please see: “Inclusion of non-EU migrants” on europa.eu).

The UK would have kept on-side with its neighbours.

The deal agreed by all 28 national leaders, including David Cameron, would have come in.

Suppose the Ukraine invasion had still happened.

Tony Blair approved the 2001 Temporary Protection Directive.

It set ‘minimum standards for giving temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons’.

It is about sharing the effort and the consequences.

In March this year, the member countries agreed to activate the Directive for the first time.

If the UK were in the EU and in the Directive, then Paul Foll’s admirable family might have had an easier time.

On the other hand, the UK has been making non-EU migration more difficult since freedom of movement with the Commonwealth was stopped in the 1960s.

Before then, people in Jamaica, for example, were called Citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, or CUKCs.

Theresa May started her Conservative ‘hostile environment’ policies in 2012.

The 2018 Windrush scandal was the result of increasingly harsh policies that led to detained grandmothers and cancer patients denied treatment.

Womad music festival organiser Chris Smith said in 2018 that overseas artists have lost money because of visa delays and refusals after ‘iron-fisted’ and ‘humiliating’ Home Office demands.

In an appalling broken promise, people from the rest of Europe in the UK have been made to apply to the Home Office for the so-called ‘settled status’ or ‘pre-settled status’, despite assurances they would see ‘no change’.

COVID has had an impact, but uniquely for the UK it is COVID combined with the loss of EU.

Perhaps something else might have happened instead, but the last six years have seen time and money wasted on the damaging project of losing EU membership.

The time and money could have been used to make the Home Office better.

PHIL JONES

Member, European Movement UK


Clearing up the source of death announcement

Whilst I have informed those who need to know of my ex-husband’s death in Australia, where he has lived for the last 20 odd years, I would like to make it crystal clear to anyone that knows me or knew him, that I did not place the announcement of his demise in last week’s paper.

Whilst I have been divorced for nearly 30 years, he was the father of my daughters and grandfather of my grandsons, and we regret his death.

None of them would appreciate the crass memory included in the announcement sent in by one of his ex-drinking partners.

HELEN MACDONALD

Maidenhead

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