Oct 282017
Tony and Mandy at Cookham Bridge

Local Lib Dems have been working with parishes across the Borough to assess whether the Council is ready to deal with flooding. Mandy Brar said, “We think there are six things the Borough must do to keep us safe and dry.”
1. Commit to providing pumps and barriers to protect key infrastructure including sewage pumping stations and electricity substations.
2. Create incentives for residents to protect their own homes and small businesses where sandbags don’t work.
3. Provide resilient bus services – reliable alternative services should be routinely provided when normal routes are broken by flooded roads.
4. Carry out regular test exercises to make sure that all the flood services (Borough officers, staff at The Project Centre in Slough, the Emergency Planning Unit and contractors) know how to work with the parishes in the event of flood.
5. Insist that the Environment Agency have a transparent operation system for the Jubilee River, and new River Thames Scheme controls, which are regularly rehearsed.
6. Remove the red tape from local flood defence schemes by making its own Borough assessment of the benefits and getting on with the work if appropriate, for example the A4094 at Widbrook Common.

Oct 202017

Ten months ago, the Conservatives put forward proposals to cut 30 CCTV cameras across the Borough and to stop the cameras being monitored
24 hours a day.

The council declared that no CCTV camera had been switched off despite evidence showing that seven of them had already been.

Cllr Simon Werner’s campaign forced them not only to admit they had been misleading the public, but also made sure the cameras were switched back on.

Now, ten months later, after a robust campaign by local Lib Dems, the Conservatives have reversed their plans and not only are the cameras staying on permanently but they will be monitored 24 hours a day.

Simon Werner said, “I received a lot of abuse from the Conservatives over this before they were exposed for misleading the public.

“But saving CCTV in the Borough makes it all worth it!”

Sep 202017
Bruce Adams in front of green bushes

Plans by the Borough Conservatives to build on the green belt without the necessary infrastructure improvements are continuing despite public opposition from residents and over 30 local community groups.

This plan will build on our local green belt without providing any truly affordable housing on these sites, without sorting out many of the highways issues that this increase in traffic will cause and without providing plans for increasing the availability of schools or health facilities.

Many residents feel that our roads, schools, and health facilities will grind to a halt if this goes ahead, with no benefit to our young people who are desperately trying to buy or rent at affordable levels.

The plan is now being consulted on again but the council are trying to limit the comments they receive. However, we have found out that any comments given will be seen by the independent inspectors, so it is definitely worth making your voice heard.

Some of the areas where the council has failed that are particularly worth mentioning are:
•No detailed infrastructure plan outlining how the council will deal with the pinch points in the road infrastructure.
•No Green Belt review has been carried out to identify where there are, if any, suitable green belt sites.
•Not enough provision has been made for employment. The plan proposes to build on employment areas, without providing alternative sites for the businesses operating there.
•Failure to work with others including: local neighbourhood planning groups, resident associations, parish councils, neighbouring authorities and with the general public though poor consultations.

A copy of the draft Borough Local Plan can be downloaded here: https://www3.rbwm.gov.uk/blp

There are several ways to respond to the consultation.
•Online: http://consult.rbwm.gov.uk/portal/blp/blpr19/
•Via email to:mailto:blp@rbwm.gov.uk

Please don’t leave it to others to complain – they may be leaving it to you!

Sep 132017
Furze Platt set to expand after intervention by Simon Werner

On September 1st, Ofsted delivered a damning report on RBWM’s provision for children and young people with disabilities and special needs. The list of complaints is simply too long to reproduce here, but we felt this statement sums up the dire state of affairs:

“Parents overwhelmingly report dissatisfaction with their experience of the system and have very little confidence that things will improve.”

We’ve received anecdotal reports of schools suffering from a lack of support, with teachers being signed off sick with stress and pupils — both with and without special needs — facing disruption and uncertainty.

RBWM leader Simon Dudley was quick to describe the situation as “not good enough”. We quite agree — the Tories have been in power for 10 years now, and have no one to blame but themselves.

This is not the first time the Children’s Services department has come in for criticism. In 2015, Ofsted published this report which found the department required improvement in every area. The last time RBWM Children’s Services received top marks from Ofsted was in 2004, when the Lib Dems had control of the council.

Mar 092017

Local Lib Dems have slammed the Government’s failure to provide enough extra cash for the NHS in today’s budget, warning that local services will struggle to cope with growing demand.

Ahead of the budget the Liberal Democrats called for a £4 billion funding boost for NHS and care services this year. That would amount to a cash injection of 5 million for local NHS services in Windsor and Maidenhead and another £5 million for social care in the Borough. The Budget announced by the Government today will instead see the share of national income spent on the NHS fall in the coming years.

NHS services in this NHS region currently face a funding gap of £69 million by 2020-21, analysis of local NHS plans has found. The NHS funding crisis also risks being made even worse by the Government’s hard Brexit plans, which are set to increase borrowing by £100bn in the coming years.

Liberal Democrat spokesperson Tony Hill commented:

“The Government is refusing to stump up the extra cash NHS services in our Borough so desperately need.

“This is a woefully inadequate response to the impossible pressure our NHS and care services are under.

“Chronic underfunding of our NHS is leading to longer waiting lists, cancelled operations and loved ones being stranded in hospital.

“Only the Liberal Democrats are being upfront with people that to protect our NHS and care services, we may all need to pay a little more in tax.

“We will also stand up against Theresa May’s reckless plans to pull out of the Single Market that will blow a £100 billion hole in the public finances. It’s clear you can’t have strong NHS and care services with a hard Brexit.”

Mar 032017
Bruce Adams in front of green bushes

Imagine a visitor to the town arriving at the Maidenhead railway station and walking round the nearest corner (between King Street and Queen Street), then down York Road. This is supposed to be the ‘gateway’ to Maidenhead but what would they see?

Mainly deserted premises and opposite the football ground entrance the row of houses that have been derelict long enough to be colonised by buddleia.

The council has produced a draft Local Plan which is supposed to set the direction for development in the future, mainly by allocating areas for 14,298 new houses.

They will primarily be in the town centre and on Green Belt land. The plan has a number of problems:

· It will eat into the Green Belt, particularly between Maidenhead and Cookham to the north and continuously up to the M4 to the south. The northern developments will no doubt add to rush hour traffic on highways such as the Cookham Road.

· 14,298 is a significant increase in the number of houses across the Borough, but there is no infrastructure plan to tell us what major road improvements are being carried out and how services such as schools and health facilities will cope with the people and traffic.

· Whilst it is great to see the improvement in the waterside area at the bottom end of the High Street, what we really need is affordable homes for both sale and for rent to enable our young people to get on the first rung of the housing ladder.

· It has also come to light that there are about 1,300 unused, empty home around the Borough which could be used without touching the Green Belt.

· If developers prefer to build on the Green Belt sites whilst the deserted premises and derelict houses remain in the town centre, surely the Plan will not be viewed as a success?

Given the amount of Green Belt development proposed, there should also have been a ‘biodiversity action plan’ to say how our wildlife is to be preserved. Many of us value Maidenhead’s countryside setting.