My aim is to create a weekly blog / digest of some of my activities. Cllrs obviously get a bunch of emails and phone calls and reciting every moment might be a tad dull… it might be that anyway but let’s give it a go 😉
(Just realised, today’s 16th, that this was talking about May when in fact we’re in June… no-one has pointed that out to me!)
Monday 3rd June
I ran a 2 hour surgery at Wyevale which was attended by a resident concerned with a garden wall and uncertainty over why it is showing signs of stress… which I wrote up, forwarded to Cllr Da Costa for guidance and will discuss with relevant officers to determine how we proceed.
I have another surgery at Wyevales next Tuesday from 3:30pm to 5:00pm if you’d like to join me.
At 3pm next Tuesday I have a meeting at the Girls’ School and then down to Wyevales to be available for face to face meetings. We also have a post box down there for those that would rather just write a note…
Monday evening we had training in Corporate Parenting at Maidenhead town hall that helped us understand the role of children’s services and our part in helping our young people. The borough looks after circa 200 young people at any given time.
Tuesday 4th June
Early start today as The Mayflower (steam train) arrived in Windsor to launch the new service… I got some video footage and some great pics on my council iPad but then later that day it went a bit pear and in bringing it back to life, the footage was sadly lost… shame because I had a great pic for the cover of this story!
The Royal Windsor Steam Express departs Waterloo every Tuesday from 4 June to 3 September 2019 — at 8am, 11.15am and 2.05pm.
Later in the day I paid a visit to Castle Farm with planning officers to look at the proposed new development by Radian. They appear to be making every effort to create a good environment for residents.
Wednesday 5th June
My first proper meeting! The Windsor Area Develop Management Panel which originally consisted of 3 appeals but 1 had been dropped.
First up was an appeal by Avanti restaurant on Peascod Street. They had taken down a section of frontage of a Grade 2 listed building and replaced it with a glass window. You will be able to listen to their appeal online and the resulting discussion by councillors here >>>
I was a little taken aback when some of the councillors said that the glass frontage looked OK. For me you simply don’t mess with the exterior of listed buildings, it’s what makes Windsor, Windsor! Thankfully the councillors voted against the appeal and remedial work will have to be undertaken.
Castle Farm was up next… 19/00720/FULL | Construction of 6 x two bedroom flats, 4 x two bedroom dwellings, 12 x three bedroom dwellings and 3 x four bedroom dwellings with garages and storage sheds, new vehicular and pedestrian access and associated works to include parking and landscaping. | Castle Farm Caravan Site Leigh Square Windsor
It’s a tight spot but it will look way better than what is there currently and the landscaping will enhance the approach. The chosen trees will look great and their roots will have minimal impact in the future. Radian have been very responsive to officers requests and bar a few tweaks, this was passed.
My own contribution to this was a suggestion that future developments look to include electric supply for cars.
Having the Independents and Lib Dems around the table must have been a bit weird for the conservatives… can’t wait for the next meeting 😉
Thursday 6th June
I managed to leave Camden early and get to Medina Dairies for 5pm to see the plans for the proposed properties on that site. I asked how they planned to manage the community centre aspect to ensure it was open to all the community… I’ll leave it there as I might be on that panel…
Then onto Maidenhead to collect my iPad after its funny turn! It is most annoying having to add contacts again and having lost the train pics… always preferred PCs
6:30 meeting with the Local Independents which is lead by Cllr Lynne Jones and made up of 8 of the Independent councillors. We discussed what we’d learned so far, got hints & tips from Lynne on processes, looked at what we have going on over next couple of weeks, agreed action points and went to our various homes for a late dinner… my preferred eating time is around 6:30pm, I guess I’ll be getting used to leftovers!
Friday 7th June
Worked through my email back log from Monday after iPad went wrong, only 54 emails to address!
Learning how to manage residents’ expectations with emails… sometimes you just can’t say the right things, be reassuring enough, so what do you do in that situation?
2:30pm went over to Maidenhead Library and spent a couple of hours with Sharon Fogarty, Library and Resident Contact Supervisor.
When you call in to the council and someone picks up the phone, it’s her team that pick up… and they take around 800 phone calls a day! They have to be thick skinned, caring and knowledgeable all at the same time. With so many different departments looking after a whole range of services, it takes time to understand where to direct residents. And when those residents are calling in because they need help, some will get into a stressed state because they might not be hearing what they want to hear, this requires a special sort of person to manage this situation.
This is the front line for the council and without them…
The officers would not just get their calls coming through, they would be getting calls that they would need to send over to another officer, filling in forms to ensure they pass on the right message in the right way at the same time… all eating into their precious working day.
Councillors would be getting more calls and emails as residents need help with this that and the other. A councillor’s role is to do what they can to improve the lives of residents. In business you can’t think of the bigger picture if you are always at the coal face and so councillors need to recognise the work the guys in the call centre do for them and help them to help us…
Saturday 8th June
First job of the day was to start writing this blog…
Then over to Windsor town centre with my Rotarian hat on to sell ducks for the Duck Race, part of the mid-Summer Fayre on 29th June. We’ll be outside Waitrose for the next couple of weeks on a Saturday.
Then back home, walk dogs, drop Ali in town…
Then up to Wolf Lane to share info on some double yellow lines which will be marked out in July… a project started by previous chap and locals left guessing what’s happening next! All sorted now thanks to the team…
After publishing this blog and visiting residents then I’m working up some information for an upcoming meeting, as are my fellow councillors, each picking projects relevant to their skills to wake up the administration… happy days 😉