Some really interesting conversations this week, more news as it happens from your Councillor… launched new Facebook Group, see link at the end… read on…
Monday 17th June
Invited to be part of Garter Day celebrations at Windsor Castle… this councillor caper just gets better and better 😉
Up early to get the hours in on the day job to free up the afternoon for a right Royal parade… my father-in-law had shared over Sunday lunch how Edward III created a round table at Winchester with 24 knights and this was the foundations of the Knights of the Garter.
Thing with any of these Royal events is there is lots of hanging around waiting for something to happen… lucky we’d packed a couple of bottles of fizz but Ali would only let us have one of them, huff… I am grateful the next day but at the time… perhaps next time I’ll pack 3 bottles!
Tuesday 18th June
Battle of Waterloo, dad’s birthday, phoned guest house he was staying at while island hopping Scotland and left a message saying I wanted to do something, could they phone me… they tried me, I tried them… spoke to Dad and said have a bottle of wine for dinner, said its OK I’m driving, I said for mum 😉 He said not to worry… next day told me the owner of guest house had paid for his drinks at the restaurant when he booked their reservation… love it when a plan comes off!
I had a meeting with Paul Roach, Town Centre Manager, catching up now I’m in post. I’ve known Paul for years, worked with him on the Duck Race, a joint initiative that helps fund the Christmas lights. We discussed various initiatives we are both working on to see how we can help each other.
Lost it a little… went down Sutherland Grange to inspect further fly tipping, the bins were only emptied Monday! Some absolute idiot had left a rotary saw for anyone to get hold of. When I was a kid I sliced through my wrists with some smashed glass and had to be taken to hospital… I could have been brown bread and people just dumping their shit for others to tidy up, it’s beyond a joke now, I will be pushing for the removal of these bins…
There is no need for a recycle centre there now as the bin men collect all the recycle stuff from the kerbside, they couldn’t years ago… not needed, eye-saw, kids & pets could be seriously injured.
Over to Maidenhead for the Infrastructure Overview & Scrutiny Panel meeting. At the cabinet meeting the Conservatives had agreed they would add £450,000 to the highways budget to fix pot holes in 24 hours. In theory, more serious pot holes are fixed in 24 hours once reported… this money was essentially aimed at fixing 500 less serious pot holes in 24 hours which currently get fixed within 7-24 working days. So £450,000, which they don’t have, to meet their manifesto pledge… we were advised this money would be found from efficiency savings… not sure how you do that with a fixed agreement in place with a contractor but hey ho, we’d called it in for the Tories to account for their actions, six Independent and Lib Dem councillors spent over an hour asking questions of the administration, which you can hear here.
The upshot of the Infrastructure Overview & Scrutiny panel is that because the Conservatives have 23 councillors to 18 non Tories, they get 3 votes, we get 2… they win… I’m not sure councillors who vote for a policy should scrutinise it! We should have 12 good (wo)men who have no political affiliations to judge each case on its merits. At least the public can hear the meeting for themselves.
Wednesday 19th June
I had a meeting with Wates, the company that own Wyevales, to discuss their longer term plans for the site and HA11. Cllr Carole Da Costa and I expressed our strong feelings that the area remain green belt and the garden centre & dog friendly café remain as long as possible as people appreciate having the facility there, especially now Squires has closed for good.
He was keen to work with local councillors and community groups for the best outcome for all. They had bought the land Wyevales sits on from Wyevales because of their precarious financial position and were allowing Wyevales to remain rent free. They have drawn up plans for HA11 because they had been asked to do so by the previous administration as the Conservatives laid out their plans for housing to be included in their revised Borough Local Plan for RBWM.
Carole and I reinforced that the Conservative plan hadn’t got through inspection and would not be considered again without revisions until 2020 and our stance was to retain the green belt designation.
Then a rare night off watching corrie while monitoring Facebook for the latest news locally…
Thursday 20th June
A most interesting lunchtime spent with Parks Officers looking at the works completed at Sutherland Grange and discussing next steps… the bridges are looking good as one’s brain accepts change but they do have a chicken wire finish which could be better. RBWM Parks Officers, who designed the park, will sort that as it wears out and becomes dangerous for the dogs.
We looked at a field next to the main park which is currently left to do its own thing… do we put cattle on it… should it just be left… perhaps an annual trim to improve its ability to support nature? Love talking to knowledgeable people about nature… so much learning to be done!
Then up to Hemwood Dell to meet Michelle who is part of the Hemwood Hub, set up following local concerns about the dell being sold off at auction in lots! Residents are worried that the new owners might build on this ancient woodland. I’ve had officers liaising with the hub and reassuring locals that with Tree Preservation Orders and its demarcation as Public Open Space, no-one will be getting any sort of planning permission… not even for a fence.
After Jason’s visit we have commissioned an Ecological Survey to find out more about the dell. The report will map and describe the habitats and will be mainly botanical, listing trees, shrubs, and ground flora. It will also contain any incidental observations of other wildlife – invertebrates, birds, and mammals. He has also requested best practice management recommendations.
That was my first £1000 spend of the public purse… it gave me a good feeling 😉
We then drove down to Tozer Walk where a local resident was having trouble with his wall, it keeps being rebuilt and then cracking… Jason’s thoughts along with another local resident’s input, enabled me to write to senior managers and suggest a course of action. More as it happens…
Thursday evening I attended an event with another 8 councillors about changing the way we currently deal with drug users. Harrowing stories by parents who had lost children to drugs because of the way the system works. It doesn’t treat them as victims and try and help them get clean but instead criminalises their activities ensuring they fall into the hands of criminal gangs… heart breaking…
Cllr John Baldwin called for local councillors to work together, across parties, to help Anyone’s Child with their mission… everyone agreed, well obviously, sadly, the Tories have to check it’s OK with Simon Dudley first, as they do each morning about which colour socks to wear!
I had hoped to join them at Parliament on Tuesday night but we have a full council meeting, my first, but as John feeds info through I’ll support his recommendations, if they ring true in my head.
Friday 21st June
Took the dogs for a nice long walk… popped into see the manager at Wyevales, just back from his holidays, to find out the latest… keep those pinkies crossed 😉
Had a meeting over a few beers with the WWRA chair and fellow councillors at the cricket club where Richard’s kids are members and budding AllStars!
Discussed our meeting with local residents about the CY27 project and our next committee meeting for WWRA.
Saturday 22nd June
Hanging with Junior… Adrian Benge, up to something at the rear of this shot, might be the Queen’s Royal Warrant Holder for Saddlery but as of Monday he’s my Junior Vice President at Windsor & Eton Rotary Club… while I’ll be Senior Vice and Ralph Cooper, West Windsor’s happiest butcher, will be President.
You will be at Windsor’s Mid-Summer Fayre next Saturday right 😉
Saturday night launched our WWRA Your Questions Answered Facebook Group… do join us >>>