I would like to share one of Cllr Helen Price’s monthly updates of her constituency work. Having worked alongside Helen for the last 3 years, I respect her work ethic, diligence in decision making and ability to hold her tongue, amongst many other skills and felt the need, with her permission, to share this month’s update on our blog.
The image above is from a video we shot years before she became a Cllr, when she was concerned with air quality and was taking active steps to make the borough accountable. I use this to show her steely determination and to underline that the activities in her newsletter are not politicking but demonstrate her long term concern for her fellow man.
Please read about her local engagement in April. I can assure you, no-one will work harder for her constituents and if she’s your ward Councillor, please be one of her 1,000 voters at next year’s elections, ensuring she takes her seat again and can continue the work she has commenced locally and ideally spread her influence further across RBWM as a cabinet member 😉
As you will read it has been another busy month , which included looking after the grandchildren for three days. That was a different “busy” and certainly not restful! I am heartened by the feedback I’m getting from residents to how on what I’m doing as a Councillor and will confess I hadn’t quite appreciated how many residents are aware of what I do. As you are aware I make a point of posting and sharing information I think residents should know and I’m told this is much appreciated.
VALE ROAD CEMETERY
A resident volunteer has been quietly tidying up this overgrown cemetery. She liaises with the Windsor Parks officer whilst keeping me informed. She has devised an annual plan approved by the officer. She is liaising with Greenearth Plan to look at how to make some areas more environmentally friendly. At certain times of year she needs more help and I have arranged with GoodGym to help out on a Wednesday evening in May to help her get on top of things. At her suggestion I have set up a facebook site Friends of Vale Road Cemetery and we welcome more residents, particularly those with relatives laid to rest there, to join https://www.facebook.com/groups/694312931689793. I am currently trying to find out from Clewer Church the names of those who have been laid to rest with an appropriate map. This will help relatives find their loved ones’ graves. Sadly there is graffiti, red paint, which I have tried to remove but it needs a professional approach by officers with stronger solvent than I am permitted to use. I have a graffiti removal kit from RBWM. If anyone wants to remove graffiti please ask to borrow it. I understand its not really suitable for porous surfaces.
WARD EMPLOYERS – I met with the four major employers in my Ward
LEGOLAND I met with LEGOLAND’s Operating Director this month. They are continuing to support the local community. We were told that visitor numbers are intentionally being kept down, around 60% of the numbers we experienced some five years ago. This means our roads are less congested than back then, and visitors get a much better experience. I believe the heavy discount promotions no longer occur. I suggested they consider have wild flower plots on the entrance hill which make a stunning impact on arrival. They are happy to promote community activities to their staff, such as the Community Fairs. They are actively seeking staff in a wide range of areas and have an Open Day on 10 May https://www.legoland.co.uk/our-company/jobs/
CENTRICA I had a good meeting with Centrica staff now that they are returning to the office. They want to do more in the local community. I proposed the following and linked them up with the appropriate individual. Library – reading to children, having a regular slot on advising residents facing fuel poverty. Supporting Driven Forward with collecting food. Job Club – providing interview practice. Working with RBWM in creating a energy brochure to help residents needing to cut back on energy consumption/cost. Community Fair – supporting. Greenearth Plan – supporting the watering of the Community Orchard and litter picks. Baby Bank – possible storage space. Windsor Lions – providing a link.
KEELER Another good meeting . Keeler are already supporting the community through food donations and will support our Community activities such as the Fairs. I am supplying them with up to date information on the deprivation figures in West Windsor.
MEDINA I keep in touch with Medina and their plans. Like other employers within the Ward they too are helping the community through donations and helping promote community events.
DEDWORTH LIBRARY – I was informed there was a risk of it being closed on Sundays. Unbeknown to me the Library Service have had difficult es in recruiting staff for this and other positions. I offered to share the library vacancies widely and have been informed by at least four residents that they have applied for the position, so I believe that barrier to opening has now been removed. Half term activities were as much fun as usual and I popped in one day and had a chat with youngsters and the knit and knatter group.
SAWYERS CLOSE REGENERATION
I have been calling on residents in my Ward who are nearest to this development explaining what is happening to counter the incorrect information previously circulated – not by Abri I might add!. Abri have begun holding consultation sessions with Sawyers Close residents sharing the latest plans. I work closely with Abri and urged them to put these plans into the public domain. My reasoning was that some non Abri residents had previously circulated misleading information which upset Sawyers Close residents and worried local residents. Abri agreed and these plans are now available for all to see on https://bit.ly/3vLpeHn
DRIVEN FORWARD COMMUNITY FRIDGE
I speak regular with the founder Tiia Stephens. She has created a Community Fridge where food from shops and restaurants, which would otherwise go to landfill sites, is redistributed amongst the local community. If you want to find out more https://www.facebook.com/groups/320778092672886 As well as saving money you can prevent food ending up in landfill sites.
On the last Saturday of each month DFCF sets up a pop up shop at Sawyers Close 12noon – 1pm. All our welcome, although obviously most clients are from Sawyers Close.
On Easter Monday DFCF held an Easter Egg Hunt at Sawyers Close which I attended and hunted. It was great fun and residents, especially the children really enjoyed themselves.
I met with the Natural Environment Manager to review if the grassed area on the South of Dedworth Road between Clewer Hill Road and Wolf Lane could be designated a “wildlife verge” For details of this scheme https://bit.ly/37JKOnM He has confirmed that this can go ahead. It is a trial and being “wild” it won’t look manicured and neat and tidy but will provide a place for animals, insects and plants to thrive. So we need to be patient with its appearance as it becomes established. See the picture for the location.
I was asked by the Clewer Fuel Allotments to liaise with RBWM over the St Andrews Avenue entrance as the Committee wanted to scrub up and replant a verge and get the road entrance smoothed. I was able to put them in contact with the right officers to ensure that this progressed smoothly whilst meeting all the necessary protocols. The Allotment is providing a new gate so when this mini project is finished it should look really attractive.
Flower Planters – now is the time for the Winter planting to be removed and begin planting out the summer planting, so some planters might look a bit bare for a few weeks. We are striving to include environmentally friendly plants, ones that can stand lack of water and extreme heat. If you’d like to contribute in any way, by helping plant, donating plants or funds, watering please contact Samantha Taylor on firstname.lastname@example.org There is a facebook site Windsor Community Planter which you might like to watch/contribute. I experimented with the troughs on the railings at the junction of Dedworth Road/Wolf Lane/Smiths Lane with planting daffodils. As none were picked I will plant out in more troughs next Autumn.
The main concern I had from this Communities Overview & Scrutiny Panel was over the Annual Report on the Environment and Climate Strategy. There was insufficient time in the meeting for all my questions to be answered and I had assumed we were going to have further discussions but this was stopped. I have therefore submitted my 23 questions to the Service Lead on Sustainability and Economic Growth, who was present at the meeting. The thrust of my questions was the lack of SMART objectives against which to measure progress, and my concern that progress has not been as anticipated. At the same time I submitted my questions and concerns the RBWM Climate Emergency Coalition submitted a detailed paper to RBWM itemising their concerns. To date there has been no response to either documents. I have chased.
ROAD SAFETY ISSUES
I have requested the following
• barriers where alleyways enter blindly onto main roads, one on Winkfield Road and one on Wolf Lane.
• Road markings in Illingworth where it is not clear which roads have right of way together with a speed check to see if this road should/could be 20mph.
• Pavement parking generally and specifically at school pick up and drop off times. I am concerned that changes have to be made BEFORE an accident occurs. I have requested that the Community Safety Partnership adds this topic to their work programme
• Cllrs Davey, Tisi and I jointly contacted the Parking Manager about the danger associated with parking on pavements/corners/double yellow lines etc. He informed us that at the end of May 2022 there will be new legislation and RBWM intend to apply for new powers which they will potentially start enforcing in Spring 2023, which will help improve from the current situation.
CLEWER HILL ROAD/RYCROFT
You may recall the burst water mains in Clewer Hill Road a few months back, sadly just after the road had been resurfaced. The repair job was not “up to standard” and Cllr Karen Davies followed this up. We were informed that utility companies had six months to make good any repairs. A resident told me that the repair was disintegrating and cars going over it causing a double bump noise which at night interrupted his sleep. Karen and I took this up with officers, who acted very promptly and negotiated with Thames Water to prioritise this repair whilst agreeing to make an improvement beyond what was legally required. Thanks to the Highways officer for his prompt and customer-focussed response.
The whole of Rycroft is to be repaired on Tuesday 10 May. From 9.00 – 16.00 the road will be closed off, whilst this work takes place. Rycroft residents will be individually informed by letter and road signs will be erected.
HIGHWAYS AND PARKING
Cllr Phil Haseler is the new Cabinet Member responsible for Parking, Highways & Transport,and Planning. I have arranged for him to have a tour round West Windsor liaising with Cllr Jon Davey – Clewer and Dedworth West, Cllr Amy Tisi – Clewer East and me – Clewer and Dedworth East. We will show him areas of concerns split into three categories – Safety, Parking and Other. He will then be in a better position to evaluate our requests for improvements having seen the area first hand.
COST OF LIVING
I have met with the Transformation and Community Service Lead who is in charge of the Cost of Living Group. She is going to trial some sessions in West Windsor on how people can be helped with the cost of living increases. She is redesigning the website content to make it much more user friendly and I’m giving feedback on its design. She is following up on my links with Centrica re fuel poverty support/
I am trying to find out more about how the central government funded Household Support Grant is to be distributed this current financial year.
I am in touch with the officer who is distributing the central government £150. Once she has finalised the system I have asked that all councillors are informed so that they can in turn inform their residents.
I continue to post any local jobs on the facebook I created on becoming a new councillor People Helping People (Windsor). I’m now being approached by local businesses to add their vacancies. There is a “flexible job fair” on Wednesday 4 May at the Royal Windsor Shopping Centre 10.30-2.30. It is aimed at residents who want employment to fit around the school day, but I’m sure if you’re looking for work it would be useful to pop along and speak with local employers.
THE REPORT IT SYSTEM
I have fed back my experience (poor) of the Report It system to the Head of Transformation. It was timely as he was about to have a meeting about the flaws in the current system and how to make it more robust. There are some things however I am aware can’t be actioned even when reported, such as overgrown footpaths where it is the responsibility of the houseowner. RBWM just doesn’t have the officer capacity to take the necessary action.
I have a supply of litter pickers, which will save your backs from bending down to pick up litter. They are for any residents in West Windsor. I also have a supply of adults and children’s litter pickers from LEGOLAND specifically for residents in Winkfield Road and any roads off Winkfield Road. Having your own litter picker means you can take it with you walking the dog, on the school walk or anytime to suit you best.
There are at least two consultations about to go live so watch out for these, the A308 (ie Maidenhead Road) and one on Active Travel. One a bit further down the road – a Vision for Windsor. When these go live and I have the links I’ll post.
Repairs, trees, planning, witness support, trees and verges, planning, report it system failure
Natural Environment Manager, LEGOLAND, Windsor & Ascot Planning Panel, Keeler, Communities Overview & Scrutiny Panel, Abri, Briefing on Citizens Portal, Centrica, Dedworth Library, Windsor Foodshare, Abri re Sawyers Close Development, Council, Transformation and Community Service Lead, Driven Forward
Cllr Helen Price Clewer and Dedworth East tBf
Cllr.email@example.com 07752 847796