Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Town Hall, Maidenhead. View directions

Contact: Nabihah Hassan-Farooq  01628 796345

Audio-recording: To listen, click here or to download and listen later, right click and save as an mp3

Items
No. Item

30.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

None.

31.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 217 KB

To receive Declarations of Interests from Members of the Forum in respect of any item to be considered at the meeting.

Minutes:

None.

32.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 83 KB

To confirm the Part I minutes of the meeting of the Forum held on the 17/06/2019.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the Forum held on June 17th 2019 be approved, subject to a small amendment to state that Cllr Baldwin arrived late for the meeting.

33.

Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 50 KB

To note the terms of reference for the Maidenhead Town Forum.

Minutes:

The Forum noted the contents of the terms of reference.

34.

Maintaining the retail offer in Maidenhead during regeneration and keeping the High Street

To receive a presentation from Stephanie James, Maidenhead Town Manager (RBWM) on the above titled item.

Minutes:

Steph James, Maidenhead Town Manager, gave a presentation regarding factors affecting the town centre and how these could be mitigated whilst major regeneration work was carried out. Members were told that the national picture showed a reduction in high street footfall, with one in every five pounds spent on shopping being spent online. This had led to major national retailers closing stores across the country, which had the knock-on effect of reducing footfall and therefore damaging other, smaller retailers. Steph James said that town centres had had to adapt to ensure continuation of footfall as a result. The Town Partnership had set up a large programme of free events to run throughout the year to encourage visitors and increase footfall. Events included the free outdoor cinema experience of Maidenhead at the Movies and the Christmas Lights Switch On. Events have been branded under ‘Enjoy Maidenhead’, however this would be changing to ‘Make Maidenhead’ to reflect the fact the town centre was subject to major regeneration. Many events were organised by the community, including the Maidenhead Festival and the Zombie Walk.

 

Steph James told the Forum that there was a focus on targeting office workers who may not live in the area but significantly add to the weekday footfall, by emphasising the growing food and drink offers in the town and sharing and promoting regeneration news. There was still a negative perception that there was little by way of choice in terms of eating out in Maidenhead. It was important to promote the accessibility and connectivity of the town, especially during periods of disruption from regeneration works.

 

In the presentation Steph James highlighted the concept of pop up businesses, where a business could hold a short-term lease of a vacant unit to test and then refine a particular venture. Usually these would be shops but could also be used for community events or art galleries. Steph James said these had been successful in the past as they gave people greater confidence to test new ideas if the lease was only done on a short-term basis. She informed the Forum that Craft Coop had been running as a permanent business venture for ten years after starting off as a pop up shop. She added that it was likely that long-term empty units would be taken up by smaller independent retailers rather than multinationals.

 

A database of landlords was being created with a view to offering pop up business ventures to them to improve the viability of the town centre. Early indications showed landlords were generally supportive of this. Steph James said there was a misconception that landlords did not want vacant units occupied; rates still had to be paid on an empty unit. There were also misconceptions that business rates were set by the Council when in fact it was done by central government, and that the Council owned any vacant units in the town centre and had control over who could lease them, when this was not the case.

 

Responding to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.

35.

Maidenhead Station Project update

To receive a presentation from Ben Smith, Head of Commissioning- Communities (RBWM) on the above titled item.

Minutes:

Ben Smith, Head of Commissioning – Communities, gave a presentation and outlined to Members the latest state of the Maidenhead Station upgrade project. Members were reminded that there was a strong business case to support the project, with the delivery of Crossrail providing a significant positive impact on footfall in the town centre. Since the last Forum, the Council’s cycling strategy had been formally adopted by the Cabinet, which aimed to increase the number of cycle journeys in Maidenhead by 20 per cent in the next five years and reduce the accident rate. This also fitted in with the aim to become carbon zero, as discussed in the climate change emergency debate at June’s meeting of Full Council.

 

Members were reminded of the proposed changes to the roads as part of the improvement scheme. These included making Broadway two-way and introducing right-hand turns from the Nicholsons car park and Frascati Way, and removing the right turn onto the A308 at the Queen Street junction. The new Broadway junction had gone live on July 1st and trialling the closure of the right hand turn at the Queen Street junction had begun on July 8th. It was anticipated that the junction alterations would lead to fewer vehicles using Queen Street and lead to an overall reduction in congestion.

 

Ben Smith told Members that an online survey had taken place to engage the public about the amendments. Of the 532 responders, 123 thought the closure of the Queen Street right-hand turn would increase road user safety and 155 thought the new two-way system on Broadway would reduce the potential impact of the closure on Queen Street. Ben Smith stated that Thames Valley Police and the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service felt the changes would have little effect on their ability to respond to emergencies and the closure of the Queen Street turn would aid traffic flow. It had not been possible to get a response from the ambulance service despite numerous repeated attempts. Courtney Buses had indicated they believed the changes would increase time, mileage and costs and that this could impact on the reliability of their services. Feedback from residents suggested that a footbridge or underpass at the station would be a better solution. Ben Smith stated that these options had been looked into but were not considered viable due to costs and the constraints of the surrounding land.

 

Cllr Haseler said he worked as a quick response driver and stated his belief that the right turn closure had made traffic flow simpler, although he felt the final scheme did need some fine tuning. Cllr Taylor stated her belief that the new junction arrangements at Broadway and Frascati Way needed to be better signposted. Ben Smith stated that consideration had been given to a right-hand turn for emergency vehicles at Queen Street but this had been abandoned as it was considered too dangerous.

 

Responding to a question from Cllr Del Campo, Ben Smith stated that the scheme would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.

36.

Item Suggestions for Future Forums

The Forum is invited to make suggestions for future meetings.

Minutes:

The Chairman informed everyone present that future meetings would be a forum where ideas could be put forward and discussed as decided as to whether they were believed to be feasible.

 

Members suggested the following items for consideration at future meetings:

 

·         Updates on the progress of town centre regeneration

·         Update on the climate change working group

·         Update on youth services and to hear from younger residents

 

It was requested that item suggestions be emailed to nabihah.hassan-farooq@rbwm.gov.uk

37.

Date of Future Meetings

All future meetings to be held on the following dates (at 6.30pm):

 

·         5th November 2019 at 6.30pm, Council Chamber, Town Hall, Maidenhead

 

·         25th March 2020 at 6.30pm, Council Chamber, Town Hall, Maidenhead

Minutes:

Cllr Dudley proposed that both the Maidenhead and Windsor Town Forums should meet every other month, in order to encourage greater resident interaction and improve transparency. Members were reminded that the terms of reference for the Forums stated that each should meet three times a year and any amendment to the terms of reference, which were part of the Council’s Constitution, would need to be agreed by Full Council. Cllr McWilliams also proposed that the Forum meetings should be streamed on social media channels such as Facebook Live, in order to further encourage greater resident participation and suggested that residents would be able to submit questions during the course of meetings. Cllr Dudley stated that the Communications department would need to report back on this.

 

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That a paper proposing the terms of reference be amended to state the Maidenhead and Windsor Town Forums meet six times a year be presented to Full Council on September 24th.

 

Members asked for an additional meeting to be scheduled as soon as possible after the next Full Council meeting. It was also noted that the next meeting was scheduled for November 5th; it was requested that a different date be sought due to a likely clash with a number of other community events that it was anticipated would take place on the same day.

 

The date of a Forum meeting taking place on March 25th 2020 at 6.30pm in the Town Hall Council Chamber was noted by Members.