Agenda and minutes
Venue: Virtual Meeting - Online access
Contact: Mark Beeley 01628 796345 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Video Stream: Click here to watch this meeting on YouTube
Apologies for Absence
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Hill and Councillor Targowski. Councillor Davey and Councillor Haseler were attending the meeting as substitutes.
To receive any declarations of interest.
There were no declarations of interest received.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 6th September 2021.
RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the minutes of the meeting held on 6th September 2021 were approved.
To receive a presentation from Lorna Collisson.
Lorna Collisson, Community Engagement Officer – Housing Solutions, explained that Housing Solutions was a local housing association which primarily focused on the Maidenhead area. There were around 160 members of staff and most services were run in house. Housing Solutions provided a mix of tenures, including market rent and affordable housing. There were homeowners, leaseholders and extra care properties all part of the portfolio of housing. Housing Solutions had other properties in East Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, but all within an hour of Maidenhead. The corporate strategy had recently been confirmed, which outlined the position of the company over the next 5 years. The strategy was centred around three key themes; safe, satisfied and sustainable. It was important to ensure that all residents felt safe, both mentally and physically. Housing Solutions wanted residents to feel satisfied that they were receiving excellent value for money. There was a lot of work ongoing around the green agenda and trying to hit government targets on things like carbon neutral homes.
A new Director of Resident Services had recently been appointed and it was anticipated that they would bolster the good work that had already taken place. A ‘getting to know you’ event had recently taken place with residents, which allowed staff and residents to get to know each other better. 850 residents had been engaged with and a number of actions had been received as a result. In November 2020, a new hosing team was recruited which consisted of an income team and a resident team. Residents were at the heart of Housing Solutions and engagement was key, there were a number of different Panels that residents could be part of, for example the scrutiny panel, where residents had the opportunity to scrutinise policy and challenge decisions. Two panels related to residents groups and there was an e-engagement panel which had around 100 residents.
Councillor Baldwin joined the meeting.
Lorna Collisson explained that Councillor Taylor had visited Housing Solutions and seen how they operated. The housing association worked with a number of different partners, including RBWM. There were plans to launch a job club in the next few months, while work had been done with the transformation team at RBWM and in particular working in collaboration with the embedding community response project.
The Chairman thanked Lorna Collisson for the presentation and said that he had worked with Housing Solutions in his previous Cabinet Member role.
Councillor Baldwin apologised for joining the meeting late, he had been on the phone to a resident. He said it would be great to catch up with Lorna Collisson after the meeting.
Councillor G Jones said that the government was planning to change the law on Energy Performance Certificates (EPC), from 2025 a rental property would need to have an EPC C grade rating. This would cause some issues for landlords and Councillor G Jones asked if this was something that would be an issue for Housing Solutions.
Lorna Collisson said that the majority of the stock was up ... view the full minutes text for item 136.
To receive an update from Neil Walter.
Neil Walter, Parking and Enforcement Manager, said that the parking strategy was adopted in November 2020. Since then, officer and Member groups had reviewed the strategy and separated it out into 26 individual work streams. The streams had been separated into short, medium and long term, with a number having now been completed. The review was being led by Andrew Durrant, Executive Director of Place, and he was updating Members on a regular basis on the progress of the strategy. In Maidenhead, temporary measures which had been brought in during the pandemic would be removed to allow more space in the town centre. Neil Walter showed a number of slides to the Forum, detailing the measures that would be reviewed on various streets of the town centre. The disabled bays had now been completed and were available in various locations. There were the same number of disabled bays now as there was previously. Officers were continuing to look at the town centre to see where additional parking could be provided. The landing parking site closed at the end of October/early November which had reduced the amount of parking available to residents. Some new temporary car parks had recently opened, while the Vicus Way car park would be ready by autumn 2022.
The Chairman asked how many places there were for street parking across Maidenhead.
Neil Walter said that there were around 20 spaces that were not currently able to be used, it was planned that these would be restored by Christmas.
Councillor Baldwin said that while the number of disabled bays was the same as previously, they were located further away from the town centre.
Neil Walter said that the areas that were now being redeveloped had been popular for both on and off street parking. Trying to put this parking back in after development had proved to be difficult, but officers wanted to retain as much parking as possible. The landings site had been a bonus as the developers were originally meant to take the land back at the end of 2020. Surface car parks remained the most popular amongst residents visiting the town centre.
Councillor Baldwin asked how much interaction the parking team had with the planning team, in particular whether there was liaison around the parking arrangements for planning applications.
Neil Walter said that the team did talk to the planning team about the regeneration of Maidenhead. The car was the main mode of transport in the town and it was important that this was maintained by ensuring that there was adequate parking. When developments were brought forward, the amount of parking provided did have an effect on the town centre.
Councillor Bowden joined the meeting.
Councillor G Jones said that he was the council representative on the Older People’s Advisory Forum. They had informed him that popping into the town centre was very difficult as there were not many parking spaces available. Councillor G Jones said that it felt like spaces had been pushed back and ... view the full minutes text for item 137.
Maidenhead Town Manager Update
To hear from the new Maidenhead Town Manager, Robyn Bunyan.
Robyn Bunyan, Maidenhead Town Manager, introduced herself to the Forum and explained that she had been working at Norden Farm for the past 11 years. It was a really interesting time to be joining RBWM and Robyn Bunyan wanted to energise Maidenhead and return a sense of identity to the town. There was a lot happening and it was important that residents were engaged and aware of what was going on in their local area. There was a programme of events being put together that everyone could get involved with. The Christmas light switch on would be taking place on Saturday 20th November 2021. Other events were planned to have an impact, for example planting projects, working with schools and a mural project. Looking ahead to 2022, there would be events celebrating the lunar new year and linking this in with the Winter Olympics, which would be hosted in China around the same time. Wellbeing events would be run in conjunction with rambling groups, Robyn Bunyan wanted residents to be in a good mind set. She wanted to work with community groups, organisations and schools to improve on the good framework of events that had already been organised.
Councillor Baldwin thanked Robyn Bunyan for her work with Maidenhead Food Share, she had brought a lot of joy to vulnerable residents. He liked the sound of the ideas which had been mentioned, murals in particular could be productive and creative rather than just vandalism.
Robyn Bunyan responded by saying that some spaces had already been identified in the town which would be appropriate for the mural project. There were a lot of creative people in Maidenhead and Robyn Bunyan also wanted to reach out to local professional artists.
Councillor Davey said the activities based around the lunar new year sounded good. He asked if Robyn Bunyan could work in conjunction with Paul Roach, Windsor, Eton and Ascot Town Manager, to develop similar plans.
Robyn Bunyan said that she was working closely with Paul Roach, it was all about RBWM being one borough.
Councillor Singh said that the mural project was a great idea, there had previously been a mural in Queen Street which had been positively received. There were local artists and schools that would be keen to get involved. Councillor Singh felt that it would bring some positivity to Maidenhead. Some plants had been removed a few years ago due to funding, it would be good to get these back.
Robyn Bunyan said she was keen to investigate projects like ‘adopt a plant’, working with schools to help children look after plants. Linking in with other things like the borough in bloom could see initiatives like businesses in bloom come to the fore.
Councillor Singh asked what were the top three targets or challenges facing the new Maidenhead Town Manager.
Robyn Bunyan said that she wanted the sense of identity to be restored for the people of Maidenhead and their town. Business engagement was important to ensure that local ... view the full minutes text for item 138.
Presentation on the Planning Process
To receive a presentation on how the planning process works.
Due to illness, officers from the planning team were unable to attend the meeting. It was proposed that this item would be added to the agenda for the next meeting, in January 2022.
Item Suggestions for Future Forums
The Forum is invited to make suggestions for future meetings.
Councillor Baldwin said that there were still issues facing the Hindu society, he would discuss this with the Chairman outside of the meeting.
Councillor Taylor said it would be good to add the item on the planning process, which was not able to be considered at this meeting, to the agenda for the next meeting. She suggested that now the active travel measures around Maidenhead were being removed, it could be worth inviting the Maidenhead cycling group to outline the cycling routes that were available across the town.
Councillor Singh said that he would like to see the developers from the St Clouds Way development invited to the Forum to discuss their plans for the site.
Dates of Future Meetings
All future meetings to be held on the following dates (at 6.30pm):
· Tuesday 11th January 2022
· Thursday 17th March 2022
· Thursday 12th May 2022
All Town Forums meetings to be held virtually via Zoom, one meeting a year to be held in person, as agreed with the Chairman.
All future meetings to be held on the following dates (at 6.30pm):
· Tuesday 11th January 2022 - Zoom
· Thursday 17th March 2022 - Zoom
· Thursday 12th May 2022 – Council Chamber, Town Hall, Maidenhead
As agreed at Full Council in September 2021, all meetings of the Maidenhead Town Forum would be virtual, with one meeting a year to be held in person.