Agenda and draft minutes
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Apologies for Absence
To receive any apologies for absence.
An apology for absence was received from Councillor Hill, with Councillor Davey attending the meeting as substitute. Councillor Targowski had informed the clerk that he would join the meeting at around 7pm.
To receive any declarations of interest.
There were no declarations of interest received.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 31st March 2021.
RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the minutes of the meeting held on 31st March 2021 were approved, providing the following amendment was made:
· Councillor Baskerville said that the spelling of the ‘Nicholsons Shopping Centre’ was incorrect.
District Enforcement Update
To receive an update from the District Enforcement team on their work in and around the town centre.
RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: The Chairman informed the Forum that he would be switching the order of the agenda, so the District Enforcement update would be considered first.
The Chairman said that there had been some confusion around this item and what it would involve. Therefore, Simon Dale would respond to a number of questions that had been submitted in advance of the meeting but the Chairman had decided not to allow any further questions from members of the Forum.
Simon Dale, Interim Head of Highways, explained that due to a miscommunication he had only been informed of the item being on the agenda at short notice. The contract had received a significant amount of scrutiny already and had previously been considered by the Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel. A number of questions had been submitted in advance by a resident, Mr John Webb. Simon Dale was happy to answer these through a Freedom of Information request but in the interests of transparency and openness, Simon Dale explained that he would provide the answers to these questions in the meeting. The answers were provided for the period October 2020 to March 2021, which was the six-month pilot of the district enforcement contract. The figures below all related to district enforcement work in and around Maidenhead:
· The number of Fixed Penalty Notices issued was 939.
· The reasons for fines being issued included general littering, fly tipping, duty of care and excess black bags being left out.
· Number of fines for cigarette butt littering was 768
· Number of fines issued for fly tipping was 16, with 7 domestic incidents and 9 business incidents recorded.
· Number of fines issued on private property was 48.
· Number of challenges to fines was 388, with 126 being overturned. These were borough wide figures.
· Number of fines that were currently going through court was 105.
· The age profile of litterers was:
o 18 years old – 3
o 19 years old – 11
o 20-29 years old – 176
o 30-39 years old – 209
o 40-49 years old – 204
o 50-59 years old – 172
o 60-69 years old – 88
o 70-79 years old – 24
o Age not known – 52
· The socio-economic profile of litterers was not something that was recorded.
· The percentage reduction in littering across the borough could not be measured but Simson Dale believed on the whole it was a very clean borough.
· The premise of district enforcement was to change people’s behaviour, with fines being offered as part of the service.
· No warnings had been issued to litterers.
· Around 900 ‘stubby pouches’ had been handed out.
· 708 fines had been paid to district enforcement.
The Chairman stated that he would not be accepting any further questions from those present.
Councillor Baldwin raised a point of order and believed that the Chairman was not allowed to stop Forum members from asking questions on an item that had been presented on the agenda. Councillor Baldwin expressed his disappointment in not being able ... view the full minutes text for item 109.
To receive a presentation on the Waterways project.
Richard Davenport, Chair of Friends of Maidenhead Waterways, gave the Forum a presentation on the waterways project. Maidenhead was a town that had the River Thames flowing through it but this was far from the centre. The abandoned York Stream ran through the centre of the town but was largely derelict and in a poor state. The 2011 Area Action Plan allocated six opportunity areas for redevelopment, which included sites adjourning the York Stream at Chapel Arches, York Road and Stafferton Way. The goal of the project was to restore the waterway to a navigable standard, integrating the waterway with ongoing regeneration to create a high quality, safe, green corridor through the town centre. The development of the Borough Local Plan provided additional opportunities to link the waterway with much of the regeneration and redevelopment which was planned for Maidenhead town centre.
There had been a number of challenges to the waterway project:
· It was a bold, complex and unique project.
· The waterway had been designed to avoid adding to the flood risk.
· It was important to balance the needs of ecology and amenity.
· There was a long-term strategy which depended on funding in stages.
· Contractor disputes and delay penalties had added to the cost.
Richard Davenport explained that the waterway, Chapel Arches and the weir were together Maidenhead’s largest and most visible regeneration/transformation project to date. Richard Davenport showed the Forum a number of pictures of the waterways at various locations and at different times in the development and construction process. The waterways had brought resurgent wildlife back to the town centre, with the deeper stable water allowing new habitats. Fish and eel passes had been built into the new weir and there was fish passage through Maidenhead town centre for the first time. A number of birds and other species were now present on the waterways.
There was still some outstanding work to be completed on the York Stream arm of the waterway:
· The flood wall under the A4 needed to be fixed to prevent path flooding.
· Boat launch facilities needed to be added to activate the waterway and enable maintenance of the town centre channels.
· A maintenance programme of inspections and routine works was to be established.
· Removal of a low pipe bridge underneath the railway bridge.
· Finishing touches: more trees, signage and info boards.
The next steps for the waterway, which were subject to funding:
· Complete residual works on the York Stream.
· Clear a passage along Bray Cut for small boats, linking with the Thames.
· Develop the Ivy Leaf club waterside site once it was available.
· Restore the Moor Cut arm to join with the York Stream to complete the town centre ‘ring’.
· A step by step joined up long term strategy was essential to avoid significant cost.
Councillor Baskerville commented that it had been an impressive project. He had noted that the Chapel Arches bridge was 200 years old in 2025 and asked if the waterway would be completed by then. Councillor Baskerville asked if ... view the full minutes text for item 110.
Item Suggestions for Future Forums
The Forum is invited to make suggestions for future meetings.
The Chairman suggested having an item on the traffic and roadworks that were currently ongoing in Maidenhead.
Councillor Taylor said that she was part of a Covid Recovery Panel which was looking at creating a Covid memorial in the borough. Some preparatory work had been done and Councillor Taylor suggested that a presentation could be made to the Forum.
Councillor McWilliams said that it would be useful to receive an update on Sierra House in Maidenhead.
Andrew Ingram said that he would like to do a presentation on the Maidenhead Downhill Races event which would be taking place in July 2021.
Linda Green asked for an item on the parking situation especially as there had been an increase in parking charges.
Councillor G Jones asked if Maidenhead Festival would be going ahead this year. Andrew Ingram confirmed that it had been rescheduled for 2022.
Councillor Singh said that there had been some issues with parking around the Methodist church in Maidenhead, with a number of parking spaces being lost. There had also been a few reported anti-social incidents around the town and suggested inviting Thames Valley Police to the next meeting to provide an update.
Linda Green commented on the number of buildings under construction in the town centre and the lack of green space. She believed that residents were concerned about the lack of green space, infrastructure, traffic and parking.
Councillor Stimson suggested that she could address the meeting in July on the joined up thinking of the borough. Regarding Councillor Singh’s suggestion on the Methodist church, Councillor Stimson suggested that it was something worth discussing with the relevant Cabinet Member and parking officer.
Councillor McWilliams advised Linda Green to have a look at the Borough Local Plan, which set out the strategic priorities of the borough. The Maidenhead Town Vision was another useful document, while new parks had been created at Thriftwood and Battlemead.
The Chairman told the Forum that he would be presenting a paper to Cabinet at the end of the month on the Maidenhead Vision along with the creation of a new town team. It was important that the town centre was for everyone.
Dates of Future Meetings
All future meetings to be held on the following dates (at 6.15pm):
· Thursday 8th July 2021
· Monday 6th September 2021
· Thursday 11th November 2021
· Tuesday 11th January 2022
· Thursday 17th March 2022
· Thursday 12th May 2022
Members of the Forum noted that the next meeting would take place on Thursday 8th July 2021, starting at 6.15pm.