Agenda item

Motions on Notice

a)    By Councillor Taylor


This council agrees that the reasons for the chosen site of the Vicus Way car park have been superseded by the ongoing regeneration of Maidenhead town centre and the site would be better utilised for a mixed development of commercial premises and housing.


b)   By Councillor Baldwin:


Homelessness cannot be tolerated or ignored.  The Council’s partners tell us that concentrating their clients in accessible locations better allows them to receive the services they need and makes the transition from the street to emergency accommodation easier for all concerned.  We must create a seamless path from the street to full re-integration.  A small step can be taken today.


This council allows the Brett Foundation to permanently site its bus/dormitory outside the roller gates of John West House, without charge.


c)    By Councillor Knowles


This council will support, facilitate and promote an Armed Forces day event on Armed Forces day 2020.


d)   By Councillor Clark


This Council: 

i) Declares an environmental and climate emergency; whilst noting the council’s achievements in reducing its environmental impacts including reducing its energy consumption by 21% and the ambitious ongoing targets to further reduce energy consumption by 10% within four years, adopted in the Energy and Water Strategy 2019-2023; 


ii) Welcomes the Government’s commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and calls on them to provide additional powers and resources to ensure the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead can help deliver on national targets; and


iii) Will establish a Cross-Party Working Group to undertake an in-depth review of the council’s current carbon footprint and to formulate, consult and agree on a net Zero Carbon Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead by 2050 Strategy in consultation with local stakeholders and partners with a draft strategy to be brought before Full Council within 12 months.



Motion a)


Councillor Taylor introduced her motion. She stated that she regretted having to bring the motion given the earlier discussions on climate change however the parking issue was real. There was a need for spaces; the question was where.


Parking was a huge issue throughout the borough.  However, this car park would not solve the issue of commuters parking in residential streets. Many did this to avoid paying for parking in the first place. When the residents fought Vicus, the digital boards which used to show empty parking spaces said on average 1488 spaces were available each day across the town.  Perhaps a better question to ask was if these business spaces were still empty after 10am were they ever being used?


The routes in Oldfield were struggling to cope as it was and whilst the planned improvements to the roundabouts on Stafferton Way/A308 and Oldfield Road/A4 junction were welcome, she questioned whether this was enough to cope with the increase of traffic due.  Could the area cope with an extra 1000 car movements a day?  Possibly it could. However, could it cope with an extra 7000 car movements a day? 


Councillor Taylor explained that this was potentially what could happen as  currently around 3061 residential units were either under construction, approved by planning or proposed within St Mary’s and Oldfield. Whilst the council considered each individual planning application on its merits, it needed to remember that there was always a cumulative effect. 


Vicus Way was in constant use by HGVs and the current roundabout was impossible for them to navigate safely.  Once the nearby developments were complete, traffic would increase substantially along the link road and throughout the area.  The proposed correction works that Redrow would undertake on the junction were not enough to ensure the safety of both car users and pedestrians if the car park went ahead.


Pedestrian safety was a grave concern here as the route that commuters would need to take from Vicus to the station included two zebra crossings and three pedestrian crossings.  Much had been made of the Queen Street right hand turn closure being implemented to ensure the safety of pedestrians.  Councillor Taylor therefore suggested that the parking should be put in the town centre where the council could provide safe crossings and traffic control measures to ensure pedestrian safety.


The Maidenhead Forum was advised that originally the replacement Broadway car park was going to be 1300 spaces.  However it was thought the bulk would be too great and therefore reduced to 1000.  Within the regeneration of the town centre there was the opportunity to design a car park that fitted and complemented the area, whilst providing all the car park spaces needed.  The regeneration would not happen over-night and the council must get it right, doing all it could to keep and encourage people into the town.  Commuters who could be delayed on trains might stop for a meal in a restaurant or pick up a last minute gift. So logically, why have commuters walking away from the town centre to get back to their cars? 


Retail, residential units and the car park could be planned, designed and built to ensure that pedestrian safety was paramount, and that traffic leaving the town centre had the opportunity to take different routes out, rather than being concentrated in one area. Given that the nearby Landing development would have blocks of over 12 stories, Councillor Taylor asked would a car park of this size really look out of place? Doing a review of business parking already allocated and increasing the Broadway back to 1300 spaces would negate the need for Vicus.


A manifesto pledge of the council was “Building affordable homes for our residents” and “to build hundreds of social rented homes over the next four years”.  Earlier that day Councillor Dudley had tweeted that there was a housing affordability crisis that required bold action. He was correct. Councillor Taylor asked was this not an opportunity to build small retail units with a mix of social and truly affordable housing above on this piece of land?  It would fit with the current landscape and benefit the community, providing employment and new housing.  Given the increased footfall in the area once the Waterways project was complete and Braywick Leisure Centre was open. She suggested the area be opened up for local businesses, who maybe could not afford to rent a unit in the town centre.


There was an opportunity to reverse the current feeling that the ward was Maidenhead’s personal construction site, with constant developments being built, which before the boundary review were all in Oldfield.  The residents ask that the site be used for something that would benefit and enhance the local community, not something that would forever be a reminder of something that many would rather forget. 


Councillor Hill seconded the motion.


Councillor Johnson stated that he would respond on behalf of the administration to reject the motion. The scheme was needed now more than ever in the context of the regeneration. Parking spaces were much needed in the broader delivery of Crossrail and the wider aspirations of the council and the business community to attract and retain blue chip employers and provide a holistic parking strategy that worked for the whole of Maidenhead.


The development already had planning consent and was in the OJEU process to appoint a contractor. The scheme was for four storeys, to be respectful of neighbouring properties, but could have been higher.  The 503 spaces were needed following the redevelopment of the station forecourt and anticipated business demand. The scheme had been designed to include necessary infrastructure to allow for a modal shift to electric vehicles. This was part of the wider sustainable transport strategy.


Councillor Dudley stated that he was conscious of the sensitivities of residents in the area. There would be a significant amount of change in the Stafferton way area over the next few years; because it was so close to the railway station it was a sustainable location. Residents would be able to park in the car park for free between 6pm and 9am. One of the inhibitors to electric vehicles was the difficulty in finding charging points therefore the council would ensure the relevant infrastructure was in place.  If the council wanted to keep companies such as ‘3’ in the town with the resulting jobs and prosperity it needed to provide parking. The reserve list for business spaces exceeded the capacity of the Vicus Way car park. A report would be presented to Council in July to deal with the Nicholson’s car park.


Councillor Werner commented that he had been arguing for more car parking in Maidenhead for some time. However this proposal was not the one to sort out the problem. It was a large piece of land, much more could be done with it. The Borough Local Plan stated that there was insufficient employment land in the area; this would be a perfect location. The design was shocking. There was an absolute need to put chargers into car parks but that was nothing to do with this motion.


Councillor Hill commented that this was a £12m folly. Residents had called the planning process a fiasco. The design was extreme in mass and scale and therefore violated planning policy; it would also generate extra light pollution for those properties it overlooked. Over 1000 traffic movements would be added to an already busy Stafferton Way. In his view it was a waste of public money and the spaces would be better located in the town centre. The land was designated for employment purposes.  To get the application through required two heavyweight barristers. Residents could not afford the costs of a Judicial Review. The site should be used for mixed commercial and residential use, especially social housing.  If Members wanted to be known for making one of the most abhorrent planning decisions in council history he suggested they should vote against this motion.


Councillor Taylor concluded that this was not a debate about the need for 500 spaces; they were needed but Vicus Way was not the right site


Members voted on the motion.


A named vote was taken as at least five councillors made such a request, as per Part 2 C17.3.3 of the constitution. 18 Councillors voted for the motion: Councillors Baldwin, Baskerville, Bond, Brar, C. Da Costa, W. Da Costa, Davey, Davies, Del Campo, Hill, Jones, Knowles, Larcombe, Price, Reynolds, Taylor, Tisi, and Werner. 23 Councillors voted against the motion: Councillors Bateson, Bhangra Bowden, Cannon, Carroll, Clark, Coppinger, Dudley, Haseler, Hilton, Hunt, Johnson, Luxton, McWilliams, Muir, Rayner, Sharpe, Shelim, Singh, Stimson, Story, Targowski and Walters.


The motion therefore fell.


Motion b)


Councillor Baldwin introduced his motion. He explained that whatever had contributed to the plight of a homeless person and whatever their weaknesses, the challenges were to be overcome by everyone. To tolerate fellow citizens sleeping in doorways was an affront to human dignity. Ove the last eight weeks he had spoken to council officers and partners in the voluntary sector. All told him the same thing, that their clients were once fellow pupils, neighbours or friends. They were all residents of the borough and the council should do what it could to help them. Sadly many things could not be done but his motion was one that could. He asked for a simple act of generosity that would cost nothing in financial terms but the value would double and redouble. Support for the motion would demonstrate the council was serious about practical, affordable steps to create a transition from the street to full re-integration.


Councillor Price seconded the motion. She commented that borough was blessed with many residents who volunteered in many ways. Their value could be shown by supporting the motion. Enabling the dormitory bus to be parked outside John West House would free up the volunteers to spend more time supporting rough sleepers.


Councillor Johnson stated that he would respond on behalf of the administration. The administration was fully committed to tackling the route causes of homelessness which were often beyond the individual’s control and surrounded by tragic circumstances. The council was committed to provide a range of intervention measures above and beyond its statutory duty. The council’s strategy had been updated in late 2018 following analysis of quantitative and qualitative data and consultation with key partners. The strategy set out the collaborative approach with the voluntary sector and statutory partners.  The most affordable way to deal with rough sleeping was prevention and early intervention. The council could not deliver the services required without the support of the third sector therefore he welcomed the element of the motion relating to the creation of a seamless path from the street to full integration. He welcomed innovative thinking but could not support the outcome because of significant and grave impediments in relation to the safeguarding and safety obligations of the council.


To bind the council into entering a service agreement to site a vehicle on land without any consideration of the legal and health and safety requirements and the safeguarding needs of vulnerable users was not acceptable. The site was located near a gas storage tank which had been identified by the Fire Service as an unacceptable risk.


Councillor McWilliams commented that when the council had been putting together the updated strategy, he had been clear on the need to work with partners. Only then did co-ordination support residents. The strategy required the council to strengthen relationships with partners and create clear frameworks and processes between organisations so no-one fell through the cracks. The strategy also had aftercare at its heart.


Priority 4 of the strategy stated the council would carry out a feasibility study on potential future hostel accommodation. There was a notable need for services after a user was released from public services. Delivering hostel accommodation was not as easy as buying a bus and parking it somewhere. It required location of sites, planning applications and service level agreements with partners. It was a complicated process. Although he appreciated solutions were not easy, they required detailed work to be long-term solutions.


Councillor Carroll stated that homelessness was abhorrent and all should have a shared interest in dealing with it. The reasons for homelessness were extensive and complex. Any motion that sought to alleviate the issue should be taken seriously. Unfortunately the proposal had legal challenges and problems in its current form. From a public health point of view the focus would be on provision of drug and alcohol services, resilience and mental health. The Director of Adult Social Care and the Assistant Director of Statutory Care had advised him of the unavoidable issues relating to safeguarding and health and safety in relation to the motion. Certain liabilities would fall on the council including provision of toilets and staff monitoring. In relation to adult safeguarding any provider would have to offer single gender accommodation to mitigate a number of issues.  Despite the good intentions the motion could put people at risk; regrettably he therefore could not support the motion.


Councillor Hill commented that although the motion was not perfect it was a good thing to do and the council should find a way to enable it to happen. He referred to pods for homeless people that comprised a single room with a bed, toilet and shower at a cost of £5000, which had been trialled in Newport. The council kept talking about the issue but needed to act.


Councillor C. Da Costa explained that she was a volunteer and had helped at the Windsor shelter last winter.  She had met people with very sad stories. The motion should be supported because there was a very real need to do something.  If 120 volunteers and four churches could get together and resolve the safeguarding issues the council should be able to do so also.


Councillor Jones commented that this had been an issue for some time. Neither the Windsor Homeless Project nor the Brett Foundation had a stable place to provide its wonderful service. All she had heard in the debate was negativity rather than ‘we can’t do this but will look at alternative places to allow them to provide a stable service.’  She could see there were obstacles, however she would support the motion unless someone came back and said it could not be done. The council should look into the possibility.


Councillor Stimson explained that as a candidate she had been contacted on Facebook by a homeless resident who was the age of her youngest child. She had talked through with him and a Housing officer the options available. He worked two jobs and spent most of his earnings on the storage of his belongings.  He could not stay at John West House any longer as there were specific rules about not sleeping during the daytime. She supported the sentiment of the motion but to put further burden on staff already dealing with issues was not appropriate.


Councillor W. Da Costa agreed with Councillor Jones that if officers said it could not be done for legal reasons then he would accept that, but he agreed with the intent. It would be a small step to show a statement of intent. He agreed with the need for a seamless path to reintegration. Councillor W. Da Costa referred to the night hostel in Windsor. Residents had built up a community over eight weeks; individuals had moved from being fearful of authority and hostile to true friendships. These individuals had been let down because at the end of the 10 week project funded by the churches and contributions of local residents they had to go their separate ways. All of a sudden the seamless transition had gone. Councillor W. Da Costa referred to £3.79m of developer contributions. He had asked the previous year what had been done with this funding. He suggested it could be used to create a venue to support seamless reintegration. He expected the answer would be no.


Councillor Bhangra commented that he was passionate about homelessness; he knew trying to address the issue was a very complex matter. It was a priority area for himself and Councillor Carroll. He had family members involved in various homeless projects. As someone who had seen the homelessness and SWAT facilities, he was aware of the critical safeguarding, health and safety and legal aspects that needed to be taken into account to protect the vulnerable. Unfortunately the motion was therefore not fit for purpose and he could not support it in its current form.


Councillor Baldwin commented that if it was naive to believe something the council could do to immediately alleviate the issue then he was guilty. Everyone he had spoken to had highlighted that unless a way could be found to get people less distrustful of authority and concentrated in one area where services could be delivered, all the high morals on their own would not work. Obstacles to the motion could be overcome with the will to do so.


Councillor Johnson commented what it was naive to bring a motion to council without speaking to the Lead Member beforehand. He would have been happy to have met with Councillor Baldwin in advance and was still willing to do so to explore any area.


Councillor Baldwin asked to be forgiven if it would have been more diplomatic to have discussed the motion with the Lead Member. It was his second month as a councillor. To negate the entire motion was unconscionable because of a breach of protocol.


Members voted on the motion.


A named vote was taken as at least five councillors made such a request, as per Part 2 C17.3.3 of the constitution. 18 Councillors voted for the motion: Councillors Baldwin, Baskerville, Bond, Brar, C. Da Costa, W. Da Costa, Davey, Davies, Del Campo, Hill, Jones, Knowles, Larcombe, Price, Reynolds, Taylor, Tisi, and Werner. 23 Councillors voted against the motion: Councillors Bateson, Bhangra Bowden, Cannon, Carroll, Clark, Coppinger, Dudley, Haseler, Hilton, Hunt, Johnson, Luxton, McWilliams, Muir, Rayner, Sharpe, Shelim, Singh, Stimson, Story, Targowski and Walters.


The motion therefore fell.


Motion c)


Councillor Knowles introduced his motion. He explained that one of the first things he had done as a councillor was to watch the Freedom Parade for the Household Cavalry. For him and his family, and many others, this was a sad occasion as the ties that bind in the military were strong. He had joined the military aged 17; both his father and grandfather had served in the same regiment. Many officers and Members would have relatives who had served in the military.


The day before had seen the flag raising for Armed Forces Day. There were many misunderstandings about what was meant to happen. The Monday before Armed Forces Day should involve the flag raising; this is what happened in most councils. The Wednesday was the volunteers’ day where reservists went to work in uniform. The last Saturday of the month was then Armed Forces Day. The key thing was an event, which could have different permutations such as a ceremonial event or engagement with regular and reservist forces. It should be a celebration of the entire armed forces and veteran community. In recent years events had been billed as the Rotary Club summer fair to which the MoD had sent representatives; the clash of dates made it difficult. However it was not unusual to hold an event on a different day. Councillor Knowles explained that he was involved in an event in a small town similar to the Rotary Club summer fair at a cost of £20,000, of which £10,000 was provided by the MoD. If the council committed to an event in five or six years it could be hosting a national event.


Councillor Jones seconded the motion.


Councillor Rayner proposed an amended motion as follows:


This council will continue to host an annual Armed Forces Flag raising and facilitate and promote an Armed Forces Day every year.


She explained that last year the flag raising had been held on the Monday. On the Saturday an event had taken place at Alexandra Gardens which had been preceded by a march past the Guildhall with ‘eyes left’. The event in Alexandra Gardens had included lots of stalls and was attended by reservists, the two regiments and the police. The Armed Forces band had played on the bandstand. The council was keen to continue with this event and was in discussion with the Coldstream Guards. She was also looking forward to welcoming the Welsh Guards to Windsor. Regular meetings with Armed Forces representatives took place through the One Borough Forum. The council’s recruitment code was to change to include guaranteed interviews for all veterans.


Councillor Knowles stated that he did not accept the amendment. The event last year was the Rotary summer fair rather than a separate event.


Councillor Dudley seconded the amendment.


Councillor Jones agreed that the flag raising should continue but an Armed Forced Day event was something different.


Councillor Walters commented that he had been in the army. He believed the council was already doing what the motion requested.


Members voted on the amendment.


It was proposed by Councillor Rayner, seconded by Councillor Dudley and:


RESOLVED: That the motion be amended to read: ‘This council will continue to host an annual Armed Forces Flag raising and facilitate and promote an Armed Forces Day every year’.


The amendment was approved by a show of hands (23 councillors for the motion; 18 councillors against the motion).


Members then voted on the amended motion.


It was proposed by Councillor Rayner, seconded by Councillor Dudley and:


RESOLVED: That this council will continue to host an annual Armed Forces Flag raising and facilitate and promote an Armed Forces Day every year.


A named vote was taken as at least five councillors made such a request, as per Part 2 C17.3.3 of the constitution. 37 councillors voted for the motion: Councillors Baldwin, Baskerville, Bateson, Bhangra, Bowden, Brar, Cannon, Carroll, Clark, Coppinger, Davies, Del Campo, Dudley, Haseler, Hill, Hilton, Hunt, Johnson, Jones, Knowles, Larcombe, Luxton, McWilliams, Muir, Price, Rayner, Reynolds, Sharpe, Shelim, Singh, Stimson, Story, Targowski, Taylor, Tisi, Walters and Werner. 4 councillors abstained: Councillors Bond, C. Da Costa, W. Da Costa and Davey.