Maidenhead Vision Charter
Cabinet considered the report regarding the adoption of the Maidenhead Vision Charter and the recruitment of a Maidenhead Town Team.
The Cabinet Member for Planning, Environmental Services, and Maidenhead informed that for every elected member there was one project that defined their career; he felt lucky as he had two, the BLP and this report. A town was defined by its people and not just its buildings. Unlike many towns Maidenhead was growing and attracting new residents. Examples of projects underway or planned were given but he also raised the importance of all residents having their say.
JTP Architects had been appointed to undertake consultation to capture all stakeholder and community views, and for them to have an input into the shape of the town going forward. Due to the pandemic there was the need for a placemaking vision demonstrating inspiration, ambition, and confidence in the future of our town centre has taken on the new significance, that of helping steer a course for the town centre’s post-Covid recovery.
The document sets out the Vision for Maidenhead Town Centre for the next 15-20 years. The Maidenhead Town Team will be established by the council, with representations from a wide selection of groups, making it as inclusive as possible. The team will be supported by Andrew Durrant, the Cabinet Member, member of the opposition and five residents.
Maidenhead town centre will be our proud heart, a place of leisure, living and working. The Vision and Charter had 12 Charter points that had been agreed through the community and stakeholder engagement process. The Maidenhead Town Team would be monitoring and reviewing all activity for the Town Centre through these key points.
The Team will have five priorities, economic recovery, transport strategy, a green Maidenhead, maximising the waterways and the southern expansion providing much needed family homes. There would be a full communication plan.
The Town Team would work in partnership with the council and other key action groups, stakeholder, and community groups to ensure that all projects address the charter points where possible. The charter was not a planning document, but an aspiration of the town that our residents, and business have said they want to live in.
The Vision Charter has initially focused on Maidenhead due to the volume of regeneration activity that is underway and planned. Further down the line it may be appropriate to also consider a Vision Charter for other major towns such as Windsor and Ascot.
The Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Sustainability, Parks and Countryside informed that the document was very important and came about with consultation of a wide variety of interested groups. It was positive to see resident involvement.
The Deputy Leader of the Council, Corporate & Resident Services, Culture & Heritage, and Windsor said that Maidenhead had fantastic culture and heritage and diversity she was glad this had been picked up in the document. She looked forward for a similar engagement for Windsor.
The Cabinet Member for Housing, Sport & Leisure, and Community Engagement informed that when he was first elected residents asked what was being done about the town centre, he was pleased to see that action was now being taken. We have already seen major developments being delivered and investment into the town. Engagement with residents had been fantastic and we will see a modern town respecting its history.
The Cabinet Member for Transport, Infrastructure, and Digital Connectivity expressed his support for this comprehensive piece of work especially as it included sustainable integrated transport, increased infrastructure and digital connectivity. He read out part of an email from a resident about the importance of regeneration for the future.
Mr Hill addressed Cabinet and said that this was a good positive piece of work and was pleased to see arts and culture included, he asked if the promised spend on the Desborough Theatre was still to be refurbished.
Mr Hill said that with regards to cars, everyone wants to move towards electric cars and walkable towns. However during the consultation there was talk about 20mph limits on the ring road, is this the plan. There needs to be a transition as people still need their cars. He asked if electric scooter lanes had been considered. With regards to the Team he asked if this would be a scrutiny panel, who were they, what will be the interview process, will it be the usual supporting people or critical friends. Will families be represented on the panel, we have already lost bowing and will soon lose our nightclub. Young people need to be involved. There is conflict between the document and tall buildings strategy, the Nicholson’s development does not comply. You mention the importance of green and blue assets yet you are planning to develop on the gold club.
The reporting Cabinet Member responded that the team was being formed to reach out to every single group, there will be 8 people but the process had not been agreed. Their key role was to talk to groups in Maidenhead. We are not dictating we will be listening to what they say, we want this to be democratic in its truest sense.
Cllr Singh liked the document even if it was late. He has seen the effect of scruples development, the prison blocks being put up, there has been a big backlash with a live petition ongoing. Why would the council go ahead with a scheme with so many objections, the Chairman said we would not discuss live planning applications. Cllr Singh was concerned that this was an aspiration not a planning document that could be enforced, was this to compensate for the lack of a neighbourhood plan.
The presenting Cabinet Member replied that this was not a planning document but allowed residents to have a say in the way the centre was going. This was recognising everyone’s right to have a say. This will be driven by the people and not Cabinet.
The Chairman said that this was the start of a process for the long term aspirations for the town. He agreed that Cabinet did not want to see unscrupulous development or developers. This vision document was about raising standards. This would be going forward on a cross party basis.
Resolved unanimously: that Cabinet notes the report and:
i) Approves and adopts the Maidenhead Vision & Charter document.
ii) Delegates authority to the Chief Executive in consultation with the Lead Member for Planning, Environmental Services and Maidenhead, to set up a recruitment panel to establish the membership of the Maidenhead Town Team.