David Burbage’s weblog

Politics in the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead

  • About David Burbage

    David Burbage MBE was Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council from 2007-2016. This blog : Promoted by Geoff Hill on behalf of David Burbage and all other Windsor and Maidenhead Conservative candidates, all of 2 Castle End Farm, Ruscombe, Berkshire RG10 9XQ
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Archive for November, 2007

Roundup

Posted by davidburbage on November 23, 2007

Busy week this week.

I chaired a long Cabinet meeting yesterday at the Thames Valley Athletic Centre which finished at ten to midnight; main cause of the long meeting was the Windsor Park and Ride issue. 200 people turned up to hear the proposals and we took public representations from the floor for 45 minutes.

The business case basically didn’t stack up however it was configured, both the revenue and capital projections were costly/unaffordable and the benefits of a few percentage points on lower traffic levels were nowhere near balancing the impact of a huge car park, in the flood plain, by the Thames significantly affecting the neighbourhood of nearby residents. So we were being asked to Say No To Park And Ride, and we did.

Parking in Windsor is reaching capacity levels, one of the reasons being that off street spaces had been lost (around 100) under the previous Libdem administration either through lack of planning or an anti-car bias. Either way, this is a problem to solve and we instructed officers to come up with proposals for the short, medium and long term – using grant money if possible.

We then turned to the Customer Service Centre which during September and October was losing over 20% of calls (around 4000 a month) – people giving up because phones were not being answered. The Scrutiny Panel reported up to us that the project had been botched due to a number of factors, including unclear decision making, a lack of transparency, political constraints and staffing issues. We have taken on the CSC and using best practice from elsewhere, are determined to make it work for residents.

Thirdly (we were way past 10pm at this point) we took Fees and Charges and had a little bit of fun with parking charges, but we’ve made a good set of changes to early papers and come up with a more sustainable position. The Libdems said that we were crazy to consider reviewing Pay and Display next year after just introducing the machines, where as the Chamber of Commerce don’t want Pay and Display at all and say that all the towns that are booming around us have Pay On Foot rather than Pay and Display. Which only goes to show that you can’t please all of the people all of the time!

One comment from an observer at yesterday’s meeting on having the job of a Councillor – “Its a bloody **** job and I really do sympathise.”

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Posted in Council, General, Maidenhead, Windsor | 1 Comment »

Maidenhead Retail Park (2)

Posted by davidburbage on November 15, 2007

Further to my earlier post, it emerges that ING’s parking contractors are actively watching people to see if they leave the site so they can clamp vehicles and create a nice income stream.

I have escalated this with Theresa May who will no doubt be receiving complaints as well. The losers in this (apart from those who get clamped) are the shops on the site, who will be losing customers as a result. Unfortunately they are not responsible for the car park and have had to put up signs saying “please don’t talk to us about the car park” or words to that effect.

Everything is being done legally and above board, I am informed. It is totally crazy that this absurd practice is legal, common sense would dictate. £120 for setting foot outside a private car park is not a suitable or proportionate redress for the ‘wrong’ that the car park operators have suffered, in my opinion. I parked in Guildford on Tuesday – lost my ticket – and had to pay £5 for an exit ticket.

If someone tells me that I’m stupid, a punch in the face is not a proportionate response and I would be breaking the law. So why should car park operators be allowed to issue vast fines for similar low-impact transgressions?

Posted in Maidenhead | 2 Comments »

Not requested by me – a compliment

Posted by davidburbage on November 15, 2007

Driving to work the other (cold) morning at 5:30 am, I passed a chap in a yellow reflective jacket picking up litter from the hedgerows. Impressed with this dedication, I mentioned it to my partner when I got home at 7 that evening. Just then, a road sweeping van passed the house…

Now, that’s service!

Sometimes we do impress the public ….

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Maidenhead Retail Park

Posted by davidburbage on November 14, 2007

I am getting complaints about clamping in Maidenhead Retail Park. This is the (almost) out-of-town shopping centre on Stafferton Way that has Halfords, Homebase, Pets At Home, Maplin etc. Apparently the parking company are clamping cars if their owners leave the site, and if they do leave the site then they clamp the car. What I can’t work out is how they monitor who is where, especially if, as appears to be the case, people go to the shops in the Retail Park first and then proceed into Maidenhead to do further shopping without polluting the environment by moving their car.

The Council does not run the car park or appoint the clampers. We are taking steps to see what can be done (if anything) to stop this incredibly unpopular activity which is detrimental to the town (and the interests of the shops on the site).

The cost of clamp removal is, I am informed, a not modest £120 .

Posted in Maidenhead | Leave a Comment »

Windsor Great Park is open

Posted by davidburbage on November 12, 2007

What a great resource Windsor Great Park is. Now fully open following the Foot and Mouth incidents not too far away, we took the kids out at the weekend for a cycle ride. The sun shone on the castle in the distance and it looked like a good photo opportunity.

windsor2.jpg

Posted in Windsor | Leave a Comment »

Advertiser Letters

Posted by davidburbage on November 8, 2007

Too many meetings today but reading the Maidenhead Advertiser’s letters page, I had to blog a bit.

Shanni Baum has a letter about recycling. I thought we were trying to make it easier to recycle, not make it harder. I will investigate.

Richard Falconer, Paul Etherington, CH Dozell and Brian Belcher all write about parking, variously in opposition or broadly supportive. However, those who are saying “town is dead” clearly didn’t read – (well OK they sent their letters in before the publication date) – let’s say that they didn’t factor in, either of the stories on page 3 or 7.

The Magnet Leisure Centre is the 3rd best in the country – and we are about to have a Laura Ashley fashion store arrive. That’s not a bad brace for one weeks’ news, is it?

The Council also gets praised for discreet yellow lines by another “Name and Address Supplied”. There are a few of those this week.

To summarise the Council is not ignorant of the challenges facing the town centre, and we are determined to do something about it. We may not have the power of Heroes that Richard Falconer refers to, but we are certainly not neglecting our responsibility ….

Posted in Council, Maidenhead | Leave a Comment »