With the prospect of 10000 new dwellings being built over the next 15 years in the borough, how will our infrastructure cope.
The additional housing will bring approximately 20000 residents to the area. The Royal Borough has still not published its paper on their plans for developing the infrastructure to provide the necessary facilities to handle such a large expansion of the current population.
Our current road network is already at full capacity during rush hours. The entry into the one-way system by the station, Castle Hill, Norreys Drive and the exit and entry into Maidenhead over the Grade listed narrow Maidenhead bridge are all at full capacity now and are delaying entry into the town. We only have 2 modern Thames crossings, Marlow relief Road and the M4. all of the other crossings are very old and time and weight limited. An additional crossing is urgently needed.
The new Southern Ring road cannot handle large volumes of traffic and is weight restricted. Also, its access to the A4 is difficult to negotiate. It was not planned to work effectively as a Ring Road. To help ease congestion at road junctions more use of slip roads should be introduced.
We support the plans for Maidenhead Station to become the transport hub, but that will put further strain on station parking. The access to the one-way system will have to be redesigned and improved and safer pedestrian access will have to be provided. Access from the Stafferton Way car park is difficult and requires crossing a very busy road.
The parking provision for commuters and those working in the town is already fully utilised and residents are suffering from all day commuter parking in their residential roads. There must be more station parking provision particularly with the imminent arrival of Crossrail.We must also ensure that office blocks provide staff parking and that new housing developments cater for the occupants adequately.
To encourage the use of public transport the local bus services must be improved and designed to cover more areas with greater frequency at rush hour times.
Our existing GP surgeries and dentists already have full patient lists. We need 1 extra GP for every 1800 new residents. We only have 1 hospital in the area with A&E provision and this is already under great strain. With the government cut back on pharmacy subsidies we face the prospect of fewer pharmacies when we will need more.
The Council needs a borough wide plan for schooling as our current schools are near capacity. In many cases, expansion of existing facilities is not possible or will reduce recreational space. The prospect of a new large school on the golf course site is welcome but is not the complete solution. Class size reduction is vital as is the provision of more Nursery places. There are no Primary or secondary schools to the east of the town centre which increases traffic movement across the town from the east
None of these issues can be taken in isolation if Maidenhead wants to be seen as a pleasant, practical and prestigious place to live. When talking to existing residents two main topics always come to the fore. Traffic congestion and parking. Maidenhead is both a commuter and employment town and we have to make provision for both.
We also have to plan for out of town shopping to cater for local residents.This will help reduce local commuting. Currently, most of our out of town shopping centres have limited capacity and parking, For the Royal Borough to produce a Local plan without letting the local community know their plans for the infrastructure to support it is highly irresponsible.