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25-Nov-2014 12:58 AM
25-Nov-2014 09:00 AM
25-Nov-2014 09:27 AM
helen price wrote:... It is the view of many that Windsor would have been better served by one Neighbourhood Plan. But the RBWM made their decision and that's it...
25-Nov-2014 09:57 AM
I note above the three areas earmarked on the plan for improvement. The three areas are Sawyers Close, the Vale Road/Dedworth Road junction and the industrial area along Vale Road.
Highlighting just these three areas is odd but I will accept that there is probably a reason. What we can be sure of is that these three areas are likely to 'change'. And by change I mean 'be redeveloped'.
At this stage it is not possible to determine the extent of the redevelopment, and I suppose this consultation is intended to invite comment on what is, and what is not, acceptable. There are several relevant aspects. The industrial area attracts heavy goods vehicles, even 40 ton articulated trucks on occasion, through a residential area. Obviously this is undesirable and I think has already attracted adverse criticism. Industrial and residential areas can never mix happily and need to be kept at arms length. Although a few residents will benefit from having their place of work on their doorstep, this is a minority benefit and needs to be avoided.
Another area selected is the (1930s) shopping area opposite Vale Road. Personally I like the curved terrace of shops and flats, although I note that there has been a number of changes in recent years that has devalued the look of the whole. I believe that such areas need to be treated as one for their full impact to be apparent, and there are many areas throughout the country where this can be demonstrated. The moment you introduce changes - different styles of window is a major cause of the break-up of 'the whole' - the street scene looks messy. The danger then is that developers move in and claim that the area is beyond rescue and that the better idea would be to clear it all and start again, making millions in the process. Much of value has been lost employing that approach. Just compare Ward Royal with Bexley Street and Albert Street. Which is preferable? Which commands the higher property values? Which area would residents prefer to live in? Was the wholesale clearance of Victorian terraces in the mid 60s a good idea in retrospect?
The third area highlighted so far is Sawyers Close, so I assume that the blocks of flats are 'at risk'. In this respect I will merely point out that whilst being planned, the height of the blocks of flats, and their visual impact on the locality, including views of the castle, were represented by large tethered balloons, the importance of the impact on the local scene being taken that seriously. If castle views mattered then, they matter far more now. For my part, there are opportunities to glimpse the castle from all over the town and I do enjoy a quick glance regularly. It is one of the reasons why Windsor is special. I trust this aspect will play its part in whatever might follow as a result of the two NPs.
Similarly the disastrous five glass monsters due to be built in Alma Road, further compounding the error of allowing business premises to be constructed in a residential area, and adjacent to a conservation area to boot! The police station was a mistake in the 70s - remember how it grew taller not so long ago? - and the Hovis offices - and the ugly Holiday Inn Express - all are examples of how commercial and residential must be kept apart in order to retain a semblance of character in a locality.
There is no doubt that Windsor is a special case. I make that claim proudly and will stand by it come what may, and it must be the case that we fight to retain its individuality throughout the town and not let inappropriate commercial construction dictate what the town should look like. I have heard too often that the only area that needs preserving is the area immediately around the castle walls. What tripe! The entire town lies under the (metaphorical) shadow of the castle and its lifestyle is coloured by its presence. Furthermore, the Great Park, and the world famous river, play their part too and ignoring their effect and importance to Windsorians will despoil the town substantially and permanently.
The Windsor Neighbourhood Plan must therefore accept the need to treat Windsor as a special case and not allow suspect financial arguments for growth and redevelopment to wreck what has gone before.
Hey look! I didn’t use the words ‘heritage’ or ‘vision’ once!
Perhaps I should?
26-Nov-2014 08:55 AM
27-Nov-2014 07:44 PM
28-Nov-2014 01:16 AM
28-Nov-2014 09:01 PM
28-Nov-2014 10:37 PM
28-Nov-2014 11:14 PM
28-Nov-2014 11:19 PM
28-Nov-2014 11:38 PM
28-Nov-2014 11:44 PM
28-Nov-2014 11:56 PM
I have been reading the The Central Windsor Neighbourhood Plan for Business ‘Windsor 2030’ Vision Boards.
The first page states that a forum of 50 members is currently preparing a Neighbourhood Plan for the town centre. It is intended that it will sit alongside the council’s own Borough Local Plan.
Question: If the two plans say the same thing, why have two plans? If they don’t say the same thing, which ‘plan’ takes precedence?
We are told that the plan is being prepared by a forum of 50 members, representing the views of residents and businesses.
Question: Who are these forum members? What ratios of the membership reflects ‘residents’ and ‘businesses’?
Ditto the ‘steering group’ of 10 volunteers. The same question applies. It seems very likely to me that vested interests will have done their damnedest to ensure that the group steers along their preferred path - or should we say ‘track’?
Five Star Windsor
The ‘Vision Boards’ state that the intention is for everybody who uses Windsor to enjoy this five star, ‘end-to-end experience’. This includes the quality of shops and business facilities inter alia.
Personally I don’t want to be ‘used’, especially not by profit-orientated businesses but the more important point is that it is not clear what we are being invited to support here.
Question: Does the quality of the shops refer to the structure? The location? The appearance? (See Metro Bank). Or is the reference to the products on sale? And their price - See the expensive shopping area in the Central Station. Clarification is required please!
Preserving and enhancing our area.
There is a problem with the above. It is not always possible to preserve and enhance at the same time, and the very first task is to identify what deserves to be preserved - and decisions such as those cannot be left to the whim of business orientated individuals in the town centre whose mantra does not include protection of anything if its removal can lead to greater profit margins or to making a quick buck. Developers’ reputations go before them and really does smack of leaving the fox in charge of the chickens.
Question: Those structures in the town that are worth preserving are already listed and have protection but does that mean that the 'naked' ones are threatened? And what price the current conservation areas? Still to be conserved? (Or are railway lines to be bulldozed through and attempts made to legitimise the act using this instrument?
I am having a stiff drink and taking a deep breath and reading some more...
29-Nov-2014 12:16 AM
2-Dec-2014 04:27 PM
2-Dec-2014 04:49 PM
2-Dec-2014 06:02 PM
Many thanks for your extensive replies. They are appreciated.
I am delighted that you have enjoyed some success in securing attention to matters that you had noted via the Town Forum.
My quick answer is along the lines of not keeping a dog and barking oneself. I am not convinced that residents should have to join a Town Forum to get things done. Surely those employed by the borough, and our elected representatives should look after those matters for us, and bring to bear their expertise and knowledge of the town and its needs. The implication is that letters to the local papers and to councillors, or phone calls or posts on such websites as Fix My Street are not an efficient method of conveying residents' concerns. Surely attending these meetings cannot be the only way to draw attention to aspects of Windsor’s life that we feel need attention?
I was once told by a well-respected local councillor that this forum is widely read by councillors and residents alike, which explains why some threads over time have been read on as many as 25,000 - 35,000 occasions. That implies that those posts from concerned residents are read on a regular basis. I hope that the more sensible, informed and knowledgeable opinions posted are considered by all who are in a position to effect any suggested changes and improvements.
The clue of course is in the geography. I have long maintained that shackling us to another place was not, and is not, of benefit to Windsorians and I am very much aware that at the time, back in the early 70s, there was despair amongst Windsor's borough staff at the prospect of being run from over six miles away, and even further afield. Doubtless some financial aspects could be considered beneficial, but there are very many aspects that really and truly should not be administered or decided upon by 'out of towners'. I would not dream of interfering in decisions about other towns’ affairs and I would not expect them to interfere here. I don't suppose I am the only Windsorian who hardly ever reads the news from these other towns.
Many of us will be aware of the lunatic, knee-jerk, reaction of someone in another place to cut down the Great Cedar in St Leonards Road a year or two back. It remains a classic example of how non-Windsorians should not be allowed anywhere near the process of decision making on Windsor matters because in many instances, they just do not understand the matter.
The point about ward boundaries is an odd one and relates to numbers on the Electoral Role surely and has nothing to do with local community allegiances. In my view that seems an odd way of going about things, especially when matters that ARE related to communities are artificially split between several areas a good few fields distant.
I predict problems with the Central Windsor Neighbourhood Plan for Business (Windsor 2030). Somehow we seem to have arrived at a situation where businessmen with their own agendas are preparing a Neighbourhood Plan for Business that also incorporates areas unrelated to business matters, yet which they wish to influence and have control over, as evidenced by their boundary 'dog-legging’ far to the west along the riverside and Alexandra Gardens which we all know is so that the loony WLR project can be accommodated within one plan area.
NB Alexandra Gardens we call it… not Alexandra Park!!! But that is another story.
6-Dec-2014 05:36 PM
8-Dec-2014 01:42 PM
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