OUR POLICIES

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The BOROUGH first (tBf) is not a ‘top down’ party but a ‘grass roots up’ party, therefore it is our Candidates who have debated and agreed Our Policies, they are not imposed by the party.

We take the pragmatic view that if any service is operating efficiently and well, then we do not propose to change it. This would include weekly bin collections and libraries; however, we do intend to review all contracts through the Council’s Overview & Scrutiny process.

The following policies have been developed to address matters that the public have brought to our attention and we have debated and discussed through a collaborative process. It may not be an exhaustive list:

 

Values

Current situation

Residents, organisations and businesses have told us that they have lost trust in Council processes. They say there is no true collaboration and alternative views are not respected.

tBf will

Restore that trust and welcome challenge, consultation and collaboration.

By

  • Promoting Integrity, Collaboration and Respect throughout the Council’s interactions with all residents, businesses, partners, employees and Councillors

  • Ensuring all our candidates/councillors agree and sign up to our Constitution which is based around these positive values

  • Applying the Councils’ Codes of Conduct and promoting the Nolan Principles of Standards in Public Life

  • Working with the community to make RBWM a great place to live, work and play

Outcome

Trust is restored in local politics and genuine representation of residents’ wishes and interests is delivered.

Behaviour and decision making are based on tBf values.

Borough Local Plan

Current situation

The Borough Local Plan (BLP) submission document has been paused by the Council due to insufficient evidence to enable moving forward in the process to ‘Stage 2’. It is yet to be declared legally prepared and ‘sound’ by the Inspector.

tBF will

Ensure a BLP is adopted which is fit for purpose and reflects the needs of the residents and local businesses.

By

  • Reassessing the Objectively Assessed Need (the amount of housing we should provide)

  • Utilising funds from the c£11.7m reserves to staff a specialist Planning Policy Team

  • Opening up a positive dialogue with the Inspector and act on her advice as to whether the most prudent action is to withdraw the current plan

  • Rebooting our Duty to Cooperate and open constructive and robust consultations with the community and all relevant bodies

  • Robustly protecting our quality Green Belt when assessing the best places for any housing

  • Ensuring realistic and sustainable Infrastructure including homes, employment, highways, schools and community facilities

  • Looking for innovative and sustainable ways to deliver truly affordable housing (See Housing Policy)

Outcome

An adopted Borough Local Plan that truly respects and reflects the needs and wishes of its residents and businesses.

 

Education and Schools

Current situation

Inadequate and inconsistent support for schools.

tBF will

Be an advocate for our schools to raise central government per-pupil funding. Explore provision of joined up services to reduce the financial and educational pressures on schools. Ensure the continuing provision of a local school place for each local child.

By

  • Working with schools to identify solutions to current educational and financial pressures

  • Collaborating with partners and the voluntary sector to offer educational approaches to minimise mental health issues in schools

  • Seeking improved funding for our schools through the Independent Group of the Local Government Association

  • Opening discussions with neighbouring councils and schools regarding overlapping and underlapping school catchment areas

  • Exploring key worker housing solutions (see Housing & Development Policy).

Outcome

Improved practical and financial support for schools. Reduced stress for both staff and pupils. Improved outcomes for children and young people of all abilities and their families.

Environment, Pollution & Flooding

Current situation

Proactive management and mitigation of environmental concerns is not a priority of the Council currently or within future planning policy.

tBF will

Protect, enhance and recognise the value of our natural resources and their role in ensuring a higher quality of life for the community.

By

  • Engaging with all relevant agencies and organisations, both commercial and voluntary, to undertake necessary reviews, including: Green Belt, Flooding and Public Transport

  • Reviewing and evaluating the impact of new development on the environment in terms of air, noise, light and water pollution

  • Robustly applying flood protection and prevention policies

  • Work with partners and providers in seeking the provision of a Public Transport System to reduce the need for private travel

  • Proactively protecting wildlife habitats, trees, hedgerows and open spaces and encourage planting of native species.

Outcome

Improved environment in terms of air quality, flood prevention, parks and green spaces.

 

Housing & Development

Current situation

Housing, affordable housing and community facilities are not meeting the current and future needs of residents. Support for Local people who become homeless, including our armed-forces veterans is not meeting need.

tBf will

Encourage sustainable and community-led housing developments that meet the identified needs of residents. Support those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

By

  • Identifying the demand for community facilities, of all types, as part of the development process

  • Reviewing the need for Social and Affordable housing including by type and location

  • Identifying the range of local incomes, especially ‘key workers’ to determine what is “affordable” in RBWM

  • Working with partners, e.g. housing associations, to provide adequate social and affordable rented housing with secure tenures

  • Working with partners to provide suitable and secure accommodation for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless

  • Investigating creative housing solutions including: Rural Exception Sites, Eco Villages, Garden Villages and other alternative living solutions

  • Enabling innovative finance arrangements regarding social rent, affordable rent, saving schemes and shared ownership

  • Ensuring that adopted Local Plans, including Neighbourhood Plans, are respected

  • Ensuring the impact on existing and future communities is considered and assessed, including meaningful consultation, as part of the development process.

Outcome

Vibrant and balanced communities being built to enable all local residents, whatever their situation, to continue to live, work and feel part of their community. No local person will be in a situation where they have no choice but to sleep on the streets.

 

Infrastructure including Transport

Current situation

Current infrastructure is insufficient and not based on evidence.

tBf will

Carry out an evidence-based review on all current infrastructure to inform delivery. We will oppose the Windsor Link Railway proposals.

By

  • Encouraging local employment by investigating the viability of an ‘UBER style’ App for RBWM Licenced Hackney Carriage (Taxi) and Private Hire drivers

Consulting communities and partner agencies regarding:

  • Roads, bridges, roundabouts

  • Pavements and pathways

  • Schools, health centres

  • Community facilities to address isolation & loneliness

  • Open spaces

  • Parking (private and public)

  • Cycling and alternative modes of transport

  • Electric car charging points

  • Integrated transport bus & rail stations

  • Bus services, including those in in rural areas

  • Congestion and air pollution

  • Flood defences

Outcome

Enabling residents to easily access community facilities and to safely travel around the Borough.

 

Maidenhead Regeneration Policy

For Windsor and Eton; Ascot, Sunninghill and Sunningdale please see Town Centres Development.

Current situation

The current focus is on building flats ignoring the adopted Area Action Plan Policy (AAP) to regenerate the town, increasing the number of flats by some 370%, but there is no mandate for this change of direction. The cross-party/resident/business forum the Partnership for the Rejuvenation of Maidenhead (PRoM) has been disbanded by the council. There is no cohesive plan to ensure investment is targeted at providing experiences and activities that will encourage use of the town centre throughout the day and into the evening benefitting residents and businesses alike. Public open spaces in the town centre were identified as insufficient in the AAP and there is no vision to provide more to support this increased development. The Maidenhead Waterways project is only part completed with no further council commitment to further support including providing funding. The town has always had, and continues to have, a diverse arts community. Previous town centre independent successes including Art on the Street and Carnival no longer take place.

tBF will

Ensure that the Regeneration of Maidenhead is re-focused on the needs and aspirations of the residents and businesses in and around the town and urgently agree an updated Town Centre Vision. Develop a unique identity for the town, potentially based on the creative industries, small unique craft-makers and active experiences.

By

  • Immediately reforming a refreshed PRoM Forum to urgently agree a positive way forward.

  • Working with communities to ensure that affordable facilities are available for local Community Groups to thrive and flourish.

  • Identifying the requirement, and creating, suitable Grade A flexible office space and Small Business units to encourage a wide variety of businesses into the town and its surroundings.

  • Encouraging local small retail businesses and start-ups, particularly the unusual, into the town centre by providing alternative retail units (e.g. Food halls, Specialist Arcades, Retail carts etc).

  • Planning all aspects of the town centre regeneration so that it provides a cohesive centre that works, interacts and interlinks.

  • Working positively with The Maidenhead Waterways Restoration Group to find solutions to complete the waterways scheme.

  • Ensuring infrastructure is ongoing to enable regeneration to take place.

  • Encouraging more local events, both respecting and utilising the facilities already available and identifying new opportunities to encourage people to historical and other points of interest around the area.

Outcome

A town that has a heart, is a true community hub and a place where residents and businesses can thrive and visitors will want to explore.

 

Parking Policy

Current situation

Insufficient parking for residential and business demand, exacerbated by inadequate parking standards for new developments.

tBF will

Develop evidenced-based standards for parking provision and address the demand for integrated transport.

By

  • Recognising the need for adequate levels of parking standards for new developments and require all new development to meet or exceed required standards. NPPF Paras. 102 (e), 105 & 106,

  • Seek to improve the transport system involving both public and private transport partners to encourage fewer car journeys

  • Review and modernise the parking payment process

  • Review traffic movements & pedestrian flows from ‘access to area’ through to ‘popular destinations’ and associated parking provision, looking for a reduction in congestion and pollution.

Outcome

Reduced pressure on parking including residential areas. A simplified parking process which encourages visits to the town centre. Reduce car usage.

 

Public Order

Current situation

Anti-social behaviour (ASB), including drug use, is a problem not being adequately resolved.

tBF will

Listen to residents’ concerns, work more robustly with residents in using existing public order resources and improve communications to tackle issues of crime and public order.

By

  • Consulting communities, the Police and Crime Commissioner and local police regarding:

  • Creating and promoting a single point in the Council for reporting public order issues

  • Nominating a specific Councillor(s) to work with police and engage with the Police and Crime Commissioner to improve collaboration

  • Encourage the police to target their resources where identified

  • Reviewing the parking enforcement contract to ensure consistency

  • Council controlled infrastructure (CCTV, access restrictions etc.) to be better utilised.

Outcome

Ensure residents’ concerns on crime and public order are addressed.

 

Social Care & Public Health

Current situation

Adult and Children’s Services are being delivered via partnership arrangements, Optalis and Achieving for Children. Demand across the whole sector is increasing beyond the funds available with the forecasted demand for Children’s Social Care to increase from 2015 to 2020 and the council is failing to act on it. Funding for Public Health has been reduced with councils taking on far more responsibility in this sector.

tBF will

Provide services and support which will improve the quality of life for all residents.

By

  • Implementing similar models to the Childrens’ Family Action scheme across the rest of the Public Health sector to Care for the Carers

  • Reviewing all existing outsourced contracts to ensure that they are fit for purpose and introduce renewed focus on scrutiny and outcomes

  • Genuinely working in partnership and harnessing their energy of the 3rd sector (charities)

  • Working with partners to offer ongoing holistic support to rough sleepers

  • Monitoring best practice in this fast changing environment to ensure people stay healthy and protect them from threats to their health

  • Reducing loneliness and isolation

Outcome

Services and support are provided which will improve the quality of life for residents.

 

Town Centres Development

For Maidenhead please see Maidenhead Regeneration.

Current situation

WINDSOR

In Windsor there are two emerging Neighbourhood Plans – Windsor 2030 covering the central part of Windsor, i.e. the town centre, and the Windsor Neighbourhood Plan (WNP) covering the suburban areas.  WNP is close to submitting its plan to RBWM and Windsor 2030 is finalising a draft for pre-submission.   Windsor Town Centre no longer has an anchor store. Both Caleys and Fenwicks have left the town.  It suffers from empty shops, some of which have been empty for a considerable time. Parking is expensive and the introduction of the new parking machines has been fraught with difficulties, angering residents.  It has a surfeit of eating establishments.  Neighbouring towns, such as Bracknell, are upping their game and this impacting Windsor’s footfall. Concerned residents are told by the RBWM that very little can be done to halt the decline of the town.  The “Riverside Development” project was undertaken a few years ago, but its recommendations/content on how the centre could be changed are being withheld.   For many years Windsor has endured the threat of the Windsor Link Railway.  Some bus services are unreliable and infrequent thus deterring shoppers from the locality.

ETON

Eton Town is covered by the Eton and Eton Wick Neighbourhood Plan which was made part of the Development Plan in 2018

ASCOT/SUNNINGS

This town centre already has an adopted Neighbourhood Plan, the Ascot, Sunninghill and Sunningdale Neighbourhood Plan.  However, at recent planning panels it appears to have been ignored.

tBF will

Bring together all interested parties including retailers, business community, leisure and residents to agree the unique identities of each town and what steps can be taken to ensure they thrive.  Look to examples of best practice in other Boroughs where high streets have been turned around.   Ensure that Windsor and Eton are renewed and revitalised and that Ascot and the Sunnings remain coherent and connected.

By

  • Ensuring that the policies of the adopted Neighbourhood Plans are given proper weight and respect at planning decisions

  • Actively supporting Neighbourhood Plans as they progress towards submission and to Referenda

  • Openly engaging with all relevant bodies, including the Neighbourhood Planning groups residents, resident associations, town forums, town councils, traders, and the business community etc to include them in decisions effecting their town.

  • Revealing the content of the Riverside Development and robustly consulting with all interested parties over its recommendations.

  • Objecting to the Windsor Link Railway proposal (see Infrastructure Policy)

  • Supporting better public transport

Outcome

Thriving towns that residents can feel proud of and connected to.

Governance

Current situation

Broken Democracy, too much power in too few hands. Lack of openness and transparency in decision-making and representation for residents’ views.  Lack of accountability particularly outside of ‘election year’.

tBF will

Subject the council to greater scrutiny by introducing and restoring checks and balances removed by the Conservatives after their interpretation of the Localism Act 2011.

By

  • Moving to rolling voting, 1/3rd of Council each year + one fallow year in a 4-year cycle

  • Setting up an Independent Ombudsman to provide a point of contact for residents and councillors on breaches of regulations and conduct

  • Reinstating an Independent Standards Board

  • Opening up Cabinet and Chairman Roles to a cross-party, merit-based system. Appointed by interview by a Panel consisting of Members and Independents

  • Reviewing the Councillor remuneration system to reflect actual contribution to decision making and policy

  • Ensuring challenge and scrutiny takes place and council policies genuinely evolve based on consultation and debate

Outcome

Trust, representation and accountability restored.

© 2019 the BOROUGH first

Operating within the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

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Published and Promoted by Charles Hollingsworth on behalf of “the BOROUGH first“ both of PO BOX 4919, Maidenhead, SL60 1LS