We challenge Windsor & Maidenhead Council’s ‘path-improvement’ plan2 min read

Do you know someone who would appreciate a present that will help protect the future of accessible green spaces for all?

We have challenged Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council for treating the new roadside footpath by Ray Mead Road north of Bridge Gardens as a permanent solution to the gap in the Thames Path National Trail beside the river bank.

We were responding to the borough’s consultation on the updated Public Rights of Way Management and Improvement Plan 2016-2026.

In 2005 the borough had the laudable aim in its rights of way improvement plan to ‘secure a continuation of the Thames Path in Maidenhead beside the river bank from the landing steps opposite Thames Hotel to Bridge Gardens’.

Gloriana on the Thames at Maidenhead. The only riverside patch not occupied by onlookers is the Thames Path missing link. Photo: Dave Ramm

Gloriana on the Thames at Maidenhead. The only riverside patch not occupied by onlookers is the Thames Path missing link. Photo: Dave Ramm

In 2010 the updated plan refers to the remaining 30-metre gap necessary to complete the link to Bridge Gardens.

A subsequent update in March 2015 states ‘Path creation agreement secured and new roadside footpath opened north of Bridge Gardens’.

 

The alternative route which walkers on the Thames Path are forced to follow.

The alternative route which walkers on the Thames Path are forced to follow. Photos: Dave Ramm

Says our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook: ‘The council is treating this as the end of the matter, but it does not satisfy the objective of 2005, which was of a riverside path.  Planning officers were negotiating for this as long ago as 1989 and the objective was supported by the then Berkshire County Council and the Countryside Commission.

‘We have told the council that the 2015 project description must acknowledge that the new roadside footpath is a temporary safety improvement only and that the establishment of a continuous riverside route for the Thames Path must remain the council’s long-term objective.

‘It is shameful that on a flagship path of international importance, people should be forced away from the river onto a roadside footpath, alongside a rat run.  The council must continue to negotiate to get the path by the river where everyone can enjoy it.’

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