Maidenhead is a commuter town, as is Twyford, and Theresa holds regular meetings with First Great Western (FGW), Crossrail and Network Rail to raise issues on behalf of constituents. For some time now Theresa has been campaigning with local passengers for a better service for Maidenhead and Twyford and on the branch lines. In the last couple of years we have seen real improvements in the timetable and last September Theresa was delighted when a successful campaign led by her culminated in FGW launching a new evening commuter service which gets into Maidenhead at 18:09 – a great result for everyone. But, the battle continues – Theresa has continued to call for a better evening service for Maidenhead and Twyford and recently has been pressing FGW for more space on the morning trains. She will go on leading the calls for these improvements on the mainline whilst making sure that Crossrail will have a positive impact for passengers from Maidenhead and Twyford.
Planning and Development
Maidenhead and the surrounding areas face immense pressure for more residential development and particularly on at-risk green belt land. Theresa has been concerned by the previous Government’s changes to the rules which protected rural countryside from excessive out-of-town development. The introduction of regional development targets has taken decision-calling powers away from local authorities and undermines our ability to protect our precious green open spaces and town centres.
Theresa is regularly in touch with both Wokingham Borough Council and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead to ensure they are listening to local residents’ views on development proposals. She meets local residents to discuss development issues and campaigns against over-development. She has campaigned against large-scale developments such as Badnell’s Pit in Maidenhead and Sandford Farm in Woodley. Theresa will continue to fight to preserve the character of our local area.
St Marks Hospital
Keeping St Marks Hospital in Maidenhead is very important for local people and Theresa was delighted that her campaign to bring a Minor Injuries Unit to St Marks was successful and saw the Unit opened in September 2008 on a temporary basis. Theresa then led a campaign with the Maidenhead Advertiser to keep the Unit open permanently which involved presenting a petition of 10,000 signatures to Berkshire East Primary Care Trust and convincing them that this facility was needed by the local residents. Theresa was delighted when NHS Berkshire East announced the minor injuries service at St Marks Hospital was to remain open with an improved service for patients. Theresa is monitoring the service and holding regular meetings with Berkshire East PCT to ensure that people are getting the service they were promised.
River and Flooding
Maidenhead is fortunate to have the River Thames running along the northern edge of the constituency – a natural resource bringing enjoyment to local people but also bringing money and tourists into the area. Unfortunately, the bodies involved in policy relating to the river all too often take an uncoordinated approach to it. This can particularly affect people living near the river and river users. Theresa has joined a new cross-party committee of MPs and peers dedicated to the River Thames which will aim to offer a sensible and integrated approach towards issues affecting the river.
The successful campaign to retain resident lock keepers, which was led by Theresa and other local MPs in the Thames Valley area, proved how effective MPs and campaigners can be when working together. The new group will help ensure that synchronized pressure can be brought to bear to protect this unique part of the nation’s river heritage.
Of course a key issue relating to the river is flooding. Theresa has raised concerns about the proposals for flood relief in Marlow which could have an adverse impact on people living on the Berkshire side of the river. She has also consistently raised concerns with the Environment Agency about their lack of dredging of the river and their approach to maintaining the Thames and the Loddon and streams running into the rivers.
For those who live in remote areas, or those who run small businesses based in the countryside, quick and reliable telecommunications services are an increasingly important means of conducting day-to-day life. Yet, broadband access is still a problem for some rural communities across the constituency. Theresa was therefore delighted by a successful result for the campaign run by her and local residents for BT to bring broadband to Waltham St Lawrence and parts of Hurst, through a pilot scheme. But she was severely disappointed to hear that BT would only make the pilot available to business users and is continuing to lobby for a wider pilot and for broadband to be permanently available to all who want it in what are currently “not spots” in the constituency.
Many local people were concerned by the previous Government’s decision to build a third runway at Heathrow. This expansion would have resulted in thousands of additional flights, increased noise and more pollution. Theresa campaigned against the plans and raised the many concerns of local residents in the House of Commons. She was particularly concerned about the environmental effects of expanding Heathrow, both in terms of the UK’s carbon targets and the effect of increased flight numbers and road traffic on local residents. Theresa is delighted that the new government has cancelled the third runway project and believes that this is a victory for local residents.
Theresa frequently visits local companies in order to hear their views on how best to support business and prevent job losses during the economic downturn. She has often taken up issues on behalf of local businesses and has regularly spoken in the House of Commons to propose measures to reduce unemployment and help people back into work. Theresa has been particularly concerned about the plight of former workers at Nortel, many of whom live in the constituency. More than 100 people have been made redundant from Nortel without consultation. Theresa has worked with a lobby of MPs to help bring attention to Nortel’s actions and will continue to work to ensure that those made redundant are treated fairly.
Theresa joined local campaigners to fight against the proposed closure of six of the Post Offices in the constituency as post offices provide an invaluable service to the local community they serve. Theresa was delighted that, because of the strength of the local campaign, Bridge Road Post Office was saved – one of only 24 Post Offices across the country that were saved, out of 621 threatened with closure. However, she was very disappointed that five others were closed locally against the wishes of local residents.