Forum Meetings

The AGM of Langley Neighbourhood Forum took place on 20th June 2017.

Minutes of the previous AGM were approved.

In the Annual Report the Chairman, Mrs E Cryer, described the activities of the
Forum during the preceding 12 months and outlined the work undertaken on
the Forum’s behalf by members of the committee.

The treasurer, Ms S Papali, gave a year-end report on the Forum’s finances.
Mrs Cryer was re-elected Chairman; Mrs E Jones was re-elected Vice-Chair, Mr
S Dhother was elected secretary Ms L Dobson was elected treasurer and Mr W
Birmingham, Mrs J Grayson, Ms S Papali and Mr D Taylor were elected to the
Committee.
Following completion of the AGM, everyone present was invited to attend the
Public Forum.

The Speaker, Mr Roger Parkin, Interim CEO of Slough Borough Council,
described his previous positions working for Slough Borough Council. He then
outlined what had happened in Slough over recent months. The Council
currently had 780 employees in the headquarters and 2,000 overall.
The Council had signed a contract with Osborne to provide repairs to Council-
owned houses. The Council was bringing refuse collection in-house instead of
using Amey.

In the last financial year, the Council had a balanced budget with a £28,000
profit. There had been no cuts in front-line services, with savings achieved by
removing the senior manager level. Slough had been able to put £328 million
into infrastructure investments.

Slough’s housing strategy had led to the establishment of two companies for
building houses: the first was established to build houses for sale; the second
was to build homes for rent at rents lower than rents to private landlords.
Slough had the highest growing economy in the UK. Currently, there were more
jobs in Slough than people. AW Architecture had bought from SEGRO the
frontage along the A4 and were investing in its development.
The Council had strategies for well-being and housing; leisure, economic issues
and education and skills. A firm in Abu Dhabi had bought the Queensmere and
Observatory sites and were undertaking a 5 – 6-year programme to develop

the town centre. Two hotels would be built on the old library site and 1,800
homes and retail development would take place on the old Thames Valley
University site as part of the redevelopment of the Slough Station area.
A new Government-funded special needs free school was being established in
Chalvey.
Agreements had been made with Reading University and Bucks New University
to re-skill the community. Private companies were also being encouraged to
improve skills so that those with the new skills could use them with their
existing, or a new, employer.

Mr Parkin then answered questions, as follows:

Q. While it is OK to redevelop Slough town centre, what about Langley
centre which is “ropy”?
A. It is run down, but it is privately owned. There needs to be regeneration
and better community facilities. The Council needs to make
arrangements with the owners for regeneration.

Q. When the Council takes over refuse collection from Amey, will collection
be only fortnightly and what boxes will there be?
A. The Council has no plans to change existing collection arrangements. The
workforce are pleased that collection is coming back to the Council. The
Council will increase the green waste scheme. The in-house
arrangements will replace Amey from December.

Q. During construction of the bus lane on London Road, the flower beds
became overgrown. Will they be reinstated?
A. The rose beds won’t be reinstated – they become subject to disease, but
instead herbaceous plants, eg heathers, which require low maintenance,
will be planted in the beds this winter.

Q. The bus lanes on London Road are ambiguous and confusing as to when
other vehicles may use the bus lane.
A. The bus lane restrictions apply from 7.00 – 10.00 am and 3.00 – 7.00 pm.

Q. Before the demolition of the Merrymakers block, the Meadow Road Community Centre could seat 120 people; the replacement in Harrow Road can seat 20 downstairs and 25 upstairs. This reduces the income the Community Association can gain from user groups. The decision was announced at a packed-out meeting on 31 st December 2015, with building pulled down in October 2016. It had been proposed that the site should be used as a health centre as one was needed for that area of Trelawney Avenue, but this seems to have been dropped.
A. Slough Borough Council’s strategy is to locate teams to neighbourhoods,
such as Langley. Within each neighbourhood, housing officers will be
located in a centre working alongside representatives of the police, fire
and rescue and ambulance services. The site would be developed for
such services and some started homes.

Q. There is a lack of communication from the Council about its proposals.
A. This should be resolved by Councillors and from the Council centre. (Nb
Councillors present from different parties said that often they had not
been informed and so didn’t know.)

Q. Following the Market Lane closure, it had been stated that Slough
Borough Council did not support a relief road. Was the option of an
alternative being pursued? Langley had been hit for 5 years with traffic
experiments causing severe traffic congestion.
A. Following Royal Assent to the HS2 Act, the Secretary of State had to
make a Commencement Order, which they were awaiting, for action to
be taken, but this was being under review by the Secretary of State. HS2
and the 3 rd Runway were national projects and so consequentials, such
as Chequers Bridge were subject to national, not borough, decisions. A
relief road was probably the best suggestion for relieving congestion in
Langley.

Q. To avoid the gridlock on Langley High Street, could not a second lane be
provided where currently there is a grass verge?
A. Road widening for traffic easing. Why not?

Q. A relief road for Market/Mansion Lane. Who will pay?
A. Out of national funds as a national project. Slough BC could not afford to
do so.

Q. Why not build an underpass for Market Lane under the railway and
canal?  A. It would not be too costly.

Q. The town centre is a mess. Slough High Street has lost its character and
is losing decent shops with M&S and Debenhams going. The bus station
is a wind tunnel.
A. There is high usage of The Curve. The shopping centre was bought for
£135 million. M&S and Debenhams will leave, but the replacement will
be totally different and more vibrant. There will be shoplets and
deliveries. Instead of having stock in the store, there will be single
examples and after you have paid, delivery will be to you home from the
company’s warehouse.

Q. Why for shopping purposes is Slough so different from High Wycombe,
Bracknell, etc.?
A. Companies decide what shops to operate in any location. They are
catering in Slough for young high-tech people.

Q. Slough has entered into a partnership with Morgan Sindall with two
companies to build houses and provide leisure facilities. Why?
A. Slough Borough Council invited developers to enter into agreement.
Under the arrangement any profit from the building construction is
shared between the developer and the Council.

Q. Kedermister Park has 12 Council-owned changing rooms (6 home and 6
away) used on Saturdays and Sundays for football matches. It is reported
that one football team proposes to build a new pub to replace the
Merrymakers or a club house in place of the existing changing rooms; so
preventing other teams from using them.
A. I didn’t know about this but will find out.

Q. Sutton Lane is gridlocked with lorries using it as cut through especially in
place of the M25. Residents of Grasholm Way cannot get out on to
Sutton Lane. The traffic lights at the top of Sutton Lane are broken.
A. I will find out and reply.

Q. Parking on street pavements are blocking disabled access and people
pushing buggies. Who is responsible for taking action, Slough BC or
Thames Valley Police? Could people put notices on offending vehicles?

A. Where there are yellow lines, the local traffic officers may take action;
where there are no yellow lines it is for the police where there is a severe
obstruction. The policy was overturned by a national system.

Q. New houses are being built and almost all will have cars. Provision needs
to be made for wider roads. Unless people park partly on the pavement,
cars will be unable to pass where parking is on both sides.
A. Slough’s pavement parking policy is currently being reviewed.

Q. Langley Station car park is always full during working hours and the cost
of parking there is very high. As a result train passengers park on roads
near the station creating problems for residents.
A. Space should be made available after completion of construction of the
Heathrow Express depot.

Q. What about the proposal for food waste collection?
A. This is being considered.

Mr Parkin was thanked for speaking and answering questions and Langley Hall
Primary Academy was thanked for the use of their facilities.

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