The Open Spaces Society is calling on Windsor and Maidenhead Council to reject the planning application for a footpath along Ray Mead Road instead of reopening the towpath.
The controversial site is just upstream of Maidenhead Bridge where walkers have to leave the historic line of towpath and go inland round a building.
Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, says: “While the application is seemingly innocuous it would have a devastating effect on the future of the Thames Path National Trail.
“At present the Thames Path is forced away from the river by the properties at Bridge View. The goal, for the council, Natural England and user and amenity groups, is to provide a riverside route all the way. The name ‘Thames Path’ is a travesty in Maidenhead when you are forced to walk alongside the busy Ray Mead Road.”
“The proposed path creation alongside Bridge View in Ray Mead Road will not make a safer route for pedestrians. It is only 1.5 metres wide at a maximum, and the occupiers of Bridge View will need parking spaces. These would be severely reduced by the creation of the footpath. The occupiers would no doubt attempt to park in smaller spaces than they have now and would inevitably park over the footpath. They would certainly drive to and fro across it.
“So walkers on the footpath will have to vie not only with the heavy traffic in Ray Mead Road, but also with the parked and moving cars belonging to the occupants of Bridge View. The proposed new footpath will merely exacerbate an already unsatisfactory and dangerous situation.
“Last year the council proposed to provide eight parking-spaces in Bridge Gardens as part of the package for creating the new path along Ray Mead Road. Fortunately, that plan for a car-park has been abandoned. It was anyway contrary to the use of Bridge Gardens as a public open space. Without the provision of alternative parking space, the occupants of Bridge View will wish to park outside their properties. The council does not have sufficient resources constantly to enforce against abuse and obstruction of the public footpath.”
Kate concludes: “If this application is accepted it will severely set back the opportunity to provide a riverside route for the Thames Path beside the River Thames. The Thames Path National Trail is of national and international importance. It brings visitors into the heart of Maidenhead and should be celebrated not relegated to a busy roadside route.”
This year 2015 sees several anniversaries but for the Thames it is a special year in which to remember ‘Alice in Wonderland’.
It is just over 150 years ago that Charles Dodgson took ten year old Alice Liddell and her sisters on a boat trip upstream from Oxford’s Folly Bridge to a picnic at Godstow.
The date was Friday 4 July 1862 and it was two years before Dodgson wrote out the story he told on the trip. The publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland under the name Lewis Carroll came in 1865.
The actual publication date is probably early December 1865 since the first print run was held back after illustrator John Tenniel objected to the print quality.
Royal Mail is issuing special stamps and there are big plans for celebrations in Oxford on 4 July this year which is a Saturday.
This year of 2015 will see many Magna Carta anniversary events along the River Thames.
The site of the sealing of the charter is of course Runnymede.
But the barons had been plotting and negotiating with King John at The Temple in the City of London where there are anniversary events.
Another focus for the 800th anniversary year is Barnes wehre Archbishop Langton stopped off on his way back from Runnymede to consecrate the parish church.
On the actual anniversary day of Magna Carta there will be a service at St Mary’s Barnes where the preacher is Archbishop’s Langton’s successor Rowan Williams.
But has Barnes chosen the right day? It seems that Archbishop Langton, who secured the King’s agreement to the charter on Trinity Monday 15 June 1215, probably stayed another week as post agreement negotiations continued until Friday when the barons renewed their homage to the King.
So the consecration at Barnes could have been on Saturday 20 June with the Archbishop reaching his home in Lambeth in the evening.
In June a three day walk is planned from Runnymede to Barnes. A few days earlier villagers from Odiham in Hampshire, where King John set out for Runnymede on Wednesday 10 June 1215, will be walking to the Magna Carta site by the Thames.