Maidenhead fails to reopen towpath section

Windsor & Maidenhead Council has confirmed that it will not be reopening the towpath upstream of Maidenhead Bridge.

A short stretch has been unavailable to walkers. On Wednesday the planning committee approved the creation of a short footpath along Ray Mead Road instead of the riverside.

The Open Spaces Society is angry that the Thames Path National Trail is to follow Maidenhead’s Ray Mead Road rat run.

The council had applied to create a footway along Ray Mead Road, extending an existing footpath by about 17 metres with a maximum width of 1.5 metres. The Open Spaces Society and Ramblers objected along with other organisations and residents.

Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, says: “This decision massively sets back the cause of getting a riverside route for the Thames Path National Trail.

“Walkers on the Thames Path are currently forced away from the river by the properties at Bridge View instead of continuing along the disused slipway of the former boathouse. The aim has always been to provide a riverside route. But now the council is legitimising the unpleasant walk along the Ray Mead Road rat run.

“This footpath will not be safe for pedestrians. It is only 1.5 metres wide at a maximum, and the occupiers of Bridge View need parking spaces. Although the council claims it will enforce against illegal parking across the footpath, it has never enforced parking on the footway before—for the past 24 years. We do not believe it has the resources or staff to police this.”

Kate adds: “The River Thames is Maidenhead’s crowning glory and the Thames Path should be celebrated, not shoved beside a busy road. This is a devastating outcome, for Maidenhead, its residents and visitors.”