CONCERNED councillors say they weren’t properly consulted on ambitious proposed schemes to improve walking and cycling routes across the Royal Borough.

A consultation was launched last week asking residents for their views on five projects to be implemented in Windsor, Maidenhead, and Ascot – which would be paid for by a tranche two grant of £335,000 from the Government’s Active Travel Fund.

Some of the schemes include adding a segregated cycleway along Dedworth Road in West Windsor and low-traffic neighbourhoods in Clewer North and South involving road closures and modal filters at specific junctions, amongst other measures.

At an infrastructure overview and scrutiny meeting on January 19 (Tuesday), councillors said they were ‘surprised’ when they saw the new schemes because they were ‘radically different’ from what the council was originally intending to do last summer.

READ MORE: Proposed bus gate could be "another nail in the coffin" for Maidenhead, residents fear

Councillor John Baldwin (Lib Dem: Belmont) said these schemes are so different from everything members have discussed for months and urged lead members to move the deadline date or remove the proposals in their entirety.

The consultation ends on February 9.

Councillor Jon Davey (West Windsor Residents’ Association: Clewer & Dedworth West) said: “The big issue is information and how it flowed through.

“We haven’t been advised about this scheme in the way it is now.

“This was about cycling to start with. This is so far removed from just cycling now and that was the shocker because it was supposed to be about a nice little cycle route for those who like cycling.”

However, Chris Joyce, head of infrastructure, refuted this, saying ward councillors have been briefed and have shared information on the development of the projects before the consultation launched on January 12.

He acknowledged the schemes, particularly the Clewer North and South plans, have been amended – but said that was the result of discussions and feedback from councillors.

Royal Borough Observer: One of the proposed schemes in the Clewer wardOne of the proposed schemes in the Clewer ward

The lead member for infrastructure and transport, councillor Gerry Clark (Cons: Bisham & Cookham) acknowledged the timescale of the consultation and said he would be “guided” by officers on how to get maximum engagement from it.

He said: “We are in an open and fair consultation and this is not scheme that we’re going ahead with.

“This is a consultation to determine the appetite for such schemes and if residents are overwhelmingly against it, I think I can say right here, right now, that these schemes wouldn’t progress.”

Windsor resident Kevin Chapman questioned “why fix something that’s not broken?” adding that these types of schemes are “not popular” with local people.

READ MORE: Safer cycling planned in Windsor, Maidenhead and Ascot

He said: “You seem to be cutting off the links between Dedworth Road and Maidenhead Road via Vale Road, Parsonage Lane, Gallys Road – the only available route will be Ravels Way.

“If you get a major incident on Dedworth Road or Maidenhead Road, then you’ve lost your diversion routes for a start. Where are you going to send people?

“Particularly if something happens between Gallys Road and Vale Road on the Maidenhead Road, there’s nowhere for traffic to go.”

Mr Chapman also accused the council of “disenfranchising” elderly residents who don’t have access to the internet or social media where the consultation is circulating and asked why there were no leaflets about the proposals.

Council officers said due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they decided against the idea of delivering leaflets at it would cause “unnecessary risk” to both the distributors and the recipients.