AFTER it stirred much controversy, a vital alleyway used as a shortcut to Maidenhead town centre has finally re-opened to the public.

For a few months, locals couldn’t use the link between Kings Grove Road and Grenfell Road while improvement works were underway – but instead had to trek uphill and go around, taking longer.

The temporary closure was made by D&C Projects Limited.

St Mary’s councillor Gurch Singh (Lib Dem) is redeveloping land to the rear of 129-131 Grenfell Road into four eco-friendly homes.

But inconvenienced residents voiced their anger, saying they were ‘unaware’ of this closure despite it being advertised in the local papers twice.

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This prompted an e-petition, which garnered 279 signatures, demanding the council to open the alleyway as soon as possible.

Cllr Singh maintained the closure was always to be temporary, adding as part of the construction plan, it was agreed with the council that the safest way to deliver the new homes was to close it temporarily.

Royal Borough Observer: The alleyway has been closed since April 2021The alleyway has been closed since April 2021

Now that the alleyway, which has been renamed Valley Walk following a month-long consultation, has been refurbished, the ward councillor said there’s more lighting and visibility to tackle anti-social behaviour.

But Conservative councillors remained unhappy residents were not fully consulted before the closure – with one member calling for the council to change its process to make sure people are aware of vital works.

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Cllr Gurpreet Bhangra (Con: Boyn Hill) said: “I totally understand the anger and frustration of residents over this issue and matter.

“Although due process was seemingly followed, a small advertisement in a local paper is not an acceptable process.

“I am dismayed the responsible party as a sitting Cllr did not choose to consult widely. I remain angered myself and Cllr Carroll were not informed, and the process clearly needs fundamental reform. To this end, I have been working with Cllr Clark [lead member for transport and infrastructure] to understand what can be changed and what we need to do to improve this clearly sub-optimal process.”