Saturday, 21 July 2018

Residents speak out about local issues

RESIDENTS of Shiplake want better maintained roads and faster home broadband.

RESIDENTS of Shiplake want better maintained roads and faster home broadband.

These were the top two requests in a survey of villagers carried out by the parish council. A questionnaire was delivered to 1,100 households last month and almost 80 per cent were returned.

Dennis Oliver, who chairs the village plan steering group, called the response “fantastic”. Speaking at Shiplake’s annual parish meeting, he said: “Thank you to the community.”

Residents were ask to indicate their top three issues and the results were as follows:

* Road maintenance (68 per cent).

* Faster broadband (47 per cent).

* Parking (44 per cent).

* Paths and cycle ways (39 per cent).

* Traffic-calming (21 per cent).

* Bus and rail services (19 per cent).

* Dog fouling (15 per cent).

* Street lighting (eight per cent).

* Community facilities (eight per cent).

* Community activities (six per cent).

Mr Oliver, who lives in New Road, said residents named crumbling roads, including Station Road, Reading Road, Mill Road, Mill Lane, Memorial Avenue and Plough Lane.

He added: “There were also concerns about dirty signs on Reading Road and weeds in Brocks Way.”

Mr Oliver said that almost all respondents wanted faster broadband but the majority were not prepared to pay more for it.

He said: “Ninety-five per cent of us use the internet at home and 57 per cent use the internet at home for business.What I can’t understand is how some parts of the village can get less than 3mbs. My neighbour gets 6mbs while I get 2mbs.”

Almost 40 per cent said they would use a cycle path between Henley and Shiplake, which has been suggested by the council.

“Along the railway line or the towpath is the preferred route,” said Mr Oliver. “Also, 24 per cent said they would use a footbridge over the Thames to Wargrave once a week or more. These improvements would also benefit non-residents.”

He said the next step was to establish teams to analyse the survey results and develop ideas with a view to presenting a final report in the autumn.

Peter Skolar, of Mill Lane, praised the work of the steering group but added: “I am concerned about raising expectations. Nowhere is mentioned about where you are going to get the funding for the ideas.”

Mr Skolar, a former Oxfordshire county councillor, said the cycle path could cost £4 million.

Council chairman Tudor Taylor replied: “It is important to ascertain what people want. I am a firm believer in getting the stuff we can do, done. On the cycle path, we need to cycle more, we shouldn’t be jumping into cars.”

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