WORK has begun on the council’s highly controversial scheme to create six car parking spaces at a cost of £240,000 to the taxpayer.

Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) has come in for criticism after it emerged in November that almost a quarter of a million pounds will be spent on increasing the number of car parking spaces on Chobham Road, Sunningdale from eight to fourteen.

Chobham Road resident Valerie Pike told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “RBWM has completed the easiest phase of this project – namely the destruction of the slip road which had provided safe parking for eight vehicles, the lawn and the six trees which had provided shade for not only the parked vehicles but also for Costa’s clients enjoying al fresco dining.

“The site is now clear of these spurned assets. There was apparently no thought to replant the trees or to offer them for sale to Sunningdale homes.”

The resident has concerns with how RBWM consulted on the addition of the parking bays, as Ms Pike claimed under a third of those consulted were from outside of the borough.

It was also alleged that the council failed to mention the cost of the project, which works out as £48,000 per parking space.

Residents have also told of their safety fears associated with the scheme as the new bays could mean vehicles are forced to reverse out onto the busy B383.

Ms Pike continued: “In a recent survey commissioned by the Royal Borough, residents identified road and road maintenance as the council services needing most improvement.  Our experience with Chobham Road shows just how much work lies ahead for the council in this area.

“If anything, it provides an object lesson for how not to improve local public services.

“A good council would work with residents to identify both problems and solutions, so that changes made can succeed and that money spent isn’t wasted.

“It isn’t clear what problem the council was trying to solve in this case, or what benefits they hoped to achieve.  Councillors come and go, but we residents are left with the fallout of bad decisions.”

A spokeswoman from RBWM said: “We consulted on this scheme with residents and 88% of those who responded supported these changes. The scheme has been subject to a formal road safety audit and modified to address the issues and risks which were raised.

“Councillors agreed the budget for the works as part of the overall budget for 2018/19, which was approved by full council.”