03:02PM, Friday 16 October 2020
The Windsor Town Forum gave residents and councillors the opportunity to air their views on the potential creation of a Windsor Town Council (WTC) this week.
In order for a WTC to be formed a community gover-nance review process needs to take place, which the forum received information about over Zoom on Monday.
The scope of this review is focused on the unparished parts of Windsor and whether a new town council should be formed to offer an additional level of representation to people in those areas.
It covers five borough wards and 12 polling districts.
Suzanne Martin, electoral and information governance services manager at the Royal Borough, explained that the review process is at stage one and will close on October 28.
The objective of this stage is to understand the need and desire for a town council through public consultation so that draft recommendations can be put together.
During the meeting deputy leader for the council and cabinet member for Windsor, Councillor Samantha Rayner (Con, Eton and Castle) said the point of the review is ‘to see what people think’.
“It’s not set that it has to be one parish council, it could be several parish councils,” she said. “The whole thing is so flexible.”
During the forum Windsor residents were given the opportunity to ask councillors questions, and also give their opinion about the prospect of having a WTC.
Richard Endacott, who created the petition for a WTC, said it would bring the town ‘in line with the rest of the borough’ and ‘would allow for a more localised approach’.
He was also critical of the Windsor Town Forum, which Cllr Rayner described as serving the ‘un-parished area’ of the town as it stands.
Mr Endacott said: “This particular forum serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever, it is not a decision-making body, it does not represent people, in fact it actually disengages people rather than engages people.”
Cllr Amy Tsi (Lib Dems, Clewer East) said she felt Windsor Town Forum is ‘not as effective as it could be or should be’ and Cllr Helen Price (The Borough First, Clewer & Dedworth East) thinks a WTC would be a ‘big improvement’.
Resident John Webb, who is a member of the WTC steering group, asked whether ward councillors would find it easier to represent their residents if there were parish councillors.
Cllr Price said: “It most definitely would. The workload of a current ward councillor is extremely heavy and anything that could help would be excellent.”
Cllr Jon Davey (West Windsor Residents Association, Clewer & Dedworth West) said parish councillors are ‘residents that have a passion for their little bit of England’ and are ‘essential’.
“The level of detail they go to is incredible,” he said. “And then nudge us ward councillors to say ‘have you seen this? What about this? How about that?’ It’s brilliant, and yes, more of that please.”
As a WTC would not be able to be formed until 2023, Rob Peel, chairman of the WTC steering group questioned ‘why is a governance review going to take so long and why do we need to wait?’
Ms Martin explained that 2023 is the date of the next scheduled elections for parishes.
She said if the outcome of the recommendations is to create a WTC, the legal process to bring the new town council into effect will be carried out by the end of December 2021 and the first elections to the town council will take place in 2023.
Watch the full meeting here.
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