Controversy caused over plans to break-up community group

Controversy caused over plans to break-up community group

Francis Batt

Controversy caused over plans to break-up community group
The Guildhall - the heart of Central Windsor

The launch of a new 10 point plan to transform Dedworth has been overshadowed by a major bust up between the residents' association and Royal Borough politicians.

On Monday, the borough proudly unveiled its new Love Dedworth action plan - including a revamp of Dedworth Road, better parking and lighting plus a variety of community projects.

But the initiative failed to impress John Holdstock, the chairman of West Windsor Residents Association.

He is seething about the decision to break up a Neighbourhood Plan steering group set up in 2012 containing community members from Central Windsor, Dedworth, Eton and Eton Wick.

The government has encouraged such groups, to give local neighbourhoods a say in how their areas develop.

But when the group's central Windsor members met last Monday, they agreed that Dedworth and Eton members should be 'hived off' to form their own steering groups.

A furious Mr Holdstrock says this was presented as a 'done deal'. He is convinced the decision was political - because Dedworth and Eton members had ideas the ruling Tories did not agree with.

He said: "These steering groups are supposed to be non-political. But the politicians have taken over. This was all done in secret. The day after the central Windsor members met we were told we were out on our own.

'The politicians have usurped the group. It is so wrong, so bad for democracy.'

Cllr Natasha Airey (Con, Park), who chairs the steering group said: "Things were getting a bit divisive before. People were coming up with big ideas for other peoples' areas. It was not neighbourhood focussed any more because it was covering such a big area."

She said Dedworth and Eton would benefit by being able to have as many members as they liked on their own steering groups.

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