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Council leader admits 'insufficient' communication over Queen Street change

A controversial change to Queen Street has been put on pause pending further scrutiny after the council leader admitted the public needed to hear more about it.

Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside) told members of the Royal Borough cabinet that the council had not effectively communicated the plan to remove the right turn that goes over the A308 towards Grenfell Road.

The move triggered the ire of opposition party The Borough First, and one of their candidates, Andrew Hill, spoke at full council on Tuesday to attack the lack of consultation in the decision.

Cllr Dudley said at cabinet, held at the rebuilt York House in Sheet Street, Windsor on Thursday: “I certainly picked up a lot of resident comments on social media around that… in my view the level of communication by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in respect of that potential change was insufficient, it had been insufficiently scrutinised by members and the public and insufficiently communicated to the public and the rationale for it had not been explained.”

Speaking about a document pack available to view on he said: “This paper actually puts into public domain a significant amount of analysis around the rationale and implications of that suggested change.”

He reiterated a Tory promise to create a cabinet portfolio combining transport, housing and infrastructure under one role.

Any decision on removing the Queen Street turn will only be taken following Maidenhead Town Forum meetings, communication with the public and analysis by whoever holds that new cabinet role – if the Conservatives retain their majority.

“We will slow down house creation to enable infrastructure to be put in place to facilitate it,” Cllr Dudley added.

A proposal to give Cllr Dudley and Royal Borough executive director Russell O’Keefe the power to oversee negotiations to sell the council’s 50 per cent stake in the Nicholsons Centre to the mall’s new owner Tikehau Capital and organise a land swap that will allow a new car park to replace the one in Broadway for less money was revised.

The value of the deal has not been disclosed but was said by Cllr Dudley before the meeting to be ‘significant’. Central House, a building on the Nicholsons site, will also be sold by the council.

Opposition leaders Cllrs Lynne Jones (Ind, Old Windsor) and Claire Stretton (TBF, Boyn Hill) said the power was akin to ‘unilateral decision making’.

Instead, councillors passed a revised proposal which will require the negotiation’s outcome to be put to full council for approval.

But that did not placate the opposition and Cllr Jones tweeted: “I would have preferred a scrutiny process so that members could have the time to fully understand the issues, not just 7 days.” She was referring to how agendas and reports are published a week ahead of a council meeting.

“A tad late less than a week before the election to credibly ‘see the light’ and start talking about having consultations after the election,” Cllr Stretton said.

The meeting was held in one of the Grey Rooms, named for Cllr Jesse Grey who died in office in October and held a cabinet portfolio.

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