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Council leader gives assurances over future of Royal Borough and Windsor Museum

Leader of council says Interim Council Strategy report is ‘not a proposal to close the museum’ in Windsor Guildhall

The leader of the council has assured residents that the Royal Borough and Windsor Museum will not close permanently.

During a virtual cabinet meeting yesterday evening (Thursday) Cllr Andrew Johnson (Con, Hurley and Walthams), introduced the Interim Council Strategy 2020-21, which emerged as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The report outlines the council’s plans over the financial year to support residents and businesses while protecting public health.

It contained options for the future of the Royal Borough and Windsor Museum, including potential plans to close it which sparked an online petition gaining nearly 600 signatures.

During the meeting Cllr Johnson said: “The report will be amended to state that we are not going to reopen the museum for now as opposed to the museum is closed.”

Speaking of the strategy report he added: “I think it is absolutely vital that we consider this to be a working document.”

Addressing the cabinet, museum heritage and learning consultant, Alice Le Page, said no consultation had taken place with either staff or volunteers at the museum regarding the strategy’s statements about workers needing to shield.

“As far as I am aware no staff have been shielding and only a few handful of volunteers might have needed to shield,” she said.

She concluded: “How are you going to justify closing what is a beneficial educational and community resource that represents the diversity of past and present residents of the Royal Borough at a time when the town may need it most, when clearly so little consideration has gone into the proposal?”

Cllr Johnson said ‘it is not a proposal to close the museum’ and noted that all services within the strategy will be ‘subject to a full optioned review.’

However, he warned that ‘as a result of this crisis not all services will reopen in the form they were in pre-crisis.’

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Samantha Rayner (Con, Eton and Castle), cabinet member for Windsor, said: “Windsor is heavily reliant on its tourism economy and we need to focus on what works best to deliver for our residents and our businesses.”

Councillors unanimously voted to approve the report with the amendment confirming the museum is temporarily and not permanently closed.

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