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Complaint lodged against chairman of Windsor Town Forum

James Bagley. Local Democracy Reporter

Complaint lodged against chairman of Windsor Town Forum

A complaint has been lodged against the chairman of the Windsor Town Forum amid claims a resident was ‘silenced’ at an online meeting.

Richard Endacott, resident and chairman of the West Windsor Residents’ Association, revealed he has lodged a complaint against councillor John Bowden (Con, Eton & Castle), chair of the forum, with the monitoring officer and the leader of the Royal Borough after he told the host to mute Mr Endacott when speaking.

During the discussion on the proposed Windsor Town Council at the forum, resident John Webb asked if future town councillors will be able to choose which services they would be able to provide, such as lighting or parks, and which could be left in the Royal Borough’s hands.

Suzanne Martin, the electoral and information governance services manager, said she believes the Royal Borough will decide which powers and assets are transferred during the negotiation process with the potential new town council.

Mr Endacott attempted to offer his opinion on the matter, where he referred to Brexit as a 'similar situation'.

The chairman stopped Mr Endacott from talking, accusing him of bringing in 'a political matter' to the forum.

Mr Endacott insisted he was not and was just offering his opinion and clarification, adding 'there are three residents in the town forum. You’ve got to allow residents to speak.'

Following pushback, the chairman told him to be quiet and tried to close the matter.

“This is absolutely scandalous,” said a frustrated Mr Endacott who re-emphasised he was explaining the situation.

This prompted Cllr Bowden to tell the host of the forum to mute Mr Endacott after multiple attempts to silence him.

After he was muted, Cllr Bowden said: “I did so because he cannot give clarity because of the nature of the discussions that are going on with the town council that is not even in existence at this time.

“It is the responsibility of the borough as to what occurs together with discussions of the individuals.

“He moves on to discussions about Brexit and similar actions, so there’s no need for those sorts of discussions to take place in the Windsor Town Forum and for that reason I unfortunately had to mute him.”

Independent councillor Neil Knowles (Old Windsor) later stormed out of the meeting, saying he had enough of the chairman’s 'rude and bombastic attitude'.

Speaking after the forum, Mr Endacott said: “It just shows why a Windsor Town Council is necessary because when Windsor residents are muted when discussing Windsor issues, then something has got to change.

“As an ordinary resident, to be shut down like that is not acceptable and it stops people from participating.”

A council spokesman said: “The council does not comment on individual cases.

“Generally, any complaints against councillors are dealt with under the Code of Conduct process. If following an investigation there is a finding of a breach, this will be heard by the Member Standards Panel.”

Cllr Bowden declined to comment.

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