10:23AM, Tuesday 10 November 2015
Over the next five years 10 Syrian refugee families will be housed in the Royal Borough as part of the government's pledge to help 20,000 vulnerable people escaping conflict in the country.
The council's cabinet member for adult services and health, Cllr David Coppinger, said Windsor and Maidenhead has a 'legacy' of helping refugees, and cited the work of Sir Nicholas Winton, who transported 669 mainly Jewish children from Prague to Britain on the eve of the Second World War. Sir Nicholas settled in Maidenhead and died on July 1 this year.
Cllr Coppinger says he understands it is a 'highly emotive issue' with many in the borough having 'strong views' for and against supporting the refugees
He added: "It is only right we support the government in its pledge to house thousands of vulnerable refugees.
"We also, however, remain committed to ensuring that none of our residents are disadvantaged by our decision to help the refugees from Syria."
Several million people have fled Syria due to ongoing conflict in the country. Britain has committed to housing 20,000 of the refugees.
The Borough says that, following discussions with Maidenhead MP Theresa May, it has agreed to house 10 families, with two families arriving in 'the coming months'. The scheme will be reviewed after the first set of families has arrived.
Cllr David Burbage, council leader, said: "The war in Syria has displaced hundreds of thousands of ordinary people from all walks of life, who have become homeless refugees due to the conflict in their country. Our concern is to assist those genuine refugees from war, not economic migrants.
"We have pledged to help families come to the Royal Borough over the coming months and years - we can offer a place of safety."
An independent report into a Conservative councillor has found a breach of the Royal Borough’s code of conduct in a document seen by the Advertiser.