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Councillors frustrated after low turn-out at Windsor Town Forum

Frustrated councillors questioned the relevance of the Windsor Town Forum after a low turn-out at the meeting on Monday evening.

About eight councillors and five residents gathered at York House for the town forum which meets every two months to give updates about progress and events in Windsor.

Out of three items on the agenda, two officers who were due to speak were absent; one of them had an emergency dental appointment.

The forum's purpose is to inform the public of discussions taking place within the council and respond to the Royal Borough with any concerns raised during the meeting.

However, some councillors believe more action should be taken at these gatherings.

Addressing the panel, Cllr Jon Davey (WWRA, Clewer & Dedworth West) said: “I want to be more engaged and more proactive with things going on, rather than just talking.”

Cllr Samantha Rayner (Con, Eton and Castle) cabinet member for Windsor responded: “The point of the town forum is to discuss with residents things that concern them.

“This isn’t a decision- making body, this is for information sharing and gathering.”

Residents also have the opportunity to suggest agenda items to the chairman for future meetings.

Chairman Cllr John Bowden (Con, Eton and Castle) said: “The Windsor Town Forum doesn’t have any voting progress on any particular subject. We can’t demand anything.”

Cllr Neil Knowles (OWRA, Old Windsor) added: “Evenings like tonight where we have nobody here to be held to account to be asked deep and searching questions leaves this lacking credibility. If they (the public) want to challenge people then it is their right to challenge people.

“If this carries on this is an utter irrelevance.”

Cllr Amy Tisi (Lib Dem, Clewer East), who also attended the meeting, believes it could be ‘much more effective’. 

She told the Express on Wednesday: “I feel it could be a much more effective partnership between members, officers and residents to suggest ideas for how to improve our town.

“Windsor councillors and the Windsor residents who attend the forum know the needs of their areas and have plenty of suggestions for how to improve them and not just the town centre.”

Cllr Rayner did not respond to a request for further comment before the Express went to press.

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