03:50PM, Thursday 25 April 2019
Long-serving councillors attended their final full council meeting on Tuesday ahead of the Royal Borough local elections next week.
Mayor Paul Lion (Con, Boyn Hill), who is among those not standing for re-election, was chairing the meeting at Windsor Guildhall and read out a Sir Winston Churchill quote to ‘break the ice a bit’.
He said: “Politics is almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times.”
He added: “Well that might be some comforting words for my fellow councillors and candidates, putting their heads above the political parapet. I wish you all the very best of luck in your endeavours.”
Cllr Lion also acknowledged the dedication of ‘all those councillors who are not standing for a re-election in May’.
There are currently 57 councillors but, following a boundary electoral review, there will be only 41 Royal Borough councillors going forward.
He acknowledged outgoing councillors including former leader Cllr David Burbage (Con, Bray) and Cllr Lynda Yong (Con, Sunninghill & South Ascot), who were first elected in 2000.
He paid tribute to Cllr Malcolm Beer (Ind, Old Wind-sor), first elected in 1995.
He also acknowledged four past mayors who will not be standing again – deputy mayor Cllr Colin Rayner (Con, Horton and Wraysbury), Cllr Richard Kellaway (Con, Bisham and Cook-ham), Cllr John Lenton (Con, Horton and Wraysbury) and Cllr Asghar Majeed (Ind, Oldfield).
In response, leader of the council Cllr Simon Dudley said: “To every candidate I wish them the very best in the final days, hunting for votes, the very best to everyone, thank you, and yourself, Mr Mayor, you’ve done a wonderful job.”
The meeting then moved on to addressing the public and members’ questions before the meeting closed with more thanks and a nod to the past.
Cllr Majeed (Ind, Oldfield) thanked a number of ward councillors including ‘fellow northerner’ Maureen Hunt (Con, Hurley and Walthams) and the opposition councillors and council officers.
To finish, he addressed Royal Borough MD Duncan Sharkey.
Cllr Majeed said: “I know you’ve only been here recently Duncan, but from what I’ve seen of you, I see an independent MD that will make decisions in a balanced and democratic way.
“I hope you live up to the same standards of those we saw in one of your predecessors, Ian Trenholm.”
Several public questions were asked at the meeting.
The Advertiser reported last week on a council u-turn over plans to ban members of the public asking supplementary questions at full council meetings and the issue was raised again on Tuesday.
Cllr Lisa Targowska (Con, Belmont) said the change was based on feedback that lead members and committee chairmen felt ‘disappointment’ when ‘they were not always in a position to provide members of the public with the informa-tion they were asking for.’
She said ‘wherever possible we should be able to answer questions publicly’ but that anticipating supplementary questions ‘is a bit of a guessing game’.
Cllr Targowska said that it is not a ‘freedom of speech issue’ and that ‘this administration has been at the forefront of transparency’ and that she ‘was more than happy to revisit this decision’.
Another public question was ‘who made the decision to change the SEN (Special Educational Needs) funding formula?’
Cllr Natasha Airey explained how SEN funding formula is calculated and said that the decision followed a joint area SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) review by Ofsted and the CQC (Care Quality Commission) in July 2017.
Cllr Airey said: “The council recommitted to its local priority of inclusion in mainstream schools.”
She added: “Options to support those leading the way were discussed with a number of schools at a schools forum and as a result the director made the final decision to implement this support in the financial year 2017/18.”
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