12:25PM, Thursday 30 July 2020
The creation of a new town council for Windsor took another step forward at a full council meeting this week.
On Tuesday, councillors agreed to undertake a community governance review to examine the issue of whether a new town council for the existing unparished areas of Windsor should be formed.
A campaign group has said the decision marks ‘one of the most significant days in a thousand years of Windsor history’.
Following the publication of a ‘terms of reference’ document, which outlines how the review will be run, a three-month consultation has now started on these terms, running until October 28.
Full council approved the terms of reference at this week’s Zoom meeting.
A Community Governance Review Working Group – chaired by Cllr Shamsul Shelim (Con, Eton and Castle) – has also been established, and will meet next month before considering all the received representations until January 26, 2021.
Stage two of the process will see publication of the group’s draft recommendations, which will go to public consultation until April 2021.
Publication of the final recommendations is expected in July of next year, before a reorganisation order is made by December 2021.
Elections to the new Windsor Town Council could then be made in May 2023.
A community governance review is the process used to consider whether existing parish arrangements should be changed in any way.
The review area will be limited to the unparished parts of Windsor located in and around the town centre.
An e-petition calling for the Royal Borough to undertake a community governance review was started in September 2019.
Speaking at full council, Cllr Samantha Rayner (Con, Eton and Castle) said the council recognises an ‘appetite’ for the review.
“It gives Windsor the opportunity to have their say in local democracy,” she said.
“The council recognises there is an appetite for the review to take place. This paper sets the scene for the next stage.”
She added that the working group will be comprised of five members – three Conservative, one Liberal Democrat and one Independent.
Cllr Andrew Johnson (Con, Hurley and Walthams) said at the meeting: “I very much look forward to having the debate and seeing the recommendations come forward from the working group.
“Perhaps if we are ambitious, we can look to compress these time scales slightly. It gives me great pleasure to endorse this report.”
Lib Dem Clewer East councillor Karen Davies said the plans give Windsor a chance to enjoy something it previously had for seven centuries.
“Creating a town council for the unparished parts of Windsor would restore local governance, something that the town previously enjoyed for over 700 years,” she told members at full council.
“We believe establishing a town council would provide a clear voice for Windsor.”
Cllr Wisdom Da Costa (WWRA, Clewer and Dedworth West) echoed Cllr Davies’ views.
He said: “Windsor has a proud history of local representation since 1172 when a council was formed to discuss matters arising between the town and the Crown.”
Reacting to the news, Robert Peel, chairman of the Windsor Town Council Steering Group, said:
“This is one of the most significant days in a thousand years of Windsor history. It begins a process that will formally look at giving us a town council for the first time in fifty years.
"I want to thank councillors at the Royal Borough for backing this proposal. This vote is recognition of the hard work Windsorians from all political sides have put into this.
"Of course, there are challenges ahead, and things that we are concerned about but that is only to be expected when change of this magnitude is being proposed.
“The important thing is that this process has now begun. If we continue to build the confidence and trust of this community then this new town council will be instrumental in changing Windsor for the better.
“And what could be more important than that, given the testing times we live in."
For more information on how to get involved in the community governance review, visit https://bit.ly/2P5CVfi
The candidates standing in the upcoming Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner election have outlined their priorities for policing in the region.
A Maidenhead restaurant has said that new temporary outdoor seating provided by the council has helped keep the business afloat and hopes an al fresco dining culture will continue in the town.