12:52PM, Wednesday 25 September 2013
Businessmen and women who take over empty shops in Windsor and Maidenhead could soon be offered a special deal - if people living and working in the Royal Borough agree.
Council cabinet members are due to discuss the issue when they meet this Thursday. The government changed the law two years ago to allow local authorities to keep some of the business rates they collect, enabling them to offer discounts to retailers taking over empty shops if they chose.
The borough has held back from doing this until now. But 54 of the 1,231 shops in the borough are currently empty representing 4.4 per cent of total numbers, 23 are empty in Maidenhead representing 5.8 per cent, 17 in Windsor (4.1 per cent) and nine in Eton (12.9 per cent).
If they agree to go ahead with consulting over the idea, councillors will want to know what level of discount the public thinks should be offered to people taking over disused shops, what types of business should benefit specifically and which areas should be targeted.
Cabinet members are also expected to continue resisting plans by Heathrow Airport to expand by building a third runway.
The rapidly expanding school population is also expected to come up at the cabinet meeting. Expansion plans for Furze Platt Junior School are well underway with £300,000 put aside in the 2013 to 2014 budget and £400,000 for 2014 to 2015.
But rapidly swelling numbers mean the expansion needs to be ready by next September and another £222,000 is likely to be put aside at the meeting.
Future plans for expansion to Dedworth Green and Homer schools in Windsor as well as Datchet St Mary are also on the horizon.
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