02:30PM, Friday 25 November 2016
Controversial topics including building on the greenbelt and ‘grammar type’ schools dominated discussion at the Royal Borough's cabinet meeting last night.
Members of the public filled Maidenhead Town Hall as the cabinet discussed the 500-page agenda and reports covering issues including the Borough Local Plan, affordable housing and improving choice in education.
The cabinet heard from Cllr Derek Wilson, lead member for planning, who presented the report on the local plan.
Members of the public raised concerns about holding the six-week consultation over Christmas and the infrastructure plans that would follow.
Cllr Wilson (Con, Oldfield) said 'the government has made it quite clear we need to meet 100 per cent of the target set' and added he believed six weeks was ‘sufficient’ time to respond.
He also said an infrastructure report would be produced in March.
The paper was unanimously agreed upon.
The cabinet also discussed a report on ‘improving choice in education’ which would see the council endorsing the development of ‘selective or partially selective education’ in the borough.
Rachel Cook, who spoke on behalf of pressure group Excellent Education for Everyone said: "There was no mention of encouraging existing schools to become selective before the last council election or indeed General Election. If Brexit means Brexit then no more grammar schools should mean no more grammar schools."
Cllr David Evans (Con, Hurley and Walthams) said: "We’re going forwards not backwards."
Cllr Simon Dudley, (Con, Maidenhead Riverside) and leader of the council said: "We want to give ever child the opportunity to fulfil their full potential. At the moment in our maintained schools less than 10 pupils of schools go to Oxbridge.
"This is Windsor and Maidenhead, does anyone in this room think that looks good? I don’t think so, and I want to do something about it.
"We want our education system to be the best local authority in England, and work with our fantastic schools to make that happen."
The report was agreed upon unanimously by the cabinet.
Other items approved by the cabinet included a report on delivering customer services differently, which would see services moved from Maidenhead Town Hall, to Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead libraries with longer opening hours.
Also approved were a planning guidance document on affordable housing, a review of access arrangements at Stafferton Way civic amenity sites and a financial update from Cllr Michael John Saunders.
See next week's Advertiser for more on the meeting.