Windsor residents have unanimously passed a motion to create a Town Council at a packed Guildhall meeting on Friday (16/08/2019). The meeting was convened after senior members of every local political party jointly launched a petition calling for a Town Council to be created.
The motion passed reads:
“That we, being the people of Windsor, here assembled in our own Guildhall, on the sixteenth day of August 2019, in the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II:
a) do hereby declare that a Town Council be created for the greater service of our peoples and community.
b) do demand such action be taken by all public bodies to recognise this body as the fairly constituted and legal accepted Town Council of Windsor.
c) do proclaim our shared desire that all efforts be made to support this Town Council until such time as the people of Windsor should choose to withdraw such consent.”
Former Royal Borough Mayor, Eileen Quick chaired the meeting. She was joined by Richard Endacott (CEO), Robert Peel (Vice-Chairman), Andre Walker (Deputy CEO) and around fifty other local residents, councillors and business leaders.
Mrs Quick opened the meeting with a minutes silence for murdered Police Constable Andrew Harper. She then made a statement laying out her reasons for supporting the new Town Council.
In her statement she said: “In the various local government re-organisations we have ended up with the odd situation of having town or parish councils in Eton, Datchet and Old Windsor but not one here.
“I have seen what Eton Town Council has achieved and I think Windsor should follow its lead…. I am a big supporter of RBWM, I think it serves us well but there are some things that are best done by the town rather than the borough.”
Local resident, John Holdstock said: “We need the wider public to know that a Town Council will not take powers away from the Royal Borough. This is about giving control of local matters to the people of Windsor.”
He also called for any Town Council to put money into youth services, saying it would: “make a huge difference”.
Another resident, Margaret Bacon, asked if there was a plan to widen participation in the local political process. She said: “I want this council to give a voice to residents that are not normally heard from.”
Former central Windsor Councillor, George Bathurst, said the first-ever Windsor Council was constituted over 500 years ago. He pointed out that “we had a council for all these years and it worked well, the last 45-years are the anomaly”.
Tony Monk pointed out that Windsor’s population is growing rapidly and that the arguments against having a council before have now disappeared.
Beyond Windsor itself, Eton Town Councillor Sue Evans offered her support. She laid out how Eton Council has been able to develop its own new tourism office and a new walkway. She warned residents that running a Town Council is hard work but it can deliver results.
Earlier in the week it had looked like the meeting might not go ahead at all. This was because an obscure rule emerged that would have forced those present to pay hundreds of pounds to use the Guildhall.
However, the rule was waived at the eleventh-hour by the Leader of the Royal Borough, Cllr Simon Dudley.