In an effort to stave off a potential bankruptcy, costs are being cut and benefits reduced. But is the Council treating Windsorians unfairly and, putting Windsor at a Disadvantage?
RBWM finds itself in the position where it has insufficient Council Tax income to meet existing costs*1 and, with insufficient reserves to fall back on.
The consequence of this is the much heralded cost cutting exercise which our new MD has been obliged to pursue to avoid “bankruptcy” and its consequences; full credit to Duncan Sharkey for grasping the nettle and taking steps to try and avoid what would be a very painful bankruptcy for RBWM where we would all suffer but, those that need help the most, including our children, would suffer the most.
Unfair treatment of Windsor residents and businesses
Although we have no choice but to trim to the bone, I am unhappy about the unfair way that Windsorians and Windsor based businesses are being treated.
- Because of the withdrawal of the Advantage Card discount, Windsor residents are set to suffer an effective over night 340% increase in some parking costs whilst, other areas, such as Maidenhead are only suffering a 120% increase in costs*2.
- Windsor residents will have to pay charges up to midnight, every day, including Sundays when, areas such as Maidenhead and Ascot, get free parking on Sundays and, do not have to pay after 6pm.
- To rub salt into the wound, Windsor residents pay more than twice as much as Maidenhead residents for parking
Broader concerns about town centre businesses and vitality
It is a tad perplexing that this is being proposed at a time when RBWM recognize that footfall in Windsor town centre is on the Council’s red alert warning indicator and, in need of an urgent turnaround; I am not sure a draconian increase in car park fees will serve to increase footfall; rather it will put our town centre businesses at further risk, possibly leading to more store closures, making Windsor less attractive to visitors and marquee stores and, risking job losses and a further drop in Council income due to lost business rates.
Removing the Advantage Card discount for Windsor residents could create the perfect storm for businesses and town centre vitality, and tip us into a negative cycle.
Asking the Administration to reconsider
At Monday night’s Infrastructure Overview and Scrutiny Panel, I asked Cllr David Cannon*3 to make parking charges more equal across the Borough, and/or to keep the Advantage Card discounts for Windsorians and to allow some respite to Windsor residents and businesses with free parking on a Sunday; as is enjoyed by areas such as Ascot and Maidenhead; This package of measures would also allow income to be maintained without punishing Windsor unfairly. He refused.
What you can do
I think the Council is treating Windsor unfairly, and risking unnecessary harm to our town; putting Windsor at a disadvantage. Do you agree?
Please tell me, and Cllr Canon how you will be effected by this. I’m sure he would value your input. You can find our email addresses here https://rbwm.moderngov.co.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?bcr=1 or, click our names.
Make no mistake. Because of poor practices by previous Conservative administrations, we now have to cut further. But, for me, the suffering has to fairly borne by all areas and, right now, Windsor residents and businesses are being unfairly treated. But remember you can take action to make your views known after all, you are the voters!
I will keep you informed.
Cllr Wisdom Da Costa
WWRA, Clewer & Dedworth West
*1 The reason RBWM income is too low to pay the costs due to fulfill our previous objectives is that, previous political administrations kept Council tax artificially low. When you combine this with imprudent budgeting and a lack of provision to cover areas of risk and liabilities, we find ourselves in the position
*2 Parking charges have been compared for 1 hour between Victoria Street and Hines Meadows
*3 Cllr David Canon, Conservative, Datchet, is the Lead Member Public Protection and Parking
- This post is part of the WWRA Councillors regular series of Blogs to inform and empower local residents; as promised in their election leaflet
- It is also to comply with clause v of the Members Code of Conduct which states, “You must be as open as possible about your decisions and actions and the decisions and actions of your authority and should be prepared to give reasons for those decisions and actions.”
- The views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of the West Windsor Residents Association (WWRA).
- Any errors are unintentional so, I would value you bringing them to my intention so I can correct them. You can Email me firstname.lastname@example.org