Windsor Town Council – Restoring Trust in Local Governance

A Windsor Town Council could see an extra £1m spent on Windsor each year and, give you (residents) a greater say in your town. Sign the petition and join the initiative.


Discrimination, exclusion and elitism are the opposite of what we expect of our local governance and the enemy of a higher level of achievement that is founded on inclusion and engagement with residents and represents everyone in our local communities equally.

Sadly, that is exactly what we suffer in Windsor but, the creation of a Windsor Town Council would help improve achievement by allowing residents to more directly participate in decision making for example, how to spend of nearly a £1m of money each year on improving provision for residents, local businesses and visitors to Windsor.

In the first of a two part series entitled, “Restoring Trust in Local Governance“, this week I set out some of the reasons why I am asking you to sign the petition for a Windsor Town Council at http://petitions.rbwm.gov.uk/TownCouncil/

Come to the meeting at the Guildhall on Friday 16th August at 7pm at the Guildhall – click here for more information

Local people should make decisions about local issues

I am a great believer in the skill and abilities and heart of local people so, in my view, we should be unafraid to take steps to deepen democracy to include residents and local experts in scrutiny and decision making. What have we got to loose from such openness with our fellow residents?

We should resist all actions and decisions that seek to weaken democracy, reduce representation, undermine scrutiny and confidence, that exclude effective engagement with residents, that disenfranchise even more voters fed up with the suits and party politicians and, frustrate the intentions of the Localism Act 2011.

In my view there are many steps that a Council can take to restore confidence in the local governance, to improve engagement with residents and, to allow residents, many of whom have greater levels of expertise than Councillors, a greater input into scrutiny, deliberations and the decision making process.

Where has all our money gone?

Over the years, when talking to residents in Windsor, one common theme emerges; Windsorians feel neglected because the Borough is Maidenhead centric; that Windsor suffers greatly as a result, despite being, arguably, the jewel in the crown; that Windsor roads seem largely forgotten; the town seems to be starved of funds and focus from the Town Hall; Windsor is being used as a cash cow; the Windsor Town Forum is ineffectual. Windsorians feel they are treated like outsiders.

  • Did you know that Windsor residents, between us, already pay around £500K towards services that a Windsor Town Council, governed by local people, would decide upon and deliver if we had one?
  • In addition to this, did you know that the Borough has received around £400,000 in funds from developers some of which should be spent on Windsor by a local body? And, according to officers, these sums are set to increase greatly over the coming years as construction starts on the planning consents for multi million pound developments already granted or expected to be granted?

Where has the money gone to? Just taking a quick look at Peascod Street and the state of Windsor roads and you know it has not been spent on us!

  • Did you know that the Council keeps 75% of the £96m of business rates and that a good proportion of these come from Windsor based businesses.

Where has the money been spent?

Restoring the balance to Windsor and Windsorians

Windsor needs a focal point for discussion and action to help express this identity and the intent of Windsorians; to ensure that the £millions of funds intended for the town are focused locally. Don’t you agree?

Windsorians want a greater say on policy and spending decisions that effect us, on the design and layout of our town, on the services required to meet the local needs.

We want a more democratic distribution of power, one which aligns authority and responsibility and budget with Windsor and, which allows many more ordinary people the opportunity to help govern our wonderful town.

Windsor wants equality. We’re tired of being treated like second class citizens just because of, perhaps, our political colour.

We want a body that will help us express Windsor’s unique identity, that will coordinate governance with a local focus and progress with what is important to Windsorians.

A Windsor Town Council would achieve all of this so, I urge you to support the petition for a Windsor Town Council at http://petitions.rbwm.gov.uk/TownCouncil/

Next week

In the second of two articles entitled, “Restoring Trust in Local Governance“, next week I will cover more ideas to help improve local democracy and deepen the involvement of ordinary people in local governance and decision making.

As Barak Obama would say, “Yes, we can”.

Accountably yours,

Cllr Wisdom Da Costa,

WWRA, Clewer & Dedworth West,

Windsor

Caveat

  • 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 cllr.dacosta@rbwm.gov.uk