PLANS for a Windsor town council have edged one step closer to fruition as the council leader announces a governance review.

Councillor Andrew Johnson (Conservative: Hurley and Walthams), leader, announced at a full council meeting on May 26 that a governance review has been commenced – the legal process to produce a formal report within a year on how the unparished area will be operated – which will then be considered by full council.

A governance review can be triggered if enough signatures are on a petition, a motion at full council or through delegated powers.

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Cllr Johnson said: “I have heard the phrase ‘Maidenhead councillors taking decisions about Windsor’ or ‘we don’t have a town council representing us’ – that, somehow, we don’t believe in local democracy or localism.

“This is categorically untrue, and I can prove it by saying here, tonight, to all of you that this administration will not wait until a petition with the requisite number of signatures has been collected.

“We will take formal steps to commence a governance review in respect of Windsor Town Council.”

He added: “We will be bringing forward a detailed paper in July for, I am sure, a robust debate and depending on the outcome of that we will look to take forward the governance review over the course of the next 12 months.”

It is understood the council leader used his delegated powers to trigger the review.

This is the first time since 1974 that the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) Council has looked into the possibility of a Windsor town council (WTC).

The governance review will be debated and voted on at full council in July and if passed, a formal report will be produced within one year before it is then brought back to full council to be either approved, denied or amended.

A petition was set up in June 2019 by Richard Endacott, chairman of West Windsor Residents Association, which has garnered more than 2,000 signatures for Windsor residents needs and demands to be better represented on how the town is run and governed.

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The petition needed only 7.5 per cent of residents from the unparished area to sign it to set a governance review in motion.

Mr Endacott said he was ‘surprised’ but ‘pleased’ with the announcement because the submission of the petition was delayed due to the lockdown.

He said: “It’s a really important step for Windsor for representation of local interests.

“Windsor people were looking for greater representation in an unparished area.

“There’s a layer of government that is missing and the whole concept was that Windsor residents wanted a greater say in the way the town was run and governed – but also to be able to have a voice in issues which affect them.

“There’s always a perception that Maidenhead does dominant the political process in the Royal Borough and Windsor residents through this whole campaign have voiced clearly their concerns about this situation.”

He added: “It is essential that there’s one town council which covers the whole area and that’s the important bit because all communities in Windsor are interdependent and so we’re keen to make sure that there’s no break-up of that community.”

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Robert Peel, Chairman of the Windsor Town Campaign Committee, welcomed the review and said: “This is the first legal step towards ending the historic anomaly that gives residents in Old Windsor more democratic rights than their neighbours in central and west Windsor.

“Our cross-party campaign is working hard to bring people together in order to solve this. Cllr Andrew Johnson has always said, under his leadership, the Royal Borough will do whatever it can to help. In making this announcement he has made good on that pledge.

“I have spoken to Cllr Johnson to thank him for what he has done and to make clear that my team will give the Governance Review team as much help as we can. There is no limit to what we can achieve by working together as a community. ”

Later stages could involve a consultation being launched by RBWM to see if residents in the unparished area are in favour or against the proposal of a WTC.

If in favour and RBWM implements a town council, the first wave of elections will start on a set date.