ANGER erupted at a Windsor Town Forum meeting as speakers were barred from raising issues about the waste collection fiasco.

At the meeting on September 23 (Wednesday), the chair of the forum, councillor John Bowden (Conservative: Eton and Castle), asked for residents and members not to discuss the ongoing waste collection issues as “it is not a topic on this agenda”.

He added there’s “ongoing contractual discussions with RBWM [Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead] and our contractor [Serco]” and residents can receive an update and express their views on the problem at a communities overview and scrutiny panel next Thursday (October 1).

RBWM’s waste contractors, Serco, have been under-fire from residents and councillors alike for continually missing residents’ waste and recycling across the borough since going back to weekly collections with revised routes.

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However, opposition councillor Neil Knowles (Old Windsor Residents’ Association: Old Windsor) said it’s “ignoring an elephant in the room” by not allowing residents to discuss the waste collection problem that’s affecting Windsor and surrounding areas.

He said: “This is supposed to be a democracy. People come to this forum to air their views and listen to things that interest them.

“I think most people watching this of a public point of view will be quite interested if we had an update.

“If you [Cllr Bowden] quite reasonably say you don’t have one and nobody can give it, then that’s all we need.”

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Cllr Bowden responded: “I have used my discretion as chair not to permit any discussions in respect of Serco because of the ongoing contractual and other matters being discussed by the directors and the directors of our contractors.

“It is a very, very fluid situation and it is one subject to legal discussions as well.”

He added the lead member for waste, councillor David Coppinger (Conservative: Bray), and relevant officers – who are with discussions with Serco – were not present at the meeting to give a reply or update.

A Serco contract and operations update will be given at next week’s communities overview and scrutiny panel where it is believed that Cllr Coppinger and the contractor’s staff are being arranged to speak.