Fears Britwell Parish Council could be shut down due to in-fighting

From the Slough Observer:

FEARS have been raised that parish council in-fighting will hand the borough council an opportunity to shut the parish down and seize all its land.

Slough Borough Council is undertaking a once-in-a-generation review of services provided by the town’s three parish councils.

Britwell Parish council chair Pat Shine had a meeting with borough officers last week, as part of the review, where he said the parish has “let the people down”. However, most councillors were unaware of the meeting – including the clerk – and accused the chairman of not representing the views of the majority.

Cllr Shine read out his statement at a parish meeting on Wednesday, which said:

“As a parish councillor over the last 30 years I feel we have let the people down. I feel over the last few years we have frittered away money taken from the people.”

Slough Borough Council requested all parish chairs put forward what services the parish offers its residents. But Cllr Paula Murphy said: “Most of the councillors have not seen this until now. Some of us don’t agree with some of the items you have written in here. This has nothing to do with the community governance review.”

The Observer understands some parish councillors are seeking a vote of no confidence in the chair, and Cllr Shine added:

“Not one of you has approached me or spoken to me since all this started, so why on earth am I going to contribute anything from you. You have all already frozen me out.”

During question time at the heated meeting, Britwell Parish Community centre manager Chris Faulkner said:

“We are washing our dirty linen in public. It is letting the likes of Slough Borough Council shut this place down.”

The council is paying an independent person to conduct the community governance review, which could recommend to close the parish down if it is seen to not be serving the residents.

A council spokeswoman said if this happened, the transfer of property, rights and liabilities of a parish council would go to a new parish council, or, where none was proposed, to the principal council itself. Any potential decision would be made by Slough Borough Council’s cabinet in November.

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