Parish proposes link with Datchet

With no successor to retiring clerk Roland Hewson yet appointed Colnbrook Parish Council is exploring a link-up with Datchet Parish Council which could involve sharing of services.

The lack of a successor for retired clerk Roland Hewson, left, has driven the  Parish to explore alternative options

The lack of a successor for retired clerk Roland Hewson, left, has driven the Parish to explore alternative options

Parish chair Peter Hood introduced Mr Graham Leaver, the Clerk of Datchet Parish Council, to colleagues at the last full parish council meeting before the recess, on July 1.

He told councillors that negotiations and discussions had been initiated with the chair of Datchet Parish Council with a view to a ‘clustering’ arrangement between the two councils.

Datchet has its own office facilities and employs four staff, while Colnbrook’s clerk was based nearly thirty miles away in St Albans.

It is not clear if the link is being driven by a lack of applicants or an effort simply to reduce ever-increasing costs.  The clerk and associated secretarial services amount to a fifth of the £100K annual budget.

Cllr Hood told councillors that the deal is dependent on agreeing a satisfactory service level agreement and agreement over costs, and would be subject to the approval of both councils.

The Parish has not indicated if it is pursuing alternative link-ups with either Britwell or Wexham Court before it goes outside the borough.  However the move is consistent with its policy of resisting greater integration with Slough, or a move to Spelthorne, over closer ties with Windsor & Maidenhead proposed by ex-councillor Mike Nye in April 2012.

Datchet Parish Council, while embracing Localism and well on the way to producing a Neighbourhood Plan, has not been without controversy itself.  In March it was facing £11,000 of its funding being withheld by Windsor Council in a war of words over a 40% precept rise in March.

Cllr Simon Dudley, Windsor’s cabinet member for finance, called for the measure over Datchet’s failure to put in place a financial plan for two years running.

The meeting on July 1,  which only 7 of 12 councillors managed to attend, was the last full meeting which Mr Hewson will preside over, leaving the Parish with a pressing gap.

The matter will be discussed next at tonight’s Finance and Policy Committee meeting.


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