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Politics in the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead

  • About David Burbage

    David Burbage MBE was Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council from 2007-2016. This blog : Promoted by Geoff Hill on behalf of David Burbage and all other Windsor and Maidenhead Conservative candidates, all of 2 Castle End Farm, Ruscombe, Berkshire RG10 9XQ
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Archive for the ‘Windsor’ Category

More heritage restored in Windsor

Posted by davidburbage on January 28, 2011

 Today the Mayor (Cllr Catherine Bursnall, right) unveiled the “clock in the pavement” which historically stood in this exact spot, in Windsor High St.

Years ago, the clock was installed and many Windsorians remember it with affection. In the 70s or 80s, it broke and was removed. But I heard about this, and determined to restore the clock to Windsor’s pavement!

On the left is the daughter (Caroline Fox I believe) whose father was a Dyson that ran the shop (now a café that gave us refreshments!) next to the clock in the pavement.

I have no idea who the guy in the middle is . . . . but this installation, on the back of the restoration of the Lutyens fountain at the bottom of Castle Hill, with the soon-to-be-open Windsor Museum at the Guildhall is this Council’s delivery of heritage in the town of Windsor. The castle isn’t going anywhere – so we need to play our part in keeping the town’s heritage maintained.

The clock does just that.

Let’s hope it works and doesn’t lose minutes!

The BBC report is here : http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/berkshire/hi/people_and_places/arts_and_culture/newsid_9379000/9379754.stm

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Posted in Conservative success, Council, Windsor | Leave a Comment »

Fantastic Park result!

Posted by davidburbage on January 7, 2011

At the Park ward by-election last night we scored a fantastic result – just 4 months before our all-out elections!

Park Ward – 6 January 2011

Laura Jane Binnie The Labour Party Candidate 149
Richard Anthony Fagence Liberal Democrats 156
Natasha Joy Lavender The Conservative Party Candidate 637
Derek John Prime Independent 47

 

The halving of the LibDem vote must be a real worry to the local party – as well as the rise and rise of the Labour vote. Both Labour and the LibDems worked hard at the by-election, but not as hard as us!

Natasha will be a great councillor, even though there’s only four months of office remaining.

I am reminded of the work involved in bringing in new blood! With luck, lots of that to come….

Posted in Conservative success, Libdem Failings, Windsor | Leave a Comment »

What other local authorities do with old fountains

Posted by davidburbage on October 25, 2010

Here in Tynemouth, they dig out a long-lost (and clearly popular) fountain only to … let it be covered up again. Apparently the “maintenance costs” are too high.

Curiously, that is what I was told when I asked why the beautiful Lutyens fountain in Windsor contained three flower beds.

Make it flow! I said. 

So we did, and now we have this very pleasant and enjoyable feature of Windsor doing what Lutyens wanted it to do.

Posted in Council, Windsor | Leave a Comment »

Adam Afriyie takes Windsor Fire Station case to the floor of the Commons

Posted by davidburbage on March 12, 2010

I even get a namecheck, as does Michael Rowley and the windsorfirestation.co.uk website . . .

Sustainable Communities Act Adjournment debate yesterday

Posted in Conservative success, Council, Windsor | Leave a Comment »

Royal Borough Lose

Posted by davidburbage on November 20, 2009

The LGA (supposedly in favour of “Local” Government) today threw out our application under the Sustainable Communities Act to run the local fire service, for the nonsensical reason of viability – there are fire authorities that are FAR smaller that do everything that fire authorities have to do, there are fire authorities of similar sizes that do everything that fire authorities have to do – but the LGA appear to believe in BIG Government, which is the antithesis of the Sustainable Communities Act, rather than smaller more local government. One of the comments was that Fire Services were moving towards a “bigger than county” arrangement becuase of the “difficulty of recruiting retained firefighters”. I couldn’t follow that non-sequiteur, nor why that was a barrier to a viable and clear proposal to achieve the opposite.

I believe the LGA have really done themselves a disservice as an organisation.

They didn’t appear to me to have a clear understanding as to why they should be selecting proposals, or on what basis.

Meanwhile, back at the (big) ranch, the public are having their say on the election of police commissioners.

Unsurprisingly, ordinary people think it’s a good idea, and the incumbents (police) think it’s a bad idea.

Just like our proposals for the Royal Borough’s fire service ……

Here are the two most popular comments on the BBC Have Your Say

>>

Added: Friday, 20 November, 2009, 16:40 GMT 16:40 UK

Any move that would make the police more accountable to the public is a good move.

S. Potter

Added: Friday, 20 November, 2009, 16:43 GMT 16:43 UK

It works in the United States.
A Police Chief who has one eye on the voters is an asset to the community.

[Cosoblat]

Recommended by 57 people

Posted in Council, Police, Windsor | 1 Comment »

Fire Authority Lose

Posted by davidburbage on November 12, 2009

The Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service lost today in the High Court against the LGA and ourselves, in a pre-emptive strike against our bid to allow the Royal Borough to run its own fire service.

According to the judge, so I am told, the Royal Borough would be far more harmed than the Fire Authority by any interruption of due process by expediting a hearing regarding the legality of our submission (and the consideration of it by the LGA).

Something may well now happen in January (in court terms) although by that stage it is likely a bid will be with the Secretary of State (if we are fortunate that our proposal is to be shortlisted by the LGA later this month).

In political terms I saw their action as a spoiler – after all, their livelihood as a bureaucracy is at stake, and the chance that their entire organisation may be dissolved as a result of our bid is not an impossible one. That shouldn’t give them carte blanche to splash public money around willy nilly  …. the fact they underspent in the last year by a million pounds clearly has given them enough money to spend on hiring a full Queens Counsel – (though not, of course, to provide a 24/7 fire service out of Windsor Fire Station).

I am told we were awarded costs for today’s hearing, against the Fire Authority.

Posted in Conservative success, Windsor | 1 Comment »

Important Visitor

Posted by davidburbage on October 29, 2009

cameron-windsor-5 

David Cameron visited Windsor Fire Station this week and gave his support to our application, under the Sustainable Communities Act, to decide the level of fire cover in the Royal Borough.

I was lucky enough to join Windsor’s MP Adam Afriyie and other firefighters with David Cameron over a cup of tea where we discussed some of the issues facing the station, the details of our application and the rationale for the sustainability of a locally determined service.

It does surprise me when some people question the merits of localism, because defending the status quo of big government is the antithesis of progress. As I am fond of pointing out, if big organisations have efficiency because of “economies of scale” then the NHS would be the most efficient organisation in the western world ….

In the internet age, you can procure pretty much anything from anywhere for an outstandingly low price.

Our application under the SCA is currently with the LGA and is due to be considered in November. We hope then that the CLG will see fit to grant the relevant legislative changes to make it possible, and then we can Save Windsor Fire Station.

Posted in Conservative success, Council, Windsor | Leave a Comment »

Windsor Wheel

Posted by davidburbage on April 14, 2009

The blue team really hit the news last week with an incident at the formal opening of the Windsor wheel. Without repeating the press coverage, a nasty fight broke out and was prevented from getting worse by the brave intervention of two of my colleagues.

What was most noticed by those involved – which by the end of the incident, included me – was the lack of police, and what seemed to be an age before anything happened. In fact, it was only when I asked one of my colleagues to flag down a police car that was driving around, that an officer came out to speak to the witnesses and victims.

It was such a contrast to the situation I found in Hammersmith and Fulham, where additional 24/7 policing has been paid for by Westfield/H&F Council/others. We part fund 4 additional PCSOs but the TVP doesn’t ask us where they are to be deployed, and when we ask, we are told that they are used to boost the existing force, and that they are very grateful.

It must be time for increased accountability, in this area of public expenditure. Crime is usually at the top of the “issues” list, yet it is extremely difficult for elected politicians (whether local or national unless they’re the Home Secretary) to make any change in policy or direction. That’s not to say that neighbourhood policing is bad, or that NAGs don’t work, or that the police don’t care ; it’s just that we haven’t got the power to change anything – despite paying for policing services through local taxes.

dsc00747

The incident took place some time after this picture was taken (I took this photo when on the wheel) – behind where the train was parked towards the coach park.

Posted in General, Windsor | 1 Comment »

Surprise!

Posted by davidburbage on March 30, 2009

Radio Berkshire had me on talking about the Fire Service proposals – Andrew Peach rather bemused by the idea and suggested we’d be running our own green fire engines. No, I gently pointed out, it’s the funding control rather than changing the whole thing entirely.

Oh well, says Peach, “we’ll see what David Cameron has to say about this, we’ve got him on in 15 minutes

Surprise! So Peach had a little laugh at my expense, saying “I’ve got him worried now“!

As it turned out, it went just fine . . .

Posted in BBC, Windsor | Leave a Comment »

High Court – “May” I make a contribution

Posted by davidburbage on February 17, 2009

We lost our case at the High Court today to overturn the Fire Authority’s decision to withdraw night cover from Windsor Fire Station.

It’s frustrating on many levels.

Firstly, we don’t get to decide as a Council, despite being a top tier authority, what level of fire service our residents can pay for. At the moment, even if Windsor residents wanted to pay sufficient monies to operate a 24 hour fire station, they aren’t allowed to make that choice. They are dependent on councillors from other authorities who have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by denying Windsor its existing facilities.

Secondly, the Government won’t let the Fire Authority (even if it wished) raise the precept to a level sufficient to fund night cover at Windsor. Now, the amount is extremely small beer per person, but for some reason a magic 5% number is centrally imposed to prevent an authority deciding on an appropriate level of service in the 21st Century based on a 20th century precept level.

Thirdly, it is not possible for the Fire Authority to levy different levels in different areas for different levels of service.

Fourthly, the Government decides the criteria by which an authority must deploy its resources.

Fifthly, population records (which feed into the computer models that drive the previous point) are woefully out of date and apparently show Slough’s population decreasing…. In fact, there are plenty of unregistered housing in multiple occupation presenting a great fire risk that go completely ignored by the models.

In terms of the court case itself, the legal arguments were detailed and hard to pick apart, but the basis of the challenge was that Windsor’s specific risks hadn’t been explored by the Fire Authority and hadn’t been put to consultation. The Authority said that they followed procedures and that we were complicit in doing that because we’d been there all along, so why weren’t we saying what we are saying now, then? Of course, we did say those things needed proper consideration at the Fire authority meeting but to no avail.

It is, as the BBC reporter pointedly remarked, a pretty sad day when the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service reduces their fire and rescue service to Royal Windsor.

We still want to restore the service back to 24 hours.

PS: to explain the title. I contributed one word to proceedings today, clarifying for the defence (who were referring to me being there) who pointed out I was now the Leader of the Council, since July 2007?

“May” I said. My High Court debut.

Posted in Uncategorized, Windsor | Leave a Comment »