Save Alexandra Gardens 2020 Petition
We, the undersigned, call on the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead to immediately halt work on all plans for development at or around Alexandra Gardens or the Windsor riverside in Windsor.
We call on the council to restart planning for development in this area, with full public consultation from the outset in determining what, if any, development the people of Windsor want for this much valued part of our town.
Over the past few weeks the Liberal Democrats in Windsor have launched "Save Alexandra Gardens 2020", our campaign to stop plans for excessive development at the Alexandra Gardens Coach and Car Parks and at other, as yet secret, sites along the Thames riverside.
Why and how is it being kept Secret?
Plans for development along Windsor Riverside, including at Alexandra Gardens, appear to have been in development for over a year. The plans appear within council agendas in the "Part 2" secret sessions of the Council's Cabinet. The council cabinet is predominantly made up of Maidenhead Conservative Councillors. None of the Cabinet live in Windsor.
Local Lib Dem campaigners only learnt about the plans 15 months ago, after an argument on social media between two prominent local Conservatives about the plans. We then made a Freedom of Information Act request to see the proposals. The council refused the request, citing an exemption for decisions still in the process of being taken, however the refusal notice effectively confirmed that plans were being developed in secret.
More recently we issued a Press Release which was used as the basis for stories in local media. The Conservative response to this press release provided further confirmation that the secret plans existed.
In parallel we renewed our FOI request to have the plans made public. The refusal notice for our most recent FOI request cited an exemtion for "commercial confidentiality" as the council was in discussion with commercial partners about developing land around Alexandra Gardens.
Why is this happening now?
Under the current Conservative Administration the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead's council have got into significant debt. To pay off the debt large amounts of our (residents') public assets are being sold off in what local Lib Dems are calling the "Fire Sale Flog Off".
What's the Lib Dem View?
Local Lib Dems don't believe in taking big decisions like this in secret; we believe the council should work for residents, not keep secrets from them.
Local Lib Dems believe the public should be involved from the start of the process, not presented with a fait accomplis near the end of the process.
Local Lib Dems believe that decisions should be taken with a strategic view of what is best for Windsor, not as a quick-fix to pay off Conservative debts.
Local Lib Dems believe more Windsor Councillors should be involved in the decision. None of the Council Cabinet members (who are making these decisions) live in Windsor.
Local Lib Dems believe any plan for Windsor riverside should take a clear overview of all of the undeveloped land along the Windsor riverside.
Local Lib Dems believe any plans should emphasise open green puiblic space, pedestrians and cyclists.
Local Lib Dems believe any plans should try to create a motor traffic free space alongside the river.
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