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Wexham parish council considers judicial review over its future

A vote to seek legal advice on pursuing a judicial review on Slough Borough Council’s decision to abolish Wexham Court parish council was made last week.

At a meeting at Wexham Court parish hall in Norway Drive, parish councillors agreed to get legal advice on whether there are grounds for a judicial review,before applying for one.

Slough Borough Council approved the abolition of Wexham Court and Britwell parish councils in December, citing mismanagement in governance and finance, having carried out a governance review.

But residents backed their parishes, with 56 per cent of voters in an advisory poll favouring retaining Wexham Court Parish Council and 52 per cent choosing to keep Britwell Parish Council.

Both parish councils also claim that they have made improvements, which they feel have not been fully taken into account.

If a judicial review is not set in motion in time, the parish councils will stop running from the start of April, and all of their assets and services will pass into the hands of Slough Borough Council.

Wexham Court Parish Council clerk Surrinder Jabble said members of the public were at the parish council’s last meeting on Tuesday, February 12 and were ‘very unhappy that their voice hasn’t been heard’.

“They’re very, very upset. Slough Borough Council has come up with very feeble excuses to
abolish the council but that’s where we are. Democracy is not being heard,” he said.

A Slough Borough Council spokeswoman said: “Judicial review is a process that seeks to challenge a public authority’s  decision on the grounds that the process followed in making a decision is flawed.

“The council is confident that the governance review was conducted in accordance with statutory guidance and that the reasons for the council’s decision to abolish Wexham Court Parish Council are sound.”

She said that the parish polls were used to gather evidence for the review, are consultative, not legally binding and part of a range of documents and feedback used to assess residents’ views.

Slough Borough Council’s audit of parish council finances and governance was to ensure money parish councils received via the council tax precept was being spent as intended.

“The auditor’s conclusion was that the control framework in place at the parish required significant improvement and issues were identified where immediate management action was necessary,” the spokeswoman said.

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