Plans to move three Berkshire villages into Surrey revealed

Plans to move three Berkshire villages into Surrey revealed

A councillor has announced he will push for the ward he represents to be relocated in an effort to break away from the Royal Borough.

Councillor Ewan Larcombe, founder of the National Flood Prevention Party, wants to relocate the Datchet, Wraysbury and Horton patch to Surrey.

The desired move is mainly due to the council’s part in the £640 million River Thames Scheme which was set up to protect 15,000 homes in areas including Datchet and Teddington to reduce the flood risk where three new flood channels would be constructed.

Inset picture of Man over image of the River Thames in Maidenhead
Councillor Ewan Larcombe is frustrated over the River Thames scheme

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead gave just £10 million out its £52.66 million contribution.

Cllr Larcombe said he had ‘run out patience’ and has criticised the council for failing to find partnership funding for the project.

Surrey is adjacent to Wraysbury where the county council has already secured £237 million on their part of the scheme which Surrey cabinet members called “crucial” to protect their residents and businesses.

Benches beside the towpath in Datchet covered in flood water from the River Thames in January 2020
Benches beside the towpath in Datchet covered in flood water from the River Thames in January 2020

Cllr Larcombe believes Datchet, Wraysbury and Horton would be better protected and thinks Surrey County Council takes the River Thames Scheme ‘more seriously’.

A referendum can be triggered if this proposed merger gets five per cent of support from electors across the Royal Borough (5,561) and if Surrey council shows strong interest.

Cllr Larcombe, who was elected last year, added that Maidenhead, Windsor and Eton already benefit from their flood defence scheme, the Jubilee River, for nearly 20 years which he calls ‘sub-standard’.

Cllr David Cannon (Conservative), cabinet member for public protection, said he was ‘astounded’ by the councillor’s timing of his proposal during the coronavirus pandemic and has hit back, calling the ward ‘integral’ to RBWM.

He said: “The council has consistently demonstrated its commitment to the River Thames Scheme by budgeting over £10m to this scheme to date and committing up to another £43m, subject to Government enabling us to raise the funding to repay that amount.

“Unfortunately, that change of legislation hasn’t yet happened and the council is still heavily lobbying Government for such a change. Our commitment to this scheme has remained constant since 2017.

“As Cllr Larcombe is aware, RBWM are conducting maintenance and improvements on the Ward’s waterways as the Lead Flood Authority, working with both riparian owners and community volunteers. Enforcement notices are in progress for some of the blatant obstruction of its ancient waterways.

“I am surprised that rather than supporting the current community Covid-19 response, Cllr Larcombe has chosen as his priority, to raise this fanciful proposal to promote his personal issue of interest, at this time of community crisis.”

Cllr Larcombe said: “The people of Datchet, Wraysbury and Horton would have to decide whether they want remain in Windsor and Maidenhead and have no flood alleviation.

“This isn’t just about being high risk of flooding, it is that the Royal Borough have not looked after the land drainage infrastructure.

News from Berkshire Live

Written by Editor

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