A council chief has been forced to defend himself after his cabinet’s strategy for housing in Slough was accused of being in “complete chaos”.

Cllr James Swindlehurst, leader of Labour-led Slough Borough Council (SBC) has been accused of “failing” in his leadership and strategy for the town centre and housing in Slough.

It comes after Wexham Court Parish Council served notice on SBC to terminate a deal to buy land for housing in Norway Drive, where 24 homes were planned to be built, and the council did not secure the former Dulux paint factory – the AkzoNobel site – in Wexham Road, which it had reportedly planned to build 1,000 homes on.

Slough Conservatives chairman Lee Pettman said: “The loss of this site alone puts their council’s housing strategy into complete chaos and impact future investment in the town.”

He also claims Cllr Anna Wright asked newly elected chairman of the neighbourhoods scrutiny panel, Ted Plenty, when councillors could expect an update on the development of the High Street and was told “October at the latest”.

Mr Pettman said: “After 11 years of Labour broken promises, it seems residents will wait even longer not knowing what is going on with their decaying, unsafe High Street.”

He added: “Labour’s strategy for our town centre – and housing – is in complete chaos and it is costing taxpayers money.

“Residents needs answers fast and deserve better than the failure of leadership from council leader Cllr Swindlehurst and his cabinet.”

But Cllr Swindlehurst insists the “minor events from the past few months” do not “combine to make an effective critique of the Labour council’s housing or regeneration strategies”.

He said: “534 new homes have been completed in Slough in the past 12 months, and planning permissions have been granted by the council for a further 1,297 dwellings across the borough.

“The council itself is delivering 100 new homes this year, with another of our own major schemes being presented to the planning committee this very week.

“Berkeley Homes are in the pre-application process for the redevelopment of the former Horlicks site, which looks likely to contain around one thousand more residential properties than the assumptions from the council’s early projections for it – so the redevelopment of this site, in itself, replaces any lost numbers that SBC assumed may have been provided on the AkzoNobel site.

“In any case, SBC has held discussions with agents of the new owners of the Akzo site, Pannettoni - and part of this site may yet come forward for housing as well as for the much-needed employment and warehouse/distribution uses that they are promoting.

“Slough Conservatives were bleating about the purchaser of the AkzoNobel site in early June (some weeks after the actual sale), so they can hardly claim this as a ‘shock’ news story a week into July as well.

“Neither can a neighbourhoods scrutiny panel (on which the Conservatives have one member out of nine) deciding to take an update on the town centre in October be seen as an illustration that ‘nothing is happening’. Scrutiny panels are not decision-making: they are for backbench councillors to hear updates and examine reports.

“I appreciate that, now with only four councillors out of 42 and nine per cent of the seats on Slough Council, the Tories will look for the oxygen of any publicity - no matter how loose it’s basis in fact actually is - but the electorate comprehensively rejected their analysis and plans eight weeks ago at the elections, and endorsed Labour’s detailed programme to renew Slough.

“The Labour group of councillors is working to deliver on all the commitments we made to voters, and residents will see these projects delivered in the months ahead.”