SLOUGH Borough Council (SBC) has denied a parish council's request to suspend High Court proceedings over disputed land during the coronavirus pandemic.

Councillor Iftakhar Ahmed, Independent and chairman of Wexham Court Parish Council (WCPC), emailed the leader of the council James Swindlehurst asking to delay SBC’s claim over green space land north of Norway Drive in the parish area – as their legal advisors are unable to carry out their work due to being in isolation because of the public health crisis.

READ MORE: Slough Borough Council urges public to #bekind

The then Labour controlled WCPC signed an agreement with the council back in 2016 to surrender this land worth £370,000 where 24 homes were proposed to be built via the Slough Urban Renewal, a partnership between SBC and Morgan Sindall Investments Ltd.

Independent parish councillors were elected for Wexham last year and sought legal advice to terminate the contract to uphold their manifesto pledge of protecting open green spaces.

WCPC also intends to keep the £235,000 ‘non-refundable’ deposit from the local authority which SBC is trying to recover from them or get the land released from the parish council through the High Court.

READ MORE: Slough Seniors leader's appeal - 'don't forget the elderly'

Councillor Swindlehurst said the council has already accepted a 28-day delay at the beginning of February for WCPC to issue some legal directions for proceedings to begin.

He also urged Wexham Court Parish Council to honour their agreement by releasing the land or pay back the taxpayer’s money for the deposit, if the parish wants to keep hold of the land.

Councillor Swindlehurst said: “The Borough Council is not minded to agree to further delay, given it already accepted a reasonable delay some weeks ago.

“It is equally inconvenient for the Borough to have to pursue legal proceedings to have a formal mutual agreement honoured by the other party, whilst Slough Council’s resources are focused on providing key services to local people during the current public health crisis.

“But the simplest way for Mr Ahmed to avoid his current difficulties would be for the Parish simply to honour the agreement it signed in 2016.”

READ MORE: 100 meals a day being delivered by Outreach to those in need

Councillor Iftakhar Ahmed said: “I’m urging them (SBC) to reinstate the proceedings to a later date and I’m sure the High Court will not object to that.

“As a result of the Covid-19, the country is in national crisis and our mind is set to looking after our elderly people and what’s going to happen to them in our area.

“We are willing to talk and if we can’t resolve matters amicably, then we will go to the judicial system to go for a determination after the crisis.”

SBC said they welcome the opportunity to speak to councillor Ahmed without prejudice to the proceedings about this issue and council officers will give a formal response to his email.