WHEN a last-minute attempt to keep Slough’s buses trundling through the town, was thrown out by planning inspectors in 1996, the coast was clear for the whole area to become a pedestrianised zone.

Shoppers would soon be able to stroll from shop to shop without having to look left and right and the Piazza paved area between Crown corner and Alpha Street would, it was hoped, lead to further retail investment.

Town centre manager Michael Kelly told the Observer: “We are reclaiming the street for the people of Slough-this is the best news we have had for years.”

A special investigation on the hopes and fears of residents in Langley’s high-rise flats revealed that they were being plagued by vandals and the area had become a haven for drug and alcohol abusers.

The 800 residents in Common Road claimed that they had been ‘forgotten’ and the area was being used as a dumping ground for ‘troublemakers’.

Newly-weds, Joanne and David Williams, revealed to the Observer that they had lived apart for some months, after Joanne was threatened by a number of drunken youths, this being the last straw after many other incidents.

As the lifespan of the flats was not unlimited, many local councils across the UK were facing a decision as to their future-demolition or preservation.

The bells of St. Mary the Virgin church in Langley were being removed for restoration 24 years ago, as part of a £150,000 facelift for the whole structure.

Scaffolding was due to cover the tower in the following months and the clock face would get a new coat of blue and gold paint.

A policewoman’s lot was becoming a happier one in 1996, and the Observer took an in-depth look at the working life of Slough-based Sgt Sharon Heselden.

Having joined the force sixteen years earlier, Sharon had progressed up the promotion ladder and admitted: “When I joined the police, women were not as welcome as they are now, thankfully things have changed dramatically since then.”

Langley Leisure Centre had fallen behind schedule during its construction, but it had already welcomed a few visitors as part of a sneak preview event.

The £3.6 million complex was given the ‘once over’ by local councillors, who marvelled at the facilities on offer.

Cllr Lynda Bussley told the Observer: “I am highly impressed by the way it is all coming together and proud to have been involved in making it a reality.”

Fellow stars, friends and neighbours of former Wraysbury resident, actor Beryl Reid, were paying emotional tributes to her passing in 1996.

Ms Reid, a doyen of the theatre, film and television, had lived in the village for over 40 years, was a well-known face in the village.

Tim O’Keefe, Wraysbury Parish Council Chairman, told the Observer: “She was a lovely lady and now, sadly, we have lost another great village character.”