IN RESPONSE to the letter about Dial Post Village Hall from Alan Childs (County Times June 30), the Blue Flash Music Trust would like to congratulate the Dial Post Village Hall Association (DPVHA) on its achievements. As we also pointed out in our original press statement, we do not begrudge the money to Dial Post.
However, like other residents who have made similar Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) requests, we do point to the basic unfairness of the situation. While the Horsham District Council cabinet will give fundraising assistance to one specific hall, the townspeople have been consistently denied the opportunity to self-finance their own solution for the Old Town Hall.
Indeed, the cabinet has now gone further and denied the townspeople the very use of their own ‘village hall’, a hall that was gifted to them by the Duke of Norfolk.
That said, we would also disagree that the grant was ‘above board and in the open’. Until recent disclosure under FoIA, people may not have been aware that the bulk of the £47,000 grant to village halls was committed to Dial Post as far back as April 9, 2008. This allocation was on the authority of just one cabinet member.
While this explains why other village halls were not invited to make bids for the bulk of the grant, it perhaps does not explain why others were not invited to bid for the remaining £7,000.
We suspect that the County Times justifiably did not contact the DPVHA, as like us, they saw this issue as one of council process. The trust believes that by ignoring the views of residents the council will continue to make poor decisions.
We similarly believe that by dismissing any constructive criticism of its processes and behaviour the council will fail in its duty of ‘continuous improvement’ in the interests of the taxpayer.
As ever, we would be happy to meet representives of the council and DPVHA to ensure that there are no misunderstandings.
Blue Flash Music Trust
PO Box 616, Horsham