Debate over EYE Project

I SUGGEST that the reasons given for Billingshurst Parish Council’s decision with respect to the rejection of the use of parish council land for the EYE Project building have been clearly explained in both the recent Billingshurst village newsletter and in Mrs Bell’s detailed and objective representation (County Times letters, April 5).

To summarise, Mrs Bell effectively explains that (i) the parish council is discharging its responsibility in the provision of recreational land within its remit and (ii) that providing youth/educational services is not within its area of responsibility.

There are clearly some in the community and some on the parish council, who do not agree with the decision. However, the issue was discussed and a decision democratically taken by our representative body - and as such should be respected.

Mr Lawes’ comments (letters April 5) are inexplicable, and it seems the questions he raises are somewhat fatuous.

At the EYE project presentation to the parish council in October 2011, parish councillors gave reasons for their reservations: in fact only four parish councillors (as I recall) gave unquestioning support to the use of parish land for the EYE Project.

Two councillors (who eventually voted for the project) requested an extra month to explore the possibility of ‘alternative sites’. Essentially, this fundamental issue of concern was inadequately addressed in the long presentation by the community partnership.

Mr Lawes, as a former district and county councillor, should be aware of the clearly prescribed boundaries of parish councillors’ responsibilities.

These include protecting parish recreational land, particularly that which has already been designated, after public consultation, for use as part of the envisaged Jubilee Gardens.

It seems his somewhat irrelevant defence of the Billingshurst Community Partnership, and his disrespectful and emotive attack on Billingshurst Parish Council, may relate to his loyalty, as a former headmaster, to the Weald School which would clearly be the major beneficiary of the EYE Project building in the desired location.

I would request that Mr Lawes reflects on his own arguably more responsible comments to the County Times, some years ago, voicing his concerns relating to ‘personal attacks’ in printed letters, where he stated ‘I’m asking for a little bit more decorum and civility in the way we talk and behave and speak to each other’ (County Times, ‘Alarm over Village Crisis’, February 11, 2005).

ANN RODWELL

Forge Way, Billingshurst